§ * MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
The Amendment which stands in my name on the Paper, and which I desire to move, raises once more for the consideration of Parliament the Irish land question. The importance and vital urgency of that question I do not think will be challenged by one who has any practical acquaintance with Ireland. And yet it is true to say that for the last two decades there has been no question which has occupied so much of the time of Parliament and upon which the greatest statesmen on both sides of the House have bestowed greater pains in an effort to obtain its settlement. Both political parties have dealt with this question, in my own personal experience in this House, again and and again in turn. All the greatest leaders of your two parties have tried their hands upon its settlement, and as a matter of fact during these twenty years—I might even say thirty years— measure after measure has been passed by Parliament dealing with this question, and yet, at the end of it all, to-day you find yourselves once more confronted by this great problem, upon which depends not merely the peace and tranquillity of Ireland, but I must almost say the very existence of the remnant of the Irish race. Let me ask at the outset what is the reason for this extraordinary failure? Why is it that all the greatest and wisest of your statesmen belonging to both parties have during thirty years failed in their efforts to deal successfully with this question? Is the problem insoluble? Does the fault rest with the Irish representatives or the Irish people? No, Sir. The answer is perfectly simple. It is that upon that Irish land question this Parliament has never allowed itself to be guided or influenced by Irish ideas or Irish opinions. You have insisted time and again in forcing 712 upon Ireland measures dealing with this question which the great majority of the Irish representatives told you were inadequate and unsuitable. The programme of the Land League in the year 1879—namely, the immediate creation of an occupying proprietary— was denounced by both the parties in the State as a scheme of robbery and confiscation; and, instead of it, this Parliament forced upon Ireland a system of dual ownership—a system of State interference, of the State fixing rents—in spite of our protests—a system which Ireland did not ask for and which we warned them could not settle the question—a system which was in itself illogical, absurd, and unsound in principle, and which I assert to-day, by the common consent of all parties and all classes in Ireland, has completely broken down. I desire at the outset to make it plain that Ireland was in no sense responsible for the Land Act of 1881. I was myself a Member of the House at the time, and I well remember that Mr. Parnell and the Irish representatives of that day refused to vote in favour of the Second Reading of that Bill; and when the Second Reading division was called the entire body of the Irish representatives walked out of the House and took no part in it, and we solemnly warned Mr. Gladstone and this Parliament that that measure could not provide a settlement of this question. Well, Irish opinion was overborne and a measure was in that year forced upon Ireland which we did not want and whose failure we predicted. I say that the history of this Irish land question and the fact that it is once more casting its shadow over Ireland and thundering at the doors of Parliament, constitutes the most striking conceivable proof of the impossibility of governing Ireland, and of the impossibility of dealing successfully with great Irish problems without having some regard to the opinions and advice of the Irish representatives and of the Irish people.
I say that the present land system of Ireland has absolutely and completely broken down. Is there anyone in this House, belonging to any party, either from Ireland or Great Britain, who can controvert that statement? Let me apply to it perhaps the most simple test possible. Every class in Ireland is dis- 713 satisfied with the present system. It is not merely the tenantry of Ireland, or even their representatives, who, seeing that under the working of this system the property of the people in the soil is being confiscated, demand its abolition. It is not merely the landlords who come here and also declare that their property is being confiscated and equally demand the abolition of the system. On this question there is an absolute unanimity of opinion between all classes in Ireland— and between landlord and tenant—who join in declaring that the present land land system, forced on Ireland in 1881, has broken down, and are asking for its abolition. The administration of the present system, likewise, does not command the confidence of any class in Ireland. I assert, without fear of contradiction, that the Irish Land Commission has absolutely no friends in Ireland. The landlords on the one side, and the tenants on the other, equally proclaim their want of confidence in the administration.
A more striking example of this could not possibly be found than what occurred in this House last year, when the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh, as representing the landlords, voted in the same lobby with us, as representing the tenants, against the estimates for the administration of this system. Both the landlords and the tenants are united in declaring their want of confidence in the administration of the present system, and both declare that the Land Commission is partial and inefficient. It could not be otherwise; the task committed to the Commission was an impossible one. The system was an inefficient one, and it was utterly impossible that it could end in anything else than the confessed and admitted failure that has overtaken it.
Let me ask the House to consider what the cost of that administration has been. In the debate upon this subject in the last Parliament the Attorney General spoke of the cost of the Land Commission as being about £100,000 a year. I tried to verify those figures, but I have been unable to do so; but I find the estimate for the administration of the Commission in 1891 was £136,000, and that the salaries, which are charged upon the Consolidated Fund, but which must be 714 added to that sum, amount to about £16,000, making the estimate for that one year £152,000. If you deduct from that the amount of £20,000, on account of land purchases, it still leaves the cost at about £132,000. That is to say, the cost of the administration has for the last twenty years been considerably over £2,500,000; but that, after all, has only been a small part of the cost. In the last Official Returns upon this subject it is recorded that there were 328,720 fair rents fixed since 1881 upon first term applications; and upon second term applications, up to last March, 52,396,and there were over 60,000 appeals. Without adding anything for the years that have elapsed since then, and making due allowance for the cases settled out of court, there have been no less than 400,000 law suits tried out in Ireland. Now, making a very modest and moderate estimate of the costs incurred on both sides in each of those cases, and taking the figure, after having consulted some of the best authorities upon the subject—most of whom told me that, if anything, that estimate was too low— taking £4 as the figure for costs incurred on each side, there has been £3,500,000 spent in law costs. That is to say, there has been spent in twenty years over £6,000,000 of money in carrying out this system. For what? The rentals of Ireland have been reduced by a million and a half or two millions, but in its effect upon the country, in its effect upon the prosperity of the classes concerned, what have you gained by the expenditure of over £6,000,000 of money upon this system? Here we are to day with the admitted fact that both landlord and tenant are both worse off than they were before. After twenty years of this game of beggar-my-neighbour going on in Ireland we have both the landlord and tenant declaring that they have no confidence in the system, and that it must be swept away. But apart from what both sides in Ireland believe, the partial administration of this system—and apart from its ridiculous and ruinous cost—I say the system itself has absolutely broken down.
There are three points of view from which it can be looked at. Let me take first the point of view—my own point of view—of the tenant farmers in Ireland. 715 I say that this system, which was forced on Ireland in opposition to our advice in 1881, has not alleviated materially the condition of the tenant farmers of Ireland. It is true that the rental of Ireland has been reduced; but everyone knows that during these years the fall in price of agricultural produce has been so great in Ireland—just as it has been in England— that it is true, I believe, to assert at this moment that the tenant farmer of Ireland who has had his rent reduced under the operation of the present land system is no better off than he was twenty years ago, when he was paying a higher rent, but before the fall in the price of agricultural produce. Under the operation of this system we who speak in the name of the tenant farmers assert that, though the rent is reduced, they are still paying rent on their own property and their own improvements, and that during all these years there has been hanging over the head of every tenant farmer in the country the menace of a lawsuit. The periodical revision of rent at comparatively frequent periods must naturally have had the effect of interfering materially with good cultivation of the country. Of course, hon. Gentle men will say that for the tenant farmer not to put his best efforts into the land for fear that his rent may be raised is very wrong and perhaps dishonest: but, after all, we are dealing with human nature, which in this matter is not very different in Ireland from human nature in other countries, We know perfectly well that when the tenant is coming within a few years of the period when this tribunal in which he has no confidence whatever is to come again to value his land and to assess his rent, we know very well that he will not put his heart into the work of getting as much out of the land as the land is capable of producing, and in that way the result to the country generally must be bad.
From the landlord's point of view how has this system worked? We had the other day a sentence written by an Irish landlord describing what he conceived to be the present condition of one of his class. He said, "I am a nondescript rent-charger hovering about in a state of suspended animation." The real fact of the matter is that under the operation of this land system the landlords of Ireland are being 716 slowly but surely squeezed out of existence. In those cases in which second-term rents have been fixed the reductions have been on the average more than 40 percent. of the rents as they stood in 1881. Everyone knows the difference in the condition of the Irish and English landlords. Whereas English landlords were able to bear those large reductions of rent which, without the expenditure of six millions of money on a Land Commission, were brought about on their estates, their brethren in Ireland are unable to bear those reductions, and they have brought ruin to many landlords of Ireland. I say that it is beyond doubt or question that the third revision of rents, with the probability—nay, certainty—which we have that, owing to the changed condition of the world and the means of transit in the world, the price of agricultural commodities will not rise, the absolute certainty is, in my opinion, that the third revision of judicial rents will mean for the overwhelming majority of the smaller landlords complete and hopeless ruin. From the point of view of the country generally I believe the working of this system has been absolutely disastrous. Let me ask, What country in the world could possibly prosper which was subject to this system of periodical litigation? What country in the world could prosper when the one great industry which must be the basis, after all, of the national prosperity is subjected to this ordeal of constant litigation and remains insecure and uncertain? The cultivation of Ireland has not been as good as it ought to have been under a proper system, and it is impossible to keep out of one's consideration, in dealing with this question, the horrible and heartbreaking emigration statistics of the last twenty years.
Mr. Gladstone in eloquent words told the Irish representatives in this House that the Land Act of 1881 would end this chapter of Irish history. He told them that it would enable Irishmen to live and prosper on their own land; and after twenty years working of this system what do we find? During these years more than a million and a half of the Irish people have emigrated from the country. That has been a constant and steady drain. I succeeded in getting, the other day, emigration statistics for the year 1900, and 717 it is indeed a disquieting fact that emigration in Ireland has commenced to rise again. For the years 1898, 1899, and 1900 there has been a steady and distinct rise. This one fact alone, that this system, instead of enabling the people to live and prosper in Ireland, has certainly not checked emigration—it has gone on as badly as ever in proportion to the reduced population—is, in my view, sufficient in itself to condemn the system. English Members sometimes take an entirely erroneous view on this question of emigration. There are portions of Ireland in the congested districts where the population has been, owing to the barrenness of the soil, greater than that poor soil could support in comfort. Yes; but it is not from those districts that emigration has gone on. Emigration has gone on from the whole of the country generally; and it is an interesting fact which will interest hon. Members from Ulster and other members of the House, that, while Belfast has increased in population, the population in the agricultural districts of Ireland during the last twenty years has steadily diminished. This emigration has been of the most deadly kind. Those who have emigrated from Ireland have been people in the prime of life, and surely it is a heart-breaking thing for us Irishmen to consider that the proportion of old people and of little children is greater in Ireland I to-day than in any country in Europe. The position in Ireland has been all during these twenty years that one class of the population have been flying away from the shores of Ireland, or else remaining not contented, but in many cases in increasing poverty, and that the other class of our countrymen—the landlords—have been all during this time slowly but surely being ruined. Apart altogether from every other consideration affecting this question, in my view the emigration statistics alone are proof conclusive of the absolute failure of the system and of its injurious effects on the condition of the country generally. Therefore from that point of view this system has failed. Its administration possesses the confidence of no party and of no class. Its administration has been absurdly and ruinously costly and extravagant. It has been partial and inefficient according to universal opinion. It has not benefited the tenants. They to-day call out for its abolition. It 718 has admittedly ruined the Irish landlords, and they also cry out against its continued existence. It has kept Ireland all during these years in a state of unrest and poverty, and under its operation immigration has gone on steadily, and for the last three years has commenced once again to rise. Now, surely no prediction was ever so completely justified by experience as that of Mr. Parnell when in 1881 he declared to Mr. Gladstone that the Act of that year could not possibly settle the Irish question, and that it was based upon wrong lines and unsound principle.
In what I have said I have been dealing with matters about which there is no difference of opinion at all. Let me come now to the remedy which we have been advocating for well over twenty years. There, again, I am in the fortunate position that in principle there is no difference between Irish landlords and tenants. All classes in Ireland, landlords and tenants alike, demand abolition of this system of dual ownership and State regulation of rents, and ask for the substitution for it of a system of occupying proprietary. The only portion of the Irish land system which is working any good in Ireland at all is that which is comprised in the Irish Land Purchase Acts, I desire to say that in my opinion in principle, and indeed in intention, these Acts were admirable. But our case is that the operation of these Acts has been partial and so slow that a settlement of the; question cannot be looked for from their operation. After fifteen years working I under these Voluntary Land Purchase Acts, roughly speaking, about 50.000 sales have been effected, or, in other words, it would take about 150 years by the operation of these Acts to settle the Irish I Land question upon the lines which we all desire to see it settled upon. And it is remarkable that the Fry Commission, which sat quite recently, reported that the slowness in the working of the Land Commission in this purchase department increases rather than diminishes as time goes on. Into the precise causes of the delay in the working of these Acts I do not intend at this moment to enter at any length, but I must say this, that in my opinion a large measure of responsibility rests upon the Irish Land Commission. I believe that the spirit in which 719 they proceed to the administration of these Acts is altogether wrong. Instead of regarding their duty as that of carrying out a great national state policy of reconstruction and reconciliation, they act apparently in all these cases in the hard and grinding spirit of the moneylender. They devote all their attention to the safeguarding of the interests of the British Treasury, which was never for a single moment in any jeopardy. I remember that my hon. friend the Member for the St. Patrick's division of Dublin asked a question in this House a couple of years ago on this point, and was told in reply that there were 5,500 cases where actually the landlord and the tenant had agreed as to the price to be paid, but where the sale was blocked by the Land Commission, and they refused to allow it to be carried out.
But while maintaining that the spirit of the Land Commission is probably one of the reasons for the slow administration of these Acts, I must with perfect candour recognise that it is not the real reason. We know perfectly well that the real reason is that there is a large class of Irish landlords who cannot afford to sell under these Irish Land Purchase Acts. They are men who are living on a very small margin of their rents, and although these men know perfectly well that a third revision of judicial rents will sweep that margin away altogether, still they prefer putting off to the last possible moment facing the situation, and they refuse to sell their estates to their tenants.
Therefore I make the point that no Voluntary Land Purchase system can possibly settle the Irish Land question. The success of these Acts where they have been put in operation has been enormous and most gratifying. The price paid by the Irish tenants in those cases of sale has been on the average something like seventeen years and a half purchase. That is the price at which the landlords have sold their estates. They apparently were satisfied with that price, because there was no compulsion to sell if they did not choose to do so. The tenants no doubt have reaped enormous benefits, because at that price the tenants have been called upon to pay, by way of instalments and to pay the interest on the purchase money, some 25 or 30 per cent. less than 720 the reduced judicial rent which they were paying, and the State—and this, after all, is a matter of vital importance in the question—the State has suffered nothing. I believe that the amount of money advanced has been something like eighteen millions, and there have been, speaking broadly, no arrears. The arrears on the eighteen millions are a mere bagatelle—so small that they do not count at all.
But the extraordinary part of the situation is this, that the success of these Acts makes it absolutely impossible for you to stop there. The very success of these Acts makes it essential for you to introduce a general scheme affecting the whole country. It is unnecessary for me to illustrate that statement. For example, take any parish in Ireland. You may find in the centre of that parish an estate where the landlord has consented to sell to his tenants, and under the operation of these Acts he has been changed from a tenant paying a judicial rent into an owning occupier paying instalments for a certain number of years, and the instalment he is paying is 30 per cent. less than the rent, and all around him his next-door neighbours are tenants, on other estates where the landlords have refused to sell, and where the tenants must continue to pay 25 or 30 per cent. more. The very existence of that state of things prevents the possibility of tranquillity, rest, and contentment in Ireland; and although it seems paradoxical to say so, it is absolutely true that the greater the success that has attended these Voluntary Acts the greater the necessity that there should be a complete system of land purchase which would spread all over the country.
The Government, I notice, have declared in the King's Speech that they are going to introduce some Bill dealing with these Voluntary Acts. Now let me say at once—and possibly the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant will not be greatly surprised when he hears the statement—in our opinion, the time has absolutely passed for tinkering with this subject. We will not favour or tolerate, so far as we can, any further tinkering with this question. There has been twenty years experience of fixing of fair rents, there 721 has been fifteen years experience of these Land Purchase Acts, and we say that the only solution which can settle, or which can give us any hope of settling the question must be a great, bold, and statesmanlike scheme, such as there are precedents for in many countries in Europe, for the general compulsory sale of the land by the landlords to the tenants upon terms which will not only be just to the tenants, but which, so far as we are concerned, will be absolutely just to the Irish landlords. I know that in proposing to Parliament a scheme of compulsion directed at any class of the community, it is necessary to show that that class will not be unjustly treated. I do not deal with the general principle which is to be found up and down all through the legislation of this country, namely, that the interest of one particular set of men must give way to the general interest of the community. I know that in all cases where that principle has been put in operation the Legislature has most properly been very tender to the interests of the injured class, or the class which might think itself injured, and has taken every precaution to prevent injustice being done to it. But in the case of the Irish landlords the outcry which I hear about the enormity of compulsory sale is ridiculous. Why, the principle has already been applied to the Irish landlords. What did the Act of 1881 do? It took the rents of the Irish landlords and compulsorily reduced them. That is to say, in 1881 the Legislature stepped in and compulsorily regulated and reduced the income of the Irish landlords, and declared what was to be the rent-charge on the land; and it certainly does not seem to me to be a very extravagant or unreasonable extension of that principle to say that, having regulated and decided what a man's income is to be, you should be allowed also to say that the income is to be derived no longer from the rent-charge, but as interest on land stock created by purchase.
The real question I feel that it is necessary to grapple with on this point is, Can this system of compulsion be applied to the Irish landlords without absolutely ruining them? I believe it can, and I know it can; and I know that very many of the wisest and more far-seeing of the Irish landlords not 722 only believe that it can be done, but believe that it is the only way to save their class. I would respectfully submit to the consideration of the Irish landlords this fact—every year that passes the value of their property is going down. In 1879 the "robbers and confiscators" of the Irish Land League offered the landlords twenty years' purchase of Griffith's valuation. In 1886 Mr. Gladstone also made a proposal, which was also denounced as robbery and confiscation, under which the landlords were to get as a minimum twenty years' purchase of the then judicial rents which were lower than the valuation. To-day, when this question comes to be settled Irish landlords themselves in the operation of the Voluntary Purchase Acts admit that they consider a little over seventeen years purchase of the judicial rents quite fair. I respectfully submit to Irish landlords that the longer this question remains unsettled the less property they will have to sell, and from the point of view of their own safety and interest I say to them that they are unwise in not coming in as a body and joining hands with us, and seeking to have a great measure of compulsory purchase passed upon terms just to them as well as to the Irish tenants. The Irish party are constantly taunted with operating on this question not for the purpose of benefitting the tenants or the country, but for the purpose of ruining and exterminating the Irish landlords.
Why, Sir, if we cared nothing for the general interests of the tenant farmers and of Ireland, and wished only to exterminate the Irish landlords, all we would have to do would be to wait for a few years longer for a third-term fixing of the judicial rents, and I believe by that process the class of Irish landlords would be absolutely ruined in Ireland. I repudiate absolutely any such unpatriotic and absurd desire on the part of Irish Members of this House. We look at this question in a broader and a more just spirit from the point of view of the general welfare and prosperity of our own people and country generally. I say that we are not working for the extermination and ruin of the Irish landlords, and I have no hesitation in saying that if 723 in the operation necessary to carry out this great scheme the British Treasury choose out of that accumulation of money due to Ireland over the financial relations to make the operation easy for the Irish landlords, the Irish tenants certainly will not be found to raise any serious objection. We do not desire to exterminate any class of our countrymen, no matter what the history of their forefathers may have been; and I may be allowed personally to express my own belief and hope that, if a great scheme such as I have been indicating is carried into effect, a very large proportion indeed of the Irish landlords who have been expropriated will be glad to retain their houses and homes and continue to live in the country and bear their share in promoting its prosperity in the future.
I feel that it is necessary to show not merely that a scheme such as this will not be unjust to the Irish landlords and that we have no such desire or intention, but I feel that it is necessary also to say something on the question whether a measure of this kind would be just to the British taxpayer. Not that, in view of the past history of the financial relations between the two countries, I am very tender about the interests of the British taxpayer, but because I desire to be practical, and I know that that is a question which I must address myself to if I am to make this scheme acceptable to Parliament. Is it just that the British taxpayer should be called upon to make a fairly large expenditure of public money for this purpose? I will not be guilty of the impropriety of attempting to discuss the war in South Africa on this question, but I may, in passing, be allowed to say that if the British taxpayer is willing to go on paying something like £2,000,000 a week to carry on a work of ruin, devastation and desolation in one country, they ought to be willing to make a far more moderate expenditure of public money in Ireland on a great work of peace, reconstruction and reconciliation. In this matter England is under a deep obligation to Ireland generally, and I will say in a particular way to Irish landlords. I remember very well, in speaking on this question in this House in 1886, Mr. Gladstone used 724 these memorable words which I take the liberty of quoting to the House. He said—We cannot wash ourselves clean and clear of responsibility for the Irish land system. The Irish landlords were our garrisons in Ireland. We planted them there and we replanted them there. In 1641 and 1088 and 1798 we re-conquered the country for them. The landlords were our garrison, our representatives, and we have relied upon them as they have relied upon us We cannot wash our hands of responsibility for their doings or the consequences of their doings.I believe, Sir, that that is an accurate statement of historical fact, and I believe that it will be impossible for this country, with justice, to complain of her responsibility or of any burden that may be necessary in order to undo the wrongs of the past. And may I take this from another point of view. What risks are we asking the British exchequer to undertake? For my own part I believe absolutely none. The working of the existing Voluntary Acts goes to some extent, at any rate, to prove my point. As have stated before, of the £18,000,000 advanced under those Acts, many of these tenants have paid up practically to the last farthing, although the price at which they bought is greater than the price they would have to pay now on rents which have again been reduced. This policy of repudiation that we have heard of as likely to come if Ireland was made subject to the operation of a great scheme such as I have indicated is the merest moonshine. Anyone who knows anything at all of the Irish peasant knows that what is true of the peasantry in other countries is true in a particular way of them. The master passion in the life of an Irish peasant is his love for the land. This has driven him often into doing deeds quite foreign to his nature; and it has driven him into kinds of contests which no other possible motives could have urged him to. It is the master passion of a peasant's life to get possession of the land. Once a tenant buys under a system of this kind he ceases to be a tenant and becomes an owner and ceases to pay rent, and every instalment he pays is increasing his property in the land, making it more impossible year by year that he can ever lose it, and making it more certain year by year 725 that he will be able to hand it down to his children afterwards. To anyone who is at all acquainted with the peasantry of Ireland it is the merest moonshine to suppose that if they get this great boon they would belie their history by adopting a policy of repudiation. All that is wanted is a moderate use of Imperial credit, and for the reasons I have shortly given that Imperial credit ought and could be lent to Ireland with the greatest possible safety and security.
Let me draw attention in a few brief sentences to the state of public opinion in Ireland upon this question. I say that, practically speaking, Ireland is unanimous. I am aware it has been stated— I do not know upon what authority— that the hon. Members for the city of Belfast, the Member for the city of Derry, and the Members for Dublin University are not favourable to such a scheme as I have indicated, and I am aware also that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Armagh—while I believe he entirely agrees with me that the present system is wrong, and desires to see it swept away, and occupying proprietors put in its place—does not go the length of saying that there ought to be a compulsory system. But there is no one else. That means that 95 per cent. of the Irish Members constitutionally elected are in favour of this proposal. I believe I am right in saying that the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh is the only Member for an agricultural constituency in Ulster who is opposed to us. All the rest, I understand, pledged themselves in their election addresses in favour of our proposal. I may be allowed to say that Irish Members representing Nationalist constituencies have viewed with the greatest possible gratification and hope that great movement which has sprung up in the province of Ulster, and which is led with such courage and ability by the hon. Member for South Tyrone. The demand made by the whole agricultural province of Ulster is precisely the demand which I desire to put before the House. Let me be precise in this matter. I have here a resolution passed at a meeting of Unionist tenant farmers in the county of Tyrone. It says—Inasmuch as the substitute of single ownership for dual ownership has been de- 726 clared to be the keystone of Unionist policy in regard to land in Ireland, we hereby appeal to the Unionist Government to carry out that policy in its completeness without further delay, which, in the present state of discontent, may be dangerous, and thus restore tranquillity and contentment in Ireland by passing a scheme of compulsory land purchase, compelling the landlords to transfer the share of the joint property in the soil to the occupiers and tenants—a provision which will enable the landlords to hold their mansions and demesne lands and to reside in Ireland.That is the demand put forward by the whole province of Ulster, with the exception of the hon. and gallant Gentleman to whom I have already adverted, and supported here to-night by the entire other three provinces. For the first time, since the Union, at any rate, there has been a joining of hands upon a great principle between North and South. I regard that with the utmost satisfaction; for I have always been one of those who hope to live to see the day when for all Irish purposes there might be a union between North and South, and I pray with all earnestness that the fight for this great principle into which we are now going as friends and comrades in arms, and the victory which as comrades we are going to win for this principle may tend to blot out the memories of a bitter past, and may be the harbinger of a happy day when North and South, Catholic and Protestant, and Presbyterian may form one united people working for the prosperity and liberty of their countrymen. And how does this matter stand? By universal consent the present system has broken down. We now make a demand, moderate and reasonable in itself, which has many precedents in the land systems of other countries in Europe. We put forward that demand peaceably, and by the methods provided by the Constitution. We present it to you here to-night with the authority of a united Ireland—North, South, Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian, Unionist, and Nationalists. What clinches the whole case is; this. We put our claim forward in this House on the authority of 95 per cent. of the Irish representatives. In any constitutionally-governed country in the world such a demand, so put forward, would be certain of an easy and an early triumph. What would happen in the case of a demand of a similarly reasonable character put forward in this House in the same way and by the same proportion 727 of English Members? But, unfortunately, in the past constitutional government has been for the mass of the Irish people but an empty name; and the union of Irish Members in this House in favour of any particular policy, and especially of any policy on this land question, has always been a certain forerunner of its defeat. The whole history of your rule in Ireland has been one of concessions made too late, and made to violence after having been denied to constitutional agitation. We now tonight—95 per cent. of the Irish Members —make this demand. What will be the result?
The Prime Minister, in his letter to the Member for South Tyrone, said that the Government were not in favour of this scheme under existing circumstances. Sir, what are the "existing circumstances"? Ireland to-day, beyond all record in recent times, is peaceful and crimeless. Is that one of the existing circumstances? We cannot forget the facts of history. We know that notwithstanding the Report of the Devon Commission, notwithstanding the appeals made decade after decade in this House by Irish representatives, no redress was attempted of the grievance of the Irish tenants until 1870; and the Act of that year was only passed, as Mr. Gladstone said, after the chapel bell had been rung at Clerkenwell. We know that during the ten years which followed—from 1870 to 1880—the demands made here time and time again by the majority of the Irish Members fell upon deaf ears, and that nothing was done till 1881, when the Land Act of that year was passed after what I may justly call the Revolution of the Land League. We make this demand to-night. As sure as to-morrow's sun will rise it will be granted, and in all sincerity I pray of you to grant it now, when it is put forward, as we have put it forward, under the happy circumstances of peace and tranquillity in Ireland, and not to wait until it is wrung from you, as every concession to Ireland has been in the past. This Government and this Parliament have now got the opportunity of closing this chapter of Irish history. And what a blessed thing the closing of it would be! The history of this Irish land question is full of shame for this country 728 and full of heart-break and of maddening memories for Ireland. It is a story of a fair and fertile land depopulated, of a brave and gentle race driven, generation after generation, by an almost inhuman persecution, to deeds of violence absolutely foreign to their nature. It is a story of a people expatriated, scattered through the world, and taking with them into every land and every clime the burning memory of their lost and, ruined homes, and the most deadly hatred of your rule. Wise, indeed, in my opinion, will be the statesmanship, aye, and blessed will be the name of the man who puts an end once and for ever to this record of human wrong and human suffering. For the reasons that I have stated to the House, I beg leave to move the Amendment standing in my name.
§ * MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
All those Members who remember the relations between myself and the party opposite during the ten years of bitter strife and conflict that took place between 1886 and 1895 will doubtless feel surprised that I should rise to second an Amendment to the Address proposed by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite. I never rose with a greater sense of responsibility, with a stronger sense of duty, or with a more certain conviction that I was doing what was right, that I was asking the House to do the right thing, and that I am supported by an absolutely united Ireland upon this question. I hope the House will allow me before I proceed with any argument to brush away a matter more or less personal to myself. I notice that some of my friends have taken the trouble to go scavenging in the dust-bin of my old speeches, and have published for the edification of the House five or six speeches that I have made at different times during the last fifteen years to my constituents in South Tyrone. I am one of the few Ulster Members who ever take the trouble to speak to their constituents, and I think it would give anyone a great deal of trouble to find five or six speeches even in fifteen years from any other Ulster Member that would bear publication. I do not seek to conceal from this House, and I have not sought to conceal from 729 the country, that I have been engaged? during the last ten or twelve years in trying to hold back my own constituents and those people in Ulster who listen to me. I have not been endeavouring to push them forward on this issue; I have done my best to restrain them, to hold them back. This is a great issue, but I never thought until now that the time had come to press it. I always had great doubts about the magnitude of the proposal and what was involved in it. I am here to-night, if you like, a convert. Ireland has changed, and I have changed with it, and it will do nobody any good to bring up speeches of the past in which I have not so much spoken against this as I have endeavoured to hold the people back and to get them not to press it urgently.
I desire to place before the House a clear record of what has precipitated this question, and made it the dominant issue in Irish politics. My conviction at the moment is that the real reason is the utter and irretrievable breakdown of the present system of dual ownership in the land which was legalised by the Act of 1881, due to the maladministration of the Land Court. That is a grave statement to make, and I have no right, and certainly no desire, to make any such statement without placing the House in possession of the facts upon which I base it.
There are four things which have brought this question irresistibly to the front in Ireland—first, the treatment by the Courts of appeals on value; secondly, the treatment by the Courts of tenants' improvements; thirdly, the conspiracy among landlords and land agents in Ulster absolutely to destroy the Ulster custom under which the Ulster tenant is being robbed of his property every day; and, fourthly, the very success of the Purchase Act itself, to which the hon. and learned Member for Waterford referred, necessitates the House facing this question. I take first of all the treatment of appeals on value. I was a member of the Committee which sat in 1894, and that Committee found that there had been during the fifteen years that had elapsed something like 30,000 appeals on value. Those appeals had cost more than £1,000,000, and the result had been that a quarter per cent. had been added to the 730 rental. All that has now ceased, and the appeals have been made a matter of reality. Let me illustrate the procedure of this Court of Appeal, and I ask the House to try to consider the position of the tenants who go into that Court. I will give two or three concrete cases; I have a score of them here; I have the official records, and I am not going to quote anything which cannot be borne out by the documents I hold in my hand. I give first of all the case of a tenant in county Antrim, named McCluggage. The landlady was Mrs. Deakin. She served the originating notice to have a fair rent fixed. Two Assistant Commissioners, who are paid £800 a year each and are experts in land values, proceeded to inspect and value the holding. These two experts fixed the fair rent at £10 10s. An appeal was taken. Two Court valuers were sent down by the Chief Land Commission to inspect the holding and to value it afresh. They found that the Sub-Commissioners were accurate in their definitions, and they fixed the rent at £10 7s.—3s. less. Now here we have four expert valuers, paid £800 a year each by the votes of this House, agreeing upon a fair rent for this holding. The Chief Land Commission sits and rehears the case. Not a single member of the Commission knew anything about the land; they had not inspected it; they had never seen it; it would have been no service if they had seen it. Without receiving any further evidence over and except the evidence of the landlady's and tenant's valuers, the Court, absolutely ignorant of the value of the land, overruled its four experts and raised the rent by 20 per cent., and it gave the tenant no reason for its decision whatever. That was a final verdict; there can be no further appeal on questions of value. That is a sample case of thousands in which this Court, absolutely ignorant of land values, overrides its own experts and raises the rent by 20, 25, and 30 per cent. without giving the slightest reason for it. I submit that the House cannot expect a free people to consent to be treated in this way. This Court must either give reasons for its decisions or the tenants will have to leave the Court alone. Those of us who advise the tenant farmers will have to tell them plainly that this is not a place where 731 they can get justice; that they had better leave the Chief Court and the Land Commission altogether to the evidence of the landlords, and let them do what they like; they cannot do worse than they are doing. That is one case out of twenty that I have in my possession to-night, and it is typical of hundreds, if not thousands. I ask the House to believe that this is not a procedure to be tolerated in a free country.
Now let me show the House how the question of tenants' improvements is dealt with; and here again I only quote from the actual official documents. The House has heard for very many years of the famous Adams and Dunseath case; everybody has heard of it. I am not going to review the first Adams and Dunseath case, but the second. Let me point out what has taken place on this holding. It is most interesting to show how the best intentions of an Act of Parliament passed by this House are ruined the moment the Act goes over to Ireland to be administered. Here is a small farmer near Ballymena, in the county of Antrim, who had his rent fixed in 1881, and a tremendous fight arose about the title to the improvements. David Adams went on paying for fifteen years the rent fixed in 1881. In due course of time he came up to have his rent fixed a second time—that is, for a second period. In the meantime the Act of 1896 had been passed, and the rent of the house, which he had had to pay for fifteen years under the decision of the Court of Appeal, was at once eliminated, because the Act of 1896 reversed that decision and made a return to honesty possible. David Adams had reclaimed a bog of 16 acres, and the Sub-Commission went on to the holding and after inspection filled in the form under the Act, stating that the original value of the 16 acres of bog land was 3s. per acre, and as reclaimed 12s. per acre. They allowed David Adams five per cent. for his expenditure in capital and labour upon the work of reclamation When that had been allowed there was still a surplus of increased letting value to be disposed of. Now what did the Sub-Commission do? They acted on the hint given in the Morley Committee upstairs by Lord Justice FitzGibbon, and divided that surplus value between the landlord and tenant, and a fair rent was fixed on this 732 basis. That decision was appealed to the Chief Court of the Land Commission, which treated Lord Justice Fitz-Gibbon just as if he were a noisy land agitator. What did the Chief Land Commission Court care for the evidence of Lord Justice Fitz-Gibbon here or anywhere else? They decided that the whole of the increased letting value apart from five per cent. was to go to the landlord, who had never expended a farthing upon it. But David Adams was one of those dour Antrim tenants who are not easily disposed of. He trudged up once more to the Court of Appeal, which reversed the decision of the Chief Court of the Land Commission, and sent it back to the Land Commission to fix the rent and to sit judicially on the surplus. What did the Land Commission Court do? They allowed the tenant 12s., and the landlord 32s. That was bad enough, but there was worse. I make this charge, and I ask the Government of Ireland to meet it. Here was a decision of the highest Court of Appeal, which held whenever a surplus arose the Land Commission Court must sit on it judicially and divide the surplus. I make this charge on the authority of the schedule I hold in my hand—that the Land Commission have so altered the method of filling up the pink schedule that no surplus can ever arise in future. What has the Land Commission done? The Sub-Commission on the form which they filled in gave the original value of the bog as 3s. per acre, and of the value of the bog as reclaimed as 12s. per acre, and the surplus value which arose they divided between the landlord and tenant after allowing 5 per cent. to the tenant for his expenditure on capital and labour. But what does the pink schedule now bear? It simply states that so many acres of bog have been reclaimed; that 5 per cent. is allowed to the tenant for his expenditure in capital and labour—nothing is said about the original value or the new value. The decision of the Court of Appeal has been, in fact, set aside by a trick. These are the things which have driven the Ulster tenants to desperation, and which the Ulster tenants are not going to tolerate; and no cry of trafficking with traitors; no bogey of Home Rule will turn the Ulster tenants from the path they have entered upon to-day; and 733 they will have justice or know the reason why.
Let me go on to the Ulster custom, and let us see how that has been treated by the Land Commission. Now, it is under the Ulster custom that the whole property of the Ulster tenants rests; destroy that custom, and you destroy the basis of their whole property. Why do I say that? You may tell me that it rests under the Land Act; but under the Act of 1870 the presumption of ownership of improvements is given to the tenant, and the Ulster tenant is excluded from it. And why? Because he had this presumption of ownership already by the Ulster custom. I repeat it most solemnly to the House, that, if this custom is destroyed, the Ulster tenant has little further protection under the Land Acts. But the most outrageous state of affairs that has ever happened has followed upon the action of the Land Commission. For the advantage of English Members, I may say that the Ulster custom is the unwritten code which differentiates the tenants in Ulster from the tenants in other parts of Ireland. It has come down from the days of the old Plantation, and was legalised in 1870; and never till within the last few years has any attempt been made to touch it. Indeed, this House has always been so cautious in dealing with it that when passing Acts of Parliament relating to Irish land we have invariably inserted a provision to the effect that nothing in these Acts should interfere with the Ulster custom. What has been done? I am bound to say that a great many of these questions have been settled in the south of Ireland. The landlords dare to do things in Ulster which they have been cured of doing in the south of Ireland. [An HON. MEMBER: Disgraceful.] Disgraceful! What the landlords have done in Ulster is disgraceful, and not my recital of it. Under the Land Act of 1881 the tenant is entitled to sell his holding, and to give notice of his intention to the landlord. The landlord has the right to exercise pre-emption. What has taken place? Does anyone imagine that when Parliament conferred that right of pre-emption on the landlord it intended that he should carry on a traffic in farms? Nothing of the kind. The right of pre- 734 emption was conferred for the specific purpose of guarding the property of the landlord. What is taking place every day? The tenant desires to sell, and he gives notice to the landlord. Notice is at once served on the Land Court by the landlord that he wants to pre-empt. Now what happens? The landlord buys at the pre-emption price, which is one-third less than the price the tenant could get in the open market. Then the landlord sells in the open market, and puts into his pocket that which is morally the tenant's property. But that is not all. What does the landlord further do? The purchaser is declared a future tenant under the Land Act, with no rights whatever, and is entirely shut out from the Land Courts. Now, that is not occurring once a week, but every day, under the Land Act of 1881. Let us go back to the Ulster custom. According to that custom the landlord has no right of pre-emption at all, and he does not assert that he has. We had the other day a very typical case of what is going on. It occurred in the county of Armagh—I am not going into the details, but will state sufficient to show what these landlords are capable of doing. A poor woman has three acres of land, and you can picture what a living she is likely to make of that ! The estate upon which she lives is under the Ulster custom. She desires to sell, and gets an offer from a neighbouring tenant of £20 an acre for her interest. She accepts it, and goes to the estate office, where she meets the agent. He takes down a map of the estate and sees how the one farm lies into the other. Then he talks about another offer he has had for her farm; and in the end he tells her to serve notice, whereas under the Ulster custom no notice is necessary. Knowing nothing about the law, this poor woman serves a notice under the Act of 1881, and the moment he receives it the agent' gives notice of pre-emption, and attempts to put the difference between £10 an acre under pre-emption and £20 offered to the woman by her neighbour into the pocket of the landlord. [HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh !] I will give my authority. One of the greatest Masters of the Rolls Ireland ever had, Sir Edward 735 Sullivan, one of the ablest lawyers who ever sat on the Irish Bench, said—Speaking for myself, it seems to me that the important essentials of the custom are the right to sell; to have the incoming tenant, if there is no reasonable objection to him, recognised by the landlord; and to have a sum of money handed over for interest and the tenancy transferred.And Sir Edmund Bewley said before the Commission in 1898 that the two attributes of the unrestricted custom are the right to hold continuously at a fair rent, and the right to sell the holding with its improvements to an unobjectionable purchaser. That is the unwritten code. Very well, this poor woman goes to the office, and says she desires to sell her holding, and had received an offer of £20 an acre from a neighbouring tenant, which she had accepted. The agent took down the map of the estate, and saw how one farm ran into the other, and he spoke about another offer, and finally told her to give notice, although under the Ulster custom no notice is necessary. What does this poor woman know about the law; she is only a poor ignorant peasant woman, so instead of going to a lawyer she goes to a stationer, and obtains a notice under the Act of 1881, which she serves. What happens? The moment the notice is served the agent pre-empts, and he attempts to put the difference between the pre-emption price of £10 an acre and the £20 per acre which this woman has been offered into the pockets of the landlord. But, happily, the county court was too much for him. The county court judge cancelled all these transactions, and characterised the conduct of this man as grossly unjust. Now this man is not the agent of an outcast like Lord Clanricarde. He is the agent of Lord Gosford, the Lord Lieutenant of the county of Armagh; and if a man like Lord Gosford will allow his agent to do things like that, what can we expect from the ruck and run of Irish landlords? These are the things that in Ulster have produced a feeling that will not very easily be allayed, and the feeling that has been roused and the temper to which the people have been brought is entirely justified. You cannot set Humpty Dumpty upon his legs again. The whole thing has hopelessly and irretrievably broken down. It is 736 not a disgraceful thing for me to say so, but it is a disgraceful thing to the Irish landlords who have been mean enough to bring it about.
Let me come now to what I am bound to admit is a much brighter aspect of this question. Let me come to the position of the Purchase Acts. My hon. and learned friend opposite said the very success of the Purchase Acts had made further progress essential. I entirely associate myself with those remarks. What has happened? During the last twenty years we have sanctioned £45,000,000 cash and credit for this beneficent work, and no one has done more in regard to that than the Leader of the House. Already £17,000,000 have been expended, and we have created some 50,000 occupying owners out of possibly 350,000 tenants. Let us see what the result of legislation has been. Acts of Parliament for Ireland with regard to the land question have invariably had drawbacks. There has been no drawback in the case of the Land Purchase Acts save in their administration. The whole result has been entirely satisfactory. Commencing with the Church Act in 1869, we have had in thirty years seven statutes dealing with this phase of the land question. One and all have been satisfactory; no one denies that.
Mr. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
here made an observation which did not reach the gallery, which was replied to in a similar manner by Mr. T. W. RUSSELL.
§ * MR. T. W. RUSSELL
My position with regard to the question of the Land Purchase Acts is that, with the exception of the administration, those Acts have been an unqualified success. The people who bought are satisfied, and the landlords who sold are satisfied, and peace has taken the place of turbulence in the districts where these Acts have been applied. England has lost nothing, the Guarantee Fund has not been called upon, and you have made a great experiment which will enable you if you choose to go forward. But, while that is true, 737 there is one result which will certainly cause great difficulty. My hon. friend referred to the differentiation which takes place between the men who have purchased and the tenants paying the judicial rent. Take my own particular constituency, where a large number of farms have been purchased. You find there that men who bought under the Voluntary Purchase Acts at once got 6s. in the £ reduction, which is the same thing as if they paid 6s. less than the judicial rent which they had been paying —that is a very great boon in itself; but the Act of 1896, passed by the late Chief Secretary for Ireland, enabled those purchasers to extend the term from forty-nine to seventy-nine years, and they get a 10 per cent. reduction every decade. Many purchasers have got the reduction, on their first instalment, of 10 per cent., and therefore they are paying 8s. an acre less than they did under the system of judicial rents, and in a further ten years they will get a reduction of 2s. more. So that in ten years they will be paying 10s. for what the judicial tenant is paying 20s. It is quite impossible to expect peace, progress, and prosperity in Ireland under such conditions as those. You will find that day by day, as your Voluntary Land Purchase Acts proceed successfully, you are creating a difficulty which will overwhelm you. You will not get a man to pay 20s. to a landlord for a thing that another man only pays the State 10s. for. There is only one thing certain in Ireland, and that is bad weather. Seasons will fail to a certainty, crops will be destroyed, and the cry of distress will go up, and then you will find that the next plan of campaign will take the extremely logical form that the judicial rents shall be reduced to the level of the terminable annuities. That is the question you will have to face. Let me put it even more strongly. The purchaser in many cases has been a turbulent tenant to whom the landlord was willing and anxious to sell, in order to get rid of the trouble and annoyance; but to the honest tenant who steadily pays his rent the landlord has no inducement to sell. Imagine a loyal tenant in Ulster looking over his hedge and seeing his turbulent and disloyal neighbour—a loyal constituent of my own, say—who sees his neighbour, who he 738 believes to be a double-dyed traitor, enjoying the reward of turbulence and disloyalty ! Such a system as that cannot be allowed to continue. The very success of land purchase invites progress. We cannot stand where we are; we cannot go back; we must go forward.
I noticed in the gracious Speech from the Throne a paragraph which hints that if there is time a Bill is to be introduced to regulate and develop the system of voluntary purchase—a Bill, that is to say, to further accentuate the situation which I have described. I am too old a Parliamentary hand to say, and I am not going to say, what I shall do with regard to that Bill until I see it; but I feel bound to tell my hon. friend that I fear he is embarking on a rather hopeless enterprise. I believe the intentions of the Government in these measures of land purchase are of the best, and that the House has honestly tried to do right; but what happens is this, that the moment a Bill is passed, and obtains the Royal Assent, it is sent over to Ireland and placed at once into the hands, for administration, of people who hate the whole policy, and who believe it spells robbery in every line, and who therefore do not try to do justice to it with any enthusiasm. That is what will happen to my hon. friend's Bill to a certainty. Take the Bill of 1896—I will give the House a sample of how land Bills are administered in Ireland. I asked for some information with regard to the Land Judges Court. I hope I did not ask for anything against the public interest or it would have been as bad as a supplementary question, but the information was refused me, and I have had to pick my way in the dark as well as I can. That Court was established for the purpose of selling bankrupt estates, but the Court has developed into a huge rent office for the collection of landlords' rents by the State.
In my endeavour to get some information in regard to the working of the Court, I have been driven back on the Fry Commission. The Fry Commission did get some information about this Court. I find in the admirable statement of Mr. Franks, secretary of the Land Commission, one of the ablest and most efficient of the land officials in 739 Ireland, that this Court, which was appointed to sell bankrupt estates, is drawing a rental of £634,000 per annum, which is being collected by an army of receivers in every part of the country. Now a receiver is either a land agent of great ability or a barnacle who is incapable of doing anything but collect rents. I remember well when the Act of 1896 was passed. I do not think the clause with reference to this matter was in the Bill as introduced, and, if I remember right, the moment my right hon. friend proposed to apply the principle of compulsory sale to these estates the landlords in both Houses of Parliament stood to attention. [Laughter.] Oh, yes, let me say that there was something in it, because I well remember when we moved for a committee to inquire into certain matters the Land Judges' Court was in the reference, and it was struck out because the Secretary of State for War objected to it. My suspicions were aroused at the time. Mr. Franks says the property amounts to £17,000,000. The 40th section of the Act directed the judges to sell these bankrupt estates—or such of them as were subject to the clause for compulsory sale. Here again I am driven back for figures up to the 31st of March last, for the simple reason that I have been refused them up to the present day. What progress do you think they have made since 1896? They have sold the magnificent sum of £269,000. When do you think the bankrupt estates will be disposed of at that rate of progress? I remember forty or fifty years ago hearing of the famous suit of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, which had come down from remote antiquity. Why, it was nothing compared with the procedure in the Land Court. Here is a letter which I am authorised to read to the House—
§ "14th February, 1901.
§ "DEAR SIR,—I will mention a case of the agony one undergoes in the Landed Estates Court. In 1877, ray wife's uncle (Mr. Young) put the family property at Coravockan, co. Cavan, into Court for sale. The solicitor having the carriage of the sale was the late Dr. William G. Toomey, of Dublin. He carried on the proceedings for twelve or thirteen years, when Mr. Young, senior, died, and his son employed Mr. Henry B. Burton, solicitor, to stir up Dr. Toomey. Attempts to 740 sell were made but fell through, owing to-some legal technicalities about schedules not being lodged. Mr. Young, junior, then employed Mr. H. R. E. Disney, solicitor, to go for Toomey and Burton, and after over twenty years the property was sold to the tenants in 1898 for 16½ years purchase, a moderate figure, as the valuation was £200 odd, and the judicial rents £150 a year. But though the bargain was made three years ago, the owners, have not yet got one penny. But a bill of costs amounting to £888 was furnished against them off which Mr. Young got £90 taken on taxation. It has taken nearly a generation to effect this sale, at enormous cost, and surely a quicker and more inexpensive procedure should be devised. Hoping these cases may be of use to you,
§ "I am, dear sir,
§ "Yours faithfully,
§ "J. R. DAGG,"
§ But, though the bargain was made three years since, they have not got a penny of the money. All they have got is a bill of costs for £388. I am told now that the right hon. Gentleman actually believes that Mr. Justice Boss is so hard-worked that it is impossible for him to get on any quicker. We all know Mr. Justice Boss, who is an old friend of my own. But if he is hard-worked there are plenty of other judges with nothing to do at all; and if it is found that he is unable to carry out the intentions of Parliament in a reasonable time, why is; not another of the judges turned on to help? I am not blaming Mr. Justice Boss, but the system. The Land Purchase Commission is not much better. In 1891 my right hon. friend the First Lord of the Treasury passed a Bill placing £33,000,000 of Imperial credit at the disposal of the Irish tenants for the purchase of their holdings. But a great Department of State, fully manned, has in ten years only issued between £7,000,000 and £8,000,000 of land stock under that Act. When will the land of Ireland be sold at such a rate of progress? Certainly not in our day.
§ I say in all earnestness that the Government ought to take instant steps in regard to this Purchase Department. In this country the rule is for Civil servants to retire at the age of sixty-five, and Sir Hugh Owen, with whom I have had the privilege of serving at the Local Government Board, retired at sixty-two, when he was quite fit for his work. But what is the case in Ireland? At the head of the Purchase Department there is a man of over seventy years of age, a man who 741 was a clerk in Sadler's swindling bank in the fifties, and who introduced a system of motions and procedure that has hung round the Land Commission like a clog, and prevented its operation. The other Purchase Commissioner, an able and competent man, is engaged with the Congested District Board, of which he is a member, and has had to take journeys to the West with my right hon. friend in order to show him everything. So the Purchase Department has been left to take care of itself with this old man of over seventy. It is not creditable to the country that a great Department of State should be in such a condition, a Department which requires the attention of the ablest and most vigorous minds that can be got.
§ I may be asked what right has the House to apply the principle of compulsion to Irish land any more than to any other form of property. My answer is that there is an enormous difference between the English and the Irish landowner. The English landowner is a real owner of property, and lets to a tenant a fully-equipped going concern; he gets rent, but gives much of that rent back to the property. The Irish landlord is only a part owner. The tenant provides the plant, the labour, the capital to work the farm; the landlord draws the rent, but he gives nothing back. The Irish landlord has never in the history of the land question done much for the land, but since 1881 he has done nothing at all, and his real position at this moment is that of a sleeping partner in this business. He draws out of the partnership money that it cannot afford. He is really a rent-charger and nothing else. In 1881 the House said to the Irish landlord that he should only have what the tribunals chose to give. That was a great step. It was not, after that, a big step to say that the Irish landlord, instead of getting that income in the shape of a precarious judicial rent, should get it by fixed dividend warrant. That is not a great step. The serious step was taken in 1881. But let us face what I venture to call the real difficulty of the situation. If you ask an Irish landlord why he does not sell under the Voluntary Act you will get one of two answers. He will say either that he cannot afford to do it, or that he is afraid of the delays of the Land Commissioners. 742 I submit that they are both excellent reasons. It is not enough to say that Irish landlords have taken seventeen years' purchase on the average and they are satisfied. The Irish landlord's reply would be that it is only those who could afford to sell that have sold at that price, and there are thousands who would be ruined by selling on those terms. We do not get rid of the difficulty by passing it over in that way.
§ I have made proposals in Ulster. The tenants declare that they have paid for the fee-simple in excessive rents over and over again, but what I have told the Ulster tenants at every meeting I have addressed is, "You must consent to pay the highest market value for the land that may be fixed by a tribunal appointed for the purpose. You have no right to ask for compulsion unless you are prepared to pay a bonus for it." I say—I speak for the Ulster tenants alone—let them give the full market value of the land, plus a bonus of a year's purchase for compulsion, and the tenants will have done all that can be asked of them. But still the landlord says he cannot afford to sell at that rate. His property is mortgaged and charged in every direction, and if he sold even at that price he would be ruined and have nothing to live on. I have never desired to escape the difficulty of a situation like that. What I have respectfully to say to this House and to the Irish landlords is that if they want more than the value of the land plus a bonus for compulsion they must make their case to this House; it is not for the tenant to make it for them. They have in another place year by year been claiming compensation for fanciful wrongs, and they have been annually defeating the Government as a mere matter of amusement in a House which has not the control of a cent of public money. They must make their case to this House. But let me in all sincerity say this: Englishmen ought never to forget that it was England that introduced this system of land tenure into Ireland. They introduced the principle of landlord and tenant, but they were unable to introduce its conditions as they exist in England. Since the day they performed that act this land system has been the stupendous curse of our country. There has never since been a day's peace, contentment, or hope. And 743 with that system of land tenure you planted the Irish landlord. He came with power; he came in the time of the Tudor, he came with Cromwell and William; but in all cases it was the same. He was sent by England; he has acted as England's garrison; be has done much dirty work for England. Through all the centuries since he came the story has been one of rapine and ruin. Why should England refuse to listen to these gentlemen? Why should England refuse to succour her special friends in their day of evil? We are spending, I suppose, £100,000,000 —chucking it away—because we deem it our duty to stand by British citizens in the Transvaal. I do not object, but I do say that, good as the claim of the Uitlanders may be, the claim of the Irish landlord upon England is infinitely stronger and better. What did we see in the year 1898? The Government recognised that claim in a way that cannot be gone beyond. They passed the Local Government Act, The landlords objected, of course; they saw what it meant; they convinced the Government what it meant; and the Government, seeing that the Irish landlords might be hardly dealt with by the new rating authority, relieved them from their share of the poor rate, amounting to between £300,000 and £400,000 a year; or, capitalised at twenty years purchase, they gave the Irish landlords £6,000,000 in order that local government might have a chance in Ireland. They admitted the principle that these gentlemen had a claim. If it were worth the while of England to give £6,000,000 in order to secure the due working of local government, what would it not be worth while to give to put an end to this land trouble? Why are we beaten in our own markets by the foreigner? Why do we hear so much of foreign competition? The farmers of Normandy, Brittany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland are better educated, if you like; they are more economical; they may have smaller families; but the real truth is that 80 per cent. of them are occupying owners. We simply stand alone in maintaining this antiquated system.
§ I tell the Government that from this day forward they have a new Ireland to deal with. My hon. and learned friend is quite right. Ireland is unanimous for once, and Ireland will 744 remain unanimous. My hon. and learned friend proceeds with this motion perhaps from a standpoint different from mine. He thinks that this scheme will make Ireland independent and her people better Nationalists. I do not object, I think that by this we should not only buy out the fee-simple of Irish land, but we should also buy out the fee-simple of Irish disaffection; we should end the Irish trouble. [Nationalist cries of dissent,] We should end 80 per cent. of the Irish trouble in achieving this great object. That is the reason I am here to-night. During the last few months I have touched the heart of Ulster. I know how in every hamlet and townland of Ulster the pulse of the Irish tenant is beating on this question. The Ulster farmers to-night are looking to this House, and they are waiting and watching for what the Government are going to say. I know what they are going to say very well. I know the Address must be carried and the Amendment defeated. No one who has been in this House for fifteen years, as have, has any doubt about that. But this debate and this movement will live after to-night, and the actions of men will be watched and scanned and noted. I have no doubt as to what will be said, simply and solely because I have studied Irish history of the last century. What has that history been? Take it from the start. We destroyed the Irish Parliament, When we did that we promised Catholic Emancipation, if not concurrently, to follow almost immediately. We shamefully broke our pledge, and it was not until the Duke of Wellington bravely told the King that he must either give way or face civil war in Ireland that the Catholic was allowed to cross the Bar of the House and sit on these benches. We gave Catholic Emancipation because we were not prepared to risk civil war in Ireland. Go on a few years more. We had a church in Ireland; it was the church of the rich and well-to-do, but it was supported out of the poverty of the poor. Yet we refused to reform that church; we refused to amend even the procedure under which the tithe was collected, until the soil of large parts of the country was reddened with blood in the tithe war. Nothing could be 745 done until blood was shed. Then take the land system. During the forties Sharman Crawford pleaded on these benches for a Bill of moderation in every line, but Parliament and the landlords scouted it as they have scouted or tried to scout every Bill since. Sir Joseph Napier, afterwards Lord Chancellor of Ireland, from these very benches tried to get that Parliament of landlords to be reasonable. But no; they had the votes and they threw the measure out. They refused the moderation of a Bill which was milk and water to what has been passed since. You passed the Land Act of 1887 and disestablished the Irish Church—why? Mr. Gladstone himself said that he never faced the Irish problem fairly until an Irishman attempted to blow up a London gaol. Take the Fair Rent Act of 1881. The Duke of Argyll has told us that when he joined the Cabinet in 1880 no further land legislation was intended by the Government. But the bad season came, crops wholly failed, there was distress throughout the whole land. Then a bugle blast was sounded in county Mayo; that bugle blast reverberated throughout the United States; the whole of the country outside Ulster was covered with an organisation, and we had the tale of Land League horrors. It was no easy task for some of us south of the Boyne to try prisoners as I had to do in I those days; and then after this murder and outrage had run its course you passed the Land Act of 1881. And coming still later down, to the Land Act of 1887, Parliament at first refused to pass it, and what happened? Bad seasons came along and the crops failed, and the Plan of Campaign compelled the very men who said they would never en- franchise the lease-holders and who declared that they would never touch judicial rents to do both by passing the Act, because of the pressure from Ireland of this illegal action. Aye, and we have got now in Ireland local government, and we have had a Pride's Purge of Irish landlords from local bodies, And why? Simply because of the pres- sure of the Home Rule agitation.
§ I have come here to-day to empty my whole soul, and I have a mandate from the people of Ulster to do it. This 746 country has tried to do many things in Ireland, but it has done right things wrongly in almost every case. I know we shall get the same answer to-night that we always get. We shall get a Parliamentary "Never" and a Treasury Bench "No." Have not these Parliamentary "Nevers" and these Treasury Bench "Noes" rung down the centuries? But they have always had to take them back. I second this Amendment to-night with all my heart and with all my soul. I see a new Ireland rising up that will stand together for great public needs and great public purposes. Those Gentlemen opposite may remain Nationalists and I shall continue a Unionist, but that will not prevent me standing behind them in all their constitutional endeavours for the benefit of Ireland. I leave this question to-night telling the House plainly that I know what will happen. I pray to God that what must be passing in some people's minds may not happen. I pray to God that Englishmen will not be deaf to a constitutional demand, and not wait, as they have waited in the past, for those methods and those measures which many of us have gone a long way to combat in the past, and which no one who knows Ireland can look forward to with anything but horror in the future. I ask this great assembly to look at this question and to think it out, and I am certain that the more statesmen consider it and the more politicians look into it they will see that it is the only fair, rational, and reasonable way. Try for once, I beg of you, to get to the heart of the Irish people.
At the end of the Question, to add the words, 'But we humbly represent to Your Majesty that the administration of the Irish Land Acts is not satisfactory to any class of Your Majesty's subjects in Ireland, and that the only permanent solution of the Irish Land Question must be found in a measure providing for the general and immediate creation of an occupying proprietary by the establishment of a system of compulsory sale and purchase.'"—(Mr. John Redmond.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
The duty of replying in this debate, 747 so far as this bench is concerned, will I necessarily and properly fall on the Chief Secretary for Ireland; but I suppose the House will expect, after the two long, able, and eloquent speeches to which the House has listened, that somebody should immediately rise and express the views of the Government upon the Amendment before us.
My hon. friend who has just sat down began his speech by making a defence of himself against attacks which, I suppose, he anticipated that we were going to level at him. He seemed to think we I should rake up his old speeches to find in his past utterances arguments against his present convictions. My hon. friend need have no fear as far as I am concerned. I am perfectly certain my hon. friend in every word he has said is animated by a perfectly sincere and single-minded desire to benefit his constituents and the country of his adoption; and not a single syllable that may fall from me will impute, directly or indirectly, any motive to my hon. friend of which he need be ashamed. I may be allowed to say, however, that I could have wished my hon. friend had used less of that particular kind of rhetoric which seems almost inseparable. I regret to say, from the discussion of Irish questions by Irishmen. Eloquence we are sure to have; ability is seldom wanting: but I do confess that when I hear history ransacked, and the truth of history violated, in order to press in favour of some course which seems practicable to hon. Gentlemen, and the old bitternesses revived, going back I know not how many centuries to find some charge against this country, I am too much accustomed to the methods of hon. Gentlemen opposite to complain of it, but I am sorry that my hon. friend, while he has conscientiously joined himself with them on this occasion for one particular purpose, has so far followed their familiar style and metaphor.
I would only choose out of the historical or quasi-historical tales of my hon. friend two illustrations of my meaning. He talked of the injury inflicted upon Ireland by the introduction of the land system in Ireland. He really spoke as if before the English immigration Ireland was some kind of agricultural and rural; paradise, with an admirable system of land tenure, in which landlord never 748 quarrelled with tenant nor tenant with landlord, and which he persuaded himself was a country entirely occupied by a happy peasantry. If my hon. friend will look back on the tribal system which preceded the English invasion and immigration into Ireland I think he will see that whatever romantic colours that system may possess, it was not a system of land tenure of which we may say that it was more perfect than the system which succeeded it. After all, the land system in Ireland has, as everybody admits, been a bad system. Probably it never had a fair chance. A system founded upon confiscation and recon-fiscation does not often have a good chance. That, unhappily, has been the Irish system. But do not let us imagine a past which had no existence, or suppose that, before the affairs of Ireland were meddled in by this country Ireland was in a happier condition than she has subsequently been. I skip over the centuries rapidly. The last charge my hon. friend made against this House was that we, his own colleagues, the Government of which he was a member, brought forward a Bill which they subsequently passed for local government in Ireland. Did my hon. friend blame his colleagues for that course? Did he suppose for a moment that we could be animated by any other desire than to fulfil pledges over and over again given by the party to which he and I belong, animated by a desire to see Ireland on an equality with England and Scotland, in an important element in national life? Did he give us credit for that? Not a bit of it. We were animated by fear and by fear alone. I tell him, so far as I am concerned—
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
My right hon. friend has unintentionally misrepresented me. My point was simply this: that the Government of the day during the bitterness of the Home Rule strife did give undertakings on every platform in England with regard to local government that, in my belief, they would not have given but for the extraordinary pressure of the Home Rule movement; and most assuredly that is the ground taken when we explain things in Ireland.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I think the House will recognise that my hon. 749 friend's explanation shows that the version I gave of his words does not misrepresent him. I say that for my part —I cannot speak with the same absolute assurance for the motives of all my colleagues, but I believe for all my colleagues the one object we had was to introduce, under conditions applicable to the case of Ireland, similar local liberty to that which we had given in the case of England and Scotland. That is my answer to the rhetorical part of my hon. friend's speech.
I confess, too, I listened with the profoundest regret to my hon. friend's attacks on the administration of the courts of law in Ireland. I am sorry my hon. friend lent himself to this method of Parliamentary controversy. He has, by his important example, given strength to a method of attack which I think this House ought to be quick to resent. Those who are entrusted with the difficult, the almost impossible task of adjudicating or umpiring between landlord and tenant in Ireland surely ought not to have that task made more difficult by the violent diatribes indulged in by my hon. friend. My hon. friend mentioned a case in which the verdict of the Sub-Commissioners and the Court valuers had been set aside by the Court of Appeal. I have no doubt there have been such cases. Are there not to be such cases?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
My right hon. friend the Chief Secretary, who of course knows the facts better than do, believes that the average variations between the rents fixed by the Court of Appeal and those fixed by the Sub-Commissioners may amount to about ½ per cent. I suppose the Court of Appeal exists for the purpose of revising certain findings of the lower Courts. If it does not exist for that purpose I know not for what purpose it exists. Surely it is not a condemnation of the Court of Appeal that they have made this variation of ½ per cent., but a high tribute to the action of the valuers and the Sub-Commissioners that the amount of the variation which the Court of Appeal has made is not more than ½ per cent. But I do not wish to 750 press that part of the case further; it will be dealt with by my right hon. friend. I mention it in order to deprecate a method of controversy which I am sure is not in the public interest, which may do little harm in this House, but which, if carried by my hon. friend into the more inflammable fields of Ulster, will do collateral injury both to Ulster and to the whole community, which I think he may have some cause ultimately to regret.
As I do not wish to detain the House long, I will pass over what I. will call the similar rhetoric or parallel rhetoric of the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment. My hon. friend, like him, was not content to argue the question of compulsory purchase in Ireland without a long and animated passage upon the subject of Irish emigration. I confess I see no connection between the two subjects. I know that Irish emigration is a familiar topic with hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I hope that when they use it they will use it fairly. If they put it down to the British Government as a crime that, under the rule of this House and of Parliament, since 1845 the Irish population has very largely diminished, we should get credit for the fact that in the previous fifty years it had very largely increased. [Cries from the Nationalist benches of "No."] Why not? The truth is the Irish population is now incomparably more prosperous, more wealthy, and better oft' than it was at the time of the Union. The population is roughly about the same, and the diminution of the population which occurred in the second half of the century just closed has only done away with the effects of the increase of population which took place before 1845; and therefore I would suggest, in the interest of logic if not of rhetoric, that we should be given credit for the increase of population if we are to be saddled with the discredit of the decrease of population. I pass from these subsidiary themes, which occupied a very considerable part of the two speeches to which we have listened, to what I understand to be their fundamental essence. Both hon. Gentlemen said you must have some great scheme of compulsory purchase, because the Land Act of 1881 has proved to be a total and disastrous failure.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman opposite went much further than that. He said that the Land Act of 1881 was essentially false in principle, and was forced upon the Irish people against their will by Mr. Gladstone. The hon. Gentleman boasted that he and his friends went out and did not vote for the Bill. I did better, because I stayed in and voted against it. I have never been, and am not now, an advocate of that measure. I believe that in principle it is indefensible, and in practice impossible to carry-out effectually; and if you had angels from heaven as Sub-Commissioners, and archangels for your head Commissioners, it is inconceivable that you would be able to satisfy both parties to the suit— tenants who want their rents reduced and landlords who want those rents maintained. It cannot be done. The system, undoubtedly, is a system from which friction is inseparable, and, administer it as you will, it never will lead to a final or satisfactory result—that at least is the opinion I have always held, which I have never concealed, and which I have acted upon whenever the opportunity occurred to me. My hon. friend said that all the Acts which who pass for Ireland are ruined by mal-administration in Ireland. When he brings that forward as a reason for his proposed Land Purchase Bill, how does he propose that his Bill is going to be administered? Is there not going to be Irish administration? Will there not be the same difficulties as surrounded the Land Acts? Will it not be destroyed by the same sinister influences of which he speaks in regard to other Acts? I am afraid that if Irish administration ruins every Irish Act, that is a good argument against us passing any scheme at all; we ought to despair, and abandon all legislation. I do not agree with my hon. friend. It is perfectly true, and it has never been denied, that there is a natural tendency in all Courts of law to fence round their proceedings with very technical and very subtle safeguards; they think more of abstract equity than of rapidity of business and convenience of suitors. My hon. friend was perfectly right when he declined to pass a verdict as to what im- 752 provements could be introduced into this Land Commission administration until he saw a scheme brought forward by the Chief Secretary for Ireland.
Now what is the next stage of the argument brought forward? It is this— that, just as the Land Act of 1881 has been a total, complete, and disastrous failure, so the very success of the Purchase Acts is a reason for carrying them further by compulsory operation. The failure of the Land Act, and the success of the Purchase Acts, are the two pillars on which the mover and seconder of the Amendment rest the whole of their case. I wonder how far we are to accept that statement. My hon. friend says that at one end of an estate there may be a tenant who has purchased his holding, and one who has got his rent lowered, and at the other end of the estate a tenant who wishes to purchase, but who is not allowed to, and whose rent remains the same. How, he asks, can those men remain side by side without there being discontent? That surely is a reason against this House ever trying to give anything to any class in Ireland. My hon. friend seems to think that all would be put right if you passed a Compulsory Land Purchase Act, because all the tenants would be on an equality. What is going to happen to the labourers? Precisely the same class of argument would be brought forward.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
My hon. friend argues that you should spend £140,000,000 to put all the landholders on an equality.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
We will not quarrel about the sum; we will split the difference and call it £120,000,000. He now proposes to give £120,000,000 of English credit— — [NATIONALIST MEMBERS: Not English credit.] Well, British credit. [HON. MEMBERS: Irish credit.]
§ MR. BALFOUR
I do not know how much of the advantages universally admitted to belong to English credit may be due to the contribution of Ireland. That is a point which can hardly be tested until Ireland goes to the market and borrows for itself. I am not sure that the result would be financially satisfactory. But we need not go into that bypath of the argument. What I am trying to point out is that my hon. friend proposes to spend £120,000,000 of British credit for the benefit of a particular class in Ireland. On his own showing other classes will gain nothing from that large expenditure. The labourers will lose heavily by the expropriation of the landlords. [HON. MEMBERS on Irish Benches: No, no:] Well, in my opinion they will lose heavily, and they will come to us and say, "Does British credit exist only for the Irish tenant? Are we to have nothing out of it?" And my hon. friend, for anything I know, when that day comes, may stump Ulster from one end to the other, as he has been recently stumping it, and he may use his great gifts to agitate the passions of another class.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
I have not agitated the passions of any class. The right hon. Gentleman has given, in the last twenty years, £45,000,000, and never mentioned the labourers.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
That is the point. We think that it is possible, practicable, that it is not unjust and impolitic, when we can, to benefit certain members of a class without necessarily saying that every member of that class is to have the same benefit. We have not done that in England, but no doubt it is perfectly true that in Ireland the benefits of our land purchase system went to some and not to others of the same class. We think that is fair. We think that all should have these opportunities, and if we cannot give them to all why should we not give them to some rather than none? My hon. friend says that is a wrong system. I say the same argument would be put forward by him or his successors if we were to benefit the whole of Ireland except the labouring class—born of the 754 same parents—if we were to deprive them of all these benefits. But my hon. friend is not consistent in the policy he proposes, for that policy, if logically carried out, would go much farther than he supposes. I ask the House to observe what has taken place in Ireland. Both hon. Gentlemen have admitted that the Land Purchase Acts are working well. That was one of their arguments against the Acts, though it might sound rather paradoxical to say so. But the fact is true. I believe my hon. friend has understated the actual amount which has been expended under those Purchase Acts.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not get this information from the Chief Secretary, and he must not be held responsible for it; but I am informed that, roughly speaking, 2½ million acres of land have been transferred from the owners to the occupiers up to the present day—that is, about a tenth of the whole soil of Ireland. I also believe that the value of the owners' interests transferred—which I ought to mention is somewhat different from the amount advanced for land purchase—is somewhere about 24 millions sterling; and that the number of proprietors actually created is between 58,000 and 60,000. I call these very great results, and they are results which have taken place under the system of voluntary purchase. Has anybody thought out in his own mind what would be the result of a compulsory system? Has any country ever tried to expropriate at the cost of £120,000,000 a whole class? [A VOICE: Prussia.] No; Prussia did nothing of the kind. Such an experiment in legislation has never been tried in any part of the world; and I think it would be a most difficult and dangerous experiment for any Government or any country, however powerful or rich, to try, and it would not be the rapid coup de grâce to the landlord system which the hon. Gentleman supposes. You cannot take a sponge and wipe out a class like that. Questions of title, questions of value for the whole of Ireland, would have to be settled before the operation would be completed; and I am 755 not aware that there is any ground for supposing that these questions of title or value would be more easily or rapidly settled when we are dealing with compulsory purchase than they are settled when we are dealing with voluntary purchase or the fixing of fair rents.
But that is not all. We have brandished in our faces the fact that for once Ireland is agreed—that righteousness and peace have kissed each other in the persons of the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Tyrone and the hon. Member for Waterford. But for what object have they joined? They have joined for an object which may be, and in my view land purchase is, a very estimable object so far as Ireland is concerned; and which is, in fact, a demand upon Great Britain by Ireland of a perfectly unexampled magnitude. They are asking us to do that which Ireland herself could not and would not dream of doing. [An IRISH MEMBER: You have got our money—pay it back.] We are told that, though Britain lends her credit, she gives nothing more; she runs no risk; the money is there to be paid, and the mover of the Amendment said that we might be absolutely confident that no peasant proprietor in any part of the world would be so reckless of his status as to risk it by not paying the instalments; and that what was true of peasant proprietors in every part of the world was especially true of peasant proprietors in Ireland. I fully admit that peasant proprietors in Ireland have paid admirably. I had vaguely in my mind the old debates of the Land Purchase Bill which I introduced in 1891; and I asked for Hansard, and though I have not been able to look over the three days discussion of the Bill. I have looked through enough of it to see that this view of the Irish tenant is entirely new on the benches opposite. The Front Opposition Bench unanimously opposed even the modest scheme of land purchase which I then introduced. Hon. Members below the gangway also opposed it; and they not only opposed it, but gave their reasons; and among the reasons by which they endeavoured to convert the then House of Commons against land purchase was that practically at the word of their leaders the Irish purchasers would refuse to pay their instal- 756 ments, and that the task of this country in enforcing these payments would be an absolutely impossible task. There are many extracts which I might quote; but I will read only one. It is from the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo. The hon. Member asked—How can the Government, having made an advance to 100,000 tenants in Ireland, propose to face a plan of campaign against the payment of it, backed by a universal system of boycotting farms; how could you evict 40,000 or 50,000 tenants, and where would you get fresh tenants? The man who would take an evicted farm would have to face the accumulated hatred now divided between the land-grabber and the Irish informer.And so on; and so on. The whole point of the Member for East Mayo in that speech was that even our humble and moderate proposals, with special securities, nevertheless carried with them so great a danger to the British taxpayer that this House of Commons would be mad if they accepted the Bill. Who has changed since then? Is it the Irish peasant, or the Irish Leader? Somebody must have changed before the hon. Member who moved the Amendment could find it in his heart to say that the idea of repudiation of their obligations by the Irish tenants was an impossible contingency. My own view is this, that the Irish purchaser is essentially and fundamentally anxious to be honest. I fully believe that, and I think experience has shown it to be so. But if this country pledged its credit to the extent of £120,000,000 or £130,000,000 for the Irish tenants all over the country, and if it then suited the Irish Leaders to take up the line suggested by the hon. Member for Mayo eight years ago, the question whether in the face of what would be presented to him as the cause of patriotism and country you could then trust the Irish peasant never to repudiate his engagements, offers a subject for very grave reflection if the time should ever come when a Government in this House contemplated calling upon the people of this country to make so great a sacrifice.
For these and many other reasons, which I will not weary the House by recounting, I think the course which we have embarked upon is the course we ought to pursue. That is to say, purchase ought to be encouraged and 757 facilitated in every way, but it should be voluntary. The trammels and difficulties which undoubtedly exist in the present system we may remove by judicious legislation. But let us not be precipitate—let us not plunge into wild, chimerical schemes unexampled in the history of the world, carrying in their train, it may be, evils which we cannot foresee. I do not suppose, as my hon. friend said, that this debate will close this chapter of the Irish land question, but I think the dangers I have signalised will always rise menacingly before the eyes of any Administration which endeavours to grapple with this great problem on the lines of my hon. friend. We have fresh in our mind the lesson of 1891. We know that then the same Opposition which we have before us now, anxious, I believe, then as they are probably now to promote land purchase, nevertheless could not make up their minds to accept even the humble instalment of £33,000,000 which I then proposed. If they had then the country behind them in opposing such a measure as that, fearing that it would imperil our credit, even in a prosperous time when no great strain existed upon the country's finances—if that be so in ordinary times, what chance has such a proposal at the present time, when a great and costly war is being waged beyond the seas, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer has problems presented to him of far greater difficulty and complexity than, happily, a British Chancellor of the Exchequer in ordinary times has to face? Nay, I cannot imagine a contingency under which the people of this country would willingly use their credit as my hon. friend proposes. I am certain we should be regarded as lunatics at large if we made any such proposal under the existing circumstances; and, that being so, I think I may appeal with confidence to all those on this side of the House who range them selves among the followers of the present Government, on what is equivalent to a vote of confidence at the very beginning of the first session of this Parliament, not to show that they have so little appreciation of the essential and proper conduct of Parliamentary affairs, even at such a time when we are carrying on the gigantic task which we have taken in hand, as that we failed to obtain their 758 confidence. I believe that the support I ask for will be given by the great majority of this House, not simply on the ground that this is a vote of confidence, but because the vast and imaginative schemes advocated by my hon. friend carry with them dangers so great and so obvious that no wise Administration could be conceived as adopting such chimerical legislation. I trust that my hon. friend will feel that, when I say this, I have not a word to say against the general principle of land purchase. I have always believed in it as the true solution of the land question. I believed in it in 1881, in 1885, in 1891, and again in 1896, and I believe in it still as firmly as ever; but let us aim at that great end by means which are in themselves practical and just, and which do not carry in their train the manifold dangers which any alternatives necessarily possess
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
I have occupied a seat in this House for close upon fifteen years, and I have never heard the right hon. Gentleman in what is familiarly called worse Parliamentary form, because, in my opinion, he has made no case whatever in reply to the powerful and cogent arguments which came from both sides of the House. If proof were wanting of that allegation, I find it in the almost pathetic manner in which he turned round to the Ulster Members, who ordinarily support the Government, and begged of them to treat this question not upon its merits, and not upon the interests of the Irish tenants, but as a vote of confidence in the Government.
There are but one or two observations with which I will detain the House after ! the speeches made by the Chairman of the Irish party and the hon. Member for South Tyrone. With regard to the hon. Member for South Tyrone, we have nothing to say, except that we cordially welcome him as a champion of the Irish tenants' cause, and that he has at last realised the insincerity of the landlords for whom he so often pleaded. We have, however, to enter our protest against the utterly uncalled for way in I which the hon. Member denounced the tenants of the south and west of Ireland as dishonest. The tenantry there were dishonest because they agitated and 759 forced the landlords of other portions of Ireland to grant those measures of justice and fair play which the Members for Ulster had not the courage or the straightforwardness to go for. This charge of dishonesty, whether it conies now from the hon. Member for South Tyrone, or as it came twelve or fifteen years ago, is uncalled for, unjust, and mendacious. The tenants in those portions of Ireland where there has been agitation have always discharged their obligations as honestly as the tenants the hon. Member took under his patronage. What attitude are the Ulster Members going to take with regard to this important question? That, to my mind, is the crux of the question. Are they going to shelter themselves behind the appeal of the First Lord of the Treasury that this is a vote, of want of confidence? They may perfectly well support the motion, if they are in earnest. The Government will still have a sufficient majority. The plea that by doing so they would embarrass the Government will not a vail them with their constituents, for the embarrassments and difficulties of Governments are of no concern to the struggling tenant farmer who has been unfairly treated by his landlord.
The hon. Member for South Tyrone made a statement in the course of his excellent speech with regard to the amount of tenant right in Ireland, and with regard to the general conditions of land tenure there, but he did not go quite far enough, for with regard to the question of improvements made on the soil, houses built, lands fenced and drained, and general improvements, beyond all doubt if justice were done the value the landlord would get would be prairie value, as John Bright said in a memorable speech many years ago. I think it is permissible to call attention to a remarkable statement made by a Member of the Unionist Government on the question of the relative share of the property in the soil owned by the landlord and the tenant. Lord Cowper spoke on this question in the other House some years ago, and when defending a measure said that, with one or two exceptions, until recently the landlords did not make improvements on the land, and that when the tenants made them the rents were immediately 760 raised. He attributed the present condition of Ireland to the fact that the landlord class in Ireland, who were in other respects admirable—I have no doubt they are admirable politically— had in many instances been bad landlords. When Lord Cowper made that statement I thought it a remarkable statement. It is one which fully justifies the attitude taken up by the tenants' advocates on these benches, and that is, that, taking the average valuation of Irish land at 11s. 6d. per acre—good, bad, and indifferent—6d. per acre represents the capital sunk by the landlord on the land. I can speak from experience as to what has resulted from land purchase in large portions of Munster and Connaught. Tenants who formerly had a struggle to maintain themselves on rough and sometimes mountainous land had their rents reduced as the result of agitation, and eventually the landlords sold. The tenants bought the land, and when I revisited the districts the other day, after five or six years absence, I found comfortable homesteads, well drained and well fenced land, and every evidence of prosperity and of a desire to improve the land to which the Irish peasant is so much attached. So it would be in other parts. In the south and west of Ireland, as in the north, the tenant farmers will not consent to a condition of things under which, after eight or ten Land Acts, all improvements of the soil can still become the property of the landlords. I was very much struck with the feebleness of the First Lord's argument about tenants and labour. A friend behind me said, "Surely the right hon. Gentleman's talents and great Parliamentary ability are not in their decadence?" "No," I said, "but he is dealing with a feeble case, and he has advanced feeble arguments which are unworthy of his reputation."
I desire to enter my protest against the charges and imputations of dishonesty which have been made against the most honest class of peasantry on the face of the earth. We are anxious to have a truce to this method of controversy. Upon the Government lies the onus of proving that the time is not ripe for this great reform. The most familiar argu- 761 ment of the most malignant of the political enemies of the Irish cause—the right hon. Member for West Birmingham—has been that the Irish cry for Home Rule and other reforms is insincere, and that the one question with regard to which the Irish people are deeply and genuinely concerned is that of the land. Now is the time to prove whether or not that view is correct. The Government and the country generally have a unique opportunity to once for all test the question as between the agitators, as we are called, and the so-called reformers on the other side. The right hon. Gentleman has again and again insisted that if you settle the land question—as you can settle it by land purchase—you can at once dismiss the cry of the agitator, you can pacify the country, and the Irish people will dismiss from their minds all ideas of Home Rule. Here is your opportunity to test it. This is a far more favourable experiment for strengthening your Empire than that of devastating South Africa. We shall press this demand by all legitimate means in our power, but upon those who, with the Ulster Members, pretend to support a Conservative and Unionist policy rests the responsibility as to whether in our day and generation this great reform should be brought about, or whether the Irish people shall once again be disappointed.
§ MR. LONSDALE (Armagh, Mid)
As an Ulster Member I feel that I should be wanting in my duty to my constituency if I did not take this opportunity of expressing their views and their wishes in regard to this most important question. My constituency is almost entirely an agricultural community— honest, God-fearing farmers who have never wavered in their truth and loyalty to the Throne, and who have always obeyed and respected the laws of their country whatever turmoil and lawlessness may have existed in other parts of the country. At all events, it cannot be said that in the county of Armagh they have had any sympathy with such proceedings, but throughout all this time the farmers, in common with those in other parts of Ireland, have been suffering, and in some respects are actually suffering now from the various 762 causes that have been so fully and ably referred to by the hon. Gentlemen who proposed and seconded this Amendment. The increase of foreign competition, the low prices, the want of proper railway facilities, must always have a disastrous effect upon those who have to live by tilling the soil; but in Ireland all these have been accentuated and have been increased immeasurably by the constant irritation of the almost continuous litigation which has existed between the landlord and tenant. It is true that Land Act after Land Act has been passed by this House with the object of improving the tenants' position, but either through the imperfect construction or the imperfect administration of those Acts the situation has become impossible, and in my opinion there can be no rest, no content, and no genuine prosperity in Ireland until the tenants have become the owners of the soil. It appears to me absolutely certain that in the interests of both landlords and tenants the present system of dual ownership cannot and should not continue. The whole of the farmers of Ireland are unanimous in this regard, that a scheme or Act of compulsory sale and purchase should be granted. We neither ask for nor do we want to give to the landlord opportunities which are not given to the tenant. We wish to treat the landlord and the tenant alike, or, in other words, give them both an opportunity to make an equitable arrangement. I earnestly hope that the Government will see fit to introduce a measure of compulsory sale and purchase on fair terms. From what the First Lord of the Treasury said to-night I fear there is no reason for expecting it during this session, but in the session that will follow, when I hope peace will return and the Government have more time to attend to this matter, I hope they will see their way to introduce a Bill for the compulsory sale of land in Ireland.
§ * MR. J. P. FARRELL (Longford, N.)
I congratulate the hon. Member for South Tyrone on having brought the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down to his present frame of mind. The hon. Gentleman said he represented a constituency of God-fearing farmers, 763 and I must protest against such a line of argument being taken upon this question, because the hon. Gentleman by implication would attribute to the farmers we on these benches represent other qualities than those God-fearing qualities he so ably represents in this House. I think we may take it that the crusade instituted by the hon. Member for South Tyrone, in favour of compulsory land purchase, is having some effect, at least so far as hon. Gentlemen like the last speaker is concerned. It may not apply to all Ulster Members, but the hon. Gentleman has succeeded so far that he has compelled Ulster Members to pay more attention to this question than they have hitherto honoured it with, and for that we thank him.
We cannot regard the speech of the Leader of the House as an answer to the who speeches delivered from this and the opposite side of the House upon this important subject. In my opinion, the right hon. Gentleman completely broke down in his attempt to make a case against the Amendment. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman, if it means anything at all, means that given sufficient pressure—sufficient stimulus to this movement, the Government will be prepared to deal with compulsory purchase. He has taken up a position which could not be described as a non possumus. The Irish land question goes to the root of the whole system of government in Ireland, it is the vital existence of the Irish nation. It is essentially an agricultural country, dependent for its subsistence on the produce of the land, and we who have made representations for Home Rule and the management of our own internal affairs have been told by the Government over and over again that where there is a just cause—a just necessity for a settlement of any question except Home Rule, the Unionist party are quite competent and willing to do all that is necessary for the wants of Ireland.
It would ill become me to occupy the time of the House in further demonstrating what has been so ably demonstrated already by the Leader of the Irish party and the hon. Member for South Tyrone, which is that the Land Commission as at present constituted has hopelessly-broken down in its attempts to admini- 764 ster the land laws entrusted to it. Why, it takes two years and more to get a fair rent fixed. There have been suits passing through the land courts for purchase for six or seven years where both parties are united and have done all they could to facilitate the purchase. That shows there is something radically wrong with the constitution of the Commission. In order to arrive at the same end we take a different view to the right hon. Member for South Tyrone and those other Ulster Members who are prepared to support us. For our part we think this Land Commission is to a very large extent rigged by landlords or their agents or people connected with them, and one has only to look at the names of the Commissioners who are sent out to assess the values and fix fair rents to arrive at the conclusion. I could not attempt to argue that it would be altogether right to have people solely representing the tenants on the Commission, or people too much connected with the question of agitating tenants' grievances. But from one end of Ireland to the other there are a number of respectable farmers or well-to-do people who could be selected to discharge the duties of land valuers and lay commissioners, and who would not be under the stigma of having learned their business in a rent office. It is, however, idle to expect that we should get that class of people appointed or that we should be satisfied with those appointed by the Government. The confidence of the people is wanting in the tribunal you have erected. Whilst we gladly accept the support of the hon. Gentleman and welcome his adoption of the views he at present holds, and while we will cordially co-operate with him, we will also claim the right of going to our own people and organising them against the citadel of entrenched landlordism in Ireland. I do not wish in any way to offend the tender susceptibilities of the hon. Member for South Tyrone, but he must, of course, know that the work that has been done for the Irish tenant farmers as a whole has been done mainly by the agitation among the Nationalist farmers, while to a great extent the God-fearing Unionist farmers whom he represents have stood on one side in the course of the trouble, but taken care, when a legislative enactment was 765 effected, to come into court and get the benefit of the law. I do not grudge them that benefit. Why should they not take any advantage of the law in their behalf? But, apart from the attitude that these God-fearing farmers may take, we, the Nationalist members, will pursue a course which may not be quite as palatable to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House as he could wish. He has for ten years had an exceptionally peaceful time, and he has been warned to-night that if the necessity docs arise, and if the people of Ireland are to be denied the just claim which has been put forward in a moderate and peaceful manner, he may find his pleasant dreams disturbed, and that be will have helped to evoke a storm among the people of Ireland, who are now better organised and prepared for the fray than they have been during the last ten years, that he may not find it easy to subdue. If this Unionist Government, whose chief doctrine is that if you come to the House of Commons you will get all you need, withstand the constitutional demands made by 95 per cent. of the representatives of the people, on their heads be the responsibility for the results which may ensue.
§ * MR. JOHN GORDON (Londonderry, S.)
I represent what may be described as an agricultural constituency in the north of Ireland. It is largely composed, at all events, of tenant farmers and people who are deeply interested in everything in connection with the occupancy of land, and, therefore, I think it is my duty to say what I believe to be the feelings of the people there, and what I think in this matter.
I regret that this matter has been brought before the House in a manner and on an occasion which makes it impossible for me as a supporter of the Government to go into the lobby and vote for the Amendment. I believe that the true remedy for all the laud ills of Ireland is to make the tillers of the soil, the men who occupy the farms, the owners of the farms. If that can be brought about by facilitating the system of voluntary purchase I shall be well pleased; but that process may be a slow one, and everyone who knows anything of the state of feeling in Ireland is anxious that this land question should be settled. 766 I cannot speak for hon. Members on the other side of the House, but I think those on this side would be happy to see a settlement of this question. It is of very great importance, not only for the landlords and tenants of Ireland, but also for the people of England and Scotland, that Ireland should cease to be discontented. I therefore urge upon the Government, and the House, not to cast this matter aside as a mere impossibility, but to give it careful consideration.
I know perfectly well that there are very great difficulties and prejudices in the way of a matter of this kind being accepted. Above all, at the present moment, there is the situation of the country with reference to the war, which naturally is uppermost in the minds of the English people. I think one of the strongest prejudices against this proposal is not well founded. It is based on the idea that compulsory purchase in any form would be the introduction of a new principle of dealing with land in Ireland. I agree with the hon. Member who introduced the Amendment that compulsion has already been introduced. Under the Land Act of 1881 an owner of land is compelled to allow a tenant to remain in possession of his farm, at a rent which the landlord himself cannot fix, and therefore compulsory purchase applied in the suggested way will not mean the introduction of an absolutely novel principle in reference to land in Ireland. It is only a step onward to say that the landlords must sell at a fair and reasonable price. In connection with the fixing and refixing of rents there is great dissatisfaction on both sides. It is hardly to be expected that a landlord would be satisfied with a rent fixed below what he thought he should get, or that a tenant would be satisfied with a rent fixed higher than he thought he should pay. Then there were bills of costs and expenses, and the bitterness engendered between litigants with reference to all these matters.
There are good grounds for trying to get something done to amend this state of affairs. It is a curious thing that one of the most beneficent pieces of legislation, the Voluntary Purchase Act, should have made this matter a burning question in the north of Ireland. These matters have already been dealt with, but I simply call 767 attention to them to say that they show the necessity for something being done, and I am happy to find from the Leader of the House that something—whether exactly what we ask for or not—is going to be done. I know there are difficulties in the way. There is the difficulty of finance. But we do not ask for this money as a gift; we ask it as a loan for which there will be ample security, or rather that the State should, as it were, become a surety for its repayment. I do not fear the general strike against the payment of instalments which the hon. Member for South Tyrone at one time so greatly feared must exist. At the present time voluntary purchase has been going on for fifteen years, and every man who has been paying for that period has acquired a valuable interest in his holding, and every year his interest will become greater. A compulsory Bill if passed tomorrow could not work out for years. It would be a very considerable time before all the tenants became owners of their holdings, and by the time they did those who got in first would have paid off a large proportion of their instalments. You would therefore have spread over the country a large number of farmers who would be not merely deeply interested in preserving their own holdings, but who would be desirous of seeing that their neighbours paid off their instalments also. From the experience of the past, everyone knows that the tenants who purchase their holdings pay their instalments punctually. At the same time I cannot conceal from myself that it is one thing for a private member to express views in reference to a matter of this kind, but it is another thing for a responsible Minister of the Crown to ask the country to advance its money unless he is quite satisfied that what we suggest will be carried out, and that there will be no serious danger of loss. However this may be, I am quite satisfied, dealing with the matter from a logical standpoint, that whatever measures of voluntary purchase we may get, and however well they may work out, the ultimate mode of settling the question will be by some system of compulsory purchase.
Then I come to the matter of the Amendment. I am a supporter of the present Government. The electors who sent me 768 here are supporters of that Government, and they sent me here as their representative to uphold that Government. I know what an Amendment to the Address means. I know that the hon. Member for South Tyrone recently stated that he knew what it involved, but that he had made up his mind to bring the matter forward on the Address. I know that one of the reasons he suggested was that if he did not bring it forward someone else might, and that he also said he knew he would be badly beaten. I hope the hon. Member will not understand me as making any attack upon him: I only wish to make my position clear. The hon. Member was himself returned as a supporter of the Government, of which he was at the time a member. All I can say is that I cannot view my position in the same light that he does his. As a supporter of the Government I cannot support the Amendment. The result of doing so, if it were carried to its logical conclusion, would be that the Government I was sent here to support would lose its position altogether. It may be that there is no chance of the Amendment being carried, but I do not believe in taking up such an attitude. I may know that a friend of mine is strong and vigorous, and that if I gave him a blow in the face it would not do him any harm. But I do not believe that to be any justification for giving him a blow, or that I should do so because if I do not some enemy of his may. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment and his party have always been the opponents of the Government, and we expect such a blow from them, but we do not expect it from friends. When one knows that an attack upon a, friend will not merely do him no harm, but may have the effect of causing irritation and annoyance which may lead to something very different from what one expects and wishes and hopes for, I think to make that attack is a very unwise course to adopt. We know that a strong Government like the present, if they set their minds to this question and think it right to do something on the lines we have suggested, are able to do it, and we do not want to do anything which would in any way prevent them doing whatever they can to improve the position of the tenants in Ireland. For the reasons I have 769 named, I think, under the circumstances, I am bound, no matter what my views are, to support the Government on this Amendment.
§ MR. BARRY (Cork, S.)
I think the position taken up by the hon. Member is illogical in the extreme. He is drawn in two directions diametrically opposite. He sympathises with the Amendment, but, as a loyal supporter of the Government, he is bound to vote against it. We in the South of Ireland are not going to take up so illogical a position. We believe in the Amendment, and are going to support it. I am in the position of gentlemen who have preceded me of having nothing to add to the argumentative and exhaustive speeches of the mover and seconder of the Amendment, but as representing a constituency with a deep and abiding interest in this question, I cannot take up a passive attitude in regard to the matter. We who have met our constituents on United Irish League platforms, and also at the two great conventions at Dublin, know the importance which the Irish people attach to this question of compulsory purchase. So great is that importance that the question has been placed second in the national programme, Home Rule, of course, being placed first. As far as I know the feeling of the Irish people, nothing will ever satisfy them but a system of short and compulsory purchase. Everybody in Ireland, landlords and tenants alike, are in favour of the abolition of dual ownership. It ought not to be very difficult to grant a divorce between two parties when each is so anxious to be separated from the other. The only gentlemen in favour of the continuance of the present system are the Land Commissioners, who are drawing such large salaries in their present positions. Perhaps this English Parliament could not have foreseen the failure of their attempts at legislation, but the whole system has been tried and found wanting.
Without going into statistical details I will say as one who has had some experience of the administration of the Land Acts in Ireland that from beginning to end the whole system is defective and rotten. Several attempts have been made from time to time to pass legislation to give the benefit of improvements to the tenants, 770 but I assert, with the practical experience of a farmer myself, that that system is violated in every single Land Commission that has been held all over the country. Take the case of a man whose rent is £20, and take a man in the immediate neighbourhood whose land may have been of the same value originally. My experience is that in the case of tenants who may have been delicate or the tenant may have been a widow there is very often a good and ample reduction in the rent given, and more especially in the case of tenants who have not improved their land of late years. The tenant who has improved his holding by the sweat of himself and children, and who may have gone to the trouble of removing boulders, gets no reduction, whilst the tenant who has not made any improvements gets a substantial reduction. The result is that the improving tenant gets no reduction because the land appears to be worth the money, and the land has been valued after he has improved it himself. That is one of the greatest blots in the administration of the Act. The present rents are impossible rents, and must be reduced. Twenty years ago in my constituency barley and wheat could have been grown successfully, but they cannot be grown at the present time, for the only crop that can be raised now is oats, which is not so profitable. In the case of young stock, on account of the severity of the winter and other causes, they are much more difficult to rear, and the mortality in stock is increasing from year to year in alarming proportion. All these things must be taken into account in fixing the rents of Ireland. I know there are other causes. Foreign competition is very keen, and Texas and Canada are brought within near reach of our markets at the present time, owing to improvements in shipping of late years. In the case of the Land Commissioners I say that, taking their valuations all round, the reductions are ridiculously inadequate. Even the labour question, which must be included as an element in the consideration of rents, is ignored. Labourers have been flocking from our shores, and they cannot be kept in the country unless the farmer has some margin of profit to pay them. It is extremely difficult for the farmer to pay labour, and the land is going out of cultivation in consequence. Taking the whole situation into account, 771 the condition of labour and the manner in which the farmer is robbed of his improvements, and the vicious system under which the Act is applied, I say that it is absolutely necessary that the whole system must be swept away root and branch in order to settle the Irish land question, and I should not regard any system with favour which is calculated to perpetuate the present order of things in Ireland.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
I have listened with great attention to the two long speeches which have been made to-night, one by the hon. Member for Waterford and the other by the hon. Member for South Tyrone. Speaking for myself—and I think I can speak for the Irish landlords, whom I more or less represent—I say that if we had to choose one of those two hon. Members to decide our destinies and fix the final arrangements in regard to land in Ireland I and they would unhesitatingly choose the hon. Member for Waterford.
I take it that this is one of the greatest demands which has ever been made upon a legislative assembly. It is proposed to ask this House to advance an uncertain sum of money—perhaps £100,000,000 or £120,000,000—for the purpose of suddenly obliterating one class of landlords in Ireland and replacing them by another class. I believe that has never been attempted before by any other country. But this House is a businesslike assembly, and I am sure when it is asked for such a tremendous concession as this to Ireland it will ask what is to be the quid pro quo. We are asked to advance this enormous sum of money, and we want to know what we shall gain by it. I acknowledge the great eloquence and ability displayed in the speech of the hon. Member for Waterford, but the great weakness of his position is that he has nothing to offer. Speaking, as he is supposed to do, for many of his colleagues, if he could have said in the House of Commons, "I can answer for my colleagues and for the constituencies which they represent, and say honestly to the best of my belief that if Parliament consents to advance this great sum to the Irish people we shall forget old memories and Ireland will be loyal," then they would be offering something. But the hon. Member for Waterford and 772 his colleagues are perfectly honest and straightforward, both in this House and in their own country, and the hon. Member for Waterford never attempted to say that, speaking for his colleagues and the people he represents, the advance of this £120,000.000 or £150,000,000 would have the slightest effect in altering the present condition of the Irish mind, or would cause Ireland to become what she certainly is not in three out of the four divisions—a loyal community. That is the weakness of his position. I do not think that England or Great Britain or the Parliament of Great Britain would ever consent to this tremendous political manœuvre unless Parliament thought it would be some great gain to the nation if it were carried into effect.
I leave the very able and eloquent speech of the hon. Member for Waterford, and I will now turn to the other speech, delivered by the hon. Member for South Tyrone. When I came to try and forecast the sort of speech I thought my hon. friend would deliver, I must say that I was entirely mistaken. I thought the hon. Member for South Tyrone would have been strictly moderate, and that he would have placed his views before the House without any acerbity and certainly without any venom; but I think both these qualities have characterised his speech. I must compliment my hon. friend on what I look upon as a most dexterous piece of political strategy. Apparently he was determined to go hammer and tongs for the Irish landlords, and in order to do that he has determined to cover his rear and prevent any assault in that direction by pointing out that it was perfectly useless for anyone in this House to quote any speech he made in former times in order to show that he had changed his mind. I have had the honour of the acquaintance of the hon. Member for South Tyrone for many years, and I am certain that he is perfectly conscientious in the stand he has taken. I believe my hon. friend possesses the fatal gift of a dangerous conscience—that is to say, he is a man who can conscientiously believe one day that a thing is black and the next day he can conscientiously believe that it is white. Really, I do not think I should have alluded to this matter at all were it not for 773 the fact that he has brought me into the question. He has changed his mind; but what made him change his mind? Not by suddenly becoming aware of the great necessity for compulsory sale for Ireland; but he was converted by four words that I uttered in the House of Commons.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
He said so himself. He said that when Colonel Saunderson was cornered in the House of Commons, in answer to a challenge across the floor of the House as to what remedy he could suggest, he replied, "Try the Fry Commission," and that then, knowing that the knell of Irish landlordism had then sounded, he changed his opinion. I am glad to think that these few words of mine had the tremendous effect of converting the hon. Gentleman; but I hope hon. Members opposite will restrain themselves in future and forbear to ask me any questions, for there is no knowing, if my words have such effect, whom I may next convert. The hon. Member for South Tyrone did not quote his views in the immediate past, but as he proposes to convert the House of Commons and the country I would suggest to him that the real difficulty he has to front is the very celebrated gentleman Mr. T. W. Russell. I do not suppose he expects to convert the House of Commons all at once, even if he does expect to excite great enthusiasm in England on this question when he goes down to the country. But how about his speeches in 1890? At Fivemiletown, in 1890, the hon. Member for South Tyrone said—Mr. Chamberlain—and at least I know his views—is not in favour of universal compulsion. Neither is Mr. Balfour. Rant of this kind is more worthy of the platform of a Kerry moonlighter than of a sober Ulster man.—How could he be sober, being a teetotaller?—But if I liked I could imitate these reckless orators. I could pledge myself to compulsion. I could extol it as a heaven-born principle. I could tell you that, with it passed, the Golden Age would return. I could promise it next year, as O'Connell was wont to promise Repeal, and as the Parnellites now promise Home Rule. I absolutely refuse to adopt this course. Whether it makes for or 774 against my political future, I will not stoop to tell you lies, to tell you that a thing is possible when I know it to be impossible; to tell you that a thing is rising on the horizon of politics when I know that it is outside the scope of all reasonable or practicable politics. This, I hope, is plain speaking.Very ! But then, after his conversion following my unfortunate remark, the hon. Member for South Tyrone said—My view is that every acre of agricultural land in Ireland not in the occupation of the landlord, ought to be sold to the tenant. This, of course, excludes all demesne lands and land farmed by the landlord. But, apart from these two exceptions, I should like to see the whole land of Ireland pass from owner to occupier. The rental of the land upon which a fair rental has been fixed amounts to close upon £7,000,000. To this must be added, for my purposes, all land held under future tenancies, and under agreements not subject to the Land Acts. It is not easy to form an estimate of the amount of money that would be required for such a huge transaction; but solely for the purposes of discussion I shall put it at £120,000,000 sterling.Then the hon. Gentleman eleven years ago said—Irish landlords, if compelled to sell, have certainly a right not only to get the fair value of their property, they are entitled either to be paid out in cash or to get the best security. I say at once that I do not believe the security of the Kerry or Clare County Councils would be such as I could ask them to accept. I believe any such scheme would amount in its working out to simple robbing. I believe payment would in due course be repudiated, and, with this belief, I have no right to profess any faith in its practicability.Then the hon. Gentleman at the end of last year, in a speech at Clogher. said—We have, happily, now a recognised public authority in each county—the county council. I don't think these bodies ought to be burdened with the duty of carrying out a land purchase scheme. But as Ireland is to all intents and purposes an agricultural country, and as the great mass of the people live by the land, I see no reason why the county council should not guarantee the advance required for each county.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
Perhaps I may be allowed to say that by the Act of 1891 the county guarantee was attached.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
It has this effect: that the Government evidently believed that although the guarantee of the tenant was not sufficient, that of the county was.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
Speaking landlord, I think we should look to 775 the guarantee of the county council as very poor security indeed; and all I can say is that I hope that I shall never have to prove it. My hon. friend now appears in the House tremendous leader in the land agitation. From my knowledge of Ireland, I know that if a man is gifted with oratorical powers there is nothing easier than for him to get up an agitation there in favour of a scheme which consists in the taking property of one class of Irishmen and giving it to another. I am perfectly well aware that all the tenants in all the divisions and counties of Ireland are in favour of the compulsory purchase of land; but they would be still more in favour of a Bill giving them the land for nothing. But what I hope the Government and the House will decide upon is this: whether the proposition is right or just, quite irrespective of these spurious agitations, and quite irrespective of the violent threats which have been uttered on both sides of the House. A man may exaggerate his own importance. I may be wrong, but my hon. friend evidently believes that not only the Ulster tenants, but the whole British public are hungering and thirsting after news of this great agitation. In his speech at Killyleagh, a couple of weeks ago, he said, in his most perfervid style—Gentlemen, I am speaking to a wider audience than is here. This question has caught on. To-morrow morning the people of Dublin, Beltast, and Cork will read our proceedings. In London, in Liverpool, in Glasgow, and in Edinburgh the readers of the great English and Scotch newspapers will learn as they eat their breakfast that this great meeting has been held.My hon. friend believed that England, Scotland, and Wales would breakfast next morning on muffins and T. W. Russell ! I think my hon. friend was wrong. He has great experience in working up an audience to a state of enthusiasm. He has told the people of Ulster that he intended to stump this country and rouse the feeling of the people to boiling point. Fancy rousing the enthusiasm of John Bull by asking him to fork out £120,000,000 ! Before my hon. friend undertakes that, in order to test his powers of rousing enthusiasm, I advise him to get an audience of brewers and publicans to pass a vote in favour of total abstinence ! I think that he has over-rated and over-valued the enthusiasm with which this agitation 776 will be regarded. I have not the slightest doubt that the hon. Gentleman speaks in favour of Ulster, but the mistake he has made, and it is an unfortunate one, is that he has undoubtedly persuaded the Ulster tenants that this is a movement which is bound to rouse England, and that all he had got to do was to come over here and make a great speech, as he has done to-night, and then to go about the country proclaiming in favour of compulsory purchase. He should remember that his scheme differs very much from the gifts given to Ireland in former times, when the gift was the gift of the property of one Irishman to another Irishman.
But this is to be a great gift given by the British people. [Cries from the Nationalist benches: No !] Well, a loan, then. If anyone will give me a loan of £20,000 I should be very glad. It would not be called a gift, but it would be next door to it. As an Irish landlord, I believe that four or five years hence the Ulster tenants will find that neither in the House of Commons nor in the country has this proposal for compulsory purchase made any giant strides, and I am afraid that the grand promises that the hon. Gentleman has made and the magnificent future which he has so brilliantly portrayed before the Irish people will never be realised.
I do not intend to deal with these particular cases; I only want to point out their extreme unfairness. A case occurred the other day on the Gosford Estate, and I do not think there is a man on either side of the House who will attempt to palliate or condone it: but the right hon. Gentleman said that that was the way in which the ruck and run of the Irish landlords deal with tenants. Would it not be unfair, if I had been cheated in an Irish hotel, to say all Irish hotels were kept by swindlers? The county court judge described it as a scandalous shame, and I think every one will agree with that. I say I think my friend was wrong when he said there were hundreds and thousands of these cases.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
I do not think the hon. Gentleman has any right to say I dealt with one particular case. I took that one as an instance, but I could have 777 instanced half a dozen other cases in Antrim where a similar thing has occurred.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
That shows what an unfortunate thing it is to make these outrageous and scandalous assertions against a whole class. I remember not so many years ago the hon. Member for South Tyrone used to get up in this House and say it was a scandal and a shame to brand the whole of the Irish landlords because there was such a scoundrel as Lord Clan-ricarde in Ireland. Now we find, since his conversion, he has adopted exactly the same methods. It is wonderful to think that he has been so strongly converted that he now singles out one case, which no doubt is a disgraceful one, and seeks to saddle it upon the class to which I belong. I leave the matter there to the mind of this House.
The hon. Members for Waterford and South Tyrone advocate compulsory purchase, but it would be a fatal mistake for this House to make to imagine that compulsory purchase would suddenly remove the present garrison, as it is called, from Ireland. No scheme of compulsory purchase that this House is likely to allow to pass would enable the landlords to leave their own land suddenly. And even if it did it would simply replace them with another set of landlords. It is the duty of the country to ask itself what have the landlords done to engender this distrust, for I venture to say whatever is done in the future in the direction of land purchase being still more largely extended to the tenants, will depend on the attitude taken up by the Irish people. What is the attitude now that ought to justify Parliament in removing the present set of landlords and substituting a new set? Outside Ulster, in every constituency represented by hon. Gentlemen opposite meetings have been held over and over again at which the people have openly proclaimed their hostility to this country and desired that the enemies of the Empire might be successful. [Nationalist cheers.] Hon. Members opposite accept that as the present attitude of a large portion of the Irish people. Can we conceive that the House would be so insane as, uninvited, to deliberately wipe out a class which at 778 any rate is loyal, and has always been loyal, and which has been called the British garrison, and put into its place a class which openly professes, after all that has been done for it, an undying hatred of the hand that has fed it? No. The paying of rent is not a popular institution in Ireland, where people are imbued with Nationalist principles, and it requires very little effort to persuade an Irish tenant not to pay. Can anyone conceive what would happen if Parliament became the great absentee landlord of all the land in Ireland? parliament would place in the hands of the Nationalist party a weapon which they could never effectually combat. The hon. Member for Mayo on the 4th of April, 1890, on the Land Purchase Act, said that there was no analogy between the present condition of things and the conditions that might prevail if the leaders of the future should proclaim to the people that they would be acting justifiably and patriotically in refusing to pay a single penny to the Government. Of course that would be the case. That would be the most popular cry ever raised in Ireland. It would make a sort of Irish paradise. It would appeal to the feelings of the Irish race in a manner no language could describe.
I ask the House to consider before granting this compulsory purchase whether a danger of that sort is to be thought of. Now I have been asked if I have a solution. I have always been in favour of a purchase scheme which would gradually place the Irish tenants in the position of being the owners of their land, and that a large amount of money should be set aside for buying out the landlords; that is the best and ultimate solution, which I have advocated not only in this House, but in my constituency. I believe the scheme ought to be a gradual one, and it ought to be of a generous nature, but, above all, if you want a scheme to work you must take away the impediments which undoubtedly stand in its way. It may be against the interests of the class to which I belong, but I believe it would be to the best interests of Ireland and the country at large. I belong to an unpopular and falling class. We have been called the "British garrison." That has been used as a term of reproach, but it is a name of 779 which we are proud. The hon. Member for South Tyrone said in one of his speeches, "the English garrison in Ireland has done its work, and dirty work too." We have been loyal to this country. We have helped to keep the British flag afloat in Ireland, and I think this House and the country should not forget that all the great Irishmen who have helped to build up the Empire, to make it strong, and to preserve its safety on land and sea, came from the British garrison in Ireland. I would remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that we gave you Grattan and Burke; we gave you Wellington and Palmerston, and in later years we have given you Wolseley, Roberts, and a host of others. That is the garrison you propose now to destroy. Like other classes, we may disappear from the country we love as well as hon. Gentlemen opposite, but, at any rate, we will carry away with us the proud memory that all through these past years, through good report and evil report, in fair weather and in foul, we have been loyal to Parliament and to the British Crown.
§ * DR. THOMPSON (Monaghan, N.)
I feel sure that the House with its usual indulgence will deal leniently and perhaps a little sympathetically with a new Member when he first attempts to place his views before it. I need not say that I labour under extraordinary difficulty in following as I do one of the best and most capable debaters in the House.
We have listened to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Armagh telling the House and the country that the Gentlemen who sit here are not loyal to the Empire. I say you have a very easy way in which to make all the Members from Ireland loyal to the British Empire, and that is by giving them what they want—Home Rule. I believe that if Parliament gave Irishmen the right to manage their own affairs all this agitation, which is so distracting to England and detrimental to Ireland, would disappear. I was until recently a Unionist, but became a convert to the other side, and, looking to the attitude assumed by the hon. Member for South Tyrone, I believe he will soon come over here too.
There can be no doubt whatever that the people of the north of Ireland are 780 unanimously in favour of land purchase. I have a good many landlord friends, and I would be very sorry indeed to lose one of them. I would also be very sorry to do anything to injure them, but if the present condition of things goes on for ten years, where will their property be? I fully believe that if a great measure of land purchase is to be passed the landlords' and all interests affected must be fairly and generously compensated. Not very long ago the Governments of England and Russia guaranteed a loan to Greece at 2½ per cent. The Government of this country could borrow in the money markets of the world money for land purchase, repaying principle and interest, at 3 per cent. Suppose they charged the tenants 3½ per cent. instead of 4 per cent., that would be a great relief. Suppose the tenant's previous rent had been £20, and that the Government gave a bonus of one year's purchase of the rent to both landlord and tenant, then the sum advanced to the tenant would amount to £380, and this if lent to him at 3½ per cent. would reduce his annual payments from £20 to £13 6s., equal to an immediate reduction of 33½ per cent. The landlord at the same time would get twenty-one years purchase of the rent, and the money the Government would get from the tenant at 3½ per cent. would repay the principle and interest on the sum of £420, so that the Government would be the gainers by 14s. a year—sufficient to pay the cost of collection and any other incidental expenses necessary for the carrying out of a plan of this kind. There can be no question that England is indebted to Ireland in a very large sum of money. If you accept the debt that Great Britain owes to Ireland— and it has not been proved that she does not owe it—as 2¾ millions of money accumulated for the last fifty years, that would be an amount sufficient to buy out the landlords completely, and leave a considerable surplus to apply towards the future development of our country.
I trust the Government when they bring forward their proposals will do something at all events to improve the condition of things which exists as far as concerns the administration of the Land Laws—something to simplify the law and benefit the condition of the 781 Irish people. As a doctor, knowing the people thoroughly, I can tell the House that the condition of Ireland is not improving. Even if the British people were to lose money they would gain a great deal by settling the Irish land question. There can be no doubt of the serious danger involved in the present state of affairs. We all, look with great interest to the Bill which the Government are going to introduce, and we hope it will do a great deal to improve the proceedings of the Land Commission. We urge this great reform with all the strength of a sincere conviction, and feel certain, if satisfactorily arranged, the result cannot fail to be beneficial not only to Ireland, but to the Empire at large.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. WYNDHAM,) Dover
I am sorry to intervene between the House and any speaker whom we are anxious to hear, but my apology must be that earlier in the evening the Leader of the House stated that I should reply in some detail to the matters of detail which were advanced by the mover and seconder of the Amendment. I feel that those two eloquent and closely reasoned speeches demand and, indeed, exact a reply. My task is made easier by the fact that they in their speeches followed very closely on the terms of the Amendment.
What is there in the Amendment? It holds up an object—namely, the immediate and general creation of a peasant proprietary in Ireland. It advances a reason for that object—namely, the maladministration of the existing Land Acts. It suggests a method for achieving that object—namely, the application of compulsion to the Purchase Acts in Ireland. I. think I can economise time by passing quickly over so much of the Amendment and speeches as raises no dispute between those hon. Members and the Government. First of all, as to the object. The words "general and immediate creation of a peasant proprietary" are too wide, I think, to be really practical; but if the object is to extend widely and to accelerate the introduction of the system of peasant proprietary in Ireland, I can discover no point of difference between the mover and seconder on the one hand and the Government on the other. Even 782 the right hon. and gallant Member for Armagh gave to the development of the system of peasant proprietary in Ireland his approbation. The differences begin when the maladministration of the land system is urged. If those who spoke in support of the Amendment merely said that the land system of Ireland in respect of fair rents was unsatisfactory to all parties concerned, I think I should be prepared to agree with them. Indeed, as my right hon. friend said, when the Irish Members walked out of the House in 1881, the Conservative party recorded a unanimous vote against the Land Act of 1881. I therefore distinguish between the Fair Rent Acts and their administration; and upon their administration I should come into sharp collision with the hon. Member for South Tyrone. Of course, the Fair Rent Acts are unsatisfactory. What do they mean? They mean that litigation, which is always expensive, dilatory, and precarious, is in Ireland applied generally and universally to the normal transactions of Ireland's chief industry. The fact that land is Ireland's chief industry is very pertinent to this debate. In Scotland there are but 14 per cent. of the population engaged in agriculture; but in Ireland there are 43 per cent., so that this system of perpetual litigation is applied to almost half the people living out of towns. One precaution has been piled upon another— many of them, I may say, at the instance of the hon. Member for South Tyrone-Are these precautions justifiable? I think so—justifiable and necessary. Of course, the system has been unsatisfactory to all parties. Well, perhaps there is one exception. I believe the solicitors in Ireland—and I have been at pains to ascertain the figures—have increased by 30 per cent. since the Act of 1881 was placed upon the Statute-book. The effect of that Act is even more far-reaching them has been brought out to-night. It ceases to be any landlord's interest to develop or improve his property. And, even if it could be held to be his interest, it is no longer within in his power. Any act which he takes is viewed with suspicion. The hon. Member for South Tyrone admitted that this is not to be a charge against the Irish landlord. It cannot be a charge against the Irish landlord. Before that Act was 783 passed Irish landlords did a great deal to improve the land. [An HON. MEMBER: No.] I beg the hon. Member's pardon. Since 1847 Irish landlords borrowed from the Board of Works over seven millions sterling—
§ MR. WYNDHAM
Besides any moneys of their own which they expended. Supposing the hon. Member's interruption is true—I do not think it is —in Ireland, as in every other country, when a landlord puts capital into the land, he expects some return for his investment, just as an employer of labour expects some return if he puts capital into his industry. Supposing, for the sake of argument, the interruption is quite justifiable, even then it was somebody's interest somehow to get some money to improve and develop Irish land, whereas now, since the Act of 1881, it is nobody's interest. And although I think the interruption unfair and unjustifiable by the history of the century, still, if it were true, I should maintain that the Act of 1881 had paralysed the power of the landlord or the tenant to engage in any large scheme for improving value of the land of Ireland.
The Land Acts, it is admitted, are unsatisfactory, and, as regards fair rent, it is admitted that they are expensive. The Land Commission has cost—I cannot arrive at quite the figures which the hon. Member for Waterford gave—according to my own calculation, £2,000,000 sterling. [An HON. MEMBER: More.] Possibly more. Of that £2,000,000, £1,500,000 may be credited to the operations in respect of fixing fair rents; or, in other words, £1,500,000 to paralyse the chief industry of Ireland. When the Act of 1881 was passed, a prominent member of the Government of that day stated that it was only a modus vivendi which was to be observed until purchase could be gradually extended. The Conservative party of that day were intent upon schemes of purchase. If anybody is sufficiently curious to refer to the report of the important Commission which sat in 1879, he will find that the Conservative party was then considering the possibility of extending purchase. But then came 784 the electoral clash of 1880. Although the leader of the Conservative party, Lord Beaconsfield, warned the country that the land question of Ireland was the question of the time, that warning was dismissed as an electoral dodge, and the question was shelved. We were too much concerned in the affairs of the Turkish Empire to pay any heed to the concerns of our own Empire; and a new Government came in, not intending to deal with Irish land, and then they precipitately introduced in a panic-stricken manner this Act of 1881, for which no member of the House has lifted up his voice this evening. I am not concerned to argue that that Act was a worse evil than the evil it was intended to remedy. It may have been a lesser evil; but that it was an evil was felt by both parties. Nobody, however litigious, can be expected to embrace with enthusiastic admiration the necessity of litigation to decide all his ordinary business transactions.
But when it comes to the charges which have been levelled against the administration of the Fair Kent Acts, I take issue with my hon. friend the Member for South Tyrone. It is a very wrong and dangerous thing, after you erect a ladder of litigation and set a whole nation to climb its different rungs, and you find the process is costly and disappointing, to turn round and accuse the judges of neglecting their work and defeating the intentions of Parliament. That is the charge which the hon. Member brought against the judges. I am not going to enter into the hon. Member's past. I think it fair, however, to say that he is almost driven to take up that position. It is only two years ago that he blessed the whole land system of Ireland, and said that after generations of struggle substantial justice has now been done. Then he went on to say: "If things go wrong now the fault is more in the administration of the Act than in the legislation itself." Yes, but that was said in 1898. Is it the contention of the hon. Member for Waterford and the whole of the Irish party that all this disappointment has occurred within two and a half years? No; if the Acts were right in 1898, I think he has himself knocked the ground from under his feet in imputing the 785 whole of the disappointment to those charged with the administration of the Acts. He attacks the judges. He attacks Mr. Justice Meredith. I had intended to quote an attack made by the hon. Member against Mr. Justice Meredith which was published in a letter in the public press, but I have no need to trouble the House with any quotations. I think those who have listened to my hon. friend to-night will agree that he did prefer an attack against that judge in terms which could only be justified if he intends to impute to that judge either moral perversity or mental aberration—charges which, if proved, will blast a man's reputation; charges which are preferred against a man holding a high official position of great importance to the public; charges of such a nature, levelled at such a person which are not supported by adequate proof, can only be properly described as scandalous. It may be that my hon. friend does not himself impute such laches to Mr. Justice Meredith, but he will be held, as he has been held, throughout Ulster to have imputed such laches. Mr. Justice Meredith has the high qualifications of unchallenged integrity and of recognised acumen, and he has applied himself to the colossal task which we have in this House thrown upon him with great knowledge and with an assiduity which has threatened his health; and it is not right that a judge of such standing should be attacked in such a manner, unless ample proof is forthcoming. Apart altogether from any desire of hon. Members to see the charges widely extended, apart from any desire to see compulsion applied to purchase in Ireland, I say that the hon. Member who votes for this Amendment will not only support a want of confidence in the Government, but he will attack the judiciary and will encroach on the first safeguards of civilised society.
I should not be justified in speaking as I have unless I were prepared to attempt, at any rate, an answer to the specific charges which the hon. Member for South Tyrone has levelled against Mr. Justice Meredith. These charges have been reduced to two this evening. Before I argue these two cases I wish to say that it is with great reluctance that I seem to make this House a Court of 786 Appeal above the High Court of Appeal and the other Courts of Ireland. I do not think the hon. Member for South Tyrone is entitled to assist, as he has assisted, in framing this legislation, to set the judges to interpret it, to see their decisions appealed against and affirmed or reversed; and then to come and ask the House of Commons to sit as a higher Court of Appeal above the High Court of Appeal to judge of questions of interpretation without knowledge of law, and questions of fact without any evidence.
The first test applied is the number of appeals. I suppose 3,000 cases in each year come before the Land Commission as appeals from the decision of the Sub-Commissioners. I know that since Judge Meredith was appointed in 1898 he has had to decide over 400 cases in which points of law were involved and in which there might have been an appeal from him to the highest Court. How many appeals have there been? Forty-five. Ten of those appeals were made by landlords who thought that the judge had dealt too hardly by them. In five cases his decision was confirmed and in five cases it was reversed or varied. The balance of thirty-five appeals were at the instance of tenants who thought that he had dealt unfairly by them. In nine cases the decision was reversed and in twenty-six cases it was confirmed by the Court of Appeal. So that out of 3,000 cases which came before Mr. Justice Meredith in over 400 an appeal could have been taken on points of law, but in only forty-five was an appeal taken, and in only nine did the High Court of Appeal declare that he had not rightly interpreted the Act. I submit that this is a complete answer to the only charge which would justify the Amendment or the language used to support it. If you take one case here or one there you may hold a different view from the judge. Any intelligent man is entitled to entertain such an opinion. I read the other day in the newspapers; a report of an interesting case which dealt with tapestry—whether tapestry which was nailed to the wall was a fixture or not. Thousands of pounds were involved, but if you agree with one judge you are not entitled to say that the other has a bias which defeats the in- 787 tention of Parliament. You cannot have it both ways.
I will come now to the particular cases which the hon. Member for South Tyrone has put before us in order to illustrate what I will not call his recklessness but his impetuosity. Only two cases were advanced to-night, but during the campaign which the hon. Member has waged week by week for four months—
§ MR. WYNDHAM
Having all those cases to review he has selected five. Three of those cases have disappeared tonight, and of course I will not trouble the House with them, but I am not surprised that they have disappeared. In one of them, although the hon. Member made Ulster ring with it (the case of Lindsay), Mr. Justice Meredith was following the decision given by Chief Baron Palles, whose name is held in the highest honour and respect. In another case there was no appeal; in the third he was unanimously upheld by the Court of Appeal in Ireland. I am not surprised that these three cases do not appear to-night, and that out of the five which were good enough for Ulster only two are good enough for the House of Commons. What was the first case? The first case was in some senses an old friend—Adams v. Dunseath. On that the hon. Member has declared that the pink schedule has been altered.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
No. What I said was that in the original schedule, which went to the Court of Appeal, the Sub-Commissioners entered the value of the land as bog and the value of the reclaimed land; and that by that way, and by that way alone, the surplus letting value of the land could be discovered. The Court of Appeal decided against Mr. Justice Meredith, and now the schedules are filled up—I have them in my hand, and can produce them— without either the original value of the land as bog or the value of the reclaimed land, so that no surplus value can arise.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I think I ought to deal in some detail with this case. It 788 is the last of the old guard. In the first place, the hon. Member says that Mr. Justice Meredith was reversed by the Court of Appeal. He said that to-night, and he has said it many nights. So he was reversed: but does not the hon. Member think it would have been right and proper to say that he was reversed by a majority of one, that four judges in the High Court of Appeal were against him, and that three—the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, the Master of the Rolls, and Mr. Justice Holmes—agreed with him in his interpretation of the law? Is it to be said when such men of repute in the law agree with a judge that he is to be attacked in this House as if he were idle and perverse in the discharge of his duty? Then the hon. Member declares that some change has been made in the schedule. The Act lays down that there shall be specified "the annual sum of the improvements made, wholly or partly, by the tenant, and with respect to each such improvement the nature, character, and present capital value thereof, and the increased letting value due thereto." That is all that there is in the Act. Under that Act there is a schedule drawn up. That schedule has not in form been changed, though I understood the hon. Member to say that it had.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
It has been changed to meet the requirements of the Local Government Act, but not as far as it relates to this section of the Act of 1891. The hon. Member maintains that that form has been filled in in a different manner. When was the last hearing of this case of Adams v. Dunseath? It was in 1899. The hon. Member alleges that after that a change was made; so that this change, if it be a change, is not of sufficient duration to account for all the evils which he has. urged against the land system. It is a question, only of a few months. In this case of Adams v. Dunseath the Court found, as the law directs, that the present capital value of Adams's improvement was £144, and that the increased letting value was £7 4s. Of that they allowed the tenant £6, and they divided the £1 4s. But the case which followed that, and on which the hon. Member 789 rested the whole of his argument, was a case in which the present capital value was £30, and the increased letting value £1 10s., and the whole of that was given to the tenant. Let me tell the House that this is the merest piece of academic logomachy. Anyone who knows Ireland knows that the cases where a tenant can add more than 5 per cent. to the letting value of the holding can be counted on the fingers of one hand. It is an academic case, and the hon. Member admits it. Immediately after the Morley Commission had sat, the hon. Member returned to Ireland, was interviewed, and on this very point of Adams v. Dunseath he used words to the effect that the question was purely academic. Mr. Justice Bewley, who appeared before the Morley Commission, used the very same phrase. Even in the richer counties of Ireland the cases are rare where a tenant can add more than 5 per cent. to the letting value of his holding. The hon. Member has said that in Ulster there have been twelve years of wrongdoing, because this academic point has been decided first one way and then the other, and ultimately, by a majority of one, against Mr. Justice Meredith. Well, that was one case that I was bound, dealing with the speech of the hon. Member, to reply to, but in replying to it I fear I have made—I have been driven to make—a great demand on the patience of the House.
Next, the hon. Member—I am taking the cases in reverse order—dealt with a case which, as it seemed to the House, appeared to be the best instance at his disposal; it was the best arrow in his quiver. It was the case of McCluggage. Let me put it plainly to the House in as few words as need be. The case was this: The tenant paid for his farm, before a fair rent was fixed, a rent of £27. After the first fair rent was fixed, that sum of £27 was reduced to £18. When the period of revision came round again, this sum of £18 was further reduced to £10 10s. a year by the Sub-Commissioners. The result of all this was a reduction in the rent of over 61 per cent. On that the landlord appealed—well, after all, we have given him the right to appeal—and the result of the appeal was that the rent was raised to £12 10s. Was it right to say on such a case as this that 790 the whole intention of Parliament has been defeated—that the Land Courts are a delusion and a snare? And all because a man who originally paid £27 a year—
§ MR. WYNDHAM
This man was offered a very large sum for his tenant right, and now we are told because his rent, formerly £27, was raised on appeal from £10 10s. to £12 10s., the whole object of the Act was defeated. Will the hon. Member—
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
That is not my point at all. The hon. Gentleman must not misrepresent me. My point was an entirely different one. I said that four expert land valuers had examined the land, and that their valuation was over ridden by people who knew nothing about land, and the rent increased 20 percent.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
Then if we follow that argument to its logical conclusion there is no need for a Court of Appeal. We spent £130,000 for the express purpose of dealing with these cases only a few years ago, and we have only succeeded in creating tribunals which have no value. I leave that case on which the hon. Member so much relied to the fair judgment of the House. I ask whether in this country, whether in any country in the world, there are not many men who go to law who would consider themselves very lucky if they gained a reduction of from £27 to £12, the cost of the litigation being paid by the taxpayers at large? The hon. Member spoke of Mr. Justice Ross, but perhaps I ought to pass over his attack on that judge. [An IRISH MEMBER: Say a few words upon it.] I will accept your invitation. The hon. Member for South Tyrone made an attack upon this judge, but—
§ MR. WYNDHAM
Yes; but I think when a judge is attacked and the attack withdrawn the House should know the facts. Only in December last the hon. Member charged Mr. Justice Ross— [An IRISH MEMBER: He withdrew that.] I have said he withdrew it, but I think that the House, who listened to a charge made by the hon. Member 791 on another learned judge this afternoon which has not been withdrawn, should know that he levelled another charge at another judge—a charge levelled by the hon. Member, who claims with a great deal of justice to be well versed in the whole system of land legislation—and that he withdrew it a week afterwards.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
The charge was that the judge had declared a certain section— [Interruption from the Irish benches.] I hope hon. Members from Ireland will not think I am urging this as a charge against the hon. Member for South Tyrone. I am urging it because I think that an hon. Member who brings a charge against a judge and withdraws it in a week, when he comes to this House and brings a charge against another judge, should have his words discounted to a certain extent. It is clear that his impetuosity in this matter has carried him very far. I know that he is sincere, I know that he wishes to benefit the Ulster tenants and the tenants of Ireland, but in that wish he has been carried a great deal further than perhaps he himself imagines.
I leave that part of the Amendment— the attack on the administration of the Land Acts and the Fair Rent Acts.
What is the plan suggested? With all this experience of what compulsion means—because it has been pointed out that the Fair Rent Acts are compulsory —we are now asked to make purchase compulsory also. Many of the hon. Members who have addressed the House have said that the Fair Rent Acts have worked badly, but that the Purchase Acts have worked well. I wondered that nobody paused to consider that there was a great difference between the Fair Rent Acts and the Purchase Acts—namely, that the one is compulsory and that the other is voluntary. If you make the Purchase Acts compulsory, you will have to safeguard them in the same elaborate way as you have had to safeguard the Fair Rent Acts. If you cannot allow a man's income, or the annual rent which a man has to pay, to be assessed without giving the right of appeal and spending a 792 million and a half of money on seeing that every possible legal point may be raised, what safeguard do you not think you will have to apply when you propose to place the capital value of the whole of Ireland into the Land Court? Knowing how mischievous the Land Act of 1881 was, the Unionist party fifteen years ago adopted purchase as its policy. It did it for two reasons—in order, as the hon. Member who moved the Amendment desires, to create a proprietary peasantry, but also, as I think, to find an exit out of this limbo of litigation into which the land of Ireland had been plunged by the Act of 1881. That Act drove political economy out of the door, and it was very soon found that you had to open a window to let it back. You cannot conduct the chief industry of any country if you do not allow one man to sell for a price which he can afford to accept, and if you do not allow another man to buy for a price which he can afford to pay. If we apply compulsion to purchase, which, so far, has succeeded, we shall exclude that element—each man's willingness or unwillingness to buy or sell, each man's knowledge of his own interest and resources will be eliminated, and, in place of that, we must substitute a system of inspection, of value and of appeal, which will be more costly, more dilatory, and more precarious than the very system which the mover and the seconder of this Amendment challenged to-night.
The hon. Member for South Tyrone objects to the quotation of his earlier speeches, and if I do it now it is only because he has put my argument far better than I could put it myself. He referred to the compulsory purchase, as it is called, which was carried out in Prussia. It was a compulsion far simpler than that we are now invited to undertake, but, as the hon. Member himself pointed out, that system was adopted in 1807, and it was not completed until 1850. The hon. Member then pointed out that we must begin somewhere, and that the claim on the part of the poorer part of Ireland would be urged with such insistence that it would be impossible to deal with richer Ulster until you had dealt with impoverished Mayo and impoverished Con-naught. I pass by the rest of the hon. Member's speech, but the end of it I 793 must ask the House to listen to. The hon. Member says:—"We must prove our case; we must not consider its utility we must prove that it is practicable, that it can be worked out." Has the hon. Member advanced that proof either this evening or during the whole course of his campaign? I pass by the difficulty of the 120, 130, or 150 millions of rent. I pass by the difficulty of the proof of title, and I come down to where the hon. Member says that all land is to be sold except town parks and demesne land. Why is a man not to sell his demesne land if he wishes? Then the hon. Member says that all holdings of 100 acres or under are to be sold to the tenant.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
No, I did ont say that. I am perfectly certain I said all tenanted land except demesne land and town parks. And I also exempted the western area, which requires special treatment.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I have the hon. Member's speech hero. He said, "All holdings over 100 acres were to be sold at prices fixed by the Land Commission at the actual value of the land."
§ MR. WYNDHAM
Then I will not pursue that further. He dealt only with tenanted land. He put forward no proposal as to land that was not tenanted. He did not attempt, I think, to deal with this question. In fact, he wished to sell the existing holdings to the existing tenants. Is it worth while hypothecating £120,000,000 for that purpose? There are in Ireland, not only in the congested districts, small holdings, impoverished holdings, and, therefore, squalid holdings, each with a family upon it of five or eight persons, and with not one of which can any of those families hope to rise to an ampler or a higher life. If you are going to risk £120,000,000, if you are going to work compulsion for twenty-five years—and 794 I defy you to do it at a greater pace than £5,000,000 a year—is it worth risking that sum, and the labour involved, in order to leave Ireland in precisely the position she is in at this moment? The hon. Member waved that problem away. He said probably the western area would have to be dealt with by the Congested Districts Board, and might involve special treatment. Yes, Sir, but the hon. Member has not looked too closely into his own problem. Out of 486,000 holdings in Ireland there are 127,000 holdings of an annual value of £4 and under. But they are not all in the congested districts. In the western counties, in Donegal, Mayo, and Galway there are 45,425 of these holdings. But in Ulster itself, excluding Donegal, there are 21,700 holdings of less annual value than £4, and in the rest of Ireland, excluding Ulster and the congested districts, there are 66,900 of these holdings. I ask the House to consider—Is it a question of rent? The average rent of these 127,000 holdings, each, I suppose, supporting some five persons—the average rent of a quarter of a million of people—is £3 a year for a family. That is 1s. 2d. a week, 2d. a day, lodging money paid by a family for a miserable holding, I agree. You cannot neglect this side of the problem. If you are to risk £120,000,000, and to plunge the whole land of Ireland into the limbo of litigation, are you to leave that problem untouched? If you abolish all rent, what becomes of the main plea put forward by the hon. Member in regard to the jealousy of the man on one side of the wall for the man on the other side of the wall? Suppose one of these families succeed in purchasing their holding at fifteen years' purchase, what is the difference? The man over the wall is paying 2d. a day, and they are paying five farthings. It is ludicrous. It is: insane to ask this country to undertake such a heavy monetary charge, apart from all precedent, to plunge Ireland into fresh years of litigation, and then not to touch what, in my opinion, is the sore which must be healed if ever we are to settle the Irish land question.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
On one point I notice that the Chief Secretary has found himself in entire agree- 795 ment with the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House. Both of them have felt the difficulty of the situation with which they are face to face. When you have over 90 per cent. of the representatives of a country asking for a remedy for what they allege to be a great grievance you are in a difficult position, and I do not wonder that not only the Chief Secretary but the right hon. Gentleman himself made an almost passionate appeal to the supporters who sit behind them to treat this as a vote of want of confidence.
I admit at once that the problem with, which the Government finds itself confronted is a difficult one. I am quite aware of the force there is in what was said by the Chief Secretary, that legislation of this kind must inevitably lead to a sea of litigation and to many difficulties. But these difficulties you will have to face if you are to grapple with the question of Irish land at all. I observed that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House and the Chief Secretary both passed criticisms of a scathing order upon the Land Act of 1881; but what is the record of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite upon this matter? Who was it who brought the leaseholders, whom Mr. Gladstone excluded, within its provisions, and thereby affirmed once more the necessity of referring to some principle such as that to solve the great difficulty with which the administration was confronted?
Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to say that the Government had been driven by the principle of the Act of 1881 to the further principle of purchase. I am not surprised at that. I do not wonder that they felt that the position established, first by the Act of 1870 and then by the subsequent Act of eleven years later, marked the transition period and inevitably had to lead to something of a more far-reaching character; and to-day we find that hon. Members from Ireland are almost tumbling over each other in their anxiety to vindicate themselves, and the Government which some of them support, from the plea of being indifferent to this question of purchase as an absolute necessity for the situation. When I see 90 per cent. of the Irish Members taking a particular view I cannot avoid the conclusion that there is some deep-seated reason for it. I have always been 796 a strong supporter of land purchase. I have always felt that a system of dual ownership was a system on which you could not rest, and which must inevitably lead you to take a further step. How do we stand at this moment? We are told that it is the decision of a majority of the people who elect this Parliament that you cannot give a system of government to' Ireland under which the people of Ireland may settle their own affairs. If that is so, it seems to me you are under a greater obligation to try to mould your Irish legislation to the ideas of the people, and,. in particular, that land legislation which perhaps more than any other affects their well-being. If you will not allow the Irish to manage their own concerns, you might at least avoid preferring the interests of the minority to the interests of the majority.
That is the issue at stake. Let us admit frankly that the land legislation of 1881 and the subsequent legislation extending it has not proved wholly a success. Let us admit, what has been proved up to the hilt by the speeches of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford and the hon. Member for South Tyrone, that we must take some step forward. What step? Certainly not a perpetuation of dual ownership; and if you come to the conclusion that dual ownership will not do, then you must look to the principle already adopted by the Government themselves. I do not propose to impugn the conduct of judges. Judge Meredith is no doubt a very able judge, Judge Boss; I know personally, and both are high-minded men. But I think the evidence is almost conclusive that the system of administering these dual ownership Acts has practically broken down. Take the Ashbourne Act. What has it done? It has put the power of selling land in the option not of the tenant, but of the landlord. The landlord is preferred, and he is told that if he chooses to sell his land he shall have the assistance of the State. What has been the consequence? The Act has been in operation for many years There are no arrears worth calling arrears under it, it has practically proved a success, and it has shown that if you govern your conduct carefully you can use the credit of this country to convert dual into single ownership in Ireland. If that were done for the sake of getting rid of the 797 ownership of land in favour of the worst class of tenant, it should also be done for the benefit of the best class of tenant. Let me explain. When you gave the option to the landlord to sell his land, who was he likely to pick out? Of course the tenant that was troublesome, and from whom he had difficulty in getting his rent. You thought it sufficient to protect the people of this country that you should take measures to enable the landlord to sell to the tenant whom he was most ready to be quit of, and yet you now refuse to interpose the credit of this country in the interests of the good tenants. I maintain that the distinction between these two cases is illogical, and cannot be upheld.
I do not advocate land purchase on the footing of any belief that it will involve any considerable sacrifice to this country to bring it about, but if there were to be a sacrifice it would be worth making for the prospect of a more peaceful and contented Ireland. The experience we have had under the Ashbourne Act has proved almost conclusively that if we take proper steps we may interpose the credit of this country without any substantial risk of loss to the Exchequer. It is all very well to talk of liabilities, but what would be said of the banker who refused to increase a loan when he had assets on the other side, and we all know that in this matter the State has a good safe asset. If that be the general principle, it seems to me we ought to do what we can to give effect to it. It is not enough to take up the attitude of the Chief Secretary and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House. I listened to their speeches, and I did not hear from them that anything substantial was to be done to get rid of the impossible condition of things existing in Ireland. I did not hear the Chief Secretary announce any measure.
§ MR. HALDANE
The Kings Speech is an extremely vague document, and it is singularly barren of promise of legislation for Ireland. We know nothing of the measure to which the Speech referred.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
When I move for leave to bring in the Bill will be the 798 proper occasion for describing the intentions of the Government.
§ MR. HALDANE
Then the right hon. Gentleman asks us to act on faith. But what are the prospects? The right hon. Gentleman made no attempt to get rid of this Amendment by telling the Irish Members that he was going to propose something substantial. They cannot be expected to take things on trust. One of their most pressing grievances is the Irish University question, and there was no hint or indication in the King's Speech that the Government are going to follow up the policy which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House identified himself very warmly with some time ago. How, therefore, can you expect them to accept the promises you give them in the matter of land legislation?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman has made a personal reference to myself which is perfectly astounding. He knows perfectly well that every word I said on the Irish University question, and to which I adhere, was not said by me as a member of the Government at all.
§ MR. HALDANE
Yes, on the Irish University question the right hon. Gentleman carefully stated that he spoke for himself, but we all hoped until recently that his party were about to accept his opinion, and if that hope had not been entertained a great deal more would have been heard of the question. We are told that the King's Speech contains a promise for the redress of this land grievance, and we are asked to hold our hands. That is too vague. We are face to face in Ireland with a state of affairs which, unless some definite steps are taken, will result in a standstill. It is plain that the machinery provided by the Act of 1881 is not enough. That is shown conclusively.
We have in Ireland two classes diametrically opposed to one another. One class consists of the vast majority of the people; the other is a small class. I have always believed that Irish landlords should not be made scapegoats, but that they should have justice done to them. I am aware that the business of governing Ireland from Westminster 799 must continue to be a very difficult one. Why make it more difficult by refusing to deal with a grievance such as this? There are two obstacles worth considering in the way of a measure of this kind. One is that a large number of the Irish landlords are mortgagors, and it is said that if you reduce their income by giving them Consols they will be in an intolerable position. I think that would be so, but I assume this motion means that you are going to pay out the mortgages, and make a clean sweep of the matter, and if you do that I do not see any difficulty in dealing with the Irish landlords who are mortgagors. They will get the value of the equity of redemption, and they are entitled to claim nothing else. Then it is said that a considerable amount of land in Ireland is untenanted. That is quite true, and I should hope that those landlords who have no tenants would more and more become one, politically and socially, with the people among whom they live, with a view to bringing about contentment in Ireland. I have never been sanguine of the possibility of making Ireland a rich, prosperous, and contented country, because the causes of its present condition are of long standing, but this I do think, that when, short of Home Rule, which this House has elected to decide against, you have a practical proposition upon which a very large number of the people of Ireland are agreed—a larger number than had previously been in agreement—I feel that it is an opportunity that should not be lost. If the Government cannot go further, they can at least take steps towards dealing with a grievance which is felt throughout Ireland, which is protested against by Members from Ulster as well as by Members from the other provinces of Ireland, and which is ripe for solution. I, for my part, while recognising the difficulties of the Government in attempting a solution of this matter, feel that the balance of the merits of the case are with those who have brought forward this proposal.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
I should have sought an opportunity of speaking earlier had I not believed that the debate on this most important matter Would have gone over more than one night.
800 Of all the points that have been urged on the House to-night, that which most-strikes me as governing the whole situation is one which was very forcibly put in the two brilliant speeches with which the debate opened, but of which we have heard very little since. It is the very simple fact that this represents the desire of 95 per cent. of the Irish Members. Now. I have always been one of those who have supported the desire expressed by the large majority of the Irish Members that they should be endowed with the power of managing their own domestic affairs—I have always put that fact in the very forefront as the strongest reason why their demand should have received greater consideration than it did in the past. If the representation of these people is to be of any value, when we have such a remarkable consensus of opinion, when we find men in the country and Members in this House who have hitherto been accustomed to act in diametrical opposition to each other agreed upon this question, surely that is the very strongest argument for the favourable consideration of this motion by the House. There is one case, and one case only, in which that could be set aside, but I will come to that later.
On the merits of the case, and passing over the administration of previous Acts, and coming to the existing situation in Ireland, a very singular point strikes me. We have already passed several Purchase Bills enabling the tenant to buy from his landlord, if he is willing to sell, on certain terms. Those terms are such that the annual payment that the tenant has to make is less than the fixed rent which he was before paying. So that you have this position. Two tenants are living alongside of each other, and the landlord of one has been able and willing to sell, and after the arrangement has been made this tenant pays, we are told tonight, only 12s. in the pound of the rental that he formerly paid and of the rent that his neighbour pays, and not only so, but he pays it for a definite term of years, and at the end of that term the land becomes his for ever. His neighbour, however, goes on paying the 20s. in the pound of his fixed rent, and no number of years that may pass over his head alters his position. I maintain that that is a position of things which cannot 801 conduce either to the contentment, peace, or prosperity of Ireland. I think that is a better argument than all the technical pleas that have been urged, and having begun with this process of land purchase, therefore, having induced Parliament to pass measures involving stress, no doubt, on the Imperial Exchequer and other sources, to create this anomalous state of things, you must go on with it, and go on with it as rapidly as possible, and in such a way and degree as to put an end to this anomaly. I do not mean to say—the point was raised by the Chief Secretary—in regard to very small holdings, where something is paid in some cases that may be called a rent which is not a rent at all, but rather a sort of fine that is imposed on the attachment of a man and his family to the place where they live, that that class of property might not be dealt with exceptionally; but the great mass of tenants surely are entitled, whatever the position of their landlord, to have the same advantage the one as the other.
That being the policy, and in view of the condition of the Irish people and the contentment of Ireland, what is there to be said against it? There is this to be said against it, and this only: that there may be danger of loss of money to the Imperial Exchequer. There is, I have said, one case in which the ascertained, constitutionally expressed, moderately preferred desire of the Irish people might be set aside. That would be the case where it involved something beyond the limits of Ireland, and something bringing general danger or loss. It be may so here; it is quite possible, as the Leader of the House said, that if a large step forward is taken in this direction there may be no longer the same immunity from loss that we have seen in the past, but if it be so I answer that you are committed to it already. You should have thought of that before. There is nothing now to do except to go through with it and establish something like prosperity among the Irish people. For these reasons—and that is my object, that is the personal view I take of it—I shall for my part vote for the Amendment, because it is only in this way that the great object which we desire can be attained.
§ MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
I have listened with very great care to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, and I must confess I am entirely in the dark at the present moment as to his position, or whether he means that he himself or his party have made a considerable advance on the question of land purchase in Ireland since the last occasion on which he addressed the House on the subject, in 1892. I think he has left myself and many other hon. Members near me in doubt as to whether his speech was merely a declamatory expression of his views, not to be followed by any action by him or his party if they came into power. What I wish to ask, and what I am sure the House would like to know from some other right hon. Gentleman opposite, is, if the fortune of party turns, has the right hon. Gentle-man to-night pledged his party to immediately carry into effect the policy which underlies the Amendment of the hon. Member for Waterford, and which has been expounded in Ulster by the hon. Member for South Tyrone. That policy has been placed with absolute distinctness and clearness by the hon. Member for South Tyrone before the farmers of Ulster and of Ireland. He says that a condition of things exists in Ireland which makes it absolutely necessary that there must be not only purchase but compulsory purchase, and not only compulsory purchase but immediate compulsory purchase. We have heard to-night the answer of the Government. We have heard the speech of the right hon Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, but I do not think that anyone yet understands whether he has pledged himself or his party, if they come into power, to carry out immediately a policy of compulsory purchase in Ireland involving a sum of over one hundred million sterling. The policy which has been propounded in Ulster by the hon. Member for South Tyrone is not merely an enlargement of the Voluntary Purchase Acts, it is that compulsion is necessary. [Several HON. MEMBERS: Divide, divide !] Hon. Members themselves state that this matter is of the greatest possible importance, and I am going to take advantage of this 803 opportunity to express my opinion on it—
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E||Doogan, P. C.||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Knowles, Lees|
|Allen, C. P. (Glouc, Stroud)||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Duffy, William J.||Lawson, John Grant|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Duncan, James H.||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Dyke, Rt.Hn.Sir William Hart||Leamy, Edmund|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Edwards Frank||Lee, Capt. A H. (Hants, Fareh'm|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Leighton, Stanley|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Balfour, Rt.Hn. A.J.(Manch'r||Farrell, James Patrick||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S|
|Ballour, Rt. Hon. G.W. (Leeds)||Fenwick, Charles||Lough, Thomas|
|Banbury, Fredrick George||Ferguson R. C Munro (Leith)||Lowe, Francis William|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Manc'r||Lucas, Col. F. (Lowestoft)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Ffrench, Peter||Lucas, Reginald J, (Portsmouth|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Field William||Lundon, W.|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Beach,Rt. Hn. Sir M.H. (Bristol||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.|
|Bell, Richard||Fisher, William Hayes||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Bignold, A.||Fitzmaurice Lord Edmond||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Bill, Charles||Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Arthur, Wm. (Cornwall)|
|Blake, Edward||Fletcher Sir Henry||M'Cann, James|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Flynn, James Christopher||M'Fadden, Edward|
|Bowland, John||Forster, Henry William||M'Govern, T.|
|Bowles, Capt. H.F. (Middlesex||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||M'Hugh, Patrick A.|
|Bowles T. Gibson (King's Lynn||Gilhooly James||M'Kiliop, W. (Sligo, North)|
|Boyle James||Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Brassey, Albert||Godson, Sir Augustus Fred.||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W.F.|
|Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh.||Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'y)||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Greene, Sir E.W. (Bury S Edm||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Bull, William James||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Groves, James Grimble||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Minch, Matthew|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hain, Edward||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Caine, William Sproston||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Montagu, Hn. J.Scott (Hants|
|Caldwell, James||Hambro, Charles Eric||Mooney, John J.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Hamilton, Rt Hn Ld G. (Midd'x||More, Rbt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Hammond, John||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'd||Mount, William Arthur|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Murnaghan, George|
|Cavendish, V.C.W (Derbyshire||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Murphy, J.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J (Birm.||Hayden, John Patrick||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Chamberlairn, J. Austen (Worc'r||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.|
|Claney, John Joseph||Helder, Augustus||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Holland, William Henry||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hope, J.F (Sheffield, Brightside||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid|
|Colville, John||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||O'Brien, Patrick, (Kilkenny)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Brien, William (Cork)|
|Crean, Eugene||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Johnston, William (Belfast)||O'Doherty, William|
|Cullinan, J.||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||O'Donnell, John (Mayo S.)|
|Daly, James||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Joyce, Michael||O'Dowd, John|
|Delany, William||Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Dillon, John||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.||O'Malley, William|
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 251; Noes, 132. (Division List No. 5.)
|O'Mara, James||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Tomkinson, Henry James|
|O'Shee, James John||Schwann, Charles E.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Palmer, Geo. W. (Reading)||Shaw-Stewart, M H (Renfrew||Tally, Jasper|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Sinclair, Cant. J. (Forfarshire||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Partington, Oswald||Smith,H. C. (North'mb Tyneside||Walrond,Rt.Hn.Sir.William H.|
|Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Plummer, Walter R.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||White,Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||White,Patrick (Meath,North)|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Spear, John Ward||Whiteley,H.(Ashton und.Lyne|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Spencer,Rt. Hn. C. R (Northants||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Stevenson, Francis S.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Rasch, Major Frederick Carne||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Rea, Russell||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Reddy, M.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Ox. Univ.||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Redmond,William (Clare)||Taylor, Theodore Cooke||Wodehouse, Hn. Armine (Essex|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Tennant, Harold John||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Ridley, Hon. M. W.(Stalybridge||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.||Wortley, Rt.Hon.C.B.Stuart-|
|Ridley, Samuel F. (Bethnal Gr'n||Thomas, David Alfred (Merth'r||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.||Thomas, J.A. (Glamorgan, Gow'r||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Roche, John||Thompson, E. C. Monaghan, N.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Ropner, Colonel Robert||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Rutherford, John||Thornton, Percy M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Tollemache, Henry James||Mr. T. W. Russell and Captain Donelan.|
|Acland-Hood,Capt.Sir Alex.F.||Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morgan,David J.(Walthamst W.|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden||Grenfell, William Henry||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry J.|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Morton,ArthurH.A.(Deptford|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Hall, Edward Marshall||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Hamilton, Marq. of (Londond'y||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Harris,F. Leverton (Tynemo'h||Norman, Henry|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens.|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh||Healy, Timothy Michael||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Butcher, John George||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Henderson, Alexander||Peel, Hon. William Robert W.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hermon-Hodge, Robt Trotter||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hoare, Ed. Brodie (Hampstead)||Penn, John|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Percy, Earl|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Pilkington, Richard|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Hogg, Lindsay||Pryce-Jones, Lt-Col. Edward|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hoult, Joseph||Purvis, Robert|
|Chapman, Edward||Howard, Capt J. (Kent, Faversh.||Radcliffe, R. F.|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Remnant, James Farquharson.|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Keswick, William||Sandys, Lieut.-Cl. Thos. Myles|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North||Kimber, Henry||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Cl. Edw. J.|
|Cremer, William Randall||Law, Andrew Bonar||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Lawrence, William F.||Shipman, Dr. John|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lecky,Rt. Hon. William Ed. H.||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Dewar,T. R. (T'rH'mlets, SGeo.||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S.||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Stanley, Lord (Lanes)|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Lowther,Rt. Hon. James (Kent||Sullivan, Donal|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Tomlinson,Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Elliot, Hon. A.Ralph Douglas||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Tufnell, Col. Edward|
|Evans, Samuel T.||Maconochie, A. W.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Faber, George Denison||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||M'Calmont, Col.J.(Antrim,E.||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||M'Iver, Sir Lewis Edinburgh W||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||M'Kenna, Reginald||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Finch, George H.||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Wilson Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Majendie, James A. H.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Garfit, William||Manners, Lord Cecil||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Gordon Hn. J.E. (Elgin & Nairn||Maxwell, W.J.H. (Dumfriessh.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Milton, Visconnt||Mr. Macartney and Mr. Rentoul.|
|Gordon, Maj Evans. (T'rH'mlet||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
§ Question put accordingly, "That those words be there added."
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, William (Cork)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Allen, Charles P (Gloue., Stroud||Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbt, J.||O'Doherty, William|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn Herbert Henry||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Harlow, John Emmott||Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hammond, John||O'Dowd, John|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hardie, J. Keir (Mertbyr Tydvil||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Bell, Richard||Harmsworth, K. Leicester||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon N.|
|Blake, Edward||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Malley, William|
|Boland, John||Hayne,Rt. Hn. Charles Seale||O'Mara, James|
|Boyle, James||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||O'Shee, James John|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Holland, William Henry||Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)|
|Caine, William Sproston||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Partington, Oswald.|
|Caldwell, James||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Rea, Russell|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh'e||Reddy, M.|
|Carvill,Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Jordon, Jeremiah||Redmond, John E.(Waterford)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Joyce, Michael||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Kennedy, Patrick James||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kinloch, Sir John G. Smyth||Roche, John|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Samuel, S. M.(Whitechapel)|
|Colville, John||Leamy, Edmund||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Shipman, Dr. John|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lough, Thomas||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Crean, Eugene||Lundon, W.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cremer, William Randal||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Arthur, William(Cornwall)||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Daly, James||M'Cann, James||Tennant, Harold John|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Fadden, Edward||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Delany, William||M'Govern, T.||Thomas,DavidAlfred(Merthyr|
|Dillon, John||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Thomas,J.A.(Glamorgan G.)|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Thompson, E.C.(MonaghanN.|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Tompkinson, James|
|Dully, William J.||Minch, Matthew||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Duncan, James H.||Mooney, John J.||Tally, Jasper|
|Edwards, Frank||Morris, Hon. M. Henry F.||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Evans, Samuel T.||Murnaghan, George||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Murphy, J.||White, Patrick (Meath,North)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nolan,Col.John P. (Galway,N.||Wodehouse,Hn.Armine(Essex|
|Ferguson,R. C. Munro (Leith)||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Field, William||O'Brien,Kendal(TipperaryMid||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Mr. T. W. Russell and Captain Donelan.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Acland-Hood,Capt.Sir Alex.F.||Bartlcy, George C. T.||Bull, William James|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Beach,Rt. Hon. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Bullard, Sir Harry|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bignold, A.||Burdett-Coutts, W.|
|Allhusen, Augustus H. Eden||Bill, Charles||Butcher, John George|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Carlile, William Walter|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Bousfield, William Robert||Cautley, Henry Strother|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bowles,Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Bowles,T.Gibson(King'sLynn)||Cavendish,V.C.W(Derbyshire|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Brassey, Albert||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A.J. (Manch'r||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Chamberlain,Rt. Hn.J.(Birm.|
|Balfour,Rt Hn Gerald W.(Leeds||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Chamberlain,J.Austen (Worc.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh.||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 140; Noes, 235. (Division List No. 6.)
|Chapman, Edward||Howard, Capt. J. (Kent, Fav'sh.||Penn, John|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Hozier,Hon. James Henry Cecil||Percy, Earl|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Pilkington, Richard|
|Col lings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Jessel,CaptainHerhertMorton||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.(Salop)||Purvis, Robert|
|Gust, Henry John C.||Keswick, William||Quitter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kimber, Henry||Radcliffe, R. E.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Dewar,T.B.(T'rH'ml'ts,S.Geo.||Knowles, Lees||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lambton, Hon.Frederick Wm.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Law, Andrew Bonar||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Lawrence, William F.||Ridley,Hn.M.W.(Stalybridge|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Lawson, John Grant||Ridley,Samuel F.(BethnalGr'n|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Leeky,Rt. Hn. William EdwH.||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T.|
|Doxford,Sir William Theodore||Lee,Capt.A. H. (HantsFarehm||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Carrie||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. SirWm.H.||Leighton, Stanley||Rutherford, John|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Leveson-Gower,FrederickN.S,||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Elliot,Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Sadler,Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Faber, George Denison||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.)||Sandys,Lieut.-Col.Thos.Myles|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Lowe, Francis William||Saunderson, Rt. Hon.Col.E.J.|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Fergusson,Rt.Hn.Sir J.(Manc'r||Lowther,Rt. Hn. James (Kent)||Shaw-Stewart,M.H. (Renfrew)|
|Fielden,Edward Brocklehurst||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Simeon, Sir Harrington|
|Finch, George H.||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Finlay,Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lucas,Reginald J. (Portsm'th)||Smith,H.C. (N'th'mb.Tyneside|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Smith, James Farker(Lanarks.|
|Fison, Frederick William||Macdona, John Gumming||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Fitzroy,Hon. Edward Algernon||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Spear, John Ward|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Maconochie, A. W.||Stanley, Edward J. (Somerset)|
|Forster, Henry William||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool||Stanley, Lord (Lanes)|
|Garfit, William||M'Calmont.Col.J. (Antrim,E.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Godson,Sir Augustus Frederick||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Gordon,Hn.J.E.(Elgin&Nairn||M'Killop, James(Stirlingshire||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry,South||Majendie, James A. H.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gordon,Maj Evans- (T'rH'ml'ts||Manners, Lord Cecil||Talbot,Rt. Hn.J.G.(Oxfd Univ.|
|Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon.Sir John Eldon||Massey-Mainwaring,Hn. W. F.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Maxwell, W.J.H.(Dumfriessh.||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Greene,Sir E.W.(B'ryS. Edm'ds||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Tufnell, Col. Edward|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Milner, Rt. Hn.Sir Fredrick G.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Groves, James Grimble||Milton, Viscount||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Milward, Colonel Victor||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Hain, Edward||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Wason,John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Montagu, Hn. J.Scott (Hants)||Whiteley,H.(Ashton-under-L.|
|Hambro, Charles Erie||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G.(Mid' x||More, Robert J. (Shropshire)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'donderry||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Hardy,Laurence(Kent Ashford||Morrell, George Herbert||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Wilson, A.Stanley(York,E.R.)|
|Harris,F. Leverton (Tynem'th||Moulton, John Fletcher||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Mount, William Arthur||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Heath, James(Staffords.,N.W.||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Wilson-Todd,Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Helder, Augustus||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Wodehouse,Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Henderson, Alexander||Nicholson, William Graham||Wortley, Rt. Hon.C.B.Stuart-|
|Hermon-Hodge, Rbt. Trotter||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Hoare,EdwBrodie(Hampstead||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Young, Commander (Berks,E.)|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Parkes, Ebenezer||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Hope,J.F.(Sheffield Brightside||Peel, Hon. Wm. R. Wellesley|
|Hoult, Joseph||Pemberton, John S. G.|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Debate arising; and, it being after midnight, the debate stood adjourned.810
§ Debate to be resumed to-morrow.
§ Adjourned at Twenty-five minutes after Twelve of the clock.