§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [4th May], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
Which Amendment was—
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'"—(Mr. Coghill.)
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, N.)
I think the House will realise that the great difficulty of one speaking in favour of this Bill is not to meet the opposition offered to it, but in the fact that all who have spoken upon it have spoken in its favour, and that the real interest is now centred in the Committee stage rather than in the Second Reading of the Bill. Very few Members have spoken in opposition to the Second Reading, but one of the most powerful and vigorous attacks against the Bill was the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Launceston. The hon. and learned Gentleman alleged that all Irish debates were conducted in an atmosphere of passion or sentiment. No measure affecting the welfare of Ireland has ever been debated with less passion than this, and when the hon. and 104 learned Member talks of passion, I think we might confine the criticism to his own speech, and two or three speeches made by Liberal Members, because the atmosphere of passion has scarcely been stirred from any quarter of the House. The hon. and learned Member for Launceston said that if passion were not present, then there was sentiment. Those are the two charges he brings against the conduct of Irish debates in this House. But sentiment is one of the most powerful, vigorous and practical forces in the Government of a country, and most of all in the Government of a high-spirited and sensitive people like the Irish. I recollect when Lord Curzon was leaving these shores for India, to take up his duties as Viceroy of India, he said two qualities were required for a Viceroy of India, courage and sympathy. If those two qualities are required in a Viceroy of India, they are required still more for the government of Ireland, and it is because those two qualities so permeate the whole measure before the House that it has been so well received, not only by the people of Ireland, but by the people of England and Scotland. I earnestly hope that those who are sanguine enough to believe this will mean the end of the land war in Ireland will be justified in that belief. One thing I can say. The landlords of Ireland have it in their power to make this a final settlement. In the south and west of Ireland I have every hope and confidence that this will prove a final settlement of the land question, but in the north I am not so sure. I fear that in the north, where the tenants have readily paid their rent, and where they are a law-abiding and peace-loving people, the landlords will not be so anxious to sell as they are in the south and west. That, perhaps, explains the reason why this Bill has not been received with the same enthusiasm in the north of Ireland. And this fear that the landlords of the north will not be so willing to sell as those in the south and west, makes it incumbent on those who represent the tenant farmers in the north of Ireland to see that the tenant farmers there shall not be placed in a worse position by this Bill than they were before it was passed. Like every other Unionist and county Member of this House I am a believer in compulsion. There is not a single Unionist Member for Ireland, 105 and I do not except even the Attorney-General, who has not professed his belief in the possible necessity of the ultimate principle of compulsion being brought into the Bill. I do not for a moment believe in the possibility of that principle being brought in at once. I think and hope the generous proposals of this Bill are sufficient to enable us to do without compulsion, and I join in the earnest hope which has been expressed by my colleagues that we may be able to do without the principle of compulsion altogether. If compulsion be applied it must not be one-sided compulsion, it must not be such compulsion as will create a new grievance in the north of Ireland, and which will compel the tenants to be in the position Clause 17 compels them now to be in, by taking away from them the rights and privileges they now have, and putting pressure and compulsion on them, whilst compulsion is not applied to the landlord. I hope on this and other Amendments that have been foreshadowed, such as that dealing with the labourers of Ireland, the Government will, as the Attorney-General has promised it shall, lend a friendly ear. If the voluntary arrangements proposed in this Bill really create a peasant proprietary, and really end the land war that has been carried on for so long, I do not think it is possible to calculate the gain that will come to Ireland in this matter when it is free from the constant and bitter controversies between landlords and tenants. No one who does not know Ireland can calculate the economic gain that will come to Ireland from this measure. These are days when old men are seeing visions and young men are dreaming dreams of a new era of peace, plenty and prosperity for Ireland. We share the hope that those visions and those dreams will be fully realised and join in support of all Irish representatives from every quarter of the House, in believing that this Bill is a great measure of justice and a great message of peace to the people of Ireland.
§ MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
In the course of this debate this afternoon we have had a remarkable speech from the hon. and learned Member for Louth, and I wish he were here now that I might express from these Benches the profound sympathy, pleasure and delight 106 with which we listened to the noble words with which he concluded that broad and generous handling of these questions. The tone and spirit of that speech are the tone and spirit in which I, as an English Member, would wish to approach this Bill. I confess that the line of reasoning which has forced itself upon me since I have considered this measure is something of this kind. What is the Bill which the people of Ireland themselves desire? I have listened to every representative speech delivered by Members who are entitled to speak for Ireland, and I ask is the Bill which they are going to vote for to-night the Bill they wish to vote for? or is it another Bill—an ideal Bill to give a widely different solution of this problem to Ireland. It appears to me that much will depend upon the answer the Chief Secretary will give to-night to the points laid before him. I have endeavoured to examine the provisions of this Bill dispassionately, and the very definite opinion I have formed is based on long consideration of this subject. I agree with the hon. Member for South Tyrone that, to secure agrarian peace in Ireland we can scarcely name the number of millions that it would be to our interest, and that it would be our duty, to devote to that purpose. But what we have to ask ourselves is whether we are really obtaining a final and complete settlement of the land question, or are we attempting to build a temple of peace upon the quick-sands, when the winds and waves of human passion and economic laws will inevitably beat it down? Much light has been thrown upon this issue in the course of the debates, and not least by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool, who spoke this afternoon, and urged that everything depended on the price of the land, and that the tenants must be protected against themselves. I might further remind the House that the hon. Member for Cork City, and the leader of the Irish Party himself, in the previous debates both insisted on this point, that the price of the land was absolutely vital to the success of the measure, and that the tenant must be free to make his own bargain and should not be obliged to pay a larger price than had been paid by purchasers in the open market under the 107 existing Acts. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool had dwelt upon the report of Mr. Bailey. That report is encouraging, as it shows the industry and intelligence of the tenant purchasers and points out that they have put such little capital as they have into the development of the land. But the hon. Member also pointed out that these men had been buying under the old Act at seventeen, sixteen and even nine years purchase, and that it was at that rate of purchase they had been able to look for the successful working of the land. Where you are compelled to buy land at a higher price than its economic value, I ask whether it is possible to look forward to anything like the same future of success as had attended the tenants who have been able to buy in a fair market under the Ashbourne Act, or the Act of 1891. I perfectly agree with what has fallen from many hon. Members for Ireland that we need not look to Ireland or to Irishmen for a policy of repudiation of their debts, or for a policy of veiled or open rebellion against this country, because of the position in which the two countries may be thrown by the operation of economic law; but economic facts are stronger than any other facts you can produce. You cannot draw blood from a stone. To force up artificially the price of the land in the interests of the landowner is to over-capitalise the new venture of the peasant proprietary in Ireland, a policy which reminds me very much of those companies which were floated a few years back by a gentleman whose name is familiar to the House—companies the whole object of which was to secure a vast preliminary profit to the promoters by over-capitalisation and which left the unfortunate shareholders who had invested their money in those concerns to struggle for a profit under absolutely impossible conditions. I have always attached, and I have no doubt many Irishmen attach, great importance to the opinions of our old friend Mr. Michael Davitt, for whom I personally have a deep regard. I deeply regret that he felt himself compelled to withdraw from this House three years ago. I read with considerable interest one of Mr. Michael Davitt's recent speeches on this question, and I feel that some of the 108 passages of that speech ought to be laid before this House. Mr. Davitt says—The total minimum compensation provided for the landlords in Mr. Wyndham's Bill will be fully £50,000,000 above the market value, which will be £17,000,000 over and above all the reductions effected inside and outside of the Land Courts since 1881. In addition to this the landlords have already received a capitalised value, in freedom from poor rate of some £20,000,000 under the Local Government Act of 1898; so that they stand to receive back again from the tenants and taxpayers every farthing which the Land Act of 1881 took from them, and a neat little bonus of £37,000,000 over and above that amount besides ensuring for themselves another income..… Your tenant farmers will have to compete with all the cheap lands of the world in the supply of food to the markets of Great Britain and you are placing upon them, almost in a compulsory form, a bargain which prohibits the possibility of their working the farms at a profit. Purchase on the Wyndham terms would result in three-fourths of the farms of Ireland being thrown upon the hands of the State before a third of the purchase of the debt was liquidated. What is essential to the peace and progress of the country is that this settlement shall be final.He thus closes this part of his speech—But we must take care that the final act of the landlords and their English backers shall not be the placing of a load of debt on Ireland's shoulders, and a tax upon our chief industry, such as will weigh the country down, so as to fatally hamper her progress during the next seventy years.Those are very weighty words. The over-capitalisation of this scheme in Ireland is a tremendous fact with which we have to deal. The Bill attracts the tenants with the hope that it may become universal, but it is certain that it will not be universal, that there will be estates like Lord Clanricarde's as centres of unrest, and the difference between these purchases and those under the former Acts would arouse discontent. The criticism of the Act of 1881 by the Chief Secretary and the First Lord is really—if not discourteous to say so—puerile.
It is easy to say that the Act of 1881 has caused litigation and irritation. But the real problem which caused the agitation and trouble in Ireland for generations past is the problem which was declared sixty years ago by the Devon Commission to be the real issue, the problem of separating 109 what was the property of the landlord from what was the property of the tenant. Say what you will of the machinery of the Act of 1881, or any irritating quality it had, it could only irritate the landlords—the problem put before the country and before Parliament then by Lord Devon was solved by that great Act. What has been the history of all these Land Purchase proposals? I am strongly in favour of the principle of land purchase in the sense in which John Bright used it thirty years ago. John Bright was in favour of the creation with the aid of Imperial credit of a peasant proprietary in Ireland. But the whole of this policy which was started in 1883, as the First Lord of the Treasury stated on the first day of this debate, has been simply and solely to replace in the pockets of the landlords money which, judicially, does not belong to them. There is no doubt of that proposition. The report of the Conference frankly states that the losses of the landlords, owing to the fixing of fair rents, is one of the motives for legislation on these lines by this House. Lord Donough more in 1882 in moving for a Committee said—They wanted a Committee to take some steps to check, before it is quite too late, that 'heavy loss and ruin' which the Prime Minister himself repudiated and disavowed, but which is being inflicted day by day upon an admittedly guiltless class, the landlords of Ireland.And Lord Cairns, then Lord Chancellor, said in the same debate—The Land Commission are alienating from one-fourth to one-third of the ownership of those who hitherto held it to those who have never held it at all.I well remember the debate in which Mr. Gladstone, in 1882, denounced the action of the Irish Peers for trying to tear up his Fair Rent Bill by the roots before it had fairly got started. The whole of these Acts have, in my opinion, been nothing more nor less than Landlord Compensation Bills. In the Bill before the House we have an extraordinary proposal that we should artificially increase the value of the land in Ireland by some 30, 40, 50, or even 100 per cent. I should like to know where the landlord exists in this country, who, even in the case of a railway arbitration, has received 100 per cent. increase in the value of his land. This is a 110 monstrous proposition, and what I have to say is that it seems to me, if we are ready to provide a vast sum for compensating Irish landlords, it would be a far more rational proposal for us to say to them, "By all means have your full market value, and, if necessary, let us add what is the equivalent for compulsory expropriation in this country, but do not let us enhance the value of the land to the purchasing tenant by a single penny." Ireland does deserve the help of the Imperial Exchequer to the fullest extent. If you want £40,000,000 in heaven's name let us give it for the development of the land, but do not pass the money on into the pockets of the landlords, who are the least deserving class in Ireland. That money ought to be expended in improvements upon the land, and not for the pleasure and gratification of the landlords.
This Bill will throw an enormous burden upon the new peasant proprietors in Ireland. If land purchase is an Imperial matter, then, even as regards the bonus, Ireland is contributing more than her share. The other day I saw an important memorial presented to the Lord Lieutenant from the Christian Brothers and Catholic school headmasters in Ireland, demanding that the equivalent grant for education should be applied to specified types and forms of education in Ireland, and it seems to me that the reply of the Chief Secretary for Ireland the other day on that point was eminently unsatisfactory. He said that the previous equivalent grant had been practically wasted, and this grant could not be applied usefully, because elementary education in Ireland was in such an unsatisfactory condition. That is the very reason why every one of the resources of Ireland should be preserved, and not withdrawn from application for the benefit of the whole people, and handed over as an endowment to a single privileged class. I protest most strongly against that error in the Bill. At the same time I feel that we must look in the broadest spirit of hope to the development of a real and sound principle of peasant proprietary and land purchase in Ireland, on the lines indicated by hon. Members who have laid the general scope of their Amendments before the Government. I 111 do not myself see how the Government can refuse those Amendments. I shall support those Amendments, and I am satisfied in my own conscience that by giving a vote against this Bill I am protesting against the misapplication of these great funds which ought to be devoted to the development of agricultural industries in Ireland and not handed over to one class in that country.
§ MR. FLOWER (Bradford, W.)
I think the unanimity that prevails upon this question amongst all those who are entitled to speak with authority upon Irish matters, justifies the House in passing the Second Reading of this Bill, in the belief that from the deliberations in Committee will emerge a Bill generally acceptable to the Irish people. I have listened to criticisms from my own side of the House of great interest and importance. I think my hon. friend the Member for Stoke-upon-Trent stated that he was moving the rejection of this Bill because it was a step towards Home Rule. I am not concerned to deny that the passage of this Bill into law will have as its by-product a large extension of local government in Ireland, but I would ask whether it is to be an article of creed amongst us Unionists that local government is not to be extended from time to time to Ireland alone among the countries of the United Kingdom, as political exigencies render it necessary. If that were indeed the policy of the Unionist Party then I confess I do not understand how it is that we are asking the Irish people to become reconciled and friendly to our policy on the ground that this Imperial Parliament is able to remedy their grievances and to redress their legitimate complaints.
§ MR. FLOWER
No, on the contrary, I rejoiced at the Local Government Bill, and I rejoice at this Bill, and I am not at all sure that in future a larger Local Government Bill will not be a necessary consequence of this Bill. There is no finality in Irish politics any more than there is 112 finality in English self-government. There is another criticism which has been made against this Bill, and it has been made by more than one speaker from the Opposition side of the House. The suggestion seems to be made that under this Bill the Irish landlords are going to get more than they ought to get. Let us just look at that for a moment from an economic point of view. You have in the first place the working of the Ashbourne Acts, and under those Acts, I suppose, a large amount of the landlord's interest in Ireland has been transferred to the tenant, and of that large amount a great deal has been sold by landlords who have been pressed by the exigencies of their circumstances to sell. You have had flocking into the market under these Acts landlords under serious pressure from their tenants. That pressure to sell under the Ashbourne Acts will cease. And it has become an absolute necessity to devise new machinery. I believe that the machinery which the Chief Secretary has proposed in this Bill is one which is admirably calculated to effect that object. I think that the House ought to bear in mind that the policy of the Chief Secretary and the Government is a policy of voluntary purchase and that therefore they have to consider not only the interests of the landlords and tenants and the State, but they have to consider the combined interests of all three, and they have to so combine them as to produce a scheme which is acceptable to each of the three parties to the contract. You might pass through the House of Commons a Bill acceptable to the Irish tenants and acceptable to those who constitute themselves the guardians of the public purse, but if that Bill was one which would not be accepted by the Irish landlords one would be merely adding another to the score of Irish Land Acts, and really effecting nothing in the nature of a permanent settlement of this question. You have to consider the fact that under the Ashbourne Acts, a very large number of those landlords who wish to sell have sold. I do not doubt that under any form in which this Bill passes, a large number of landlords will sell. No doubt you will get rid of the impecunious landlord, but that is not the real object of the Bill, which is intended to provide the lines of 113 a final transfer of the landlords' interest to the tenants throughout Ireland, and to do that you must pay due economic regard to the interests of the landlords.
There are a great many points in this Bill which have been discussed during this Second Reading debate, and I am not at all sure that that discussion has been very beneficial to the Bill, because I believe when the Bill comes to the Committee stage a spirit of give and take will prevail and we shall be able to arrive at satisfactory conclusions on the points which have been thrown out. I venture to hope that the Chief Secretary in his reply will not commit himself in any one direction. I believe that this Bill, if it is carried through in the spirit in which it was introduced by the right hon. Gentleman, will be of great benefit, and will be a great success, more especially if it emerges from the Committee stage in the same spirit which animated that notable conference which discussed the details of the Irish Land Question in Dublin. It is in that spirit that I hope the subsequent stages of the Bill will be dealt with, because I feel confident that it is only by a general recognition of all the interests involved that we can get a really great measure passed through Parliament. I am very grateful to hon. Gentlemen from the north, south and west of Ireland, who have addressed themselves in language of moderation to this great question. If, in the Committee stage, the same spirit is manifested, and if we have a full and free hand in dealing with it there, I think we shall be able to do a good day's work for Ireland.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY (Montrose Burghs)
I did not expect to be recalled into the thicket, or, shall I say, the jungle, of the Irish Land Question once more, but I find it difficult during the course of this debate to be perfectly silent. It is a question in which I have taken, for a great many years, a direct, large, personal, and responsible interest. I have listened to the remarks of the hon. Member who preceded me with interest. I observed that the hon. Member, like the hon. Member for King's Lynn, who spoke before the adjournment, says in effect that what he calls, euphemistically, a large 114 extension of local self-government to Ireland, has no longer the terrors for him that it once had.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
Oh, he says it is a by-product—that Home Rule is to be a by-product. From that description of the situation I, for one, am not at all inclined to dissent. The hon. Member for King's Lynn used a remarkable expression. He said—I confess that Home Rule has no longer any fears for me.Therefore, we have to-night, within three or four hours' space of time, two hon. Members of unimpeached Conservative orthodoxy, on that side of the House, admitting that the by-product is not very remote. I venture to dissent from the hon. Member who has just sat down in one particular, a point on which I have not the right to advise the right hon. Gentleman opposite, a point of tactics. He said he hoped the Chief Secretary would not commit himself or the Government at this stage to decisive or specific pronouncements. I venture with great respect to take exactly the opposite view. In my opinion it would save the time of this House, and, it may be, the temper of this House, if the Chief Secretary to-night would tell us, on two or three points, that are really the only serious points of dispute, what his position is and how far he intends to maintain it, and where, on the other hand, he is open to Amendment or to make concessions. I should like to begin with a word or two oh the Act of 1881. That is no amusement in the way of historical reminiscence, because we are told every day—it is part of the clap-trap of the discussion going on in the Press and elsewhere, I mean the Ministerial Press, that this large extension, a revolutionary extension as I shall hope to show that it is, is not at all due to the Act of 1881, but it is due to what has been declared by the Prime Minister to be the special policy of the Unionist Government. It is not because the Act of 1881 was passed that you are bringing in this Bill. There is another reason. In consequence of the operation of the Purchase Act you have farmers on one side of a 115 fence paying rent, and farmers on the other side who have purchased annuities paying much less. It is a complete error on the present occasion to lay the whole blame on the Act of 1881. I am not at all inclined to stop there. It is said constantly, it is a subordinate part of the clap-trap, that Mr. Gladstone in 1881 created dual ownership in Ireland. What he did, no doubt, was to legalise the dual ownership; but, as the Prime Minister himself admitted in his powerful exposition of the views of some of us on this side of the House, and of Gentlemen below the Gangway, there was a natural sentiment of dual ownership; and, after all, what Mr. Gladstone did in 1870 first of all, and afterwards in 1881, was to give the sanction of law to the social conditions and Irish ideas which are called ideas of dual ownership. To test this point, suppose the Act of 1881 had never been passed, suppose that Mr. Gladstone in 1881 had brought in a purchase instead of a tenure Act—I put to you the question—How could you have got a basis for your purchase policy? What you would have done, I suppose, would have been what Parliament did when it passed the Encumbered Estates Act; you would not have separated the improvements of the tenant from the property of the landlord, and, as formerly, the tenants' improvements would have been confiscated, or if the purchase policy had been adopted, without the tenure policy of 1881, you would have had most mischievous results. I understood the Prime Minister the other day to say, very candidly, that he was not at all sure that any of us who might have been responsible for the government of Ireland in 1881 would have found a better course to adopt.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
That goes rather beyond what I said—
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
At all events I amsure there would have been no difficulty between the right hon. Gentleman and myself upon this, that in 1881 and 1882 Ireland was in a state practically of social chaos. I myself well remember when I was in Dublin Castle speaking to one of the officials there, a man of enormous experience, who had gone through all the 116 fire of that revolutionary agrarian war of 1881–82; he said—You have no idea what Ireland was like in those days.I asked him whether the Ireland with which the right hon. Gentleman had to deal in 1887 was comparable to the Ireland with which Lord Spencer had to deal in 1882—though I certainly had no wish to disparage the right hon. Gentleman. He said—There was no comparison, Ireland in 1881–82 was in a state of social dissolution.That was his own phrase. Who can pretend for one instant that any of us who were responsible for Ireland in those days could have ventured to come forward with a Bill of purchase? The Chief Secretary the other day said that the Act of 1881 produced litigation, and apparently, I gathered from him, nothing but litigation. But I have heard cases decided in the Land Commission Courts, and I venture to say that of the proceedings before the Land Courts there is not 5 or 10 per cent. that can fairly be called litigation, and the rest is what can be called, and what is, valuation. That may be due, perhaps, to some defects of Irish temperament, but so it is. Now, Sir, why was legislation necessary before the second term rents revision came on? I will tell you why. Legislation was necessary because the courts in Ireland, on which I do not cast any imputation whatever, construed the Act of 1881 differently in various cases, which the Attorney-General for Ireland will remember. Legislation was necessary in order to carry out the intentions of the Act. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, to whom, as my hon. and learned friend the Member for Louth said to-night, Ireland owes a great deal, in the Local Government Act and the Act of 1896, made his mark on the Irish situation. But the Act of 1896, passed by you and not by us, showed that legislation was necessary. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, who spoke with some freedom of the Act of 1881, will not deny that in 1887, when he was first Chief Secretary for Ireland, he had to deal with a rather turbulent and difficult situation. What did he do? He actually extended the Act of 1881 and filled up all the gaps in the Act of 1881 which Mr. Gladstone had unfortunately left in it.
117 Yes, the Act of 1887 was quite as revolutionary an Act as the Act of 1881. Why, Sir, I remember very well, I believe the first vote I gave in this House was a vote for a Bill, introduced by Mr. Parnell in 1882, for the purpose of remedying defects in the Act of 1881. I think it was my first vote, and there were, I think, in the same Lobby only about fifty, including Gentlemen from Ireland, and I believe I was alone with five or six English and Scotch Members—against Mr. Gladstone recollect. Mr. Gladstone, for good reasons, for the moment resisted the Bill, but the right hon. Gentleman, when he was pressed by circumstances, did extend the Act of 1881 in the very particulars that Mr. Gladstone himself refused to extend it. Now, Sir, I thought it right that I should embark on this digression in justice to the great men who are gone, and in justice to what I consider a wise and beneficent piece of legislation. For my part, I am not at all sure that when history takes stock of Mr. Gladstone's contributions to effective legislation in this country, the Land Act of 1881 will not be the one chosen as the greatest of them all.
I should like to make a remark on something that fell from my hon. and learned friend the Member for Launceston the other day. He was in favour of the Act of 1881, but he asked, "Why did you not have an automatic scale?" I think my hon. and learned friend cannot have considered the circumstances. All I know is that when I had to bring in the Land Bill of 1895, I consulted all the experts in both countries—and I believe my successor did exactly the same thing in 1896—and it was found hopeless to find anything like a basis for an automatic scale.
Now, Sir, I come to the Bill and to the Amendment; and I think I have some right to ask the indulgence of the House while I say a word or two about the Amendment, because I understood from the speech of the hon. Member for Stoke, who moved the Amendment, that one of his reasons for moving it was that he and others round him had, for over seventeen years, pointed the finger of scorn at me. No doubt, Sir, it is a painful thing, and perhaps justifies an Amendment, that you should have been pointing for seventeen years the finger of scorn at the wrong man. There is no doubt that, the world of Parliament 118 being what it is, it is astonishing to think that a Member of Parliament can hold Irish opinions upon Irish questions, that, in the phraseology of this Bill, are worth seventeen years purchase. Sir, in judging this Bill, I believe I happen to occupy rather an impartial position, because I think hon. Gentlemen from Ireland will admit that during the twenty years I have been in the House, years on their part of storm and battle—and I congratulate them on to-night's issue of the battle—I think they will admit that I have been, so far as an Englishman could be, their comrade, and I have no intention of parting company now with their constitutional purposes and objects. On the other hand, I know by experience, not a very long experience, but still what mathematicians would call an adequate and sufficient experience, what the responsibilities and difficulties of Irish Government are, and certainly nothing would induce me to offer any obstacle that I could help to the measure the Chief Secretary has produced—the bold, the courageous, I would almost even call it the daring measure he has intro-troduced in order to turn over a new leaf in the chapter of the relations between Great Britain and Ireland—those relations so sinister, so mournful, I had almost said so demented. Therefore, from me the Chief Secretary will have no opposition that can be reasonably avoided.
The hon. and learned Member for Launceston the other night said the Second Reading of this Bill ought to be discussed without passion and without sentiment. I absolutely agree with him. We shall get to great mischief, and we of this Parliament shall get into the same discredit with our descendants as previous Parliaments have got into with us, unless we keep our eyes fixed on the hard facts of the situation. Let us see what we are doing. What is the principle of this Bill? So far as I can make out, the principle of this Bill is that Parliament is to make a present of twelve millions of money to a certain body of Irishmen in order that they may give us the privilege of lending £120,000,000 to another body of Irishmen. That is the principle of the Bill. Everybody will agree that it is a very extraordinary 119 principle. Everybody will agree that there must be something of an unparalleled character to justify a Bill of which that can be said. I admit to the full the force of objections that have been raised on this side of the House, and, perhaps, in a less degree, upon the other side of the House, and vigorously urged against the Bill. I think I have never known a Bill brought into this House which could be so riddled with objections if everybody liked to urge all the objections that could be brought against it. I have heard even to-night objections which in themselves cannot be answered. I wonder if a financial paradox in this House ever went farther than in a clause—to which I take no objection—which allows a landlord to sell his demesne at a certain price and then to buy it back again from us at a price that will leave him far better off than he was before. I do not think that financial and political paradox could go much farther. And then there are all the points that the hon. Member for South Tyrone raised under the head of what he well called "the submerged bonus." Of course, the Bill could be riddled from the view of abstract argument, or argument that is perhaps not entirely abstract, but is a mixture of the abstract and concrete. But we are not in this House to-night arguing—I hope we never will argue—in vacuo. We are dealing with one of the most complicated, intricate, inveterate, and abnormal maladies with which any country in Europe was ever afflicted; and that being so, I, for one, am not inclined to shrink, and I hope none of my hon. friends will be inclined to shrink, from a fair consideration of abnormal remedies; and the remedies of this Bill are rather abnormal. You may riddle the Bill unless you recognise that it is the creature, I will not say of a political necessity, but of a social necessity, which goes far deeper than the urgency of social order. That is the point of view from which I shall give my vote on this Bill to-night. I am not going to argue about the objections to it. I am very sceptical—and I commend this scepticism of mine to the Chancellor of the Exchequer—about the promised retrenchment. I know what Ireland is. You have there got a brazen citadel of men of all kinds—of three appointed to do the work of one; of Judges—three to five doing the 120 work of one, and so on. I have always been convinced that you will never have effective retrenchment in what is the most preposterously extravagant Government in Europe until you make the Irish themselves responsible for the payment of it and give them the power to control it.
A word upon the reserved eighth. When I first saw this in the public prints I was greatly taken by it. I thought it opened a new chapter in Irish land legislation in this country. It is not quite a new chapter, I believe, because I rather understand that a measure, called the Small Holdings Act, thanks to the exertions of my right hon. friend the Member for Bordesley, contained this very principle of the State reserving a fraction to itself. So I am informed. It was not an Act that greatly engaged my attention. I confess that now, upon consideration of a perfectly impartial kind, I do not quite see how the reserved eighth is to effect what you desire to effect in restraining the gombeen man and subdivision. As you have taken powers in your Bill to make sub-division and mortgaging penal—that is to say, the holding will be sold if either of these restrictions is disregarded—I do not quite see that you want it. And then I put this objection. Is it not a very dubious thing to introduce into a great agrarian scheme of this kind an idea which is entirely unfamiliar to the people to whom this scheme is addressed? For my own part, I should be glad if the Government could see their way—although I say it with some regret and even with some doubt—to the removal of this provision.
One feature in the Bill does affect me with misgiving; but I suppose it was inevitable. It is the extension of the time for repayment. I would remind the House that in the first Act by which public money was used for the purpose of land purchase, the term was thirty-two years. Then, in Lord Ashbourne's Act in 1885 the term was extended to forty-nine years. That extension was considerable. But now we are extending it to heaven knows what—to sixty-five, sixty-eight or seventy years. That is a tremendous mortgage of the future. As to the general security, I agree with those who think it is good. The hon. Member for King's Lynn said—" Oh, but if there 121 was an Irish famine it would be impossible for you, as humane people, to insist upon these annuities being paid."
When Ireland went down in the fright-fulabyss of the famine of 1846–47 England came forward, with the greatest generosity, and made great sacrifices; and therefore the remission of the annuity in the case of so horrible a disaster as an appalling famine would be no greater sacrifice than we voluntarily made in 1846–47.
There are two other points to which I wish to refer. The first is a personal point, but a most important point. It was dwelt upon with great force by my hon. friend the Member for North Louth. That is the constitution of the Estates Commission. This is the way things in Ireland always go wrong. You pass excellent measures; then you send them across St. George's Channel, and whether they be Crimes Acts, Purchase Acts, Evicted Tenants Acts, or Arrears Acts, they fall into the hands of men who administer them in an entirely different spirit from that in which Parliament passed them. In reference to the Estates Commission, I have the pleasure of knowing Mr. Wrench very well. I worked with him for three or four years, or more, upon the Congested Districts Board; and no word will ever fall from my lips, and no vote will ever be given by me in any way to indicate a want, on my part, of the highest esteem and regard for Mr. Wrench. But we must look to the position of the other two gentlemen on the Commission. This is not a question of an ordinary Irish appointment, it is a matter upon which will depend largely the success of the Act, for if you, by your conduct, diffuse through Ireland the suspicion that the Estates Commissions are in any degree specially sorted you will do the greatest possible injury to the working of your own policy. What do you do? You draw a line of difference between Mr. Wrench and the other two Commissioners. Mr. Wrench is to have the tenure of a County Court Judge, holding office during good behaviour, and he is to get £3,000 a year from the Consolidated Fund. The other two gentlemen have not the tenure of a County Court Judge; they are not on the Consolidated 122 Fund, and they are not to get £3,000 a year, but only £2,000, which, in my judgment, is ample—for all Irish salaries are exorbitant, except that of the Attorney-General. See what may happen. Mr. Wrench is entirely removed from the criticism of this House. It is quite true he can be deprived of his office, but only on a solemn address by both Houses of Parliament. The other two gentlemen of the Commission—who ought to be on exactly the same footing as Mr. Wrench—are removable at pleasure. The Lord Lieutenant or the Chief Secretary may remove these men. It may be said that they will be responsible to Parliament for their action. But that blow will have been struck, and after such a blow has been struck by the executive behind the back of Parliament, it is not easy to undo the revocation of an appointment. Therefore I say this is not an ordinary objection. It is an objection which goes to the root of the prospects of success of the Bill. I think the members of the Estates Commission ought to be all on the same footing and have the same authority; and that no ratification of a bargain between landlords or tenants, no rule of the Commission should be valid unless the three Commissioners—or two out of the three, at all events—agree. There is only one other objection. I think it is upon what is called the zones of purchase that the real danger of the Bill will lie. I am not going to repeat what so many speakers have already laid before the House. We have it from the report of Sir John Franks that during the years the Ashbourne Act has been in operation the variation in the number of years purchase has been from forty five to six-Some estates have sold at forty-five years purchase, and others at six years purchase. As I understand this Bill, a man who bought at six years purchase would not be able to avail himself of its advantages. A man cannot buy under this Bill—as I understand it—except he agrees to twenty or twenty-two years purchase. If the transactions under the Ashbourne Act at six years purchase are good transactions, and the Land Commission has sanctioned the advance of the money upon them, surely that proves that the zone clause of this Bill is a mistake. If the landlords and 123 tenants agree and sign an agreement together—I am not sure that the House understands all this mystification, I do not say deliberate mystification — well knowing what they are about, yet if the price agreed upon is at a lower figure than that prescribed by the Act, the Estates Commission will have to reject it. I ask the Chief Secretary to tell us plainly and fully what is the secret of that clause. I cannot make out what it is. The Attorney-General for Ireland spoke the other night about protecting the landlord. Protect him against whom? Perhaps the Attorney-General will say. Is it against the tenant or against the Estates Commissioners? Against whom is the landlord to be protected? The transactions are voluntary transactions, and he can please himself. Let me say further that the notion which I gather from conversations which I have had is, that you are dealing with a lot of the bankrupt stock of landlords in Ireland, who are obliged to sell. But that is not so. I am told that the owners of bankrupt stock will be cleared out, and that you are now dealing with landlords who are perfectly well able to protect themselves. I observe it is said, "Ah, but the landlord needs to be protected against irregular and unlawful combinations and conspiracies forcing him to sell." I should like the Chief Secretary to explain what new motive there is for this provision. Surely, the whole reason for, and the whole principle of, the Bill is that there are landlords who can hold on, and mean to hold on, and to whom, in order to induce them to give up holding on, you are going to give large sums of money. I am quite unable to understand the policy of these clauses. I can imagine these combining tenants going to the landlord and saying, "We are willing to buy from you at a zone price, and we expect you to sell at that price." That is my opinion of the working of it. You are just as likely to have those combinations under your zone clauses, and more likely, than if you did not have them at all. Sir, this is the way Irish Bills are spoilt. You construct—Liberal Governments and Conservative Governments—an ingenious machine, and then you pour grit into the machine and so prevent 124 its smooth working. Mr. Gladstone in the Acts of 1870 and 1881, was constrained, as the Chief Secretary is constrained, to spoil the machine he had constructed, and to leave this grit to prevent its smooth operation. One observation I would make to some friends of mine who have spoken against the Bill and are not well inclined to it, and I would also address it to the Chief Secretary himself in view of what I may call, without offence, his landlord provisions. What is the alternative? Let us suppose that this Bill fails. What will happen? There will be no more purchase, because the landlord will not sell at the prices which have hitherto been going, and when he finds dangled before him these high prices and the bonus as well, no landlord will sell for eighteen years' purchase any more when he has had twenty-two years offered to him by a Unionist Government. What will happen to the tenants? They will be thrown back upon the Act of 1881. Landlords ought to consider this as well as any other portion of the House. Then what will happen? You will shortly be within sight, within measurable distance, of a third revision of rents. Therefore, if I were a landlord, I should not quarrel on account of the zone clauses, with such a prospect before me as the rejection of this Bill, perhaps not by this House, but in Ireland, by the measure not operating. If I were a landlord I should consider that if this Bill does not go forward there is nothing for it but one of those accursed revisions of rents. I am not going to stand for more than two or three minutes between the House and the Chief Secretary. To go back to what I have said, I do want the House to know where it stands, and what it is doing. It is all very well to talk of purchase and say this is only a continuation, as the Prime Minister said the other night, of the policy of purchase. There is an absolutely radical difference between what was ever known of purchase before and this Bill.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
Let me remind the Prime Minister that the first apostle of purchase was Mr. Bright. 125 What did he say? Did he say anything about a bonus? In the case of any deserving farmer who could produce one-fourth of the price of his holding Mr. Bright was willing to reward him for his thrift and solvency by advancing him the remaining three-fourths. That was a very sober and safe policy. But it did not go far. I think there were only 6,000 purchasers under the Church Act of 1869. Then came the Act of 1870, and I may mention this—that Mr. Bright entirely detested the Act of 1870, and on the other side Mr. Gladstone thought Mr. Bright's policy would land this country in a lot of land jobbing operations, and he fell back upon a great reform of tenure. Then came the next great revolution, the Ashbourne Act, and an immense revolution it was, where the whole price, for the first time, was advanced by the State. I think under the purchase clauses of the Act of 1870 only about 800 transactions took place, and under the Act of 1881 there were about 600 or 700. They completely failed, for the reason that they did not advance the whole price. Then came the Ashbourne Acts, and the purchases went up to 26,000 in one year, 36,000 in another, and so forth. Therefore, do not let us suppose that purchase always means the same thing. It does not; and it never before meant what it does in this Bill. I was taken to task by the President of the Board of Trade because I called this a revolutionary Bill. For the first time you are compelling the Land Commissioner to deal with estates. Hitherto all Purchase Acts have been Acts dealing with individual transactions between a landlord and one or more of his tenants. What is the significance of this great change? It is that the landlord is to disappear. It is true that he may buy back his demesne at a reduced price, but he buys it back as a tenant; the man with all the official relations around him disappears. It is nothing more nor less than the abolition of landlordism; it is a complete revolution, I think a blessed revolution, of the policy upon which you have governed that country. I listened to the speech of the Prime Minister the other night, which I think is an historic landmark in the history of Ireland and in the 126 relations between Ireland and this country. I will make no ungenerous recrimination againt the Prime Minister, except in a sentence to deplore that during the twenty-five or thirty years he has been in this House he has never until Monday night recognised the fundamental condition of Irish land tenure. [Cries of "Oh, oh."]
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
I should be very sorry to enter into a controversy with the right hon. Gentleman, but I shall not shrink from it What did he ever do except borrow the policy of the Act of 1881 and pass the Act of 1887? He has never before said that the land system of Ireland is at every point at variance with the land system of England and Scotland.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I have constantly said it. Has the right hon. Gentleman never heard of my Land Act of 1891?
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
The Act of 1891 was based on propositions which he himself had never advocated It was based on what Mr. Gladstone had done by safe guarding the tenants' improvements by the Act of 1881, and after, by the Act of 1870, he had recognised by law the interest of the tenant in his holding—that was what I call admitting the principles which the right hon. Gentleman admitted fully and frankly the other night.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
I read that speech the other day, and I am bound to say that I did not discover in the Act of 1883 a perfect recognition of solving the question by means of purchase. There was, however, no recognition of the historic fact that land tenure in Ireland was at variance in every point with the land systems of England and Scotland.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
Then all I can say is this. What are the admissions of 127 the right hon. Gentleman the other day? To any one who knows anything of what has occurred in Ireland since the history of the Union they are a condemnation of the landlords, a condemnation of his own Party, which resisted every attempt to recognise tenant-right.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
They are a condemnation of the legislation of this united Parliament called into existence by the unfortunate Act of Union. ["Oh, oh!"] Yes. I wonder how many hon. Members are aware of the number of Acts which were passed from the Union until 1870? If they will only tell me of any of those Acts in favour of the tenant I will abandon my proposition. They passed Act after Act, and they were all in favour of the landlord. I will say this of this Bill, however. It marks the collapse—and I am not using any unmeasured words as to the real, deep, far-reaching political significance of the Chief Secretary's Bill—of the system on which this country has governed Ireland ever since the Union. Your whole government was based upon the land system, which the Prime Minister so powerfully exposed the other night. It was based on the idea that the land tenure in Ireland was the same sort of thing as in England and Scotland. That is now abandoned. This Bill plucks up the old land system root and branch, and you are going to pay £12,000,000 down and are going to risk £100,000,000, or £150,000,000, afterwards in order to abolish it. Do not let us deceive ourselves that this is an old-fashioned Purchase Bill. This is a Bill that points to, and will lead to, an immense social revolution. It will require a far bolder man than I am, to attempt to gauge the political and social effects of this Bill. Who will attempt to gauge what sort of an Ireland will rise from the changed foundations which this Bill is most assuredly making? How will it affect the position of the Roman Catholic Church? How will it affect the national demands for self-government? How will the energy of that demand be affected? Only do not let us dream that an Ireland without landlords as such, an Ireland of small owners—whether it be a peaceful and prosperous Ireland, as we all fervently hope, and as I, for one, expect it to be, 128 or whether it fall into unseen tribulations—in either case, do not let us dream that the special problems and the special tasks which spring from that new kind of society of peasant proprietors will not offer new burdens to the House if we are to maintain our effective and day-to-day control over it. Is this House well qualified to settle these special problems I have been in the House during the debate, and I say that no man in it has a more profound respect for the House than I have; but I confess when I see hon. Members trying to probe their way through these discussions, speaking of the prices, the years of purchase, zones, and all the other mystifications of Irish land tenure, I think it is like a sort of listless audience listening to a very dull play performed by actors speaking in an unknown tongue. But be that as it may, whatever happens, the mere production of this Bill has made an enormous change. It has set up for the first time the character of Irishmen, and, of course, I rejoice in that because I believe it will lead if this House remains in the mood of which we have had indications for the last three days, to a permanent general settlement; and, therefore, I, for my part, shall vote heartily for the Second Reading.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE LORD LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND (Mr. WYNDHAM,) Dover
Before I sit down I shall have to say a few words in reply to the concluding portion of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, which was somewhat oracular. He said that the future would be very different from the past and would include many great events of moment. I agree with him. But the right hon. Gentleman indulged in a few perfunctory partisan parentheses in order to prove that we are guilty of inconsistency. I will go back to that if time permits, but it has very little to do with the great problem on which we are engaged. I will go back to the middle of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, in which he dealt with certain important points raised in the debate; and I will try to make myself intelligible to hon. Members who sit for English constituencies; for I admit that the vocabulary in which the Land Question is couched is very technical and not very easily interpreted. 129 But I am first obliged very reluctantly to take note of the right hon. Gentleman's opening sentences. Of all the speeches to which we have listened during three days the right hon. Gentleman selected those made by the hon. Member for King's Lynn and the hon. Member for Bradford; and he alleged that these hon. Members had made themselves responsible for the statement that Home Rule must of necessity be a by-product of land purchase. I should not pause to note that speculation were it not that in certain quarters every subject but land purchase is discussed when I make a speech on the matter. And the quarters in which this bogey of Home Rule is raised are precisely those quarters which, from some vis inertice of the brain, think that because they have opposed every other Land Bill they are bound to oppose this Bill. But the quarters in which I am supposed to be a Home Ruler are the same quarters in which the hon. Member for Waterford is supposed to be a Unionist. Although it was not on the programme, the hon. Member was driven at the National Convention in Dublin to state explicitly that he was still a Home Ruler. I am driven by these two speeches, and by the notice which the right hon. Gentleman has taken of them, to state explicitly and in terms that I am a Unionist. Having brought in this Home Rule bogey to our feast, the right hon. Gentleman said that he hoped I would give a decisive pronouncement on certain points which have been raised. I am prepared to discuss them, but I should minimise their importance if I attempted in a Second Reading speech to give a deliberate verdict on every one of them. The latitude we enjoy in Committee, which admits of interruptions and explanations, is necessary in dealing with matters of such importance, and if I attempted to deal with them exhaustively now I should subject myself to a legitimate fusillade of interruptions. The right hon. Gentleman harped upon the Act of 1881. He said that it did not create the sense of co-ownership, but legalised dual ownership; and the right hon. Gentleman tried to draw a great contrast between the attitude of the Conservative Party in 1881 and their attitude now. But when the Act of 1881 was under consideration a Motion was made by the Conservative Opposition of the day to this effect—that the land purchase clauses of the Act 130 should be taken first, and that the rent-fixing clauses should be adjourned; and the whole of the Tory Party and of the Nationalist Party of the day went into the Lobby in favour of that Motion. I believe that that would have been the truer policy. It may be that it was impossible to adopt that policy then. It does not lie with any Chief Secretary to say what this or that predecessor might have done. We know how great the difficulties are, and that all Irish legislation turns upon occasion. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that there must be something of an unparalleled character to justify this Bill. I do not quite admit that. If it were worth while I should be prepared to demonstrate the consistency of the Conservative and Unionist Party in prosecuting this policy of land purchase, and to say that it was our answer to the Act of 1881, In 1878, even, a Committee appointed by Mr. Disraeli, and largely composed of Irish landlords, advocated the policy of land purchase. So that something unparalleled is not necessary to explain the character of this Bill. But I agree that something unparalleled is necessary to explain the moment at which it has been brought forward. After a great war, when £250,000,000 have been added to the National Debt, when taxation stands at a higher figure than it has stood since our great struggle with Napoleon—that is not the moment which any Minister, with a due sense of the situation, would have chosen to bring forward a Bill of this kind. Yes, but think of the occasion in Ireland. Has not the tragedy of the past in the relations of the two countries always been that the occasion in Ireland did not synchronise with the occasion in England? Must not great reasons be adduced if we are to let so marked an occasion go by without taking profit by it? Must not those reasons be more overwhelming than any which have so far been adduced in this debate by the hon. Member for Stoke-upon-Trent, by my hon. friend the Member for Islington, who repudiated this Bill, and one or two hon. and learned Gentlemen who supported the Bill but did their best to stab it to death?
Let me touch on those speeches for one moment. Those hon. and 131 learned Members insisted on the great merits of the Act of 1881. Far be it from me to depart from the attitude taken up by the Prime Minister, who said that although he did not, and I do not, approve of the Act, he would find it very hard to say what another Government would have done at that time. Far be it from me to depart from that standard of charity and good sense. But they praised the Act of 1881 in such a way as to lead the House and the country to suppose that it settled the Irish question; that there was no need for anything more, and that everybody was perfectly happy. There is no necessary contradiction in saying that that Act is prized by Ireland, as hon. Members have said, and in saying at the same time that it affords no final and permanent resting-place for the agricultural community of Ireland. From the very first, as I think I have shown, when I reminded hon. Members that the Nationalists and the Tories went into the Lobby together to demand land purchase, the Act of 1881 was only looked upon as a strategic position from which Irishmen would advance towards their hearts' desire, which was that in Ireland, as in almost every other country which is similarly circumstanced, in almost every other country that is mainly agricultural, the tiller and the occupier of the soil should be the owner of the soil. That was the strategic position lauded by three hon. and learned Members. I hope I have great deference for them. They are my friends—one of them is my friend. I hope I have great deference and respect for the profession which they adorn; but the songs of praise and triumph which they sang over the Act of 1881 will never shake my opinion that, whatever other merits may attach to the law, legal procedure is neither the shortest nor the cheapest method of determining the value of articles which one man has to sell and another man has to buy. I think I found a clue to their philosophy of the Irish situation in an unguarded phrase that fell from one of them—the hon. and learned Member for Hawick. He said—There are worse things than litigation.If the agrarian situation in Ireland is a strategic position, may we not compare it to a strategic position 132 occupied during an actual campaign? No one will evacuate that position except upon terms of honourable treatment; but it does not follow that it is a very agreeable resting-place. And if you arrive at a strategic deadlock I should not be very much impressed if three eminent firms of contractors, who supplied the ammunition with which the parties in this strategic position fired into each other, were to say, "Well, after all, there are worse things than a strategic deadlock in a campaign." What emerges from this three days' debate is that, after twenty years of strategic deadlock, the two parties in Ireland who have been brought into sharp antagonism with each other, who have suffered much in this warfare—the landlords of Ireland who, rightly or wrongly, and I think rightly, hold that they have been wronged—yes, those who bought under the Encumbered Estates Act, with a Parliamentary title giving them absolute ownership from the surface to the centre of the earth, who were urged to give a larger price for the benefit of the general taxpayer on the explicit plea that rents were low, and that they could put them up—I think that these men—men in business, shopkeepers, professional men in Ireland, who bought land, not out of greed but because they were told that it was the last economic fad of the moment—have some sense of wrong to which I ought to do justice. And those men of the old stock, as they are called, the men who stood the racket of dynastic and religious warfare in Ireland, and to whom the alternative of "Hell or Connaught" was far more generally applied than to any other men in Ireland — those men have suffered as no other aristocracy in the world has suffered. And the descendants of the old stock, and the business men who bought encumbered estates, who have been fighting for twenty years and have seen their incomes reduced by 40 per cent. by enactments of this House—it is these men, who might be embittered and actuated by enmity, who come to us now and say, "We want peace, although we are ready to fight for another thirty years at least." And who is the other party? The tenants of Ireland, and the representatives of the tenants of Ireland, who also, for historic causes which I do not wish to rake up, have felt, not only 133 the sense of co-ownership, but that, if certain wars had issued in eventualities which did not take place, they would be the owners of the land, and not others. It is these men and their representatives who have struggled, and gone to prison, and broken the law—and when they break the law I hold that they ought to be made amenable to the law—it is these two antagonistic and opposing camps who have come to us during the last three memorable months and have said, "We wish to be united, to bury this ancient feud, to advance together, not only in order to secure the prosperity of agriculture but in order to liberate the initiative of our countrymen in other walks of life, and in order to start industries in Ireland in order to be rid of this nightmare, which has not only impeded us in the prosecution of agriculture but has concentrated all mankind, professional, commercial, and agricultural, upon the barren issue of an endless strife." Sir, is the tragedy of allowing the occasion in Ireland to pass because the occasion has not yet occurred in England to be repeated? Is it to be repeated in deference to such financial arguments as those which were used by the hon. Member for South Shields?
I would not revert to a speech made forty-eight hours ago were it not for the fact that there is a danger that the £30,000,000 given according to him to one class in Ireland may take root in the popular imagination. Let me now and at once pluck it out. [Laughter, and "Oh!"] I am delighted to hear an interruption of that character, because it explains what at the time surprised me. I listened to that speech aghast, and I was surprised that it seemed to make so slight an impression upon his audience. The explanation is that speeches couched in similar phraseology have educated this House to a certain extent, and the public to a very large extent, into the belief that England is habitually taking sovereigns out of her pocket and handing them over to Irishmen, who may be very good fellows in their way but are always coming and asking for more. There is not a vestige of truth in it. I should like, if I may, to examine this financial argument, because a great deal of the doubt in some men's minds as to the justice of accepting this Bill turns upon 134 that and similar financial arguments. The hon. and learned Member instanced the agricultural grant. He put it a little high, but I will take his figure. It is £730,000 a year, calculated upon precisely the same basis as that upon which the English agricultural grant was made. I admit that if you take the doctrine of the equivalent grant Ireland would have got much less; but that would be stretching the view of the union of the two Exchequers to an extravagant point in favour of England. Ireland is mainly an agricultural country, and suffers on that account. Ireland pays the same taxes as we pay for the Army and the Navy, and is now paying the war taxation. I do not suppose it is any easier for an Irish landlord, living on £500 a year, to pay an Income Tax of 1s. 3d. than it is for anybody else, or for an Irish tenant to pay tea, whiskey and other duties than it is for anybody else. I admit that Ireland has a slight advantage on the local taxation account, but was Ireland to be deprived of her chance of local taxation reform because some hon. Members thought that large grants were made by England to Ireland? But when they gave £185,000 to Ireland it was forgotten that £1,400,000 was given to education in England. That was represented as a gift to the Irish landlords. Then the hon. and learned Member capitalised this sum and said—There were £30,000,000 given to Ireland—given to Irish landlords—by England, and are We to add another £12,000,000 to it. Was it not time to stop this system?The hon. Member went on to speak of £42,000,000 and he took the local taxation account, but he entirely overlooked the large items which were taken for England and Scotland, where the expenditure has increased at a greater pace than in Ireland. I say frankly to hon. Members who sit for English constituencies that on the local taxation account Ireland has an advantage of £280,000 a year. Call that £9,500,000. But, again, the hon. and learned Member seemed to forget the grant made to voluntary schools in 1897 amounting to £620,000, and he also seemed to forget that there was a grant to Board schools in the same year amounting to £180,000, but no equivalent grant was given to Ireland. I do not complain. I am repeating the 135 argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman; and if I were to capitalise those grants of £800,000 for education might I not say, to paraphrase his words "Here are £27,000,000 which Ireland gives to the national schools of England, so that you may improve your education. You do not seem to carry on your education up to the German standard, so here is this money to enable you to do it." And then it might be added from the Irish point of view, "Have we not reached a point at which we should stop?" What is it that this sum is to be given to Ireland for? The money is to be granted so that Ireland may not miss the opportunity which is presented by these two antagonistic forces being brought together. Surely we should not miss this opportunity of bringing about a settlement which we believe, and hon. Members opposite believe, will have a lasting good effect on Irish life. But some hon. Gentlemen have said, with reference to some remarks which were made in the last debate, that this was not the moment which I should have chosen to introduce a Bill involving a charge of so many millions of money, although I have been careful not to make it at present a burden on the country. I agree that it is a grave matter; and I think that hon. Members who sit for Irish constituencies will see that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and I have done what we could at a moment when it was most inopportune for us, but at a moment when, from all that we know, it was for Ireland most opportune. We saw this conference held, and we saw the amicable feeling which was displayed on both sides, that of the tenants, and that of the landlords, and we could not accept the grave responsibility of allowing such an exceptional chance to slip from us.
I now pass from the £12,000,000 grant to the security for the loan. That is a graver question. Hon. Members have a right to conjure up every conceivable danger with regard to the loan; but is it to be supposed that the Irish tenants would go in for general repudiation of the bargains into which they are to enter if this Bill passes into law? Now may I elaborate that point a little; and here let me refer to what occurred in 1881. Then there was a no rent campaign 136 carried on by the whole force of a great organisation, but was there any general repudiation then? In 1887 there was the Plan of Campaign, as it was called, supported, though not at first, but after a short time, by the whole of the popular Irish Party. Was there then a general repudiation of rents on the part of the Irish tenants? There was no general repudiation: there was repudiation in some parts of the country, or rather it was not a repudiation: it was a case of saying "only such and such a proportion of the rent will be paid." But was it universal? No. We know that the number of Plan of Campaign estates was something under twenty—thirteen or fourteen, I think, was the number—and the number of tenants evicted from those estates was so small that Irish Members have said that from the financial aspect the question of dealing with these is a mere bagatelle. In a time of great disorder, in a time when the climatic conditions were adverse to Irish industry, at a time when the whole country was roused from end to end with agitation to bring about a general repudiation of bargains objected to, the repudiation was sporadic and insignificant. And now, when the whole people of Ireland, when landlords and tenants, when their representatives on both sides have affirmed what is matter of notoriety, that there is anxious desire to keep up punctual payment under the purchase clauses, I am asked to believe that is possible which all the forces of disorder and of nature arrayed together failed to bring about, a general repudiation of rent. But it is said there is the question of partial failure. Our best security, apart from material security, is our moral security in the desire of the Irish people to become a peasant proprietary, their willingness to make sacrifices for this purpose; and the fact that any one who evaded his responsibility would be regarded not as an object of sympathy but as an enemy of his fellows. But there are other material assets. There is the value of the land. Well, I am told if there is general failure that would be worth nothing. But there are two interests in the land, the landlords' interest and the tenants' interest; it is 137 the landlords' interest we propose to purchase. For the tenants' interest forty-seven years purchase was given throughout the whole of the Mercers estate the other day; and does anybody believe that, with land hunger creating such a price, the asset of a vacant holding, to which no odium of eviction attached, would not command a price in the market which, I believe, is even dangerously high? If time admitted I should like to correct an impression which may have been created by the hon. Member for King's Lynn by his reading of every reservation he could find in Mr. Bailey's report on the results of land purchase. But that report declares that purchased holdings are largely improved in all parts of Ireland, that new buildings are springing up, and the condition of the houses on the purchased estates shows a marked improvement from what they were before purchase. And these houses and buildings will be material assets in the guarantee fund. It is noted that, far from there having been improvident borrowing, the gombeen man, the usurer, has had to "fold his tent like the Arab and silently steal away." Finally, I would commend to Members for English constituencies, who are racked with anxiety as to our security, the page of the report where it is said that political unrest, which frequently prevailed before the tenants became purchasers, has disappeared, and that their intelligent activities are mainly turned in a direction which they think will materially improve their environment. A letter from a leading solicitor was to the effect that where purchase has been general there is not discontent or agitation, but almost what may be called political lethargy. I have seen a letter written by one who might be called an agitator—at any rate one who has taken great interest in political movements in Ireland—in which he complains of the ingratitude of those who, since they had bought their holding, would not subscribe a sixpence to any political body at all. I have personal knowledge of another 138 event of a somewhat similar kind. It so happened that a speaker wished to hold a meeting upon a holding about which there had been trouble, and which happened to have a belt of purchased holdings all round. The speakers had to be imported, and what I wish the House to take from me is that the audience had to be imported too. There is not a man who had purchased his holding who would have walked 200 yards to listen to a speech from Demosthenes.
Let me pass to the second line of security. The moral desire of the whole of Ireland to support this system is, in my opinion, the real security in this case. Let me pass to the second line of security—to the cash security. Hon. Members who have criticised the Bill have spoken as if the security could not be enforced without stopping the local administrative work for which the money is required. The Exchequer contribution from this country to Ireland amounts to more than £3,000,000 in any one year. But that does not all go to the lunatic asylum or the payment of the school teacher. The guarantee fund is divided into two portions—a cash portion and a contingent portion. The cash portion is money which is immediately available. Out of the guarantee fund the total amount of the cash portion would cover advances amounting to £35,776,000. Therefore, you have got to assume failure or repudiation covering an advance of £35,000,000 before you come to your lunatics, education, and the rest of it. That can be got out of money which is there for very desirable purposes, I admit, but for purposes which frequently are not yet sufficiently mature to warrant the expenditure of that money, because, taking the existing guarantee fund without the new additions that have been made to it, and taking the cash portion of that fund, I find that we have balances in hand of £78,670. There is no claim at all for them. The total balances in hand that you can use to-morrow, which 139 cannot be allocated to any of the purposes for which they exist, amount to £173,000. What has been our experience in the past? Seventy-three thousand purchasers have completed their bargains. They pay regularly to the State £840,000 a year. The question of punctuality arises. There was a sum of £8,000 not paid on the very day. Of that sum £5,000 has been paid within six weeks. Among the 73,000 purchasers only three are eighteen months' late. In twelve years of transactions of that volume there have only been two irrecoverable debts. Is it not fantastic to impeach the security of this operation? I do not know as much as some hon Members do about business; but I should suppose that a great firm which collected £840,000 a year from its customers, and found only £8,000 of arrears during some six or seven weeks, with only three of its customers eighteen months late in their payments, and two irrecoverable debts in connection with transactions involving £25,000,000, would be quite prepared to go into the market. Those who have suggested that this is a risky financial operation would tumble over one another to buy the ordinary shares of such a company. That is not all. We are asked to believe that the Irish tenant purchaser will select this operation of land purchase in order to illustrate his dislike of the Union by a general repudiation. Why should he? An hon. Member referred to the fact that we collect a great many millions of taxation in Ireland. Let me take other loans. The total of loans quite irrespective of land purchase, of advances for certain purposes, drainage schemes, and so forth, on the security of land, is £9,940,000. That is for the last half century. I am not taking into account, for I wish to be perfectly fair, sums 140 that were remitted, four millions odd of famine loan which were remitted, and properly remitted. Someone has spoken, of our generosity in remitting that loan. It was explicitly remitted as a set-off to the imposition of Income Tax in Ireland. I thought it right to tell hon. Members for English constituencies that nearly £5,000,000 was written off for the famine loan and more than £1,000,000 in respect of some drainage schemes which failed to achieve the objects for which they were undertaken. But, if I except these remissions, the amount written off, not remitted, and never collected on that £10,000,000, is only £40,000. Then we take advances on the rates. Hon. Members seem to think it is fantastic for a Unionist Government to lend money to Ireland. Why, our great claim and vindication of the Union is that the credit of the common Exchequer is available for every part of the United Kingdom. And, as a matter of fact, in every year we lend in Ireland, on the security of the rates, quite apart from land purchase, more than half a million of money. Last year we lent £520,000. That was a year when, my right hon. friend would tell us, there was not much money to spare; and in other years the amount has often been £600,000. The total outstanding amount to be repaid on these loans was on March 31st of last year nearly £5,000,000, and the arrears were £1,100. Well, if Irishmen are going to repudiate their debts as a protest in order to enforce constitutional views on which we differ, why are they to begin on these land purchase loans, which are dear to everybody in Ireland, when they pay up on the nail in respect of £500,000 a year? Let me take another illustration. Hon. 141 Members were shocked to find how much money was lent to Ireland. For seed potato loans, made in time of dire distress—loans made to the poorest people and people on the very edge of starvation—£863,000 has been advanced. Every penny has been paid back, with the exception of £10,000, or less than 1¼ per cent.; and the whole of that default is accounted for by people who died of starvation or left the country. I find that I have been led away to speak at far greater length than I had intended [Cries of "No."] upon the financial aspects of this Bill; but almost every one in this House has spoken in favour of the Second Reading of the Bill, and every representative of Ireland has spoken in favour of the Second Reading. The Leader of the Opposition and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Berwick in a notable speech—all have spoken in favour of the Second Reading. If that is so, was it not my duty to dwell rather upon the only objection which, in my own mind, can legitimately be raised against reading such a Bill a second time now—the objection that this is not the moment which any Government would willingly have chosen for adding to the credit obligation or the cash obligation of this country? I admit that that objection may be raised; and I have thought that the best way to answer it was to insist, in the first place, on the marked and signal character of the occasion in Ireland, and, in the second place, on the security, the moral, material, and financial security, which, in my opinion, makes such an operation not only legitimate, but eminently desirable at such a moment as this.
I have but seventeen minutes left in which to speak. I had hoped to deal with the points which have been raised in the course of this debate. I do not 142 minimise the importance of those points and I am repeating what I said at the outset if I say that they are Committee points. That is to say, they are points which must be carefully discussed, and upon which, for my own part, I would not for the world offer a decisive opinion to-night until I have heard all that can be urged. Time, certainly, does not admit of my dealing with those points now. I have them very present to my mind. The question of prices, the limitation, particularly of the reduction, the question of the evicted tenants, the question of dealing with congestion, and the question of either dealing adequately with the labourers or else excluding that section from this Bill and bringing in another—all those points are present to my mind. I have weighed carefully all that has been said; and I do not despair of this Bill going through the House of Commons without any damage being inflicted, not only upon the Bill but upon the consequences that we can anticipate from its passage in Ireland. But the occasion which alone justifies our bringing in this Bill does consist in the peace which has been made between the two parties in Ireland. It can only be maintained if the spirit which actuated the representatives of the landlords and the tenants at the Dunraven Conference is also maintained during the whole course of our debates in Committee. I hope hon. Members will not think that I have designedly evaded discussion of these points. I wish I could speak for another hour, and I should be prepared to go into every one of them; but I want the latitude of Committee discussion in order to bring them to a proper issue, and in order to say exactly what we feel. But let me say this. If the conclusions at which we have arrived 143 on any of these points seem from any point of view to be illogical or inadequate, I would beg hon. Members who are conversant with this question to accept it from me that we have arrived at those decisions in view of three considerations which we hold to be essential. We must deal adequately with congestion in Ireland and non-economic holdings. We must avoid in the future the delay and the cost which attaches to judicial or quasi-judicial procedure. And we must have regard to the obligations, whether of cash or of credit, which are placed on the general taxpayer. Those three conditions to a certain extent must modify an ideal solution of any one of the many complicated features of this problem. But I see nothing in those three conditions which forces me to say now that I anticipate any risk to the passage of this Bill, or any risk to the continuation in Ireland after this Bill has been passed of the good feeling which has been evinced at the Land Conference and during the last three months in that country. We are not so arrogant as to claim that we have arrived in every case at an ideal solution; and I do say honestly and candidly, and without mental reservation of any kind or description, that I shall discuss the first clause in counsel with hon. Members representing all the interests of this House, and not with any predetermined view to pass it in the shape in which it is now. But more than that I cannot say. I could not discuss the five great points raised by the hon. and learned Member, re-echoed by the hon. Member for East Mayo, supported in almost every speech to which we have listened, without speaking at very 144 great length. If I attempted to be short I should mislead the House, and I should defeat the very object which I have at heart, which is that the great occasion which has happened in Ireland should not be lost.
In bringing in a Bill of this magnitude, a Bill which imposes a great obligation on the credit of the Empire, and which imposes a considerable burden on the taxpayers, I am deeply sensible of the kind of criticism to which any attempt to pass remedial legislation for Ireland is always exposed. We are asked whether this will settle the Irish land question. We are taunted with inconsistencies. It is pointed out by some that less than a year ago there was trouble in Ireland, although now there is peace, and that we who then felt it our duty to take steps to vindicate the law are now coming forward to assist some, at any rate, of the objects which were aimed at by those who broke the law. Well, that is a common phase of Irish politics. If hon. Members would take the situation in Ireland as it is, there would be no need to rake up the bitter histories of the past. But they do not take it as it is. Speech after speech was made by hon. and learned Members on the opposite side, which, if they had any meaning at all, meant that the agrarian situation in Ireland is precisely on all fours with the agrarian situation in England—which meant, I suppose, that the history of Ireland is analogous to the history of England. Well, I do not wish to go at great length into the past. We, as in the case of every country in Europe, have had our ages of warfare, dynastic and religious; but is there any country in Europe, save and except Ireland, which has been ravaged without intermission for century after century by dynastic and religious 145 war? Those wars ended with the Treaty of Limerick towards the end of the seventeenth century, and two sinister heritages were bequeathed—the Catholic question, as it is called, and the Land Question, as we now call it. When I listened to some of the arguments which have been urged against this Bill, some of the gibes and taunts which have been thrown against the Government for bringing it in, there arose melancholy reflections. It was but a hundred years ago that the Catholic question, as it was called, the claim that Irish Catholics should have equal civil and political rights, was the term in which the Irish Question was discussed, when Tory statesman after Tory statesman claimed the right to denounce the Catholic Association, claimed the right to proclaim it, claimed the right to prosecute and imprison those who in the cause of the Catholic claims were guilty of what are, in our opinion, crimes against the law. Yet those Tory statesmen at the same time, some of them, urged that there must be political and civil equality between the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. And now it is the land. We are asked, "Will you settle the Land Question, will you settle the Irish Question? Sir, I do not know. I have my own view, which may differ from that of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford; but of this I am certain, that, just as we had to settle the Catholic question, so we have to settle the Land Question; and till both those questions, left over at the end of the long period of civil war in Ireland, have been settled there can be no settlement of the Irish question. How long are we to be about it? At the beginning and during the first quarter of the last-century 146 the Catholic question was debated; it took thirty years. There was an excuse; the answer, given with great force by apologists, pointed to the illness of an aged Sovereign, and to popular passion; and no one can honestly say that equal civil and political rights could have been given much sooner than the date at which those rights were given. We, also, on both sides of the House, since the year 1870, have been trying our hands at the land question, and the same arguments are used. The question will be the same, the verdict will be the same. History will ask—Why did not you do it thirty years before? "We shall have our answer. We shall point to the divisions and the sharp animosities which have rent and poisoned social life in Ireland, and the misgivings which these divisions and these animosities have, not unnaturally, aroused in English minds here. But after this year, after 1903, after the memorable months through which we have passed, after the occasion offered by the Land Conference, apologists for British statesmen in this respect will seek in vain for defence, explanation, or excuse. They will see that the divisions are closing up, that for the social venom an antidote has been found in the general good feeling and in the unity of purpose actuating all by the hope that they may increase the prosperity of their common native land. In view of all these conditions, unhoped for but decisive, the load of responsibility will be heavy upon the head of any man who through timidity or callousness or an undue insistence upon some one feature of this many-faceted problem tries to impair an opportunity, pregnant, as in my con science I believe it to be, with the best 147 possibilities for that portion of the United Kingdom from which hope and enterprise, the child of hope, have been banished for so long.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 443; Noes, 26. (Division List No. 76.)151
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Cautley, Henry Strother||Esmonde, Sir Thomas|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Evans, Sir Francis H. (Maidstone|
|Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Cawley, Frederick||Faber, George Denison (York)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Farquharson, Dr. Robert|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon J. (Birm||Fenwick, Charles|
|Arrol, Sir William||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Chaplin, Right Hon. Henry||Ffreneh, Peter|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Chapman, Edward||Field, William|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Charrington, Spencer||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Clancy, John Joseph||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Austin, Sir John||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Clive, Captain Percy A.||FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmund|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cogan, Denis J.||Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Collings, Right Hon. Jesse||Flannery, Sir Fortescue|
|Balcarres, Lord||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole||Flower, Ernest|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Forster, Henry William|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Foster, Sir Michael (Lond. Univ.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Craig, Charles C. (Antrim, S.||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj.||Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark||Fuller, J. M. F.|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Cranborne, Lord||Fyler, John Arthur|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Crean, Eugene||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Bell, Richard||Cremer, William Randal||Gardner, Ernest|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Garfit, William|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Crombie, John William||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond|
|Bignold, Arthur||Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Gilhooly, James|
|Bigwood, James||Crossley, Sir Savile||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.|
|Bill, Charles||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.|
|Blake, Edward||Cullinan, J.||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cust, Henry John C.||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Boland, John||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Gortlon, Maj. Evans- (Tr. H'ml'ts|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Davenport, William Bromley-||Gore, Hn. G. R. C. Ormsby (Salop|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Lincs.|
|Bowles, Lt.-Col. H. F. (Middlesex||Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham||Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim|
|Brassey, Albert||Delany, William||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Brigg, John||Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway||Greene, Hy. D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Grenfell, William Henry|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tr. Haml'ts||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Dickson, Charles Scott||Gloves, James Grimble|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Digby, John K. D. Wringfield-||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Dillon, John||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Donelan, Captain A.||Hall, Edward Marshall|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Doogan, P. C.||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.|
|Burns, John||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hamilton Rt. Hn. Lord G. (Midd'x|
|Burt, Thomas||Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||Hamilton, Marq. of (Londondy|
|Butcher, John George||Doughty, George||Hammond, John|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd|
|Caldwell, James||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashfd|
|Cameron, Robert||Duffy, William J.||Harmsworth, R. Leicester|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ.||Duke, Henry Edward||Harrington, Timothy|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Duncan, J. Hastings||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Dunn, Sir William||Harwood, George|
|Carew, James Lawrence||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.|
|Carlile, William Walter||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Haslett, Sir James Horner|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Egerton, Hon A. de Tatton||Hatch, Ernest Frederick G.|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Emmott, Alfred||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benj.||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Heath Arthur H. (Hanley)||Manners, Lord Cecil||Renwick, George|
|Heath, James (Staffs., N. W.)||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Helder, Augustus||Mather, Sir William||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Henderson, Sir Alexander||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Roche, John|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Minch, Matthew||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hn. H. (Somerset E.||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Rose, Charles Day|
|Horniman, Frederick John||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Rothschild, Hon. L. Walter|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Hoult, Joseph||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Mooney, John J.||Runciman, Walter|
|Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham)||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire||Russell, T. W.|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Morgan, David J. (Walthamst'w||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Samuel, Herbt. L. (Cleveland)|
|Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)||Moss, Samuel||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Mount, William Arthur||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred||Murphy John||Scott, Sir S. (Maryledbone, W.)|
|Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln|
|Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight)|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Shackleton, David James|
|Joyce, Michael||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway N.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)|
|Kemp, Lieut.-Colonel George||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, S.)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Norman, Henry||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Keswick, William||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Kimber, Henry||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||O'Brien, William (Cork)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Knowles, Lees||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Smith, H. C. (Northum. Tyneside|
|Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.)||O'Doherty, William||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks. N. R.||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Leamy, Edward||O'Dowd, John||Spear, John Ward|
|Lees, Sir Elliot (Birkenhead)||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Nothants|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset)|
|Leigh, Sir Joseph||O'Malley, William||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Leng, Sir John||O'Mara, James||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Levy, Maurice||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Stroyan, John|
|Llewellyn, Evan Henry||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Sturt, Hn. Humphrey Napier|
|Lockie, John||O'Shee, James John||Sullivan, Donal|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham||Partington, Oswald||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.||Paulton, James Mellor||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Lough, Thomas||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Taylor, Theo. C. (Radcliffe)|
|Lowe, Francis William||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley||Tennant, Harold John|
|Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)||Pemberton, John S. G.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., E.)|
|Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth)||Percy, Earl||Thomas, F. Freeman- (Hastings|
|Lundon, W.||Perks, Robert William||Thompson, Dr. E. C. (Monagh'n N.|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Macdona, John Gumming||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Thornton, Percy M.|
|MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Tomkinson, James|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Toulmin, George|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Purvis, Robert||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Randles, John S.||Ure, Alexander|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Valentia, Viscount|
|M'Calmont, Colonel James||Reddy, M.||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|M'Fadden, Edward||Redmond, Jn. E. (Waterford)||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W.||Redmond, William (Clare)||Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|M'Kean, John||Reid, James (Greenock)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Warde, Colonel C. E.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Wason, J. Cathbart (Orkney)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Weir, James Galloway||Wilson John (Glasgow)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Welby, Lt,-Col A. C. E. (Taunton||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)||Yerburgh, Robt. Armstrong|
|Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath||Young, Samuel|
|Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm||Younger, William|
|Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)||Wood, James|
|Whitmore, Charles Algernon||Worsley-Taylor, Hry. Wilson||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-||Sir Alexander Acland Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Wilson, F. W. (Norfolk, Mid)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud||Lambert, George||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall||Stanley, Hon, Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Markham, Arthur Basil||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Elibank, Master of||Moulton, John Fletcher||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Grant, Corrie||Phillips, John Wynford|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Pirie, Duncan V.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Reckitt, Harold James||Mr. Coghill and Sir George Bartley.|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristl, E.||Robson, William Snowdon|
Resolution agreed to.