§ After Clause 41, to insert the following Clause:—
§ No law made by the Irish Parliament shall have effect so as to alter the constitution, or divert the property of, or repeal or diminish any existing exemption or immunity enjoyed by the University of Dublin, or Trinity College, Dublin, or the Queen's University of Belfast, unless and until the proposed alteration, diversion, repeal, or diminution is approved, in the 120 case of the University of Dublin, or Trinity College, Dublin, by a majority of those present and voting at a meeting of each of the following bodies convened for the purpose, namely: (a) the governing body of the University, and (V) the junior fellows and professors voting together, and (c) the Academic Council, and (d) the Senate; and in the case of the Queen's University of Belfast by a majority of those present and voting at a meeting of each of the following bodies convened for the purpose, namely: (a) the Senate, and (b) the Academic Council, and (c) the Convocation of the University.
§ Provided that—
- (a) This Section shall not apply to the taking of property for the purpose of roads, railways, lighting, water, or drainage works, or other works of public utility upon payment of compensation; and
- (b) There shall be paid annually, out of moneys provided by the Irish Parliament, to the Queen's University of Belfast, a sum of eighteen thousand pounds for the general purposes of the University, and that sum if and so far as not so paid may be deducted on the order of the Joint Exchequer Board from the Transferred Sum and paid to the University.
§ Mr. J. H. CAMPBELL
I do not think this Clause should be considered in the absence of the Chief Secretary, and I rise for the purpose of giving him an opportunity of being present. The House will remember what occurred a short time before the Adjournment. A promise was given at an earlier stage of the Bill by the right hon. Gentleman, who undertook to frame a Clause for the protection of these universities. When the matter came to be considered, after consultation with myself, the right hon. Gentleman promised that the original Amendment which was-proposed by me would be altered and modified. It has now been moved in the form in which it stands on the Paper, but there are one or two alterations upon it which, I understand, the right hon. Gentleman proposes to make, and it is in consequence of that that I am anxious he should be here. I found the right hon. Gentleman extremely courteous, and very anxious to carry out, not only the spirit, 121 but the letter of the promise given to myself as one of the representatives of Dublin University. As the Chief Secretary has now returned to the House, perhaps I may give way to him.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I am very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. I must apologise to the House for asking its indulgence, because of the peculiar circumstances of the case. The new Clause as it stands on the Paper docs not completely carry out my proposal, because I found it necessary in consultation with the representatives of Trinity College to add new words of protection to those on the Paper, and also, I think, words of useful explanation with regard to a particular sum of £5,000 a year which was by the Wyndham Act appropriated for the benefit of Trinity College as the owner of land in Ireland. But first of all I would remind the House of how the matter stands. It will be in the recollection of some of us that there was for a good long time on the Paper, in the name of the hon. Member for the Eastbourne Division of Sussex (Mr. Rupert Gwynne), a Clause exempting Trinity College, its status, constitution, and property, and all its effects, altogether from the purview, scope, and operation of the Bill now under consideration. When that Amendment came to be moved, it was adopted by the right hon. Gentleman the junior Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. J. II. Campbell), and he moved it. Of course, it was, as everybody in the House must have felt, a very strong proposal, lifting Trinity College, as it were, with all its property in different counties in Ireland, and planting it extra territorilly outside of Ireland altogether. An Amendment similar to it had been moved in 1893 by the then Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. David Plunket), in a very able speech, but it was controverted, and not assented to by Mr. Gladstone, and therefore it did not become part of that Bill even in the House of Commons. However, it was again brought forward in connection with this Bill, and the attitude of the Government was that it was a pity it should be brought forward, their opinion being that it was not necessary. Nevertheless, as a great scholastic foundation, such as Trinity College, did bring it forward, we thought it should be considered, and having been closely associated in Irish University business and brought into close contact with Trinity College, I could well understand the 122 feelings animating those who brought the Amendment forward, and therefore, to cut the matter short, I assented to it. It was assented to with the general approval of the House of Commons. The demand having been made by the representatives of that university, we thought they were entitled to have this Clause. Accordingly I agreed to give it.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I must not omit Belfast. Belfast University has a peculiar paternal interest for me in the matter. I found that the case of Belfast was in many ways stronger than that of Trinity, which, being a great institution with great traditions behind it, is very well able to take care of itself, whereas Belfast is dependent upon an annual Grant for the salaries of its professors. We thought these universities should be put in together in the new Clause which I was to prepare in conjunction with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University. We passed on in this House to other controversial matters, and the venue of discussion as regards this particular subject changed from this House to Trinity College itself. I will not repeat the stale classical quotation which I used the other day when I was made aware of the fact that the controversy did not lose in vigour or strength by being transferred to academic atmosphere. It was very interesting, and I am sure the representatives of Dublin University felt what a live body of men they represent. The controversy was carried on pretty vivaciously in Trinity College itself. One thing which was disappointing was that the Amendment which the right hon. and learned Gentleman had adopted as his own did not meet with the views of Trinity, or, at all events, did not voice Trinity at all. They did not want to be left outside of Ireland. They were quite content to throw in their lot with the country upon whose soil they had been so long planted, and where they had prospered so well that the graduates of Trinity are to be found in all parts of the civilised world. Therefore, the new Clause which I am now moving is not the Amendment I agreed to move, but one, I am equally proud to say, which contains the views of Trinity College itself. They claim exemption and protection—that is to say, they are to be subject to the laws of Ireland, but—there is always a "but" in Home Rule matters— 123 no law made by the Irish Parliament shall have effect—
"so as to alter the constitution or divert the property of, or repeal or diminish any existing exemption or immunity enjoyed by the University of Dublin, or Trinity College, Dublin, or the Queen's University of Belfast, unless and until the proposed alteration, diversion, repeal, or diminution is approved, in the case of the University of Dublin, or Trinity College, Dublin, by a majority of those present and voting at a meeting …convened for the purpose."
Then there is, first of all, among the bodies to be represented at the meeting the governing body of the university, the old autocracy which the younger men violently opposed. As you grow older your sympathies extend themselves, and perhaps you are not so violent as you were to this autocracy. It claimed in 1911 to enable Trinity to reform itself, and she reformed herself to that extent by adding four representatives of the junior men to this aged but honourable Board. Therefore, it is provided that the consent must be obtained of this body, consisting of the provost and seven senior professors and four juniors; (b) the junior fellows and professors voting together. That is a largish body as there are, I think, forty-eight professors and thirty-three junior fellows. Then there is (c), what is called in the print the Academic Council, but which ought to be called the University Council, and then (d) the Senate. Then in the case of the Queen's University, Belfast, it is necessary to have a majority of those present and voting at a meeting of each of the following bodies convened for the purpose, namely, (a) the Senate, and (b) the Academic Council, and (c) the Convocation of the University. The effect of that is that the Irish Parliament could not interfere with the Constitution or divert the property of or interfere with any existing exemption or immunity of this ancient body of Trinity, or the newly created body in Belfast without obtaining the consent of these individual bodies. This view is embodied in the new Clause which has been made the subject of conversation, and also of correspondence between myself and the junior Member for Dublin University, who has conducted the negotiations in this matter.
Of course, unanimity in a learned body is not to be expected, and there is a great spirit in Trinity among the younger men, 124 which I confess I regard with pleasure, showing independence. They have met and did not like this Amendment at all. In fact, at one time, they did not want even their property protected in any shape or form. In fact, they rather reproved me for having consented to protect their property. I daresay they were quite right in thinking that their property needed BO protection from an Irish Parliament. They, at all events, are not uneducated peasant proprietors living on their thirty acres of land. They are the learning and the spirit of the younger generation of scholars and university men in Dublin. However, on my approaching them and intimating that after all there was no great harm in that kind of protection they were good enough to yield and withdraw their opposition to the protection of their property. But it is a fact of which this House is entitled to take notice that these persons who were academic persons took this view. There is a minority of them still who dissent, and whom I am sorry I cannot recognise because I am bound to give effect to the arrangement that has been made. At the same time, I have spent a very troublesome Christmas, because every post has brought me letters and printed documents signed by the names of distinguished persons, including two-senior professors, Dr. Mahaffy, a scholar of European reputation, and Dr. Tyrrell, a friend to all Ciceronians, and therefore in my humble way very dear to me, and sixteen professors and a very considerable number of the junior fellows, but still a marked minority, and I will not repeat what sometimes is attributed to me as having been said about minorities. I am bound by the promise which I gave that I would, in discussion with the representatives of the University, come to an arrangement with them.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I daresay they are safe. In Ireland there is a strong feeling in favour of university representation, and those who want to find persons disposed to favour university representatives should emigrate to Ireland, because probably Ireland will be the only place after some time where universities will get full Parliamentary representation. However that may be, I feel bound to put upon record the fact that there is within Trinity itself a strong minority who do not like the a, b, c, d bodies whose consent must be obtained before the Constitution can be 125 altered, and for this reason. They think the old body, even with the four new men, is likely to stand in the way of subsequent academic reform, and they say, "Our King's letter will be taken away from us as it were, and we shall want to go to the Irish Parliament to get some reform in our academic constitution, and we shall be brought up dead against this Clause, which says that we cannot get it unless we have the consent of the governing body. The governing body," they say, "is an ancient body highly Conservative in academic matters"—I only use the word conservative in those matters—"and we shall not be able to get the reforms which can be got quite easily if necessary from the Parliament." That is why they object. I, myself, think they exaggerate the position. Trinity College has always shown, I think, a perfect readiness for reform in many ways; in fact, it led the way in all reforms and was long ahead of Oxford and Cambridge in the matter of religious tests and the admission of people to all emoluments and to places on its governing body, and although this Provost and seven old gentlemen did no doubt for a very long time exercise their powers of veto, that has really been altered by the King's letter and common consent, and I think now that Trinity is possessed with what I may call a reasonable spirit. I am not making myself a partisan in the matter—I am not entitled to do so as between Dr. Mahaffy and the Provost and his majority—still I must honestly say I do not think there is any reason to believe that this Clause will be an obstacle to that reasonable academic reform which I believe, from conversation with Trinity men generally, is held to be reasonable and necessary. Therefore I move that this Clause be read a second time in the form in which it appears on the print. There is one proviso, however, because, of course, to exempt all properties from being taken except with the consent of these bodies would be an obstacle in the way of Trinity itself which is a large landowner in different parts of Ireland where land might be required for various work, and therefore it is provided that this Section shall not apply to the taking of property for the purpose of roads, railways, lighting, water, and drainage works, or other works of public utility upon payment of compensation. Then Belfast is provided for by securing that there shall be paid annually out of money provided by the Irish Parliament to the Queen's University of Belfast a sum of £18,000 for the 126 general purpose of the University, and that sum if and so far as not so paid may be deducted on the order of the Joint Exchequer Board from the Transferred Sum and paid to the university.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
May or shall, whichever you wish. If I put it in "may" they say they want "shall," and if I put in "shall" they say they want "may." I always put in the words they want. It might very reasonably happen that the Irish Parliament, not for any extraneous purpose, but for the purposes of education might divert, some of this money. Therefore these professors and others who look to this sum' for their annual salaries presented a case to the Prime Minister and myself which I think is secured by that proviso. In order that I may not have to trouble the House again after the Second Beading, there is another matter to which I may make reference. I propose after the Clause has been read a second time in addition to one or two purely verbal Amendments, such as the changing of "academic" into "university," to add a new proviso, that until the Joint Exchequer Board certify the amount standing to the credit of Trinity College under Section 39 of the Irish Land Act of 1903, is adequate for the indemnity for which provision is made in that Section there shall be paid annually out of moneys provided by the Irish Parliament a sum of £5,000 towards that account. They are in Ireland well acquainted "with what this £5,000 is for.
I was not a Member of the House when the Land Act of 1903 passed, but there was no doubt that £5,000 was not paid to Trinity College, but was charged upon the Irish Development Grant, and was taken year by year and placed to the credit of an account to meet deterioration-which might fall upon Trinity College inconsequence of the redemption of its head rents on the sale of property and the loss; of income from them. I think there was also some colourable suggestion that this would in some way benefit the middle men themselves, and that the task of land purchase would be made much easier in consequence. I do not know that that result has exactly followed, but at all events the £5,000 a year is granted and forms part of the transaction which we are now effecting with regard to Trinity, but the opportunity has been taken of arranging the matter. I must say Trinity College has shown very great fairness. This sum 127 of £5,000 annually goes on accumulating year by year. There is a very small claim upon it, not more than £l,100 a year. It has already accumulated to a very large sum, and it is obvious that as time goes on the fund will be very much in excess of what is required in order to secure to Trinity its proper indemnity. Therefore my proposal is, although the matter is left to the Exchequer Board to certify, that when the accumulated sum amounts to such a sum as to produce annually a revenue adequate to meeting the loss for which it was intended the £5,000 a year will cease to be paid, and it would fall into the Exchequer of the Irish Parliament and be available.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
Will the right hon. Gentleman state the amount of the accumulation at the present moment?
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I am told that it is about £50,000. We cannot reopen that transaction, which was a Parliamentary transaction. I think it is a good thing to secure that this sum should not accumulate beyond the reasonable demands of the college to make good the purpose for which it was originally created. Therefore, the words which I propose, and which are agreed to by Trinity College, are necessary, and I think meet to some extent a growing injustice, having regard to the increased amount. I think Trinity College is to be thanked for the manner in which it has recognised that this sum will in time be more than adequate to meet their demands, and when that is so, Ireland will absorb the whole value. This was a matter of bargain which received Parliamentary sanction, and therefore I felt myself bound to carry out such proposals which will meet the views of Trinity College. The majority of Trinity College, I think, quite clearly do support the new Clause in the form in which it will be put from the Chair, with this Amendment, which I have read, and therefore I ask the House to give it their sanction.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
As to the last part of the new Clause, and the Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman has read, I do not complain that the House has not bad notice of that Amendment, because I suppose it was due to the holidays. I have taken a very special and deep interest in the question of the £5,000, and I think the arrangement which the right hon. Gentle- 128 man is making is a fair one. I have always felt that the money accumulating there and remaining idle was a matter in which Trinity College should have moved, and that is one of the reasons why I protested against the acceptance by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond), in the hasty way in which he did, the proposal to exclude the college from any Irish authority. I said that at least power should be given to the college to resort to the Irish authority if they so desired, and to some extent that view has been met by the right hon. Gentleman. In regard to the £5,000, the college undoubtedly has not required all the money, nor is it likely to require it, for this reason: If anybody will turn to the Report made by Lord Justice Fitzgibbon, with whom I had the honour to be associated, they will find that the tenures of the college are so complicated that without some legislation, which now, I understand, is reserved to the Imperial Parliament, it would be very hard to effect a sale in very many cases. I do not think the present Government have acted fairly in that respect. Lord Justice Fitzgibbon, who spent two years on his Report, put in a tremendous amount of labour in order that this land might be sold to the tenants. But the moment that proposal was made Resolutions poured in, and Gentlemen connected with the majority of the Irish party froze down on any proposal to allow Trinity College lands to be sold in that way. Now, as I understand, the question of the sale of these lands is to be allowed to remain with the Imperial Parliament, where Ireland will have representation of about forty Members. It is most unlikely that the Imperial Parliament will tackle the very difficult questions in connection with the tenures of Trinity College, and, to my mind, therefore, this new Clause condemns those tenants existing in eight or nine counties over Ireland, perpetually to remain in their present state of servitude, owing to the over-ready acceptance of this proposal by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, who jumped up to say that this Clause ought to be agreed to.
I wish to make a proposal with regard to this £5,000, and it is one which I think is in the interest of the college itself. In its magnificent library there are entombed unprinted manuscripts of the most valuable and important kind. Many of them are not catalogued, and most of them are unknown, going back and penetrating to 129 the earlier trackways of Irish history. Why, instead of this money being allowed to remain as it is, unfructifying and useless, should not some course be taken by which the interest on a sum of £50,000 or £60,000 could be ear-marked for some educational purpose"? It is simply lamentable to see what I may call a store-house of learning lying inaccessible, except to very learned men and scholars. There are Irish and English manuscripts, some of which are almost illegible except to experts, and there are stores of learning lying there, but the college have no funds to do the necessary work, while this £5,000 a year is accumulating without any practical chance of its ever being made available for any purpose whatsoever. Although I am not going to oppose the Amendment, I think it is a mistaken Amendment. I do think that some plan might be adopted by which the unfructifying and useless £5,000 could in some way be applied to the benefit of education. The unfortunate tenants have been forgotten; they are certainly deserving of a better fate; but they are now, so far as I can see, condemned by this Amendment to remain unpurchased. If anybody will go back to the answers given to me by the Attorney-General for Ireland of that day—now Lord Justice Cherry—when I asked him whether there was any intention of giving effect to the Report of Lord Justice Fitzgibbon, I am afraid he will come to the conclusion that though the then Attorney-General apparently spoke in his own language, he was inspired from those quarters which have no great regard for land purchase.
§ Sir E. CARSON
The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary seemed to imply, though he did not actually say so, that in some way or other the Constituents of my right hon. Friend and myself, or at least a large portion of them, had thrown us over. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that nothing of the kind has taken place. As regards the Amendment originally put down it was on the Paper for some months. [An HON. MEMBER: "Six months."] At all events, a great many months, and I am bound to say that in the whole of that time I had not had one single letter from the whole of my Constituents objecting to the Amendment in the form in which it was put upon the Paper. You will always find, particularly in an academic body, whatever particular course you actually take, that a certain number of people will think that 130 you ought to take another one. They like to have their finger in the pie. In the various suggestions that were made for settling the university question, we found almost the very same group as upon this question coming forward with complaints as to what was done, and when I stood for the university a section opposed me on the ground that I was not sufficiently Conservative. Here we have an Amendment, and I can only say, as far as I am concerned, that I do not in the least object to the substitution of this Amendment for the Amendment which originally stood upon the Paper, and I really think that in so far as they are striving to make capital out of the fact of the substitution of this Amendment for the other one, it is of very little comfort as regards the great confidence which, it is alleged, has been placed in the new Irish House of Commons. After all, what is this? It means that if you get the majority of three or four separate bodies, who are, in relation to the university, a kind of governing body, if you get a majority of each of those boards so that you can get the general consent of the university to legislation, then the Irish Parliament is to have jurisdiction. I do not object to be subject to the jurisdiction of any Court if my consent is necessary before I am brought there by a writ. After all, the only thing is that if they give their consent they will be subject to the Irish Parliament, and if they do not give their consent they are not subject. At the same time, we must not forget that as regards Trinity College the old procedure is the proper procedure. It was last year when the board were revolutionised—whether sufficiently or not I do not know—I think I would have liked to go a little further—but I myself have been urging these reforms in Trinity College, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, for a long time. I have been on the side more or less of those who would be called the belligerents of Trinity College. We must not forget, and I think this is overlooked by Dr. Mahaffy and others, the power of the King's Letter remains, and that upon proper representation at any time by the college they can have even further reform should those reforms be thought to be necessary. In addition there remains also the legislation of this House if it became necessary to deal with the Irish University question. Therefore, so far as I am concerned, I do not feel in the least degree hurt by anything that has been done by 131 any branch of my Constituents. I feel that they have thoroughly protected themselves while professing great confidence in the Irish Parliament, and I am perfectly satisfied the proper course has been taken.
I only desire to say one word or two as regards the sum of £5,000. I believe I had something to do with that sum originally myself when the Bill was going through in 1903, and that sum has been accumulating there ever since. I think myself it is a great pity that that sum has had to accumulate, because I agree with the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy) that there are complications in connection with the title of Trinity College lands which can never be solved unless by some special measure with reference to them. I remember perfectly well the Committee upon which the hon. and learned Gentleman sat along with Lord Justice Fitzgibbon. It is a long time since I read the Report, the time it was issued, but I remember what they suggested, and which I thought was perfectly feasible, and a suggestion which would be much easier even now than it was then. What they suggested was that Trinity College ought to get Consols and should be paid so much income, and that the whole of the lands should be taken over by the Government to be dealt with, and the titles knocked about as they pleased with a view to eventually giving the occupying tenants the benefits of the Purchase Act. I think, broadly speaking, that was what was in their Report. For my own part, I cannot see how the criticism of the hon. Member for Cork applies, and how this thing will be in any worse condition by reason of this Clause being placed in the Home Rule Bill, because under the Home Rule Bill the whole question of purchase, as I understand, if I understand anything aright, is to be reserved in this Imperial Parliament, and this Imperial Parliament will have to grapple with this question. In point of fact, there is an undertaking, as I understand, that this question is to be grappled with, and I commend to the right hon. Gentleman opposite who thinks purchase just as urgent as Home Rule. [An HON. MEMBER: "More urgent."] More urgent.
§ Sir E. CARSON
Very urgent. I commend to him the fact of the present price of Consols, because paying the interest they do at present, there would be very 132 much more reason than would have been the case at the time the Report was issued to satisfy Trinity College by giving them Consols. I quite agree with the Member for North-East Cork that unless something of that kind is done this sum of £5,000 would go on accumulating but for what the right hon. Gentleman has proposed, and would not really be made use of either for the benefit of the tenants or for the general benefit of education. I am quite satisfied, if this Bill does become law, that the sum should be made such a sum as will give indemnity on the loss of the sale of those lands. That is all I desire to say as regards this Amendment. I understand that as regards the Amendment relating to Belfast University, that it is to be made perfectly clear that the word "may" shall be changed to the word "shall," a matter which has been troubling them a great deal, though I would be prepared to guarantee as a lawyer that the word "may" did mean "shall." That, however, never satisfies a layman, and I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has agreed to the change.
§ Mr. STEPHEN GWYNN
May I say at once that the last thing I should wish to do is to bring any party controversy into this Debate. I shall always remember the first time I spoke in this House. I had the honour to be followed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken, and he was kind enough to greet me as not exactly a constituent of his own, but the next thing to it, and to welcome me with a kindness I have never forgotten. But I think we are entitled to take stock of the very remarkable developments that have attended the history of this Amendment. I do not want to put it in any party sense, but, putting it in the simplest and frankest way possible, I think it comes to this, that in the academic sense and in the broadest sense Trinity College has determined, on the hypothesis that the Home Rule Bill becomes law and that an Irish Parliament is established, and desires that that Irish Parliament should have the power to deal with the affairs of Trinity College. They look to it as a body, assuming that it comes into existence, that will have an acquaintance with Irish affairs, and that will have the leisure to deal with Irish affairs; and in that sense it will be a body that will differ somewhat from this House. Take such a matter as that just referred to by the hon. Member for North-East Cork, namely, as to an arrangement to allocate some of the money of Trinity 133 College specially so that it might be available for the publication of manuscripts in the library. This House of Commons has not the time to deal With a matter like that, and that is precisely the sort of matter upon which I think there would be no occasion to invoke a King's Letter, but where you might very reasonably go to your domestic House of Parliament, and it would obviously not be a party question. I think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman would agree that he would at all events get support in a proposition of that kind, quite independent of party. It appears to me that there are certain points agreed in this matter. In the first place we are all agreed that by the express and declared will of Trinity College, and also of the University of Belfast, neither Trinity College nor the University of Belfast are to be cut off from the life and interests of the Irish people. I take those words deliberately from an article in the "Irish Times," which is a representative Unionist paper, and recognised as such. Secondly, we are agreed, and I again quote from the same source—
§ Mr. GWYNN
I am very glad to have listened to that. But at all events whether the "Irish Times" or the "Freeman's Journal" both are agreed that Trinity College and Belfast University shall have absolute protection for their academic liberties and for their powers. We agree again that the Irish Parliament shall not pass legislation which is not approved by college opinion. I come now to the point at which diversity sets in, and in any remarks I have to make I wish to address myself not so much to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary as to the representatives of Trinity College here. I desire to ask them to reconsider their attitude upon this matter, to consider, after all, what is the real opinion of Trinity College in this matter, and how-best in future you are going to secure it. Looking back on the whole history of this affair, what happened was that the hon. and learned Member the Leader of the Irish party rose in his place and asked the 134 Chief Secretary to give to Trinity College whatever Trinity College through its representatives asked for, even though it was a thing in a certain sense most humiliating to us to accept. We are still bound by that pledge to support whatever demand is made by Trinity College through its accredited representatives. But I claim the right to submit here, with all humility, some considerations for those representatives who, from our point of view, have in this matter the final word.
It is quite clear that Trinity College desires that there shall be in the Irish Parliament power to legislate in accordance with college opinion. But when the Chief Secretary says that Trinity College can get on very well without the control of the Irish Parliament because it is such an old body, I venture to differ from him. It is just because Trinity College is old and encumbered with many interesting but very inconvenient Statutes and institutions that it may very well want the help of Parliament to liberate it from those anachronisms and anomalies of which it is not yet entirely purged. I do not think that Belfast, which is a modern institution, with a constitution shaped only the other day by a very competent body, is in the same need of being brought up to date with modern conditions. There comes from Trinity College a complaint that the Amendment which the Chief Secretary has put on the Paper, and which the representatives of Trinity College accept, practically abrogates the right to appeal to the Irish Parliament. I am quoting again from the same source, which seems to me to put the matter very concisely. Trinity College, or, at all events, an influential section of opinion in Trinity College, entirely objects to the proposal to make four separate consents necessary. They want an expression of college opinion, but they do not want one small body or group in the college to be able to block the whole course of university reform. That has been too much the history of Trinity College in the past. For my own part, I am not quite sure whether this Amendment, as drawn, may not have the surprising effect of cutting the board altogether out of its power to interfere in this matter, for good or for bad.
The four consents are those of the governing body of the university, of the junior fellows and professors of the academic council, and of the senate. I ask myself, what is the governing body of the university? The governing body of the 135 college is the board, but—I speak with all humility in the presence of the eminent lawyer who represents the university—I think the governing body of the university is the senate, which is, in my judgment, twice nominated, and the board does not come in at all. The board may have to go to the Irish Parliament cap in hand to get representation in the council of the university. That is a matter which the representatives of Trinity College will have seriously to consider; and when they consider it, if they find, as I think it is exceedingly likely they will, that this Clause will require amendment ultimately in another place before it can satisfy Trinity College, I hope they will consider the larger question, whether it is really necessary to give to each of these four separate identities or groups in the university the power of blocking the whole course of academic development. I repeat, speaking on behalf of my colleagues, that our object to-day is to give Trinity whatever Trinity really wants; but we are not perfectly certain that the right hon. Gentleman is speaking the real mind of Trinity in this matter. We are told that the view to which I have referred is that of a minority. It is a minority which includes Professor Mahaffy and Professor Tyrrell. When I find that the minority includes these very distinguished scholars, who have so little in common except their European distinction, I think it must be a very considerable minority indeed. I may remind the House that these are some of the younger men to whom the right hon. Gentleman referred. When we were last discussing this matter he said:—Some of the younger members, I should believe members of less experience, influenced by various reasons, none of which they have communicated to me, suggested that it might be desirable to allow legislation on the part of the new Irish Parliament to take place.These juniors, like Professor Mahaffy and Professor Tyrrell, who were great men in scholarship when I was a schoolboy, which I regret was a long time ago, have a persistent desire that the Irish Parliament should be given a reasonably free hand. They, at all events, not merely through the* Press, but directly in writing, appealed to the Irish Members in this House—I do not want to say that they appeal to the Nationalist party—to help them in this matter. I hold in my hand a letter froth Dr. Mahaffy, who, I may say, expresses his strong disapproval of the exhibition of 136 distrust shown by the requirement of four independent consents. He dislikes the expression of distrust, but he says also that it will make all reform impossible. That is a serious consideration for Trinity College. It is a serious opinion coming from such a man. It is the opinion, as I think, of the most progressive element in the college. It is an opinion which has made itself apparent in this matter without any reference whatsoever to party. I think that we in Ireland are entitled to claim it as one of the most hopeful signs of the times. I go further and say to the Chief Secretary that I think he is entitled to claim it as one of the good results of his University Act. There are now in Dublin two universities working harmoniously and courteously side by side, competing in friendly rivalry. In the North of Ireland there is another new independent university, in which I am glad to say there are 25 per cent, of Catholics side by side with Protestants. If it were not for the atmosphere which these new institutions have created I do not think we should have had the development which we have seen in connection with the history of this Amendment. Whatever may come or go in Ireland, I think that the history of this Clause will be a hopeful augury for the future, whatever that future may be.
§ Mr. CECIL HARMSWORTH
I rise to make a few critical observations. In another part of the Paper to-day there is to be found an Amendment which I put on the Paper as soon as I had the opportunity of seeing the Chief Secretary's. Mine is a much smaller Amendment. Although I agree fully that Belfast should be safeguarded if she wishes to be safeguarded, my Amendment differs from that of the Chief Secretary in one or two very material respects. Like my hon. Friend who has just sat down I have had correspondence with people in Trinity College during the last few weeks. It has been very difficult to get any sort of opinion organised or collected at Trinity College owing to the fact that the university is now in recess; but I think one might go almost so far as this: if the voices of the junior fellows and professors of Trinity College could be collected it would be found that at least one half of the junior fellows—[HON. MEMBERS: "More than one-half"]—are disappointed at my right hon. Friend's Amendment. I am credibly informed that a large majority of the professors would be of that opinion. I think the reason is sufficiently obvious. The original Amendment of my right 137 hon. and learned Friend who sits opposite (Mr. Campbell) excluded the university altogether from the jurisdiction of the Irish Parliament. Everybody disliked that. Immediately there was a consensus of opinion, I may almost say a unanimity of opinion, at Trinity College in dislike of that Amendment. But I am not quite sure that the Amendment which is now on the Paper is not almost as fatal to the jurisdiction of the Irish Parliament as the original Amendment moved by my right hon. and learned Friend opposite. This Amendment requires that no less than four separate academic bodies should give their consent before any legislation can be taken in hand by the Irish Parliament. We have had some experience of these academic bodies.
Those of us who know them are, of course, filled with very high regard, almost veneration for them, at all events for the senior governing body at Trinity College, but I venture to say that it will be found quite impossible to get the consent of four academic bodies in Trinity College or anywhere else. Therefore, in my Amendment I have put in a proviso that these academic bodies shall meet in joint session for the purpose of discussing such matters as may arise in the future. I am glad to think that that Amendment, with that particular proviso, is acceptable to a very large proportion of the professors and junior fellows of Trinity College. I would ask that my right hon. and learned Friend opposite should give the matter his very earnest consideration. Trinity College does not want to be excluded from the purview of the Irish Parliament. We are all agreed as to that. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Well, I think a large majority, but surely in practice it will be found if these four separate consents are insisted upon that you might almost altogether have excluded Trinity College from the purview of the Irish Parliament. It has generally been found impossible to get anything approaching a majority of opinion of any one of the bodies concerned in the government of Trinity College.
There is another consideration. Under the official Amendment, as was pointed out by the hon. Member for Galway, it will be possible for any one of these bodies to baulk and checkmate the other three. I am aware, of course, of the provision that relates to King's letter. But talking about legislation it is quite clear that either the board could checkmate the other three bodies, or any one of them could check- 138 mate the board. For practical legislative purposes these august assemblies are to be invited by my Amendment to meet together under such conditions as their Chancellor may prescribe and to arrive at a decision in joint session. I have said that my right hon. Friend, the Chief Secretary, is under an honourable obligation to the representatives of Trinity College. I know that I speak for a large and influential body of opinion in Trinity College, and I would suggest that my right hon. Friend on the Front Bench below me, and my right hon. and learned Friend on the bench opposite, should confer together with a view to seeing whether the clumsy machinery of the official Amendment cannot be simplified in the interests of Trinity College, and in the interests of the compromise which has been arrived at. I venture respectfully to submit that suggestion to the consideration of the two right hon. Gentlemen.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
I can only speak with the permission of the House, as I have already intervened. I quite recognise the spirit in which the hon. Members for the City of Galway (Mr. S. Gwynn) and Luton (Mr. Cecil Harmsworth) have dealt with this question, but I do not want them to imagine for a moment that the matter is not one which I have not most carefully considered. I have been at home for the last fortnight with a view to taking a holiday, but may tell the House that from the beginning to the end of that period my time has either been occupied in interviewing some of these gentlemen within the walls of Trinity College or else inditing very lengthy epistles to my right hon. Friend, the Chief Secretary. I have also conferred with my right hon. Friend, the senior Member for the University. We have with the greatest possible care considered this question, and as to the way in which the vote could be ascertained. I would not say a word against the spirit in which this debate has been conducted, but I want to say an entirely erroneous impression prevails with regard to the views of my Constituents in reference to this question. In the case of the original Amendment, which has been already mentioned by my colleague, it was on the Parliamentary Paper of this House for over six months. During all that period we received no whisper of objection in any quarter, or from any individual, or any section of our Constituents of the university. No single individual elector of Trinity College, 139 no single fellow or professor, junior or senior, ever wrote to my colleague or myself one word of objection to that original Amendment. After the spirit of it was accepted in this House the governing body of the college met, and by a majority of ten out of twelve—two gentlemen did not vote—
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
They thanked me for the Amendment. Later on, some of the younger members or junior fellows—and here again I may say I was speaking, as the OFFICIAL REPORT will show, of those who communicated with me after the Amendment was accepted—began to communicate with me. The only persons who communicated with me were some of the junior fellows, and that was what I was speaking of. I never had the least word from Dr. Mahaffy and neither had my colleague. As regards Dr. Tyrrell, I am rather surprised by what was said of him, because I have seen Dr. Tyrrell several times in the last fortnight, and there was no stronger advocate of this Clause as it stands that I could find within the walls of Trinity College. That only shows how difficult it is with the best intentions to gather what I may call a consensus of opinion in university circles. However, I took all the pains I could, and I came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to yield to the demand put forward on the part of some of the junior fellows and professors, that they should, as it were, have the power to override the views of the governing body of the college. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has said a difficulty may arise in getting the four different bodies to agree. They are not so cantankerous as that view would represent, because it was only last year that as a result of agreement, and it could not be obtained otherwise, they got a King's Letter of a defined and definite form remodelling their constitution.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
No, I did not say that at all. But I said apart from this Clause altogether, under the law as it stands, you 140 could not force a King's Letter upon a Corporation like Trinity College unless they agree to it, and as a result of agreement and compromise they adopted last year a King's Letter in the form in which it now appears, and that was the result of compromise on the part of the four of these bodies—the senior fellows, the board, the governing body, and the junior fellows and professors. As a result of that compromise they got in the last twelve months practically a new constitution. In the interests of the college I could not be any party to tearing up that constitution. The effect of adopting the Amendment proposed by the hon. Gentleman opposite would be to reduce the governing body to be merely a component part of a gathering in which the junior fellows and professors would outnumber them by five to one, with the result that the younger men and the professors, by a majority of votes, could entirely swamp the governing body of the college. That I could never agree to, and so far as I could find out that is the collective opinion of those interested in the university and the college, whether within the walls or outside. And hon. Members must recollect that the interests of this university are not confined to the junior fellows and professors. There are persons interested entirely outside, of what may be called the academic circle—and I am not satisfied myself from my experience that the views of the academic circles have always been the views of the bulk of the constituency, but rather the reverse.
I want to refer to one other matter. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond), who on two occasions took part in these Debates, spoke in a spirit of great generosity and affection for the university. I think the view he gave, speaking at Ipswich, of that memorable speech, to which he referred, was that I stated in this House that while the original Amendment which I moved had been the one that had been supported by the entire Unionist party in 1893, that no sooner had I moved it for the purposes of this Bill than I received hundreds of letters from all parts of my constituency protesting against it. I said exactly the reverse. What I said, and what is the fact, is this, that I received hundreds of letters approving of my action and my Amendment and supporting it, and to all these letters there were only two that said they preferred to trust themselves to the new Irish Parliament.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman I entirely misunderstood and my recollection is entirely at fault. I understood him to say and my recollection is that he did say, that he received protests then but that in 1893 he received no protests.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
The hon. and learned Gentleman is entirely wrong. What I said was that the only protest I have received was from some of the junior fellows, and it is a fact that I received hundreds of letters approving of my action, and that out of the whole of the letters I received there were only two which stated that they preferred to leave the university under the control of the Irish Parliament. I do not wish to deal any further with the matter except to say a word about the £5,000 a year. I am grateful to the hon. Member for the City of Galway (Mr. S. Gwynn) for calling attention to that reference to the governing body of the university. My recollection is that, so far as I had anything to do with the Clause, I put in the governing body of the college, and it ought to be the governing body of the college, because I think the body created by the King's Letter of last year was described as the governing body of the college. As regards the £5,000 a year, I say at once that it would be quite reasonable and fair that that £5,000 a year should not be allowed to accumulate for one year more than necessary for the purposes of the Act, and accordingly the authorities of the college agreed on my suggestion and are perfectly willing that this accumulation shall cease the moment the Joint Exchequer Board are satisfied that a sufficient sum exists to provide the indemnity, because it would be ridiculous that it should go on after that period. The reason there is this accumulation is due to the slow rate at which land purchase negotiations are proceeding, but that is a controversial matter and I will not go into what the reason may be. But the fact remains that owing to the negotiations for purchase not proceeding as rapidly as was expected this sum has not been used to the extent that it was thought it would be, and the result is that there is a very large sum standing there in the shape of accumulation. It is quite reasonable and right when the period arrives, when the Joint Exchequer Board say there is no further reason for it, that the Irish Exchequer of the day—and I hope it will be a very long day—will get the benefit of it. Let me say in reply to the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Cecil 142 Harmsworth), who has shown a very great interest in this matter, and whose assistance and co-operation I entirely welcome, I want him not to imagine for a moment that my right hon. Friend and colleague and I have not given this suggestion the fullest and most anxious consideration. I spent hours in the last fortnight in Dublin in endeavouring to ascertain the views of my Constituents upon the question. I discussed it with many of them—those in favour and those against it—in endeavouring to ascertain the views of both sides, and I have come to the conclusion that it would be a mistake for this House to interfere in the domestic economy of this university. Above all it would be a mistake to do anything such as this Amendment would do and tear up a constitution which has not had a fair trial. Under the King's Letter this new governing body is created consisting of the old members recruited by some of the younger fellows and professors. That new body has not yet had a chance, it is a body willing and anxious to carry out all the reforms necessary to bring that ancient university up to date and it may safely be trusted. I think it would be a great mistake to do anything by this Amendment which would override and overrule this new governing body, because I believe that would be the inevitable result if the Amendment moved by the hon. Member were accepted. I hope the House will understand that this Clause has been arrived at after anxious and careful consideration, and I wish to acknowledge that the Chief Secretary has kept his promise and pledge to us in the most scrupulous and honourable way, and he has been extremely fair and courteous in the matter. I think it is only right that I should say that.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I think in justice to myself and also to the right hon. Gentleman I ought to put myself straight on the matter which he has controverted. The statement I made, as well as I recollect, in my speech at Ipswich was to this effect, that whereas in 1893, when the right hon. Gentleman moved this identical Amendment, not a word of objection came from any party, and he acknowledged himself that it was moved and carried in substance by agreement in this House this year, and no objection came from various quarters—
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
Here is what the hon. and learned Member for Waterford is 143 reported in the "Freeman's Journal" to have said:—I move the same Amendment now—
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
Here are the words put into my mouth by the "Freeman's Journal":—I move the same Amendment now, and to my astonishment I instantly get hundreds of letters not only from Dublin but from all countries where the graduates of Trinity College are to be found, protesting that they would not tolerate that a university should be put in the position of being put off from the rest of Ireland.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I did not profess to be quoting the right hon. Gentleman's exact words. I paraphrased them, and if I did so unfairly, I at once apologise. I have looked up the report of the right hon. Gentleman's speech in the OFFICIAL REPORT, and this is what he said:—The Amendment which I proposed to Clause 2 of the Bill, and which in substance and spirit was accepted by the Chief Secretary, was word for word the Amendment which was moved by the Opposition to the Bill of 1893. On that occasion it had (he entire support, not merely of the whole Unionist party in this House, but, so far as I know, of all those who had any interest in the welfare of the University of Dublin. That Amendment was put down in the month of June last to this present Bill, and from that hour until the time it was accepted in spirit and substance by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, I. received no objection from any quarters of any sort or kind to that Amendment. Since that time I have received hundreds of letters from all parts of England and Scotland, because my Constituents are scattered all over the Empire. I am sure hon. Members will appreciate my statement when I say that in no place do they exist in sufficiently large numbers to cause me any special trouble. In this case, however, some of them at home, after the Amendment had been accepted, and after they had maintained this mysterious silence for over six months, wrote to me raising certain objections, and one of them, the strongest—I do not think this will appeal very forcibly to hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway—asserted that if you show by this Amendment in plain terms your distrust of an Irish Parliament and Executive, they will take it out of you in some other way."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th December, 1912. cols. 894–5, Vol. XLV]The point I desired to make was that whereas no objection had been taken to this Amendment in 1893, an objection was taken in the year 1912, and that showed an advance of opinion in this matter. If in making that point I in any way misrepresented the right hon. Gentleman or carried him further than he intended, I have no hesitation whatever in stating that I did not intend to do so, and I apologise.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
Of course I accept the hon. and learned Gentleman's apology. I did feel that I had been put into a false position by it being suggested in public that I had stated I had received 144 hundreds of letters protesting against the Amendment, whereas the hundreds of letters were in favour of it, and I only got two objecting to the Amendment. [An HON. MEMBER: "Then why did you not say so?"] At any rate the matter has now been cleared up, and I hope it will not be made the subject matter of misrepresentation any more.
§ Mr. MOORE
I am glad that this matter has been settled. I think the Chief Secretary during the Committee stage undertook that he would settle the matter, and he certainly has carried out his undertaking. It is a great comfort to the people in Belfast to know this, because naturally they are very anxious as to their future if Home Rule becomes law in Ireland. They insisted on this Amendment, and they have got it. I wish to say a few words about another matter, and I am afraid I shall not be able to avoid the controversial element to the same extent as my right hon. Friend has done. I think I have a right to intervene in these matters. My father held a position in this university and six of his sons entered Trinity College. Therefore we have been connected for a long time with that institution, in which my father held a professorship. I have myself been brought up at Trinity. While I fully and freely admit that our representatives have made the best bargain they can for the university, I have one little objection to make, and it is only a minor one, which I am almost afraid to mention. We know how my right hon. Friend deals with objections from his own side of the House. My view is that these Amendments are all a sham. We know quite well that they will never be carried out, because they will be evaded, and a person is a fool who asks for the paper safeguards from a Home Rule Parliament. Here my Friends have got a paper safeguard, and I wish them joy of it. I think it is rather a work of supererogation to criticise the Amendment now. I am very much alarmed at this provision with regard to the taking of property. Trinity College has a most valuable possession in the College Park right in the centre of Dublin, and if you are going to allow the Irish Parliament to drive a road—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"I—well, it has been suggested before now, and they are quite capable of it—if you are going to allow the Irish Parliament to drive a road from Kildare Street to Brunswick Street across the College Park, you will be doing an injury 145 which no amount of compensation will cover. I shall be told that the compensation will be settled by an arbitrator appointed by the Irish Parliament, but I know the class of man he will be, and, therefore, there will be very little safeguard in this provision. I will, however, leave that question. [Has. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I do so because I have stated my opinion and I believe every word of it.
§ Mr. MOORE
The hon. Member who interrupts me represents the greatest number of illiterates in any constituency in Ireland, but I am going to deal with this matter in my own way. This whole transaction is very interesting. It shows how it has been used entirely from start to finish for party purposes, and I hope the House will note the conclusion of it. My hon, and learned Friend says, with perfect truth, that his Amendment was moved on the Committee stage. The Chief Secretary said he could not accept it, and it went by the board, but he said it would bring up words which would suit. It was therefore left at large as to what exactly exclusion of Trinity College meant. It had not been defined in black and white, but it was to be defined. Then what happened? The present Provost, if he appoints anyone without the approval of the gentleman who conducts the "Irish Times," is the object of his censure in that paper, and the "Irish Times" is also very susceptible to Nationalist opinion. It is constantly quoted from those benches, and never without the statement that it is the leading representative Unionist paper, although for the last five years it has been suspect in Unionist circles.
§ Mr. MOORE
Perhaps the hon. Member will calm himself. It is part of the game of the editor of the "Irish Times" to indulge in his aversion to the present Provost, and also to please the Nationalist Members below the Gangway, and he at once started an agitation in his paper with the object of proving that the effect of this Amendment would be that Trinity College would be cut off from the public life of Ireland. The editor of the "Irish Times" also holds the position of correspondent to the London "Times," and he is Constantly producing in the London "Times" extracts from the "Irish 146 Times," which he writes himself, as the opinion of the leading Unionist journal. It is quite easy by these methods to create an impression, and the ink was hardly dry on this article in the "Irish Times," reproduced in the London "Times" by their Irish correspondent, than the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. R. Harcourt), for party purposes, put questions on the Order Paper, suggesting that all his constituents had run away from the hon. and learned Member for the Dublin University (Mr. J. H. Campbell), and that he had not carried out their wishes in moving his Amendment. Then our Nationalist friends began, and there were tributes paid in the country to the great generosity of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) in accepting this Amendment. At the same time minor Members of the Nationalist party went about saying Trinity College was cutting herself off and was not to be allowed to have any representation in the Irish Parliament. That was even said in this House.
§ Mr. MOORE
With Nationalist cheers. No doubt it was a Nationalist suggestion since the Postmaster-General never moves without it. This was the kindly way in which the exclusion of Trinity College was dealt with. It was all done for party ends. All through last Session suggestions were made in Nationalist papers that my hon. Friend was not carrying out the wishes of his constituents. Then at last the "Irish Times," thinking it was successful in its campaign, announced that after all Trinity was not going to cut herself off root and branch from the public life of Ireland. That announcement was received with the same paeans of joy as the statement was received this evening. The hon. and learned Member for Water-ford was in the country, and he made a speech in which he said a beautiful spirit was coming over everything, for only last night or that morning they heard that Trinity College repudiated its representative in the House of Commons and were going to throw in their lot with the new Irish Parliament. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford said that. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] I have not got the cutting here, but I am speaking in the knowledge of hon. Members who read the speech.
§ Mr. MOORE
Well, he went pretty near it. That is the way the matter stood. It is all very well to impress an English audience, and I suppose for use in the House here, but I would like the House to see how much confidence and trust under the accepted Amendment Trinity College is showing in the new Irish Parliament—No law made by the Irish Parliament shall have effect so as to alter the constitution, or divert the property of, or repeal or diminish any existing exemption or immunity enjoyed by the University of Dublin, or 'Trinity College, Dublin, without their consent.That is a fine mark of confidence, and yet that is what you are so joyful about, "That Trinity College has been betrayed by their Member, that they had found out the truth, and that they had abandoned him, and had trusted them selves implicitly to the Nationalist party." There is, however, as the Chief Secretary says, always a "but." It is subject to the provision that the Irish Parliament cannot alter their constitution or divert their property, or deprive them of any existing immunity or exemption without their full consent. Such is their mark of confidence in the new Irish Parliament. There is no wonder that in the present state of affairs the Nationalist party are grateful for small things. This is the day of small things, and that is the great mark of confidence the University of Dublin is showing in the Nationalist party that has to be heralded on public platforms in the? country as proving a growing confidence on the part of the Unionists of Ireland. I think that is the maximum you will ever get. Speaking for hundreds of the graduates of the university, I say we would be perfectly content if the Chief Secretary had accepted the original Amendment, and prevented you with or? without the consent of any living person over being able to lay a finger on the place. There are hundreds and thousands of the graduates who will say that. If you were to poll the graduates of the whole body to-morrow you might have a party majority, though I doubt if you would have Professor Tyrrell with you, but such is their love for their ancient university, and such is their suspicion and well-founded suspicion of the personnel of the? coming Nationalist Parliament—if it ever exists—that you would have an overwhelming majority of the professors, fellows, and graduates against, for a moment, confiding their destiny to such a Parliament.
§ Mr. HUGH LAW
We have had tonight a spectacle of friendship and kindly 148 spirit between the two Front Benches, and I think that even the hon. and gallant Member who has just spoken has been infected by it. All I wish to say is that this is not a question either of the character or disposition of the Irish Parliament or of its political complexion. The House will see that this Amendment does not involve the virtue or wickedness of our party in taking the course which the Chief Secretary has taken, under circumstances which we all understand, rather than the course advocated by the hon. Members for Gal-way. As to the relations between the Irish Parliament and Trinity College that is a small debating point which I do not desire to press. I only rose to say that I hoped we have not had the last word, because after all what is really at stake here is not the character of the Irish Parliament, but it is the future working of the great University at Dublin, and the question is whether you are likely to promote the best working of that university by requiring that any reform shall be subject to the assent of the bodies named in the Amendment, giving each a power of veto—a power which in many years past has proved disastrous to reform in so many different places—or whether the real and true interests of that ancient university, of which we are all proud, would not be best served in the manner proposed. I hope that in whatever negotiations may take place the sole consideration will be what is best for the welfare of Trinity College itself.
§ Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
We have heard in various quarters of the House expressions of distrust as to what the Irish Parliament would do to Trinity College. But the best antidote to that distrust is to remember what the Irish Parliament did do when it had the power. From my knowledge of history I can say that there have been no two bodies so intimately or affectionately associated during a whole period than Trinity College and the University of Dublin and the Parliament on College Green.
§ Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
They may have been Protestants, but they extended great liberality to their fellow Catholic countrymen. I was amazed at the speech of the hon. Member for North Armagh. Does he not know that the portals of Trinity College, through what is called Parliament Square were erected by the liberality of 149 the Irish Parliament? What does one see on entering the Square? He sees the statue of Edmund Burke, the greatest friend of Catholic rights and liberties, and on the other side he sees the statue of Oliver Goldsmith who, 160 years ago, spoke of the visible land hunger which then was as it now is the plague of Ireland. And when we come into Trinity College itself do we not find that the history of Trinity College is largely the history of the Irish Parliament. You go into its hall and you see before you Grattan who raised the great question of Irish Parliamentary independence, and on the other side in the Examination Hall you see Molyneux and Bishop Berkeley, both friends of Trinity College. Just see what the College has done. Take the case of the Oxford and Cambridge Union. In their case no member who has presided over the Debating Society has been a Member of Parliament at the same time, but Trinity College elected as the president of its Historical Society one who was at the same time Member for the University of Dublin, and when one looks into the records of the Historical Society it is seen that so and so was granted leave of absence in order to attend to his Parliamentary duties on College Green, and that is the Parliament of whose restoration the hon. Gentleman is so very much afraid. He tells us it is true that this will not be the Parliament of 1800 because no Catholics were in that, but let me remind him that among the Provost of Trinity College were Andrews and Hely-Hutchinson—both Members of the Irish Parliament—both protagonists of Catholic rights and education. It was Hely-Hutchinson who proposed an admirable scheme giving Catholics all the rights and privileges of Trinity College, and the Board of Trinity College, thirty-five years before the Boards of Oxford and Cambridge gave degrees to Catholics if they chose to apply for them. Let us consider this—it gives me some good hopes for the hon. Gentleman in the future, for we can only gauge the future by the past—as I look over the history of Trinity College in its connection with the old Irish Parliament it shows me that the most opposing political elements will be combined to defend the rights of an institution of which every Irishman is, and ought to be, proud. Trinity College has a unique history in the Parliamentary representation of universities. So far as I know, it is the only university representation which was the subject of an election 150 petition. It was a very remarkable petition. It was brought in 1791 before a Select Committee of the House of Commons. The allegation made was that one man standing for a fellowship was offered as a bribe for his vote the examination papers and the answers. On this Committee there sat two men, the most opposite in careers and antecedents. They both voted that the rights and liberties of Trinity College in connection with that election should be maintained. They were Lord Edward Fitzgerald on the one side and Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, on the other. They united for the protection of the institution. In respect of the university representation of Trinity College in future there will be one inestimable blessing, for we shall have, as we have not in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, at least one representative a university man to his finger-tips. In former times one of the representatives of Trinity College was always a fellow or professor of the college. The lovely examination hall was built by the liberality of a fellow of Trinity College, who was a member for the university in the old Irish Parliament. Since the Union not a single man connected with the teaching body of Trinity College has ever been its member. I have good hopes for Trinity College. I cannot forget that it was a fellow of Trinity College who was the inventor of the words "Home Rule." That was the Rev. Professor Galbraith, and God bless his memory for it.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)
I rise to remind the hon. Member of the scope of the Amendment now before the House. He seems to be going a little far a field from it.
§ Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
I have said all the irregular things I was going to say, and I have to thank the House for the kindness with which it has listened to me in the matter. After all, blood is stronger than water. Trinity College is the college of my father and of both my grandfathers. I spent one happy year there. I hope the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Moore) will not go into a fit when I say that I regard it as one of my greatest privileges that I was one of the examiners in that institution, notwithstanding my politics.
§ Mr. CHARLES CRAIG
Everyone in the House will agree that the first thing I should do is to move a vote of thanks to the hon Member who has just sat down 151 for his very interesting archœological lecture, dealing with statues and quadrangles. The hon. Member gave away his whole case at a very early stage in his lecture. He gave us a long list of names of persons connected with Trinity College at one time or another, mentioning among them Grattan and Flood, and also the whole of Grattan's Parliament. What differentiates the case at present from that of 112 or 120 years ago is the point made by the hon. Member that all these people loved Trinity College. Is the hon. Member or any hon. Gentleman below the Gangway prepared to get up and tell me that the rank and file of that party love Dublin University? [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes, its associations."] Listen to the unanimous yell! I am not a Trinity College man myself. That does not affect the argument, as the onlooker is supposed to see more of the game, and one who is not a member of the university may perhaps look at the question from an unprejudiced point of view Although I am not a graduate of Trinity College, I know a great many of the graduates, and I unhesitatingly say, in spite of everything that has been said to the contrary, that there is an overwhelming majority of those entitled to speak on behalf of Trinity College who would like to see it safeguarded, fenced and fortified in every way, against interference by any Parliament set up in Ireland. My hon. hon. Friends below me may have made the best of a bad bargain and obtained a certain amount of safeguard which, if we could trust the Irish Parliament, would be of some value, but I have no hesitation in reiterating the statement of my hon. Friend (Mr. Moore) that we do not trust this Parliament, and I feel perfectly certain that you have only to look at the sayings of hon. Members below the Gangway in past days, before they realised that the only chance they had of converting even the Liberal party to Home Rule was to adopt a conciliatory attitude and say that they loved everything in Ireland now which a few years ago they said they hated—
§ Mr. C. CRAIG
The hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) has himself said that Trinity College is very unpopular in Ireland.
Mr. W. A. REDMOND
On a point of Order. Has the hon. Member for South Antrim (Mr. C. Craig) a right to refer to me as the "junior Member for Waterford"?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The hon. Member himself was interrupting the speech. He drew upon himself the remark. Hon. Members should rise when they have something to say at the end of a speech.
Mr. W. A. REDMOND
When an hon. Member imputes a statement to other hon. Members in this House, is it not natural that some of us should, without rising, express our dissatisfaction with the imputation?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
There have been a considerable number of these interruptions. It is not necessary to express disagreement in debate until the opportunity comes in rising to continue the Debate.
§ Mr. C. CRAIG
I think the hon. Member before he has been very much longer in the House will probably learn to control himself a little more efficiently. I did not say the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond) had ever said he hated Trinity College. I know that many Members of the Nationalist party have on hundreds of occasions—[HON. MEMBERS: "Name."] I have named one. I have spoken of the hon. and learned Gentleman. I have said he has before now stated that Trinity College is very unpopular with Ireland.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
Will the hon. Member reserve his contradiction till the conclusion of the speech?
§ Mr. C. CRAIG
It only requires hon. Members opposite to look back over a very few years of Irish history to find innumerable expressions from Nationalist Members of Parliament and leading 153 Nationalists in Ireland who are not Members of Parliament to show their feelings towards Trinity College, Dublin. That is what differentiates the case between now and the time of Grattan's Parliament, when unquestionably it is safe to say that five-sixths of the Members of Grattan's Parliament were graduates of Trinity College. That is a very different state of affairs from what exists now. It is preposterous to suggest, as has been stated explicitly by one hon. Member opposite and several hon. Members below the Gangway, that there is any considerable number of graduates of Trinity College at present who desire to be in any way left to the mercies of a Dublin Parliament. The very opposite is the case. I guarantee that nine-tenths of them are bitterly opposed to the future Irish Government having any control or say whatever in the government of Trinity College.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be added to the Bill."
§ Amendments made: Leave out the word "University"["(a) the governing body of the University"], and insert instead thereof the word "College."
§ Leave out the word "Academic"["and (c)the Academic Council"], and insert instead thereof the word "University."
§ After the word "property"["the taking of property"], insert the words "not being lands in occupation of or used in connection with the college or either of the universities."
§ Leave out the word "may"["may be deducted on the Order"], and insert instead thereof the word "shall."
§ At the end of the Clause insert the words ["and (c) until the Joint Exchequer Board certify that the amount standing to the credit of the account of Trinity College, under Section 39 of the Irish Land Act, 1903, is adequate to afford the indemnity for which provision is made by that Section, there shall be paid annually out of moneys provided by the Irish Parliament the sum of five thousand pounds for that account; and that sum, if and so far as not so paid, shall be deducted on the order of the Joint Exchequer Board from the Transferred Sum and paid to that account."