§ (1) On and after the appointed day there shall be in Ireland an Irish Parliament consisting of His Majesty the King and two Houses, namely, the Irish Senate and the Irish House of Commons.1065
§ (2) Notwithstanding the establishment of the Irish Parliament or anything contained in this Act, the supreme power and authority of the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall remain unaffected and un-diminished over all persons, matters, and things within His Majesty's Dominions.
§ Amendment proposed [11th June]: In Sub-section (1) after the word "shall" ["there shall be in Ireland"], to insert the words "subject to the counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, and Londonderry being excluded from the provisions of this Act." —[Mr. Agar-Robartes.]
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted." Debate resumed.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Sir EDWARD CARSON
Although the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Bonar Law), the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour), and the right, hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Long), the latter two being ex-Chief Secretaries for Ireland, have already stated the general view that is taken on this side of the House with regard to this particular Amendment—and I may say at the outset that, so far as I know, there is no difference of opinion at all as between the Irish Members upon our side of the House, and the Unionist Members for whom the Leader of the Opposition has already spoken have made that clear—I think it is natural that I should ask leave to say something on an Amendment which to me, at all events, appears to be the most vital Amendment which probably can be moved during the whole of the discussions in Committee on the Bill. I doubt very much if the House, or if even the Government, realise the vast importance of the question which engaged us for a few hours the other day, and which is now engaging us at the present moment. It is quite true—at least so far as I can ascertain, and certainly so far as I recollect—that when the Home Rule Bill of 1893 was before this House this question of the separate treatment of Ulster was never raised. But may I point out that the proceedings in this House, and the desirability of sending such a question as this before the country, are looked upon by the Government of the present day in an entirely different way from what they were looked upon by Mr. Gladstone and the constitutional statesmen of twenty years ago. I beg the House to recollect that 1066 what we are engaged in now is the settling probably of the final form in which this Bill is to become law. [Cheers.] I am glad that hon. Gentlemen opposite indicate by their cheers that they accept that view. The matter to me is one of very vast importance, and one which gives me very great responsibility.
Under the Parliament Act, if the Parliament Act is going to be used to force this Bill upon the North of Ireland, this Bill, if it passes the House of Commons this year and is rejected by the House of Lords, would have to go up in exactly the same form in the next two years. That is, the procedure if the Parliament Act is to be used to turn this Bill into an effective Act of Parliament. That throws upon the House now a very great responsibility. I doubt if the Government have seriously considered that responsibility. I certainly have not gathered anything in their speeches—I have heard most of them, and I have read others this morning—which would show that they have given any real and serious consideration to this question at all. I am all the more surprised at that because of the speeches which were made by the First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Churchill), and by the Foreign Secretary (Sir Edward Grey) in the Second Reading Debate on this Bill. They certainly gave the impression—though their words were, I admit, somewhat misty; I wish on these subjects people would talk plainly instead of placing their opinions in misty or diplomatic terms as is the habit of the Foreign Secretary—they gave the impression to this House and probably to the country that they themselves, if this question of Ulster was pressed in the course of these Debates, had some alternative to offer other than that they should force the proposals in the Bill against their expressed will on the people of Ulster. So far as the matter now stands, the Government tell us that they have no alternative. I take it, therefore, that we are entitled to say that the meaning of the Government is this: whatever the opposition of what the Chief Secretary calls the million or over a million people of these counties may be—I will come to the other counties in a few moments—to being driven out of their present rights, because remember, they are not asking for anything, they are only asking to stay where they are— whatever their opposition to being driven out of the rights under which they were born, and under which they have lived and flourished, the Government now proclaim to the electors and people of this 1067 country that their only alternative is coercion in that part of Ireland. Let that be clearly understood. I think that is a very serious position. I will say a word about that in a moment.
I know we are subject to a great deal of scoffing on these matters. I have been the subject of scoffing myself, but I do not mind it. I think the Chief Secretary knows that it is a serious matter, and I dare say the Prime Minister knows, though probably he is not so intimately acquainted with Ireland as the Chief Secretary, that this question of driving the Ulster people out of your community— because that is what it comes to in plain language—is a matter that is exercising a great many people even on the other side of politics. There have been speeches already made in the course of the Debate in that sense. Some of them have been encouraging to us, and, at all events, they are encouraging in the sense that they show us that the people are thinking about it. We have advanced somewhat from the position of indifference or apathy when people think that there is an important question involved in this matter, and when other people have been putting forward various alternative schemes. One hon. Gentleman, I think it was the hon. Member for Stirlingshire (Dr. Chapple), though I am not quite certain, made the suggestion that the North-East of Ireland should be tacked on to Scotland. I think when he was brought to the frame of mind to make that proposal he must have thought that anything was better than driving us under the rule of a Parliament in Dublin. Other proposals have been made by very serious men. There was a proposal made by the Rev. Dr. Horton, a very ardent supporter, particularly of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He said the proper means is to pass your Home Rule Bill as it is, and let all the Protestants of Ireland emigrate to England. Well, he thought that was better for them than to remain under Home Rule in Ireland. And mind you, I desire to speak of the Rev. Dr. Horton, whom I know personally, with very great respect. He is a very cultivated man, who has studied this question with very great care, and I do not believe for a moment he put that forward as a mere haphazard suggestion or without consideration. I believe he put it forward because he thought these people would not be able to live in Ireland under the pro- 1068 posals the Government have now brought forward. Then there was another proposal made equally interesting, but I think equally impractical. That was a proposal by the Rev. Mr. Hocking, who said the real thing was, "Go on with your Bill, I am a Home Ruler; pass it through, and immediately proceed to destroy the Catholic clergy in Ireland." I think, although he was over and investigated this question on the spot, he knows very little of the Irish people and their attachment to religion if he believes that he would be able to destroy either the priests or the Catholics of Ireland. I have no sympathy with his views—none whatever. Therefore, when these matters are really agitating the public mind, I think we ought to look very closely into this question, and we ought to expect very grave arguments from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite as to the reason why they are going to oppose this Amendment. I shall examine the arguments which have been given up to this stage, at least so far as I understand them, as well as I can, but before doing so I should like to say that I am not going for a moment—it would not be worth while—to follow the exact form of the Amendment, but to deal with the basic principle. Other matters can be settled afterwards. For example, I myself would certainly never agree to leave out Tyrone or Fermanagh which, I believe, come essentially under every principle that applies to the counties mentioned in the Amendment. But that, I believe, is a geographical matter which we may pass by at present, because it would require further consideration. There is another observation I wish to make before I proceed to analyse the proposals a little more in detail. The hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire (Mr. Cowan), who spoke the other day, said that "if the Unionist Members from Ireland would accept this Amendment as a settlement of this question—as a compromise of this question—and help us to proceed with this Bill, then I will vote for it." Let him not give any vote under any misapprehension. We do not accept this Amendment as a compromise of the question. There is no compromise possible. We believe that Home Rule would be disastrous for the rest of Ireland, and—because he offers what would be merely a simple act of justice to a portion of Ulster—why should we on that ground abandon our position in regard to a policy which we believe harmful to Ireland?
1069 Having said so much, let me proceed to a further examination of this question. I, at all events, desire to do so without any heat whatsoever. I know that some hon. Members may think that is not a sincere statement. It is perfectly sincere. I have never approached any subject in the whole course of my public life which has given more trouble than the question of the Amendment which is now before the House. I have certainly not undertaken the duty—which is not the kind of duty I care for—in relation to this Bill out of any personal motive to myself. It can be nothing but irksome, and I do so solely because I believe there is a question that has arisen between these two countries which may prove one of the most vital questions which this nation has ever had to deal with. First then, in approaching this question. I believe that one of the things that affect men's minds in the consideration of it is as to what you really believe to be the attitude of Ulster. Do you really believe that Ulster is in earnest in her opposition? I do not mean in earnest in the sense of differing on a political matter. This is not a political matter to Ulster. They look upon it, or I believe they look upon it, as a matter affecting their lives, their liberties, their employment and everything that goes to make up what man holds dear in life. I believe that they are right in doing that, but whether they are right or whether they are wrong I want the House if they will, to approach the consideration of this question with the understanding that that at all events is the attitude of Ulster in regard to this matter. That is what you have to conquer. That is what you will have to put down, and you will have to put it down, not regarding Ulster as an isolated part of this kingdom, but you will have to put it down as I believe with the great and vast majority of the people of this country sympathising deeply with the fact that men are being driven against their will out of the community to which they are attached. I believe that Ulster has every reason for taking up this attitude. When I talk of Ulster for this Amendment I talk of the counties mentioned in the Amendment which include Belfast.
To those who tell me that the Union has failed in Ireland I say look to Belfast and the North-East corner of Ulster. They are a product of the Union. It is under the Union that they have grown and flourished, and it is no wonder when you 1070 come to analyse what has happened in that not at all most favoured part, by nature, of Ireland that the people are wedded to the system which has developed their liberty and their prosperity to the extent which it has done. I do not like wearying the House, but I would like to ask, has any hon. Gentleman opposite read the report of the council of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce, which has been passed upon this Bill within the last few days. I am perfectly sure that responsible Ministers opposite, whatever other hon. Members opposite may do, will hardly call the Chamber of Commerce of Belfast a mere handful of Orangemen, as if that disposes of the argument. Even if they do, it does not matter. Here are then great merchants who preside over some of the largest industrial concerns in the United Kingdom. Of four or five of the very largest they give figures and details in the report, which I wish every man would learn and understand before he decided to act against the views of these people in the North of Ireland. Of these details I will only give one or two. Since the last Home Rule Bill was before the House the population of Belfast has increased by about 140,000, or very nearly 50 per cent. At the present moment pauperism in Belfast—I mention the fact, having regard to some of the attacks that have been made on Belfast for political purposes, and which are utterly untrue and unworthy—is the lowest of any city in the United Kingdom, being only 107 per 10,000, as against 296 in Dublin, 336 in Cork, 263 in Glasgow, 228 in Manchester, 220 in Liverpool, 209 in Bristol, and 210 the average of the United Kingdom. And then they go on to say this:—In considering the industrial growth of Belfast as illustrated by the foregoing statistics, it is important to recollect that coal and practically all the raw materials for our industries, such as iron, steel, flax, tobacco, grain, etc., have to be imported, and that it is outside of Ireland that the chief markets for our products are found. The fact that our industrial growth is due to the development of trade with England and Scotland, and is also of an international character, and further that the amount of trade done by our shipbuilding and manufacturing concerns for Irish clients is comparatively trivial, amply justifies our desire for the maintenance always of the closest relations with Great Britain and the complete association with the world-wide prestige of the United Kingdom in which we freely participate.Then they say:—Why should we be driven by force to abandon the conditions which have led to that success? We can imagine no conceivable reason —no fault that we have committed—which will justify the treatment which this Bill prepares for us. We are to be driven out of our present close connection with England and Scotland; we are to be deprived of the power to control our own future; and we are to be handed over to the govern- 1071 ment and guidance of men of whose principles we disapprove, and whose capacity has never been applied towards the practical advancement of the material interests of the country.As to the question of safeguards, which is so constantly put forward, and which was again put forward by the Prime Minister the day before yesterday, they say they view the safeguards as nominal and of no practical value. This view would seem to be confirmed by Sir Edward Grey, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who, speaking on the Second Reading, said:—I admit that while we preserve Imperial supremacy for purposes of this Parliament in theory over the Irish Parliament, in practice we shall have to go out of our way to exercise that supremacy. I do not wish to see this done.And passing over a great deal that is well worth studying in this report, they say:—With our firmly established position in the Empire we are perfectly satisfied. The trade and commerce of Ireland are hampered by no qualifications or conditions which do not equally affect every part of the United Kingdom. Indeed, it is beyond controversy that under the rule of the Imperial Parliament the country as a whole has obtained benefits and advantages which would never have been secured under any Irish Government. Therefore, as patriotic Irishmen, we protest against a change more than ever uncalled for and, as we believe, fraught with disaster to our country; a change under which the peculiar industrial interests of this portion of Ireland would be at the mercy of a permanent majority with antagonistic ideals and methods.Those are the kind of facts which are burned into the hearts of these men, which they believe are to be attributed to the connection with this country. Do not you think that they are right? Do you not think that they are the very kind of things that men will struggle to the very end and the most desperate end to maintain rather than run the risk of what is at best a gamble on the future? If that is the position, let us try to put down shortly what is the proposition that a statesman has to make with reference to this matter. I am bound to argue this matter in Committee at the present moment, and particularly having regard to the Parliament Act on the assumption that this Bill is going to become law. There is no other way of dealing in Committee. I am also entitled to argue on the assumption that it is going to be part of a federal system for the United Kingdom. That was told us by the Prime Minister. In these circumstances, what have we got? We have got among our citizens a homogeneous community perfectly satisfied with the conditions under which they are at present living, who have flourished under those conditions, "who are indeed a product of those condi- 1072 tions. They say, "We want to remain in this position"; they say, "We have never yet been told, and no one has been told, what benefit we can get by being driven out of this position"; because, after all, you can say of the South and West of Ireland that they will get a sentimental benefit, if they think that that is of equal value to the material benefit, and I am not underrating it. In the circumstances, is the Statesman going to say, "My business is to coerce you against your will, to drive you out of what you are satisfied with into what you feel so passionately opposed to, that you will even feel bound to resist it"? Is that the only solution a statesman can give to this question? Is that what is going to be laid down by the Government as the last word on these conditions?
If it is, have not we a right to ask, where is your precedent, Where is the precedent for driving out of a community against their will people who are satisfied with it? You are always referring to Colonial examples. I happened to be Solicitor-General at the time when the Australian Commonwealth Bill was passed. You never would have passed that Bill if every single Clause had not been agreed to by every single one of the communities concerned. I remember seeing sitting in that Gallery representatives from every community interested in that Bill. I remember up to the very last moment our having conferences with them, so that we might not have a single Clause in the Bill which was not agreed to by every single one of these representatives; and do you mean to tell me that if one of those communities had come before this House and said, "We decline to come in because we are passionately attached to what we believe is a better form of Government" your reply would have been, "If you do not come in we will send out our troops to compel you to come in?" If you did you would have lost your Colony. Take the Transvaal, about which people are always talking. If the Transvaal had refused to give up its autonomous position, and to come into the Union which created the Union Parliament, and took away part of the privileges of that autonomous position, would you have forced the Transvaal, would you have forced Natal, would you have forced the Cape? After all, the 1,030,000 people, the number of inhabitants of these four counties, are really a larger community than, say, New Zealand. They are a larger community than any single provincial Parliament in Canada or in 1073 other parts of our Empire; and I cannot for the life of me see why it is you approach this question as regards Ulster in an entirely different frame of mind from what you would have approached the settlement of any other question relating to satisfying the loyalist citizens of the Empire. The only reason can be that you allow yourselves to be overborne and influenced by the other Members from Ireland. Then, again, in relation to this, I should like to repeat what I said before because I think there is some vast mistake about it. Please do remember that Ulster is not asking for anything. Please remember that Ulster is merely asking to stay as she is, to stay under the Constitution under which she has prospered. Therefore I was assuming Home Rule is going to pass, Assuming that a statesman has before him the idea of a federal Constitution, assuming there is one portion who want to stay in the federal Constitution in a particular way, on what grounds does he reject it? If you have four Parliaments in the United Kingdom there is no reason why you should not have five—none whatsoever—or six or seven. I believe somebody said we had twenty-seven in the Empire. All I can say to the statesman who is going to propose a federal Constitution for this country, who is going to break up the United Kingdom—which we do not want in relation to this matter—it is a fatuous policy to say that in the mapping out of your federal Constitution, "We shall disregard one portion of the community and one portion only," and treat them as if they were citizens who were beneath our contempt and unworthy to be listened to in the views that they put forward as regards the way they ought to be governed.
I do not want to say one word by way of threat. That is not what I want. I am using no threat of any kind whatsoever. I shall assume, for the purpose of my argument, that you coerce Ulster. The hon. Gentleman the Member for North Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) says, "Are you going to fight the Navy and the Army?" That is an absurd suggestion. I shall assume that the Navy and the Army are going to put Ulster down. What then? Do you think that people with this burning passion in relation to the Government under which they are to live will be good citizens? Do you really think that the Ulster Scot is the kind of man you can trample underfoot? You have made very little effort certainly by your arguments here—I do not know what took place elsewhere; I do not know 1074 whether this matter has been considered; I dare say it has—you have made very little effort and very little progress, so far as any solution of the question is possible, in the present condition and frame of mind shown by the announcement by the Prime Minister and the Chief Secretary on the last occasion when this was before the House. Let me examine for the moment the argument which has been put forward. The Chief Secretary said, "After all, the people of Ireland, Catholics and Protestants, are not such bad friends as you might imagine." I quite agree with him. I should be sorry if they were. I hope they will be greater friends; if you will only let them alone they would be. But there are deep-rooted historical questions, traditions, ideas, and race, too, which you cannot get rid of by an Act of Parliament, but which you can aggravate by an Act of Parliament. The Chief Secretary says there is a great deal of trade between the North and South of Ireland. He says there are bankers in the North who have branch banks in the South; and there are men in the North of Ireland who sell seeds to men in the South. What has that got to do with it? Does he mean to say—this is a hopeful outlook —that if Ulster is allowed to remain with the Imperial Parliament here they would never again be allowed to do business in the South of Ireland? That is not a happy augury for the Irish Parliament you are going to set up. I think he did say that without Ulster Home Rule would be incomplete and ineffective; I do not remember his exact words.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I agree with him. I believe it would be almost impossible, for many reasons, if you have to go into finance and other matters; but the right hon. Gentleman draws the conclusion that therefore you must force Home Rule upon Ulster. I draw the conclusion, therefore, that you ought not to have Home Rule at all. That is the difference between us; that is what you have to start with; but to draw the conclusion that because for many reasons the South and West of Ireland want the wealth and industry of Ulster to help them on their way that therefore you are to coerce Ulster seems to me one of the most extraordinary propositions that can be conceived. I now come to the Prime Minister, who gave us a very severe lecture on our daring to 1075 desert those who, according to us, were placed in peril in other parts of Ireland. We do not want to be lectured by the Prime Minister. We can manage all this for ourselves. The people in Ireland will not in the least misconstrue what we are doing on this occasion, whatever the lectures of the Prime Minister may be. They Know perfectly well that that is all nonsense so far as they are concerned. I do not believe that anything the Prime Minister, or any other Minister, will ever say or do, as he is attempting to do, drive a kind of wedge, as if we were—to use the phrase of the Solicitor-General, who had come straight from the "Titanic" Inquiry—taking to the boats. It will not do us the least harm. They have perfect confidence that we are trying to do what is best for them, and very often, on this kind of Amendment, in very difficult circumstances, I admit. That is what the Prime Minister put forward, that we were deserting the other people in Ireland, and that, instead, we ought to remain in the Irish Parliament and throw in our lot with it, and have the benefit of such power as we might be able to exert in that Parliament.
The Solicitor-General says you cannot treat Ulster separately, because Ireland is an entity for legislation, and always treated so by this House. He also says it is an entity for one separate Executive Government and he said that is what it is at the present time. Therefore, he adds, you cannot divide it. I cannot follow the conclusion of the hon. and learned Gentleman. The plain answer to that is that it is quite true that we legislate for Ireland as one entity in this House; but it is because you do it by an Imperial Parliament, constituted not merely of Members from Ireland, but of Members in the United Kingdom; and in no other way can you do it. We say the only way you can treat Ireland, having regard to her special conditions, is to treat her as one entity by the Imperial Parliament, and the moment you try to alter that, the idea of governing Ireland with anything like peace falls away. I should like to say a word about this question of our deserting the rest of Ireland. It is said that if we support this Amendment we shall be guilty of desertion. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] Is it desertion? I do not agree. I will tell you why I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman. Let me say for myself, and in no egotistical way, that as a Dublin man—the Solicitor-General was very 1076 anxious to know my pedigree—I should be the very last, with all my relatives living in the South and West of Ireland, and in Dublin, and in various places, who would for one moment consent to what I believe would be in the slightest degree a desertion of any part of Ireland. The Solicitor-General said that I made a statement in Dublin, and he suggested that Belfast people were brought down there. That is a very unworthy suggestion.
§ Sir E. CARSON
You did say it. I know the Solicitor-General said, "I do not suggest for a moment there were people brought from Belfast." I think he is far too honest to deny that. But if he did not mean to suggest that, why did he say it? I can assure him that there is no word of truth in the suggestion. I can assure him that I would not lend myself on a matter of this kind to a paltry pretence and pretext of that nature. I addressed 7,000 delegates there from outside Ulster—that was the meeting he referred to—and there I said what I repeat here exactly, that Ulster would never demand, and Ulster has not demanded any separate Parliament; but by remaining under this Imperial Parliament, they take to my mind far the best step for assisting their brethren in the South and West.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I was refering to a passage in the right hon. Gentleman's speech in which he, in effect, said to the Unionists of Dublin and the South that, they might be quite certain that the Unionists of the North would take no steps which would separate their interests from those of the Unionists in Dublin and the South.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I said this:—Ulster asks for no separate Parliament. She never has in all the long controversy taken that separate course. Ulster asks to remain in the Imperial Parliament, and that she means, if possible, to do—(loud cheers) and you need fear no action of Ulster which would be in the nature of desertion of any of the Southern provinces. If Ulster succeeds Home Rule is dead.What I said there is exactly what I am saying now, that Ulster will ask for no separate Parliament, and that she will try and remain in this Parliament, and that that will be the best way of helping the people in the South and West of Ireland, and does anybody doubt it? If you have in Ulster this Imperial Parliament and the 1077 Imperial Executive, do you not think that the people in the South and West of Ireland would be in a very different position from sending a few representatives from Ulster into a Parliament where their voice would hardly ever be heard, and certainly never could be made practical? I know that the right hon. Gentleman believes, and I am sure he believes, that when this Bill is passed and when the controversy is out of the way, that Ulster will get a fair share in the government of Ireland. I am sure he believes that, and I am not at all saying it is unnatural. He is an Englishman, and he believes credulous stories as they are told from one day to the other. It is said one day that we have an undying hatred for England. I suppose he will believe that, and then he is told by the same Gentleman the next day that we are burning with love for the British Empire, and I suppose he believes that, too.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Does the right hon. Gentleman think credulity a peculiar quality of Englishmen?
§ Sir E. CARSON
In politics sometimes. Let us look at what has happened, and let me give an instance to show you those Ulster people are not unreasonable, as is tried to be represented. When the county councils came along somebody conceived the idea, and I think a very good idea, of having a council of the county councils for the purpose of suggesting mutual improvement in local government in Ireland. It was, I think, an excellent suggestion. It was mainly, of course, composed of Nationalists, and their idea was to meet together and make suggestions from one to the other as to how they could best improve the county government of the country, which was, I think, a very sane and very good idea. How has it turned out? They invited the Ulster people in. The Ulster people knew their men. They said, "while we do not very much believe that that is the real object we will give you a trial, and will you keep politics out of it, and let all of us apply ourselves purely to the administration of our counties, and get up a better system." They went in on the strict undertaking that that was to be the constitution of the council. They were not very long there before they found what they had been brought in for—to try and have it appear they were lending themselves to what is called the helping of the national idea, and they had some years ago to retire, and leave the council of the county councils to themselves. Where have we, even in the 1078 last twenty years since this Home Rule question has been before the country, any single instance in the whole conduct of the majority in Ireland of encouragement to believe that we can expect fair play at their hands. Not one in twenty years.
There has been an attempt, and I admit it freely and frankly, by some few of the Irish Members, led, I believe, by the hon. Member for Cork. See how it is laughed at. The hon. Member for Cork is a Horns Ruler. I differ from him just as much as I differ from any other, but let me say that movement was a movement of conciliation. It ended, or, at least, it commenced to a large extent in the Land Act that was passed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Wyndham). The hon. Member for Cork, seeing the benefits of that Act as they resulted to Ireland, had rigidly adhered to it, and to every word and every promise he made at that time, and largely because of that he is now driven outside the Irish party. Then the hon. Gentleman and some others proceeded to what they called trying to reconcile Ulster and the Protestants from Ulster, and Ireland generally, and made speeches which, if they had been made by the majority of them for the last twenty years might, I admit, possibly have had some effect on some of the Unionists in Ireland. Their idea was certainly a worthy idea, nobody can deny that, of bringing about reconciliation and better feeling, and the moment they do that they are denounced, and they are boycotted, and they are persecuted, and they can hardly hold an election in Ireland. The hon. Member—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am very reluctant to interfere with the right hon. Gentleman. All the earlier part of his argument was, I think, distinctly relevant to the Amendment, but I wish to point out that, although this Amendment undoubtedly raises very large and broad questions, it is to be considered in relation to the fact of this Bill having been read a second time. Therefore to that extent the discussion is narrower than if we were on the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I can only say with great respect that I am surprised if I am not entitled to show why these counties in Ulster cannot trust the majority, and give that as a reason why they should be excluded from the Bill. I have said nearly all I have to say upon this subject. I only wish that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for one of the Divisions of 1079 Cork would get up and tell the House something about the Louth Election. I have put the case as well as I could before the Committee. I have put it without trying to introduce any unnecessary heat into the argument; but you need not assume because I put it in that way that I do not feel as deeply as a man can feel on this subject, because I am convinced of it not by going amongst the landlords, but by going amongst the only real democracy that exists in Ireland, the working men there, who are the men I always insist upon seeing when I go over there, because they after all will bear the brunt of this business, and no step will be ever taken by Ulster without their fullest concurrence. It is because I know what their feelings are and what they are talking and feeling in their workshops and in the. evening in their homes; it is for that reason I look upon this case as one of such serious import that I do not think any consideration this House can give to it is in the least too much even having regard to the straitened circumstances of time under which we have to conduct it.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I shall endeavour in the remarks that I have to make to imitate the moderation and calmness with which the right hon. Gentleman has spoken, and which I freely acknowledge, and as he has received a patient and respectful hearing for his view of the case, I feel sure that our view of the case will be equally received. On Tuesday last the late Leader of the Opposition complained of the silence of Irish Members on these benches on the question of this Amendment, and he called for an explanation from us as to our position on this question of the separate treatment of Ulster. I remained silent on Tuesday last because I felt I was entitled to know before I spoke the attitude of the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir E. Carson) and his Friends, and until the speech which he has delivered this afternoon was made I honestly did not know what his attitude was going to be. We all remember that in his speech in Belfast he called, as we thought, for separate treatment for Ulster, and we know that the very moment he made that declaration that the idea of separate treatment for Ulster was loudly denounced by the organ of opinion of the Unionists of the South and West of Ireland. Instantly, the moment he made that speech, the next day, the "Irish 1080 Times," which is the organ—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] Is the "Irish Times" not the organ of the Unionists of the South and West of Ireland? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I must say that is news to me, and I think will be rather startling reading for the manager and conductors of that journal. It certainly poses as the representative of the Unionists in the South and West of Ireland, and is so generally regarded in the South and West of Ireland. It came out and denounced the idea of the separate treatment of Ulster, and when the right hon. Gentleman says that there is no danger of the Unionists in the South and West of Ireland misunderstanding his present attitude, I would like to tell the Committee that the "Irish Times," in an article published yesterday, with reference to this very Debate, declared that the suggestion in this Amendment of separate treatment for Ulster or for any part of Ulster was, and these are the words:—A trap designed to secure an admission that the Northern Unionists were willing to abandon the Unionists in the rest of Ireland to their fate.5.0 P.M.
Then, subsequently to the denunciation in the name of the Unionists of the South and West of Ireland to the idea of separate treatment for any part of Ulster, the right hon. and learned Gentleman spoke, as has been said, in Dublin and there, as we understood, he repudiated the idea of the separate treatment for Ulster. This afternoon he says he is going to vote for it; but he has made, I am bound to say, his position perfectly clear. He has been perfectly candid. He has not said he is going to vote for separate treatment for a portion of Ulster for the purpose of improving this Bill, or as a compromise on which this matter could be settled, because he has told us that even if this. Amendment were carried the opposition of himself and his party to the Home Rule Bill would be as vehement as ever. I call the attention of the Committee to this fact. This Amendment has not been moved by one of the representatives of any of the four counties concerned, and the whole House knows what capable men they are. It has not been moved by any Member from Ulster; it has not been moved by any Ulster man at all; it has not been moved even by a Member of the Unionist party. It is, I believe, a fact that a similar Amendment which stood the other day on the Notice Paper in the name of a Unionist Member has mysteriously disappeared from the Paper. Under these circumstances I think the Committee generally 1081 will say that I was entitled to know, before I rose to speak upon this matter, did the Unionist party, and especially the Ulster Unionist party, put this forward as their demand for a settlement of this question, or did they not? It is now evident, of course, that they do not, and that they do not treat it as any approach to a settlement of the question. I assert that there is at this moment no single section of Unionist opinion in Ireland in favour of the Amendment. Certainly it is not supported by the Unionists from the South and West, and, as I have said, it was not moved by any representative of Ulster, or even by a Unionist Member at all.
I should like to say a word with respect to one or two of my Friends on the other side of the House, who, before this situation had developed as it has done, expressed some sympathy with this Amendment. I could quite understand some Friends of ours on the other side of the House giving very serious and anxious consideration to this proposal if it were put forward as the price to be paid for a settlement of this question; that is to say, If the Ulster Unionist Members declared that if this Amendment were carried they would accept the Bill. Even then, I am bound to say, it would not have received the approval or sanction of my colleagues or myself. I will develop our position with perfect candour if the Committee will kindly bear with me. I say that if it had been put before the Committee in that way and upon those grounds, I could understand some genuine Home Rulers on the other side of the House, friends of Ireland, giving their serious consideration to it. But it is now entirely disavowed and repudiated as part of a settlement by the Ulster Members. It is put entirely on one side as a means of bringing about a compromise, and it is supported frankly as a wrecking Amendment. On Tuesday the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Hayes Fisher) frankly declared that he only voted for this Amendment because he knew that if it was carried it would kill the Bill; and unless I misunderstand the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir E. Carson), he also declared that if Ulster were separated from the rest of Ireland, Home Rule became impossible. Therefore I say that this Amendment stands, and is put before the Committee, not as an effort towards the settlement of this question, but frankly and brutally as a wrecking Amendment. I appeal to any genuine friends of Home Rule in Ireland how, in 1082 these circumstances, they can possibly give a vote in favour of the Amendment? No intelligent man in any part of the House can possibly support this Amendment except upon the ground that it is a wrecking Amendment.
Consider for a moment what this Amendment is. It proposes to exempt from the operation of the Home Rule Bill four Ulster counties out of the nine which comprise the province, namely, Antrim, Down, Derry, and Armagh. Mark you, it does not propose to exempt Ulster. That would be too absurd, because, as is well known, in Ulster, taking the whole province, the population is very evenly balanced indeed, even between Catholic and Protestant, and if allowance were made, as I think it ought to be, for at any rate a margin of Protestant Home Rulers, you would have the result that a majority of the people of Ulster were in favour of Home Rule. The Unionists in Ulster at present have a majority of only one in the representation of the province. That is only a temporary majority. We have had a majority in the province of Ulster more than once, and may have again any day in the future. Therefore hon. Gentlemen abstain from the rank absurdity of proposing to exempt Ulster as a whole. Then they go on and say they will exempt four counties, "and," said the ex-Leader of the Opposition, "the ground on which we are justified in exempting those four counties is that they contain a population homogenous, determined, and united in their political and religious convictions, and cut off from the rest of Ireland." Let me examine that statement for a moment. Anything more grossly and ludicrously inaccurate was never said. The right hon. Gentleman's argument was that so homogenous, so united in their convictions, religious and political, were these four counties, and so cut off from the rest of Ireland, that they were as different from the rest of Ireland as the rest of Ireland is from Great Britain. I utterly deny this statement. Even at the present moment, as things stand, in these four counties the Nationalists hold the following seats, namely, South Down, South Armagh, Newry, and West Belfast; and we lost the seat in South Derry only by a handful of votes. We have often held the seat before, and probably in elections to come will hold it again. Take, further, the seats of South Belfast, South Derry, East Down, and North Antrim. They are all seats which in the past have been won by 1083 either Home Rulers or Labour men. In the face of these facts to say that these four counties form a homogeneous community, separated from the rest of Ireland and opposed to Home Rule, is absurd.
Let me deal with the four counties and see whether by a further test they can be said to be homogeneous in their religious, racial, or political ideas. Take, first of all, the consideration of these counties, excluding the cities of Belfast and Derry. I will deal with those in a moment. We have in Ireland a religious census, so that we are able to quote exact figures. We have in these four counties a population consisting of 690,000 Catholics and 888,000 Protestants—a large majority of Protestants, I admit, but still is it such a large majority as entitles you to say that these four counties are the solid mass of a million men of which the late Leader of the Opposition spoke, united in their convictions—
§ Mr. WALTER GUINNESS
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman say that there are 690,000 Catholics in these four counties? That is the number for the whole of Ulster. The 1911 Census, on page 6 of the Preliminary Report, showed 690,000 Roman Catholics for the whole province of Ulster.
§ Mr. J. REDMOND
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for correcting me. I was given by inadvertence the figures for the whole of Ulster. The figures I have had supplied to me, however, are wrong. I believe the actual figures are that out of a population of a little over a million in these four counties 315,000 are Catholics. I make the hon. Gentleman and his Friends a present of their satisfaction at having tripped me up in reading out figures which were supplied to me upon a wrong basis. But I make the same argument. You cannot speak of these four counties as being a unit when even on matters of religion there is a minority so large as 315,000 Catholics against less than 700,000 Protestants. But this is not a mere sectarian matter. I assert here again now, as I asserted some time ago, that there is amongst the Protestants in these counties a large minority of men in favour of Home Rule for Ireland. That is capable of proof, and I will endeavour to prove it. Take some of the elections which have recently been held in these four counties. In the election of December, 1910, in North Antrim, there was a contest between Mr. 1084 Macafee, who was a Liberal Home Ruler—
§ Mr. J. REDMOND
He certainly stood as a Home Ruler. He stood against the official Tory candidate, and was denounced as a Home Ruler by him. In addition to that, I am told that at the recent Home Rule meeting in Dublin he was one of the speakers.
§ Mr. J. REDMOND
In that election, where on one side there was an official Tory candidate and on the other a Liberal Home Ruler, although according to the official Census the Catholics in the population are only 24 per cent., the Liberal Home Ruler polled 45 per cent. of the electors who voted. Where did the other 21 per cent. come from? Manifestly they must have come from the Protestant population. Take the constituencies of West Down and Mid-Antrim. The Liberal candidates in those constituencies were denounced by the Tory candidates as Home Rulers, as sheep in wolves' clothing, and as Russellites—worse than all.
§ Mr. J. REDMOND
The hon. and learned Gentleman will have a full opportunity of replying presently. What was the result? In West Down the Catholics are only 17 per cent. of the whole population, and the candidate who stood against the anti-Home Ruler polled 40 per cent. of the votes cast. Where in that case did the remaining 23 per cent. of votes come from? They must have come from the Protestant population. In Mid-Antrim in the year 1906 Captain Verschoyle stood avowedly as a Home Ruler, and in that constituency the Catholics are only 22 per cent. of the population. Captain Verschoyle polled 44 per cent. of the votes cast. The balance of 22 per cent. manifestly must have come from the Protestant population. Do not let hon. Members imagine that I am so foolish as to try and push this argument too far. I do not want to do so at all. Of course we are in a minority, a considerable minority, in these four counties. But when you speak of a great body of a million there, homogeneous in race, in religion, and in political conviction, then surely I am entitled to point out as an answer, in the first 1085 instance, that there is a large Catholic minority in these counties, and, secondly, taking as a test these electoral returns, there must be a considerable margin of Protestants in those counties who are also in favour of Home Rule.
Let me come to Belfast. It would, I think on this showing, be absurd to say that these four counties are a separate entity. The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken (Sir E. Carson) asked: "Could you have passed your Commonwealth Bill for Australia if one of the Australian Colonies had objected?" I do not suppose you could. These Australian Colonies were separate entities. Will anyone say that four counties in Ireland are a separate entity—four counties made up in the way I have described? When you were passing the Commonwealth Bill in Australia if you had found, say, in the Colony of New South Wales one small section of the population, a very small minority as compared with the whole, had objected, of course your Commonwealth Bill would have gone through all the same. But that argument cannot hold good against Ireland, unless indeed you are prepared to say that these four counties in themselves form a separate nationality. If you want to be logical in exemption you ought to exempt simply Belfast, and if you start in exempting Belfast what are you going to do about the 100,000 Nationalists in Belfast, and about the Protestants who returned my hon. Friend for West Belfast? Are they to have separate treatment inside Belfast? Why, that question, I submit, reduces the whole argument to an absurdity. I repeat, therefore, that no intelligent man can support this Amendment except upon the theory that it is a wrecking Amendment, designed to destroy the Bill. I pass from that. I desire to explain quite frankly what my view is on this question. I found myself on far broader and more solid ground than this. We put forward our claim for Home Rule for Ireland as a national demand. That is its essence. The national demand, the national spirit, has been the soul of the movement ever since the Union was carried. We claim that Ireland is a nation, made up, no doubt, by the intermixing of many races; a nation whose rights and liberties have no doubt often been invaded—
§ Mr. J. REDMOND
If I am to carry out the promise with which I commenced I 1086 must absolutely, however rude it may seem, ignore the Noble Lord. We say that Ireland is a nation, whose rights and liberties have no doubt often been invaded, but a nation, a national unit to-day, just as much as is England, or Scotland or Wales! We are not dealing with the case of a few counties of Britain that happen to be separated from this island by a few miles of water. We are putting our case forward as a case of a nation, and it is on that ground that our claim rests, and from that claim it will never be divorced. In a remarkable book which is published this week, under the title of "The New Irish. Constitution "—which I hope every Member, whatever his views, will read—may be found the words which really put more tersely and far more eloquently than I can the point which I wish to put before the House. The writer says:—The Unionist cause at its best was that Irish nationalism was a passing and a superficial sentiment. At its core were certain real grievances; it was swollen into a mass of imposing appearances, but of loose and flabby texture. The plan was to remove the grievances with one hand, while with the other every ebullition of sentiment into unruly speech or action was steadily repressed. Had the plan succeeded, it would have shown that Irish nationality was an illusion, or at best a thin and unsubstantial product of a passing historical phase. In so far as it has failed it has shown that Irish nationality is a reality, deep rooted in the past, and to be reckoned with permanently in the future. If the demand for autonomy remains clear and persistent, through evil report and good report, through; adversity and prosperity, in days of disorder when despair has reigned, and in law-abiding times rendered calm by hope, there is the proof that nationality is a vital principle, and a permanent force with which liberty must make its account.The writer goes on to point out that—Most modern nations, our own conspicuously—speaking of England—are blends of many races. …He goes on—When two or more races are intermixed, there is no means of endowing them with independent Governments. The same writ must run over the whole territory. Hence there are three possibilities. One is that one race should hold the reins of power, as generally happens when white and black live together. Another is that the country should be governed from without, and this will generally mean that the administration leans on one of the races within, and makes of it an 'ascendancy' caste.Exactly what has happened in Ireland—The third' is that the two races should seek to live together and govern themselves with mutual toleration. This is the experiment which has succeeded in Canada, and is succeeding, so far as the white races are concerned, in South Africa, and which is to be tried in Ireland.That is our ambition. This idea of two nations in Ireland is to us revolting and hateful. The idea of our agreeing to the partition of our nation is unthinkable. We want the union in Ireland of all creeds, of all classes, of all races, and we would 1087 resist most violently as far as it is within our power to do so—[An HON. MEMBER: "Oh!"]—Yes, so far as we have the power to do so—the setting up of permanent dividing lines between one creed and another and one race and another. Men will say that the dream of a union complete and lasting between all creeds and classes in Ireland will never be realised. It is our hope, our ambition, our belief, that it will be. To attempt to cut off the Protestants under the two-nation theory from the national traditions and aspiraions of the Irish race sounds to many of us something like sacrilege. Yes, many of the most revered of our national saints and martyrs in the national struggle have been Protestants. Many of the greatest and most honoured leaders of the Irish race in their struggles, both on the field and in the constitutional region, have been Protestants. Grattan's Parliament, which possesses to-day the enthusiastic and affectionate remembrance of the Irish people, was a Parliament in which no Catholic could sit; for election to it no Catholic was allowed to vote. I say to you here that most of the Catholics of Ireland would prefer to-morrow to take back Grattan's Parliament with all those disqualifications than to continue to be governed under the Union or consent to the partition of the Irish nation.
Why, let me ask before I sit down, is Ireland to be the only country in the whole world where religious animosity is to permanently divide the people? We demand that under Home Rule we in Ireland shall be given the same chance as was given to the Catholics and Protestants in Canada; to the Boers and Britains in South Africa; the same chance to sit down side by side and to endeavour to administer jointly "the affairs of our common country so that we may be able to bury the memories of the past and open a new chapter of unity. That is our ambition—at any rate that is the ambition which we will never surrender. I am faced with this proposition: We are told that in any case a section of the population of Ulster will not agree, and if we object to the idea of separate treatment for Ulster, what, we are asked, is our alternative? I say that our alternative is to trust the healing process of time and experience. Precisely this same section in Ireland spoke in precisely the same way about Catholic Emancipation. They spoke in precisely the same way about Disestablishment. They believed—quite 1088 honestly; I am not questioning the honesty of their statement at all—they believed that Catholic Emancipation meant ruin, confiscation, and oppression for them. They said they would resist. They said the same about Disestablishment. They did not resist. Why?
Because they found these measures did not mean oppression, confiscation, or wrong. The same thing will follow here. If the Irish Parliament were mad enough to inaugurate a policy of wrong-doing, of oppression, or of tyranny against any section in Ulster, that section would resist, and ought to resist, and they would have my hearty sympathy in that resistance. But if they find that they have got nothing to resist, if they find that no oppression is done to them, whom would their army fight? That is my alternative. Trust the people of Ireland, as the people of all colours, of all races, and of all creeds have been trusted elsewhere in your Empire, and you will most undoubtedly find as a result what has happened everywhere else will happen in Ireland: that men will come together; they will forget the past; they will sit down at the same table, and endeavour to do all they can for the welfare and freedom of their common country. Let me read to the House—and this is my last observation—what Mr. Parnell said about this subject in 1886. It was alluded to by the Chief Secretary the other day, but the right hon. Gentleman did not read Mr. Parnell's words. They are worth reading. For my part I found myself upon them, and the Irish Nationalist party today stands in this matter precisely where Parnell stood. He said, on a similar proposal for separate treatment for Ulster:—No. Sir, we cannot give up a single Irishman. We want the energy, the patriotism, the talents, and the work of every Irishman to ensure that this great experiment shall be a successful one. The best system of government for a country I believe to be one which requires that that government should be the resultant of all the forces within the country. We cannot give away to a second Legislature the talents and the influence of any portion or section of the Irish people. The class of Protestants will form a most valuable element in the Irish Legislature of the future, constituting, as they will be, a strong minority, and exercising through the First Order a moderating influence in making the laws. We have heard of the dangers that will result from an untried and unpractised Legislature being established in Ireland. Now I regard variety as vitally necessary for the success of this trial. I want, Sir, all creeds and all classes in Ireland. We cannot consent to look on a single Irishman as not belonging to us. And, however much we recognise the great abilities in the industry of the Irish Protestants—and we recognise them freely and fully—we cannot admit that there is a single one of them too good to take part in the Dublin Parliament. We do not blame the small portion of the Protestants of Ireland who feel any real fear. I admit, Sir. that there is a small proportion a of them who do feel this fear. We do not blame them; we hare 1089 been doing our best to allay that fear, and we shall continue to do so; and finally, when this Bill becomes an Act, we shall not cease from the work of conciliating the fears of this small section of Irishmen. No, Sir. theirs is not the shame and disgrace of this fear. That shame and disgrace belong to right hon. Gentlemen and Noble Lords of English political parties who, for selfish interests, have sought to rekindle the embers— the almost expiring embers—of religious bigotry.That is our position, expressed in weightier words than I could use upon this Amendment. We say this Amendment is absurd; we say it is illogical and unworkable; that it is not asked for by any section of Unionists in Ireland. We say it can only be supported by intelligent men as a wrecking Amendment. Above all, we oppose it, because it would destroy for ever our most cherished ambition, namely, to see the Irish nation in the near future made up of every race and every creed and every class working unitedly for the well-being and freedom of the Irish race and doing so through the instrumentality of a native Government which, in the words of Thomas Davis,Shall rule by the right and might of all,Yet yield to the arrogance of none.
§ Mr. MOORE
After the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, it is plain that under no circumstances would he accept an Amendment of this kind. We start with this, that under no terms would the Nationalist party accept an Amendment of this kind, and it is only beating the air for the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford to accuse us of supporting this because it is a wrecking Amendment. What difference is it to him if he is opposed to it if certain hon. Members in this House might be disposed to regard it as an Amendment which might or might not wreck this most infamous Bill? I do not support it because it is a wrecking Amendment, but because I am an Ulster man. I had no part in the engineering of this Amendment which was brought forward by a Radical Member on the other side. I shall put as shortly as I can why I support this Amendment. I think it is an Amendment which is deficient. I do not think it goes far enough; but personally I would not have the least hesitation in "voting for the Amendment if it was to exclude the "whole of Ulster. But if an Amendment were only to take Tory Ireland out of this scheme, which I believe is largely Nationalist, or at any rate, if it were only to take Rathlin Island out of the control of the Dublin Parliament, although I would think such an Amendment lamentably insuffi- 1090 cient, yet from my knowledge of the injustice, enforced tyranny, and persecution that would await the Unionists under a Dublin Parliament, I should probably consider it my duty as an Ulster man to accept even that modicum of relief for a small proportion of my co-religionists and fellow-citizens. And therefore I say that, maimed and halting though this Amendment is, I as an Ulster man support it, because it will give relief to the inhabitants of four counties and possibly to nine counties.
The hon. and learned Gentleman dealt in very lofty language with the two-nation theory. The same theory was dealt with by the learned Solicitor-General the night before last. It is perfectly easy to say there are not two nations, but that depends upon what you mean by the expression "nation." It is very easy to say such and such a people are a nation if they have a definite and defined geographical boundary, but there are other tests of nations. A very good test of a nation in Ireland is the number of people who, if the worst come to the worst, are willing to fight for their liberty and their religion. I think that is a pretty good test of a nation, and I am pretty well satisfied that in this matter—I am not going into the figures of the four counties—but in the province of Ulster you will find a very large proportion of able-bodied men, fully one million Protestants, prepared to fight for their liberty. That is good enough, whether you think them a nation or not. There are several tests of a nation. First, there is the test of religious differences. I am not going to lay stress upon that, but it generally makes a great difference between people. I know there are countries where you find different religions combined in one nation. Such is the case in Switzerland, where you have Catholic cantons and Protestant cantons. But religious difference is an element, and this one million of the population of Ulster, whom we represent, is divided from those whom the hon. Member for Waterford and his followers represent, by religious differences. But more than that, they are divided by historical distinctions and by the country of their origin.
What is their history? Practically every man of them—perhaps four hundred years ago in the case of. Armagh and Tyrone, and three hundred years ago in the case of Antrim and Down—came from Scotland or England. Some Huguenot families came from France, but I am talking of the larger immigration. It cannot be said that when they landed they were 1091 Irish. You will find the Scotch dialect still spoken in the counties of Antrim and Down, and the Scotch traditions preserved there. And you will find the purest English spoken in Antrim and Armagh. Their ideals are the ideals of the whole British nation. They are not Irish in that sense, and England and Scotland form part of their ideals. Their ideals are Imperial ideals. Again and again we have been abused by hon. Members on the Nationalist Benches below the Gangway and described as West Britons. We are West Britons. It is a term of opprobrium used against us by them, but we regard the term Briton as the emblem of liberty. We have prospered under it, and we will take nothing less. And instead of the sentimental humbug about Ireland's well-being and other pretexts that prevail in the South and West of Ireland, we maintain our own ideals, because we are connected with Britain by ties of blood and religion and history; and we object to be swallowed up in the claim that the hon. and learned Gentleman makes, that we should come into his fold because we live in Ireland. Ever since we came there he and his predecessors have been doing their best to turn us out.
Three times in history the Nationalist party got the upper hand against us and we, the descendants of these settlers—the descendants of men who had to work their farms much in the same way as did the people in Rhodesia, with the spade in one hand and the rifle in the other to protect themselves against the forbears of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, who swooped down from the mountains and tried to carry off their women and children —have still to guard ourselves against them to-day. In 1641 these people rose up and massacred the Protestants of the country. Again, when King James came to the throne, they passed a Bill and attainted 3,000 Protestant owners of land in Ireland. If they left the country their property was taken from them, and if they did not attend by a given day their property was taken away, and if they did attend their property was taken away also. And on the last occasion, and I hope it will be the last, when the Nationalist party got control of the forces in Ireland, it was at: the rebellion in Wexford, and we of the North of Ireland have not forgotten how our coreligionists were turned into the barns of Scullabogue and massacred. These things make all the difference. The 1092 memory of them is there, and rankles and leaves its trace in our time and never will be removed, and we never will be shaken in our determination not to allow the direct political descendants of these same people to pursue that same policy against us, the descendants of these settlers.
When I hear all these professions of toleration and anxiety to get hold of us, and what a nice happy country Ireland is going to be if we only allow the Nationalists full control, and how foolish the Protestants are not to come in, I always remember this one thing: We are the people who live on the spot. We were bred in the country, and we have been living cheek by jowl with these people all our lives, and surely we ought to know them, and we do know them, and you will not get a Protestant community in any part of Ireland to commit themselves to the tender mercy of the Roman Catholic Nationalist majority if they can possibly help it. And is it to be expected that we are such fools as to take, at anything more than its face value, all the talk about this virtue, about the good times we are to have if we only commit ourselves to them? Their ideals are very different from ours. I have heard Ulster and Belfast and these four counties mentioned in the Amendment abused again and again. There is one thing the Chief Secretary will bear me out in reluctantly, and it is this Intimidation or cattle-driving or moonlighting or boycotting does not exist in these four counties. You do not have people's lives made a misery. You do not have the midnight marauder or the assassin. These are not our ideals in the northern nation. I repudiate altogether the claim put forward by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford in this matter. Ours are the ideals of peaceful persuasion. There, again I draw a distinction between the inhabitants of those four counties and the rest of Ireland, and when I hear how anxious the Nationalist party are to show how well they can treat us, I only need to state that it is not so long to go back to the time of the passing of the Local Government Act. That measure was accompanied with exactly the same professions from the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, who said they would welcome the co-operation of Irish Protestants. I am not so sure that he did not quote from a speech by Mr. Parnell, in which he said they would welcome the co-operation of Protestants 1093 in the local affairs of Ireland—a very proper thing considering that they pay a large proportion of the rates. What happened in that case? Only eighteen Protestants are allowed on the councils in Munster, Leinster, and Connaught out of over 600. This toleration has admitted sixteen Protestant representatives for three-quarters of Ireland. Can we be blamed for not trusting these people? This kind of thing is going on around us and we see it every day. What do we say is the alternative? Simply to leave us alone. I do not believe in these beautiful sentiments about not having a complete Ireland or leaving Ireland out. They sound very well for consumption in certain quarters, but the real reason why the hon. and learned Member for Waterford will not leave these four counties and Belfast out is that if he did so he would have nobody to tax. Of the £3,000.000 which is Ireland's contribution from Customs and Revenue Taxes. £2,250,000 comes from Belfast.
§ Mr. MOORE
The point is that they get it. there, and if we hold fast hon. Members cannot collect it there, and they never will collect it there, which is a small piece of further information. That is where you have almost the whole artisan element of the entire country. Take the metropolis of Ireland. There is one large industry there owned by Messrs. Guinness. There is also a large biscuit business owned by Messrs. Jacobs. The latter firm are so convinced of the security that will be given to them in the future under a Dublin Parliament that they have taken a plot of ten acres of land in Liverpool.
§ Mr. MOORE
I am not so much acquainted with the whisky trade, but it is a trade which does not employ a very large number of hands, and whisky is only made in certain months of the year. The fact is that you have almost the whole of the manufactures of the country, including those engaged in the tobacco factories and the spinning, linen and shipbuilding industries, all centred in Belfast. That is the reason why the Nationalist party will not take this Amendment. That is the reason the Government will not accept it, because the Nationalist party are their masters. I do not think any Member of the Government or any fair-minded man would deny 1094 the justice of the Ulster position as put forward in this Amendment. If a man in Ulster wishes the prosperity to continue which feeds the mouths in the humblest homes just as well as supporting the employer, he knows that that prosperity cannot continue unless you have security. If you have not security no man will invest his money in any industrial business. You can get the English or the Ulster investor to take the risk of investing his capital under the security of British law at the present time, as we have had it for the last 100 years, but under the problematical security offered by this Bill, under which there will be cattle-driving and moonlighting, the capitalist will button up his trousers pockets. This change will strike every class of the community, because it will cripple industrial enterprise. It will hit the masters and hit the employers, because it will kill credit, and trade cannot prosper without credit. For these reasons I think it is our duty to support this Amendment, and I associate myself with every word of the eloquent speech, which so admirably met the situation, made by the senior Member for Dublin University.
We have been told that there are Nationalist minorities in Ulster. Of course there are, but there are also Protestant minorities in those parts of Ireland which you are going to hand over to hon. Members below the Gangway. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford has been talking about Protestant Home Rulers, and he said there should be an allowance made for that fact in counting heads. All I can say is that he was singularly unfortunate in all the candidates he named as opposing Unionist candidates at the various elections, because every one of those gentlemen declared that of all things in the world they were not in favour of Home Rule. I state that without fear of contradiction. You are going to give Home Rule to Dublin, and there you have 46,000 Protestants, and the other day a Nationalist alderman in Dublin said that the Protestants there paid more that half the rates. Now there are 95,000 Nationalists in Belfast, but I do not think they pay 5 per cent. of the rates, and we shall have to take them just as the Dublin Parliament will have to take those 46,000 Protestants, and I think will be a much more profitable investment for the Dublin Parliament. All through Ireland you will find Protestant communities and Roman Catholic communities, whether you 1095 like it or not. I do not attach very much importance to the fact that here and there you find there is a Roman Catholic majority. I am not saying this in any sense of bigotry, and I will explain why.
Go to an ordinary border Ulster constituency where you have one-third of the inhabitants Protestants and two-thirds Roman Catholics, and what do you find? You find that the bulk of the Roman Catholics are the descendants of the old original Irish families living on the mountain side on small three or five-acre farms; but if you go into the towns you will find that the bulk of the mercantile and commercial businesses in those towns are run by Protestants. It may be that upon election days they come down from the mountains and outvote the Protestants, but for actual purposes the Protestant minority is enough to give the place a claim to have those people included in any Protestant community which is to be set up. Is not a better way of solving this problem to leave those people outside who desire to stay outside, and who do not wish to run any risk? Surely it is much more statesmanlike to leave these people out instead of forcing upon them a change which they detest and which they have determined that they will resist, come what may. They will resist by every means in their power. In this way you will never make Ireland peaceable and happy, in spite of all the eloquence of the lion. Member for Waterford, if your new Constitution is to be a baptism of blood at the start. I hope we shall not be driven to extremes. We are not afraid of hon. Members below the Gangway; we should not have been in the country if we were, for they would have hounded us out years ago. If you drive us to this logical conclusion, if this House by passing this measure sells us into slavery and then you proceed to fetter us with the aid of a military blacksmith placing fetters round our necks. You cannot do that, regrettable as it may be, without the results which follow from the resistance of a free people, who come from the same stock as ourselves, and the day you do that will be an evil day for Ireland.
§ Mr. LOUGH
I always listen to the speeches of the hon. and learned Member opposite with great interest, because they are always so outspoken and blunt, and as a rule he generally throws a great deal of light upon the situation with which he 1096 deals. The hon. Member for North Armagh is the first hon. Member representing any of the four counties we are dealing with whom we have had the pleasure of listening to, and for this reason we ought to pay careful attention to what he has said. He treats the suggestions put forward from this side of the House with the utmost contempt, and he made it perfectly clear that he was only supporting this proposal in order to embarrass the Government and possibly to destroy the Bill.
§ Mr. LOUGH
No one knows Ireland better than the hon. Gentleman himself, but when he makes a speech of the kind he has just delivered he generally makes statements so far from the truth that instead of being of use to hon. Members he would misguide anybody who took him seriously. The hon. and learned Member said that not 5 per cent. of the rates of Belfast were paid by Catholics. I have not the figures, but that is a perfectly unjust accusation to make against the inhabitants of that city. The hon. and learned Member spoke of the proportion of Customs and Excise taxes paid by Belfast. Will he deny that the largest proportion of those taxes is paid by Catholics. The greatest contribution to this vast sum is paid by one great Catholic firm in Belfast.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. LOUGH
I am very pleased to hear it. At any rate, I know it is a good old Catholic name, and the burden of my speech is going to be that this question of religion makes no difference whatever, and you cannot draw a religious line. If that illustration of mine has failed, I am pretty sure I could get others in Belfast. I know of some, but I had better not mention names. Hon. Members opposite will acknowledge when you are replying to an argument without previous preparation you may easily make a slip of that kind. I want to 1097 take another example of the way in which he was unjust. He spoke of the industries in Dublin, and said there were only two or three. I think that was very unjust to Dublin. There are many small growing industries there, and there is one great one. There is the largest cattle market in the United Kingdom in Dublin. There are many other industries in Dublin which he ignores when it suits him, but, supposing the industries had died down in Dublin, what has caused it? This Union which this Bill is aimed at correcting has destroyed many industries which existed in Dublin long ago and which would be a credit to any country. I do think hon. Members, and especially hon. Members on this side of the House, ought to study the words of this Amendment before they give their votes in favour of it, or indeed before they give it any support. The wording is particularly crude. It deals with these four counties and simply says, "They shall be excluded from the Bill." Supposing they are excluded, what is to become of them? No one has dealt with that question except one hon. Member on this side of the House, who said they would probably send Members to the Scotch Parliament when it was established in Edinburgh.
§ Mr. LOUGH
I was not alluding to my hon. Friend. The right hon. Gentleman who spoke at the commencement of our proceedings to-day said if you have four Parliaments it does not matter at all making a fifth. An Amendment is brought forward by a Gentleman who represents a Cornish seat (Mr. Agar-Robartes), who does not belong to the district for which he speaks, and who does not live in the country. He lightly tells us we ought to form another section of the United Kingdom, and, without going into any of the difficulties as to how the proposal can be worked out, the suggestion is thrust upon the House. There is one most satisfactory aspect of the Debate, and I hope it will get us on a long way in our discussions of this Bill. It is killing the Ulster bogey. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] Certainly. Hitherto in these Debates we have always spoken of "Ulster," we have always spoken of a "province," quite wrongly as I think, but from this day on we shall never speak of anything but "four counties." We have narrowed down the question, and, if we can succeed in showing the whole thing is absurd from the standpoint 1098 of the four counties, then we shall have cleared this proposal out of our Debates for good and all. What is the basis of the proposal brought before us? It is suggested because there is a large Protestant population in these counties. It is said they are not Irishmen, and that there are two nations, and they must be treated separately. I want, as an Ulster man and a Protestant, with nothing but Ulster blood in my veins, to repudiate that argument with every force I possess. It is a monstrous slander of Ulster Protestants to suggest, because they are Protestants, they are not good Irishmen. I think the exact words of my hon. Friend who dealt with this matter was that they were different in sentiment, in character, in history, and in religion. I do not believe it. If you went to a fair in Ireland you could not tell a Protestant from a Catholic.
§ Mr. LOUGH
I was addressing myself to the Chairman, and I said one who went there with a fair eye, which you, Sir, would bring to bear on our proceedings at an Irish fair, could not tell a Protestant from a Catholic. If you looked at their houses you could not tell which was that of a Protestant and which was that of a Catholic. They both breed equally good cattle, and I say, in spite of what my hon. Friend has said, they are both largely filled with the same sentiments, they are both men of the same character to a large extent—and a singularly good and strong character it is—and they both have just the same history. I say the Protestants have suffered just as much in Ireland as the Catholics, and, when you suggest that the Protestants of Ireland are not to be classed with the Nationalists of Ireland, you must blot all recollection of Irish history from your mind before you make such a statement. With all respect to the leaders of the present movement in Ireland, in all past times the Nationalist movement has been associated with names of great Protestants, many of whom have died for the cause for which we are now struggling on the floor of the House. I might speak of Swift and Henry Grattan, but I will mention other names: Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Wolfe Tone, and John Mitchell. I could mention many Ulster men, who, like Henry Joy McCracken, were hanged in 1878–9, and who proved by their noble death their devotion to the principles embodied in this Bill. Coming down to modern times, there is Mr. Butt, who invented the Home 1099 Rule idea, and Mr. Parnell, both of whom were Protestants. The whole cause has been assisted more, perhaps, if you go into the merits of single individuals, by the efforts of Protestants than by the efforts of Catholics.
I have said enough to prove that religion has not influenced men in supporting this great cause, and I believe the whole situation is disfigured by being handled by gentlemen who are not thoroughly acquainted with it, who have never lived in Ireland, and who never intend doing so, but who thrust a proposal upon the floor of the House to give their own party trouble and to give delight to their opponents. Whatever good intentions they may have, I do think they might give the matter a little more consideration before making such a grave and far-reaching suggestion. Let us look somewhat closely at the speech of my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment. He became conscious when about two-thirds through his speech that he had not given much reason for it, so he used these words: "One argument which may be given flashes across my mind." In that casual way this great proposal was made. What was it? "Home Rule for Ireland is claimed because the majority wish it. Well, the majority here are against it, and therefore we ought to deal with the four counties separately." He has failed to see there is a large minority of Catholics and Nationalists in the four counties and exactly the same conditions exist there as he makes the reason for bringing forward this Amendment in connection with the whole question of Ireland. If you examine the matter in the light of the very interesting map I have here, and you look at the structure of these four counties, you will see how ridiculous the proposal is. It is ridiculous alike with regard to that part of Ireland which is included and that part of Ireland which is excluded. There are parts of Fermanagh which contain as many Protestants as parts of the counties included. Why not bring in Fermanagh? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, but that is not the Amendment. I am for the moment treating the thing seriously, and, if it is intended to be serious, why not bring in Fermanagh? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Take Tyrone. There are many parts of Tyrone more Protestant than parts of the counties included. I argue you could not draw such a line, and this attempt to draw any line 1100 exposes the whole suggestion to the ridicule of the House.
Then look a little more closely at the counties which are excluded. Take the county of Cavan. I always think if these Southern counties of Ulster were regarded a little more seriously there would be less difficulty. In Cavan, Monaghan, and Donegal, we have a substantial Protestant minority, and what we want is a good strong Protestant representation in the Parliament we are constructing, but the effect of this Amendment would be to strike thirty or forty Protestant Members out of the Dublin Parliament, and that is the way my hon. Friends would help the great cause which they all pledge themselves willing to forward. I think if a suggestion could come from the other side of the House by which we could ensure that there would be sixty or seventy Protestants out of the 164 Members in the Dublin Parliament, then this House might cease to worry about Ireland, because such a substantial minority as that would be able to look after themselves, and I venture to say, speaking as one of them and from what I know of their past history, they would be well able to do so. I think hon. Gentlemen opposite might well consider some words that fell from the Prime Minister. He said, "If any well-considered proposal were brought forward" —An hon. Member laughs. I do not think he should do so. I have been a long time in this House, and I have had to deal for many a long year with Gentlemen who sat on this bench representing the Unionist principle, and when they said anything, and especially the Prime Minister, we were accustomed to believe it, and to take their words in the sense in which they were used.
§ Mr. LOUGH
At any rate, the Prime Minister said, "If any well-considered proposal could be put forward for strengthening the Protestant interest, it would receive most careful and sympathetic consideration." I said I would say a word about my own county, the county of Cavan, in which I take a great interest. There we have this question debated from a different standpoint from that in which it is debated within the four counties. There we have a small minority of Protestants, though they are very active and prosperous. Although a minority, I can speak with confidence and say that for a century they have never 1101 made the slightest complaint of any ill-treatment from their Catholic neighbours. At the present time there is a great drawing together of Irishmen of different religions and different sentiments; certainly in the county of Cavan and other places you find men of all religions working harmoniously together for the development of the country. There have been several small industries started in the county of Cavan, the success of which has been assured by Protestants and Catholics and by landlords and land-leaguers uniting to develop the resources of the country to which they belong. If the object of this Amendment is to protect the Protestants, there never was a, more crude and ill-conceived notion brought before the House. What would be the effect of it? You would teach the people to think the Protestants are all within the fence drawn round the four counties, and there are hundreds of thousands of Protestants who would be outside the fence. You must proceed in another way. You must teach the Protestants they may repose perfect confidence in the patriotism and good-feeling of their Catholic fellow-countrymen.
I believe myself that the feeling of Protestant Ulster is completely misunderstood in this House. They are men with strong political feelings. They think their course is to oppose any Home Rule proposal, and they pledged themselves to oppose it before they saw the Bill itself. When the Bill came in they hardly read it, but went on denouncing vigorously every proposal contained in it. Even if this Amendment were carried it would not in the least placate the hon. and learned Member who has just spoken. He would fight the Bill just as sturdily after the carrying of the Amendment as before. He may represent the opinion of the party opposite, but that opinion does not represent the opinion of Protestant Ulster. This strife must cease. They have lived together in the same country by the same industries, and I cannot but think that it is an unnecessary insult to throw on the Catholics, who may be a majority in the Dublin Parliament, that they would cast unfair taxation on Ulster. There is not a scrap of ground for that proposal. Look back at the ancient history of Ireland. The hon. and learned Member spoke of the Catholic Parliament and the intolerance it had displayed, but he seemed to forget that this was a Parliament at one time all Catholic and at another all Protestant. And all these Parliaments failed. Take Grattan's Parliament. Why did that fail? 1102 It was an Ulster Parliament built up largely by Ulster men, and it failed because there was only one religion represented in it. Every Parliament so constructed is bound to be a failure. There is nothing in this two-nation argument. One might just as well speak of there being two, three, and four nations in England There is no reason why men differing in religion should not unite to develop the resources of their country, and I believe if hon. Members on this side who support the Amendment would study this proposal in its crude and unworthy shape, they would not give the House the trouble of dividing upon it.
§ Mr. H. TERRELL
The right hon. Gentleman said that the men of Ulster determined to oppose this Bill before they saw it. I believe that is quite true. But the right hon. Gentleman apparently forgot that we had been told over and over again in this House that the people of England gave the Government a mandate for this Bill before they saw it. The right hon. and learned Member for Dublin University has declared that this is one of the most serious matters which this House could ever be called on to deal with. The Solicitor-General, in the course of his speech on Tuesday, asked us on this side of the House that, "Do you really suppose that English Liberals and English Nonconformists are likely to turn a deaf ear to a claim by Ulster Protestants when they say that their Protestantism is in danger?" That is a question which hon. Gentlemen opposite have to answer tonight. It is not for me to answer it. The Protestants of Ulster are appealing to them to-day, saying to them in most earnest terms they can command that they believe their Church and their religion and their liberties are in danger. For that reason they are appealing to Liberals and Nonconformists in this House to come to their rescue and save them from a danger which they honestly and sincerely believe exists. There must be some conflict in the minds of hon. Members opposite whether they will answer this appeal and come to the succour of their fellow-countrymen in Ireland, or whether they will yield to party discipline and support this Bill. That such a conflict is going on is shown clearly by the speeches delivered on Tuesday by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leith (Mr. Munro-Ferguson), the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Captain Pirie), and the hon. Member for Stirlingshire (Dr. Chapple), The right hon. 1103 Member for Leith and the Member for Aberdeen have preferred their consciences to the dictates of party, but the Member for Stirlingshire has unfortunately convinced himself that the interests of party are entitled to predominate.
I will ask the House just to consider the speech of the hon. Member for Stirlingshire, for it is really worth considering carefully. He puts very clearly, in the first instance, the case of the Protestants of Ulster. I must say that I thought, when I heard the commencement of his speech, that he intended to vote in support of this Amendment. In the speech he commenced by saying thatThe Ulster protests are so genuine and her claims so just that any proposals put forward for consideration should have our earnest thought. I think to govern a people capable of governing themselves, can only be justified by the consent of that people. Ulster's protest is a genuine protest. It is a protest that has always been considered, and yet we are going to perpetuate the evil of governing her without her consent, if this Bill passes into law.I do not think that anybody could put more clearly and more concisely, or more cogently, this part of the case of the Protestants of Ulster. What is the reason which has enabled the hon. Member to consent to compel the people of Ulster to be governed by a Government to which they do not consent? The only reason that he gave was this, that he thought that at some future time we should have a federal Government, and that then Ulster might, if she thought fit, join herself to Scotland. He considers it is a justification for placing the men of Ulster tinder the Government of their hereditary enemies against their consent and most earnest protest, that, at some future time, indefinite and unknown, they may have an opportunity of associating themselves with and being governed by a Parliament in Edinburgh. I venture to suggest to hon. Members opposite that that is the feeblest possible reason to justify the placing to-day of the people of Ulster under a Government which they detest. It only shows how, in his mind, the hon. Member was seeking for some excuse to justify his action in voting against this Amendment, although in his heart he knew this measure was going to inflict a grave injustice on the people of Ulster.
Let me pass from the speech of the hon. Member for Stirlingshire to consider for a moment the arguments that have been 1104 advanced against this Amendment from the benches opposite. I will take, in the first place, the speech of the Chief Secretary. The Chief Secretary, in the course of his remarks, spoke in the eloquent terms which he always uses on the beauty of Christian unity. He said he had often heard appeals to Christian unity, but he had heard them with very little hope of their being realised, however faint those hopes might have been in the past, they were herculean when compared with any hope he might entertain that this Bill would, if passed, promote Christian unity in Ireland. His only other reason was that in Belfast there are bankers who have branches in the South and West of Ireland, and that there are seedsmen who sell seeds to farmers in those districts. Therefore, he says,One would require to hear a great deal more than he has yet heard to induce the Government in dealing with the problem of the Government of Ireland to suggest that these four particular counties should be excluded from the operation of the Bill and left as an annexe to the British Parliament.That argument may be used for an exactly contrary purpose. There are shipbuilders in Belfast who sell their ships in England. There are linen manufacturers in Belfast who have agencies in England for the sale of their linen, and if the argument is sound then these four counties should be left to be governed in conjunction with England. I venture to submit that the argument is neither sound nor worthy of a moment's consideration. And yet, that is all the Chief Secretary can say in support of his opposition to this Amendment. I have read his speech more than once, and it is the only argument I could discover.
Then comes the Solicitor-General. The Solicitor-General commences with a very astute argument, and I venture to say although he puts his point as clearly as he does, it must have been the result of a very weak case. As I read it that argument was that because the British Parliament at times legislated for Ireland separately, therefore this Amendment ought to be rejected. It is quite true we pass Bills in this House which relate solely to Ireland. We also pass Bills which relate solely to London, to the Stannaries, and to the Counties Palatine, but that is no reason why these separate places should have a separate legislature. We also pass Bills not only for Ireland, but for the United Kingdom, and by parity of reasoning if that is any ground for setting up an independent Parliament for the whole of 1105 Ireland it is equally a reason for continuing this Parliament for the whole of the United Kingdom. The real reason which it seems to me should induce this House to support this Amendment is to be found in a few words in the speech of the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the province of Ulster—of these four counties, and of the dissensions which exist and have existed between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland as if they were merely political and passing differences of opinion which time, and short time, would cure. If that were the fact, a great deal could be said for rejecting this Amendment. But is it the fact? I would ask hon. Members to take their minds back to the history of these dissensions. You will find that the differences between the Protestants and the Catholics, between the Nationalists and the Unionists, are differences which cut deep down into the social life of the people of the country. They divide them by a chasm which cannot be bridged over by an Act of Parliament, which nothing but a very long period of time of peace can ever hope to bridge or to remove.
The differences are not of recent origin; they go back into the history of Ireland from earliest times. The differences were originally racial differences. They originated in the years gone by when England sought, by planting colonists in Ireland, to drive out the ancient Irish, and when the ancient Irish sought to drive out the colonists. Then came the Reformation, when these differences became religious differences. From the time of the Reformation, the colonies which were planted in Ireland were colonies composed exclusively of Protestants, while the ancient Irish and the former colonists had been mainly Catholics. The differences then became differences between the Protestant colonists and the ancient Irish inhabitants. The Protestants predominated, and for centuries the Protestants tyrannised over the Catholics. You have only to consider history and see how that tyranny resulted in massacres, first on one side and then on the other—massacres the memory of which is not to be got over so easily as hon. Members may imagine. Over and over again for centuries you found the Protestants and Catholics fighting, massacring, and slaughtering one another. These differences existed deep down in the social life of the country, at any rate down to the date of the Union. Hon. Members will remember even in the time of Grattan's Parliament, in 1798, 1106 the Rebellion of Wexford; they will remember there was a conflict between Catholics and Protestants. There you saw the depth of the feeling which animated the two sides. Has that feeling gone today? That feeling is not allowed to drop, for the intensity of that hatred has been kept alive by this Home Rule movement. Look back at the history of 1798; look at the Massacre of Vinegar Hill and of Wexford Bridge. Yet to-day we find the men. who perpetrated these massacres are held up by hon. Members now in this House as. heroes.
Can you expect the Protestants of Ireland to be willing to trust their lives and their religion to the domination of their hereditary enemies, when you find the men who are speaking so sweetly in this House to-day are in Ireland speaking of the heroes of Vinegar Hill and Wexford Bridge? No, Sir. The reeling goes down too deep. The feeling is one which will never be got rid of so long as one side or the other has the domination in Ireland. In 1800, when the Act of Union was before the Irish Parliament, it was supported by the whole of the Roman Catholic hierarchy without a single exception, and the reason they gave for supporting it was that unless there were a Union, so that the domination could be taken away from either side, Ireland would always be subject to internal warfare. That that reason was sound has been proved by what has followed. It is from the date of the Union that the prosperity of Ireland has dated. It is since the date of the Union that the great city of Belfast, the greatest city in Ireland, has grown. It is from the date that neither party was allowed to dominate that we have had comparative peace. Hon. Members will remember that the First Lord of the Admiralty, in the course of his very eloquent speech upon the Second Reading, pointed out that from the date of the Union the differences had been slowly but surely disappearing. The differences of 1798 were far keener than the differences and rebellions which took place subsequently, until we come to today, when I suppose, if it had not been for these Home Rule Bills which have from time to time accentuated the differences and reopened the sores which were healing, you might have had comparative peace and quiet restored, and an absence of this religious and racial hatred which exists in Ireland. It is the introduction of this measure, it is the holding out to the Catholics of Ireland the hope that the day is coming when they shall be the dominant 1107 section, when they will have the power to dominate not only the people of the South, but the people of the four counties—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am glad the hon. Member is coming back to the four counties. I was afraid he was going to make a Second Reading speech.
§ Mr. H. TERRELL
I was thinking of the four counties, and I thought I showed, before you stopped me, that I was dealing with them. It is for that reason that Protestants, particularly in the North of Ireland—I do not care whether it is merely the four counties, or whether you include Tyrone and the other counties of the province of Ulster—feel, and justly feel, that they are going to be put to-day under the government and the domination of the men who have for centuries been their hereditary enemies, and if they are going to be placed under that domination that their liberties and their religion are not safe. For that reason they appeal to Protestants and to Liberal Members in this House, as they appealed in 1886 to the. Liberals and Nonconformists in this House then. They appealed then successfully. In those days there were giants among the Liberal party; there were men who either held their principles more strongly or who were not then so dictated to by party interest. We know from their speeches that there are some hon. Members opposite who will support this Amendment. I hope and trust there will be many who, considering this from the point of view of the men in the Northern counties in Ireland, will say that they will follow their predecessors of 1886, and come to the support and succour of their co-religionists.
§ Mr. NEWMAN
The first day this Amendment was discussed the Prime Minister expressed astonishment that no Member for Ulster had spoken in favour of or against it. From what has happened this afternoon he has no longer any cause for astonishment. Ulster has spoken. I was rather surprised when he said that, for this Amendment has been moved by an hon. Member on his own side of the House. Therefore it was the duty of the Government first of all to explain to us what their attitude was going to be. They have now explained that their attitude is one of non possumus. The attitude of the Unionist Members who represent constituencies in Great Britain has been explained with courage, candour, and consistency by the Leader of the Opposition, the 1108 right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour), and others. There remains to be expressed the attitude of the scattered loyalist minority in the other three provinces of Ireland. I read the other day a speech delivered by a Welsh dissenting minister on the Established Church (Wales) Bill, in which he said—It is for majorities to shout, and for minorities to squeal.Owing to our barbarous electoral system, the scattered loyalist minority in the three provinces cannot even squeal in this House, because they have not got a single representative, although they number over 300,000. I myself, although I have the honour of representing an English division, have lived nearly the whole of my life in County Cork, and up to the time of the Local Government Bill, which was passed in 1898; I was able to take some share in the government of my county. In that year I happened to be High Sheriff of the county, and I summoned the last two old grand juries before that Bill came into operation. I make this confession to the Committee, that I never until last year, although I have lived in the South of Ireland practically all my life, had crossed the Boyne. I went up to the great meeting which was held in Belfast, which was attended by delegates representing the Southern Unionists. That was an eye-opener as to what the determination of Ulster to fight this Bill means. I recognise that if the Government were genuinely going to say to Ulster: "You may march out with drums beating and colours flying, and with all the honours of war," and that if Ulster was wishful to go out on these terms, it would not be for us in the South of Ireland to say her nay. But if she did so, we in the South well know that she would do her best for us while this Bill was going through this House, and even after it had gone through this House. We heard this afternoon from the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond), who is an important person in this discussion, that he, like Pharaoh of old, has no intention of letting Ulster go. I think our modern Pharaoh is right, for if he were to let Ulster go it would mean the entire recasting of this Bill. The hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Devlin) made use of the aphorism a short time ago—freedom comes before finance.But freedom for Ulster walks hand in hand with financial chaos in this particular Bill. 1109 Take two things only. Take the complicated finance of the measure and the settlement of the land system; both vital and both essential. How could you work one or the other if you cut Ulster out? Supposing Ulster were contracted out of the Bill and supposing the Bill in consequence were sent to the limbo of things forgotten. Would it be mourned as Rachel mourned over her children by the Nationalists of Ireland? I do not think so. A short while back this Bill came before the Convention in Dublin. It was a convention, I quite admit, large in numbers and representative perhaps of the majority of Nationalist opinion, and I know the Bill was unanimously blessed by that convention. There were no amendments discussed, and the Bill was accepted as a whole with loud cheers and acclamations. A few weeks later it came before another convention, which sat in Cork, and which was thronged with Irishmen—Nationalist Irishmen—men yielding no whit in nationality to those who blessed the Bill a few weeks before. Speeches were made and resolutions proposed and seconded by men whose names are household words in Nationalist Ireland, and yet not one solitary speaker was found to bless the Bill. I will just quote a short leading article from a newspaper which represents All-for-Ireland opinion in Ireland—the "Cork Free Press." In Cork eight out of nine members belong to the All-for-Ireland League:—The finance of the Bill is false and fraudulent. It is based upon a deficit which does not exist—
§ The CHAIRMAN
This does not seem to refer to the question of the exclusion or inclusion of the four counties.
§ Mr. NEWMAN
I know perfectly well that all that the Nationalist triumvirate who rule Nationalist opinion—the hon. Members (Mr. John Redmond, Mr. Devlin and Mr. Dillon)—believe they have to do is to rush the measure through a Single Chamber, gagged and bound as we are at present—a measure that Protestant Belfast will not have, and that All-for-Ireland Cork despises. I believe they are making a miscalculation. Before two years are out they will be on their bended knees asking the Government to allow Ulster out and begging Ulster to go Out. But I candidly admit, as a matter of personal explanation, that this Amendment has come upon me as something in the nature of a thief in the night, and I an afraid it has come upon us in the Southern parts of Ireland 1110 as something of the same way. I want to try to persuade myself that the Amendment is moonshine and is not seriously meant. I want to believe that the words of the cryptic invitation addressed to Ulster by the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs some while ago were spoken to mean nothing and to signify nothing. I realise perfectly well that Ulster has had plenty of determination to stand by us in the past; but, as things are, and with this Amendment sprung upon us, I am not going to give a vote which might be fraught with terrible danger, and certainly will be fraught with anxiety, to the voiceless minority in Ireland. Yet until we get some assurance from the Government that they are prepared to throw over the First Lord and the Foreign Secretary, I shall be unable to follow my party and support the Amendment.
§ Sir RYLAND ADKINS
However much many of us on this side may differ from the hon. Member in his view of the dangers of Home Rule, we welcome his adhesion to the principle of the solidarity of Ireland and his unwillingness to support an Amendment which would break off a fragment of Ireland, important though it be. I rise partly in order to meet the challenge which was laid down by the previous speaker. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. H. Terrell), whose speech was couched in terms of the most honest gloom, made an appeal to those on this side of the House who happen to be both Protestants and Nonconformists. I happen to be a Protestant and a Nonconformist, and I admit that the problem of Ulster and the Irish Parliament is a problem which every Member of the House does well to consider carefully, and which to-day has been placed before us by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson) in a way which impressed every Member of the Committee, and which is the highest and fairest way of conducting controversy. I would suggest to the hon. Member for Glasgow that this is far too grave an issue to make it wholly fitting to suggest that the hon. Member for Stirlingshire decided to vote against it because he was sacrificing his conscience to his party. We who vote against this Amendment are just as much acting according to our sincere convictions as hon. Members who have made so strong an attack on the Government in favour of the Amendment. Those who support Home Rule in England, and many who 1111 have supported for more than a quarter of a century, have not done so for the fun of the thing. There was no special amusement in being a Home Ruler in England in the eighties and the nineties, and those who did it did it because they considered it good for Ireland and for the United Kingdom.
What is the issue raised by this Amendment? It raises really two issues, one in this House and one in the country. In this House it is a perfectly legitimate tactical move to attempt to destroy the Bill and to focus opposition with the object of destroying it, and it is quite clear now that those who vote for the Amendment are really voting for an Amendment intended to wreck the Bill. That purely Parliamentary issue will be decided in the Lobby according to the conditions of Members in all parts of the House on the general question of the Home Rule Bill. But of course it is true that this Amendment raises in the country, though scarcely in the House, the serious question whether part of Ulster ought or ought not to be excluded from the purview and scope of the Irish Parliament. I am sure we all thoroughly recognise the sincerity and seriousness of the objection taken to the inclusion in this Bill of Ulster by Members from that part of Ulster, and by many other Members sharing their views in the ranks of the Opposition. What, therefore, are the reasons which occur to many of us why we cannot agree to meet the objections which are thus urged? We realise that they are sincere. There was a passage in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson), when he turned, with his usual dexterity, against Members of the Nationalist party, which appears to me to apply to some extent also to those to whom he was speaking. He was speaking of Nationalists who at one period and in one crisis were denouncing Great Britain, and at another period were expressing affection for Great Britain, and he inferred therefore that there was no reliability to be attached to anything that had been stated by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. The true interpretation is this. Whether it be Members from Ulster or Members representing the great majority of the Irish nation, they have expressed from time to time their sincere feelings for the moment, but if we are to interpret in this House the true and permanent value of all these speeches, whether from above or below the Gangway, we must interpret them by 1112 the facts of history, and particularly of recent history, and by the facts of Ireland at the present time. This is not the first occasion on which representatives from Ulster have been in the most violent opposition, the most sincere opposition, and the most unrestrained opposition to proposals which have become law and to actions of the Executive Government. One or two Members who have spoken in this Debate opposed most vehemently the Executive Government of the Conservative party when it was acting in a conciliatory spirit throughout Ireland years ago. The Ulster party in times past opposed Catholic emancipation, and opposed the disestablishment of the Irish Church, and when, they come here, speaking through the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. H. Terrell) about the impossibility of Protestants in the North of Ireland being put under the heel of their hereditary enemy, some of us would like to know what is their position to-day with regard to those controversies in which they and their predecessors took so active a part. Is the hon. and learned Gentleman still opposed to Catholic emancipation, or is he willing that the Catholics of Ireland should have the same rights of citizenship as himself?
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Sir R. ADKINS
I cannot tell the hon. and learned Gentleman how grateful I am for the candour of his answer, because the whole theory of these two nations as hereditary enemies of each other is a theory which breaks down when a man once admits that both nations, and men of all faiths should have full rights of self-government in Ireland. That is the point. The very people to-day who are opposing Home Rule and opposing the inclusion of these four counties are using the same language and taking up the same attitude, and framing their speeches and their thought in the same way as those who oppose Catholic emancipation and the disestablishment of the Irish Church, and therefore while we respect their sincerity no less are we not right in doubting the wisdom of their judgment when time after time they and their predecessors have been wrong before, and when the very men who are opposing this now confess that their predecessors were wrong in their opposition to those previous reforms which now the vast majority of educated opinion throughout the British Empire has approved. That is our first point, that we distrust the 1113 judgment of the Ulster representatives because they have on previous occasions been falsified in history. Then Ulster showed a great power of adaptation after the granting of Catholic Emancipation and after the Disestablishment of the Irish Church, that she has grown in prosperity in spite of repeated legislation and administration which the Orange representatives have opposed. Where a province shows that power and that adaptation, are we not justified in believing that the full granting of self-government to Ireland will give Ulster an opportunity which she will take of showing her power of adaptation still further? Many of us who are Protestants and Nonconformists, believe that Protestantism in Ireland will have its full influence only in the theatre of an Irish Parliament. We should be antiquarians, and not politicians, if we dealt with those matters merely by reasoning from the past, although reasoning from the past is admitted as legitimate by the contributors to the Debate.
What is the position at present? I come back to the illuminating phrase of the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. H. Terrell) as to "hereditary enemies." The vision which seems to haunt his mind is that of the sturdy Protestants of Ulster being sent to the stake or butchered by the vast majority in the rest of Ireland. I grant that in times past, when the peasantry had memories of historic wrong, there were grave elements of danger in any change which was tried by any party, but now we are dealing with a country in which more than half of the farming community are peasant proprietors, and when the policy of land purchase is supported by all parties in the State. You are dealing with a condition of things, economically and socially, which must remove the people from revolutionary temper or revolutionary temptation, and, therefore, you are dealing with a state of things in which a wealthy and powerful minority, distinguished for its resolution and for its commercial enterprise, would have the very best opportunity, and the practical certainty, of not only not being tyrannised over, but of having something very like the real ascendency which comes from the legitimate exercise of those powers. These are the grounds on which some of us, while sympathising with the sincere and strenuous attitude of Members from Ulster, and while desiring in a great measure of this kind to meet all legitimate opposition, yet feel ourselves justified in 1114 voting against the Amendment. We feel ourselves justified in supporting the principles of this Bill being applied throughout Ireland, not in the interest either of Catholic or Protestant, but in the interest of all Irishmen whose capacity for harmonious working together will never be fully ascertained until this great experiment has been put into operation.
§ Mr. CHARLES CRAIG
The hon. Member for the Middleton Division of Lancashire (Sir Ryland Adkins) informed the Committee that at the time of Catholic Emancipation the Ulster party were against it. I do not think that is strictly true. A very large proportion, I should say, of the Nonconformists in the North of Ireland were in favour of Catholic Emancipation. Later on they were in favour of the Disestablishment of the Irish Church. I do not think we should attach much weight to that particular argument, but, even if true, when Catholic Emancipation was effected, Catholics received what I am glad to say, was their due. When that happened, what could Protestants who were opposed to it have done? Does the hon. Gentleman suggest that we should have shouldered rifles and gone down and fought the people in the South of Ireland. [An HON. MEMBER: "It was suggested."] I never heard of that suggestion in the case of Catholic Emancipation. It was passed, and those opposed to it realised that they had lost their fight, and had to submit, but the position is very different with the question of Home Rule. We have by no means lost our fight, and we are not going to submit. I wish to put this point to the hon. Member to show how absolutely different the two cases are, and how absurd it is to try to draw any analogy between them. We have taken up our position, and I believe the vast majority of Members on the opposite side believe us when we say that we are absolutely determined in Ulster that if Home Rule is passed we will resist by every means in our power. That is a very different thing, because if this Bill is passed into law, and Home Rule is set up, we can fight against the results of this Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "How?"] Well, I do not know that it is any part of my business to explain how that is going to be done. If hon. Members live long enough to see this Bill passed into law, they will have the satisfaction of seeing how it is to be done. That is the difference between this question and the question of Catholic Emancipation. There was nothing to be done after Catholic 1115 Emancipation was carried, but there is a great deal to be done after this Home Rule Bill is carried.
The hon. Member began his speech by saying he believed that all the Members who are going to vote against this Amendment feel as sincerely that the Amendment ought not to be carried, as we feel in our opposition to Home Rule. I believe he believes all that. I am not prepared to believe—I utterly refuse to believe—that there is any serious or considerable section of the party opposite, or any serious section of Liberals in the country, who believe in the justice of this Bill, or believe in the justice of putting Ulster under the domination of a Nationalist Parliament in Dublin. It may be that the "cohorts" which the Prime Minister has behind him will answer the word of command to go into the Lobby and vote against the Amendment, and that they will eventually vote for the Third Reading of the Bill. That does not mean that they believe it will be good for Ireland to give Home Rule, or good for Ulster to be included in the Bill. I would like to say one or two words as an Ulster representative. I notice that there has been a great desire on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite to have the opinion of Ulster men, and to hear their reason for voting for this Amendment. First of all, I should like to say that we are dealing with this not as a question affecting merely the four counties mentioned in the Amendment, but as a question whether Ulster, whatever Ulster is arranged to consist of, should be included or excluded. We have said in Ulster and elsewhere that we will resist and never allow ourselves to come under the influence of a Parliament in Dublin. We have said in pursuing that determination that we are prepared to use any means, the most extreme means, we have at our disposal. We have expressed that determination, and therefore, assuming that Home Rule is passed into law, and assuming that we carried out our determination, what is the result? We cut out practically from the effective working of the Bill a certain portion of Ireland. That is precisely what the hon. Member (Mr. Agar-Robartes) proposes to do by his Amendment.
One of the reasons why I am forced to vote for the Amendment is that I consider I am in an illogical position before my fellow-countrymen and the electors of this country if I refuse to vote for the Amend- 1116 ment which proposes to do by legal and Parliamentary methods exactly the same thing which we propose to do if the Bill is passed into law by arbitrary, and what you may be pleased to call unconstitutional methods. My position would be quite illogical if I went to the country to address public meetings if I were to say to my audience that if this Bill is passed into law, Ulster will resist and never allow itself to come within the scope of the Bill. The obvious interjection of any member of the audience would be "Oh, but we have offered to leave Ulster out of the Bill, and you voted against that Amendment." It must be obvious from the point of view of an Ulster Member that it is quite impossible to vote against the Amendment, and that, on the contrary, it is our plain duty to vote for it. But do not let it be supposed that because we vote for the Amendment we like the Bill. The hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) said some of my colleagues had stated that this was a wrecking Amendment. That may be so. I think it is a wrecking Amendment, and so much the better. I would use any means to wreck the Bill. That is one reason why I will vote for the Amendment. Let no man think that the exclusion of Ulster from the Bill would make us like this measure. I say it would remove one of its worst blots, but to imagine that because Ulster was removed from the Bill we in Ulster would like Ireland to have Home Rule would be ridiculous. It has never been suggested by any colleague of mine. We think that, with or without Ulster in the Bill, Home Rule would be disastrous to Ireland and also to the United Kingdom.
There is no real demand for Home Rule in Ireland, in spite of what is said by hon. Members below the Gangway. Every evidence that is coming to hand shows that at the best the bulk of the people in the South and West of Ireland are apathetic on this question. I say that, without hesitation, although I shall be referred to the fact that hon. Members below the Gangway are being returned year after year for the purpose of supporting Home Rule. In spite of that, observers in Ireland will tell you, as I tell you now, that the demand for Home Rule in Ireland is nothing like so great as it was in years gone by. We know that Nationalist papers in Ireland and Radical papers in this country will do their best to misrepresent the position we have taken up on this subject. I desire to make one point clear to the 1117 people of this country. It does not require to be made clear to my fellow-countrymen in the North of Ireland because they understand that we are doing the best we can in their interest as well as our own. It has been suggested that by accepting this Amendment we are deserting the Unionists in the rest of Ireland. I do not agree with that, because I believe that our fellow Unionists in the other parts of the country can be better helped by us if we are still an integral portion of the United Kingdom than if we were part of an Ireland in the Parliament of Dublin. So our friends in the South and West need not have the slightest fear that anything which we will do will lessen the protection that we might be able to afford to their interests. Obviously any proposal excluding Ulster from this Bill must logically be supported by any hon. Member coming from Ulster. I must protest against the absurd statement made by two hon. Members that Unionist Members from the North of Ireland do not represent the sentiments of their constituents. You cannot produce in this House representatives who will represent the feelings of their constituents more faithfully than we do here on this one particular question of Home Rule. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford cited the names of several Liberal candidates as evidence of indifference in the North of Ireland on this question, but, as my hon. and learned Friend behind me pointed out, the only hope of success of these candidates was by opening the campaign by the declaration that they were opposed to Home Rule.
We have always admitted that in the North of Ireland there is a very large body of Liberalism and Radicalism, and I would go so far as to say that were this question out of the way many seats now held by Conservatives would probably be captured by Radicals. That is the strongest proof of the hostility of the people to Home Rule, and one of the strongest refutations of the silly statement that the feeling of Ulster against Home Rule is rapidly weakening. That feeling is stronger today than it ever was. Hon. Members opposite will take upon themselves a great responsibility if they refuse to exclude Ulster from this measure, for which there has not been one single argument except the sentimental argument, that as soon as we have responsibility for the government of the country we will forget all our past differences and we will work harmoniously together. That is all nonsense. How 1118 can Members who do not know Ireland as we know it come down here and talk' such stuff as that? To think the bitternesses, which I hate to think unfortunately do exist in Ireland and have shown themselves in hundreds of ways, should suddenly cease because a Home Rule Bill passes is absurd. We who live on the spot know our own fellow countrymen better than hon. Members, however benevolent they may be, who live out of the country. We know instinctively and by practical experience that once a Home Rule Bill is passed and a Nationalist Parliament is set up in Dublin, from that day the prosperity of Ulster and of the Protestant parts of Ireland will begin to decline, and all the labour we have expended in the past and all the magnificent progress we have-achieved will from that moment begin to recede, and in the course of time, I cannot say how many years, the position of Ulster will be as bad as the rest of Ireland.
Under the Parliament Bill no change can be made in this Bill after it passes the first time in this House, because if it were altered in the following year it would be a new Bill and the whole proceedings would have to begin de novo. I do not think it is possible to alter it even by agreement, because it is not possible to get any agreement with Ulster upon this Bill. After the Committee stage of this Bill is completed the only other occasion on which it would be possible to carry this Amendment would be on the Report stage, but once the Bill has been read a third time this year it will be impossible to embody this change in the Bill at any time. Therefore hon. Members ought to give a great deal more thought than they have given to this particular Amendment, and ought to treat it with a great deal more seriousness than they have. Only three hon. Members on that side and seven or eight on this have contributed to the Debate, and I do not think that anyone can say that anything said on this side has been in the nature of obstructive or unnecessary comment. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Sir E. Carson) remarked, this is probably by far the most important point that will come before the Committee during the whole discussion on this Bill. The responsibility on hon. Members is very great. If this Bill becomes law, and if the unhappy state of affairs which we predict comes about and if there are disturbances in Ulster, as I am sure she will resist to the end the operation of this Bill, hon. Members will 1119 have to remember that they had an opportunity during the passage of this Bill through the House of Commons to exclude Ulster from this Bill and prevent that disturbance and bloodshed. I trust that hon. Members opposite will consider carefully this great responsibility. It is the earnest wish of my colleagues and myself that nothing of the dark nature to which I have referred will ever come to pass. Whether it is possible for hon. Members opposite to come to an agreement for the exclusion of Ulster with the hon. Member for Waterford I do not know. I am inclined to agree with those who have said that the effect of this Amendment would be to wreck the Bill. But I think that would be a far smaller calamity from the point of view of hon. Members opposite than the effect which would undoubtedly ensue if this Bill were passed into law with Ulster included in it.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has made one very significant statement—I will call it an admission—that after a hundred years of the Union in Ireland the feelings between Protestants and Catholics was so bitter that you could not trust them to live together without having over them the strong hand of the Imperial Parliament. I should not have called that a very strong testimony to the success of the Act of Union in that country. But he made another statement which I thought very remarkable, having regard to the Amendment which we are discussing. He said that it was by far the most important Amendment to the Bill. If that is the case it is rather remarkable that it was never put down by someone on the hon. Member's side, or it is still more remarkable that having been put down, it having occurred to someone that it might be debated, it was actually withdrawn. Why was that? I believe with the hon. Gentleman that it is a very important question, and ought to be debated very fully, and that it is a matter we were bound to consider in the framing of any Home Rule Bill. And if anyone imagines that the Government did not give very careful consideration to it and did not examine every proposal made on the subject to deal with Ulster, then he is not doing justice to the care and the considerations that were bestowed upon this very important matter. But it is rather odd that although we have had speeches from several hon. Members from 1120 Ireland to-day, we have not had a single speech, with the possible exception of that of the hon. Member, really supporting the Amendment; and the first reason which he gives for supporting the Amendment is not that he believes it on its merits, but that he thinks it will wreck the Bill.
What is the character of the proposal? Ireland up to the present has been treated for all legislative purposes as a separate unit. Take every great question that affects the lives of the people there. The sort of questions that will be dealt with by a Home Rule Parliament when it is set up are questions on which Parliament, without distinction of party, have treated Ireland as a whole. The land question was dealt with, and there was no separate Bill for Ulster. There were Land Bills introduced by Liberal Governments and Land Bills introduced by Conservative Governments, and I cannot recall a single land measure where Ulster or these four countries were treated as a separate unit from the rest of Ireland. Take the Church question. There you had pretty well the same proportions in Ulster—you had the same resistance from Ulster, from those four counties.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The right hon. Gentleman opposite knows the facts much better than I do, but I think he will find that the majority of the Members from those four counties were opposed to the Disestablishment of the Church in Ireland. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] That is so. Here was a very vital question with regard to the Church affecting the general interests of the people, and there was no demand for separate treatment from these four counties. On the contrary, Ireland for that purpose was treated as a unit. Take the question of temperance legislation. Ireland has been treated as a whole, and has always been treated as a whole by every party for the purpose of dealing with temperance questions. Education, which has excited the most fierce controversies between religious denominations in this country, when it was dealt with for Ireland, that country was treated as a whole, and as a separate unit of the United Kingdom. The police also is a very controversial matter in Ireland, and there you have a separate organisation for the whole of the island. Even in regard to insurance which we had last year there was separate treatment for Ireland, but 1121 there was no demand that Ulster should be treated separately from the rest of Ireland. On the contrary, Ulster threw in her lot with the rest of Ireland in the demand that the provisions of the Insurance Bill should be the same for Ulster as for the other three provinces of Ireland. [An HON. MEMBER: "That was in the Imperial Parliament."] And the University is another case in point—it was a Bill for the whole of Ireland.
Take all the great questions through years of controversy in Ireland and in this country, during the last twenty or thirty years, or even beyond that, and in regard to all those questions it will be found that Ireland has been treated as a whole, as a separate unit, and there has never been a demand from any county in Ireland, or from any part of Ireland, or from any party in Ireland that Ulster should be treated separately. What I put is this: Here is a demand, for the first time in a measure dealing with Ireland, that you should carry it out, and that Ireland should not be treated as a separate legislative unit, but that she should be split up into two. What do you mean? There is no agreement. My hon. Friend the Member for St. Austell (Mr. Agar-Robartes) suggests we should take the four counties, and the right hon. Gentleman on the other side said he would not accept four counties, and would certainly want two more. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last said he would have nothing to do with four or six counties; he must have all the counties of Ulster.
§ Mr. C. CRAIG
I beg pardon, I did not say that. I dealt with this question in a general way, and I said the constitution of Ulster with regard to minor questions could be settled later.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
At this time, after Home Rule has been before this country twenty years, after a Bill has been through a Committee of the House of Commons once before, where it was thoroughly dealt with, the Members for Ulster have not even made up their mind what Ulster is, and yet this, let the Committee remember, is characterised by one of the Ulster Members as one of the most important Amendments on the whole Bill. If there were a demand from Ulster that Ulster should be treated separately, then, of course, the Government should give it serious consideration. When has it ever been made? It has not been made, not even in this Debate. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Waterford, I 1122 remember on the Second Reading, challenged the right hon. and learned Gentleman, whose sincerity in this matter no one has ever doubted, and said, "Do you now make a proposal?" With all his skill and adroitness he evaded the question by putting another, which is a very effective way of getting rid of a difficult question. But even then he was not prepared to make any suggestion at all. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, with great candour, in the powerful speech he delivered this afternoon, made it perfectly clear that an Amendment of this kind would wreck the Bill, and that he would support it. This is a very different thing from putting forward the serious demand that Ulster should receive separate treatment. This is not the first time that Home Rule has been considered in this House. [An HON. MEMBER: "And beaten."] There are many causes that are beaten once and yet win in the end, and that is especially true with' regard to Ireland. The point I was putting is this, that this is not the first time that Home Rule has been considered as a distinct legislative proposal in this House. I was a Member of the House in 1893 when such a proposal went through Committee. There was a very powerful opposition to it—I suppose about the most powerful one has ever witnessed in this House—led by some of the ablest men who have ever led the Opposition. Was there a proposal made then that Ulster should be treated separately? I never heard of it. It was not made. It is really an open secret, as a matter of fact, that the suggestion was made, I believe, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, who was rather disposed to propose something of the kind, but he never did it. Why? Because Colonel Saunderson, who was known to be opposed to it, and known to be opposed to it as one would expect of him, on thoroughly chivalrous grounds. It was not proposed at all in 1893.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not mind answering my hon. Friend's question, although it takes me rather to another field. As a matter of fact Mr. Gladstone repeatedly suggested the federal solution. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] He certainly did. If I only had three minutes I could get the actual manifesto in which he did 1123 so. Mr. Gladstone certainly had it in his mind at that time, and he always kept his eye on Home Rule as the first step, but he always protested against dealing with the two questions simultaneously. This proposal before the Committee has never been put forward seriously by Ulster What are the arguments in favour of it? One argument in favour of it is that the Belfast Chamber of Commerce cannot trust the Nationalists of Ireland. Do they trust the present Government? [HON. MEMBERS: "NO," "Yes," and "Hear, hear."] Do they trust the Liberal majority in this House of Commons? [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] I have been reading the same document as that from which the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir E. Carson) quoted extracts. It is on the whole a very moderate statement of that case. The language they used about the Nationalists of Ireland is moderate, temperate, mild, Christian, and not to be compared with that which they used about the present Liberal Ministry. When they talk about the danger to Belfast from having a Nationalist majority to govern them, one is constantly told about the ruin to industry, the ruin to the trade of the country, the ruin to its credit, and everything else which comes from a Liberal Administration. But to merely say that they do not approve of a particular majority for the time being is no reason why you should tear up Ireland into little bits. You have got the same disapproval of the Conservative majority if you happen to be in the minority, and when you are in the minority you always protest against the majority. If Belfast had a policy which commended itself to the majority of the people of Ireland, I have no doubt they would convert the minority into a majority. There is no country in the world where you can have a permanent majority. You have got Catholic countries where the Catholic majority has vanished in the course of time, as very nearly occurred in Belgium the other day, a thoroughly Catholic country. The Irish race are very shrewd and thrifty, and I have no doubt that all sorts of questions, which up to the present moment have not arisen, because kept subordinate to Home Rule, will come to the front in Ireland later on—questions of interest to the North and South, questions between town and country, questions between the industrial and farming population, questions of taxation, all of which will arise in Ireland 1124 as they have arisen in every other country in the world, so that solidarity must necessarily break up, and you will probably have other parties formed in Ireland. Therefore it is for Ulster to make out her case here. For the reasons which I have given up to the present the Imperial Parliament has treated Ireland as a unit. It has never been suggested up to the present that you should split it up, and if there is a demand that it should be split up, then that ought to be a formal demand, it ought to be a stated demand, you ought to have the terms of that demand and its limits and the conditions and the grounds upon which you make it. Up to this very hour, although Parliament has been considering this question for twenty or thirty years, it has never been put forward, and how can you expect upon an Amendment moved by an hon. Friend of mine on this side of the House, an Amendment for which the Opposition accept no responsibility, which they do not put forward, and which is moved by a private Member on the Ministerial side of the House, making such a gigantic demand, and which would be a serious departure from every precedent, how can it be seriously argued that ought to be done. One hon. Gentleman who spoke on the other side from Ireland did say he regarded this Amendment as fatal to Home Rule; but even that did not justify him in his conscience in voting for it. Why? He comes from the South. He knows that if Ulster sets up a separate organisation of its own that the Protestants of the South will not have the support which they expect from the Protestants of the North. But it is not merely that. Let any hon. Member of this House or right hon. Member, take up the religious census of Ireland. My hon. Friend has chosen four counties. In some of those counties the Protestants are a bare majority. In Londonderry, for instance, there is a population of about 140,000, and out of that population there is only a majority of 10,000, I think. [An HON. MEMBER: "There is many more—read the figures."] I am taking now not merely the county but the city. I have got first the county, where there is a Catholic population of 41,458, and the others are 58,000. In Londonderry City the Catholic population is 22,000 and the Protestant population is 17,000.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
And those are the people you cannot trust. With a 1125 Catholic majority and a pronounced Catholic majority they return a Unionist Member. That is, there is only a majority of about twelve or thirteen thousand taking the county and the town together. That is a very near thing. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is over 15,000."] Let us take the other counties. Take a county like Tyrone.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I know it is not, but I want to take the counties outside now. [Interruption.] I do hope I shall be allowed to proceed. We really listened to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite without interruption. In Tyrone you have a Catholic population of 78,000, and a Protestant population of 60,000. That is the other way about. What does that mean? Let my hon. Friend and those who sympathise with him consider what that means. It means that in Londonderry, where there is a comparatively slight majority of Protestants over Catholics, the Protestants would be inside this new autonomous area.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
In this new area whatever it is, although that is one of the things that has never been put forward. In Tyrone there is a slight Catholic majority of sixteen or seventeen thousand. Does my hon. Friend suggest that the Protestant minority in Tyrone should be outside and should not get the support which comes from the presence of this purely Protestant body in Antrim, Belfast, Down, and Derry? Does he really imagine that he is helping the cause of Protestantism by doing that? Why, in all these counties you will find the same state of things. Anybody who looks at the map will see how impossible it is to divide Ulster on those principles. Here is a map of Ulster, and the Protestant portion runs in a thin, narrow line across, while the Catholics cut in here and cut in there, and you have not got anything in the nature of a well-defined area. That is one of the difficulties. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said it could not be done. I am not a believer in those impossibilities, but at any rate, a proposal which has all the practical difficulties, the financial difficulties and geographical difficulties which this has, and there is no doubt about that, before 1126 you put forward a demand of that kind, which is full of difficulties, which, although they are not insuperable, are very grave, you ought at any rate to be clear and definite, and there ought to be an overwhelming demand for it. Is there a demand from the Protestants of those four counties, assuming now that Home Rule passes, that they should not go in or that they should save their own skins, as it were, and just protect themselves, and that they should not go in to help at all in an Irish Parliament to protect the rest of the Protestants of Ireland? By all the most honourable traditions, by their greatest historical achievements, by everything that constitutes their claim to pride, what is their boast? It is that they have defended not merely the Protestantism of their own little corner, but that they have been the champions of Protestantism in Ireland as a whole. Are they going to abandon those traditions? [HON. MEMBERS: "NO, no."] If they are not going to abandon them, then upon what possible grounds can they support the Amendment? They can only do so on one ground, and that is that if this Amendment is carried it will wreck the Bill.
I should like to know what the real claim of Ulster is? I can only take it from its spokesmen in this House. If those spokesmen to-day had put forward a serious, considered demand on the subject, then Parliament and the House of Commons and the Government would be bound, of course, to give it consideration on coming from any portion of the people. They have not done so. What is their demand? The right hon. Gentleman who is their most eloquent spokesman, what did he say? He said this is impossible, and if it is carried it destroys the Bill. What, therefore, is the demand of Ulster? Not that she should be protected herself, not that she should have autonomy herself, but the right to veto autonomy to the rest of Ireland. That is an intolerable demand. There are two or three constituencies in Wales where you have got opposition to the Welsh Church Bill. Is it suggested they should be left out, or, because of their veto, that the rest of Wales should not count? Take the case of Johannesburg, or rather the case of the Transvaal. Suppose there were a demand from Johannesburg, fund suppose they said they would be in a minority—because you must assume that— of one-third of the population, said, "We are the wealthiest part of the Transvaal, 1127 and because we are British in blood—if they were—and because we have got business connections with the British Empire, because we are loyalists, because we have always stood by the Empire, we do not demand separate autonomy for Johannesburg, but we demand the right to refuse autonomy to the rest of the Transvaal." Now that is the situation here. It has never been put forward in any other way. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Fulham said so last night, that this is a thing you cannot get. If it is impracticable. That means if you vote for it and if it is carried, wrecking the Bill. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin, and every other speaker on the other side of the House admitted it. Put forward in that way no one can support the Amendment—
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The Noble Lord was much too wily a controversialist to do so. He knows the danger of an admission of that kind; but his franker colleague here has admitted it. He is a member of the legal profession and he frankly stated that in his judgment it would wreck the Bill.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I think the right hon. Gentleman did say that it was perfectly impracticable. That means that if it were carried, and if his attitude were correct, that then it would wreck the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman very frankly admits now it would wreck the Bill. A demand put forward in those terms without purpose, put forward without any consideration, without any working out or stating of a practical alternative, I say frankly no man who wants Home Rule for Ireland could possibly support it. I do not believe in all these fears and apprehensions as to what will happen in Ireland when Home Rule is carried. Those days are past. Bigotry, after all, is not the monopoly of any sect in the State. We have all got our share of it, and I have no doubt at all that those who are dominated by it abuse their powers and privileges. But it is not merely one Church that does that. On the whole I think we can trust to the good sense of any community that it will not be dominated very long by sectarian intolerance. We have every 1128 testimony that where the Catholics are predominant in Ireland the Protestants receive absolute fair play. Here is a statement made by a leading Protestant in Cork. He lives and does business in a Catholic district; therefore he has had some experience. Alderman Beamish, of Cork, said at a meeting addressed by Lord Midleton that—it was his duty to state that they (the Protestants) in the South of Ireland trading over vast areas of the province of Munster, had not felt any serious inconvenience when dealing with their Catholic neighbours. He was extremely glad to say so. It was only fair to make that statement, as it was not right that it should be used as an argument against Home Rule.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
He was a Protestant. If hon. Members will look at the experience of Canada they will see an exactly similar state of things occurring there. In Quebec you have a Catholic majority and a Protestant minority, but there are no charges of intolerance there
§ The CHAIRMAN
I hope that hon. Members who have already laid their views before the Committee will listen to other views without interruption.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not think that Quebec, any more than any other part of the world, is absolutely free from intolerance and bigotry. That is not my claim. My claim is that in Quebec the Catholics have administered the affairs of the State without oppressing their Protestant fellow-subjects. The same thing applies to Ontario, where the Protestants are in the majority. I am perfectly convinced that once you grant Home Rule to Ireland, not that it will be free altogether from bigotry any more than any other part of the kingdom, but that Catholics and Protestants will work side by side, that often you will find Protestants in alliance with Catholics, and that the general effect on the government of Ireland will be one of emancipation and liberation. There has never been a case in the world where freedom has been given to a population—and you cannot have freedom without self-government—where it has not been the great antidote of bigotry and intolerance. I am convinced that once that is done in Ireland hon. Members opposite, themselves, will live to see the day when they themselves will admit that it has been an enormous advantage to the Protestants in that country.
§ Mr. WALTER GUINNESS
I am sure the Committee will admire the adroitness with which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has avoided the main issue raised in this Debate. He has not said a single word to justify the proposition put forward from that side, that although Nationalist Ireland has a perfect right to decide the form of government under which they shall live, Unionist Ulster shall not have the same right extended to them. The chief argument of the right hon. Gentleman was that put forward last night by the Solicitor-General, that Ulster has never been treated apart for the purpose of legislation. That is a very sound argument from a hide-bound old Tory, but what has precedent to do with this Government? We know perfectly well that the revolutionary proposal to govern Ireland from Dublin is a far greater change than to divide Ulster from the other three provinces and allow her still to enjoy union with Great Britain. The right hon. Gentleman pointed out that this division of Ulster from the rest of Ireland had never before been proposed. In 1893 the position was absolutely different. No one seriously expected that the Home Rule Bill as then discussed would ever pass, because we had a House of Lords which could prevent it. But this Bill has received a Second Reading, and we are considering it on the assumption that under the Parliament Act the Government intend to carry it in spite of the wishes of the majority of both Great Britain and Ireland. Therefore the position of Ulster and of those who wish to see her excluded is entirely different. The right hon. Gentleman quoted a statement by Alderman Beamish at a recent meeting in the South of Ireland as if Alderman Beamish was speaking in favour of Home Rule. He was speaking at a meeting specially held to protest against Home Rule. I cannot understand why the right hon. Gentleman did not admit that when my hon. Friend interrupted him. There is no tolerance in the South of Ireland for Protestant views. My reason for saying that is, that in the whole province of Munster, in spite of the widely advertised opportunity which was going to be given to Protestants to serve on local bodies, there are only two Protestant members on the county councils. I do not think that that shows very wide tolerance.
My real reason for rising is that the hon. Member for Waterford stated this afternoon that there was not a single Unionist 1130 outside Ulster living in Ireland who could support this Amendment. I wish to explain how it is that some of us who have interests in Ireland feel that we have no choice but to support it. The hon. Member for Waterford did not say a word about this Amendment on its merits. He dealt in a very extraordinary way with the Census Returns giving the religious divisions in the North of Ireland. He made out that the Catholics and Protestants in the province of Ulster were about equally divided. The actual fact is that there are only 690,000 Catholics, whereas there are 836,000 Protestants, or 886,000 altogether of all other denominations. When he came to the four counties he made out that there was very little difference, but his figures were a little mixed. The real truth about these four counties is that there are twice as many members of other denominations as there are "Roman Catholics, the figures being 725,000 against 315,000. The hon. Member made out that a great many of the Protestants were Nationalists, but he did not produce any figures in support of his statement. I would point out on the one hand that there is not a single constituency in Ireland which returns a Nationalist Member where there is a majority of Protestant electors. On the other hand you have two constituencies—namely, Londonderry City and North Fermanagh, where there is a Roman Catholic majority, and in spite of that Unionists are returned to this House. That effectually disposes—
§ Mr. W. GUINNESS
No; it disposes of the statement of the hon. Member for Waterford that the Protestant Home Ruler is commoner than the Catholic Unionist. The Prime Minister, the Solicitor-General, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have all attacked Ulster Members for deserting their co-religionists. The Solicitor-General chose the metaphor of Ulster taking to the boats and leaving the defenceless behind. As he chose that metaphor, he cannot complain if his attitude rather reminds us of the cheap taunts of another politician who, from a position of complete safety, recently made wide suggestions of cowardice against people in a quite different position. In that case, I believe the general opinion, at any rate on this side of the Atlantic, was that the best judges of conduct were those affected by the common danger. I 1131 believe that almost every Irish Protestant will recognise that, under the present conditions, it is the duty of Ulster Members to take this opportunity of trying to secure for their constituents freedom from this iniquitous measure. I believe that Unionists living outside Ulster would blame their allies in this House if they opposed this exemption. It would be merely a dog-in-the-manger policy for us who live outside Ulster to grudge relief to our coreligionists merely because we could not share it. Such self-denial on their part would in no way help us, and it would only injure our compatriots in the North. We know perfectly well that Ulster fully shares our detestation of this Bill from a wider point of view than her own interests.
Apart from the religious standpoint, every Unionist holds that this proposal would be disastrous to Great Britain and also against the true interests of Ireland. We have seen the wonderful progress which is being made in Ireland since the land question was tackled, and every Irishman who has seen that progress feels that it is madness, in the interests of Nationalists and Unionists alike, to tear up this young plant of prosperity by the roots. We recognise that Ulster Members have their first duty to their own constituents. Their cry has always been, "Ulster will not have Home Rule." They have shown that they are prepared by force if need be to prevent the law of a Nationalist Parliament from running in Ulster. But they have never said that they would interfere in the local affairs of the rest of Ireland if the rest of Ireland were given Home Rule. How, therefore, in view of this attitude can they reasonably oppose the granting by peaceful means of that very exclusion for which their constituents are prepared even to take up arms and risk their lives? It is quite true that we who live outside Ulster look upon Ulster in this respect as the sheet-anchor of our liberty. We know that without Ulster—we can be quite frank—Home Rule sooner or later must break down. That is not the object of the Amendment. That is an accident—
And, it being a Quarter-past Eight of the clock, and there being Private Business set down by direction of the Chairman of Ways and Means, under Standing Order No. 8, further proceeding was postponed without Question put.