§ Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [30th April], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ Which Amendment was, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—[Mr. Walter Long.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question." Debate resumed.594
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I am unwilling that this memorable Debate should be brought to a conclusion without making some observations to the House, and I can promise at the outset that they will be brief, by way of summing up the attitude of the Irish Nationalist party towards the main arguments used against this Bill. Let me say, in the first instance, that on the whole I think Ireland has reason to be well satisfied at the course of this Debate. So far as the main principle of this Bill is concerned, that is the right of the Irish people to manage for themselves, without interfering with Imperial supremacy, their own domestic affairs in a Parliament in Ireland so far as that principle is concerned it seems to me, from the general course of this Debate, that it is generally conceded. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO, no."] It certainly is true to say that, with the exception of a few speeches coming in the main from Members representing a certain part of Ulster, the arguments have all been directed to details and not to the main principle of this Bill. And I desire to point out that underlying all those arguments and all those objections there has been the supposition that the worst will happen and not the best when Home Rule is granted; that all parties to this new Treaty will be animated by bad faith and by malice, and that instead of there being a desire shown to make the best of things, on the contrary it will be the set purpose of everyone concerned to utilise any defect that may appear in the machinery of the Bill, or any provision which on paper may seem illogical and unworkable, in order to wreck the settlement.
On such a supposition as that no Constitution in the history of the world would stand the test of discussion or examination. Certainly the British Constitution would not. As we all know, the British Constitution is made up of illogical and apparently contradictory and unworkable conventions and precedents, and if everyone concerned conspired together, as some hon. Members believe would be the case in Ireland, to wreck the British Constitution it could not have survived to this day. Further, on the supposition of bad faith and malice on the part of everyone concerned, no single Constitution which you have created in any part of your Empire would be in working order to-day. In Canada, in Australia, in South Africa, or anywhere else, if all the parties to these Constitutions had conspired to wreck these Constitutions, none of them would have 595 survived to this day; but yet you find twenty-eight or twenty-nine of them in full successful working order to-day throughout the Empire. I was speaking the other night—during the Debate on the First Reading of this Bill—with one of the most distinguished citizens of Australia, a gentleman who is now upon the Supreme Court Bench of the Commonwealth of Australia. He had been one of the framers of the Commonwealth Constitution, and, after hearing the Debate here in this House, he made this comment to me. He said, "We had exactly the same kind of Debates in Australia pointing out that this provision was unworkable and that illogical, and no Constitution could be framed if objection of this kind were held to be fatal, but that Constitution went through, and to-day it is a success and a gratification throughout the whole Empire."
The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave), who, if I may be allowed to say so, in my opinion, delivered the ablest and most plausible attack yet delivered on the details of this Bill, enumerated a number of these so-called defects and illogical and unworkable provisions. But everyone of his criticisms was based upon the supposition that the old quarrel, after Home Rule was granted, would still continue in Ireland, that the old controversy and bitterness would be perpetuated, that the old parties would be stereotyped, as if nothing at all had happened, and that the Irish people, having obtained this great charter of liberty, would prove themselves before the world as a nation of fools by at once setting to work with malice aforethought to wreck and ruin their own Constitution. Well now, upon that supposition, nothing can be satisfactory in any detail in this Bill or in any detail in any conceivable measure for granting Home Rule either to Ireland or to any portion of the Empire, and I think the logical course open to men who really believe this, who really believe the Irish nation capable of this conduct, would not merely be to oppose the concession of Home Rule in any shape or form, but to disfranchise Ireland altogether and govern it as a Crown Colony. But what ground is there for this monstrous supposition? Why will hon. Members attribute to Irishmen the malicious folly which they have not experienced from people in any other portion of the Empire to which they have given free institutions. The very moment 596 Home Rule is granted it will become the highest interest of the Irish nation to safeguard that constitution and to work it with moderation and success. It will instantly become the highest interest of the Irish people to cultivate the most friendly possible relations with Great Britain, and it will become the interest of Ireland, for the first time I am afraid, in her history, to do all in her power to promote the unity, prosperity, and welfare of the Empire. My own firm belief is that, in a very short period of time indeed, all the old lines of party division in Ireland will disappear. The Home Rule party, as you have known it, will disappear; it will be functus officio, because the object for which it was called into existence and for which it worked will have been accomplished. It will break up, and new parties will spring instantly into existence. I say that the man in Ireland who sets himself then to promote sectarian or class animosity, or to advocate extreme forces and extreme policies, will be regarded by the whole Irish people as a public enemy. In a word, what will happen in Ireland is what has happened everywhere else. Responsibility will have the effect of steadying and moderating men of all political views. The hon. and learned Member for Kingston spoke about the nominated Senate, and he expressed the opinion that in a very short time that Senate would consist of an overwhelming majority of Nationalists. He profoundly misunderstands our views and our aspirations. If I had myself thrown upon my shoulders the responsibility tomorrow for nominating that Senate I would put on it a large majority of men who had never been on our side in the struggle for Home Rule during the last thirty years. An entirely new class of representatives for Ireland will appear in the Irish Parliament.
The late Leader of the Opposition said the other night that he thought no thoughtful Irishman really interested in education or in commerce, or in the general welfare of the Irish nation, would go into the Irish Parliament at all. I suppose that we on these benches ought to feel greatly flattered at the words used by the late Leader of the Opposition towards us. He spoke of how brilliant the Irish party had been, and how powerful it had been during his political life in this House. He thinks inferior men will be elected to the Irish Assembly, but he is entirely wrong. In our fight for Home Rule we were unable to draw upon large sections of our fellow- 597 countrymen. This party was created for one special purpose. We were bound to look for strength in an iron-bound discipline which many of our countrymen refused to submit to. We bound ourselves from the start to accept no office in connection with the administration of Ireland, and therefore all Irishmen who had an ambition to take part in the administration, in one shape or another, of the affairs of Ireland were excluded from our ranks. We could not call for assistance from the wealthy classes of our countrymen, or indeed from the most highly educated classes of our country and great business men were, by the very nature of things, excluded altogether from the possibility of coming over to London to take part in a struggle such as we are waging. After Home Rule is granted all that will change. The Home Rule party, as you have known it, will disappear, and I believe you will then have at the disposal of Ireland all the best of Irish intellect, commercial genius, and patriotism, eager to take, advantage for the first time for one hundred years of the gratifying and laudable ambition of serving their country in Parliament.
It is said that this measure cannot be final. In one sense it does not profess to be final. It was put forward by the Prime Minister as the first and necessary preliminary step in a great system of federation in which, when it is completed, the people of each component part of the United Kingdom will be enabled to transact their own local business for themselves. For myself, I have been a federalist all my life. Up to the year 1873 Irish Nationalists had been clamouring for repeal. Mr. Butt, in 1873, raised the question of federalism and established the present Home Rule movement. I then was a lad, quite a young lad, but from that day to this I have repeatedly, and in many lands, as well as in this House of Commons and in Ireland, advocated federalism as the solvent of this problem. I know some hon. Members have been employing their leisure hours very foolishly and wastefully, I think, in endeavouring to cull from speeches of mine—I see one hon. Member below me looking up one with interest, I am sure his pockets are crammed with extracts from speeches of mine—extracts showing that I really at heart have been a separatist. I know it is a wrong thing to quote one's own speeches as a rule, but I have been quoted and misquoted so often on public platforms in England that I ask the House 598 to allow me to indulge in the egotism of making a short extract from a speech of mine. This is what I said in 1883, before we had much hope of getting the Home Rule question settled at all. That was when we were engaged in the throes of a violent agitation. It is the speech of a young man just entering on public life, and likely, therefore, certainly to be as extreme as his sentiments were. What did? I say? I said:—By Home Rule I mean that the internal affairs of Ireland shall be regulated by a Parliament consisting of the Queen. Lords and Commons of Ireland—that all Imperial affairs, and all that relates to the Colonies, foreign States, and the common interests of the Empire, shall continue to be regulated by the Imperial Parliament as at present constituted. The idea at the bottom of this proposal is the desirability of finding some middle course between separation on the one hand, and over-centralisation of government on the other. We who propose this scheme consider that it is undesirable that two countries so closely connected geographically and socially, and having so many commercial and international ties should be wholly separated, or that any dismemberment of the Empire, which Ireland has had her share in building up, shall take place. But we are just as strongly of opinion that it is equally undesirable that one country should control the domestic affairs of another whose wants and aspirations it confessedly does not understand, whose various needs it admittedly has not time to attend to, and whose national life such a system of government tends to destroy. We propose a middle course. We say to England 'retain every guarantee for the unity and strength of the Empire, but give up a task which you have proved yourself incompetent to fulfil satisfactorily. Sub-divide the labours of an over-burdened Parliament, and relegate to Irishmen the management of purely Irish affairs, which they alone can thoroughly understand. Let us join for every Imperial purpose, and defend the Empire, which is the heritage of both of us, against all the world in arms, if need be, but let each, give up, once and for all the attempt to rule the domestic affairs of each other. Let us have national freedom and Imperial unity and strength.'That declaration was made in 1883. It has been repeated in every land in which I have spoken during the years that have intervened, and let me remind the House that when the Home Rule Bill of 1886 was under discussion on the Second Reading, although I said that I agreed, of course, in the exclusion of Irish representatives under that Bill, I said I did so most reluctantly. This is what I said:—As a Nationalist, I may say I do not regard as entirely palatable the idea that for ever and a day Ireland's voice should be excluded from the Councils of an Empire which the genius and valour of her sons have done so much to build up, and of which she is to remain a part. I conceive, however, that even in the Bill as it stands, the permanent exclusion of Irish Members is not contemplated. The federal idea I understand and sympathise with. I look forward to the day when it may be applied to England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Ireland. Then the character of the so-called Imperial Parliament would be changed. It would be then only an Imperial Parliament, and all the Kingdoms having their own national Parliaments would be represented.Therefore, I say, that all my life I have been a federalist, and I welcome the declaration that this is the first step in a 599 great system of federation. It is said that this Bill, so far from being a step to federation, is a bar to federation, and the reasons given for that statement I confess have filled me with amazement. It is said that the system of federation must necessarily be fully carried out at one and the same time with reference to all the States that are to be federated. Was anything quite so absurd ever said? Where, in history, can you point to a federation so carried out? Certainly not in Canada, where to this day new provinces are being added and brought into the federation. Not in Australia, where in the recollection of all of us, we in this Imperial Parliament passed legislation creating new States that have been brought into the confederation since. Not in America, where constantly new States are added to the confederation. Not in Germany, because only the other day you had an instance of the province of Alsace-Lorraine being given a full and generous measure of Home Rule, and being brought into the federation. I came across an interesting argument on this point which may command the respect of some hon. Members on this side of the House. Here is what the "Observer" said on this point in October, 1910:—To some extent it must be admitted … we should be reversing the method generally followed by other federated systems. They began with separated communities and knitted them tip to form one. We begin with a formal Union and have to modify it. But have not the American Republic and the Canadian Dominion again and again created new States—decentralising local affairs to secure a more efficient, concentration on national? Why should not we in the same way distribute the management of local affairs to insure a more real a more emphatic, a more businesslike unity and control in common affairs? We are convinced that from this point of view even the Irish question may now be so handled as to make quite practicable at least a measure of federal self-government, of ample devolution, of safe Home Rule—call it what you please—which would not only eliminate every suggestion or possibility of separation, but would confirm the legal supremacy and reinvigorate the working efficiency of the Mother of Parliaments.I say that the argument that this Irish Home Rule will be a bar to the federation because it is not extended simultaneously to the other portions of the federation is an absurd argument that will not bear consideration for a moment. But, it is said, the Irish Home Rule Bill in its details is not suitable to Scotland and Wales, and that it is not exactly the kind of thing they want. What then? Is it really contended that every State in a great federation must have precisely the same cast-iron form of Constitution? Why, Sir, there are no two federal Constitutions in your whole Empire that are exactly alike. There are 600 scarcely any two in Australia or in Canada that are alike. They differ in innumerable particulars. No, Sir, when this measure of Home Rule for Ireland is passed, it will be there ready to be fitted in to a system later on of Home Rule all round. A beginning in federation must be made, and Ireland is entitled from her whole history to have the first place. In another sense, this Bill also is not final. There is a provision that when for three years in succession the revenue of Ireland exceeds the expenditure, then the financial situation will be revised, for which purpose only the forty-two Irish Members here will be strengthened by an addition from Ireland. A revision of the financial situation will be made, and with the object of enabling Ireland in the future to pay her fair quota to Imperial obligations. I rejoice in that. I believe that time will come far sooner than anybody in this House believes. I believe when it does come the Irish people will be glad, and will be proud to pay to the general expenses of the Empire their fair contribution. In those senses, this Bill is not final; but let me say, and it is only a repetition of what I said on the First Reading, that as a settlement of the international quarrel between England and Ireland we accept this Bill as a final settlement. I have often been twitted with the words of Mr. Parnell:—Let no man set limits to the onward march of a nation.Surely that is a truism. Where is the rash and foolish man who will rise up in this or any country and try to bind the future, bind future generations for the centuries that are to come? No, you would condemn such a man as a fool. What we can do, and what is the only thing you are entitled to ask from us, and what we do do, is to speak for ourselves and our own generation, just as you can only speak for yourselves and your own generation. And so we on these benches, speaking for the people of Ireland, say we accept this Bill in absolute good faith as a settlement of the international quarrel between the two countries. And we can speak for the Irish abroad as well as for the Irish at home. I have received, hot merely in those cablegrams that were published in the papers, but in private communications from all parts and from every State in America, and from all parts of Canada and New Zealand and Australia, assurances from all our people that they stand behind us when we say we accept this as a settlement of the international quarrel. Let me ask, in 601 the few minutes which remain to me: Is it worth England's while—let me now give a purely British argument—to take the trouble and to run the risk, because I suppose no experiment was ever made in the world that was not attended by any risks, of making this great experiment? The First Lord of the Admiralty, in his striking speech the other night, discussed the question almost entirely from an Imperial point of view. He asked the House to consider: Will Home Rule weaken or will it strengthen the position of England and the Empire in international politics in the world? The First Lord of the Admiralty devoted a large portion of his speech to demonstrating that this Irish question, from that point of view, had diminished in importance. Up to a certain point I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. It is true that by a comparison of sheer physical strength and absolute force, owing to the developments of the world, the Irish question is less considerable for you to-day than it was in the days of Pitt and the Act of Union. But it is my view that the Irish question, looked at in all its bearings, has not diminished, but has increased in importance as an Imperial problem, and, if I were an Englishman judging this question solely from the point of view of foreign politics and of military strength. I would conclude that the granting of Home Rule to Ireland was the most urgent step you can take for the safeguarding of yourselves in future.
I contend that this Irish question, as an Imperial, and even as a British concern, has grown in magnitude and in urgency. Other elements of the problem have appeared besides those mentioned by the First Lord of the Admiralty—the impoverishing of Ireland and the decline of her population. Four millions of her population have disappeared from Ireland. Where have they gone? Some of them, no doubt, hardship, pestilence, and death have accounted for; but where have the vast majority gone? They have gone where they have increased and multiplied and flourished exceedingly, and to-day they and their descendants constitute a source of strength to the Irish cause and a source of potential strength or potential weakness to this Empire. That is one of the senses in which I say that the magnitude of the Irish question has increased, and not diminished, since the Union. Let me dwell for one moment upon that. The Irish race have an influence in every English-speaking land in the world, an influence the nature of which is not properly 602 understood by many people in this country. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir E. Grey), whose business it is, to understand a matter of this kind, understands it fully, and he gave expression to his feeling in a memorable sentence in his recent speech in this House, which sums up this principle of foreign policy. He said:—The good will of the Irish race is worth having. It counts for something in every part of the world that we care most for.That that influence exists cannot be denied, but it has grown considerably in recent times. Why has it grown so considerably? The reason is that in the last thirty years the citizens of Irish descent in the United States and in every one of your self-governing Colonies have advanced enormously in material wealth, in education, and in political intelligence. There is hardly a city you can go to in any English-speaking land in the world where-you do not find them at the head of great industries, great businesses, and great commercial combinations, prominent in the universities, in the professions, and in social as well as political life. Let me just ask the House to weigh whether this is important or not. That influence does not stand alone in any of these countries so long as Ireland remains unreconciled. Citizens of German birth and descent in the United States, a vast and most opulent community, have recently taken a leaf out of the Irish and American book. They, too, have found that, while, like the Irish, becoming thoroughly assimilated with American life and loyal American citizens, a certain separateness and solidarity in a racial sense gives them a power they would otherwise lack. I ask the House of Commons seriously to consider, when it comes to American relations with a Power to which German sentiment may be opposed and from which Irish sentiment remains alienated, whether the joint influence of those two elements on public opinion and public action is not a fact which every thoughtful Imperialist ought to bear in mind? For myself, all I do is to point to your recent experience in treaty making in America as affording some sidelight upon the subject. The existence of this extraneous point of view among American citizens is not a normal or a healthy condition for the body politic of the United States, and, if you talk with men of the United States—and I have discussed this with American statesmen 603 and men of all parties in America—every one will tell you that point is one of their most serious pre-occupations. Indeed, it is one of the causes why every leader of public thought in America of every political party is as anxious to see Home Rule passed as the Irish in America themselves. There are other topics, and important ones, with which I should like to deal, but I am under an honourable obligation to confine my remarks within a certain limit of time, and that limit has now practically been exhausted. I will therefore conclude at once without going into the further subject, and I conclude on this note. The Irish question is an Imperial question of the first magnitude and urgency, and if, in making ready for those events which you may have to face in the future, you want to present to the world a spectacle of real solidarity, if you want to draw your Empire into a single bond of sympathy, and above all if you want to remove the obstacles which stand in the way of that natural community of understanding and action which should exist between this country and the great English-speaking Republic of America, you have the means of doing it now by passing this Bill into law.
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
May I be permitted to preface what I desire to say by replying to some of the observations of the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down. I do not think he has answered a single argument that we have advanced during the whole of this Debate. He complains we are all of us determined to believe that what will come out of this Bill if it be carried is the worst that can possibly happen, and, in pointing out to us that there is no constitution in the world which is perfect, he said we cannot expect to see perfection in a Bill like this just laid on the Table. I admit every word he said upon that point, but we, who remember all that has passed during these many long years, who have sat with Irish Members in this House for between thirty and forty years of that time, and who remember all that happened here and in Ireland also in the worst days of obstruction and violence, have we no reason for some apprehensions, at all events, if this Bill should be passed into law. He went on to say that, in a sense, this Bill will be final, and he complained of us because we held the opinion that it cannot and will not be final. But upon what are our fears based? On the first day of the 604 introduction of the Bill I heard the hon. and learned Member, with the utmost emphasis, accept, on behalf of his party, the finality of this Bill. Not only that, but he thanked the Almighty he had lived to see the day when he was able to say so. He goes back to the year 1883 to show that he never desired or sought for independence, and he read a long paragraph from a speech to prove it to the House. But the difficulty we always have in dealing with these hon. Gentlemen is this: that what they say on the one day they unsay on the next. That is why we never know where we are, and we never know where they are either. I am going to give one or two reasons for this expression of opinion. I am not going back to 1883. I am content to go back only to 1910. Speaking in Dublin in November that year, the hon. Member said:—I go to the British Parliament for one purpose alone, and that is to endeavour for the necessities of English parties to win freedom for Ireland.What does the hon. Member mean by freedom for Ireland? I can tell the House that. On the 13th of the same month he said:—All these great concessions are practically valueless or, at any rate, such value ns they possess is to be found in the fact that they strengthen the arm of the Irish people to push on to the great goal of National in dependence.What becomes of the hon. and learned Member's statement this afternoon, and of the hundreds of other statements he has made when it suited him of the same description, when I am able to meet them and to challenge him with a totally different statement which he cannot deny? The hon. and learned Member went on to say he had always been in favour of federation. On the question of federation I have only two remarks I wish to make. The first is that in spite of the argument of the hon. Member I am still of opinion, having studied this Bill, that it is wholly and absolutely inconsistent with federation altogether. Personally, I may add, I am very glad of it. I am one of those who agree with what I heard the late John Bright state—I have always said that John Bright, political opponent though he was, was in many respects not only the most courageous but one of the most sagacious of Liberal statesmen that ever sat with a Liberal Government—I agree with him when he said that he regarded federation as a dream. I regard it as a dream also, but I do so subject to this condition: Put your plan and your scheme for federation on the Table, and I will not, at all events, refuse to consider it. I hope that on this, as on other great political questions, my 605 mind is sufficiently open to hear what can be said in defence of them.
The hon. and learned Member concluded by bewailing that four millions of the Irish people had left their country. He told us where they had gone. He told us how they had succeeded, how they had risen in life, how they had prospered in trade, and how, more than that, some of them have made great political reputations for themselves. I can well believe that. No one recognises the genius and bright intelligence of the Irish race more than I do. I do not want to see them go. What I wish, what I hope, what I should be glad to live to see is the day when, not that they separate either wholly or partially from us with a Parliament of their own, but when like British Members they are content to come here and work with us for all time, to come and sit in this famous Parliament of England, which is good enough for us, and which, I think, is good enough for any race and any genius in the world. I have dealt with the principal points raised in the speech of the lion, and learned Member. Perhaps I may now be allowed to make some observations on the general subject and on the Debate. The first thing I wish to call attention to this afternoon is this: My right hon. Friend the Member for Trinity College, Dublin (Mr. Campbell) made a speech the other day in which he brought what, I must admit, was an appalling indictment against the condition of affairs which has arisen under the administration of Ireland by the present Chief Secretary and his Government. When I heard him read the charges of the judges it reminded me of many most terrible and remarkable statements of the saddest description which I have heard in former days. What did the Attorney-General say? He did not apparently admit that the indictment was against his Government. I hope the Prime Minister is not going to leave us?
The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith) (returning to his seat)
I thought the right hon. Gentleman was devoting his attention to one of my colleagues.
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
I wish to say, out of respect to the right hon. Gentleman, I am most anxious to raise some question on that part of the Bill which deals with land purchase to which the right hon. Gentleman would probably like to reply. I will deal with that subject whenever he wishes, but naturally it would come in a later portion of my speech. At the same time I 606 am dealing with his colleague, and I suppose there is some collective responsibility. To resume. The Attorney-General turned to my right hon. Friend, after he had read this indictment, and said, "Do not you see what an indictment this is against the Government of this country during the whole of the Union?" But it was nothing of the kind, and I will bring an unimpeachable witness to prove the truth of my assertion. When the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary succeeded to his present position, the first public statement he made, speaking at Halifax on the 26th April, 1907, shortly after the Conservative Government had gone out, was this:—You may take my word for this, that Ireland is at this moment hi a more peaceful condition than it has been for the last 600 years.If that statement was true—and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman did not say without due inquiry or without believing that it was true—then what becomes of the indictment against the Union? Surely the indictment is against the weak, the wholly inadequate, I should almost like to say the cowardly, administration by the Irish branch of the English Government during the years it has been under their control since 1887. It having been more peaceful than ever before when the right hon. Gentleman succeeded to office, he is unable to make any reply to the indictment of my right hon. Friend—a more terrible indictment I have seldom heard in this House.
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
Does the right hon. Gentleman deny the facts stated by my right, hon. and learned Friend?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I have never denied that there are localities in Ireland, in county Clare and the district about Athenry, where a lamentable state of things exists, but when the right hon. and learned Gentleman quotes the judges of Assizes, I can also quote like statements from almost the whole of Ireland which bear out the description I gave.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
No, the description I gave, and a description which is justifiable as applied to the whole of Ireland, with the exception, as I have stated, of one or two localities.
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
At any rate, the right hon. Gentleman cannot deny the charges brought by my right hon. Friend the Member for Trinity College. Let me tell him something more, as, apparently, he is not satisfied. What was the crime in Ireland that was more severely condemned than all others by Mr. Gladstone himself, for its intolerable cruelty and for the monstrous injustice which it inflicted upon vast numbers of the population. It was the crime of boycotting. Let me come to another date—1887, just after the Liberal Government had gone out of power. In July, 1887, the number of persons boycotted in a more or less serious degree throughout Ireland was 4,835. When the Unionist administration quitted office, after five years of the exercise of what you are always condemning, Lord Salisbury's resolute government, what was the position in which boycotting was left? The number had been reduced to three cases of partial boycotting, affecting fifteen different persons! The true meaning of all this is, and has been during the whole of my recollection, that when a Liberal Government comes in and is afraid to maintain order in Ireland these horrible things invariably happen, until they are put straight again and peace is restored by the men who succeed them. That cannot be contradicted. The right hon. Gentleman may say whatever he likes about his reply. I am content to leave it to the general public to judge between me and my right hon. Friend.
May I say a few words generally upon the Bill. I own that what has struck me more than anything else in the course of this Debate has been the great poverty of the arguments which have been adduced in support of the Bill. One of them seems to have been this; the great number of Parliamentary majorities in Ireland for years in favour of Home Rule; and the other has been the congestion of business from which you state that some relief must be found. The House will remember that the Prime Minister, when he was introducing the Bill, began by reminding us that Mr. Gladstone's two great speehes, in 1886 and 1893, must be taken as the classic exposition of the case for Home Rule. He entirely declined to traverse any part of 608 that ground himself. I think he exercised a very wise discretion, because, perhaps I may be allowed to make one reference to this matter, and then he will see why he was wise, although I have no doubt he knows perfectly well at this moment. We see to-day the effect of the policy, which Mr. Gladstone was so desirous of establishing in Ireland, in two different countries in which it was tried. We see that they are now two separate and independent kingdoms, under two separate and independent thrones. I am quite sure that that is not what the people of the United Kingdom desire to see with regard to Ireland and England, and I think it is well that the Liberal party throughout the country, so far as our words can reach them, should be reminded how fatally mistaken Mr. Gladstone was at times in the arguments with which he supported his great policy. I think it is desirable that they should be reminded of it, because there never was a man who exercised the same influence in the Liberal party as he did, and I have some reason to believe that there are hundreds of Liberals throughout the country at the present time who will be disposed to vote for Home Rule again, simply and solely because they know he so constantly urged it.
The right hon. Gentleman reminded us that before Mr. Gladstone introduced his Bill in 1886 he had the support of three successive General Elections in Ireland, in which the Irish people pronounced in support of Home Rule by a majority of four to one. He said there had been eight General Elections in Ireland since 1885 with similar results, and he went on to declare that in resisting this Bill we were opposing a great constitutional and deliberate demand of the Irish people, repeated and ratified again and again throughout a whole generation. The Irish nation the right hon. Gentleman called them. On that he founded the demand for a concession to their requests. I am quite prepared to agree that if large Parliamentary majorities are to be taken as an infallible test of the opinion and wishes of the people in Ireland, and if when that test is applied to the demands of the Nationalist party, that in itself is to be a good and sufficient reason for acceding to those demands—if that is the case there is an end of the question, and therefore we ought to accede to them. But can we, and ought we, and ought this House, to accept any proposition of the kind. Supposing, for instance, the demand had been for separation, for the destruction of the 609 last link between Ireland and England, which it was at one time with some of the most prominent leaders of the Nationalist party. A special Commission found that that was the case with regard to a number of them, and the name of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) was included in the list. Are we to be told because Ireland has returned a certain large majority a certain number of times in support of a certain demand that therefore we are to accept it? The right hon. Gentleman talks about the Irish nation, but is there no such thing as the British nation? I have every reason to believe that the British people and the British nation still continue to exist, although the right hon. Gentleman very often seems to forget it. Is it to be said that the British nation is to have no word and no voice in a matter which they will be certain to consider in this case is not only fatally injurious to their interest, but in the case I am supposing of something more extreme than what is put forward now, may be absolutely destructive to their very existence. The thing will not bear examination for a moment.
I should like the House to remember this also. Yon have been told repeatedly—I do not want to be guilty of the offence that was imputed to the hon. Member who asked a question at the beginning of business—and you cannot get away from it, that Ireland by universal consent is at this moment in a position of greater material prosperity than has been known for years and years. Every grievance is done away with, every liberality is shown to Irishmen, great concessions are made, and I believe that if they were only left alone there would be general peace and contentment throughout Ireland just as much as there is in England to-day. You must remember that in former days Home Rule found its chief support in the vast number of people who were very desirous of obtaining the land. Half of these farmers are now the owners of their own farms, and if it had not been for the misfortunes of the Chief Secretary with regard to his Bill of 1909—of which he told us so vividly last night, and in which he had the sympathy of us all—the rest of the farmers would have been in that position. What would have been the chances of Home Rule then? I do not think they would have been very great. What I want to press upon the House is this, that whatever the right hon. Gentleman may think about the claim made for Home Rule on the ground of the great Parliamentary majorities by which 610 it has been supported again and again in Ireland, there is always this which remains to be said in regard to Home Rule, and more than ever at this particular time, that the question has been submitted twice and twice only to the country, and all that we know about their intentions is what we are able to gather from the past. Once in 1886 the proposal was rejected in the House of Commons, and on an appeal to the country the country supported the House of Commons. Again, in 1893, it was rejected by the Upper House, and again the country supported the Upper House, exactly as it supported the House of Commons in 1886. I thought it right to deal with this question this afternoon, because I do not think that that argument of the right hon. Gentleman has been dealt with before, and because it seemed to me that unless it were dealt with it might present a semblance of argument to those not well acquainted with public questions and political affairs outside this House.
Be that as it may, I venture to say that for your assumption that the nation is in favour of Home Rule to-day you have no solid foundation whatever. On the contrary, I believe that you will find that whenever the question is asked, so far from finding them with you, you will find them entirely against you, and as much opposed to Home Rule as they were in the years when it was submitted to them. I am certain that their opposition will grow on this question from day to day as they begin to find out more and more what your new proposals in reality mean. They will regard any attempt to carry this immense constitutional change in the law by force as an outrage on precedent, on all practice in the past, unheard of in any of our proceedings up to the present, and, I believe, absolutely unknown in the whole of our political history. One word on the question of congestion. I do not at all wish to be disrespectful, but how anybody who remembers, as I do, the unequalled powers of obstruction which were possessed in the days gone by by the Irish party can ever hope that this Bill—staring them in the face with its innumerable causes for friction, and the numberless changes and alterations which it must demand, even if it be passed into law—how on earth they can believe that the retention of forty-two Irish Members in this House is going to relieve congestion of business passes my comprehension. I believe it to be the maddest and wildest idea that ever has entered the head of a Statesman. The right hon. Gentleman 611 only came into the House in 1886. That was after Mr. Gladstone had bought off obstruction by the methods usual in Liberal Governments even in those days—by surrender at discretion. It was always Mr. Parnell's boast that at any moment he pleased he could stop the whole business of the Parliament in England with fifteen good men behind him, and he proved it over and over again, and if the Nationalist party could do that in those days when they were here alone, think what their power is going to be—I defy you to place any limit upon it—when they have a Parliament in Ireland at their back in addition. This is the worst and greatest blot in your Bill—the retention of the Irish Members. That is what, if ever it passes, is going to break down your Act and the English Executive with it.
The Attorney-General taunted us on Monday that we never discussed the Bill. The taunt was entirely unfounded. The Foreign Secretary himself admitted that he was unable to answer questions put to him by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Balfour). He never attempted it. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Long) put questions on land purchase. No one ever answered them at all, or ever even noticed them. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Wyndham) did the same thing again yesterday, and it has been left to me to try to get some answer from the Government. Our case is perfectly simple. The Prime Minister, in introducing the Bill, said it was most important to make it perfectly clear from the beginning that the security for the system of land purchase must not be affected in any way whatever by the passing of this Act. I thought that was extremely satisfactory, but the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Long) elicited, after some pressure on Monday, that the Land Commission, the body which is to have the fixing of rents, is to be a transferred service. It will be at the discretion of the Commissioners, therefore, to reduce the rents as much as they pleased. Suppose they think it right to reduce them. Does the Prime Minister mean to tell us that the security of the land purchase system will not be affected? Of course it will, because if the rents are reduced the capital value of the land will be reduced in proportion, and the land itself is the chief asset we have got. How does he reconcile that with his own words? He may point to the safeguards. I know they include the absolute power to nullify, to amend, or to alter at 612 any time any Act passed by the Irish Government, a power which he paraded with a good deal of emphasis when he was introducing the Bill. But the power to fix rents is contained in an Act passed by the Imperial Government and you have transferred the administration of that Act and the control of it out of your own hands and put it entirely in the hands of the Irish Government instead. We have a right therefore to ask, and I call on the Prime Minister to explain, how he reconciles those facts with the statement which he made on the First Reading of the Bill, and what means he proposes to take to give due effect to the conditions he laid down that the security of that system shall not be in any way whatever disturbed. I asked permission to speak today, for, in the natural course of events, no one recognises more clearly than I do that the time cannot be very far distant when I shall no longer be able to engage in the active political work in which I have been engaged now for a very great number of years. But if this should be the last speech I ever made in this House I should always rejoice that I was permitted to make it and to express my opposition to a measure which I regard as dangerous in the extreme to the interests both of Ireland and of England as well, and which besides is the most uncalled for that I ever remember in the whole of my political life.
§ Mr. T. W. RUSSELL (Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture, Ireland)
Whoever can bring to the consideration of this question what has been called the "modern eye," whoever can boast that he is unimpaired by contact with past conflicts, I certainly am not that man. I have been in the thick of this fight for twenty-seven years. I opposed the Bill of 1886, I resisted the Bill of 1893, and I am supporting this Bill, and I desire to say to the House at the outset what I propose to do. I propose to lay before the House some facts regarding Ulster which have not yet been stated. I next propose to demonstrate the extraordinary change that has taken place in the condition of Ireland since 1886, and I will add some observations on the question of Land Purchase and Land Tenure as it is provided for in the Bill. In my belief the question of Ulster is the dominant issue in this controversy. You may settle finance, in my opinion, easily enough. It is not a very difficult operation for a rich country to deal with a poor one in that respect. You may settle the question of 613 Irish representation in this House. You may settle every Clause in the Bill, but when it is all done the question of Ulster will stand out as the dominant factor. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. H. Campbell) gave a very harrowing account the other day of some portions of the South of Ireland. In the old days, when this question was a living issue in Irish politics, a good deal was said about the South and West. We heard a good deal then about the scattered and isolated Protestants who lived in those regions, the danger to which they would be exposed when a Home Rule Bill was passed, and the wickedness it would be on the part of the Ulster Protestants if we deserted them, but now we hear absolutely nothing. Until the right hon. Gentleman rose the other night, not a word had been said in this Debate regarding the isolated Protestants. The reason is not far to seek. Those gentlemen in the South and West of Ireland are largely engaged in the business of the country; they have no quarrel with their Catholic friends; they know nothing about the bickerings concerning religion in other parts of Ireland, and they want to know nothing. The real truth is that they object to be thrown upon the screen in this way, and they have practically passed out of sight, and every one who knows Ireland knows that so far as Dublin and the South are concerned, the issue is settled. These men may not be enthusiastic about Home Rule, but they are almost without exception prepared to acquiesce in any fair and reasonable system.
The right hon. Gentleman confined his observations practically to two counties in Ireland, but it was not fair to charge them with being in the state that he described them as being. If you take county Clare, which he dwelt upon—I am not palliating the crimes, I think they are perfectly horrible, and anything almost ought to be done to put an end to them, but after all it is only a portion of East Clare, a portion round about Ennis in particular, that is in this state of unrest. West Clare is as quiet as any English county. If you take Galway, the same thing is true; it is only a portion of South Galway, and a very small portion where these outrages take place. The Department over which I preside has a large farm in that portion, and we have been exposed to very great trouble in the past, but the Board of Agriculture has decided within the last two months that the improvement is so great that they are going on 614 with the buildings, which they have suspended for the last five years. I want the House to understand that thirty out of the thirty-two counties in Ireland are as peaceable, as free from crime and as law abiding at the present moment as any county in Great Britain. Let me take Ulster. It is not the geographical Ulster that we have to deal with. The counties of Donegal, Cavan, Monoghan, Tyrone and Fermanagh are as Nationalist as any county in Ireland. Out of the fourteen representatives in this House from these five counties two are Unionists, and these two secured their seats by the smallest majorities. Therefore it is not a geographical Ulster that we have to deal with at all. If I might coin the phrase, it is the Ulster of the pale. What are the facts in regard to these four counties? The Leader of the Opposition said in his speech on the First Reading of the Bill that the Government ought to remember that in these four counties they have to deal with a million resolute and determined people. That is quite true, but they are not all Unionists. Out of the 1,020,000, which is the exact Census figure of the population, you have to get rid of 315,000 Roman Catholics. That is not all. I now propose to state the position as regards Ulster in a way which will no doubt be disputed, but I hope to prove it by facts. I ought to know about Ulster, if I know anything. I sat for an Ulster Constituency for twenty-four years, and I sit for one still. I have lived in Ulster myself. It is almost impossible for anyone to find out what is behind an Ulster farmer's mind. It is not very easy, but I have tried to do it. You have something like 700,000 people in these four counties on the one side. If you come to analyse these counties and split them up into electoral divisions, what do you find? I will take the electoral constituency of North Antrim. That is a central point in this controversy. There are 10,000 Roman Catholics and 32,000 Protestants there. At the election in December, 1910, a Protestant Home Rule candidate in North Antrim polled close upon 3,000 votes.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
No, Sir, he was a Protestant Home Ruler before he went there, he is a Protestant Home Ruler now, and in his speeches, which I have in my possession, he did not conceal it. Mr. Macafee polled 2,974 votes.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The hon. Gentleman is entirely wrong. Sir William Baxter stood at the previous election, and the hon. Member ought to know that gentleman. He should also know that there was an election since Sir William Baxter stood. This is a misunderstanding on the part of the hon. Gentleman. Whether it was in December or January does not matter; it was the second election. It was not Sir William Baxter who stood then, it was Mr. Macafee. You have a Roman Catholic population of 10,000, and I ask where did Mr. Macafee get his 2,974 votes? Certainly they were partly from the 10,000 Catholics. He polled 2,000 Protestant votes at that election. That can be demonstrated, and yet we are told that there are no Protestant Home Rulers in these four counties. If you take every one of the ten elections fought during the last thirty years in these counties—and I have been mixed up in them all—you will find minorities of 2,000, 2,500, and even 3,000, which it would be impossible for the Catholics to give. I would appeal to the House in considering this question to remember that this minority should not be obliterated, and that some attention should be given to it. The hon. and learned Member for the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews (Sir R. Finlay) referred to the Churches in Ulster. He told us that the Presbyterian Church had had a great convention in Belfast. It is quite true—it was a very great one. But the hon. and learned Gentleman did not tell us that while there were only eleven votes for Home Rule in the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1886, there were 110 Presbyterian Ministers who flatly declined to attend this convention.
Absolutely untrue, and a challenge was made to you on this matter and you never took it up.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
Hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to feel uneasy on hearing this statement. I quite expected it. I think, at all events, I am entitled to state my case. The hon. Member for North Armagh (Mr. Moore) can reply.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The hon. Member has not spoken on the Second Reading. I say that 110 Ministers of the Presbyterian Church declined in writing to attend that 616 convention. I am not saying that these men were all violent Home Rulers. I know my facts, and I know that some of them declined to attend because they would not have their Church mixed up with the gentlemen who were convening the meeting. I know that of my own knowledge. But they are not very enthusiastic against us or they would have been there. That is a different state of affairs from what prevailed in 1886. If you take the Methodist Church in Ireland, another great denomination, you find that they had a convention which was a good deal more remarkable in respect of those who were absent than those who were present. I do not claim a majority of Home Rulers in those four counties. I could not do so, and I am not going to be so mad as to attempt to lead the House to believe that there is a majority of Home Rulers in them, but I say there is a large, growing, and intelligent minority in favour of Home Rule who must be counted in these matters. Of course we get an answer to all this, and what is it? The answer is simply this: "We will not have Home Rule." These Ulster gentlemen do not argue, they simply say: "If you pass your Home Rule Bill we shall establish a Provisional Government of our own."
§ Mr. RUSSELL
"And we shall hold these four counties against the Crown." I heard the Prime Minister say the other day, "We are getting on." I think the new style is progressing. This would bring the people of Ulster to anarchy and confusion. I say perfectly frankly that the people will be capable in Belfast, Portadown, Lurgan, and other centres of getting up riots—sanguinary riots I have no doubt. But then, ever since I knew these places, more than fifty years ago, there have always been riots, and the hon. Gentleman opposite knows that is quite true. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not riots."] You had riots in Belfast quite recently. They tell us that, after they set up their Provisional Government, they will not pay taxes to the Irish Government. I have always asked my Ulster friends how they 617 are going to carry that out? [An HON. MEMBER: "Wait and see."] Do hon. Gentlemen opposite know that 73 per cent. of the taxation of Ireland is indirect? Let me ask: Are the people in those four counties going to stop drinking whisky? If so, I think that will be one of the best things for the people of Ulster that has ever happened. Do the people mean to stop using tea, coffee, tobacco, or any of those excisable commodities which they use? There is not the slightest chance of anything of the kind taking place. If you come to taxation, which is direct, what then? Do you think that a solicitor in county Down or county Antrim is going to set aside the Stamp Duty and do no business until these gentlemen in the Provisional Government have obtained command over the province? Do you think that an Ulster merchant is going to abstain from collecting debts in the county courts because the documents will have to be stamped? It is midsummer madness. I say that the people may be got into a state of riot in certain circumstances, and the responsibility of those engaged in the work will be tremendous. Supposing this Bill to be defeated, supposing the Orange veto prevails, what will be the position of the twenty-eight counties who will then have been defeated? I know what the right hon. Gentleman opposite will say, he is going to finish land purchase. It is very easy saying that from the Opposition Bench, but when the right hon. Gentleman goes into the cities to get the money to do that, he will find it a matter of very great difficulty. He also tells us that he will let in Canadian cattle. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Well, he said that he will keep them out. Will the Irish farmer thank him for that? They are kept out now for good or bad reasons. I heard two Noble Lords opposite propound remedies for the present state of affairs—the Noble Lord the Member for Kensington (Lord Claud Hamilton), and the Noble Lord the Member for Portsmouth (Lord C. Beresford). In addition to the two things I have mentioned, they would abolish the Lord Lieutenant. There is the Unionist programme when this Debate is almost closed. These are not serious proposals for such an emergency as this.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
We all grow and alter in twenty years, or there is something wrong with us. I listened with interest the other day to the speech of the hon. 618 and learned Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave). I think he is one of the fairest Debaters in this House. He talked about maintaining the Union, of enforcing the law, of land purchase, and of redressing grievances, but these things have all been tried long ago. Why that was my old programme twenty years ago, as the Noble Lord has said. How often in this House and on countless platforms in Great Britain have I told the people that if you maintain the law and maintain the Union and crush landlordism and redress grievances, you would end the Irish question. I went round the constituencies in this country declaring that for years. What is the consequence? We are just pretty much to-day as we were then.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
What you are up against now, and in the face of, is that after all these things have been tried you see that Irish Nationalism is as strong and as energetic as ever. When you have done that—this is the question I am going to ask the right hon. Gentleman—when you have allowed the veto of these four counties to prevail, then what about the others? Does anybody imagine that in face of proceedings like that, in face of this great Parliament and this great nation conceding the right of four counties to govern the whole of Ireland, these twenty-eight counties will take that quietly?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I think the hon. and learned Member, seeing that he has the right to reply, might allow me to proceed without interruption. What would be the case which the majority would then have to present, not only to this country but to the world? At all events, the British Empire is looking on at this matter. Can the House imagine what these Gentlemen below the Gangway can point to on this question when they are defeated? They can say, and say with perfect truth, that England despoiled them of their own Parliament 112 years ago. With the exception of eight men, Mr. Lecky makes it quite clear that every man in the Parliament was bribed.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
You robbed them of their Parliament. For thirty-five or forty years you deliberately neglected the country. It might as well have never 619 existed during that time. Famine and pestilence destroyed the people, and there were more people who left Ireland as a result of that than there are living in it to-day. How are you going to face that? Suppose these Gentlemen turn round and Bay what you are saying now. Suppose they say that they will not have this rejection of Home Rule. Suppose they say, "We will not stand that, we will set up a provisional Government, we will take the law into our own hands, we will not pay taxes, we will repudiate our land annuities, we will bring the whole thing into confusion," what answer is there? What answer would you have on the other side? You would have no answer. Then you would have to come to terms with them, and that is what you would do.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
Hon. Members opposite say they are robbed of their inheritance. What inheritance? They say that their allegiance would be transferred. Nobody seeks to transfer their allegiance from the Sovereign. The Act of Union is not repealed by this Bill, and their allegiance is not transferred. There is no argument left to them. They simply say this, "We will not have Home Rule, and we shall resist it at all costs and at all hazards."
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I may say a few words as to the change perhaps that has taken place in the conditions of Ireland, which will at all events be some ground for a change in opinion by many people in Ireland on this question.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Hon. Members have no right to interpose with such remarks. If we conduct Debates in this manner, we shall never come to an end.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
It has been said and said rightly that the prosperity of Ireland has increased greatly of late years. That has been said on my own authority, I know. There is just a chance of it being overstated however. You must not imagine because there is great prosperity in Ireland compared with what used to be the case, that there is not misery still in many parts of Ireland. The Bill of 1886 was introduced when Ireland was in a state of 620 depression long before the Land Purchase Act and before the Congested Districts Board was formed. Ireland is not the same country now that it was then. Then, when you proposed to pass the first Bill, the law was grappling with a nation of agrarian insurgents. To-day it is face to face with a nation of agrarian freeholders, one of the most Conservative forces you can have in any country. Look at local self-government and the change which it has brought about in Ireland. I remember when Lord Salisbury declared that thirty-two county councils throughout Ireland would be worse than a Parliament in College Green. Yet it was Lord Salisbury's own Government which passed the Local Government Act and established the county councils. Nothing very dreadful has happened. They worked extremely well, and people who are afraid of the taxes being increased under Home Rule ought to take courage, because the rates in Ireland on the whole have been reduced under the county councils. Then we have got land purchase, and a new university, and I say that the country is now equipped for its duties under a Bill like this, as it was not equipped in 1886 or 1893.
About the question of resistance, I confess that the speech of the Noble Lord the Member for South Kensington (Lord Claud Hamilton) the other night did not impress me. He says that we must not imagine that things will be left to the Irish loyalists in these four counties. He and his three brothers are prepared to go over—they all polled against me—and he said that he had only to go to Liverpool and he could command volunteers in almost any number. I do not believe any of these threats. I think lightly of them, because I am one of the few men in this House who remember the Irish Church Disestablishment. The first vote I gave as a citizen was for the Disestablishment of that Church in 1868. I do not believe in it. All this was said then, every word of it. I have two extracts here from speeches that were made then. I remember attending a great meeting in Dublin, at which Mr. David Plunket, as he then was, now Lord Rathmore, spoke. On the 21st March, 1869, he appealed to England not to drive the Irish Tories to material and physical resistance, and he called the gods to witness that he and his friends were ready to seal their beliefs with their blood in martyrdom and battle. He crossed over to England and became a much respected 621 Member of this House. He got the position of First Commissioner of Works in a Conservative Government, and retired, to everybody's regret, to the House of Lords. Then Mr. Falkiner, who afterwards became Sir Frederick Falkiner, and a Privy Councillor and Recorder of Dublin, declared on 15th April, 1869, that they must tell Mr. Gladstone that if they could not valiantly succeed, they could nobly die. Mr. Falkiner passed away a few years ago, full of years and honour, and with the admiration and affection of multitudes of people, especially of poor people, in the Metropolis of Ireland; and instead of nobly dying, they set themselves with great earnestness and great vigour to draw up a constitution for the Protestant Episcopal Church in Ireland, which has made it one of the freest Churches in the world to-day.
I will touch now on the question of land. I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Walter Long) is not here. In moving the rejection of the Bill he made a speech which amounted to this. I am paraphrasing his language, but I am sure that I am not misrepresenting it. He said there are two bodies dealing with land in Ireland at the present time. One deals with rent, and the other deals with purchase. You are retaining the rent system under the charge of the Irish Government. You are keeping land purchase as a reserved service under the Imperial authority, and, of course, the reason is quite obvious. We cannot afford, in such a great transaction as that, to have your security imperilled, and you do right in retaining that control of the land purchase, but he said, "What is the use of retaining the control of the land purchase when your rent fixers would be going through the country reducing rents and destroying land purchase, because if rents are reduced sufficiently the farmers will not care to purchase, and you will be destroying the landlords of Ireland as well." That, in my opinion, is a fair paraphrase of the what the hon. Gentleman said. Of course, it all rests on the assumption that the Irish Government and the Irish Parliament are incurably bad. You are asked to believe although the Land Commission is now fully manned and the first and second term rents are all fixed, that the Irish Government with its great responsibility and with the eyes of the country and of this country upon it, are going to appoint a parcel of rogues and vagabonds to go through the country reducing rents in order to destroy land purchase.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I do. That question shows the utter hopelessness of dealing with Gentlemen of that kind. If the right hon. Gentleman had been here instead of the hon. and learned Gentleman I should have asked him this: There was an occasion once on which Members of the Irish party were approached upon the subject by the Government in 1902. The Conservative Government called together what may be called for all practical purposes, a consultative committee, consisting of four representatives of the tenants and four representatives of the landlords in Ireland. To do what? Mark you, it was their own Government who called these eight gentlemen together in conference upon the whole land question—to go into it, and to report with a view to a settlement. The report was made, and to whom was it sent? To Lord Dudley, the then Lord Lieutenant, and to the right hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Wyndham) who was then Chief Secretary. The representatives of the tenants were three Nationalists and myself, and of the landlords, Lord Dunraven and other landowners. They were representatives of the very classes who will be in the Government of the new Parliament of Ireland. One of them was the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, and surely he will be a member of the new Government in Ireland. Eight gentlemen sat together to deal with one of the most difficult and most tragic questions in Ireland. We sat in the Dublin Mansion House, believing that we would not be able to agree for five hours, and as a matter of fact we very nearly disagreed the first hour, but we sat for six or seven days and we drew up a report. Has any man ever attempted to say that was not a fair report? I know I was challenged by my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo, but will any Gentleman on that side rise and say, or as any Irish landlord ever said, that it was an unfair report? The landlords' convention at first refused to have anything to do with the report, but eventually they adopted it. [An HON. MEMBER: "What has that got to do with it?"] There are more things in this than are dreamed of by hon. Gentlemen.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I was dealing with the question raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Walter Long), that if rent fixing were allowed to go on it would ruin land 623 purchase and imperil the credit of this country. [An HON. MEMBER: "That has nothing to do with it."] It has everything to do with it. [An HON. MEMBER: "Nothing whatever."] Both those are English Members, and if the security were affected they would see that it had something to do with it. As I said, the report was adopted by the landlords who had at first refused it, and what has happened? The landlords have not been robbed under it; they have done extremely well, and their only trouble is that they have not been able to get along further with it. What is the use of saying that a Parliament composed of Members responsible to Ireland would do these absurd things. I have shown what a section of Irishmen did when they were brought together by the action of the then Government to deal with this question. The landlords must consent to have fair rents fixed when the Irish Parliament meets. The process has begun already, and I do not think anything very serious to the landlords has happened under it. It is not a question of what the Irish Parliament will do, because the process has already begun and is going forward. It is inconceivable that the first thing the Irish Parliament would do would be to appoint as Commissioners men who would fix rents for the express purpose of ruining Irish land purchase. I wish hon. Members would think what the Irish Parliament would have to do. Do not imagine that they are going to do every foolish thing that is suggested; do not think that they are a parcel of madmen to be elected by the House of Commons and the Senate in Ireland. They will be saddled with serious responsibilities. And what have they to do?
They have to do that which has been left undone here by force of circumstances. They have got to link up the education system; they have got to deal with Poor Law reform; they have got to deal with licensing reform, and for the first time in the history of Ireland, they will be able to deal with that question without the weight of the English brewers being thrown in. [HON. MEMBER: "Oh, oh!"]—Yes. When hon. Members go to Ulster and stand before Presbyterian audiences they will say the very same thing that I am saying now. Will the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Londonderry go to a Presbyterian constituency and find fault with what I am saying now? The new Parliament will have to deal with the difficult question of land 624 tenure, with the question of railway rates, with the fishery laws, and the hundred other things that lie waiting for us, which are thundering at our gates, and which we cannot get done here. That is the case I make for the Bill. I say, first of all, that there is a large section of Home Rule opinion in Ulster among Protestants, and it is largely a quiescent feeling, apart from, religious and other controversies. I believe these things can be done, and I believe that within two years after the Irish Parliament have mastered the complicated system of administration we are setting up they will get over all the difficulties, because they will not be animated with the idea of oppressing other classes. Hon. Members who are so valiant here might say who they are going to fight; are they going to fight before they are oppressed? I beg the House not to be deluded by these threats. Having sat for an Ulster constituency during twenty-five years, I say that these threats are simply the last stand, and that the reason they are so violent now is because the power on which in the old days they relied at the other end of the corridor has been made ineffective. They now know that that barrier has been thrown down, and their only hope is to delude the people of this country that the dreadful things which they have prophesied will come to pass, but which they well know in their hearts will never be translated into acts.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE rose.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If that were so, then the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) would have equally exhausted his right.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The old and established practice is that, provided an hon. Member does not preface his Motion for the adjournment of the Debate by any remarks, he preserves his right to speak.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
No one will deny to the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down the quality of incisive eloquence that he once employed in a better cause. An hon. Member yesterday said he had 625 raked up the antecedents of a friend of mine (Mr. Garvin) with regard to this question and acts of his in the past. The right hon. Gentleman too has a past, and he must not be surprised if in the course of this Debate some of my hon. Friends here see fit to remind him of the arguments which he used some twenty years ago. The mention of Mr. Garvin leads me to refer to the argument that some editors had run off the track to hunt a red herring on the Home Rule question in 1910, and that therefore the Conservative party had in some way committed themselves to its support. When so much has been said I think we have a right to know something more. If any Member on the benches opposite knows more, let him say it, and let him say, for instance, how that red herring came to be pulled across the track. Until they do so, I am well within my right in denying any responsibility on the part of the Conservative party in regard to it, and I know well that when the whole truth comes to be known what will be found will be this, that whereas both parties were exposed to some temptation, we resisted and you fell. I approach this Bill from a point of view somewhat different from that of my hon. Friend. I would oppose it if it were a Bill for Scotland. I would oppose it if it were a Bill for Wales. I would oppose it if it were a Bill for Ireland, even if Ireland were homogeneous; if the whole of Ireland wanted it, I would equally oppose it. I need hardly say that I oppose it without any reference whatever to the special causes of the division in Ireland. My hon. Friends will bear with me if I say a word or two upon the religious question in Ireland. There are some people who appear to confound the Catholic Church with the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Personally, I should object strongly to be ruled by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, but that the aims and methods of the Ancient Order of Hibernians have any connection with or countenance from the doctrine or practice of the Catholic Church, or even the policy of the Roman Curia, I absolutely and emphatically deny, and to take advantage of a political situation to set up a religious controversy is a method unworthy of a great cause. I am bound to say that there is not anything which has been said in this Debate by any of my hon. Friends which is open to these strictures but such things have been said on platforms, and it is necessary to protest. I do not deny 626 that the religious difficulty in Ireland is great, but I believe it arises from another and perhaps more fundamental division. I believe that if there were no division of race there would be no religious difficulty of a kind to seriously affect politics. I am quite convinced from my own observation that with regard to the great mass of men, race is a more potent factor than religion. I do not mean as regards the individual; I do not mean that at all. When it comes to motive power as a great political force you will find that race is more potent than religion, and that race is stronger to divide than is religion to unite. I have some acquaintance with Hungary, and have studied this question there. There are all the religious divisions, though not the number of sects, as you have in this country. There is a strong body of Catholics, possibly a bare majority, and three distinct bodies of Protestants and a large body of Greek Church. The peculiarity is that although the different religions in normal times have their own quarrels, still when it comes to a question of race the whole body of the Hungarians unite as one man quite irrespective of religion against German, Roumanian or Slav. It is just the same in Bohemia and in Poland. I have travelled in Poland, and I am quite certain that there in spite of all that they have suffered from Russia, they would rather have to do with a Russian schismatic than a German Catholic to-day. I am quite sure you have other instances in Albania and elsewhere. That is the distinction and the difficulty you have to meet in Ireland, and I only hope you are not going to add to the difficulty by language, which a certain school of politicians in Ireland would add if they could. The difficulty is there and you have to face it. The inhabitants of the North-East corner of Ulster are different in occupations, in disposition, and in race, and I say if you have your case against us on the difference of nationality they have precisely the same case against you. If the case of Ireland is the case of Hungary as against Austria, the case of North-East Ulster is the case of Croatia against Hungary.
This mention of foreign countries brings me to the argument Mr. Gladstone used. Norway and Sweden I do not intend to mention, because the bloom was off that argument in 1893, and it has gone completely now, but it is worth saying a word about Hungary and Croatia because 627 the 1893 Bill was largely drafted on the Croatian Constitution, and this Bill is also, to some extent, drafted on that Constitution. A Hungarian acquaintance of mine told me that in 1892 he was waited on by an emissary of Mr. Gladstone, and the emissary asked him to expound the provisions of the Croatian Constitution to Mm. My Friend who was an outspoken man told him exactly what the situation was. "We profess," he said, "to give them Home Rule, but really what it comes to is that we do with them absolutely what we like" and they do. Let me quote a proclamation of last month of the Lord Lieutenant, which states:—That, as the result of His Majesty's decision, all activity of the autonomous legislative body is stopped, and that all preliminaries for the Diet elections are interrupted. … The Royal Commissioner has further issued an Ordinance placing restrictions on the Press and ordering responsible editors to report themselves to him. In the second Ordinance, the law as to the right of free assembly is provisionally suspended, and a third puts the control of the police in the hands of the provincial authorities and provides for the establishment of police commissionerships throughout the province.That is the end of the system of Home Rule that Mr. Gladstone, with all his eloquence, recommended to the British people. Take, again, the case of Austria and Hungary. I was travelling there last year. I found among all politicians in Hungary great excitement over what appeared to me to be not such a very serious or difficult matter. It was a question of a demand by the central Imperial authority from Vienna for a certain number of more recruits to be supplied to the common Army. The number was not great—and the sum I think some 200,000—was comparatively speaking, small. I could hear of no argument on the merits, but simply because it was the Imperial Government, sitting at Vienna, who wanted this vote, I found every sincere Hungarian Nationalist from first to last vehement against it. There is no doubt that both in peace and in war dualism may be a danger to the Empire. It is embarrassing in peace, and it is weakening to the last degree in war, because you cannot tell that the two executives will work together in time of war. One executive is absolutely necessary if you are to have Imperial safety. I know that this Bill does not permit control of the Army, but there is a good deal which would be outside that and which would be very necessary for a Government in time of war. For example, supposing you had difficulties placed in the way of recruiting; supposing you had 628 questions arising as to the control of spies; supposing you had difficulties in the way of training, and as to manœuvres; supposing the Government wanted to take the use of the railways; supposing the Government wanted to control telegraphs and post offices, or to commandeer horses, or to do a hundred and one things which are necessary for a Government to take in time of war. Under those circumstances different executives, whether you had them in Edinburgh, or in Dublin, or in Cardiff, would be a fatal source of weakness. It is not necessary to assume a disloyal executive. I do not think anyone would say that Mr. Schreiner, the Prime Minister of the Cape, was a disloyal man in 1899, but, through the action of the Cape Government in allowing materials for war to pass on the Cape railways to the Transvaal at the very beginning of the war, we had a desperate handicap, and our enemies in time of war had an immense advantage. I say that any subordinate executive, whether it acted from optimism or from obstruction, and it is not necessary to argue as to disloyalty, would be a great weakness to the Empire, and if there is no imperative necessity for it it would be folly to set it up.
Then you have taxation difficulties. In the great Empire of Germany, which is quoted so often as an example, this difficulty is very seriously felt. It is felt in this way. You have federalism and consequently you have an Imperial Exchequer with a number of different National Exchequers. By the German Constitution certain taxes are reserved to the National Exchequers, and that limits the scope of the Imperial Government when it wants to raise fresh taxation for an emergency. Consequently, when lately they had to raise fresh taxation, they found that they had to raise it on an extremely limited field. They had to pile it on existing subjects of taxation, with the result that there was very great popular discontent, and a large increase in the Socialist vote at the last election. Just consider for a moment how it would work in Ireland. Suppose there was an emergency, and a war raging, and a necessity for fresh money. Are you so sure it would be easy to collect Imperial taxes in Ireland. Even if you did succeed in collecting them the Irish Government would still have this power—they would be able to deny the application of the tax to Ireland, and be able to add the amount to the transferred sum by some special system of taxation of their own, 629 which might be contributed by those who were in favour of the war—that is to say the minority. You would have absolutely no power to stop that, and you would have to direct Imperial officers to collect the taxes themselves.
I would ask what policy has the hon. and learned Member for Waterford if he gets Home Rule? I presume he does not want a Parliament for sentiment, and still less for patronage. What great national object is it that he wishes to attain when he is in power? As I read the history of Ireland, Ireland suffered from three great evils: from religious ascendancy, from her vicious land sytem, and industrial stagnation owing to the unfair trade laws of the eighteenth century. The first, that of religious ascendancy, has been cured. The land system is in course of being cured, if you allow it. As to industrial stagnation, that is the one thing that the hon. Member for Waterford has bound himself hand and foot in accepting this Bill not to attempt to cure by the only way in which it could be cured. I would ask hon. Members opposite what do they think will be the effect of this Bill? Do they think they will get rid of existing troubles? The Bill bristles with trouble from first to last, with two Legislatures with concurrent powers, and Customs barriers, two Executives with concurrent powers, a Board with enormous arbitrary powers such as exist in no constitutional country. To add to that you will still have the dictation of Irish Members, and as many as Mr. Parnell controlled in the height of his power, who will still come without any sense of responsibility, but simply to extort further concessions. Is this the beginning of federalism? Are you going to have four Lord Lieutenants, four Senates, four Customs barriers, four Joint Boards, each with arbitrary powers. Is this your scheme of devolution, and do you think you will find your path smoother by this complicated and unnecessary system. Let me turn for a moment to the supposed difficulty we are in of finding any way out. Part of the difficulty is self imposed by hon. Members from Ireland who refuse all minor concessions that will take away any of their grievances. They refuse any reform in Private Bill procedure which would enable Irish private Bills to be dealt with in Ireland; they refuse any Grand Committee such as is granted to Scotland, and they have never made any effort to suggest anything in the nature of possible provincial councils, which might unite on certain matters and not on others, or possibly 630 some referendum as to whether a Bill should apply to Ireland or not.
They absolutely ignore all those things and I think I know why. They think they can always dominate the situation. That I deny. I say it is a counsel of despair to suggest that they always can. There are signs that the present party system will not last for ever. There is one way, if no other, which could be found to enable a government to be carried on, and that would be that the two great English parties should agree with one another that whichever had a majority should be allowed to carry on the government, and be allowed supply, and that votes on matters legislative should not necessarily involve the fall of the Government if the Government were defeated. That was the system in the eighteenth century which was constantly used. Mr. Pitt lost Bill after Bill but did not resign. I do not say that that is an easy solution, but it is possible, and if we are driven to it it is a solution we might well adopt. I would once again ask hon. Members opposite, Do they really expect smooth things if they get this Bill? The right hon. Gentleman who spoke last did not profess that in 1893, when he said:—The Government knew that, if they sought to force the Bill down the throats of the people of Ulster they would have to enforce it by British bayonets; they would have to enforce this hated legislation on them by coercion. They would not have to coerce crime or to coerce lawlessness, but they would have to coerce the majority of a province simply because of their passionate loyalty to the Empire and because of their determination not to be thrust outside its pale.Those were his views in 1893, and after a Bill had been brought in which was in pursuance of the main issue at a General Election which had been fought. The situation is changed now. There is an easy answer I think to the points the right hon. Gentleman and others made. If this Bill were a good Bill, still, by the procedure the Government have adopted, they have destroyed all moral authority in it. I am not going to deliver any ethical lecture upon the rights of resistance. Justum bellum quibus necessarium. There may be circumstances in any country which may give the right of armed resistance. But in the circumstances of the British Constitution, if you had a Bill which had been affirmed either by Referendum or at a General Election at which it was the main issue, I would say to my Friends, "We made the best fight we could, and we have lost. We cannot support you in violent measures, because the people have shown that they are against us." But 631 that is not the case here. If this Bill passes, what moral authority will it have? It will not have the moral authority of the people, because they will never have pronounced upon it. It will not have the moral authority of Parliament, because one House will have refused its assent. I cannot believe that there is any constitutional pedant, however acute, or any moral authority, however severe, who would not say that you had a right to resist by force what is sought to be imposed upon you by fraud. The Chief Secretary for Ireland, I think, bears a remarkable resemblance to the Emperor Nero. The Emperor Nero, when Rome was burning, would have his fiddling. The right hon. Gentleman will have his joke, even when the gravest constitutional issues are under discussion, and perhaps the Empire itself is in danger. I do not know that he will see the humour of the situation so much in a few years' time if he goes on with his present policy, because he will then be faced with this dilemma: either he will have to abandon his policy or he will have to enforce it at the price of the blood of his fellow citizens. That is not a nice dilemma for any Minister to be in, nor one in regard to which all the wit of the right hon. Gentleman will help him out. That is the position. If we had been beaten in a fair fight we would accept the result, but as the matter stands now, if there is trouble, and there assuredly will be, the guilt will be with you.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I think it is evident to everybody who has either listened to this Debate so far, or has made himself acquainted with its course morning after morning in the columns of the OFFICIAL REPORT, that the statement with which the Vice-President of the Irish Department of Agriculture opened his speech this afternoon was perfectly correct. The right hon. Gentleman said that the chief difficulty in regard to Home Rule still remains the situation of Ulster. We can settle finance; we can settle the Senate; and I think we can settle the division of powers between the subordinate Legislature and the sovereign authority of this House. That is perfectly evident from the speech to which we have just listened. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. James Hope), in trying to point out the impossibilities of this Bill, first of all showed a certain amount of commendable inaccuracy from his point of view in the statement that the two Legislatures which are to be established will have concurrent authority.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I used the expression "authority," it may be inaccurately, as equivalent to "power." As a matter of fact, that is not accurate. The provision for joint sittings destroys the accuracy of that statement.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
The hon. Member seems to think that I was talking about the two branches of the Irish Legislature. I was talking of this Parliament and the Irish Parliament.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Even then the statement requires very serious qualification. When the hon. Member was more accurate than in that statement he was beside the point. His proposition, which means this, if it means anything at all, that the Bill which we are now discussing is similar to the Constitution of Austria-Hungary, is really very absurd.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Then the supposed analogy with Austria-Hungary that was discovered by the hon. Member in his journeyings last year has nothing to do with the question embodied in this Bill. The same is true regarding the German analogy. The Constitution of the German Empire is not copied in any respect by the Bill we are now considering and which will get a Second Reading to-night. The fact remains that Ulster is the great difficulty. If the problem of Ulster could be satisfactorily solved, Home Rule would pass, I am profoundly convinced, by a combination of parties in this House. I am not going over the ground which has been traversed by my predecessors, and I hope I shall carry out the good intention with which I rise of not troubling the House at any great length. In the matter of Ulster, we who sit on these benches have a special contribution to make to the controversy. There is a minority in Ulster. There is a Home Rule minority in Ulster, whose position has been very ably championed by a previous speaker. But there is another minority in Ulster—an industrial minority. I admit that that minority has never yet been able to return Members to this House, but, in spite of that, it is not a negligible quantity. Those hon. Members opposite 633 who stand as the embodiment of minorities, and who as the representatives of a minority in this House claim special rights for a certain section of the Ulster population, will be the first to sympathise with me when I take and try to express the point of view of this industrial minority, which has never yet had justice in this House, and has never been adequately represented here. We come across the leaders of this sectarian squabble in Ulster from the point of view of our industrial experience. We know what they have done. We know what they stand for. We know how far, for instance, Ulster Catholicism and Ulster Protestantism have contributed to the solution of the very pressing social problems of Ulster, and from that experience I am bound to confess we do not set very much store upon either the one or the other. We know Belfast. We know how much this religious strife has contributed to the power of those who have been constantly opposed to labour in the whole history of Belfast. We know that there is never a trade dispute, never a strike, never an attempt to combine labour in a trade union, never an effort to use that combination for the purpose of improving the condition of the working classes of Belfast, but this old enmity between Catholic and Orangeman is sought to be stirred up by those whose interest is in the existing order of things.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I am not going to follow that denial, the inaccuracy of which is so patent, as was proved in the recent railway strike. I am bound to confess that, so far as I am personally concerned, I cannot withhold a very large amount of sympathy from the Protestant section of Belfast and of the North of Ireland. I share their prejudices. I share their faith. I was born, brought up, and nurtured in the same doctrines as I believe the majority of them have been, and I dare say that in all these things, as the Noble Lord the Member for Portsmouth (Lord C. Beresford) expressed it earlier in the Debate, we are just like spills moving up and down on the waters of the past, and, according as we were brought up—the Protestant has his Protestant convictions and prejudices and the Catholic has his. If this was a clear-cut contest between these two great sections of the Christian Church, as far as I am concerned I should be behind the 634 Protestants of Ulster. But the Protestant working men of Ulster are beginning to discover, as I tried to indicate in a previous speech on this very point, that there is far more economics than religion in the agitation which is being carred on in Belfast and in Ulster at the present moment. As a matter of fact, so far as the trade unionists in Belfast and Ulster are concerned, the fires of sectarian strife are beginning to burn rather low, and it required an unusual expenditure of money to create a forced draught to bring up those fires to something like blazing proportions the other day. I have myself seen in Belfast—and I am very pleased indeed to have had any hand whatever in bringing it about—Orange and Nationalist bands playing in the same political demonstration. But that does not suit the book of a large number of hon. Members opposite and the people whom they represent here.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Because it means a complete change in the industrial conditions upon which the profits of leading Orangemen in Belfast have been built up. They know perfectly well that the Belfast ascendancy at the present moment is not an ascendancy over Catholics: it is an ascendancy over labour. They know perfectly well that only within the last year or two, when a remarkable inquiry was made into the industrial conditions of Belfast by Mrs. Irwin, of Glasgow, they used every power at their disposal to stop the publication of the report, because the facts in it were so damning of the condition of the town about whose industrial prosperity they were boasting so much.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I do not know, therefore I have not the least doubt that the hon. Member's statement is quite true so far as he himself is concerned. But the statement I make regarding the publication of that report is undeniable. I myself was approached by both sides to try to arrange for some sort of amicable settlement in the matter. We get Mr. Charles Booth's investigation into London welcomed by everybody who wants the truth. We get Mr. Rowntree's investigation into York, again welcomed by everybody who wants the truth. The Christian 635 Social Union, of Dundee, exposed the deplorable condition of the jute workers in that city. Every large town has had its investigation, and everybody, irrespective of political opinion or economic interest, in those towns has welcomed the publication of the reports of those investigations. But when Mrs. Irwin goes to Belfast, investigates wages, hours and conditions, and submits her manuscript to those in authority, the very first move that is made is to suppress its publication. As a matter of fact, it was suppressed for several months, and the report has only recently been published.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is not entitled to keep on interrupting the hon. Member who is addressing the House; otherwise it would be impossible to carry on Debate at all.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I am sorry to say anything which makes it impossible for the hon. Member to keep his seat. I would not be so emphatic about the matter if I were not absolutely certain of my facts. There, however, the matter remains. I raised it because the point I want to make is that the present so-called Protestant ascendancy in Belfast is not a religious ascendancy, but purely an economic ascendancy. The Ulster Protestant workman, typified best by the Belfast workman, has been afraid of two or three things. He has, first of all, been afraid of Catholic oppression as the result of Home Rule. Those of us who can look upon that problem with a certain amount of detachment cannot help in the most friendly way comparing the speeches which have been delivered in this House by representatives of the tolerant Protestant minority with those that have been delivered by representatives of the intollerant Catholic majority. Hon. Members who sit above the Gangway opposite are all sweetness, culture, breadth, and light. Hon. Members who sit below the Gangway opposite are apparently but the lineal descendants of those who conducted the Spanish Inquisition. I am bound, as one who has no desire to be tyrannised over, who has no desire to be made a martyr of, to say if I had to choose between the two—I am sorry as a Protestant to say it—I would choose my hon. Friends opposite. My prejudices are all with the hon. Members who object, and I wish it were otherwise. But I put it to anybody in this 636 House, listening to these Debates, or those who are unable like myself to listen to them all, who have tried their best to read the reports, I put it to hon. Members, irrespective of the political prepossessions he holds, to say which of these two interests is more intolerant and which is less intolerant.
There is one thing that I would like to hear, and I hope I may remain a Member of this House sufficiently long to hear it—or, at any rate, to remain alive sufficiently long to read the record of it when published, as I hope it will be—and that is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover give us his views on the tolerance of Ulster Protestants. He would do it in a phraseology that would charm us all. He would do it with a richness of portraiture and limning which can only come through very deep and very bitter personal memories and recollections. The second fear of the Belfast workman is that he will be dominated by peasants. That is a very old problem, the domination of the town population by the country population, or, on the other hand, the domination of the country population, by the town population. It is not an Irish problem. You have it wherever you have those two economic conditions of interest embraced in the same State. It is a real difficulty. You have it here. You get it in this country. A large part of the case of hon. Members opposite against Free Trade is really a variation of the statement of that problem. A large part of our case in-favour of drastic land reform, especially the historical reflections we make upon it, is a statement of the same problem from another point of view.
Ireland has undergone within the last few years an enormous change in that respect. Ireland is now beginning to adopt new methods of agriculture. The magnificent work of Lord Plunkett, following upon the lines of Denmark in particular, has recreated what I may call the psychology of the Irish peasant. That change is only beginning. When it is finished, when it has come to its full fruition, the Irish peasant is going to have a political outlook and economic interests which will lay him open especially to the same political and intellectual influences that the working classes in large towns like Belfast are open to. You find that in every country in the world when this agricultural movement has taken place. The Danish peasant is not a Conservative. The Danish peasant votes for Liberals. More and more in Germany, and also in France 637 —and more particularly in France since certain combinations have taken place in the wine districts—the appeal of the Socialists is beginning to be more accepted by those classes that everybody assumed were put, as it were, on one side and left to the influence of the priests and the most reactionary and most out-of-date political interests. There is, moreover, the landless man, the labourer; the labourer in the villages, fields, and small towns, scattered right from one end of Ireland to the other. Those men are going to be subjected to precisely the same appeal that the Belfast and Ulster workmen are going to be moved by when Ireland gets Home Rule, and becomes responsible for Irish legislation.
There is another point that presents very considerable difficulties. It is perfectly evident that we cannot, for instance, have in this country one code of factory legislation, and a different code in Ireland. Take the case of shipbuilding in Belfast and shipbuilding on the Clyde. I was a member of a Home Office Departmental Committee that inquired a short time ago into questions relating to the protection of life and limb. In the course of my work I found myself in Belfast, looking at the provision made in the shipbuilding yards for the protection of the workmen from accident. A few weeks afterwards I was in Glasgow on precisely the same errand. It is impossible, nobody would propose it, it is not a part and parcel of of the national independence which the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford has laid down, or has demanded, that Belfast should be allowed to put up rotten staging at its shipyards—not that it does it—whilst Glasgow should be compelled by Home Office Regulations to put up sound staging. As a matter of fact, the Belfast workman can be perfectly well assured that the industrial interests and conditions of well-being of the two countries, Ireland and ourselves, are so interlocked, so interlaced, that no Irish Parliament could possibly tolerate a condition of things which meant that factory legislation was at a low and inefficient level in Ireland, whilst it was at a high and sufficient level here.
That guarantee given, and I believe it is adumbrated quite properly and quite emphatically in Clauses 38 and 41 of the Bill before the House, I think the Belfast workman will whole-heartedly throw in his support with the Catholic workman, and declare for self-government as opposed to the domination of this country over Irish affairs. He need have no fear that his 638 religious liberties are going to be curtailed. He need have no fear that his freedom of conscience is going to be taken away. He is strong enough to resist it. But he may welcome this Bill as giving hint new opportunities and new possibilities of influence. He is going to enter into new combinations with the peasant, the landless man, the labourer in the villages. This is going to remove obstacles to his combination, because it is going to make unreal the differences that have hampered him in years gone by. He is going to strip the veil from the enemies of labour who have led the Orange movement for a long time. It is going to bring him and his fellow workers all over Ireland right up face to face with political and economic realities. That is an enormous gain for the trade unionist workman of Ireland, and he will be an exceedingly short-sighted citizen if he does not embrace it with the greatest alacrity. I suppose we have to fight this out. There is going to be no agreement. It has got to be carried through. I am not quite sure how it is going to be carried through. I am rather interested to hear that, as the Front Bench opposite has been particularly cautious. It has just said sufficient, and yet has been sufficiently careful to allow its supporters on the back benches to say that they would fight. We are not quite sure how much it means. When you are perfectly certain that your Front Bench is not going to lead you, you can afford to make statements such as we have heard from time to-time in this House. I do not quite honestly believe there is going to be anything like an appeal to force. I believe the fears of hon. Members will have been shown, before two years are out, to be false fears. When the time comes we can quote the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, when he was advising the miners to accept the Minimum Wage Bill, because this House had passed it by a majority, and everything passed by this House had to be accepted by law-abiding and loyal citizens.
The field has been cornered so completely that I am afraid it would take a genius to discover a new argument or a new point of view in this controversy. There is a body of men in this country now whom, if I do not presume, I should like to appeal to for some pronouncement upon this question. I refer to those men who since the last controversy upon Home Rule have been sent to our self-governing Dominions to represent the Legislature. They have held responsible positions in 639 those self-governing Dominions. They have taken considerable responsibility upon themselves. They know the difficulties of self-government, and they know its advantages. Their testimony would be of the very greatest advantage, and would have the greatest influence in the present controversy. Surely the issues of this controversy must appeal to them. We know perfectly well this is not merely an Irish question. We talk about Irish Home Rule. The sore undoubtedly has created a great deal of unhappiness and discontent in Ireland. What has it done to us? Over and over again the fact that Ireland has been against us and has been knocking at our closed doors has compelled us to part from our own work, work on which our hearts and souls were set, to listen to her moaning and complaints and attend to her grievances. Over and over again social questions that are ripe for settlement had to be postponed because Ireland was unhappy and discontented or against us. It is not only here; it is not only at home; the unhappiness of Ireland, over and over again, has caused trouble in the Parliaments of our Dominions; over and over again it has twisted and twined the calm, peaceful political evolution of those Dominions. As my right hon. Friend said so well and so truly in the earlier part of this Debate, not only in Ireland, not only here, not only in the Empire, but in the world at large, the unhappy condition of Ireland has been the cause of sinister influences upon our designs and upon our policies. A point which concerns me, and which makes me feel keenly is this: that where we try to influence other nations in the world responsible for the government of subject races, over and over again our conduct to Ireland has been thrown in our faces, and has numbed and paralysed our moral enthusiasm, an enthusiasm that would have been available for international questions. For all these reasons those men who have been responsible for the government of the Empire, and who are proud to call themselves patriots, must see that this is not an Irish question only, but that it is a British question and a great Imperial question. It is a question in which the whole relation of this country to the world, and of the influence of this country in the world, and the continued prosperity of this country on its own lines are dependent.
Self-government is not going to cure all our political ills, but these men know perfeetly well that self-government is an 640 essential condition of the stability and security in the solution of these problems. It is not going to allay all our religious strife and quarrelling, as those who have been in Australia know quite well, but it is going to prevent that quarrelling from twisting and cramping national evolution, and from preventing national progress. It is going to maintain these historical and religious differences, which I hope will always be maintained, but it is going to provide circumstances in which men can co-operate in spite of difference in their wider domain of common interest and enable all men, irrespective of their religious creeds, to join together in order to secure some communal prosperity and happiness. It is because I have been privileged in some of these self-governing Colonies and Dominions to see the healing balm and inspiring stimulus of self-government operating in countries now prosperous and loyal, but which before it was introduced were harassed and worried and disrupted and rebellious, it is because I have seen that with my own eyes, because I have heard that story told over and over again in varying moods and in varying circumstances by men of all political parties in these countries, that I, for one, will most heartily vote in favour of the Motion which you, Sir, will put later from the Chair.
§ Mr. ROBERT THOMPSON
I had not intended to intervene in this Debate, but when hon. Members on both sides have given their views I think it is my duty to put my views before the House also. A Bill for the better government of Ireland is a catching title, and when I heard the title I had hoped that I might have been able, as an Irishman, to bless the Bill, but on close examination I found there was nothing in the Bill to bless, but much to curse. I cannot support such a Bill, and find myself compelled to vote against it. The Prime Minister said this was a Bill to bring peace to Ireland. In my opinion this Bill, instead of bringing peace to Ireland will open up a sore that will never be healed. I think it is generally acknowledged on both sides of the House that Ulster is the bête noir in connection with this Bill. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, as well as many other hon. Members, admit that. Ulster is described on the one hand as being prosperous and happy and contented, and on the other hand we hear her described as the home of bigotry, intolerance, poverty, sweating, and starvation. I have lived all my life 641 in Ulster, and I have been an employer of labour in Ulster for over fifty years, and I deny the charges made by the hon. Member for Leicester in this House. Speaking on the 11th April, when this Bill was introduced, he said:—In Belfast, which has been held up to us this afternoon as a rich and prosperous and powerful city, and as a great example of the beneficence of English rule in Ireland, you get labour conditions the like of which you get in no other town, no other city of equal commercial prosperity from John o'Groats to Land's End, or from the Atlantic to the North Sea. It is maintained by an exceedingly simple device. When a slum landlord is cleared out he becomes religious. Whenever there is an attempt to root out sweating in Belfast the Orange big drum is beaten, and the men and women who are suffering in these mills from wages that cannot enable them to keep body and soul together, immediately go, one section on one side of the road, and the other section on the other side of the road, and one section dresses itself in green and the other in yellow, and they forget all the real problems, and those who beat the big drums and arrange for the beating of them go on sweating the people."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th April, 1912, cols. 1403–4.]I submit the hon. Member has been entirely misinformed. I deny that there is one word of truth in that. I have never heard directly, or indirectly, such complaints, and I have never known such practices in Belfast. I would remind the House that the city of Belfast contributes to Imperial expenditure in Customs and Excise no less a sum than £3,746,686, being 71 per cent. of the whole contribution of Ireland. Belfast does the work, Gentlemen from the South-West of Ireland below the Gangway do the talking. Belfast is a progressive city. Ulster is the progressive district of Ireland, and Ulster does not mean to be coerced by submitting to this Bill. The working people in Belfast, so far as I know them, are better housed, better clothed, more content and happy than almost any other city in the Kingdom. I have statistics here from the Board of Trade "Labour Gazette," which is published regularly, and hon. Members will probably admit there is some truth in the figures it contains. On the question of pauperism it shows that in London we have 476 for each 10,000 of the population. In Manchester 206, in Liverpool 291, in Leicester—the constituency represented by the hon. Member who has just sat down—235, in Glasgow 265, in Aberdeen 219, in Dublin—the great metropolis of Ireland, 309, in Cork, Waterford and Limerick 346, and in the city of Belfast 109. We have less pauperism in that city than in any city in the United Kingdom. Can the hon. Gentlemen opposite deny that? These are figures that speak more eloquently than any speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite. I have heard talk of slums in the city of Belfast. I only know one that might be called a slum, 642 where there are rag stores and stores for selling scrap iron. It is a lane in which few respectable people live. It was until lately called Smithfield, but now, I understand, its name has been changed to "Churchill Drive."
When the right hon. Gentleman—the First Lord of the Admiralty—visited Belfast he scampered away through that back lane rather than face the people by coming through Royal Avenue. Ulster men are content to live under the British flag, and they decline to be put outside it or to allow the emissaries of the Pope to make rules or laws or to issue edicts that will bind the men of Ulster. The hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Devlin) told us that Lord and Lady Pirrie were insulted in Belfast. I deny that also. Any insult that was offered to Lord and Lady Pirrie was in Lame, thirty miles away from Belfast. I met Lord Pirrie recently on the docks during his last visit, and he boasted to me that he was able to walk about there and that no one interfered with him. I should like to say, after all the hon. Gentlemen opposite has said about labour conditions in Belfast, that I owe my position in this House very largely to the labour vote in my Constituency. The strongest man the Labour party could produce was put up in my Constituency to oppose me, and I was returned by the largest majority ever given in that Constituency. How does that speak for the feeling of the labour people in Belfast? And I may mention that a good many of my supporters were Roman Catholics. I called upon one of the most respected Roman Catholics in Belfast, and, after discussing this matter, he said to me, "My party will support you. You go on and abuse Home Rule as much as you like; we do not want it at all." As regards the Bill before the House, I much regret I cannot see any prospect of finality in it. I should accept the statement of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. Redmond), and I would throw no doubt upon his sincerity, but I do not think the people of Ireland are all agreeable to accept what he said. One of my Constituents in Belfast sent me a cutting from a paper published in the month of May, 1912. It is headed "The Home Rule Bill," and it says:—The Home Rule Bill, by which the English Government proposes to change the manner, but not the extent of its control over Ireland, has been published since our last issue. It is not necessary for us to outline its provisions here; our readers have already seen them in the daily Press, and can judge for themselves.643As a final settlement between Ireland and England the Bill is absurd. It proposes to give us the shadow of autonomy, while it withholds the substance. Under it the English Parliament will be exactly what it is now—the supreme authority that will settle every Irish concern—and the English Treasury will remain unchanged, the collector and disburser of every Irish tax. The English Parliament will not only be able to veto anything that the Irish Parliament does, but it will have power to legislate for Ireland, ignoring the existence of the Irish Parliament altogether. If that be autonomy, the word is certainly acquiring new uses.Whether the Bill is accepted or not, whether it passes into English law or not, we go on and our programme goes on. The 'very small section,' about which Mr. Redmond is so reassuring, will not, we give him our assurance, be bribed by any Home Rule Bill. Neither will the Irish Nation. Ireland is not a coleny, not a heterogeneous motley collection of scallywags from all countries, slowly and painfully coalescing into a type, building itself into a nation.The dream of all Nationalists is an independent Irish Nation, and not either a Federal State or a Dual Monarchy—not Federation, not even Repeal, but. Independence. For our dream is linked on to the Irish Nation which began before England was, which had a highly organised free civilisation when England was a warring and chaotic barbarism, which gave learning and culture to Europe.And we see the way of that dream down the years to the beginning. There is blood on it, John Redmond, blood thick on it, and on all sides of it, and overhead there are gibbets, and implements of torture, and vile emblems, and they are all wrapped in the English flag, the flag of that Empire into which we are now to be bribed. No, by God, no! We do not forget! The ancient civilisation of Ireland calls out to us never to bend the knee, never to accept less than all, never to cease struggling until we can take up again that ancient civilisation and develop it to the full. 'We cannot have peace!' Ireland's body and soul can only be saved by action, uncompromising and unhesitating. We are 'going to fat'; we have made an unholy pact between cowardice and comfort, and we call it expediency! 'Policy demands this and circumstances prevent that, we say, and the body of Ireland wastes and her soul languishes. There is only one cure for the disease—action. Another blow must be struck for Ireland. Already there is a movement, the tide is flowing again, and soon its restless flood will sweep across the land. Ireland's sons and daughters are called to make ready for another struggle with the Empire in whose clutches she lies. Rhetoric must give way to action. Fools may mock men, cowardly slaves may quail before their 'owners,' but to the call of duty there are still men in Ireland who will hear the call and who will answer it. We must face the red brink again. At all costs Ireland must be free. We who have the vision must make the venture. Strengthen then your souls—'sell your coat and get a gun.'[A Stranger sitting below the gallery interrupted, and Mr. Speaker ordered the man to be removed.]
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. THOMPSON (continuing)
I may say that the title of the paper I am quoting from is "Irish Freedom." The right hon. Gentleman opposite spoke about Imperial troops being sent to Belfast. I may say if Imperial troops are sent to Belfast they will light a torch that will illuminate the civilised world. I will ask the right hon. Gentleman to be wise in time and take care. I happen to know that there are other circumstances to be considered. As chair- 644 man of the Harbour Board for many years it has come to my knowledge that Germany has taken all the measurements of our docks in the port of Belfast, made drawings of them, taken the depth of the water, made drawings of the approaches to our docks and the depth of the water in our Channel, and I therefore impress upon the Irish Secretary the importance of all this. Further, I may say, that Germany has actually named her officer to take charge of an expedition against Belfast if and when called upon to do so. If by this Bill you get up a state of civil war in Ulster and Belfast see where you are. Germany did not take all this trouble for nothing. I will conclude by impressing upon the right hon. Gentleman representing the Government and the House to beware before sending Government troops to Ulster.
§ Sir GEORGE KEMP
This Irish question has been one of the gravest trouble and anxiety to me ever since the year 1886, and had it not been for this question I should never have sat in this House. I must plead guilty to what the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) said about those who changed their views. Let me point out, however, that I listened to a speech of the right hon. Gentleman at Rochdale, years ago, which was so convincing on this question that I have never seen fit to change my opinions since. I feel as strongly now as I did then, and I think it due to my Constituents, taking the view that I do, that I should not give a silent vote or abstain from voting on this occasion. My Constituents have been under no misapprehension as to my views. I refused to subscribe to the Albert Hall pledge because it was so wide that it might cover such a Bill as this, and another Bill which might be described as merely an extension of local self-government. The only time I met a deputation of Irish Home Rulers in my Constituency, after a long discussion of the details dealt with in a Bill of this kind, they told me that my answers were eminently unsatisfactory. I always guarded myself against saying that under no circumstances would I vote for Home Rule, because it always had been clear to me that all was not well in Ireland, and that possibly something might be done by delegating purely Irish business, and perhaps effecting certain economies in administration which would be acceptable to hon. Members who represent Ireland.
645 I can assure the House that I have always hoped, as much for Ireland as for England, that some solution might have been found that I could honestly have supported. May I also say that though I was opposed to the previous Bills, and I feel the difficulties in this one, I must entirely dissociate myself from the expressions of opinion made as to the motives of the Prime Minister, who brought in this Bill. I believe that no Minister ever brought in a Bill with more sincere motives and strong convictions than he did. The Prime Minister has been a consistent Home Ruler throughout, and he has openly put forward Home Rule as part of his programme before the last election. Now, Sir, I have no new arguments to bring forward. The old arguments that were brought against the Bills of 1886 and 1893 seem to me to be equally cogent now. One argument by which in the previous instances Home Rule was advocated has fallen out, that is the argument with regard to the land question. That was the lever which was used to make Scotland, England, and Wales approve of Home Rule on previous occasions. Now, happily, that difficulty has been largely removed, and I hope, in no long time, that the land difficulty may disappear altogether. But another argument has been put forward and another lever is now used, and that is the lever of the federal system. Wales, Scotland, and England are to be induced to approve of this measure, so that we may have a federal system all round. I confess that the federal system for this country does not appeal to me, but if it did I would put down two conditions which I think could be applied. One is, that if if a federal system is to be tried, it should be discussed in its entirety first; and, secondly, that all the units, or at any rate a great proportion of the units, who would come under the federal system should have manifested a real and earnest desire for the federal system. If we put Ireland out of the question for a moment altogether, can anyone in the House say that there has been any real desire evinced on the part of Scotland, England, or Wales to have a separate Parliament of their own? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] I hear hon Members say "yes." There has been, perhaps, a faint murmur in favour of it for Scotland, but there has not been so strong a murmur or desire for it as to induce any Government on one side or the other to give it a foremost place in any important Session.
§ Sir G. KEMP
That may be correct. No doubt sixty Members have admitted their acquiescence in the principle of Scotch Home Rule, but I do not think it can be said that there is a burning desire for a separate Parliament in Scotland apart from the question of giving it to Ireland as a settlement of the Irish question. It is because I believe that this desire for a federal system is limited to Ireland, and would not have been heard of if it had not been for Ireland, that I object to the general principle of giving a separate Parliament to all the four units. If you impose separate Parliaments on those countries without a very strong desire for it, although they may acquiesce in it, I think you may have only a framework of Parliaments given to them, and unless there is the desire you will not have that spirit within which alone would make such a Parliament successful. Not only do the various units not desire it greatly, but one nation is passionately opposed to it, I do not mean the geographical Ulster, but north-east portion, and I call it a nation because I believe that they are just as much, or just as little a nation as the rest of Ireland. They are passionately opposed to Home Rule, and I think that it would be a very serious thing to press the scheme on to them against their will.
We have heard a good deal about fighting and what they would do in Ulster. Personally, I believe that they would resist Home Rule to the point of fighting. I believe they would, but I do not think it would be right of us as a nation to try and force it upon them even if we were able to do it. I confess my attitude towards this Bill would have been a different one had Ulster been allowed a separate Parliament of her own. [HON. MEMBERS "Oh, oh!" and laughter.] I do not know why hon. Members laugh. May I remind them that this matter has been seriously discussed in the Cabinet. [An HON. MEMBER: "HOW do you know?"] I feel very strongly about this Irish question, and I do not feel it is a matter for jesting. I feel that justice should be done to Ireland. I should not be making this speech if I did not feel strongly about it. I say my attitude to the Bill would have been a different attitude had Ulster been allowed separate treatment or to contract out of the Bill. That is my view; but Ulster is not to be 647 treated in that way. We in England, who are so calm and so cold in comparison with the people who live in Ireland, cannot understand the depth of the bitterness that exists between the different people who live in Ireland. Therefore, I say I could not be a party to forcing one section of Ireland into this scheme against her will. Of course, I know the Government have realised that. They have put in every safeguard they could devise, with the most sincere and honest determination to see injustice shall not be done. Let us all give them credit for that; but we cannot forget that a most regrettable state of things does exist in parts of Ireland. The hon. Member for Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) tried to cut down the district. He said it was not the whole of Galway and it is not the whole of Clare, but the fact that it exists anywhere should make us view these safeguards with the greatest care, and I think we who live in safety in England ought to approach such legislation as if we were in the same position of terror for our lives as are those unhappy people who live in Ulster. I know the Royal Irish Constabulary are to be kept for six years under the Imperial Government, but will anyone suggest that those people to whom I have referred, who now live in this unhappy state in parts of Ireland, will have even so little a margin of security under the new Bill as they have at the present time.
The final test, which has been referred already to so many times, of whether it will be a final solution, seems still as necessary to be applied to this Bill as to its predecessors. It is perfectly true Irish Members have with absolute sincerity accepted this Bill as a final solution, and that the Irish Convention has accepted it, and I am sure, if there were no possibility of future discord or divergence, they would act entirely up to all they have said with regard to it, but there are difficulties which must arise—nobody can deny it—in this House in the future should this Bill come into law, agrarian, financial, religious. I need only take finance. Supposing the people of England and Wales and Scotland are content to pay these millions for Ireland, and at the same time to allow Ireland to manage their own affairs in their own way, will they be content to leave in Ireland's hands an all powerful weapon for altering the bargain in the future, if Irish Members quite honestly think it is not in accordance with the necessities of Ireland? The 648 hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) said, "Can anyone imagine that the Irish will be so foolish or have such malice and foolishness"—I think those were his words—"as to act in the way that has been suggested, and not to carry out the Government if it is accorded to them?" I quite agree they will try to do their very best, and that they will be grateful to England for having granted to them what they desire, but what the hon. and learned Member I think overlooked was that there would be these vital differences, these great questions on finance and other things, which will crop up and which will have to be settled, and you cannot imagine that the forty Irish Members who are left in this House will not use all their great talents, pertinacity, and ingenuity to do that which they think is right and just for their country. I should not blame them for it. I should do the same thing in their place, but I do not think the people of this country would be satisfied to leave that powerful weapon in their hands, and, however sincere the Protestants are, and I am sure they are perfectly sincere, we cannot imagine that the hatred that has existed between England and Ireland for centuries will absolutely vanish in a day; hatred no doubt justified by the wrongs that Ireland has suffered. But when you have these deeply-seated grievances which will still exist, I think it would be the height of optimism to think there would not be a strong feeling on the part of the forty Members to alter the treatment in the direction which they think is necessary for Ireland.
Personally, I cannot feel that even this Bill will satisfy the national aspirations of Ireland. That is really the crux of this question. Local self-government is one thing, which I should like to grant in the fullest measure to Ireland, but to satisfy the national aspirations of Ireland is another thing, and we must realise what these aspirations are and whether they are such that England could justifiably satisfy. Of course, Irish aspirations differ in different places. They are seen in their smallest compass in England and Scotland, naturally; they are rather wider in Ireland; and they only reach their full development in America. I have always said the Irish were perfectly justified in going to America to collect funds. I cannot see why anyone should complain of their having done so. But we also have a right in England to consider what the motives are for which that money was 649 collected, and whether this present scheme will satisfy the aspirations of Ireland as a nation. I would have given much to have voted for this Bill. I cannot. I cannot vote for this Bill because I believe it would bring more unhappiness to Ireland, and I believe it would bring insecurity and danger to England. Of course, I must consider the alternative policy, the policy which has been suggested by the party opposite. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Bonar Law) told us, I think when in Ireland, with that lucidity which we all recognise in his speeches, that his alternative policy was Tariff Reform. I know Tariff Reform has a different effect, or is supposed to have a different effect in England from what it has in any other country, and that it will cure unemployment and abolish cycles of bad trade. I know it is supposed to do that in England. It never occurred to me it would be an absolute cure for unrest in Ireland. No, I do not think cheaper whisky and dearer bread will cure the ills of Ireland. The Noble Lord the Member for the University of Oxford (Lord Hugh Cecil) said a short time ago it was a "slippery slope." I agree it is a slippery slope, and I am afraid I feel the measure before us also presents us with a slippery slope, and I do not know which I dislike most.
I have one ray of hope. Two years must elapse before this Bill passes into law if in another place there be courage enough to throw it out, and during those two years the country will have many opportunities of expressing its opinion. [HON. MEMBERS: "HOW?"] By by-elections and by a general expression of opinion at meetings throughout the country. I believe the Prime Minister said, in answer to a question—I shall be corrected if it is not so—that, if he were convinced the feeling of the country was entirely against any measure brought in under the Parliament Bill during the two years which must elapse before it becomes law, he would not press it on to the Statute Book. I have not got the quotation, but whether he said it or whether he did not he is saturated with the spirit of democracy, and I cannot believe he would thrust on to an unwilling electorate a measure which he thought they did not want. Having, as I have, the greatest admiration and respect for him, I am quite certain he will be as good as his word, and that he will respect the spirit of democracy. I say I have one ray of hope, but I must confess, when I look 650 into the future, it seems to me full of gloom and of danger. [An HON. MEMBER: "Cheer up."] Well, I personally have some regard for the future. I should not be in this House, and I should not bother with politics if I had not. Hon. Members below the Gangway seem to treat it as a jest. I say I see great danger ahead and I pray, I pray to God, that our course may be diverted while there is yet time.
§ Sir ALBERT SPICER
We have listened with deep regret to the decision of the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, but I am quite sure we all feel, after his speech, which has had such an honest ring in it and is the result of deep conviction, that we cannot indulge in any word of recrimination. Let me say this, in addition—as one who, for over forty years, has tried to do his humble part in the political life of this country, and who knows what it means for a party man to separate himself from his party—what it means not only in the party separation but in the social separation that arises from it—that I have always felt the public life of this country is indeed purer and nobler when men, from sincere and honest convictions, feel, at a given moment, they cannot remain with their party. I have lived long enough to know what it meant to myself and to some of my dearest friends when, on great issues, we have felt, from conscientious convictions, compelled to leave our party for the time being. I am glad, as one of those who heard the late Mr. Gladstone's call in 1866, after a General Election with an extended franchise, which enabled Ireland to speak with no uncertain sound as to its wishes, desires and demands with regard to powers of self-government, and who has fought every General Election since that time—I am glad to be able to take part, for a very few minutes, in this great and historic Debate.
I come, first of all, as a Free Churchman, to the question of Ulster. I know perfectly well that many of my co-religionists in North-East Ulster do not agree with the opinions that I hold. I, for one, would not do anything to deprive them, if I believed this Bill would deprive them, of one jot of civil or religious liberty. But I do not believe that this Bill will do so. No scheme of self-government for Ireland will be complete without Ulster. The Irish Parliament needs Ulster. During most of my public life in this country I have been a member of a minority, and I know what a minority can do if it will only be true to its own convictions; and if it will only 651 work steadily and heartily for those things which it holds dear. I sympathise most sincerely with the unwillingness of the minority to be in subjection, but I do not believe that position will be a result of this Bill. I know that the Bill must stand the test of Debate in Committee, and if the safeguards in it are insufficient let us strengthen them there. There have been a good many contemptuous remarks made as to the worthlessness of these safeguards. It is said that it shows distrust in the Irish party that these safeguards are deemed necessary. I want to put it to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, is that the line they take in ordinary commercial affairs and in ordinary private relations of life? If they are entering into agreement with most honourable people, do they not introduce provisoes and safeguards against contingencies that may possibly arise? Speaking as a business man of some years' experience, I venture to assert that, in a business arrangement, the more of these contingencies you provide against the more security you have that the agreement will go through smoothly. Therefore, I believe in these safeguards. I believe it is right and proper to put them there, and if they need strengthening let us strengthen them. But while the minority must have proper protection they must not assume a position which would prevent the majority getting justice and fair play.
In the second place, let me refer to a note which I have been very sorry to observe all through this Debate—a note of distrust of the Nationalist party, expressed by Members of the Opposition. I want to put this point before them. Are they justified in taking up that position to-day after their own action during the last few years? The Unionist party entrusted to Ireland the right of local self-government, so far as district councils and county councils are concerned. At any rate you showed in that connection that you trusted the Irish people, the majority of whom belong to the Nationalist party. You went a step further in your Land Purchase Act. You pledged the credit of this country to the extent of something like £160,000,000. Were you justified in doing that, if you could not trust the Irish people? In your daily affairs you do not lend a man large sums of money on one day and tell him twenty-four hours later that he is unfit to manage his own affairs! I suggest you have 652 committed a breach of trust if you have pledged the credit of this country to the extent of £160,000,000 or thereabouts, and are at the same time saying that you are unable to trust the people to whom you lent it.
§ Sir A. SPICER
I want to touch upon two points in connection with the Imperial aspect of the question. As one of those attracted to Mr. Gladstone's policy in 1886, by what I had already learned through visits to and journeys in America and some of our self-governing Colonies—since that time I have had the privilege of seeing all our self-governing Colonies—I had come to realise in those journeys, and by coming into contact not only with men of affairs, but with the rank and file, that this Irish question was also a great Imperial question. Take the figures with regard to emigration. Within the last sixty years over 4,000,000 emigrants have left Irish shores. A large number have gone to America. Others have scattered over Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. They have multiplied, and to-day, in each of those countries, they form a very considerable proportion of the population. They went out sore with this country, with hearts bitter against the British Government, whom they blamed for the necessity of emigrating. They have increased, but they remain Irish in all these communities. They remain linked together by ties of nationality, and, so long as this sore is open, so long will you have this result, that whenever there is a question in which there is a difference of opinion between the Mother-country and any of these self-governing Colonies, you run a great risk—a danger which has constantly occurred in the States—that the whole body of that Irish opinion will be cast into the scale against this country. I maintain that while this Irish question remains open you will have that constant danger existing in connection with the self-governing Colonies on account of it.
I go a bit further. I want this House to think what is the influence, upon the rank and file of the people of our self-governing Dominions, of keeping this Irish question open? We talk of the ties of Empire. Those ties are rather of silk than of steel. They are ties of self-interest, ties of sentiment, and ties of respect. So long as we allow this Irish question to remain open we run great risk of losing the respect of 653 our fellow-countrymen in all these countries. There is a feeling that our failure to settle this question is an evidence of weakness and incompetence which some of our younger fellow-countrymen are apt to attribute to the age of the old country. It is of the greatest importance, if we are to remain closely associated, that we should maintain the respect of the rank and file of our people in our self-governing Dominions. So long as this Irish question remains an open sore, it is a blot, it is a blot on the Imperial escutcheon, and the only ray of hope almost that I have seen in the course of this Debate, was the expression made use of by the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. G. Locker-Lampson), in which he admitted that the Irish question was a blot on the Imperial escutcheon. We must not think of it simply as Irishmen or Englishmen. We have also to think of it in our relationship to the whole British Empire. It is because I believe that this Bill, which we are to read the second time tonight, will be in the best interests of Ireland—I know there will be difficulties to overcome—and in the best interests too of this country that I shall vote for it, assured that it will tend to strengthen and consolidate the great British Empire.
Mr. JOHN GORDON
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down told the House he is a Free Churchman. I am glad to hear it. I am a Presbyterian. I think he will agree with me that his Church and my Church have always stood for liberty, and we have been strongly interested in seeing that everyone gets fair play, that we ourselves receive equality of treatment, and that our neighbours receive the same. We do not lightly make charges against our neighbours. We number about 450,000 people in Ireland. We are to be found mainly in the North-East part of the country, but our members are also to be found, to a very considerable extent, scattered over other parts of Ireland. Our Church knows—and we have ample opportunities for ascertaining what the true state of affairs is in Ireland with reference to this question—how Home Rule such as you propose, if granted, will affect them and their interests. They, with all that knowledge, came together at a meeting in Belfast about two or three months ago. It was a meeting absolutely representative of the whole Presbyterian body in Ireland, including delegates from every congregation. They met for the purpose of expressing their opinion with reference to this 654 subject. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) has changed his opinions, just as much as the situation of his seat in Tyrone. He was in the South before, but he has been driven out of it, and he is now in the North. He held certain views before, and now he has to change his views and fit them to the new situation. He dared to state in this House that there were 110 Presbyterian clergymen in Ireland, out of a body of 600, who were—no, he would not say they were in favour of Home Rule, but he suggested that they were. An hon. Friend of mine, some time ago, published in the Belfast papers and in other papers, a challenge to the right hon. Gentleman, and said that for every single Presbyterian clergyman he could produce over the number of ten who was in favour of Home Rule he would pay a handsome sum to any charity the right hon. Gentleman wished to name. That challenge remains unaccepted, and it will not do for the right hon. Gentleman to come down here and, among other statements which I shall show are absolutely contrary to the facts as they exist, suggest that the Presbyterian Church is in favour of Home Rule.
An hon. Member opposite read some extracts from resolutions passed by the Reformed Synod. That is a comparatively small body, although it is a very religious and a very good body, but it is a body which takes very little part in politics. We wish in many ways that it would take more part. Let me read to you the expressed opinion of practically the whole 450,000 Presbyterians in Ireland upon this question, and I will ask you whether these men, who are connected with the sister Church of the Nonconformist Churches in this country, are full of bigotry, and that the expression of their opinion is merely an expression of bigotry. Some of the members of your Church meet with them in their Church communion and at their General Assemblies, and they come over here to take part with you in yours. Are you prepared to say that that body of men is merely a body of bigots? I will read the resolution, and then you can ask yourselves whether that is the language of honest men or the language of a set of bigots who will not allow their countrymen to have the position they think they ought to secure in the management of the affairs of Ireland. I ask the attention of hon. Members to this language. After enumerating the injuries that they 655 think will happen to their country, they say:—We call upon the Government, with whose policy, apart from the question of Home Rule, many of us are in sympathy, to save us from the disaster which Home Rule would render inevitable. We would earnestly appeal to our co-religionists of all shades of political opinion in Great Britain to save us while there is yet time from such overwhelming calamity. We appeal to them to remember that we Presbyterians are now in Ireland because three centuries ago our forefathers were 'planted' in Ireland by the English Government in order that, by their loyalty and industry, they might secure the peace and prosperity of our province, and promote the mutual welfare of both countries. Our fathers and ourselves having done our be-t to fulfil the trust committed to us, we feel it would be an unworthy requital should we now, notwithstanding our solemn protest, be deprived of the heritage we enjoy as fellow-citizens in the United Kingdom of equal status with our English and Scottish co-religionists.In our opposition to Home Rule we are actuated by no spirit of sectarian exclusiveness, and we seek for no ascendency, religions or otherwise. Many of us were active sharers in the struggle which, over forty years ago, secured religious equality and initiated land reform in Ireland; and, if permitted, we are all of us ready to co-operate with Irishmen of every creed in the advancement of the social, moral, and material prosperity of our common country. Our demand is, as a matter of elementary right and justice, the undisturbed continuance of our present place in the Constitution under which our Church and our country have so signally prospered.Is that the language of bigotry or is that the language of men who do not honestly believe what they say? And if they honestly believe it, have they not the greatest opportunities of forming an accurate opinion on the subject? Do you think it is any comfort to these men to be told, as Dr. Horton told them, "You may be driven, in fact, we know you will be driven out of your homes and out of your country. You will have to give up your property, but, on the other hand, we think it is a great act of justice to the majority of the Irish Nationalist people, and therefore, with the Chief Secretary, you being a minority, you must suffer." I do not think that is either justice or fair play. I think The blot which the last speaker said was the only blot upon England's fair fame, our refusal to give self-government to Ireland, would be a blot indeed, if, in order to alter the management of our affairs, she drove her loyal, prosperous, and contented people either out of the country, as Dr. Horton suggests, or into the state of turmoil and trouble which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Tyrone, when speaking in Ireland, admitted would be the case for five, ten, or fifteen years, as the result of passing Home Rule for Ireland. That is not only the position of the Presbyterian Church to which I belong. There are 60,000 or 70,000 Methodists in Ireland, and those Methodists met together about six weeks ago. The right hon. 656 Gentleman the Member for North Tyrone suggested that some people who were very important did not go there. I know that the men who came there were some of the best men connected with Methodism, men who have never stood on a political platform in their lives, men who occupy great positions in their professions, and prominent positions in their church, and prominent positions in the business affairs of Ireland. They passed resolutions equally strong and equally temperate. Are they bigots?
The Protestant Church of Ireland, which numbers over 600,000 people, and although it has a great number in the North of Ireland, it also has a great body of Protestants scattered all over the country. They met the other day, and they passed a resolution equally strong. All the business people of any standing, and all the manufacturers in Ireland take the same view. In the First Reading Debate there was read a statement made by one of the treasurers of the United Irish League as to what that body consists of. The people who are opposed to this Bill are not to be found in the ranks of the United Irish League; they are the manufacturers, the bankers, the merchants, and the people who carry on the business of our country. They are all opposed to it. I put this to the House first—are all the Protestants in Ireland mere bigots; and, secondly, are all the manufacturers, merchants, and business men of Ireland fools? They have made a position for themselves, by carrying on their business. If there were any benefit to be derived from Home Rule, are they not the people who would eagerly seize upon it, in order to get some advantage from a change of this sort, and try to make the best of it in order to improve their position. Every man is against it. I thank the hon. Member for North-West Manchester (Sir G. Kemp), who spoke in favour of the views that we advocate, for what he said, but I thank him still more for giving to this House an exhibition of the intolerance—which was stopped when they saw the effect of it—which is shown even to a Member on that side of the House who dares to express a contrary opinion. As to the question of necessity, no one can point to any necessity for this Bill, except the necessity of votes for the Government. As to benefit, no one can suggest any benefit to be derived from the Bill except by the Government and the Irish Nationalist agitators. It is not the people of Ireland who want it.
657 8.0 P.M.
It has been put forward by the Prime Minister as a strong argument that there are only seventeen Unionist Members in Ulster, and that there are sixteen Nationalist Members. Why did he not tell you, if he knew, that one Unionist Member represents the constituency of East Belfast, which has 120,000 inhabitants, with 18,000 electors; and that a Nationalist Member represents a constituency with 12,000 population and 1,800 electors. Does he say that one-tenth of the people and one-tenth of the electors has an equal voice with the hon. Member who addressed the House a short time ago (Mr. Thompson)? What are the facts with reference to the representation of Ulster? Every Ulster Unionist Member represents on an average 8,800 electors, while every Nationalist Member represents on an average 6,700 electors. If a true division were made, Ulster Unionists would be represented in this House by twenty Members, and Nationalists by thirteen Members. The Ulster Unionists represent all the business men of the North of Ireland. When you get outside the part the Unionists represent you get into the part of the country where there is no business carried on, and no attempt made to create industries or manufactures, or anything which really promotes the prosperity of the country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Tyrone told us some startling things as to the position of Ulster in reference to Home Rule and the Union. A few weeks ago there was a Nationalist demonstration got up in Dublin on a Sunday. The only means of getting from Ulster to Dublin is over the Great Northern Railway. The Nationalist organisation—I think it was the United Irish League—arranged for twenty-three special trains to run from Ulster over the Great Northern system. They could not produce enough people to fill more than three of them. The trains had to run, but they did not produce more people than could be carried in three. What is more, the Great Northern Railway Company got security for £1,560, and the people who gave it will have to pay £1,200 of that amount. That is the way in which Nationalism is represented in Ulster. They would not pay even the smallest fare to bring them to Dublin. They will perhaps go and vote, if it is only a few miles to the polling place, and perhaps they -will do something which would annoy some of their neighbours, but they will not give a shilling. There are 658 £14,000,000 in the Post Office Savings Bank at present, and a penny in the £ would produce over £60,000, but they could not produce one-tenth part of that, and practically the only sum they have raised for Home Rule this year is a levy of £50 apiece on the Irish Nationalist Members' salaries. That is the true state of affairs about Home Rule in Ulster.
I was greatly amazed at two statements made by the hon. Member (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald). I should be prepared to believe him when he said that he preferred his political friends to his political enemies, but he said he would be safer with Irish Nationalists than with men from Ulster. He then made a violent attack upon Belfast. Anyone who knows Belfast would be able to answer him. There is less unemployment and pauperism there than in any large manufacturing town, because the people are industrious. They attend to their work, and there is work for them to do. But let me ask the hon. Member why it is that a great industrial community like Belfast, with more than half its population working men, will never send a working man to Parliament to represent them, even though the hon. Member went over himself, and a good many other leaders of the Labour party, to induce them to do so? The reason is that they prefer Unionism even to their interests in labour questions. They know the danger that it would be to them and to the industries by which they live to have Home Rule granted to Ireland. Therefore they are too much Unionists and too much against Home Rule to sacrifice that principle to the mere mercenary interests of supporting the Labour party. So long as the hon. Member and his Friends join in the attempt to force Ulster under the dominion and control of men who have no part or lot in her industries, who have no sympathy with her industries and do not understand them, who have no sympathy with the life and feeling of Ulster men, who are disloyal to the King and to the Constitution under which we all live, and have, always shown it, the Labour party will never find a road to this House from the men of Belfast.
The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. T. W. Russell) talked about one constituency in the North of Ireland, where he suggested 2,000 Protestant votes were given at the last election for a Gentleman who was a Protestant Home Ruler. We know the facts and we know the percentages. The Nationalist vote in that constituency is 659 over 2,000, so that he could not possibly have got more than six or seven hundred votes, and he did not. If you go through them all, it is a marvellous thing that wherever there was a contest in Ulster, the percentage of votes given for any man who was in favour of Home Rule, who was either a Nationalist or a Radical, exactly corresponds with the percentage of Roman Catholics in the population. It is the same in my Constituency, where the percentage is 2.2, and in North Londonderry it is practically the same. It is the one place in the whole of Ulster where you could get 500 or 600 Protestant Radicals who would vote for a Radical candidate, and you could not get a tenth of them who would vote for a man now who would come forward and say that he was a Home Ruler. They are leaving them every day. Ulster men are agreed upon this question, and until our Irish fellow-countrymen take a very different course from anything they have taken they need never think they are going to get the Unionist people of the North of Ireland to join them. You may or you may not believe it, but Ulster people know their own mind. They are determined, and, come what may, if you force Home Rule upon the North of Ireland against its will, the consequences will be on your own head, and they will be serious. Ulstermen will not go and shoot at a defenceless man from behind a hedge; they will not mutilate dumb animals; they will not fire their neighbour's stock yard, nor will they boycott their neighbours; but they will stand up in defence of their rights, and I think the people who are trying to force them into a position of that kind ought to be very careful. The Chief Secretary referred to the peaceful condition of Ireland as being greater when he came into office than it had been for 600 years. Let him take care that he does not leave it more disturbed than it has been for the last 100 years. I warn him to pause before he attempts to force a Bill like this upon our country. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. T. W. Russell) told us that he is in favour of this Bill because Ireland was robbed of her Parliament. He knew that when he was preaching the sound doctrines of Unionism. He told us that the population of Ireland had been driven out of the country. He knew that when he was preaching the doctrine of Unionism. He told us various other matters which were all true until his eyes were enlightened and his understanding 660 cleared by having the cares of office removed from his grasp. Now, when he has got them back again under new and changed circumstances, he is perfectly willing to tell us things which are absolutely at right angles to everything that he has said for the greater part of his life. Who knows what changes may take place in political affairs, and who knows how much further his mind might be enlightened under favourable circumstances?
He told us when he wanted to minimise crime in the West of Ireland, which we very much deplore—I am sure the Chief Secretary deplores it, though he does not do enough to put an end to it—that there was perfect peace in thirty out of the thirty-two counties of Ireland. Our corner of Ulster requires 10 police per 10,000 of the population. That satisfies Down, Antrim and Londonderry, and I think they require 14 in Armagh, because the southern part of it is Nationalist, but in the rest of Ireland Galway has 48 per 10,000, Longford 30, Clare 43, West Meath 37, Dublin, Roscommon, Tipperary, both East and West Ridings, 31, Limerick 28 and Sligo 29—the least of them nearly three times as much as satisfies the counties in the North of Ireland. I have not time to go through all the misstatements which the right hon. Gentleman made. He ought to have been careful, having regard to his own antecedents. He ought to have looked carefully at these matters about which he was going to make statements and seen that he was absolutely right. I have given you a few of them. Judge of the rest. Do you not think that a county that requires 30 police per 10,000 is in a very bad way? What do you think of a county that requires 48? What do-you think of that in comparison with a great county like Down, which is a very big and a very populous county, but which only requires 12? And we are to be handed over—these peaceful counties, these prosperous and industrious people— to the tender mercies of the United Irish League and to be controlled by men who themselves, if they have any influence, ought to have it in the very parts of the country which are at the present moment disturbed, and which cannot be kept quiet without a large body of armed police.
§ Mr. JOHN
From a study of the utterances of Ulster it seems to me that the industry that flourishes most vigorously there at present is the manufacture of jeremiads, but I very much doubt whether there is any real substance behind them. 661 The hon. Member (Sir George Kemp) made some reference to the entire absence of a desire for self-government on the part of Scotland and Wales. I think the fact that sixty out of seventy-two Members returned for Scotland are strongly in favour of self-government ought to satisfy at any rate a Liberal Member, and I have no doubt there is as large a body of support for the principle of self-government in Wales as in Scotland. The desire for self-government in Wales has had more to do with the political fortunes of this House than anything that has happened in the last twenty years. Those who know the political life of Wales know that the movement inaugurated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mr. Tom Ellis arose out of the national desire for self-government. Mr. Tom Ellis at that time declared most explicitly in favour of self-government for Wales, and so did the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and at that time two conventions completely endorsed the demand.
It may very legitimately be inquired why that demand has not been more vigorously set forth in the meantime and pressed. In the twenty intervening years, from 1886 to 1906, Conservative Ministries have been in power with the exception of some three years, and during the whole of that period the business of all Progressives and good Liberals in Scotland and in Wales has been in the main to get rid of the domination of Conservative Governments. In addition to that there is no doubt that the passing of the Education Act to a very large extent influenced political action in Wales. It amounted to the re-endowment of the Established Church, and that of course was extremely distasteful to the people of Wales. I should not have taken part in the discussion this evening were it not that I feel Wales is entitled above all other sections of Great Britain to express an opinion on the question of Irish Home Rule in particular and national self-government in general. The Prime Minister in his speech on the First Reading referred to the persistence with which the voice of Ireland had been expressed in regard to this question. He remarked that the Irish Members had steadily declared in favour of Home Rule. It is perhaps a fact that is little appreciated in the House that the vote of Wales has been as much in favour of Home Rule for Ireland as the vote of Ireland itself. It was twenty-five against nine in 1895, and to-day the vote of Wales on this question of national self-government is thirty-one against three. It is a 662 rather curious fact that of the three Members who represent Unionist sentiment two happen to have been returned by Irish votes, so that except for a small handful of Irish votes there would have been thirty-three Members from Wales in favour of Home Rule. I desire to protest against the disposition which is manifested by hon. Members opposite to go behind the mandate of Members, both on Irish Home Rule and Welsh Disestablishment. It seems to me that this resolves itself into the conundrum: When do an hon. Member really represent his constituents' views? The answer of hon. Members on the Opposition Benches seems to be that he only represents his constituents' views when he happens to be a Conservative.
I would point out that this steady and emphatic endorsement of the Irish demand by Wales has been accorded under peculiarly trying conditions. The difference between the people of the Principality and the people of Ireland is, of course, just as marked as it can be. Our-religious views are as widely divergent as is possible within adherence to the Christian faith. That theological or religious difference has naturally had its effect in a divergence of view and policy in matters of education. In the same way in connection with agriculture all that has been done in this House for agriculture in Ireland has made the Irish farmer a more formidable and dangerous competitor of the Welsh farmer, and this consideration might have affected the judgment of Wales. But that has not been so in any way. In spite of this adverse circumstance, the view of Wales has been as definite, and frequently more definite, in favour of self-government than that of Ireland itself. The reason for that is to be found in the fact that the Irish leaders have in the main been fighting the battle of the minor nationalities. It is that leading principle probably that accounts for the Unionist opposition to the present proposals. To the Unionist mind there is really something inexplicable in the persistence with which Ireland still demands self-government in spite of her obvious and rapidly increasing prosperity. English Conservatism has never been very susceptible to ideals, and it may readily seem to its adherents peculiarly perverse that men who are prospering should greatly, and even intensely, desire to substitute self-rule for the beneficent rule of the alien. To us in Wales this is neither 663 mysterious, regrettable, nor even unexpected.
We therefore rejoice in the introduction of this Bill—not alone, or mainly because, it may add to the already greatly augmented material prosperity of the Irish people, but because it will better enable them to live a fuller, more complete, less fettered, less restricted national life, and wherever this measure limits the facilities for so doing, to that extent we regard it as defective and inadequate. We look upon the development of the differentiating characteristics and aptitudes of the four nations constituting the United Kingdom of Great Britain as desirable rather than undesirable; we regard a policy aimed at achieving uniformity as opposed to Nature and to the clear design of Providence—as foolish and futile as the discouragement of distinctive personality among individuals. Addressing last winter those somewhat unaccountable personages the Nonconformist Unionists, the right hon. Gentleman the senior Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour), while contending truly enough that it was the national aspirations of the Irish people that constituted the motive power of the Home Rule movement and not the congested condition of business here, seemed to think that the satisfaction of national sentiment must necessarily be separatist in effect.
I agree absolutely with him. Apparently the granting of self-government to Ireland may be made the means of relieving congestion in this House, but there can be no doubt that the real motive power is the passion for nationality. The right hon. Gentleman the senior Member for the City of London seemed to consider the satisfaction of that national aspiration must necessarily be separatist in effect. We join issue absolutely there. We think that the satisfaction of national sentiment is essentially unifying and will tend to strengthen the unity which to so large an extent exists to-day. And that is in accord with our experience in every respect. We on this side claim that the whole of our Radical legislation is finally Conservative in its effect. The removal of congestion always tends towards the satisfaction of the community, and consequently is Conservative. In the same way we are very confident that the satisfaction of legitimate national demands will really tend towards the greater unity of the Empire. We hope that the granting of 664 self-government to Ireland will do something to assimilate the nationalism of Ireland, which has been disgruntled and declamatory in the past to the nationalism of the Welsh people, of whom one of your poets has finely and truly said:—In whose fiery love for their own landNo hatred of another's takes its place.That would be the effect of the granting of this great measure.
I have heard with great satisfaction the utterances of the Prime Minister with regard to his intention to proceed to a system devolution. He said that a quarter of a century of Parliamentary experience has taught him that you will never get the separate concerns of the different parts of the United Kingdom treated with either adequate knowledge or sympathy until you have had the courage to hand them over to the representatives of those who are immediately affected. I could quote the utterances of the First Lord of the Admiralty to the same effect. Our intense desire in Wales is that the Government should move forward on these lines boldly and rapidly. There are, of course, some matters for criticism in the Bill before us. For my part, I do not regard with satisfaction the proposal to set up a nominated Second Chamber. Personally, I am strongly opposed to the introduction of a Second Chamber of any kind. I think in connection with the subordinate Legislature that a Second Chamber is superfluous and mischievous. Whatever its necessity of usefulness in the federal State, here it is a perfectly useless organisation. There are also great difficulties in the retention in this House of forty-two Members from Ireland, voting on English, Welsh, and Scotch questions. To my mind, that has been brought about very largely by the reluctance of the Government to deal with the Second Chamber question. It is very obvious that when there is so very large a range of reserved subjects there ought to be adequate representation of Ireland at Westminster. But representatives for Ireland are out of place in the House of Commons so long as the business of the House of Commons is largely the domestic business of Great Britain. It would have been better to convert the Second Chamber into an elected body where the four nations might be adequately represented, and that would have left this House free to deal with the business coming before it. Much as I believe in and desire Home Rule for Ireland, I also believe that England needs Home Rule much more than 665 any one of the four. The problems waiting solution in England are more complex and more difficult than those in any one of the other four nations. It is with the viev and the hope that the Government and the House will proceed to legislate with a great scheme of constitutional construction that I welcome this measure in spite of its very grave defects.
Sir GILBERT PARKER
I have attended all the Debates in this House since the Bill was introduced with the exception of one day, and I have listened to nearly all the speeches that have been delivered. Although in a great many speeches reference has been made to what I may call the Colonial analogy, there was no speech devoted to that point absolutely alone. Of course, it is a very big question in itself, and I shall have time to deal only with a few points. The hon. Member who has just sat down said that this Bill represents really what was the fight for the minor nation, and what Ireland desired was independence to control her own affairs in her own way, and that he believed in the same thing being applied to England, Scotland, and Wales. I need not repeat what has been said very often on this side of the House, that England is against federation and that Scotland has shown no acute desire for it as Ireland has. No one can doubt the sincerity of Ireland and of Irish Nationalists in their appeal and demand for Home Rule. They want it for their own purposes. I have not the slightest doubt that it would satisfy their national aspirations, because I firmly believe that they think that this Bill, if it becomes law and is applied to Ireland, will lead to that form of nationality which has been behind all the speeches of all the great leaders of Irish thought during the last half-century. That is to say, to a kind of Government, not that which the provincial Colony has in a dominion or federation, but as an independent Government, such as the Commonwealth of Australia or the Dominion of Canada. It has been constantly said in this House, and it was said the other night by the Member for Kilmarnock Burghs (Mr. Gladstone), in his able speech, that the Empire is with Ireland on this subject and with the Government. One cannot deny the actual facts. I admit that the Legislatures of the oversea Dominions have passed resolutions in favour of Home Rule for Ireland. It is very easy to pass resolutions of the kind in Legislatures. We have found it here in regard to the 666 suffrage question and Home Rule for Scotland, and other things where there is no direct or intended purpose. I need not say to this House what the value of the Irish vote is, and I do not think that the oversea Dominions are in the least unappreciative of the value of the Irish vote in their particular countries. And that is one of the reasons why the legislatures of the Oversea Dominions passed those resolutions. I do not want to minimise them, except I do want to point out what lies behind them.
Sir G. PARKER
No; but my point is that the vote of these Parliament is not absolutely impartial and not absolutely Imperial. It is concerned with a present and a local advantage. There is another thing in the Oversea Dominions, and it is that Ireland's position in this Union is not as clearly understood there as it is here. Vast numbers of people in the Oversea, Dominions—and every colonist will bear me out—do not realise the power that Ireland has in this Union. They have a certain idea that Ireland has not democratic and representative institutions. That is the view of vast numbers of people in the Oversea Dominions, and that if there is withheld from Ireland democratic representation in the popular Assembly that representation ought to be given. There is great confusion of ideas on that point, and that is another reason why those resolutions are passed. We hear of vast sums contributed by the Irish Nationalists in the United States to the war-chest of the Nationalist party here. I have no doubt that sums have been collected in the Oversea Dominions also, but I think my right hon. Friend on the Front Bench below me (Mr. J. H. Campbell) will confirm me in saying that there are also voluntary contributions and offers of actual cash to the war-chest of those who are fighting Home Rule for Ireland.
Sir G. PARKER
I am not going to be led away, but if I am challenged I may say that £300 came to-day from one town in Canada. You challenged me to make 667 a statement, and that is my reply; but I do not want to be dragged away from my point. I want to represent what the Colonial position is. It is constantly contended that we are giving to Ireland the kind of government that was given to the Transvaal, and thereby giving Ireland self-government, and they compare also, in a very confused fashion, the government given to South Africa when the Union was accomplished. What is the cause of Colonial development in government? First there is military government, the kind of government that existed immediately after the conquest of Quebec. There they have two races, one French and one English. In 1791 those two were united What happened? They forced themselves apart. There was bitterness; they did not understand each other. What followed upon that? Then they strove for union, and they got union in 1841.
It has been said in the House that in the accomplishment of the union the unionists in Canada—whoever they were I do not know, I never heard the name applied before—sent petitions home praying that the intended Union Government should not be granted. What was the population of Canada then? There were 400,000 in Upper Canada, there were 600,000 in Lower Canada, and a population of 200,000 loyalists, as they are called in Ireland, or Britishers as they were called in the French provinces, and it was from those people, or a portion of them, the 200,000 in French Canada, that the petitions came. But that union was accomplished, though there still was agitation and there still was discontent. What was the source of the discontent? It was not purely racial; it was that popular government did not have its say in the Assembly, and that the Executive Council overruled the Assembly and the will of the Assembly. Does any-one suggest that that is the kind of thing that exists in this country? We know the power of Ireland in this House. Ireland at any rate is a partner in the Union; she is responsible, as are all the other partners, for the common weal of the Empire, for the common weal of the whole Kingdom. As for the South African analogy, note how shallow it is. As soon as the Transvaal was granted responsible government she began with Cape Colony and with the Orange Free State, to organise a movement for union which would do—what? Which would take away from the Transvaal that complete control over her own 668 affairs which she had acquired by self-government. The Transvaal, the Orange Free State, Cape Colony, and Natal, gave up their actual control of their local affairs to a Union Government, where any three of them could outvote two or any two of them could outvote one. They agreed to the Union because they believe that in the Union that would be accomplished, where all the voices would have their say, justice would be done to the British people. I believe that the result has been satisfactory in that respect. The Britishers in the Transvaal, in Natal, in Orange River Colony, and Cape Colony, believe that under the Union Government, where you have the voices of four Governments instead of one, all the people in each one of the provinces will have justice done to them, and that the British people, in a minority, would also have justice done to them. That is the position of Ireland in this Union. She yielded up local administration to come into this great Union, and she cannot deny that she has full power. The powers given to the local legislatures in South Africa are little more than the powers that are given to the county councils of this country and in Ireland. Extend those county council powers by a small percentage and you have got local control similar to that which the States or the provinces of the South African Union have now. I say that when the Under-Secretary, who once represented the Colonies, and the Postmaster-General make the statement that the position of Ireland is the same as that of South Africa, and that the conditions are analogous, they are ignorant or they are wilfully misleading the House. I honestly think that they are wilfully ignorant. When they do not know and do not take the pains to find out the exact truth in order to present the Government case they are wilfully ignorant in the matter.
Just see what the position is. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford said today that all the States of the United States and all the provinces of our oversea Unions or federations did not federate at once. He said that in Canada only four federated and the rest came in afterwards, and that the same existed in regard to the United States. It sounds very effective and very forcible; it is neither effective nor forcible for this reason, that in the Dominion of Canada and in the United States there was defined clearly and once and for all by their constitutions the national powers and 669 the national function as against the provincial powers and the State functions. Those were defined once and for all when the constitutions were made. You propose by this Bill to give Ireland a preferential position in giving her national powers like the Post Office, national powers like the modification of taxation, the setting up of her own Customs House, Old Age Pensions and Insurance, and her constabulary. At any rate, four of those are absolutely national functions, and those things are shut out from the powers or prerogatives of any province in Canada or any State of the United States. What we have to find fault with in this Bill in that particular is this; that it hopelessly confuses the functions that it does not reserve, as Canada and as the United States did—national functions to the central Government. It gives a subordinate province national functions, and it confuses those natural powers which belong to dominion and to provincial governments. There is one thing that really astonishes me about the Irish Members and that is that they are willing to leave the great position they have here tinder this Union, and willingly accept a subordinate position as a partner. Of course that is their own business, but there is every reason why I should say it is surprising that they should be willing to do that and to leave this great partnership, because they will leave it in effect. Only forty odd Members will come here, below their national quota, their rightful quota, if they are to remain as portion of this Union. If they are to remain in this Union they should have their full quota and full number. Why? Because if they mean to do their duty by their Empire, and they say they do, then they should demand their full and rightful position in this House and in this Union. If they do not mean to do right for the Empire, and are careless of their representation in this House, and in regard to the powers of our Empire, its future policy and so on, then I say it is our duty to keep them here even against their will.
One thing is absolutely certain. Everyone knows that the United States would not allow, could not allow, one of her States to leave the federation. If Natal to-morrow should attempt to dissociate herself with her full powers from the Union of South Africa, and if she asked to stand out now after the Union is accomplished, what would be the reply of South Africa? The reply of South Africa would be exactly what the reply of the United 670 States was, "You shall not go." My point is this, that under this Bill Ireland is not given her rightful place if she is to remain as a partner, and under this Bill she is given national powers which she ought not to have if she is to have a subordinate Legislature. Both of those things I think are incontestable. The question is so wide that I should like to have gone into a great many aspects, but I want to play fair, and I cannot deal with them in justice to other hon. Members. I say this, that this step to my mind cuts absolutely across the policy of federalism which hon. Members on the opposite side of the House agree with. You cannot have federalism when you are giving that subordinate Legislature powers which you cannot give to the other subordinate Legislatures when they come into existence, and you cannot give those powers at all unless you lay down once and for all the national functions which are to be reserved once and for ever. And because of that, with many sympathies for federalism which have been shattered by closer study of the question, and unhesitatingly on the merits, without any prejudice whatever against Ireland, I will give my vote in the interests, as I believe, of the Empire and of the Irish nation itself against this Bill.
§ Mr. ROBERT HARCOURT
The hon. Member for Gravesend (Sir G. Parker) seems to possess what the Prime Minister once called "the power of instinctive divination" as to the views of Scotland in the matter of Home Rule. I should have thought the hon. Gentleman would have been content to accept the ancient and hoary test of the views of its elected representatives, who went with singular unanimity to the Prime Minister the other day and voiced that national demand. I have listened to the whole course of this Debate, and I think the thing which has struck me most, more than any individual speech, was the very remarkable interruption in the course of the Debate this afternoon. My right hon. Friend the Member for North Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) was going through the catalogue of Ulster prophecy. I took his words down at the time, and I think I am giving them accurately. He said that it was part of Ulster's intention to raise four counties against the Crown. That, a little prematurely and imprudently, was most enthusiastically cheered by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for North Armagh (Mr. Moore). I have been looking at the official handbook of the Unionist party entitled 671 "Against Home Rule." It has got upon it the Union Jack, and it also contains the Imperial Crown, which, I suppose, is the peculiar party prerogative of the Opposition. Really, after the intervention of the hon. Member for North Armagh, I am beginning seriously to wonder if they will not get out a second edition and replace it with the skull and crossbones. Seriously, in the few minutes I have I do not want to indulge in any spirit of mockery of the Ulster question, but if I may humbly address myself to the Leader of the Opposition I should like to know, and I fancy the whole House will hear him to-night, his serious and considered view of this amazing declaration.
Summarising the whole Debate, one may say that, in spite of many heroic attempts to reproduce the atmosphere of the past, we, on this side, are no longer really accused of breaking up the Empire. The battle cry of 1912 is, "No disintegration of the Post Office," and we are told that we are reducing Ireland to the level of Wurtemberg. Mr. Garvin, that most fashionable of Fenians, last Sunday introduced us to an American who, when told that Ireland was to have a separate Post Office, said, "Oh, my!" I regret that a citizen of a free country should pass upon these proposals a criticism at once so crushing and so compendious; but between the attitude of "Oh, my" and the attitude of civil war there is a great gulf fixed. If I may return to Scotland for a a moment, Scottish Members want federalism for its own sake, not to chloroform and kill this Bill, nor as an ingenious method of playing dog-in-the-manger to Ireland, or of watering down the just claim of Irish nationality. What is the meaning of the Amendment that will be put from the Chair? It seems to me to mean: How is Unionism to be made to work? You desire to retain the Irish Members for all time, for all purposes, in their full number. I say advisedly in their full number, for, in spite of an extraordinary phrase in the speech of the Noble Lord, the Member for South Kensington (Lord C. Hamilton), when he proposed, under the present system, to reduce the representation of Ireland to its proper quota, either by numbers or by votes, I still say that to deny self-government, to maintain an enforced Union, while cutting out of the Act of Union the one provision which is vital to Irish representatives, is so black a crime that I should hesitate to 672 impute it to any responsible statesman. But here the Members for Ireland are to be, and a Member from Ireland is to be as good as a Member from Somerset or Dorset. I take the phrase from the hon. Member for South Antrim (Mr. C. Craig).
But how do you speak of them when they are here? The right hon. Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Walter Long), addressing the Government the other night, said that without the Irish vote their majority on the Welsh Church Bill would have been two. I have been into the figures. The majority was seventy-eight. It is true that seventy-four Irish Members voted for the introduction of the Bill. That leaves four—which I presume was the point of the right hon. Gentleman. But sixteen Irish Members voted against the introduction of the Bill. The phrase of the right hon. Gentleman was "Without the Irish vote." I want to know, therefore, does he deduct votes when they are for the Government and count them when they are against? Or, again, in the alternative, does he mean that Unionists from Ireland are not Irish? Who is the ex-Member for South Dublin that he should say this thing? I notice that the right hon. Gentleman said nothing about the Scottish representatives. But surely his argument about Wales was meaningless and illogical, unless he excludes also Scottish Members, pari passu with the Irish, from voting on a subject which on his hypothesis affects England and Wales alone. Apparently he selects the Irish and deliberately disqualifies from the franchise in a system of log-rolling congestion at Westminster—this is his policy, not ours—those to whom he is politically opposed. So naïve a confession of political faith I have never before heard. I want to deal with one aspect of the Imperial analogy alluded to by the hon. Member for Gravesend (Sir Gilbert Parker). We have been told again and again, almost to the length of tedious repetition, that South Africa is a union and not a federation. I should be perfectly content to make the hon. Gentleman a present of that distinction. One point seems to me to have been strangely overlooked. It was mentioned for the first time in a different way by the right hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Wyndham) yesterday. What about Natal? It appears to me that you have all the making of an Ulster in South Africa. I will quote a single sentence from a book called "Federations and Unions within 673 the British Empire," by Mr. Egerton, Beit Professor of Colonial history:—The position of Natal with regard to the proposed Union was wholly different from that of other colonies. Here the quarrel was not so much with details as with the general policy of Union. The little Colony wedged between the Drakensberg Mountains and the sea was proud of its peculiarly British character, and feared absorption in a preponderatingly Dutch South Africa.In popular language, the deduction appears to be that they did not want to be under the Boers, just as it is said that parts of Ulster do not want to be under the men who cheered for the Boers. Very well. Did Natal fight? No. Natal negotiated. She showed good will, good sense, and good feeling—qualities which I believe can achieve more than all the rifles and revolvers in Portadown. This was a movement, it was said, in favour of unity, not of separation. Well and good. If that were true, surely the attitude of Irish separatists ought to have been defined for them in advance; it ought to have been their task to perpetuate discord and to foment particularist and racial animosity. On the contrary, in the Debate on South African Union the Nationalist Member for North Kildare (Mr. J. O'Connor), who was deputed to speak, spoke with enthusiasm of what Members opposite themselves describe as Union—that is to say, union based on deliberate choice and freedom of contract, for it is necessary to remember that there are Unions and Unions. Again, take the Australian Commonwealth Act of 1900—the very time when these men were cheering for the Boers. That, if not as close a Union as South Africa, was, at any rate, as jargon goes, centripetal in tendency. There was no more heartfelt and enthusiastic speech in welcome of this successful adjustment of differences than the speech made by that remarkable man, Mr. Blake, a British patriot in Canada, and who earnestly desired a system which should give him the material for British patriotism in Britain. It is hardly necessary to go through the catalogue of Imperial opinion which has been so often quoted. I would only like to deal in conclusion with the point which was properly raised by the hon. Baronet the Member for Gravesend, with regard to there being another aspect to this case. The "Times," the morning following the introduction of the Bill, contained a series of messages which we know so well. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid-Armagh stepped gallantly into the breach; then the series of messages which I might if necessary quote textually, began. There 674 were messages from three gentlemen, Mr. Castill Hopkins, Colonel Dennison, and Mr. Willison. I am not a gambler, nor am I a millionaire, but I think I would be prepared to offer a sovereign to any hon. Member of this House who, without a reference book, could tell me who these gentlemen are. I have made great research. It is perfectly true that there are messages from the Overseas Dominions which are in an entirely contrary sense to that generally heard of. I am going to quote one from the "Tyrone Constitution." It comes from across the seas, and is headed "A Message to Ireland." It is in these terms:—The Papacy hates Britain to-day as it hates no other nation upon the earth. Never for one day or for one hour has the political Papist scheming Roman Church ceased trying to make good its fierce and diabolical curse against the British Empire. There is not a more enthralled land on God's round earth than is the Province of Quebec under the machinations of the Jesuit priests acting for an interfering priest living in Italy. Your enemies are astute and cunning. Their's is the method of Satanic cunning, and a profound hate of all that is noble, manly, outspoken, true Christian, bible-loving and loyal, unless that loyalty is given their figurehead, an old priest in the City of Rome. Let them call upon our soldiers. Then they, madmen that they be, will have their eyes opened, if not shut in death. Then Rome, pagan, Babylonian, persecuting Rome, would be wiped out of the British Islands as a man wipes a dish.It is perhaps unnecessary to add that comes from an Orange lodge in Vancouver, British Columbia, curious institutions upon which the sun never sets. It is sufficient for my purpose to answer in the words of the "Observer" newspaper, which said:—We do not fight Home Rule on the religious issue. We deplore the power of the Church in Irish politics, but the same state of things exists in French Canada. If there were no other practical argument against Home Rule we could no more resist it on the religious issue than we could advocate for the same reasons the withdrawal of provincial self-government from Quebec.We listened with great respect to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand Division, when he said that, at least, he had not changed his views. With the exception of a slight hesitation on the Accession Declaration Bill, I believe that what he says is absolutely true. It is a cleaner record even than that of his successor in the chairmanship of the Orange party, the senior Member for the Dublin University, who, if I remember rightly, took an active part in this House in handing over the Irish University to the Pope. Other English statesmen have been even worse. Lord Randolph Churchill, in 1877, made so Irish a speech that his father, the Lord Lieutenant, wrote to the Chief Secretary 675 of the day that the only explanation of his son's speech must be that he was either mad or had been affected by the local champagne. There are quotations about "Parnellite juice," about "the predominant partner," and even about "rapine and the dismemberment of the Empire." In the case of Mr. Gladstone, Lord Randolph Churchill, Lord Rosebery, and Sir William Harcourt, we find, I will not say crude inconsistency of utterance, but certainly a vigorous variety of views on the part of four men who, whether living or dead, influence notably the opinion of to-day. Their actions and their lives are part of history, and for a few of us on this side of the House they are a cherished personal possession. There are four in the House who bear these names, and who, whether or not they have the modern eye, still see the awkward age of forty in the prospective of the future. They will hereafter count this a memorable moment, that they were able to speak in this Imperial House and say that in these small islands the keystone of a mighty edifice, they see light break from the shadows, the dawning promise of a lasting peace.
§ Mr. HUGH LAW
I promise the House if it will give me attention that my speech at least will have the merit of being exceedingly brief. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Whatever else I say, I have said one thing which has met with the universal approval of the House. If I had time I would have liked to reply a little in detail to the speech that we listened to from the hon. Baronet the Member for Gravesend (Sir G. Parker). The hon. Baronet, as has been so often done before, endeavoured to show that the example of South Africa has no bearing whatever on the Irish problem. He endeavoured to prove it in this way. He said that in the Union of South Africa, the Transvaal and other countries, gave up to the Union, to the central Parliament, all powers save those that could properly be attributable to a system of extended local government. That is perfectly true, but I ventured to interrupt the hon. Baronet and say that they gave them up freely. That seems to me to make all the difference. The grant of self-government to the Transvaal and Orange River Colony was the indispensable preliminary to a free union. I quite conceive that when Ireland has enjoyed a self-governing system, that at a later stage she may be perfectly willing 676 to come into closer union than that which at the moment may be set up.
One aspect of the matter which I desire to place before the consideration of the House—I will not say it has not been considered, but it has been very little considered—is that the present system of Government in Ireland involves an appalling waste. I am not speaking of money, but of something more precious than money. I mean the waste of that most precious thing in the world, human life. I do not mean by that even emigration. That is bad enough. I hope that waste now will be to some extent stemmed by the new hopes which the national Government will give. That is not what I have in my mind. What I have in my mind is the waste of life in the men who stay behind. Does anybody really think that there is not a waste of human life when men, not to go far back in history, like Isaac Butt, like Parnell, and like my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Waterford, are forced to spend twenty or thirty years of their lives here in this Assembly in criticism or persuasion instead of in administration, for which they are highly gifted, but which necessarily cannot be devoted to the service of their country? The waste of life does not apply to one party only in Ireland. The waste of life is at least as great among the people who call themselves Unionists. There are all over the South and West of Ireland large numbers of professional people, of commercial people, and country gentlemen who call themselves Unionists, and who are even more effectively debarred from any useful participation in public life than are the Nationalists. Sir, these people do not even take the part that I personally should like to see them take on the local bodies in Ireland—on the county and the district councils.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Trinity College (Mr. J. H. Campbell) quoted some figures the other day to show the extraordinarily small number of Unionists who were returned upon the county councils in Ireland. Every-body knows that does not prove in the least any want of toleration on the part of our people. It has got nothing whatever to do with religion. But so long as these men are Unionists it is naturally difficult for them to get elected by any Nationalist constituency on the county councils, because, if large numbers of Unionists were elected, it would inevitably 677 be said in this country that Ireland was weakening upon the question of Home Rule. Yet I say these are men who in many cases are capable of giving very good service to the cause of Ireland, and we do most earnestly and honestly desire that they shall come in and take their part in the administration of their country, not merely as members of local bodies but also as members of the Irish Parliament.
The Noble Lord the Member for Portsmouth (Lord C. Beresford) the other day declared that the people of Ulster and the Unionists of Ireland would submit to no ascendancy. So say we all. I hope the day will never come when any body of Irishmen, be they Protestants or Catholics, be they Unionists or Nationalists, will again submit to any ascendancy whatever. We ask that the minority in Ireland should come in and work with us on terms of perfect equality. We say to them there is plenty of work for us all to do in Ireland, and we ask them to come in and help us to build up a new Ireland better and greater than the Ireland of the past. To Englishmen we say Irish nationality is indestructible. You tried to destroy it in the seventeenth century by extermination. You failed! You tried to destroy it in the eighteenth century by the penal laws. You failed! You tried in the nineteenth century to destroy it by coercion; and you failed. You may try to corrupt it in the twentieth century by bribes, but you will fail there too. Nationalism is going to live in spite of all you can do, and the one great question for Englishmen is: Will you have it for you or against you; will you have it a strength to the Empire or a weakness?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has suggested an idea to me, which I wish I had more time to think out. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty the other day said that we on these benches looked upon Members for Ireland as pariahs. No statement could be more untrue. So far as I know in this House, if anywhere in the world, we judge men by two considerations only—their character and their ability, and I at least have always felt for the ability of many hon. Members below the Gangway a respect which is great and certainly deserved. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hugh Law) did point out what I have often thought, that it is a real loss that men of ability such as the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy) and his Leader are here only as critics. I 678 recognise that, but whose fault is it? I put it to those hon. Gentlemen who are constantly appealing to Ulster. Supposing they could make up their minds honestly and frankly to throw in their lot with us, think what they could do for Ireland and the United Kingdom. I am afraid the older veterans are not likely to do that; but it is my belief, and it is part of our policy that not resolute government only, or not resolute government chiefly, but just government in Ireland, is making a change, and that the younger generation will not be ashamed to play their part in a Parliament which is good enough for Scotchmen and Englishmen.
There is one respect, and indeed there are many, at this moment in which I envy the Prime Minister, who is to have the last word in the Debate, and that is that he will come to it comparatively fresh. I am not criticising his absence yesterday, or the day before, for I have no doubt there were good reasons for it. I can assure the House that in my opinion there is no worse preparation for speaking at the end of the Debate than to hear argument after argument which you had in your own mind expressed in the most cogent possible way by speakers that go before you. But I have one consolation, that though arguments have been repeated, and I am going to repeat them again, they have never been answered. It is quite true that during the last two or three days three right hon. Gentlemen who sit opposite have spoken about this Bill. But, apart from them, the contributions of other hon. and right hon. Gentlemen upon the other side have consisted of speeches or dissertations upon the advantages of self-government illustrated by the case of Ireland. That was pointed out a week ago to-day by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Balfour) the Member for the City of London. He was succeeded by the Foreign Secretary who not only followed the example of his colleagues who had preceded him, but laid down principles which, if they are sound, effectually absolve him and everybody else from saying anything about this Bill.
Among other criticisms my right hon. Friend referred to was Clause 26, and the answer of the Foreign Secretary to that criticism and all the others was that it was a point to fight out in Committee. The House will remember what Clause 26 is. It is a proposal which resembles, and I think is even more absurd than the in and out Clauses of the Bill of 1893. These 679 Clauses were discussed at endless length, and were riddled with criticism. They poured such ridicule on the whole Bill that the Government had to abandon them. If the Foreign Secretary is right in saying that that is a point for Committee, obviously there is nothing can be discussed at this stage. He said no Constitution will work on paper, and from that he drew presumably the inference that there is no use proving that this Constitution will not work. I think the right hon. Gentleman was quite wrong in his premises. I think if he had looked into the experience of constitution-makers of all countries he would have found that he had reversed the difficulty. It is comparatively easy to frame a constitution which will work in theory, but it is extremely difficult to frame one which will work in practice, and if this constitution is in theory so unworkable that you cannot attempt to defend it, what earthly chance is there of its working in practice. But although the Debate on the other side of the House has been conducted on, I think, unusual lines, we have learned a great deal from it. The position is greatly changed. The case, or at least a large part of the case which was made by the Prime Minister in introducing this Bill has absolutely gone—at least, that is my opinion. The suggestion that this is part of a federal system can no longer be seriously maintained.
I am not going to repeat arguments which have been used over and over again, but I wish to put this point. This is the third Home Rule Bill which has been brought before the House of Commons. On the two previous occasions there was no suggestion of federalism, yet on both those occasions the fiscal unity of the two islands was maintained. Now for the first time, when you are pretending to set up a federal system, you set up a Customs House within the United Kingdom. The Government are very fond of appealing to Colonial experience, about which I shall have something to say later, but it seems strange to me that they have not considered what Colonial practice is in this respect. At the time of the federation of Australia, for instance, New South Wales was a Free Trade Colony. It had a Free Trade Government, and yet that Government realised so completely that a Union of Australia was impossible unless there was a common fiscal system, that in order to get that common fiscal system they sacrificed their Free Trade principles, and 680 you are setting up a Customs House within the United Kingdom not to create a Union, but to destroy a Union which exists already. To my mind, Mr. Speaker, nothing is more strange than the perfunctory way in which this subject has been dealt with. The Postmaster-General did refer to it, and his contribution to the Debate was very interesting. He said it is true that all other united countries have a common fiscal system, but then they are united by land and we are united by sea. Well, that is quite true, and the right hon. Gentleman is welcome to the advantage of that, whatever it is. Then he went on to say that there would be no Customs House if the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway do not make a differentiation. That is also true, but if they do not make a differentiation, what is the use of putting this into the Bill.
I am at this moment at a loss to understand what the professed object of the Government is, and I think many hon. Gentlemen opposite would like to know. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty used an expression which attracted a great deal of attention and he would have felt greatly flattered if he had realised how often it has been quoted. Perhaps after making his own speech, the right hon. Gentleman might have given us a little more of his presence during the Debate. [HON. MEMBERS: "What is he doing?" "Where is he?" and "With the King."] If hon. Gentlemen opposite will allow me, I was not referring to the last three days, but to the time previously when I never saw him in the House. I am almost ashamed to refer to that, but with the permission of hon. Gentlemen opposite I shall do so. The organ to which he referred may have many advantages, but it has one serious disadvantage. It is very circumscribed in its range. It refuses to look backwards. It can only look forward. It is fixed with a glassy stare on the tactics of the present political situation. That is the explanation and the sole explanation. The object is to enable hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway to say, as the hon. Member for Dublin said in my hearing yesterday, that we have got practically the control of the whole of the Customs, and it enables these Gentlemen to say that the British Parliament has the control of the Customs.
The safeguards, too, have all gone. Their futility has been shown, in my opinion, much more conclusively by the attempt of the Attorney-General to defend than by 681 the silence of his colleagues. What was his defence? He appealed to hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House over and over again, and said will any lawyer deny the legality of this protection. No, Sir, he lawyer and no layman will deny that legally it is all right, but every lawyer and every layman on this side of the House says that the legal protection is a protection which when it is needed can never be enforced. That is the real point and it never was met. There is not a single one of these legal safeguards which this Parliament cannot legally exercise now over every one of our self-governing Colonies, and yet there is not one of them which any Government in this House would dream of exercising, and there is no self-governing Colony which would allow us to exercise them. Even in subordinate Legislatures, like those of Canada, it is a fact that though there is complete power on the part of the central Canadian Government, and though that power at first was used, yet now it has become the universal practice never to interfere at all with the local legislatures in anything within their own scope. There is a difference with everything that is not specially dealt with by the local legislature and is within the purview of the central Government. The practice in Canada—if I may be allowed to read this extract—was put in a most extreme case by the Minister of Justice in Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Government, who said:—I advise my colleagues, and through them His Excellency, that the power of disallowance now vested in us is one which, in the interests of the Colony, is better should not be exercised; and, even though the Act which was sought to be disallowed was one taking from me and handing over to my political opponents my property, it would still be better for us not to interfere.That is the universal experience of all our Colonies. How, then, can you say, how can you pretend to believe, that what has become a dead-letter everywhere else will not be a dead-letter in the case of Ireland? Hon. Gentlemen may remember, some of them, at any rate, that Cromwell, in one of his speeches, said that in return for all their fightings, strugglings, and sufferings, they were to be given as security "a little bit of paper." The Unionists of Ireland, if you dislike the name "Loyalists," ask no privilege which will be surrendered by any Member of this House. They ask only the protection of British law and to be subject to a Government which is controlled by this Parliament, and you offer them in exchange "a little bit of paper." The Prime Minister, in introducing the 682 Bill, dwelt also on the relief from congestion. That, too, has gone, and it has gone even by the admission of his Government, at least, I think so. I am not going to point out what every Member of the House realises, that, if there is an Irish Parliament and forty-two Members here to fight the battles over again, the congestion will be greater and not less. The Foreign Secretary is a Member of the Government who has used that argument most frequently on the platform, but he has changed his attitude in the Debate. He does not say now that the congestion will be relieved by this Bill; he says it will be relieved by this Bill and subsequent developments, and he told us exactly what he meant. He said that the retention of Irish Members, who, for instance, can disestablish our Churches when we cannot interfere with them, is an absurdity, but he says—I think I am not exaggerating what he says—that he rather liked the anomaly because it would precipitate new arrangements. The Prime Minister said something of the same kind the other day, or at least he was reported in the newspapers to have said that our Constitution was so lop-sided that it could not continue. What does that mean? It means, in other words, they are setting up a system which cannot be altered for many years, but which is so intolerable that it must be brought to an end. That, after twenty years, when they have been thinking of little else than Home Rule, is the high-water mark of Radical statesmanship. They set up a system which is not only intolerable, but one of the merits of which is that it is intolerable. They pull down the House in order to improve the ventilation.
In spite of the opinion of the Foreign Secretary, I am going to look at some of the financial provisions of this wonderful Bill. I am not going to attempt any exhaustive examination. That would be impossible within any reasonable limit of time. I am going to consider them in the light of some of the statements made by different Members of the Government. The Prime Minister, for instance, held out to this House that this Bill was going to be a great relief to the British taxpayer. This is the argument. Ireland is a losing proposition, and the loss is likely, as years go on, to grow greater. We are going to continue for all time apparently the existing loss, but we will not be liable for further losses of the same kind. What truth is there in that assertion? Consider, for instance, the 683 question of loans, and that is the only aspect of this subject with which I shall deal, although there are many others. At present we are liable for something like £100,000,000 for land purchase, and this House undertakes to complete that. That will be something like £200,000,000. Our security depends absolutely on the new occupiers being satisfied with the condition of their holdings, and you are deliberately, and the hon. Member for Cork pointed it out, making an arrangement by which discontent must be created. You are not preparing to finish land purchase; no, but you are giving to the Irish Government control over the body which arranges rent. If that power is used to reduce rent, one-half of Ireland will try to get land purchase on one set of terms, and do you suppose the other half will be satisfied under the old set of terms? You are therefore deliberately lowering the value of the security for this immense sum. I notice that the Irish Secretary yesterday, in one of those interesting speeches which I always enjoy, contrasted his bad luck, for reasons which he would not admit, but which we all understand, in being unable to continue land purchase with the good luck of my right hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Wyndham). I remember reading somewhere, I am not sure where, but I think it is an expression of Frederick the Great, this saying:—Good management is the Mother of good luck.Perhaps that explains the misfortune of the right hon. Gentleman. That is not the only liability. Under your Bill the Exchequer Board, which I think will be the most powerful body in Ireland, far superior to any Prime Minister, for they will have to decide, not on matters of fact, but on matters of opinion; and on questions which will settle how much revenue the Irish Government will have the Exchequer Board is to issue loans to any extent justified by the security of this transferred sum, and there is certain to be a difference of opinion between the Irish Government and the Exchequer Board as to what is justified by the transferred sum. But in any case that body is appointed by this House. It is under us, and we shall undoubtedly be liable for the loans created under these conditions. Yet over those loans and over the Government which issues them, and over the way the money is spent, this House will not have a shadow of control. That is not all. The Irish Government can borrow to any 684 extent it pleases without regard to the Exchequer Board or anybody else. It is true that nominally it must borrow on Irish security, but it is made a Trustee Stock, and is there anybody in this House would doubt that so long as Ireland is even nominally a part of the United Kingdom we could not allow her to repudiate her debt? We know that. The financial gentlemen will know it too, and they will issue loans not at a reasonable price as if we were responsible; they will look at it as a gamble with a double security—whatever Ireland is worth, and the chance of our making it good. In that way, undoubtedly, the Irish Government will raise money in a manner in which, if it were a self-governing Colony, it could not raise it. That is not a mere imaginary danger. I am not attributing any special dose of sin to Irish Members. Every new Parliament of inexperienced men tries to get to the millennium in a hurry, and the way they do it is by all sorts of schemes for improving the condition of Ireland. They borrow money for the purpose, and the result is, in reality, this House becomes liable for capital sums which it would never itself sanction, and over the expenditure of which it has absolutely no control. That is what the right hon. Gentleman calls cutting our losses. The right hon. Gentleman said that Ireland is going to be united to the United Kingdom by a cash nexus. I think no one more than the right hon. Gentleman has poured so much contempt on the idea that material interests help to consolidate Empire. In the ease of our Colonies such things were "sordid bonds." Are Irishmen different from our Colonists?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I am sorry. But I think the right hon. Gentleman has taken the same view. In any case, I agree with the view that an economic interest is one of the strongest ties. But financial connection can only be of use in that respect if it is free from friction. Hon. Gentlemen who cheer that statement evidently have not taken the trouble to read the Bill. This measure is teeming with subjects of friction What is the whole principle on which the finance of this Bill is based? The taxes, whether imposed here or in Ireland, are to be collected by the British Government. We are to collect the money and the Irish Government is to spend it. The British Government goes to the Irish taxpayer in the sole capacity 685 of a tax collector, and the Irish Government is the fairy godmother distributing the gifts which have been collected by the British ogre. And that is going to make Ireland love England! There is another effect of this wonderful provision. Under that arrangement the Irish Chancellor will have absolutely no inducement to put his taxes in such a way that the amount of yield will correspond to the cost of collection. If Ireland should be fortunate enough—and it is possible—to have a Chancellor of the Exchequer with the financial genius of the present occupant of that office, he might impose taxes like some with which we are familiar, which would bring in £40,000 or £50,000, and cost from £600,000 to £700,000 to collect. That would be good business for the Irish Government. They would get their £40,000 or £50,000, and this House and the British Government would pay the £600,000 or £700,000.
The right hon. Gentleman told us that under the present arrangement no Irishman has any interest in economy. But what interest in economy has he under this Bill? Gentlemen favourable to the proposals of the Government like Lord Mac-Donnell and the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. William O'Brien) have pointed out that there is hardly any room for economy in the services which are transferred. What interest have they to promote economy in services we control and they expend? Take the case of old age pensions. They are at present under a Board which will be under the control of the Irish Government. The Board decides the right to pensions. What interest have they in keeping the claims down? The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. He may say, if he likes, that, under the Bill, we have the power to arrange that as we like. Quite so. But then I will put him on the horns of another dilemma. Are you going to have two Executive Governments in Ireland—one to look after the reserved services, and the other to look after the Irish services? Obviously they cannot be managed from England. You will leave the Irish Government to spend the money. But look at the effect under your beautiful Bill. The Irish Government has the right at any moment to take over a service which is not a reserved service. Suppose they wish to take over old age pensions, which is a reserved service. They have the right to do so when they please. If they wish to take it over it is the duty of the Irish Government to see 686 that the cost is high enough to make sure that they do not lose any money by the transaction. The interest of the Irish Government is to make the expense so high that, when they take it over, they will make money by the transfer. That is the economy of the Bill: it is economy at the expense of the British taxpayer. Then the Postmaster-General, who had plenty of opportunities of explaining these things if he had been able to do so, made a very illuminating statement. He said:—Any financial system must be so arranged that one Chancellor of the Exchequer will not be hampered by the other.How does that work out under this Bill? Take one consideration only at present. Of the Irish revenue something like two and a quarter millions is got from the duties on tea, tobacco, and sugar. The Irish Parliament has a right to reduce or take off those duties. If they do the Irish taxpayer benefits and the Irish Government loses the money. Under the wonderful provisions of your Bill if this House takes off the duty the Irish taxpayer still gets relief and the Irish Government does not lose any money. It is the loss of the British taxpayer. Look at the effect of this in the light of one Chancellor of the Exchequer not hampering the other. When the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer comes to make up his Budget and wants to take off the duty on tea, he waits to see if the English Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken it off first, so that he may not lose the money, and at the same time get the benefit. On the other hand, if the English Chancellor of the Exchequer wants to take off the duty he knows that if he takes it off he has to find the money, and he waits earnestly to see whether the Irish Government will not take off the duty. This Bill, which does not hamper the different Chancellors of the Exchequer, will be like a donkey race in which each of them will try all he can to get to the goal last. And when we have our complete federal system, and there are four or five Chancellors of the Exchequer entered for this race, it will be the most exciting event in history. I do not know whether hon. Gentlemen opposite will believe me, but it is really the fact, that I have only touched these financial provisions. They are full of anomalies and absurdities which can never work in practice.
There are a good many other subjects on which I must say something. There is no argument—if you can call it an argument— 687 which the Government and their supporters are so fond of using, as the argument from Colonial experience. What is the lesson which Colonial experience teaches us? It is, as I understand it, that free government is better than autocratic government; that in every case where we have given free self-government to our Colonies it has been successful. I admit that. But the people who use that argument forget something. From the nature of the case the Colonies had no choice, none, between Colonial self-government and autocratic government. It was not possible for them to have free government as part of the United Government. There is no analogy there to Ireland. Ireland has a free government, and self-government, just as much as England or Scotland has it. What then is the use of that analogy? [HON. MEMBERS: "They have more."] Yes, they have more, and if I had time I would give reasons why it would not be more much longer. The Colonial example which they are so fond of quoting is that of South Africa. What lesson does South Africa teach us in regard to this problem? The South African Colonies decided on a Union. They took plenty of time about it, they not only examined the conditions in South Africa, but they had the opportunity—as I know from conversations with men who took part in it—and they did consider the experience of other Colonies. They were perfectly free to choose a federal or a unitary form of government. They chose the unitary form of government. I heard some hon. Gentlemen, who evidently have not read the South Africa Act, saying that South Africa has Home Rule. I wonder whether any of them have ever read the powers given by this South Africa Act. If nobody maintains that they have anything like Home Rule, I will not go on with it.
That is the argument, that because South Africa chose a unitary government, and it succeeded there, we should take a federal government, and it will succeed. That is not the chief use they made of South Africa. No, it is sentimental; it is the union of hearts. This is the kind of argument: "Think of the Transvaal. There are two races in South Africa. Only twelve years ago they were fighting against each other on a field of battle; now they are united in one Government, and they are working harmoniously. There are two peoples in Ireland, they are not more hostile." That is what they say, but I am not 688 so sure if they are not more hostile. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] I really mean that. I believe that the feeling of hostility of brave foes in the field dies down far quicker than this does. "You have two races in Ireland which are not more hostile. Put them under one Government, and they will work harmoniously also." What are the facts? Both races in South Africa desired the Union, the one just as much as the other. There was very little opposition, and what there was came as much from one section as from the other. In regard to Natal, the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Robert Harcourt), who was speaking just before I rose, and who very appropriately gave expression to the burning desire of Scotland to manage Scotch affairs by Scotchmen, said that Natal is like Ulster.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
An analogy to Ulster. What happened in Natal? The framers of the South African Union realised so completely that it could not succeed unless it was accepted that the Government of Natal refused to agree to it until they had taken a Referendum and satisfied themselves upon it. This, then, is the argument: Because a Union accepted by both races has worked well, therefore a Union which is forced upon one race by the bayonet will also work well. If one of the races had refused to have anything to do with it, would the Bill have been carried? But that is not the complete comparison. If a minority in South Africa had been so homogeneous, so united, and so strong, that there was no power in Africa which would have enabled the majority to compel the obedience of the minority, would we not only have passed the Bill but sent British soldiers to force them to accept it. That is the analogy, and the only analogy. That brings me to speak of Ulster. I have spoken of it before, and so has every Member on this side of the House, and I am not going to say very much about it. Everyone who has spoken from this side has put a question which has never even been touched, and which I should like the Prime Minister to answer to-night. How do you justify, on the principles of your own Bill, forcing the people of Ulster into this Constitution against their will? Ireland is just as much as England a part of the United Kingdom. The Nationalists who 689 desire Home Rule are a very small minority of the people of the United Kingdom. The Ulster loyalists are a very large section of the population of Ireland. Is it on the ground of nationality? Can anyone in this House, who has listened to the speeches from below the Gangway and to the speeches of Members from Ulster above the Gangway, doubt that if there is any difference of nationality at all in the United Kingdom, in everything that constitutes nationality, in race—and I do not think there is much difference of race in any way—in religion, and, what counts more, in prejudices, the difference between the North and the South in Ireland is far greater than the difference between Ireland as a whole and the United Kingdom. In Belfast and the surrounding counties there is a population of something like a million people—nearly as great as the whole white population of South Africa—in which Unionist feeling predominates to almost, if not quite, the same extent as Nationalist feeling predominates in Dublin. That was denied by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. T. W. Russell), who made a speech which illustrates what I am afraid is a characteristic of everyone who has had his political experience. He is not trusted by his own new friends, and he must be more bitter than the bitterest Nationalist. How did he try to put a wedge in the solidarity of Ulster? He said that at the Presbyterian Convention—he said it was a great convention—there were 101 ministers, I thought he was going to say "who voted in favour of Home Rule," but he did not say that, he said, "Who were not present at the convention." I do not know whether he is a Presbyterian himself. I can imagine no greater insult to a body which I respect than to suggest that these men stayed away hiding their convictions because they were afraid to express them. How does this district show its solidarity?
The Prime Minister pointed to the fact that in Ireland, whatever happened in our elections, one issue was predominant. It is precisely the same in Ulster. At election after election they return men opposed absolutely to Home Rule, and they have far more temptation than the rest of Ireland to do otherwise. Belfast is a great democratic community, with the same interest in labour questions that artisans have elsewhere. Yet these interests are sunk in horror at the prospect of being subjected to a Nationalist Parliament. On what ground do you compel these people 690 to go in with the others? Is it because you say they are made a nation because they live in the same island? What about Scotland and England? How can you justify what you are doing? You cannot justify it in the way the right hon. Gentleman did by peddling arguments about the difficulty of Ulster in resisting. That is not the point I am raising. Do you attempt to justify morally what you are doing? It is my real conviction that to force these people out of a constitution which they like into a constitution which they detest, and to subject them to a Government which they abhor is an act of tyranny as cruel and unjustifiable as has ever taken place. You know, even if you wish to exercise that tyranny, and you do not want to do it—you hate the prospect of it—you know that you dare not exercise it. Then why not drop it? We are being constantly accused of inciting to violence. What are you doing? The Foreign Secretary told us that hon. Members on that side had great sympathy with small nationalities. There is one exception; they have no sympathy with nationalities which vote against them. The Foreign Secretary said something which, if the word of a responsible Minister has any meaning, implied that you do not intend to force these proposals on Ulster against the will of the people of Ulster. He said that if Ulster refused to accept it, and made it impossible something else would have to be done. Do you not now know that Ulster does refuse to accept it? So long as you go on with this Bill, the words of the Foreign Secretary are a direct invitation to Ulster to show still more clearly than they have shown, that they will not have it. How can they show it more clearly except by violence? Will nothing satisfy you until there has been bloodshed? On your own admission you ought to say now, if the Foreign Secretary meant what he said—and the First Lord of the Admiralty said something very like it—that nobody will try to persuade Ulster to accept it, that you will not force it upon her against her will.
Whatever you do, our duty is clear. You have pretended that you have a mandate from the country for Home Rule. Do you still make that pretence? There was some indication of how much truth there was in it this afternoon, and a very considerable indication in my opinion. I was a candidate for a Division of Manchester at the last election. I tried to convince the electors that that election was a case of Home Rule in disguise. I failed. The 691 hon. Gentleman (Sir George Kemp) beat me, and he has shown this afternoon how much Home Rule was an issue in that election. I confess it was a surprise to me that he had declared at the time of the election that he was opposed to Home Rule, but that makes the case all the stronger. If Home Rule had been the issue at that election, would the Liberal party in Manchester have accepted him as their candidate, and still more, would Members of the Cabinet, as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Churchill) did, have gone to Manchester and supported him? You have succeeded, by methods which we all understand, in placing yourself in a splendid position—on paper. If ever another Machiavelli with a "modern eye" comes upon the scene to write a treatise on statecraft, not for the benefit of a young Prince, but of a budding demagogue, he will point to your efforts at the last Election as the greatest example in history of modern statesmanship. You have succeeded in placing yourself in a position where you think you can carry any measure whatever the opinion of the people may be. Or, if that is putting it stronger than you will admit, you will admit that you think you have placed yourself in a position where you yourself are to be the sole judge, from whose decision there is to be no appeal, as to what the opinion of the country is. That is not constitutional government. It is a dictatorship. It is only a paper dictatorship, which will crumble about your ears when it is resisted. We shall resist it, and you will find that you will never carry this Bill without submitting it to the judgment of the people, against whom you think you have entrenched yourselves.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bonar Law) was mistaken in supposing that I had any desire that he should curtail the length of his observations. Indeed, I should have been glad if he had gone on a little longer in the same vein in which he finished. The time which still remains is enough and more than enough for me to summarise, I hope adequately, though not, of course, exhaustively, the main arguments which have emerged on one side and the other in the course now of a nine days' Debate. Let me, in the first place, point out that no serious attempt has been made in the whole of this discussion to meet the argument with which I opened it—an argument founded upon the nature, character, 692 and persistence of the Irish demand—a demand in this sense unexampled in history—that it has been preferred by the representatives under a democratic system of government of four-fifths of the Irish people, that it has been preferred election after election without variation during the lifetime almost of a whole generation—[An HON. MEMBER: "Of whom?"]—I am speaking of the people of Ireland—during the lifetime almost of a whole generation, and, what is not unimportant, not in the least degree slackened or abated by the transformation which has gone on during the latter part of that time—the transformation of the Irish tenant farmer into the proprietor and freeholder of his land. I venture to say to the House that, if such a demand had been made under similar conditions by any community of our race throughout the length of the British Empire, there is not a man on either side of this House who would not have said that primâ facie, at any rate, it is entitled to consideration. Safeguards, of course, I agree ought to be provided if they are needed for the protection of minorities; guarantees, if guarantees are necessary, ought to be stipulated for the maintenance of Imperial supremacy, but subject to these conditions a demand so authenticated and so persisted in is one which a democratic Parliament in these days is bound to assent to.
Let me note another feature of this Debate. Nor is the demand any longer met, as it used to be in the earlier days of Home Rule, by the suggestion that the Irish people, either through congenital defects or through the accidents of their history, are unfit or incapacitated for civil and political government. That was a proposition which it was always difficult to maintain in face of the services which Irishmen everywhere have rendered to this Empire. In the course of this Debate we have had compliments lavished upon the Irish Members from that side of the House, from that bench in particular, with a profusion and an exuberance which must have been as delightful as it must also have been surprising to them. Indeed, one of the main allegations made by Gentlemen opposite is that the system which they are so anxious to maintain, that system under which we live, is a system which continually gives a decisive and even a predominant voice to the representatives of Ireland, both over our domestic and our Imperial concerns.
693 Let me here, only by way of parenthesis, interrupt my argument for a moment to refer to a statement of my own which has been more than once quoted in the course of these Debates, and was quoted, I think, by the Leader of the Opposition in his first speech. It is a statement made, I think, about ten years ago, when I said that in my opinion it would not be desirable for the Liberal party to undertake the handling of this problem of Irish Home Rule in dependence on the Irish vote. That is a statement that has been a great deal cheered in the course of these proceedings. It was made, as anybody who studies the context will see, in reference to the condition of things which existed in the year 1893, when there was a majority in Great Britain against Home Rule. What is the state of things to day? Omitting the Irish representation altogether from the Division we are going to take, you will find a majority, I venture to predict a solid, substantial majority, of British representatives in favour of the Second Reading of this Bill. That is an unpalatable consideration for hon. Gentlemen opposite. In order to meet it they have devised that new method of calculation, of which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand gave us some illustrations the other night. It is a very simple, a very easy one. It consists in subtracting the Irish vote from the Division List when Irish Members vote with the Government, but in keeping the Irish vote in the Division List when they vote with the Opposition. That is the latest device of Unionist arithmetic. I can only say that I cannot express any admiration for it in more sincere and unaffected terms than when I say it is -worthy of the palmiest days of Tariff Reform. I now come back to the main argument.
The demand to which I have referred, of four-fifths of the representatives of Ireland, which is not, and cannot be, denied, was met in this way—it was so met just now by the right hon. Gentleman in the concluding passage of his speech—that we are told that this realisation is to be vetoed by the irreconcilable and implacable hostility of the Ulster minority. I have already pointed out that Great Britain is in favour of it. [HON. MEMBEES: "Oh, oh."] I have never spoken, and I never will speak, with any disrespect or contempt for the conscientious and deeply entertained opinion of the minority of Ulster. I confess I think that they have not been happy in the presentation of their case. The right hon. and learned junior 694 Member for Dublin University (Mr. J. H. Campbell), in a very able speech the other night, one to which I listened with very great interest, said that he had been about this country a great deal, and that wherever he had come up—"come up," I think, were his words—against the manhood of the country, he had found that they responded to this appeal on behalf of the Ulster minority. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will allow me to say, without offence, that I have lived in this country a longer time than he has—I say that entirely without offence—and perhaps know the British people a little better, and I will tell him that—which I believe to be true—the British people are a just people and also a generous people, and they detest intolerance, persecution, and oppression in any form. But the British people are not people to be frightened out of doing that which they believe to be just by the language of intimidation. I have said that I recognise the genuineness and reality of the sentiment of Ulster. We have sought to allay whatever legitimate fears and apprehensions they may entertain by the safeguards we have introduced into the Bill. We have asked them repeatedly, over and over again, in these Debates to say what further safeguards they desire. [HON. MEMBERS "Oh!"] That, of course, is the spirit in which it has been received. We are told that we are to expect nothing from Ulster but absolute unyielding and uncompromising resistance; in other words, that is the position which was taken up by the Leader of the Opposition just now. There is to be no Home Rule for Ireland so long as Ulster or a portion of Ulster, is opposed to it. I wonder if hon. Gentlemen who have been cheering that statement have ever reflected what it really means, and what are the consequences of its meaning. What is called the liberum veto of the Polish constitution was nothing, absolutely nothing, to it. I will put again the question which was put with great force by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, two or three nights ago. As he pointed out, there are two positions taken up with regard to this matter of Ulster by the critics and opponents of this Bill, which are very difficult to reconcile one with the other. The first is this, and it is a very favourite argument with English critics of Home Rule; that the issue of Home Rule was not submitted to the electors at the last election. The right hon. Gentleman has just repeated it. I am not going to go into it in any detail. Sufficient for me that 695 there is not a single man, I believe, sitting now on that Front Bench opposite who at the General Election of December, 1910, did not declare Home Rule was an issue. I am not going to go through the quotations, one is quite enough for me. I quote what was said by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition at Penge on 17th November, 1910. It is very short and very much to the point:—If the precious Veto Bill were law now, Home Rule would be passed to-morrow.Perhaps I may refresh the recollection of the House of Commons upon that point. We had another very significant, and it was a very ingenuous testimony to the same effect in the course of this Debate from one of the Ulster Members—I think it was from the hon. Member for South Antrim. He told us his majority, the majority in one of those well entrenched Protestant counties in Ulster, had been multiplied, I do not know how many fold, two, three, or four times, "Because I had made it clear that Home Rule would be the first thing introduced." But, let me pursue the argument. The argument is this, that a measure of this kind, or, at any rate, the principles involved in it, ought to be submitted to the electors before it is passed into law, or sought to be passed into law. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Now be careful. Those cheers are a little premature. What is the inference from that argument. The inference from the argument is this, that if and when it is submitted to the electors and approved of by them it ought to be passed into law, or, at any rate, that it it is within the constitutional competence of the House of Commons so to pass it. In other words, when the Bill so submitted to the electors and so approved by them becomes an Act of Parliament it is the duty of all loyal subjects to submit to it. Let us take the other position, the position, I will not say, of the representatives, but of the spokesmen of the Ulster minority. Are they going to submit to Home Rule when it has been approved by the electorate of Great Britain—are they? [HON. MEMBERS: "Wait and see."] Do not tell me "wait and see." That shows an extraordinary lowering of temperature. What has become of the flag that was raised at Belfast in the month of April—[HON. MEMBERS: "Wait and see"]—in the presence of the Leader of the Opposition. Let me refresh the memories of hon. Gentlemen 696 who are now prepared to wait and see. What was the attitude of Ulster at that time? I read from the "Times" report:—"The right hon. Gentleman elicited great enthusiasm." How did he elicit great enthusiasm? He elicited great enthusiasm by declaring that even if both parties in Great Britain were committed to Home Rule, Ulster would still resist. Then see what followed. The right hon. Gentleman was not content with a mere rhetorical expression like that. There was an initiatory rite gone through, to which the vast gathering who had shown this great enthusiasm proceeded to submit themselves:—The vast gathering——this is from the "Times" report, and the Leader of the Opposition was present—repeated after him—What?the formula of their faith.What is it?We will never in any circumstances submit to Home Rule.[Opposition cheers.] Yes, but that is not "waiting and seeing." What we want to know, and what we have never been told yet, although we have had a very large number of very long speeches from right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. [An HON. MEMBER: "Your own side as well."] I am not complaining. On both, sides there have been long speeches, much too long, and I wish to set an example of brevity if I can. There have been a number of at any rate very elaborate speeches from right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, and what we want to know from them is this. It is a question which has never yet been answered, although put more than once. Do they or do they not agree that if Home Rule is or becomes within the constitutional competence of this Parliament, with the approval of the electorate of the United Kingdom, Ulster is entitled to resist? [HON. MEMBERS: "Try it," and "Answer."]
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Let me pass from that. [Opposition cheers.] I am not surprised that hon. Gentlemen opposite are glad that I should pass from that. Let me pass on, as time is limited, to say a few words on another point dealt with by the Leader of the Opposition, namely, what are called the safeguards in the Bill. There has been a great deal of Debate, necessarily and naturally, upon the expediency or inexpediency, the need or want of 697 need, of what are called safeguards. The safeguards have been defended by those who think them unnecessary, and they have been attacked by people who think that however much you might add on paper to their number and their strength they would still be of no value. There appears to be in some quarters, at any rate, a little confusion of thought. In a measure of this kind you must distinguish between matters which are and matters which are not put within the competence of the new Irish legislature. In regard to those matters put within its power, I am in entire agreement with those who say that if you have sufficient confidence in the Irish people and their representatives to trust them with self-government, it is both useless and irritating to draw up a catalogue of prohibitions, of the sorts and categories of legislation which they are not to attempt, and which for the most part is legislation which only an assembly of rogues or rebels would endeavour to touch. In that respect, I think, the present Bill is a great improvement upon the Bill of 1893. Subject to the special protection for religious equality in the third Clause we are content, so far as these matters which are within the competence of the Irish Parliament are concerned, with a clear affirmation of the supremacy and overriding power of the Imperial Parliament, and with the veto which will reside in the last resort with the Imperial Executive.
There is another set of questions which are outside, and ought to be outside, the competence of any subordinate Legislature. The limitations that we have put upon them there are not in the strict sense of the word safeguards. They are limitations which, whether you proceed by enumeration or exclusion, are always necessary when you delegate or distribute legislative powers. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London told us that the position of the Irish Member in the new Irish House of Commons would be too humiliating a one for any man of patriotism or ordinary ambition to accept. He said he would be so manacled and fettered that he would not know how to move. He contrasted his position as the Member of the Irish House of Commons with the happy fortune which he has now, when he wanders at large and browses at will, over the whole field of our Imperial and domestic concerns. But that is not very much to the point. There is no case that has ever yet occurred— 698 take, for instance, the case which the right hon. Gentleman alluded to a few moments ago—in which you have sought to distribute legislative powers between the central authority and the subordinate local authorities in which in the same way you have not had to go through precisely this process of confining the action of the local authority to matters which were of purely local concern. If the Irish Legislature transcends the line of demarcation between that which is local and that which is Imperial its acts are void, its laws are of no effect, no one is bound to obey them, and no one can be punished for disobedience. That is the reservation we put on the powers of the Irish Parliament. These are the safeguards that exist in every written federal Constitution from that of the United States downwards. Surely our critics in this matter are very hard to please. In one breath they declare against the enormity of the grant of Home Rule to Ireland at all; in the next breath they are full of compassion for the truncated, mutilated powers of this poor, poverty-stricken Irish Parliament. I observe that none of the representatives of Nationalist Ireland have raised any difficulty upon this point. It is left to the representatives of Ulster, who will have nothing whatever to do with the Irish Parliament, and English Conservatives, who are opposed to Home Rule, to show that sensitiveness and sympathy for the relative impotence of the Irish Parliament. I venture to say that the attitude of the Irish Members is a perfectly natural one. Why? With this exception of the reserved services, and apart from land purchase, that are only temporarily and provisionally reserved, the Irish Parliament obtains legislative and administrative power over every matter of every kind which is of purely Irish concern. Why should Ireland ask for more; why should she be content with less? I must hurry to a conclusion. I am extremely sorry not to have time to deal with some of the criticism which the right hon. Gentleman opposite has made. I certainly should not have shrunk from dealing with our financial proposals. But I must say, because I think it is of greater importance, two or three words on the question of finality. It is perfectly true, as the hon. and learned Member for Waterford said, this afternoon, that it is only in one sense, though the most important of all senses, that a measure of this kind can claim the attribute of finality. It is final, as we believe, offered by us and accepted by 699 them as a settlement of a long-standing and secular international problem. That is final in the sense that there will be no necessity hereafter, or may be no necessity, to modify some of its mechanical provisions, or that it is final in the sense that we are going to stop with this measure of Home Rule for Ireland, and not proceed further in the path of devolution, no one has ever claimed or ever will.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City (Mr. Balfour) put a series of questions again in his speech the other night, I think, if I may say so, of a very pertinent kind. I may summarise them by saying they amount to this. He asked whether there is any case we can cite in which the federal system has been created on the same lines and under the same conditions which we are prescribing and following in this Bill. That question can be answered and may be answered in the negative without in any way invalidating the case for the Bill as it stands. What are the instances, and perhaps the only instances, at any rate of modern history, of successful federation? They are cases where you have a group of separately organised communities, sometimes, as in the case of the United States of America, actual Sovereign States living side by side and combining together in a Union for purposes which are common to them all, and as a condition of which each of them surrenders some and retains others of its preexisting powers. I agree that that is the normal type of federation. Here we are pursuing precisely the same object, but the historical and actual conditions are reversed. We start, as I said when I introduced this Bill, from a congested centre. We start from a Union which actually exists, both formally and substantially. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, but a Union which has this peculiarity: that while for common purposes all its constituent members can deliberate and act together, none of them is at liberty to deal with those matters which are specially appropriate and necessary for itself without the common consent of all. My proposition is this, and it is my answer to the right hon. Gentleman's questions, that union of that nature is just as fatal to what we all have in view as the end of democratic polity, namely, that combination of central union with local autonomy—a union of that nature is just as fatal to that object as is the separate existence of States side by side which 700 have never entered into a union at all. Until they federate and become a union they cannot enjoy the advantage of common action for common purposes.
We are content to delegate local matters, to the different constituent units. However well we may transact—we cannot ever do that—our common and Imperial affairs, we must perpetually bungle and mismanage the affairs of each unit. That, Sir, is what Home Rule, as we understand it, and federation as we are going to pursue it, means for the people of this country. It is no good telling me if you take down, from your shelves a dictionary of constitutional terms and turn to the big F's and find "Federation" defined in a particular way and then turn to the big U's and find "Union" defined in a particular way, and neither one definition nor the other fits the circumstances of our own case—to tell me that is an objection to our Bill is to mistake pedantry for statesmanship. This is my answer to those of our critics who ask us whether we are going to apply the provisions of this Bill in subsequent legislation to Scotland, Wales, and the different units of the United Kingdom. My answer is this: I know of no cast-iron pattern and no cut-and-dried formula which is or which can be equally appropriate to the special purposes, the local conditions, and the historic traditions of all the different parts of the Empire.
Let us get away from phrases and formulæ and look at facts. What we desire is real union, legislative and executive, which for common and central purposes we may have the time, ability, and the capacity to deal with in the interests of all, and on the other hand local freedom, local elasticity, local flexibility, and local power of adaptation, which will enable each of the separate communities to mould each its domestic fortunes in accordance with its own ideals. That is what Home Rule means and federation means as we understand those terms. But, and this shall be my last word, the claim of Ireland comes first. The claim of Ireland is paramount in urgency—[An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"]—paramount because there is no part of this United Kingdom to which we here in the Imperial Parliament owe so long and so deep a debt—for opportunities are allowed to slip by—for the persistent neglect, of generation after generation, of crying social and economic evils—aye! for wrongs allowed to be done under the 701 sanction and with the direct authority of the law. Ireland is entitled to the first place in our legislation. I came across a day or two ago a remarkable passage in the writings of one of the greatest of Englishmen, Lord Bacon, who, at the beginning, or nearly at the beginning of the reign of King James I., presented a memorial which he called "A discourse touching the plantation in Ireland." I dare say it contained a great deal of what we should now think very heretical doctrines, but it contained some very prescient truths. I will venture to read two sentences from it to the House. He says to the King:—I assure myself England, Scotland, and Ireland well united, would be such a trefoil as no prince except yourself weareth in his crown.Observe Lord Bacon's phrase, "well united." He goes on, speaking of Ireland, to say:—This desolate and neglected country is blessed with almost all the dowers of Nature—a race and generation of men, valiant, hard, and active, as it is not easy to find. Such confluence of commodities, if the hand of man did join with the hand of Nature! But they are severed.We desire that severance to cease. We wish the hand of man to join with the hand of Nature to bring about for the first time in deed as well as in name a united Kingdom.
§ Mr. JAMES MASON
The Prime Minister has just told us that under the letter "F" you will find no real definition of the word "Federalism," nor shall we find any true definition of the word "Union." I cannot help thinking we shall find a very full description of this. Bill under the letter "M"—madness. I have been very much struck to hear several speakers on that side mention almost in the same breath "Imperial, supremacy" and "cutting our loss." Anything more incompatible than those two things it would be impossible to conceive. It is the maintenance of the supremacy of this Parliament which absolutely binds together the financial interests of these two countries that makes any cutting of our loss completely impossible. Can anyone suggest that our national credit and that our security for our enormous advance to Ireland under the Land Purchase Acts are not so interwoven together that we cannot allow Ireland: to become bankrupt?
§ Question put.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 370; Noes, 270.707
|Division No. 86.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Brady, P. J.||Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Brocklehurst, William B.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Brunner, J. F. L.||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)|
|Adamson, William||Bryce, J. Annan||Dawes, J. A.|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||De Forest, Baron|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Burke, E. Haviland||Delany, William|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Devlin, Joseph|
|Alden, Percy||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Dewar, Sir J. A.|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Dickinson, W. H.|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Dillon, John|
|Armitage, R.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Doris, W.|
|Atherley-Jones, Liewellyn A.||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Duffy, William J.|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Chancellor, Henry G.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan)|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmot (Somerset)||Clancy, John Joseph||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Clough, William||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)|
|Barran, Sir J. (Hawick)||Clynes, John R.||Elverston, Sir Harold|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary)|
|Barton, W. W.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)|
|Beale, W. P.||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Essex, Richard Walter|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Esselmont, George Birnie|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Falconer, J.|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts, St. George)||Cotton, William Francis||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Bentham, G. J.||Cowan, W. H.||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Firench, Peter|
|Black, Arthur W.||Crean, Eugene||Field, William|
|Boland, John Plus||Crooks, William||Fitzgibbon, John|
|Booth, Frederick Handet||Crumley, Patrick||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Cullinan, J.||France, G. A.|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Furness, Stephen|
|Boyle, D. (Maye, N.)||Davies, Ellis William (Eiflen)||Gelder, Sir W. A.|
|Brace, William||Davies, David (Montgomery Ce.)||George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd|
|Gilhooly, James||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Radford, G. H.|
|Gill, A. H.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Ginnell, L.||McGhee, Richard||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Glanville, H. J.||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Macpherson, James Ian||Reddy, Michael|
|Goldstone, Frank||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||M'Callum, John M.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||M'Curdy, C. A.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||M'Kean, John||Richards, Thomas|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||M'Laren, Hon.F.W.S. (Lines., Spalding)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Guiney, P.||Manfield, Harry||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Gulland, John W.||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Robertson, Sir C. Scott (Bradford)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Hackett, J.||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Martin, J.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Hancock, J. G.||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Meagher, Michael||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Rowlands, James|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Middlebrook, William||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Millar, James Duncan||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Molloy, M.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Harwood, George||Molteno, Percy Alport||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Scott, A MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Hayward, Evan||Mooney, J. J.||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Morgan, George Hay||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, East)||Morrell, Philip||Sheehy, David|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Muidoon, John||Shortt, Edward|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Munro, R.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Smith, Albert (Lanes, Clitheroe)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Hinds, John||Needham, Christopher T.||Snowden, P.|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Neilson, Francis||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Hodge, John||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Hogge, James Myles||Nolan, Joseph||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||Norman, Sir Henry||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, W.)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Sutton, John E.|
|Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Nuttall, Harry||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Brien, William (Cork, N.E.)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Hughes, S. L.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||O'Doherty, Philip||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|John, Edward Thomas||O'Donnell, Thomas||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Dowd, John||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Ogden, Fred||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Grady, James||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Nots, Rushcliffe)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||O'Malley, William||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Keating, M.||O'Shee, James John||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Kelly, Edward||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Wardle, George J.|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Parker, James (Halifax)||Waring, Walter|
|King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Lamb, Ernest Henry||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S.Molton)||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Webb, H.|
|Lansbury, George||Phillips, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Pirle, Duncan V.||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Pointer, Joseph||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Leach, Charles||Pollard, Sir George H.||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Power, Patrick Joseph||Whyte, A. F.|
|Logan, John William||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Priestley, Sir Arthur Grantham||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Lundon, T.||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Williams, Lleweilyn (Carmarthen)|
|Lyeil, Charles Henry||Primrose, Hon. Neil James||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Lynch, A. A.||Pringle, M. R.||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)||Winfrey, Richard||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Wilson, Henry J. (Yorks, W.R.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth.|
|Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Agg-Gardnor, James Tynte||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Duke, Henry Edward||Lloyd, George Ambrose|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Astor, Waldorf||Fell, Arthur||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee|
|Bagot, Lieut-Col. J.||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)|
|Baird, J. L.||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)|
|Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover, Sq.)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Fitzroy, Hon. E. A.||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fleming, Valentine||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Macmaster, Donald|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Forster, Henry William||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Foster, Philip Staveley||M'Mordie, Robert James|
|Barnston, Harry||Gardner, Ernest||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Gibbs, G. A.||Malcolm, Ian|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts., Wilton)||Gilmour, Captain John||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Glazebrook, Capt, Philip K.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Goldman, C. S.||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Goldsmith, Frank||Middlemore, John Throgmorton|
|Benn, I. H. (Greenwich)||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Moore, William|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Grant, J. A.||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Greene, Walter Raymond||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Bird, Alfred||Gretton, John||Mount, William Arthur|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Guinness, Hon.W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds)||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Newman, John R. P.|
|Boyton, James||Haddock, George Bahr||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hall, C. B. (Isle of Wight)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Nield, Herbert|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Norton-Griffiths, J.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Burgoyne, A. H.||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Butcher, John George||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Harris, Henry Percy||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Campion, W. R.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Helmsley, Viscount||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Peel, Hon. William R. W. (Taunton)|
|Cassel, Felix||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Cator, John||Hickman, Col. T. E.||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Cave, George||Hills, John Waller||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Heare, Samuel John Gurney||Quitter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Ratcliff, R. F|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Rawlinson, John Frederic Peel|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)||Hope, Jams Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rawson, Col. Richard H.|
|Chambers, James||Horne, E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Horner, Andrew Long||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Houston, Robert Paterson||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Clyde, James Avon||Hunt, Rowland||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham)||Ingleby, Holcombe||Royds, Edmund|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Rutherford, John (Lanes., Darwen)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Kerry, Earl of||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Keswick, Henry||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninlan||Kimber, sir Henry||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Cripps, Sir C. A.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Croft, Henry Page||Knight, Captain E. A.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)|
|Dalziell, D. (Brixton)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Larmor, Sir J.||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Stanier, Beville|
|Dixon, C. H.||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Starkey, John Raiph||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall||Winterton, Earl|
|Staveley-Hill, Henry||Touche, George Alexander||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Steel-Maitland, A. D.||Tryon, Captain George Clement||Wood, Hon. Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Stewart, Gershom||Tullibardine, Marquess of||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)||Valentia, Viscount||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Swift, Rigby||Walker, Col. William Hall||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)||Wairond, Hon. Lionel||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Talbot, Lord Edmund||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)||Weigall, Capt. A. G.||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)||Wheler, Granville C. H.||Younger, Sir George|
|Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)||White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)|
|Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—LordBalcarres and Mr. W. W. Ashley.|
|Thynne, Lord Alexander||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'how' stand part of the Question."708
§ The House divided: Ayes, 372; Noes, 271.711
|Division No. 87.]||AYES.||[11.15 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Cotton, William Francis||Gulland, John William|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Cowan, W. H.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Hackett, J.|
|Adamson, William||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Crean, Eugene||Hancock, J. G.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Crooks, William||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Crumley, Patrick||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Cullinan, J.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Daiziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)|
|Alden, Percy||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Davies, E. William (Elfion)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Davies, Timothy (Louth)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)|
|Armitage, R.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Harwood, George|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewelyn A.||Dawes, J. A.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||De Forest, Baron||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Delany, William||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hayward, Evan|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Devlin, Joseph||Healy, Maurice (Cork)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness)||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, East)|
|Barran, Sir J. (Hawick)||Dickinson, W. H.||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Dillon, John||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Barton, W.||Donelan, Capt. A.||Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Beale, William Phipson||Doris, W.||Henry, Sir Charles S.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Duffy, William J.||Herbert, Cot. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Higham, John harp|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts, St. George)||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Hinds, John|
|Bentham, G. J.||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Hodge, John|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Hogge, James Myles|
|Black, Arthur W.||Elverston, Sir Harold||Holmes, Daniel Turner|
|Boland, John Plus||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Essex, Richard Waiter||Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Falconer, J.||Hudson, Walter|
|Brace, William||Farrell, James Patrick||Hughes, S. L|
|Brady, P. J.||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus|
|Brocklethurst, W. B.||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Firench, Peter||John, Edward Thomas|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Field, William||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Fitzgibbon, John||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||France, Gerald Ashburner||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Furness, Stephen W.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Gelder, Sir W. A.||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Jowett, F. W.|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Gilhooly, James||Joyce, Michael|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Gill, A. H.||Keating, M.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Ginnell, Laurence||Kellaway, Frederick George|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Kelly, Edward|
|Chancellor, Henry G.||Glanville, H. J.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||King, J. (Somerset, N.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Goldstone, Frank||Lamb, Ernest Henry|
|Clancy, Joseph||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S. Molton)|
|Clough, William||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Clynes, J. R.||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Lansbury, George|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Griffith, Ellis J.||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Leach, Charles|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Guiney, Patrick||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Dowd, John||Sheehy, David|
|Logan, John William||Ogden, Fred||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||O'Grady, James||Shortt, Edward|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Lundon, T.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||O'Malley, William||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Lynch, A. A.||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Snowden, P.|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||O'Shee, James John||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|McGhee, Richard||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Maclean, Donald||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, W.)|
|MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Sutton, John E.|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotterham)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|M'Curdy, C. A.||Philipps, Colonel Ivor (Southampton)||Tennant, Harold John|
|M'Kean, John||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Pirie, Duncan V.||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Pointer, Joseph||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs.,Spaiding)||Pollard, Sir George H.||Thorne, W. (West Ham)|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Manfield, Harry||Power, Patrick Joseph||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Marks, Sir George||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk E.)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Martin, J.||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
|Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James||Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Pringle, Win. M. R.||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Meagher, Michael||Radford, G. H.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry||Wardie, George J.|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Waring, Walter|
|Middlebrook, William||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Millar, James Duncan||Reddy, Michael||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Molloy, M.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Redmond, William, Clare, E.)||Webb, H.|
|Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Rendall, Atheistan||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Richards, Thomas||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Mooney, J. J.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Morgan, George Hay||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Whitehouse, John Howard)|
|Morrell, Philip||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir T. P.|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Whyte, A. F.|
|Muldoon, John||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Munro, R.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Roch, Walter F, (Pembroke)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Williams, Lleweiyn (Carmarthen)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Needham, Christopher T.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Neilson, Francis||Rose, Sir Charles Day||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Rowlands, James||Wilson, Henry J. (Yorks, W.R.)|
|Nolan, Joseph||Rowntree, Arnold||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil W.||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Nuttall, Harry||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|O'Brien, William (Cork, N.E.)||Scanlan, Thomas||Young, William (Perthshire, E.)|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Scely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth.|
|O'Donnell, Thomas||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Agg-Gardener, James Tynte||Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc, E.)||Burdett-Coutts, William|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Burgoyne, Alan Hughes|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Burn, Colonel C. R.|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Butcher, John George|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Benn, Ian Hamilton (Greenwich)||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)|
|Aster, Waldorf||Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Campion, W. R.|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Col. J.||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Beresford, Lord Charles||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Bigland, Alfred||Cassel, Felix|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Bird, Alfred||Castlereagh, Viscount|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Cator, John|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Cautley, Henry Strother|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Cave, George|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Boyton, James||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Minor)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)|
|Barnston, Harry||Bridgeman, William Clive||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Bull, Sir William James||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Chambers, James||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Clay, Captain H. H Spender||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Clyde, James Avon||Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Horner, Andrew Long||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham)||Houston, Robert Paterson||Rawson, Col. Richard H.|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Hunt, Rowland||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Ingleby, Holcombe||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Joynson-Hicks, William||Royds, Edmund|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Kerry, Earl of||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Croft, Henry Page||Keswick, Henry||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Kimber, Sir Henry||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Knight, Captain E. A.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Larmor, Sir J.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Lewisham, Viscount||Stanier, Beville|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lloyd, George Ambrose||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Fell, Arthur||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col A. R.||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Stewart, Gershom|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Swift, Rigby|
|Fleming, Valentine||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Sykes, Mark (Hull Central)|
|Forster, Henry William||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Mackinder, Halford J,||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Macmaster, Donald||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Gibbs, G. A.||M'Mordie, Robert James||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Gilmour, Captain John||M-Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Magnus, Sir Philip||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Goldman, C. S.||Malcolm, Ian||Touche, George Alexander|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Grant, J. A.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Greene, Walter Raymond||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Gretton, John||Moore, William||Warde, Coi. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Guinness, Hon.W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Mount, William Arthur||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Newdegate, F. A.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Newman, John R. P.||Winterton, Earl|
|Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Newton, Harry Kotingham||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Nield, Herbert||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Parkes, Ebenezer||Younger, Sir George|
|Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Peel, Hon. William R. W. (Taunton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Lord Balcarres and Mr. W. W. Ashley.|
|Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Hills, John Waller (Durham)||Peto, Basil Edward|
Bill read a second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next.—[The Prime Minister.]712
§ And, it being Half-past Eleven of the clock, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at Half after Eleven o'clock.