§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That. the Bill be now read the third time."—[Mr. Birrell.]66
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Motion to move to recommit the Bill to a Committee of the Whole House is out of order, as it would be nullifying altogether the Order which this House passed on 23rd June. The 67 same ruling applies to the two next notices of Motion on the Paper. The object of the House in passing that Order was that there should be no discussion on the Committee stage. That Order would be simply swept aside if it were open to an hon. Member to move to recommit the Bill to a Committee, where the whole discussion could be reopened.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I beg to propose, as an Amendment, to leave out the word "know," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."
I remember that this is the fifth time that there has been a discussion in this House of the general principle of the Bill, and in each of these discussions I have taken part. I confess, therefore, that it is with a very languid interest that I approach the subject once more. That want of interest is not due merely to the fact that obviously I cannot hope to find anything new to say upon it, for, fortunately for myself, I do not now remember my previous speeches, and I am not afraid that anyone will recollect what I have forgotten. The want of interest is due to another cause. It is that, so far as this House is concerned, the question is undoubtedly dead. Your Parliament Act, as a piece of machinery is, from your point of view, working very well. I happened to read yesterday with some interest and with some amusement an article by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scotland Division (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), in which he said that when he heard the Motion put from the Chair, "that this Bill be now reported to the House," and realised that not a word of discussion could take place, his heart rejoiced. The interest in the subject is not dead, but it is not here. It is outside these walls that the question will be decided. I remember reading a story—I think it is in one of Sir Walter Scott's novels—of a man who fond himself in an apparently ordinary room, and then suddenly discovered that the roof was beginning to move down towards the floor. [HON. MEMBERS: "Edgar Allan Poe."] I thank hon. Members for the correction. The roof moved slowly down to crush him. We are in precisely the same position. The mechanism is working slowly, but inevitably, and if nothing interferes with it, it will crush not us, but those who are affected by it outside. I do 68 not remember what was the end of the story. Perhaps help came from the outside, but in any case I am convinced that outside these walls the forces are gathering which will destroy the beautiful machinery which you have so carefully put together.
As far as I can remember when the Prime Minister introduced this Bill he justified it on three main considerations. He pointed to the long history of misunderstandings between Ireland and Great Britain and the open sores which these misunderstandings had led, and he pointed to this Bill as something which would heal these wounds. I am not going to argue every proposition or almost any proposition which I state. I shall leave it to the judgment of individual Members of this House, and I think that they must agree with me that the claim is one which can no longer be made. The word "provisional" is written on every Clause and every line of this Bill. If it came into law to-morrow it could settle nothing. It would not be the end; it would only be the beginning of the Irish difficulty. It would settle nothing even from the point of view of the Nationalists in Ireland on whose behalf you propose to carry it. Under this Bill, not only the possibility of friction, but the certainty of friction is found in every part of it. If anything went wrong in Ireland—and even the most incurable of optimists cannot hope that things will always go right—it is to the restrictions in this Bill that the evil will be attributed, and from the moment that this Bill becomes law, so far from settling the question, it will form merely the starting point of a new agitation, and an agitation which will be carried on with far greater force because of the leverage which will be given to it by the Parliament in Dublin. And what about the position in regard to Ulster, of which alone I shall say something in detail? There you are creating an evil, a difficulty far greater because far more unjust than the evil which you propose to remedy, and you are creating it with the knowledge that in so doing it you are acting without the authority of the people of this country whom you profess to represent.
Even from the point of view of England, the Bill is and must be transitory. Any proposal which allows forty-two Irish Members to come into this House and take part in our Debate with authority equal to ours, and from the nature of our party system with probably, as now, an authority far greater than ours, because they will 69 control the issue, must be transitory. Anyone who realises that, must realise that that is a state of things which, as soon as it is understood, cannot continue, and which, the moment that the people of England realise it, will become impossible. Such an arrangement means as truly now, as it meant in the time of Mr. Gladstone, more than twenty years ago, that under such a proposal there would be a subordinate and a paramount Parliament, but the paramount Parliament would be in Dublin and the subordinate Parliament would be at Westminster. The second ground, so far as I can recall it, as stated by the Prime Minister, was that this proposal was the first step towards a general and a necessary scheme of devolution. Can that claim be made now? The Prime Minister told us that in framing this Bill it was framed with that object, but after we have discussed it, does anyone doubt that so far from facilitating such an arrangement, it would in reality make it infinitely more difficult, and that if any scheme of general devolution were attempted, the first steps would be to abolish the constitution which you are now setting up? When anyone remembers the fantastic proposal about finance and separate Post Office and separate Custom House, it is evident that so far from helping such a general scheme this Bill would make it infinitely more difficult.
Indeed, the only sense in which it can be said with any truth that this Bill would help such an arrangement is the sense in which it was claimed by the Foreign Secretary, who told us that the arrangement under this Bill would be so absurd that its very absurdity would soon necessitate a change of consideration. That, therefore, is the method of the present Government. They make one Resolution in order that it may be necessary that another Resolution must inevitably follow. The third ground was that it was going to relieve congestion in the House of Commons. Can anyone make that claim now? We all know that the subjects which take up time and must take up time in this House will still be the reserved services, and, in addition to that, we know that if there are Members from Ireland in this House representing the different points of view in Ireland, it will undoubtedly be true, as was said by Mr. Morley, that in that case every dispute in the Irish Parliament will be fought over again here, and, instead of lessening the congestion, it will make it worse, and the last state will be far worse than the first. I would ask the House, I would ask hon. 70 Gentlemen opposite, to consider this Bill as it applies to Ulster, and to consider it for the moment not from the point of view of the possible resistance of Ulster, but from the point of view of the justice of what you propose to do. You are passing this Bill for the purpose of extending self-government. Is there any instance in the whole history of the world where, above all in the name of self-government, you have imposed a new arrangement on a homogeneous population which is satisfied with the present arrangement, and loathes and detests the arrangement which you propose to make for it? That is the essence of the whole question. It has been dealt with by hon. Gentlemen on that bench over and over again. They say that the minority must submit and the majority must decide. That is perfectly true.
But in the case of Ireland you are begging the question in making that claim. We are still a United Kingdom, and the point to consider is whether this community is important enough, occupies an area large enough, has a population sufficient, and is distinctive enough in character, to claim that it should be treated separately. Is there anyone who doubts that Ulster can fulfil all those conditions? There is no one who ought to doubt it. I will not say who does not doubt it. Let me put this situation. Suppose Ireland, instead of being separated from Great Britain by the sea, were attached to it, does anyone suggest that, if you were carrying out local government in that case, you would not treat separately the position of Ulster? And can it be contended, then, that merely because Ireland is divided by the St. George's Channel from this country, for that reason you are entitled to ignore the conditions which separate the different sections in Ireland? What is the position? We find play made with the word "Ulster." But Ulster, in the sense in which it is generally used, is not a geographical expression; it represents, and always has represented, the people of the North-East of Ireland. When that difference is made, and play is made with the word "Ulster," it has no meaning except to imply that there is some weakening in Ulster, and that there is some change in the position of Ulster. So far from that being the case, the very reverse is true. The opposition to the proposals of this Bill is far keener and comes more clearly from the democracy of Belfast and the surrounding districts than was the case with the previous Bill. More than that, it is a fact that in Ireland political 71 and religious differences largely coincide. Sixty years ago the number of Catholics in Ulster was greater than the number of Protestants. Now there are 200,000 more Protestants than Catholics in Ulster. So far from the peculiarity of the position of Ulster being lessened, it is stronger now than it ever has been in any period of her history.
I ask the House to consider the nature of the population. There is in Belfast and the surrounding districts a population of more than a million—a population far greater than the whole Boer population, which waged war for such a length of time against the whole forces of the British Empire. They not only have a population larger than the Boers, but their objection to the arrangement you propose is at least as strong as the objection of the Boer to the arrangement which we proposed for them. There are on those benches now, I dare say, some of those who felt that the Boers were so justified in their opposition that they did everything in their power to support them in it. Why? It was not because they thought that Great Britain was going to treat them badly. They thought that we had the right to only consider, not what this country thought best for the Boers, but what the Boers themselves thought right, and it was on that ground some hon. Members opposite supported them. They would not allow the British forces to be used to keep men within the British Empire, but they are ready, if necessary, to use British forces to drive men out of our community. [HON. MEMMBERS: "No, no."] I say, and no one can deny it, that in everything which makes it distinctive, the difference between that population and the rest of Ireland is greater by far than the difference between Scotland or Wales and England, or, indeed, between Ireland as a whole and the rest of the United Kingdom. In former years I have gone many times from Glasgow to Belfast, and in Belfast I am sure that everyone who has been there will agree with me, there is nothing to suggest that there is any difference greater than that which separates Glasgow from Edinburgh or Dundee. If you go on to Dublin, you feel that the conditions are different, and I say, therefore, from every point of view, and especially when you are doing it in the name of local government., that there is no justification whatever for forcing these people under a rule to which they are not willing to submit.
72 Let me point out this, I think I have done it before, but I do not remember: What is it that has been considered by everybody, but especially by Liberals, as one of the greatest crimes of autocratic Government? It has been that they have compelled small nationalities to change their allegiance against their will. You say, "We are not changing the allegiance of these people," but they think definitely, they think that you are. Are they wrong? I think not. What matters to the individual is the Executive Government which controls him, and you are changing the Executive Government who controls him. You may say, and I think most of you believe, that the fears of these people are altogether exaggerated, that they have nothing to fear. That may be true, but they think they have, and perhaps they are as good judges as you are. But suppose it is true. Take even Poland. Do you suppose that Russia would have treated Poland badly if the Polish people had accepted the situation and had agreed to become like other Russian subjects? Of course, you do not. But the crime of what was done in Poland was not the intention of Russia to treat the Poles badly, but that the Poles, against their will, were subjected to a rule to which they did not wish to be subjected. Hon. Members below the Gangway tell us that there is nothing to fear, that they will respect the arrangement, and that everything will go well. Does this House not know that the British people is ready, and has shown itself ready, to deal with Ireland not only justly, but generously, and if the Nationalists will accept the situation, can anyone doubt that everything would go well? But, rightly or wrongly, they do not accept the situation, and yet they ask the people of Belfast to listen to an argument to which they themselves will not listen. There is one other consideration which cannot be left out. Not only are these people in the North-East corner of Ireland numerous enough, and distinctive enough, to be treated separately, but through the concentration of the majority they have the power—there is no use to shut our eyes to it—which will make it utterly imposible that the Nationalists, if left to themselves, could, against their will, impose their yoke upon them. What is it you propose to do? As a part of the United Kingdom you do not allow the people in Ireland to fight out their own destinies. You say to the people of Ulster, "Whether you like it or not, not only will you be subject to the other 73 people of Ireland, to whom you do not wish to be subject, but we will use the whole force of the British Empire to compel you to submit to what you look upon with loathing and detestation."
Constant reference is made to the Colonial analogy. Nothing seems to me more absurd. You will not find in any of our Colonies, nor in any country in the world, in any period of the world's history, anything approaching what you are proposing to do with regard to Ulster. Take, for instance, the granting of self-government to Canada. We had no choice, we had to give Canada either local self-government or no self-government at all. She could not have, as Ireland does have, the same share as the rest of the United Kingdom in shaping her own destinies. It meant for her local self-government or no self-government. The conditions at that time were not dissimilar. Two provinces, Quebec and Ontario, were given local self-government. In Quebec the population were largely French and largely Roman Catholic. In Ontario, the population was largely of British extraction and Protestant. They had to form part of the same Constitution, but at that time the population of Quebec far exceeded the population of Ontario, and in order to enable the system to work with some appearance of fairness, in the Assembly equal voting power was given to the Protestant minority with that given to the majority, and they tried to make it work in that way. From the moment the Constitution was given there was constant friction, and it was the existence of that friction which made it so easy to create the Canadian Federal ion and to separate these two provinces so unequally yoked together. Suppose that Sir John Macdonald, at the time he made the confederation, could have got what he desired, and suppose he had got a confederate system instead of a federal, and found, owing to the extent of the country, the impossibility of ruling the country by one Central Parliament, and suppose they were now suggesting local government for Canada, as you are for Ireland, does any sane man suggest that under such conditions they would make Quebec and Ontario form part of the same local Parliament? The thing is unthinkable. No one would do it. Yet that is the proposal you are making in regard to Ulster.
Remember this: No system of local government has worked which has not been adopted by consent. Take, for instance, the last case in which this Empire has been 74 engaged, the Confederation of South Africa. In South Africa, Natal, to a certain extent, filled the place which Ulster fills in Ireland. It was composed largely of people of British extraction with a small Dutch element. Did they force Natal into the Confederation against her will? On the contrary, the Government of Natal agreed to the arrangement, but they did not think that enough. They realised that it could not work unless the whole people were satisfied with it. They took a plebiscite, and got the consent of the people of Natal before they allowed the arrangement to be carried out. There is only one other thing I wish to say in this connection. The argument which is constantly used, and by no one more frequently than by the Prime Minister in regard to Ulster, is this: He says what Ulster is doing is not demanding some right for itself, but that she is setting up a perpetual veto against Home Rule for Ireland—whatever may be the decision of the whole of the people of the United Kingdom. I say at once, if Ulster made that claim, it would be a claim which she is not entitled to make. She does not make it. The people of Ulster are opposed to Home Rule, as we on these benches are opposed to it, because they think it is bad for Ireland but bad for the Empire. So do we. They would oppose it on that ground by all constitutional means. But they do not say that they will not allow this country to give Home Rule to that part of Ireland which wishes it. They have deliberately said that what they claim is not that Nationalist Ireland should not govern itself, but that Nationalist Ireland should not govern them. [An HON. MEMBER: "It never will."] That is perfectly true.
Those who are interested in this subject know that in the previous two Home Rule Bills no Amendment was moved from these benches to exclude Ulster. It was not moved, and the house knows why. At the time everyone knew that before the Bill could become law there must be an appeal to the people of the United Kingdom. We here trusted to the people to reject the whole measure. We found that under your Parliament Act, so far as technicalities go, it is possible for you to carry Home Rule without an appeal to the people. After most careful consideration my right hon. Friend the Member for Trinity College (Sir E. Carson), not on his own initiative, but after consultation with the people of Ulster, moved an Amendment in this House leaving it out, in order clearly 75 to show that while they will use constitutional means against Home Rule, it is only against injury to themselves that they propose to resist by other than constitutional means. How, then, can it be said that they offer a veto to Home Rule to those who wish it? I say undoubtedly, that from any point of view you choose to look at it, from the point of view from which you yourselves justify this Bill—that the people of Ireland are different from us —that however good our intentions we cannot understand them, and that therefore we must allow them to govern themselves, does anyone say that the people of the rest of Ireland understand the aspirations, the ideals, or the conditions of the people of Belfast and neighbourhood? They are separated—perhaps more by prejudice than anything else—but they are separated by differences which run through our whole history; differences which are the result of past wrongs, of past wrongs suffered, and perhaps past wrongs inflicted, but whatever the cause, the difference is there, and it is utterly unjust that you should attempt to force these people to leave the Government with which they are satisfied, and accept instead the Government which they regard with loathing.
That is all I intend to say upon the merits of the Bill, but I should like to say a few words about the methods by which you propose to carry it into effect. I am not going to say anything more bitter than I can help. I do not wish to. But it is necessary, I think, that hon. Gentlemen opposite should clearly understand what our point of view is in regard to this whole matter. I try, as I shall show later, to understand their point of view, and I think it would be well that they should understand ours. I do not say—I do not believe—that the Government do not think that. Home Ru13 would be a good thing. But I do say this, that though they themselves believe it to be a good thing, they know that it would be difficult, they fear it would be impossible, to convince the people of this country that it is a good thing; therefore all their plans from the beginning to the end have been deliberately and consistently arranged with this one object—to carry the measure without the consent, and, if necessary, in spite of the disapproval, of the people of this country. I shall try to give some grounds for that belief. Take, first, the Parliament Act under which we are work- 76 ing. It may be quite true, as the Prime Minister said the other day, that the Parliament Act is working precisely as they said it would work. That may be true. But it is certainly not working in the way that everyone believes that they intended it to do. The Prime Minister told us at that time that the Parliament Act would give time and opportunity in this House for consideration, revision, and delay. There is fortunately still the opportunity for delay of which they cannot deprive us, but where is the opportunity for consideration, still less for revision? Where is it I am perfectly certain that everyone thought, as I thought, that this at least would be allowed, that when the Bill came up again in the ordinary course we should have the opportunity of discussing in this House parts of the measure which were not discussed when it went through the House of Commons last year. No one supposed for a moment that there would be no Committee stage—a stage which alone gives the opportunity of discussing in detail the proposals of the Bill, and the opportunity not only of discussing them in this House but of pointing out what they are to the country. They have not given us that opportunity. They have not thought it wise to run again the gauntlet of the kind of discussion which was last year so often ended by the convenient fall of the guillotine at a particular hour. They have not risked it. Instead they have given us a Suggestion stage. I can assure the, House that it was from no silly sulkiness, from no desire to avoid taking any opportunity of discussion which was available, that we decided not to take advantage of this stage. We did it for a reason that is sufficiently obvious, that the Prime Minister himself told us—and it was in the nature of the case—that that stage could be of no use unless the principle of the Bill were agreed upon; therefore in adopting it we would accept the principle of the Bill, and commit ourselves to that.
There is more than that. The whole thing as defined by right hon. Gentlemen on the bench was ridiculous. The Chief Secretary, for instance, told us that there was no use making the suggestion that Ulster should be left out unless we said exactly how it was to be left out. In other words, that meant you are to propose nothing in the nature of an Amendment unless you produce at the same time a complete Bill and show how the Bill will work after your Amendment is carried. More than that, the Prime Minister told us 77 that he, the head of the Government, would decide what suggestions he would allow to be discussed. That is a new departure in our guillotine process. The right hon. Gentleman told us a short time ago that the guillotine was in. its infancy when he took office. It is not in its infancy now. That is a new development. The guillotine so far has meant that the Government had to limit tie amount of time given to discussion. Now, for the first time, they have set up this new principle, that they are themselves to limit not only the time but the subjects which the House of Commons is to be allowed to discuss. It is quite evident that under such circumstances we have not had the opportunity which the country thought we should have of considering, and, if necessary, amending this Bill. Look at another aspect—and this is an old friend. Look at the Preamble of the Parliament Act. That Preamble contained a distinct acknowledgment that the Constitution was in suspense, and a distinct promise that the suspense would be put an end to, and that a new and proper Constitution would be formed. It is quite true that the Prime Minister now tells us that he did not mean that to apply to Home Rule; that that was a thing settled; that at the last election that was settled once and for all. I have only to say this, that if that was the intention of the Government their intention was carefully concealed. If it really was their intention they should have said it before and not after they had obtained a majority in favour of the Parliament Act. That brings me to the other claim made by the Government. They say they have a mandate for Home Rule. I am not going again into that old discussion. It is the strangest mandate that ever was given. Their own newspapers, some of the most loyal of them, have themselves said that Home Rule, though an issue, was not the issue at the election. If there was a mandate the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman himself show that it was a. mandate by reference, for he always referred his audiences to some previous speech that he had made on the subject.
They claim that there is a mandate, but is there anyone who believes that the people of this country thought, or that any Minister on that bench gave them the right to think, that in voting for the Parliament Act, that in voting for abolishing the Veto of the House of Lords, they were settling once and for ever, Without any possibility of appeal, whether 78 or not Home Rule was to be granted, and without any regard to the nature of the Home Rule which was proposed? If they make that claim they would claim anything. I said I was not going to argue all those points. I will leave them to the judgment of hon. Members who are listening—and I do not ask them to express their opinion—but I do not believe that there is one man on that bench—one!— who really in his heart believes that the people of this country had any such idea at the time the Parliament Act was passed. I said that I wanted hon. Gentlemen opposite to try and realise our point of view, and that I tried to understand theirs. I think I do. I think that the methods which they have adopted in carrying this Bill are methods which no hon. Gentleman on that bench, and least of all the Prime Minister, would adopt in his private life. I am satisfied of that! I go further and say that of all forms of tyranny the worst is an oligarchy, for there the responsibility is divided. No man feels that he himself is responsible for what he does; and I believe that in acting in this way this Government jointly have done what no Member of the Government would have done if he alone had been responsible for it.
But I think we had another guarantee against the methods which have been pursued. We had a guarantee in the previous declarations and what everyone believed to be the character of the Prime Minister who was at the head of the Government. Consider what his record was. When he was in Opposition, he said that the Liberal party ought not to take office unless they had an independent majority. And it was not only in Opposition he said that. Afterwards, when he came into power, he repeated what he had said, and pointed to it as a mark of the wisdom with which he had previously spoken. What is he doing? He is attemping now, without an independent majority, to carry through precisely one of those measures which, above all others, should only be dealt with by a party which is independent of all outside influences. He is carrying it through when he knows, and we all know, that it is not his Bill; that it is not a Bill which represents the Liberal party; that it is a Bill which in every Section of it is dependent upon the Gentlemen who sit there. [The right hon. Gentleman pointed to the Nationalist Benches.] It is they, and not the Liberal 79 party, who dictate the nature of the Home Rule which is to be given to Ireland. We had another guarantee. It is not merely the question that, according to what he said, the right hon. Gentleman had no right to carry this Bill under these conditions; but when Mr. Gladstone was carrying Home Rule he laid down a principle which was sound then and is sound now. He pointed out that Home Rule, as a phrase, meant very little; that the people of this country had a right to know, not indeed in detail, not as a phrase, but in reality, what was the nature of the proposals to which they were going to be asked to give their consent. He pointed out to Mr. Gladstone that if he got a majority without making that declaration, he would not have behind him the moral force which would justify him in carrying his proposals. That was true. It was true for Mr. Gladstone; it is equally true for the right hon. Gentleman. I say, therefore, that in carrying this Bill by these methods the right hon. Gentleman is deliberately departing from the principle which he has himself laid down, and the soundness of which would be obvious to anyone who did not depend on the Nationalist vote.
I have only one thing more to say before I sit down. This is, I think, the last time when this Bill will be calmly considered in the House of Commons. I am sure that Members of the Government, and, indeed, the party opposite as a whole, will recognise that under considerable provocation we have as a party respected the traditions of this House. We have respected them in spite of the provocation of one Cabinet Minister, who went out of his way to tell us that we were not sincere, because we calmly discussed the Home Rule Bill. We have respected them. But I think I may say that this is probably the last time that this Bill will be calmly discussed in this House. I ask the Government very earnestly to consider the probable, and, I believe, inevitable consequences of the course which they are pursuing. They are, in my opinion, drifting without any fixed plan towards an inevitable disaster, towards what my right hon. Friend, on the Second Reading, without exaggeration, described as a national tragedy. I have more than once put to the Government this question: "Do you intend to impose this Bill upon Ulster by force, and do you intend to impose it by force before you have received the sanction of the people?" They 80 have never distinctly answered it, but they have answered it. I do not believe, I am sure, that they have no such intention. The Chief Secretary has said it on more than one occasion. Their actions have said it, even more eloquently than their words. In my opinion, the moment when, after consulting the authorities in Ireland, after finding what it meant, they came to the conclusion that they could not risk trying to enforce the right of the First Lord of the Admiralty to speak in the Ulster Hall—from that moment they recognised that they would not dare, and the people of this country would not allow them to coerce Ulster. I am sure they do not mean to. But that is not what I am afraid of. It-is not in that way that war, and most of all civil war arises. It is not from deliberate intention. What I am afraid of, and I think there is good ground for the fear, is that they are gradually drifting into a position from which it will be impossible for them to retreat, and which will mean that against their will they will bring all these calamities upon the country.
The Chief Secretary, the last time he spoke, said that we on these benches were talking very light-heartedly about rebellion, and that that had never been done in this country or any other before the outbreak of war. He is entirely wrong in both statements. We have not spoken of it and we do not think of it light-heartedly. It is quite true that we who are responsible for the policy of the Unionist party have said, not thoughtlessly or hastily, but deliberately and after long consideration, that if the Government attempt to force this Bill upon Ulster before they have received the sanction of the people of this country, and if Ulster resists, we will support them in their resistance to the utmost of our Power. We have said it because we mean it for one thing, but we have said it also because we hoped that when the Government realised that until they had got the approval of the people of this country they were certain to have against them the opposition of the largest political party in the House of Commons, and of one half, and I believe far more than a half, of the British nation; -they would realise that the thing could not be done. That is still our belief, and I think there is some ground for it. I am sure that the Chief Secretary knows better than most people that this Bill cannot be imposed upon Ulster without bloodshed, without outbreaks, the danger and the extent of which are appalling to think of. Nobody knows that better 81 than he I believe, and I think he believes, that up till now outbreaks in Ireland have been prevented because of the confidence of the people of Ulster in their leaders, and because the leaders know that so long as they act with restraint they will have the support of the whole Unionist party and of half the United Kingdom. It is for that reason, and I believe the Chief Secretary knows it. I would not ask him to say anything about that. That would be unfair. It would be rather awkward to admit it, and he is too honest to deny it, but it is the fact. I say deliberately that so far from our having any responsibility for anything which may come of the action of the Government, we have done everything in oar power to prevent the evils which we foresee. I remember the last time I spoke on this Bill I reminded the House that the men who had signed the Ulster Covenant were far more numerous than the Scotsmen who signed the Solemn League and Covenant. Yet the Solemn League and Covenant led inevitably to our great Civil War. The King, when he realised the spirit which he had called forth in Scotland, tried to draw back, but it was too late, and the war came. A historian of that period describes the position in words which I think have some analogy to the position in Ulster:—The King had not only challenged a most formidable rebellion, but he had called forth a spirit which, heroic as it was, was also narrow, dogged, bitter, and intolerant almost to madness.You may say that the last words describe the people of Ulster. I do not think so. I have seen no evidence of it. But suppose it is true, is it less formidable on that account? All our rebellion and our revolution was due to a cause which more than any other will make men risk their property arid their lives. It was due to religious differences. I say that in my opinion you have now stirred up a spirit which, whatever happens—for I see difficulties in front of us in every direction—you cannot overcome, and which, if you try to overcome them, will land this country in irreparable disaster. I put this as my last word to hon. Gentlemen opposite. Are you not asking too much under these conditions from the people of Ulster? Are you not not asking from them something which you would never give yourselves? Are you not asking them to submit to something to which Scotland would never submit, and to which no district that I know in England or Scotland would ever submit? Do you expect them to submit to it? So long as the people of 82 Ulster can say, and can say, as I believe, with truth, that this intolerable evil, as they regard it, is being forced upon them, not by the will of the majority of their fellow subjects, but by a Cabinet which by one means or other has obtained temporary power, is there any of you who, if you put yourselves in the place of these men, would deny that they not only have the right, but it is their duty to resist? If you go on with it, then in my sincere belief the leaders of the people of Ulster will be entitled to use with equal sincerity and with greater justice the words which were used by Stonewall Jackson:—What is life without honour? Degradation is worse than death. We must think of the living and of those who are to come after us, and see that by God's blessing we transmit to them the freedom we have ourselves inherited.
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)
At this stage of our discussion even so fertile a debater as the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down did not produce any new arguments, new considerations, or fresh views either of policy or of fact in the discussion of this great issue. I have addressed the House so often on the question in all its aspects that I hope I shall not be deemed guilty of disrespect if, on the last, occasion during the present Session when it presents itself for consideration, I deal very briefly, though I hope respectfully, with the case which the right hon. Gentleman has presented. I will put on one side some of the considerations to which he referred in the latter part of his speech, though I am not sure that. I at all agree with him in his view of the history of the Rebellion and Revolution in this country. I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman's patriotic bias has led him to attach exaggerated importance to the part which was, played in those great events by the Solemn League and Covenant. I speak as a Scottish Member with profound respect for the Scottish people, and, after all, the Rebellion was primâ facie an English affair, and so was the Revolution.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
May I remind the right hon. Gentleman that it was the invasion of England by Scotland that was the real beginning of the Revolution?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
It was the occasion, but the discontent of the English people with the Stuart regime rested, if I may say so, on far deeper and wider foundations than the question of the Solemn League and Covenant. However, 83 do not let us go into that, but I will say by way of caution we may attach too much importance to covenants. Nor shall I, except for a moment, refer to the right hon. Gentleman's impeachment, not made for the first time, of my personal consistency in regard to this matter. I have heard explained many times that it is not a desirable thing for people to explain, and I never do explain if I can help it. There is a very excellent French maxim which I commend to those who undertake the very unnecessary task of self-explanation, qui s'explique se complique, and nine times cut of ten I think that it will be found to be true, but in the passage so frequently quoted by the right hon. Gentleman and others in which I spoke of the importance of an independent majority, I was speaking of an independent British majority, and an independent British majority we have had for this Bill at every one of its stages. So, again, when the right hon. Gentleman reminds me, and with perfect accuracy, that in the days before 1893, when I was a humble member of the rank and file of the Liberal party, sitting on those benches opposite, I did point out, I hope respectfully but certainly insistently, to our then leaders, the importance of throwing a little more than they had done on the provisions of the forthcoming Home Rule Bill. The point and the only point, the only substantial point, to which that request was directed, was the question of whether or not the Irish Members were to be retained in the Imperial House of Commons. What I said then, and truly, was that so long as that was a matter of doubt, English and Scottish electors were not in a position to express an informed opinion on the subject. That has long since been a matter above and beyond the reach of controversy. It has been taken for granted by everybody in all these discussions —[Dissent]. May I complete the sentence? I say that it has been taken for granted by everybody, both inside and outside this House, before the Irish Government Bill was introduced, that whatever else happened, Irish representation would be continued in the Imperial Parliament. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, No."] That is not disputed, surely? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] I never met anyone, and certainly never met any supporter of Home Rule, who was prepared to denude the Imperial Parliament of its Imperial character by taking away from it the Irish representation.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Lord Morley is a party to this Bill, and was a party to the Bill of 1893, in which the Irish representation was retained. Lord Morley for twenty years has been committed by his participation and sponsorship of the Bill of 1893 to the principle of Irish representation, and in the last twenty years it has not been an open question. So much for that, which is, after all, a small point. I come to what is much the more serious part in the indictment of the right hon. Gentleman, and it is that in the methods which we have adopted in carrying this Bill through its various stages we have violated, not, indeed, the letter, not, perhaps, the intentions of the authors, but certainly the Parliamentary intentions of the Parliament Act. That is a charge which has really no foundation whatever. The right hon. Gentleman very justly said towards the close of his speech that we ought, if we could, to put ourselves in each other's point of view. Let me ask him to go through that operation. I leave out the question of whether we have a mandate or not from the electorate, but suppose this Bill had been introduced in Parliament by a Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was a Member, enjoying the confidence of a majority of the House of Commons, that Bill would by now have been part of the law of the land. There is no dispute whatever about that. It would have been on the Statute Book.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
This Bill, if it had been introduced, or any Bill, it does not matter what it is—any Bill which commanded the confidence of the Conservative majority in the House of Commons, and fathered by a Conservative Government possessing the confidence of that majority, would have passed automatically into law. The difference between their position and ours is this, that under the Parliament Act we have taken upon ourselves a burden which they will never take upon themselves, because they never need, until the Preamble of the Parliament Act has been carried out, which I hope it will be without undue delay, and until we have a Second Chamber which is not a mere partisan Second Chamber we have taken upon ourselves the burden which they never could and never need, the burden that, although we have got in= 85 support of our measure the opinion of a. large majority in this House, in this case a three-figure majority for the passing of that measure, we have taken upon ourselves the burden of passing that measure, not once, nor twice, but thrice before it can possibly become law. We are, therefore, still under the Parliament Act handicapped seriously in carrying out our legislation as compared with the party opposite. That is an obvious and undeniable fact. So far as the Parliament Act itself is concerned, what were the conditions laid down by that Act, and I think most properly laid down, before a Bill can take advantage of its provisions? It must be, for otherwise it would be grossly unfair both to the electorate and the House of Lords, in the second Session when it goes to the House of Lords, apart from immaterial modifications on points of date and so forth, the same Bill sent up the year before, and so again in the third Session. You may say that was wrong and bad policy if you like, but that was the enactment of the Parliament Act, and that being so, it was quite obvious that you could not in the second Session go through a Committee stage of the Bill making any number of modifications, sonic of them on points of principle, others on points of detail, without destroying the identity of the Bill and preventing it from being the same as was passed in the Session before. You have only got to refer to the Debates and discussions which took place on the Parliament Act to see that that was universally accepted on both sides and pointed out by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and pointed out by us as a necessary part of its proposed' machinery.
The Parliament Act, quite rightly, inasmuch as a Bill passed in the first Session might contain blots and omissions and defects which subsequent consideration had disclosed, or, further, inasmuch as there might be a change of opinion in the majority of the House of Commons in the second Session as compared with the first as would lead to the modification or make proper modification, the Parliament Act expressly provided for a Suggestion stage in order that both those contingencies might be adequately met. The right hon. Gentleman says that I was arrogating to myself the tyrannical authority of an oligarchy, though in the latter part he seemed to think that an oligarchy was even worse than undiluted monarchical tyranny, but it does not much matter for 86 the purpose. Let us assume I or my Junta were arrogating to ourselves special power of selection. That is not really so at all. Even in Committee you are supposed to accept in Amendments which are put forward the principle of the Bill as declared by the House on the Second Reading. I agree that the modern practice does not always carry out that assumption, because a very large number of Amendments which are in fact moved in Committee are Amendments which are against the principle of the Second Reading which has already been affirmed. At any rate, the theory of our consideration is that the principle of the Bill has been accepted, and that its details are being amended and improved. Therefore, so far from this being the arrogation of a new authority or the assertion of a new principle, when you say the same thing ought to take place on the Suggestion stage, you are only reaffirming what is the traditional practice of Parliament. I cannot in the least degree accept the right hon. Gentleman's charge that we have either misconceived or misused the provisions of the Parliament Act, or that its provisions are not in themselves reasonable and just. I am not going at this time of day into the question whether or not we had at the last General Election a mandate for passing this Bill. That question has been discussed many times over, and there is not a man in this House who is not familiar, not only with the arguments, but with the quotations from speeches and election addresses, and the absence or silence from speeches and election addresses of allusions to this subject, which form the staple ground of this controversy, and I should despair, even if I had far greater dialectical powers than any to which I can aspire, of altering by a hairbreadth, the settled conviction of any Member upon either side of the House on this subject.
But I pass from that—although, after all, these questions of machinery and procedure are very important—to what the right hon. Gentleman said earlier in his speech in regard to the Bill itself. He said that this Bill which the Government put forward as a final settlement of the Irish problem was confessedly, and the more it was examined and scrutinised the more clear that would become, provisional and liable in all probability in its daily application and use to produce friction, disagreement, and the necessity of consequent revision and amendment. I desire to make our position in that matter, plain as I think 87 it already is, perfectly clear. When we speak, and when hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway speak of this Bill as a final settlement, we do not, of course, mean—no human being acquainted with the working of our political and legislative system would be so foolish as to say—that experience might not demonstrate, and probably would not demonstrate, the need for review or amendment or modification or improvement of the Bill. Since the date of the Ten Commandments, which some people nowadays would alter, I am not acquainted with any legislative measures, whether put forward on the sole authority of an isolated law-giver or by the combined wisdom of a democratic Parliament, which could be said to be so verbally inspired that whatever might happen in the future it had never to be altered. This Bill is like all other products of the human mind, and no doubt experience will show it is susceptible of improvement. When we use the word "final" we do not use it in that absolute sense, but in a totally different sense. We mean the principles embodied in this Bill that Ireland shall have control, legislative and executive, of purely Irish concerns, and that the Imperial Parliament shall retain not only its independent and exclusive authority over Imperial legislation, but a superintending and supervising power over all subordinate Parliaments, whether in Ireland or elsewhere. These are the root principles of the Bill, and it is in that sense, nothing less and nothing more, that it is accepted as final. But the right hon. Gentleman says—and this is one of his illustrations of the drawbacks which he seems to think we are voluntarily importing into our Constitution arrangements—that we shall have a subordinate Parliament here and a paramount Parliament in Dublin, and the evidence of that which he gives is that we shall have forty-two Irish Members here, constantly capable of taking part, and I hope myself taking an active part in our proceedings.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The right hen. Gentleman says that was Mr. Gladstone's view. I am putting it on his authority, not on Mr. Gladstone's. Mr. Gladstone, I am bound to say, changed his view on the subject and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will change his. Surely, that is a very unreal argument to bring forward at any rate at 88 this time of day. That tyranny, although it is not exercised by an Irish Parliament, is exercised by the Irish representatives in a much more effective form when we have here 103 Members than it can be when we reduce them to the proportion of forty-two. To treat this as if it were a new evil, and so far as it is an evil at all it will be modified and mitigated under the Bill, seems to me to ignore all the facts of our recent political history. I come lastly to what was after all the burden of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, namely, the question of Ulster, or rather of those four counties of Ulster to which as he quite candidly said, the main bulk of his argument was confined. He spoke of them as possessing a homogenous population of something like a million people. Is that an accurate representation of the fact? Is it not notorious to everybody who has even a superficial acquaintance with the actual conditions of these counties that so far from that population of one million being homogeneous it is split up and divided.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I was quoting the phrase which the right hon. Gentlemen used about that population being homogeneous.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
No, I do not think it is. I think there are very few parts of Ireland about which you could use the word homogeneous. That is one of the best things about Ireland. It is a singularly diversified country. What is extraordinary about Ireland is this, that diverse as are the people in almost every particular area which you like to select, diverse as are the people in numbers and proportions, in their religious, political, and social views, there is more fundamental underlying unity in that diversity between every part of Ireland than between any part of Ireland compared with the rest of the United Kingdom. When the right hon. Gentleman goes across—
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Oh, yes, I have, though not very much in Ulster. When the right hon. Gentleman says, as he said in his speech, that one going from Glasgow to Belfast finds such identity and community in the political, social, religious and industrial atmosphere that you do not feel that you are in a strange country, I venture to say—I do not mean to put my authority against his, I put it on the authority of those who know Ireland best —you will find these men in Belfast proud of being Irishmen. They do not think of themselves first and foremost as Belfast men, united by ties of blood with the Scottish people on the other side of the channel. They think of themselves first and foremost in this way: "We are Irish, we are proud to be Irish, and we have had our part in some of the most splendid traditions of Irish history and some of the greatest struggles that have even been fought for Irish freedom." And you cannot eradicate from them that underlying feeling, disguised as it often is by those extraneous, and I hope to some extent, superficial differences. You cannot eradicate from the Irishman in any part of Ireland that common sense of the nationality to which they all belong and of which they are all proud. When the attempt is made to segregate this particular area in Ulster—this particular section of Ulster—from the rest of Ireland as a whole, and to represent it as though it were free from that great unifying sentiment which binds together the Irish in Ireland and all over the world you are flying in the face of history and also in the face of existing facts. But let us come to rather closer quarters. This is the last time we shall have an opportunity of doing so during the Session. The right hon. Gentleman says that these people are entitled to the full sympathy of himself and his followers. For what? For doing their best to defeat this Bill. No one who listened to the Debate a year ago on the Amendment which was put forward for the purpose of excluding these counties in Ulster can forget, I have never certainly forgotten, that when we asked pointedly the question, "Will you, if such exclusion or separation is granted, consent to Home Rule for the rest of Ireland," we got a unanimous negative.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I thought so, and I shall be very much surprised on the 90 hypothesis put forward by right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Gentlemen opposite if they did not say so. What is that hypothesis? It is that you grant to the Irish people as a whole a Parliament in which Ulster would be represented—
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Well, in which Ulster may be represented, according to law, to the full extent to which her population and numerical proportions entitle her. The theory is, if you establish a Parliament of that kind, the efforts of that Parliament will be directed to the oppression of the minority in Ireland. That is the theory. Religious oppression, industrial oppression, social oppression, and legal oppression. And upon that hypothesis what would be more absurd, I will go further and say, more cowardly and treacherous than that the inhabitants of this little corner of Ulster should say, "We are able to take care of ourselves, we will establish a ring fence around these four counties, we will leave to the wolves of persecution and oppression the unprotected minority in the rest of Ireland."
§ The PRIME MINISTER
There will be hostages, I suppose the hostages are the minority in Ulster upon whom retaliation might be practised. Is that what he means?
The right hon. Gentleman suggests that there may be persecution by Nationalists of the Unionists in other parts of Ireland. If that ever takes place, we in Ulster will be able to retaliate.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
That shows how little reason they have to fear persecution from the Catholic majority. I hope I have the sympathy of the Ulster Members in what I have been saying. I entirely understand their point of view. They say they will not consent to the establishment of this little ring fence, that little reserve of their own. That is an honourable and logical position. When you analyse the thing and look at the facts and face them fairly it comes to this, as I have said many times and repeat now, that the claim put forward, not by homogeneous population, by what is at the outside a majority of a particular section of the community, is to defeat and frustrate the aspirations of the vast majority of the 91 Irish people. That is not in accordance with democratic principles. I should agree if you can demonstrate that we were what is called handing over the population of these four counties in Ulster, composed of men for whom I have the highest possible respect, men who are our own flesh and blood, and who have contributed largely to the prosperity of Ireland and the building up of the Empire, if you could show or make it appear probable that by the establishment of a Parliament in Dublin—
§ The PRIME MINISTER
In which Ulster would be represented, that Ulster is going to be exposed—[An HON. MEMBER: "Ulster will never be represented"]—if she is not it is entirely her own fault. If you could show us that there would be a real danger of either religious or political persecution or oppression, you would not only have our sympathy but our support. We do not believe anything of the kind. Not only because we have faith and trust—
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Not only because we have faith and trust in the patriotism and good sense of our Irish fellow citizens, but if for no other reason for a reason which may appeal to those who are not influenced by sentimental considerations, that from the point of view of pure self interest they will do nothing of the kind. If those are the real dimensions and that is the real perspective of the Ulster problem, let me in conclusion put to the Ulster Members and to the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down the opposite side. You talk about applying coercion to Ulster. I hope and believe that it will never be necessary to apply coercion to Ulster or to any part of Ulster. But what are you going to do with the rest of Ireland? [HON. MEMBERS "Leave it alone."] Do you think you can leave it alone? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] Do you think after the past electoral and Parliamentary history of this question, and after this Bill conferring self-government upon Ireland has twice passed the Imperial House of Commons by enormous majorities, that you can leave it alone? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] You must be very sanguine then, and I would say with all respect very short-sighted in your view of political problems. You cannot 92 possibly ignore the fact that three-fourths, it may be four-fifths—I believe that it is much nearer four-fifths than three-fourths —of the population of Ireland are determined to acquire self-government. In that determination they have with them, as we know, the voice of an overwhelming majority in the present House of Commons; in that determination they have with them, as you know, putting it at the very lowest—I am not going into disputed electoral statistics, but at the very lowest—the opinion of a very large proportion of the inhabitants of England, of Scotland, and of Wales; and in that determination they are supported by the practically unanimous verdict and sympathy of the British self-governing Dominions. Under those circumstances, you cannot leave it alone. It is a problem that has got to be faced, and in our belief there is only one way of facing it, and that is by the Bill which we now ask the House to read the third time.
§ Mr. SANDYS
The right hon. Gentleman prefaced his speech this afternoon by a statement with which I think most of us will agree. He commenced by saying that it is impossible to cast any new light upon this subject. He did, however, succeed in throwing an altogether new light upon the question of the retention of the Irish Members in this House. I understood that the position he took up was that before the details of the Bill were submitted to this House it was generally accepted and understood throughout the country, that whatever the other provisions might be, at any rate a certain proportion of Irish Members would be retained in the Imperial Parliament. That observation of the right hon. Gentleman is not borne out by the facts of the case. I find that such a distinguished authority on the subject of Home Rule as Mr. Erskine Childers had evidently no idea of the intention of the right hon. Gentleman with reference to this portion of the Home Rule Bill. Mr. Erskine Childers wrote on 2nd February, 1912, in the "Daily News," to this effect:—To retain any substantial number of Irish representatives at Westminster would be to wreck the whole scheme.Therefore Mr. Erskine Childers was not in that position which the right hon. Gentleman assumed the whole country was in, namely, of regarding the retention of the Irish Members as an accepted fact and a principle of the Bill. Again, I find that the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. 93 Dillon), shortly before the Bill was introduced, made a speech in Liverpool in which he stated to a large gathering of English Catholics:—Do not forget that you will not always hare the Irish party in the House of Commons to defend you.=Evidently such a distinguished member of the Irish Nationalist party as the hon. Member for East Mayo was not aware of the fact.
§ Mr. SANDYS
I will read a little further on:—Do not forget that you will not always have the Irish party in the House of Commons to defend you, because it is apparent that, whatever scheme is devised, the people of England will not submit to give over to I re land the complete control of her own affairs and let them come over and boss theirs.That makes it perfectly evident that it was not the accepted universal view throughout the whole country that an essential part of any Home Rule Bill would be the retention of the Irish Members. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Bonar. Law) has made it perfectly clear that Ulster now, as ever, offers a complete refusal to any compromise on the Home Rule question, and I do not think that it is necessary for anyone to go further into the position of Ulster, but there are one or two other points which have emerged from these debates inadequate and unsatisfactory as they have been, to which I should like to allude. First of all, the claim which was originally made with much insistence by Members of the Irish party, especially in the course of the platform campaign which they carried on earlier in this controversy in various parts of the country, the claim that the future relationship between Great Britain and Inland would after the Home Rule Bill had come into operation approximate somewhat to the relationship between Great Britain and the self- governing Dominions of the Empire, has completely disappeared. This was I think the ideal of the Irish Nationalist party, but even they recognise now that it is an ideal which is not going to be realised by the particular terms of this Bill. Whatever the relationship between Great Britain and Ireland under the provisions of this measure may be, it is certain that what has been generally alluded to as the Colonial analogy has no foundation in fact, whatever.
There is another theory which has practically disappeared, although it appears to be dying very hard indeed, and evidently 94 still exists in the mind of the Prime Minister, and that is the suggestion which was brought forward earlier in these controversies, and which was emphasised again by the right hon. Gentleman's remark this afternoon, that this proposal for the establishment of a Home Rule Government in Ireland was intended to be the basis of a new federal system which was ultimately to be extended to England, Scotland, and Wales. I thought it had been generally recognised by right hon. Gentlemen opposite and their Friends that this federal idea, to which they attached so much importance at one time, was not nearly so popular in this country as they had imagined. I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Churchill) is not here to take part in this Debate to-day. The Prime Minister referred to the relationship which would exist in the future between the Imperial Parliament and the Irish Parliament, and went on to say, "and any other Parliaments that may be created." That reminded me of that interesting campaign which the First Lord of the Admiralty started in the autumn of last year. The First Lord, it will be remembered, surveyed the constitutional position with an even more modern eye than his right hon. Friends and did not confine his proposal with regard to the creation of subsidiary legislative bodies within the more modest limits of the Prime Minister and other right hon. Gentlemen, but with that enthusiasm for Parliamentary institutions which we know he possesses to such a marked degree, he proposed, and I think it must have been to this the Prime Minister was alluding this afternoon, the wholesale creation of various subordinate Parliaments in all parts of the country. We know that the right hon. Gentleman is essentially a democrat, and I conclude that he brought forward this suggestion with the democratic object in view of ensuring that all the excitements, and incidentally the emoluments of a Parliamentary career, should be placed with the reach of the humblest citizen. The proposal was not received with particular favour or enthusiasm, and until the further allusion was made to it by the Prime Minister this afternoon I was under the impression that it had been dropped. At any rate, we have not heard much lately of the policy of Parliaments for Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Midlands, the West, and the South of England.
95 6.0 P.M.
Generally, this proposal has been whittled down to the somewhat vague suggestion that at some future time, when legislative sanction has been given, let us say, to the Preamble to the Parliament Act, it is possible steps may be taken to form subordinate legislative bodies in England, Scotland, and Wales. I am inclined to think that this scheme is far from popular amongst the people of this country. We have got quite enough legislation for the benefit of the people enacted by one Parliament. They are inclined to think that they may have too much of a good thing, and the prospect of having half a dozen industrious apprentices of the Chancellor of the Exchequer engaged in financial activities in all parts of the country does not appeal so much to the popular imagination as it might have done even a few months ago. No one seriously believes now, except evidently the Prime Minister himself, that this Bill can possibly afford us the real basis of a new federal system for this country, even if a federal system were desirable at all. Personally, I should look upon any such proposal as being a retrograde movement, as being the substitute of provincial for national ideas; but, if you are going to have a federal system, this is not the way to bring it about. The first essential to the introduction of a federal system into this country or into any other country is that the vast majority of the people concerned must strongly and decidedly be in favour of and desire such a change in their constitutional system of government. Therefore, if you are going to introduce a federal system with any success into the United Kingdom, it is essential that such a proposal should have behind it an overwhelming demand on the part of the people of England. The people of England constitute the predominant partner. England is the country where the vast bulk of the population reside, and it contains the greatest and most important centres of industrial and commercial activity. Is there any overwhelming demand amongst the people of England for any change of this kind 7 Is there any demand for a change to a federal system in the constitutional government of this country 7 The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that there is no demand or desire for anything of the sort, and under these circumstances is there any possibility whatever of forcing 96 upon the people of England a form of government which they do not desire, and which, in my opinion, has only been suggested for tactical considerations in order to give some sort of consistency to the Irish proposals of the present administration. Even if a federal system were desirable, it is perfectly obvious, as a result of these Debates, that this is not the way to go about it. Federation by instalments is absolutely unthinkable, because the essence of federalism must be uniformity of arrangement. No federal Constitution can possibly be satisfactory unless each unit is individually satisfied.
This is a delicate question which caused much difficulty in the United States, and, indeed, in every country where this question of federalism has been taken up. The balance of power between the federal authority and the subordinate States can only be arrived at, not merely by reference to the demands of one of the partners, but only after a complete survey, judicial and impartial and unprejudiced, of the varying requirements of every State, which is going to make up the new Constitution. The Australian Constitution was arrived at after a convention, and after the draft Constitution had been drawn up by that convention, it was sent back to the various legislatures for their direct approval. A similar method was followed in Canada. In South Africa, a Constitution convention was assembled to decide upon the form of the new Constitution, which was afterwards submitted to the different Parliaments of the different States, and as the Leader of the Opposition pointed out this afternoon, in Natal, the whole question was finally submitted to a referendum of the people. Therefore, we are entitled, in the light of what ought to be the historical knowledge of this House, to say that any federal Constitution which is to have any element of justice or any element of finality cannot possibly be arrived at until some form of Constitutional convention has assembled, in the words Lord Grey used when the subject was discussed in the House of Lords:—Composed of men chosen for their width of vision, their high patriotism, who sinking their party differences, are met together in order to create a Constitution, which might be trusted to secure the permanent wellbeing of the State.Those are the conditions essential to the success of any federal Constitution, and not a single one of those conditions has been fulfilled in a single respect in the present case. I maintain that it is utterly absurd to suggest that this Home Rule Bill can possibly form the basis of a new 97 federal Constitution of the United Kingdom. That claim, I admit, is not being pressed forward with the same energy which was employed earlier in these discussions, but from the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon, it is quite evident that it has never formally been withdrawn. If, after all the criticism which has been directed to this part of their policy, the Prime Minister and his Friends, as it appears, still adhere to this policy, I say, on this ground, and on this ground alone, we are justly entitled to demand that the whole question shall be submitted to a General Election, so that we may have the direct verdict of this country upon it. It is not sufficient, so far as this part of the question is concerned, for the right hon. Gentleman to say that Ireland has expressed a desire for a Home Rule Government, and that that desire has been consistent and sustained for many years past. That is not sufficient from the point of view of the people of England. If the Bill which is before us now is going to form the basis of a new Constitution for the whole of the United Kingdom; if it is going to be the broad principle upon which this new federalism is to be based, then I say we are taking what amounts to an irrevocable decision, and surely the people have a right to express their approval or disapproval of this new system of government in which their future is so intimately concerned.
So far as England is concerned, to say nothing of the details, even the broad principle of federalism has never been accepted by the people, because they have never had an opportunity of pronouncing a verdict upon it. If they had such an opportunity, I believe it would be quite clearly and definitely shown that they are utterly and completely opposed to it. It is an axiom with the Prime Minister always to minimise the character of any revolutionary change to which he may find it necessary in the interests of his party to subject the Constitution of this country. I do not think even the Prime Minister, in his most optimistic mood, could possibly suggest that it was a mere matter of minor importance to make this complete and sweeping change in our Constitution. I do not think he could suggest that it was quite a trivial affair to compass at a single blow the destruction of that splendid continuity of constitutional progress which for centuries has been the historical tradition of our national development. I think that even he will 98 admit that this is a proposal of supreme importance, which ought to be submitted to the verdict of the people themselves. So far as the question of Ulster is concerned, there is little further to be said. I think it is perfectly obvious to everybody that events are swiftly moving towards the point when it will be too late for the right hon. 'Gentleman and his supporters to avert the disaster, for which they themselves will be entirely responsible. Their position is that they are gambling against the chances of Ulster's determination, and they are gambling against the chances of Ulster's sincerity. I would remind them that political gambles, like financial speculations, are not always successful. I would ask them to survey the situation carefully, and if possible, with a complete detachment from mere political considerations. I would ask them to weigh the heavy and grave responsibilities in which they themselves will be involved before they take the final and, in my opinion, the disastrous step of enrolling this measure upon the Statute Book of this country.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I do not think anybody who has taken part in these Debates can fail to agree with the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition at the beginning of his speech. As the right hon. Gentleman very properly said, so far as the present House of Commons is concerned, interest in this Bill is dead. The right hon. Gentleman was also kind enough to suggest that the Parliament Act was working with great smoothness, and was carrying out its allotted purposes. I assume that the right hon. Gentleman has got to the point at last of realising that this Bill is going to be placed on the Statute Book.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I do not know whether by those cheers the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Walton Division intends to assent to or dissent from that proposition, but I think the right hon. Gentleman must by this time have realised the fact that the people of this country are determined that the English and the Irish people shall be reconciled. I am glad to see again on these benches some of my countrymen from the North of Ireland. They shook the dust from their feet a few weeks ago, and described these proceedings as a farce and a pantomime, and they declined to take any part in them. They announced at the 99 same time that they would go to the country. As Sir Wilfrid Lawson once said, "It is much easier to go to the country than to come back from it." They went to the country and so did we, and I hope they are as satisfied with the result as we are. [An HON. MEMBER "Better satisfied."] Some people are easily pleased, and in their hours of distress are thankful for small mercies. There was not a city visited by those hon. Members in which they did not very seriously and very materially advance the cause of Home Rule.
If we were to conduct these proceedings on the lines of the dramatic profession, I should describe the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Walton Division and his colleagues who represent Trinity College as the most successful, the most pushing, and the most excellent advance agents that ever a political party possessed. They held a meeting in Glasgow, where they had a procession numbering, we are told, 20,000, but my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) had 100,000 in his procession. Then they went to Leeds, and they had a big meeting there, but we had a bigger meeting. They afterwards went to Norwich, and I believe their exodus was more rapid. They found that they were not altogether successful in those places, and for very obvious reasons. What did they preach in Scotland? They preached the doctrine that the principle of nationality should be abandoned, a doctrine which I need not say found a hospitable, generous, and enthusiastic reception from every Scotsman. They went to Norwich, the great metropolis of Nonconformity, and they preached there the Gospel of religious ascendency and religious inequality. They went to Leeds, the capital of Yorkshire, and they seemed to believe that Yorkshiremen were to be diverted from their settled political purpose by appalling threats from a small minority of the population of Ireland. They went to the country, and they have come back, and if their minds be at all open to conviction, they must now be in a very chastened mood, and here we have them back again in this Assembly. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where are they?"] Well, they are willing to fight against Home Rule, but they are not willing to attend the House of Commons in order to oppose it. Over and over again, right, through the speeches of these Gentlemen, there is 100 found one burden, and it runs, "Here we are about to be betrayed, about to be given over, bound hand and foot, to our hereditary and irreconcilable enemies; here are we loyalists abandoned to rebels; here are we sound, stern Protestants abandoned to Papists and Papistry." They used these arguments to Englishmen and Scotsmen, most of them Protestants, and they were astounded to find that all their appeals remained absolutely without an answer. The hon. and learned Member for Trinity College told them that he could not get over the apathy of the English people with regard to a question which was one of life and death to the people of Ulster. Another hon. Member above the Gangway spoke in the same terms of profound disappointment and regret. They had thought they could defeat the Bill by arousing the people of England, Scotland, and Wales to the dangers which their fellow Protestants were about to incur in Ireland, but they failed to arouse the people of England, Scotland, or Wales, because nobody in those countries took seriously the ridiculous red spectres of religious persecution: that those Gentlemen were pourtraying the different platforms up and down the country. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, by way of justifying that red spectre—that revolutionary red spectre—quoted the Scottish Covenant. I do not know of any analogy so false as an analogy between the Scottish Covenant and the Belfast Covenant, and I am sure that no people in the world will more resent this comparison between the uprising of a nation in the defence of its religion and the attempt of a small minority to obtain religious ascendency over the majority of their countrymen. A distinguished professor of the Glasgow University (Professor Latta), speaking at a meeting addressed by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond), said:—Sir Edward Carson drew an analogy between the Scottish Solemn League and Covenant and the recent Covenant which had been signed in Ulster. Now, between the two there was no real analogy whatever The Scottish League and Covenant was the Covenant of a nation, not that of a majority in four counties of a province, and its object was to protest against the imposing on Scotland of English ways and English institutions.It was not because men were Presbyterians that they were Covenanters—it was because they said, 'We will not have forms of religion established in England imposed on Scotland at the sole will of the King.' The Scottish Covenanters had no qualms about being considered rebels, but they were not rebels against Parliamentary government—they were rebels against a tyrannical Icing. The Ulster Covenant was to compel the majority of a great nation to remain under institu- 101 tions which, whatever they were, were not Irish institutions. The original Tory was an outlaw who haunted the Irish bogs, and there was as much in common between the Ulster Covenant and Scottish Covenant as there was between the bog-hunting Tories and the present-day Tories.So much for the Scottish Covenant. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the presence of forty-two Members from Ireland in this House and quoted a passage which, I confess, I am not familiar with, although I heard most of what Mr. Gladstone said on this question for a period of about thirty years. According to that passage, the statement was that the presence of Irish Members in the Imperial Parliament would mean a paramount Parliament in Ireland and a subordinate Parliament in Great Britain. We unfortunate Irish Nationalists are in a very unhappy position about this question of representation in the Imperial Parliament. I was a Member of this House when the first Home Rule Bill was introduced, and I think I heard all the speeches for and against that Bill. I remember that in that Bill the point which was fastened on by every enemy of Home Rule for Ireland was the absence from the Bill of any provision for retention of Irish Members in the Imperial Parliament. So far did this go, and my recollection of these historic times is very strong, that several of the men who afterwards voted against the Home Rule Bill declared that if there were to be provided Irish representation in the Imperial Parliament they would support instead of opposing the Bill. Who was the leader of that contention? The apostle and protagonist of the contention was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, who, I think, committed himself to the statement that the absence of Irish Members meant separation, and that as it meant separation he could not vote for the Bill of Mr. Gladstone.
We accepted at that time our exclusion from the Imperial Parliament. But then came another change in the scene. Representation in the Imperial Parliament was given us by the Bill of 1893, and the very same men who denounced the Bill of 1886 because it did not provide that we should be here, denounced the Bill of 1893 because it provided that we should be here. I do not think it requires any great power of prophecy to say that if the present Government, in their present Bill, had omitted Irish representation here, from North and South, East and West, on every platform, there would have come a howl and yell, a cry of separation and an indignant repudiation, in consequence, of the Home 102 Rule Bill. Then we are told that these forty-two Members are to be omnipotent here. In the first place, they will not all belong to the same party. Did I hear a jeering laugh? Will they all be of the same party? I await a reply. Trinity College, I believe, is to be represented. I dare say, five or six years after Home Rule has been passed, Trinity College, growing up with the national spirit around it, may send very different men here, although as university men, it could not perhaps send more distinguished and able men than now represent it. But they will not all be of the same party. There will be some Conservatives and some Liberals—I regret to say I think there will be far more Conservatives in that body than I shall like. And there may be some Labour men. Belfast, I believe, enlightened, broad-winded and tolerant, freed from the incitements of bigotry, conscious of the wrongs the working people are suffering, will send a Labour representative here. Hon. Members talk of forty-two Members as a solid wedge between the British party. Could anyone put forward a more nonsensical proposition? But supposing they all did belong to one party? Why, we have seventy-four together now in one party, and does that affect the perfect independence of the House of Commons? It is said that the Government is the creature and slave of the Irish party? I will not venture to prophecy what these forty-two Irish Members will do, but I do suggest that they will not all belong to one body, they will not all hold the same political opinions, but that they will divide themselves between the different parties according to their ideas and to their different politics. They will not, therefore, be able to exercise a dominating influence, indeed, I do not believe they will exercise even an infinitesimal influence upon the fortunes of Ministries.
The next argument was that every Irish dispute would be fought over here again, and that, therefore, congestion of business in this House will not disappear. Again, I say I never heard a more profoundly, irrational argument than that every Irish dispute will be fought over again in this House. What shall we be disputing about in Ireland? I invite an answer to that question. Shall we be disputing about religious sectarianism. Why, the first day of Home Rule in Ireland will prove to be the last day of sectarianism. I have fought this cause for thirty-three or thirty-four weary years in this House, and I have always been 103 inspired above all things, by the belief that Home Rule would unite all the discordant elements of Irish life. Again I ask, what shall we be disputing about? I dare say we may find a passionate conflict between Gentlemen who represent the region of the Bann and those who represent the region of the Barrow, as to which area shall first be drained. Shall we bring that here? I dare say my hon. Friend the Member for West Belfast will have some proposals to make with regard to sweated labour, and some more cautious and Conservative member of the Irish Parliament, representative of the thrifty farmer, may consider that proposal as too advanced. Shall we bring that here? We may have a dispute about some question connected with the Local Government Board. Shall we bring that here? This very day's proceedings were an answer to any such suggestion. We have had here to-day a demand made by an able, honest Member of this House, with an intimate knowledge of the Rand, a bitter experience of it, and a passionate affection for it; we have had a great labour and capitalist conflict there, with tragic results, and we have had the Imperial forces brought in, rightly or wrongly, to deal with the disorder. We have had as passionate an appeal as could be made to the sensibilities and convictions of this House, and unanimously, or almost unanimously, this House decided that it would not fight over again a question which the Government of South Africa was left to deal with arid settle. I think if anybody were foolish enough, and unpatriotic enough, to try and wash our Irish dirty linen again on the floor of the Imperial Parliament, in connection with our internal disputes, Parliament would set its foot down and say that no such discussions shall take place. If that were to be the result of this Bill, I would not care twopence for it. We want to be left to deal with our own affairs in our own Irish Parliament within the limitations of the Bill. We want to deal with these things ourselves according to Irish opinion and responsibilities, and unless it enables us to do that, I do not think the Bill will he worth anything.
Coming to the next argument of the right hon. Gentleman, he asked this question, "Was ever the allegiance of any part of the British Empire changed without their consent?" That argument is put in a different way by the senior Member for 104 Dublin University (Sir E. Carson). He says, "You are going to drive us out." Who is going to drive them out? We want to drag them in. If equal and generous treatment will get rid of the passionate bigotry that great politicians have been trying to inspire, if they do not come in to-morrow they will come in the day after. Who is going to drive them out? They will still be a portion of these forty-two Members they are always denouncing. The only case in which this Imperial Parliament might be imagined to interfere in the affairs of Ireland would be in a proved case of religious intolerance or religious injustice. Not only would it be possible to bring any such case before the Imperial Parliament, but it would be inevitable. I tell these Gentlemen that the reason why the British masses heard them with apathy and sent them away in despair is that they knew full well that, being fellow-Protestants, the Protestantism of Great Britain would never let them be persecuted. No, Sir, they are not going to be driven out, they are going, like the rest of the Irish Members, to form still a part of the great Imperial Parliament, and they will still have the full right to appeal to British opinion if oppression is proved. Let me tell them also that, without going to England at all, if any Protestant could bring a reasonable complaint of religious intolerance by an Irish Executive he would have behind him every liberal Catholic Nationalist in Ireland, the very fundamental principle of whose creed, and, what is more, the very fundamental principle of whose practice has been absolute respect for every man's religious convictions. As to this change of allegiance, no such thing is taking place. I believe it is contemplated, but not by us. We have never said that we are going to become German subjects. We have never signified any intention whatever of changing our nationality, either British or Irish, but I understand that there are Gentlemen who really are already beginning to think that they would be much better off under that Government, with all the pleasures of conscription, high taxation, and military rule, which are embodied in the German Empire, than under the broad and liberal laws of this Empire. There have been changes of this kind made before, in face of very analogous conditions, and, what is more, in face of very analogous threats. There is not a single apprehension which has not been expressed, there is not a single menace that has been used by the Orangemen of the North of Ireland, 105 that were not used by the Canadian loyalists when it was proposed to extend self-government to Canada. Nobody ought to know that better than the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I thought that statement was as well established as the history of the Ten Commandments, but if the right hon. Gentleman should repeat his denial, I will take an early opportunity of supplying him with the evidence with which I support it. As a matter of fact, so far back as the speeches of Mr. Gladstone upon the Disestablishment of the Irish Church, I remember his quoting exactly the kind of language which the Orangemen use to-day, and which, by the way, they were then using in regard to the Irish Protestants—language used by eminent Canadian loyalists. The Canadian loyalists and the Ulster loyalists interpret loyalty in the same way. Loyalty means supremacy to them; disloyalty means equality between them and us. These menaces remain. Ontario and Quebec both have self-government. There is a minority, a Protestant minority, in both. There is a Protestant minority in Quebec, and there is a considerable Catholic majority. Has that minority been oppressed? The very basis of your whole position is that the Catholic majority cannot be trusted to respect the religious liberties of men of other communities. When I look at France and at Italy and other countries of Europe, and see the way in which Protestants there are treated by people of the predominant religion, I think that a more absurd and more ungrateful charge was never made against a nation. The right hon. Gentleman drew a picture of the terrible injury which would be done to the North of Ireland through its being governed by the South. There are other countries where the North is governed by the South. Newcastle is very often governed by Canterbury, and there are great thriving industrial regions in England which are often subjected to the Tory Government of the "Sleepy Hollows" of the South.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
The hon. Member has accepted the withdrawal before it was made. As far as I know anything of the hon. Member's constituency, which I have Often had the honour of visiting for a political reason, I should say it was generally regarded more as a health resort for the luxurious and the ill than as a centre of a great thriving industrial population. The Leader of the Opposition rather skirts round this question of Ulster. I complain of a want of intellectual candour in his treatment of the Ulster question. He has always said, "These people in Ulster have these strong feelings. They may be bigoted; I do not know. These people have these apprehensions. They may be foolish; I do not know." Why does he not honestly say whether they are well founded or not? Does he think that the Catholics of Ireland are going to persecute the Ulster Protestants. If he does not think so, he ought to tell these men—deluded by thousands of sermons and speeches of the most bigoted character —that their religion is bigotry and their apprehensions are futile. That is the honest course for a man to take, especially with a people so excitable as those in the North of Ireland. Then the right hon. Gentleman compares North-East Ulster with Poland. What about the rest of Ireland; is that Poland? I remember that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West. Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) once compared it with Poland. One of our great orators called us the "Poland of the Seas." The only Poland that appeals to the right hon. Gentleman is a small section in Ireland. The rest he is prepared to treat upon Russian methods—the Government of the people against their will. Upon another point I have to complain of the right hon. Gentleman's want of intellectual candour in regard to the Ulster question. He says the Orangemen do not declare that Nationalist Ireland shall not govern herself, but that their position is that Nationalist Ireland shall not govern them. What does that mean? I should like some further elucidation upon that point. Does that mean that the right hon. Gentleman is ready to give the rest of Ireland Home Rule upon the condition that those four counties should get Home Rule for themselves? If he did not mean that, why did he say it? What is the use of dangling things like that before the House of 107 Commons? He did not mean it, although it might have been so interpreted, because he knows very well—it was proved by the answers and interruptions to the Prime Minister—that his whole party behind him, or at least those from the North of Ireland, would rise in revolt against him. have cut it down to this, that in spite of plausible statements of the right hon. Gentleman these men are determined not merely to demand or retain certain privileges of ascendency for themselves, but to stand between the rest of the Ireland and the right of self-government which she demands.
Therefore we come back to the old proposition. He says the North and the South do not understand each other, and asked, "What does the South of Ireland understand of the ideals and aspirations of the North of Ireland?" We understand them very well, but let me take his proposition that they do not understand each other. I agree that there is great room for a better understanding between the Orangemen of the North and the, Catholics of the South. We know more about them than they know about us, and we understand them a great deal better than they understand us. The contention of the right hon. Gentleman and other Members of that party is that there are two nations and two creeds in Ireland which are irreconcilable, and that there is a great gulf between them to-clay. I do not deny it; I deplore it. But after 300 years to have one nation divided into two hostile camps of religion and race, that is called union." That is what is called, in the words of a letter from the Noble Lord the Member for Maidstone (Viscount Castlereagh), which I read yesterday, the real necessity for the Union. We want the Union to produce the fusion of the races, and the fusion you have created between the two races after your three centuries of this kind of government is to have them still with a gulf of misunderstanding, religious and political, between them. You want to perpetuate and widen the gulf. We want to close it up altogether and for ever, in common work for our common country, irrespective of any religious differences. Yet it is said, "You do not understand the ideals and aspirations of the North of Ireland." There is one healthy ideal the North of Ireland has in common with most progressive communities, that is, a great desire for plenty of good profitable busi- 108 ness. It is an excellent cement between different parts of a nation, as it is between different individuals. I give this much support to the argument of the Leader of the Opposition as to the close similarity between the Scotch of Glasgow and the Irish of Belfast, that they both have a full, rational, and a worthy sense of the value of money. All honour to them! That is one of the reasons of the great success and enterprise of their many magnificent industries. But let us see how we understand them, or rather how these poor Ulster exiles with their back to the rest of Ireland, exposed to irreconcilable, hereditary and inveterate enemies—let us see how Belfast treats the rest of Ireland. There is scarcely a town, there is scarcely a village in Ireland which has not a branch of a Belfast bank. Exiled from the rest of Ireland, hated, going to be persecuted, according to some foul-mouthed advocates of religious bigotry, about to be massacred, for that has been suggested, by the Papists of Ireland, these Ulster banks, easy and free, go down to every town, village, and hamlet in Ireland. They take the money of the southern farmer, who has just. got beyond the stage of the stocking, at 11 per cent. or 21 per cent.; they bring it back to the splendid, robust, bearded, dour Orangeman of Belfast, and get 5 per cent. on it. We do not understand the ideas and aspirations of Belfast What is more, these men trust their money down in the Papist quarters where we are going to pass laws to destroy the prosperity of Ulster I heard an hon. Friend of mine, an excellent gentleman I believe, who was once mayor of Belfast, and is a large man of business there—with kindly good good humoured pleasure he smiles as ho sees me, a rank Nationalist, passing by—I have heard that Gentleman, good in every relation of life, rational on most things in the world, get up and ask whether the Irish Parliament would be prevented from putting an Export Duty on linen. We are going to destroy the North of Ireland by putting an Export Duty on linen, and put tens and thousands of Irish Ulster Catholics out of employment!
I talked of the banks, but that is only one thing. We have all heard the splendid array of figures of the Custom House in Belfast. I am afraid the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not a popular favourite in some circles in Belfast. They pay him £1,000,000 a year or more for tobacco. Is that all smoked in Belfast? I have some of it in the shape of snuff in my pocket at 109 this moment. They send their tobacco 'clown to the South of Ireland, and actually they do not refuse Papist money. There are three houses, I am told, in Belfast which are the greatest seed houses in Ireland, and which supply most of the people with seeds. Hon. Friends of mine here are constant and large customers of these seed houses. There is an hon. Member for one of the Divisions of Mayo who is a Nationalist—you have only to look at him to know that he is one of the hottest Nationalists in the House—and ho went up the very day the First Lord of the Admiralty was to deliver his speech in Belfast, and, being a man of business, and alert, thought he would kill two birds with one stone. He went in to get some goods for his drapery shop down in Castlereagh. Belfast was seething with loyal excitement at the moment, with the terror of its religious liberties withering under the magic spell of the voice of the First Lord of the Admiralty, and I dare say, though he is a brave man, my hon. Friend might have had some terror when he went in to the large shops of the merchants, dour, grim, bearded. They received him with a smile, they took in his orders, they took his cheque.
There is only one way of bringing the people of Ireland together. Far be it for me to say I think everything is right in Ireland. I believe in all political and social affairs there is very little bigotry among the Catholics of Ireland. I do not say there are not bigots among them, as there are among all sections. Creed is held differently by different individuals, however like they may be in common doctrine. A broad man holds the creed broadly and generously; a narrow man holds his creed narrowly and meanly. I believe it is absolutely necessary that if you are to make Ireland prosperous and happy you must bring the creeds together. How can you do that? What is your plan? To keep them for ever apart. To stereotype and perpetuate the very evils which every rational man in Ireland admits. What is your plan? Have you ever seen any body of men brought together in fair and rational discussion of their differences who have not respected each other the more? And when the Orangeman who has probably never been inside a Catholic house in his life, or the Catholic who has never been in an Orange house in his life, meet together on the benches of an Irish Parliament, and join together to discuss what, after all, though important, are the 110 unexciting topics of Irish self-government, they will begin to understand each other, and beginning by understanding, they will end by respecting. I believe I shall see the day when they will end by loving each other as faithful sons of the same country. Their plan is a barren plan, a bigoted plan, and a futile plan. All they have to offer Ireland is to begin again the weary round of coercion of which I should have thought even the Tory pary was tired. What is going to be the future of Ireland? To me it is fairly plain. The most pregnant and most powerful and most penetrating observation I ever heard about Ireland came from the lips of Florence Nightingale. She said to a friend of mine, an Irish Protestant Home Ruler, when this controversy began, "I do not understand what these gentlemen in Parliament are quarrelling about; they are quarrelling, they say, about Home Rule. But surely Ireland has Home Rule already, though it is not the right kind of Home Rule. Ireland is governed by bureacracy, irresponsible to Irish opinion, and irresponsible to English opinion." So it is, and bureaucracy has done its evil work in Ireland. I believe when my hon. Friends come to probe the inner problems of Ireland they will find there a mass of ruin to be repaired, of evil to be undone, of neglect of the very deepest problems of social and individual life, which it will take many years to recover. I believe in doing that they will find immense work, noble work, and in such work there can be no greater aid to Ireland than the good sense of the people of Ulster.
Sir GILBERT PARKER
The hon. Member has delivered a speech which contradicted itself in two very important particulars. I remember the speech which the lion. Member made on the Second Reading, and I remember the speech which the Nationalist Member for Belfast made on the same evening, and I could not help but feel that Unionist Members for Ireland had very good reason to fear and be anxious for the fate of their interests in any Home Rule Parliament established in Ireland. I say that quite seriously.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
That statement has been made before. I challenge any man in the House to quote from my speech on that occasion, or on any other occasion, a word of bigotry or intolerance with regard to any religion.
§ 7.0 P.M.
Sir G. PARKER
The hon. Member is an artist in his own way. He has had great experience of this House. However 111 well he disguised, in words which were carefully chosen, his real meaning, the bitterness of the speech that he made on that evening was apparent to everyone in this House. The speech of the Nationalist Member for Belfast was one which, as I thought, as he was a leader of the Irish party, represents the very strong feeling and opinion and purpose that exists among many Members of the Nationalist party. This afternoon the hon. Member in the middle of his speech showed a spirit of bitterness, while, at the same time, he was talking about conciliation. He admitted the very great gulf that exists between the North-East portion of Ireland and the South. Does he think that gulf is going to be closed by a Bill which every representative of Unionist Ireland denounces and refuses to accept? The Colonial analogy has been used. The hon. Member has just said that there is not a word used by the Unionist Members from Ulster which was not used by the Loyalists of Canada when protesting against the Union there. That is wholly inaccurate. The hon. Member has not read his history well. The facts are these. There were small numbers of people in Canada at the time the Union was proposed who opposed the Union, but you cannot point to a single city, town, or section of people united, in Canada as it was then, who opposed that union. And more than that, the position of these isolated individuals succeeded in giving equality of representation in that Union to the majority. It is absolutely certain that that Union in Canada would never have been accomplished if a single town had stood out against it. To compare the few Liberals who made fiery speeches in Canada at that time with the solid and compact opposition offered by the Unionists of the North-Eastern part of Ireland is merely absurd. This afternoon the Prime Minister said near the end of his speech that he did not believe there would be that trouble in Ireland which was threatened by the Press, the Unionist Members from Ireland, and other Members in this House. My evidence may be of no value at all, but I do say that going through the North of Ireland and not associating myself with Unionists there, I became firmly convinced that the quiet, determined demeanour of individuals in all parts of Ulster represented a real determination to resist to the last any attempt to force upon them a 112 Parliament which they believe would not deal justly by their interests, not through legislation, as has been pointed out again and again in this House, but through administration. Never in the history of this Empire has a Parliament been formed, or rather proposed, under such conditions. As my hon. Friend pointed out this afternoon, in Australia, and in Canada, you got Union by agreement. You secured it in South Africa, where racial feeling, not religious feeling, was just as deep as religious feeling is in Ireland to-day. How did you get Union? By careful consideration in conferences of the needs and demands of each portion of the community. If Natal had chosen to stand out., what do you suppose would have been the fate of South African Union?
It is no argument whatever for the hon. Member for the Scotland Division (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) to say that the Unionist Members for Ireland do not represent the whole feeling of Ireland, or even the feeling of the people of the North of Ireland, and that the opinions they express in this House are only the opinions, as he put it, of the mob at the bottom, and the leaders at the top who incite to violence. I do believe that the leaders of Unionist opinion in Ireland and in this House are less advanced in their views than the people of the country itself. The people of the country believe that their leaders do not go far enough in what they demand, and that they do not express their deep feeling of resentment strongly enough. I believe also that there would have been before this an outbreak in Ireland, if it were not for the moderation used by men like my right hon. Friend below me (Mr. J. H. Campbell) and his colleague (Sir E. Carson) in the representation of Trinity College, Dublin, and others who have kept within moderation Unionist opinion in Ireland, which, however, if this Bill is passed, will find expression, as I believe, not in disorder, but in organised resistance to the imposition of the edicts of any Parliament sitting in Dublin. I want, in justice to the Irish Nationalists, to say this: It has been said in this House that the people in the South of Ireland do not desire Home Rule and that they are quite satisfied as they are. I am bound to say that when I travelled in the South of Ireland I asked a great many questions. I travelled alone, and most of the people I met in the South were in favour of Home Rule. But when I asked why they were in favour of Home Rule, they all said, "We will have better times; we will get some- 113 thing out of it which we never had before." When I read the newspapers carefully, I began to realise what they meant, because the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) visited a mine when I was in Ireland. He went down the mine, and when he came up, grimy after his expedition and satisfied with what he had seen, he told those assembled that the last act of the Grattan Parliament was to grant £50,000 to that mine, and that the money never got into the mine, because the Parliament disappeared. He said, "It will be the duty of an Irish Parliament to take care of such interests as this mine represents." [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] There are cheers from hon. Members. Then we do understand that behind this policy of Home Rule there lies the element of bribing the electors? [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] I do not know what else you would call it. Does the Chief Secretary think that if it were proposed in this House to subsidise a private industry by legislative help, his party would approve of it? The fact is that the general feeling throughout the South of Ireland is if there is an Irish Nationalist Parliament in Dublin, "We are going to have a, very good time. We are going to get things we never got before."
Somehow, they have the idea that the spoils of office will mean a great deal for them. Behind their advocacy of Home Rule there is this understanding that there will be offices to give, advantages to get, and money in one way or another available to them that never was available before. I believe, if you were to poll the people of the South of Ireland at the present time and ascertain their actual mind, their point of view would be found to be, not that the rule of this United Parliament is so bad, but that under Nationalist Government they will have better times than they have now, because greater advantages would be given to them. The Prime Minister said that this Bill had in its favour the unanimous opinion of the self-governing Colonies, and that he had made that statement again and again in this House. Of coarse, I recognise that again and again the opinion has been expressed in the Oversea Dominions that Home Rule for Ireland ought to be given, but it must be remembered that that opinion was always irresponsible opinion. It must be remembered that it was always given with the view to a political advantage. There are Members in this House facing me who know perfectly well that such opinions 114 have been given by Legislatures in Over-sea Dominions in order to propitiate the local Irish vote, and it is quite certain. that if this Bill had to go to the Dominions, say, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, for the approval of those Legislatures, everyone of them would repudiate it on the ground that it was antagonistic to the spirit of federalism. I see an hon. Member opposite who, I believe, lived for many years in Canada. Does he really suggest that the present Prime Minister of Canada and his Government would, if they were called upon to express an opinion on the conditions laid down in this Bill, agree to the measure?' Why, it would be in defiance of every principle passed in the Parliament of that Dominion.
Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
As the hon. Gentleman has asked a question, perhaps he will allow me to say, when 1 was in Canada a short time ago, a large meeting which expressed approval of this Bill was presided over by the Minister of Justice in Mr. Borden's Government.
Sir G. PARKER
That interjection requires no particular answer. The hon. Member says that a member of Mr. Borden's Ministry was on the platform and took the chair at that meeting. I do not deny that there are individual members of the Executive in Canada who may be in favour of the principle of Home Rule. That is not my point. My point is, as I believe, no Government throughout the. Oversea Dominions would accept this Bill as representing their idea of a scheme of federation. That is the principle which we are asked to accept here. We are asked to accept this Bill as an instalment of federation. There is not an Over-sea Dominion that would not reject the idea of a separate Custom House between say, Quebec and Ontario, or between Victoria and New South Wales. Why it took them a generation in Australia to remove the tariff differences between the different provinces there—between Victoria and New South Wales. The bon Member opposite knows how many years it took in the Dominion of Canada to remove the differences between the various provinces. There is not one which would not reject the idea of a separate post office, because they hold that one postal service gives expression to the national life, and is a symbol of federation. This Bill gives permission to establish, not only a so called Irish National Post Office, but also 115 to use their own stamps, and a different symbol, it may be, from that used by the Imperial Government. Every Oversea Government would recognise that this Bill stands in the way of any development of the federal idea of this Kingdom. If we ever came to a scheme of federation in this Kingdom, you would have to give a new Constitution to Ireland, and abolish those anomalies which exist in such a painful degree in the view of those who have any idea of what federation ought to mean.
Sir G. PARKER
There is one national postal scheme in Australia. There is now one national post office in South Africa. Take the point of the representation of Members here. The difference between the situation in Canada and under this Bill is this, that in the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba or elsewhere, each province has its due representation in the federal scheme—that is to say from exactly the same people the members of the local and provincial Houses are elected as are tie Members for the Dominion House, and they are elected so that you have got in each province a due representation of all interests in the Dominion House and in the provincial house. Can anyone suggest that you have got that representation here? The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool poured scorn on the idea that in 1886 Members opposed the Bill because there was no representation, and that the same Members in 1893 opposed it because there was representation. Both those views are absolutely reasonable, because you could oppose this Bill as I have opposed it, because the representation under this Bill is an unreasonable representation, because if Ireland is at all to share in our Imperial responsibility, then that representation is too small. We oppose it because these forty-two Members will have an undue influence and power in this House. They will be able to vote on questions concerning England, Scotland, and Wales, while England, Scotland, and Wales will not have any influence at all on the local affairs of Ireland. In reply to that it is said that it is only temporary, but the reply to that is this: we have no business, in order to satisfy one section of a country, to set up what is an absolute constitutional 116 anomaly in the development of our Empire. That is why, apart from every other consideration, I oppose this Bill. You set up this. anomaly. You make your Parliament in Dublin powerful by reason of its preferential position. You give it power so great that it can use its influence through the forty-two Members sent here, not only to alter legislation so far as the Provincial affairs of England, Scotland, or Wales are concerned, but also to a very powerful degree to influence Imperial legislation. [An HON. MEMBER: "And why not?"] Because it is not upon the same basis, because you have got Ireland administering her own local affairs independently of this country, but sharing in the administration of Imperial affairs and yet not bearing Imperial responsibilities in the true sense—that is the financial sense.
I have been from the beginning amazed that Ireland has been the one portion of the whole Empire that has ever accepted the humiliating position of contracting out of her financial responsibilities. I could have understood the Members for Ireland saying, "We cannot afford to pay under present conditions, but please remember that we regard it as a debt which we are bound to pay some time or other to this Empire and the United Kingdom." If they had done that, their position would be that of a man who is not able to pay now, but considers it a deferred responsibility. The Nationalist party, it seems to me, have placed themselves outside the pale of Imperial responsibility and consideration as true Imperialists, which they now claim they are, when they make it a condition that they shall not be obliged to pay anything for the Imperial responsibilities of this Empire until such time as economics have been effected sufficient to enable them to make a payment if they choose. The Committee that made an inquiry into this business of the financial relations of England and Ireland said that there ought to be a responsibility entered into, but it is part of the whole scheme of the Bill that everywhere it shows a tendency to put Ireland in a preferential position. What. I have just said is some-thing which, putting Ireland in an isolated position, gives her peculiar power, which is to my mind a distinct obstruction to federal government within this Kingdom if it were desirable. There was a time when I was a pronounced Federalist. I have been cured by this Bill. I held the view that we might have these local Legis- 117 latures within the United Kingdom. The more I have studied the case since this Bill came into this Parliament, the more I have been convinced that the system which exists in South Africa is a better system for the United Kingdom than the federal system. You had in South Africa the formation of a great Constitution upon lines more reasonable than were put forward in any other portion of the Empire. You had, first, a federation agreement regarding tariffs between Cape Colony and the Orange Free State, then agreements relating to the unification of railways and the unification of the judicial system. Then they proceed in a country, which had been harassed by race hatred, to a clear understanding, and the Transvaal, which had secured its absolute independence and responsible government, having a greater power than the other communities in South Africa, by virtue of its tremendous financial position, actually hands up its independent power to a combination of Governments, just as Ontario and Quebec yielded up the combined government of Upper and Lower Canada to the control of a whole series of pro-winces.
If it is possible in South Africa to have Union Government in that vast territory where four countries control the destiny of each, how much more reasonable is it in this country, in these Islands, to have also four countries yielding up their local and their general control to four peoples instead of to one? In any case the situation in Ireland is an impossible one. It would not be possible in Canada. It was not possible. The union between Upper and Lower Canada was an absolute failure, because they could not get these fighting sections and these warring races away from their own differences and antagonism, and it was only by the Confederation of 1867, when they distributed over a larger area of control the destinies of each province, that anything like unity came between the two peoples. That is why I feel that the true solution of this trouble in Ireland is not to bring two unwilling people together. The Irish Nationalists say that they are willing, but they breathe a spirit of animosity and bitterness which the Nationalist Member for Belfast breathed into his speech and which the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool breathed into his speech, but in order to retreat—because no man is able to retreat so well as the hon. Member for the Scotland Division—from the vantage ground arranged at the 118 beginning of this agitation, he winds up with a passage like the cooing of a dove, so gentle, so Sweet that one would think that everybody in the South of Ireland was longing to take to his arms his Ulster brethren of the North, and he talks about the banks. I take it that the reason that the Belfast banks exist in the South of Ireland is because the Belfast banks are very well managed, and people in the South of Ireland have got some business sense and prefer to deal with the better business organisation than the worse. When anyone suggests to me that this good feeling which exists in the South of Ireland regarding the Belfast banks is due simply to kindness of heart in the South of Ireland, I say in reply that the things that I read in the newspapers of Ireland when I was there—
Sir G. PARKER
Newspapers that the hon. Member supports. The newspaper that reported the hon. Member for Mayo, who, when he was unveiling a monument, said of Michael Cusack that he began life as a Fenian and he could not possibly have made a better beginning. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, but the tone of the speech is exactly the tone of the speech of the hon. Member for West Belfast when he unveiled another monument. I have a recollection of that speech, which I read very carefully, and the tone of that speech was one of high exultation at the aims of Nationalist Ireland being achieved on the basis of Fenianism. When I find this kind of fanaticism existing in the South of Ireland, and, as the hon. Member will say, existing in the North of Ireland, it surely is madness to attempt to force a union which the minority declare that they will not accept, that they will resist to the death, and that there shall be in this United Kingdom what there has not been for many generations, and that is bloodshed, organised bloodshed, because of the people who are oppressed—and the Ulster Unionists would be oppressed in that they would be forced without their consent into a Constitution which has no analogy in the history of the Empire. If this Parliament gives its assent, and the people of this country give their assent, to a Bill of that sort which will produce these results, the Act will be unpatriotic, and the result will be many a year of disintegration within the United Kingdom, and many a year of healing the wounds made by a Government which can only attain its ends by the coalition of distracted elements and one 119 selfish element, which only regards its immediate policy of Home Rule as the policy to which everything else is to be sacrificed in the course of its career within this Chamber. On the Third Reading of this Bill I venture once again to say that my mind is more strongly convinced than it was when the agitation upon it began, that it will only bring anxiety and continued trouble to the United Kingdom, and will not solve the problem either of Home Rule or of federalism, which all the Members on that side of the House who support the Government are in favour of, and we shall have a recurrence of violence and anarchy which will have been brought about by the Government having yielded to a demand unjustified by the circumstances.
§ Mr. HUDSON
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down drew a very deplorable picture of what is going to happen in Ireland if this Bill becomes law. I was quite interested in the recital of his excursion in the North of Ireland and in some parts of the South of Ireland, but I was waiting to hear him say something in regard to the feeling of the people in the towns and villages, because anyone who knows anything about Ireland is aware that there is a greater feeling in that country in favour of Home Rule than ever there has been since the Act of Union, and that feeling has been growing during a number of years. I am convinced that the ordinary working classes of Ireland, the people themselves, will force this question to the front, if no one else does. It is a very natural position for them to take up. What is that position? The hon. Gentleman opposite spoke about administration. Is there any portion of the community in the United Kingdom connected with industry that has greater ground of complaint than the industrial workers of Ireland on the question of administration? Their position is absolutely deplorable. In regard to administration, it is only true to say that they really have not got a third-rate Department at all to which to apply. There are any amount of officials, not to speak of departments, at Dublin Castle and in Dublin itself; there are some at Belfast, and all of them profess to have something to do with administration. But take the position of the industrial workers when they meet from every province in Ireland to deal with the industrial questions, such as the Fair-Wages Clause, the operation of the Shop Hours 120 Act, the question of housing; and the. question of Government contracts, or of Government work given to the various industries in Ireland. Where have they to go to? They may get an interview, if they are fortunate, with the Secretary to the Lora Lieutenant of Ireland. What happens? A number of them come, up to Dublin Castle, and, as representing the workers, they tell their story. I remember myself on more than one occasion, when a resident in that country, taking a deputation. I remember when the late and respected Member for Dover was Chief Secretary for Ireland, and I am ready to acknowledge his generous, sympathetic and broad-minded spirit with regard to the workers. But what had he to say after we had put forward all our statements? "I have, listened with the greatest amount of interest to what you have put before me. I am very much obliged for the information which you have given me, and I shall be pleased to represent it to the heads of the various Government Departments when I get back to London."
Is that a satisfactory state of things in regard to administration? The Irish workers do not think so, and they are not going to be satisfied with it. I remember in 1903 making strong representations to the Parliamentary Committee of the Trades Congress when it met in Ireland, and as the result a deputation was sent over to London, and I was one of that deputation. It did not matter that it was composed of men from Belfast, Dublin, or Cork, because they were all equally concerned in what was a matter of industrial well-being. I remember that we were well received at the War Office, where we brought forward certain matters relating to Government contracts. We stated the whole of our case in regard to affording better facilities for giving Government work to Ireland, in order to employ specific trades and industries. What was the answer we received on that occasion? It was that the Department would have liked to avail themselves of the opportunity of giving work—yet that had been the burden of the cry in Ireland for months—and would have been glad to obtain workers in order to get the work done. Workmen in this country were working overtime, and they could not get the work accomplished. What does the hon. Gentleman opposite now say as to administration being so exceedingly good? The fact of the matter is that these things 121 have to filter through Dublin Castle, and if you have a story to tell in reference to the condition of industrial matters, and you take it to someone who is not interested, it is handed over to someone else, with the chance that a very great deal of what has been represented is never told at all. That is what has happened, what does happen, and naturally what must happen, under such circumstances.
I quite agree that there are some differences of opinion in Ireland; but when you get into industrial circles in Ireland—at least 45 per cent. of them relating to agriculture—you do not find the differences that are talked about in this House. In all branches of those industrial circles you find that they have a community of interests, and that the circumstances themselves force them into that community of interests. It was very interesting to hear some of the doubts and fears expressed by the Leader of the Opposition, who moved the rejection of this Bill. He asked the Irish Nationalists to possess their souls in patience, and to look to the fact that those he represented were desirous of treating Ireland in a good-natured way, and that they should allow things to proceed on the same lines as they are proceeding to-day. In my opinion that is not possible. The religious differences which are said to exist in Ireland do not count for much. It was my fortune to spend a number of years in that country, and certainly I am not of the same religious persuasion as the majority of people in that country, yet I never suffered in consequence of my religious views. I was never a rich man, but in ordinary circumstances I have visited every town and every important city in Ireland, and I know what is the feeling among the workers What does matter to these people is their industrial well-being. That is what concerns them more than anything else. Would it surprise hon. Gentlemen opposite if I tell the opponents of this measure that, even as far back as 1897, at the time of course when the extension of the franchise was not general in Ireland the representatives of working men in Belfast, Cork, and Limerick deliberated together and passed a resolution declaring that other cities in Ireland should have the same benefits as Belfast. Does this show that the industrial workers of Belfast, if left alone, are desirous of keeping up the contention and the division?
At the Trades Union Congress held in Waterford, in 1897—I took the trouble to 122 look it up the other day—I noticed that a Limerick man moved and a Belfast man —and the Belfast man was not only a Unionist, but a strong Nonconformist—seconded a resolution supporting a measure that would give the same privileges to Limerick as were enjoyed by Belfast at that time. It is quite true that, considering Ireland as a whole, there is a greater unity amongst the people, the rank and file, than in any other part of the United Kingdom. There is a certain expectation that Home Rule, once set up, the whole face of Irish politics will undergo a change. Indeed, it will give the industrial workers of Ireland that opportunity that they have not yet hitherto enjoyed of taking a part in the Parliament in Dublin—a Parliament in which they need representation in their own interests quite as much as do the industrial workers in any other part of the country. I have sometimes been surprised to hear the Opposition speak as to what the consequences would be if this Bill becomes law. I remember being in Ireland at the time the Local Government Extension Act became operative, in 1898. It was the first year that I was entitled to vote in Ireland. I know that quite a number of industrial workers went on to not only the county councils, but the borough councils. I ask opponents of this Bill to consider this point of view: Can they expect that the people having had an experience of an extended system of local self-government of that character, a further measure of Home Rule for purely domestic affairs can be held back? Shortly after the operation of the particular measure to which I have referred, the late respected Member for Dover took over the Chief Secretaryship. It was common property in political circles that a large devolution scheme was anticipated. More, it was practically authorised by the party opposite, under the Irish Reform Association. They knew very well that a measure of the kind must of necessity be brought forward.
Even if this Home Rule Bill were thrown out and became dead to-morrow, and hon. Gentlemen opposite came into power, they would have to deal with this question. They could not get away from it. There is no party that comes into power in this country that can shirk this question. It was said by the Irish Reform Association at that time that the only difference between the proposals that were put forward by that association, of which Lord Dunraven was head, and the Home Rule 123 Bill, was the title. The proposals embodied the fundamentals of the Gladstone Bill of 1893. If all this controversy is to be merely over the fact as to whether this side, the Liberals, or the other side, the Tories, bring in a complete measure, and as to the title, it is just about time that we endeavoured to save the time of this House by saying, "a plague on both your parties." That is just what the workers in Ireland are beginning to think to a very large extent. Undoubtedly, if the Conservative party had held office there would have been a Bill of some kind brought forward, because a measure was practically on the stocks in 1904, and would have been developed had it not been for the few oppositionists in Ulster. And the same thing would happen to-morrow! Is it then worth all this controversy? Is it worth all this time, and talk about the Bill being bad from this or that point of view? The whole truth of the matter lies here: From the industrial point of view, and for the well-being of the country, something is bound to be done. Take history itself. From 1783 to 1796 there was the greatest industrial advancement in Ireland of almost any time on record. What happened? After the Act of Union of 1800 until 1841 there was the greatest possible depression in Irish industries. Such a state of things cannot go on. It is an utter impossibility. Not only do business men realise what is happening, but the workers are realising it too. The time has come, whether it be by the Parliament Act or whatever the means that may be employed, that not more but less time should be taken in putting measures of this character through the House that are greatly overdue and that are greatly needed for the benefit of the community.
§ Mr. GODFREY LOCKER-LAMPSON
In the various Debates on this Bill to which I have listened to the hon. Member opposite is one of the few, if not the only one, who has really tried in at least a practical way to show in what manner this Bill is going to benefit the people of Ireland. I have not heard a single suggestion made in this respect from hon. Members below the Gangway on this side, and although I do not feel that the hon. Member's attempt has really been very successful, so far as proof is concerned, I certainly do welcome the attempt. I could have wished that the hon. Member had tried to show in what way this Bill is going to affect the British part of the 124 United Kingdom, because to my mind the Bill does contain provisions which will most unjustly affect the pocket of the British taxpayer. I do not know whether it is usual on the Third Reading of a Bill to discuss the finance of it, but if the House will allow me I should like to say one or two words about the finance of the Bill, especially as we have not had the opportunity of discussing the financial provisions on the Committee stage during the present Session. The financial positions of this Bill are, on the whole, the most unsatisfactory provisions of it. I believe they are unfair to Great Britain and equally unfair to Ireland. The hon. Member for East Mayo said the other day that that was an extremely inconsistent attitude to take up. He said that if the financial provisions are unfair to Great Britain it simply means that you are giving less to Great Britain and giving a great deal more to Ireland, and that therefore it will, on the whole, be more advantageous to Ireland. I submit that there is no inconsistency at all in saying that the financial provisions are unfair to Great Britain and equally unfair to Ireland; because once Ireland is separated from Great Britain she has, to my mind, absolutely no right to demand anything more than her own true Irish revenue.
Every shilling paid to Ireland over and above her true revenue is an unjustifiable burden upon the British taxpayer. Under the Bill Ireland is going to get an enormous sum over and above her true revenue, as she is getting it even now. Everybody knows that under the Union—and, after all, under the Union nobody grudges it—Ireland gets it because she is part of the United Kingdom. Under the Union, as everybody knows also, the margin between her revenue and expenditure would continue to increase; and under the Union Ireland would be getting more and more advantage from that point of view, and it would come out of the pocket of the British taxpayer. But again, under the Union Great Britain would be perfectly willing to pay this increasing sum to the poorest part of the United Kingdom. I submit that once Ireland has severed herself from Great Britain that she has no claim upon the British taxpayer to be paid the difference between her true revenue and her Irish expenditure. If she deliberately cuts herself off from Great Britain she ought to be prepared to pay her own way and stand the consequences of a separate balance 125 sheet. Although Great Britain will have to pay under this Bill a very large sum over and above Ireland's true revenue, a sum, moreover, which to a very large extent in the future is unknown, owing to the uncertain cost of certain reserved services, such as old age pensions, land purchase, and insurance—this sum, although it will be extremely heavy, and in the state of disunion between the two countries wholly unwarranted, will be entirely inadequate for Ireland's future needs, and the developing reforms which she will have to meet. The excess payment by Great Britain over and above Irish revenue will, it is perfectly true, cover Ireland's present expenses, and probably the large increase in expenditure in connection with the course of certain reserved services; but all the great. social and economic reforms, such as arterial drainage, afforestation, education, transit, Poor Law, housing, and other public works, which would have been automatically and readily carried out and paid for with British money under the Union, will be practically left with no resources to meet them under Home Rule. Therefore, once more I submit that it is not in the least inconsistent to say, that this Home Rule finance is unjust to Ireland as well as to Great Britain. It takes too much from Great Britain, and leaves too little for Ireland. It will be a great burden to the British taxpayer and the despair of the Irish reformer. The result, therefore, will be discontent on both sides of the Irish Channel.
Before the Government framed their Home Rule Estimates, I think the least they ought to have done was to set up some kind of temporary machinery by which more or less accurate results could have been arrived at. As it is, the basis on which they have framed their figures, and on which they have reared practically the whole of their financial scheme, is admittedly grossly unreliable on the showing of the Treasury and the revenue officials themselves. The Government have tried to make an estimate of the true Irish revenue—that is to say, revenue not only collected in, but actually attributable to, Ireland—but owing to the lack of proper machinery and adequate information, these figures are in many cases mere guesswork of the crudest description. The evidence given before the Committee on Irish finance shows quite clearly how unreliable the Government figures are. Certainly those figures do not justify the 126 Government. in proceeding with thin Bill until they have far more accurate information than they at present possess. After all, this evidence was given by revenue and Treasury officials, who would be the last people in the world to be anxious to cast any unnecessary slur upon their own estimates; so that if their figures on their own showing are mere rough and ready guesses, and wholly unreliable, we may be quite sure that they are very rough and ready indeed. I should like to give three important instances, in which this unreliability is very conspicuous. I refer to. beer, tea, and tobacco—three articles which supply a very large proportion of Ireland's total income. In the case of beer, which has been consumed in ever increasing quantities in Ireland during the last few years, the calculation made by the Treasury was based on inquiries from brewers and dealers, who gave the information voluntarily, and who could withhold it at their pleasure. There was absolutely no obligation upon them to give the information for the purposes of the Treasury, and there was no check whatever on the information they gave, Moreover, the calculation was based on inquiries made in 1903–4, or ten years ago. In fact, the. Treasury was entirely dependent on this very rough information, as was shown by the evidence of the Chief Inspector of Customs and Excise. How can even approximate figures be reached by this antiquated method, which seems to me to be unpardonably lax when you are taking the vital step of setting up a separate financial scheme for Ireland. Nothing was done to bring the 1903–4 Returns up to date. The same ratios that were shown to-exist then have been used without any inquiry as the basis to-day. Even the Treasury themselves recognise the inadequacy of the system. Under the existing procedure. as was shown in the evidence of the Chief Inspector of Customs and Excise, the Treasury have not any means at all of forming any opinion as to whether the export of beer from Ireland is increasing or diminishing, in order to estimate the consumption of beer in Ireland, and thus ascertain the true Irish revenue from that commodity. When Sir George Murray, the permanent Secretary for the Treasury, was asked whether the basis of ten years ago was satisfactory, in order to judge the, actual consumption of beer in Ireland in 1911, he replied:—I should think it might very easily be some way out. That is seven years ago.127 It is now ten years ago. Take the case of tea. The revenue estimated by the Treasury to be contributed by Ireland in respect of tea is again a mere supposition of the crudest description. It is based on the quantities of tea ascertained to be consumed per head of the population ten years ago. When Sir George Murray was asked by Sir Henry Primrose as to the reliability of the Treasury tea estimates, he replied:—They cannot be supposed to be anything more than approximations.That, of course, is perfectly true. The Deputy-Principal of the Statistical Office of Customs and Excise, in answer to a question, said:—Our figures cannot possibly take any account of the difference in consumption per head between 1003–4 and the present year, nor of any change of habit;and the Principal of the Statistical Office added:—Any increase in the consumption per head cannot possibly be show n by our figures, as we are applying the proportions of 1903–4.One thing is quite certain—that since old age pensions were introduced the consumption of tea amongst the poorer classes has enormously increased. Mr. Reade, the Deputy-Principal of the Statistical Office, stated that nothing had been done by the Statistical Department to check the vast amounts of tea that go by parcels post, for the reason that it was held to be impracticable to press the Post Office for any statistics on the subject—that is to say, the Treasury statistics in regard to tea, just as in the case of beer, are mere guess-work, which may or may not—probably not—give the true figures in regard to the Irish revenue in respect of that commodity. In regard to tobacco the Treasury figures may be accurate, but just as in the case of the other two commodities they are pure guess-work, and are probably out by a very large sum. I should like to quote one or two answers in regard to tobacco given before the Committee on Irish Finance by the Principal and the Deputy-Principal of the Statistical Office of Customs and Excise. The Chairman asked the questions:—How do the official figures compare with the Irish Department's figures (that is the Department of Agriculture)?—I have got the comparison here. The figures seem to vary from year to year very considerably.The Irish figures are only quantities and values. How do you convert in the 1905 returns 2,100,0001bs. of manufactured tobacco into duty? Some of that is cigars, is it not?—We had to do it broadly of course. We took it on the proportion ascertained in 1903–4, that 100 lbs. of leaf tobacco would make up 112 lbs. of manufactured tobacco.128I do not quite see how you can get over this difficulty. This is manufactured tobacco of all kinds, whether home manufactured or manufactured abroad, and the rates of duty are quite different?—Yes. but the quantities of foreign manufactured tobacco that are moved to and from Ireland are not considerable.Are you quite sure of that?—They were not in 1903–4.Can anything be more unsatisfactory than figures built on this kind of basis? It is a very important matter. These figures are the basis on which the Government have reared their financial scheme under the Bill, and the basis which, after all, is being used to determine Great Britain's perpetual subsidy to Ireland. There is no doubt about that. I think I have quoted enough to prove that the Treasury figures, on the Treasury's own showing, are utterly unreliable. Under the Bill we are asked to give to Ireland a surplus Grant, over and above the difference between her revenue and expenditure, of about £500,000 for the first two or three years, decreasing ultimately to a perpetual £200,000 a year. The Treasury estimate the Irish true revenue at such-and-such a figure, and the Irish expenditure at such-and-such other figure, and the Government made up the difference out of the British taxpayer's pocket. In addition to that, they come once more to the British taxpayer and give Ireland a surplus grant of money in perpetuity.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
In reply to that, I may say that Professor Bastable, in the little pamphlet which he issued the other day, stated that there was nothing very much in that argument of restitution; and he is a great Home Ruler. On the Treasury's own showing, how do we know what is Ireland's true revenue at the present time? The Treasury are probably out by a very large figure indeed. We may be giving Ireland, even on the system adopted by the Treasury itself, far more than she is entitled to or has any right to ask for, although it will be utterly insufficient to meet Ireland's growing expenditure. I ask any fair-minded man, Why should the British taxpayer be called upon to pay this surplus Grant to Ireland over and above any difference between Irish revenue and Irish expenditure until we know what the difference really is? I submit that the first thing the Government ought to do, if a separate financial system must be set up, is to establish some sort of temporary machinery by which we could find out what really is the true Irish 129 revenue—that is to say, the revenue properly attributable to Ireland. To my mind they have no right merely on account of the exigencies and the excuse created by the Parliament Act, exigencies which after all are of their own making, to scamp their duties and turn out makeshift and slovenly legislation. Under the Union I do not believe that the British taxpayer has the slightest objection to spending money on Ireland any more than he has to spending it on Cornwall or Northumberland. There has not been any grudging under the Union and there will be no niggardliness in the future, but if Ireland is to be separated from Great Britain I do feel that the British taxpayer has every right to demand that the accounts between the two countries should be carefully scrutinised and drawn up. It is perfectly true that Ireland will not be able to meet her developing expenditure in future under Home Rule in spite of the burden placed on the shoulders of the British taxpayer, but it is equally true that we are saddling ourselves with vast liabilities in the future on Ireland's account which she has no right to exact from us when once the Union is dissolved.
I will pass away from what has been a dull subject, I am afraid, to something which I think is a good deal less dull, and is even more important. I do not think that hon. Members in the least realise what those liabilities on the British taxpayer may possibly be in the future. I am sure the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Lees Smith), who has taken such a great interest in the Irish question, does not in the least know, nor does any other hon. Member, what the Transferred Sum is going to be. Although this House is going to be asked to vote on certain estimates, the figures however take absolutely no account of possible Grants which may be made to Ireland during the next few years for various Irish Departments. The Transferred Sum, as hon. Members know, is a sum which is to cover the cost of Irish services not as at present, but as at the passing of the Act. Moreover, I believe that various items of future expenditure by Great Britain on account of Ireland have been very largely underestimated by the Government. In the case of old age pensions the Postmaster-General told us the other day, and told us last year on the First Reading of the Bill, that the cost of those pensions in Ireland is at the present moment at its maximum. I suppose he said that on the authority of his Treasury 130 advisers, but the evidence given before the Committee on Irish Finance is exactly the contrary. In the evidence, both of Sir William Thompson, who is Registrar-General for Ireland and Chairman of the Census Commission, and Dr. Falkiner, Superintendent of Statistics, stated that in their opinion the cost of old age pensions in Ireland would increase for many years. Perhaps the Postmaster-General has not read the evidence. If he had not read it when he made the statement that the cost was at its maximum in Ireland, that only shows how the financial case in respect of this Bill has been dealt with by the Government, and if he had read it, then I am not at all surprised why the publication of the evidence was withheld until the Committee stage of the Bill was well over.
The Government have also taken no account of possible enormous increase in the cost of land purchase. In the financial statement issued by the Government it is estimated that the charges under the Land Purchase Acts in Ireland would increase by about £450,000 in the next ten or fifteen years, but as the right hon. Gentleman opposite and hon. Members know, the cost entirely depends on the number of purchasers in the future and on bonus expenses. The Government seem to have forgotten one very important consideration. Under the Land Act of 1903 leaseholds in towns all over Ireland can be enfranchised as well as agricultural tenancies. In the case of Boyle, as the right hon. Gentleman will remember, which is a town of about 4,000 inhabitants, a case was brought before the Court, and it was held it came within the meaning of the Act. Mr. Bailey, one of the Estates. Commissioners, made this quite clear in the evidence he gave before the Committee. Mr. Jackson asked him:—In no case could you, under the Act, include a town which is not part of a large estate, I suppose?— No.That limits it?—That does limit it. But, then, we find nearly all these towns do form part of such estates.That is so; all over Ireland practically?—Yes. it is.So it would mean an enormous sum?—It would add very largely to the cost of land purchase.Which would knock out these estimates (Treasury Estimates) altogether?—Yes, it would, and for that reason we are not really contemplating their inclusion.How can hon. Members say that there will not be a demand for the enfranchisement of those towns in Ireland? In fact, if there is such a demand under the Act of 1903, it may easily be decided that the money will have to be provided, and the bonus paid, and if that is decided, 131 Imperial credit will have to be found and enormous sums of money will have to be borrowed. I do submit that before we embark finally on Home Rule, we ought to know more or less what the liabilities of the British taxpayer are going to be. We have absolutely no idea at present. Not a single hon. Member in this House has any idea whatever as to what the liabilities of the British taxpayer are going to be. We do not know even what the Transferred Sum is going to be, and we have no idea of the liabilities in connection with the various reserved services during the next ten years. As far as the finance of this Bill is concerned, the Government are asking their supporters to go blindfold through the Lobby. I really do wonder how long hon. Members opposite are going to allow themselves to be driven in blinkers in this way. Let the Government be candid for once, and confess to the absolute uncertainty of the whole of this Home Rule finance. I do not think we ought to be left in the dark, and up to the present we have been left completely in the dark, and perhaps in ten or fifteen years hence we may find ourselves saddled with liabilities on Ireland's account which were never dreamt of when the Bill was going through this House. Surely every care ought to be taken to inform English and Scottish Members and the people of Great Britain what they may be letting themselves in for. If Home Rule is a sound policy, the Government need fear no disclosures; if they are candid, they will lose no time in taking the people into their confidence and lay all the possible liabilities under this Bill, under review. After all the Government are the trustees of the nation's finances, and under Home Rule will be the trustees of Great Britain's finances, and it seems to me to be their bounden duty to tell the British taxpayer what is the burden in respect of Ireland, and what it may be in the future.
There is one last point, and that is in connection with the provisions in the Bill for financial revision in certain contingencies. If a separate financial system is to be set up in Ireland, surely it is of the first importance that the financial arrangements should be final and that the financial settlement should be a final one, so that the whole question of financial relations should not be raked up again, possibly in a few years' time, with all the accompanying risks of bitterness and ill- 132 feeling. In putting these provisions into, the Bill the Government have gone directly in the face of the Report of the Primrose Committee, and in face of the evidence giyen before that Committee. The Committee heard evidence from a distinguished Indian financial expert on the system of financial revision in India and he strongly advised that there should be a final settlement. The evidence from other parts of Ireland was no less strong. Mr. A. Ennis, Chairman of the General Council of Irish County Councils, said, replying to Mr. Huth Jackson: "I should prefer that (a final arrangement) to having a revision at certain periods of the, financial relations between the two countries. These revisions would naturally create the very thing I deprecate, friction between the two countries. I believe that a final arrangement now upon fair and sound lines is undoubtedly, both from the financial and political point of view, in the interests of both countries." I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, the. Chief Secretary, why they have entirely ignored this advice, not only in the evidence, but by the Committee itself. I cannot see in the Report of the Committee or in the evidence a single word to support the procedure which they have adopted. If there is to be friction under the Bill at the best, why go out of your way to give additional opportunities to both parties concerned for prolonged and acrimonious controversy in regard to one of the most dangerous questions, the most prolific of disputes, the question of money. There has been very much guesswork in the region of finance during the last few years, and I suppose that the Government think a little more or less does not matter, but surely when a fundamental change of this description is being made, and when you are altering the relations between the two countries it does matter a great deal. I believe that if the British electors appreciated the liabilities which they were taking upon themselves in respect to Ireland under Home Rule, and the very meagre and miserable return which they will get, as well as Ireland, there would be such great pressure brought to bear upon hon. Members opposite by their constituents that they would not have the slightest chance of passing the Bill into law.
§ Mr. LEES SMITH
I do not intend to follow the hon. Member into the detailed and intricate financial examination of the Bill which he has just given to the House.
133 It reflects great credit upon his industry and his knowledge of the subject. He began his speech with a statement of a rather general character. He acknowledged that under the Union the deficit the British taxpayer would have to bear on account of Ireland would become larger in future, and he then went on to say that under the system of Home. Rule it would be unfair that the British taxpayer should bear any deficit at all, because Ireland would have cut herself off and would no longer be a part of the system. But Ireland under this Bill will still be a part of the system. She will be a part which is rightly contented instead of being rightly dissatisfied. The hon. Member's argument that the mere fact that Ireland is part of an arrangement, federal in its nature, instead of an arrangement which is unitary, means that Ireland is not part of the British system would lead to the conclusion that Bavaria is not part of Germany, and that New York is not part of the United States of America. The Leader of the Opposition in his speech stated that it would be a constitutional outrage to pass this Bill into law unless we referred it to the people at a General Election. I am convinced that that does not express the opinion of the people. The people are sick and tired of General Elections. They have had two General Elections in a little over three years, and they do not want to be troubled with another. When they returned us to power in December, 1910, they knew well enough they were returning us to power with a right to stay here for a long period. To ask, as the Opposition do, that after being so returned to power we should resign in less than two years, appears to me to be the height of grotesqueness. As a matter of fact we could choose no more favourable issue for an election than this very Home Rule Bill. All the ancient bitterness against Home Rule is dead and none of the efforts of hon. Members opposite has been able to revive it. You go on making a series of dramatic demonstrations, but the country refuses to be disturbed.
It is a sheer impossibility to have an election upon Home Rule. You can get your electors to the poll, but it is not upon Home Rule they will cast their vote. Hon. Members know just as well as we do that if a General Election were held it would be far more likely to take place on the Insurance Act. If we on this side were to indulge in the same habitual use of im- 134 moderate language as the Leader of the Opposition practises, and were continually to describe party tactics as conspiracies, we should be justified in describing this as a plot to secure an election on Home Rule and then use Home Rule as a cloak for an election on the Insurance Act. I have heard this argument over and over again. The Leader of the Opposition continually tells us that the last election did not justify us in passing Home Rule. In the Debates on the Welsh Disestablishment Bill we were told that it did not justify us in passing a Welsh Disestablishment Bill, and during the Debates on the Parliament Act we were told it did not justify us in passing the Parliament Act, and they organised on the floor of this House a scene of unparalleled disorder to enforce that view. The argument comes to this, that although we have had two elections in one year, neither one nor the other, nor both together, can justify us in passing anything at all. This demand for a General Election has been made by every Leader of the Opposition for generations. It is a well-known and well-understood Parliamentary debating point, but there is no Leader of the Opposition who has made it with such little justification as the present one. There is no Leader of the Opposition who has demanded that there should be three General Elections in less than four years and who has demanded it upon a subject on which he knew the electors would never be thinking about. The present Leader of the Opposition has confused a well-known Parliamentary debating point with a solemn justification for civil war.
The Leader of the Opposition also emphasised, somewhat to my surprise, and a good deal more strongly than I have ever heard him before, his demand for the exclusion of Ulster. I thought it was a pity that he did not go on to tell the House what in his opinion, as a matter of administration and in actual practice, the exclusion of Ulster would mean. If it means that the four counties are to go on just as they are at present, that Dublin Castle with its autocratic administration, with its divorce from the control of those whose affairs it administers, is to be transferred to Belfast, to be maintained for the special benefit of this part of Ireland, then the system would break down. It is quite clear that the democracy of the four counties would not tolerate that, and would feel much 135 resentment against being governed practically as a Crown Colony, that the continuance of the system would be impossible. If it means that Ulster is to be administered just like Lancashire on an identical plan with England, then again it is an impossible proposal. Whatever differences hon. Gentlemen opposite may point out, the fact remains that the conditions of Belfast and the four counties of Ulster are utterly unlike anything in this country, in fact they are so unlike that, it really is out of the question to propose that they should be administered on the same pattern.
Take the question of education. How could you apply the English system of education to those four counties with their enormous Catholic minorities, because you would raise there a conflict which would in all fairness be comparable with Home Rule itself. Take, for example, our Poor Law system, and our agricultural system, as unique systems dealing with unique problems. It is quite true that a separate and distinct administration for Ulster would be necessary for the four counties, and it is equally clear that the four counties would demand that the administration should be controlled in the only possible manner by a State legislature of their own. I have already pointed out the consequences to which the demand for the exclusion of Ulster appears inevitably to lead. I wish to say purely for myself, that this does appear to me to furnish a basis upon which with goodwill if there was a desire for it, this question could be settled by agreement. That agreement would also necessitate that there should be a State legislature for Nationalist Ireland, and that there should be an all Ireland Legislature for the whole nation in which the four counties would be represented, and where they would be able to protect the interests of the Protestants elsewhere. This would mean that you would give to Ireland a constitution roughly similar to that which exists in Canada, Australia, or even South Africa.
It would be a good deal simpler, because in Australia there are seven Legislatures. In Ireland, with about the same population, there would be three. You would devolve on these two State Legislatures both in administration and legislation the control of those questions where there was any ground for reasonable apprehension of oppression. I realise that any such arrangement as this would be provisional, 136 because it would not be necessary for very long. I am convinced that when once Home Rule in any shape has been established and experience of it has been gained, then the nightmare would be dissipated, and there would be a general desire merely for that form of Home Rule which would be most natural. It has been suggested to me that when an unofficial Liberal Member makes suggestions of this sort it may be taken to mean that we are quailing before threats of armed resistance in Ulster. I am quite ready to say that, personally, I would be willing to go to some length to save any of my fellow-citizens from the consequences to which armed resistance may lead them. It would certainly give the Irish Parliament a fairer chance if its early years were not embittered by a violent conflict.
Hon. Members opposite have always argued that the armed resistance we have reason to be afraid of is not because of our anxities on the part of Ireland, but with regard to the people in our own constituencies. The Leader of the Opposition continually speaks as if armed resistance in the four counties would lead to a flame of sympathy and indignation throughout the United Kingdom. I think the effect would be exactly opposite. The people of the United Kingdom will have a sympathy for those who are wantonly ill-treated. If a provisional Government were formed in the four counties I think the people who would be in danger of brutal ill-treatment would not be the Unionists who were in revolt, but the law-abiding Nationalists. The provisional Government would be confronted with an enormous Catholic minority at its very heart, and its difficulties in dealing with that Catholic minority would be far greater than any which can be presented to Great Britain by the provisional Government itself. Judging by experience, the real danger of ill-treatment would be amongst the Catholic minority, and that is why I am convinced that when you come to the point, if a flame of indignation were aroused in this country, it would be on their behalf.
§ Mr. CROFT
The very interesting speech of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down would have been more valuable if it had been uttered some months or some years ago, when there would have been some possibility of fundamentally altering the principles of the Bill on the lines which he has suggested this evening. I think the House, however, will agree that it is satisfactory, 137 even at the eleventh hour to hear a voice with some little reason raised in recognition of the fact that the Government is up against a brick wall which it will not be able to climb, and that unless something reasonable is proposed it will have to eventually roundabout turn. The hon. Gentleman rather misunderstood the position when he criticised the demand which we make with regard to a General Election. The hon. Gentleman may think that some of us do not feel as strongly as others, but at any rate, a very large number of us honestly feel that it would be a disastrous thing if this measure were forced upon Ulster in its present frame of mind without the sanction of the electors of this country, and it is to avert a crisis that we ask that this Bill should be postponed, in order that the electors may have an opportunity of expressing their opinion upon it. The hon. Gentleman asked what was the good of a General Election, and said that you would not get a verdict upon Home Rule. You could pass a Referendum Bill in a week in this House.
§ Mr. CROFT
Under the circumstances, sooner than see civil war, I would certainly vote for a Referendum measure, so that the people of the United Kingdom should have an opportunity of saying whether they desire the United Kingdom to be dismembered or not. I am rather inclined to think that a very large number, if not the great majority, would say the same as we do on this side of the House. We recognise that things are rapidly coming to a crisis. You cannot allow this intense feeling to continue for all time. Something has got to be, done if disastrous strife is to be avoided. At the last election I felt very strongly indeed that there was a possibility that the Government were going to pass Home Rule under the machinery of the Parliament Act. I spoke at fifty-four meetings, and I never neglected to mention that, fact, but whenever I mentioned it there was invariably a roar from the body of the hall, "That is a bogey; sit down; Home Rule is not an issue at this election." I think most speakers on the Unionist side will bear me out that their experience was very similar. One of the best mouthpieces of Radical opinion has told us that it was in the pack of cards, but it was not anywhere near the top. I feel that it was not in the pack at all; it was up the sleeve of His Majesty's Government, and the electors had no opportunity of even seeing the narrow edge of the card in the pack. 138 The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), emphatically asked what questions there would be on which the two groups of opinion in the Irish Parliament would quarrel. I think that on the present basis of this Bill the Irish Parliament would quarrel on anything which came before it. You cannot get away from the fact that you are not only going to have a state of affairs which will not get less acute, but which must get more intense as time goes on.
The Prime Minister said there has always been a constant majority for many years from Ireland in favour of Home Rule, and he asked what would happen if this Bill did not go through. There is not a single speaker on the other side of the House from the start of these Debates when the Bill was first introduced who has not admitted the enormous increase in the prosperity of Ireland in recent years. Whatever the politician may say, I do not think that there is any real anxiety among the newly established yeomen peasantry of Ireland or amongst others who are engaged in industry, or indeed among any class of men, except those who have no occupation whatever, to see an alteration in a system which is bringing greater prosperity every year to Ireland. If that is the fact, what have we to fear if this Bill does not go through? The Prime Minister speaks of the constant demand of Ireland for Home Rule, but it is a very extraordinary thing, that for all these years, until 1910, he has failed to recognise this burning desire for Home Rule. He also referred to the fact, that this Parliament was still going to be the superior and paramount Parliament over the Irish Parliament as in the case of all the other Parliaments in the Empire. I think that the Veto of this Parliament would be just as real as in the case of the other parts of the Empire with which the Prime Minister compared the newly proposed Irish Parliament. It cannot possibly be used. It has been tried, but even the merest suggestion in the case of Natal not very long ago brought about such a storm of feeling that the Government recognised the situation to be too serious to go on. We have this hollow mockery of the Veto of the Imperial Parliament trotted day after day in this House, but it must be evident to everybody that the Veto cannot be exercised. If you only partially trust hon. Gentlemen who sit on the Nationalist Benches, if you say, "We have given you a Parliament, but you do not 139 know what you are doing or talking about," you will have far more discontent in Ireland than you have ever had. Even the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool himself made a mockery of the Prime Minister's speech, because he showed how impossible it was for the Imperial Parliament to interfere. He instanced the strike on the Rand, and, referring to the question which was raised this afternoon, said everyone in this House felt that, having settled the question of the Union of South Africa, we could not interfere with the Union Parliament, and the question was dismissed as if by common consent. How extraordinary it is, then, that the Prime Minister should suggest that there is any value in the Veto with regard to the Irish Parliament!
There is a point which has not been mentioned much in this House and which is the biggest question of all which we have to consider. This Bill is not only going to divorce one part of Ireland or one part of the community, but the whole of the Irish people from British citizenship. Ireland is not going to contribute to Imperial defence or to the Imperial Consular service. She is not going to take any part in any Imperial function whatever, and it is almost impossible to conceive that Irishmen can really take an interest in Imperial affairs in the future. May I ask the House to consider what will be the position in the case of a really serious European war? Suppose we find this country suddenly burdened with enormous taxation in order to make good the results of the war? Surely Ireland, as part of the British Islands, must suffer in her national pride if she does not bear equal share with other parts of the British Islands in such a burden as that? If she share in our triumphs but not in our burdens, surely that must be bad for the united citizenship of the British Islands? Hon. Members forget that they are only going to contribute, if they like, on such an occasion, to such a burden, and the consequence is we shall not see the partnership continued in the future. It does seem to me that Ireland and this country, and the whole British Empire, must necessarily suffer.
It is a curious coincidence, I believe my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Honiton Division (Major Morrison-Bell) will bear me out in this, that supposing Redistribution took place at the present time, 140 without Home Rule, Ireland would send to this House something like forty-three Members. [HON. MEMBERS "No!"] Well, let us say twenty more than are provided in this Bill. In other words, if Ireland had her proper representation according to population in this House she would only be sending twenty-three more Members than it is proposed she should send under this Bill, under which she is going to contribute nothing to the Imperial upkeep. That seems to show the extreme folly of this proposal of Ireland continuing to send representatives in such numbers—I do not say there should not be some spokesman for the Irish Parliament in this House—as if they were bearing the full burden of running the British Empire.
I should like to contrast that with the fact that we in this country, who are still going to pay the piper year by year, will have no representative whatever in the Irish Parliament to see whether our money is going to be spent wisely or unwisely. That is a curious principle, for the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent (Mr. John Ward), who is far more a Liberal than a Labour man —it is a curious thing for him to cheer when we remember that the Liberal party always used to believe in the idea of no taxation without representation. I want to deal with the fact that the political division of the people of Ulster and the rest of Ireland synchronises with the religious division of opinion. I want, if I may, to ask the Nationalist hon. Members what they consider would be the position of the people of Roman Catholic Quebec if it were suddenly suggested that they should be placed under a provincial Government, or under, say, three provinces with a large majority over them for all their local affairs, and especially if they were suddenly placed under Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan? Everybody knows perfectly well that the people of Quebec would not permit such an arrangement to take place. Everybody knows that they value their present system far too highly. But it seems that the party opposite, who are and have always professed in the past to be the friends of small people and small communities, would not think it so intolerable a condition to force the Roman Catholics of Quebec to come under a provincial Government where they would be in a permanent minority in regard to local affairs. That surely is the real point of this question in 141 Ireland. It is the key to the whole question. The Protestants of Ireland are going to be put in a permanent minority, and nothing can ever alter that. Is it conceivable that when you have got religious coupled with political divisions, is it conceivable you are going to have a healing of divisions between those two parts of the community which are so strongly divided? I believe, as in the case of Quebec and Ontario, so in the case of Ulster and the rest of Ireland, you must have an independent arbitrator, or outside umpire, who is not mixed up in all these broils, but who will be enabled to keep a fair field between the two contending parties. I, for one, originally approached the whole question of Home Rule believing it could be solved on federal lines, and it is for this reason that I came to the conclusion early on that in any federal system in the Empire the British Islands must be one federal union with a Parliament at Westminster, as in the past, as umpire, to see that a fair field is kept for the intense local differences which exist in Ireland.
=If Ulster had been in Macedonia the hon. Baronet the Member for Salford (Sir W. P. Byles) and his colleagues would.have been the first to take up the case of that community which was to be driven out of another community. Suppose that Ulster had been a part of Bulgaria, and it had been suggested that Ulster should be attached to Servia instead. I can imagine that the hon. Gentleman would not only have got eloquent in speech, but I believe he and his Friends would for the first time in their lives have taken up their rifles and immediately started for that district in order to prevent such an iniquity taking place. They have always been on the side of small countries. They have always believed that a nation or part of a nation should have that political system which they believe to be right. But here they are reversing that policy, and they are driving out men who have proved themselves loyal to this country and to our Constitution, and who also have proved that they can be successful in Ireland. They are driving them out. I can only say if hon. Gentlemen opposite do not now recognise how serious is the course they are taking, I hope that, in the Recess which we hope to have shortly, they will themselves go to Ulster and study this question. If they do that, I am certain they will come back to this House with changed opinions.
§ Mr. HEMMERDE
The hon. Member who has just spoken made a number of very interesting remarks, and seemed surprised that the Liberal party, which has always been identified with the cause of small nations, should to-day not be prepared to identify itself not with a small nation but with a rather minute part of one. I cannot see what analogy there is between the identification of the Liberal party with the cause of small nations and the attempt to identify it with Ulster, which is the case of a small Protestant minority that has for so many years had all the rights of the majority, although it is in a very considerable minority in the country. The hon. Member talks about the Protestants being in a permanent minority in Ireland, and seems to think that because they are in a permanent minority therefore there is some reason why the majority in Ireland should never be allowed to come into its rights. I do not understand that. We have to consider not only the minority in Ireland, but also the majority. When I am told that the Protestants are in a permanent minority in Ireland, I would point out that the Catholics are in a permanent minority in this country, and that there is no difficulty in this country, although some years Ago, in different circumstances, there was a considerable difficulty when the Catholics were in a minority and the Protestants were oppressing them. I, for one, desire upon this occasion to make some protest against the hardly veiled threats of treason with which we are assailed in this House when we endeavour to carry out the orders of the constituencies. For many years we have had considerable difficulty in dealing with Ireland. The hon. Member, who points with pride to the enormous increase in the prosperity of Ireland during the last thirty years, will perhaps remember, if he throws his mind back, that the basis upon which every one of the measures which caused that prosperity was erected was opposed by his party with exactly the same vigour. They have always been wrong. When I first entered the House they were saying exactly the same thing about the South African settlement as they are now saying about Ireland. They never recognise the rights of the majority or the rights of the people, and never seem to learn from one blunder after another to alter their view when the same case comes up for consideration.
What is the position? We are told that we have not got a majority or a mandate. Personally, I do not believe in the theory of a mandate any more than I believe in 143 the theory of a Referendum. I hope we shall never come to regard a mandate as essential to our government in this House, and that we shall never see what I consider the intolerable abuse of the Referendum brought into our politics. It will demoralise the whole of our Parliamentary system and undermine the responsibility upon which Parliament rests to-day. Hon. Members opposite never worried about the Referendum or about the theory of the mandate when they were in power. I remember that in 1900 the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) pledged the party opposite, if they were returned, not to deal with either education or licensing. In spite of that pledge both were dealt with, and it never worried hon. Members opposite at all. They never worried about the fact that they had not got a mandate or that one of their leaders had pledged them not to deal with the very subjects with which they dealt. When those Bills went up to the House of Lords, did anyone there worry about the theory of the mandate? Not in the least. Apparently we are to consider the question of a mandate, and, although we win election after election in the country, we are never to pass a Bill. We are not entitled to pass any Bill. I remember one election during the last General Election that was fought upon Home Rule. That was in Portsmouth. Lord Lansdowne came down and made, quite near the constituency which the hon. Member (Mr. Croft) so ably represents, a speech in which he said perfectly clearly that the issue was Home Rule. My opponent, the Noble Lord (Lord Charles Beresford), who was successful, not only said that he was fighting upon Home Rule, but that if Home Rule were passed he was going out to fight and would die in the last ditch. The people in Portsmouth all knew perfectly well what we were fighting about, and the country knew very well at both elections in 1910 that we were fighting upon the question, and that when we were returned to power we should deal with the question of Home Rule.
We are asked, "If you won at the last election, and there was some idea that you would deal with Home Rule, what about the by-elections since?" The by-elections do not give hon. Members opposite the slightest comfort. They never fight them upon Home Rule. I was returned at a by-election. They sent a number of Home Rule speakers down, who=144 were withdrawn before the election finished, because they were in the way and nobody wanted to hear them. The Home Rule question was considered as definitely settled. That has been so, not only in North-West Norfolk, but practically in every by - election during the last few years. The idea that they were fought upon Home Rule is a mere myth. The hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Croft) may tell us, and undoubtedly is perfectly confident in his own sincerity, that he and his Friends honestly feel that it would be disastrous if this measure should be forced upon Ulster without a General Election. Is he prepared to say with certainty that Ulster, after another General Election, will abate one jot their resistance? Hon. Members from Ulster tell us that they will fight now, and will fight then; that we in this country have no right, however big our majority, to force upon the so-called loyalist minority in Ireland, what the vast majority of the Irish people desire. It is all very well for him to say that he wants a General Election. I want to know what is to be decided, and whether heed will be given to the result. We hear too much at this time about threats of rebellion, and the disobeying of the laws of the country. Every noisy minority is inclined to say that they will not be governed by the laws of the country. We hear that there is going to be fighting if this Home Rule Bill is passed. I do not agree with the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Lees Smith), in his proposals. I do not believe in any system which has been suggested, other than the system at present before Parliament. I believe the present Home Rule Bill is a practical solution of a very difficult question, and the whole Empire thinks the same. There is not a single English-speaking Colony in the whole of the Empire, the Parliament of which has not passed resolutions in favour of Home Rule. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh"!"] The few hon. Members opposite who are present laugh about what the rest of the Empire wants, but it is a fact that the whole of the Empire is with us in our settlement of this question, and from no part of the Empire, apart from Ulster, can you get any protest against what we are doing. To come back to what I was saying just now, at no by-election during the last three years, has there been any attempt by hon. Gentlemen opposite to make the Home Rule question a governing issue. I challenge 145 any hon. Member to mention any election where it has been so.
§ Mr. HEMMERDE
I said a by-election. There has been no by-election at Portsmouth. The hon. Member has forgotten that what I said referred to the General Election. There has been no by-election at which Home Rule has been made an issue. Those Gentlemen who talk about fighting—it is very easy to talk here about fighting, and one has heard it upon so many measures affecting Ireland—are not wanted when there is a by-election on foot. If they wanted to talk about treason, they would be asked to go home. They come down and talk about Insurance, in spite of the fact that their leaders blessed it. They are asked to come to things a little more recent. They are not asked to talk about this measure, yet we are told that the people of this country would have the right to break out in civil war if the people of Ulster cannot get their way. Not only has this question never been made an issue at these by-elections, but there is not the slightest chance, as hon. Members know very well, that it is likely to be so. The interest in this subject compared with other subjects is dead. I have sat in this House for nearly three boors to-day, and for quite an hour there was not a single Member on the Front Opposition Bench, and during the whole of that time there were never more than six Members sitting on the Opposition Benches, and yet we are told that this is the moment at which we, are entitled to break out into open rebellion because the country is seething with indignation against the monstrous action of the Government. No one would be content, not even the hon. and learned Gentleman who will wind up for the Opposition, to come into the House until just in time for their speeches to be made.
§ Mr. HEMMERDE
That interruption is of great assistance in my point. What I am saying is that upon all sides the country is sick and tired of this question, and wants to get on to other business. It is not only upon that side, but upon this side. People have long since ceased to take a serious interest in it, and that is why it is no longer in question at by-elections, and it is not going to be, and if that is the case, what is the object of having a General Election upon a question which 146 everyone knows will not be mentioned practically during the whole course of that election? If hon. Members will tell us how we are going to solve this Irish question by a General Election I shall be perfectly willing to try any experiment to solve the Irish question. But so far as General Elections can go we have solved this question, and it is perfectly absurd for us to go back to the people to ask them to decide again what they have decided at the last two elections.
Then the hon. Member (Mr. Croft) asked what will happen if this Bill is thrown out, and he seemed to think it was a strong argument to put before us that Ireland at present is happy and contented and that the majority of Irishmen who are happy and contented are to have their opinions thrown upon one side, and the only opinion from Ireland that we are to attend to is the opinion of the people who are in a minority and who are threatening civil war if their wishes are not carried out. At the end of his speech he advised hon. Members to go to Belfast and see what is happening. I am not going again, but I have been quite recently, and I will tell the House exactly what I found happening. It was about two months before the First Lord of the Admiralty went there to speak in the Ulster Hall. Within two months of the time when it was considered sacrilege for him to speak in the Ulster Hall I addressed in that hall a meeting in favour of Home Rule, which, by common consent of the whole of the Press in the North of Ireland, was the. biggest meeting ever held there. [Laughter.] Of course, it is quite easy for my hon. Friend, who was not. there, to, laugh, and I can quite understand that he may think it absurd for anyone to say, quoting the leading newspaper in Belfast on his own side, that it was the biggest meeting ever held in this hall. In fact, it could not be bigger, because the hall only had a certain capacity. But it is a singular thing that at the famous start of their campaign in Belfast, when an ordinary Liberal Member goes on to speak, he has an enormous meeting without the slightest difficulty—an open meeting without critics—and yet immediately the party drum is, beaten and the First Lord of the Admiralty goes there it is no longer possible to hold Home Rule meetings in Belfast.
=I have suspected for some time that there is a good deal of politics in this matter, and not altogether Irish politics. I have considered for some time, and I 147 think there are a good many people on these benches who consider, that the Ulster drum is being beaten with such vigour at present not only in the interests of Ulster, but also in the interests of the Tory party. They tell us very often that they, the Conservative party, are the largest party in this House. They are nothing of the sort, unless they include the whole of the Ulster Members. Taken apart from the Ulster Members, the Liberal party is the largest party in the House. If you leave out Ireland altogether, the Liberal party is the largest party, and there is a large Home Rule majority in this House. It is only by confusing the Tory party with the Ulster party that you get this majority. But they have got used to confusing it, and they are quite right, because there is not a Tory measure, and has not been for years, that the Ulster Members have not voted for. They come here merely as a wing of the Tory party to do the work of the Tory party, and they are willing to talk rebellion on the slightest provocation, if it is in the interests of the Tory party, and they are perfectly willing, when it comes to by-elections, to say nothing, because it would not be in the interests of the Tory party. All through this controversy you have Ulster being used, very largely, simply in the interests of one of the great parties in the State. I think one would have more sympathy with the views which are honestly held, as we know, by some Members of the Ulster party if we did not find them on each and every occasion in such close alliance with the forces of reaction. No one doubts the sincerity in his opposition to Home Rule of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson). No one doubts the sincerity of many people on the other side; but it is an inconvenient fact that opposition to Home Rule so exactly coincides with opposition to everything that we do on this side of the House.
We have been told during the last two or three years, with wearisome iteration, that we really are not entitled to do anything. We have no mandate for this, we have no mandate for that, and we are beginning to wonder why we were elected at all, and as most of us have a pretty fair confidence, after our experience of the last few years, that we shall come back again, we are beginning to wonder what they will say next. As a matter of fact, hon. Members opposite know perfectly well that if in two years' time we have an election and we are returned upon this issue, or when 148 this issue was before Parliament, we shall be told with exactly the same confidence that it had nothing whatever to do with the election. We had an election on the Parliament Act and we were told precisely the same. Nothing that we ever do at an election justifies us in passing any measure when we come back. We are used to that, and those of us who, like myself, are not in favour of the Referendum, do not mind it. We have never any right to do anything. We never have any sincere views according to the Leader of the Opposition. We all sit here reluctantly obeying the orders of the Treasury Bench. We do not know it, but he tells us we are. I have heard the Leader of the Opposition say in this House he did not know of a single Member on this side of the House who was honestly in favour of Home Rule. I know several. I do not know really of anyone upon this side who is not honestly in favour of Home Rule, except the one Member who, I think, has voted against us throughout and who pledged himself to do so in his constituency. The fact of the matter is that for nearly thirty years the Liberal party has made great sacrifices on this question. In the dark days, when we might have thrown it over entirely, we always stood firm on the Home Rule question. In 1906 alone we did not go to the country upon Home Rule, because with the number of issues which were before Parliament it would have been perfectly impossible for us to do so. But at every other election, in spite of what it might mean to us, we have made the Home Rule question one of our leading principles, and to-day we stand here with a majority of well over one hundred. That has suffered less than almost any other majority in the last few years from by-elections. We have lost, on balance, seven elections, three by split votes. We have practically lost nothing compared with the losses other Governments have sustained, and we come back here with a solid majority to deal with this great question.
This is a question on which our view is shared practically over the whole British Empire. On the Third Reading of the Bill which has now been moved for the second time, why are we not to be allowed to carry it out? We have won election after election, and we have shown no signs of losing elections on this issue at least, and yet in spite of that and with the confidence of our constituencies so far as I know absolutely unassailable on this great issue we are asked to do what? To have another 149 election. Who will tell us what will happen after that? The Leader of the Opposition cannot pledge his party to support it after that. Are we asked to have a Referendum? Will anybody say that if we had a Referendum and the vote was in favour of Home Rule, Ulster would submit any the more in consequence of that I Hon. Members opposite know perfectly well that it is not the majority of this country they wish to consult; they wish to consult the interests of the minority in Ireland, and the interests of the party which is now and has been for many years the minority in England. They think by threatening civil war they will stir up feelings against the Government. I do not believe they will succeed. I do not believe that any party, whether in favour of suffrage or anything else, will gain in the estimation of the country when they begin preaching lawlessness and revolution. I believe it will recoil on the heads of the party preaching it. I believe the threats used on the part of Ulster will recoil on the party opposite.
I am sure many of us are grieved to see the difficulties before us in Belfast. We do not underrate them. There are very few people on this side of the House, among the Liberal party and the Labour party, or on the Irish Benches opposite, who are seriously disturbed by threats of this sort. After all, there may be a certain number of people threatening civil war in Ireland because they cannot get their way, but the vast majority of the working classes of this country stand for Home Rule. There is no man who has been returned by a Labour constituency who would dare to say that he is against Home Rule. You have the solid forces of the working classes in favour of this great movement, and if you are once going to teach these people, that if they cannot get their way, they are justified in having a revolution, you are preaching a dangerous doctrine. We are on the eve of great changes in this country. Some of us would like to see them going faster than, under our leaders, they are now doing. We have strong views about the intolerable burdens of our landlord system. If you teach the people that if they cannot get their way quickly they are entitled to rebel, you may find that that advice will come down on your own heads with considerable weight before you know where you are. I warn those people, those who are in a rich and privileged minority, not to preach revolution before the working classes of this country, because, as sure as they do 150 so, the passions which they excite may bring about evils in this country, the cone sequences of which to-day they do not foresee. I think the less we hear of revolution during the next few years the better. We may have a difficult task in Belfast, but it appears to me that it is the duty of every subject to see that that duty is made as light as possible. The people of this country have decided this question of Home Rule once for all. They have decided it in a way with which practically the whole Empire is in sympathy, and I shall vote for the Third Reading of this Bill with the greatest possible enthusiasm, and I shall do so when it comes again before the House. I hope there will be no wavering on the part of the Government, and no attempt at compromise. I believe that they have gone to the very limits of compromise. I believe that if they pursue their present course and insist on it, they will win a great victory, and that the perils they see facing them in the North of Ireland will melt away, with the result that we shall have a happy and contented Ireland under an Irish Parliament.
§ Mr. GERSHOM STEWART
I have listened with very great interest to the energetic and hopeful speech of the hon. Member for North West Norfolk (Mr. Hemmerde). It is the most hopeful speech made on the Government side on Home Rule, but he made two very extraordinary admissions. One was that he fought a fair and square election at Portsmouth on Home Rule and was beaten, and the other was that the solution of the Liberal party in 1906, when they were returned with a majority of 300, was provincial councils for Ireland. Therefore I do not follow the hon. Member in his triumphant progress in regard to Home Rule.
§ Mr. HEMMERDE rose—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)
The time is getting short, and I think the hon. Member ought to be allowed to proceed without interruption.
§ Mr. GERSHOM STEWART
I will compress my remarks into the smallest possible limits, and I promise not to exceed ten minutes. As my leader here once said, one of the true tests of statesmanship is imagination, and I would like if I could by imagination to put myself in the position of Ulster Members who receive so little grace from their compatriots here or from their fellow Members on the other side. I listened with interest 151 to the speech of the hon. Member for the Scotland Division (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), and I must say that I preferred his speech to-day to the one he made on the Second Reading of the Bill. Listening to him, one really could not help asking what do these Ulster men see to object to in. a Parliament led by such benevolent gentlemen? I would ask the House to remember that Ulster men are not fools, and the hon. Member must admit that those who know him best do not take him at his face value. As Home Rule approaches the salient points stand out, while the smaller points naturally recede, and one feeling of regret which Unionists have is that the Government do not see their way to meet in any possible manner the real and grave apprehensions which Ulster has to coming under a Home Rule Parliament. There are those on the other side who say that the objections of Ulster are simulated. I think that those who are in the best position to judge know that that cannot be upheld. Others say that the objections are entirely without foundation. Another feeling is, that by their unfortunate policy the present Government have brought into being an ancient, mediaeval, and, as we thought, dead demon in resurrecting the old hostility of Protestantism and Catholicism. The two systems are clashing. My own belief is that a great deal of the strength, if not the whole strength, of the Reformation was the desire of the men of Northern Europe to live under free, instead of under controlled Parliaments. What the Ulstermen apprehend is that the Parliament in Dublin which is to be forced upon them, will put them under the power of a Parliament either ecclesiastically controlled, or controlled by other systems of secret societies in which they have neither lot nor part.
Is the apprehension of ecclesiastical control in an Irish Parliament entirely without foundation? It is from the Roman Catholic element in Ireland that the whole desire of Home Rule proceeds. Out of 2,500 people present at the Dublin Convention—[HON. MEMBERS: "6,000."]—the papers in this country said 2,500—there were 500 Roman Catholic priests. Voters in this country cannot shut their eyes to the fact that the ancient church, rightly or wrongly, means to have a considerable hand in the Government of Ireland, because we have these two recent decrees 152 issued which Ulstermen have considerable reason to look upon with anxiety and doubt. The three speeches on the Second Reading which most confirmed the Unionist contention were the speeches of the hon. Member for the Scotland Division, the hon. Member for East Mayo, and the hon. Member for West Belfast. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division mocked and jeered at his fellow countrymen from the North of Ireland. The hon. Member for East Mayo went out of his way to probe into the hardly closed grave of Lord Wolseley to dig out some expressions to. which he once gave utterance, to prove what we have always contended, that there arc violent differences between Irishmen. Then he went on to say that the English and Irish were gradually drawing together; but it seems to me a very curious way of. effecting that reconciliation to create a Parliament in Ireland which certainly does not tend to make that intimacy more easy to attain than it is at present.
But the speech of the hon. Member for West Belfast was the one which, I think, showed most of all that Ulster people have very real, sound reasons for their apprehensions, especially when we remember that it is a drawing room edition of those speeches which are made to the lodge meetings of his great association. If it had been the speech of an individual Nationalist Member it would have been sad enough as showing the differences of opinion that exist, but there are those who consider that the hon. Member for West Belfast is the most powerful man in Ireland, and he has been called by his own leader the Chief Secretary for Ireland. His position is owing to his leading control over that great organisation, the source of whose existence and strength is its active anti-Protestant propaganda. Having spoken enough about religion, he said that after all this is not a religious question so much as an economic question, and then he wanted to solve the economic difficulty by doing what he can to dissolve the partnership of Ireland with the wealthy and benevolent partner whom she has now got. I do not think that the hon. Member for West Belfast made out a good case by his argument either for his religious tolerance or his economic wisdom. I am quite certain that hon. Members opposite would hesitate before entrusting either their liberties or their investments to a Government controlled in the spirit of the three speeches to which I have referred.
153 These are not the only speeches which we have to go on, because when we get outside, where there is more freedom, we have the speech of Professor Kettle, who was very much on the boil the other day in Dublin. His business, as professor of economics, is to teach people to balance their accounts. He keeps his in red ink. For he wishes to adjust the error made in shooting people in 1798 by shooting more in 7915, in fact, he was most funereal throughout.
It is a false appreciation of the. Unionist attitude on this question of Home Rule to think that we are blindly, stupidly attached to ancient institutions because of their old age. We admire the patriotism of the Canadian who says, "Canada for the Canadians," and of the American who says, "America for the Americans," who are one nation no matter where they come from, and we contend that it is not a wise thing to turn a microscope on to these four small Islands whose area is not equal to a quarter of an American State or a province in Canada and split them up into four separate national parliaments. If hon. Members below the Gangway had had the somewhat doubtful advantage of living as members of a European community amid a great native population, they would find that under those conditions, people from these islands work together in perfect harmony to settle questions on their merits, and do not waste time talking about the accident of where they happened to be born. If you carry out your principle of cutting up this Kingdom, then I contend that Ulster has a right to a special Parliament of its own, because there is more difference between Ulster and Connaught than there is between Chester and Flint, and a great deal more difference than there is between Carlisle and Dumfries which in the process of disintegration you propose to endow with special Parliaments. If the Nationalists get three-quarters of Ireland over which to exercise their control and turn it into the heaven upon earth which they and their supporters say they are going to do, then if you give Ulster a special Parliament of its own Ulster will come hat in hand to join in this happy family, and it is only by some process such as that that the Government of Ireland by consent can ever be obtained.
§ Mr. J. H. CAMPBELL
If time permitted me to enlarge on the somewhat crude and chaotic provisions of this Bill with its shreds of safeguards and its 154 patches of Federalism, I think I would demonstrate to the House that in its operation it would be bound to falsify every claim that has been made for it. It was introduced as an advertisement in Federalism; it emerged as a speculation in separation. It was proclaimed for it that it would be a settlement, and that it would satisfy and. conciliate Irish-American sentiment, but we know now that the Clan-na-Gael and the Ancient Order of Hibernians in the United States have exploded and repudiated that idea, and we know as every week passes that in Ireland itself Nationalist orators and newspapers reecho that denial. It was hailed as a message of peace to Ireland, and yet every line of it contains the seeds of a certain harvest of future friction and trouble, and if it is ever in operation it must inevitably reproduce the state of things that existed under Grattan's Parliament, and which was thus described in the words of Pitt:—The foreign relations of the two countries, their commercial interests, and the sovereign exercise of authority, were the subject of constant litigation and dispute.It also imposes upon the taxpayers of Great Britain the obligation of a heavy annual subsidy, and we are told that this is to continue until Ireland's finances are self-supporting, and the temptation to Ireland to produce that result is, we are told, that until that result arrives they shall not be expected to make any contribution to Imperial defence. It is said that it will relieve congestion in the Imperial Parliament, and, to accomplish that, it proposes to entrench permanently within this House a garrison of forty-two Irish Members, who are not merely to be let loose on every question, even the smallest, of English and Scottish local administration, but to have before them the wide area of the reserved services, all Imperial questions, and that extensive field which must inevitably be afforded when you have a dual Parliament, each with a separate Excise and a separate Customs. But, above and beyond all, it seeks to place the lives and liberties of the minority in Ireland at the mercy of an Executive to be manned and controlled by men who, up to this, have never shown even an elementary knowledge of the principles of good government or the least sense of respect or toleration for the opinion of a minority who differ from them in their aims, in their ideals, and their beliefs as widely as if St. George's Channel rolled between them. But even if you could or did produce a Bill which was as 155 perfect in its method and in its machinery as the wit of man could make it, still, so long as you entrust its administration to an incompetent or an intolerant Executive, the minority are not ensured of any condition short of servitude; while, on the other hand, if your Bill be as preposterous and impossible as the present Bill is, and yet you have a competent and impartial and imperious Executive, comparatively a state of freedom may prevail.
But I do not propose to-night, nor was it my intention in rising, to discuss the arguments either for or against the provisions or principles of this Bill. The time is past for that. It must now be evident to everyone, both inside this House and out of it, that all the pleas, all the pretexts, promises, and prophecies, by which you have sought to draw the loyalists of Ireland into submission to the tyranny of this Bill, have been in vain. You began with threats, you have gone to ridicule, you wound up with flattery and cajolery, and the result is to-day that the people in Ulster are more resolute in their hatred of this Bill and more determined to resist it at any cost or any sacrifice. That is the predominant fact and feature of the situation. You are up against it, and no one, either in the House or out of it, can escape this pressing and grave difficulty. I desire upon this, which probably in the history of this measure in the House of Commons will be the last, opportunity for doing so, on behalf of my Irish colleagues, with their approval and consent, to restate their case, and to make a final appeal on behalf of my loyalist fellow countrymen in Ireland. And in making this appeal I should like, and wish that I had the power, to make hon. Gentlemen opposite understand what the nature and manner of these men are as I know and understand them. They have all the industry and endurance of their Scottish ancestors, but, in addition, owing to the fact that during the last centuries they and their forefathers have practically been on the defensive, they have acquired a tenacity of purpose, a grim and dogged resolution, which will never permit them to turn from the path of day and devotion once they have entered upon it, no matter how difficult or dangerous they may find it to be.
They are a primitive and in some respects an old-fashioned community. They have been taught to fear God and to honour the King. Civil and religious 156 liberty, right of private judgment, and freedom of conscience are the very breath of their nostrils. They lead strenuous and frugal lives, and they have made the district in which they live, through the Union, and, as they believe, under and by the Union, an example to your Empire of industry, of enterprise, of obedience to the law, and of loyalty and devotion to your King, your country, and your Empire. They desire to live on terms of perfect equality with their neighbour. They have not, nor do they claim, any ascendency of any sort, kind, or description. They enjoy no franchise, no privilege, no civil or religious right, which they do not share, and are not glad to share with all Irishmen of every class and creed_ Their sole and only claim is that they should remain, as you remain, under the safety and security of the laws which are passed by the Imperial Parliament, and under the safeguard of having these laws administered by the Imperial Executive because in that alone they see any real or effective safeguard either for their social well-being or their civil and religious rights. Can anything be more futile or more fatuous than your attempt to tell these men that this is a mistaken notion, that you know their business and their interests better than they do themselves, and that it will be wise on their part to exchange this safeguard for what at best is a plunge into darkness, and a dangerous and doubtful experiment, in issues of transcendant and vital importance that may, and must, affect the fate and future of themselves and their children for generations to come? Surely these one and a-half millions of hard-headed, God-fearing people are neither knaves nor fools. When the bishops, clergy, and laity of the Church of Ireland assembled from every parish from the Giants' Causeway to, Cape Clare in April, 1912, at a special general Synod, they passed a resolution recording their belief that this Bill meant danger and disaster to Ireland and great menace to their civil and religious liberty.
The great General Assembly of the-Presbyterian Church and the conferences of the Wesleyan Church and of the Methodist Churches met and passed similar resolutions by overwhelming majorities. Were they honest and sincere? If they were both—and does anyone in this House question either their honesty or sincerity—surely they were in a better position to judge than you can possibly be! In this connection I commend to the attention of hon. Gentlemen opposite a 157 very remarkable contribution on this subject which appeared in the columns of the "Daily News" on 16th June last. It was a contribution by one of their own staff, a well-known Radical literary gentleman, Mr. James Douglas. He had just come back from a visit to Ulster, and in the "Daily News" in many paragraphs of great eloquence and power he recorded his impressions. I can only select one paragraph:—At this moment Belfast is a city on its knees—not to man, but to God. The simple folk with whom I talked are not politicians; they are Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, Congregationalists, and Friends. They feel a mystical faith in God. They believe that He will by some path lead them out of darkness. The city is a city of prayer.10.0 P.M.
Is the disaster against which these men pray so unreal or so unlikely as hon. Members opposite sometimes profess to believe? These people have been taught many bitter lessons during the last thirty years. More particularly they have been taught by their experience in connection with the Local Government Act of 1898. It is a very curious and very unfortunate coincidence, I think, that the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool should have said that when the Home Rule Bill becomes law they will coax the people of Ulster into the Irish Parliament by fair and generous treatment. Those were exactly the words of the prophecy, the pledge, and the promise which in 1898 was received from the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford in connection with the Local Government Act of that year. He promised us in the name and on behalf of himself and his followers a fair and ever generous share in the representation of these local bodies. He went so far as to say:—We desire toleration in the public life of Ireland We desire to see the best men selected on all these public bodies in Ireland, and we think that to adopt a policy of excluding from these public bodies every man who differs from us politically or religiously would be an absolutely suicidal policy for Irish Nationalists to adopt.=He went on to say thatthe action of the Irish people in this respect would either establish their fitness for Home Rule or must indefinitely postpone it.=What followed in the three provinces of Ireland other than Ulster in respect to which this assurance was given. Unionists and Protestants were not only excluded from these public bodies, but were literally exterminated from every post of honour or emolument.
The hon. Member for-East Mayo, speaking in October, 1901, made this declaration:One of the great weapons which we have obtained for you by our work in Parliament is the control of the district and county councils. Let it be known beforehand that no one need come and ask for your vote unless he has proved himself a friend of the people by joining the United Irish League, and not only joining the league, but honestly working for it and sticking to its principles. Believe me, if you act in this spirit at the election you will find that you have in them a mighty and all-powerful weapon through the league throughout all Ireland.There was something still more significant and impressive in this warning when the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, who had given these public and repeated assurances, not only never lifted a finger or raised his voice in the slightest effort to give effect to any of them. He even: glorified in the success of the policy of suicide, because at Cork, in July, 1912, he used these words:—We have in the county and district councils a weapon, the full force of which I believe is not thoroughly understood. They form a network of Nationalist organisations all over Ireland.On this occasion Ulster is taking no risks. For months past her people have bound themselves one to another under the terms of their Solemn Covenant, and they are organising and training so as to acquit themselves like men if this iniquitous measure is forced upon them. I believe in my heart and conscience that in taking this course they are right, and I shall continue to aid and abet them by every means in my power. You may call this treason and rebellion, but there have been periods in the history of every country in which treason has become patriotism and rebellion a duty. You may claim the right by constitutional means to drive us out of the United Kingdom, to drive us out of our citizenship and our allegiance, but you have no right to do this by a revolution. When you have driven us out, your powers are spent. You cannot, and you dare not, perpetrate the further outrage of forcing us under the yoke of a tyranny which we hate and abhor. The most sinister and dangerous factor in the situation is the way in which the Government are fooling with it. They are literally playing with fire, and they know it. As. my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said to-day, they have stood in this respect self-confessed from the moment a Cabinet Minister was compelled to cancel his ill-advised promise to advocate Home Rule in the Ulster Hall. If further proof is wanted, I commend hon. Gentlemen opposite to pay a visit to Ulster-on Saturday next. In Belfast alone they 159 will see a procession of at least a hundred thousand men, and yet the Government know that they dare not interfere with that procession. That procession will be there to meet and welcome my distinguished colleague, the senior Member for the University of Dublin (Sir E. Carson). They will meet him for the purpose of once more reaffirming their determination that under no conditions will they ever accept or obey your Home Rule Bill. I deplore your policy of drift and delay. I read with misgivings the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, because if there is any man who knows as well as I do the reality and the gravity of the situation, it is he; and yet no man, either inside or outside of this House, has done more to encourage the men of Ulster in their determination to fight for their lives and liberties. Let me read what he has said. I beg the attention of the Prime Minister, because, when I have read these quotations, I propose, with great respect, to ask him a question. Speaking at Newcastle on the 7th February of this year, the Chief Secretary said:—I recognise that there are tens of thousands of Protestants in the East of Ulster who have the utmost aversion to being subjected to an Irish Parliament and an Executive, and who doubt the capacity and honesty of their fellow countrymen. I admit this aversion has yet to be conquered in some way or another, and that justice has to he done to these people.On the 11th February, speaking at Bristol, he said: —Depend upon it, the soldiers of the King will not he employed in mowing down peaceful Protestants in Belfast.On the 15th February, at Warrington, he followed that up by this declaration:—As for shooting them down who intends to shoot them down? They say, 'If the soldiers of the King march through Belfast and mow them down with their horrible Artillery': is that to he done to the Protestants of Belfast? The answer is 'No, we have no intention of doing that.'Having read these quotations, I put this question to the Prime Minister. It has been put before, but it has never yet been answered. Does he agree with those statements made by the right hon. Gentleman, that under no circumstances—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] These are the statements. It is all very well for hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway to cry "No." The man who delivered them is present in the House: let him challenge or repudiate them. I ask the Prime Minister, does he agree with and assent to those propositions?
§ The PRIME MINISTER indicated assent.160
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
If that is so, I state deliberately that he and his colleagues are incurring a terribly grave responsibility, because if words mean anything, and if the assent of the Prime Minister means anything, these words mean, as the people of Ulster interpret them to mean, that if this Bill is forced upon them they will be left to work out their own salvation, with the positive assurance from the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues that in so doing the forces of the King will not be used to coerce them. But if that is not the meaning of these words, then again I say emphatically that the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues are playing fast and loose with a situation of appalling danger and unspeakable gravity; because they are luring these men on to the certainty of rebellion, and, I admit, to the possibility of disaster and defeat. Let there be no mistake as to what I mean. I declare, in the presence of this House, and I have the means of knowing, that if this Bill passes into law, the people of Ulster are determined and will resist it with armed resistence; and if on that day, despite the assurances we have just now received, the Government, yielding to the discreditable and dishonourable terms of their obligation to hon. Gentleman below the Gangway, to use the forces of the Crown to coerce Ulster, then, in the opinion of every honest man, the blood of the thousands that will be shed in the North and in Belfast will assuredly be on the heads of the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues. We are perilously near to that day, and under conditions which make it more certain than at any other time in the history of this agitation, that if it does come it will shake to its very foundations, not only the United Kingdom but your Empire. For the first time in the history of this agitation the Leaders of the Unionist party have declared in plain and in unequivocal language that the whole party, to a man, is behind Ulster in its determination. But there is something more. In 1887 and in 1893 Lord Randolph Churchill, who knew his England and his people, declared more than once that in its hour of danger Ulster would have with her the hearts and around her the hands of many thousands of his loyal fellow countrymen in Great Britain. What was a prophecy in those days is a certainty to-day, as she stands assured of the active intervention and support of thousands of the most courageous manhood of Great Britain. We have sometimes been reproached for being premature 161 in our fears and our organised opposition. I would just like to read to the House what was said upon the same point by Daniel Webster in the case of the American Revolution. These were his words: —It was against the recital of an Act of Parliament rather than against any suffering under its enactments that we took up arms. They poured out their treasures and their blood in opposition to an assertion, and those less sagacious and not so well schooled in the principles of civil liberty would have regarded as barren phraseology or mere powder of words. On this question of principle while actual suffering was yet far off, they raised their flag against a Power with which for the purposes of foreign conquest and subjugation Rome in t he height of her glory is not to be compared.That is the answer to the question, "Why is Ulster so premature in its fears and its preparations?" Ulster holds the key of the situation. So also do the Nonconformists of Great Britain, and in framing an appeal to them through their representatives in this House, I would couch it in the words of one of their most distinguished and respected ministers, the Rev. Dr. Watkinson, and this is what he said:—The influence of Nonconformity at this moment is not only great but decisive. Nonconformists constitute the strength of the Liberal party. This great wrong cannot be perpetrated except with their sanction or connivance. An alliance between Nonconformists and Nationalists is unnatural and unholy, and I will never believe that for the sake of snatching an opportunist advantage the Nonconformists will throw their brethren to the Ishmaelites. It is perpetually being repeated that Mr. Redmond is master of the situation. That is a mistake, Nonconformity is master of the situation and if it bestirs itself and does its duty there will be no Home Rule. If it permits such Home Rule to be established, a day of retribution will overtake it. And they said one to another, we are verily guilty concerning our brother in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he beseeched us and we would not hear. Therefore is this distress come upon us.I have concluded what I propose to say on this subject, and standing here in what may be the supreme moment in the fate and the future of my own people, and perhaps of my own beloved country, I am constrained to make one more remark. I am weary of the stress and strain of party and political controversy. Continuance in this House under the existing irksome and galling and degrading conditions has little attraction for me; but until this question of Home Rule, which goes to the very root of the social life and well-being of my people, until this question is settled, either by victory crowning our efforts or by our being overwhelmed with defeat, I shall give whatever life, strength, and health is left to me, believing I am discharging an obligation not only to my conscience hut to my people and my country. You may call these men bigoted; you may call them fanatics, sullen, if you will, but they have counted the cost, they have made up their minds and they will be faithful to the death. I warn you that you are 162 on the very brink of a volcano. You have yet time to retrace your steps, and in all humility and in all solemnity and sincerity I pray that God may give you wisdom and courage to do so.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)
My right hon. and learned Friend who has just sat down has made undoubtedly a very solemn and impressive speech. He has addressed us in very serious tones, and has certainly done his utmost and, if I may say so, has done it extremely well, to impress upon us the gravity of the situation as he views it. He told us at the beginning of his speech that what he proposed to do was to restate the case as he viewed it and as his friends in Ulster regarded it. Undoubtedly no one who listened to him will fail to agree with me when I say that he stated it extremely forcibly. I propose at the outset of my observations not to travel into details in replying to the right hon. Gentleman, but to attempt, so far as I can, with such power as resides in me, to restate the case very briefly on behalf of the Liberal party and on behalf of those who are pledged to carry out our policy. What we find at the end of this second stage is very much what the condition was at the beginning, and that is just worth recollecting, more especially in view of what my right hon. and learned Friend has just said. The claim is put forward on behalf of four-fifths of the representatives of Ireland for the control of their own affairs according to their view, subject to the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, and the limitation proposed by this Bill. That claim has been advanced by constitutional methods throughout a long period of years, 'with practically unanimous success in General Elections. This claim has never wavered or varied, however important the issues may have been at the General Elections, and the result has always been simply and solely to claim the votes of the Irish people for this one particular question. Theirs is a remarkable history at the poll.
You will find, if you look back, that during a period, certainly from 1885, there have been eighty seats out of 103, in which there never has been anyone but a Nationalist representing Irishmen. There have been ten seats in which Unionists have always secured the suffrages of the electors and there have been eleven seats in which the results have oscillated, and there are, of course, the two University seats which have been constant. That is a very remarkable history for the representation 163 of the people in Ireland, and at least, we are entitled to say that these facts can never be too much insisted upon, because they are vital to a proper understanding of the problem before us. The case cannot be represented as the mere transitory or ephemeral expression of the views of the Irish people, because they represent in this House the settled will of the great majority of the people of Ireland. Government may no doubt for a time, if governments please, resist the claim coming from so strong a representation of Ireland or of any country so long as it carries with it no evidence of stability, but any government which professes to govern according to the views of the majority, any government which rests upon the will of the people, cannot decline to recognise any such claim, more especially when it is supported, as this claim is, by a majority of the representatives of Great Britain. It could not refuse to give effect to this scheme unless either it was convinced that to do so would be injurious to the interests of the Empire or unless it had an alternative policy to propose which would meet the demand. No country certainly has ever so consistently or persistently demanded self-government.
Ever since Mr. Gladstone first adopted this Home Rule policy the movement has pursued its course naturally, and not by violent or lawless methods. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I am justified in that observation. I am speaking of the period since Home Rule was introduced, and I thought that it was common ground between us that certainly in recent years the record of crime in Ireland compared favourably with that of any other country. The result undoubtedly of Mr. Gladstone having embraced this policy for the Liberal party, for one of the great historic parties, was that the gates of hope were flung wide open to the Irish people. The Liberal party has never turned back; it never can and never will turn back. Whatever the result may be, either in this Parliament or another, either at this moment or at any other, the Liberal party will not retrace its steps; it has pledged itself to carry Home Rule. We arc told, and told I believe with some reason, that there has been a great change in the last twenty years. Time no doubt has helped to improve the condition of Ireland. There has been beneficent legislation; there has been good administration. There is greater prosperity, but. the improved conditions have not destroyed 164 the national demand, and have not even abated it. In times of adversity the Irish claim was strengthened; in times of prosperity certainly the Irish demand has not been weakened. It is as powerful now as it ever was, because at this very moment the Nationalist representation in this House is at the high-water mark. It is as high as it was in 1885, when it consisted of eighty-five Nationalists against thirteen; iii 1906 it was the same number; and at the present moment, in 1913, in the second year of the second stage of the Horne Rule Bill, the representation is as high as. it ever has been in the history of the elections in Ireland.
Let me view for a moment this question apart from Ulster. Is there any doubt that within well-defined limits any Government would be bound to give effect to the legitimate aspirations of a generous and warm-hearted nation, aspirations which have been sustained and passionately cherished not only by the Irish at home, but by the Irish in our Overseas Dominions and in the United States? We granted Home Rule to Canada, to Australia, and to South Africa, and with those very Dominions we are at present engaged in seeking to open the door wider so that we may have freer consultations with them and that they may more fully express their views with regard to great affairs of State. Nevertheless, Ireland, which has contributed so much to the building up of the Empire, still stands outside: is still on the steps, still knocking at the door, while the United Kingdom is getting to the full the advantage of the help of the Dominions on the seas. Millions of Irishmen have emigrated. I believe I am right in saying that within the last seventy years something like half the population has left Ireland and has crossed the sea. They, in their turn, have built up abroad something like thirty millions of Irish people. These Irishmen have never lost their love of the old country. Their children are still taught to cherish National ideals. The branches have spread far, but the roots are in Ireland still, and when they live in countries to which self-government has been given, is it any wonder that there is almost universal sympathy with the aspirations of the Irish people. We send forth numbers over the seas who unfortunately labour under what they believe to be a deep grievance, and who cherish resentment against British rule. They go abroad and find everywhere in the British Empire self-government, except in Ireland. They represent centres of 165 discontent with British rule wherever they settle. Our reputation for justice suffers, and as has been well said by Lord Grey:—It is imperative that the Irish question should be settled on lines which would satisfy the overseas Dominions.By giving effect to our policy we shall satisfy our people over seas. We shall satisfy opinion in America: we shall be doing that which is so necessary—we shall be helping, at any rate, in the direction of securing more complete harmony with the citizens of the United States. It is quite plain, as we view it, that this Bill creates a subordinate Parliament and nothing else—because it is no longer contended that it is other than a subordinate Parliament. It has been criticised and dealt with in Committee and on Report. It has been so much discussed that I propose to follow the right hon. and learned Gentleman who preceded me and not now discuss it in detail. I shall not go over that criticism which at one time has said it gives too little and at another too much; which at one moment says it follows too closely the Colonial model and at another says it does not follow it, but departs from it; which says that it reserves certain services and it does not reserve others. All these are matters for the House.
The only serious obstacle which lies in the path is Unionist Ulster. No proposal has ever yet been put forward for consideration which would satisfy Ulster. So far as I understand it in all the Debates that have taken place the only Amendment, one for the exclusion of four counties, was avowedly supported by Ulster Unionists not for the purpose of working the Bill, but for the purpose of wrecking it. No one who incurs any responsibility, no one who shares in the responsibility of the Government of Ireland would treat the declarations and professions of the Unionists of Ulster otherwise than with that respect and consideration which is due to men who speak with profound and considered convictions. Certainly I have never attempted to cast any doubt on the earnestness of their views. We have given effect to them so far as legislation can by the provisions we have made in the Bill. Certainly so far as I am aware in no Bill which has granted a subordinate Parliament has ever such care been taken for the protection of the minority.
I am quite well aware it is said that it is no use giving legislative protection, and that there is always the danger, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman the 166 senior Member for Trinity College (Sir E. Carson) has pointed out, of oppression by administration. That has been discussed at very great length in this House, and many views have been put forward upon it from both sides and iterated with great force, certainly with great frequency. When you come to consider all the arguments and all the fears that have been stated, I think they amount to this: That there is danger of oppression at the hands of Roman Catholics, danger of oppression of Protestants upon grounds of religion. Those are certainly the main grounds which have been asserted. I cannot conceive that there could be any appeal so forcible to the people of Great Britain as that which was founded on the oppression of Protestants by Roman Catholics in Ireland. I cannot conceive that there would be any hesitation in the immediate response that would be made by the people of this country, and I cannot conceive, in view of the declarations that have been made by the Leaders of the Nationalists in this House and outside, that there can be any fear of any such oppression, at any rate, so long as those gentlemen are at the head of affairs. Even if you chose to put it on no higher grounds than the common sense, the good feeling, and the love of justice and fair play of the people, at least you might take into account the motives of self-interest alone, powerful factors in determining the actions of men, which would prevent any such oppression as is foreshadowed and feared by the Protestants of Ulster. Again, I would say, that even if all these considerations were not sufficient, if neither self-interest nor common sense should prevail, then, at least, when oppression did come, there would be no danger, for they would run no risk of not receiving full support from the people of this country.
Whoever chooses to consider this problem must face it. You cannot get rid of it by refusing to recognise it; you cannot dispose of it by refusing to admit its existence. If you do recognise the problem, then you must tell us what is the alternative. We have had many long discussion, upon this Bill. We have asked again and again what is the alternative which would be proposed by a Unionist Government if it were in power to-morrow? If you assume, as we may assume for the moment, that this Government left office and a Unionist Government were in power, then we are entitled to know and ask what is the alternative 167 policy which is proposed for Ireland. [An HON. MEMBER: "Wait and see."] Undoubtedly we have had resolute government. We have had the policy of killing Home Rule by kindness. We have had suggested the policy of placating Irishmen by doles and subsidies, and we have even heard of appeasing them by tariffs. If all else fails, as we believe all else will fail, then there is nothing left but coercive measures and repression. If that is the case, I would like to ask this House, if you had to coerce the four-fifths, are they less determined than the Unionists of Lister? Are they less sincere in their convictions than the Unionists of Ulster? Are the four-fifths represented by the Nationalists less willing to make sacrifices than the Unionists of Ulster? And if it is the case that they are as ready and as willing and as sincere and as earnest as the Ulster Unionists, again I would ask how do you propose to govern when you are confronted by this huge majority of the Irish representatives claiming effect to be given to the policy they are sent here to advocate? I know again it has been said, and will be said, this is a reckless experiment. So far as I know all these reckless experiments in self-government have been crowned with success. There never has been to my knowledge any grant of self-government which has not been resisted by a minority. Certainly there was a very powerful minority in Canada, just as there was in South Africa, which resisted, and yet the reckless experiment was tried and we know with what fortunate and successful results.
§ But now let me ask whether it is alleged that either coercive measures or benevolent treatment could destroy the fixed resolve of a majority of the Irish people. I do not believe that any measures which can be taken, that any strong, harsh measures of repression such as have existed in the past, will have the slightest effect upon the determination of the Irish people. The resolve is far too deeply rooted. The spirit of nationality cannot be eradicated either by good or bad fortune. It cannot be killed either by kindness or by oppression. It rests, so far as I am able to judge, upon justice and reason. It is based upon patriotism, and there is no more effective force known to the world than that love of country which has enabled small peoples very often to overcome obstacles which appeared insuperable, which has enabled them in times gone by undoubtedly to win unexpected, and sometimes inexplicable victories. Nevertheless it is that national spirit, that patriotism, which is so highly embedded in the Irish people to securely I believe ever to be dislodged. It will endure so long as the Irish people continue to exist. It will be passed on, I believe, from generation to generation, and it is this Bill, the Bill which is now before the House, in its second stage on the way from here to another place, which we believe, which we assert, which we are convinced is the proper recognition of that ineffaceable truth.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 352; Noes, 243.173
|Division No. 178.]||AYES.||[10.50 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Chancellor, Henry George|
|Adamson, William||Bentham, G. J.||Chapple, Dr. William Allen|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Bethell, Sir J. H.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Black, Arthur W.||Clough, William|
|Alden, Percy||Boland, John Pius||Clynes, John R.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Booth, Frederick Handel||Collins, G. P. (Greenock)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Bowerman, Charles W.||Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Armitage, Robert||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Brace, William||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Brady, Patrick Joseph||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Brocklehurst, W. B.||Cotton, William Francis|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Brunner, John F. L.||Cowan, W. H.|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Bryce, J. Annan||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Crean, Eugene|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Burke, E. Haviland-||Crooks, William|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Crumley, Patrick|
|Barnes, George N.||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Cullinan, John|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick Burghs)||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. (Kirkcaldy)|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Barton, William||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol. S.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir O. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Grady, James|
|Delany, William||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon. N.)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||O'Malley, William|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Dillon, John||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts., Stepney)||O'Shee, James John|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Jowett, Frederick William||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Doris, William||Joyce, Michael||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Duffy, William J.||Keating, Matthew||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Kelly, Edward||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Parry, Thomas H.|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Kilbride, Denis||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||King, Joseph||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Philipps, Colonel Ivor (Southampton)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lardner, James C. R.||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid, Cockerm'th)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Falconer, James||Leach, Charles||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Levy, Sir Maurice||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Logan, John William||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Field, William||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Radford, G. H.|
|Fitzgibbon, John||London, Thomas||Rattan, Peter Wilson|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lyell, Charles Henry||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Lynch, A. A.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Furness, Sir Stephen Wilson||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Reddy, Michael|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||McGhee, Richard||Redmond, John E, (Waterford)|
|Gill, A. H.||Maclean, Donald||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Ginnell, L.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Glanville, Harold James||Macpherson, James Ian||Richards, Thomas|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Goldstone, Frank||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||M'Kean, John||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Robinson, Sidney|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Manfield, Harry||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Guiney, P.||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Hackett, John||Mason, David PR (Coventry)||Rowlands, James|
|Hall, Frederick (Yorks, Normanton)||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Hancock, John George||Meagher, Michael||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Hardie, J. Keir||Menzies, Sir Walter||Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Middlebrook, William||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Millar, James Duncan||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Molloy, Michael||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Sheehy, David|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Shortt, Edward|
|Hayward, Evan||Mooney, John J.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Hazleton, Richard||Morgan, George Hay||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Morrell, Philip||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)||Morison, Hector||Snowden, Philip|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Muldoon, John||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Munro, Robert||Sutherland, John E.|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Munro-Ferguson. Rt. Hon. R. C.||Sutton, John E.|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Murphy, Martin J.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hewart, Gordon||Nannettl, Joseph P.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Thomas, J. H.|
|Hinds, John||Nolan, Joseph||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Norman, Sir Henry||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Hodge, John||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Hogge, James Myles||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||Nuttall, Harry||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Brien, William (Cork)||Wadsworth, John|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Doherty, Philip||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||O'Donnell, Thomas||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||O'Dowd, John||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|John, Edward Thomas||Ogden, Fred||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Wardle, George J.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Waring, Walter||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)||Winfrey, R.|
|Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay||Wiles, Thomas||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Watt, Henry A.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Webb, H.||Williamson, Sir Archibald||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Wedgwood, Josiah C.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|White. J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)||TELLLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|White. Patrick (Meath, North)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Dixon, C. H.||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Duke, Henry Edward||Lloyd, George Ambrose (Stafford, W.)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Duncannon, Viscount||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Falle, Bertram Godfrey||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee|
|Astor, Waldorf||Fell, Arthur||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)|
|Baird, J. L.||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh|
|Baker, Sir Randolf, L. (Dorset, N.)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Mackinder, H. J.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Macmaster, Donald|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, London)||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||M'Calmont, Major Robert C. A.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fleming, Valentine||M'Mordie, Robert James|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Fletcher, John Samuel||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, S. Augustine's)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Forster, Henry William||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Barnston, Harry||Gardner, Ernest||Malcolm, Ian|
|Barrie, H. T.||Gastrell, Major W. H.||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc., E.)||Gibbs, G. A.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Gilmour, Captain John||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Glazenrook, Captain Philip K.||Middlemore, John Throgmorton|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Goldsmith, Frank||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brigton)||Moore, William|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Grant, J. A.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Greene, W. R.||Mount, William Arthur|
|Bird, Alfred||Gretton, John||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Blair, Reginald||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Newman, John R. P.|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Boyton, James||Haddock, George Bahr||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Nield, Herbert|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Norton-Griffiths, John|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hambro, Angus Vaidemar||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Burgoyne, A. H.||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Butcher, J. G.||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Harris, Henry Percy||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Campion, W. R.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Helmsley, Viscount||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Cassel, Felix||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Cator, John||Hickman, Colonel T. E.||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Cave, George||Hills, John Wailer||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecciesall)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r., E.)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hope, J. A. (Midlothian)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Horner, Andrew Long||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Houston, Robert Paterson||Royds, Edmund|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Hunt, Rowland||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Salter, Arthur Clevell|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Ingleby, Holcombe||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Jackson, Sir John||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Sandys, G. J.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Kerry, Earl of||Sassoon, Sir Philip|
|Crichton Stuart, Lord Ninian||Keswick, Henry||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Croft, H. P.||Knight, Captain E. A.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lane-Fax, G. R.||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Boner (Bootle)||Stanier, Beville|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Starkey, John R.|
|Denniss, E. R, B.||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Steel-Maitland, A. D.||Tullibardine, Marquess of||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Stewart, Gershom||Valentla, Viscount||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)||Walrond, Hon, Lionel||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Sykes, Sir Mark (Hull, Central)||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)||Weigall, Captain A. G.||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Terrell, H. (Gloucester)||Weston, Colonel J. W.||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)||Wheler, Granville C. H.||Yerburgh, Robert A.|
|Thomson, W. Mitchell. (Down, N.)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)||Younger, Sir George|
|Thynne, Lord Alexander||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Touche, George Alexander||Wills, Sir Gilbert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord Edmund Talbot and Mr. Pike Pease.|
|Tryon, Captain George Clement||Winterton, Earl|
Bill read the third time, and passed.