§ Motion for Second Reading.
§ Order read for resuming adjourned Debate on Amendment [31st March] to Question [9th March,]"That the Bill be now read a second time."1653
§ Which Amendment was, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—[Mr. Walter Long.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question." Debate resumed.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
The moment at which we have now arrived in this controversy is so critical that no man can rise to take part in this Debate with a light heart or without carefully weighing the effect of every word that he utters. It seems to me that if we are to fulfil our duty in any quarter of this House we must recognise the fact that the time has passed for mere party dialectics and mere party manœuvres. We are up against realities which must be faced, and must be discussed candidly in every quarter of the House. I venture to submit that the first great reality of the present situation, by the admission of candid men in every quarter of the House, and, I believe, in every party in the country, is that the great problem of the Government of Ireland can no longer be shelved, but must be dealt with finally and decisively. That question, I need scarcely remind any Member of the House, has been the weakness and the torture of this Imperial Parliament for over a century. It has transformed the House of Commons. It has made and un-made Ministries since the day, in the year 1801, when Mr. Pitt resigned because he could not carry any measure of relief for the Catholics in fulfilment of the hopes that he had held out at the time of the Union. From that day, down to 1886, ten British Ministries of various parties fell on the Irish question, and I believe I am speaking the mind of every reasonable man of all parties in this country, inside this House and out of it, when I say that the country as a whole is sick and tired of this Trish problem, and it must be settled here and now. Its solution is in the interest, as it seems to me, equally of both the great English parties. Its solution is certainly in the interest of the Labour party as well, and it is in the interest, everyone must admit, of the Empire as a whole. Its solution is worth an infinitude of labour and of patent effort. Its peaceful solution is worth an infinitude of sacrifice. If this be true of English parties in this House, surely it is still more true of the 1654 Irish party in whose name I have the honour to speak. The settlement of this question means for the Irish party the ending and the crowning of a life's work, and its peaceful solution means for them something far beyond any value or price that can be put upon it. Hence it is I take the liberty of saying at this stage in the discussion that I certainly shall school myself so that no single word shall escape from me calculated in my opinion to mar the prospect of a peaceful settlement of this question, no single word calculated to leave on those whom I represent any trace of responsibility if a peaceful settlement is lost.
At the same time we must deal with realities. There is no use in crying peace when there is no peace. There are some things which I most freely and candidly admit are not possible for the Unionist party, and I ask them as fair men to admit that there are some things which are not possible for us. I admit most fully and Freely that under the circumstances of this moment it is not possible for the Unionist party frankly to accept the principle of Home Rule, and the most we can expect from them is that they would frankly face the inevitable and do their best to mitigate what so many of them, all of them I would say, regard, honestly regard, as an evil. So, on the other hand, I ask from the Unionist party this much fair-play; I ask them that they should recognise on the other hand that it is impossible for us, by agreeing to the permanent exclusion of Ulster, to abandon the principle of Ireland a nation, or to agree to anything which could be fairly described in the phrase used by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) in a recent debate as the statutory negation of our National claim. All that the Unionist party can in fairness expect from us is that, consistently with that principle, we should be willing to make great sacrifices in order to obtain the inestimable blessings of a settlement by agreement. Therefore, I come to this, that in my opinion the real question for the moment over-shadowing everything else, is how far each side can on those lines advance towards an agreement.
I hope that the House will show me a little patience and indulgence. I will not trespass longer than I can upon its time while I go into this question a little more closely. Many suggestions for an agree- 1655 ment upon this question have been made, but unfortunately up to the present moment everyone of these in turn has been rejected by one or other of the parties concerned, and some of them indeed have been rejected by both. The first suggestion, as mentioned by the Prime Minister when he opened the Debate on the Second Reading of the Bill, was what has come to be called "Home Rule within Home Rule." That, as I understood it, meant that under the control of a National Parliament in Dublin representing all Ireland there should be set up in Ulster some sort of a local authority with control over purely local Ulster affairs, and also tacked on to it a veto residing in Ulster Members, either in the Irish Parliament or in this Parliament, on all measures passed by that National Parliament which dealt with Ulster. The Prime Minister informed the House that he rather favoured that proposal in preference to the one which he himself actually put forward, but he told us that it had one fatal defect, and that was that it pleased no party concerned in the controversy, and therefore, I may put that on one side. Then another proposal came before the attention of the public, which has come to be called "Sir Horace Plunkett's Proposal." That was a proposal that Ulster should be included in the Irish Parliament at the start, but that it should be provided after a certain definite period Ulster should, if they found their hopes had been disappointed and that their interests were being injured in that Parliament, have the power of going out. The Prime Minister stated emphatically that be would be willing to accept that proposal, and I have no hesitation in saying, on behalf of my Friends here, that we would have been glad to accept it also. [Laughter.] Yes, I recognise the fact that suggestion also met with no favour either in the English Unionist party on in the Ulster Unionist party, and therefore it may be put upon one side also. Another suggestion that has been made in many quarters is that there should be given to the Unionists in Ulster, and, indeed, to the Unionists in the South and West of Ireland also, considerably increased representation in the House of Commons and in the Senate of the new Parliament. That I gather also to be quite acceptable to the Government, and I may say that on those lines of giving larger representation in these two bodies to Irish Unionists in 1656 Ulster and out of it it would be possible for my colleagues and myself to go a very great distance indeed for the sake of a settlement.
§ Mr. J. REDMOND
I do not want to be drawn into a controversy, but may I be allowed to say in the most good-humoured way possible that I have made that statement half-a-dozen times previously in Ireland. That suggestion is not acceptable either to the English Unionist party or to the Ulster Unionist party, and it has disappeared. A suggestion was then made for either a Referendum or a General Election before this Bill passes into law. It is not for me to attempt to add to the force of what seemed to me the irresistible arguments used by the Government in objection to these proposals. It will suffice me for the purpose of my argument to say this: that any proposal made for the sake of a settlement must be a proposal which Ulster and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Ulster party (Sir E. Carson) will accept. We have had no hint that this proposal would be acceptable to him. On the contrary, may I remind the House that only the other day the right hon. and learned Gentleman said that he denied the right of any Parliament or any Government before or after one or twenty elections to drive them out, and later still he made this declaration:—We are not going to submit to a Parliament Dublin if the imperial Parliament were to put it fifty times on the Statute Book.The only proposal which has been made by Ulster, by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Ulster party, so far has been for the total and permanent exclusion of Ulster. That was the claim put forward from the very start. It is the claim put forward to-day. I read a speech made by the right hon. Gentleman on Saturday, in which he used these words:—The Government might as well make up their minds that there were only two courses to avoid the further shattering of the whole fabric of society, and of the Government in this country as well as in ours. Either exclude Ulster from the Bill, or let them make up their minds for bloodshed and coercion.(Hear, hear.) I am glad no one thinks that I am misrepresenting the right hon. Gentleman. I want to be perfectly fair and as uncontroversial as I can.
§ Mr. J. REDMOND
That is an accusation which I would never venture to make against the right hon. Gentleman. May I point out that demand for the total exclusion of Ulster is not a compromise or concession at all. The right hon. Gentleman has often denied, I have heard him in this House utterly deny, that Ulster arrogated to itself the right of preventing the South and West of Ireland from getting Home Rule. What he from the start has claimed was that Ulster should not be compelled to accept Home Rule, and, therefore, the demand for the permanent exclusion of Ulster is not a concession by the right hen. Gentleman, and is not an offer of compromise; it is the claim in full. I beg to say that from the day when that claim was first put forward to this moment, the right hon. Gentleman has not advanced one single inch in the direction of concession or compromise. Let the House mark that even that claim for the total and permanent exclusion of Ulster was not put forward by the right hon. Gentleman as the price of real peace, that is to say, of agreement and good will. Anything which would mean burying the hatchet, anything which would mean the consent of these Ulstermen to shake hands frankly with their fellow countrymen across the hateful memories of the past, would be welcomed with universal joy in Ireland and would be gladly purchased by very large sacrifices indeed. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman would say to me, "We both are Irishmen; we both love our country; we both hate —and, I am sure, this is absolutely true of both of us—we both hate all the old sectarian animosities, all the old wrongs, all the old memories which have kept Irishmen apart, let us come together and see what we can do for the welfare of our common country, so that we can hand down to those who come after us an Ireland more free, more peaceful, more tolerant, an Ireland less cursed by racial and religious differencies"; if an appeal like that were made to us, I say without the smallest hesitation that there are no lengths that Nationalist Ireland would not be willing to go to assuage the fears, allay the anxieties, and remove the prejudices of their Ulster fellow countrymen.
But, alas, that is not the position. Even the permanent exclusion of Ulster is not put forward as the price of reconciliation; it is simply put forward as the one and sole condition upon which they will give 1658 up their avowed intention of levying war upon their fellow countrymen. How has that demand, which we must all recognise is the demand of Ulster, bow has it been met? That demand was made. I will not, upon this occasion, discuss the merits or demerits of the offer of the Government to allow Ulster, by plebiscite, by its counties, to exclude itself for a definite period of six years from the operation of this Bill. I will not discuss it for this reason: I consider it useless at this stage to discuss it, because it was instantly met, not only with disapproval, but almost by insulting disapproval aril rejection. The right hon. Gentleman instantly called it "a hypocritical sham," and, as far as I know, every responsible mean in the Unionist party has rejected it. All I can say with reference to it is this: It was hateful to us and to our people, and our acquiescence in it ought, in common fairness by hon. Members above the Gangway, to be accepted as proof of our readiness to make great sacrifices even for a such poor particle of peace as an avowal of the intention, not to wage war upon their fellow countrymen. That suggestion of the Government has been spurned and rejected, and, for my part, certainly for the purposes of this Debate, I regard it as dead. What remains? There is what has been called the federal solution. May I say that I think general and vague talk about federalism is misleading and mischievous. I, myself, have been all my political life preaching in favour of federalism. Federalism as a suggested settlement of the Irish question is very old; it was suggested as far back as 1832. In 1844 O'Connell wrote this about the federal plan:—Federalists appears to me to require more for Ireland than simple repealers do, for besides a local Parliament hiving full, perfect local control, federalists require that there should be for questions of Imperial concern, Colonial, military and naval, and foreign alliances and policy, a congressional or federal Parliament in which Ireland should have a fair share of proportional representation and power. It is but right and just to confess that in this respect federalists would give more to Ireland than repealers. For my part I will own that since I have come to contemplate the specific differences between simple repeal and federalism, I do, feel at present preference for the federal plan as containing more of utility for Ireland.That was in 1844. Events occurred which entirely submerged all question of a federal plan. Differences arose shortly afterwards between O'Connell and the Young Ireland party. The terrible famine came upon the country, and O'Connell died, and little or nothing was heard of federalism from that date until the advent 1659 of Isaac Butt. Isaac Butt, in 1873, founded the present Home Rule movement, and founded it on a federal basis. Here is a quotation from one of the resolutions passed at the great Convention which founded the present movement:—In claiming these rights we adopt the federal arrangement, which would secure to the Irish Parliament the right of legislating for and regulating all matters relating to the internal affairs of Ireland, while leaving to the Imperial Parliament the power of dealing with all questions affecting the Imperial Crown and Government—legislation affecting the Colonies and so forthIt ends up with these words:—In the opinion of this Conference, a federal arrangement on these principles would consolidate the strength and maintain the integrity of the Empire and add to the dignity and power of the Imperial Throne.From that day till this, from 1873 down to this moment, the federal arrangement has been the basis of the Home Rule movement. I may say, m passing, that Mr. Parnell came into this House as a supporter with Mr. Butt of that federal arrangement and basis, and the most remarkable published correspondence between Mr. Parnell and the late Mr. Cecil Rhodes on the question of the retention of the Irish Members in this House after Home Rule shows clearly that Mr. Parnell was absolutely in favour of a settlement on a federal basis. If I may be Rowed, I will refer to what is, I admit, a very small matter. I would like to recall the fact that I, myself, in 1886, when discussing Mr. Gladstone's proposal in this House for the total exclusion of the Irish Members from the Imperial Parliament, took exception to it, and stated that I could not support it. If it were to be regarded as a permanent arrangement shutting out the possibility of a federal system for the whole of the United Kingdom, and it scents to me that the inclusion of forty-two Irish Members in this Parliament after the present Home Rule Bill is passed, with full powers over British as well as Imperial affairs, is an anomaly—an anomaly that can only be tolerated until a complete system of federalism is set up. Thus the House will see, as far as I am personally concerned, I am in full sympathy with federalism, and with federalism as the ultimate solution of this question.
But as a solution of the present difficulty, the immediate and present difficulty with Ulster, it is necessary for us to be a little more precise. As I understand the suggestion which is being put forward by some very good friends of Ireland on the other side of the House, and by some 1660 Members on this side of the House, who, certainly in their speeches, so far as they have spoken at all, have shown sympathy and good will towards Ireland—that proposal, as I understand it, although it is still very vague, is something like this: "Pass this Bill with the Government's suggestion of the six years' limit, and utilise the six years, either by the appointment of a statutory Commission or in some other way, so that, at the end of that six years, you will find a complete system of federalism for the United Kingdom." I take note of the fact, first, that that admits the priority of the Irish case. But I want to know does it mean that the present Home Rule Bill, before it is passed is to be watered down, so far as the powers of the Parliament are concerned, to what would be considered necessary, say, for the peculiar needs of Wales or of Scotland? [HON. MEMBERS: "No!" and "Yes!"] I am only asking for information, and perhaps the House will bear with me. The idea which has been put forward in some quarters, that this Bill as it stands is a bar to federalism, is an idea which I say respectfully is little short of absurd. There is no such thing anywhere in your Empire or anywhere in the other nations of the world as what the Prime Minister called a cast-iron, standardised system of federation. In Canada, the Constitutions of the various States differ one from the other. In Australia, the Constitutions of the various States differ one from the other, and if you go outside your own Empire, of course there are no two States in the great federation of America—of the United States—which are precisely the same. If you take the case of Germany, people in discussing Home Rule very often forget that the German Empire is the greatest example of successful Home Rule of any country in the world. There are twenty-five—I believe I am right in the exact number—Horne Rule States in the German Empire, and there are no two of those Home Rule States in Germany whose Constitutions are precisely alike. I say that there is nothing in this Bill which would prevent it from fitting in afterwards into a federal scheme in which England would obtain the particular kind of Constitution it wanted, Scotland the particular kind of Constitution it wanted, and Wales the particular kind of Constitution it wanted.
The hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Duke), in his most eloquent and powerful speech, which I recognise—I 1661 am glad to be able to do it—was instinct with the feeling of friendliness to Ireland, gave us, as an instance of the impossibility of this Bill ever forming part of a federal system, the fact that, as he said, this Parliament had parted with a portion of its sovereignty, inasmuch as it had given to the Irish Parliament, under Home Rule, power over the Irish Judiciary. Surely that was a most ill-advised and unfortunate illustration. In Australia every single one of the Australian States appoints its own judiciary. The same is true of Germany, the same is true of America, of course, and even in Switzerland the local judiciary in each canton is appointed by the canton authority. In any federal scheme contemplated by our Friends opposite, I take it for granted—I have to be informed upon this matter—but I take it for granted, for the present at any rate, that in giving Ireland priority, as they do, they also have no intention of attempting to water down the powers of the present Home Rule Bill so as to make the Constitution conform exactly to what may be asked for afterwards by Wales, or by Scotland, or by England. I take it for granted, also, that it is the intention of those Gentlemen that in the completed federal scheme Ireland will be a unit—that is to say, they do not suggest that Ulster should be one federal unit and the rest of Ireland another. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] As I understand their suggestion, it is that Ireland should be a unit. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I understand further—I am speaking of those Gentlemen who have put forward this scheme—that hon. Gentlemen who put forward this scheme on the other side do not suggest interfering with the time limit of six years.
Let me say at once that if the suggestion was that this statutory Commission should be appointed and do its best to settle the question in six years, and, if it failed, that then Ulster should be indefinitely excluded until after the federal scheme. was completed, that is a suggestion which, of course, we could not listen to for one moment. But if the scheme is this, that Ireland is to have priority, that Ireland is to remain under federalism a unit, that there is to be no watering down of the powers in the present Home Rule Bill—[Interruption, and an HON. MEMEER "The Post Office."]—and that the six years' limit is to stand—if that is the scheme, we certainly raise not the slightest objection to it. I have always believed 1662 that the only final and satisfactory solution of this question is Home Rule all round. I should be very glad if I were able to think that in such an arrangement as, apparently, is contemplated by some hon. Members opposite, the six years' limit would operate in such a way as to make immediate steps to be taken taken for the purpose of extending federalism. I would be extremely glad if in that way the concession of Home Rule to Ireland had definitely hastened Home Rule for Scotland.
Now, because I want to be perfectly practical and candid in my argument, where does that land us? Is such a scheme, as hon. Members opposite seem to desire, any remedy for the present immediate difficulty about Ulster? So far it has been received with scoffing by the Opposition. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!] If I am wrong, I will withdraw that. I gathered that from some of the cheers which have been levelled at it. I do not desire that it should be scoffed at by the Opposition—on the contrary. If we hear now from any responsible man on the Opposition side that they are willing to accept that scheme as I have indicated it—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!" and "Oh, oh!"] Well, then, I am right, Mr. Speaker, in saying, without the slightest offence, that that scheme as so indicated and sketched, has been received with scoffing by the Opposition. Now, Sir, what remains? The Government offer has been spurned. Our sacrifice in acquiescing in it has been useless. No advance whatever towards compromise has been made by the representatives of Ulster. They claim the permanent and total exclusion of Ulster. They have claimed it from the first. We have gone half-way to meet them. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] They have not advanced one inch from their original position. Under these circumstances all that remains, in my opinion, for the House of Commons, is to proceed with the Bill as it stands. Do not let me be misunderstood—even yet I do not despair myself of a settlement of this question. The eleventh hour, we are told, has struck, but the eleventh hour has not passed, and I certainly will do nothing and will say nothing, consciously at any rate, to preclude the possibility of a fair and honourable peace at any stage.
§ Mr. J. REDMOND
No. If I were to follow the Noble Lord, I should have to point out that the total surrender is asked from us.
§ Mr. J. REDMOND
We have gone, as I have pointed out, half-way to meet the claim of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. He has not advanced an inch. I say that in the situation in which we stand at this moment, the only course is to proceed calmly with the Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about winning Ulster?"] Do not forget that we hold that this Bill as it stands is a good Bill, and that the Government holds that it is a good Bill. We do not believe, and the Government by their own declarations do not believe, that any of the suggested changes are improvements in the Bill. They are offered for peace, and if all offers for peace are rejected, then let us proceed with the Bill, which, in our view, satisfies the justice and the necessity of the case, and let us place it upon the Statute Book. Well, Sir, what then? [Interruption.] I must be allowed to say candidly that I do not believe, and I never have believed, in civil war in Ulster. I do not mean to say that I think the opposition to this Bill in Ulster is not genuine and vehement. I know it is. I regard it as an opposition to a Bill—I regard it as an opposition which thinks it can kill a Bill that it hates and dislikes. When the Bill ceases to be a Bill, and becomes the law of the land, for my own part, I believe and I hope that a change will come over the situation.
I do not shut my eyes to the fact that there probably will be disturbances in Ulster. Ah, Mr. Speaker, memories are short! Is it remembered that in 1886, when the Home Rule Bill was first carried, but was defeated, there were weeks of the most terrible riots in Belfast? [An HON. MEMBER: "It was defeated by the people!"] Something of the kind may happen. I hope that it will not, but whether I am right in my view or whether I am wrong, I say this House of Commons owes a duty to itself, it owes a duty to Ireland, and it owes a duty to the people of this country—[Interruption]—to pass this Bill, and not allow itself to be deterred by threats, by armed threats of resistance of the law. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was kind enough to say of me, in one of his recent speeches in this House, that he did not believe I wanted any personal triumph in this matter. God knows! he was speaking the truth. I would to-morrow, gladly and proudly stand down and out, if by so doing I could in any way 1664 promote a peaceful settlement of this question, and what I say of myself I am sure I can say for every one upon these benches. All we want is the consciousness that in our lifetime we have been able to do something to open at last for future generations of young Irishmen an honourable career in the service of their own country. I believe, Sir, and I always have believed, that this Bill will pass into law, and I am profoundly confident that once it is passed into law it will never be revoked.
I have many reasons for that confidence. Let me mention two. The first is my own personal experience of public life in this country. In a sense I may say I have lived my whole life within these walls. I came in here little more than a boy, and I have grown old in the House of Commons, and in the long span of years which have passed since then I have witnessed the most extraordinary transformation of the whole public life of this country, and I have witnessed an almost miraculous change in the position and the prospects of the Irish National cause. When I came to this House Irish Nationalist Members, in a sense, were almost outcasts. Both the great British parties—there was no Labour party then—divided on everything else, were united in hostility to the national movement and the national ideal. Home Rule seemed hopelessly out of the range of practical politics. There were only a handful of men in this whole House of Commons besides us who were in favour of any measure of Home Rule for Ireland. Outside, the public opinion of this country was ignorant, and it was actively hostile, and we found it impossible to gain the ear of the democracy of England for the voice of Ireland. All that has vanished into thin air. All that has radically changed. The change has been slow and gradual, but it has been continuous and sure. Such a change as that can never be reversed. You might as well talk of the world going back to the days before electricity or petrol as hope to bring back the prejudices and the ignorance of the masses of the people in this country about Ireland, as they existed in the past. That is my first reason for my supreme confidence that once this Bill is on the Statute Book it will never be revoked. My second reason is a simpler one. It is because believe that the great principle which is enshrined in this Act will in practice, in a comparatively and astonishingly short 1665 space of time vindica[...]s, not merely in the minds of all creeds and classes in Ireland, but in the minds of the whole British people of all parties, the most sanguine expectations and the most glowing hopes of those men who have given their whole lives in its advocacy. I beg this House of Commons to pass the Second Reading of this Bill by a decisive majority, and I beg them to pass it into law.
§ Sir E. CARSON
My real and practical interest in listening with the closest attention to the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman was to try to ascertain whether he thought, as I have been trying to think, that there was any advancement towards peace and conciliation in the Debate that has been going on for the past few days. I listened to his speech, and looking back at it now, all that I find in it is that even the one offer which the other day the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Grey) told us was still open, is described by his master the hon. and learned Gentleman as now being dead, and when he killed that offer—[Laughter]—the right hon. Gentleman said it was still alive, and I took his word. Now I take the hon. and learned Gentleman's word. I looked then to see what further plea he would put forward, and what further offer he might make. He made absolutely none from beginning to end of his speech. The truth of the matter is that his speech from its beginning to its end has been very much like, not merely the conduct of the Government in their speeches during the past few days, but the conduct of the Government in preparing for this Second Reading. From the moment that they selected, a day or two before the Second Reading, to bring about their military evolutions to jump Ulster, I became seeptical of any reality in their profession of peace and conciliation, and I began to think that what they meant by all their operations and what they mean by all their speeches is that we should be compelled by force to describe and define conciliation as surrender. But notwithstanding—perhaps all the more because of their recent demonstrations in Ulster, foolish and criminal as I think they were, followed up by their evasions and alleged misunderstandings, their editings, and their misstatements—notwithstanding all that, that has left us unmoved in Ulster; indeed, it has benefited us by the accretion of many men who were holding aloof, and certainly, what is not an unimportant 1666 matter, by very large contributions. But I tried to pass that by, and I tried to survey the situation as it is, though my position is not made any easier by the suspicions you have aroused among the men in Ulster, and by the anger consequent upon a situation which you will not allow us to fathom or to understand.
All through this Debate, and indeed in a part of the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech, there has been a great deal of talk about conciliation. The hon. and learned Gentleman said he would be sorry to mar the prospects. The House will judge of how far he advanced it. For my own part, I am sick of these generalities and phrases. The Prime Minister on Saturday said in his speech at Ladybank that there must be peace with honour for both sides. That is a most honourable platitude, but what we want to know is, Is there any advance from the previous position when this subject was before the House, or are you merely attempting once more to create an atmosphere in your own favour without any practical results? Atmospheres and generalities and manœuvres are of no use at this time of day. I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman that we are up against reality, and I think no man in this House feels that more conscientiously than I do. A great deal of the hon. and learned Member's speech dealt with federalism and a federal solution. A great deal of the speeches of hon. Members on both sides of the House during the past few days have also dwelt upon a federal scheme for the United Kingdom. Do they think they have advanced us at all by that discussion? They may have advanced federalism—I am not disputing that—but they have not advanced in the slightest degree, or in one iota, a settlement of the present question, and there is no use in deluding ourselves into the idea that they have, and I will tell you why. While you are discussing federalism on the other side, at the same moment you say, "Still this Bill must be put upon the Statute Book." if you said, "We will hang up this Bill until a federal solution passes this House," then you would be sincere, but you know you will not. You could not if you wished to. It is no use talking about federalism, and at the same time telling us we are to pass this Bill under the conditions that the hon. and learned Gentleman laid down.
I am not going to follow him into the federalism of Germany or the federalism 1667 of Australia. I think there is a good deal to be controverted in what he said, but that is not necessary. What are the conditions that he lays down? You must not touch our Bill when you come to federalism. You must leave it as it is. Your federalism must be founded on separate Customs and separate Post Offices, and no system of taxation common to all the country for Imperial purposes. You must take away the whole basis of federalism and then pass it. No, Sir, the moment you put this Bill on the Statute Book you will never be able to pass federalism; certainly not without the leave of the Irish Parliament. How are you going to deal with it once you have passed this Bill? Are you going to say to the Irish Parliament, "You must make your system fit in with the federal scheme for the whole of the United Kingdom?" What power will you have over them? Are you going to summon back their Members here in their full numbers, or are you going to say, "Having given you your system, we now want to recall somewhat of it, and we are going to do it after you have agreed to a reduction of your numbers?" The thing is impossible. This Bill is the death of federalism for the whole of the United Kingdom. For my own part, I must frankly admit that I do not see how this discussion of federalism from other points of view enables us to advance to a settlement of this question. I shall have to say a word in a few moments as to what the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs said upon the subject; but does anyone suppose at the present moment whether federalism is good or whether it is bad— and I rather think many people speak about it without knowing exactly what they mean—but whether it is good or whether it is bad, are you, are we, even if we wish to shake hands across the floor of the House on this subject—are we in a position to make this gigantic change in our Constitution which has never been before the electors at all?
I pass from that, and I come to consider the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who spoke on Tuesday last for the Government. After all, it seemed to me to be a speech very carefully considered and very moderately spoken, but when examined I think very bitter in its elements. I take him as the spokesman of the Government policy. I am sorry he is not here 1668 —I dare say that is not his fault—for I desire to ask him some questions in further elucidation. He complained, and the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) complained, of the manner in which we had met the proposal for the exclusion of parts of Ulster with a term of six years' limit upon it. I do not think he was fair to us in the way he dealt with that question. I am exactly of the same opinion as I was on the day on which that was proposed. I refused to take a ticket of leave for six years, and I will tell you why. I would far prefer to advise the people of Ulster to go in and be included in the Dublin Parliament and let you commence your coercion to-morrow. I believe it would be shorter in the long run, but I am perfectly certain—and I know that gentlemen who differ from me in the North of Ireland, both in politics and religion, have said it, and I fully concur with them—that to adopt this six years' limit in relation to the exclusion of Ulster would be to make a hell of Ulster for six years. You cannot ask a great industrial community to be building up one government one day, as you would have to do, and ask them to knock it down the next, and adopt an entirely different one. No, Sir, that scheme is absolutely impossible, and look what it means. Would the right hon. Gentleman just consider for a moment how far it goes? It means this, that no matter how badly the Irish Parliament conduct their business, even if the Irish Parliament is on the verge of bankruptcy, you will say, "You are a thriving and industrious community, you are still doing well and prospering under the Imperial Parliament, but the moment the six years are up you must go and take your share in a bankrupt, mismanaged Parliament." That is an illusory condition. Then we are told that there will be two elections before we would have to come in. I am afraid I cannot look upon that as an honest argument. Just look how it stands. We are told even at the present moment that you could not get a vote on Home Rule, but they profess to say that if an election comes before the six years are up in anticipation of what might happen to Ulster, you would get a full and free expression of opinion. When that proposal was made I said this—and I repeat it again—if you leave out the limit, and leave it to Parliament to determine what is to happen after the end of six years, I would go and submit it to the people of Ulster. 1669 Why not? I know the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty thinks that was a very audacious thing for me to say—that I would submit it to a convention in Ulster. He probably thinks that I ought to take these issues upon myself. That is not my way. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is his way!"] I have always told these people in Ulster, and I think rightly, and if you understood the difficulties of Ulster, you would say that I did right—I told them that whatever I did, I would do in the open. As far as that proposal is made, I should like to ask, apart from what was said by the hon. Member for Waterford, has any advance been made towards a settlement? The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs said this:—Beyond the six years we are not prepared to go The country must settle it.Does that contain any new offer? I am satisfied that the country should settle it at the end of the six years. I have offered that before. Has he anything to say? Does he mean anything by these words, or is that merely the same proposition? If so, we stand upon this point exactly where we were. What was the next matter the right hon. Gentleman took up? He said, "We might agree to a proposal of federation within six years." Here is what he said:—I am not sure whether some proposal might not be made to ensure that, in some way before the six years expire, some federal solution might be arrived at.What does he mean by that? I said on the last occasion, and I repeat now as an offer again—and I said it relying upon the Prime Minister's statement which he repeated at Ladybank on Saturday, that this Bill was to be the precursor of a federal system, though how he is going to work it out, I am sure I do not know—I said that the proper time to reconsider the question of Ulster, if it was to be reconsidered at all, was when you were framing your general federal system for the whole of the United Kingdom. But while I adhere to that, I wish to be perfectly frank. By that I am not conceding or prejudging one way or the other whether in a federal system for the whole of the United Kingdom Ulster would form a part, or a separate part of Ireland. I am not for a moment agreeing that Ireland would be one unit in a federal scheme. A great deal would depend upon what happened in the meantime. It would give the hon. and learned Member (Mr. J. Redmond) an opportunity of showing Ulster in the mean- 1670 time that it was to her benefit to come in and take part in the general federal system, and to be part of the one unit of Ireland. I know that some people think that we ought to agree now that Ulster should come in and should form part of an undivided Ireland as a unit in the federal system. The First Lord of the Admiralty said a year and a half ago that the feeling of Yorkshire ought to be considered in a federal system, and that the feeling of Lancashire ought to be considered in a federal system. I venture to think that the feeling of Yorkshire and Lancashire do not differ within a thousand-fold as compared with the difference between Ulster and the rest of Ireland. Why should not the feeling of Ulster be considered? I pass from that proposal, and the only other proposal which I find in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman is one that I think requires some consideration from this House. He suggested that the Bill should be put upon the Statute Book, and that it should come into operation within a year, or whatever its natural time would be, after its passing,provided the election goes in favour of it. I think there may be something to be made of that proposal." [OFFICIAL REPPORT, 31st March, 1914, col. 1060].He said later on—It might be placed on the Statute Book in a way which I believe would he perfectly fair as between both parties, whichever won the election." [OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st March, 1914, col. 1061].Now, what does that mean? My right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London drew attention to that statement in his speech, and there was an extraordinary reply given by the President of the Local Government Board which I think, if he compares it with the context, is no answer at all. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs must have meant something by this. He cannot have meant" You will have an election in the ordinary course of events." Thank you for nothing. We shall have to get that. But his specific statement is that "it might be placed on the Statute Book in a way which I believe would be perfectly fair as between both parties, whichever won the election."
I understand how it would be fair to them if they win the election, but how is it to be fair to us if we win the election? Does he mean to say that a provision is to be put into the Bill that the Bill is to be no longer law unless there is a Resolution of this House or of the two Houses of Parliament after the election, 1671 or what other meaning is there? All I can say is that if it means what it apparently says, and what I think it does mean, it is really a revolution in our constitutional methods, that you are to pass a Bill first and ask the electors what they think of it afterwards. It was bad enough with the Insurance Act, which you passed and proceeded to enforce, and as to which you said that you knew that the electors never would have approved of it, or to pass a Bill and say, "We know that the electors do not understand it, and therefore we will send down lecturers to explain it." But to pass a Bill and say, "We cannot enforce it until we have had a General Election to see whether it is right or wrong," is an upheaval of the whole idea of our Constitution. There is something probably more than that which probably we will have explained in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. I am sorry that he is not here, because he must have known, having regard to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London, that this question would arise. Though I agree that his time is spent upon great Imperial matters, I cannot but think that our own Constitution at home here, apart from international matters, may be well worthy of his consideration, particularly as he undertook to be the spokesman of the Government at a time when we were protesting against proceeding in the absence of the Prime Minister. I ask the House to mark this especially. The right hon. Gentleman added force to what he said in the passage to which I refer in the very next paragraph of his speech. Mark what he said. He said:No Government could embark on the policy of enforcing the Bill without having consulted the country.What does that mean? It means this: "We are prepared to go to the Sovereign and ask him to sign this Bill, at the same time telling him that we have not got the power to enforce it until His Majesty's people are consulted." We are getting on. But where does that lead us to? Let me ask the right hon. Gentleman, or whoever represents him and knows his mind—if he does know his mind or professes to know his mind—this question. He says:—No Government could embark on the policy of enforcing the Bill without having consulted the country.I ask what he proposes to do, if the country is consulted, and it says it will not allow coercion What happens then?
§ Sir EDWARD CARSON
The hon. Member opposite, who is a real statesman, says, "You will settle it." Yes, that is the policy of the Government. Leave the whole affair in chaos and confusion, because you will not consult the people who, you say, must be consulted. I think that the whole thing is an outrage on constitutional government. What do they care I If the country goes against them, they will exult probably in our difficulties. That is what the hon. Gentleman meant. That is the plan at which they are aiming. "If you do come in we have left everything in such a mess that you cannot set up any form of procedure in the House of Commons that will be able to cope with it." That is what they are always thinking of; that is what they are always longing for; that is what they think is a proper way to carry on the business of the country, in order that they may carry out their compact with the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. I do hope that before we conclude we shall have done explanation of what is proposed should happen if these alternatives, which the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs plainly contemplates, should happen. I pass from that and come to the speech again of the Secretary of State, and once more regret his absence. I am bound to say, without meaning to be offensive, that I think that the way in which he dealt with the offers of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition was most perfunctory.
My right hon. Friend made him two offers. The first was a General Election. You may say that there is very little in that offer. What was the reason that he rejected it? Because he said, "We must not be put back to commence all over again after two and a half years. We must have our Parliament Act." My right hon. Friend has offered to concede that, and what becomes then of the objection And then he offered him something more. He said, "You say you cannot get the electors to vote specifically upon this question if you go to a General Election. "Very well," said my right hon. Friend, "let us have a Referendum." And what is the answer to the proposal of a Referendum—that it is experimental. Is it as experimental as the Home Rule Bill? He says that it is experimental, and that probably few people would go to the 1673 poll. Oh, what enthusiasm there is in this country for this great constitutional change! What a mandate they must have behind them! I think, in the difficult crisis in which we find ourselves, that the suggestion for an appeal to the people, whichever way you make it, requires some respectful treatment at the hands even of this autocratic Ministry. I desire to say one word on the Government's position about the exercise of force, the settlement by force, as the absent Minister called it. He has now confessed that he never had behind him the authority of the people to use force in Ulster, and that is why for two and a half years he has let us go on without interruption in our preparations to carry out our determination that we will resist by force. Do you think that he would have allowed it for five minutes, if it was not that he knew that the moment he began to arrest it the game was up? Hon. Members below the Gangway on the Labour Benches often made remarks about myself, and others who are associated with me, and say that we are breaking the law and ought to be prosecuted. Whom do they think they are making a charge against when they say that? Is it against the or is it against the Government, who, according to them, arc exercising a discretion, perhaps a wise, discretion, but which, notwithstanding how they exercise it, the hon. Members slavishly follow? And even now at this time of day, within probably a few months, for all I know a few weeks, of the passing of this Bill for the better government of Ireland, the Government do not know where they stand from clay to day upon the question of force. Here is what the Lord Chancellor said:—No orders were issued, no orders are likely to be issued, and no orders will he issued for the coercion of Ulster.I have been told by somebody that his Lordship has now faked his judgment. I do not believe it for a, moment. He is far too great a lawyer and far too distinguished a judge, and the Secretary of State himself has told us that he could only go on by force if he had a mandate. What does all this show? We have had a great deal of discussion in this House about the action of the Army within the last week. The relation of the Army to the civil power is always a very difficult subject, but if you cannot—and you admit you cannot—use force in Ulster, let alone carry on vast military operations, without a mandate 1674 from the constituencies, what a condemnation of your precipitate action in relation to the Army before you knew how you stood in the country! I ask the Government this: Putting aside these recent events, and not for the moment discussing them, what do they think would have been the effect upon the Army, if the Army had gone and undertaken in these circumstances the coercion of their fellow countrymen, which they loathe and detest? I am convinced that whatever else you do, you will have to abandon this whole policy of force. You cannot never make force the transmitter of a message of peace to Ireland. There is only one policy possible—at least in my opinion, and I am only expressing my own—and it is this: Leave Ulster out until you have won her consent to come in. Even then, do not imagine, if you pass your Bill, that I would not have bitter feelings. I would; I admit it. The hon. and learned Gentleman says that we, Ulster Unionists, lost nothing or conceded nothing if this policy was adopted. Do you think that we have no heartburnings over those loyal men outside Ulster, who hate your Bill and loathe it just as much as we in Ulster do? And but for their isolated positions they would do exactly as Ulster is doing at the present moment, and resist it by force. In all those controversies you never think of them.
Every safeguard we proposed on their behalf, every concession we asked to try and appease them, everything that we put forward during those days in Committee to make the Bill easier for them to bear, was put aside and rejected with absolute scorn. The absent Minister laid down two courses: Settlement by force, which means conquest, and settlement by consent. Notwithstanding the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, and however misunderstood I may be—and in a crisis like this people are only too willing to misunderstand one another—I do now implore the Government, as I implore him, to abandon all this idea of ever forcing this Bill upon Ulster. It certainly is not practicable, and, believe me, that it is by far the longest road to peace in the end. What does it mean? Not the struggle of a day or year; it means the making once more of bitter history. Some people say, "Scrap Ulster and it will all be over. Keep your Army and your Navy there." For how long, may I ask? How long will it be until these courses eventuate in that consent which alone can 1675 bring about a united and contented community? No, Sir, that course will mean the ruin of Ulster—I admit it. It will also mean the ruin of Ireland. I am not at all sure it will not mean the ruin of this country. On the other hand, my Nationalist fellow countrymen and the hon. and learned Gentleman himself this afternoon have expressed great faith in great changes which will remove the apprehensions of the people of Ulster, which have been founded on their own past acts and their own words. Loyalty to the Empire, we are told, is one of their objects, and adherence to all its great traditions, toleration and fair play, beyond anything that has ever been known in the history of the country; greater freedom and prosperity in their position of divorcement from the richest country in the world. If they have this faith in themselves, it must carry them to the conclusion that they can remove these mountains of difficulty and suspicion which at present surrounds us. When they come to consider that, they must remember that what has been offered to these men in the North of Ireland admittedly shows no material advantage, and is at the same time outraging in every respect the sentiment which binds them to this country and binds them to each other. This is what you have to overcome. This is the fabric which in all reality you have to build up. It is worth your trying it. Will you?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir John Simon)
The House this afternoon has listened in succession to two speeches from the two most distinguished Irishmen in public life, and I do not believe there is an Englishman in this House, on whatever side he sits, who does not feel, as I do, after we have just heard those two speeches, how completely they dispose for ever of what was once an argument used against the proposal of Irish Home Rule, the argument, namely, that you would not find in the Irish nature and the Irish character those arts of statesmanship and persuasive statement which we believe will never he exercised more to the benefit of a country than when exercised by different kinds of Irishmen in their own country for the common Irish cause. The right hon. Gentleman told us that having listened to the Debate he did not himself see much sign of an advancement in the course of it towards peace and reconciliation, but with great respect I would venture to say to him that is not the impression produced 1676 on some of us by this Debate; it certainly is not the impression produced upon us by the right hon. Gentleman himself; for though he has said in the course of this controversy in the past many things which have stung and wounded us, many things which were bitter and unjust to us, we. Home Rulers recognise to the full that in the speech he made this afternoon, as in. some of the speeches made by hon. Members sitting behind him in the earlier days of this Debate, we have substantial indication that there is a disposition to approach—if it can by any road be approached—some method of accommodation and settlement—a disposition very different from that which we seem to have experienced earlier in the history of this controversy.
It is perfectly true that the gap which divides the right hon. Gentleman's point of view and the point of view which we Home Rulers hold, is a very wide gap and a very deep gap; and if I may say so, respectfully, I agree with him when he says that it is no good pretending that the gap is already bridged. But at the same time, if we are considering the Second Reading of this Bill, now in its third Session, if we wish to judge this matter fairly, estimating what the width of that gap may be, then we must bear in mind how much wider the gap has been than it is in fact at the present time. On the one hand, I would ask Irish Unionists and hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to do what they are always asking us to do. They are always asking us to put ourselves in imagination, as far as we can, in their place, and realise as far as we can, their difficulties, so that we shall ourselves be more sympathetic with the problem as it presents itself to them. I make that same appeal now to them. If they would judge how far this gap has been narrowed by recent events, let them exercise the art of imagination, and put themselves in the position of Home Rulers. What has happened? Although the Home Rule case for thirty years has meant a demand for the setting up of a single Parliament with a Legislature and Executive for the whole of Ireland, without even the temporary exclusion of any portion, there has been this immense change in the course of the last few weeks and months, that Home Rulers on both sides of the House are many of them prepared, for the sake of peace, to make an advance in the direction of hon. Gentlemen opposite, by saying. "Let us, if you will, discuss this matter on the basis 1677 that, at any rate, for a time, and, at any rate, under certain conditions, the scheme of Home Rule that we have in our minds may be framed without the unity of Ireland being secured in the first instance. That is an immense change. The right hon. Gentleman did less than justice to the real result of the discussions of the last few weeks when he said in the early part of his speech this afternoon that he, can see nothing in the nature of advancement towards a better understanding, or peace, or reconciliation in anything that has happened in these last few weeks.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
In this Debate. May I make an observation from the other point of view? I do not agree, with great respect, with the view that the advance has been made entirely by one side. I am bound to say that I think the reduction of this gap has mostly and chiefly been due to the advances which Home Rulers have made, and to the enormous sacrifice, from their point of view, which they have contemplated and have offered. But I do not take the view that that has not been met by any sort of advance from the other side. If I confine myself to the right hon. Gentleman's own attitude, I perfectly recognise that he has not budged one inch from that which he regards as the centre of his position in this matter. But there is a great difference between saying, as he said two years ago, that the only attraction of the proposal for the exclusion of Ulster was that it made Home Rule impossible, and his saying, as he fairly and squarely says to-day, as I understand, supposing he can find proposals for the exclusion of Ulster made on more favourable terms than are made now, he would consider them not as a means of defeating Home Rule, but as a means of co-operating, however unwillingly, in seeing if it could not be put on the Statute Book.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I did not say that. This is far too serious a matter, and I wish to be perfectly frank. I never said that if Ulster were excluded, I would co-operate in putting the Bill on the Statute Book. What I said was that I would willingly welcome proposals about Ulster with a view to ending any bloodshed, and that certainly, so far as I am concerned, I would advise the Ulster people to put an end to all idea of force of any kind.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I do not mean, of course, to misrepresent the right hon. Gentleman. I agree that great disservice is done in this Debate if either side even accidentally misstates or strains unfairly what is said. Be it so, that is what the right hon. Gentleman has precisely proposed, and everybody who has followed this controversy for the last few years knows, that it is a great arid significant advance made by him, and made in the name of those whom he leads, as compared with what was said by him on their behalf two years ago. Therefore, while I do not for a moment suggest that there is not a deep gap between the one point of view and the other, I do submit to the House that if we are going to judge the width of that chasm fairly, we must remember how far advances have been made, largely on the one side, and, to some extent, I think, on the other, to bridge that gap. I should like to say a word as to the suggestion which the Government put forward and with reference to which the right hon. Gentleman made a remark at the beginning of his speech. I do not think he can have intended to snatch at an opportunity of saying that the Government offer was withdrawn, but in order that there may be no mistake about this matter, let me say in the plainest terms that the suggestion made by the Prime Minister is not withdrawn, but stands as much open for acceptance and discussion to-day as ever it did. And while I do not think it unnatural for the hon. and learned Gentleman who leads the Nationalist party to say that he feared it was dead, I must remind the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson) if indeed it were dead it would be he who killed it. But we none of us believe that at this critical time the right hon. Gentleman is going about trying to destroy such hopes of conciliation as there may be. I do not believe it for a moment. I desire, therefore, to say, in the simplest and plainest terms, that that offer stands as fully as it ever did, that it is as open for discussion as it ever was, and that it will remain open, whatever may be the issue of this Debate, till the latest possible moment in order that we may see whether it offers an opportunity of reconciliation and peace.
In order that the true significance of that offer may be considered, I would wish to put this point. As long as the Ulster party are out to defeat Home Rule at all costs and by any means, of course no 1679 offer for the temporary exclusion of any portion of Ulster is the least likely to meet the point; but, as I read their attitude, they do not take that attitude, and they have explained their attitude through the right hon. Gentleman in his interruption just now, and the two points which they now take are, as I believe, and as I believe I can prove to the House, exactly and precisely met by the offer which the Prime Minister put forward. What are the two points which survive, which emerge, from the Ulster opposition, and which every sincere Home Ruler ought to do his best to consider and meet if he can? The first is this: They say that whatever may be the electoral authority which we have for setting up a Home Rule Parliament, at any rate that electoral authority does not extend to including within the Home Rule Parliament as we set it up these predominantly Protestant areas in the North-East of Ireland; and, in the Second place, they say that if the British electors only knew as well as Ulstermen know what a Home Rule Parliament would he like, and if the British elector only realised what a parody of Parliamentary government a Home Rule Parliament would involve, then they would never permit or never consent to the inclusion of all these predominantly Protestant areas. If one cuts away the fringe and, if I may say so, the exaggeration which gathers round the Ulster case, as it gathers round every case, it is really those two points which remain to be dealt with. I repeat that the one is that whatever electoral authority we have to set up a Home Rule Parliament, it does not in the present circumstances extend to bringing these predominantly Protestant areas into it at the beginning against their will; and that, secondly, if only the British elector realised what Irish Home Rulers are like when they are at home, and that if they only had had that sad experience which Gentlemen, speaking on behalf of Protestants in Ulster, claim to have had, then they say the British elector would never allow such a monstrous result to be perpetrated.
I claim that if the two points of the Ulster opposition are thus defined, and I have endeavoured to define them fairly, then the proposal of the Prime Minister exactly meets both points, and precisely meets both points. We do not admit that we have not abundant electoral authority for carrying the Home 1680 Rule Bill exactly as it stands, and, if it should unfortunately turn out that no method of compromise is arrived at, we have every intention of carrying it exactly as it stands. But however that may be, on the first of the two points which Ulstermen take it is obvious that the situation can be met, and is fairly met, by saying, "Very well, let us take your view of the limited electoral authority which we have, and let us in the first instance set up a Home Rule Parliament with a Legislature and Executive, not for the whole of Ireland, but for that part of Ireland out of which these predominantly Protestant areas do not exclude themselves." And in the same way the Prime Minister's proposal exactly meets the second point, because if Ulstermen appeal to the British elector to realise what Home Rule would be like, and if they go on and say that they know their brother Irishmen much better than we do, which of course is quite true, and that experience such as they have had would be abundantly sufficient to persuade any reasonable British citizen that it would be outrageous to include these Protestant areas, why, then, the proposal for exclusion for a limited period exactly offers the opportunity which would prevent a "leap in the dark," as Home Rule used to be called, and will, on the contrary, provide the very experience, in the face of the whole population of the United Kingdom, which these Ulstermen say at present is their special and peculiar prerogative. Therefore, I do claim that the proposal which the Prime Minister put forward, and as I have endeavoured to analyse it now, exactly meets, and fairly meets, the two points which are made with great sincerity and great force on behalf of our Ulster critics.
I come to the next point to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. He referred to limiting the period to six years. I do not at all take the view that it is a matter if indifference whether you say that the areas are to be excluded for six years, and are then to come in unless Parliament otherwise determines, or whether you say that those areas are to be excluded and are to remain excluded until Parliament sees fit to bring them in. I think there is a great difference between the two. When the right hon. Gentleman appeals to us to substitute the second for the first, he is at any rate entitled to say that we do attach some real importance to the difference between 1681 the two. What are the reasons why we find it impossible, as we do quite impossible, to contemplate the abolition of some limited period and the substitution of an indefinite time? They are two. Either would be, I think, sufficient, and both together the reasons are overwhelming. In the first place, though Home Rulers, both English and Scottish and Welsh and Irish Home Rulers, have made the great concession that is involved in this offer, it is not made with any idea at all that Ireland can be permanently divided in two. Not at all. This is met by some hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway who come from Ireland with bitter denunciation because they think even a temporary exception admitted upon the face of the Bill is in a high degree dangerous to Irish unity. Be that as it may, it is of the very essence of our view, and it was of the essence of our view, that Home Rule means Irish unity, and whatever may be the temporary arrangements which we make hon. Gentlemen opposite are asking us an impossible thing, if they imagine that this offer for a period can possibly be transformed in our minds into an offer for all time.
There is a second reason, and the second reason is not, perhaps, so constantly present to the minds of all who take part in this Debate, and it is this: You have to ask yourselves what would be the legislative method by which a change would be effected on the one assumption and the other? Supposing that our scheme were adopted, and we provided in the present Home Rule Bill automatically that after a limited period of time these Protestant areas should come within Home Rule Ireland, then that result would follow by virtue of the present. Bill, and no further legislation would be required, and the thing would operate under this Bill. It is quite true that it leaves open this opportunity, and it is intended to leave it open—it is quite true that it leaves open the opportunity of Parliament coming to the conclusion in the meantime in this interval of six years, really seven years, which must elapse, that it is necessary to amend the Home Rule Bill in that respect. If the House of Commons came to that conclusion, not necessarily at the end of six years, but at any time during the six years, and not necessarily after one election or another election, but if the House of Commons came to that conclusion at any time during that period, and if the House of Commons passed through this Chamber a Bill so 1682 provided, there is not, I think, much probability that it would be obstructed in another place, and, therefore, the elected House of Commons would get its way on behalf of those whom it represents. But take the other alternative, and supposing, instead of that, you provided in the Bill a thing which we have no intention of doing, that this exclusion is to be permanent, unless and until Parliament otherwise orders, then if public opinion thought a change were needed, the House of Commons might consist of a great majority of persons who thought the time had come to bring the Ulster counties in, but the decision of the House of Commons in the matter would not carry the thing. It would then be exposed to risks in another place.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I intended to deal with that, but let me finish my sentence. I say, in that event, it is clear, however large a majority in this House might think it desirable, there would still remain the point that it had got to be got through another House. I quite anticipated the comment that that situation might very well be different if, in the meantime, there was a substantial change in the relations between the two Houses. That is true, but for the purposes of what we are now discussing the only safe rule upon which to go is to consider the two Houses as they stand. I will tell hon. Gentlemen why. If there was an election next week, we having in the meantime passed a Home Rule Bill with the permanent exclusion of Ulster, then even though next week we came back with fresh and special authority to include Ulster there would still be, under the existing Constitution, the difficulties between the two Houses, which would not have been removed in the meantime. Therefore, the distinction between the two things is really fundamental. It is no good blinking the fact, and it does not assist the discussion of this matter to pretend that the two alternatives are nearly resembling one another, and that the Government therefore cannot genuinely mean what it says when it proposes the one case and will not immediately shift over to the other.
The right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson), like the hon. and learned Member who preceded him (Mr. Redmond), went on to 1683 make a few remarks about what is called the federal solution. I should like to say two or three things about that. Anybody who has studied the Prime Minister's speeches in reference to Home Rule knows that this Bill has been presented by the head of the Government as a Bill intended to be the first step in a larger scheme. My right hon. friend has constantly said that he believes that the principles involved in the Home Rule Bill are needed to be applied to other parts of the United Kingdom besides Ireland. There are hon. Friends of mine on this side who have the strongest view on that subject, and the view which they hold—that the principles of devolution are principles which ought to be applied to other parts of the United Kingdom besides Ireland—is one which we accept as being perfectly sound and well founded. The reason why Ireland is dealt with as it is in this Bill is that, after all, the Irish case is beyond all question the oldest demand, and we take that view—I hope that my hon. Friends from Scotland take the view—that urgent as it may be for other portions of the country, there is a sense in which it is more urgent for Ireland that it is for any other part of the United Kingdom. When people talk about the federal solution, it is as well to remember that, however ripe public opinion may be in Scotland and Wales, and whatever may be the opinion in Ireland, there is still the case of England to consider. I do not want to throw the least cold water on the suggestion that a federal discussion may be helpful; but it is only helpful if you face the fact that England is a necessary party to such a scheme, and obviously English public opinion on this subject is not in anything like so advanced a condition as public opinion in Scotland, Wales, or Ireland.
Therefore I would venture to put these considerations before the House with reference to any proposal to solve this matter by means of a federal scheme. There are at least three conditions which, as it seems to me, must be observed if the discussion of federalism for the United Kingdom is to produce any probability of agreement about Irish Home Rule. In the first place, the pursuit of federalism must not mean the postponement of Home Rule. I know that the right hon. Gentleman just now made fun of that proposition.
§ Sir J. SIMON
At any rate, that is the proposal I put forward on behalf of the Government. By all means let us use the opportunity that we have to ventilate the federal suggestion in the most friendly way. Everybody on this side of the House recognises that in the course of this Debate proposals of the most friendly and valuable character in that direction have been made by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House. But we shall not get any further by being vague on a point like this. It is as well to lay down quite clearly, in the first place, that a federal scheme cannot possibly lead to a solution of this question if by federalism you mean the postponement of the Home Rule Bill. We should be very glad—nobody would have more reason to be glad than the Government—if a modification of the terms of this Bill would produce a greater prospect of peace. Nobody has a greater interest in securing peace in this matter than the Government themselves. Be that as it may, and whatever may be the prospects of the federal solution, it cannot be pursued with any prospect of agreement if it means the postponement of the carriage of this Bill, whether modified or not. In the second place, I would lay down this proposition: I submit to the House that the discussion of a federal scheme is not likely to lead to a peaceful solution of this question if it involves the evisceration of the Home Rule Bill. I know quite well that many hon. Members think that there are features in the Home Rule Bill which are anti-federal. If there are such features, they are a very fair subject indeed for negotiation arid discussion.
But for my part I would remind hon. Members that it is really a mistake to speak of federalism as though it were like some mechanical formula which, if applied in all circumstances and in all places in a perfectly mechanical manner, is bound in every single instance to produce exactly the same distribution of powers. It is no argument against the features of the Home Rule Bill from the federal point of view to say that there are other federations here and there in which you do not find these features in the instrument of Union. But if there be features in our Bill which can really be held to be anti-federal in the necessary and fundamental sense of the term I should think that Home Rulers would be well advised to consider such features as those; because inasmuch as our ultimate object is to fit Irish Home Rule into a greater scheme, nothing could be less advantageous for Ireland than that 1685 she should start with features which make that subsequent fitting of her into a greater scheme difficult or impossible.
In the third place, I would lay down this proposition. Do not let anybody believe that the discussion of a federal scheme is going to be fruitful if it is embraced merely for the purpose of perpetuating the division of Ireland into two parts. This is very delicate ground. I do not think that any man serves a useful purpose by laying down dogmatically exact lines here and there on these delicate points. But anybody who is embracing this federal scheme with the idea that it is a cloak behind which you can secure the permanent division of Ireland into two parts is pursuing a purpose which no English Home Ruler, and I think I may say without distinction between them no Irishman below the Gangway would accept for a moment. Do not let it be said on this ground that this is an attempt to object to the whole federal solution from beginning to end. Not at all. I believe there are hon. Gentlemen opposite who recognise that the conditions which I have laid down are not in the circumstances unreasonable, but that it is natural, and may even be proper, that I should insist upon them. Because otherwise hon. Gentlemen opposite who are pursuing the federal solution of the Irish difficulty are really, whether they know it or not, urging the federal solution not in order that Home Rule may be adjusted and carried, but that in order that Home Rule may be defeated and postponed.
I have only one further thing to say. The immediate duty of the House in this Debate, as we conceive it, is to carry the Second Reading of this Bill for the third time. That is the end of one important period. I hope and believe that it may well prove to be, I will not say the beginning, but a continuance of that attempt to arrive at some common ground of agreement which hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, particularly private Members, have done so much during the last few weeks to promote. We have never found it possible to contemplate that we should offer to this House proposals for the detailed amendment of this Home Rule Bill, unless we got an assurance that those were details intended to work out a compromise on which agreement was involved. We should lose the advantage of the Parliament Act if we did so, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand Division (Mr. W. Long), in his speech the other day, if I 1686 understood him aright, practically gave us notice in advance that if we were to, send from this House suggestions to the House of Lords, as matters stand at present the House of Lords would have nothing to do with our suggestions. Obviously, if that is the position, it cannot be stated too plainly that the Bill having been carried a second time, we have no alternative but to go on with it as it stands, and that is our intention. Let me point out that an interval must now arrive.
By the very terms of the Parliament Act there must be an interval, because this Bill cannot be sent up to the House of Lords until a certain period prescribed in the Parliament Act has elapsed, and that period has not elapsed by a few weeks. I hope that nothing said on this, side of the House, whether from this box or by any of my hon. Friends behind me, will do anything which in the least degree militates against the probability of compromise and a better understanding. For the rest, I would assure hon. Gentlemen from Ulster that of all the delusions under which they labour—and we think that they labour under many delusions—there are none to be compared with this one. They represent us—they did so in Hyde Park on Saturday—as though we were people who were taking a keen, malicious, and savage delight in carrying through this Bill on terms that were going to produce a great deal of resistance and misunderstanding. Nothing could possibly be further front what is at the bottom of the mind of every Home Ruler who takes an interest in this Bill. The whole of our case is bound up with the fact that the past history of Ireland is a painful history, full of constant quarrels and misunderstandings; and under these circumstances, if we do not succeed with this Bill by some means or other in arriving at a better and a more peaceful way of governing Ireland we shall not have accomplished what we set out to do. I make that admission in the frankest terms; because no delusion is so injurious to us, nothing in the mind of a sincere Home Ruler is so difficult to bear as the suggestion, not that his policy is bad, or that his methods are open to criticism, but that the object he has at heart is to bring about a worse state of things in Ireland than that which he is endeavouring to cure. It is a complete and fundamental misunderstanding, and it goes to, the bottom of our Home Rule case. Therefore we stand in this position. We 1687 say, in the first place, what is the good of speaking of representative institutions if you allow some eighty Irish Members to come here for generations demanding a particular thing and then shut your eyes to the very thing which they demand? In these circumstances, whatever may be the difficulty confronting our path, we are bound to go on with the Bill which we have drafted with the most earnest desire to provide for the special case of Ulster. We say, next, that we have shown what we are prepared to do by making an offer—which is not dead, because the right hon. Gentleman denies that he has killed it, but which I trust is not again going to be called a hypocritical sham. We say, further, that we make the offer for the sake of peace and are prepared to discuss it or any reasonable modification of it for the sake of peace. Finally, we say that these things have been done; that we have endeavoured to do them with all our might, and shall endeavour forthwith to do them, and therefore there is no course before this House but to carry the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General has been rather cruel on the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond). The hon. Gentleman built up a most elaborate edifice, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down has kicked away the foundation. The case of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford was the case that he has been making before the country—which case has been falsely made in private, as well as in public. It was this," I am not a party to the vivisection of Ireland; I have not betrayed my country; I have not betrayed its cause; I have been a party to making an illusory offer to the Orangeman which offer they will reject the moment it is made; and which offer they have long since rejected, and which is now dead." That is the position of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford given in private and in public He sent even his emissaries, three of them, to the bishops on the Thursday before the Monday when the Prime Minister made his speech. The Northern bishops were all told by these three or four men to make their minds easy, "The thing would all be put out of sight the moment Carson got up to speak." To-day, knowing, of course, the public and private speeches that he made, the hon. 1688 and learned Gentleman was most careful to provide a coffin for this proposal. A "wake" has been held during the four weeks that have elapsed. His speech was its final shroud, and if there was a postmortem to be conducted this afternoon, it was only to ensure that the corpse was entirely past resurrection. What does the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General for England, with all his skill, do? Blows fresh oxygen gas into the corpse, galvanises the spectre, and once more brings to the hearts and minds of the Irish people the realities of the case. He has even made this fresh addition, quite confirming the view we took a month ago, namely, not only is this proposal alive, but they are willing to consider any reasonable modification of it. I said a month ago, six, sixty-six, six hundred and sixty-six years—were these reasonable modifications? Yet the statement has been made and repeated and reiterated behind me that really the last word had been said on this matter. They said that they had made cruel sacrifices, for their country was at stake! You would think Ireland was a country that was in their pockets! Not an inch further, they said, would they go. I therefore heard with considerable interest the statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, whose great dexterity in this House and outside it everyone recognises.
It does not stop there, because the late Postmaster-General—in these constant shifts that are taking place nowadays it is hard to remember what an occupant of the Ministerial Front Bench is at present—the President of the Local Government Board stated on Thursday night that so far as he was concerned—and that was also adumbrated in the speech we have just heard—there will be a considerable interval—there could be further conversations with hon. Members opposite. Further conversations about what? About giving Ireland still further away? About making these changes and modifications which the party here are pledged not to allow you to take one further step in? What is the meaning of it? I can understand Irishmen taking up this attitude, "Half a loaf is better than no bread." But let us tell the truth honestly to the Irish people, an, say, "We will have to take what we can get," and make no wry face over it. That would have been one line. That would have been an honest line. Many a time during the last thirty years when we were getting poor Land Acts, Local Government 1689 Acts, Franchise Acts, and other measures of that kind, we honestly told the truth to the people. We said to them, "We are dealing with an alien Legislature, with a hostile and ignorant people. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] Do you pretend to understand the question? We do not pretend to understand English questions. We do not get up and dogmatise on Labour questions. We stick to our own parish, to our own parochial affars, and talk about them, and talk about nothing else. There may be exceptions!
Let me now come to the extraordinary additions which have been placed upon this proposal by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. In all my life I never heard anything like it. The Secretary for Foreign Affairs is a master of lucidity. Even the Balkaneers understand him. He has that extraordinary quality which commands the admiration of the House, both friends and foes; his language is simple and lucid. At the same time you always feel that there is something behind it: that he has not quite let all out of his sleeve. Here is what he said—but first remember what the hon. and learned Member for Waterford said. He declared to the Irish people, in the most formal manner, that, at any rate, when this Bill was once passed, passed it was for good and all, and that there would be no further appeal to the English electorate; that bogey, at all events, he said he had laid to rest. To-day he says, "You do not think the English people were renaging"—a term we use in Ireland when playing at cards—" once passed, you do not think that the Bill will be revoked." He also said in the most formal manner that it was unthinkable that there would be a General Election after this Bill was passed and before it was brought into operation. Unthinkable! He did not say it was a "blasphemy and abomination." That was the language he used with regard to the partition of Ireland; but the proposal to have a General Election was unthinkable. What is "unthinkable" to the hon. and learned Member for Waterford seems to be in the Foreign Office a case of the commonest matter of fact. The right hon. Gentleman made this announcement:To embark upon a policy of actual coercion to make Ulster submit to an authority which she is determined to resist by force, is a most grave, serious arid ominous thing. I have never contemplated that that question could arise until after a General Election."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st March, 1914, col. 1061.]Swift once drew a picture of a country where the people were apt to forget 1690 things, and they always had flappers at their ears to wake them up and to remind them of the realities of the case. With the hon. and learned Gentleman at the head of seventy-three flappers, so to speak, they should at all events keep the mind and conscience of the Government, so to speak, awake by an occasional fillip—perhaps I should call them "fillipers," not "flappers." Here is the very thing that the hon. and learned Member for Waterford said was impossible. We now find that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs says:—I have never contemplated that that question could arise until after an election. If our Bill is placed on the Statute Book, it must be the middle of next year before it comes into full operation, and before that time I have always assumed that there must be an election. I do not believe it possible for any Government should that come to the only alternative to embark upon a policy of coercion without having consulted the country upon it…. All that is a long way off."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st March, 1911, col. 1061.]The right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary went further than that in a later portion of his speech, for he said:—Not only the Parliament itself would be post poned—which might be a natural thing, having regard to the "appointed day,"but the intention is that the Executive should be kept within Imperial hands for the whole of twelve months.I at least expected that in the meantime the hon. Member for West Belfast (Hr. Devlin) would have been placed at the head of the police. I have great confidence in his constabulary genius. Certainly we have not had any too much to boast of in the way military or police matters are arranged at present. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford was deluding his people when he said that the sequence of events would be the creation of the Irish Executive and creation of the Irish Parliament. He thought a thing "unthinkable." The Secretary for Foreign Affairs has declared that what the hon. and learned Member for Waterford said was not to take place, is going to take place. I do not say this merely for the purpose of scoring a point off the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. If I wanted to do that the occasions are as plentiful as blackberries. What I am drawing the attention of the House to is this: its effect upon England and upon Ireland. What would be the cry at the General Election with this Bill nominally passed into law, but in reality suspended in its real effect. They will go to the electorate and say, "This Bill cannot be put into operation without your consent. It means a torrent of bloodshed." 1691 Will you allow the Free Traders to have free trade in blood? Hon. Members opposite at various times have said that the Tories are an unscrupulous party; that they have always misrepresented hon. Members. Do not hon. Members opposite think that if they are in the position which the Foreign Secretary is going to plunge us into is an argument for the hon. Member for Trinity College and his Ulstermen to go full steam ahead for the next eighteen months until this General Election takes place. [An HON. MEMBER: "Let us hope so."] The hon. Member is an Englishman. He may hope so. I do not. What I say is this, and what I want to bring home to the mind of the House is, that on the position stated by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, this matter is the purest gamble for Ireland. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] There is some disturbance in the menagerie. So you see we have reasons for scanning these speeches and demanding the meaning of them. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford the other night, when Mr. Asquith's proposals were made, said it was a strange thing that proposals intended for the purpose of conciliation had been chiefly opposed by the party of conciliation, namely, my hon. Friend the Member for the Cork City (Mr. William O'Brien) and myself, who immeately denounced the vivisection and partition of our country. Let me tell the House why we are the only persons entitled to be heard with candour upon this subject, because from the day the Bill was 'introduced we advocated conciliation and consideration for the Protestants of Ireland.
I was denounced at a National Convention by the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Devlin) for having said that the Senate should have half Protestants—not an extreme proposal considering that Daniel O'Connell when he proposed simple repeal meant the restoration of an entirely Protestant Parliament, a Protestant House of Lords, and a Protestant House of Commons. That was simple re—peal, and repeal involved that, and that was what the Catholics of Ireland fought for for fifty years. That would be the effect of simple repeal if passed. My hon. posal was. He said lie was willing to give further than I did, and mark what his proposal was. He said he was willing to give for the space of one month, until this House should be consulted, a veto upon Irish legislation for five years to the 1692 Northern Members. He said, further, that he was willing to double the representation of the Protestants of Ireland in the Irish House of Commons, and he said—and perhaps this is as important as any other—that in the matter of promotions and appointments, what is called patronage, he was willing to leave all the positions, except, of course, those immediately constituting the Executive, to a Board of Civil Service Commissioners, and promotion to be regulated solely by merit and by examination.
Did the hon. Member for Waterford come forward and endorse any one of these? Never. Not until to-night, so far as my memory goes—and I follow this controversy with keenness-never until tonight did I hear him endorse one single proposal in favour of the minority, and that only when he believed that the proposal was dead. Therefore, as far as my Friends and myself are concerned, we are entitled to be heard in this matter, and I venture to say that if the line which we had taken from the start for the last two or three years had been followed, instead of having these men dubbed Orange dogs and carrion crows, we would have made far further advances; and when you contrast to-day these sonorous and saponaceous phrases of the hon. Member for Waterford in dealing with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College, let me show the way in which only yesterday the Sabbath organ of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford was speaking of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College. Remember that to-day he appeals to him as a brother and a friend; he appeals to him as a common Irishman. Here is the way the right hon. Gentleman was spoken of yesterday by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool over his own name. It is called "In the Limelight." I think it is more like in the quicklime. First of all, the hon. Gentleman disposes of Mr. Austen Chamberlain. He says he is of the middle class. He is not a man of real ability, and he is an extreme Protectionist, and he goes on:—The worst and final difficulty of the Tories to-day is Sir Edward Carson. I asked a man who knows him well what was the secret spring of Sir Edward Carson's extraordinary performances during the last two years…. He is not a strong man physically; he has a poor digestion, sensitive nerves, bad sleep, and a melancholy temperament.…Fancy all this at a penny a line!In short, he is not the kind of man to lead forlorn hopes where men have to play for their lives, yet he has carried his enterprise through with skill and courage it must he admitted. The answer I got as to the secret of 1693 this performance of his is that vanity is one of the chief ingredients of his character, Vanity, I found, in my political experience, is the most refracting of all lights in the lives of many politicians.We all know who the hon. Member sits near.It explains the inexplicable; it makes honest men adopt dishonest methods; it makes truthful men into professors of political mendacity; it turns men mad who are otherwise; it is the explanation, secret and undiscovered of many of the tragedies in the lives of parties and of nations and its victims become the most dangerous of men. I never put vanity down as the main spring of Sir Edward Carson until I heard this illuminating observation train my friend—a keen observer—and now I see daily the justification of his psychology. Yon have only to look at Sir Edward Carson to perceive at once he is suffering from a severe attack of swollen head or what is inure scholastically called megalomania.That is the contribution towards settlement, and that in respect of a man on whom the hon. Member for Waterford showers all this flowery flummery. Show me, since this Bill was brought in, any proposal by the hon. Member for Waterford or his Friends, or show me when the hon. Member for Cork was taking his life in his hands and addressing people often wronged, sometimes excitable, quick in the memory of former years, and when he was recommending them to try a way to bring about an united Ireland, or to hold out the right hand in fellowship and make con—cessions to those men in the North—show me one endorsement of that proposal by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. What did the Government do? Having received no support for any of the suggestions which we made, and which they admitted through the Prime Minister that they approve of—that is the point—they talk of a conciliation, which has not had the approval in Ireland of any man, woman, or child, and which you could not get one man in this House except a placeman to get up and advocate or defend. What is this proposal? We are now all heterodox; we are schismatics. Only a month ago we were as perfectly orthodox as the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. When he said it was blasphemy to divide Ireland we threw up our caps. When he said he would not place Ireland in the abomination of desolation, we said "how splendid." The other day the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Devlin) here in this House, when the hon. Member for Cornwall (Mr. Agar- Robartes)—and he ought to be the proudest man in this House—made a similar proposal, the hon. Member for West Belfast said he would cut off his head ere he accepted it. I wonder did he ever hear of an alternative proposal. Did he ever hear the proposal 1694 of Sir John Falstaff on a memorable occasion, when he said he would have his brains taken out and buttered and given to the dog for a New Year's gift—that is about as convincing a declaration as that of the hon. Member for West Belfast. Where are we to-night?
Let the House remember where we are upon this matter. Let the House remember what is the position of the Irish nation. It is a nation from which you have stolen her Parliament, ten years after your declaration by the Renunciation Act passed in this House as an Imperial Statute, that only the King, Lords and Commons of Ireland had power to make laws for Ireland, and after you had renounced by solemn declaration your intention of interfering in our affairs. It is that of a nation which for 750 years has maintained a persistent and consistent struggle for its right as a whole, and although defeated at Limerick, at Kinsare, at Drogheda, at the Boyne, at Aughrim, from one generation to another, fathers have brought up their children hoping that some day they would see the light. And when for the first time twenty years ago, Ireland was asked to perform another great Act of renunciation, with sad hearts and bowed heads we gave our assent, and we have been loyal to the Gladstone traditions. We passed our word to England, and we kept it. We promised to the party led by that great man, that if this smaller system of Home Rule should be conferred upon us you would have in Ireland a right hand and shield and buckler, and, accordingly, when this Bill was brought in, withdrawing from Ireland all those vast Imperial powers which our Parliament once possessed, we, much as we disliked the Measure in its present form, silently acquiesced in it. I would like to call the attention of the House, in two or three sentences, to what Ulstermen are being told. They are being told that they are being withdrawn from the protection of this Parliament and thrust out of the British allegiance, and we are asked to make this surrender for the sake of peace, and the British Empire to which they profess to be loyal. By accepting this Bill, what do we find? What is it we have to give up which the Irish Parliament enjoyed? Take Section 2. We shall have no right to interfere with—The Crown, or the succession to the Crown, or a Regency, or the property of the Crown (including foreshores)1695 So that we cannot touch even the seaweed of Ireland—
"The making of peace or war, or matters arising from a state of war; or the regulation of the conduct of any portion of His Majesty's subjects during the existence of hostilities between foreign States with which His Majesty is at peace, in relation to those hostilities; or the Navy, the Army, the Territorial force, or any other naval or military force."
We could not even provide for having volunteers, not even Ulster volunteers, under this Bill—
"Treaties, or any relations, with foreign States, or relations with other parts of His Majesty's dominions…. extradition of criminals. …dignities or titles of honour; or treason, felony, alienage, naturalisation or aliens. …the granting of bounties on the export of goods, quarantine, or navigation. …postal service in Ireland, designs for stamps, coinage, legal tender, weights and measures, trade marks, designs, merchandise marks, copyright, or patent rights."
Ulstermen speak of the loyalty of their province, and speak of it as a superior place to the other provinces. Why, Sir, it is to the Acts of the Irish Parliament that the prosperity of Ireland is due. When William III. said he would do all in his power to destroy the Irish linen manufactures, what was done for them, which today are the backbone of Ulster? From the year 1711 until 1826 the linen industry of Ireland was a subsidised industry, and it was given £20,000 per year for 115 years. That is £20,000 a year to this little corner of the country, and every county in Ulster was given a special Ulster custom, so that tenants could not have their rents raised, and evictions could not take place. When Mr. Gladstone's Land Act of 1881 was passed, we who had fought and had been imprisoned for it, and bad nicknames given to us, we were called murderers, thieves, and robbers, and when we wanted to take a few test cases, 40,000 Ulstermen rushed into the Act, leaving Munster, Leinster and Connaught in the lurch. The very reductions that were given in Ulster were from 5 per cent. to 10 per cent. greater than the reductions given to the men of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught. Accordingly, when we are asked to say as regards this province that we will be parties to this pro- 1696 posal, I would remind them that we never called your Ulster custom into question when you were getting from 5 to 10 per cent. more reductions, and we did not expose it in this House. When Sub-Commissioners were appointed drawn from the ranks of Ulster men, we acquiesced in it, and now what is the proposal? It is a proposal which is hateful, I believe, to the men of Ulster themselves. Show we an Orange Lodge that has advocated the exclusion of Ulster. No, Sir, it is not even from an Orange Lodge that this proposal of Mr. Asquith is drawn.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College (Sir E. Carson) with great ability, formidable enemy as he is to us, has showed the way to give this Bill a brain blow, namely, to vivisect and partition Ireland. To think that seventy-three of my countrymen would walk into this trap and give away the principle for which their fathers suffered, and for which we expected they would be prepared to die for; to think they would be parties to making an offer which, as long as the grass grows and water runs, will be used to the detriment of Ireland. We shall never hear the end of it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College said it would make hell in Ulster. I think it would be a purgatory for the rest of Ireland. We are told all these are statesmen. These are the men to show Irishmen how much better they can govern our country than we can govern it ourselves. No, Sir, I have come to the conclusion, and I do not hesitate to express it, that it would have been better for Ireland for this last eight years if there had been a Tory Government in office instead of the present Government. Let us be fair and square, and let us see what we have got. We have got the Budget, the Insurance Act, and the killing of Wyndham's Bill. We have got the cattle embargo and the wiping of Queenstown off the map. [An HON. MEMBER: "Old age pensions."] You have got them as well as us. It is not our fault, but by reason of the famine that old men and women in an over-proportion have been left in Ireland. Yon have taken care when the old age pensions comes on the next time to burn the Census papers of 1851, so that there will be no evidence of age which can properly be given. Make inquiries in your office about the Census papers. I say you have burned them. The Government have sufficient friends on this side of the House to put a question to ask what has become 1697 of those Census papers. I say they have gone; they have been "Goughed!"
We have got a University Bill, and I have never ceased to thank the Chief Secretary for Ireland on that point, but so far as the rest of legislation or administration is concerned, it would have been far better for us to have been under the Tories. All these Gentlemen who are now so quiescent at Question Time would have been leaping up like grasshoppers, whereas to-day the Government allowed the Cunard contract to carry the mails to Queenstown to be broken, and they only announced the withdrawal and breaking of the contract the day after they had secured the votes of the Irish party in the Marconi Debate. That was very clever of the Postmaster-General, and I never admired him more, and now what is emanating from this Government is this proposal, declaring that one part of Ireland is alien and foreign in sympathy from the rest of the country, and that part, as we have shown a thousand times, the most historic. These Gentlemen may vote with you to-night on that basis, but we will not. Our numbers are few and our names will be remembered. What would have been the result if hon. Members had taken an upstanding position in regard to the abominable proposal which has been made? What would have happened? The Tories would have come into power. We had them for twenty years, and a very good use we made of them. We did not get jobs for the "Freeman's Journal" office, and there are not 200 or 300 doctors under the Insurance Act.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
If you consult the records, the answer would be nil. There was one gentleman at least from whom I expected confirmation on historic grounds in regard to Ulster, and that was the hon. Gentleman who has just interrupted me, because in ancient times the Devlins were the hereditary horse-boys to the O'Neills. [An HON. MEMBER: "Scoundrel!"] I am glad if my remarks have done something to quicken the conscience of hon. Gentlemen behind me. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up!".] Our failings may be considerable, and we have, of course, our defects, but, at all events, the only crime that can be imputed to us in this matter is that we stand to-day where they stood three weeks ago. We 1698 have not progressed with the times. When the Ministerial order was given we have not chorussed; we have stood upon our own feet. We have uttered our own sentiments. We have conveyed to the House the national impression. We speak the sentiment of Ireland, and, when the heat of this hour has passed and gone, we shall not be ashamed of our record being compared with that of the Member for West Belfast.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
The House will have listened with great attention and delight to the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, but I confess I am a little at a loss to know exactly what object the hon. and learned Gentleman has in view. He does not agree with the Members of the Nationalist party; he does not approve of the Government—and in that I heartily agree with him—and he has apparently little more agreement with my hon. Friends from Ulster. There was one interesting observation he made. He alleged that there was no Orange Lodge which was in favour of exclusion. I am quite sure, if he meant that the Orange lodges would prefer the Home Rule Bill with out the exclusion of Ulster he is mad, if he will allow me to say so, but, if he meant that the Orange lodges were absolutely opposed to Home Rule, even with the exclusion of Ulster, then I believe he is speaking what is literally the truth, and it emphasises what my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Trinity College (Sir E. Carson) said earlier in the Debate, that it was a monstrous view that any suggestion we have thrown out that the exclusion of Ulster would mean a settlement of this particular crisis in which we are engaged; and any attitude of that kind does not involve very serious sacrifice and concession on the part of the hon. Members who sit here.
I desire to speak mainly with reference to what has fallen from the Government, and I must say that I think it is a matter of very grave complaint that the Foreign Secretary is not here. This Government has treated the House of Commons throughout its career with increasing disrespect, but surely we have reached the climax when the Cabinet Minister who is in charge of the Debate should actually think it right and proper not to be present for a single hour in the Debate. If my information is right he has actually paired for the night. He is not going to be here 1699 for a single hour during this Debate. I think that is a gross insult to the House of Commons, unless it means that he is preparing to follow the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Ilkeston Division (Colonel Seely), and even then I think he ought to have told the House of Commons instead of going off in this way. I pass from his speech, which is all we can hope for as an authoritative declaration of the Government's attitude to the speech of the Attorney-General, and I must say that I listened with a certain amount of impatience to him. I am getting rather tired of professions from the Ministerial Bench—he has also left the House, but that is a detail—of the great desire of Ministers for peace, followed always by a clear demonstration that they do nothing whatever to secure it.
There was only one statement in the whole of that speech which to my mind brought any satisfaction, and that was the statement that the offer of the Government, for what it was worth, was still open for discussion, arid that they were prepared to consider any reasonable modification of it. I trust that means that they are going to submit it in the usual way for the discussion of the House of Commons. That is the only proper way in which the Government ought to produce any proposal on legislation. The suggestion that it is first to be accepted by us before it is to be discussed by the House of Commons is only one more proof of the utter contempt which this Government has for the House of Commons. Who ever heard of such a proposal? The Chief Secretary is there listening to me, and I hope that he is going to speak later. Can he cite a single precedent for this proposal. "We admit that our Bill cannot really go forward in its present form." They admit it, if not in so many words, in effect. "We admit that here is a proposal that would be an improvement on the Bill in this sense, that we would rather see it carried with that proposal than without it if it brought peace, and yet we will not produce this proposal or put it on paper until we have beforehand an assurance from the Opposition that they will accept it." I say there is no precedent for such conduct in the whole of the history of Parliament, and I say that it is disastrous for a Government really desirous of obtaining a settlement. I listened to the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) with great interest. There was 1700 one observation he made which we all recognise to be true. He said, "Let us get back to realities." We have had a great deal of vague talk of concession and compromise, but do let us get back to the realities of the situation. I think they cannot be better stated than they were stated by the Prime Minister on 9th December. I will read to the House two sentences, which are very well known. He said:—On the one hand, if Home Rule as embodied in this Bill is carried now, there is. I regret to say, and nobody will deny it, in Ulster the prospect of acute dissension, and even of civil strife. On the other hand, if at this stage Home Hale were to Is, shipwrecked or permanently mutilated or indefinitely postponed, there is in Ireland as a whole at least as formidable an outlook.That is the real situation, and do not let hon. Members opposite forget it. That is the situation they have got to deal with; that is the situation their Government has produced. I do not want to quote again the well-known phrase of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary (Mr. Birrell) in 1907 that Ireland had never been so peaceful for 600 years, but it is worth hon. Member's while to consider that statement with the statement of the Prime: Minister, and then see how it is we have reached that deplorable condition of affairs. I venture to say that there are two causes, and they are germane to the present Debate. In the first place, there is the great mistake of their underrating Ulster. That is, of course, the fundamental difficulty. I listened with great interest to a statement made by the Attorney-General, who said that what he called Irish unity was an essential part of Home Rule—that is to say, that it was an essential part of Home Rule that Ulster should be put under the Nationalist part of Ireland. I have never been able to understand how a Home Ruler could take up that attitude. It has always been a perfect mystery. Here you have a part of the United Kingdom called Ireland. You say that they ought to have self-government because they desire it, and you propose to give them self-government. Here you have another part called Ulster, which strongly objects to the self-government you propose. Yet you say that part is to be put under Ireland because Ireland wishes it, and you decline altogether to consider whether Ireland should remain a part of the United Kingdom. Surely the position is profoundly illogical! I cannot understand how Liberals, of all people in the world, with their traditions, can possibly seek to impose on a community— 1701 whether you call it a nationality, I care not—Ulster has shown in the last two years that it is a community with a corporate life of its own—against its will a form of government which it hates and despises passes all comprehension.
The second great cause of the dilemma in which we find ourselves seems to me the profound indecision of the Government at the critical moments of this controversy. I quite agree that it was open to people to say that the hostility of Ulster to Home Rule was exaggerated. I freely admit, being perfectly ignorant of the subject, that I used to believe that it was quite possible that there were men in Ulster who disapproved and disliked Home Rule, but that it was very likely the opposition was not as great as those who lived in it were fond of asserting; but surely that opinion, which was legitimate, I think, up to the beginning of 1912, became in that year perfectly impossible to be held by any reasonable and candid man. I am sure that the Chief Secretary did not hold it after that time. He knew perfectly well from the summer of 1912 that you could only impose Home Rule on Ulster by force. I defy him to deny it. That being so, what was the Government's position in 1912? Surely it was this: They had only got two courses open. Either they must conciliate Ulster or they must coerce her. They did neither, and that has been the fundamental error of the Government. What is the result? Now, I venture to say coercion is absolutely impossible, and conciliation has been made far more difficult than it would have been if you had undertaken it at the time. Even now the Government's policy is not settled. No one can tell from day to day whether their real purpose is conciliation or coercion.
We are only just beginning to get over the speech of the First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Churchill) at Bradford, which apparently was coercion gone mad. We have had a great deal said in this Debate as to whether he proposed active operations in Ulster immediately or contingently. It is an important matter from some points of view, but really, from the point of view I am suggesting to the House, I do not think that it matters a straw whether he proposed active operations in Ulster immediately or contingently on certain acts taking place, because what substantially matters is this: He contemplated at that moment fire and sword in Ulster, or, in his own or urds, bloodshed on an extensive scale, 1702 and contemplating that as the probable result, taking his own accunt of it, or as the possible result of the action he was taking, he thought it right to go down and make a speech which would make that result much more probable. I am not going to say a word about the Army question, although it naturally arises here, except two things. I have been amazed at the attitude of the Labour party. As I understand them, their proposition is this: The Army is used to put down strikes, and ought to be used to put down strikes. It ought to shoot strikers, and therefore it ought to shoot the working men of Ulster. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That is what I understand the Labour party to say.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
The hon. Member is extremely courteous in his interruptions, and he requests me to quote. I certainly understood that was their attitude. Otherwise, I do not understand what their whole attitude is about strikes, or what they mean when they say, "What would you have the Army do with regard to strikes," unless they mean they ought to shoot down the strikers. We are all agreed about the duty of the Army, and indeed of every citizen, to put down rioting, but I do feel amazed at this. They and many right hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House are perpetually talking about the Army as the instrument of the Government. I utterly deny that the Army is the instrument of the Government. The Army is the servant of the nation, and you have no right to use the Army as the instrument of a mere party body like the Government. You have no right to use the Army so. That is one of the great foundations of our liberties. [An HON. MEMBER: "Who is using it SO?"] You must use it for national purposes only. That is the very foundation upon which the whole of our liberties really depend. If you once concede the principle that you may use the armed forces of the Crown for purely party political purposes, then I say the foundation of your liberties is undermined. I am quite ready to leave the Army question alone, but if the Government or any Radical Members want to 1703 fight about it I am not in the least afraid of the issue. It is not the first time that the Radical party have attempted to slander and traduce the Army; we have not forgotten about the "methods of barbarism," or "smoking farms," and "slaughtered babes." The people of England remember these, and should hon. Members enter upon a fresh campaign of slander against the Army I am not in the least afraid of the electoral result. But I pass from that.
At Bradford we were in for coercion. We have passed from that and now talk of conciliation over the Government Bill. I want to impress this on the Government, if they mean conciliation, let them carry it out. It is of no use talking about conciliation unless they are prepared to conciliate. The only object of conciliation is to conciliate the Ulster opposition. There is no other purpose in it. It is of no use suggesting methods of conciliation which will not conciliate Ulster. Half-hearted coercion or conciliations with time limits are simply a farce. Let us get rid of all that once and for all. We have heard a good deal about federalism. It is an interesting subject well worthy consideration. I agree, however, with what has been said in this Debate. It will not conciliate Ulster or stop the danger of civil war with which we are now confronted. I have heard the three conditions laid down by the Attorney-General, that you must not postpone Home Rule, that you must not eviscerate Home Rule, and that you must not perpetuate the division of Ireland. I do not disagree that from his point of view these conditions are not unreasonable. I do not say that they are unreasonable at all. Nobody could expect the Government to consciously advocate a proposal which would perpetuate what they call the division of Ireland, but I do venture to suggest this, that the question of what is to be the unit for federalism must be left an open question. You have no right to close the door one way or the other. I adhere to what the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Trinity College said on that point. When you work out your federal scheme, it may be Ulster should be a unit apart from the rest of Ireland, or it may not be. That is a matter which must be left to whatever statutory commission you decide to appoint, if you decide to appoint one. That question must be left open, and to close the door and 1704 decide one way or the other is not really honest if you are going to look for a federal solution at all. I venture to say to the Government that you must, if you are to do anything with federalism as a solution, you must first of all abandon all idea of establishing federalism within six years, or within any fixed period. That is absurd, and everyone knows it. It may be possible to do it in six years, but it may take a very great deal longer, and, therefore, you must leave that open. You must also leave it entirely open what is to be the unit of your federal system. You must not by your Home Rule Bill close that door. It would be a monstrous injustice to Ulster, and it would be disloyal to the whole principle of federalism. You must not close the door to having Ulster as a separate unit under the federal system. I do not pretend to be a federalist. I have not looked into the matter sufficiently closely to have formed a very definite opinion on this subject. It is a difficult question, and if it is to be examined it must be examined freely and without prejudice under circumstances which will give it some chance of acceptance. You must not begin by setting the whole of the Unionist party and all Ulstermen violently against your proposal. That brings me back to my original proposition, that you can only do that by excluding Ulster from your present Bill, at any rate until you have a federal system. I do not want to say much about the federal question.
The Attorney-General was very indignant with us because we did not regard the two elections as a sufficient safeguard. It was said of another great statesman on one occasion that he "forgot Goschen." I cannot help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman has forgotten the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. How can we hope, knowing the peculiarities of that right hon. Gentleman's methods, he would ever, if he could possibly avoid it, allow a fair decision to be taken in either of those two elections. There is another point. It is not only that we think it would not be fair and sufficient safeguard for Ulster, but where do the English people conic in We have a right to look at your proposals from the English point of view, and we say that your proposals for this six years' limit is absolutely destructive of our political necessities. I am often surprised at what the Labour party do. They talk about bad houses on the roadside, and other things. I do not know 1705 what they will do next. But why on earth they should support the exclusion of Ulster with a six years' limit I cannot imagine. One thing is certain, social reform and social legislation must be postponed for six years, for the whole purpose of hon. Members on this side of the House, of the Nationalist Members, and of a great part of the Radical Members, must be to concentrate attention on Ulster. I have no doubt the Chancellor of the Exchequer will do his best to divert that attention, but the rest of us will do our best to concentrate it on Ulster. What hope then is there of any fair consideration for legislation which the Labour Members profess to desire?
I am quite sure this six years' proposal is utterly unsound, and still more do I think unsound this new attitude which I have already referred to, that we "must take it or leave it." You cannot conduct legislation on those terms. That may be a very good way of settling a dispute in a County Court. You offer terms and the other side will not take them, and then you say, "I will go on with my original claim." You cannot do that in dealing with great questions of this kind. You make your offer because you think it is desirable in the public interest, and you cannot withdraw it. You must go on with it. You must submit your offer for discussion by the House of Commons unless you desire to reduce still further the position of Parliament. In Heaven's name, do what other Governments have done. Here is a proposal you submit in the public interest. Produce it in some form or other; put it into print, and let us see what it is in its details. Let us have an opportunity of discussing it. Very likely some parts of it will not survive that ordeal. That is the fate of many Bills. I do not conceal the fact that discussion will certainly destroy the six years' limit, but I believe quite honestly, in my conscience, that if you are content to produce your scheme and allow free and full public discussion on it, the wisdom of the Members of this House is still sufficient, though I do note rate it very highly, to arrive at a real conclusion upon the matter, and to produce what so many of us profess to want, and what I believe a vast number of us really do want, some solution of this question, which however undesirable, whether from a Nationalist or a Unionist point of view, at any rate, will have the supreme merit of avoiding civil 1706 war, and that terrible aliernative—bloodshed on an extensive scale.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
The Noble Lord towards the close of his interesting speech, lamented the poverty. of the wisdom of this House. I think it will be a matter for gratification, certainly to Members on this side, if he remains a unit in it to raise the general average. The Noble Lord, with his usual interest in the Labour party, challenges its attitude on one or two matters, Rosyth for example, a matter which we have dealt with on several occasions from these benches. The Noble Lord forgets the action taken by the Member for Stoke (Mr. John Ward).
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
The Noble Lord appears to think that when we do not act in the way he desires, we are not therefore serving the interests of labour. In that he makes a tremendous mistake. We think we represent the labour interest in this country a little more adequately than he does. We venture to think that with the mandates we receive and the touch in which we keep with the working classes and the trade unions, we are in a position to voice their views in a way in which, unfortunately, the Noble Lord at present is not able to do, although we have hopes that, notwithstanding his title, he may yet conic across to us. He went on to call attention in this fashion to the opinions of the Labour party with regard to the military. Now, the position of the Labour party with regard to the use of the troops is quite clear. We object to their use, and we object very strenuously, when it is a question of their coming in as blacklegs to undo the work which the strikers have undertaken to attempt. The use of them as engine drivers or as porters, and so forth, is a use of the military to which the Labour party takes great exception. To the use of the Army to put down violence and disorder the Labour party does not take exception. If the Army is to be used in support of the civil power, when it has been shown that violence is inevitable, there will not be, and there never has been objection from the Labour members. We may have resented the keenness of the right 1707 hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire and the keenness of the hon. Member for Mile End that the military should be brought in at the opening of a strike, and that they should be constantly in attendance on the civil power with a view of undoing the work of the strikers. I have no doubt that the Home Secretary can say something in regard to that. It is to that use of the military that we take exception. We take exception to the activity of that support which comes from hon. and right hon. Members opposite of the idea that the military should be always in attendance at strikes, to be used, directly or indirectly, to make a strike a failure or to undo the effectiveness of it.
Let me pass from the speech of the Noble Lord to that of the hon. Member who preceded him (Mr. T. M. Healy). I tried to imagine an audience. in the Gallery listening to the hon. and learned Member. I imagined that they would be in the same difficulty as myself in attempting to fathom what was in his mind. My difficulty was to estimate whether his love for Ireland was greater than his passionate hatred of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. His gibes and sarcasm were excellent, but he reserved the smallest portion of his speech to calling attention to the wrongs of Ireland, and he spoke few words in favour of granting Home Rule. The hon. and learned Member seemed to think that the Labour Members should "stick to their parish"—that, I think, was the expression he used. He said that he did not interfere with labour matters, and the inference apparently he expected us to draw from that was that we ought not to interfere in matters concerning Home Rule for Ireland. I should have imagined that any real Home Ruler would have been glad of the support of thirty-nine Members, everyone of them as keen a Home Ruler as any Member on the benches opposite or sitting on this side of the House. I would call the attention of the House to the fact that the hon. and learned Member himself, at least so far as Law Courts' work is concerned, does not stick to his own parish. The Debate began a week ago, and the hope in which it began was that there would be peace and conciliation, but when the right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench entered into the Debate, all hope of that disappeared. Any hope that does remain for 1708 a peaceful solution of this difficulty arises from what hon. Members on both sides from the Back Benches have said. When I remember what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour) has contributed to this Debate, when I remember what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh University (Sir R. Finlay) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Long) have said, and when I remember what we have heard this afternoon from the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Trinity College (Sir E. Carson), all their speeches, in my view, seem to show that so far as they are concerned they are going to put the stopper or the damper on all the efforts which might be made by men as statesmanlike as the hon. Member for Central Hull (Sir Mark Sykes), who spoke from the Opposition side, and the hon. Member for Stirling Burghs (Mr. Ponsonby), who followed him in Debate.
We gain nothing from the intervention of the men in whom it is supposed that statesmanship lies. They tell us that the Government has no mandate to proceed in this matter. They ask for new constitutional provisions. As to the mandate, I am not going fully into what, after all, is a somewhat stale matter, but it is quite clear from what right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite have said that they knew that the Government were intending to use the Parliament Act to pass Home Rule. It is not that they said that Home Rule would be given, but that they said that the Government intended to do it, which makes all the difference in the world, in my view. We can come down from the Noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition in the other place, right through the speeches and the addresses of the Leader of the Opposition, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London and the others, who all said that they knew that the Parliament Act was not passed merely for ornament, but for use. And so we understood it. In the constituencies visited, and from the reports I received from my Friends, it appeared quite clear that the Home Rule issue was a dominant issue in the last election. There is no doubt whatever about it, unless the Leader of the Opposition in the other place is not to be believed, or unless the Prime Minister, speaking so far back as 1909, is not to be believed, and unless all right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite who said so in their election addresses desire to belie 1709 themselves, that the issue was absolutely clear, and that the Parliament Act was a means to an end, not an end in itself, and that the end was the passing of certain measures which the House of Lords had made impossible in the years that had gone by. Therefore, in my view, the mandate was absolutely clear that this House should deal with the matter, and that it should be dealt with finally by the present House of Commons.
The remarkable constitutional doctrines we have heard propounded from the Front Opposition Bench have amazed me. First, you must have a General Election to determine the principle on which a Bill is to be framed; next you are to have a General Election to determine whether the electors agree with the particular form which in the Bill the principles have taken; and then, forsooth, you are to have another General Election to determine whether you have any mandate to enforce the Bill for which you have previously received two mandates. That is the new Constitution as preached by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London. I believe he is a worthy exponent of the game of golf. It appears to me that it would be as fair for him to suggest this new constitutional course as it would be if, when he was playing with an opponent, and his opponent were three up and two or three inches away from the hole, and he himself was in a bunker, to suggest to his opponent that they should halve the hole, and start all afresh at the next tee. That is about the position. We have had three General Elections; we have now carried the Bill through twice, and are about to carry it through for the third time. The Opposition themselves see the folly of their recent policy on the Army as being completely out of touch with democratic opinion in the country—
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
They are afraid to face the issue in the Prime Minister's constituency. If they thought the country was seething with discontent at the action of the Government there would have been an opportunity for them to fight the by-election in East Fife, but apparently they are afraid to do so. The mandate is clear. It is for this House to deal with the matter in the present Parliament. Then we are told to support loyal Ulster, like the gentlemen who attended the demonstration on the strength of free rides.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
My hon. Friend suggests 4s. Perhaps it is true, because he knows London so well. "Support loyal Ulster!" is the cry. When we get to the stage of this repetition of loyalty on one side, with its inference that there is disloyalty on the benches opposite, it is time for us to turn to recent utterances of some of these so-called loyal Ulstermen. I ventured to turn up a few of them, which would have remained locked up, so far as I was concerned, had it not been for the absence of any conciliation and this suggestion of disloyalty on the part of hon. Members associated with the Nationalist party. Let me give one or two quotations which have not been used in this House, or, at any rate, if they have, I have not observed them. Take the quotation, for example, from the hon. Member who sits for South Antrim (Mr. Charles Craig). He tells the country:—If Home Rule is granted, it will not matter a row of pins whether we are separated from Great Britain or not.This is the loyalty of Ulster! Another hon. and gallant Member, representing the constituency of East Down (Captain Craig), goes a trifle further, and tells us quite frankly thatThe loyalty of Ulster is conditional.It always has been. It was that loyalty which worked to prevent the late beloved Queen Victoria from coming to the Throne, and supported the Duke of Cumberland, their own Grand Master. Their loyalty has always been conditional. It is time that some of the things that they have been saying in the country, though in Ireland in the main, should be made public in England, and that attention should be called to the fact that constitutionalism is no longer their doctrine, but has been handed over to hon. Members who come from Ireland. It is they who are the true constitutionalists to-day. Those who are the traitors—that is the word which has been in common use—those who support sedition are to be found not amongst the Members on the Nationalist Benches, but they find their greatest supporters front right hon. and hon. Gentlemen in the Unionist party. There is the hon. Member for East Down, who said:—They would tell the Radicals that Ulster would remain loyal to their trust, but they would not be loyal if it came to any tampering with their ancient rights.Then we have the Rev. T. Walmsley, speaking of the King's probable visit to 1711 open the first Home Rule Parliament—a consummation which we devoutly wish, and which, in my view, would seal this compact and would bring peace to Ireland as nothing else possibly could do. This reverend gentleman says:—If by any chance that day should come, and our King should be there of his own free will, and I forlone will feel myself justified in no longer regarding him as my King.This from loyal Ulster! Then we have a gentleman who is recognised by the "Manchester Guardian" as a very active Ulster loyalist. He writes as follows to the "Manchester Guardian" of June last:—As for the present Royal Family, to tell the truth, we loyalists of Ulster have very little respect for them. The mother of our present Sovereign, Alexandra, was a supporter of the vile separatist policy of the late Mr. Gladstone, and, I am afraid, we must place King George and his wife in the same category. Let me tell His Majesty here plainly, that we are fully determined to fight for our blood-purchased rights. We will not have Home Rule. If we are driven to it we will let His Majesty see what we will do. If lie signs his name to this accursed Bill it will be fatal for him and his family.Observe this, too:—Our sainted forefathers had to call in a William before to defend their rights. We, their sons, may have to call in another William to defend ns from a faithless King, and venal time-saving opera-bouffe Parliament.There is a postscript which, like that to a lady's letter, is often the most important.As you will see, I have placed the King head downwards. It will convey to your mind an imperfect idea of what we really think of him.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
The words of a correspondent, whom the "Manchester Guardian" recognises as a very active Ulster loyalist.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
He refused to disclose his name. The "Manchester Guardian" invited him to do so, but he declined. I can well understand why he should have done so. If he is not thoroughly ashamed of that, then there is no hope for him. [An HON. MEMBER: "He is very well known," and HON. MEMBERS: "Who is he?"] May I proceed to say this is not all, and that I propose to give one or two further quotations to the Rouse in order that they may know exactly that this language is widespread in Ulster, and has support from Members in this House who have been first to demand increased armaments to resist a possible invasion by Germany. There is this from 1712 the hon. and gallant Member from East Down:—There is a spirit spreading abroad, which I can testify to from personal knowledge, that Germany and the German Emperor would be preferred to Home Rule.That is the loyalty which we hear from those Gentlemen who are trying by every means to take care that the Army cannot be called in if they are able to call in the aid of a foreign Power. Then says the Grand Master of the Orangemen in Belfast on 12th July, 1911:—If the Protestant employers refused to employ anyone who was not a Protestant, do you think the wretched Roman Catholics who would be starving would be shouting 'Ireland a nation' then?I rather think they would.Let them pause, and carefully consider ail these things.Nationalists are to be coerced by starvation, coerced to desert the principles for which they have long stood, and this in the interests of loyalty. Then, at a meeting addressed by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson) there was an amazing leaflet distributed front which I propose to quote. If the Home Rule Bill is passed—we will consider ourselves absolutely justified in asking and rendering every assistance at the first opportunity to the greatest Protestant nation on earth, Germany, to come over and help us.These are from the loyal sons of England who would have us anti against our great foreign foe, Germany. They ask questions with regard to armaments because they are not satisfied that the armaments we have at our disposal are sufficient to repel possible invasion. Then it is proposed by these same loyal Gentlemen to set up a provisional government. I call attention to the fact that this provisional government has no room in it for any representative of labour. The provisional government is purely a product of these same loyalists who are drawn from the same class from which we have had these rumours of disloyalty in the Army. As a matter of fact, the Army I believe to be thoroughly loyal, well disciplined, and whole-hearted in its support of lawful authority, and lawful authority for the time being is centred in the Government and not in the Opposition. But we have a very small group of officers who have been made the party pawns of hon. Members opposite, and it is there, and there alone, where disloyalty, if there be any, is lodged. This provisional government which it is proposed to set up is to take no note at all of the working classes, and it now seems also to have varied its position with 1713 regard to woman suffrage. The Belfast Trades Council, as far as I have been able to learn, has no part in this provisional government. The Parliamentary Committee of the Irish Trade Union Congress has not been invited to nominate a member. These two bodies, entitled to speak on behalf of labour in Ireland with a much more certain voice than the provisional government will ever be able to do, are absolutely against the exclusion of Ulster, and there are requests to the Labour Members in this House to voice that protest against the possible exclusion of Ulster from an Irish Home Rule Parliament. If we are accused of acquiescing in it, we, it is true, have acquiesced. We have done so because we believe that the majority of the Nationalist Members represent the great volume of Irish opinion, and we, in the hope of a settlement, acquiesced in that because we gathered that they and the Prime Minister were of opinion that it might bring peace. For ourselves, we hope there will be no exclusion. We hope if there be exclusion, that in the interests of a peaceful settlement it will not extend beyond the six years, and should not extend beyond the six years. The Labour Members will support this Bill first, because they believe in the principle of Home Rule. They will support it because they are voicing, in some instances—and I am one—the wishes of as many Irishmen in their constituencies as are spoken for by some of the hon. Members on the Irish benches, and we shall support it too, not only from conviction, not only because we have a mandate from a large number of Irishmen who believe in it in our constituencies, but because it will serve to clear the way and make possible some of those further reforms on which we have set our hearts.
Mr. SHIRLEY BENN
Although I have the honour of representing an English constituency, I am by birth an Irishman. I should therefore like to say a few words to show why I am heartily in favour of more local self-government being given to Ireland under the Imperial Parliament, and why I am bitterly opposed to the present Home Rule Bill. I do not believe that this Home Rule Bill will be good for England, or for the Empire, and I am confident that it will be bad for Ireland and its future. The Ulstermen will not have it on any terms, and I do not believe the English democracy will force them out of the English Parliament. The Irish Nationalists cannot be 1714 satisfied with the Bill, for instead of uniting it will divide. Instead of bringing the Irish people together as one body, it will only create still further racial and religious differences, and it will ultimately force the Irish Parliament out of existence. The conditions in Ireland are peculiar to the Emerald Isle, and it was those conditions undoubtedly which forced Pitt into bringing about the Union of the two Parliaments. For the eighteen years before the Union was brought about Grattan's Parliament held sway, and during those eighteen years it had to pass no fewer than fifty-four Coercion Acts in order to try and rule. It will be noted for the great orators it has produced, but it will not be noted for its power of ruling. Six years before it came into existence, Adam Smith, in his "Wealth of Nations," talking about Ireland, used these words:—Without a union with Great Britain the inhabitant of Ireland are not likely for ninny ages to consider themselves as one people.The Act of Union was bitterly opposed, and by no one more than by the first and greatest Nationalist, Grattan. Grattan lived, however, sufficiently long to find that the Union of the two Parliaments was not injurious to the land he loved, and we all know that Grattan, in the exhortation which was read in this House of Commons on 20th June, 1820, when the Writ for Dublin was moved, said as follows:—I most strongly recommend that the two countries may never separate, and that Ireland should never seek for any connection except with Great Britain.I am strongly in favour of decentralisation, for I believe that Parliament, with its multifarious duties, cannot find the time to properly control little matters, and often not big matters, which require attention. For this reason I want to see more local self-government given, but given under the Imperial system. The Irish nation which hon. Members opposite desire is quite a laudable desire, but there are two nationalities and not one, and it will be-the greatest task of high statesmanship to blend those two nationalities into a concrete whole. At the moment they are separate and discrete. On the one hand, you have the Celt who is, generally speaking, a Roman Catholic, the descendant of-men who were kept under, of men who were not allowed for centuries to sit in the Irish House of Parliament, of men who, until 1793, were never allowed even to vote for a Member of Parliament. One cannot wonder that they desire to see the Government of Ireland handed over to them. On the other hand, we have the 1715 Ulster men, and Protestants, the descendants of the men of Devon who were settled in Malone and other parts in Ulster by Sir Arthur Chichester, you have the descendants of the men of Lancashire and Cheshire who were settled in Ulster by Sir Moses Hill, and you have the descendants of the Scots who were settled mostly in the reign of King James. They were not ordinary immigrants; they were not simply settlers, but they were brought in in order to create in Ulster a population loyal to the British connection. These are the men who the hon. Member (Mr. Goldstone) seems to think are now disloyal. I absolutely deny it. If the two people are to be brought together, I believe the best method by which it can be attained is by a system of federalism. It will unquestionably take a long time to establish it, but I cannot believe that in the present age it is impossible for the Government to find a sufficient number of Imperial statesmen who are capable of formulating a federal plan, of men who are willing to put aside for the time being their personal predilections and their party affiliation, and to devote themselves to formulating a permanent plan which will meet with the approval, not only of the people of England, but of Ireland. During the time thus taken up I should hope very much that this Bill would not be put into force, but that some arrangement would be made by which Irishmen in this House of Commons could be formed into a Standing Committee to attend to Irish matters, and that while they are doing that a scheme should be formulated, and the federal system adopted.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Sir JOHN BARRAN
The hon. Member has found it necessary to utter certain remarks as to the defects of the Bill, but I hope I ant correctly interpreting his general sentiments if I claim that there was in his utterances quite enough of that spirit which has permeated this Debate to justify us in regarding him as in the main a friend of a peaceful settlement. If I understood him aright, he seems to desire some kind of enlarged county council government for Ireland, such as the measure of six years ago, which perhaps is not very far removed from the devolution which other hon. Members have quoted. But the general trend of this Debate has, I think, made two matters clear. The first is that, so far as I can judge of the position, we cannot expect here and now to find agreement upon the Irish problem. 1716 But while that is true, there has been the strongest evidence from every quarter of the House that agreement should be found before this measure, in whatever form, finally leaves the hands of Parliament. With regard to the fact that no agreement can at the moment be expected, I personally do not feel in any way discouraged, for this Debate has served the extremely valuable purpose of elucidating, along a number of different lines of thought and of method, that it is possible that some form of agreement may ultimately be reached. I think it is the case that we have had rather too many schemes held before our eyes to enable us to concentrate our attention on that which may ultimately prove to be the choice of Parliament. Certain of these schemes have, I think, to some extent become eliminated by the course of this Debate. The Plunkett scheme, as it has been called, has retreated into the background because it finds no favour on the other side of the House. The scheme for a Referendum, brought forward at the beginning of this Debate, has likewise been dropped because it is manifest that it finds no favour on this side of the House.
If I may venture to summarise the position at which we have apparently arrived, it is this: We seem to have settled down to the consideration of three distinct proposals—firstly, the proposal for some scheme of federation, to be evolved in substitution for the Bill now before us; secondly, the scheme for exclusion, either with or without a time limit—a point deeply contested; and, thirdly, the proposal for an exclusion scheme, subject to the evolving of a scheme of federation during a certain period to be immediately following. I would say with regard to the first of these proposals with which the name of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Kingston Division (Mr. Cave) is prominently associated, that, as a Member for a Scottish constituency, I am perfectly prepared to view with an open mind any scheme for the general federation of these islands which may be brought forward subject to certain governing conditions which have already been mentioned—that there should be no delay in its production, that the case of Ireland should be taken first, and that the scheme should be completed within the lifetime of the present Parliament. But there are obvious difficulties about proceeding along those lines, and I think the chief is that 1717 the Nationalist party are entitled to say—assuming for a moment the withdrawal of the present Bill and the production of such a scheme—that under that scheme, if it should ultimately conic to no result, their hopes are gone and their opportunity has vanished. I think, therefore, it is not surprising that the scheme as put forward has failed, so far, to win Nationalist assent. The hon. and learned Gentleman who is the chief sponsor of this scheme took what seemed to me a sanguine view as to the possibility of working it through Parliament. He quoted the case of South Africa, and declared that South Africa, working under stress of time and circumstances, had been able to complete their scheme for the Union Government in seventeen weeks, and to do most of the work in six weeks. He asked whether it might not be possible, with good will on both sides, to produce a scheme for these islands in a similar length of time. I am bound to say that I do not think we can possibly look forward, whatever good will may be possible in the matter, to produce a sound and workable scheme laid upon the basis of existing constitutional practice and forms in anything like so short a time as that.
The Noble Lord opposite (Lord Robert Cecil) declared in his speech to-night that, so far from a scheme being practicable in Fix weeks, it could not be done in six years. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College (Sir E. Carson) pointed out to the House in the course of his speech this afternoon that, whatever may be thought of the merits of such a scheme, there is no mandate given by this country, and particularly no mandate given by the electors of England, for any such scheme to be produced in the life of the present Parliament. Therefore, reluctantly but inevitably, I am driven to the conclusion that the notion that this Bill might be withdrawn and a scheme of federal devolution substituted is not practicable at the present moment. Then I come to the question of exclusion. Exclusion seems to have no friend except expediency—I find no one who takes it on its merits. If Ulster feels so strongly against temporary exclusion, one would have thought that that would be a strong reason why Ulster should rather resent than welcome the desire for permanent exclusion. Be that as it may, apparently the House must proceed along the lines of exclusion in its search for reconciliation in this matter. The chief difficulty in the 1718 matter of exclusion has hung round the question of the time limit. Each party at the moment is determined to secure such a form of words in the text of the Bill as will suit its desires, hopes, and prejudices at the moment—its prejudices, that is, as they exist to-day. May I respectfully suggest to the House that what we want today, whatever it be, does not go to the root of the matter at all? This question is not going to be determined by any form of words we put on the face of the Bill today, but by the logic of the events of the next six years. If the Home Rule Bill becomes law, and Home Rule succeeds, who is going to suggest that Ulster will wish to stay out? If, on the other hand, Home Rule is a failure, who is going to suggest the forcing of Ulster in?
Therefore, any concession made on the matter of the time limit is not really vital one way or the other to the matter we are discussing. It will be a concession given not as to the ultimate result, but to the sentiments of some party, and I feel convinced that this point can be left to the determination of the events of the future. I would like to point out to the hon. Gentleman who brought forward the proposal for federation that he seems to contemplate the ultimate unification of Ireland. Having pointed out that devolution and federalism are pretty much the same thing, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kingston used these words:—Under a scheme of devolution, while it might at the beginning be necessary to make a division between the two parts of Ireland, yet you would be creating a link between the two, and possibly not at once, but in time to come the tendency would be towards Union."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd April,1914, col. 1493.]The right hon. Gentleman later on said:—If in six years they do not consent, will you then be prepared to force them to come in? If after six years you have won them over and they consent to come in, there is an end of it, and they come in.May I say a word about the third proposal, namely, the question of exclusion pending the production of a federal scheme? I say frankly with regard to that question we are in need of more explicit and plain speaking on the part of the Leaders of opinion in this House. It would be, to my mind, a misfortune to enter into the region of negotiation first of all, and hope to find agreement, when there was in reality misunderstanding as to the formulæ and terms which each party is using, and which each party suggests should be the basis of willingness to negotiate. It may possibly be the case that the two Front Benches regard it as a necessary step in the finessing and bargaining 1719 surrounding this matter that they should indulge in vague language, and make suggestions as to offers instead of actually making offers. May I suggest that I think there is a strong feeling on the Back Benches on both sides of the House that such finessing and bargaining may be carried too far, and that there is some danger in the meantime that some unfortunate circumstance may have precipitated events which we would all alike deplore. Let us then come into the open on this question, and ask what is meant by federalism? What kind of subordinate Parliaments are contemplated for the different parts of the United Kingdom, and what number of subordinate Parliaments? Speaking again as a Scottish Member, and as one of the representatives of a country which has close upon five million inhabitants, I think I can say with some assurance that Scotland does not contemplate anything but one Parliament for Scotland, if, and when, the time comes for the devolution of Scottish affairs to a body in that country.
What about Ireland? Is it contemplated that there should be one, two, or four Parliaments? Apparently, hon. Gentlemen on the Unionist benches conceive that there should be four separate Parliaments, or, at any rate, two under a scheme of devolution. Hon. Members who speak for Nationalist opinion fear that there would be several bodies, and they are against a scheme of federation. If it comes, not at first, but ultimately, that a single body is contemplated to regulate the internal affairs of Ireland, is it by any means certain that Nationalist and Ulster opinion are necessarily at variance on this matter? I do not believe myself that there is any insuperable barrier, and I am encouraged to take that view by the language of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College, who, speaking at Manchester, laid down that Ulster should not be treated differently from the rest of the United Kingdom. I find nothing in that language at all inconsistent with the notion that there may be a single Parliament sitting to regulate Trish affairs. Therefore it is to my mind. supremely important in this matter to define what is meant by federalism. We should have a more explicit expression of opinion from those who on both sides of the House guide opinion. There are the questions of areas, Customs, Excise, and the Post Office. These are all matters upon which, I freely confess. I think those 1720 who are disposed to consider the Government scheme seriously are entitled to ask for certain preliminary, perhaps, but important points of detail, for without a certain amount of light of this kind I cannot see that an honest judgment can be formed on them. We wish to know, in regard to these matters, which are all interwoven the proposed scheme of exclusion, whether there is agreement or whether agreement is in prospect? Or are these points reserved from consideration because no one knows what the opinion of the leaders is about them?
I do not know that these are matters on which a concordat can necessarily be arrived at across the floor of this House. I differ in that respect from the Noble Lord who thought that Parliament was quite able to settle, as a part of one big bargain all those points. I think that that is doubtful. But I do think that they ought to be explored without delay, and it is vital that we should know at the earliest possible moment whether this question of the time limit is, or is not, the one important matter which is separating the two bodies of opinion on this proposal for the exclusion of Ulster. In concluding may I say once more with all seriousness, that I do gravely fear the dangers of delay on this question. In these last few weeks we have been rather in the position of travellers on a mountain who have found by the sudden springing up of a wind in the mist, that they are standing on the brink of a precipice. I think that that discovery has created a sobriety and earnestness of thought and purpose which promises well for the ultimate solution of this problem. But if it be the case that that is the present temper of the House, and if it be also the case that back bench opinion has largely taken possession of the House in the matter, then let us not lose our opportunity, and let us even go so far as to threaten our two Front Benches, that we will move a combined Vote of Censure on both of them, if they do not come together and try to arrive at a solution of a matter as to which we on the Back Benches are quite convinced we are not very far apart.
In intervening in this Debate I feel that I stand in need to an unusual degree of the indulgence which is accorded by hon. Members to those who rise to address this House for the first time, because, to the personal ordeal which is inseparable from these occasions, 1721 there is added the feeling that this Debate is one which can be handled adequately only by those who have far greater experience than I have. But coming fresh to the House from an election at which this Home Rule Bill was admittedly the main issue, and at which I took a very definite line as regards this Bill, I hope that the House will bear with me in the very few remarks that I shall offer. In common with all hon. Members who have risen during this Debate, I have little or nothing to say about the Bill itself. To discuss its merits or demerits appears to me to be quite beside the question, for until we know what Bill it is that the Government propose to place on the Statute Book, it appears to me to be quite useless to discuss its concrete provisions. The broad impression left on my mind by this Debate is that in all quarters of the House, not excepting the Treasury Bench, there appears to be a general feeling that this Bill as it stands now will never come into operation, and will never and can never be a solution of the problem that lies before us. For that reason perhaps the Debate on the Bill resolves itself into the question of how the problem of the opposition of Ulster to this Bill is to be solved.
The Debate has taken two main lines—first, the line of compromise on this question, and, second, the line of coercion. It is a commonplace to say that a settlement by consent is desirable. The shadow of civil war that has fallen across this House and the country speaks far more eloquently than any words of the necessity of some such settlement if a sudden, and in all human probability a violent, shattering of our Constitution is to be averted. Many proposals for a settlement have been put forward. Some have been rejected on this ground and some on that. Most of them have been discussed in the course of this Debate. The one that appears now to be most widely discussed and to be the most popular is the federal solution, coupled, it appears, with the exclusion at all events of the North-Eastern portion of Ulster, pending a complete rearrangement. The practical difficulties attending this solution have been pointed out very clearly in the course of the Debate this afternoon. No doubt they can in time be overcome, but I think that this federal scheme suffers from one great objection—that is, that this present House has no authority to deal with this question on 1722 these lines. The Government claim an authority for tearing up the Act of Union with Ireland. I have always thought, and still think, the arguments by which they support this claim to be singularly unconvincing, but I do not think that any Member or body of Members in this House can claim any authority to tear up not only the Act of Union with Ireland, but the Act of Union with Scotland, to separate Wales from England, and to set up throughout the country an indeterminate number of Parliaments with unknown powers. Any federal solution of this question is a great constitutional question, and it should not be settled as a by-product of the Irish or of the Ulster question. It should be reserved for the full consideration of the electorate and for the mature decision of the country, and I think that a condition precedent of any solution on these lines should be a General Election. And the same condition should hold, also, for the second line of discussion, this question of coercion. Whatever mandate hon. Members opposite may find for their Home Rule Bill, certainly there is not any mandate for the present situation which has arisen since the Bill was brought in, and they can claim no mandate for coercing Ulster. This fact has been practically admitted in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, which has been quoted during the course of the Debate to-day. What he said was this:—To embark on a policy of actual coercion to make Ulster submit to an authority in Ireland which she is determined to resist by force, is a most grave, serious, and ominous thing. But I have never contemplated that question could arise until after an election. Under the Parliament Act, Parliament is limited to five years. If our Bill is placed on the Statute Book it must be the middle of next year before it comes into full operation, and before that particular situation can arise. Before that time I have always assumed that there must be an election, and I do not believe it possible for any Government—should that come to be the only thing in the last resort—to embark on that policy without having consulted the country upon it.The question which has occurred to the minds of hon. Members on this side is why this election should take place after the Home Rule Bill has been placed on the Statute Book and not before, and I do not think that we on this side of the house have ever yet had any clear answer to that question. I think the course might be justified if a new factor arose requiring the decision of the electors between the passing of the Bill into law and its being brought into operation. Such a factor would obviously be the resistance of Ulster to the Bill, discovered after the Bill had passed into law. But it is not so. The resistance of 1723 Ulster is certainly a new factor since the Bill was first introduced, but it is now known and entirely realised on both sides of the House, and therefore that cannot be the reason why an election should take place after the Bill has been placed on the Statute Book and not before. There is another reason which has been advanced, and it is that the Government think that the passing of the Bill before an election will place the Unionist party and will place Ulster in a difficulty. Perhaps they consider that it will be more difficult after this Bill has been placed on the Statute Book to repeal it. I reject absolutely that supposition. I do not think that it is worthy of the Government, and I do not think that the Government would consider it.
There remain two others. There remains the supposition that hon. Members opposite will not give up the fruits of the Parliament Act. That reason has been got over, that obstacle has been removed, and now there is nothing in the actual working of the Parliament Act which need prevent the Home Rule Bill, should hon. Members opposite be returned to power after an election, from being placed on the Statute Book. There is one other reason — and here, I think, we come to the real and true reason for this extraordinary position, that a General Election shall not be allowed until this Bill has become law—and the reason is this, that the Government and right hon. Gentlemen opposite are not free agents. They are under an obligation to hon. Members below the Gangway on this side to pass this Bill into law without an appeal to the people. They have entered into that obligation on account of services rendered, and they feel that they must carry that obligation out. I do not say that there is anything very reprehensible in such a doctrine; it is the stock-in-trade of coalition and group governments throughout the world. It is the note of hand that has to be given by any Government which depends on sectional support for its majority, and in course of time such pledges have to be redeemed when, in ordinary circumstances, they are called for. But these are not ordinary circumstances; these are unprecedented circumstances; and this obligation that has been incurred by the Government has brought the country to the brink of a precipice, from which, I think, even the keenest partisans may well shrink. There are occasions 1724 when the national welfare should override even party pledges, and surely this is one of them. There are two parties in this case.
To the hon. and learned Member for Waterford and his followers I can only say. "I believe that you are actuated by an honest and sincere desire for the welfare and prosperity of Ireland. Can you not realise that to pass this present Bill through this present House, and to place it on the Statute Book, is to bring, not peace to Ireland, but the sword? To place this Bill on the Statute Book cannot but disturb all those ambitions of which the hon. and learned Member for Waterford spoke so eloquently." Then to the Government I can appeal as the trustees of the nation, and I can ask them that they shall for once place their position as trustees of the nation above their position as leaders of the Liberal party. Legislation has been passed in this House to give relief to borrowers who have borrowed at a high rate of interest, and who have contracted a loan under harsh terms. I think that the Government have borrowed from the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. I think the terms on which they have borrowed are civil war, and the rate of interest at which they have borrowed is the national security. I think that if they will go to the Court or the People, the Court of the People will rightly and properly give them relief from that loan. I think that they should do so. I cannot understand why hon. Gentlemen opposite are so afraid of an election. They are continually protesting that they have the people behind them. If they are right, they have everything to gain and they have nothing to lose. At this moment the whole of the Unionist party in this House, and nine out of every twenty electors in the Kingdom, are prepared to resist this Bill by every means in their power, and they are prepared to go to great lengths, to very great lengths, because they believe that the Government have exceeded the bounds of the Constitution in passing this Bill without the direct sanction of the people. Let hon. Members opposite obtain that sanction. They say they are confident of doing so. What do they get by it? They achieve two great ends—they neutralise the opposition of the Unionist party to the enforcement of this Bill, and, without doubt, they profoundly modify the attitude or Ulster towards this Bill. I venture to affirm with considerable confidence that 1725 statesmanship demands a Dissolution before this Bill is placed upon the Statute Book. I venture to hope, though with considerably less confidence, that right hon. Gentlemen opposite will prove themselves to be statesmen by acceding to that demand.
Mr. MURRAY MACDONALD
There are one or two points which I am glad to have the opportunity of speaking about. I listened to almost all the speeches that have been delivered in the Debate, and I listened with profound sympathy to the plea for settlement that has come from both sides of the House, but, general as that opinion has been, it still leaves us at the close of the Debate face to face with all our difficulties. Two ways of escape from them have been suggested to us. One is that the point in dispute should be referred to the people to settle. If that proposal offered any hope for the prospect of settlement, I do not believe that any reasonable man, in any part of the House, would object to it, but it offers no such hope. We are in this House in a position of deadlock, and as yet we have failed to find means of extricating ourselves, and we have failed to find those means, in spite of the fact that we have all the advantages of free and open discussion in this House of the many-sided difficulties from which the deadlock has actually sprung. How could a reference of the question to the people of a question so complex and so many—
Mr. MURRAY MACDONALD
The position in 1886 was not a deadlock like that we are now in. There was absolutely no resemblance at all between the position of 1886 and our position now. The people may be following our proceedings. They are, and they know what are the difficulties of the situation in which we are. They recognise its complexity, but they have no means of coming together in order to discuss a method of escape from it. That is the function of Parliament, and if we shuffled off our difficulties now, and attempted to put them on the shoulders of the people, then I am convinced that the country as a whole would regard that as a confession of our own incapacity to fulfil our obligations to the country. Whatever might be the verdict of the country, if the question were referred to them, it would still leave us face to face with the 1726 difficulties that now face us. They would be precisely the same. They might be slightly altered in character, but Parliament would still be face to face with a deadlock. The second way out of the difficulty that has been suggested is that both sides should agree to set to work at once in order to frame a federal scheme that would be applicable not to Ireland only, but to the other component parts of the United Kingdom as well. Even that suggestion, though we were all united in accepting it, would still leave us face to face with two difficulties. One is a difficulty that comes from the other side, and the other is a difficulty recognised on all sides. Even if we were agreed that a federal solution might be the way out of our difficulties, Members opposite tell us that this Bill is anti-federal in character and could not be accepted as part and parcel of a federal scheme, and that as a preliminary step to any federal scheme this Bill must be withdrawn. That is the contention on the other side.
I have listened to the speeches that have-been delivered and to the objections that have been taken to the Bill on the ground that it is anti-federal, and I confess that I think those difficulties are enormously exaggerated. What are the special provisions that have been objected to by hon. Members opposite? They have been specified by the right hon. Member for the-Strand Division (Mr. Walter Long) and by the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Duke) and by the hon. and learned Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave), and those three Gentlemen specified precisely the same objections. They referred to the provisions relating to the Customs and Excise and to the Post Office, and to the financial provisions. I take the objection to the Post Office as being part of the financial provisions, because it appears that the powers as to the Post Office were given solely on the ground of economy. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] That was the reason given by the Front Bench. We were told they were given solely because the cost of the Irish Post Office was rising by leaps and bounds, and that if that cost were to be kept within any limits at all, it was much better to hand over the control of the Post Office to the Irish Government and Executive. That was the ground given by the Government for incorporating the proposal, in regard to the Post Office in the Bill. I take, for the purpose of my argument, the Post Office and Customs and Excise as being part and 1727 parcel of the financial provisions of the Bill. Those provisions do not form any essential part of the Irish Bill. You could lift the whole of the financial provisions out of that Bill, just as the original financial provisions of the Bill of 1893 were lifted out, and new provisions could be incorporated in the Bill without the principle of the Bill being in the slightest degree changed or weakened. Besides it has never been contended, that those provisions were not open to improvement. Irish Members have repeatedly said that they were not fair to them. I want to say to hon. Members opposite who object to this Bill because of the anti-federal character of the finance provisions, that, so far as I can see, there is no obstacle in those provisions to agreement between parties, provided that that is the only difficulty standing in the way.
The other provision that has been specified as being anti-federal in its character is that relating to the appointment of judges. On that point I do not think that there need be any difference of principle between the two sides. I am quite certain that in all quarters of the House there would be an earnest desire, not only that the administration of justice in Ireland should be fair and impartial, but that, if necessary, provisions should be put into the Bill that would give assurances that that would be so. But that does not dispose of the question. There are practical difficulties in the way of any alteration of the provisions of the Bill in regard to that matter. I do not know whether it has ever occurred to hon. Members who object to that provision, that the Executive of the Imperial Parliament would have no advice at all as to whom to appoint to judgeships in Ireland. The Attorney-General for Ireland disappears from this House under a Home Rule scheme. In regard to the appointment of judges in Scotland, the Lord Advocate is here as the Law Officer of Scotland; but there will be no person in this House who would know anything at all about the barristers in the Dublin Courts, or about the advocates in Ireland generally. So that, if you thought it well to give the appointment to the central authority, you could not devise the machinery by which it would be possible to work the provision. The local executive would certainly have to have the appointment of the judges. As to the dismissal of judges, I am not sure 1728 that that stands on quite the same footing. It is possible that there might be some modification of the provision in that respect. But I do not think that it is a large point, because dismissal would naturally and probably—at least, one hopes so—be a very rare occurrence.
Sir GILBERT PARKER
Is not the hon. Member aware that in the Dominion of Canada the Dominion Government appoints the local or provisional judges?
Mr. MURRAY MACDONALD
I know that perfectly. But the hon. Gentleman will remember that in Canada you have one Bar and one Bar only. In the United Kingdom you have three separate and independent Bars, entrance to each of which is determined by totally different conditions and examinations. You cannot judge of the conditions that ought to be accepted here by the conditions which prevail in Canada, or in any other country in the world.
Mr. MURRAY MACDONALD
Not in the sense in which there are separate Bars in England, Scotland, and Ireland.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
There is a separate Bar in each of these provinces in Canada, and you must pass a separate examination to become a member of that Bar. I speak as one who is a member of one of the Bars.
Mr. MURRAY MACDONALD
That still leaves me with my point. You are administering one law in Canada, it is perfectly true.
Mr. MURRAY MACDONALD
Let me put my own argument. I know something about the conditions in Canada also. It is true that there are slight differences within the limits of the powers conceded to the provisional Legislatures, but the law of the Dominion, taken as a whole, rests upon precisely the same foundation, and is of precisely the same character. That is not the case in the United Kingdom. We have in Scotland a law which rests upon totally different principles, and starts from totally different principles from those which govern either English or Irish law.
Mr. MURRAY MACDONALD
I quite agree. Whether I am right or wrong in regard to Canada, will hon. Members consider for a moment what my point is? We make our appointments to judgeships in Scotland upon the advice of the Lord Advocate. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Yes, it is that in reality. The appointments to judgeships in Ireland ought to be very largely determined by the advice of some person responsible to the Government who knows the conditions in the Four Courts and the facts concerning the matter. There will be no such person in this House under a scheme of Home Rule, and there will be no possibility of the central authority getting the necessary information with regard to Irish barristers. Passing from that, I have never heard from the beginning of this Debate, nor have I read in any speeches made outside this House or in any previous Debate, that hon. Members contend that the general legislative and administrative powers given to the Irish Legislature by this Bill are anti-federal in character. I do not believe that that can be contended. They are applicable to Scotland and to England, just as they are applicable to Ireland.
I want, however, to return to the difficulty of the situation in which we really are. Assuming for a moment that there is a certain body of agreement on both sides in favour of a settlement of this question on federal lines, there is still a second difficulty facing us, namely, the position of Ulster pending the completion of a federal scheme. That is the crux of the whole situation. There are two things that I should like to say in regard to that. The first is that on all sides we are agreed that Home Rule for Ireland must come. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] If we are not agreed so far, and if Ulstermen are not agreed, why do they ask for exclusion? Why do they ask for it unless they accept the principle of the Home Rule Bill? [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I do not understand, but I am not going to go over that well-beaten ground again. I will exclude the hon. Member opposite if he says he is not in favour of Home Rule. What is true is that there is a very large body of opinion on both sides of the House in favour of the view that Home Rule for Ireland must come. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] The second thing I want to say—I hoped I might also say that with agreement, although I am afraid that my hopes are not supported by the actual facts—that it is not to the interest of Ulster to separate 1730 herself permanently from the rest of Ireland. I feel myself very strongly that if there is a fairly general body of agreement upon these two points, if also we art agreed that the federal scheme provides a solution of her difficulties, then I would urge that the preparation of the scheme should be entered upon with as little delay as possible, in the conviction that if the two sides come together with good will and co-operate in the framing of that scheme, the difficulties that now face us will become very much less than they now appear, and that before we were together for any length of time they would entirely disappear.
§ Mr. AMERY
I think it is a duty at a time like this that everyone of us who does not altogether despair of a settlement by common consent on the basis of good will and co-operation should endeavour to contribute whatever he can—however little it may be—to the discussion. I do think myself such a settlement is not altogether impossible. I do think we ought to attempt it, though I will not disguisé from the House nor from myself that a tremendous moral effort will be required to extricate ourselves from the deep grooves of party feeling and party passion—honest party loyalty, if you will!—which are hurrying us along towards a catastrophe we all equally dread. The hon. Member for Hawick Burghs (Sir John Barran) in his obviously sincere and most moderate speech, suggested that we had too many schemes before this House. I entirely agree. I am not going to suggest any scheme of my own. So far as that is concerned I have no quarrel with the Union as it stands. I do not believe in the present position of this House that any scheme has a chance of being accepted. I noticed the other night that when my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave) threw out a suggestion which seemed to me, at any rate, to contain the elements of a possible settlement, that he was at once pulled up by the hon. Member for East Mayo who suggested that he should be hunted out of every constituency in Ireland if he even discussed it. I think that would apply to any specific suggestions that are made. As we stand here embattled in this House I do not think that any scheme that could be brought forward has the slightest chance of acceptance. The only thing we can do in this House, if we have the determination to do it, is to 1731 make up our minds that we will settle this question by consent instead of prosecuting our quarrel to the bitter end. After all, is it not of the very essence of settlement by consent that the settlement should be the outcome and not the starting point of the discussion?
What really matters at this moment, I submit, is not whether this or that particular scheme is more or less likely to be acceptable to one section or another, but what are the methods and principles on which we can meet with the most reasonable hope of arriving by discussion at some stable and generally agreed settlement. At this moment the scheme is nothing, but the method of arriving at it is everything. The hon. Member for Falkirk Burghs said we had got to a complete deadlock. I agree. We have wandered down a hopeless blind alley, and the only rational and obvious thing is to retrace our steps and get on the open road again. We have been working along lines of party cleavage which are wholly unsuited to the settlement of a great national and constitutional issue. Hon. Members on the opposite side of the House have been working on an entirely unprecedented method, under the Parliament Act, which we, at least, believe to be unsuitable even for ordinary legislation. We, on our side, in consequence of the course they have pursued, are driven to-day in what we are convinced is a right cause to follow lines of resistance which are unprecedented and which are alien to the whole temper of our party. Cannot we get back to those methods and principles which have justified themselves at all times in other regions of the British Empire—in Canada, Australia, and South Africa, wherever the task of creating a great constitutional framework has been taken in hand and brought to successful fruition by men of our race? May I venture to quote the words of Burke, in the last similar crisis of our fate:—Let us oppose the ancient policy and practice of the Empire as ramparts against the speculations of the innovators on both sides of the question.Let me remind the House what are those principles and methods. The solution has always been along national, and not on party lines. In every case it has been found necessary to get away from Parliaments, with their crystallised party divisions and traditions, and to get to some 1732 national convention, where every section of those concerned were represented and where every representative came not as a party man, but as an individual citizen. In every case where the parties have met together on a footing of equality, there has never been a question of a Government policy holding the field or of Government concessions to the Opposition. Let me take the last instance—that of the South African Convention. Hon. Members are well aware that that followed hard upon the heels of the sweeping victory of the Dutch party in three-quarters—more than three-quarters of South Africa; yet it is an open secret that in the actual framing of the Constitution the views that finally prevailed were substantially those put forward by the representatives of the English-speaking minority. That brings me to what I think is another essential principle which has been jealously maintained in every other instance in our Empire—the principle that every section represented should come to the convention absolutely free to stay in or come out.
This Ulster problem is not wholly outside the experience of British statesmanship. In the Canadian Confederation it had its counterpart, in one sense in the way in which that problem was met by the separation of Protestant Ontario from Catholic Quebec. It had its counterpart in another sense in the fact that British Columbia stayed for some years outside the confederation, and was given special inducements in the way of a Transcontinental Railway to come in. Western Australia stayed outside the Federation of the Australian Commonwealth for several years, and came in under special circumstances. In South Africa the Natal Government adhered to the Union Constitution framed at the Convention, but because there was some doubt as to the attitude of the Natal people, assurance was made doubly sure by a special Referendum in Natal to enable the people to say whether they wished to come in to the South African Union or not. If we wish for a settlement by consent here in regard to this great problem, I am convinced we must proceed on substantially the same lines. We must call a free National Convention, a convention representing every section of this House and also opinion that is not represented in this House. It must be a convention in which right hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial Benches should have no more say in framing the outcome of the 1733 discussions than right hon. Gentlemen on these benches, or for a matter of that the hon. Members on the back benches. There can be no Government Bill holding the field, and there can be no question of Ulster being coerced to come in. Ulster must come to the discussion, free to come in or free to stay out of the scheme exactly as she pleases. The convention must also follow the lines adopted in every other convention: it must begin by attempting to arrive at agreement on the main principles first and leaving the details to follow. If you begin with the details, and with the most sensitive and inflamed point in the whole question—the position of Ulster—you are bound to wreck settlement at the outset. I do believe that if we meet in that spirit that we can conceivably agree upon principles.
There is one principle which we on this side of the House think is essential, and that is the principle of the unity of the United Kingdom. We say it is essential that the United Kingdom shall be the only fully sovereign nation in these islands—sovereign in the sense that the Dominion Parliament of Canada is sovereign over the British territories on the North American Continent, and as the South African Union Parliament is sovereign in its own territory. That principle, as a principle, has never been denied by the hon. Members opposite, but what is unfortunate is that they have failed to restrain the Government, owing to party loyalty, from carrying out details in their Home Rule Bill in which that principle does not find proper application. Then there is the principle of federalism or devolution or whatever you like to call it, of which the hon. Member for Falkirk Burghs is such a keen advocate. Surely we have made it abundantly plain on this side that whatever objections we entertain to that proposal, and many of us do entertain strong objections, they are administrative and practical objections and stand upon a very different plane to our insuperable objections to any separatist scheme.
Then comes the principle of Irish nationality. Then again, as a principle, we are not opposed to Irish Nationalism, however immovably we may oppose an application of the principle which, in our opinion, would destroy the unity of the United Kingdom. It is no part of our creed to set up a permanent, insuperable bar between the different traditions and religions and sections in Ireland.
1734 I deeply deplore the mistaken policy that has reopened the old sores and widened the rift that, I believe, was healing two years ago. Let a national convention frame a system of government for these islands in which Ulster can join the rest of Ireland on terms consistent with her honour and with the full maintenance of her citizenship in the United Kingdom, and it is none of our business to stand for an exclusion which nobody advocates on its own merits, but which is only advocated as an alternative to civil war. It has been urged several times that a convention means a great deal of delay, that the Irish question must have priority, and that you cannot have rigid uniformity on all points. What is the prospect of a settlement held before this House and the country? Six years of agitation, Commissions, and so forth, and no assurance that at the end of the six years we shall stand in a better position than we stand to-day. I agree entirely with the hon. and learned Member for Kingston that by the method of convention you can get to business much quicker in a crisis of this sort than by the method of a Parliamentary discussion. I believe that you will get the main principles of a solution agreed upon in infinitely less time by means of a convention than you will settle the question of what area in Ulster is to be excluded here in this House.
It is perfectly true that matters were substantially settled in South Africa in five or six weeks, and if the main principles can be harmonised at all, I believe they could be harmonised in six weeks here. Once they are harmonised, what is going to prevent the special case of Ireland being taken in hand at once? And here let me say a word as to the question of uniformity raised by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. I think it is essential, before the case of Ireland is dealt with, that we should agree upon the powers to be retained by the United Kingdom, and upon the powers that are to be given to any local government. In that respect we must have substantial uniformity. In that respect every federation in the British Empire and outside maintains substantial uniformity. A citizen of the United States is as much an American citizen in Texas as he is in Maine, but it is perfectly true that as regards the constitution of local government there is every sort of diversity in the different States. Hamburg is a Republic, Mecklenburg is an ancient feudal monarchy, and yet this difference exists side by side with 1735 the fact that German citizens are on the same footing in Mecklenburg as they are in Hamburg. Australia, where several hon. Members were with me recently, offered us a perfect museum of second chambers and constitutions. If we are to disintegrate—I would sooner not use an invidious word—if we are to re-articulate the United Kingdom into some form of federal or devolutionary government we can very well proceed on the federal precedent which applies elsewhere.
Once we have settled the limits of local government in Ireland, I do not think it is our concern to decide what may be the particular form in which that government is exercised. I do not see why we should not leave the framing of the Irish Constitution within these limits to Irishmen at an Irish Convention. What business is it of ours to settle whether the Irish for their particular purposes should have one Chamber or two Chambers, proportional representation, or female suffrage? And what business is it of ours to coerce Ulster into an Irish Parliament, or to urge Ulster to stay outside an Irish Parliament? Let them settle that among themselves. The only way that will settle it is by allowing her a free choice. In the case of South Africa, what would have happened if General Botha had arranged with this Government to coerce Natal into Union? Why, you would have had civil war in South Africa. It has been an inevitable but unfortunate consequence of the way in which this question has been handled in every Bill since 1886 that the Irish have been allowed far too great a say in unsettling the Constitution of the United Kingdom, and perhaps not enough say in settling the constitution of Ireland. It may be that in the present Bill Nationalists have had to submit to many harassing restrictions, not only upon their wider idea of government, but in the ordinary sphere of local self-government. If this Bill is persisted in they will lose all chance of securing the one thing they care for, that is the moral and spiritual unity of Ireland. If they get the Bill with that result, what else is it to them but Dead Sea fruit? By following the methods of free discussion, although they might have to accept even greater limitations upon self-government than this Bill inflicts, they would have this compensation, that they would secure, or would have a much better chance of securing sooner or later, the complete unity of Ireland, and the satisfaction of living, at any rate 1736 for local purposes, under a constitution which would be their own handiwork. I think I have said enough to indicate what, in my opinion, are the only conditions on which you can arrive at a settlement by consent. I know they involve a very great revolution in the methods upon which we have worked up to this point.
§ Mr. AMERY
What we are suggesting involves the complete and irrevocable dropping of all idea of coercion. Why cannot the Government make up their minds to abandon coercion even now? What folly could induce the Lord Chancellor to falsify the record of the one sane declaration recently made by any Minister? The Foreign Secretary did suggest to this House that this question might be settled by an election, and that there would be no coercion before that election was over. But why did he sit tamely by and allow the President of the Local Government Board to repudiate his words? I must say that I should not care to occupy so humiliating a position. You cannot talk of settlement by consent while this Bill or any part of it holds the field. It has been framed not upon a national principle, but by bargaining between a section in Ireland and a section in this country, and on those grounds alone it can never form the basis of any proper working scheme. It is unsound from its foundation upwards, and I regard this measure as an insuperable barrier to any workable scheme of devolution or federation. What is likely to happen if this Bill is passed, and this question is raised? The Attorney-General said this afternoon with regard to the question of a reformed Second Chamber that the only working hypothesis he would go on at present is that the House of Lords stood as it is. I venture to say that if you allow the present Home Rule Bill to pass for three-quarters of Ireland, when you afterwards ask when the promise of a federal scheme is to be fulfilled, Ministers will get up and assure you that the only safe rule is to assume that Ireland should retain Home Rule, and Great Britain remain as it is. You cannot get a working scheme out of this Bill or out of any modification of it. The Government proposals are utterly unacceptable to Ulster, because they involve a denial of 1737 the coherent unity of the Ulster community. As far as the time limit goes, that is a denial of the right of Ulster to determine its own fate. These proposals involve putting on the Statute Book for the rest of Ireland an intolerable Bill. The Government declare that this Bill must go on to the Statute Book. I suppose because it is a matter of their dignity, but can we afford to stand on dignity in this matter?
The other argument put forward is the sacrificing of the Parliament Act. You are allowing this Parliament Act to become an old man of the sea anchored round your neck. How can you be sacrificing anything of real value if you secure a settlement by consent which all can accept, instead of forcing a settlement which can only bring bloodshed and civil war. There is a great responsibility placed upon us who sit on the Back Benches, because it is the party system which has brought things to this pass. We have heard something of the breaking strain of the officer's conscience, but is there to be no breaking strain of party discipline? If hon. Members opposite desire a settlement, why do they still support their leaders in a policy which makes that settlement impossible? I can buite realise the reluctance of hon. Members to fight an election for fear of a reaction which may lose to them what they think they have gained in recent years, and they have a right to ask for certain guarantees. We have given guarantees in case of your success at the election, and I think you have a right to ask for guarantees in the case of our success, to ask that there should be no going back to the Parliamentary system as it was before 1910, and that there should be no going back to the Dublin Castle system as it has existed in the past. Speaking for my own part, I see no reason why we on this side of the House should not give a guarantee that if we are returned we should still submit the whole question, the question of the Parliament Act, the Second Chamber, Redistribution and methods of election to a free national convention, in which we should fix the representation not by the measure of our victory at the poll, but by the permanent balance between the great parties in this country. It seems to me that it rests with hon. Members opposite to decide. If they cannot make up their minds to forgo the idea of placing this Bill on the Statute Book, then let them give up the idea of talking about con- 1738 ciliation. If they do mean to compromise, let them make the great effort that is required. If we are to uproot a great constitutional fabric which has stood the test of time, if we are to recast this ancient Kingdom in a new mould, let us at least have the courage to do it in a large spirit worthy of a great occasion.
Mr. NEIL PRIMROSE
We have been accustomed in this Debate to dwelling with satisfaction on the spirit of conciliation which has animated all the speeches, and the speech to which we have just listened, apart from one or two passages, has been no exception to the rule. The rule has been so stringently carried out that sonic of the Opposition papers have seen fit to criticise the fact that the Prime Minister was cheered when he set out for Scotland I wish that hon. Members opposite would carry out their precepts when they speak outside this House. The day after the Prime Minister set out for Scotland a demonstration was held in Hyde Park, and I want to quote one sentence uttered by the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord Robert Cecil), which is as follows:—He did not know what was in the dark and tortuous mind of Mr. Churchill, but he did know that he contemplated the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of his fellow men. Such men as Mr. Ramsay Macdonald and Mr. John Ward, who arrogated to themselves the title of Labour Leaders, were the keenest for the slaughter of their fellow workmen.That, I say, is not the language of conciliation. When hon. Members opposite complain of any speeches made by supporters of the Government I should like to remind them of a story which President Lincoln told when he was accused of being provocative. He said that a luau was attacked by a dog, and he defended himself with a pitchfork. When the owner of the dog remonstrated and said he used the sharp end of the pitchfork, he replied, "Well, I used the sharp end of the pitchfork because the dog used the sharp end of his tooth." I do not think that hon. Members should complain if lion. Members on this side of the House choose to take the same lines. I will not dwell upon what I think has been the great sacrifices on the part of the Liberal party and the Nationalist Members in this offer of compromise. I will not dwell upon the fact that I think many Liberals thought that the Prime Minister was unduly generous when, at the head of a large majority, he came forward spontaneously and made his offer, the only 1739 condition that he asked being, not that constitutional resistance to the Bill should cease, but that rebellion and civil strife should cease. I want for one moment to talk about the offer itself. There arc two points I wish to make. It has been said by hon. Gentlemen opposite that at the two elections that will be fought Home Rule may not be the dominant issue. I venture, with great humility, to suggest a theory about elections. It is very rarely the case that candidates can make the issue at the election. If the people of England feel deeply about this question they will make it the issue. That is one point I wish to make.
I wish to say that I think most of us on this side feel that the time limit cannot be increased. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College (Sir E. Carson) said to the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond),"Come and win us." Even Laban in the Old Testament gave a time limit, and I would suggest that Ulster be regarded as the well-favoured Rachel, and that a time limit should be given. I wish, however, to make a suggestion, if I may, to the House. I myself would be opposed to any extension of the time limit, but why should it not be possible after the time limit, after the six years when Ulster would come in, to adopt Sir Horace Plunkett's suggestion? Why should it not be possible to allow an interval to pass—it could be easily fixed, say, five or six years—and then allow these counties the option of voting themselves out of the Home Rule Bill? There are two reasons which seem to me in favour of this scheme. In the first place, it would take the struggle away from English party politics. The hon. Member who has just sat down said that this is a question which should be settled by the Irish. There would be no fairer way of settling this question by the Irish than by the method which I have suggested. Secondly, it would do away with all that necessity which hon. Gentlemen opposite deplore. They say that under the present suggestion of six years the Ulster Volunteers would require to be kept out.
Under this scheme there would be no question of force, because these counties would have the option of voting themselves out after a certain space of time; and, lastly, if they were given a fair chance, if they had seen the Irish Parliament at work for six years, if they had come under 1740 its government, and if then they were determined to vote themselves out, I think there would be no Member of Parliament opposed to their doing so. If, after such a fair trial, both outside and inside the Irish House of Commons, they decided that they would have nothing more to do with it, then, I think, no one could compel them to come in. The Nationalists have made a great step, in my judgment, towards conciliation. It is time that the Ulster Unionists did something in the same way, and, if they do not, I would suggest that they should be left, behind. If this question is not settled, which we all of us think ought to be settled, and must be settled, we shall have the bitterest conflict that has ever been known in British politics, because parties will not be fighting for any ephemeral success at the poll, but for their very existence. If such a contest takes place, the cause of it will be forgotten. Ireland will sink into oblivion. Those hills of Antrim, which were once so eloquently referred to, will fade from our vision, and it will be like one of those feuds which exist in some European country where family fights family and tribe fights tribe, and where the original cause of strife is forgotten. If such a conflict is forced upon us, we will enter upon it, without fear; but I venture to think it would be better for Ireland and better for the British Empire that such au issue should never be put before them.
There are three points in the speech of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down which interest me. He told a story of President Lincoln, who was a master of appropriate anecdotes to illustrate his speeches. It had great point in regard to our party fight. The same idea was expressed in the well-known saying of a French author, who said of a certain animal that. it was a very wicked animal, because when it was attacked it defended itself. The hon. Gentleman said also—this remark, I think, was unintentional—that if Ulster did nothing Ulster w mild be left behind. That is precisely what Ulster wants, and, if the party opposite would agree to that, our difficulties would be over. The hon. Gentleman also spoke, and there I thoroughly agreed with him, of the vital seriousness of the struggle in which we are likely to be engaged, and I do think that it is the duty of everyone, so far as it lies within his power, to avoid having that quarrel fought out. The hon. Gentleman has spoken, as did 1741 many hon. Members last week, of the conciliatory tone and of the lowered temperature in which our discussions have been carried on. I think it is true that hon. Members on all sides of the House have used fairly temperate language, and they have also shown, I think, a disposition to see the point of view of those from whom they differ to a greater extent than is usual. But if the inference to be drawn is that anything which has happened in this Debate has brought us nearer to a settlement, then I am afraid the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman for Waterford this afternoon must have dispelled that idea. There is no change, and there is no indication of change in the essential facts of the situation, and in my belief the position never has been more full of danger than it is to-day.
My hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Duke) in a very able speech, a speech which seemed to me unusually fair—I do not mean unusually fair for him, but unusually fair for party politicians—used an expression which exactly described the situation. He said that we were now in a position which would rejoice the hearts of the enemy, and which would fill with dismay the hearts of the friends of our country. That is a true description, and I am sorry to say that, in my opinion, the Foreign Secretary has a weighty responsibility, as great and perhaps greater than that of any other man for the position in the country stands to-day. Let me say, in passing from this reference to him, teat this Government has set, during its existence, many precedents, but it has broken the record to-day. We are discussing the Home Rule Bill in a critical position. The Prime Minister, who more than anyone else is responsible for that. Bill, from circumstances which I think he might have prevented or delayed, is unable to be present. He chose to represent him the Foreign Secretary, and today in this critical time, the Foreign Secretary thinks it fair to the Opposition and respectful to the House to absent himself from the Debate. I think it is unfair to the Opposition. But I think it indicates something else which I wish hon. Gentlemen opposite would try to realise. I do not suppose he is indifferent to the position in which this question stands, but the fact that he is absent seems to me to show this, that he recognises the position which the House of Commons is now reduced to under the system in which business is carried on. He 1742 recognises that the real decisions are taken outside this Chamber, and that the only use of the majority here is to register the decrees which have been decided upon.
I have said that the right hon. Gentleman had a greater responsibility than almost anyone else. I think that is true, for he at least has sinned against the light. The right hon. Gentleman told us that for this country single-Chamber government meant, I think this was the expression, "damnation and disaster." His prophecy is fast being fulfilled, and he himself has done his best to make it conic true. For if his view be right at all—I am not appealing to hon. Members who do not share in it—if his view be right. at all there is no question which can possibly arise in this country in regard to which the security of a Second Chamber is more required than in connection with this controversy. And yet he has tried, and is trying, to carry it through under a system which he would not deny is a system of single-chamber government. The right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary was, as he always is, restrained and temperate in the language which he used, and in that respect I shall try, as well as I can, to imitate hint. But it was only in form that that temperateness showed itself. In the substance of his speech there was absolutely no suggestion of compromise, and I think I shall be able to show it was, in substance, violent in the proposals which he put before the House. My hon. Friend below me spoke of the position which we had taken up on this question as one which was distasteful to all of us and contrary to the whole instincts of our party. That is true. From the moment two years ago when I became convinced, as I did in Belfast, that the people of Ulster would resist this Bill if imposed on them under these conditions, and would resist it even by force, front that moment the disasters which lay ahead of us were as clear before my eyes as they are to-day. Believing as we did, and as we do, not only that Ulster would resist, but that under these conditions she was justified in resisting, we had, at least I thought we had, no choice, and I did not therefore hesitate to preach what the Prime Minister has again on Saturday described as the "complete grammar of anarchy." I only have to say that—and if I had to do it again I would say the same thing—so far as I was entitled to speak for the Unionist party, if Ulster resisted 1743 we should support her in her resistance. That was not, in my belief, a grammar of anarchy; it was a declaration of rights, and if the Government really push to extremes the advantage of the position which they have secured by suspending the Constitution, then I would only say that from that declaration we cannot, and shall not, go back.
But I have not, I am glad to say, the mental fortitude of the First Lord of the Admiralty. He told us clearly, in his famous speech at Bradford, that there were worse things than bloodshed, even on an extensive scale. When the secret history of the incidents of the last few weeks comes to be written, I am sure it will be found that that at least was a declaration to which he was prepared to live up, both in theory and in practice. I take a different view. I know nothing worse than bloodshed and civil strife, and, if it conies, we shall, if we can help it, have no share in the responsibility for it. We can only avoid responsibility if we show ourselves ready to make every reasonable and, indeed, every possible sacrifice in order to avert the calamity which we fear. My desire to-night is to convince the House of Commons and, so far as my words can reach them, to convince the country that we have been and that we are prepared to make every possible sacrifice to secure peace in Ireland. In my opinion, there are only two ways in which the calamity which we dread can be averted. One is by the exclusion of Ulster, and the other is by an appeal to the people of this country. In the circumstances in which we stand to-day, in my belief it is the clear duty of the Government to submit their proposals to the judgment of the people of this country. I see that the Prime Minister stated again on Saturday that he had received at the last election a mandate for Home Rule. He has made that statement so often that the hallucination has begun to seem real, and he begins to believe it himself. I am not going to waste time in debating that point. Even if we assume—and we utterly deny it—that the Government did obtain a mandate for Home Rule at the last election, then I say that the events which have happened since have so completely altered the situation that the country has a right again to be consulted before any final step is taken. At the time of the election the country did not know, and could not know, for the Government did not know, either the 1744 reality or the intensity of the hostility of Ulster. That is not in doubt. At the General Election the Prime Minister was asked this question:Do you propose to use British troops to enforce Home Rule upon Ulster?His answer was:That is a contingency which is not likely to arise.He does not say that now. Only the other day, in the House of Commons, he used these words:On the one hand, if Home Rule as embodied in this Bill is carried now, there is, I regret to say it, but nobody can deny it, in Ulster the prospect of acute dissension and even of civil strife.Surely that entirely alters the situation. Surely, in face of that change, if force is to be used in Ulster at all, the decision should be given by the people of this country, and not by a Government which professes to represent them. The Government and the speakers who support the Government have taken up the attitude that it is too much to expect them to be deprived of the fruits of the Parliament Act on which, admittedly, the last election was fought. We have recognised that there is sonic justice in that claim, and we have formally offered to the Government a method of escape which will preserve to them all the privileges of their Parliament Act. We have suggested that this question should be submitted by a Referendum as a clear issue to the people of this country. The Prime Minister, when we made the offer, promised to consider it. Apparently they have rejected it, although the reasons given for that rejection would not bear a moment's examination. But they have rejected it. Well, we have made them another offer. My right hon. Friend the Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Long), in opening the Debate made a suggestion which has been repeated by both my right hon. Friends who have spoken from this bench, and no Member on the Government Bench has taken the smallest not ice of it. I repeat the suggestion now, and I make it in the most formal way, as an offer from the Opposition to the Government. After consultation with Lord Lansdowne, and with his authority, I say to the Government now that if they put their new proposals into a Bill and carry it through this House, and obtain the support of the people of this country, so far as Lord Lansdowne's influence will enable him to speak for the House of Lords—[An HON. MEMBER: "So far as"]—I could give reasons, but it is not worth while, to show that the Government could 1745 enforce it with the approval of Lord Lansdowne if any difficulty arose—I make the most formal offer that, so far as his authority goes, the House of Lords will allow you to place your Bill on the Statute Book without change, without delay and without depriving you of any of the privileges which you enjoy under the Parliament Act.
It has been constantly said that we have used Ulster as a pawn in the party game. That charge can never be made again, at all events, it can never be truthfully made again, for we show now that so far from using Ulster as a pawn in the party game, we are ready to sacrifice the whole interests of our party in order to secure peace in Ulster. Why do the Government not accept that offer? I put it to any hon. Gentleman opposite, I put it to the very small number of representatives of the Government—[HON. MEMBERS: "Three Cabinet Ministers here." "Where are they?" "Lunching"; "Dining"; "Fishing."]—I put it to the small number of Ministers who think it worth while to be present, is their claim that they have a right to carry this Bill, a Bill which admittedly goes to the root of the Constitution, not only of Ireland, but of Great Britain, and a Bill which the Prime Minister has told us will lead to civil war in Ulster—do they claim that they have the right to carry it even if the people of this country are against it? If they do not make that claim, why do they not put it to the test? There is only one explanation that I can think of, and if there is any other I shall be grateful to the Irish Secretary if he will tell us what it is. There is only one explanation, either that the Government know that the verdict of the country would be against them, or that they have made a bargain with their Nationalist allies which makes it impossible for them to fulfil their duty to the country. That is the central fact of the situation. Only the other day a Radical newspaper, which is generally well informed as to the intentions of the Government, said that. everybody knew that the Government were under an obligation to their Irish allies, which made it impossible for them to make any change in their plans without their consent. I know that the Prime Minister and the President of the Local Government. Board the other day denied that there was such a bargain, but I know also that when the Prime Minister denied it, I challenged the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond) 1746 to deny it, and he declined. I have no doubt that by some quibble, to which we are well accustomed, the Government justifies this denial to themselves, but even in the case of Cabinets and of statesmen with a higher standard of veracity than applies to the present Government, such a denial cannot be accepted. The House will remember the Kilmainham Treaty. Lord Morley was a Member of the Cabinet, and he knew all about it. [HON. MEMBERS: "He was not a Member of the Government."] He knew all about it. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, he did not!"]
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The hon. Member says he was not in Parliament, but he forgets that he had access to all Mr. Glad-stone's papers. Speaking of that incident, Lord Morley uses these words:—Mr. Gladstone was always impatient of any reference to reciprocal assurances or tacit understandings in respect of the dealings with the prisoners in Kilmainham. Still, the nature of the proceeding was plain enough.The nature of the proceeding now is plain enough. I believe—indeed, I am sure—that taking this House as a whole, the majority of Members in it would like to see a peaceful solution of this difficulty. It is that bargain which blocks the way, and prevents them from acting as free agents. The Foreign Secretary suggested that there should be a renewal of the conversations between the Leaders of parties. We have had experience of that. I am so anxious to find a solution that if such a proposal is made we should certainly accept it, but what is the use of conversations when we know that the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond) acts as a veto on any proposal that is made. That is the difficulty, and if the Government would make up their mind what is a fair and proper solution for which they themselves would accept responsibility, and which they would carry out in accordance with their own conscience, the difficulty would disappear and a settlement would come about. I have tried to show, and I think every hon. Member in the House will admit that I have shown, that so far as the appeal to the people is concerned we have done everything in our power to make it easy for the Government to take that obvious course. The other way of escape is by the exclusion of Ulster, and here, again, we have done and we are prepared to do everything to make that solution 1747 possible. The Government have made us an offer. They have said—the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond) repeated this afternoon — that we rejected it with scorn and contempt. We did nothing of the kind. On the day on which that offer was made my right hon. Friend who speaks for the Ulster Unionists, and I, speaking for the Unionist party here, said that if the proposal of the Government meant that the people of Ulster were not to be compelled to submit to an Irish Parliament against their will we did not reject it; we accepted it as the basis of discussion. That is our position.
I go further now. I say that we would welcome the introduction of that proposal into this House in a form in which it could be discussed. We would welcome It because I am really convinced that the time limit which the Government propose is in itself so inherently unjust, and even absurd, that it could not stand the test of discussion even in the present House of Commons. I am not going at any length into the arguments for or against that proposal; but is not this the central fact? Why did the Government propose to exclude Ulster at all just now? They have proposed to exclude them because they are not willing to come in. If it is not right to compel them to come in against their will to-day, how can it be right to compel them to come in against their will six years hence? Look at the arguments by which they defend it. The Government tell us that we will have two elections—that we only asked for one and that we shall have two. They are wrong in that. Even under their proposal there will only be one election which is decisive. Suppose we win the first election and are beaten in the second, what we have clone will be reversed and it will be the last election, and not the earlier one which will decide the fate of Ulster. But there is more than that. One of two things. Either the elections would be fought on the question of Ulster or they would not. If they are not fought on the question of Ulster, then there is no protection for Ulster, and if they are, then when we were told that one of the objects of the Bill was to free us from the incubus of the Irish question, it means that for six years the whole road will be blocked by the Irish bog as it has been in the past. That is not a proposal which could ever have 1748 been made by any Government if it had been a free agent and free to make its own proposal. They tell us that we are wrong to accuse them of insincerity. What other view can we take? Does anyone believe that the Government would have made that proposal on their own initiative? Look what happened this afternoon. The hon. Member for Waterford jumped with delight at the idea that this proposal was already dead. It shows how much reality he attaches to it. If the Government really mean honestly to consider the exclusion of the people of Ulster when not willing to come in, then that way peace lies, and we shall do everything in our power to facilitate a settlement on this line.
Look at the argument by hon. Members below the Gangway. The hon. Member for Waterford said this afternoon that before the end of six years Ulster would be anxious to come in. The hon. Member-of the Scotland Division (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), in his speech last week, with that rhetoric for which he is distinguished, put it stronger, "Why do not you let them come in?" Who prevents them coming in if they are willing to come in at the end of six years, and if they are not willing, what right have you to compel them? Even from the point of view of those Nationalist Members themselves, if they really believe that the people of Ulster will come in, and would be willing to come in, then human nature, being what it is, are they not taking the one means by holding this sword threateningly over them, to make it certain that the people of Ulster will not be willing to come into the Irish Parliament? In this connection there is one other remark of the Foreign Secretary to which I should like to refer. When he was arguing about the two elections an hon. Member behind me asked, "Must Ulster keep up its organisation throughout these six years?" The Foreign Secretary replied, "No organisation is necessary; the expression of opinion is enough." How could any man whatever on that bench say such a thing in the light of our experience? The First Lord of the Admiralty in that famous speech at Bradford used these words:—In common with Sir Edward Grey, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Birrell, and other of my colleagues, and in full harmony with the views of the Prime Minister, I have always held that within proper limits, the Ulster Protestant counties had a strong case fur special treatment.He had always held! What a lurid light that throws on the character of the present Government! They had always held 1749 it; yet for two years they not only concealed their view, but on every occasion every man on that bench who spoke denied that Ulster had any right to special treatment.
The Chief Secretary shook his head. I challenge him to produce a single instance in which there was any indication that Ulster had a right to special treatment under Home Rule. Is it not very difficult to judge of the opinion of the present Government when what they say has no relation whatever to what they think. The expression of opinion ought to be enough, but after our experience, is it not possible that another Government might be in power with standards very like those of the Gentlemen on that bench who would turn a deaf ear to the claims of Ulster, as they have done, even though they in their hearts have recognised the justice of these claims. The Foreign Secretary had something else to say in regard to this question. He told us, in words which at the time we thought meant something, that there would be no coercion of Ulster until after the General Election, and, he added, that the General Election could be fought on conditions fair to whichever party won. The speech has been already edited—edited by his colleague, the President of the Local Government Board. What did he tell us? He said—and it was very kind of him—that if we won the next election, we could repeal the time limit. Very fine words! His assumption is, even although the people of this country declare by an overwhelming majority that they are against the whole policy of the Government, that we are to be at liberty to repeal the time limit.
Now just consider what that means in the view of the Government as to the right method of carrying on government in a democratic country. They won their election on the cry that the will of the people must prevail. It was on that cry that they sit on that bench now. The President of the Local Government Board tells us in plain language that what he means by that is that lie is entitled to do everything in his power to make it difficult, and if he can to make it impossible, that the will of the people should be carried into effect when it has been declared at the polls in the country. And that is democratic government! I do not 1750 wish to deprive the right hon. Gentleman of his fair share of time, and there is only one other subject on which I wish to speak before I sit down. The Foreign Secretary told us that the Government had no intention of coercing Ulster until after a General Election, but, as he developed his speech, I heard what seemed to me, though I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman did not realise it himself, the most cold-blooded indication made in calm and deliberate language of a policy which could have no other effect than to procure that there would be bloodshed in Ulster. What was that policy? He told us that they would place the Bill on the Statute Book, and that it will become the law of the land. Yes, and if the people of Ulster did anything to avert the fate against which they have been organising themselves for two years, a fate which, remember, is not in the future, but which has already opened to them—for by law they are being driven out of this House—then what the right hon. Gentleman describes as a settlement by force will come into play. He will swoop down upon Ulster. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!" and "Where is he?"]
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The hon. Gentleman is mistaken. He has not yet edited that part of his speech. He will swoop down upon Ulster with the full forces of the Crown, and crush the resistance of the people of Ulster. I admit, as everyone must admit, that it is the duty of a Government to maintain order, but I say also that it is equally the duty of a Government to avert if they can, if it is in their power, the creation of a situation in which force will be necessary. Here they can do it, in the simplest way, by having the decision of the country before and not after the Bill is passed into law. I have appealed to hon. Members opposite to. look at this matter fairly, and I ask the House to consider what that means. By doing that the Government will be placing upon the people of Ulster a strain which is really intolerable, and I do not believe even all the influence of my right hon. Friend could succeed in keeping quiet in Ulster. What does it mean? The moment that the Bill becomes law the Nationalists naturally regard it as something that is finished—an accomplished fact. There will be rejoicings which though natural to them, will be very provocative to those who are determined not to have it. More than that, the people of Ulster will have to stand still and watch all the 1751 machinery of the Government being created which is to control them under the Act of Parliament. You are really asking the people of Ulster to stand while the noose is being arranged around their throats, and not to struggle until it is pulled to the point of suffocation. That has never been done in similar circumstances. I mean that a strain like that has never been stood on any occasion in the history of the world. I do ask hon. Gentlemen opposite whether they have any feeling of sympathy for these people?
I am sure of this that if it were not for party prejudice hon. Gentlemen opposite would feel that however misguided, as they think, these men are, they have still some claim to their sympathy, and would do everything in their power to avert a situation which made it necessary to seek it. If they were outside these islands there would be nothing but sympathy for them on the benches opposite. But, after all, though you may think their fears are exaggerated, and that they are quite wrong, they are struggling for what is not an ignoble idea. There is nothing personally selfish in it, and they have made, as everybody who knows the circumstances will admit, during the past two years, sacrifices which have rarely, if ever, been made in the history of our own country. I say that if they were outside these islands there would be nothing but sympathy. Look at what is happening to-day in another part of the world. An Ulster situation, or something very like it, has arisen in the Balkans. The Concert of Europe, with the Foreign Secretary as one of its members, decided that the people of Northern Epirus should be included in the Albanian Kingdom. The people of Epirus are Greeks by nationality. They have determined that they will not submit to that fate. They did not wait until the machinery of the government was complete. They took up arms at once, and they are in arms now. Suppose the Concert of Europe decides to coerce them—I am not judging the merits of this question at all—will the Foreign Secretary send British soldiers to shoot down these men? I think not. If he does I am sure of this, that on the benches behind him there are many Members who now seem to look with equanimity on the carrying of fire and sword into Ulster, who would raise the wildest outcry if British soldiers were used there. A problem such 1752 as ours never has and never can be settled by force. If the Government choose they have the power to ruin Ulster and to ruin their own country, but they will never succeed in compelling a great community, against its will, by force, to go outside the protection of the British Parliament. They will never succeed, because the conscience of the British people will not permit it.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I have to make a speech which, unlike most of those heard in connection with the Home Rule Bill, will be conciliatory all through. I will try my best, so far as my natural man will allow, and I think I shall probably succeed. Notwithstanding some of the observations of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, I, who have listened to the whole of this Debate with intense interest, and particularly to the contributions made to it by Members of the Back Benches, honestly feel that they have not been thrown away. Despite adverse criticism and some forcible criticism I do really think we have made very considerable progress. We have done this, and I shall be very careful in what I say not to press my point one bit further than I honestly believe it should be pressed. Nobody listening to our Debates, no distinguished foreigner, if I may invoke once more that agreeable figment—no agreeable foreigner—at all events he would show some desire to be agreeable by listening to our Debates, no foreigner listening to our Debates, but must have come to the conclusion that could we in this House but lay our heads together and come to an agreement upon the question of exclusion of Ulster, the rest of Ireland would be able to obtain, not, I agree, by the co-operation or with anything but the sombre, and, if you will, foreboding acquiescence of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and could succeed in obtaining the rest of this Bill for themselves. I do not want, as I say, to suppose for a single moment that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are giving up their opposition to Home Rule, but, nevertheless, the whole course of this Debate has taken the shape which I have indicated. I do not think that anybody will deny it. -These Debates have been conducted by hon. Gentlemen opposite—in particular by hon. Gentlemen opposite—in a spirit which showed that they approached this question under the shadow of what they conceived to be, and what 1753 would be, a great calamity. They have spoken in solemn tones about that calamity, and it would be affectation to deny it did affect not only the tone of their speeches, but the conclusion at which they bad arrived—and that calamity is civil war.
I hope I am no more a coward than many another man, but I shudder at the very thought, at the very conception of civil war, and I regard, and have regarded it all through these Debates with horror, that words of that dread character should be dragged forth from their inferno and made part, as it were, of our ordinary Parliamentary vocabulary. Civil war in Ulster The fields of Ulster are just as dear to the inhabitants of Ireland, wherever they may dwell, or at all events almost as clear, as they are to the men of Ulster themselves. Drenched in blood I want to speak frankly upon this question wholly outside party politics, or my own obligations to any human being. I remember—they are stamped in my memory—the words of Lord Chatham and of Burke employed by them, with regard to the conduct of a civil war which happened one hundred and fifty years ago on the other side of an estranging ocean thousands of miles away, and if they had those feelings, if the words they then employed are stamped in the memory of any man who ever read them, what would our feelings be of shame and of humiliation if there were any such occurrence today, and at home? [HON. MEMBERS: "Churchill!"]
In saying, and I do say, that civil war is impossible, I am not for one single moment underrating the courage and determination or the preparations of those dissentients in Ulster, who, I know, are large in number and full of spirit and determination. I am not for one moment ignoring that courage and determination, nor am I ignoring—I am not likely to do so—the strength of their hatred and of their extraordinary feeling towards that ancient Church to which the majority of Irishmen belong, and to which, it is only fair to remark, a great majority of Christendom belong. If I were inclined to ignore it, the postbag which I have received every morning for the last two years would bring to my mind and recollection the force of that passion, which it is folly to ignore, for in a very real sense that is the pulse of the machine. I ignore neither their courage nor the passion which animates their feelings. [HON. 1754 MEMBERS: "Then why do what you are doing!"] If you ask from what source, then, do I derive the conviction to which I have given expression that civil war is impossible, I will tell you. It is because it takes two to make a quarrel. There must be two rival armies arrayed as against the other in the field, and there must be two furious hordes of men feeding their hungry hearts upon carnage. These things, happily, are necessary before you can say that there is civil war.
I associate myself entirely with the Lord Chancellor—I care not which reading you choose—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I am entitled, I suppose, to select either if I like. I associate myself entirely with the Lord Chancellor that no one seeks by force of arms to coerce grown men to send representatives to Parliament, or to shoot the leading citizens of Belfast because they refuse to pay the first Irish tax. I entirely associate myself with that. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is not what he said!"] He said that he could not imagine the circumstances under which Ulster would be coerced. That is the language which he employed. [Interruption.] This is not the first time that I have been exposed to the disadvantage of concluding a Debate upon this question, and I know very well beforehand to what I am subjected. But no doubt when we find an Ulster in arms, far outnumbering already the forces of the police, and when they threaten to usurp the ordinary prerogative of the Crown, why, then I do not deny that you approach a sphere of danger and of civil commotion. But that is not our fault. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] We hear strange words about provocation. Provocation? A hundred thousand men in arms, drilling, marching, countermarching, filling the newspapers, attracting a universal amount of attention, and all that in Ulster in the midst of a large Catholic and Nationalist population. Is there no provocation in that? I am amazed at the patience and quietness with which the Catholic and Nationalist population of Ulster—which is very large—have submitted to what certainly is a far greater provocation than any to which the men of Ulster, the Covenanters of Ulster, have been exposed. No Papist dog has been allowed to bark. No one has been allowed to smile. If anyone should utter a word about wooden guns they would be accused of blood-guiltiness. Nevertheless the men of Ulster are allowed to meet in 1755 Hyde Park, to have their fourteen platforms, and to use language which no human being could call a step towards conciliation. I say that in this business the provocation has been on the side of hon. Gentlemen opposite and not on ours.
I, however, gladly turn away from that part of the case, and desire to look at it, as I am bound, with the responsibility of my office, to look at it, from the point of view of Ireland and of this Bill. It does not need civil war or anything that any human being could by any stretch of imagination or extension of language call civil war. It does not need a civil war to make a settlement of this question—accommodation upon it—something approaching to consent, a matter of most vital and urgent importance. If Home Rule is ever to be what the men of Ireland wish it to be, what men of the Irish race all over the world hope that it will be, why, then, I quite agree with the conciliatory language, repeated, I am happy to say, to-day, the conciliatory language of the right hon. Gentleman that Ulster must be won." There I am entirely in accord with him. Ulster must be won. Her opposition must be foregone. Her unwillingness to take part in the self-government of her island must be conquered. It cannot be conquered by force. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] Yes; hence our proposals. Let us look at them.
Our proposals were made—the right hon. and learned Gentleman will agree with me here—along the line which at all events approaches to some degree the Covenanters' case. They were most repulsive to me. They were not proposals which recommended themselves to my mind. But I thought, I honestly thought—and from what we have heard already I was right in thinking so—that they, at all events, began to approach what is the Covenanters' case. What is that case? That case is they will not come into a Dublin Parliament. They will not submit themselves to Irish law. They will not stand out— [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes!]"l—for ever! Not even the Scottish Covenanters could stand out for futurity. You cannot answer for your posterity. Changes occur, and have occurred, in the history of the world, i.e., "Creeds change. Rites pass. No altar standeth whole." You cannot answer—I am sure you would not upon reflection take it upon yourselves to answer—for all time. After all the 1756 present is troublesome enough. It is the present with which I am solely concerned. They will not come in now. Our proposals proceed, at all events, on a basis of immediate exclusion. To that extent they have come, and we have gone to meet them. No doubt we have been abused every day. We were abused the other day by the hon. Member for Cork City (Mr. W. O'Brien), and we were abused to-night by the hon. and learned Member for North-East Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy). They have schemes of their own-far better schemes-which they have urged upon us and called our attention to. These prophets of conciliation have done their best to recommend them to us. These prophets, who love everybody except their neighbour, have urged their proposals upon us. But they have had no effect upon the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir E. Carson). Why do not these hon. Members approach the right. hon. and learned Gentleman? He is far more friendly to them than to me. Why cannot they approach him?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Prime Minister would willingly approach anybody, only it must be on a line that is likely to be received. My right hon. Friend the Member for Islington (Mr. Lough) is also violently opposed to this scheme. He is not more opposed to it upon its merits than I am. The right hon. Gentleman thinks that having once persuaded himself, he has persuaded everybody else. But that, is not the case. We proceed upon these proposals because they are on lines which recommend themselves to the Covenanters. At the present moment nothing will induce them to come in. On these lines we put them forward. The great demerit of our proposal, I quite agree, is their unpopularity both in Ireland and among my hon. Friends behind me. But their one merit, and I think it is a real merit, is that we are doing something towards meeting the case which has been made out. We propose that these counties shall be left out but for six years. Very well! If Home Rule is going to be the financial failure and social disaster and miserable Catastrophe that hon. Gentlemen prognosticate, why Ulster is safe for ever. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why? Do hon. Members ignore altogether the continued existence of this House? Will it have no 1757 voice or place on this matter? Will it never be possible during these six years to form its own opinion? I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman the senior Member for the City of London should feel so strongly upon what I am saying, and should express his opinion in so lively a fashion.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I do not wish the right hon. Gentleman to apologise; I would sooner have his real opinion and the opinion he would permit himself to make if he knew he was not in earshot. I must not stop here. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen are with us to this extent that there should be an immediate exclusion of Ulster. Having got that length, they say: Why cannot you go a little further? Why cannot you foreclose with Ulster at once, and say that the dissentient parts of Ulster are to remain out until such time as the Imperial Parliament puts them back; I can quite imagine that were we all Englishmen and Ireland was an island in the Ægean, and it was being discussed and carved up by Englishmen, people saying there is very little difference between those two propositions, and there ought to be no difficulty. But there is a difficulty. The difficulty is Ireland. That is all, but it is enough. Ireland is an integral portion of the United Kingdom. She has her present Constitution and people to represent her mind and will upon these subjects, and it is hopelessly impossible for us to proceed to a settlement of the Irish question if you leave Irish sentiment wholly out of account. In Ulster no less than in Connaught, the people are against anything like a permanent mutilation, or what seems to them to be a permanent mutilation of what they thought to be one island and one people. Therefore, I ask hon. Members opposite in a spirit of conciliation not to express consent now to our proposals, but to look at them more than they have done before from that point of view. We want to settle it, but you must not press us on that point too hardly.
I cannot help feeling that every one of you, just as we do, feel the sacrifices we have made and the sacrifices which the right hon. Gentleman has made in separating the Protestants of Ulster from the Protestants of other parts of Ireland. I am not ignoring that sacrifice, nor am I saying that the right hon. Gentleman has 1758 made no approach to us, because I think he has, but I am asking that this point, the only one outstanding, should be taken into consideration by the right hon. Gentleman, as he would do, I am sure, if he were acting independently for persons outside himself and his own interest. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether this difference cannot be got over in some way. I am not asking him to say in what way the difficulty can be fairly and properly got over, but having regard to the overwhelming sentiment which is just as strong in Ulster as in other parts of Ireland, that you ought not to build this dyke between one part of Ulster and the rest, but ought to be able to find some solution whereby dissentient Ulster should come out immediately and remain out for a length of time, going back upon such conditions as we are quite ready to consider with you, but you must not press or insist or ask Irishmen to agree to the permanent, or what may seem to be the permanent exclusion of what to them is as precious as Lancashire or Yorkshire cart possibly be to England. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down wanted to know why we do not sympathise with the Ulster people more than we do. The same point was put most powerfully by the hon. Member for the St. Augustine's Division (Mr. Ronald M'Neill) who appealed to the Labour Members and the Scottish Members behind him—tough nuts to crack—and he put the question to them perfectly fairly. He said, "These men of Ulster are not aristocrats or dukes, but working men and trade unionists either engaged in the field or in industrial labour; they are Protestants, and why do you not sympathise with them?"
Had the hon. Member pursued his inquiry a little further he might have suggested an answer, which was supplied by the hon. Member for Ipswich, who made an admirable speech. The hon. Member for Ipswich, who represents in this House what Burke called the dissidence of dissent and the Protestantism of the Protestant religion, said that the reason why. he and his like do not sympathise with the men of Ulster is: first of all, that they do not sympathise with their religious point of view, and then they do not believe—here is the misfortune—that the dreadful things which Ulster anticipates would happen under this Bill are going to happen. That is the reason. But I agree that does not matter very much for my 1759 purpose and for the present moment. The hon. Member for Ipswich said, "If I thought that the Vatican were going to control Ireland in the future and that civil and religious liberties were going to disappear, I, myself, would become a Covenantor." But the Covenanters do believe this. [An HON. MEMBER: "They know more about it!"] We all have our own experience of these matters, but I agree that we have got to deal with people who entertain these feelings at the present time. The only thing that can affect those feelings and effect the change that will eventually be brought about is time. Therefore, we are really upon the question of time, and on that question I do honestly think that it ought to be possible for Gentlemen opposite to come to some fair conclusion. I say quite frankly that I am probably as anxious as anyone to bring about a settlement. I want to see it done if it can be done, and I really think that it can be done with fairness and consideration, but you must not press Ireland too hard or us too hard.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The whole object is to meet the case of Ulster. We want to meet the case of Ulster for the present time, to secure that she should not be, as she cannot be I quite agree, driven into a Constitution to which she is averse. [Cheers.] That is so obvious that it really does not require to be enthusiastically applauded. [Interruption.] It is impossible for me to proceed with a Debate in this mood. If I had adopted another line I dare say I should have got through without the interruptions which have certainly prevented one from putting my case as clearly and in as good a manner as I believe I could have done. All I can say is that we on this side of the House, whilst shutting no door and keeping open every proposal that has been made, in no way agreeing that any proposals we have made are withdrawn, in no way insisting upon them being accepted exactly in the form in which we have put them forward say that none the less we cannot—and it would be idle for you to expect us
§ to do so—parley for ever with threats of violence. We have behind us great forces of our own, forces which though sometimes delayed and often in Ireland cruelly delayed, have never known ultimate defeat. We have behind us the vast majority of the Irish people and their representatives, elected by a franchise you yourselves have conferred upon them. We have behind us the cause of self-government and the world-wide experience behind that. And, what is more, we have the comforting knowledge that under the provisions of this Bill, even as it stands, no single man, woman or child in Ulster would have his or her civil or religious liberty in any way imperilled. Not a single soul will be driven out of the Constitution, no one is being deprived of the protection of this House, and no Irish Protestant will be deprived of the public opinion of this great Protestant community. We know all these things. We believe these things. We are ready to maintain these things before any tribunal, and I hope the House will now proceed, first, to dismiss the Motion moved by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and then to give for the third and last time a Second Reading to this Bill.
§ Mr. PETO
(who spoke amid persistent cries of Divide!"): I desire to call the attention of this House to the fact that the right hon. Gentleman has spoken for half-an-hour after the Leader of the Opposition, and has not answered one single argument, or even alluded to the offer made by my right hon. Friend. He has not answered a single argument, and it would seem that unseemly noise is the only argument they can put forward in favour of this Bill. I claim that we have a right—
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. McKenna)
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question he now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 356; Noes, 272.1765
|Division No. 59.]||AYES.||[10.58 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Agnew, Sir George William||Armitage, Robert|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Ainsworth, John Stirling||Arnold, Sydney|
|Adamson, William||Alden, Percy||Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Gelder, Sir William Alfred||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, S.)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Gill, A. H.||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Ginnell, L.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Barnes, George N.||Gladstone, W. G. C.||M'Callum, Sir John M.|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick)||Glanville, H. J.||M'Curdy, C. A.|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Kean, John|
|Barton, William||Goldstone, Frank||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Greig, Colonel J. W.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Griffith, Ellis Jones||Manfield, Harry|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, S, Geo.)||Guest, Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hackett, J.||Martin, J.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Boland, John Pius||Hancock, John George||Meagher, Michael|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Hardie, J. Keir||Middlebrook, William|
|Brace, William||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Millar, James Duncan|
|Brady, P. J.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Molloy, Michael|
|Brunner, John F. L||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Molten, Percy Alport|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred|
|Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Burke, E. Haylland-||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Mooney, John J.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hayden, John Patrick||Morgan, George Hay|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Hayward, Evan||Morrell, Philip|
|Bytes, Sir William Pollard||Hazleton, Richard||Morison, Hector|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Muldoon, John|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Henry, Sir Charles||Murphy, Martin J.|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hewart, Gordon||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Higham, John Sharp||Needham, Christopher Thomas|
|Clough, William||Hinds, John||Neilson, Francis|
|Clynes, John R.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Hodge, John||Nolan, Joseph|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Hogge, James Myles||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Holt, Richard Durning||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Cotton, William Francis||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Hudson, Walter||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Crooks, William||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Crumley, Patrick||John, Edward Thomas||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Cullinan, John||Johnson, W.||O'Dowd, John|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'gden, Fred|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Elfion)||Jones, H. Haydn (Merloneth)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||O'Malley, William|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Dawes, J. A.||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||O'Shee, James John|
|De Forest, Baron||Jowett, Frederick William||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Delany, William||Joyce, Michael||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Keating, Matthew||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kellaway, Frederick George||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Kelly, Edward||Parry, Thomas H.|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Kennedy, Vincent||Paul Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Dillon, John||Kenyon, Barnet||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Kilbride, Denis||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.|
|Doris, William||King, J.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Duffy, William J.||Lamb, Sir Ernest Henry||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-In-Furness)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Lambert, Richard (Wins, Cricklade)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Lardner, James C. R.||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Pratt, J. W.|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Leach, Charles||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Price, Sir R. J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Logan, John William||Priestley, Sir W. E. (Bradford)|
|Falconer, James||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||London, T.||Radford, G. H.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Lyell, Charles Henry Rattan,||Peter Wilson|
|Field, William||Lynch, A. A.||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Macdonald. J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||McGhee, Richard||Reddy, M.|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Maclean, Donald||Redmond, John (Waterford)|
|Furness, Sir Stephen Wilson||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, E.).||Watt, Henry Anderson|
|Rendall, Atheistan||Snowden, Philip||Webb, H.|
|Richards, Thomas||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert||White, J. Dundas (Glas, Tradeston)|
|Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, W.)||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Sutherland, J. E.||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Sutton, John E.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Swann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Robinson, Sidney||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Tennant, Harold John||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Thomas, James Henry||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Rowlands, James||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Rowntree, Arnold||Thorne, William (West Ham)||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Toulmin, Sir George||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Trevelyan. Charles Philips||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. Worcs., N.)|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Verney, Sir Harry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wadsworth, J.||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Scanlan, Thomas||Walters, Sir John Tudor||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Walton, Sir Joseph||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Sheehy, David||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Young, W. (Perth, E.)|
|Sherwell, Arthur James||Wardle, George J.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Shortt, Edward||Waring, Walter|
|Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Atlsebrook||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton).||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Agar-Robertes, Hon. T. C. R.||Cave, George||Gilmour, Captain John|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Giazebrook, Captain Philip K.|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Goldman, C. S.|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Chambers, James||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Ashley, W. W.||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Grant, J. A.|
|Astor, Waldorf||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Greene, W. R.|
|Baird, J. L.||Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Gretton, John|
|Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Clyde, J. Avon||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Haddock, George Bahr|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Cory, Sir Clifford John||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Courthope, George Loyd||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Hall, Marshall (L'pool, E. Toxteth)|
|Barnston, Harry||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar|
|Barrie, H. T.||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Hamersley, Alfred St. George|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Craik, Sir Henry||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)|
|Bathurst, C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninlan||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Croft, H. P.||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Currie, George W.||Harris, Henry Percy|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Dairymple, Viscount||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Bonn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Denison-Pender, J. C.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks., Abingdon)|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Denniss, E. R. B.||Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.)|
|Beresford, Lord C.||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Dixon, C. H.||Hewins, William Albert Samuel|
|Bird, A.||Doughty, Sir George||Hibbert, Sir Henry F.|
|Blair, Reginald||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Duke, Henry Edward||Hills, John Wailer|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Duncannon, Viscount||Hill-Wood, Samuel|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Du Pre, W. Baring||Hoare, S. J. G.|
|Boyton, James||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Hohler, G. F.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Hope, Harry (Bute)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Falle, B. G.||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)|
|Burgoyne, A. H.||Fell, Arthur||Horne, E. (Surrey, Guildford)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Horner, Andrew Long|
|Butcher, John George||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W.||Hayes Hume-Williams, William Ellis|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Hunt, Rowland|
|Campion, W. R.||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Hunter, Sir C. R.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Fleming, Valentine||Ingleby, Holcombe|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Fletcher, John Samuel||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)|
|Cassel, Felix||Forster, Henry William||Jessel, Captain H. M.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Gardner, Ernest||Joynson-Hicks, William|
|Gator, John||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr|
|Cautley, H. S.||Gibbs, G. A.||Kerry, Earl of|
|Keswick, Henry||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Stewart, Gershom|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Swift, Rigby|
|Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Parkes, Ebenezer||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.||Sykes, Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Larmor, Sir J.||Perkins, Walter F.||Tyrrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Peto, Basil Edward||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Pale-Carew, Sir R.||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Lewisham, Viscount||Pretyman, Ernest George||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Lloyd, George Ambrose (Stafford, W.)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Quitter, Sir William Eley C.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Randles, Sir John S.||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Locker-Lampoon, O. (Ramsey)||Ratcliff, R. F.||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Valentia, Viscount|
|Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Rawson, Col. Richard H.||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Rees, Sir J. D.||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Lyttelton, Hon. J. C.||Remnant, James Farquharson||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Warde, Col. C.E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Mackinder, Halford J.||Rolleston, Sir John||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Macmaster, Donald||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|M'Calmont, Major Robert C. A.||Rothschild, Lionel de||Weston, Colonel J. W.|
|M'Neill, Ronald Kent, St. Augustine's)||Royds, Edmund||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Malcolm, Ian||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool., W. Derby)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Salter, Arthur Clavell||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Sanders, Robert Arthur||Wilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Sanderson, Lancelot||Wilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S. W)|
|Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Sandys, G. J.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Sassoon, Sir Philip||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Mount, William Arthur||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)||Worthington Evans, L.|
|Neville, Reginald J. N.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Newdegate, F. A.||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l., Walton)||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Newman, John R. P.||Spear, Sir John Ward||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Newton, Harry Kottingham||Stanler, Beville||Yerburgh, Robert A.|
|Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)||Younger, Sir George|
|Nield, Herbert||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Norton-Griffiths, J.||Starkey, John Ralph||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord|
|O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Staveley-Hill, Henry||Edmund Talbot and Mr. Pike Pease.|
|Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."1766
§ The House divided: Ayes, 356; Noes, 276.1771
|Division No. 60.]||AYES.||[11. 12 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Brady, Patrick Joseph||Dawes, James Arthur|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Brunner, John F. L.||De Forest, Baron|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bryce, J. Annan||Delany, William|
|Adamson, William||Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O.||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Burke, E. Haviland-||Devlin, Joseph|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Dewar, Sir J. A.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Dillon, John|
|Alden, Percy||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Doris, William|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Duffy, William J.|
|Armitage, Robert||Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Chancellor, Henry George||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Clancy, John Joseph||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Clough, William||Elverston, Sir Harold|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Clynes, John R.||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)|
|Barnes, George N.||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Essex, Sir Richard Walter|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Falconer, James|
|Barton, William||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Cotton, William Francis||Ffrench, Peter|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Cowan, W. H.||Field, William|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Crooks, William||Fitzgibbon, John|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Crumley, Patrick||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cullinan, John||France, Gerald Ashburner|
|Black, Arthur W.||Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Furness, Sir Stephen Wilson|
|Boland, John Pius||Davies, David (Montgomery, Co.)||Golder, Sir William Alfred|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Davies, Ellis William (Elfion)||Gill, A. H.|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Ginnel, L.|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol. S.)||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Brace, William||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Glanville, H. J.|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Kean, John||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Goldstone, Frank||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Greig, Colonel J W.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Manfield, Harry||Robinson, Sidney|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Roche, M. Augustine (Louth, N.)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Hackett, John||Martin, J.||Rowlands, James|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Hancock, John George||Meagher, Michael||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Samuel, Rt. Hon- H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Hardie, J. Keir||Middlebrook, William||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Luton, Beds)||Millar, James Duncan||Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Molloy, Michael||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Molteno, Percy Alpert||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Seely, Colonel Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Sheehy, David|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Mooney, John J.||Shortt, Edward|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Morgan, George Hay||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Alisebreek|
|Hayward, Evan||Morrell, Philip||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Morison, Hector||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Muldoon, John||Snowden, Philip|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Murphy, Martin J.||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Hewart, Gordon||Needham, Christopher Thomas||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, Wolf)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Neilson, Francis||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Hinds, John||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Sutton, John E.|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Nolan, Joseph||Swann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Hodge, John||Norman, Sir Henry||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Hogge, James Myles||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Holmes. Daniel Turner||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Holt, Richard Darning||Nuttall, Harry||Tennant, Harold John|
|Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Thomas, James Henry|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Doherty, Philip||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||O'Donnell, Thomas||Treveiyan, Charles Philips|
|John, Edward Thomas||O'Dowd, John||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Johnson, W.||Ogden, Fred||Wadsworth, John|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., ince)|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, H.)||Waiters, Sir John Tudor|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Malley, William||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||O'Neill. Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Shee, James John||Wardle, George J.|
|Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Waring, Walter|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Outhwaite, R. L.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Joyce, Michael||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Keating, Matthew||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Parry, Thomas H.||Watt, Henry Anderson|
|Kelly, Edward||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Webb, H.|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Kenyon. Barnet||Pearson, Hon, Weetman H. M.||White, J. Dundee (Gies., Tradestea)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|King, Joseph||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Lamb, Sir Ernest Henry||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Moiton)||Pointer, Joseph||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Themes P.|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts. Cricklade)||Pollard, Sir George H.||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Lardner, James C. R.||Porisonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Pratt, J. W.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Leach, Charles||Price, Sir R. J. (Norfolk, E.)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Lewis, Rt. Non. John Herbert||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Logan, John William||Primrose, Hon. Neil James||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Pringle, William M. R.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Radford, G. H.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Lundon, Thomas Rattan||Peter Wilson||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Lynch, A. A.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Reddy, M.||Yeo, Alfred|
|William McGhee. Richard Redmond,||John E. (Waterford)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Maclean, Donald||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|MacNeill, J. G. Swill (Donegal, South)||Rendall, Atheistan|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Richards, Thomas|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|M'Callum, Sir John M.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|M'Curdy, C. A.||Roberts, Charles (Lincoln)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Duke, Henry Edward||Locker-Lampoon, O. (Ramsey)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Duncannon, Viscount||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R.|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Du Pre, W. Baring||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Falle, B. G.||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Fell, Arthur||Macmaster, Donald|
|Astor, Waldorf||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||M'Calmont, Major Robert C. A.|
|Baird, J. L.||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A||Malcolm, Ian|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lend.)||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick||George Fleming, Valentine||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Fletcher, John Samuel||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Baring, Major Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Forster, Henry William||Middlemore, John Throgmarton|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Gardner, Ernest||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Barnston, Harry||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Moore, William|
|Barrie, H. T.||Gibbs, G. A.||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Gigue., E.)||Gilmour, Captain John||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Mount, William Arthur|
|Beach, Han. Michael Hugh Hicks||Goldman, C. S.||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Goldsmith, Frank||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Newman, John R. P.|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Newton, Harry Kottingliam|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Grant, J. A.||Nield, Herbert|
|Beresford, Lord C.||Greene, W. R.||Norton-Griffiths, J.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Gretton, John||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Bird, Alfred||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Blair, Reginald||Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fartescus||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Haddock, George Bahr||Parker, Sir Gilhert (Gravesend)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Boyton, James||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.|
|Bridgman, William Clive||Hall, Marshall (L'pool, E. Toxteth)||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Burgoyne, A. H.||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Butcher, John George||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Harris, Henry||Percy Quilter, Sir W. E. C.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Handles, Sir John S.|
|Campion, W. R.||Helmsley, Viscount||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Mildred||Henderson, Major H. (Berke, Abingdon)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Henderson, Sir A. (St. Gee., Han. Sq.)||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Cassel, Felix||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Cator, John||Hibbert, Sir Henry F.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Caulley, H. S.||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Cave, George||Hills, John Wilier||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Hoare, S. J. G.||Royds, Edmund|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Hems, Hitchin)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwan)|
|Chalaner, Colonel R. G. W.||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool., W. Derby)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Salter, Arthur Clevell|
|Chambers, James||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Horne, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Horner, Andrew Long||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Houston, Robert Paterson||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Sandys, G. J.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Hunt, Rowland||Sassoon, Sir Philip|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham)||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Ingleby, Holcombe||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'pool, Walton)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Stanier, Beville|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Kerry, Earl of||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Keswick, Henry||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Croft, H. P.||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Currie, George W.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Larmor, Sir J.||Swift, Rigby|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Milo End)||Sykes, Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lewisham, Viscount||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Dixon, C. H.||Lloyd, George Ambrose (Stafford, W.)||Thompson, Robert (Belfast. North)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Locker-Lampoon, G. (Salisbury)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Tobin, Alfred Aspinall||Weston, Colonel J. W.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Touche, George Alexander||Whaler, Granville C. H.||Worthington Evans, L.|
|Tryon, Captain George Clement||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Tullibardine, Marquess of||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Valentia, Viscount||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Walker, Col. William Hall||Wills, Sir Gilbert||Yerburgh, Robert A.|
|Walrond, Hon. Lionel||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)||Younger, Sir George|
|Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)||Wilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Wards, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)||Wilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord|
|Watson, Hon. W.||Winterton, Earl||Edmund Talbot and Mr. Pike Pease.|
|Welgell, Captain A. G.||Wolmer, Viscount|
Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read a second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House, for Tuesday, 14th April.1772
§ It being Half-past Eleven of the clock, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at Half after Eleven o'clock.