§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir G. Cave)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
In moving the Second Reading of this Bill, I desire to make a few observations which arise out of yesterday's Debate, and, if I can, to clear away a few misconceptions. With regard to the main reason for the Bill, that there is a great and urgent need for more men, I think that there is no dispute. The events which we have watched with so much concern during the last fourteen days, and under the shadow of which we live to-day, are, I think, enough in themselves to show that we need the whole of our available forces to be used for the purposes of the War. But it is said, I think, with too little consideration, that by the time when the men who are to be raised under this Bill have undergone their training the great battle will be over, and they will no longer be required. I believe that to be a dangerous doctrine. Those who use it surely do not contemplate the possibility of our defeat; and who can say that within four or five or six months this War will have resulted in victory for the Allies? in any case the argument is wholly inapplicable in this case. The period, four or five or six or seven months hence, when these men, or those whose places they take in this country, will be ready to take their place in the line, will be exactly the time when they will be most needed. It is obvious that the result of recent battles must have been to accelerate the use of our drafts who were in reserve, and also, as we know, to throw into the fighting forces those American troops who were in training, but the effect of that very process must be that, within a few months, we shall need more men to fill up the gaps which arc created in this way, and the men whom we are asking for to-day will, I hope, be available when that time comes. I hold it to be a mistake to look to others to send us their help in the future. Let us do everything which we as a country can do. Let us prepare. Let us organise in every way that is open to us. Then, and then only, 1476 we shall be entitled to expect and shall be able to make the fullest use of such help as may be given to us by our Allies.
With regard to the proposals themselves, I need hardly say that we fully accept the test which was laid down with so much clearness by my right hon. Friend the Member for East Fife, namely, that it is only if we can make out, after a full review of the considerations on both sides, that our proposals will result in a greater supply of men, and in greater benefit to the country from the military point of view, that we can justify our proposals. I think that everyone of them will stand that test. Let me take the four main proposals in turn. First there is a proposal that we shall have power to enlist for military service men from forty to fifty. [HON MEMBERS: "Fifty-five!"] Originally it is from forty to fifty. It will be quite obvious that the percentage of men of those ages who will come in under the Bill must be lower than in the case of the men of lower age, the men already enlisted, not only for reasons of health, but because many of these older men are now doing the work which was formerly done by the younger men, and work which must be done by someone from the point of view of the War. Therefore, it is quite plain, however you look at it, provided you do so carefully, that there must be a considerable number of men between forty and fifty who will be employed in shipbuilding or some other industry essential to the War, and who, for that reason, will be found to be indispensable and cannot be spared. For these reasons the percentage of men is lower, and must be lower, than in the case of the younger class. Notwithstanding that, we are advised that this first Clause will bring in a substantial number of men who will be of real military value—either for the military work they will do themselves or because they will release for the fighting line younger men who are now employed behind the line. I want to make it clear that it is not proposed to give any undertaking that these men shall be employed for Home defence only. The defence of the country is carried on not only in England, but at Calais and elsewhere on the Continent. Men must be available for service wherever they can do the best service for the country. With that proviso, of course, every attempt will be made to see that the older men now to be enlisted shall be put to the precise military work for which they are found to be best fitted.
1477 As regards the proposal to take men between fifty and fifty-five, I feel sure that, except as regards the medical practitioners, who are urgently and immediately required, the power will not be used except in some very great national emergency. [An HON MEMBER: "Has not that arisen?"] We wish this to be the last Man-Power Bill to be introduced to the House. The House will feel, however, that if more men are required the moment the need arises the Order should be made to enable these men to be taken for the work they are able to do.
§ Sir G. CAVE
We might as well remove the age limit altogether. Of course, the taking of men, whether up to fifty or fifty-five, must affect the national industries of the country. No one disputes that. You have to balance the advantages and disadvantages, the gains and the losses. Germany has made all Europe an armed camp, and in times like this we must meet, first of all, the necessities of defence, including, of course, the needs for shipbuilding and for making munitions in time of war. I am quite certain that those who will have control of the calling up of these men will bear in mind, as clearly as anyone in this House does to-day, the loss which must ensue by any interference with our industries, and will exercise their powers with that consideration fully in their minds.
As regards the proposal for taking ministers of religion, I do not think I need add anything to what the Prime Minister said yesterday, but I desire just to say this: I know that many ministers of religion will be willing, and indeed are anxious, to take their place in the combatant forces. That is not confined to ministers of my church. I read a letter from the Rev. Dr. Meyer, in the papers yesterday, which shows that the same feeling exists among the ministers of other churches.
§ Sir G. CAVE
It will make it easier for them. When they must be in the Army, and have the choice between the combatant and non-combatant service, they will be able to elect which service they will prefer. The Director-General of National Service, or the military authorities, are very desirous of dealing with the ministers 1478 of religion as they deal with members of the medical profession, that is, to consult those who represent the different religious bodies, and ascertain from them which men can best be spared, and what arrangements they can make for filling their places, so as to call up this class of men with as little interference as necessary with religious life.
§ Sir G. CAVE
I cannot tell. I want to call attention to a Sub-section which was not mentioned yesterday, namely, Subsection (3) of the first Clause, in which we propose to repeal, first, the exemption of men of twelve years' service and upwards, which no longer applies, now that we are raising the age to fifty; and, secondly, the exemption of returned prisoners of war, many of whom are able and willing to serve, except in such cases—not many cases—where the Government have agreed that they shall not be called up. That is, in substance, the first Clause, from which we hope to get at the outset a very substantial number of men.
I would gladly avoid dealing with the Clause relating to Ireland, if I could do so, because we all know it is a highly controversial Clause. I must say this in answer to the question which results from the test laid down by my right hon. Friend the ex-Prime Minister, whether, when you look at it all round, our proposal will have a real military value. As regards this proposal relating to Ireland, we are advised that it will yield a large number of men.
§ Sir G. CAVE
I know we are told there may be resistance—[An HON MEMBER: "There will be!"]—and there are hon. Members who desire to encourage that resistance as much as they can—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I must appeal to hon. Members to allow the Home Secretary to have a fair hearing. If hon. Members wish themselves to be heard in their turn, it is only right they should allow him to be heard.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I would especially warn the hon. Member for the Harbour Division not to interrupt so frequently. It may destroy his chances of being called at a later stage.
§ Sir G. CAVE
Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, I am sure, would wish that the freedom of speech which they themselves exercise so freely should be extended to other quarters of the House. I was saying that we do believe, rightly or wrongly, that this Clause will produce a very substantial number of men indeed. If we could expect only ten divisions, and there will be more; indeed, if there were only five divisions to be got out of this Clause, it would be well worth while to pass it into law. It is said, and it is of course a consideration to be remembered, that you will need an Army to enforce the operation of this Clause. We do not think so. Owing to the operations of certain bodies in Ireland—not, I think, strongly represented in this House—who have continued their agitation notwithstanding the exemption of Ireland from compulsory military service, it is already necessary to keep a considerable force in Ireland, and we do not think that that force need be substantially increased by reason of this Bill.
Let me say a word—and I think it ought to be said—with regard to the connection which is found by some people between this proposal and self-government for Ireland. It is said—and said, I know, by many Members of the House with genuine conviction—that Conscription, if it is applied to Ireland, should be made conditional on Home Rule. Some Members say that it should not operate until a Home Rule Bill has passed this House. Hon. Members below the Gangway go further, and say it should not 1480 be applied until it has been approved by an Irish Parliament. As a matter of fact, there is no reason, on any view of the proposals for Home Rule, to make this military measure contingent on the setting up or on the approval of an Irish Parliament. The Prime Minister pointed out yesterday that every proposal for Home Rule has reserved to this Parliament the duty of dealing with military matters. If you had a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland to-day, it would be to this Parliament that proposals for Conscription in Ireland, as well as in England and Scotland, would be made. Therefore, on principle, that proposal is not capable of being defended. Apart from that, see how impossible the proposal is. We could not come here to ask the House to agree to Conscription for Ireland at all unless we put forward the view that there was an immediate and an urgent need of men. But for that contention we could not, after exempting Ireland for two years, now propose to bring her in. And how could we, how could any Government, come to the House of Commons and say, "There is an immediate and an urgent need of men, so great that we must call upon Ireland to come to our help, but we will not take the men until we have passed a contentious political measure."
§ Sir G. CAVE
Would any Parliament accept that? Apart from that, if you were to link Conscription with Home Rule, it is quite clear you must have against that measure not only the united forces of all Irishmen, but also many Englishmen and Scotsmen, and you would carry neither Conscription nor Home Rule.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman what explanation he has to make for the Prime Minister introducing this question yesterday in his speech?
§ Sir G. CAVE
I think there is no Minister making proposals on Irish matters to-day, just at the moment when the Irish Convention is reporting, who could help mentioning the question of Home Rule, if it were only to prevent, so far as he could, the kind of misrepresentation which, notwithstanding his statement, came from certain Members of the House yesterday. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was careful to say that in no sense did he make one conditional on the other, and his only purpose was to declare what were the intentions of the Government.
§ Sir G. CAVE
Without going back for a moment, for an inch, from the view which I myself strongly hold, that the two matters must be dealt with separately, I believe there is a real connection between military service and self-government in Ireland, but it is not in any sense a Parliamentary connection. I believe that if it is desired that Ireland shall obtain and keep a measure of self-government, the best way to get it is that Ireland should join with England and Scotland in fighting the common enemy. For myself, I never came nearer to becoming a Home Ruler than when I was listening to the speeches or reading of the deeds of the late Major William Redmond, and I believe that as Irishmen are found more and more in the trenches abroad, Englishmen and Scotsmen and the men of Ulster will be the more inclined to concede to their comrades in arms that which they would never willingly concede to those who declare themselves their foes. It is only in that sense that the connection exists. I believe that for Irishmen to refuse to help our common Kingdom at this time of peril will be to create a feeling which they will bitterly regret in years to come. If they desire to have that which I know they want, a measure of self-government, with the consent and good will of the people of this island, their best plan is to do what the greater men among them, whom we have lost, have done, namely, to give their services to our country at this time of need.
It is said by some people that we do not really mean to apply this Clause to Ireland—
§ Sir G. CAVE
—and that we are putting it in the Bill only in order to assert the principle. I doubt whether any person in his senses, any Minister in his senses, would go through all the trouble which the Government are going through in order to assert a principle to be embalmed in an Act of Parliament. Time, of course, is needed. There is no National Registration Act in Ireland, and there must be time to frame the register—not much time, but a certain amount of time. There are no tribunals in Ireland, and time must be taken to appoint them.
§ Sir G. CAVE
They will be appointed under the machinery which will be applied to the whole country. As soon as these arrangements have been made, the Bill will be applied to Ireland and brought into operation. Perhaps it is not a matter to be regretted, that in the meantime there will be an opportunity for those who desire voluntarily to become members of the Army to join.
We know very well the difficulties with which we are faced, but we have to do what we think right. We are defending not only France and Belgium, but Great Britain and Ireland. Ireland is able to do more, and is bound in honour to do her share—
§ Sir G. CAVE
—towards the defence of the country, and we propose to put Ireland upon the same footing as the rest of the United Kingdom.
With regard to the other main Clauses of the Bill, Clause 3 will enable certificates to be withdrawn. The position is this: Certificates founded upon occupation may, under an Act of this year, be withdrawn by the Director-General of National Service. Under that Act he has issued the comprehensive Order which has been published to-day. There still remain individual certificates granted by tribunals upon personal and similar grounds, and the effect of the Clause is to enable a Proclamation to be issued by which these certificates of a specified kind shall be withdrawn. In other words, we can, under this Clause, make the clean cut complete, and carry it through all classes. So that it applies not only to those who are exempted now on the ground of occupation, but to all those who have certificates under the existing arrangement.
§ Sir G. CAVE
Proclamation appeared to be the more suitable for a military decision of this kind. The Proclamation, like an Order in Council, would come before the Council; but to those who understand these matters a Proclamation appeared to be the best.
§ Sir G. CAVE
The Proclamation may withdraw the exemption on any grounds. It will, of course, be for the military authorities to say who is worth calling up. As to the tribunals we make no attack upon the work done by the tribunals in the country. Many of them have done admirable work. Certainly those with which I am personally acquainted have done work of which no kind of complaint could be made, but there have been real difficulties. Some tribunals are too large and the areas are not suitable. Some tribunals have gone on strike and have declined to deal with any cases for a period of two or more months, and recruiting has been suspended in that area. Some have been slow. Indeed the the whole system of application, review and appeal has led to delay in getting man-power. We propose to keep the machinery of the tribunals and the staffs and so on, and with the help of the Local Government Board to remodel the tribunals, to standardise the grounds of exemption and to speed up decisions. That is really the effect of Clause 4. We are confident that our proposals, taken as a whole, will largely increase the manpower at the disposal of the country at this time of peril, and will make the men more quickly available for training, and we do not believe that at this critical hour in our history Parliament will refuse to give us the powers for which we ask.
§ Sir CHARLES HOBHOUSE
I beg to move to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add instead thereof the words, "this House, while recognising the gravity of the military situation in France and the urgent necessity of giving all possible support to the British and Allied Forces, is of opinion that this measure diminishes the naval and economic power of the nation without adding commensurate military strength."
I do not propose to follow the Home Secretary except upon one point. In the course of his speech he made considerable reference to the Clause in the Bill which deals with Ireland. I should like to say, speaking as a Member of this House, and, as I hold, a representative of public opinion in this country, that I share with him the view that, if the people of England have been conscripted to serve 1484 in this War, the people of Ireland should also be so conscripted; but the Conscription which it is proposed by this Bill to impose upon them ought, in my judgment, to have been preceded by, or at least accompanied by, a Bill dealing With the provision of government in Ireland. I think that is the attitude which will be taken up by the vast majority of the people in England. While they can approve of the action of the Government proposing to apply the provisions of this Bill and of the previous Conscription Bill to Ireland, they will undoubtedly expect to see at the very earliest moment the proposals of the Government in reference to the future government of Ireland. They would have been much more content if these proposals had preceded the present Bill, and if to-day we had been giving consideration to that Bill rather than the particular measure which we here find ourselves discussing. The Amendment which I put down on the Paper, in conjunction with my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Holt) and my hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Pringle), was put down last night at the conclusion of the speech of the Prime Minister. It is based upon the information he gave to the House in his speech. I trust, therefore, the House will permit me to discuss this Bill upon the basis of that speech, reinforced by the information which has been given us by my right hon. and learned Friend opposite.
The Amendment deals with the first point raised in the speech of the Prime Minister, namely, the gravity of the situation in France. If anything had been required to bring home to the people of this country the gravity of that situation it would have been the statement which was yesterday made by the Prime Minister. I think it was useful to have made that statement, because I do not believe that, even yet, after the news of this morning, that the people of this country fully realise and fully appreciate how very grave and how very perilous is the military situation in that country. Therefore, I think that I should be wanting in my duty as a Member of this House if I did not preface any remarks I address to this House by saying that I do recognise, and I do believe in, the grave peril which confronts our military forces in France, and the whole future of this country. But there was a piece of extremely interesting and to me, at all events, novel information given yesterday by the Prime Minister, 1485 which information was that while the military forces of Germany, in every branch of the Service—Infantry, Cavalry, guns, and aircraft—were inferior to the forces in the field at the disposal of the Allied Commands, there had been no attempt, so far as we can see, to take advantage, by the use of the offensive, of that superiority of the Allied Forces. Throughout the last two years that superiority has been made use of, at limited periods and with limited success, but with decided and satisfactory success. At the moment, however, when it was known that the Germans intended to attack our forces, and to attack with all the power that they could call together and concentrate, that we should have neglected to utilise the superiority which we undoubtedly held, seems to me to require from the War Cabinet and the Government of this country some explanation—unless they defend that abstention—some explanation from those commanding in France. Some explanation is due to this House at an early date upon that point.
I do not want to labour the point, but the Germans were able to concentrate at a particular point on our front an over-whelming mass of troops, estimated at four to one, and at six to one—and even put by my hon. Friend the Member for East Fife at ten to one—whether those figures really represent facts of the case I do not know, but these were estimates made and given. They had concentrated that superiority of force upon a particular portion of our front when we really had a superiority over the whole line, and I want to know why we could not have used against the Germans the advantages which they used, and successfully used, against us? I am not going to deal with the details, which are scanty, but there are two different, and with difficulty, reconcilable theories advanced with reference to the battle. One is the official explanation—and I am quite sure the true explanation—given to us by the Prime Minister yesterday—namely, that the British forces broke at the junction of the Third and Fifth Armies. The other explanation, which has been given to me privately, is that there was failure on the right of the Fifth Army, and that the retirement of that Army was brought about by the retirement of French details. Whether that is the true version, or whether the version stated in the House yesterday is the accurate one, I know not, and I am careless to inquire. But if the 1486 whole blame for the disaster which has befallen us in France is not due to our troops, then our troops should be cleared at the earliest possible moment from the uncertainty which hangs over the situation. Our real concern in this matter is recognising the losses which we have sustained in guns, men, and material, and the replacing of them all on the most liberal scale as early as possible. In regard to the guns we were yesterday told, with the assent of the Minister of Munitions, that large numbers of guns, adequate certainly so far as numbers went, had already been sent over to France to replace all those that were lost. The only question, which I hope I may get an answer to in the course of this Debate, is not only whether the numbers are satisfactory, but also the calibres. We understand that the number of heavy guns lost was not large. I hope that is so. They are more difficult to replace than the smaller ones. We ought to have some assurance, and I hope we shall get it, that both large and small guns have been replaced in satisfactory quantities.
I come to the question of material. Upon that point there was perhaps a natural disinclination to give the House any information, but Sir Douglas Haig in his report of this battle did mention that the loss of material had been very considerable. I think it is the first time that in any of the official dispatches from the front mention has been made of the loss of material on a large scale. We have not been told whether that loss has been replaced, and I should like to receive some information upon that point. I understand. that 700,000 men have already been combed out by the Ministry of Munitions from the munition factories, and that must, to a certain and appreciable extent, diminish the products of the munition factories, and this may render it more difficult in the future to make good the material which has been lost. That is a point upon which I should like some information. Then there is another subject with which this Bill is more closely and vitally concerned, and it is the losses of men we have sustained in the recent battles. There are three classes of such losses, mainly the killed, the wounded, and the prisoners. The number of prisoners is known only to the enemy at the present time. The number of killed may be guessed at by the enemy., but the 1487 number of wounded who are not captured can only be known to ourselves. The totals missing from the pay rolls of the Army are known, no doubt, to the Headquarter Staff, but the proportion which each of those categories bear to the whole is probably unknown at the present moment. I agree that to reveal these totals might give valuable information to the enemy, and would not afford much satisfaction to the people of this country, and, therefore, I do not ask for them, and do not expect to receive them. It has, however, this bearing upon this Bill: This measure has been introduced as the result of the losses of men in the recent action in Picardy, and, therefore, the numbers to be obtained by the Bill must have some approximate relation to those losses. To ask for more than those losses in the Bill would appear to be unnecessary, and to ask for less would be totally inadequate.
§ Sir C. HOBHOUSE
Yes, I know the battle is going on, and we do not know what the losses may be. Let us hope that they will be much smaller in the future than in the past. The number provided by this Bill, however, should bear some relation to the actual or expected losses. Certain information was given about the action taken outside the Bill by the Government. There has been a combing out of munitioners to the number of 100,000. There has been a calling up already of 50,000 miners, and there is to be another calling up of another 50,000 miners. There is to be a comb-out of the Civil Service, and the withdrawal of occupational exemptions. I do not know whether my calculation is accurate, but I put the result of all these things at something like 250,000 men. What will be the number of men produced by this Bill itself? There is to be an extension of the age limit from forty-two to fifty, and out of that number 7 per cent., we are told, are to be available for the Army. It is exceedingly difficult to make any calculation as to what number of men will become liable for Army Service under this Bill, but, so far as I can ascertain, about 1,500,000 of men will come within the age limit of forty-two and 50, and 7 per cent. of those are to be taken into the Army, or thereabouts, and that gives a total of 110.000. I have taken that figure from a 1488 Government Blue Book, and it is. information which is open to any German spy in this country, and it is probably in the archives of the German War Office. Then there is the extension of the age from fifty to fifty-six. I do not know what that will yield, but I suppose it will be about 500,000 of men upon which you might calculate 5 per cent., and that would give something like 25,000 men available to the Army. Finally, there is the withdrawal of exemption certificates, which would probably give another 25,000 men, and it might be much more, or something less. Is that an excessive calculation?
§ Sir C. HOBHOUSE
One can only take the statements made and try to form some sort of idea of what the yield is going to be. Surely that is a legitimate occupation for a Member of the House of Commons. We want to see whether this Bill gives too much, or whether it does not give enough. If my calculations are right, then you get 250,000 men outside the Bill and inside the Bill, 150,000 men for the Army, making a total of 400,000. What are you going to do with them? I understand that there are now 45,000 soldiers in Ireland.—[An HON MEMBER: "Seventy thousand!"]—I am also told that it will take all that 70,000 to collect the recruits who ought to be conscripted under this Bill, and I think he would be a bold man who would say that that is not an accurate calculation.—[An HON MEMBER: "No!"] —I think Ireland ought to give you every man who is represented by a fellow man in this country who has been defending the safety and liberties of both countries.
§ Sir C. HOBHOUSE
I said earlier that, in my judgment, the Conscription proposals which this Bill applies to Ireland ought to have been preceded by a Bill for the government of Ireland, and I believe from my heart and soul that there are few people in this country who do not take the same view as I do myself on this point, whatever their politics may have been in the past. If my calculations upon this Bill are right you are going to withdraw from the trade of this country and from the auxiliary Army requirements from this country about 400,000 men for direct military purposes. There was a passage in the Prime Minister's speech yesterday which showed that he and the War 1489 Cabinet were fully alive to the disturbance that would take place in trade and in industry, and in the support which we might be able to render to our Allies, by the withdrawal of a large number of men from industrial occupations in this country. With that passage in the right hon. Gentleman's speech I am in complete agreement, as I suspect every other hon. Member will be. I think, however, the Prime Minister might have gone further, and he might have said that if the Germans conquer us in this struggle our trade goes, and if our trade goes before the conquest comes the disappearance of our trade may involve conquest. It is from that point of view that the seriousness of trade and commerce is shown by this Bill. Therefore, in any legislation we must be quite sure that we have struck the happy mean between undue disturbance of trade and any neglect to reinforce to the full the military forces in France and elsewhere.
My right hon. Friend the Member for East Fife (Mr. Asquith) said yesterday that the middle-aged men had been running the businesses and commerce and industries of this country during the War with an assiduity which was beyond all praise. That is true, but those are precisely the men whom you are now proposing to withdraw in large numbers from the conduct of trade and industry by this Bill. When you withdraw these 400,000 men, what condition will it leave your trades in? There are certain things which you must supply to the Allied combinations if the War is to be continued and can only be supplied through the same agencies that have been making them for the last 3½ years, and this can only be done by continuing those businesses and trades. If you take all these men away, to use a Parliamentary phrase, you reduce them by two to one on a division. and you turn those men into unproductive workers, and besides this, you make them a charge upon a reduced capital value. That is not going to help the War, and if you do that to any extent in excess of that age you are not assisting the Allied cause. We are told that it takes six months to make a man who has never handled a rifle into a soldier, but it only takes one day to render him ineffective for commercial and industrial purposes. May I point out that the volume of the export trade of this country upon which the exchange of our trade depends has been gradually shrinking. The values 1490 have been artificially inflated, but the volume of trade has been rapidly shrinking, and I am not at all sure that it is not within a measurable distance of disappearance. What is going to take its place? If you take away the managers of businesses and the hands, what is going to take their place either from the point of view of keeping up your Armies or from the point of view of the exchange and the powers of financing the War? That is a question which has to be faced, and that is a side of the question to which the Government has not yet addressed itself. You are certainly going to withdraw about 500,000 men, and you may possibly withdraw 750,000 men from industry.
It is notorious that every business in this country is working shorthanded. I am not concerned about what are called the fancy trades. Let them go. If men and women have to go without things to which they have been accustomed in the past, let them go, in Heaven's name. Do not let us have any superfluities which we can do without. But there are certain trades and industries that you cannot do without. They are being run shorthanded at present, and are becoming more short-handed from day to day. If you take away 750,000 men, you may most seriously cripple the trades and industries of the country without getting any corresponding or equivalent advantage for the forces in the field. That is the point of the Amendment which I have put down to this Bill. That is the issue to which, I hope, I may get some answer from the bench apposite. I may, perhaps, be overanxious upon this matter, but I do not think that I have been over-inquisitive, or that I have put any question to the Government which a Member of this House is not entitled and justified in putting. There is no sacrifice which the Government ought not to ask from individual Members of this House or from individual members of this country. The only justifiable limit to their demands is this: Whatever sacrifices are required, while they should be readily and immediately given, they should be justified by the results which they will procure.
§ Sir DONALD MACLEAN
I think, perhaps, I might, without any breach of decorum, intervene in this Debate, to offer some criticisms and suggestions gathered from such experience as I have been able to gain during the past two years in connection with the tribunals, and 1491 addressed solely to two points: First, the extension of the age from forty-one to fifty-fifty-six; and, secondly, the question of the tribunals. Everybody will agree that the real test of the necessity for the provision of such a Bill as this was contained in the speech of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Asquith) yesterday—I put his test colloquially—when he said that practically the test was: "Is it worth while?" It is solely on that ground that I propose to offer a few remarks. I hold no brief for men between forty and fifty years of age, because, I think, it is generally true that wars are caused by men of middle age and by old men, and, were we governed by a code of morals, it is they who ought to fight the battle. But, war being what it is—the destroyer and the ravager of youth—we have to take facts, unfortunately, as we find them. What will this country get out of this extension of age, in a military sense? With regard to men aged thirty-nine to forty-one who have been coming before us lately, we have almost invariably subjected them, if they have not had any recent medical test, to grading under the new medical system, and experience has shown that in the large majority of cases those men, Grade A or Grade 2, have come back to Grade 3. That leads me to ask a question of my right hon. Friend who is responsible for the National Service Department, and it is this: Is it or is it not intended to lower the medical standard? I assume that it is not so intended. After what happened with regard to the medical scandals, which revealed a condition of gross incompetence on the part of those responsible for them, I do not suppose that the Government would dream, in the interests of the nation, of reducing the medical standard.
That being granted, what follows, if my experience justifies me in the deduction that I make? Suppose you get, as my right hon. Friend (Sir C. Hobhouse) has said, a block of 500,000 men to deal with—I know nothing about it, but that is a convenient round figure, and I will assume it is so. Applying the test of such experience as we have had, I do not think that you will get from those men more than 3 per cent. of anything approaching real military value. You will be blocked up, overladen, and crushed down with a fresh avalanche of Grade 3 men, mostly altogether unfit. That is a position the Army 1492 resents being put into. Nobody resents the entrance of the unfit into the Army more than the soldiers themselves. It is a prospect which must appal my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions (Mr. Hodge) and the Chancellor of the Ex-chequer (Mr. Bonar Law). If carried into effect, the commercial interests of this nation are bound to seriously suffer. I may be wrong, but I understand that the military age in France and in Germany is forty-eight. What case, what arguments, what position, and what kind of statements to justify the extension of the age to fifty-six must have been made to the heads of the Government responsible for this Bill I really do not know, I have searched carefully for anything in the records of my own memory, or in that of my colleagues on the tribunals, in justification of an extension of the age to such a limit. I agree that men must be got, but if the age is to be raised, and I will assume that it is going to be raised, there is no case known to such experience as I have been able to collate for placing it one year higher than forty-eight.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
That may be so, but, speaking from my own experience, the higher you go, the greater the sickness casualties must be. I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Minister for National Service will admit that the result of the experience of the last two years has been that the sickness casualties of men between thirty-five and forty are 250 times greater than the sickness casualties of men between twenty-seven and thirty-five.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I am sorry. I mean two and a half times greater. If that is the case, what tremendous risks the Government are proposing to undertake by raising the age as indicated in the Bill. I almost hesitate to give any more instances of what happens with regard to Grade 3 men already in the Army, but, going through my papers this morning, I quite casually took up a record which was sent to me, and which some time ago I took the trouble to verify. If the House will bear with me, I will give it as briefly as possible to show what happens to Grade 3 men when they are in the Army.
1493 This man reported at Camberwell on 30th December last. He was passed for purely sedentary work. He was sent to Kingston. He reported there, and was posted as a clerk in the Flying Corps. He was sent from Kingston to Aldershot, and from Aldershot to Farnborough. There he was re-examined by a medical officer and was found unfit, suffering from tuberculosis of the left ankle joint, deformity, and wasting of the leg. This man was useless for army life, and could scarcely walk a quarter of a mile. He was sent from Kingston to Maidstone for disposal. He became ill there, and was ill for three or four days. He reported himself to the local police, reported at Camberwell, and ultimately went back to Maidstone. He was then posted to a labour battalion. He was kept at Maid-stone two days, and then, on 12th January, was taken to Plymouth, and marched out to a camp four miles outside Plymouth. The next day he was taken to another camp one and a-half miles away. He was then paraded, and seen by an officer, who, after hearing his explanation, struck his name out of the list, and sent him back to Maidstone. He arrived at Maidstone the next day, and was sent back to Plymouth. He was paraded at Plymouth, and was taken before the officer, who said that he ought never to have come there, and that he was to go back to Maidstone again. That man was ultimately discharged from the Army as unfit for any kind of military service.
An hon. Member says that there are thousands of cases like that. I do not think that there are thousands of cases like it, but there are far too many cases like it. There are hundreds of cases like it. One is apt at first, from striking instances such as that, rather to exaggerate the real position, but I do know that there are hundreds of cases like that going on all over the country. If you are going to extend the military age, you are going to have more and more unfit men to be dealt with. They will be passed Grade 3—make no mistake about that—and the Army is making no real effective use of the men now going to it who are not in the first grade.
The suggestion I make most respectfully and absolutely in the interests of the nation—our views may differ, but we are all after the same thing, and that is to win this War—is this: Do not put the age limit higher than forty-seven or forty-eight. Look at the enormous disturbance 1494 to business. In that connection, I should like to point out the uncertainty which is afflicting the minds of thousands of men all over the country engaged in the most vital undertakings. They do not know where they are. They may be subjected to a calling-up notice. Of course, they would have to respond to it, and they can make no arrangements for the future. I venture to say that at this moment, owing to the fact that this proposal is before the country, there is a paralysis of business, among men of fifty, and up to fifty-six, mark you, who fear that they are going to be subject to military service. That is quite unnecessary. I strongly urge the Government to reconsider this question of the age. Do not make it more than forty-seven or forty-eight at the outside, and within those limits exercise your discretion with the greatest possible care. There is one other point, namely, the immense shortage of doctors. Every man over forty-two and forty-three will require a much more careful medical examination than the men of thirty-three required. Either the standard must be lowered or the examinations must be carelessly done, for the doctors will be grossly overworked, and taken away from work in which they are much more urgently required than for dealing with this class of men.
A word or two on the question of tribunals. I notice that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary passed that over, as he said, in a very few sentences. I am sure he will excuse me if I take a much greater interest in it than he apparently had time to do. After all, this is to be said about tribunals: They are a very-much abused body of men, but, with all their faults, they really made the operation of the Military Service Acts reason ably smooth and efficient. You could never have done that without the tribunals. The constitution of the tribunals is statutory, and the grounds upon which applications were to be made for exemptions were also statutory. I may be quite wrong in my reading of Clause 4, under which, as I read it, His Majesty may, by Order in Council, make Regulations, and the Government may do whatever they like. Further, notwithstanding the passing of the Military Service Act, 1916, and the prolonged Debates in this House on the subject of the grounds of appeal, they may. sweep all those grounds of appeal away, and substitute any others they like 1495 That is to be done by an Order in Council. I do not know exactly what will happen—I suppose I ought to know these points of Order—but I assume that an Order like that will have to be laid on the Table?
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I assume they would do that, anyhow. What does that mean? It simply means that the House would have either to say "Aye" or "No" to it, or be put in a position of having to turn the Government out in a matter of this kind.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
We do not want to turn any Government out. We want to carry the War to a successful issue with any Government that will do it. There will be no chance for the House of Commons to amend such an Order; they can do nothing but discuss that Order in Council, and either accept or reject it. I again urge the Government to meet What I really think is a grave national need. Not only should the tribunals be kept in their statutory position, but the grounds of application, and the full rights of appeal, should be clearly stated in any alterations they propose to make by Statute. That is only fair. What reason can there be for not doing it? If it was necessary, or right and proper, to do it when you were dealing with young unmarried men of twenty-five and twenty-six, surely you are going to grant it when you are dealing with men of fifty to fifty-six—men who arc carrying the weight of trade, commerce and business on their shoulders! Those are the only points with which I intend to deal. On these two grounds, on the strength of the experience I have had—and I have the whole of my colleagues behind me—I most strongly urge the Government not to increase the age beyond forty-seven or forty-eight, or else you will add to the. pension burden of this country, you will smash businesses, ruin physically thousands of men, and burden the Army un necessarily; and, with regard to tribunals, I think that the people of this country have a right to ask that their fellow citizens, who have hitherto on the whole fairly judged them, should continue to discharge their functions.
§ Mr. DILLON
I listened with great attention yesterday to the speech made by the Prime Minister in introducing this Bill, and apart altogether from the prejudice which naturally affects our minds with regard to the Irish portion of that speech, I honestly say that, in my opinion, he made no case whatever for the Bill itself. It is an emergency Bill which comes hot-foot upon another Man-Power Bill which was introduced only three or four months ago, and which was the result of prolonged deliberations in the War Cabinet with all the facts before them and the whole situation in France. Therefore the only ground on which a new Man-Power Bill can be justified is the offensive which took place in France during the last three weeks. The military results which are hoped for from this Bill can have no possible effect in redressing the military misfortunes which occurred in France during the last three weeks. All the real reinforcements of men which are or were looked for, and which were set forth in the speech of the Prime Minister, will come from measures which are independent of this Bill, and which can be taken, and are in process of being taken, without any legislation whatever. The comb-out of the Civil Service, the Munitions Department, the mines, and other Departments that were indicated in his speech—all those reinforcements of the younger fighting men have nothing to do with this Bill. This Bill only really refers to three points: the raising of the age, the cancelling, in a very unfair way, which I do not think can possibly survive debate in Committee, of certain exemptions, and the case of Ireland.
I had intended to say a word or two about the economic effect of this Bill upon England—I mean that portion of it which proposes to raise the age, as compared with the results which the Prime Minister looks to from the operation of the Bill, but that has been so effectively dealt with by the last speaker that I do not propose to deal with it. I only disagree with him on the question of age. I say the age should not be raised one year beyond the present age, which is quite high enough. I do not believe that when this matter comes to be discussed, as it must be discussed fully in Committee, thanks to the Leader of the Opposition, it will be found upon examination that the number of effective men promised by the Prime Minister, to take his own estimate, will be anything like sufficient to counter- 1497 balance the effect on the economic position of this country, because in my opinion, if these demands of the Army are allowed to go on and to take shape in the provisions of the present Bill, the next stage in our experience will be that the revenue will begin to fall rapidly, and it will be impossible for this country to bear the enormous burden, the abnormal burden, which is cast upon Great Britain in the conduct of this War. Because when hon. Members opposite talk about the age in France and in Italy, which is only forty five I am told—
§ Mr. DILLON
Well, then, Italy and France are not bearing one-half of the burden which is borne by this country in this respect. I do not say they are not making great sacrifices, but they are not able to bear the burden, and if this country for a single month or week failed to be able to bear the financial burden which it has been bearing—the burden of trade, of transport, and of assistance in every department it has given to all the Allies throughout the War—then the whole War would collapse like a house of cards. [An HON. MEMBER: "And the Navy, too!"] Yes, and the Navy, too! Are we to be told that the calling up, according to the Prime Minister's estimate, of 100,000 elderly men, who would come into the firing line or garrison England in six months' time, would redress that balance? It will be found when it is carefully examined, as it must be, that the Prime Minister's own estimate of the probable results of this new raising of the age is preposterous and does not justify the disturbance of trade and of the economic position of this country and the general distress which the uncertainty involved in this Bill will cast upon the country. I will tell you one of the consequences which undoubtedly will flow from it, as my own post is already beginning to show, because dozens of Englishmen are writing to me already begging me—I suppose because I have established something of a fighting reputation in the past—to fight to the very end against this raising of the age for Englishmen. I firmly believe that the morale of this country and its determination to carry on the War to a successful conclusion will be seriously undermined. What is the real evil and the root cause of this trouble? The cause is not in the want of men. It has never been 1498 the want of men. The Prime Minister himself stated from the Front Bench yesterday that throughout last year and up to the 31st December—I listened with intense and keen attention to every word he uttered—we were in the proportion of three to two on the Western Front. He said in his speech delivered after he came back from Paris—I took note of it at the time—that throughout the whole of 1917 the Allies were two to one on the Western Front. He went on to say that even at the date of the outbreak of this battle, on the 21st of March last, the Allies were still in a slight numerical superiority—that they were superior in Cavalry, that, they were superior in Artillery, and that they were much superior in the air.
§ Mr. DILLON
And he also said the Allies were superior in their supplies of munitions of war. How does it come about that for a whole year we stood on the Western Front as two to one? I am convinced, from all the information that has reached me—and I think in this I will carry with me every Member of this House—that man for man, taking the rank and file and the regimental officers, we are more than a match for the Germans. How does it come about that when we were two to one on the Western Front, with a superiority in Cavalry and a great superiority in Artillery in 1917—
§ Mr. DILLON
—we never were able to make any serious impression on the Western Front? Yet when the Germans, who by the statement of the Prime Minister himself, are barely equal to us, or rather inferior—in fact, he told us they were much inferior in the air and in Artillery—when they made their first attack, they did infinitely more damage than we were able to effect during the whole of the year 1917! What is the explanation? It is not the want of men, and, therefore, I say that this Bill is a delusion; it is an attempt to blind the people to the real facts. What is the explanation?
§ Mr. DILLON
I will tell the House what is the explanation. It is no use your hiding your heads in the sand and pretending to be blind to the facts. It is 1499 the common talk in Ireland—it is the common talk in Dublin—that the explanation is to be found in your system of promoting officers. We all know that in France merit brings men to the front, and some of the men who are now in command of the French Armies were colonels and captains when the War broke out. But the "Old Gang" is still in control in the British Army. Everybody knows that. Why, I heard a most piteous story the other day in Dublin. It was that of a young Irish officer who was going back to the front. He was going to rejoin the Fifth Army. Somebody said to him, "Good luck!" His reply was, "There is no good luck for me. I am going to a part of the front where the Germans have only to make a push, and then they will go through like a knife through a cheese." That was known to every man serving in that Army, and how could it be otherwise when three successive disasters had happened under that same officer's command, and when three times Irish regiments had been, wiped out—once on the 16th and 17th August—
§ Mr. DILLON
When some of the Irish regiments were cut to pieces, and there was hardly a man left alive. The men to whom I am referring included some Ulster regiments. I wrote a letter to the War Office myself when I heard what had happened. I said nothing about having done so, but I did write to the War Office when I received from Irishmen an account of the dreadful things that had occurred. I stated the facts, and I was promised that careful inquiry should be made. This general next emerged at Cambrai, and we all know what happened there. We all know how the German line was broken through in the first place, and how the fruits of that great victory wore lost. Everybody thought we should see no more of that general, but again he merges as Commander of the Fifth Army. Is it any wonder that the Germans directed their attack against him? They had learnt to know of this British general.
§ Mr. DILLON
He was, at any rate, in command of the Fifth Army Corps. I say, in my opinion, that explains why the Germen 1500 attack was directed against that particular line. Again we are told there will be an inquiry. We are warned by the Prime Minister that this subject ought not to be discussed in this House. But we have heard that warning over and over again and it is usually followed up by great disasters and fresh Man-Power Bills. If anyone imagines—if this House or this country imagines—that they are going to redress these evils by a fresh Man-Power Bill, calling to the Colours men between forty and fifty years of age, they are labouring under a painful and disastrous delusion, and they will only get fresh disappointments. In my opinion the real purpose of the introduction of this Bill and of the newspaper agitation which preceded it—and it is a fact that prolonged newspaper agitation precedes every fresh movement in the House of Commons nowadays—the real object of the introduction of this Bill is to divert public attention and inquiry from the true causes of the failures and defeats which we have sustained on the Western Front. It is hoped by introducing panic legislation to divert controversy and differences of opinion into other channels.
Of course, the main controversy—there will be many other controversial subjects in connection with this Bill—the main and most important controversy is the proposal to extend the Bill to Ireland. What is the first conclusion to be arrived at as regards the effect of that proposals It will, in my opinion, and I speak with the fullest sense of responsibility—I think I have shown on one or more occasion that I do understand Ireland the effect of extending this proposal to Ireland at this time will be to destroy all hope of an Irish settlement during the War. Secondly, it will open up another war front in Ireland—a front which will be all the more formidable because it will be a moral contest in which you will be in the wrong; a front, believe me, which, whatever form the conflict takes—and I do not profess for a single moment to be able to prophesy what form it will take—I do not pretend to be able to speak for all Ireland now; our party cannot speak for all Ireland now—I do not know what form the conflict will take; but, believe me, it will be very formidable, and, whatever form it takes, it will spread to America and to Australia, and to every corner of the earth in which the Irish race is scattered. There are, indeed, very few places where you will not find Irishmen.
1501 Distrust, believe me, is the root of all trouble in Ireland. No man in Ireland now—and I feel the full weight of responsibility for what I am about to say—no man in Ireland now, no matter what party he belongs to, believes in or places any reliance whatever on the promises and pledges of British statesmen. That is a very serious thing, but it is true, and it is time the truth should be told, no matter what the Prime Minister has to say as to the desirability of covering things up and of conducting Debates in this House as if we were ostriches with our heads in the sand. I want to say in all seriousness that in Ireland and in America the belief will be general that this proposal to apply Conscription to Ireland at this particular moment, in the teeth of the recommendation of the Government's own Convention, has been made for the deliberate purpose of affording the Government an opportunity of escaping from its pledges to the Irish people. I am not asserting that that is so, I am not asserting that I believe it to be true, but I say it will be the conviction in Ireland, because the Irish mind is poisoned, by the suspicions engendered by the treatment we have received during recent years. Really, when I listened to the Prime Minister yesterday, and heard him quoting a passage from a speech from my late leader and beloved friend, Mr. John Redmond, I was amazed, and, indeed, I think he ought to have been ashamed of having made that quotation. If ever there was a great statesman who made mighty sacrifices for a high cause it was the man who used to sit behind me and who led this party for so many years. He faced with superb courage, calumny, and misrepresentation, bitter calumny and misrepresentation in his own country, misunderstanding as well, and to a certain extent unpopularity. But he faced it for a great cause, because lie desired to bring these two nations together and to close up a quarrel which had brought uncalculated trouble, and which had involved great popular misunderstanding. What treatment did he get? I think the less the right hon. Gentlemen opposite quote his speeches the better it will be for themselves.
I have been made aware of the fact that desperate exertions are now being made by the censorship in this country to stop all news on the Irish situation going to the American Press. All the newspaper American correspondence is 1502 strictly censored. Do the Government really believe they are going to succeed with this policy, and that they will be able to keep from the American people and from our race in America all knowledge of what is going on in Ireland and. in this country? When the truth gets through the effect will be more damaging —far more damaging than if they had allowed the American correspondents to send the news through. If I am right in my assumption—and I believe I am—the result of applying a policy of Conscription to Ireland under present circumstances will be to make a settlement of the Irish question impossible, and it ought to be realised that one effect will be that for the remainder of the War you must hold Ireland under strict military law, and there will be ever increasing bitterness. The result will be far different from what hon. Members may think. For what reason is this being done? It is because the newspapers who control the Government think it is necessary for the maintenance of their power and influence to conscript the elderly gentlemen of Great Britain and by a panic Bill they seek to divert the attention of the public from what is really going on on the Western Front. Observe what the Prime Minister said yesterday. He gave no reason for this Bill or for the urgency of the Clause applying the Bill to Ireland, except one, and that was that the emergency had become so great that they were obliged to conscript old men in this country. Remember that this is not anew question. To my knowledge it has been considered on three occasions before this, and on each of these occasions—it is not so now — when the Government had before it the question of applying Conscription to Ireland, we were consulted. The case was considered in all its bearings by the late Prime Minister (Mr. Asquith), who is in his place now, and by the present Prime Minister, who was a member of the same Government, and on each separate occasion, after having considered the question in all its bearings, they decided that it was inadvisable to apply Conscription to Ireland. I say that if Conscription is right under the circumstances of the relations between the two countries, it ought to have been applied to Ireland long ago. It would have been easier, far easier. The difficulties which deterred previous Governments from applying Conscription have all immeasurably increased, and the 1503 situation now is such that, as I say, I think it will be absolutely fatal. Then I want to ask what has occurred, and what are the circumstances which, have so altered the case that what two successive Coalition Governments, having considered the question in all its bearings, unanimously—including the present prime Minister—decided ought not to be applied to Ireland, and the last occasion was so late as in January last—what has happened to justify them in departing from that decision. I say there was nothing in the speech of the Prime Minister to answer that vital question except the one observation that he has to call up these elderly gentlemen in Great Britain. That was the only change. Let me for one moment turn to the Bill of this year itself, because if the Government proposal were an honest proposal and the Government had said, "We have changed our minds, and we must apply Conscription to Ireland," then I say it ought to be done honestly by a separate Bill on the same system as you applied it to Great Britain. Remember how you applied Conscription to Great Britain. First of all, there was the large Derby scheme, which went on for some time. Then there was prolonged discussion and agitation in the country, in which the matter was thrashed out for nearly six months before you dared to apply it, and then the late Prime Minister, rightly or wrongly, changed his view and decided that he could apply it. I say there was no man living in England at that time who could have got the men of England to consent to Conscription except the late Prime Minister. I do not believe the present Prime Minister or any one of the Ministers of his Government could, if they had tried. Then you set up a very limited system in the first Bill. That was followed by another Bill You tried it by stages and the most careful steps until you got to the present Statute, which, I think, will be considerably modified before it goes through.
What do you propose to do in Ireland, Ireland being in a state of irritation and discontent such as I have never seen in all my forty years of public life? You propose to apply it brutally and at once, without making the smallest effort to ascertain Irish public opinion on the matter or consulting a single Irish public man—because I think I have proved by questions across the House that no single representative public man in Ireland has been consulted in this matter, except, 1504 perhaps, the right hon. and learned Member for Trinity College (Sir E. Carson). I do not know. He has secret relations with the Government which I cannot ascertain. Another point it is desirable to make is that we have not had a single assurance that the Irish Government approves. We want to know where the Irish Secretary is, and where the Lord Lieutenant and the Commander-in-Chief in Ireland are. We have not had a single word from the Government as to the attitude even of the Irish Government, and the Home Secretary—who is a very dangerous man, who gets up, and, in the mildest and most apologetic tone, deals with this subject in such a way that it is almost impossible to quarrel with him— said that all the religious authorities had been consulted on that question of conscripting ministers of religion. I asked him, Had the Irish bishops been consulted? He was stumped at once. He forgot that.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
My right hon. Friend did not say that. I understood him to say they have all been consulted as regards taking them away.
§ Mr. DILLON
He said every denomination had been consulted on the whole question. The answer to my question proves that. I asked, Had the Irish bishops been consulted? and he said "I do not know." That clearly proves what he had in his mind, at all events. I would be very interested to hear the answer the Irish bishops would give. They have already given their answer on the general question, and they did not deal with conscripting the Irish priests. They have given their answer on the general question—it is a very grave answer—and I ask the Government to consider it, because the statement published in the Press this morning is that, in their deliberate judgment, the application of Conscription to Ireland will break down all law and order in the country, and reduce it to absolute chaos. That is a serious statement which ought to have the attention of the Government. It is not only that the Bill is brutal and that you propose to apply it brutally to Ireland without those careful stages by which it was applied to Great Britain. Remember that the late 1505 Prime Minister himself declared in the House, as I pointed out yesterday, that it would require to conscript a free people something like unanimity, and accordingly when the first Conscription Bill was introduced here the voting was ten to one in the Lobby—400 to 40—in favour of it. I see there my lion. Friend from Wales (Mr. Llewelyn Williams), who reproached our party with not continuing our opposition. I am not sure I would not have continued that opposition to the end, because I agree with him on the whole principle, but there is a good deal of logic in saying that if the British people want to conscript themselves by ten to one it is not for Irishmen to interfere. But examine the Division List of last night, and the Division List when it comes to this, and you will find that the ten to one will be the other way; and if you go to Ireland I challenge the Government to take a plebiscite, as the Australians did. Why do not you go and conscript the Australians despite the plebiscite? I will tell you a curious thing, and I know it to be a fact. If you take a plebiscite in Down, Antrim, and Belfast, they will vote against it as heavily as Mayo or Roscommon.
§ Mr. DILLON
Very well, then we will beat you three to one! We will raise that in Committee. We will propose in Committee to have a county option, and, for my part, if the Government would give us county option in this thing, I think I would say "Quits," and would not fight the Bill. But what is the proposal in Clause 2? I do not think there ever was in the history of legislation such a proposal—His Majesty may by Order in Council extend this Act to Ireland and this Act if so extended shall, subject to such modifications and adaptations as may be made by the Order for the purpose of making it applicable to Ireland, have effect accordingly.In other words, Ireland is to be absolutely at the mercy in this vital question of the British Privy Council. It goes on to say:An Order in Council under this Section may, as respects the Civil Court before which proceedings in respect of any offence,—1506 and so on, in any way they like—make special provision with respect to the constitution of the Court—military Courts, of course—as they may think proper. I say that in the whole history of legislation for Ireland in this House there never was anything approaching that. The English Privy Council! There is not a single Irish Member on the Privy Council. [HON. MEMBERS: "Carson!"] Yes, I had forgotten the right hon. and learned Gentleman. We are quite safe now.
§ Sir EDWARD CARSON
A member of the hon. Gentleman's party was lately made a member of the Privy Council— Lord Pirrie.
§ Mr. DILLON
He is not a member of our party. Was there ever such a proposal, that the whole liberty of the Irish people should be placed at the mercy of the Privy Council of England without any limitation whatever? Because, remember this: An Order in Council, once it is passed, is absolutely free of any control of this House. We cannot amend or debate it in any effective way, and they can do precisely as they like. The Home Secretary, in his insinuating speech, spoke about the time it would take to set up tribunals in Ireland. It will take a devil of a long time! You will get no tribunals in, Ireland. The only tribunals will be military tribunals, and what you will be driven back to will be the old Press-gang in its worst form. If you keep up a sufficient garrison in Ireland, by shooting, and by military force and military law, you may drag a certain number of unwilling men in, but unwilling men do not make good soldiers. You may drag them into your barracks, but I doubt very much whether you will make them fight. You will want a large garrison in Ireland, and you will arouse a passion of hatred in all parts of Ireland which it would be impossible for me to exaggerate, or for you to understand, which will pervade the whole population. All sections of the community will be aggravated, including a very large section of the followers of the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, though he is very boastful in this House.
§ Mr. DILLON
Yes, you did. You boasted last night tremendously of its loyalty and devotion to the Crown. I do not quarrel with that, but the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows as well as 1507 I do that the fanners of Ulster are just as much opposed to Conscription as any other part of Ireland.
§ Mr. DILLON
I say, therefore, that if the Government really think there is a case for applying Conscription to Ireland —though they have none—they ought to bring in a Bill, as they did in England, applying Conscription to Ireland, make a case for it, and challenge the opinion of the House upon it. But to do it in this way, in a Clause which will be suspended for a number of weeks and then come into operation by an Order of the English Privy Council, is to do it in a way calculated to exasperate Ireland to the utmost possible extent, and to lead to the smallest number of men. I must say further that when the Prime Minister got up at the Table yesterday and talked of his intention to introduce a Home Rule Bill, he might save himself the trouble if he embarks on this campaign, because the condition of feeling in Ireland will be such that I have not the smallest expectation that any Home Rule acceptable to the Irish people will be passed—not the slightest—and I do not believe the Prime Minister and the Government expect to do it. What did we hear from the right hon. and learned Member for Trinity College, who is nothing if not outspoken? He had to get up and, in a very brief speech just before eleven o'clock, had to state:I beg to warn the Government against the danger of starting two agitations, one against Conscription and the other against. Home Rule.That is good enough for me. I know what that means and it makes me suspect strongly who is at the back of this Conscription proposal. The Conscription proposal is not one for the purpose of passing Home Rule but of side-tracking Home Rule, and it is a most ingenious, if a very dishonest proposal. The Prime Minister avoided carefully throughout his speech any estimate of the results. The Home Secretary saw that flaw and he spoke hopefully of ten divisions, or some preposterous figure like that. Let me give you some estimate. The figures were estimated two years ago last Christmas most carefully by the Irish Government, who wanted to put the best face they could upon it, and the figure was 120,000. They were estimated by Lord Wimborne when they were starting 1508 the recruiting campaign, which was very quickly killed by the War Office and in which Mr. Redmond took a very active part. That was based upon careful calculations as the utmost number that could be spared from Ireland. Since then close upon 20,000 men have been voluntarily enlisted, and with other wastage, including the great increase in agricultural work in Ireland, I do not believe you could possibly get more than about 8,000 men in arms who would be available for military service without doing infinitely more injury by destroying the food supply of Ireland than they could do good in the Service. Therefore, in dealing with this question you must dismiss as preposterous the wild estimates of two, three or four hundred thousand men, The "Morning Post" says 500,000 men. I believe the utmost that Ireland could spare, if she had been properly handled, would have been about 100,000 men.
Another very important question is that of food, and I would advise all Members to take that very carefully into consideration. Ireland, although you forget it, has been your chief source of food outside your own shores. Many men in this House do not realise that after your own supply America, Canada, Australia, all are in the background, and Ireland is the chief source from which you draw your supplies of food. We send you £50,000,000 or £60,000,000 worth of food every year, and in response to an appeal from the Government this year we increased our supply enormously. There is another matter, and here I know what I am speaking of, because I have consulted a number of breeders and men in the trade. If it had not been for this silly and preposterous Regulation of the Food Controller, we. would have saved you, not altogether, but largely, from the famine in pork and bacon. Our supplies, if they had been let alone, would have come to these markets, so that you would not have suffered nearly half as much as you did only for this idiotic arrangement that was made. Anyone who is a farmer knows that what I am stating is the truth. Birmingham and the whole of the Midlands were left without pork at Christmas. That was entirely due to the absurd Regulations which were made, which broke up the Irish fairs and stopped the supplies coming over here. What is happening is this—and the Food Controller does not appear to know it—that in many cases the Irish farmers are so angered by the way they have been treated 1509 by the Food Controller that they are killing their pigs and eating them at home, and they are not coming into the market. No power on earth can get them to market unless you abolish these Regulations and allow a free market. You have policemen going about and ridiculous attempts being made to regulate the price of pigs, calves, store cattle, and all kinds of things, with infinite waste of labour, and the only result is that you destroy production. I know dozens of farmers who simply said, "We are damned if we go on breeding and feeding if this kind of, thing is to continue." The Irish Channel next to the English Channel is the most important communication of this country. Ten or twelve large steamers start every day from Irish ports laden with food for this country, and if to-morrow that traffic were stopped you do not really know what a terrible state you would be in. Six weeks ago it was within an ace of being stopped owing to the sinking of the Water-ford and Cork boats. It went abroad in Ireland that you did nothing to protect Channel shipping, and that you were going to do nothing. It would be no matter if the whole of the Irish party went to the bottom, but rather a relief. I have crossed the Channel several times lately in the mail boat, which is crowded with soldiers, and I have looked in vain for any sign of protection, good, bad, or indifferent. When you are considering the whole question you must take into account this food question, which is one of vital importance, and if this proposal is carried out Ireland will be thrown into such a condition that I think it will in all probability very seriously interfere with the food supply of this country, because you cannot expect a country in which something on the borders of civil war is raging to throw itself enthusiastically into the production of food, especially when Government pledges are broken. We produced the most magnificent crop of potatoes which was ever turned out in Ireland, and some of it was lying rotting in Belfast and along the northern coast because some Government official over here changed his mind and would not pay the Government price.
I really feel that you are embarking lightly on a course the seriousness of which you have no notion of. I took up the other day the "Spectator" of last Saturday. I am perfectly well aware that it is a stupid paper and one which has been characterised throughout its long 1510 history—I have long been a student of it—by malignant hatred of Ireland, but still it speaks for a large section of the British people, and the extract which I have here has been copied' into every newspaper in Ireland and read in every village, and I am sure has penetrated into every cottage. Here is what it says:Again. however, as in the case of New York, as soon as the Irish people see that the Government are going to stand no nonsense in the matter and will shoot, but not argue, they will go quietly.That is the kind of language with which this Bill has been heralded in Ireland. Do you really think that the Irish are people who are going to sit quietly down under language of that character and a spirit of that character? If they were built in that way they would not be the soldiers they make and you would not be so feverishly anxious to get them into your Army. Make no mistake about it. The Ireland you have to deal with is an ancient nation, and a very proud nation, and it has as intense a sense of national self-consciousness as exists in the whole wide world. They see to-day Poland, Finland, and the Ukraine recognised by the great Powers of Europe as independent nations with the acclamation of His Majesty's Government, and Ireland, which is more ancient than any of them and has far more national self-consciousness, is not only to be denied her liberty, but is to be dragooned, with every circumstance of insolence and insult, and ordered to go out and fight for a people whose Government has broken faith with her over and over again. If this deed is done, your moral position before the world is gone. You may continue this War, but every day there will be hurled in your face the reproach, when you talk about the rights and wrongs of the small nations of Europe, "Go home and set your own house in order."
§ Major LANE-FOX
There is one point in the hon. Member's speech which it is only fair should be referred to at the earliest possible moment, and that is what I thought the grossly unfair attack which he made on a man who is admittedly at this moment down. I refer to General Gough, to whom the hon. Member attributed disasters and mistakes with which he has been in no way connected, and though I quite understand there may be considerable political animus existing in a certain portion of the House against him, surely the House ought to be more careful than ever not to allow that to 1511 weigh in any judgment it pronounces upon this Bill. I hold no brief for General Gough. I have never had a word with him. personally, and I do not know him, but when a man is down and is to be the subject-matter of an inquiry, there are few who would care to rake up unfair accusations against him in the House of Commons, where he cannot be heard in self-defence. I prefer to leave that un savoury subject alone. I am sorry the Irish question took up such a very large portion of the Debate yesterday. I admit that it is a very important part of the Bill, but it is not the whole of it. My own Irish Constituents are subject to Conscription. Most of them, I believe, long before any question of compulsion was raised, went willingly and are fighting for their country. Why is it a grievance for the Irish, who are so over-represented in this House, to be subject to this, whereas the Irishman next door is expected to go and attaches no grievance to it? Of course, he has the inestimable privilege of being represented by me in this House. Probably he did not vote for me, and therefore to that extent I do not represent him, but obviously hon. Members from Ireland would be far more able than I to afford him protection. If it was a question of the whole of the Irish nation being unwilling to fight, I admit there would be some case to be made against it, but the whole case of hon. Members last night was that, giving them all they want, they would go and fight themselves and encourage others to do so. I maintain that, as it was never contemplated that this Parliament would have to deal with this question, the position of my Irish Constituents is exactly similar to that of Irishmen in Ireland, and their grievance is no greater and no less.
I wish in this matter we could realise rather more seriously and more fully the gravity of the issue. Surely all this discussion is reverting back to party politics. I admit the importance of the question, but it is a matter of party politics and infinitely less important than the great issues which are involved in the War. While I was listening last night to the extremely amusing speech made by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Healy), and the House naturally was laughing and enjoying his witticisms, I could not forget that at that very moment men were dying in France. Is this a moment for quips and quibbles and Parliamentary contro- 1512 versies? Surely this is a moment when we ought to be able to raise ourselves above the level of even such an important question as Irish Home Rule. Surely it is a matter in which we might appeal to the great generosity which we all know, apart from these miserable politics, is in the Irish heart, appeal to them to support, as most of them in their hearts wish to do, the cause of right against wrong. What we are being asked to do is to open the gates to the Prussians in order to give Home Rule to Ireland. To anyone who knows the action of Prussians in Europe, is there the least suggestion that Prussians would give Home Rule to Ireland, or do anything for Ireland except what suited the Prussians for their own immediate purpose? [An HON. MEMBER: "What are you doing?"] Anyone who considers what, the action of the Germans has been in dealing with other countries will realise that it is a most impossible argument to suggest. But there is one point in which I very much agree with a good deal that has been said by hon. Members below the Gangway, and that is when they complain of the joining of the Home Rule question with this question of Conscription. It may not be intended that one should depend upon the other, but I do say the way in which it was put before the House gave the impression of rather an attempt at bribery. I think hon. Members have a perfect right to complain that that was the impression given, and I think it was very unfortunate that the two things were put together, for it is perfectly clear that each ought to stand on its own merits. If a solution of Home Rule could be found no one would be better pleased than I, but the question of Home Rule and this question of recruiting should each stand on its merits, apart from all other questions.
I do not know quite how the Government justifies the very great hurry in which it has been necessary to bring in this Bill, because it is obvious to anybody in this country, and certainly anybody who has been in France, that there has been a very considerable shortage of men for a very considerable time. The Government have had ample time to deal with the question. They have ample powers of recruiting, which they have not exercised. Certainly for six months it has been a matter of common knowledge to anyone who has ever been in France that our divisions were considerably undermanned. Instead of blaming generals, 1513 surely we are entitled to blame the Government. They have not handled this question with courage. They have not dared to face it. They must have been aware of the shortage of men, and they have not done their duty. I certainly thought that in bringing in this measure in such a hurry it would be justified by some new fact being produced by the Prime Minister. No new fact has been produced. We have been told that there was no surprise, that the German attack came exactly where it was expected, and that everything was normal. They have told us suddenly that the number of men is infinitely shorter than it ought to be, which shows that the situation before the attack was very unsatisfactory, as we all know, and that this question ought to have been tackled many months ago, instead of legislating in a panic for very great and immediate needs.
I should like to come now to the question of the old men, as they have been called. I am one of them. I have been serving while over military age some time in France, and I am perfectly prepared, if I am told to do so, to go again tomorrow. My job came to an end, but if I am wanted I will go to-morrow. I say that to show that I am not biassed in what I am going to say. I do ask the Government whether it is really worth while making this great disturbance of business for a small result. We all know that if you go to the employers of the country—I have asked a good many myself—and ask them to find a certain number of men, they will certainly say they would far rather keep the older men, and get rid of some of the younger men. I think you will find that, except in very exceptional cases, the older men are undoubtedly the basis, the heart, and sinews, of the business. They are also the men to whom it is the greatest hardship to take away from their families and put into military service. They cannot take up their business again with the same ease, and they are going to be very expensive, as has been very well pointed out already, in the matter of pensions and allowances, having more children, and going sick sooner. At the end of all this, they are undoubtedly of less military value. I have had a certain amount of experience in regard to older men in the Army There are many gallant men who, in the early days of the War, made themselves out to be considerably younger than they were, so as to be able to go and fight for 1514 their country. We all thought them very gallant, and admired them, as they deserved; but, as a, rule, though there may be certain exceptions, those men gradually drifted out. They could not stand the hardship. They could not stand the bad conditions of all kinds, and, as a whole, except in cases of specially hardy men, I think everybody will agree the older man has not been a success as a soldier in the matter of health. He cannot stand it. His spirit is willing, but his flesh is weak. Is it worth while possibly adding to what has been one of the greatest difficulties of the Army, namely, the number of unfit men who have been wrongly sent to it. There have been regiments absolutely stuffed with these men, who break down in a very short time, come back and are set up again, and all this sort of thing goes on. They are really not worth the trouble they give, and there is nothing in the world of which commanders of battalions have found cause to complain so much as the number of unfit men sent to them in order to increase the paper strength, and give the people at home the satisfaction of knowing so many men have been sent to the Front. I believe there are still a very large number of the so-called indispensable young men who can be combed out in this country, and I do beg the Government to try to concentrate on them before they go into other directions, where I think they will get less beneficial results.
I should like to know very much the real opinion of the Minister of National Service as to whether he is satisfied with the method in which the recruiting machine is now working. From what I hear in various directions in the North of England, there are a good many reasons to suppose that the recruiting machine is not working satisfactorily at the moment. I would suggest it would be far preferable if the Government would take the employers of the country more into their confidence, and if, instead of saying, "We will take this man and that man," they would say, "We want so many men; let us know your views" I think in a great many cases they would get much better results. But I do hope the Government will concentrate first on the so called indispensable young men, for I believe there are a great many who can be combed out; and, secondly, get some of the young Irishmen, who. I believe, will be most ready and willing, once the early difficulties, which I admit are great, are got over.
1515 By those means you will get better results from your Bill than if you try to add to your recruiting strength by taking older men. We must not cripple our shipyards, mines, factories, or agriculture. Those are obviously indispensable things, and if we cannot get the men without crippling those industries, then we must fairly face the fact that it is not only the Army we have to think of, but we have got a vast organisation dependent upon all these things which we must not cripple, and must realise that our resources of manpower must come from elsewhere. I do not think we have got to that point yet, and that a great many can be, and will be, got; but, in the end, we have the hope of a large supply in America, and I hope supposing our man-power supply does fail we should have that to fallback upon. But, whatever we do, do not let us take unfit, elderly men if we can get younger men, and do not let us forget that it is no use sending them to do this arduous and strenuous work if they are not physically fit for it, as one of the greatest hardships the Army has had to suffer has been owing to this elementary fact being forgotten.
§ Colonel Sir JAMES CRAIG
I listened with the greatest possible regret to the speech of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Dillon) both yesterday and to-day, and I did so because I hoped that when the mantle of the leadership of the Nationalist party fell upon him it would be possible for him to take rather a different view than he had done in the past with regard to Ireland's share in the War. However, this afternoon he showed to the House that, so far as assisting recruiting in Ireland was concerned, we need not look for help from him. Now the House has touched upon this question on various occasions before, and without doubt on each occasion it would have been easier to have brought in the full force of Conscription in Ireland than to-day—much easier. Circumstances have changed. Difficulties have cropped up which were quite unforeseen. When Conscription was first suggested for England and Scotland the pessimists in the country predicted grave difficulties, but time showed that, with common sense and good will on the part of all who were interested in the subject, a great many of the difficulties dropped away, with the result that we have a machine now working in England and Scotland which has been, from the broader points of view, entirely successful and 1516 acceptable to the great mass of he people of this, country. I do not like, predicting very much, but my opinion, for what it is worth, is that exactly the same thing will take place in Ireland as has taken place in this country, that the pessimists will prove to be wrong, and that when Ireland has been led into the same paths as have been taken by the rest of the United Kingdom it will be possible to secure a large and a most valuable contribution much wanted in our fighting forces at the front.
Ireland is in rather a peculiar position in that she cannot contribute to the world war so much in manufactures, although the North does shipbuilding, and so on, but the country as a whole does not contribute very much in manufacture to the assistance of the country in the War. She is not a very rich country, and therefore she cannot give a larger contribution towards funds that are necessary, and become more necessary day by day; but undoubtedly there is one great contribution Ireland can make to assist this country, and that is her young manhood. This Bill proposes now, late as it is, to give all Irishmen a chance with the rest of the Kingdom in taking their share in the great burden that has fallen on the Empire. I am particularly anxious that nothing whatever should be said to cause friction in any quarter when such an experiment is about to be made. I regret, more than I can say, some words that fell from the hon. Member for East Mayo, especially his suggestion that Conscription in Ireland was being put forward for another purpose than what appears on the surface. There is no truth whatever in his suggestion that Home Rule and Conscription are being jockeyed together in order somehow or other to put the Nationalist party at a disadvantage. [An HON. MEMBER: "How do you know? "] For my part, as I have reiterated in this House, if the Nationalist party are desirous of securing the whole good feeling of the people of this country, how better can they go about it than by assisting the authorities to carry out a recruiting campaign in Ireland? If the Nationalists wish to show their good faith and desire to capitivate the feelings of the people of Ulster—this is looking at the matter from a low-down point of view, I. agree—is there any way, they could better do it than by coming forward with their Ulster fellow countrymen, who are quite prepared for Conscription? On that point I differ entirely from the hon. Member, because we have ample evidence that the 1517 bodies with authority to speak in the North of Ireland have been anxious to take their fair share of the burden along with the rest of the United Kingdom. Could anything be better from the Nationalist point of view than to join in hearty co-operation, as the family of the late Leader of the Nationalist party have done and as many Nationalist families have done all through Ireland, in bringing the people along with them in order that there should be no division at this great crisis in the history of our country?
The hon. Member laid great stress on the fact that Great Britain had to be educated up to such a full Bill as is before us to-day. But I read Clause 2 entirely differently from the hon. Member for East Mayo. I read Clause 2 that the Government propose to use discretion in gradually bringing into Ireland what was gradually brought into Great Britain. I read it that the Orders-in-Council will be put forward first of all to capture one class; later on, when the country has got accustomed to it, to capture another class; and, step by step, I hope with caution as well as with courage, we will gradually bring the whole Irish nation together to co-operate in a way similar to that which has been adopted in Great Britain. I do not look at Clause 2 as taking this Bill, and, without any notice or warning, simply putting everybody in Ireland within a week or two into the same position that England has reached after a long delay. If I may appeal to the Government on one point particularly it would be to cater somewhat to the prejudices, whatever they are, in all parts of Ireland in the delicate task that lies before them. The late Member for Waterford, I remember, spoke very strongly against the action of the War Office in the early stages of the War, and, from my own personal experience, I have regretfully to agree practically with every word that he said. When it was proposed to raise divisions in Ireland by voluntary agreement the War Office, unfortunately, made blunder after blunder, so far as Ireland was concerned, and instead of going to the authoritative representatives throughout the country, and taking each county by itself and discussing what the idiosyncrasies of the people were, and catering somewhat to their prejudices, a hard, a harsh, and an unsympathetic regime was immediately instituted which alienated a great many people who otherwise would have come forward.
1518 I implore the Government to couple up with the military executive, in dealing with the actual recruiting in Ireland, some committee of responsible and able and, above all, courageous Irishmen, to keep them in touch with those local prejudices, and help them to smooth over difficulties. By taking a reasonable course—by watching step by step, by learning from blunders that were made in the first instance—I believe that there will be far less difficulty in the task which they have set themselves. The hon. Member said that compulsion would not be anything like what it might have been had you had voluntary enlistment in Ireland. But can any hon. Member say that voluntary enlistment is fair? All these questions were threshed out when the English Bill was discussed, and we, who took a slight part in the discussions, could not help feeling that the voluntary system of enlistment was the very worst for the people, and the most unfair and unpatriotic. If you have two farmers, one of whom goes and the other remains, the feeling in the breast of the farmer who goes out to fight is that his neighbour and competitor is having it all his own way, and that he is undergoing great trial and suffering in order that his neighbour may reap all the benefits when the War is over. All that has been done—
§ Sir J. CRAIG
The hon. Member, in the interruptions which he makes in this House, should help us in this matter, instead of over and over again helping our enemies. We are facing a very delicate task. Let no man make this task more difficult. Every word of interruption reported in the Irish papers only increases the antipathy of those who, if they were led along the right path, would gladly take their stand in the ranks with their fellow-countrymen. But on the question of voluntary, as against compulsory enlistment, compulsory enlistment in a countryside, when it brings one man along, brings the others with him, and there is a sense of fairness, because they say that "what is fair for one is fair for all," and, whatever idiosyncrasies there may be in the Irish character, we do admire fair play and courage—above all, courage. It is common knowledge what the Irish regiments have gone through during the last few years, and is there an Irishman living who, when he has donned the uniform, when he has taken his part, will not be the better man? Is there a 1519 cottage on the hillsides of Ireland where those who live in it will not be the better and the prouder that their kith and kin have been true to themselves in this great War? Compulsion is only a word for acting fairly by your fellow-countrymen. It is only a word which means that all are going to be treated alike, and, once that is grasped by the peasantry in Ireland, I believe that you will have a far greater success for your measure than some of those hon. Members predict at the present moment.
Another point which I trust sincerely will not be lost sight of: When those men join the Army, and come into contact with the rest of the British troops, does anyone for a moment imagine that the lugubrious picture of the hon. Member for Mayo will turn out to be in any sense correct? Let me remind you that Roger Casement made a dastardly attempt to undermine the allegiance of a certain number of his Nationalist fellow countrymen when they were in gaol in German hands, when their moral was low, when their courage was not, perhaps, what it ought to be—that was the moment chosen by that renegade, in order to sap the loyalty of these men and pervert them from their duty to their King and country. The hon. Member for Mayo did not tell us the result of that attempt. But the result—I thank God for the fair name of Ireland—was to show that, once an Irishman has taken the oath and has put on the King's uniform, there is nothing which can prevent him from fulfilling his vow and carrying on to the end. It was a most pathetic thing to find that all those things are neglected by the hon. Member for Mayo, and that where something which in a world-wide war like this is bound to occur—something to the detriment of a general, of a regiment, or of the Army, can be picked out—it always will be his desire to do so, in order to discourage rather than to encourage his fellow-countrymen to come forward and to do what I say is the only honest thing and the only straight thing, and which in my heart I believe many of them, more of them than people would give credit for, are desirous of doing at this hour of our trial. I hope that Irishmen now, with the encouragement of the Government, will go forward hand in hand in this matter, and where prejudices have to be given in to, let them be given in to; but for God's sake let the result be that we shall join hands together, and help the Empire in its hour 1520 of danger, instead of doing a single thing to interfere with after all what is the rounding off of a matter which should have been done before, but which I believe even now is not too late.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. ASQUITH
I ventured yesterday to suggest that it would be desirable to delay anything in the nature of detailed criticism upon the proposals of the Government until we had the opportunity of seeing, reading, and considering the Bill itself. I think the discussion which we have had this afternoon—practically the whole of it very instructive—has been carried on, as far as we have heard, by every speaker who has taken part in it, with a full sense of the grave responsibilities that lie upon us, and with a single minded desire to say nothing, and to suggest nothing, that would interfere with the successful prosecution of our great national duty. I need hardly say that it is in that spirit that I propose, in the very few moments for which I propose to delay the House, to comment upon two or three provisions of the Bill. In the first place I take Clause 1, which proposes to raise the age of compulsory military service from, forty-two to fifty, and to give power to the Crown—that is to say, the Government of the day—by the machinery of an Order in Council to raise it to as high a limit as fifty-six. Let me say at once that in my view there is no magic whatever in the figure forty-two. It is an empirical figure, arrived at after consultation with the military authorities. No one ever imagined or supposed that it was a hard and fast line, which rested on some immutable law of Nature or experience. I suppose that everyone who is concerned with our primary purpose of making the best military use of the available man-power of the nation has no superstitious veneration or even adherence to any particular age. The question, and the sole question, as I think I indicated in what I said yesterday, upon a point like this that ought to engage our attention, is whether, if you altar the figure of forty-two, and raise the age, you are securing, or have a reasonable expectation of securing, directly or indirectly, an increase in military efficiency which is not more than counterbalanced, or even neutralised, by the dislocation of industries actually or prospectively necessary to the national cause.
Nothing has struck me more in the Debate to-day than the contribution which 1521 was made by my right hon. Friend the Deputy-Chairman of Ways and Means (Sir D. Maclean). He speaks on these matters not only with the highest authority, but with a practically unrivalled experience as Chairman of perhaps the most important of our tribunals. No one, I think, could have listened to the account which my right hon. Friend gave of what he had brought before him without entertaining at least grave doubt as to whether, applying the test I laid down a moment ago, the raising of the age to fifty will attain the results which arc expected of it. I have been overwhclmed, as I suppose most of my colleagues have been, in the course of the last two or three days, by communications from all parts of the country, in which it is represented that the taking away of every man over forty-six or forty-seven years of age will, in a large variety of cases, drain away and even denude businesses, which are of vital and national importance, of indispensable men. As I think my right hon. Friend pointed out, one of the results of the War, and one of the necessary results of it, has been that in a large number of these businesses all the younger men are in one way or another engaged in war work, and diverted from their own occupations. The men who remain are mostly of an age at which military efficiency is at least problematical. The men who remain are, in the cases to which I have referred, the men who really cannot be spared without the arrest and, in some eases, the destruction of the business in which they are engaged.
I had a letter only yesterday from a large employer— I think he is a Member of this House—who told me that in the case of his own business it would mean that eight separate departments would be left without any effective management at all. I have no doubt there are many similar cases—indeed, I am sure there are, from the communications which have reached me from all parts of the country. Consider what that will mean. I am sure the Government will readily acknowledge that, on striking a balance, it might lead, and probably would lead, not to an increase, but to a diminution of the sum total of the available national effort for the conduct of the War. While I am by no means adverse to a reconsideration of the upward limit of military age, I do trust, when the Bill gets into Committee, that the Government will 1522 carefully consider the suggestion made out of the ripe and unrivalled experience of my right hon. Friend the Deputy-Chairman, whether the end they have in view cannot be more effectively attained by putting the age at a lower limit than fifty —I do not suggest to them any particular age.
There is another point to which I wish to call attention. I think it very objectionable that we should have, as the Bill in its present shape proposes, a contingent power, without resort to Parliament, through Executive action, of raising the age to as high a figure as fifty-six. I know quite well—I have been long enough on that bench to know—the temptation there is to the Government of the day, and to far-seeing men, to avoid the necessity of introducing further legislation in the future. It is a very troublesome thing for a Government, and it is one which I always endeavoured to avoid as long as I was responsible for affairs. But, on the other hand, you have got to consider, in a case like this, as a set-off against that inconvenience, or the possible consumption of Parliamentary time, an overriding, and indeed a dominating, consideration, and that is the uncertainty in which you plunge the business community by a provision of this kind. When Parliament has fixed the age, we know that until Parliament is invoked, that limit will not be altered, and that when Parliament is so invoked, all relevant evidence and arguments one way or the other will be brought forward: and we feel secure. But if there be hanging in the air this un-defined contingency, which can be brought into operation without Parliamentary sanction, at the will of the Executive of the day, in my judgment you introduce into the conduct of business affairs an element of doubt, a sense of insecurity, which is in the highest degree detrimental to the interests of the country. I would, therefore, then, press upon the Government the expediency of omitting that particular power.
Finally, in regard to this provision of the Bill, I should be glad, and I think many of us would be glad, if it were possible to introduce some machinery by which, when the question arises of taking these men of a higher age, the matter could be considered—whatever be the tribunal—not in reference to the merits of the individual case, but in regard to the general conditions of the particular business, and even the particular trade as a 1523 whole in which he is concerned. I am quite sure, and I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer will agree, that you cannot, deal with this problem satisfactorily, simply from the point of view of A, B. C, and D, each in his own individual capacity. You must take, first of all, in the case of these large businesses like a bank, or many others I might name, the conditions of that business as a whole, and, if you are wise, and if you want to make the most economical and effective use of the man-power of the country, you will take into consideration the conditions of the whole trade. I am quite sure it is possible to devise some machinery by which effect can be given to these considerations.
The next point on which I should like to make an observation is also one on which my right hon. Friend the Deputy-Chairman touched. I mean the power to be taken in the fourth Clause of the Bill, to supersede all existing tribunals, and to sweep aside, again at the discretion of the Executive, the statutory safeguard which was carefully elaborated in this House, and which, under Parliamentary sanction, at present affords, I believe, an adequate and a simple protection against arbitrary treatment in this matter. I do not think it is in conformity either with our traditions or with public convenience, or, indeed, with the interests of the nation—and I know of no ground of urgency which can be alleged in the contrary sense—to give to the Executive of the day power by an act of their own volition to disregard and treat as nullities conditions which Parliament, after the fullest consideration of all points of view and interests involved, has in its wisdom laid down for the protection of His Majesty's subjects. Again, therefore, I hope that when we have reached the Committee stage, the Government will be able largely to modify the somewhat crude and arbitrary powers which the Bill at present gives in that important respect.
The third point—and it is the only other point with which at this stage I think it necessary to trouble the House—is in regard to the proposed inclusion of Ireland under the Bill. The question whether or not, when compulsory service is proposed for Great Britain, it should be extended to Ireland has already been considered, certainly twice—I think my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) said three times—certainly within 1524 my recollection twice. I am speaking now of a time when I was a party to these deliberations. On both those occasions it was deliberately rejected by the Government of the day. I will say in a moment why, but before I say why I must express my opinion that the arguments in favour of that conclusion have been rather strengthened than weakened by what has subsequently occurred. It would have been easier, in my opinion, to impose military compulsion on Ireland—that is, compulsion for military service—two years ago than it is to-day. But what were the grounds? I will try to follow the example which was so very admirably set by my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo in the larger part of his speech in dealing with the matter, and try to do so in a temperate and non-controversial spirit as far as possible.
What were the objections that weighed with us in excluding Ireland from, the ambit of the Military Service Act? I said yesterday that the test which I have always thought the true test and the real criterion, in regard not only to compulsion, but to various other expedients which from time to time have been suggested for the increase of our military efficiency—the real test was, Would it pay, was it worth while, would the advantages to the national cause be greater than the disadvantages? I must say that in regard to this particular matter of compulsion—and all my colleagues who sat with me will remember it—I said at the time that I was still not convinced that affairs here in Great Britain were ripe for compulsion—I said that if it was to come, it must come, in my opinion, not with unanimity—unanimity is an unattainable mental and moral condition in this imperfect world—but with something like general consent on the part of those to whom it was to be applied. Some people think, I suppose, this was dilatoriness and lethargy, and all the rest of it. I hesitated—I am not ashamed to say I hesitated—to bring proposals for compulsion before this House till I was satisfied that I could do so with the general assent of those concerned.
People say, "Why did you not do it sooner?" At all events people have said so. Why, Sir, the reasons were ample. There has been nothing in the whole of this War more magnificent in itself, or more encouraging to our Allies, than the voluntary response which was made by the people of this country in the first stages 1525 of the War. We got all the men we wanted—in fact, we got more than we wanted. The difficulty, at that time,.as everybody who went through it knows, was not men; the difficulty was to equip and train the men we had got. The provision of ammunitions on a large scale was much more important than the increase in the actual number of our forces. But that great voluntary effort will stand on record as proving the genuineness of the enthusiasm and devotion of the British people. That was one reason. The other reason was—and I see some of my hon. Friends below the Gangway, leading representatives of the Labour party—the other thing was to convince Labour, to convince the great masses of the people of this country, that a state of things had arrived in which voluntary effort had ceased to be effectual. It was not a very easy task. I wrestled with them, as they know.
§ Mr. ASQUITH
My hon. Friend uses, I will not say a dead language, but a language of which I have not a dictionary in my possession. Whatever the process was, by whatever name it be described, we take it as agreed. My hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo said a few moments ago that when the Bill was brought into this House—and a very difficult and complicated Bill it was—it was carried through all its stages by majorities of ten to one. But we had got the condition of something very nearly approaching general consent. The reason why we did not bring Ireland within the Bill was because we were perfectly convinced that that condition could not in Ireland in those days be satisfied. Can it be satisfied now? I am very sorry, I frankly say it, I am sorry that my Friends from Ireland do not see their way to accept it. I wish they did. But they do not. There is no question in the mind of anyone who has listened to this Debate and who knows anything of the tone and temper—I might use the word, the temperature—of the Irish nation— there can be no question that compulsion in Ireland cannot be introduced to-day any more than it could two years ago, even less than it could two years ago, with anything approaching general consent. We may not agree with the Irish view. Some of us may find it even difficult to understand or appreciate it. But in a free Empire like this you must 1526 take things as they are, you must take people as they are, you must take communities as they are. My hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo referred a few moments ago to the case of Australia. Look at the case of Australia. No one will dispute the devotion of Australia to the great cause in which the whole Empire is engaged. Wherever you go—in all the different theatres of war, in Gallipoli, in Flanders, in France, and even in Palestine—you find Australian soldiers in the very forefront. They have given their children, they have given their money, they have given their national resources, material and moral, with a free heart and an unstinting hand. Yes, but Australia will not have Conscription. Do you recommend it there? It was strongly urged upon her by energetic and robust politicians. Twice she has been consulted, twice she has refused. There is no one in his senses who would dream of asking this Imperial Parliament, even if it had theoretically the constitutional power to do so—I pronounce no opinion upon that—to impose compulsion on Australia.
In these matters you must study, as I have said, the advantages and disadvantages, and the question I put to myself is whether the amount of additional military strength you can get from Ireland by the application of compulsion there would counterbalance the drawbacks and difficulties in enforcing it. That is the practical question. I have always thought myself that public opinion here was very much mistaken in its estimate of the actual quantum of military contribution Ireland could make. I will not go into the figures which my hon. Friend (Mr. Dillon) has quoted, but I am sure it is very much exaggerated. But taking it at its highest estimate, is it worth while? I said a few moments ago that I thought the arguments against making the experiment have been strengthened rather than weakened by time.
Australia is autonomous. We were told—and I was very glad to hear it yesterday from the Prime Minister—that we are about to be asked to give in some shape or other—I do not know what the precise extent or limits of the proposal may be—a large measure of self-government to Ireland, a measure which, when it is proposed, I hope will receive something like, if not unanimity, at least the general assent of both Houses of Parliament. But you have got—and this is the 1527 situation—a revolutionary movement in Ireland and a constitutional movement. The revolutionary movement was, to say the least of it, of an extremely menacing and perilous character. It has not been stamped out. It still exists, but all the tendency of recent events in Ireland would show that it is waning rather than waxing. I think there have been now three successive elections in which the revolutionary candidate has been defeated by the constitutional candidate. Would it not be an act of almost—I do not like to use too strong language—at any rate, an act of terrible shortsightedness at such a moment, in such conditions, when an Irish Convention has concluded its labours, and you are about to ask the assent of Parliament to what will be, I trust, a generous and far-reaching measure of self-government for Ireland, to precede, or at least to accompany, the grant of that great and long-delayed boon by imposing on Ireland —she may be wrong, she may be short-sighted, she may be perverse—by imposing upon Ireland a measure which, as we know, rightly or wrongly, is obnoxious to a very large number of the Irish people. In other words—to bring the matter back to practical considerations—will the gain which you get in the conduct of the War and in increased military efficiency by whatever number of recruits may be compulsorily enlisted in Ireland compensate you as a, set-off against the hazards and the risks to which you are exposing yourselves? The task—I have said it for thirty years and I say it again, and it. has never been more true than to-day—which is most urgent for British statesmanship is to effect such a reconciliation on a permanent and broad basis between these two islands as will remove from the British Empire the reproach that in any part of its vastly extended Dominions there is any community of its subjects that does not voluntarily give a whole-hearted allegiance.
I am not speaking in a controversial spirit—far from it. I said yesterday, and I repeat to-day with increased emphasis— for the news we have received to-day is of a very grave character—that at a time like this, it is the imperative duty not only of the Government, but of the House of Commons, as far as it can, to respond to every call, however onerous the sacrifice which that call may impose, to make the cause of the Allies, which is at the moment in jeopardy, safe and ultimately triumphant.
1528 For that purpose it is all important that we should be able, avoiding the clash of domestic controversy, to present to our own people, to our Allies, and to the world an united and unbroken front.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
As far as I am concerned, I accept in the full spirit in which it has been delivered the speech to which we have just listened—a speech which I am ready to say now, as I said all through, is another example of the patriotism with which the right hon. Gentleman has acted since the beginning of the War. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Asquith) yesterday suggested that more time should be given than the Government had intended to the consideration of this measure. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister hoped to be here to-day to make the speech which it now falls upon me to make, but, as my right hon. Friend has informed the House, the War is not waiting, and the House will readily understand that the Prime Minister has other duties even more important than facing the House of Commons in this crisis. We readily agreed to the suggestion which was made by my right hon. Friend yesterday. It is quite obvious that the course on which the Government have decided, and deliberately decided after very anxious thought, is one which will mean, I fear, a greater amount of controversy than has happened hitherto in this House since the beginning of the War. We do not, at all events, desire to aggravate or magnify that discord, and where we can we shall meet the spirit shown by my right hon. Friend with the same spirit on our side. Some of the speeches to which we have listened today, although none of them, I am glad to say, were in the spirit of unnecessary controversy, suggested that even now everyone in the House of Commons does not realise what our position is as a nation. A great many of the arguments which really deserved weight a year or two ago seem to be absolutely out of place in the situation with which we are faced to-day.
It is clearly the duty of the Government to justify the very drastic proposals which we have submitted to the House of Commons by the only test which should influence the House of Commons—will they, or will they not, help us in the conduct of the War? That is the sole test. My right hon. Friend has not alluded to it, but since the Prime Minister spoke there have been many speeches which have alluded to the necessity for the 1529 change which has made it incumbent upon us to introduce this Bill. There is no good, as both my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend (Mr. Asquith) said yesterday, attempting to conceal from ourselves what the position is. What has happened in France was not expected, and that is why we ask the House of Commons to pass this Bill. It was not expected, and we are asked why has it happened? The facts are that till the hour at which the battle commenced, the balance of the forces in every direction was not against the Allies on the Western Front. We had hoped and believed, not the Government only, but our military advisers and the military advisers of our French Allies, that in these circumstances, if the enemy attacked we ran no serious danger. Well, we ran a danger, of course; we thought we might have to give way, but we did not think we ran the danger of anything fatal happening. We have been asked over and over again in this Debate, why should it have happened? My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister spoke yesterday on the value of the initiative. We were asked why had we not exercised it last year? At a time like this, I do not think much is to be gained by considering the causes— either for last year or the present year. If it is the fault of Governments or of leaders of armies—and in the long run it is only the fault of one; it is the fault of the Government, as we are responsible for the men—that may be a reason for changing those who are responsible, but it does not lessen the demand for men. It does not take away the need of filling our ranks, unless we are prepared to accept the position that we cannot win, and we must face defeat on the battlefield in France. Neither this Government, nor this House of Commons, nor the people of this country, are prepared to accept that alternative.
Though I say it does not seem to me useful to go over the causes of all this, I think it right once more, though it has been done many times, to point out the serious disadvantage in which the Allies' Armies stand as compared with those of our enemies. I do not think this advantage—and it is a great one—has been dwelt upon so much as some of the others. There is no one in this House, no one, at all events, who has followed the course of this War, and been in any way responsible for it, who does not realise to the full that democratic institutions, that free Parliaments, 1530 are not the best instruments for carrying on a war. Here let me say that I do not think I have ever before made any reference to military matters on which I had not military authority, and in what I am going to say at this moment I am expressing only my own view: Last year we had this superiority. It is obvious now, I think, that if a successful effort against entrenched positions could be made, it could be made only by throwing the full weight of the whole Allied Army into the attack. That was attempted by General Nivelle. I am going to say nothing whatever about the result; but I say this to the House of Commons, that there is this difference between armies led and belonging to countries with Parliamentary institutions and those of our enemies, that we must be affected by the casualties, but that our enemies make up their minds to go through with a course, and whatever the casualties, they go right on without regard to the initial step. That makes a great difference.
There has been a great deal said about unity of command. It has been implied that there was a complete difference of opinion between different sections of the House and different leaders of opinion upon that subject. That is not so. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Asquith), when he was Prime Minister, knew well that from the beginning one of the things that every Government has been trying constantly to do had been to get greater unity in our conduct of military affairs. It has been a question only of the way of doing it. Let the House not forget—it has been pointed out, I think, by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, and if so I am sorry to repeat it—what has happened. We all saw German divisions piling up in front of our lines. Even a man of no military experience, looking at these divisions that were presented to us at the War Cabinet every day, would have said, "It is obvious that if the British Army is going to be faced by such an overwhelming force, they cannot resist it." That did not follow. The troops—the reserves I am speaking of—might have been concentrated there even if it was intended to use them against French troops in some other part of the line. Nobody, therefore, could say with certainty where the attack was coming. But this is where the difficulty of unity of command comes in. If these two had been one Army, whoever was responsible for 1531 that Army would know what he had to do, would foresee the intention of the enemy, make up his mind where the attack was going to take place, and, whether it was right or wrong, risk everything on judging it rightly. As the Prime Minister pointed out, that is an almost impossible thing under existing conditions. I am not admitting, or suggesting, that anyone was to blame for it. It was one of the inherent difficulties of our position, as compared with that of the enemy. All I will say about the position now, in reference to what my right hon. Friend has said about the position to-day, is that in our belief— I am expressing better opinions than my own—in our belief if we can get the, whole Allied Army used as one, and treated as one in every respect, what is so dangerous may be changed to the advantage of the Allies. Remember it was a great risk for our enemy. If he fail in what he is trying now, the results will be very serious for him. I have said all this by way of justifying this special measure.
It has been suggested, I think in this Debate, that we ought to have had all this prepared before. That is quite wrong. Does the House realise that, in spite of the very heavy casualties last year, that at the beginning of this year we had in France a very much larger force than at the beginning of last year? This Government, and every other Government during the War, has had to weigh the different kinds of strength for the conduct of the War. The numbers which we had provided seemed to us—and I am not at all convinced, or ready to admit, that we were wrong—the right distribution of our forces from that point of view. The new need has arisen. This Bill is meant to meet it. My right hon. Friend dwelt on a great many points which are largely, as he will recognise, Committee points.
In giving more time, as we have done, we intend to do what we can to listen to, and to give due weight to, criticisms directed to help us in our object. But I do not wish the House of Commons to be under any misapprehension. The reason. Parliament was not summoned was that we needed time to mature these proposals. It was spent in maturing them. They represent our view of the right measures to take, and, though we are willing, and shall be ready, to listen to criticism, we shall not allow, in one iota, anything that we consider necessary to be altered in the Bill which we have brought forward.
1532 I do not think it is necessary to deal at any length with these points. Let me, however, refer to the case of the raising of the age. My right hon Friend pointed out, quite truly—alluding to a speech of my right hon. Friend the Deputy-Chairman. of Committees—the small value, comparatively, of men beyond a certain age. We admit that. But we need the best men we can get. In France and in Germany —as a matter of fact the system is not quite the same: they do not use the men up to a certain age; they take them by groups—men up to the age of fifty are employed in the Armies. In Austria they employ men at an even older age. We need them. My right hon. Friend thinks it would be an advantage to make the age forty-eight. So did my right hon. Friend the Deputy-Chairman of Committees. We, at all events, considered that. We feel, as everyone in the House feels, the tremendous dislocation of trade which is being caused by our proposals, and still more by the fear of what our proposals may mean. But our information was that from the point of view of this dislocation of trade it would be less if you had a wider field to choose from in getting those you need, and by taking fifty rather than by limiting it to forty-eight. That is our information.
Another thing has been said: That by our proposals we will not get the men in time to affect this issue. Therefore, we can look at it quite calmly as if it were something in the indefinite future. Something like that was said in my hearing to-day. That is not so. The assumption on which we are acting—and all that has happened confirms that view —is that the Germans are going to throw everything into this attack. If they do not succeed to-day, they will try tomorrow. If they do not succeed tomorrow, they will try month after month, as long as the campaign goes on. That is our view. We have been able to meet and fill up vacancies caused by the battle so far. Going on these casualties, judging from the figures available to us, the most critical time—unless the casualties be even much heavier than we anticipate—the most critical time will be the end of May and June. We have, to some extent, succeeded in meeting the difficulty by what the Americans have done. We hope that the gaps in our lines will be filled up in these critical months. It is hardly necessary for me to say—for the House thoroughly realises it—that we can- 1533 not put too high our admiration for the action taken by President Wilson in this crisis. I do not think such a thing has ever happened before—this case of a great nation willing to put its troops into the brigades of another nation. Nothing but the absolute necessity of the position could have justified us in making such a request, and, of course, nothing but necessity, from the American point of view, would have justified President Wilson in acceding to it.
Should this battle go on as we expect, there are still eight months of this campaign at least, and it is just at the later time that the men we are now calling up will become available. They will be as much wanted as they are to-day. Some hon. Members have spoken as if these men could not be available for this campaign at all. That is a great mistake. The necessities of this War have forced not only ourselves, but our Allies, and our enemies, to put into drafts men after a training which, before the War, would have been regarded as utterly inadequate. Great numbers of them in our case have gone after four months' training. Many have gone after less. It is for that reason we are asking for these men. It is for this reason that I say to the House of Commons that, though we are trying to meet the wishes and the spirit of the House by giving more time, the time, in regard to this Bill, is of importance. There must be no unnecessary delay.
Do not let any Member of the House suppose that the Government does not realise as fully as any other Member of the House what will be the effect on our trade and on our economic strength of the proposals of this Bill. The Prime Minister said yesterday that he recognised the damaging effect it would have not only on our trade—and this at least is true—on our staying power if the War last yet for a number of years. We admit that. As Chancellor of the Exchequer I see what the effect of it will be. Indeed, I go further. I think that the uncertainty about this Bill has done something even to stop the flow of money to the War Loan. We recognise all that, but the Government, quite deliberately, has made up its mind that it has got to face that risk in view of what we think is a greater risk. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, in moving his Amendment—and my right hon. Friend the late Prime Minister used the same phrase— talked about "commensurate value."
1534 There is no possibility of making a profit and loss account in this matter. There is no possibility of estimating commensurate values. We believe that what we are doing may possibly make a difference between victory and defeat. In-that case how can you estimate commensurate values? If we win as a result of it, what is the commensurate value then? If we lose—any way it does not make very much difference from that point of view! We cannot judge the matter in that way. It is clearly the duty—at least we think so— of this Government—and I believe we represent the feeling of the country as a whole—it is the duty of the Government to throw in every man who can be useful in the immediate danger infront of us, to secure victory—if we can—and as we shall! —and to make it plain to every man in this House and out of it that we have done everything we can that mortal man can do to secure that result.
I must now come to the subject of which my right hon. Friend spoke last—the question of Ireland. I need not say that he spoke of the desire of every Government to avoid legislation. That is true more or less, but there is no Government so foolish that, if it thought of its own convenience, it would not avoid this particular kind of legislation. Before I deal with Conscription in Ireland, I must say a few words about the other subject which has been brought into it—Home Rule. The House knows that, in the view of the Government, the two things do not stand or fall together, and are in no way connected with each other. It has been suggested that, when we were introducing Conscription, we should have left the other questions entirely on one side. That would have been quite unreasonable and unjustified. A Convention has been sitting, set up by this Government and by this House of Commons—
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
It was set up with the approval of the House of Commons, but we need not quarrel about words. It was set up by the Government, and it was set up with a real desire, felt as strongly by those who fought against Home Rule as by my right hon. Friend, that we should get a settlement of this question. That was the purpose for which it was set up, and it happened that it came to an end 1535 at precisely the same time as this crisis. Surely we were bound from every point of view to say that we shall do what we can to secure something which statesmen of all parties have long desired—that is, a better feeling in Ireland. That is the purpose for which we set up the Convention, and that is all I will say now except this: Some hon. Gentlemen who spoke yesterday, and among them the hon. and learned Member for Cork, said that we British sometimes assumed that the Irish are fools. If we do not understand them, I venture to say that they do not understand us much better. The hon. Member said that this Conscription was "a dodge to kill Home Rule altogether." [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] That shows how little he understands it. I can say with absolute certainty, as far as my judgment goes, that in this great crisis, when we are making these demands upon the people of the United Kingdom, if we had come to the House of Commons and said, "Now, when the Life of the nation is at stake, we cannot ask the people of Ireland to help us," that would have been the end of Homo Rule as far as this country is concerned. That, at least, is my belief, and I do not think hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway quite understand what the feeling of England is on this subject. [An HON. MEMBER: "And Scotland."] Yes, I mean the United Kingdom. We have decided to apply Conscription to Ire-land. My right hon. Friend says truly that the subject has been before Governments three times, and that each time we have rejected it. I think the right hon. Gentleman said that, but certainly the hon. Member for East Mayo said it would have been much easier at some previous time. That is always so. It is always so with any difficult question like this. It is always easier at some other time than the time you are actually proposing it. The hon. Member for East Mayo is a very old Parliamentary hand. He almost suggested that if we had proposed it at the same time as we did for the rest of the Uuited Kingdom, it would have been adopted.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The hon. Member put it strongly that it would have been much easier then—at least, that is my impression. He is an old Parliamentary hand, and I venture to say that if we had proposed it then, he would have said, 1536 "If vital need arises, there will be some excuse, but there is none now whatever." I am one of those who supported the late Prime Minister, against the advice of many of my friends, in thinking that it was not wise to impose it upon Ireland then. When people tell us it would have been easier then, I ask them to do what is not very easy, to try and put their minds back into the exact position at the time. One morning this week I had a visit from a Canadian, who lives in Quebec, and Canadian Governments have very much the same problems with which we are faced, and he said to me, ''Of course, it is all Sir Robert Borden's mistake. If he had done it at such and such a time, it would have been quite easy, but now it will be very difficult." I supported my right hon. Friend in thinking it was unwise to do it then, but at the time I never thought that there was any good argument except the one which I will put in a moment in favour of that course. What has happened not only in this War, but in any way in the history of the world, is that there is not a belligerent country engaged, either among our Allies or our enemies, which has not made it compulsory for every citizen to serve his country in its hour of need. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about Australia?"] I will speak of that in a moment.
As everyone knows, among our enemies, especially Austria, a very large number of those fighting in the Array would rather be fighting against them. I do not say that that is one of the things which weighs with us, but it is the fact that every country has made Conscription apply to all its citizens, and it is true of other wars. President Lincoln, when he imposed compulsion, was faced with precisely the same difficulty which my night hon. Friend had before, and which we arc having now. There was organised opposition in particular parts of the United States against them, and it is obvious that when you are having a conflict within a country, there are some bolder States which are half one way and half the other, and to impose restrictions upon them is creating trouble. I do not remember the exact words, but President Lincoln said something like this: "It is right, and if you tell me I will fall in consequence, I will fall because it is right." He was met with the kind of thing that we are threatened with to-day. I can assure hon. Members below the Gangway that, like my right hon, Friend who said he does not like controversy, I 1537 am unlike him because at one time I rather liked it; but I would avoid it if I could at this time. I do not wish to say anything controversial, but I do say this, that it is a great mistake to suppose that the Government have attempted to put this down as a pious opinion. We have put it down because we believe and intend to carry it out. President Lincoln was met by people who said, "Are you going to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and take away the whole liberties of the people of the United States?" It was a grim business to him; it is a grimmer business for us. President Lincoln said, "Am I to be compelled to shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts, and I am not to touch a hair of the head of the wily agitator who urges him to desert?" We think it is right to do it, and we mean to do it. [An HON. MEMBER: "Mr. Balfour tried it before."]
§ Mr. DEVLIN
President Lincoln was imposing Conscription on his own people, but you are imposing Conscription upon a people who are not your own.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I do not accept that view. I come now to the justification. I said I had opposed it earlier, and I did so for this reason: I thought the military advantage as it is to-day was open to argument, but I hoped that we could win this War—I believed we could win this War—without being reduced to all kinds of expedients which apply to this Bill in England as well. I am not ashamed to say it; I knew we had to live with Ireland after the War, and I was prepared, and would be prepared to-day if I could, to allow something to be undone which in justice ought to be done, if I had the hope that as a result of it we would get on better with our Irish fellow countrymen. I had that feeling; I have changed it, and this is the reason why: In my opinion the conditions are not the same. Does anyone suppose that we would call up these men up to fifty years of age, the men who obviously from their age and position are more likely to be at the head of businesses on which the economic strength of the country depends—does anyone believe that we should do that except under dire necessity? We are prepared to do it in Ireland now on the one ground the late Prime Minister urged—because we believe it will make a difference of military strength which makes it our duty to face the consequences now. We think so. The hon. Member for East Mayo said in his speech that we were quite wrong about 1538 the numbers, and my right hon. Friend rather implied the same thing. I am sure they were mistaken.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
It was pointed out two years ago that the number available was 120,000. They were all A 1 men. Tw0 years have passed, and there has been the. normal growth of population of those coming up to military age, and there has been no emigration. When that estimate of 120,000 was made, it was based on the then military age and the conditions which then applied. We have not the smallest doubt that the number which will be available is much larger than any figure which has been given. That is our belief, and, if it is necessary to give a reason for it, it can be done. There is an obvious reason. The population of Ireland and of Scotland is very much the same. If the numbers had been equal, there would have been a margin of 400,000 now available in Ireland. I do not suggest that the conditions are the same. There was a lot of emigration from Ireland earlier—to a much greater extent than from Scotland. Scotland is to a larger extent manufacturing than Ireland, but they had a margin of 400,000. Any way you look at it, there will be available a much larger number than the ten divisions mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary,
I have told the House as frankly as I can the reasons which have influenced the Government in coming to this decision. We know the cost. I have said in this House many times what was said to-day by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, that we have rejoiced, sincerely rejoiced, at the way in which members of the Nationalist party—I am not going to mention names again: all the House knows them, and there were many other members of that party—have fought side by side-with us in this great War. We do not contemplate with anything but reluctance and the greatest hesitation doing anything which even threatens, as the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Dillon) says, to make Ireland absolutely our enemy until the end of the War. We do not do that without the greatest reluctance. It ought not to be so, and it is not our fault. [HON. MEMBERS; "It is your fault!"] I thank hon. Members for the patience with which they have listened to me up till now. I am sure what I have said must have been aggravating to them.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
It is not our fault. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is!"] I can conceive no ground whatever for such action on the part of the Irish Members. Look at the Home Rule Bill, which the hon. Member for Mayo said yesterday can be put on the Statute Book to-morrow. If we did put it on the Statute Book, it would make no difference. The duty of conscripting Ireland would still be on this House of Commons. Under the Home Rule Bill, defence of the realm and all other naval and military matters were absolutely excluded from the purview of the Irish Parliament. So much was this taken for granted that the question was never debated. I am speaking from memory, but I went through that controversy. That right of the British Parliament was never even questioned. It was suggested by those who were opposing the Bill that, though you retained these rights, if you had such a Parliament you would find it difficult, if not impossible, to exercise them, but that was denied by those who supported the Bill. The hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Devlin) yesterday mentioned a Resolution of a Committee of the Convention. Since he spoke, I have read the Report. There is no need for our having any disagreements about facts when disagreement should not exist. The Prime Minister said that he had not read the Report of the Convention, but, as I know, he knew every day what was being done in the Convention, and, although he had not studied the Report, he knew the general scope of it, as we all did.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I have read that part since, and I know exactly what is in it. The hon. Member, as he will recognise, was wrong in saying that it was the unanimous Report of the Convention. There was a division against it.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
What I stated was that the Report of the Committee was unanimous. It was subsequently ratified by the Convention. I further stated that the personnel of that Committee was made up of the Duke of Abercorn, Lord Desart, two leading Unionists in this country and an Ulsterman, Mr. Powell, a leading Unionist. The only Nationalists upon that Committee were soldiers.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The hon. Member, as a matter of fact, was mistaken in what he stated, but I have no doubt that he meant that. He said that both the Convention and the Committee were unanimous. I want the House to consider exactly what that means. This Report did say, without judging the question of principle or what was right, that they believed that in effect it would be found impossible to impose Conscription without submitting it to an Irish Parliament. That was what the Report said, That is the Report of a Committee of this Convention, but the whole subject was one of the vital subjects of discussion on the Home Rule Bill. I would certainly hope, if there were an Irish Parliament, that there would be such goodwill between the two Governments that, whatever was carried out in one part of the country would have the assent of the other. If you insist on that as part of the Homo Rule Bill, what is the good of talking about? That absolutely disappears. Obviously, you cannot have such a system with England going to war, and Scotland, Ireland, and Wales staying out of it. That is a position which cannot be logically argued. If there were an Irish Parliament, and that goodwill which I hope would exist, it would be a. matter of discussion between the two Governments. In any case, the only justification for this proposal is the immediate necessity. How can anyone suggest that we are going to wait until the Home Rule Pill has become law, and then still be in doubt as to whether or not we can get the men who are absolutely essential?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Has the hon. Member forgotten what I told him 1 If that Bill were on the Statute Book, it would not alter this controversy.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I really do not object to the hon. Member interrupting, but I do think that I might be allowed to finish. The hon. Member for Mayo said that we lose our whole moral position. No, we will not. We are asking the Irish to do nothing which is not asked of every citizen of every belligerent country. We are not asking them to do anything which is not asked of every citizen of Great Britain. The fact that we have delayed— 1541 the fact that only necessity has made us do it—is a proof that, from the beginning to the end, we have been anxious to deal fairly and honestly with Ireland. That is our position. I listened to the speech of my right hon. Friend the late Prime Minister with great care and interest, and what I said of it at the beginning is what I feel about it. I quite admit that this is a subject on which there is room for difference of opinion. We have come to our opinion.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
We have come to our opinion very deliberately, after weighing as well as we can all the advantages and disadvantages of the course which we propose. We have come to that decision. There never was any subject, in my view, on which it would be more proper for a House of Commons—a patriotic House of Commons, which was thinking as my right hon. Friends and I are thinking, only of the position of this country in this War—to make up their minds deliberately which is the right course. We have made up our minds. If we are wrong, somebody else ought to carry on the government of this country. The House mistakes me if it thinks that I mean that as a threat in any shape or form. The position of a Government today is one where those who are exercising it must be guided by what they believe to be their duty. If the House of Commons deliberately took the view on. this matter —which might be vital—that we were wrong, they would be perfectly right and justified in coming to that conclusion. I can say this further for my colleagues as well as for myself: We are not going to alter on this matter.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
If this Clause is going to be voted against, it would be as well and wiser—the sooner the better—to vote against the Second Reading. We are not going back on it, and I say again, for myself and for my colleagues, that if the House—if the people of this country— really thought that we were making a mistake, we would do our utmost to give loyal support to any other Government which wished to carry on the War.
§ Mr. HARBISON
It may seem unusual for an hon. Member having entered this House only twenty-four hours ago to 1542 intrude in a Debate of this magnitude dealing with the issues that are before the House, but being the most recent candidate elected to this House from an Ulster constituency I claim that I have a right to state to the House some of the true facts of the situation relating to Ireland. I do not propose to deal with those Clauses of the Bill that do not refer to Ireland. My immediate interest in this Debate is altogether in relation to my own native country.
I have listened to the speech just delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and before I say anything about it, I wish to impress upon the House my sentiments about this War. There is no man in this House more anxious, and there is no man in this House more willing, to do one man's part in winning this War. I am not exaggerating when I say that the speech to which we have just listened is an argument almost beyond controversy that this Empire, at the present moment, is depending upon what might be called comparatively a handful of men from Ireland. I assume that every word of that speech of the right hon. Gentleman will be in Berlin to-night before the Kaiser and his followers retire to rest. I venture to suggest to the House that no more cheering news has gone to Berlin since the beginning of the War.
Now, as to the facts in regard to Ireland. I have just returned from one of the hardest fights in that province of Ireland renowned for hard electoral fights. The one overpowering issue in that election was the very question we are debating here to-night—the question of compulsory service for Ireland. The man whom I was fighting was the representative of the revolutionary movement in Ireland, and, of course, he was against Conscription. I had to fight that man on behalf of the Constitutional party in Ireland. I beat him, but I am not such a fool as to say that if I had to go back to my Constituents now as the representative of the Constitutional party I would stand up on a public platform and resist the arguments he would use against me. This Bill has given the followers of revolution in Ireland the opportunity they have been seeking. I know—and it is not second-hand knowledge, such as the Government have received—the feelings of the young men of Ireland. You know the men who have entered the Army, and the spirit, of these young men of Ireland who have 1543 joined the ranks, and it does not lie in the mouth of any man to say that the young men of Ireland are cowards. The young men of Ireland up to a certain stage, and even at the present moment, are with you in this War if you only treat them justly and honourably. Their repugnance to join in this fight for the rights of all nations arises not from any innate hatred of England or of any of the belligerent Powers It arises from the cruel sense of injustice which has burned into their very souls, and before they will be taken forcibly and be conscripted into an army to fight the battle of a people who have so unjustly treated them, they are prepared to shed their blood on their own thresholds, rather than fight in a cause in which they are conscripted. The Constitutionalist argument which has been so well expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the ex-Prime Minister cannot be refuted, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not attempted to answer it. That argument is that it is the very basis of the British Constitution. It is the basis of all free Governments throughout the earth, that no nation—and Ireland is a nation, and we have been fighting the cause of "Ireland a nation" for hundreds of years—on the face of the earth, no Power, no Parliament has any right or prerogative to enforce upon another nation a law compelling them to shed their blood, except by the consent of the people of that nation.
I am an Ulster man, and I love my native province. I have heard an Ulster Member here to-day say that we should all join in. I give a challenge to that Ulster gentleman to put this question to his Constituents in East Down, and I will abide by the result. I will take the responsibility upon myself of putting this question both to Unionists and Nationalists in the county in which I was born, and I will abide by the result. In the election which I have just won, practically all the voters in my Constituency, whether Unionists or Nationalist, were unanimous that Conscription could never apply to Ireland except by the consent of the Irish people. If that principle be violated by this House, then, in my opinion, British liberty has departed from this land. I have served to the best of my ability for thirty-three years under my leaders from the time of Mr. Parnell down to the time of our late lamented leader, and now I am under my leader here to-day. During 1544 those years I have served in the cause of constitutional agitation. On our banner has always been the legend, which is unfortunately proving to be only a legend, "Liberty by constitutional means." After those thirty-three years yesterday I entered this House. What were the feelings surging within my soul when I saw the first Minister of this great Empire, with one fell thrust, placing the knife in the very heart of the cause for which I have given my life? That, in essence, has been the result of this Debate. I leave the details to further consideration. I beseech all liberty-loving men in this country not to forget the doctrine, so many times preached from those benches by the illustrous predecessor of the present Prime Minister, and by the greatest leader of them all, the late Mr. Gladstone, that only by the bonds of love and self-respect between this nation and ours can the love and the support of the Irish people ever be gained. I tell this House and this nation that by no force can they ever, as a practical question get as many men out of Ireland as they will require to put into it to take those men away. I speak these sentiments from the bottom of my heart. The argument was used here last night by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College (Sir E. Carson) and by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-day that we should all join in. I remember not so many years ago, when another piece of legislation not so drastic as this was being brought forward by the Government of the day for Ireland, and a small minority in Ireland said, "No! We will take up. arms; we will fight against this; we will never obey that law; we will raise an. army."
§ Mr. HARBISON
They said, "We will get our German rifles; we will throw off our allegiance to the Crown, and we will bring in a foreign potentate." We have not said that yet. We are still loyal to the flag, but under that flag we expect liberty. I warn this House—I am not saying it as a threat, but am telling them what I know to be true, because I have lived among my fellow men in Tyrone and in Ulster, and I know the feelings and sentiments of these young men—and I tell you that they are prepared to make the supremest sacrifice to preserve the liberty of their country. They have the brains 1545 as ever, of the Celtic race. They see that in the application of this Prussian doctrine to Ireland the liberty to Ireland has gone for ever and, as ever, they, as true sons of the nation to which they belong, are prepared to die, and will die, in defence of that liberty.
§ Mr. ELLIS DAVIES
I regret I cannot see my way to support this Bill. It is not because I do not realise the gravity of the situation, but because I am not at all satisfied that the Government has been, or is, exercising at the present moment in a proper manner the great powers with "which it is already vested over the manhood of the country. I remember the present Minister of Munitions pointing out eighteen months ago that there was a great waste of power in France in the employment of orderlies by officers, and of unnecessary men at the base. I should be very glad to have some assurance that the complaint then made by the Minister of Munitions has been attended to, and the cause of it removed; that officers do not employ so many orderlies, and that unnecessary men are not engaged at the base. But, apart from any question of that kind, there is a great waste of energy and of man-power in this country in connection with Government contracts—a waste of man-power which might be well made available for the Army. I had my attention drawn to a case yesterday where a number of men are being employed in erecting huts, although large numbers of these buildings are still unoccupied. I have heard of another case in which the contract for a large shed was let to two contractors; the employés of one contractor were engaged in building it while the employés of the other were taking it down. In these circumstances it is very difficult for one to vote for a Bill of this kind which proposes to place the manpower of the country up to fifty years of age under the control of the Ministry responsible for such blunders.
There is also no doubt a great deal of wastage going on in the Army itself. There is too much red-tape. Three months ago I had to draw the attention of the Secretary for War to the case of a lieutenant-colonel of forty-four years of age who had served twenty-seven years in the Army and had been on active service at Gallipoli. He had been compelled against his wish to resign his commission, although he was physically fit in a military sense, and the only answer that could be 1546 got from the Secretary for War was that he belonged to a class which must make room for other men coming back from the front. How can one possibly defend this Bill when the Government refuses to avail itself of the services of a man of forty-four and at the same time is asking power to conscript men of fifty-six to fill the ranks? Take another case. It is the case of a man who holds high rank in the Army. He has never been to the front. He has never been out of this country. He is under thirty-five years of age. He is fully efficient in a military sense, and the only excuse for not employing him at the front is the fact that men of his rank are not required in France. It seems to me, when we are making this demand upon business men of the country, upon parents, upon men who are really necessary for our business establishments, this kind of red-tapeism should not be allowed to prevent the employment of men on work for which they are thoroughly fitted.
Then there is the question of the employment of men under thirty-five years of age in Government offices. I am not concerned with those in the Civil Service. I am concerned rather with those who have been taken into Government offices to escape the Military Service Act. Let me give one instance. It is within my own personal knowledge. Three members of the legal profession—one a solicitor and the other two barristers—have been taken into the Government service in order to escape the Military Service Act and its obligations. One of these barristers is drawing a Government salary, and is allowed at the same time to carry on his own practice. I think cases of this kind should be inquired into before the Government come down and ask for more men. Then there is the question of the effect of the Bill on the business of the community. It is bound to inflict great hardship in individual cases. It is also going to lead to chaos in business establishments. Let me put a case of which I have knowledge. It is the case of a large industrial business employing 4,000 people. Four of the five directors are under fifty years of age, three are under forty-eight years, and the effect of this Bill will be that only one director will be left to control this big concern.
There is another thing to which I strongly object, and that is the provision by which it is intended to bring ministers of religion under military law. I do not 1547 profess to agree with those who say that it is against their convictions as ministers of religion to take part in the maintenance and protection of the State. But I do know a large number of people who reasonably believe that it is not the function—indeed, that it is opposed to the creed professed by ministers of religion— to take part, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of war. I cannot understand under what circumstances the present Prime Minister has come down to this House to propose that ministers of religion shall, whether they agree or not, whatever their conscientious convictions may be, be compelled to place their services at the disposal of the military authorities. I would like to quote one remark on this question of the right of conscience:Wales has entered the lists to champion the most sacred cause ever entrusted to the charge of a people. What is that? The great cause of the freedom of conscience.And then the speaker went on to say:Never trust an individual; never trust a party whose talk is a gibe at conscience.These words were spoken by the present Prime Minister. The issue then was not whether or not a minister of religion should be placed under military law and subject to military control, but whether little children of churchmen should be taught the Apostles Creed at the expense of the rates in Church schools. For the life of me I. cannot understand the right hon. Gentleman who then protested so valiantly and so courageously for freedom of conscience, allowing his Government to propose that ministers of religion shall be placed under the military law whether they approve or not. What is going to happen under this Bill? Ministers of religion, we are told, are not in future to be exempted, but will be subject to military law, although they may not be compelled to give combatant service. But let me take the position of Nonconformist ministers in Wales. With regard to the clergyman on the Establishment, as he is in charge of a parish and responsible for the cure of the souls of the parishioners, I have not the slightest doubt that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred he will be regarded as indispensable to the parish. But will that protection apply to the Nonconformist minister, to the man in charge of a small church, who possibly adds to that duty the work of a farmer, or grocer, so as to eke out a living? I have to-day in 1548 my possession a paper relating to the calling up of a Nonconformist minister in one of the rural parishes in my district. He belonged to the Baptist denomination. He was at college when the Act came into force and he was exempted from military service on medical grounds. Since then he has been ordained, and now the authorities are calling upon him to do certain service. I have no doubt that if the Bill is carried in the form in which it now stands, the people who will really suffer will be the Nonconformist ministers of the country, and particularly those who have no settled ministry and no wealthy congregation. Under these circumstances it is impossible for me to vote for the Bill. I have one other point to mention, and that is in regard to the tribunals. The members of these bodies have had a very difficult task. It has been by no means easy for them to ignore the claims of friendship or of business or even of politics, but it must be admitted that they have done their work well and impartially. As far as I can make out, the proposal now is to abolish these gentlemen, and the only protection which the individual will have in the future will be the Ministry of National Service. Of course it will be utterly impossible for the Minister himself to deal with all the cases that may arise, but I do think it is a very serious proposal that the fate of men from forty-one to fifty-six years of age the interests of business men who are the pivots of big businesses, and who may be the support of families, should be left to the decision of some clerk to the Ministry of National Service. I think that would be an intolerable position, and therefore I shall have to record my vote against this Bill.
§ Sir THOMAS ESMONDE
I sympathize very much with some of the remarks which have fallen from the last speaker with regard to the application of this Conscription Act to ministers of religion. There is nothing which more deeply offends the religious feelings of Catholics, at all events, than this particular proposal in the Bill, and really it seems to me that the Government are going most light-heartedly into a really appalling situation. They propose now, among other things, that Irish priests shall be conscripted. Anybody with the most elementary knowledge of Catholic sentiment, especially in Ireland, must be aware that no more outrageous proposal could possibly be made. It is one that takes us back to the time of Queen Elizabeth and of the Star 1549 Chamber, to the day of the rack, to the days when the cry of "No Papist!" was prevalent, to the day when priests had a price set upon their heads. In these days, when the Government is supposed to be directing the united energies of this great Empire to the prosecution of this hideous War in the face of terrific difficulties, the idea of proposing such a thing for Ireland really makes one despair of finding common sense in any British Government.
I am afraid that the right hon. Gentleman, to whose speech I listened with very great attention, has made what is nothing less than a declaration of war. I would commend to the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues to read the declarations of the Irish bishops, signed by the venerable Primate of Ireland, Cardinal Logue, in which they record their opinions of this Conscription proposal. Probably it will have no effect, and although I cannot imagine how the Government can bring forward a Conscription Bill for Ireland at the present juncture of Irish affairs, probably nothing we can say can have any effect on it. At all events, the right hon. Gentleman in his declaration of war to-day has succeeded in doing one thing: He has succeeded in breaking the united and Parliamentary front which these Islands have maintained since the War began. We have on all sides of the House, in our anxiety to see this War brought to a successful conclusion, said nothing and done nothing whatever to interfere with the free hand the Government had in every direction. We have done nothing even to expose the blunders which the Government have been constantly making since the War broke out; we have given them all the assistance in our power to carry this War to a successful conclusion; and this is the return the Irishmen get, at all events. The right hon. Gentleman has certainly succeeded in breaking our united Parliamentary front. Things will not be the same in this House as they have been, and I am afraid things will not be the same outside the House as they have been. They will certainly not be the same in Ireland.
Before I come to the general question I would like to make one or two remarks on some things the right hon. Gentleman said in the course of his speech. He said to us that he did not think we Irishmen quite understood the feeling of Englishmen towards Ireland. I think he was wrong in that. I do not say we can quite 1550 understand the feeling of all Englishmen towards Ireland, but we perfectly understand the feeling of a certain section of Englishmen towards Ireland. We can perfectly well understand, because we have had very long experience of it, the feelings of that section of Englishmen who have engineered this policy of Conscription for Ireland. After all, this policy is not a new policy. It has been brewing for a long time. We have had these articles in English newspapers month after month—I would almost say year after year—calling for Conscription for Ireland, and we can understand the feeling of that particular kind of Englishman who has been rejoicing over these conscriptionist articles and who has been probably contributing towards them. That kind of Englishman we can understand, and we know that no matter what we do we shall never by any possibility alter his feelings of hatred and dislike of Ireland. We know that perfectly well, and that kind of Englishman we understand. We also understand another kind of Englishman, which, I think, and have always thought, is the majority of Englishmen—that is, the fair-minded man who was prepared to be friends with Irishmen if he could, a man who would himself admit that he could not quite understand us, but, at the same time, a man who was not fundamentally opposed to working with Irishmen or to being friends with Irishmen. That kind of Englishman we do understand. We think that he is in a majority in England, and it is precisely because we have thought that that so many of us have been anxious that our country should join with the English people in carrying this War to a successful termination. I am afraid that the work which has been done yesterday and to-day in this House will have done away with all immediate possibility of a reconciliation between Ireland and England.
There was another remark which the right hon. Gentleman made to which I would also like to refer. He spoke of Conscription in Canada. The right hon. Gentleman knows Canada particularly well. Canada is a Confederation. The right hon. Gentleman knows specially well the Province of New Brunswick in Canada, and I would like to ask him. Would the Dominion Government of Canada ever dream of conscripting New Brunswick if New Brunswick had not entered into the Confederation? New Brunswick has a Parliament of its own, 1551 New Brunswick is a member of the Canadian Federation, New Brunswick is governed in Imperial matters by the Canadian Dominion Parliament, and when the Canadian Dominion Parliament decrees Conscription for Canada of course New Brunswick agrees to it. But T would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he imagines that the Dominion Government of Canada would conscript Newfoundland? Newfoundland is only twenty-seven miles off Canada at the nearest point. Newfoundland is not a member of the Canadian Federation, and does any sane man imagine that Canada would ever attempt to conscript Newfoundland, or, if they did, that Newfoundland would ever submit to it? The case put forward by the right hon. Gentleman was not in the least analogous to the case of Ireland. If we had a Parliament of our own it would be a different thing altogether, but without a Parliament of our own you have no more right to conscript us than Canada has to conscript Newfoundland. What strikes me about all this extraordinary business is that the Government have brought it forward at a most amazing time. We have had a long explanation from the right hon. Gentleman as to the necessity of bringing forward this measure of Conscription for Ireland at the present juncture. We ail know that the position in France is serious; everybody admits that. The right hon. Gentleman succeeded not only in breaking his Parliamentary front, but he also succeeded in extending his war front to Ireland. Why should he do that just now? Why should he do that just at the moment when there appears to be some chance—I do not say a very great chance, but still some chance—of bringing about a reconciliation between England and Ireland? Why should they select the moment to introduce this amazing measure on the very eve of the publication of the Report of the Irish Convention? I can imagine, if the right hon. Gentleman and his Government wanted to prevent the Report of the Convention leading to anything, their bringing forward this proposal at this particular moment. They talk to us about their anxiety for the success of the Convention and their extraordinary anxiety for conciliation between England and Ireland, and yet, on the eve of the publication of the Convention's Report, they bring in the most 1552 frightfully controversial proposal that has been, introduced into the House of Commons in my time.
It does not look well for their bona fides in relation to the result of the Convention. On the other hand, it very much bears out the strongest argument that has been brought against us in Ireland by our opponents, namely, that this Government, no more than any other Government, mean to keep faith with Ireland. It is all very well for English Ministers who live in this country, and who are perfectly happy—who are, at least, persons of high honour in this country—who never go to Ireland in their lives, to think they can make laws to govern our people. We who live in the country, whose interests are bound up in the country, who have no other real interests except the interests of our own country, know the difference, and it makes us hopelessly sad when time after time and year after year those same English Ministers, with all their information, all their knowledge, all their professions of good-will, do the very last thing that ought to be done if these countries are ever to be brought together, or if they are by any possibility to be reconciled. The situation is apparently this. The Irish Convention has reported, and the Government proposes to take steps upon that Report. Whether the steps it takes will be practical steps or will give satisfaction to Ireland in the matter of self-government, we do not know, but at this very moment, when they propose to bring forward their great measure, apparently they ask from us as the price of an Irish settlement the conscription of the youth of Ireland. That apparently is the situation in which we find ourselves, and, anxious as I am to see a settlement of this question, and, anxious as I am to see an Irish Parliament established—because, thirty-three years ago, I came into a public life simply because I believed in an Irish Parliament, and I remained in Parliament for all those years, because I always expected to see the establishment of an Irish Parliament—I would not accept an Irish Parliament even now, though I have given all my life to working for an Irish Parliament, at that price. It will never be said of me, at all events, that I sold the lives of my fellow countrymen on any consideration, even the consideration of an Irish Parliament. If the Government persists in its most hopeless proposal 1553 to conscript the Irish pepole, it may save itself the trouble of introducing its Parliament Bill into the House. It would be a very different thing if Conscription were imposed upon us by our own Parliament. If a real and not a sham Irish Parliament imposed Conscription upon Ireland, every patriotic Irishman would obey it at once. There would be no difficulty about it in any shape or form. We have always held, and shall always hold, that this House has no more right to make laws for Ireland than it has to make laws for the United States. That is the foundation of our political belief.
We were asked yesterday why we did not oppose Conscription from the beginning. The reason was that, after all, it was an English matter. Our friends in England were divided on the subject. Some wanted Conscription and some did not. The matter was purely a domestic one for them, and we thought it better to take no side on the question, but let them settle it themselves. That is no argument whatever against our objecting to Irish Conscription. If the question had been argued on its merits, we should have voted against Conscription. When you had Conscription in England you imposed it upon yourselves. Now you say Ireland ought to have it because you have got it, Canada has got it, and New Zealand has got it. But all these countries are self-governing. The Canadians imposed their Conscription, and Canadian Conscription is very different from what you intend to impose upon us. It is much more reasonable, more humane, and much fairer. Would this House ever in its wildest nights of imagination dream of conscripting South Africa or Australia? There is no analogy between our case and that of the self-governing Colonies, or your own. While we have no Parliament of our own we will never submit to Conscription. If there is one question on which the Irish people have most firmly made up their minds, it is that they will not submit to Conscription in any shape or form. It is no use Ministers saying the Irish people will submit. They would accept Conscription from their own Parliament, but will not accept it from this Parliament, and you are living in a fool's paradise if you imagine that you are going either to get a large number of men or to conduce to good relations between the two islands or are going to assist very much in the prosecution of the War by enforcing Conscription upon an -unwilling Ireland.
1554 The great argument which has been used in the speeches of Englishmen who detest-the Irish is that Ireland is not playing her proper part in the War. In my judgment Ireland has played a magnificent part in the War, and I have reason to know it. I think Ireland has made very much greater sacrifices than she was entitled to make. We made those sacrifices of our own free will. Therefore instead of reproaching us with the part we have taken in the War, the English people ought never to be tired of expressing their gratitude to us. Whatever we did we did without any compulsion, simply because we wanted to help you, and we would have helped you far more than we have done if you had allowed us to do it in our own way. Last night we heard a good deal about the Ulster division. We have watched it with a great deal of interest and pride, and I particularly have done so because a very considerable number of my Catholic Nationalist electors were serving in it. It has held its own well and has fought bravely. What about the other divisions? When we talk about the Irish share in the War there is one division which has been forgotten. What about the 10th Division? What about Gallipoli and Suvla Bay? Where is this 10th Division now? It exists no longer. Yet Ireland has done nothing in this War. What about the 16th Division of Irish Catholics and Nationalists? Where is it? It no longer exists. Like the 10th Division it died fighting for you, and yet Ireland has taken no share in this War. I listened not many months ago to an eloquent reference by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson) to the achievements of a certain naval brigade in Flanders, which was mostly composed of Dublin Fusiliers. Where is it? It has gone, and yet Ireland has taken no share in this War. What about the old contemptible Irishmen in the original Army? They have all disappeared, and yet Ireland has taken no share in the War. The thing is villainous. What about the part Ireland has taken in the naval war? She has contributed more sailors in proportion to her population than any part of the United Kingdom, and yet Ireland has played no part in this War. There were two battle cruisers in the battle of Jutland in which I was interested. Both went to the bottom, and with them went900 Irish Catholic Nationalists, and yet Ireland has played no part in the War. The thing is too abominable for words.
We really have all come to the conclusion in Ireland now that there is no use 1555 trusting to any promise by any Englishman. It is the same story over and over again. At Limerick 300 years ago our ancestors made a treaty with you and you tore it to pieces. They made a treaty with you again when George III. signed the Act of Renunciation, saying that at no time ever afterwards would the right of Ireland to govern herself be questioned. You tore that treaty to pieces. We trusted you again at the beginning of the War when the chairman of the Irish party promised you the united assistance of Nationalist Ireland. We believed you then. We thought you meant to do us justice, and we were deceived again. So now we have come to the conclusion that there is no ever believing in the word of an English statesman. That is, unfortunately, the feeling which prevails all over Ireland at the present moment. In the face of that they will oppose your Conscription. But you will pass your Bill, I suppose. You will not find it very easy passing it, and when you do pass it you will not find it very easy to enforce. At all events, we are with our own people in this matter. At whatever sacrifice, we shall support our own people by every means in our power. No Irish mother—a mother, perhaps, who has lost a son, and has, perhaps, two sons fighting for you—when you come to take her remaining son away, will be able to say that the Nationalist representatives of Ireland failed to do all they could to avert that calamity.
§ Colonel ARCHER-SHEE
The speech which has just been delivered by the hon. Member opposite is one which, I think. shows the very deplorable attitude of mind taken up by a great many Nationalist Members at this fearful crisis in our fate, and I am very glad that I have had the opportunity to be called directly after his speech, because I am the only Unionist here who is of Irish descent and a Roman Catholic as well, and, being a man of Irish race, I feel that I can say something in reply to what the hon. Member has said He has alluded to the services of Ireland in this War the magnificent services of the 10th, the 16th, and the Ulster divisions. I know a great deal about those services. I know very well the work done in the battle of the Somme and last summer at Bullecourt, and no one, in my opinion, has ever said what the hon. Member has quoted as having been said, that Ireland had done 1556 nothing in the War. Everyone knows the glorious part Irish Volunteers have taken in the War, and all that is asked by the Government now is that hon. Members opposite, instead of coming here to obstruct and prevent this legislation going through by all the means in their power, should divert their energies to carrying the Fiery Cross through Ireland, asking the people to give up those feelings, which they say they still have, in view of the tremendous dangers which face the United Kingdom at this hour. I ask the hon. Member to go to his countrymen and remind them of the fate of Poland, Serbia. Roumania, and Belgium. I ask him if he will go there and tell them that the Ukraine, that Finland, will be enslaved in the same way as those other countries have been if the Germans win this War And does he imagine, or do any hon. Gentlemen opposite imagine, that the people of America, of Canada, of France, of Italy, of this country, will be ready to admire and respect the name of Ireland and the name of Irishmen if they do not give an equal sacrifice now? We know the tremendous potentialities of Ireland, and that is just why the Government are asking Ireland at this moment to forget everything of the past and come forward and fight like true men, as they are Nobody has ever said the Irishmen have done nothing. What we do ask is that they should now take, the same part in the War that every man in England, Scotland,, and Wales has taken.
§ Colonel ARCHER-SHEE
I said before that we are faced with a most fearful crisis, and I do not think hon. Members really realise yet what the crisis is. I cannot imagine they do, otherwise I am certain they would no1 make use of the expressions they have made use of during this Debate and during the Debate yesterday. It is terrible to me as a man of Irish race, and I take this opportunity of denying the accusation made against me yesterday by the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Lundon), who said I had always been ready to drag the name of Ireland ink- the mire. I have never done this. I hardly took any part in the Home Rule Debates, although I have always felt, and I do feel, very strongly against Home Rule. But I say it is a terrible blow to me to think that an hon. Member like the hon. Member for East Mayo should get up in 1557 in a crisis like this and say he is going to rouse people in Ireland, who are already in bad enough frame of mind, to resist us. Why, he is asking men to lay down their lives—for what? For a mere idea. If he and the hon. Member who has just spoken would only see what is really at stake, what the fearful crisis we are at now, they will, I am certain, change their minds; and I believe hon. Members opposite do not really intend to carry out what some of them have stated they will, and I hope they will ask the people of Ireland to forget what has gone, and join in the fight for liberty with the people of America and Australia and men of Irish race fighting in the English ranks. I must say a word about the observation that was made against me this afternoon by the hon. Member for West Belfast, who had the insolence to ask me what I was doing here. I will tell him I was invalided from the front, and am at present serving at home, and am only on leave to come here for this Debate. I have served for thirty months, and for two years of that time fought in the front line, and not anywhere on the Staff or behind the line. I ask the hon. Member for West Belfast to refrain from making observations like that against me. I apologise to the House for having gone into a personal matter like that, but I had to answer a charge that I was here under false pretences.
I have already spoken about the crisis we are at, and, as has been said, it is no use disguising the fact that we have had a fearful set-back, that we have lost enormous numbers of men in killed and prisoners, besides guns and material, and that we have been driven back from our positions. But far worse than that is the loss of prestige by being driven back. Some people have even been ungenerous enough to quote that against this country during the Debates of yesterday and today. At any rate, that set-back is most serious, and therefore everybody in this House who is a patriot should do his level utmost to carry through whatever measures may be deemed necessary by the Government of the day. The Government of the day are I believe, very much to blame for this set-back, but this is not the time to inquire into it. This is not the time to vilify generals before they have been heard in their defence like many hon. Members have done already in this Debate. This is not the time to attack General Gough, who is not in this 1558 House, and whose conduct will be the subject of inquiry. Surely neither in Ire land nor in England has the idea ever been held that a man should be attacked in his absence before he has been heard in self-defence. After all, I ask hon. Members opposite to remember that General Gough is an. Irishman who, whatever his faults have been, and whatever criticisms were passed upon him by Irish regiments during the last few months, at any rate, he is a man who has done in the past magnificent services for the Empire, and quite recently even in this War.
In my opinion the reason of this setback is that we did not have sufficient reserves in France. As long ago as the 24th July last I spoke on this question, and asked for exactly what is being done now —Conscription in Ireland, raising the military age to fifty, and taking every man under twenty-five. The reason I did that was that. I had been in the area which had been captured by the Germans, and I knew that not only my battalion but that every battalion in the area was only 50 per cent. of its strength, and I knew that the Germans would most likely attack in that area which we had conquered, because a country like that was nothing like so well organised for defence as a country which has been held for years and consequently has been very strongly fortified. The result of the forces there being so short was not only that we had to stay very long periods in the trenches, sixteen days at a time without relief, but in addition to that there were no men available for digging and preparing second lines of defence, which are so necessary. I know that that was the case quite late last year. Of course, no doubt that has been altered since then. A resolution was passed by the Unionist War Committee—there is no breach of confidence m saying this, as the resolution was published—and a deputation was sent to the Government, asking them to carry out the measures which we are asking them now to carry out. That was in August, and the reply was most reassuring. It came from the Chancellor of the Exchequer and was sent to me in France, and on the day on which I received his letter the strength of the division to which I belonged at that time —I cannot give the number, of course— was several thousand men short of its proper strength.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a man who, in my judgment, is incapable of saying a thing which he believes to deviate 1559 a hair's breadth from the truth, and I am certain that he was misinformed. But that has a very serious bearing upon what has happened during the last few days. The question arises, what can be done to remedy the situation? The Bill, I believe, is the only thing possible. You must carry it through and get every possible man you can. It is quite true that the men will not be ready for, perhaps, four or six months. But that is just the time when the heavy losses of the next few months fighting will have to be made good, and they will come in to fill the gap, and we shall still have to hold the line in great strength before we can get the help of our American Allies. I may remind hon. Members opposite that there are still over seventy German, Austrian, and Bulgarian divisions upon the Eastern Front. Those divisions may still be brought over to reinforce what are already in France. Therefore the situation is fraught with most fearful peril to this country. I make this suggestion, which, of course, the Government have under consideration for a long time, and I hope that other hon. Members will press it on them—that the way to utilise these seventy divisions is to get the Japanese to come in. We have wasted two months. The Japanese, as I understand, are ready to come in. They have an army of splendid soldiers—I do not know the number, but something like sixty or seventy divisions. There is a double line of railway, very nearly all the way from Vladivostock to the Ural Mountains, and those divisions could very easily be put upon the Russian Front—at any rate, as far as the Urals. If they had a big Japanese Army in that direction the Germans would be afraid to bring their divisions away from the Eastern Front.
We outsiders only know by rumour what has happened, but it is rumoured that it is owing to American opposition that the Japanese have not sent their Army. I can hardly believe that to be the fact, but if it is I am certain that that opposition would be broken down if strong representations were made by our Government as to the needs of the situation. Of course, it would be necessary to get the approval of a large mass of the Russian people to such a course. It would be made clear to them that the Japanese had no intention whatever of staying in Siberia. It must be obvious that they could not do so. I believe that if a strong Japanese Army were to go as far as the Ural Moun- 1560 tains in ail probability they would attract enormous numbers of Russians who would help—Russians who do not agree with the peace which has been made by Mr. Rosenfeld, Mr. Apfelbaurn, and a few others of that description—and a large number of the Russian people, at any rate, would help once more to make war upon the Germans. The situation, although very black, is nothing like as black as it was in 1810, when Wellington, with 30,000 British soldiers, was behind the lines at Torres Vedras, and the whole of Europe was overrun by the armies of Napoleon, or, if not overrun, at any rate, all the countries—Austria, Prussia, and Russia, had been brought under his domination. I think that, if we took those steps and got the Japanese in, that would help very largely to ameliorate the situation. There is a very strong rumour that about six weeks ago the Americans offered to recruit for the British Army in the United States. If it is possible I would like to know from the Minister in charge whether that is true, and if that offer was refused, and, if so, will they be asked to repeat that offer?
§ Mr. F. MEEHAN
It will meet with a very different reception when they hear how Ireland has been treated.
§ Colonel ARCHER-SHEE
The hon. Member and I can agree to differ. If the Americans made that offer, it was a splendid offer, and ought never to have been refused by our Government. If it is true—I may be mistaken—then let us ask them to help us once more, and they no doubt can raise a great many divisions of the magnificent material which is to be obtained there. I cannot believe that this House will really make any serious opposition to this Bill, or that hon. Members opposite, who I know, are suffering from very sore feelings about the Home Rule Bill, will carry into effect the bitter speeches which have been made by some of them.
§ Sir W. NUGENT
My fellow countrymen are asked to look upon this War as one in which they are deeply interested—to look upon it as Ireland's War, and I, therefore, desire to say a few words before we go to a Division. I stand now exactly where I did on this question when the late Leader of the Irish party spoke for his country a very few months ago. I believed then, as I believe now, and I urge it upon my fellow countrymen, who, I believe, agree with 1561 me, that Ireland should not stand idly by and let the brunt of the fighting be borne by Great Britain. I believe, from the bottom of my heart, notwithstanding anything that has occurred, that the majority of the Irish people agree with me to-night, and it is on that account I venture to intervene in this Debate. I believe that if they had an opportunity to-morrow to express their views through their own Parliament, representing their country as a self-governing portion of the Empire, their response would surprise the most distant portions of our Dominions. I believe that they would respond in the way that the late Irish Leader said they would respond, and I urge upon the Leaders of the House on the bench opposite, even at this late hour, that they should reconsider their attitude on this Bill. I do not wish to raise objections; what I desire to do is to help.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken asked us to join in some constructive policy, and I suggest to right hon. Gentlemen opposite that if now, at the last moment, they would take the advice I have given them, as to the reconsideration of their attitude on the Bill, they would learn the lesson to the teaching of which the late Member for Waterford devoted his life. He gave his life, as surely as anyone ever did, to the object of uniting the people of Great Britain and Ireland. He did all a man could do to get Ireland to join in and to take part in this War. He gave his life for his country just as purely as his brother gave up his life on the battlefield. From the bottom of my heart I believe that even now, if you follow his advice, if you adopt his policy, if you try what you have never tried before, namely, to trust Ireland, you will not be disappointed. I have been absent from this House for some length of time, and to me, on my return, it was a wretched experience to hear the same old recrimination going on, to hear the same party cries. Is it not time that we should try to trust one another, and is it not time for us to join together? It has been remarked on these benches that Ireland cannot trust the English Government, and I say, "Do not distrust the Irish people." It is not in the power of Ireland to take the first step, but it is in the power of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. Even now let them show their trust by not proceeding further with this proposal relating to Ireland. Let the Government state their proposals in regard to Irish Government; 1562 let them state what is to be the form of Irish Government, and if it is an Irish Government which you give the Irish people, it is my belief that they would cheerfully take their part and bear their share of the burdens of the Empire. I ask you to trust to their honour. They know the situation; they know how we are pressed; they know the position in Flanders; they know that thousands of their sons and brothers have died for them, and I believe that, if you trust them, the message and the pledge of my late Leader will bear fruit and will never be forgotten.
§ Sir H. NIELD
I desire, first of all, to say how much I appreciate the moderate nature of the previous speaker's observations, and how far we would desire to identify ourselves with his views if it were possible to do so while he still occupies the position that he does at the present moment. No one who has listened to the words that have fallen from my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Finsbury can possibly doubt that he was undeservedly reproached by the hon. Member for West Belfast, who, I hope, when he reads the Debate to-morrow, and learns the military record of my hon. and gallant Friend, will withdraw the reproach that he was shirking his military duties in being here, whereas it is the fact that he is here by permission from the Home Service in which he is engaged. My name indicates that I have Irish blood in my veins, and that strain in me at times makes it difficult for me to practice self restraint. I am quite sure, however, that the hon. Member for West Belfast, when he comes to see how unmerited was his reproach, will, from the very nature of his generous Irish blood, see his way to withdraw the imputation upon my hon. and gallant Friend. It is deplorable at this moment, in the face of this terrible conflict, that there should be any attempt to minimize what might possibly be its results. I do not think there is any man in this House who does not see that if we do not win in this great struggle, there lies before us a great many years of military slavery and subjugation. There is hardly any Member of this House, save perhaps the hon. Member for North Somerset, who does not think that this War was engineered by the Central Powers, and that everything for which we have fought through the centuries, everything which we value so much, is imperiled, and the position is so desperate 1563 and the crisis fraught with consequences so terrible as to call for the co-operation and united effort of all parts of the Kingdom and Empire. It is said that we do not get that joint co-operation because of our treatment of Ireland. I invite any impartial person—I know from my own knowledge of Irishmen that an Irishman cannot be impartial on this matter—to read the history of Ireland for centuries past. My own observation is this, that if Ireland ever has been peaceful it has been peaceful since the Union, and never before. I wonder if my hon. Friends know the story which was told years ago—
§ Sir H. NIELD
I do not want to enter into any controversy with the hon. Gentleman. I have known him long enough to know that no controversy is likely to make any headway with him, and I leave him to his own conclusions and thoughts; but I challenge him to say that when Ireland had its Parliament, when it was in the full possession of self-government, it was ever able to govern even the members of its own Parliament or its people. It is one of the virtues of the Irish race that they can never be matter-of-fact. I admire them for it, provided it is not indulged in the face of a common enemy, as at the present moment. Ireland was never so quiet as when it was drawing large subsidies from the United Kingdom, and principally from England and Scotland, for its land purchase. That was all beautifully arranged, and so long as the gold flowed there was no trouble.
§ Sir H. NIELD
That is such an intelligent interjection! I know no more about the Kaiser, and probably less, than the hon. Member opposite.
§ Sir H. NIELD
I have never been within a hundred miles of him. I am sorry to have heard words of bigotry introduced into this Debate. I deplore it, and I am 1564 not going to say more about it than this: Will sincere Irish Roman Catholics disregard what has happens d throughout the conquered Catholic countries, the deliberate way in which everything which Catholics held dear has been flouted and destroyed in the most outrageous manner, and everything that was sacred made the sport of the Teuton? [An HON. MEMBER: "Not a bit worse than Cromwell did in Ireland!"] In his desire to show his brutality and violence the German has wrecked everything that pertained to religion and destroyed Catholic cathedrals throughout Belgium. Is that not enough to rouse the fire of every Catholic, and to make him say, "Never mind what wrong I think my country has suffered at the hands of England, we are out jointly to kill this monster which has behaved in that way, and we will go with you, whatever be the result so far as our own domestic affairs are concerned"?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
It is a cause of interjections to address another hon. Member across the floor. If you address the Chair, the Chair will not make interjections.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Sir H. NIELD
There are matters in this Bill which, however one may desire to support the Bill as a whole, one is bound to call attention to at this moment. There is such wide power to upset everything that has hitherto formed part of the tribunal system in this country that I think it is only honest to take exception to it and to point out that there ought to be very considerable modifications of the proposal contained in Clause 4. There is one provision calculated to disturb the public mind very greatly, because you have had a variety of pledges given in this House in relation to recruiting up to the present time which under this paragraph, at the head of page 4, may be cancelled by the stroke of a pen. It is not right that Parliamentary pledges should be overridden, as one hon. Gentleman has said, 1565 at the will of any subordinate at the Ministry of National Service. The paragraph says:Any Regulations made under this Sub-section shall have full effect notwithstanding anything in the provisions of the Military Service Acts, 1916–1918, and those provisions so far as they are inconsistent with any Regulations so made shall be repealed.That destroys at one blow the whole fabric which has been so carefully set up for a long time past. I speak, of course, like my right hon. Friend, who is chairman of the London Appeal Tribunal, with the experience of a very considerable time, and I say that if we are to have the power to give effect to those pledges, given from the Front Bench from time to time, taken away from us, it will create distrust and dissatisfaction throughout the whole country. That observation applies with equal force to attempts to deal with the one-man business. This is a very substantial matter which the Government has already recognized by the issue of special circulars which deal with the subject, and therefore I do urge the Government to consider as early as they possibly can such a recasting of this Clause as at any rate will enable those between the ages of forty-one and fifty-one to know precisely how they stand, and not feel that they are at the mercy of a Department which may act upon Orders in Council, which apparently are not even to be laid upon the Table of the House, so that objection may be taken to them. It is difficult already for those who have to decide on these claims, cogent and strong as they are, to continue to decide on them unless the Ministry of National Service makes a very thorough clear-out of young men from Government offices and other places, where it is notorious that young men are to be found. Young men have gone in large numbers from England to Ireland. If Ireland would not allow them to land there would be no doubt a considerable residuum of persons from whom recruits might be drawn, and that would possibly lessen the demand for Conscription in Ireland. We know they have gone in large numbers to Ireland to escape the operation of the laws here. Then, in addition, there is, of course, a large class of persons who have escaped by means which many of us are familiar with, who have presented cases in no wise different from those of people who have been sent into the Army, but who for some reasons which I prefer not to discuss, have been 1566 able to escape military duty—sometimes single men and sometimes young married men, who have been kept out of the Army while older men have been sent in. That I hope may be corrected by the power which the Government propose to take to reconstitute some of the tribunals. That, I think, will probably afford some sort of relief.
§ Sir H. NIELD
I quite agree. There is no denying it. Anybody who is obliged to go into Government offices to make investigations on behalf of their Constituents cannot but be struck by the enormous number of young men who are still there.
§ Sir H. NIELD
One hon. Member spoke about the inequalities in regard to the legal profession. One knows perfectly well that solicitors in many cases are in dire straits through the loss of their junior partners and their managing clerks, while on the other hand we find men in both branches of the law who are in perfect health, who are perfectly competent when trained to become soldiers, and who are well within the military age, who are not taken. An hon. Member has called attention to cases of members of the Bar who actually have been taken into the Government service, and allowed to continue there. That is what breeds suspicion outside and that is what makes it so extremely difficult for us to justify these measures and still more to administer these measures in tribunals. I do, therefore, hope that while the Government adhere in the main to the lines of the Bill they will recollect, that in Clause 4 there are provisions which arc wholly at variance with the promises which have been made so often. The practice which has hitherto prevailed has been so unequal and so unfair in its operation, in some cases, so far as the final protection is concerned for the certificates given under the Act, that I hope there will be no loss of time in making it perfectly clear that the Government will accept a drastic Amendment to this Clause in order that the public may be reassured and that men, and especially those approaching the age dealt with in this Bill, will know that they have got definite lines laid down—there has been no definiteness—there has been a great deal of shifting 1567 about—or that they may know with comparative definiteness what is required of them. If that were done, then the necessities of the time are such, that I think everybody who has a desire to see this country survive this great crisis in its history will give ungrudging support to the Bill.
§ Mr. BARRIE
I only intervene at this stage because of a statement made in the discussion yesterday by the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Devlin), in which he used as an argument against Conscription the findings of a small Sub-committee appointed in connection with the Irish Convention. While he quite accurately stated the finding of that Committee to the effect that it would be desirable, assuming that an Irish Parliament were established, that the Irish Parliament should be consulted and should approve of compulsory military service being imposed before it could be imposed by the Imperial Parliament, he went on to say that that report had been adopted by the Irish Convention. I want to be quite fair to the hon. Member for West Belfast and I think it must have been due to an oversight that he stated that the Report was entirely adopted by the Convention. May I as a member of the Grand Committee, or rather as a member of the inner committee of nine—the House will be familiar with these terms when the Papers are circulated —say that when this matter came before us in the committee of nine it arose because of a claim of what is called the Bishop of Raphoe scheme to the effect that military service could not be imposed upon Ireland by the Imperial Parliament without the sanction of the Irish Parliament? When we reached that clause in the Bishop's scheme it was suggested that it would be more convenient that this particular matter should be referred to the Committee of Defence and Police, which had in the meantime been set up not by the members of the Convention, but by the direct and independent action of the chairman himself, quite a new procedure, and I think altogether irregular, but subsequently made regular by the action of the Grand Committee. As to the constitution of that committee, when it came before us in Grand Committee, we made no complaint. It would have been rather an ungracious act to have then questioned its constitution, but I may say here and now that we would not attach the same political labels to certain members of that 1568 Sub-committee as were yesterday attached to them by the hon. Member for West Belfast. When we came to the Grand Committee we were told that the Report of this Committee on Defence and Police was not yet finally settled. We were asked to pass away from this subject, but the Unionists in the Grand Committee declined to do so, as will be found in the minutes of the Grand Committee, our views being that the Imperial Parliament alone should have the right to impose military service on any part of the United Kingdom. When we finally had the Report of the Committee of Defence and Police brought before the Convention there was a distinct motion moved by Sir Richard Goulding, seconded by the Marquess of Londonderry, to the effect that the paragraph relating to this matter should be struck out of the Report, again on the ground that this was a matter for the Imperial Parliament only. That motion was defeated by 48 members voting against it, while it had only 29 supporters.
§ Captain GWYNN
As I was concerned in this matter I would like to be quite sure of the information. I looked the matter up in the Report, and I see that the voting; was 54 to 17.
§ Mr. BARRIE
For the sake of complete accuracy I took out the figures, which are as I have stated—29 voting in favour of the motion to exclude the clause and 48 against, a majority of 19. I think the hon. and gallant Member for Galway will accept this extract from the proceedings.
§ Mr. BARRIE
That is a totally different proposition. I am dealing with one point only, and that is the paragraph in this Report dealing with Conscription. The Report dealt with a great many other matters, and divisions were taken on every clause. At the moment I do not remember what the final vote was on the Report as a whole, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the question which is before us at the moment, as I am sure the hon. Member for West Belfast would at once acknowledge. I thought to-day, when he intervened in the Debate when the Chancellor of the Exchequer was speaking, that he would embrace the opportunity of correctly stating the figures. I will not dwell further upon that matter. The only other question I wish to say a word about is the challenge that 1569 has been thrown out more than once during these two days' discussion as to the real attitude of Ulster in relation to the imposition of Conscription. In answer to that I shall only say that it has fallen to my lot, as one responsible for recruiting for a considerable period in my county, to hold a very large number of meetings in all parts of that great constituency at which compulsory service was openly referred to and constantly advocated; I never, even at those meetings, or subsequently, had the slightest protest or difference of opinion expressed either personally or by letter. I refer to the county of Londonderry. It made a noble response under the voluntary system. It has set up a record of which I as representing half of it, am extremely proud. I cannot help remembering, in these days, after the recent trial, in which our Ulster Division was closely associated with what is known as the Irish Division, the further serious and losses sustained by the gallant soldiers of both these divisions. It has been to me a matter of profound regret that compulsory service was not instituted a couple of years ago. I do not at all share the views of those who have prophesied difficulties and disappointments in connection with this desire to bring Ireland into a position to bear her due share of the burden of the War even at this late stage.
I believe we have in Ireland a very large reservoir of the finest of our young men. I believe the knowledge that the Imperial Parliament has, somewhat late in the day, made up its mind that these young men must serve their King and the Empire and help her out of her special difficulties will cause may of them, even now, to come forward as voluntary recruits. There has been too much political feeling in reference to this matter. I refuse to regard it as a political question. I suggest to my hon. Friends below the Gangway on this side that if through any reason, political or otherwise, Ireland should allow this War to come to a conclusion without having provided the true quota of her manhood she would ever afterwards be ashamed of her history during the period of this great trial. I believe these men will largely come forward of their own volition. We regret the inconvenience and disturbance to business which must necessarily ensue, but similar inconveniences and similar burdens have fallen upon the people of England and Scotland without complaint. There is in Ireland 1570 the fighting instinct. We have had it proved on many a battlefield. We know that already within the ranks of the Nationalist party there have been many grievous losses suffered through willingness that their best beloved should don the uniform and go forth to do noble service for the Empire. We believe that that spirit will grow. I hope that in the closing stages of this War, that in the final victory, that we all believe is to come—and it will come! —when history comes to be written, that there will be gratitude to the Government for compelling these men to join us in the noble privilege of giving, on the fields of Flanders, the death blow to the Hun.
§ Captain REDMOND
It is with a certain amount of reluctance that I have felt compelled to take part in this Debate. For many reasons, some perhaps personal, I would sooner have remained silent. But I feel it incumbent upon me, as an Irish Nationalist, who at the outset of this War felt that the War was a just war, and one in which any Irishman should feel proud to take part, and enlisted to do his part as best he could—I say I feel it incumbent upon me at this stage, when it is proposed in this House, that the system of compulsion should be employed with regard to Irishmen, to enter my protest. What is the state of Ireland to-day compared with the Ireland of August, 1914? In August, 1914, when war was declared, there was a prospect of the attainment of Ireland's national aspirations. The Home Rule Bill was about to be, and subsequently was, placed upon the Statute Book of the Realm. The Irish people believing—and I think they were entitled to believe—in the honour and integrity of this Kingdom, that the promises and pledges that have been made in this House would be redeemed, entered freely and voluntarily, and in thousands upon thousands, into the Army to fight in this War. What has been the reason for the condition of Ireland to-day compared to what it was in 1914, when Ireland was almost ablaze with enthusiasm on the side of the Allies? Changes have taken place! The question I should like to ask of the Government is this: Who is responsible for the change that has taken place? Why has this change taken place? In 1914 you found Ireland friendly, and enthusiastically in favour of the cause of the Allies. Is that the case to-day in Ireland? The Ireland of 1914 was a friendly Ireland. The Ire- 1571 land of a few months hence, unfortunately, was driven into neutrality. I very much fear that by the action of the Government within the last few days the Ireland of to-morrow will be one of open hostility to you in the War in which you are engaged.
What is the bedrock of the situation in Ireland? It is simply this: It is distrust first, distrust second, and distrust third; it is distrust of the British Government, distrust of a British Minister, and a distrust, unfortunately, too well founded. Take from the beginning of the War to the present time. What has been the attitude of the Government, or, at any rate, of the Department of the Government chiefly concerned with the prosecution of the War in regard to Ireland—I mean the War Office? When the then Foreign Secretary made his announcement in this House that we should probably within the next few hours be engaged in a great European war, our then Leader, the late Member for Waterford, arose here in his place and offered freely and frankly and unconditionally the whole service of the Irish people. He offered it, in the first place, to the Government and, in the second place, he offered it to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Sir E. Carson) and his associates. He offered that the large body— at that time a well organised and well-drilled body—of Irish Volunteers which he had, owing to circumstances which I need not go into, at his command entirely to the service of the Government, and he offered to join hands with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College in preserving the shores of Ireland against foreign invasion. What was the response to his offer? It was turned down and never replied to. He held out the hand of friendship, and it was never taken. That is only the first phase of the unfortunate series of events which has led up to the present lamentable state of affairs that exists in Ireland. But that did not discourage the ardor of the patriotism of the Irish Members or of the people of Ireland.
In spite of the cold water that was instantly thrown upon their warm offer of friendship to this country, they went forward and did all in their power to assist the authorities in securing and enrolling forces from Ireland to fight for Belgium— in France, and elsewhere. What was the encouragement we received? I speak per- 1572 sonally as one who at the commencement of the War, and since, went upon hundreds and hundreds of recruiting platforms in Ireland. I have found myself upon a recruiting platform in Ireland, and when I left that platform I have known for a certainty, much to my amazement and regret, that I was the only speaker upon that platform who desired and wanted to get recruits for the Army. It was said by official recruiting agents in Ireland that Nationalists were not wanted in the Army and our emblems, our national characteristics and idiosyncrasies were denied expression to, and we were to merge ourselves in the common herd, but as Irishmen we were not to be recognised as taking the part of Irishmen in what we regarded as a great struggle for freedom and for liberty. I have had my own experience of endeavoring to get young educated Irishmen commissions in the Army. Their first and last desire was to serve in an Irish regiment. They did not want to belong to any of your great English, Scottish, or Welsh regiments, for which I have nothing but the greatest admiration. They wanted to go into their own regiments and prove what they were as Irish soldiers, and hon. Members will scarcely believe me when I say that it was with the greatest difficulty and after the severest struggle that we were able, after a most uphill fight, to get Irish officers into Irish regiments, and even to get men enlisting in Ireland the privilege of belonging to the Dublin Fusiliers or the Irish Guards. [An HON. MEMBER: "Quite true!"] What was the treatment meted out to Irish Nationalists when they desired, to take their part in this struggle as compared to the treatment which was meted out to those Irishmen for whom we have the greatest regard, but who happened previously to differ front us in politics?
When the late Prime Minister came to Dublin he received probably the greatest reception that ever any Englishman received in Ireland. He came to Dublin to ask the Irish people to give the free offering of a free people, and in the speech which he delivered he mentioned the fact that he hoped very shortly there might be an Irish Army Corps raised for the whole of Ireland. What took place? I do not know who was responsible for it, but somebody at the War Office at any rate must have had some say in the matter, and no Irish Army Corps was ever formed. A division was formed in the North of Ireland which was a division the like of which 1573 has never been seen or heard of before, and probably will not be heard of again, in the history of British arms. It was a sectarian division, it was a political division, which no man who did not belong to a certain religious sect could get into, as was proved by a test case. This division was formed in the North of Ireland. They were allowed to wear an emblem symbolic of the great province of Ulster; they were allowed to have their banners and their flags, and to have everything which would go to make up the esprit de corps of that division. Well and good. We endeavoured to form a division for the South, East, and the West of Ireland. Were we treated in the same manner? Were we allowed to float our flag? Were we allowed to have our emblems or our officers? [An HON. MEMBER: "No!"] On the contrary, every obstacle that could possibly be imagined was placed in our way. I say that it was in spite of the War Office of the day that the 16th Irish Division, which unfortunately has probably almost passed out of existence at this moment, was ever formed. Was that any encouragement to the Irish people to recruit? Was that an encouragement to the Irish people to flock in large numbers to the standard which you are bearing in this War?
The next act in this unfortunate drama was the rebellion which took place in Dublin. I need scarcely say that in common with nine-tenths of my fellow countrymen I detested and I condemned that rebellion at the time when it took place. That rebellion was brought about largely by German propaganda and probably by German gold. When it took place the then Prime Minister came down to this House and I presume, after due consideration, uttered the now famous dictum that Castle rule in Ireland was dead. He went to Dublin, and negotiations were set on foot for the immediate settlement of the Irish question. I will not go into the matter in any detail, but the present Prime Minister entered into negotiations with both great political parties in Ireland. They took him at his word and went down to their respective supporters, and, after considerable difficulty and at some personal and political risk they got their sup porters to adhere to and to acquiesce in the terms of settlement. Procrastination set in, and the settlement was delayed. It was upset by agencies whom I need not name, but who probably since then have rued the day that they took such a step. 1574 Was that the way to encourage the Irish people to support a Government and a country who were professing to the world that they were fighting for the rights and the liberties of small nationalities. The Dublin rebellion was suppressed as it had a right to be, suppressed, but, instead of being suppressed in the way that noble Dutchman, General Botha, with his magnanimity and superb courage, suppressed a rebellion infinitely greater and infinitely more dangerous in South Africa, it was suppressed, not with a view to the future of the country, but with an idea of wrecking immediate vengeance upon those engaged in it, and, though at the time of the rebellion nine-tenths of the Irish people were bitterly opposed to it, within a few weeks of the action of the Government, through their military advisers, converted practically the whole of the Irish people to the state of mind in which they are to-day. That being so, how can you expect, with the spirit of distrust, well-founded as I have endeavoured to show it is, the Irish people to be willing to be coerced into taking action on the illusory promise, as contained in this Bill, that at some future date, in nubibus, an Irish Parliament will be sitting in College Green.
What is really at the bottom of this, I do not like to call it controversy, but this whole unfortunate calamity? It is a misconception on the part not so much of the people of this country as of the Government of this country of the whole question of Ireland regarded as a nation. Ireland is not a shire of England to-day, any more than it was 700 years ago. Ireland is not like Yorkshire or Somerset. Ireland is a distinct country, surrounded by water and separated from this country by a hundred and one different characteristics. I do not claim that Ireland is better in every respect than England, but I do claim that Ireland is different from England, and it is a great misconception to suppose because a system of compulsion has been proposed and accepted by Englishmen in England, that therefore the self-same Englishmen should have the right to impose a similar system of compulsion upon a totally different country and upon a totally different people. The Prime Minister yesterday said that Irishmen were conscripted in America and elsewhere. That is perfectly true, but who conscripted them? They conscripted themselves. They were not conscripted by England. They were not conscripted by 1575 France. They were conscripted by the American citizens in America. I want to point out especially to the Government that Ireland will not be forced or coerced by this country. —or by any other country, for that matter—to take a course which they themselves are unwilling to adopt. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his speech, which, I am afraid, rather reminded me of the days before the War, referred to the fact that President Lincoln enforced Conscription upon the States of America. Surely a State of that great Republic does not bear the same relation to the whole of the United States as Ireland does to the rest of the United Kingdom. The States are composed of various nationalities who by their own will have agreed to come together under a great federal union and to call themselves a Republic. Did we ever come voluntarily into the Act of Union? Are we in the same position towards this country as the State of Pennsylvania is towards the Congress of the United States? The idea is absurd.
I must admit, as a soldier and as one who has seen something, at any rate, of the fighting that has taken place in this War, that I sincerely and cordially sympathise with the attitude of many Englishmen in regard to this question. It is undoubtedly very hard for an average Englishman to have members of his family or close relations or associates called up to the age of fifty, and to think that young men across the water in Ireland should be allowed to go Scot free. I very much sympathise with the Englishman's point of view, but what I want to tell the Government is that the Englishman cannot possibly realise the difference between his position and that of Irishmen in Ireland. The great point is that we consider that we should have the right in Ireland to decide for ourselves whether or not we should be conscripted. As the hon. Member for East Mayo said to-day, is the Government willing to take a referendum in Ireland upon this question? It is not. Why? Because the Government will not admit the first fundamental principle we Nationalist Members for Ireland have always maintained here namely, that Ireland is a distinct and separate nation from this country, and that no measure affecting England, Scotland, or Wales has any right to run in Ireland without the consent of the Irish people.
1576 I come now to another point. I sympathise very deeply, as I have said, with the Englishman's point of view, but from his point of view is the proposal now being made expedient? Who advised the Government to adopt this proposal? Did the Chief Secretary for Ireland advise them? I do not know. Did the Lord Lieutenant advise them? Did any Members for Ireland advise them? We have had several speeches from various sections of Irish representation during the last two days, and I do not think that any speaker has yet said that he has advised the Government to adopt this course. Have any leading Irishmen in any walk of life, commercial, industrial, political, economic, agricultural, or any walk of life whatever, been consulted on this matter? Oh, no! The conscription of Ireland, I suppose, is not the concern of the Irish. These questions have not yet been answered. The Prime Minister made a few quotations from speeches which were delivered by the late Member for Water-ford. I do not think, if I may say so in the Prime Minister's absence, that it was quite fair to quote either speeches or extracts from speeches without the context of the deceased Member for Water-ford, or even to refer to the action of the deceased Member for East Clare, in regard to the question of compulsion for Ireland. It is perfectly true that the Prime Minister said that the late Member for Waterford said that this was a question of expediency and not of principle. I adhere to every word of that, but I do not think for myself that the late Member for Waterford would have chosen the present Prime Minister to have been the judge as to when it would be expedient to apply Conscription to Ireland. I would also like to say this—though I do not like, because it is too much of a personal question, to deal with it at length —that it is hardly fair or good taste for a Prime Minister or a Chancellor of the Exchequer or any other Member of the House to quote the actions of two Irishmen who voluntarily did all that they could to bring Ireland on the side of the Allies in this War and who did more than the War Office to rally Irishmen to the side of the Allies, and I do not think it is quite fair for them to insinuate, as they have done by their remarks, that those two men would, if they were alive now, be in favour of England forcing compulsion upon their country. That is rather a long stretch of the imagination.
1577 I will give you my own case. [An HON MEMBER: "We do not want it!"] If you do not want it you can go out. I enlisted in the Army as a private at the commencement of the War. I enlisted in the Army, because I believed in the principles that had then been expounded as the principles for which we were to fight. But if any attempt had been made from this country to compel me to join the Army I probably would not be in the position I am in now.That it is not only my own position but it is the position of a great many, if not of the great bulk, of the Irish people, to-day. On the question of expediency, I should like to ask the Government—unfortunately, the Chief Secretary is the only member of the Government that I recognise present—how will this proposal help the War? The late Prime Minister, in his speech yesterday, said that the sole test which he applied to these proposals—and he endorsed it again this afternoon in a powerful and courageous speech—was, how were they going to further the interests of the War. Let me just investigate that for one moment. What a nice spectacle it will be to our Allies, to our enemy, and to the world when the Prime Minister of this country comes down to the House of Commons—he may try to get away from it as much as he likes, but he himself was responsible for the linking up of the two proposals; we are not responsible for it and nobody else is—and proposes a measure of conciliation and coercion. He proposes to give Ireland the olive branch, and at the same time shakes at her the mailed fist. What a sorry spectacle for the world! What a gratification for Germany! I wonder do many hon. Members recall the fact, stated on very high German authorities, that one of the chief factors in determining Germany to challenge this country and to declare war against England was the prospect of civil war in Ireland. You are going to give her civil war now. How did Germany defeat Russia? Was it by force of arms? I do not think anybody will contradict me when I say that it was brought about by German propaganda assisted, in my opinion, by the ineptitude and stupidity of the British Government. This has placed Russia in the position of anarchy in which it is to-day. There will be another Russia in Ireland. German propaganda has promoted Sinn Feinism; the British Government is playing the cards of Germany, and the best thing that was 1578 ever done for German propaganda, the best thing that was ever done for the prospects of Germany in this War is the action of this country in trying to force Conscription upon Ireland. There you have an alliance between German propaganda and British stupidity. German propaganda has been successful elsewhere; why should it not be equally successful in Ireland? That is the first point I want to make.
Then I want to ask this question: Is it expedient that this great democracy of the British Empire should present the spectacle to the world of professing to fight for the principles of liberty and freedom in every country outside their own and at the same time at the very heart of their own Empire they should be forcing Conscription upon an unwilling people? What is the net advantage to be gained in man-power from the proposals now before the House? How many troops are there in Ireland to-day? I know there are large numbers, and I am very sorry that they should have to be detained there. But it is not the fault, at any rate, of the Irish party that they are kept there. We offered to defend Ireland with Volunteers. That offer was rejected. We were not trusted, and now your troops are being kept there. How many are there, and how many fewer troops will there be when an endeavour is made to enforce this Conscription Act in Ireland? I very much fear it will require further drafts of men who should be at the front. I fear you will require an army in order to raise a battalion in Ireland. Is the game worth the candle? As the late Prime Minister so forcibly put it this afternoon, the whole question is one of expediency, it is whether it will further the interests of the War. I would further ask this question: Will it add to the prestige of this country and of the Empire to endeavour to force a number of unwilling men into a fight with which they openly declare they have no sympathy, and which endeavour they will resist to the utmost? The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated in the earlier portion of his speech that it was no good attempting to conceal from ourselves the situation. I have no doubt he made that statement in regard to the extremely grave situation which, I believe, exists at present on the Western Front. I would add there is no good in concealing from ourselves the situation in Ireland. I have just come 1579 back from an election in that country. The Home Secretary this afternoon seemed to be inclined to suspect that we Irish Nationalists on these benches do not represent the people of Ireland. I had the misfortune, or good fortune, however you like to put it, of resigning my seat in Ulster in order to fight another seat in Munster. My seat in Ulster has been filled by a member of my own party who is now with us in this House, and I was successful in beating the forces of revolution which you are now seeking to revivify and rekindle—which you will undoubtedly do if you persist in your present policy. I repeat I was successful in defeating them, and I tell the Government that if they persist in this proposal, if they continue on the lines laid down by the Chancellor of the Exchequer this afternoon there will be no Irish party here in the House of Commons. That may please some hon. Members; they will probably be glad to be rid of us, but then you will have a very much harder nut to crack in Ireland. I have spoken from the point of view of pure expediency. I want to see Ireland take her proper place in this War. I have been out at the front and have fought side by side with countrymen of all creeds and all political persuasions. I belong to a regiment that knows no creed and no political persuasion, which draws its men from all quarters of Ireland, and which is made up of volunteers. It has succeeded in keeping its battalions filled by volunteers. — [An HON. MEMBER: "It has?"] —Yes, the Irish Guards. But I am anxious, because I am one who believes, as I believed at the commencement of the War, in the justice of the War. I cannot say that I believe in the methods whereby that War is being conducted by those who are now in charge of affairs in this House, but I believe in the justice of the War. I want Irishmen to take their proper part in the War, and I believe that you cannot compel them to do that, but that you must do something greater, something nobler, something more generous, and something more befitting the true instincts, character and traditions of the British people.
You must trust the Irishmen, and you must trust Ireland to-day, just as you trusted South Africa some years ago. What would have been said in South Africa supposing that when you granted self-government to that country you had 1580 said, we give you self-government, but, at the same time, you must be conscripted? How many men would you have from South Africa to-day. Where would General Smuts be? Would he be here in England? Would he be applauded as he is now from all quarters of this country as the great patriot that he is? Would he have accepted freedom on the condition of slavery? Would he have accepted conciliation on the condition of coercion? I say that your duty is to throw upon Ireland the responsibility of showing that Irishmen are fit for self-government, that they are fit to rule themselves, and that they are fit to take their proper place in this great world-struggle for civilisation and for liberty. To further the War, to prove, both to enemy and to Ally, to conciliate America to unite your own Empire, and, above all things, to make Ireland a loyal portion of that Empire, and to end the great chapter of discord that has separated these two countries for so many centuries—to do this you must do the right thing, you must do it in the right way, and you must do it now; that is, to trust Ireland, and if you trust Ireland your trust shall not be betrayed. You have never trusted Ireland yet. You have never tried to trust Ireland. You have distrusted Ireland for centuries gone by. Trust Ireland to-day as you trusted South Africa, Australia, and the other great Dominions of the Empire, give Irishmen something that will enable them to say that they are proud and loyal and contented to belong to the British Empire, make them fed that they are part of this great commonwealth of nations, which General Smuts described the British Empire as the other day. give Irishmen the right to consider then; selves as your partners in this Empire, trust Ireland as you have trusted, with such great success, every other portion of this Empire, and then you will get the men you want from Ireland. I tell you that if you try coercion, if you try compulsion, you are rubbing the Irishman up the wrong way, and you will not get what you want either for the benefit of Ireland or for the Empire itself. I say this to the Government: Distrust Ireland as you have done in centuries gone by, distrust Ireland in. the future as you have done in the past and you shall live to rue the day; and not only you but your sons and your grandsons will have a curse to bestow upon those who brought the conditions of Ireland and England to the position that they shall arrive at in the future.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
I will not stand for more than a few moments between the House and the Minister of National Service for I am sure the House is anxious to hear him, but as I have placed an Amendment on the Paper in objection to the Bill I should like to say why I challenge it, and also to put a question or two to the Minister before he speaks. We are really discussing not one Bill but two. One of our difficulties is that we shall have to deal not only with a Bill for England but a Bill for Ireland, which raises entirely different issues. The Government have said that they have acted upon advice in changing the decision thrice arrived at not to impose compulsory service on Ireland. They have been asked in many speeches who advised them in this matter, and I want to ask the Minister for National Service on what advice they are acting in putting compulsory service into force in Ireland. Are they acting on the advice of the Irish Government? The Chief Secretary has been in his place throughout this Debate practically, but he has been a silent spectator of our proceedings, and we are entitled to know whether the Government do carry with them the advice of their responsible advisers in Ireland in this grave step which they are taking. The Leader of the House just before dinner said the question that had been raised was whether Conscription would have been more easily carried two years ago than it can be to-day? That is not really the issue which is raised by this change of purpose on the part of the Government. The point is not whether it would have been easier to carry Conscription two years ago, but whether it might not have been less dangerous to carry it then than is the case now. A mistake to-day is a far more serious matter than a mistake would have been two years ago, and if the Government have come to a wrong decision now, they know that so serious is the emergency that we cannot afford to-day to take a wrong decision in the matter of Ireland. The Leader of the Opposition always justified his Conscription proposals in this country on the ground that he had carried the great majority of the people of the country with him. There is no pretence to-day that that position is fulfilled with regard to Ireland.
The Leader of the House has told us that a Home Rule Parliament would have nothing to say to a Conscription Bill. 1582 That is quite true, but the people of Ireland would have something to say. A Home Rule Parliament would be presumably representative of the people of Ireland; but if by any other means you had ascertained the opinion of Ireland, and were convinced that Conscription was acceptable, there would be no difficulty in putting through Conscription there as in this country. As, however, it is notorious that you have not carried Ireland with you, it seems to me you are embarking at the most critical period of the War on a most dangerous experiment, and the feeling likely to be developed in Ireland is shown by the feeling which has been displayed in the Debates of the last few days. We are all anxious to support proposals for strengthening the Army and the military position, and I protest that, although I have not perhaps always agreed with all the measures which have been taken, I have always acted on the principle of my right hon. Friend and leader that the sole test to be applied was whether you were going to strengthen the national position by the measures which you were taking for the purposes of the War. I absolutely accept that, and if I am opposed to the Irish part of this Bill it is on the ground that I believe the net result of the Bill will be to weaken and not to strengthen this country.
I turn from the Irish side of the Bill, and I want to ask the Minister who is going to wind up the Debate why this Bill is to be rushed through under a guillotine closure? We must have that made clear. Ever since I entered this House many years ago I have been opposed to guillotine closure. I have never voted for it. That is a good deal to say sitting behind the Government as a supporter of Government measures. The reason I object to it is that under it unimportant Amendments are very likely to occupy the whole time and the really important issues which arise upon the Clauses are postponed until the end of the time, when the guillotine falls and you never have the Clauses really discussed. It is a thousand misfortunes that in a Bill so drastic, far-reaching and important as this the Government should, at a time of party truce, think it necessary to resort to guillotine closure to get this Bill through. We are not told why it is. About a fortnight ago the Leader of the House told us the attack had begun. The place of the attack was known, the numbers were known, we had guns and munitions, all was known except the amount of sue- 1583 cess which the attack would meet. After a week of the Recess a Press campaign began. The heads of the Bill were in the "Times," and the "Times" boasts to-day that there were no surprises about the proposals which the Prime Minister laid before Parliament yesterday. They had been anticipated and discussed by the whole Press for some days beforehand. I do not think the Government has made out the immediate necessity for pressing this through for a day or two, instead of allowing the House really to thresh out the far-reaching proposals of the Bill. The Government has told us that the Bill is only going to produce 7 per cent. of the men between the ages of forty-two and fifty for the Army. That is not a very large number of men, and I cannot but think they are putting the age up far too high. I want to know when the Minister for National Service was converted on this point of raising the age, because I read a very remarkable article by Mr. Lovatt Fraser, in which he quotes the Minister of National Service on this very subject of raising the age, and I want to read the words he used:There should be no resort to panic legislation. There is much talk of raising the military age which is already 43. I do not, personally, consider the raising of the military age to be either wise or scientific. I went into this question some months ago with the experts of the Ministry of National Service, and they convinced me that it was almost useless to raise the age.
The MINISTER of NATIONAL SERVICE (Sir Auckland Geddes—who was continually interrupted by cries of "Duke!")
I wish, if I may, to correct a statement made in perfect good faith by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. DEVLIN
On a point of Order. I submit to you that a Bill for conscripting the people of Ireland should not be passed in this House without hearing the opinion, of the chief executive officer of that country. I submit that in a matter so vitally touching the very life and existence of our nation we regard this as a gross outrage and insult, and we will not be content until we know where the Irish Government stands on this question.
§ Sir A. GEDDES (again interrupted by cries of "Duke!")
I wish to correct the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman as to some French details. I am in a position to say that there is no known foundation for the statement. If that be so, I am quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman will wish to correct the suggestion put forward by him that the mishap to the Fifth Army was due to the yielding of French details on the right of our Army. The French Army is so chivalrous and so good an Ally that I feel sure that if anything of the 3ort had happened it would have been the first to admit its responsibility for the developments of the military situation. [HON. MEMBERS: "Duke!"]
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I would remind hon. Members that although a certain number of them are no doubt anxious to hear the Chief Secretary, there is a large number of Members in this House who are anxious to hear the Minister of National Service.
§ Sir A. GEDDES
It appears to me that throughout this Debate there seems to have been a suspicion that we were seeking—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I have appealed three times. If a certain body of Members of the House are determined that a Minister shall not be heard, of course that is a game at which two parties can play. For that reason I deprecate the attempt to shout down any Member. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about Asquith?"] I would remind members of the Irish party 1585 that I have done my best to obtain a hearing for them—I think on the whole successfully. I appeal to them now to follow the same course and to allow the Minister whose name is on the back of the Bill, and who is largely responsible for it, to proceed.
§ Mr. DILLON
While appealing to my hon. Friends to allow the Minister of National Service to be heard, I beg respectfully to remind him that the practice of shouting down Ministers was begun by the Tory party.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I am very sorry that these old sores should be reopened, but the first time it occurred was when the late Mr. Alfred Lyttelton was shouted down.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
By the permission of the House I would like to say that as time is limited the number of speakers from this bench must be limited, but as the hon. Member for West Belfast said, and rightly said, that the head of the Irish Executive ought to be heard before the Bill passes, I may say that it is our intention, and always has been our intention, that he shall take part in the discussion of the Irish Clauses. With that assurance, I hope that my hon. Friends will be content.
§ Sir A. GEDDES
Throughout the Debate there has been rather the supposition underlying those speeches which deal with the proposals, so far as they affect Great Britain, that we were going to deal only with the older men—going to try to reinforce our Armies solely with men over the age which at present we regard as the upper limit of military service. Nothing could be further from our intention. It is true, and we must recognise it, that there are many claims upon our more youthful man-power. Shipbuilding, more especially hull construction and repairs, and, in that connection, more especially mercantile construction, requires a large number of men who must be young. Again, we have munitions factories, vital for our war efforts, and in those again there must be a certain proportion of young men. If we had no young men there would be no strength or elasticity 1586 in those works that it is very necessary we should have in them; for at any time there may be a sudden call to increase the output of some special munitions, some- special article of war, and when that comes it can only be met if there is elasticity and spring in the workmen who are carrying out the work of construction. Therefore, it is essential that we should retain in our munition factories a certain proportion of young men. Similarly, to a great extent, there are claims for youngish men in connection with food production and also, I may say, in connection with food distribution and transportation. But outside those cases, the time has come when the young men of the United Kingdom who are fit must pass to the Army. The really essential proposal of this kind is represented in the Bill by Clause 3. There we have got a proposal which will enable the Government by Proclamation to effect real clean cuts—
§ Sir A. GEDDES
—so that we may bring these sections of the community which are not affected by the agreement made with the trade unions into line with the trade-unions. That is the object of the Bill.
§ Sir A. GEDDES
And we shall be able to hold the balance really absolutely fairly in regard to the young men who are fit for the Army. [HON. MEMBERS: "Who are 'we'?"] There is, unfortunately, a great deal of stress laid upon the raising, of the age, because it comes in the first Clause of the Bill. The raising of the military age is, in my opinion, a necessary step to take at this time. The Deputy-Chairman of Ways and Means told us this afternoon that we have been drawing upon a class of men whose physical fitness, though they were young, was not great, and as we have not the fit young-men in civil life left, we have to draw upon older men who are fit, or younger men who are not fit for the Home Defence Forces. I do not think many Members of this House know how unfit the remaining population of military age—in fact, is physically unfit. There are in that population of military age a large number of men who are perfectly fit for industries, absolutely as fit as any man could be for industries, but who are not absolutely fit for the Army. Therefore, if 1587 we are to have fit armies, if we are to keep down our rate of sickness, if we are to have an Army which has got the spring of youth in its fighting units, and sound men for rearward Services, we must raise the military age if we are to get the numbers we require. The great advantage of raising the military age is this, that the more widely you open the field from which recruiting is to be carried on, the more easy it is to adjust and to make provision for the carrying on of essential businesses. It is a safeguard to the commercial and industrial interests of the State to have as wide as possible a range of military age. We have reached very nearly the limit of the numbers of the older men who are only suitable for the Home Defence and rearward Services. We have reached very nearly the limit of the numbers of those whom we can withdraw from the present military age periods without seriously interfering with industry and with commerce in a way which, even at this time, we would seek to avoid. By raising the age we get further opportunities for adjustment, further opportunities of careful recruitment, and that is the great advantage which attaches to the raising of the military age. Especially is it necessary for us to raise the military age for the members of the medical profession, not only to fifty, but to fifty-five, because the supplies of doctors are so limited now that if we are to maintain the necessary balance between the needs of the civil population and the needs of the armed forces of the Crown it is absolutely necessary that we should have the largest possible number of these practitioners. There is no other way in which the great requirements for medical men can be met.
There is a further point in connection with the first Clause of the Bill to which I wish to refer—a point which I know has been causing considerable anxiety to certain sections of the community—and that is the point dealing with the recruitment of ministers of religion. Our proposals with regard to the administration of that Clause were briefly dealt with yesterday by the Prime Minister. I wish now to make quite plain the intentions of the Government. It is not intended to seize ministers of religion indiscriminately.
§ Sir A. GEDDES
Because no class of the community has been seized indiscriminately. In every case we have had 1588 the tribunal system watching over and guarding—and it has watched over and guarded—the civil interests and the social interests of the State. To give a closer parallel, as has been done in the case of the doctors, where we have dealt with the problems through a special tribunal, so we propose to deal with the difficult questions which necessarily will arise in connection with the recruitment of ministers of religion, through special tribunals.
§ Sir A. GEDDES
The next point in which the House naturally takes legitimate interest is how we are to deal with the aliens who live among us. So far as the Russian subjects are concerned, we are calling them up for service—
§ Sir A. GEDDES
Just as fast as they are freed by the tribunal to which a very large number of them have applied, as is their legal right. A certain amount of criticism and comment has been directed against the provision which has been made that these men should be posted, when they join the Army, to units of a non-combatant character—labour units, or some other units serving as ancillary forces. I can only say that that provision has been made after the most careful consideration of the points at issue, and after consultation with the military authorities. It is a wise and necessary provision that these Russians should be put in non-combatant units. The French and the Italian aliens amongst us are all coming forward for service, even if they have not already done so. It is a most remarkable fact in connection with the nationals of these two great Allies that they have hardly applied for exemption at all. They have set us an example, for many of them in going without appealing to any tribunal are sacrificing perhaps the whole of the business which they have built up all their lives. There, are other points in connection with aliens which I think the House should know. There are two measures concerning aliens which are now in full force. We all know that aliens were in many cases snatching up the businesses of Englishmen, Scotsmen, and Welshmen—
§ Sir A. GEDDES
—who were serving. We have had for some time a Regulation compelling the licensing of all new businesses before they can be opened.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow the right hon. Gentleman to make his statement without keeping up a fire of running remarks?
§ Sir A. GEDDES
That measure has, I think, provided a real safeguard for the interests of our own nationals who are going to serve. There is the further point: that is that the employment of aliens also requires a licence. We are at present actually calling up for work of real first-class national importance a very appreciable number of aliens resident in this country whom we cannot compel to serve with our Forces. These aliens are now in considerable numbers working under the Road Board, and other such organisations. I should like to make one further point about our proposals—a point about the treatment of the soldiers who have served, and who have been discharged from the Army. We do not intend to qualify in any way the pledges and the arrangements which now govern the position of these men.
§ Sir A. GEDDES
They constitute the very last class of men whom I personally, or I think anyone else, would like to interfere with. But I would like to make two appeals in connection with that class. The first is an appeal to employers of labour throughout the country to be if they can a little more helpful in finding employment for these men. There is at the present time a position which is really doing a great deal of harm in this matter. There is another appeal—a very real appeal indeed. We have got in these ex-soldiers, many of whom were wounded and discharged because of wounds, and whom, under the Review of Exceptions Act, there is no legal power to touch, and whom we seek no legal power to touch— there is in that class of men a considerable number who are now quite fit to fight. I would appeal to thorn to once again voluntarily come forward, as they came forward in the old days, or in the great wave of recruiting that raised what were 1590 known as Lord Kitchener's Armies. These men are trained. At present they would be of extraordinary value to our Armies. There are broken battalions in France now re-forming—if into those broken battalions there could be thrown a nucleus of these volunteers who went out in 1914 to fight, and have been wounded and now for some years, it may be, have been back in civil life, and who are now again fit—if only they would come forward voluntarily—
§ Sir A. GEDDES
Yes; but perhaps they will do their bit again, and crown their patriotism. I should like to assure them that if they did that their patriotism would never be forgotten by the nation.
§ Sir A. GEDDES
We do require men who are trained. I have seen many of these men. I believe that they only wish to be assured that their services are really necessary, that their coming forward would be really helpful to the State, to induce them to come forward in those very considerable numbers which would really count at the present time. It is a very difficult thing, when one's time is limited and one cannot give full figures for obvious reasons, to show all the reasons which underlie these proposals, but I can assure this House that after the proposals which were brought forward in January and adopted by this House have been put into force, as they are being, there can be, as I said in January, no other reserves left except those which can be got by the raising of the military age and by the adoption of those other measures which this Bill contains. We require these men at an early date. My right hon. Friend opposite asked me, and I am sure all the House wonders, why this Bill should be rushed through? I will tell hon. Members. It is because when we calculate the number of men who are coming forward under the provisions of the Act of January and under the provisions of those other schemes which have been put into force, such as the combing out of the mines and the men in the munition factories, we see that it is necessary to have further powers at an early date. After the fullest consultation with the military authorities of this country, after talking this matter over with the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, I feel that I myself can take 1591 the very words which he used and say, "Now we are in the position in which every day's delay in getting these men is of importance and may be of great importance if not great seriousness." That is the opinion which Sir Henry Wilson expressed, after looking into the facts and studying the whole position, and it is because of that position and because in considering the same facts he had to consider, one is able to say that they point exactly in that direction, that it is eminently desirable that these powers which the Government now ask for should be granted at a very early date.
There has been throughout this Debate at intervals a line of criticism that we did not take sufficiently drastic steps in January. We took the steps that were necessary to make the provision which was then clearly necessary, and we left the making of further provision to be dealt with by this House when it was clear that the need was arising. I would like to say to this House, and especially to any Members of it who may feel that these are drastic proposals, perhaps more drastic than the situation appears to them to warrant, that, in so far as my poor judgment goes, it is absolutely necessary that these steps be now taken. If they were not taken, I have no hesitation in saying that I believe that in three months, perhaps in two, perhaps even in one, Members of this House would turn upon the Government, and say, "Why did not
§ you rush this Bill through? Why did not you say that these men were absolutely necessary? Why did not you use all your powers in the House to get the necessary power to raise the men?" That is what we have got to do. I believe that it would not matter who was Minister of National Service. As soon as he had grasped what his problem was, he would have to go to the War Cabinet and say, "There are no other proposals possible that will produce the men." There is no alternative except to let the Armies down, and I do not believe that this House is going to let the Armies down. [An HON. MEMBER: "The officers are doing that!"] I am quite certain that there is no section of this nation that is worthy of consideration that has got any other thought in its mind than an absolute determination that it will not let the Armies down. I say again: There is, I believe, no possibility of any sort or kind of maintaining the British Armies which have been built up in these years of War except by adopting these proposals which are now before the House.
§ Several HON MEMBERS rose—
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 319; Noes, 105.1595
|Division No. 6.]||AYES.||[10.58 p.m.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Cheyne, Sir W. W.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Bigland, Alfred||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Bird, Alfred||Clynes, John R.|
|Amery, Captain L. C. M. S.||Blair, Reginald||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham|
|Anstruther-Gray, Lieut.-Col. William||Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)|
|Archdale, Lieut. Edward M.||booth, Frederick Handel||Collins, Major Godfrey P. (Greenock)|
|Aster, Major Hon. Waldorf||Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith||Colvin, Col. Richard Beale|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J|
|Baker, Maj. Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Boyton, Sir James||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, London)||Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Brassey, H. L. C.||Cory, James H. (Cardiff)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Bridgeman, William Clive||Courthope, Major George Loyd|
|Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, South)||Brookes, Warwick||Cowan, Sir W. H.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Broughton, Urban Hanlon||Craig Ernest (Cheshire Crewe)|
|Barnett, Captain R. W.||Brunner, John F L.||Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, E.)|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Burdett-Coutts, William||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick Burghs)||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Barran, Sir Row. Hurst (Leeds, North)||Butcher, John George||Dalrymple, Hon. H. H.|
|Barrie, H. T.||Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton)||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)|
|Barton, Sir William||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas|
|Bathurst, Capt. Sir C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Cator, John||Denniss, E. R B.|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Cautley, Henry Strother||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Dixon, C. H.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Duke Rt. Hon. Henry Edward|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh (Oxford U.)||Du Pre, Major W. Baring|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Jones, William S. Glyn (Stepney)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Joynson-Hicks, William||Quilter, Major Sir Cuthbert|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Kellaway, Frederick George||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Faber, Colonel W. V. (Hants, W.)||Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)|
|Falconer, James||Kerry, Lieut.-Col. Earl of||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram Godfray||Keswick, Henry||Ramnant, Col. Sir James Farquharson|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Roberts, Ht. Hon. George H. (Norwich)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Knight, Capt. Eric Ayshford||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Lane-Fox, Major G. H.||Robertson, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Larmor, Sir J.||Robinson, Sidney|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Rothschild, Major Lionel de|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Layland-Barratt, Sir F.||Royds, Major Edmund|
|Forster, Rt. Hon. Henry William||Lee, Sir Arthur Hamilton||Rutherford, Col, Sir J. (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rutherford, Sir W. (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Ganzoni, Francis John C.||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Lindsay, William Arthur||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Gastrell, Lieut.-Col. Sir W. Houghton||Lloyd, Captain G. A. (Stafford, W.)||Sassoon, Sir Philip|
|Geddes, Sir A. C. (Hants, N.)||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool. Exchange)|
|Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir Eric (Cambridge)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Lonsdale, James R.||Sharman-Crawford, Col. R. G.|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Col. John||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Walton)|
|Goldman, C. S.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Goldsmith, Frank||McCalmont, Brig.-Gen. Robert C. A.||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||Macaws, William J. MacGeagh||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Sir A. H.(Asht'n-u-Lyne)|
|Grant, James Augustus||Mackinder, Halford J.||Starkey, Capt. John R.|
|Greene, Lieut.-Colonel Walter Raymond||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Staveley-Hill, Lieut.-Col. H.|
|Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Macleod, John Mackintosh||Stewart, Gershom|
|Greenwood, Sir Hamar (Sunderland)||Macmaster, Donald||Stirling, Lieut.-Col. Archibald|
|Grieg, Colonel James William||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Stoker, Robert B.|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Griffith, Rt. Hon. Sir Ellis J.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Strauss, Edward A, (Southwark, West)|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Macpherson, James Ian||Sykes, Col. Sir Alan John (Knutsford)|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Maden, Sir John Henry||Sykes, Col. Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Hall, Lt.-Col. Sir Fred (Dulwich)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Maitland, Sir A. D. Steel-||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Hamersley, Lt.-Col. Alfred St. George||Malcolm, Ian||Terrell, Major Henry (Gloucester)|
|Hamilton C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Thomas, Sir A. G. (Monmouth, S.)|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J.||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Hanson, Charles Augustin||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Marriott, J. A. R.||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Harmood-Banner, Sir J. S.||Meux, Admi. Hon. Sir Hedworth||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Meysey-Thompson, Colonel E. C.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Middlebrook, Sir William||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Harris, Rt. Hon. Leverton (Wor'ter, E.)||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Harris. Sir Henry P. (Paddington, S.)||Mitchell-Thomson, W.||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Haslam, Lewis||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Waring, Major Walter|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Money, Sir L. G. Chiozza||Wason, Rt. Hon. E, (Clackmannan)|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson.||Morgan, George Hay||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Morison, Hector (Hackney, S.)||Watson, Hon. W. (Lanark, S.)|
|Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Morison, Thomas B. (Inverness)||Watson, J. B. (Stockton)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir R. T.||Mount, William Arthur||Webb, Lieut.-Col. Sir H.|
|Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Weston, Col. J. W.|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Hickman, Brig.-Gen. Thomas E.||Newman, Major John R. P.||Whiteley, Sir H. J.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Newton, Major Harry Kottingham||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Hill, Sir James (Bradford, C.)||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel John Gurney||Nield, Sir Herbert||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon Claud|
|Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Norman, Rt. Hon. Major Sir H.||Wilson, Capt A. Stanley (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Wilson, Col. Leslie C. (Reading)|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Parker, Rt. Hon. Sir G. (Gravesend)||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Hope, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Edin., Midlothian)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Parkes, Sir Edward E.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Horne, Edgar||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pease, Rt. Hon. H. Pike (Darlington)||Wood, Sir John (Stalybridge)|
|Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)||Wood, S. Hill- (Derbyshire)|
|Hunter, Major Sir Charles Rodk.||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Worthington Evans, Major Sir L.|
|Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.||Perkins, Walter Frank||Wright, Captain Henry Fitzherbert|
|Ingleby, Holcombe||Peto, Basil Edward||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (Yorks)||Philipps, Sir Owen (Chester)||Younger, Sir George|
|Jackson, Sir John (Devonport)||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray||Yoxall Sir James Henry|
|Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest George|
|Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES. —Lord E. Talbot and Capt. F. Guest.|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford. E.)|
|Jones, W. Kennedy (Hornsey)||Prothero, Rt. Hon. Rowland Edmund|
|Alden, Percy||Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Billing, Noel Pemberton|
|Anderson, W. C.||Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Boland, John Plus|
|Arnold, Sydney||Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hearn, Michael Louis||O'Brien, William (Cork)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hemmerde, Edward George||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Buxton, Noel||Hogge, James Myles||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Byrne, Alfred||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Jowett, Frederick William||O'Dowd, John|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Joyce, Michael||O'Leary, Daniel|
|Clough, William||Keating, Matthew||O'Malley, William|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kelly, Edward||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Cosgrave, James||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Shee, James John|
|Crean, Eugene||Kilbride, Denis||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Crumley, Patrick||King, Joseph||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Cullinan, John||Lambert, Richard (Wilts., Cricklade)||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lardner, James C. R.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Dillon, John||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lundon, Thomas||Reddy, Michael|
|Donovan, John Thomas||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Redmond, Capt. W. A. (Waterford)|
|Donnelly, Patrick||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Doris, William||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Duffy, William J.||McGhee, Richard||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Esmonde, Capt. John (Tipperary, N.)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Seely, Lt.-Col. Sir C. H. (Manfield)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Sheehan, Colonel Daniel Daniel|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Meagher, Michael||Sheehy, David|
|Ffrench, Peter||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Northampton)|
|Field, William||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Molloy, Michael||Thomas. Rt. Hon. J H (Derby)|
|Fitzpatrick, John Lalor||Molteno, Percy Alport||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Mooney, John J.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Guiney, John||Morrell, Philip||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Gwynne, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Muldoon, John||Whitty, Patrick Joseph|
|Harbison, T. J. S.||Nolan, Joseph||Williams, W. Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nugent, J. D. (College Green)|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Nugent, Sir W. R. (Westmeath, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES. —Mr. Holt and Mr. Pringle.|
|Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)||Nuttall, Harry|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."1596
§ The House divided: Ayes, 321; Noes, 106.1599
|Division No. 7.]||AYES.||[11.12 p.m.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Brookes, Warwick||Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Broughton, Urban Hanlon||Du Pre, Major W. Baring|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Brunner, John F. L.||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Amery, Captain L. C. M. S.||Bryce, John Annan||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Lieut.-Col. William||Bull, Sir William James||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.|
|Archdale, Lieut. Edward M.||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Col. Martin||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Faber, Colonel W V. (Hants, W.)|
|Astor, Major Hon. Waldorf||Butcher, John George||Falconer, James|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Carew, C. R. S.||Falle, Sir Bertram Godfray|
|Baker, Maj. Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Fell, Sir Arthur|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, London)||Cator, John||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham).|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Cautley, H. S.||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue|
|Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, South)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fletcher, John Samuel|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh (Oxford U.)||Forster, Rt. Hon. Henry William|
|Barnett, Captain R. W.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Robt. (Herts, Hitchin)||Foster, Philip Staveley|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Galbraith, Samuel|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick, Burghs)||Cheyne, Sir W. W.||Ganzoni, Francis John C.|
|Barran, Sir How. Hurst (Leeds, North)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Gardner, Ernest|
|Barrie, H. T.||Clynes, John R.||Gastrell, Lieut.-Col. Sir W. Houghton|
|Barton, Sir William||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Geddes, Sir A C. (Hants, N.)|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Cambridge)|
|Bathurst, Capt. Sir C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Colvin, Col. Richard Beale||Gibbs, Col. George Abraham|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Gilmour, Lieut.-Col. John|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Goldman, C. S.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)||Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Cory, James Herbert (Cardiff)||Grant, James Augustus|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Courthope, Major George Loyd||Greene, Lieut.-Col. Walter Raymond|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Craig, Ernest (Chesire, Crewe)||Greenwood, Sir Hamar (Sunderland)|
|Bird, Alfred||Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, E.)||Greig, Colonel James William|
|Blair, Reginald||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Gretton, Col. John|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Griffith, Rt. Hon. Sir Ellis J.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Dalrymple, Hon. H. H.||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Haddock, George Bahr|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Hall, Lt.-Col. Sir Fred (Dulwich)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid.)||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar|
|Boyton, Sir James||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Hamersley, Lt.-Col. Alfred St. George|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Denniss, E. R. B.||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)|
|Brassey, Major H. Leonard Campbell,||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J.|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Dixon, C. H.||Hanson, Charles Augustin|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Rutherford, Sir W. (L'pool, W. Derby).|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence (Ashford)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J,||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Harmood-Banner, Sir J. S.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Macpherson, James Ian||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Harms worth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Maden, Sir John Henry||Sassoon, Sir Philip|
|Harris, Rt. Hon. F. L. (Worcester, E.)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton).|
|Harris, Sir Henry P. (Paddington, S.)||Maitland, Sir A. D. Steel-||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool Exchange)|
|Haslam, Lewis||Malcolm, Ian||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Sharman-Crawford, Colonel R. G.|
|Hayward, Major Evan||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Liverpool)|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Manfield, Harry||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Henry, Sir Charles (Shropshire)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Sir A. H. (Asht'n-u-Lyne).|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir R. T.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Meux, Adml. Hon. Sir Hedworth||Starkey, Capt. John R.|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Meysey-Thompson, Colonel E. C.||Staveley-Hill, Lieut.-Col. H.|
|Hickman, Brig.-Gen. Thomas E.||Middlebrook, Sir William||Stewart, Gershom|
|Higham, John Sharp||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Stirling, Lieut.-Col. Archibald|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Mitchell-Thomson, W.||Stoker, Robert B.|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel John Gurney||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Money, Sir L. G. Chiozza||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Hohler, G. F.||Morgan, George Hay||Sykes, Col. Sir A. J. (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Morison, Hector (Hackney, S.)||Sykes, Col. Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Morison, Thomas B. (Inverness)||Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John|
|Hope, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Edin., Midlothian)||Mount, William Arthur||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Terrell, Major Henry (Gloucester)|
|Horne, Edgar||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Thomas, Sir A. G. (Monmouth, S.)|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Newman, Major John R. P.||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Newton, Major Harry Kottingham||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Hunter, Major Sir Charles Rodk.||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.||Nicholson, Williamson G. (Petersfield)||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Ingleby, Holcombe||Nield, Sir Herbert||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Norman, Rt. Hon. Major Sir H.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Jackson, Sir John (Devonport)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parker, Rt. Hon. Sir G. (Gravesend)||Wards, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Waring, Major Walter|
|Jones, W. Kennedy (Hornsey)||Parkes, Sir Edward E.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan).|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Parrott, Sir James Edward||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Joynson-Hicks, William||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Watson, John Bertrand (Stockton)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George.||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)||Watson, Hon. W. (Lanark, S.)|
|Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbt, Pike (Darlington)||Webb, Lieut.-Col. Sir H.|
|Kerry, Lieut.-Col. Earl of||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Weston, Colonel J. W.|
|Keswick, Henry||Perkins, Walter Frank||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Peto, Basil Edward||Whiteley, Sir H. J.|
|Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Philipps, Sir Owen (Chester)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Lane-Fox, Major G. R.||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)|
|Larmor, Sir J.||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest George||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Layland-Barratt, Sir F||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Lee, Sir Arthur Hamilton||Prothero, Rt. Hon. Rowland Edmund||Wilson, Colonel Leslie G. (Reading).|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. Herbert||Quilter, Major Sir Cuthbert||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Lindsay, William Arthur||Randles, Sir John S.||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Lloyd, captain G. A. (Stafford, W.)||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Lcoker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Remnant, Col. Sir James Farquharson||Wood, Sir John (Stalybridge)|
|Lonsdale, James R.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. George H. (Norwich)||Wood, S. Hill- (Derbyshire)|
|Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Roberts, Sir H. (Denbighs)||Worthington Evans, Major Sir L,|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wright, Captain Henry Fitzherbert|
|McCalmont, Brig.-Gen. Robert C. A.||Robertson, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Tyneside)||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Robinson, Sidney||Younger, Sir George|
|Mackinder, Halford J.||Rothschild, Major Lionel de|
|M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Royds, Major Edmund||TELLERS FOR THE AYES. — Lord Edmund Talbot and Capt. F. Guest.|
|Macleod, John Mackintosh||Rutherford, Col. Sir J. (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Alden, Percy||Cosgrave, James||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Anderson, W. C.||Crean, Eugene||Ffrench, Peter|
|Arnold, Sydney||Crumley, Patrick||Field, William|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Cullinan, John||Fitzgibbon, John|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Fitzpatrick, John Lalor|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Billing, N. Pemberton||Devlin, Joseph||Gelder, Sir W. A.|
|Boland, John Pius||Dillon, John||Guiney, John|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Donelan, Captain A.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Donovan, John Thomas||Harbison, T. J. S.|
|Byrne, Alfred||Donnelly, Patrick||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Doris, William||Healy, Maurice (Cork)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Duffy, William J.||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)|
|Clough, William||Esmonde, Capt. John (Tipperary, N.)||Hearn, Michael Louis|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E. H.|
|Hogge, J, M.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Reddy, Michael|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Notts, Rushclifle)||Mooney, John J.||Redmond, Capt. W. A.|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Morrell, Philip||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Joyce, Michael||Muldoon, John||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Keating, Matthew||Nolan, Joseph||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Kelly, Edward||Nugent, J. D. (College Green)||Seely, Lt.-Col. Sir C. H. (Mansfield)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Brien, William (Cork, N. E.)||Sheehan, Colonel Daniel Daniel|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Sheehy, David|
|King, Joseph||O'Doherty, Philip||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Northampton)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||O'Donnell, Thomas||Snowden, Philip|
|Lardner, James C. R.||O'Dowd, John||Sutton, John E.|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Ogden, Fred||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Lundon, Thomas||O'Leary, Daniel||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Lynch, Arthur Alfred||O'Malley, William||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
|M'Callum, Sir John M.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||O'Shee, James John||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|McGhee, Richard||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Whitty, Patrick Joseph|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Outhwaite, R. L.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Meagher, Michael||Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.— Mr. Pringle and Mr. Holt.|
|Meehan, Patrick (Queen's Co., Leix)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
§ Main Question put, "That the Bill be mow read a second time."1600
§ The House divided: Ayes, 323; Noes, 100.1603
|Division No. 8.]||AYES.||[11.24 p.m.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Goldman, C. S.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh (Oxford U.)||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Robert (Hitchin)||Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred|
|Amery, Capt. L. C. M. S.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Grant, James Augustus|
|Anstruther-Gray, Lieut.-Col. William||Cheyne, Sir W. W.||Greene, Walter Raymond|
|Archdale, Lt. Edward M.||Churchill, Rt. Han. Winston S.||Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Col. M.||Clynes, John R.||Greenwood, Sir Hamar (Sunderland)|
|Astor, Major Hon. Waldorf||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Greig, Colonel J. W.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Gretton, John|
|Baker, Maj. Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Corvin, Col. Richard Beale||Griffith, Rt. Hon. Sir Ellis J.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, London)||Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Haddock, George Bahr|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hall, Lt.-Col. Sir Fred (Dulwich)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar|
|Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, South)||Cory, James Herbert (Cardiff)||Hamersley, Lt.-Col. Alfred St. George|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Courthope, Major George Loyd||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)|
|Barnett, Captain R. W.||Cowan, Sir W. H.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Hanson, Charles Augustin|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, E.)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Barran, Sir Row. Hurst (Leeds, North)||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence|
|Barrie, H. T.||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sit Henry||Harmood-Banner, Sir J. S.|
|Barton, Sir William||Dalrymple, Hon. H. H.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)|
|Bathurst, Capt. Sir C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Harris, Rt. Hon. F. L. (Worcester, E.)|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Harris, Sir Henry (Paddington, S.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Haslam, Lewis|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Denniss, E. R. B.||Hayward, Evan|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Helme, Sir Norval Watson|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Dixon, C. H.||Henry, Sir Charles|
|Bird, Alfred||Duke, Rt. Hon, Henry Edward||Henry, Denis S.|
|Blair, Reginald||Du Pre, Major W. Baring||Hermon-Hodge, Sir R. T.|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Hewins, William Albert Samuel|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Hickman, Brig-Gen. Thomas E.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid.)||Faber, Col. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Hills, Major John Waller|
|Boyton, Sir James||Falconer, James||Hinds, John|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Falle, Sir Bertram Godfray||Hoare, Sir Samuel John Gurney|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Fell, Sir Arthur||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy|
|Brookes, Warwick||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Hope, Harry (Bute)|
|Broughton, Urban Hanlon||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Hope, Lieut.-Col. J. A. (Midlothian)|
|Bryce, John Annan||Fletcher, John Samuel||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Forster, Rt. Hon. Henry William||Horne, Edgar|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Foster, Philip Staveley||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Galbraith, Samuel||Hume-Williams, William Ellis|
|Butcher, J. G.||Ganzoni, Francis John C.||Hunter, Major Sir Charles Rodk.|
|Carew, C. R. S.||Gardner, Ernest||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Gastrell, Lieut.-Col. Sir W. Houghton||Ingleby, Holcombe|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Geddes, Sir A. C. (Hants, N.)||Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)|
|Cater, John||Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir Eric (Cambridge)||Jackson, Sir John (Devonport)|
|Cautley, H. S.||Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)|
|Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Gilmour, Lieut.-Col. John||Jones, Sir Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Mount, William Arthur||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Jones, W. Kennedy (Hornsey)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Starkey, John R.|
|Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Staveley-Hill, Lieut.-Col. Henry|
|Joynson-Hicks, William||Newman, Major John R. P.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Newton, Major Harry Kottingham||Stirling, Lieut.-Col. A.|
|Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Stoker, Robert B.|
|Kerry, Lt.-Col. Earl of||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Keswick, Henry||Nield, Sir Herbert||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Norman, Rt. Hon. Major sir H.||Sykes, Col. Sir Alan John (Knutsford)|
|Knight, Captain E. A.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Sykes, Col. Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John|
|Lane-Fox, Major G. R.||Parker, Rt. Hon. Sir G. (Gravesend)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Larmor, Sir J.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Terrell, H. (Gloucester)|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Parkes, Sir Edward E.||Thomas, Sir A. G. (Monmouth, S.)|
|Layland-Barratt, Sir F.||Parrott, Sir James Edward||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Lee, Sir Arthur Hamilton||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Pease, Rt. Hon. H. Pike (Darlington)||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Lindsay, William Arthur||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Lloyd, George A. (Stafford)||Perkins, Walter F.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Peto, Basil Edward||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Philipps, Sir Owen (Chester)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Lonsdale, James R.||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest George||Waring, Major Walter|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|McCalmont, Brig.-Gen. Robert C. A.||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Prothero, Rt. Hon. Rowland Edmund||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Mackinder, H. J.||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Watson, John Bertrand (Stockton)|
|M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester)||Quilter, Major Sir Cuthbert||Webb, Lieut.-Col. Sir H.|
|Macleod, John Mackintosh||Randles, Sir John S.||Weston, J. W.|
|Macmaster, Donald||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvon, Arfon)||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)||Whiteley, Sir H. J.|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T, J.||Remnant, Col. Sir James Farquharson||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. George H. (Norwich)||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Maden, Sir John Henry||Robertson, Rt. Hon. John M.||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon Claud|
|Maitland, Sir A. D. Steel-||Robinson, Sidney||Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Malcolm, Ian||Rothschild, Major Lionel de||Wilson, Col. Leslie C. (Reading)|
|Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Royds, Major Edmund||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Mallalieu, Frederick William||Rutherford, Col. Sir J. (Lancs., Darwen)||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Manfield, Harry||Rutherford, Sir W. (L'pool, W. Derby)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Samuel, Samuel (Wandswerth)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Marriott, John A. R.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur||Wood, Sir John (Stalybridge)|
|Meux, Admi. Hon. Sir Hedworth||Sassoon, Sir Philip||Wood, S. Hill- (Derbyshire)|
|Meysey-Thompson, Col. E. C.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Worthington Evans, Major Sir L.|
|Middlebrook, Sir William||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Millar, James Duncan||Sharman-Crawford. Colonel R. G.||Younger, Sir G.|
|Mitchell-Thomson, W.||Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Walton)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Money, Sir L. G. Chlozza||Spear, Sir John Ward||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.— Lord E. Talbot and Capt. F. Guest.|
|Morgan, George Hay||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Sir A. H. (Asht'n-u-Lyne)|
|Morison, Thomas B. (Inverness)|
|Alden, Percy||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lundon, Thomas|
|Arnold, Sydney||Farrell, James Patrick||Lynch, Arthur Alfred|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Ffrench, Peter||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Fitzgibbon, John||McGhee, Richard|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Fitzpatrick, John Lalor||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Billing, Noel Pemberton||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Boland, John Pius||Gelder, Sir W. A.||Meagher, Michael|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Guiney, John||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)|
|Buxton, Noel||Hayden, John Patrick||Molloy, Michael|
|Byrne, Alfred||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Mooney, John J.|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)||Morrell, Philip|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hearn, Michael Louis||Muldoon, John|
|Clough, William||Hogge, James Myles||Nolan, Joseph|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Holt, Richard Durning||Nugent, J. D. (College Green)|
|Cosgrave, James||Harbison, T. J. S.||O'Brien, William (Cork, N.E.)|
|Crean, Eugene||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Rushcliffe)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jowett, Frederick William||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Cullinan, John||Joyce, Michael||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Keating, Matthew||O'Dowd, John|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kelly, Edward||Ogden, Fred;|
|Dillon, John||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Leary, Daniel|
|Donovan, John Thomas||Kilbride, Denis||O'Malley, William|
|Donnelly, Patrick||King, Joseph||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Doris, William||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||O'Shee, James John|
|Duffy, William J.||Lardner, James C. R.||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Esmonde, Capt. John (Tipperary, N.)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||White, Patrick (Meath, N.)|
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Sheehy, David||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Pringle, William M. R.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)||Whitty, Patrick Joseph|
|Reddy, Michael||Sutton, John E.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Redmond, Captain W. A. (Waterford)||Taylor, John W, (Durham)|
|Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.— Captain Donelan and Mr. Anderson.|
|Rowntree, Arnold||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
§ Bill accordingly read a. Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."-—[Mr. J. Hope.]1604
§ The House divided: Ayes, 295; Noes, 78.1605
|Division No. 9.]||AYES.||[11.36 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Courthope, Major George Loyd||Hewins, William Albert S.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Cowan, Sir W. H.||Hickman, Brig-Gen. Thomas E.|
|Amery, Capt. L. C. M. S.||Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Anstruther-Gray, Lieut.-Col. William||Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, E.)||Hills, Major John Waller|
|Archdale, Lieut. E. M.||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Hinds, John|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Col. M.||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hoare, Sir Samuel John Gurney|
|Astor, Major Hon. Waldorf||Dalrymple, Hon. H. H.||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Dalziel Davison (Brixton)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy|
|Baker, Maj. Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Hope, Lieut.-Col. J. A. (Midlothian)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, London)||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||Denniss, E. R. B.||Horne, E. (Surrey, Guildford)|
|Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, S.)||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Sir Willoughby H.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Duke, Right Hon. Henry Edward||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Barnett, Captain R. W.||Du Pre, Major W. Baring||Hunter, Major Sir Charles Rodk.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.|
|Barran, Sir Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Ingleby, Holcombe|
|Barrie, H. T.||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)|
|Barton, Sir William||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Jones, Sir Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Faber, Colonel W. V. (Hants, W.)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)|
|Bathurst, Capt. Sir C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Falconer, James||Jones, W. Kennedy (Hornsey)|
|Beals, Sir William Phipson||Falle, Sir Bertram Godfray||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Fell, Sir Arthur||Joynson-Hicks, William|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Kellaway, Frederick George|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A,||Kerry, Lt.-Col. Earl of|
|Billing, Pemberton||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Keswick, Henry|
|Bird, Alfred||Fletcher, John Samuel||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Blair, Reginald||Forster, Rt. Hon. Henry William||Knight, Capt. E. A.|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Foster, Philip Staveley||Lane-Fox, Major G. R.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Galbraith, Samuel||Larmer, Sir J.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith||Ganzoni, Francis John C.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Gastrell, Lieut.-Col. Sir W. Houghton||Layland-Barratt, Sir F.|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid.)||Geddes, Sir A. C. (Hants, N.)||Lee, Sir Arthur Hamilton|
|Boyton, Sir James||Gibbs, Col, George Abraham||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Gilmour, Lieut.-Col. John||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert|
|Brassey, H. L. C.||Goldman, C. S.||Lindsay, William Arthur|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Goldsmith, Frank||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)|
|Brookes, Warwick||Grant, J. A.||Locker-Lampson, G (Salisbury)|
|Broughton, Urban Hanlon||Greene, Lieut.-Colonel Walter Raymond||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Greig, Colonel J. W.||McCalmont, Brig-Gen. Robert C. A.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Gretton, John||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Griffith, Rt. Hon. Sir Ellis J.||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs, Spalding)|
|Butcher, John George||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Macleod, John Mackintosh|
|Carew, C. R. S.||Haddock, George Bahr||Macmaster, Donald|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hall, Lt.-Col. Sir Fred (Dulwich)||McMicking, Major Gilbert|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Cator, John||Hamersley, Lt.-Col. Alfred St. George||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)|
|Cautley, H. S.||Hamilton, C. G. C.(Ches., Altrincham)||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J. (K'ton)||Maden, Sir John Henry|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hanson, Charles Augustin||Maitland, Sir A. D. Steel-|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh (Oxford U.)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Lawrence||Mallalieu, Frederick William|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Harmood-Banner, Sir J. S.||Manfield, Harry|
|Cheyne, Sir W. W.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Marriott, J. A. R.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Harris, Rt. Hon. F. L. (Worcester, E.)||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Haslam, Lewis||Meysey-Thompson, Col. E. C.|
|Colvin, Col. Richard Beale||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Millar, James Duncan|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Henry, Sir Charles||Mitchell-Thomson, W.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Henry, Denis S.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)||Hermen-Hodge, Sir R. T.||Morgan, George Hay|
|Cory, James Herbert (Cardiff)||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Morison, Thomas B. (Inverness)|
|Mount, William Arthur||Robinson, Sidney||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Rothschild, Major Lionel de||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Neville, Reginald J. N.||Royds, Major Edmund||Waring, Major Walter|
|Newman, Major John R. P.||Rutherford, Col. Sir J. (Lancs., Darwen)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Newton, Major Harry Kottingham||Rutherford, Sir W. (L'pool, W. Derby)||Watson, Hon. W. (Lanark, S.)|
|Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)||Watson, John B. (Stockton)|
|Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur||Webb, Lieut.-Col. Sir H.|
|Nield, Sir Herbert||Sassoon, Sir Philip||Weston, J. W.|
|Norman, Rt. Hon. Major sir H.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Nuttall, Harry||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Whiteley, Sir H J.|
|Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Sharman-Crawford, Col. R. G.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Parker, Rt. Hon. Sir G. (Gravesend)||Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Walton)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)|
|Parkes, Sir Edward E.||Spear, Sir John W.||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Parrott, Sir James Edward||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Sir A.H.(Asht'n-u-Lyne)||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Stanton, Charles Butt||Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (Yorks., E.S.)|
|Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Starkey, John R.||Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Perkins, Walter F.||Staveley-Hill, Lieut.-Col. Henry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Peto, Basil Edward||Stewart, Gershom||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray||Stirling, Lieut.-Col. Archibald||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest George||Stoker, Robert B.||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Wood, Sir John (Stalybridge)|
|Prothero, Rt. Hon. Rowland Edmund||Sutton, John E.||Wood, S. Hill- (Derbyshire)|
|Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||Sykes, Col. Sir Mark (Hull, Central)||Worthington Evans, Major Sir L.|
|Quitter, Major Sir Cuthbert||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Randles, Sir John S.||Thomas Sir A. G. (Monmouth, S.)||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Rea, Walter Russell||Thomas-Stanford, Charles||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Rees, G. C. (Carnarvon, Arfen)||Toulmin, Sir George||Younger, Sir George|
|Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. George H. (Norwich)||Turton, Edmund Russborough||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.— Captain Guest and Lord E. Talbot|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbigh)||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Ward, A. S. (Herts., Watford)|
|Alden, Percy||Hayden, John Patrick||Nolan, Joseph|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Nugent, J. D. (College Green)|
|Boland, John Plus||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)||O'Brien, William (Cork, N.E.)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Hearn, Michael Louis||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Harbison, T. J, S.||O'Donerty, Philip|
|Byrne, Alfred||Jowett, Frederick William||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Joyce, Michael||O'Dowd, John|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Keating, Matthew||O'Leary, Daniel|
|Cosgrave, James||Kelly, Edward||O'Malley, William|
|Crean, Eugene||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Crumley, Patrick||Kilbride, Denis||O'Shee, James John|
|Cullinan, John||King, Joseph||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Delvin, Joseph||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Dillon, John||Lardner, James C. R.||Reddy, Michael|
|Donovan, John Thomas||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Redmond, Capt. W. A. (Waterford)|
|Donnelly, Patrick||Lundon, Thomas||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Doris, William||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Duffy, William||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Esmonde, Capt. John (Tipperary, H.)||McGhee, Richard||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Sheehy, David|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Meagher, Michael||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitram, N.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Fitzpatrick, John Laler||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Whitty, Patrick Joseph|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Molloy, Michael|
|Guiney, John||Morrell, Philip||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Captain Donelan and Mr. Anderson.|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Muldoon, John|
§ Bill accordingly committed to a Committee of the Whole House for to-morrow (Thursday).
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.1606
§ It being after Half-past Eleven of the clock, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at Thirteen minutes before Twelve o'clock