§ 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.
§ An Order in Council under this Section may, as respects the civil Court before which proceedings in respect of any offence punishable on summary conviction under the Reserve Forces Act, 1882, the Army Act, the Military Service Acts, 1916 to 1918, or this Act, or any Orders or Regulations made thereunder, are to be brought in Ireland—
- (a) make special provision with respect to the constitution of the Court; or
- (b) assign any such proceedings to such civil Court or Courts as may be specified in the Order.
§ Mr. DILLON
I beg to move, to leave out Clause 2.
In the first Debate yesterday the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Trinity College (Sir E. Carson) made a very remarkable speech, and I desire at the commencement to read a very short extract from that speech to the House, in order to refresh their memories. The right hon. Gentleman said:But the Government must really tell us what is the machinery that is going to be applied, north, south, east and west. What ever it is, do not be ashamed of it… … Do not say, 'We cannot trust Ireland; we cannot trust them to tell them what the machinery will do.' I can assure you that is the very worst way you can deal with Ireland. Far better that you should let us know—for better or worse. Really, I find great difficulty in understanding where we are in this Bill in relation to Ireland."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th April, 1918, col. 91.]Is there a single Member who has closely followed these Debates who does under stand at this moment where we are in relation to this Bill in its application to Ire land? The Prime Minister, when introducing the Bill, went out of his way to say he wished the House and the country distinctly to understand that there was no connection whatever between the introduction of a Home Rule Bill and the applica- 293 tion of Conscription to Ireland, and he emphasised that statement in a very remarkable way. But when we come to the speech of the Chief Secretary there can not be the slightest doubt that the whole House and the country outside, as we know very well from the daily Press, put a wholly different interpretation upon the intentions and the plans of the Government. Here is what the Chief Secretary said:On the other hand, it would be the worst disservice to the State to call into the ranks men who were suffering under a historic sense of grievance. His Majesty's Government wants to remove it. It seeks the help of this House to remove it. It seeks the help of the country to remove it.If it be true that it would be the worst disservice to the State to call to the Colours men in Ireland who are suffering from a historic grievance, what is the meaning of telling us that there is no relation in the mind of the Government between the introduction of self-government for Ireland and the application of Conscription to that country? Is any Member in this House, I do not care in what quarter he sits, prepared to say that the Irish people are not to-day suffering from a historic grievance and from as great an intensification and exacerbation of that grievance by the events of the last three years? I want to know how we are to reconcile, how the Government expects us to reconcile, these two declarations coming on successive days from members of the Government. Is the one thing dependent upon the other or is it not? And what is the meaning of this sentence from the Chief Secretary's speech:So far as I am concerned, I want to tell the House that if this Clause had been a Clause for applying military service to Ireland without the means for the course which I am explaining to the House, I could not have been a party to it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th April, 1918, col. 1922, Vol. 104.]The Chief Secretary said shortly before that he was speaking not only on his own behalf, but on behalf of his colleagues in the Government. Does it mean that in his mind it is not possible morally, from his point of view, to put this Clause applying Conscription in Ireland into force without first removing the historic grievance under which he says the Irish people suffer, and, if not, what did he mean by making that statement? When subsequent speeches were made which appeared to contradict and disavow these declarations we in vain called upon the Chief Secretary to speak again, and we have not heard from him since as to the interpreta- 294 tion he places or the explanation he is prepared to give for these strange contra dictions, but it appears to me that we find some explanation in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson). He says in the course of that same speech from which I have quoted:I think you have made a fatal mistake in the manner in which you have brought this Bill before the House.What is the meaning of that sentence? The right hon. Gentleman generally has some sinister meaning when his words are as significant as that. I have no doubt he was referring to the speech of the Chief Secretary, and that a very hard struggle was going on behind the scenes when that speech was delivered. I understand that at this very moment when I am speaking he and his followers in the Unionist party arc assembled in meeting upstairs considering what form of ultimatum they will deliver to the Government. On this point I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. Let the Government be frank and tell us in Ireland honestly, as they have not done up to this hour, what it is that they mean to do in connection with this Bill. I challenge the Government, before this Debate, carried on under the most extra ordinary circumstances of difficulty, concludes, to answer that question put to them, not only from these benches by the Irish Nationalist Members, but by a man who in a moment of forgetfulness used the imperative and said "the Government must tell us," and on more than one occasion he has proved his power to make the Government do what he wishes.
Then I come to the question of the tone in which Ministers have brought forward this proposal and the claims they have made. The tone, I am sorry to say, particularly of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been a return—which pained all of us, for he has been for three or four years a, most courteous and conciliatory Leader of the House—to his old tone when he led the Opposition, and his tone throughout all the speeches he delivered was one of menace and hostility to the Irish people. He quoted one passage which will go round Ireland. I do not know what purpose he had in quoting it except as a threat, and I think a very improper threat. He quoted the passage from President Lincoln in which he spoke of the necessity of shooting the wily agitator. He said:Am I to allow a poor soldier boy who deserts to be shot and the wily agitator who has induced him to desert to go scot-free?295 I assume that is intended for us and the meaning is that if we dare to advise our people to oppose or resist this measure he will deal with us first. I have been for thirty-seven years in the House and have heard that language very often. It will have no effect upon us and it will have less effect on the leaders of the revolutionary party in Ireland, whom he and the Government are now doing their best to strengthen. Then the right hon. Gentle man went on to say:We are doing what we have a moral right to do —and he was speaking without any conditions. He specifically said that before hand—We are doing what we have a moral right to do, and also a technical legal right.As regards the moral right I deny it, and in making that denial I am speaking not only for the united Nationalists of Ireland of all sections, but for three-fourths of the Unionists of Ireland too. No power on earth has a moral right to conscript a single Irishman resident in Ireland and compel him to fight except a body representing the Irish nation, and I believe you will find it impossible to do it. That is my answer to the statement of the moral right.
But I go further, and I call upon the Chief Secretary in support of my view. He said:On the other hand, it would be the worst disservice to the State to call into the ranks men who were suffering under an historic sense of grievance, and, so far as I am concerned, if this had been a Clause for applying military service to Ireland without the means for the course which I have indicated above, I would be no party to it.Therefore, in my opinion, as far as I can put an interpretation on the speech of the Chief Secretary, reading it as a whole, he does not believe there is a moral right to compel the Irish people to fight in this War unless you remove, first of all, the historic grievance under which they are suffering. The Leader of the House says, "We have a moral right, but further we have a technical legal right." You have a technical legal right. So you had 150 years ago when you taxed America and you had stronger arguments in that great controversy. There is not a single thing that has been said to-day against the Irish people in this controversy which was not said against the American Colonists when they resisted your power of taxa- 296 tion. There is no doubt you had a technical legal right. You had this argument that you had about the Colonies, that you had come to their assistance, and every word, every reproach almost that has been hurled against the Irish in this matter was directed against the American colonies in those days as to their ingratitude and their want of sense, of duty not to come to the assistance of this country, not by a blood tax—there was no question of compelling them to spill their blood in your service—but by contributing a small monetary aid. I noticed the other day, in the "Times," one of the most remarkable contributions to this whole controversy by a very learned and distinguished man, Professor Pollard, of the University of London—Sir, the case for the Conscription of Ireland can, I think, be put in a nutshell. Logically it is as complete as Lord Grenville and Lord North's case for imposing taxation upon the American Colonies and for a share in the common taxation necessitated by a war waged? largely in their defence.These are the very arguments we are using. The case, was logically complete and you told the Colonies they were un gracious, and Lord North and Lord Grenville and the Government, which in their ability and statesmanship bore a striking resemblance to the Government we are living under to-day, called upon the loyalty of this country and called every man a traitor who sympathised with the American Colonies, and I glory in the fact that Ireland then, as in the days of the Boer Republic and the better days of the present Prime Minister, did not hesitate to express their sympathy because they were right and England was wrong. George Washington himself ex pressed, in words which are graven on the hearts of all Irishmen, his gratitude to the Parliament of Ireland and the people of Ireland for the upright course they took in that war. But you stuck to your technical legal right and you enforced taxation on America. Who would have believed in those days, when that war commenced, the mighty consequences which would follow from it? When you look back and study the history of that period, and contrast the ridiculous and absurd contribution which you endeavoured to get from the American Colonies, with the result you find that, you dug a gulf between this country and your sister country, and your sister people in America, that it has taken 130 years to bridge. Take care that you do not dig 297 that gulf again when the War has to some extent brought you together. Voices were raised in these countries—patriotic voices, I think protesting against this treatment of America, but they were denounced as traitors, and in language similar to that which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has addressed to us.
I say that you are embarking on a course now which may have consequences as long-reaching and as serious as your attack upon the American Colonies, because in these small beginnings passion rises on every side, and, once the flood of passion rises, things are said and done that can never be recalled. No man can foretell how wide may be the consequences of your present action. Remember this, that when you proposed to tax America the number of her people was small and insignificant. She was a much smaller country then than Ireland is to-day, and a much smaller country than Ireland then was, and much less wealthy and important; but they were your own children, who had only lately left your own shores, who had no national history behind them except that of Colonies and Dependencies of this country, and had no real national self-consciousness as one nation until you Welded them into one nation by this endeavour to tax them against their will. You created by that attack the liberty of America, you built up a mighty nation, with the most intense national self-consciousness, out of scattered people who were your own children and of your own blood, who had only left your shores one or two generations before.
Now you are bringing yourselves into conflict with an ancient and a proud nationality a nationality which, it is true, has suffered through centuries un paralleled tortures and persecutions, perfectly unparalleled in the history of Any nationality; but it has been proved over and over again in history that that country has only been intensified as regards its national feeling and the passion of the life of its people for their own country by all these persecutions. Long before America was discovered, centuries before America was known to exist to the people of Europe, our nation was a mighty nation and a civilised nation, and you little know how bitterly you insult us when from time to time you come to that box and talk to us about, being indifferent to the civilisation of Europe and the danger which now threatens us. Why, we laid and sowed the 298 seed of European civilisation when the Germans were barbarians, and when you came over to our land to seek for light… Do you know that King Alfred himself came as a fugitive to the county of Mayo and got the first rudiments of learning in the county that I have the honour to represent? You have to deal with a people who have imbued into their blood and their marrow and their bones a passionate patriotism which cannot be equalled by the feeling or patriotism of any nation in the world. Yet you propose lightly to embark upon what may be an implacable war with this people. Make no mistake about it, you are not going to get the smallest reinforcements for your war fronts from this Bill. All Ireland as one man will rise against you. I am not in a position to say how the opposition will be worked. I cannot answer for all Ireland, but what I can answer for is that, on one point they are all united, and that is that the resistance must be made by universal national resistance, led by our clergy, for every chapel in the land will be a rallying point to resist what we consider to be not only an intolerable oppression, but a shameless insult against our country. Here is a letter I received to-day from a lady who lives in Ulster. I am not at liberty to give her name, but I can answer from my own knowledge that she is a lady whose name will carry weight. She says:it is not only Sinn Fein or Home Rule Catholics that are indignant at this, but the Protestant Unionists of the parish I live in, and all round here, are furious. They sent their sons, who went willingly, and very many are dead, but that is a very different thing from scruff-necking those who are left. One farmer's wife, a Protestant Unionist, to whom I have just been speaking, said she would shoot with her own hands any soldier that came to take her son.That is the spirit of a Protestant Unionist in Ulster. I see that all the Ulster Members are upstairs, framing an ultimatum to the Government on the Home Rule side of this question, which they will no doubt deliver shortly. I make a challenge to the Ulster Members. Let them go to Antrim or Down and hold a meeting in favour of Conscription, and that will open the eyes of the Government. I do not think that the Government or any Member of the House, from what I have heard since these Debates commenced, have the smallest idea of what is the real feeling in Ireland. I have been forty years, I regret to say, in the public life of Ireland. During those forty years I 299 have passed through some of the stormiest periods, as the Prime Minister knows, that have ever taken place in Irish history, and I tell you solemnly that there has never been anything to approach the state of feeling which exists in. Ireland to-day. I have received a steady stream of telegrams from all classes, public bodies, public meetings, priests, bishops, and all classes of the population, assuring me that the chaos and confusion that will occur is something appalling to think of. Some people are fleeing from the city of Dublin expecting wild disturbances. Already attacks have commenced on the railroads. I do not think that the resistance will take that form, but I cannot say what shape it will take. The state of public excitement is so great that in many parts of the country business is paralysed, and people will not attend to it. They think and speak of nothing but this great national crisis.
I tell the right hon. Gentleman that if he means to go on with this matter he will turn Ireland into another Belgium, and the proceedings will ring throughout the civilised world. Here is an extract which may somewhat affect the minds of the Government. It is taken from yesterday's "Irish Times," which is the chief Unionist newspaper in Ireland, and a very great newspaper. It says:The Imperial Parliament has decided to enforce Conscription in Ireland, and we hear on all sides of preparations for opposition, either active or passive —Remember that this newspaper has always been in favour of Conscription.Either the Government will carry out its declared purpose or will shrink before the menace of widespread resistance. Whether it shrinks, or whether it fulfils its declared purpose at the cost of turmoil and disorder in this country, the result will be fatal to Ireland.That is a nice state of things. That is the opinion of the "Irish Times." It has always been in favour of Conscription, but after the result of the proceedings of the last three or four days their opinion is that whether you go backwards or forwards, the result will be fatal to Ireland. They wind up this argument by one of the most preposterous appeals that I ever remember in the course of my life. This newspaper has spent the last three or four years abusing me as the chief evil genius of Ireland, but they now make an urgent appeal to me to come to the rescue, and to save Ireland from the impossible position into which 300 the Government has brought the country, and to persuade the Irish people to agree to Conscription. They will have to write a good many articles before I do that.
The Prime Minister the other day in his speech quoted a passage from a speech delivered by my hon. Friend the late Member for Waterford. I think it was an ungenerous quotation, because it was divorced from its context, the occasion on. which it was delivered was not explained, and it was calculated to give a false impression. If my right hon. Friend had been aware—I do not know whether he was or not—that this statement, divorced from its context and used in the same un fair manner as he uses it, is one of the chief Sinn Fein revolutionary leaflets in Ireland, I think he would have been slower in using it. What is the truth? On that occasion the hon. Member for Waterford was speaking, as I spoke, on a Bill which did not apply to Ireland at all. There was no question of applying it to Ireland. He was speaking on that occasion on the general question of Conscription. Certain hon. Members of this House got up and said that they objected to it on moral grounds, and that under no conceivable circumstances would they be persuaded to endorse Conscription. Whereupon the hon. Member for Water ford, and myself afterwards, said in the course of our speeches that we did not share that view, and that if we were looking at it entirely from the English point of view—we were speaking from the point of view of the English Bill—and if we were persuaded that it was necessary to save and defend the liberties of this country and necessary for the War, that we would not hesitate to favour Conscription. I adopt exactly the same principle in regard to Ireland. If the liberties of Ireland were at stake, and we had a free Parliament, and thought it was necessary to save the liberty of Ireland, I would vote for Conscription. I say that it was a most unfair interpretation to put upon the speech of the late hon. Member for Water ford. Let me read a speech made by him a year afterwards in Ireland—the last speech he made to his constituents. Surely if ever there was a man who, looking to the past history of these unhappy controversies, deserved to have his voice or the echo of his voice listened to by hon. Members in this House, it was the late Member for Waterford. Here is what he said on Conscription:Conscription in Ireland, so far from helping the Army and the War, would be the most 301 fatal thing that could possibly happen. It would be resisted in every village in Ireland. Its attempted enforcement would be a scandal which would ring round the world.I recommend the attention of hon. Members to these words as coming from the late Member for Waterford, and as having infinitely greater strength than any words coming from me, because hon. Members must know that he strained almost to breaking-point his influence with his countrymen in his endeavours in favour of this War.This demand for Conscription in Ireland is not a genuine military demand. It is a base political device put forward by men who want to injure; and discredit Ireland's political future, and to revive by any and every means the bad blood between the two countries.That is the deliberate opinion of the late Member few Waterford in the last great public speech he ever delivered, on a question of Conscription in Ireland, and I recommend it to the careful judgment of this House in every quarter. Ireland had hoped that that expression of opinion coming from the late hon. Member for Waterford would have an effect of checking the Government on its wild career. We believe, and Ireland believes, and the Irish in America will believe, that this whole Conscription campaign has been started by the Member for Trinity College and the Orange faction in Ireland, who are now fighting with their backs to the wall, as they think, because it will produce a feeling between the two countries which will make a Home Rule settlement impossible. I have spoken of the threats uttered against Ireland by Ministers when advocating this measure. But there are other threats not made by Ministers, but there are rumours, and, I am sorry to think, well founded rumours.
I take, first of all, an extract from the "Spectator," a newspaper which has been one of the chief champions in this crusade for Conscription in Ireland. In this week's issue it says:The crux of applying Conscription in Ire bind rests with the instrument to be used, and, above all, with the instrument at the top. If Mr. Lloyd George is in deadly earnest and clearly nothing less will serve such a cause—of course, the idea of being in deadly earnest is to shoot—what he should do instead of talking would be to announce that Lord Wimborne and Mr. Duke will be recalled immediately from Ireland and a soldier put in their place.302 Then it goes on to suggest that since a difference of opinion with the Premier in regard to strategical considerations did not allow Sir William Robertson to be used at the front he could be sent to Ireland to carry out this work. What a glorious position for Sir William Robertson… Some people think that he would be better on the Western Front than engaged in this great task of dragooning Ireland. I want to know what is the real programme of the Government? Do they intend to send a soldier to control Ireland? Are we to have Sir William Robertson or Lord French or General Gough, who now, I understand, is disemployed for the moment, or the head of the General Staff, Sir Harry Wilson, who, according to my information, is one of the men who has been bombarding the Government for the last six months with demands for Conscription in Ireland, and a man who has been himself a con federate of the Orange party in Ireland and one of the chief military advisers during the threatened revolution in Ire land. From that point of view he would be a very suitable man for the task. Let the Government tell us the truth and let us know the whole of their plan to carry out the whole of this extraordinary enterprise.
The great tragedy of this whole situation is the change that has come about in the temper of Ireland, altogether owing to the malignancy and the blundering on the part of the War Office. I am quoting from the Prime Minister himself. In the month of March, 1915, more than six months after this War began, I stood beside the late Mr. Redmond at the top of O'Connell Street in Dublin, and we together reviewed 25,000 of the National Volunteers who marched past us, as fine a body of soldiers as I have over seen, most of them very well drilled. The Sinn Fein party in Dublin at that time were very anxious to interfere with that demonstration, but they were unable to produce more than 300 men or so, and so they did not give the slightest trouble. I may quote from a remarkable article in the "Daily Telegraph" on St. Patrick's Day when there was a great collection here for the Irish soldiers.The enemy conceived that he might be assisted by such occurrences in the neighbouring Ireland as darkened the pages of history during the Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. He was disappointed. It was one of his many misconceptions. There is one key to the soul of Ireland, and that key is freedom. It was at once realised there that this War was not a dynastic war on the part of the Allies, that it was not the struggle for material 303 wealth, but a life and death conflict for liberty. Once the issue was exposed to Irish men with all the white heat which injustice in spires in their hearts, they threw themselves into the battle. The enemy has since felt Irish steel and has fallen under Irish bullets, Whatever the future may produce, the English people will never forget the generous blood of the sister nation which has been shed on so many hard fought battlefields since this War began.But a great many people in Eng land have already forgotten it and are now talking about cowardly Irishmen shrinking from a fight.
Irishmen never shrink from a fight. But they have ceased to believe in the reality of the Government's devotion to freedom. It is the loss of faith in this Government and its motives that has produced the impasse in Ireland, and Ireland has ceased to have any enthusiasm in this War because it has ceased to believe in the policy of the Government. That is the root of the trouble. The great body of national volunteers which we reviewed in Dublin was the body which Mr. Redmond, with the assent of one who was afterwards among the revolutionary leaders, offered to Lord Kitchener to garrison Ireland, a body that would have carried out this task and would have acted as a breeding ground for recruits, but that offer was rejected and was thrown back in his face with contempt. Why? Because you could not make up your minds to trust Ireland. You distrusted her at the outset when her heart was full of generous enthusiasm, and you distrust her still, and every detail of the organisation of the Irish division proves your distrust. That is at the root of all the trouble in Ireland. There is universal distrust of this Government and of British statesmen in general. No one in Ireland places any reliance on Government pledges. No one believes that the Government intend to introduce a Home Rule measure which will satisfy Irish national feeling or to put the Home Rule Act into operation, and nobody in Ireland will believe it after all the disappointments which we have had until an Irish Parliament is sitting in Dublin. Talk about passing your Bill—and I must say that the talk has been very halting and very hesitating—you have passed one Bill already and it is on the Statute Book, and you may pass another Bill and put it on the Statute Book where it will repose, and you may have a third Bill, but until an Irish Parliament assembles in College 304 Green you will get nobody in Ireland to believe that you mean to carry out your promise.
If the Government were but bold in their immediate action to remove that distrust and suspicion, the effect in Ireland might be very good indeed. But the hideous tragedy of the present situation is that by your introduction of this measure you are creating an atmosphere in this House and an atmosphere in Ireland, which will, I fear, be fatal to any attempt at a general settlement of the Irish question at the present time. That is my fear. Look at the attitude of the Member for Trinity College. What is he doing at this moment? This is one of the things that have created all the trouble. Make no mistake about it. This is what has brought into being the great revolutionary organisation which exists in Ire land to-day, and which has weakened our power. The Prime Minister knows perfectly well that I warned him two years a goat one of those private conferences that in my opinion he was bringing to an end the Irish party. Of course, as I said at the time, I did not know whether that would be a cause of any great regret. But you are beginning to find that there is something more troublesome than the Irish party. The great difference is this, that the trouble which we give and the fight which we make have for their ultimate object—and you are beginning to understand it now—to bring about a settlement between the two nations. But the trouble which you are up against in Ireland now which you have created and called into being was an insignificant matter at the date of the executions in Dublin.
Not one-twentieth part of the people of Ireland were with the revolutionary party at that date. The body which you have called into being, which is a formidable and most dangerous body, is a body whose object is not to bring the two nations together and to create an understanding and a settlement, but to prevent a settlement and to keep the two countries apart for ever, pitted against each, other as enemies, and, in addition, there are up against you in America millions of our race whom you have turned into bitter and implacable foes. That is the situation which you have created in Ireland. I got a letter to-day from a man who knows the present military and political position of Europe as well as any man living. He is in France, and he says, "As usual, we 305 possess the men, the money, the opportunities—everything except the intelligence to make the most of them." Now in that sentence you have, in my opinion, the key not only to the Irish situation, but the key to the whole situation at the front. These are terrible times. We feel them as much as you do. Perhaps we feel them more, because we have been driven out of the position which we held at the beginning of the War. Our people have been split into two great sections, and all our efforts in the early days— and they were genuine efforts— have been rendered nugatory and defeated. This Government was formed eighteen months ago and was hailed with a blast of newspaper trumpets unparalleled in the history of this country as a Win-the-War Government especially created to put new life into the conduct of the War and to put an end to the "Wait-and-See Policy" and the old gang. Above all, it was to take the people into its confidence and tell them the whole truth. But since the Government was formed all criticism and all newspaper denunciations have been met with the formula, "Oh, let us get on with the War…" We have got on with the War, no doubt, but nobody can truthfully say that the progress that has been made with the War has been satisfactory. I ask, Is it not time to inquire how we have got on with the War, and what has been the cause which has led to the present diplomatic and military situation? The Government has had a long trial and has proved itself to be a Government which, in my opinion, can neither carry on the War successfully nor make peace, and a Government which can neither govern Ireland nor allow Ireland to govern herself.
§ Mr. CLANCY
I beg to second the Amendment
My observations will be very few, because I observe some indication on the part of the Prime Minister to take part in this Debate, and in my judgment the sooner we hear him the better. We have been considering this Bill now for nearly a week, and our arguments, which have been strong, have never been answered. One of the most curious features of this Debate—and in this respect it is almost unique—is that it has been one-sided from beginning to end. I do not recollect a single speech from anybody outside the Government ranks in support of the action of the Government in including Ireland in 306 the Conscription parts of the Bill. Every speech that has been made, except the speeches made from the Government Benches, has been made against the inclusion of Ireland. [An HON. MEMBER: "We want to help the passage of the Bill…"] I dare say, and I am thankful for that intimation, because some of us have begun to think that we were wrong and that there was some growing sympathy with Ireland in the matter of these pro visions. Apparently, the old failing of anti-Irish hate exists in some quarters to-day as strong as it ever did in the history of the relations between Ireland and Great Britain. [HON. MEMBERS: "No…"] If it did not, one would have imagined that this at least was an occasion upon which even for five minutes some person who did not share those views would have got up and said so. There was silence, forsooth, because they wanted to help to carry this Bill … I am glad that avowal has been made. We have asked for information as to what the procedure is to be in Ireland, and it has been most consistantly refused. We do not know how the tribunals will be constituted. We do not know the grounds upon which people may make application for exemption. We do not know the rights of appeal that are to be given to the people of Ireland under this Bill We are asked to give a blank cheque to the Government to do whatever they like in respect of these three matters. I do not comment upon it, because it is only of at piece with their whole conduct in regard to Ireland in this matter.
We are continually hearing from the opponents of the Irish Nationalist demand statements to the effect that it is a dishonour to Ireland not to be brought under this Conscription law. "Ireland is dishonouring herself by not accepting this law. Why should men between forty and fifty be conscripted in England and young men he left free in Ireland to enlist or not?" [Cheers.] Yes, there it is again—absolute ignorance of the difference between the two races, and an absolute incapacity to understand that the Government of a nation may conscript its own citizens, but has no moral right to conscript the citizens of another nation. We were told by the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other night that this Parliament had a moral right to conscript the Irish nation. I want to know where it has got that moral right. You have a right to conscript the people of Great Britain, because the people of Great 307 Britain have assented to your rule, and you are their representatives. You have, therefore, been commissioned by them, more or less, to enact a Law like this. What consent have you got in the whole of your connection with Ireland from that country to rule Ireland? I defy any person sitting on either side of the House to point to any single, proof that Ireland has ever consented to your government. I will tell the Prime Minister here to his face that his Government is regarded in Ireland as a usurpation. He has no moral right to speak to the people of Ireland at all on any subject. I was almost going to say that neither this nor any other British Government has the moral right to arrest even a rat in Ireland. Have you got a moral right to impose this Conscription upon Ireland from any other source? Will you, say that you have got it from your conduct of Irish affairs? Will you say that your relations with Ireland have been relations of such benevolent treatment of that country as to justify you in calling upon its citizens for this sacrifice? I do not like to use hard language, but plain language is necessary on this occasion, and in my opinion the record of your treatment of Ireland is a record of infamy and deceit.
During the last three or four years at least, and especially during the last eighteen months, during which the present Prime Minister has been the chief ruler in this country, deceit has been more in evidence than on any previous occasion. If you have not got the moral right to inflict this law upon Ireland either from the consent of the people or from your treatment of them in the past, I want to know from where you have got it. I say that you have not got it at all from any source. Consequently, this law, like the Act of Union itself, may be enforced while there is power to enforce it, but in conscience it will never bind a single man of the Irish race. You might as well talk of the moral right of the footpad to rob the man whom he meets on a lonely road without arms. We are told that we ought to consider ourselves dishonoured in not joining with Great Britain in accepting this Act of Conscription. It is a favourite feature of Irish trials, say, for sedition, to tell the accused in the dock, ''You are an ungrateful son for raising trouble and for creating tumult and disorder and disloyalty in Ireland." I would like to read two or three sentences spoken by a man who was a distinguished politician in 308 Ireland before he became a distinguished Member of this House, namely, the late Mr. A. M. Sullivan. He was tried in Dublin for sedition. What did he say in his speech in his defence? He said:Sedition in a rightly ordered community is indeed a crime, but who is it that challenges me? Who is it that demands my loyalty? Who is it that calls to me, ' Oh, ingrate son, where is the filial affection, the respect, the obedience, the support that is my due? ' I look in the face of my accuser who thus holds me to the duty of a son. I turn to see if I can recognise there the features of that mother, whom indeed I love, my mother Ireland. I look into that accusing fact;, and there I see a scowl, not a smile, and then I answer to my accuser, 'You have no claim on me. You have no claim on my allegiance. You are not my mother.'I say to the Prime Minister, who used to be. so I understood, a champion of liberty; and who took up arms in speech against the Boer War—
§ Mr. CLANCY
I say to him, if he addresses us as representatives of Ireland, and if he says ''It is your duty to accept the same obligations of military service as the people of Great Britain," that he has no right to make that demand of us. He is not representing our country. He is representing a Government and a country which, for centuries, have persecuted us, and who have left behind them a legacy of hate which has taken probably half a century to mitigate in some degree. I am sorry to say that his present action, and the action of his colleagues now, is calculated to undo all the good accomplished in the last half-century.
§ Mr. BARNES (War Cabinet)
It is with a considerable degree of diffidence, and only under a strong sense of responsibility, that I rise to take part in this Debate. I would express the hope that if I fail, as I probably shall, to reach the high level of eloquence of some of the previous speakers, the House will believe me when I say that my plain and simple words are the outcome of convictions borne in upon me during the last two or three weeks. I stood in this matter three weeks ago, as my colleagues well know, at exactly the point occupied by the Irish Leader last week. That is to say, I thought Conscription for Ireland was outside the arena of practical politics until Home Rule had been made an accomplished fact. I believe now that Home Rule might be put upon the 309 Statute Book before this Clause is operative. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is there already'."] I believe that upon this Bill hangs the fate of another Bill which may bring reconciliation and healing, and, instead of discord, may mean the binding up of wounds. We have heard a deal to-night, and we heard a lot last Friday about what may happen in Ireland. We have been threatened—I will not use the word threatened—but a prophecy has been made about men shooting from their doorsteps. We have been told of terrible things which will happen in Ireland. Might I ask Irishmen not to cry before they are hurt. Might I suggest to them that they should not start shooting until they are shot at. After all, a great deal of water will have to flow through the bridges before this particular Clause can be put into operation. A great deal may happen in that time. I hope and trust—and I speak as one who is a Home Ruler and has been one all his life—that Irishmen will regard the next few weeks as the most fateful weeks even in the history of their country. Upon what takes place during the next few-weeks I believe will hang the fate of Home Rule for our day and generation.
Might I remind the House of one important new fact in this situation, which has come into the arena since we began three weeks ago. That new fact is the finding of a body of Irishmen. Up to then, and even up till now, British statesmanship had attempted to deal with difficulties of Ireland. They may have had the best of intentions I suppose they have had, but they had not breathed the atmosphere of Ireland. They had not known the psychology of the Irish people. They have not known, firsthand, the play of education, of religion, and all the other factors in Ireland. Therefore they have failed. About a year ago the Convention was set up with, I believe, the concurrence of all parties in this House, and certainly with that of the right hon. Member for Trinity College. The Convention was charged with this mandate: "We have failed hitherto to settle the Irish problem. See if you cannot, as Irishmen, bring in a programme whereby it can be settled in your own way." The Convention was set up nearly a year ago. It has been devoting its time to the matter for a great many sittings—I do not know how many. It is true, now that we have the Report, that it has not given us that substantial agreement that we had hoped and yearned for. But, after all, it has given us recommenda- 310 tions, and one recommendation upon which there is substantial agreement. That recommendation has reference to the main factor, and that is the setting up of a Parliament for the whole of Ireland. Can we build upon that recommendation? I hope we can. I hope there is sufficient statesmanship in this country, even in this grim period of war, to snatch a victory on the Irish front, if we cannot from any other.
§ Mr. BARNES
We are going to snatch a victory on the other fronts. I have no more doubt as to the outcome of this War, in spite of all our difficulties and set backs, than I had three years ago. I believe we have right on our side, and that ultimately we shall have might on our side; and that this fight is a fight for Ireland as well. The hon. Member for East Mayo has put one or two plain, straightforward questions. He wants to know what it is we mean to do. A little later on, he said, and I took his words down, "What is their real programme?" That question has been put in different words during the last few days. It was put by the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Adamson) the other day. It was put by the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Scanlan). It was put by the late Prime Minister, who, with his usual clearness and directness, went to the kernel of the whole business. Hon. Members will remember that he pointed out that this particular Clause was the empowering Clause, and he wanted to know what we were going to do. He put the plain, clear, straightforward question, "What are you going to do in the interval before this Clause can operate?" I have to give the plain, clear, straightforward answer. We are going to bring in a Home Rule Bill, and pass it through this House, if it is possible to do it. [An HON. MEMBER: "Have you asked Carson?"] Can I say more than that We are going to bring in a Bill for Home Rule, and pass it.
§ Mr. BARNES
I assume, of course, co-operation and good will on the part of those who are immediately concerned. Given that, and that is the only qualification, we are going to pass this Bill. If we cannot get that, then it is a matter for every man to reconsider his position in 311 the light of the fact that will then have emerged. But the Government is going to bring in this Bill, and is going to pass it. That is my reply.
§ Mr. BARNES
If the House of Lords will not pass it, after this House has passed it, then the blood of the House of Lords be on the House of Lords head.
§ Sir E. CARSON
Might I ask my right turn. Friend a question, because we ought to have no doubt about these matters. Does he mean, by the statement he has just made, that before any men are called to the Colours under this Man-Power Bill, he is going to pass a Home Rule Bill?
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I think the question put by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University is a perfectly legitimate one, and I want to join him in pressing for an answer to it. Do you propose not to put into operation this Clause, if it passes, until a Home Rule Act for Ireland is in operation?
§ Mr. BARNES
I want to be perfectly frank with hon. Members. We are going to bring in a Bill and pass it, if it is within our power to pass it. I cannot say whether the House of Lords will pass it or not. If it does not, the ordinary con sequences follow.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Will the right hon. Gentleman, or the Prime Minister, go the length of saying that if the House 312 of Lords fails to pass a Bill approved by the House of Commons, the Ministry will resign?
§ Mr. BARNES
There is no difficulty in answering a question of that sort. I would say certainly the Government would resign. [An HON. MEMBER: "Let the Prime Minister answer… "]
§ Mr. O'GRADY
I see the Prime Minister is nodding his approval of that statement. Does he approve it?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The right hon. Gentle man who was addressing the House was making a considered statement, and he ought to be allowed to continue.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
On a point of Order. It is quite true the right hon. Gentleman is making a considered statement, and I am very sorry to interrupt him, but I think we are entitled to have that statement made sufficiently clear so that those who are to reply subsequently may know what he really meant.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is entitled to get the statement made clear, but not during the course of it. If he will reserve himself until the right hon. Gentleman has finished, and then desires to ask any further question in Debate, I understand the Prime Minister will follow later, and he will be able to supplement any matter on which doubt may be felt.
§ Mr. BARNES
I thought I had answered the question put by the late Prime Minister. The form of that question was, if in the interval between now and this Clause becoming operative, we intended to bring in a Bill and to pass it? My answer to that is in the affirmative. I want now to apply myself to one or two practical considerations, and I want to make a special appeal to my Irish friends. I want them to try and realise, if they can, the difficult position in which we shall be placed without this particular Clause in the Bill. Please remember what has been done on this side of the Irish Channel. Please remember that we have skinned our industries down to the bone. We have brought ruin to many a small household at a time when the head of that household was just building up a small business. We have taken the widow's son. We have taken one, two, and sometimes three, and even four, sons 313 from the same family on this side of the water. The other day a case was put by my hon. Friend the Member for East Manchester (Mr. Sutton), referring to one of his constituents, who was still under fifty years of age, who had had two sons recently killed in the War, and whose wife, in consequence, was prostrate with grief. That man, under the operation of this Clause, will have to go into the Army. I want to ask my hon. Friends to try and put themselves into our position. Can I go down to Manchester and ask that man to join the Army, to be conscripted for the Army, while he knows perfectly well that young men are still standing idly by in Ireland? I can only say, for my part, I cannot do it. and I am not going to do it. That is the practical difficulty in the way, so far as contingent Conscription in Ireland is a feature of this Bill. We are told that a Home Rule Bill should be passed, and then Ireland should be left to furnish the men of her own accord. I am free to say I have been much moved by these appeals. I wish I could be guided by them. But let us look the facts in the face. I do not know how long it will take to pass the Home Rule Bill.—[An HON. MEMBER: "A week end…"]—It must take several weeks. A Bill of many Clauses must, under the Rules and Regulations which govern our procedure, take some weeks to get through. At any rate, it will occupy a few weeks. But after it has been passed it will be necessary to set up the Parliament in Ireland, and that will probably take three months, and all that time will have to pass before we can get men from an Irish Parliament. Indeed, it will occupy nearly the whole of the remainder of this year. But we want men now, and not at the end of the year.
§ Mr. BARNES
The result will be we shall have to go on absorbing men on this side of the Channel and we shall have to wait until Home Rule is put on the Statute Book before we can begin to get a man from Ireland. Now, the Irish are a chivalrous and high-minded race. Let me appeal to them. Irishmen have gone from this country, and from Ireland as well, and they have fought side by side with men from England and Wales and Scotland. They have acquitted them selves magnificently on many a stricken field, and many have made the last great 314 sacrifice. The War is still going on. It is still making this great demand on the man-power of England, Wales and Scot land, and I want to know from my fellow Irish Members, do they think it is fair and right that the men on this side of the Irish, Channel should be sacrificing their lives while Irishmen on the other side of the Channel are standing idly by? Let me put it from the point of view of the women folk. I have letters now and again from them. Many of them I regard as my friends, although I have never seen them. In the early days of this War I took part in the effort to get better allowances for soldiers' wives and better pensions for their widows. I got in touch with a great many women, who occasionally write to me about their troubles. I try to get those troubles rectified as far as I can. I had a letter, dated the 10th of this month, from a woman with whom I had been in correspondence before—I had been trying to get leave for her husband. She writes:I have had a letter from my husband. He says there is no possible chance of getting leave, and so I must just wait for the War to come to an end. He says he is doing his best in his corps. He is happier now he is receiving letters and parcels more frequently, and he says he will stick it out.… This last offensive in France makes me feel we must be as brave as we can and sit tight.The writer of this letter is the wife of a soldier. She has not seen her husband now for close on three years. That is the type of our noble women from one end of the country to the other. They are bearing their burdens cheerfully and courageously at the present time, and I appeal to my Irish fellow Members, seeing that that is what is going on on this side of the Channel, and they content that the people on the other side of the Channel should stand aside and not bear their fair share of the burden? I remember in the early days of the War I was cheered and stirred by the magnificent speeches of the late Irish Leader, and I believed we were nearing the end of our Irish troubles. I visualised the Irish people marching for ward with us and managing their own affairs. But that picture has lately been fading away. It may be that the causes are partly to be found in incidents such as those recited to us the other day by the Member for West Belfast (Mr. Devlin). I was grieved to hear him describe how the enthusiasm of young recruits in Belfast had been chilled by the treatment they and their religion had received from men in khaki. I was sorry to learn from 315 him of the difficulty which had been put in the way of the hon. Member for Waterford getting a commission. But there was one thing which struck me at the time, and it was this, that that sort of thing is not at all peculiar to Ireland. I know some young men on this side of the Channel who joined up immediately the War broke out. They were men who came from good homes, who were accustomed to all the amenities and comforts of our social life. But they went out immediately after the War had begun, and they spent the first horrible winter up to their knees in liquid mud. They came back lousy and dirt-begrimed, and with pretty well the same tales as were told us the other night by the hon. Member for West Belfast. I know young men who went from this side of the Channel who never thought of asking for a commission, but they went into the Army as privates and did their best for their country. These things happened three years ago. They may have happened since.
§ Mr. BARNES
I know they have. I have made close inquiry. In those days our young men were brought in contact with men in khaki who had no knowledge of or interest in anything but the tented field. But I believe that now, as a result of the common danger and of facing death daily, a new religion has grown up, and there has come a closer comradeship between officers and men. [An HON. MEMBER: "No…"] I believe it is so.
§ Mr. BARNES
I know of cases where it is so, and therefore I do ask my hon. Friend the Member for West Belfast not to think of these happenings as relating to Belfast only—not to treat them as sectional differences. I ask him, and I ask all my hon. Friends from Ireland, to think once more of the great issues involved in this War, and now we come to them, it may be in a chastened mood, to give us again their help and co-operation. We have no option consistent with going on with the War—and to drop the War is to my mind unthinkable—but to pass this Clause. Let me remind hon. Gentlemen what this War is. It is a war for the very 316 life of democracy. It is a war upon which there are ranged on our side pretty well all the democratic countries of the world, including the great democracy of the West —a democracy which includes in its army many thousands of Irishmen.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BARNES
And let me remind you that this is a War of such magnitude that it has dwarfed all minor and internal issues in the belligerent countries; and I would say this, not by way of threat or anything of that sort, that if this War were to be lost because of Ireland, then Irish Home Rule would be a matter not for our day and generation. In fact, any internal questions left unsettled at the end of this War stand a very poor chance of getting settled except with due regard to the considerations arising from this War. One might have hoped that such a condition of things would be brought about that Ireland could have yielded the men when a Home Rule Bill was passed. One might have wished that Ireland would have been in a position to yield her quota of men now without Conscription. But we must look at the facts as we find them. It is all very well to say Ireland might give the men if she had Home Rule. This Parliament is the only Imperial Parliament. This Parliament is the only Parliament charged with the duty of looking after the safety of the people of these Islands. This Parliament cannot divest itself of its duty of calling upon all men to do their share in providing for the common safety. I should say—I hope I will not give offence to my Irish Friends when I say it—that there is a special obligation resting upon Ireland because of its very separation by a strip of water on the west side of this island. There are German submarine commanders always prowling about. They have no respect for persons, and they would just as soon sink a shipload of Irishmen —
§ Mr. BARNES
I do not think there is any discrimination on this side or on the side of the Germans. There is not, at all events, on the part of the gallant men of our Navy, who, in their silent watches on the sea, are protecting Irishmen just the same as Scotsmen or Welshmen; and I should say the commanders of the German 317 submarines would just as soon sink a shipload of Irishmen as a shipload of Scotsmen, Welshmen, or Englishmen. Therefore, there is an obligation on the part of Irishmen to put in their weight and fulfil their part of a common obligation. I base myself on that, apart altogether from discussions of Home Rule or any other questions. I base myself upon this: there is a common obligation to support the Navy and the Army because all share in the protection of the Army and the Navy. It is true that Canada has given her share in her own way, and that Australia has refused to conscript herself for service; but there is this to be said in regard to Canada and Australia, that they are a long way off, and they are not represented in this House as Ireland is. It is also true that the Convention which has just concluded its labours has, by a sub-committee, decided that Conscription should be a matter only for an Irish Parliament. Well, very large issues are raised thereby. I think I am right in saying that no federal system of Home Rule is possible if such a principle is to be applied. It is inconceivable that if the principle of Federal Home Rule were put into operation, Ireland, and of course Wales and Scotland, would have a veto over the raising of forces for the protection of these Islands. Still, for my part, I would not even boggle at that. If it were possible to settle this age-long grievance of the Irish people, and if only that stood in the way, I should grant even that; and I will tell you why. Because at the moment it is really an academic question. If we win this War, as we shall, then there will be no Conscription either in Ireland or anywhere else. Therefore, for my part, I would not even have that obstacle, in the way of settling the Irish question.
I hope I have answered the questions put by the hon. Member for East Mayo. [HON. MEMBERS: "No…"] Well, I have honestly tried to do so. I am sincerely anxious and eager to see some good coming out of these Debates. I appeal to Irishmen to do good for evil that good may come. I believe that with good will and co-operation there is one of the greatest chances for Ireland that has presented itself in my time, and I say that as a Home Ruler all my political life. To sum up, I should say the new fact in the position is the new chance that we have of settling this whole problem. The Government mean to catch hold of that chance 318 with resolution and determination, and to pass a Bill based upon those findings, with such modifications as may be found necessary, as speedily as possible. We cannot apply this measure of Conscription here without applying the meed of Conscription to Ireland which we have in this Bill. We need the men, and we have the right to ask for them, because there is a common danger and therefore a common obligation. I have tried to avoid anything in the nature of recrimination or threats, because it is no time for that. I have refrained from saying anything about the criticism of the generals which was offered by the hon. Member for East Mayo, because, after all, that does not bear upon the present situation. I appeal to this House, as I specially appeal to the Members from Ireland, to give us this Clause of the Bill, to trust us once more, to trust organised Labour in this country to see that justice is done in this Bill, and that the just aspirations of Ireland are met. I ask hon. Members opposite, and I ask the House, to yield to the soldiers that support which is their due. These men are fighting for us; they are suffering that we may live in safety. Let us give them that support to which they are so manifestly entitled, and then let us at the same time apply that principle of self-government for which they are fighting.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I shall not express any opinion upon whether either my opponents opposite, or those whom I have the honour to be associated with from Ireland in this House, ought to trust this Government. That is a matter which I shall deal with upon a subsequent occasion. An important announcement has been made which I think I ought to deal with at once. When this Bill was introduced I said that I would support, and those who acted with me from Ireland would support, with all our hearts, this measure for applying the Man-Power Bill to Ireland. I take exactly the same view now as I did then. I shall support it, and shall support it to the end. At the same time, let me say that the only basis upon which I am bound to support it, or that those in Ireland who are associated with me are bound to support it, is that they should have equal and similar rights with all the other cititzens of the United Kingdom. If you take away those equal and similar rights and put them in a subordinate position, then an entirely 319 different question arises. But for my own part, if you put me, as an Irishman, in that subordinate position with which we are now threatened, if you put me under a Government of hon. Members opposite and those who are associated with them, I would still support it; and I will tell you why in a moment. Further, if you put me under Sinn Feiners, who I believe are a very large and revolutionary party in Ireland, I would still support it; and I will tell you why. Because no more detestable domination could be put over the world than the Germans are now trying to impose. Yes, I would support it, not because I was grateful to His Majesty's Government, and even though I detested and loathed the breaches of faith which I think I will be able to prove against them. That has nothing to do with it. I support it because I would prefer anything than that the whole principle of civilisation and progress should be impeded by the victory of our enemies who are trying to make a world-domination by the sword. I have another reason, as an Irishman, why, even under these conditions, I would support it. Hon. Members opposite, and those who act with them in Ireland, sent out a brave division —in which, may I say, I have many friends —to the front. Ulster, too, sent out a brave division to the front. Fighting there for this country, and for their own country let me say, they have become mere skeletons of the past. I am ashamed of Ireland that they are skeletons. They ought to be filled with the manhood of Ireland, who ought to go out and replace those who have been slaughtered by the enemies of their country and the enemies of this country and of France.
Having made my position upon that perfectly clear, let me now deal for one moment with the announcement which has just been made by my right hon. Friend It is now perfectly clear, and let it be understood—and I think it is well it should be understood on both sides—that no recruits in Ireland are to be conscripted until a Home Rule Bill is passed by this Government. That is the announcement. That is, the handing over of Ulster is the price to be paid for Conscription. Let us face the facts. Why do I say the Bill is to be passed? For this reason. The Government have pledged themselves to bring in and pass the Bill if possible; but if they cannot pass it they say they will resign. Therefore, in their tenure, of office there 320 can be no Conscription unless the Home Rule Bill is passed. That makes the situation perfectly clear and perfectly definite. I want to ask for a moment, what do they think they are going to gain by passing the Bill under those conditions? When the Ball is passed, will hon. Members opposite withdraw their objection to Conscription? They have not said so. My own belief is that Conscription will be then more difficult, because you will have, I suppose, a Government set up in Ireland… which will be opposed to Conscription, and therefore you will have not merely the people to deal with, butt the Government to deal with in relation to Conscription.
And what will be the case, on the passing of the Bill, in Ulster? You will ask me, I have no doubt, to go over to Ulster and make things smooth. Well, I do not own Ulster, nor does anybody else. All I can say is it is not an easy job to go over and say to these people, "You were promised, if you went into the Army, by a Prime Minister, by a Leader of the Opposition, by a whole House of Commons, and by an Act they have passed that Home Rule would be suspended during the War, and you sent your men out on that condition to fight and to die for their country." As I passed through Belfast a short time ago a woman in the streets roared out, "I have lost three children, Sir Edward, in the War. Are we going to get Home Rule?" I knew perfectly well what she was thinking about. Am I to go over and tell them, because they have acted in the spirit which this country has, and have relied on the promise given by a Prime Minister, a Leader of; the Opposition and an Act of Parliament, that all that is to be pushed aside, and because of their loyalty, and because they happen to be perfectly quiet at the present time, they are to be the people to be sacrificed? And they are, in addition to that, to be asked be allow themselves to be conscripted, and many of them to allow their businesses to be ruined. I hope, notwithstanding that, they will still support this Conscription Bill, and help to carry it out in Ireland. But it is a bitter matter, make no mistake about it. Nothing Ireland—north, south, east, and west—has suffered so much in its history as the broken pledges of British statesmen.
§ Sir E. CARSON
Let me look forward a little, because Governments are rather inclined, I think, to get over momentary difficulties by idle statements, and sometimes by resolutions, and sometimes by Acts of Parliament; but you are setting up in the middle of the War a Home Rule Parliament—setting it up, as I understand, whether Ulster likes it or not—setting it up without ever having consulted the Sinn Fein element, which is, at all events, not a negligible element in Ireland. I suppose you will have, even if the War continues, to set up this Government by elections in Ireland, and constitute a Government selected by the people. How will you carry it on, and who will carry on that Government? If it is opposed by the Sinn Feiners, and if it is opposed by Ulster, I do not envy any of the hon. Gentlemen opposite who happens to be the Prime Minister of this first Irish Parliament. No; I believe you have blundered from beginning to end on the whole of this question. You ought to have made up your mind: was Conscription possible in Ireland under present conditions or was it not? If you made up your minds it was, and that it was right, then you ought to have passed it. If you made up your minds it was wrong, you ought not to have tried to pass it by a bribe, and by throwing over those who have been faithful to you in the past. You have tried, I suppose, to please everybody, and I believe in the long run you will please nobody. But for all that, I say to my friends in Ulster, "With all seriousness and sadness at the vista which is set before you in having inflicted upon you something you never, at all events, dreamed of during the horrors and miseries of this War—not withstanding all that, I beseech of you to go on as you have been going on in the past to help in the prosecution of the War."
§ Mr. W. O'BRIEN
I have taken little part in the melancholy proceedings connected with this Bill. I abstained, because I regard these Debates as marking the final bankruptcy of Parliamentary methods as a means of enforcing the demands of Ireland. I noticed a heading in the Northcliffe Press a night or two ago, "An Irish Flutter in the House," to describe the solemn protest of every Irish Nationalist representative in this House, and, as I am more or less a looker-on, I may be permitted to add that that protest was conducted by the Irish Members with singular eloquence and ability. If the Prime Minister wanted to give Parliamen- 322 tarians another chance in Ireland, he would have frankly accepted the demand of the hon. Member for Mayo and dropped this Clause on the first night, and he would have saved himself and ourselves from the hurricane of passion and anarchy that he has all but already set loose in Ireland. If he had done so, he would have deprived the Sinn Feiners of their principal argument with the Irish people—that is perhaps Parliamentary methods in Westminster—because, let there be no mistake about it, the insurrection would never have gained such a hold upon the sympathies of the people of Ireland, in fact, that insurrection could never have taken place at all only that it was provoked by a long series of Parliamentary mutterings and rottenness which has made the name of Parliamentarians a hissing and a scorn amongst the young men of Ireland. The Prime Minister did nothing of the kind. He concluded from recent elections in Ireland that Sinn Fein was no longer a power to be dreaded, that the country was disarmed and helpless, that now was the time to strike. Accordingly he and his Government refused to yield one inch and united every Nationalist Member for Ireland, backed up by the united Irish hierarchy, backed up by the Leader of the Opposition, and backed in his heart— nobody can doubt—by his own Chief Secretary.
Not only that, but the Prime Minister apparently managed to persuade himself that he was striking some smashing blow at Irish disaffection, when he was all the time furnishing the Sinn Feiners with the most splendid and the most triumphant justification they could desire by demonstrating the impotence of Parliamentary methods in this House, and by exposing to the world the Prime Minister's cruel and ungrateful return to the Irish Members for long years of devoted service. What follows? The right hon. Gentleman who spoke a while ago—what did he say for himself? The Irish people have just been most rudely awakened from one delusion, and that excellent Gentleman appeals to them now to chloroform themselves into a new delusion as to this Home Rule Bill. The right hon. Gentleman, amidst pretty general laughter, appealed to the Irish people to trust him once more. Why, one of the most fatal weaknesses of our national character is our over-readiness to be captivated by fair words from strangers. For the last seven or eight years the Irish people have trusted 323 you to an almost criminal extent. It has taken betrayal after betrayal to open their eyes and to reawaken their self-respect. Now, forsooth, we are asked to begin the dreary task of showing once more a childlike and almost servile fidelity to the men who represent a Government that has again and again been guilty of what the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Trinity College has just taunted them with broken pledges to Ireland. I do not impugn the good faith of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Blackfriars Division of Glasgow, but I have no hesitation in saying that in spite of what has happened to-night that this talk about presenting us with a new Home Rule Bill by way of compensation for plunging our country into civil war in the meantime is arrant nonsense, and if the right hon. Gentleman did not know it he ought to have known it. In spite of what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College said to-night—and I regard his speech as one of very considerable importance and I listened to it with great respect—I cannot forget that you constructed your so-called Irish Convention in such a way that the only possible answer you could receive from Ulster was the answer that you did receive, namely, a cry of "No surrender, or the partition of the country."
You know very well that it is not merely the present hybrid Government, but that the Home Rule Government pledged themselves solemnly, by all their gods, to what might have been regarded by them as fair play for the nation, without even compelling the irreconcilables of Ulster to obey the law like other people. I shall say no more upon the statement that came from the Treasury Bench to-night intimating more or less, that although the Chief Secretary was repudiated and ignored the other night by the Leader of the Opposition he had the satisfaction of finding one of his colleagues coming down to-night and, more or less, renewing and emphasising the intimation that an Irish Parliament must be sitting before any recruits are called to the Colours. I hope that that is so. We are willing to wait and see. But we cannot afford to believe you, and we do not believe you… We will wait for deeds and not for words before we will relax in any particular the tremendous outburst of feeling in Ireland which alone 324 has brought the Prime Minister even the very short pilgrimage that he has apparently accomplished to-night.
Go your course, and we will go ours. It is not in this House; it is in Ireland that this battle will have to be fought out, as it is owing to the people of Ireland that the first approach to victory has been won. In every great emergency within my recollection for fifty years it was not in this House, but it was at home, in Ireland, that the national cause was Saved. So it will be this time. I am not in the counsels of those who undoubtedly are in the confidence of the young men of Ireland. But of this I am very sure: Be their plans what they may, there will be found sufficient determination and sufficient self-sacrifice among the people of Ireland to convince you, before you have completed this battle for the military enslavement of Ireland, that you have not entered upon very profitable military operations. You will find that you will make millions of enemies while you will never capture one efficient recruit for every ten soldiers it will take you to capture him. You will have the whole Irish race against you, including 500,000 of the best soldiers in the Allied Armies. You will have to encounter in every town and on every hillside in Ireland a universal resistance, in which you will have the priests of Ireland and the people solidly united as a formidable and unconquerable force. You will find before you have an end of the job that you have undertaken in Ireland that you can no more succeed in beating these forces down than Queen Elizabeth could succeed in forcing her religion, or that Cromwell could succeed in driving the Irish people from the land of which they are now the owners after the confiscators have gone. You undertook many years ago again and again to give Ireland her liberties. You have broken your word even in the matter of the wretched Act which you have placed upon the Statute Book, and you have in this matter of Conscription broken your word again. You may now try to sneak out of it.
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House the other night was scandalised because we suspected that this is rather a measure for torpedoing Home Rule rather than the enrolment of recruits. What else were we to believe when you consider the infinitesimal addition that this Bill can ever make to the strength of your arm compared with what you will be letting 325 loose? What intelligent explanation is there for undertaking this campaign at all except as a means of taking advantage of the present outburst of a not inexcusable panic and prejudice here in England to get rid of your Home Rule obligations altogether and your difficulties with the Ulster irreconcilables, and then throw all the blame upon the people of Ireland and place them in a false and unfair light before the people of America and before the rest of the world? I have no hesitation in saying you may perhaps, to some extent, witness a change of front to-night, but if we do we owe it to the magnificent courage of the Irish people, and nothing else. I make all allowance for the difficulties of the Leader of the Opposition during these Debates, but I confess that I could not help thinking that if we had still a Gladstone in our midst he would not content himself with words of sympathy, however eloquent in debate, but he would have carried his convictions and his followers into the Division Lobby, and he would and could have defeated this horrid breach of faith with Ireland and possibly have saved the Empire as well.
We said at the beginning of the War, and we say it to-night, that you had a just and noble cause when you entered the War, but I solemnly believe that the day on which you issue this Order in Council—I would call it an Order in Blood—it will be the death warrant of peace between the two countries, and from that day history will hold you as responsible for the guilt of that act, as an act of brutality and treachery as bad as ever the Germans perpetrated in their beastly onslaught on Belgium. I hope the Prime Minister when he speaks to-night may even yet avert the fate which awaits the movement of reconciliation between the two countries. If he cannot, then we are here to-night as mourners at the funeral of that great movement amongst Irish Nationalists. My advice has been spurned so often by the wise men of this House that the one suggestion I can even imagine at this last desperate stage is that you should at least suspend this Order in Council, I do not say merely until you have passed a Home Rule Act, which may be as wretched an abortion as the Act upon the Statute Book, but I say until you have first speeded up a General Election that will give the Irish people an opportunity of pronouncing and of electing a body of representatives who will genuinely represent Ireland.
326 We are all in this extraordinary position: At the present moment there is no man and no set of men who are entitled to claim to be the authorised representatives of the people of Ireland. I say first elect those men and give the Irish people an opportunity of electing genuine and authorised representatives, whoever they may be, and then enter into genuine negotiations with those men. Whoever they are, come to business with them at once. Do not go on talking for another twelve months as in the case of that cruel practical joke of the so-called Irish Convention. If there is any point they differ upon you could refer it to the arbitration of President Wilson and of General Botha, with power to appoint another. That may still save you and save us from scenes of anguish and bloodshed, and from irreconcilable hatred, which I do not like. But you will have to take the initiative yourselves, and, in the words of your friend Lord Northcliffc, "you will have to do it now." Unless you do so, I, for one, can see no way in which you can escape from the humiliation, the danger of having an angry and desperate Ireland knocking at the doors of your Peace Conference, and possibly knocking at the doors and gaining a hearing on the same footing as those small nationalities of the Austrian Umpire which you have undertaken to champion as one of the inevitable conditions of peace.
§ Mr. C. PRICE
As one who has for a long time always been sympathetic to the Irish people on the question of Home Rule, perhaps I may be excused for intervening in this Debate. It was my fortune to sympathise with Ireland and Home Rule almost before the time of Parnell, and I was in this House when the hon. Member for East Mayo made his speech nearly forty years ago. He delivered a speech very shortly after he entered the House.
§ Mr. PRICE
I am over sixty years of age, and I remember that after the speech which Mr. Dillon delivered he was followed by Mr. Gladstone, who described that speech as a distressful one. Who was right in those days? Mr. Gladstone had not then adopted Homo Rule. We now have had the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo on this Bill, which I am certain is going to create hell in Ireland.
327 It is the most unfortunate Bill which has been presented to Parliament since the War began. You did have unity in Ireland when the War began, but what is the condition produced in Ireland by this Bill? I am quite aware that by introducing this measure at the present time, and raising the age to fifty-one, you make it extremely difficult for many Members in this House, and for the people of this country, to excuse Ireland. All the greater is the pity. In view of the Report presented to Parliament by the Irish Convention, the Government should have introduced a Bill for Home Rule before bringing in this measure, the introduction of which has created a bad atmosphere in Ireland, because they look upon you with the greatest suspicion. I notice that a good many Members always shrink when they hear Irishmen say that they distrust British statesmen. They have always done so. I will read a passage written by Mr. Lecky, in referring to Grattan. He said:Grattan shares, like most Irishmen, a strong dread lest what was given should immediately be drawn back.That was written of Grattan, and I say that Irishmen are quite justified by their history to look upon us with great suspicion. You could have removed that suspicion if you had delayed this Bill for a fortnight or three weeks, and presented at once a Home Rule Bill for Ireland. It is not only hell that you are going to create in Ireland, but what is to be the effect of this Bill upon Irish troops fighting for us at the front? Do you think it will encourage them to fight for us in France, when they see what is the condition of things in their own country? [An HON. MEMBER: "They want drafts…"] You would have got them if you had brought in a Home Rule Bill first. What will be the effect of this Bill on the friends of Ireland in America? Anybody who knows the United States of America as I know them recognises that there is no section of the community in America which exercises greater influence in that country, and this measure must have a disastrous effect upon them. I very much regret that this Bill should have been introduced at this particular juncture. You should first of all have proceeded with a measure of conciliation for Ireland. There was a time when Ireland was in exactly the same position as she is in now. Let me quote from a Report sent by the Lord Lieu- 328 tenant (the Duke of Portland) to the Government in 1782. This is what he said:If you delay or refuse to be liberal, the Government cannot exist here in its present form, and the sooner you recall your Lord Lieutenant and renounce all claim to this country the better; but, on the contrary, if you bring your minds to concede handsomely, I am persuaded that you can make any use of this people, and of everything that they are worth, that you can wish.What was the result? Fox declared:They were determined to repeal the declamatory Act of George I. to abandon the appelate jurisdiction of the English House of Lords, to consent to such modification of Poyning's law as would annihilate the exceptional powers of the two Privy Councils, and to limit the Mutiny Act.The Duke of Portland reported these concessions to the Irish Parliament on 27th May, 1782. The proceedings in that Irish Parliament were made memorable, in the first place, by expressing its gratitude to Almighty God by a day of thanksgivingfor the many blessings of late bestowed on this Kingdom of (Ireland), and particularly for that union, harmony, and cordial affection happily subsisting between the two Kingdoms, and also its gratitude to England by voting £100,000 towards furnishing 20,000 additional sailors for the British Navy.That was the result of making concessions. If you had treated Ireland in the same generous manner, and if there had been statesmanship displayed, you would have had, perhaps, in Ireland precisely the same result to-day. Anyone who has employed Irish people knows that there is no body of people who more readily respond to generous treatment. I believe that if you proceed with this measure and impose coercion on Ireland, it will be one of the most disastrous things that ever occurred in the history of this country.
§ Major TRYON
I am very glad to have the opportunity of replying at once to the last speaker. I understand he sits for a Scottish constituency. We have heard from the Leader of the Irish Nationalist party that there is no need for men. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not at all… He never suggested anything of the kind…"] Well, the hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. Price) suggested there was no urgent need for men, because he suggested postponing the matter until a Home Rule Bill was passed. I suggest to the hon. Member that he should read the report in the papers of the 51st Division, a Scottish Division, which has had to fight hard in the South day after day, and which has not been taken out of the line for a rest, but has had to fight again in the North 329 against a second attack, where the men have borne themselves most gallantly. When a Scottish division has to take its place twice over at the front, how can anybody say that there is no need for the Irish to take their share of the burden and to avoid throwing such an undue strain on the other portions of the country? Some of the Nationalist Members have accepted the principle that the Parliament in America is quite entitled to conscript the Irish in America. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear…"] I am glad to hear that they accept that position. Yet they deny the right of this Parliament, although they sit in it, to conscript Irishmen by a Bill passed at Westminster. They are supported in that by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas), who lately has made speeches and taken up a strong position as a Federalist. Those who take up the position of Federalists should stand by federal principles. If there is one thing which is sustained throughout by federal principles, it is that peace and war, armies and navies, are matters for the central government. I am not prepared to define the whole federal position, but to put the case in a sentence, it is not inaccurate to say that it amounts to this: that matters which are common to all, shall be settled in a common Parliament. It is inconceivable that any federal solution of our difficulties in this country could be arrived at which would be satisfactory to England, Scotland, and Wales, which did not include the questions of the Army, Navy, and Conscription. When the Nationalist Members take up an attitude incompatible with the federal solution of their grave national difficulties, they are taking up a position which makes it very difficult to have a general peaceable solution of the Irish difficulty on federal lines. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] I will repeat it to the hon. Member, if he does not understand. It is because, under all conceivable federal governments, the questions of Conscription and of the Army are necessarily matters settled in a Central Parliament. Let me give the House an example. In South Africa there are two races which greatly differ, the British and the Dutch. They have Conscription there, and they have compulsory training, but they did not settle those questions in a local parliament. It was settled in one unified Parliament.
§ Major TRYON
My point is that if there were a local parliament—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ah, if…"]—I am much obliged to hon. Members opposite for interrupting me, because it shows, they are doing what I value very much, that is listening to what I am saying. I was saying that in South Africa there are two races, both proud of their race. The Dutch are as proud of their race as the Irish rightly are of their own. They thought out, under General Botha, to whom the Irish party has just appealed, the best form of government and decided to have a unified form of government, and they settled all questions of the army and conscription.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Major TRYON
Certainly… There is also the case of Canada, which has already been alluded to. There you have the French section of the people differing in religion, language, and many great sentiments from the rest of the people of Canada. But their army questions are not settled in the Quebec Parliament, as hon. Members from Ireland know. They are settled in the Central Parliament of Canada.
§ Major TRYON
My point is that if you are going to achieve a workable constitutional scheme for Ireland, it must be on federal lines and be acceptable to England, Scotland, and Wales, and any such scheme must necessarily place the Army, the Navy, and the question of Conscription under the central Parliament at Westminster. [An HON. MEMBER: "When is that scheme to come?"] I am glad that hon. Members do not so greatly disagree with me. If I may for a moment chaff them, there was a point in the speech of their leader, the hon. Member for East Mayo, when he seemed to be somewhat of a Unionist, because he described how he was passing across the Irish Channel, and when he was half-way across he began talking about "Our Navy." He recognised in that speech that in matters of defence the two nations must necessarily stand together in order to help each other. He began to speak of "we." How he spent the rest of his voyage I do not know, but I noticed that he denounced the English for not providing more ships. Perhaps he spent his 331 time calculating how often he had voted for a reduction of the British Navy during his forty years in this House.
There is one matter which is very urgent. I want to put it so as to create as little feeling as I can between us and Nationalist Members opposite. It is a very difficult thing to put. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife (Mr. Asquith) said that this was simply a matter of expediency, and not one of principle. I differ absolutely from that statement. I believe that the whole foundation upon which alone these heavy burdens can be borne is the foundation of equal justice. I believe that Conscription in this country was partly necessitated not only by the need for better organisation, but by the bad feeling that would be created if one man should go out and another should stay at home and take his job. I say very sincerely, and with all friendship to Ireland, that England, Scotland, and Wales are under this Bill going to shoulder a very heavy burden. Men up to fifty years of age are to be called up. Year after year during this War, first under the voluntary system, then under the organisation of Conscription, the burden of the business and the whole work of our country has been gradually piled up on the older men. It is upon these older men, who are now bearing a heavy burden, that this Bill is going to make a heavy call. There are people with one-man businesses, there are men engaged in the distributing trade, there are men engaged in all walks of life throughout the country, who will have to respond to that call. It could not be done without a feeling of great injustice if these men were to be called up with the full knowledge that there are—nobody disputes it— thousands upon thousands of young men —and there are no better soldiers—staying at home in Ireland. No one knows how well those men would fight better than many hon. Members in this House who have seen them, but the fact remains that they are not fighting, and it creates ill-will between the two countries. It is not in the interests of Ireland that there should be this ill-feeling between the two countries, and I, for one, hope that under this Bill Irishmen may come more willingly than some of their speakers suggest. I do not want to see trouble between us and Ireland. I am not like some hon. Members who, when one of 332 their number spoke of Ireland being Under a dark cloud, cheered. I am not one who would cheer that sort of thing. I lament the difference between Ireland and my own country, and should like to see them removed, and, so far as this question of Conscription is concerned, it will undoubtedly make for better feeling between England, Scotland, and Wales, and the Irish, if in this desperate struggle we feed that the Irish have borne their full share throughout the latter stages of the campaign.
In the last two or three speeches hon. Members have spoken as though there was no heed for haste. There is need for haste—urgent need. We have in the past had Governments who required men for the Army nine, ten, and eleven months ahead, and while we have been waiting for unanimity the time has gone by. We have had cases where, perhaps, nine months have been allowed waiting for unanimity and for some of the Labour party, and then, perhaps, only nine or ten weeks to train the men before they went to France. I believe it is essential that the men should be got at once, and that adequate time should be allowed to train them properly before they go out, and I hope this may lead not to confusion and tumult, but to a better feeling between the two countries. I realise, as representing an English constituency and as a Unionist, that there are on those benches, through all the clamour we have heard against the Bill, many men who are as anxious as we are about the news from France. We know that many who speak so violently here, the moment they get outside the House, go to look at the tape as anxiously as we do and see what the news is. We know there are many other men who have borne a gallant part in the War, others who have sustained personal losses, and others who are bearing the shadow of grave personal anxiety, and therefore I speak rather for the urgent needs of our people in France and in a spirit of protest against anything which may stir up strife between the two countries.
§ Sir T. ESMONDE
The hon. and gallant Gentleman's speech has been a very interesting contribution to the discussion. It would not be possible for me to enter into the various points he has raised. For instance, the federal question is beside the question now. We are all agreed as to the hardships inflicted by this Bill. It is a horribly hard Bill. It is a far harsher 333 and more cruel Conscription Bill than it was ever conceived this House could possibly agree to. What was the meaning of bringing it forward? What was the meaning of inserting the curious provision raising the age to fifty and fifty-six and compelling men fifty years of age to take their share in the War? All these curious details, I suppose, must be laid to the account of the higher statesmanship. There was some object in making these extraordinary arrangements for Conscription in England, and we cannot help thinking that it has something to do with the question of Conscription in Ireland. I do not wish to go into that or to raise any controversial points, because things are very much too serious. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Barnes) made a most sympathetic and affecting speech. I have known him for a number of years. He has always been a strong and consistent friend of my country. He has fought many battles with us in the old days, and the appeal he made to us Irishmen in connection with this Bill certainly made a very great impression upon me for personal reasons, but he asks us to do an absolutely impossible thing. He asks us Irish Nationalists to agree to the imposition by this House of Conscription upon our country. Whatever can be said with regard to Conscription by an Irish Parliament, there is no use pretending to think that Irishmen will ever submit to Conscription from this House. We have said that already, and we can only repeat it now, and I think it is a most unfortunate thing for the future relationship between these two countries that this question of Conscription should have been so mixed up with the question of an Irish Parliament that it makes it almost impossible for us to accept an Irish Parliament under existing conditions.
We really do not know where we are as far as the intention of the Government are concerned. We have heard that the Government propose to pass a Home Rule Bill. But we could not understand, although it was thrown out in some sort of indefinite way, whether the Home Rule Bill was to come into operation before Conscription should be applied to Ireland. We are left in doubt upon that point. Some hon. Members think the statement of the Government was that Conscription would not be applied to Ireland until the Irish Parliament was established. I do not know how that is. We may see something about it in the papers to-morrow morning. But the 334 unfortunate thing is making an offer to us Irish Nationalists of a Home Rule Bill for Ireland coupling with it the acceptance by our people of Conscription imposed by this House. The situation is difficult, and I am afraid it is almost insoluble. No one realises better than we do, who have spent all our political lives in trying to make peace between this country and our own, the hideous position in which we stand. It is not for us to talk of sacrifices. Even our most inveterate opponents must admit that taking us all round we Nationalist representatives of Ireland have done the best for the Empire and the War according to our opportunities. We have made suggestions to the Government over and over again, but our suggestions have been invariably turned down. We have advised our people to have patience; we have urged them to believe in Government promises, but in every single case we have been turned down. While we have done these things for many years with the object of reconciling our people with the English people and reconciling the English people with our people we find now at this appalling crisis that by the amazing action of the Government all our acts, all our labours, all our endeavours for the whole of our lives, are practically thrown to the winds. It is a hideous situation. What the Government expect to do by introducing Conscription at this time I cannot imagine. It cannot be for the purpose of an immediate increase to the Armies at the front. Everybody knows that if Conscription is imposed in Ireland to-morrow the men that would be raised would not be fit for military service for twelve months or six months. [An HON. MEMBER: "Three months."]
§ Sir T. ESMONDE
What the Government ought to have done was to set up an Irish Parliament and to leave this question of Ireland's contribution to the War in man-power to the decision of the Irish Parliament. I am convinced that if you had only trusted Ireland you would not have been disappointed. What is going to-happen now goodness only knows. You have got into an impasse. I am absolutely convinced that the only chance you have now of enlisting the full strength of Ireland and the full power of the young manhood of Ireland on the side of the Allies is by allowing Ireland through her own Parliament to decide what shall be her part in the War.
§ Mr. O'DONNELL
I speak as an Irish Nationalist who, at the beginning of this War felt bound as a lover of liberty to ask my fellow countrymen to join with the Allies in defeating the Huns. For two years I spent every Sunday going through my county, and practically through the whole of Munster, appealing to my fellow countrymen to join whole-heartedly and enthusiastically in order to repel what I consider the modern invaders and destroyers of humanity and liberty. I felt then as I feel now, that if Germany were to win in this War not alone Ireland, England, and Scotland, but the whole of the civilised world would have suffered a calamity from which it would take a century or more to relieve them. Through all the years that have gone while this terrible War has been in progress I have felt as an Irishman when things occurred to mar our work, and to raise doubts in the minds of our fellow countrymen as to the great object of this War, and as to your desire to be fair to my countrymen, very sad and sorrowful. It is painful to Irishmen, the children of a small nationality, sons of a race and of a country which is old and proud, belonging to a people older than you, older than the Germans, to hear taunts thrown at us that we refuse to take our part in this War, implying thereby that we, the children of a fighting race, always standing for idealism, self-sacrifice, and liberty, are skulking behind, that we are too cowardly to fight as men, and that we allow the old and the decrepit to go to defend our shores while we remain at home. I repudiate that as an insult to my race and country. We are no cowards who skulk behind others and wait to be defended by them. No man who knows us, no man who has studied the history of our race, whether in this War or in any other, can say truly that Irishmen are not prepared to fight and to sacrifice if you only show them they have a cause to fight for.
There I come to what I consider is the gist of all this discussion. Have you honestly asked yourselves what was the meaning of that noble spirit of our late and much lamented chairman, whose character I am afraid has not been understood or appreciated in his own country or in this, and whose patriotism and far-seeing statesmanship has been forgotten long before he was dead? Have you realised the splendid spirit of enthusiasm which prompted him to come forward in the early days of the War, when he cheered 336 you and cheered the world by saying, "Ireland is with you in defence of liberty"? What is the trouble to-day? We have been denied the rights which would encourage and enthuse us to fight for that liberty. You have placed a Home Rule Bill on the Statute Book, but you refuse to put it into operation because a handful of men in the North-East corner of Ulster said you dare not put it into operation. Because of their threats you cast us aside and allowed the minority to rule the majority. The gist and the cause of all this trouble is that you refuse to recognise the nationality and the right of Irishmen to decide their own fate in their own country. You tell me, and you think you have answered the question when you say it, that Irishmen in America are conscripted. So they are, and proud to be conscripted. They will not even wait for Conscription. America is a free country in which Irishmen as well as the nationals of every other country are entitled to share the full rights of citizenship. Irishmen are free in America; every position is open to them. Anybody who knows my race in America will realise that they govern in America. They govern in every country but their own. The only country in which Irishmen will not govern, cannot govern, are not allowed to govern, is Ireland. They govern in South Africa, in your Colonies, and in America, but the only country where they will not be allowed to govern is their own. If Irishmen wished to appeal to the sentiments of self-sacrifice and love of liberty which is in the heart of every Irishmen, there is only one way to do it, there is one key to the help of the Irish race, and that is to give them their freedom. If you give the men in my country their freedom, if you trust them, if you give them the rights for which for ages they have fought, struggled and sacrificed, and which you have denied them, with oppression and cruelty and wrong, then if they refuse to help you it will be for you to say that Irishmen are cowards and will not take part in this terrible struggle for human liberty for future generations.
Let us view the question merely of the abstract right. What is the right that this House has to impose Conscription upon Ireland? Let Englishmen ask that question of themselves. Every voice from Ireland speaks against it. Every man on these benches speaks against Conscription for Ireland. My Friends from Cork, who 337 represent another and a smaller party, speak against it. Has there been a single Unionist Member who has spoken in favour of it? Yes; one. But how has he spoken? What is his support? It is qualified by one or two other things. But if ever a nation spoke with an unanimous voice with regard to a question affecting the very lives and future of the country, that country is Ireland. What, then, is your right to say that you can impose this upon Ireland? If you believe in representative Governments, if you say that we in this House speak for Ireland, and if you believe in freedom, then are you going to impose upon Ireland that which the Irish people, through their representatives, say they will not have? Would you do it in the case of Australia or Canada, or any part of your Empire except Ireland? Certainly not… You dare not and you would not do it. You would only do it in Ireland because you think you have the power to do it.
It is with infinite sorrow that I as an Irishman speak to you and see the course which your folly, I will not say your deliberate intention, but your folly and ignorance of the condition of things prevailing in my country, are leading you into. Whether you like it or do not, if you impose Conscription in Ireland you will take the first and most serious step in landing not only Ireland, but possibly your Empire, in ruin and destruction. You will take a course that will gladden the heart of the Germans, which will inevitably also weaken the support in the eyes of the Irish-Americans who are thronging in thousands to assist you in this War, Many of our brethren in the Colonies who are now at the front will look at the condition of things in Ireland. I beg hon. Members in this House to leave aside suspicion and prejudice, to banish all hatred and suspicion of my fellow countrymen, and to look at this question honourably as men who are fighting for the freedom of small nations. Give to my country, which is as important as any other which you are fighting for, its freedom. Give to Irishmen the right to legislate at home. Give them the right, when they are free men, to send out their sons in defence of freedom. Then, and not until then, will you get a single Irishman.
§ Mr. ARNOLD WARD
I feel unwilling to share the responsibility for this Clause, and I intend to vote against it to-night, as I did on the Committee stage, on the ground that it is against all the principles 338 of good statesmanship to take a course at the crisis of your fate which is perfectly certain to lead to very serious trouble— either to civil war or rebellion or to disorders and perils of all sorts and kinds, and the serious trouble which, in view of the attitude of the representatives of three-fourths of Ireland, must ensue, will not bring, so far as I can see, any compensating military advantage whatever. I cannot bring myself to believe that men conscripted against their will and against the will of their representatives in Parliament and the general sense of the community in which they live can be of any real military value to the British Isles. I have no doubt that they will be supplied with the best of officers whose duty it will be to bring them to the point of moral and of determination necessary to fight the Germans. But how would those officers succeed in that task when all the home influence behind those men, and the letters they receive from home, the articles which they read in their home Press, and the general influence and opinion of their home circles, are inciting them not to the unquestioning performance of their military duty, but to dissatisfaction and even to disaffection? I am driven to the conclusion that, though we have the absolute right—I agree entirely with my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton in this—to take this step it is one of absolutely no value unless you first get the consent of the Irish people.
In these circumstances may I make a very respectful suggestion to the Government as to a possible arrangement by which large numbers of men in Ireland might be obtained for the Army without the troubles which the course the Government suggest would bring upon the country? The Government have already made a considerable concession to-day in promising that no Irishmen shall be subject to Conscription until the Home Rule Bill is on the Statute Book. But that concession does not really go far enough to remove the distrust which is felt by the Irish representatives for the professions of the Government, which we have got to take into account. There is no chance of defeating this Clause. It is certain to pass into law. What I want to suggest is that the Government might keep the Clause in abeyance—in other words, make no Order in Council until an Irish Parliament has actually met. I believe that that would go a long way to remove the difficulties. I would also suggest to the hon. Member for East Mayo that he might, in circumstances 339 like these, use his great influence as Leader of the Nationalist party to help to get large numbers of men voluntarily for our common Army. The hon. Member for Mayo will, I am sure, not object to my saying that he has not yet established claims upon the gratitude of the Allies comparable to those which were so abundantly established by his illustrious predecessor, Mr. John Redmond. But I feel sure that he realises—indeed, he has told us that he realises—that this is Ireland's quarrel no less than our own, and if this difficulty can only be got over I agree heartily with the Government that men of military age in Ireland who are not now serving with the Army should, if possible, be got into the Army to help to save our common heritage from overwhelming disaster. There is in the "Westminster Gazette "to-day a suggestion that facilities might be offered to Irishmen to be recruited for the American Army if they should prefer that to the British Army, and I am sure that, if there were any whose susceptibilities would prefer enlistment under the Stars and Stripes, no red-tape of the British War Office ought to stand in the way of their being given an opportunity which is equally valuable for the purpose of fighting Germany.
Lastly, I wish to suggest with regard to the Home Rule Bill which is now under the consideration of the Government, that the Bill should be one not purely for Irish Home Rule but for Home Rule all round, and should include proposals here and now for subordinate Parliaments not merely for Ireland, but also for England, Scotland, and Wales, and I feel that the most urgent motive for that suggestion is that if it produces a Bill for purely Irish Home Rule, even if it is on a plan to fit into a federal system later on, you will be up against the question of the coercion of Ulster. Ulster with the long delays of British Governments, with such things as the Preamble of the Parliament Act undealt with for seven years, will not be inclined to put much faith in the promise that later on federal institutions will be applied all round. But if they have before them a proposal which applies absolutely equal treatment to Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales, it will be very difficult for them to complain that they are not being treated as fairly as any other part of the country. On those grounds, I earnestly suggest that there may be further communications between the Government and the dif- 340 ferent parties before the act is finally taken which must be of very grave consequences to every part of this Kingdom.
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Lloyd George)
I have already, on the introduction of this Bill, given the reasons why the Government, after a good deal of reflection, and in spite of very obvious arguments against—including a good many which have been enforced in the course of the discussion this afternoon—came to the conclusion that they must face the inclusion of Ireland in this measure. I do not know that I have anything to add to the arguments which I submitted on that occasion. There are two or three of the arguments advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Mayo (Mr. Dillon) in regard to which I should like to say one word, before I come to the second part of the discussion, which has loomed very large in the course of the debate on this Bill. One is his reference to the American precedent, when a Government of this country endeavoured to tax the American Colonies against their will. I think my hon. Friend must see that there is a very substantial difference between the two cases. The ease against the action of the Government of that day in endeavouring to tax the American Colonies was that it was taxation without representation. If hon. Members will look up once more the arguments advanced by the opponents of that particular measure, they will find that the opposition was based entirely on the fact that the American Colonies had no representation.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
There is no use in rudely interrupting. The opposition was based, at any rate in the main, upon the argument that the American Colonies were not represented in the Parliament that sought to tax them. The next point which I should like to make is that in no measure of self-government up to the present has it been claimed, or has it been contended by any party representing Ireland in this House, that questions bearing upon the organisation of the Army and the Navy—the defence of this country, and the defence of the Empire—should ever be entrusted to any Parliament except the Imperial Parliament; and, unless I am mistaken, in all the great systems of federal government, whether on the Continent or elsewhere, the power is always vested in the Imperial 341 Government. Therefore, there is really no analogy between the two cases.
May I just say another word to my hon. Friend in answer to something that he said. He based his claim on the grounds that Ireland is a nation, and that therefore the consent of that nation ought to be sought before we take any forcible measures there for recruiting the Armies of the Empire for a common enterprise. The same argument would apply to Wales and to Scotland. I certainly claim that Wales is a nation, and it has at least one characteristic which Ireland has not. It has a language of its own. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh…"] The proportion of those who speak the native language in Ireland is singularly small. [HON. MEMBERS: "Whose fault is that?"] That is certainly not the case in the country from which I come. I am perfectly certain, if I said that Scotland were not a nation, I should be interrupted by Members from across the border on this side of the House, and my right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Asquith) would also join in that protest. Certainly, Scotsmen would never contend that the question of the method of raising forces for the defence of the Empire should be purely a Scottish question. There is nothing that they would resent more, and although their sense of nationality is esteemed, although they are as proud a nation as any nation in this Kingdom, and although there is no nation in this Kingdom or in the Empire that has a greater reason to be proud of their nationality than Scotland, they do not think that there is anything which derogates from their national pride or from the pride of a great race that they should delegate to the Empire in which they are most distinguished citizens the right to enforce any measure, in the name of the Empire and through imperial machinery, for the raising of forces for defence. Therefore, when my hon. Friend says that there is something which is insulting to Ireland, I would point out that it is something which is not considered insulting to a proud nation like Scotland, or to a very ancient race like the race to which I belong, just as ancient a race as the one to which my hon. Friend belongs. He talks about the education of Ireland in the days of Alfred. Well, I think the civilisation of my country was pretty high in those days. I belong to a race which fought for the defence of this country—
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Ireland borrowed its saint from Wales. The other observation I will make to my hon. Friend is this: He talks about the fact, which is pretty obvious, that in the prosecution of the War the Allies, during the last year or two, have not been so successful as we had a right to expect. My hon. Friend was hardly fair in his statement of the facts. Surely, there is one very, very important factor which he has overlooked. Within the last eighteen months one of our greatest Allies has gone out of the War—an Ally which had an Army of 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 men; and, although he said, I think, that the late Government was responsible for Sinn Feinism in Ireland, he can hardly contend that the present Government is responsible for Bolshevism in Russia. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] I am afraid it is. impossible to argue with those who-believe that. I think it is really a matter for marvel—it is a matter for congratulation — after an Army of 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 of men has retired from the Allies, that, in spite of that, the two or three nations which remain have been, able to put up such a fight until the great American Republic comes in.
I come now to the speech—if I may say so, the very impressive speech—delivered by my right hon. Friend the Member for Trinity College. I should like to say two or three things in reply to the arguments which he advanced. His first argument in reference to the second part of the Government policy was that there is a departure from pledges which were given at the beginning of the War that Home Rule would not be placed on the Statute Book until the War was over. My first answer to my right hon. Friend is, did he contemplate—how many were there in this House, or out of this House, who contemplated, at the beginning of the War— that it would go into four years'? Not very many. Why do I say that? If it had been a matter of a year or two, it is possible that no grave consequences would have arisen had you suspended 343 legislation of that character for Ireland. But what has happened has shown that when the War came to be prolonged, a continuation of that state of suspense was one of peril, not merely to Ireland, but to the Empire as well. I do not want to recall the incidents of the last two or three years, because they are very painful, and I do not want to apportion blame to one side or the other. I am sorry to say that these seem to me to have been incidents of which we ran the risk as long as we kept a question of this kind unsettled in a country like Ireland. Therefore, it was obvious to every man who tad anything to do with the running of the War, that it was important, if not essential, as a means of making the War machinery run smoothly, to get the Irish question settled at the earliest possible moment. That is the conviction, I think, of every man who has been sitting in the Heat of judgment, and watching the whole course of events.
Having all the secret information, not merely from Ireland, but from America, they have each and all come to the conclusion that it was desirable, in the interests of military efficiency, in the interests of mobilising the forces of the Empire to the best purpose, that you should, if you possibly could, settle the Irish question so as to produce something like contentment in Ireland, and the sort of feeling in America and elsewhere, where Ireland has millions of friends, that justice was being done by Great Britain to that country. That is why the various attempts were made— attempts in which my right hon. Friend (Sir E. Carson) has taken an honourable part — to settle it. He has taken part in two attempts to settle it since the War began. The first failed, through no fault of his. He agreed to the setting up of the Convention. Why? Because he felt that it would be an advantage to this country, in the prosecution of the War, if it were possible to secure a settlement in Ireland. Does not that prove that there is not a man, who has had his hand on the machine at all, and knows all the facts, who has not been convinced in his heart that it is better for this country, and therefore better for the Allies, that this question should be settled, if you possibly could achieve a settlement.
Now I come to the position with which we were faced when we introduced this 344 Man-Power Bill. Let me say at once that we considered nothing but the best means of prosecuting the War to a successful conclusion. We gave no thought to any political advantage or disadvantage on either side. We discussed nothing but the best method of assisting our Armies in the field to achieve a triumphant result. We were confronted by the need for raising more men. Why? The Germans had just summoned to the Colours another 550,000 men for training. We had not made ready for that. In order to do so, we found that we had to introduce a measure of the most drastic character. No man who looks at this Bill can doubt-that its provisions are severe, stern, and in some parts harsh. No man who knows the necessities of the case can for a moment doubt that they are all needed to meet the emergency. We are calling up men between forty-two and fifty-one; we are calling up men who have been passed by the tribunals as being indispensable to business; we are calling up men in reserved occupations, which have been protected because the Government and Parliament thought it important they should be kept in full vigour even during the War. These are very far-reaching measures, and some of them will have a serious effect on certain industries. We came to this conclusion reluctantly, because no Government wants additional trouble, either in Ireland or elsewhere, when it has such trouble on its fronts as we have; and to gratuitously seek trouble of that kind would be folly of the worst description. It is only because we were driven by all the evidence we had to the conclusion that it would be impossible, without a deep sense of injustice and resentment in this country, to carry through these drastic measures without enforcing Conscription in Ireland, that we introduced this Clause at all. That was the position, but it was not the whole position. What was the position in reference to Ireland? A Convention had been set up with the assent of my right hon. Friend—
§ Sir E. CARSON
My right hon. Friend has said that twice. It is quite true, but he ought to add the further proviso, that unless there was absolute agreement there was not to be legislation.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I said that in my first speech, and I am only putting it to my right hon. Friend as proof that he saw the desirability of settling the Irish 345 question if it could be done. Certainly he agreed that, as a War measure, it was an advantage to the prosecution of the War that you should have a settlement in Ireland if it could be achieved. This Convention was set up; it has reported. What is to be the answer of the Government to that? Is Conscription in Ireland to be the sole answer to that very remarkable Convention? If it is, believe me, feeling will not be confined to Ireland. The feeling will not be confined to Ireland that it is an inadequate answer, that it is not merely an incomplete answer, but that it is an unfair one, if Conscription in Ireland is to be the only answer to one of the most remarkable Conventions ever summoned in Ireland to consider the condition of that country and the difficulties of its relation with this country. We felt that that was an answer which could not be given, and, therefore, when we introduced the Man-Power Bill, we also at the same time declared the intentions of the Government to legislate with reference to the question for which that Convention was summoned. Ireland is not the only country to consider in that respect. I am talking quite frankly on this question. My right hon. Friend has not lacked frankness, and it is much tatter to be quite frank with each other. I am told there will be trouble in Ireland. I do not doubt it for a moment. My hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) said it would be the worst trouble in Ireland we have ever seen.
§ Mr. DILLON
What I said was that during the forty years I have been in political life I have never known sentiment in Ireland so excitable and so estranged.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
That is another way of putting it. I am afraid there is going to be very considerable trouble in Ireland, and if there be trouble in Ireland in reference to a measure of this kind, before any measures are taken by this country of a stern character, it is essential that the conscience of this country should be perfectly clear. If there be a refusal to legislate after that remarkable Convention, if the only answer which be given to the Convention is Conscription and nothing else, let there be no mistake about it, that if there is resistance in Ireland under these conditions, there will be an amount of sympathy with that resistance in this country which would paralyse any effort to enforce it. I know, after investigation, what are 346 the difficulties. Labour would undoubtedly feel that Ireland was being badly treated. Could you, under these conditions, enforce Conscription, knowing that the representatives of organised labour throughout the country feel that you are treating Ireland unfairly? And the feeling would not be confined to labour. For that reason it is not merely a question of sentiment in Ireland. You have to consider sentiment in this country as well. It is no use putting this Bill on the Statute Book unless you intend to enforce it, and it is no use enforcing it unless you have sentiment behind you— unless it is felt that you are dealing justly and fairly with the country against which you are enforcing it.
I come to the third consideration. I am putting quite frankly the considerations in the mind of the Government when they came to the conclusion to have these associated Bills. What about America? American opinion, as far as I have been able to judge it—and up to the present, of course, we have only had very partial and fragmentary accounts—American opinion supports the justice of the Man-Power Bill, provided self-government is offered to Ireland.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
That is American opinion in so far as it has reached us, and it isvital to us at the present moment. I wish I could tell the House how vital it is. America at the present moment is coming to our aid after one of the most remarkable decisions ever undertaken by any Executive. The decision of the President of the Republic was not without difficulty. It was essential. It is the only way in which America can render practical assistance in this battle. It is full of difficulties for the Executive. I think, in these circumstances, they are entitled—I will not say to ask, because no Government can ask another Government to carry out domestic legislation of any particular character—but they are entitled, at any rate, to expect from the Government of this country that we shall smooth those difficulties and that, at any rate, we shall not increase them.
I am certain of this, that nothing would help more in the present juncture to secure,. I will not say the ready and enthusiastic aid, but to secure the full measure of American assistance, than the determina- 347 tion of the British Parliament to tender to Ireland—[HON. MEMBERS: "Tender?"] Hon. Members arc simply seeking quarrels where they are not intended. When a Parliament tenders it tenders in the form of an Act. That is the only way in which a Parliament can tender. I did not say the Government would tender. I say the best way in which we can assure American opinion that we are dealing fairly by Ireland is for the British Parliament to tender such a measure of self-government as will satisfy reasonable American opinion; and I believe we are going to do that. Therefore, we came to the conclusion, after considering the whole situation, and considering it purely from the point of view of the best methods for the prosecution of the War, that Irish self-government, after this Convention had reported, was an essential war measure.
I come now to the question which was put to my right hon. Friend in the course of his speech. He said that the Government meant, if possible, to carry the Bill. A Government, after all, can only introduce a Bill, and use the whole of its powers to carry it through. If it is not carried through, then those who are responsible for its not being carried through ought in all conscience to be responsible for the direction of the War. A Government cannot do more than that. We, after examining it—and there were men who examined it who were opposed to Home Rule, who have fought Home Rule all their lives, who do not like Home Rule now, who like it just as little as my right hon. Friend likes it, but whose whole mind is set upon enabling this country to emerge triumphantly out of this War, and who reluctantly have come to the conclusion that this Bill is the price they will have to pay for that—we felt that it is necessary as a war measure. If it be rejected, if there be such controversy in the House of Commons that it cannot be carried, then surely those who are responsible for the controversy ought to be responsible for directing the War without it. That is the inevitable conclusion.
I will ask any man here who likes or dislikes Home Rule—and there must be many here who still dislike Home Rule; there were man men in the Government who took the same view, and who still take the same view—I ask them, if this fails to go through, through opposition on the part of those who do not like it, do 348 those who are prepared to take that responsibility imagine that they can carry through and enforce, and that they will get the necessary public opinion in Britain behind them to enforce, Conscription in Ireland without it? Let any man here who is prepared to take that responsibility get up and say it—that he is prepared to enforce Conscription in Ireland, when there is a mass of English public opinion which feels that it is unjust to do so, and that without conferring self-government upon Ireland it cannot be done. I know what the difficulties are in Ireland, and you cannot face them except with a united country behind you here. And you can only get unity when every section of the community feels that justice has been done, not merely justice by compelling Irishmen to take their full share of the burdens of war, but also justice by securing to Ireland that principle of self-determination for which we are ostentatiously fighting in every other country. That was one of the principles for which we entered the War. That is a principle from which we have never departed since the beginning of the War. It is a principle which I hope we shall be enabled to enforce at the Peace Conference.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
If Ireland were to object, and if Ireland were to say, "We won't have your Bill," I could understand my hon. Friend who says, "We will make no bargain." I made no bargain. I take exactly the same line as on the day I made my first speech. I know you cannot have a bargain. I know you cannot say, "Give us Conscription, and we will give you Home Rule." That you cannot do, and I distinctly said so when I introduced the Bill. It has never been offered as a bargain, but if hon. Members from Ireland were to accept the responsibility of rejecting the Bill, if they were to say they will have no Bill, that would be their responsibility.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
We cannot possibly have resistance to Home Rule as a means of defeating Conscription. I have been quite frank with my right hon. Friend, and I want to be equally frank 349 with my hon. Friends from Ireland. To oppose a measure of Home Rule for Ireland as a means of defeating Conscription, and to say, which might be said if the two were absolutely independent, "We will not take Home Rule, because it means Conscription," that is a contingency we cannot accept, and that is why we say we must take each measure upon its merits. That is the position of the Government in reference to these two measures.
I said to the House when I was introducing the Bill that before this great battle was over, there would be fluctuations of hope and despondency. We have had them ever since I introduced this Bill. We have had days of despondency; we have had days of hope. We will have both for some time yet, but I am still full of confidence. I have just seen a general who has returned from the front If the House will allow me—I am afraid I shall have to leave immediately after, because I have had to keep him waiting, as I have questions before me on which I have to reply to-night, and therefore I apologise to the House. I only detained him for a very few minutes to get his impressions. He told me he saw the generals who were fighting. That gallant old general, General Plumer—as doughty an old warrior as this country has ever had— facing great odds is quite confident. We have lost territory. We have lost nothing vital. That is the view, not merely of our generals, but it is the view of General Foch, who was equally calm and equally confident when he was seen to-day by the distinguished general to whom I have been speaking.
The enemy are aiming at destroying the British Army. They feel that if they could only get this Army out of the way, the path would be clear to victory. They have not yet got it out of the way. They have inflicted, I am sorry to say, heavy losses, but nothing to the losses they have sustained, and the French Army is intact. The American Army is pouring across. There may be hope; there may be despondency. But if we stand together firmly, steadfastly, not giving way to fear, not giving way to panic, and be prepared to give and take—to give here and take there—I appeal to Ireland in the same spirit—if we stand together—Britain, all parties in Britain, all sections in Britain, yea, Britain and Ireland—Irishmen from Ireland fighting with the Americans 350 coming by the million across the flood to fight, brigaded with British troops—if we do that, we will win through to the end.
§ General CROFT
The Prime Minister, in the speech which we have just heard, has made one or two very interesting statements; but I should like to say, as one individual, that I do deplore the fact that this Home Rule measure has been mentioned in the same breath with this Conscription Bill. Whatever the Prime Minister may say, the fact remains that he told us on the First Reading that these two measures were not in any sense to hang together. We hoped that that was going to be stood by literally. We were, to my mind, told perfectly clearly that the Government did not want to have any question of a bargain between Ireland and this Parliament. Now the Prime Minister has very definitely made up his mind, and so have the Government, that a Bill for the self-government of Ireland is to be pressed through this House at an early date. That being so, as an independent Member, I would only like to say this one word, which I hope the Government will realise is not only held by individuals, but is held by the vast majority of the people of this country—if under duress in this solemn War, this most solemn day of the whole War, the Government feel that it is essential to bring in a Bill of this description, I can only hope—and I believe I am expressing the hope of a great multitude of the people of this country—that the Government will in. that measure only apply such powers of self-government to Ireland as can be made applicable to England, Scotland, and Wales.
Nobody can have failed to be impressed by the wonderful speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Trinity College. It was—if I may have the audacity to say so—one of the most patriotic utterances that has ever been delivered in this House, and it has brought this House together, following a series of speeches of a contrary character, to the seriousness of the hour which dictates that we must make any sacrifices at this moment if we are going to see this thing through by our Armies, which have their backs to the wall. In all the discussions which have taken place we have been inclined to forget that we are here this evening discussing this Irish question clearly on account of this matter of, manpower, which I want to implore the House 351 to consider now, although I fancy some of us feel that we have done so little in this respect in the past. I know it is unpardonable to quote from one's own speeches. If, however, I can help to indicate one or two methods equally applicable to-day as at the beginning of last year, I hope the House will excuse me reading them. On 1st March, 1917, speaking with the sympathy of a great number of soldiers who had been bearing the burden and heat of the day, I urged that we should immediately raise six extra divisions. I pointed out the growing concentration of the German forces and the increased number of men they were calling up. I said then that if we could have these six extra divisions they would be a perfect godsend in a very few months. At that time some of us urged that the Volunteer service should be made compulsory in order to free six divisions of our Home Defence Army. These things are just as applicable at the present moment, and I urge the House to get off the Irish business and down on to the manpower question so as to provide the men within the next few months.
§ General CROFT
There is no man in this House to-day who can wear more battle bars than I shall wear at the end of this War. I went through every single offensive up to the end of the Somme, and perhaps the hon. Member for West Belfast will allow me to say that since then I have repeatedly offered my services to the War Office. I urge the facing of these problems as one who knows what it means to have a battalion down to 50 per cent. of its strength. At that time we had not the men to fill our gaps, and the result was that when this great German offensive took place our brigade was reduced from four battalions to three, and we have to realise that. When Russia went out of the War, whatever may have been our feelings on this subject before, it then became obvious that we were going to have thrown against us 1,000,000 odd Eastern German soldiers to come in a flood against us. Nothing was done, and the Government, like their predecessors, 352 decided to wait for America to come in. Every soldier knew that America would be at least a year before she could take any effective part in the War.
It all leads up to this Irish question, which I urge hon. Members seriously to consider. In this House all of us equally have failed to estimate this great Russian danger, and we have not met it. We have asked our Army to do, in consequence, what mortal men ought never to have been asked to do, and it has been done at such a cost that we in this House ought to feel humiliated and we ought to do everything we can to see that that state of things is not going to occur again. You cannot have "business as usual" when your Channel ports are threatened. It is no good talking about your trade if you are going to have an enormous indemnity to face. These things have to be faced, and I trust we may consider them now, and so I urge the Government that window-dressing in this connection is no use. We have far too many old and unfit men in the Army, who have only proved extravagant, and they have been a drain upon the taxpayer. Therefore, let us always remember that Ireland provides the greatest source of young men for our future trials.
I am going to repeat what I have said before, that we should train our men for the future, and we should not live from hand-to-mouth through this War. In 1915 and 1916, when home on leave, I expressed myself on this point in the House, and I said that I believed that to send untrained men to fight the Germans was sheer murder, and I repeat that statement today. But we persisted in that policy, and we have been sending out men with six, and five, and even three months' training. We have been sending out men who were not trained to face those great retirements, and we have been sending such men out to certain death. It is no good blaming our generals because the men are untrained. We have to blame ourselves, and we must see that it does not occur again in the future. It is no good having amateur drill and small knowledge of trench warfare. War is a science which the Germans understand. Not more than one soldier of ours out of a hundred has ever practised rearguard action, simply because you have not given the time to train them, and that has gone on since the start of the War.
You have trained an army of amateuis against an enemy army, the most magni- 353 ficently prepared and equipped that the world has ever known. It is mad, cruel and wicked … I hope that the Government will now make up their minds to train the men for 1919 in order to save the situation from further blood and tears. One young man is equal to three men of forty years of age in the field; he can learn three times as quickly, train three times as quickly, and presents three times the resistance to continuous strain and severe weather. Ireland, I submit, should make equal sacrifices with England, Scotland, and Wales. The ex-Prime Minister in one of his speeches referred to Australia, and asked would anyone in their senses endeavour to get the Imperial Parliament to force Conscription on that country. Certainly not… The Constitution of Australia is that of a self-governing Dominion. No one in their senses ever suggested that Ireland should be allowed to contract out of the Imperial Parliament and Imperial obligations… Gladstone, Campbell-Bannorman, and the right hon. Gentleman himself (Mr. Asquith) never suggested in any speech on Home Eule that this Central Parliament at Westminster should cease to have power over defence and man-power. But Ireland and Australia are not on all fours, Australia has now five divisions in the field. She had a sixth, but it was broken up because of her losses at the Dardanelles, and then wiped out at Pozieres and Bullecourt. [An HON. MEMBER: "Who by?"] By the Germans. [An HON. MEMBER: "By the politicians…"] The fact of the matter is that Australia made as great voluntary contributions of soldiers as Scotland, and the latter country, we know, has been magnificent. There are personal friends of mine, fathers, who have lost three or four sons in the War, and who will be called up under this Bill. Will the young men of Ireland remain spectators? May I tell you a true story?
§ General CROFT
My battalion was brigaded for several months with the Irish Guards, who called us "the Second Mickies." A very great friendship sprang up between these soldiers. I remember very well when the Second Grenadiers advanced that we were ordered to support them. The Irish Guards had heavy casualties, and men of my battalion were intermingled with them in the firing line.
354 Every officer, I think, except one was wiped out, and I had the honour of commanding the Irish Guards for a time. In that attack at Festubert, on the ground which has just been reconquered from us by the Germans, we lost 750 men from those two battalions. Those men—English country lads and Irish Guardsmen—fell side by side. They were great friends and great comrades. They died, not for England, not for Ireland, but that men might live and that the world might be free. I remember that that night, when I happened to fall down a shell hole as we were digging an advanced line in "No Man's Land," I remained there with a sprained ankle, unable to move for nearly half an hour. I was lying between two men; one an Irish Guardsman and the other a man of the Hertfordshire Regiment. They were both dead, and my thought was that there I saw a symbol of the state of things we ought to bring into our proceedings here, an emblem of unity even in this House.
When we realise the wonderful sacrifices of Irish soldiers I have no sympathy with some of the speeches made from the benches here, because we know very many Irishmen who have fought just as strenuously in this War as those in any other part of the United Kingdom. I remember how these comrades died together and made the last great sacrifice together. They are still comrades to-day. They have gone there where, men who in their greatest, perfect act have wiped out all their sins. These hero saints are looking down on this country and Ireland at the present moment, and perhaps are watching our every action, listening to our every word. When we remember them, when we remember these colossal sacrifices, cannot we get away from some of the atmosphere we have had recently? Cannot we realise what we are up against? cannot we realise that yesterday and today's news makes all the difference? Is this a question of politics? Is it not a question of souls? If we believe that we are fighting for all our religion has told us is worth fighting for, are we still going to be politicians or are we going to try to unite and bring about a different state of things? If we stand aside when all that is at stake, if we allow our enemies to tear victory from us because we here are not united as one people, all that is beautiful and worth having in the world will have passed. We may win a political victory here, but if we lose the fight, the world 355 will be cold and dead and an impossible world for us to live in. The liberty for which we are fighting will have departed, and we shall no longer be free men.
Therefore, I urge my Irish Friends in this House—I think I can call them Friends, because I have always had friendly feelings towards them—in what seems to be this last great fight that is going to decide all things, to stand together with us, so that in the days to come we may be united instead of creating a feeling which can only mean hate and despair if there is no unity to-day. Ireland, as we all know, has suffered heavily in the days gone by, but I ask my hon. Friends if their sufferings, even those dreadful sufferings in the past centuries, have ever been anything like the sufferings of humanity at the present moment.
Cannot one cast that aside? Cannot one get rid of this opaque thing which stands before us, and see the vision of the greatness of this cause? I ask them, realising that our man-power is exhausted, to do what they can to send those 200,000 young Irishmen who may yet turn the scale whilst the United States are coming, so that they will have won not only their cause for Ireland, because after that none will resist their just amends, but they will have won the victory, the only cause above all causes which is worth having in this world, the victory of right over wrong.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
The House, I am sure, has listened with great sympathy to the very eloquent speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. I desire to bring it back from the realm of rhetoric to the realm of reality. Why has the discussion arisen to-night, and why has the Prime Minister made the speech which he has made? These are the questions which we ought to consider before we part with the Clause. Only a week ago the Prime Minister announced that there was no connection whatever between the question of Home Rule and Irish Conscription. What has happened during those seven days to make the difference between the speech which he made on Tuesday last and the speech which he has made to-night? I wonder if any hon. or right hon. Gentleman can supply the answer. I am willing to offer an explanation. The Prime Minister is the head of a Government which has survived its usefulness, survived its reputation for honesty, and survived its reputation for success. He is 356 tottering to his fall and is willing to make any concessions to Ireland at the present time to save his existence. That is the real situation. We have seen an extraordinary thing in this House to-night. A speech has been made by the Prime Minister dealing with the War situation, and the Leader of the Opposition has not thought it worth his while to offer any observation whatever on the arguments put forward by the Prime Minister. That in itself is the most significant commentary that could be made upon the situation. The Clause which we have now to consider should, to my mind, stand absolutely by itself. We have to consider it only in relation to the prosecution of the War. It was put forward a week ago in that perspective only, and it is the duty of the House to look upon this question of Conscription in Ireland in its relation to the successful prosecution of the War and only in that relation. We know now for the first time with certainty that this Clause is not going to be put into operation until after Home Rule has been passed by Parliament. That indicates that, in the first place, the Home Rule Bill is to be passed through this House—I have no doubt under a time-table and the Closure—and it is also to be passed through the other House. What then? It means that a very considerable interval of time must elapse before Conscription can be applied to Ireland. I think every hon. Member who looks at the situation from the realistic point of view must be driven to this conclusion, that not a single man from Ireland can be available under this Clause for the purpose of this campaign. That is obvious. Then what have we to say about all the hypocritical claims that this is an urgency measure? What are we reduced to in this Bill? We know now from the Prime Minister that not a single man is going to be available for this, the most critical campaign of the War, from Ireland. What is left? There are left the men between forty-two and fifty-one, and the men who can be got under Clause 3. How many are there? We are told that 7 per cent. will be available this year of men between the ages of forty-two and fifty-one. That is roughly 100,000 men during the rest of the year. In order to have the men available for this year's campaign you can only calculate on the men who can be called up during the next two months, and they do not exceed 20,000. That is under Clause 1. Under Clause 3 how many men are available? Clause 3 357 refers to men who are at present exempted by tribunals. These men, on the admission of the Government amount to 200,000. Of those, two-thirds are Grade 3 men. That leaves a balance of 67,000 between the ages of eighteen and forty-two. Under any clean cut you will not take the men up to forty-two. So that you have no right to assume that more than 30,000 can be got out of Clause 3. Therefore, this Bill, on which all this parade of urgency has been made, is going to give us this year nothing from Ireland, and out of Clauses 1 and 3 only 50,000 from Great Britain for this year's campaign. Any hon. Member who looks at this Bill from the realistic point of view—and that is our duty—
§ Mr. PRINGLE
The hon. Member for Haddington does not usually offer many contributions to the Debates in this House, and the interruption he has offered now, of which I do not complain, is as irrelevant as it is absurd. This Bill is, on my analysis, an absolute mockery. You have by it gratuitously increased your difficulties in this War. You are going to get practically nothing out of Great Britain and you are going to get nothing out of Ireland. You are going to get worse than nothing out of Ireland. You are going to establish a new battle front in Ireland, because even though this Bill is never put in operation in Ireland, the acerberation of feeling is going to be a net loss from the point of view not only of this country, but of the Allies. You are going to diminish alike your material force and your moral force in this War by putting this Clause upon the Statute Book. You are going to diminish your moral force even by stating that you are prepared to put into operation in Ireland, without the assent of the Irish people, a measure of Conscription. That is contrary to your whole principle of self-determination. Can any hon. Member explain why the Government has introduced this measure as a matter of urgency? Can he explain why this measure, which is going to do nothing for the successful prosecution of the War, is being pushed through this House under the guillotine and under a time-table? It is obviously not a measure for war purposes. What, then, is it? It is a measure intended to prevent this House and the people of this country from inquiring into the causes of the disaster which has happened to us on the Somme.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
When the time comes to consider the relative position of various Members of this. House in regard to the prosecution of the War, I am prepared that mine should be assessed as against the services of any hon. Member who has been merely engaged in khaki in Whitehall. I am asking what is the explanation of this measure which it not going to do anything this year? Its results from the military point of view in the field are going to be purely negative, and from the positive point of view in Ireland and in Great Britain are going to be very serious. In Ireland you are going to increase the estrangement between the two peoples. In Great Britain you are arousing what has never been aroused before in this country, a feeling of unrest among large numbers of men who have great interests in the country, who do not know what their position is, who for the first time are going to have the rights enjoyed by men under the Military Service Acts withdrawn from them, who are no longer going to have the right to bring their business and domestic circumstances before the old tribunal. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has admitted since the Bill was introduced that he has seen the effect of all that unrest upon the subscriptions to the War Loan. You have the admissions of the Government both in regard to Ireland and in regard to Great Britain of these injuries to the national cause as a result of this, and there has been no effort whatever on the part of any Minister defending this Bill to show that there is going to be one single iota of strength added to the Allied Armies by its passing into law during the present year. What is the explanation? The explanation of the introduction of this Bill and of this particular Clause is to divert the attention of the country from the disastrous blunders of the present Government.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That is not a word which is permitted during Debate, and I must ask the hon. Member who used it to withdraw it.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I do not propose to refer to the interruption of the hon. Member. I may be wrong, and the hon. Gentleman is entitled to his opinion, but the only explanation which I can reach, as a result of my consideration of this measure, is that this measure, and particularly this Clause, is an attempt to divert the attention of the country from the blunders of the Government, and particularly of the Prime Minister, who was responsible for the holding of the line on the Somme Front at the time that this battle began, contrary to the views of Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. I say that the man who took action contrary to the views of our Field-Marshal is responsible for the breaking of the Fifth Army and is responsible for all our troubles, and I say that there is no hope until some other man is in possession of the power to control the destinies of this country.
§ Captain GWYNN
I am glad to have an opportunity of replying to the speech which was made by the hon. and gallant Member for the Christchurch Division (General Croft). That speech was made in a spirit that all who have been in this War will recognise and understand. It had in it the spirit of comradeship. I would say to him, and to all men in this House who have been soldiers and who want the help of Ireland at the present time: "You will not get that help under compulsion."
§ Captain GWYNN
If you cannot get it without you will be better for not trying for it. There is a chance for you, and it has been indicated in the speeches that have been delivered from the Treasury-Bench. If you establish for us a Parliament in Ireland, after all, we can rely on these matters to a certain extent upon historical precedent. In a great crisis Irish self-government was established before now, and the first thing that the Irish Government did when it was established was to vote 20,000 men—in those days that was a great number—for the American War. If you give to us the freedom to deal with this question in our own right, whether by voting means or, if you like, by compulsion of our own, which is a wholly different thing from compulsion by a different and separate nation. I believe that the country will be thankful that it has left to us the decision in that matter. I speak as one who stood last winter on the ground they are fighting over at present. Villages are being trampled under foot to-day where we slept safe last year. It is a terrible thing, and I say to the hon. and gallant Gentleman that, in my opinion, the best aid that can be given to the Allies at the present time is that you should withdraw this Clause, and should establish in Ireland an Irish authority, which will deal not only with Irish problems, but with Imperial problems, and which—
It being Eleven of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 11th April, to put forthwith the Question on the Amendment already proposed from the Chair.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 296; Noes, 123.363
|Division No. 25.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Barran, Sir Rowland H. (Leeds, N.)||Boscawen, Sir Arthur Griffith-|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Barrie, H. T.||Boyton, James|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Barton, Sir William||Brace, Rt. Hon. William|
|Anstruther-Gray, Lt.-Col. Wm.||Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc. E.)||Brassey, H. L. C.|
|Archdale, Lt. Edward M.||Bathurst, Capt. Sir C. (Wilts)||Bridgeman, William Clive|
|Archer-Shee, Lt.-Col. Martin||Beale, Sir William Phipson||Brocklehurst, Col. William B.|
|Astor, Major Hon. Waldorf||Beauchamp, sir Edward||Brookes, Warwick|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Broughton, Urban Hanlon|
|Baker, Maj. Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Bull, Sir William James|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Burdett-Coutts, William|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City London)||Benn, Arthur S. (Plymouth)||Burn, Col. C. R. (Torquay)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick||Benn, Com. Ian Hamilton (Greenwich)||Butcher, J. G.|
|Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, South)||Bigland, Alfred||Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Bird, Alfred||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred|
|Barnett, Capt. Richard W.||Blair, Reginald||Carnegie, Lt.-Col. Douglas G.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Boles, Lt.-Col. Fortescue||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.|
|Barren, Sir John N. (Hawick, B.)||Booth, Frederick Handel||Cator, John|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Henry, Sir Charles (Shropshire)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Philipps, Maj.-Gen. Sir Ivor|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hewins, William Albert S.||Philipps, Sir Owen (Chester)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh (Oxford U.)||Hickman, Brig.-Gen. Thomas E.||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Hills, John Waller (Durham)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Cheyne, Sir William W.||Hoare, Sir Samuel John Gurney||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Prothero, Rt. Hon. Roland Edmund|
|Clyde, James Avon||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Clynes, John R.||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Quilter, Major Sir Cuthbert|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Randles, Sir John|
|Coats, Sir Stuart (Wimbledon)||Hope, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Midlothian)||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry|
|Colvin, Col.||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Ratcliff, Lt.-Col. R. F.|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Horne, Edgar||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvon, Arfon)|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hume-Williams, Wm. Ellis||Remnant, Col. Sir James F.|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)||Hunt, Major Rowland||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Cory, James H. (Cardiff)||Hunter, Maj. Sir Chas. Rodk.||Roberts, Sir Herbert (Denbighs.)|
|Courthope, Maj. George Loyd||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesll)|
|Cowan, Sir William Henry||Ingleby, Holcombe||Robertson, Rt. Hon. J. M.|
|Craig, Ernest (Crewe)||Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Rothschild, Major Lionel de|
|Craig, Col. Sir James (Down, E.)||Jacobsen, Thomas Owen||Royds, Major Edmund|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Rutherford, Col. Sir J. (Darwen)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rutherford, Sir W. (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Henry Page||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, E.)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Deirymple, Hon. H. H.||Jones, Wm. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Joynson-Hicks, William|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Kellaway, Frederick George||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Louth)||Kerry, Lt.-Col. Earl of||Sharman-Crawford, Col. R. G.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Liverpool)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Knight, Capt. Eric Ayshford||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Denison-Pender, Capt. J.||Larmor, Sir Joseph||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Denniss, Edmund R Bartley||Layland-Barratt, Sir F.||Stanier, Capt. Sir Beville|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Lee, Sir Arthur Hamilton||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (Aston)|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Levy, Sir Maurice||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Du Cros, Sir Arthur Philip||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward||Lindsay, William Arthur||Staveley-Hill, Lt.-Col. Henry|
|Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Otley)||Lloyd, George Ambrose (Stafford, W.)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Du Pre, Maj. W. B.||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Stirling, Lt.-Col. Archibald|
|Edwards, A. Clement (Glam., E.)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Stoker, Robert B.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)|
|Edwards, J. H. (Glam., Mid.)||Lonsdale, James R.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, W.)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Lowe, Sir F. W.||Swift, Rigby|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Sykes, Col. Sir A. J. (Knutsford)|
|Faber, Col. W. V. (Hants, W.)||McCalmont, Brig.-Gen. R. C. A.||Sykes, Col. Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram Godfray||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Mackinder, Halford J.||Thomas, Sir G- (Monmouth, S.)|
|Fiennes, Hon. sir Eustace E.||M'Laren, Hon. H. (Leics., Bosworth)||Thomas-Stanford, Chas. (Brighton)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Macleod, John M.||Tickler, Thomas George|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Macmaster, Donald||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|FitzRoy, Hon. Edward A.||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Walker, Col. W. H.|
|Fletcher, John S.||McNeill, R. (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancashire, Ince)|
|Forster, Rt. Hon. Henry William||Macpherson, James Ian||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Magnus, Sir Philip||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Maitland, Sir A. D. Steel-||Waring, Major Walter|
|Gastrell, Lt.-Col. Sir W. H.||Malcolm, Ian||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Geddes, Sir A. C. (Hants, North)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Geddes, Rt, Hon. Sir E. (Cambridge)||Marriott, John A. R.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Watson, Hon. W. (Lanark, S.)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. John||Meux, Admiral Hon. Sir Hedworth||Weston, John W.|
|Goldman, Charles Sydney||Meysey-Thompson, Col. E. C.||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Middlebrook, Sir William||Whiteley, Sir H. J. (Droitwich)|
|Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Greene, Walter Raymond||Mitchell-Thomson, W.||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Willoughby Lt.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Gretton, John||Money, Sir L. G. Chiozza||Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (York)|
|Griffith, Rt. Hon. Sir Ellis Jones||Morgan, George Hay||Wilson, Col. Leslie (Reading)|
|Guinness, Hon. R. C. L. (Essex, S.E.)||Morison, Thomas B. (Inverness)||Wilson-Fox, Henry (Tamworth)|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Morrison-Bell, Colonel E. (Ashburton)||Winfrey, Sir R.|
|Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Mount, William Arthur||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hall, Lt.-Col. Sir Fred (Dulwich)||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Newman, Major John R. P.||Wood, Sir John (Stalybridge)|
|Hamilton, C. G. C. (Altrincham)||Nicholson, Wm. G (Petersfield)||Wood, S. Hill- (Derbyshire)|
|Hamilton, Rt Hon. Lord C. J.||Norman, Rt. Hon. Major Sir H.||Worthington Evans, Sir L.|
|Hanson, Charles Augustin||Norton-Griffiths, Sir John||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence (Ashford)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Harmood-Banner, Sir J. S.||Parker, Rt. Hon. Sir G. (Gravesend)||Younger, Sir George|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Luton, Beds)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Yoxall, Sir Jam's Henry|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Parkes, Sir Edward|
|Harris, Rt Hon. F. L. (Worcester, E.)||Pearce, Sir Robert (Leek)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Lord E. Talbot and Captain Guest.|
|Harris, Sir H. P. (Paddington, S.)||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Haslam, Lewis||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Alden, Percy||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||O'Dowd, John|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Hayden, John Patrick||Ogden, Fred|
|Anderson, William C.||Healy, Maurice (Cork City)||O'Leary, Daniel|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Healy, Timothy M. (Cork, N.E.)||O'Malley, William|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Hearn, Michael L. (Dublin, S.)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Hogge, J. M.||O'Shee, James John|
|Billing, Noel Pemberton||Holt, Richard Durning||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hudson, Walter||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Bliss, Joseph||John, Edward Thomas||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Boland, John Pius||Jones, Rt. Hen. Leif (Rushcliffe)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North||Jowett, Frederick William||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Bryce, John Annan||Joyce, Michael||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Keating, Matthew||Reddy, Michael|
|Buxton, Noel||Kelly, Edward||Redmond, Capt. W, A.|
|Byrne, Alfred||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Kilbride, Denis||Roch, Walter F.|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Kiley, James Daniel||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Clancy, John Joseph||King, Joseph||Runciman, Sir Walter (Hartlepool)|
|Clough, William||Lambert, Richard (Cricklade)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Cosgrave, James (Galway, E.)||Lowther, Claude (Eskdale)||Sheehy, David|
|Crean, Eugene||Lundon, Thomas||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Shortt, Edward|
|Cullinan, John||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Devlin, Joseph||M'Ghee, Richard||Snowden, Philip|
|Dillon, John||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Sutton, John E.|
|Donovan, John Thomas||Maden, Sir John Henry||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Donnelly, Patrick||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Doris, William||Meagher, Michael||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir James B.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Duffy, William J.||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co.)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Esmonde, Capt. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Molloy, Michael||Watt, Henry A.|
|Esmonde, Sir T. (Wexford, N.)||Molteno, Percy Alport||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Morrell, Philip||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Ffrench, Peter||Muldoon, John||Whitty, Patrick Joseph|
|Field, William||Nolan, Joseph||Williams, Aneurin (Durham)|
|Fitzpatrick, John Lalor||Nugent, J. D. (College Green)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Nuttall, Harry||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Guiney, John||O'Brien, William (Cork)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Captain Donelan and Mr. Thomas.|
|Hackett, John||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Harbison, T. J. S.||O'Donnell, Thomas|
§ Mr. SPEAKER then proceeded to put forthwith the Question on any Amendments moved by the Government of which notice had been given.