§ 18. This instrument shall be submitted forthwith by His Majesty's Government for the approval of Parliament and by the Irish signatories to a meeting summoned for the purpose of the Members elected to sit in the House of Commons of Southern Ireland, and, if approved, shall be ratified by the necessary legislation.
§ Mr. E. HARMSWORTH
I beg to move, at the end of paragraph 18, to insert the words
The hon. and gallant Member for Finchley (Colonel Newman) said there were only 10,000 people in Ireland who could speak the language of Erse.
- On behalf of the British Delegation,
- D. Lloyd George.
- Austen Chamberlain.
- Winston S. Churchill.
- L. Worthington-Evans.
- Hamar Greenwood.
- Gordon Hewnrt.
- On behalf of the Irish Delegation,
- Art Ó Griobbhtha.
- Michaíl Ó Coiliain. Riobárd BartÍn.
- G. S. Ó Dugain.
- Seúrsa Ghabháin Ùi
- 6th December 1921.
§ Mr. HARMSWORTH
I suggest that the Irish delegates, when they came over to sign the Treaty, might, for the benefit of the English people and the remainder 1363 of their countrymen, have signed their names in some intelligible language. The right hon. Gentleman in Committee the other evening politely told me that I had not spelt the Irish names right when I was postponing the Amendment to the Report stage. I may not have spelled them right to-day. I have no knowledge of exactly the right way to spell the names, and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman has more knowledge of the language of Erse than I have myself. I greatly sympathise with Mr. Speaker if he has to read the Amendment out with these names written in this strange language, but the object of the Amendment is that the Government themselves should have their names signed at the end of this Schedule and take the full responsibility. There is ample precedent for this. In the Coal Mines Control Agreement (Confirmation) Act of 1917 the Controller of Coal Mines, on the part of the Government, signed the Agreement, and the others on the side of the Mining Association, etc., signed their names also at the bottom of the Agreement, and that Schedule was put in the Bill, and is in the Act at the present day.
That being so, I think we have every right to demand that the names, the, perhaps, illustrious names, of the Members of the Government who signed this Treaty should also be at the bottom of the Agreement, so that they may go down to posterity as the great authors of the Agreement, and so that, when the history of this matter is written, the real responsibility will lie with those who signed the Treaty, and not so much on the House of Commons which had to pass the Treaty after it had been signed. I have not noticed since I have been a Member of this House a great deal of modesty on the part of Ministers, but I can understand their modesty now in refraining from putting their names to this Schedule. I have no doubt that when the Agreement was signed there was a great rush of Ministers of State to have their names on this historic document, but now they find that it is perhaps not so popular in the country as it was when it was written, I can quite understand that they are not so keen on having their names at the bottom of it, and that they wish, perhaps, to have them removed; but I venture to say that we in this House 1364 must demand that they have their names on the Schedule, whether they wish it or not, and that they shall go down in history as the authors of this Agreement, whether it comes to be written that they were right or wrong. At any rate, I think everyone should know who were the authors, and that their names should be attached to this Bill.
§ Mr. PENNEFATHER
I beg to second the Amendment.
I feel sure really that the right hon. Gentleman intends to accept it, because I cannot imagine that he and his colleagues whose names are here set forth would not be desirous of having the full credit of this remarkable instrument to which they have put their names.
§ Mr. PENNEFATHER
The right hon. Gentleman accepts the Amendment? If so, he does so at an opportune moment for himself, because one of the reasons I was going to give as to why the Amendment should be accepted might not be altogether agreeable to him, but as he accepts I will say no more.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The Schedule sets out what, by virtue of Clause 1, Subsection (1), is to have the force of law, and it is the signatories of the Treaty agreed to that were necessary and not the signatures to the Schedule. At the same time, I have consulted the authorities, and I am informed that there are precedents in which the names of the signatories of the Treaty have been included in the legislation which has been passed in this House, and in these circumstances, if it be the general wish of the House, I am quite prepared, on behalf of the Government, to accept the Amendment, though I must say that the hon. Gentleman who moved it has made a great many mistakes in the spelling of the Irish delegates' names, and if he will withdraw his Amendment, I will move a similar Amendment with the necessary corrections in the spelling. I would like, however, just to say two things before I sit down.
First of all, I would strongly recommend the hon. Gentleman not to try and get himself a cheaply-earned reputation for being funny by trying to sneer at the Erse language of the Irish people. It 1365 may look very uncouth to English eyes, or unusual, but perhaps our language looks equally uncouth to Irish eyes. One never does know how one's self appears to others, and perhaps that is one of the things one learns as one gets on in life. One cannot always be quite sure that the inward vision of one's own presentment is in every respect coincident with external opinion, but I will say, in regard to the hon. Member's suggestion that those who signed the Treaty are ashamed or afraid to put their names to it, and are drawing back, because they think it is not so popular as it was when it was signed, that he is really doing us an injustice. We do not know—we cannot forecast—whether the ultimate effect of this legislation will be good or bad, but we do know that we have acted with a sincere desire to secure what was in the main interests of the country, and we believe that what we did has commanded the support of the people of this country.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I would like to suggest a further Amendment to the Amendment proposed, namely, that there should also be appended to this Treaty the illustrious names of those who are opposing it. We are now all engaged in giving our humble contribution to a great historic settlement, and it would be well that we should have the names of these gentlemen recorded, as I do not think it would be possible to have their names recorded for anything else. The hon. Member for Thanet (Mr. E. Harmsworth) has made some sneering observations about the Irish language. — [HON. MEMBEES: "No."]—I would suggest to him that he should join with me in suggesting to you, Mr. Speaker, that an Irish class should be started in this House, and if he learns the Irish language he might be better able to speak the English language.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
Does the hon. Gentleman suggest we should be taught the language by some of the murderers?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Will the hon. Member commence the class which he advocates by reading the last name in the Amendment?
§ Mr. DEVLIN
Certainly, but it is spelt wrongly. I must say this, as to the interruption about murderers made by the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gwynne), that I think he has murder on the brain. He seems to dream of murders, and think of murders, and talk in murderous language. I have been in this House for nearly 20 years, and I confess that, although I have heard the English language spoken very well in other places, I have never heard it spoken very well here, and I think that to lecture another people upon their language is hardly a becoming thing for a young politician who, no doubt, will shine in the future, after he has learned his own language a little better than he knows it now. The fact is that you do not seem to realise here that it is this country that crushed the Irish language, and that the Irish people are not speaking their own language to-day because the laws of this country have prevented it.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I had nearly forgotten that. I want to know now from the Colonial Secretary whether he will accept my suggestion in conjunction with the suggestion contained in the Amendment. If this Treaty is going to be the failure that is stated, why cannot the prophets of failure have their names recorded, so that the world in the future may know of their wonderful political prescience and power of prophecy? Therefore I hope the right hon. Gentleman will accept my suggestion.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
Can the right hon. Gentleman say how Mr. "Doublethigh's" name ought to be spelt—the last on the list?
§ Mr. E. HARMSWORTH
Yes, I will withdraw, so that the right hon. Gentleman can propose his Amendment. I would like to say that I did not sneer at the Irish language. I was explaining my inability to spell it.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
If I wronged my hon. Friend, I will withdraw at once, and I am very glad to hear from him that he did not descend to sneers. I think we ought to keep clear of that.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I beg to move, at the end of paragraph 18, to insert the words:
There are certain Amendments in the spelling of the Irish names, and these I will hand in to the Table. The second "h" in Griobhhthà should be deleted; there should be an "e" instead of "i" in the Christian name of MichaÍl 6 Colliain, and the second "i" should be an "e" in his surname; the name "BartÍn" should be "BartÚn "; the first initial of Mr. Dugain should be "E" instead of "G"; and the first Christian name of Mr. Dhubhthaigh should be "Seòrsa" instead of "Seùrsa."
- On behalf of the British Delegation.
- D. Lloyd George.
- Austen Chamberlain.
- Winston S. Churchill.
- L. Worthington-Evans.
- Hamar Greenwood.
- Gordon Hewart.
- On behalf of the Irish Delegation,
- Art Ó Griobhtha.
- Michaél Ó Coileain.
- Riobárd Bartún.
- B. S, Ó Dugain.
- Seórsa Ghabháin Ùi
- 6th December, 1921.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ Mr. R. McNEILL
I beg to move, "to leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'"
The Amendment which the hon. Member for Thanet (Mr. E. Harmsworth) moved a few moments ago, and especially the contribution to its discussion, which came from the hon. Member for Falls (Mr. Devlin), supplied a little comic relief and hilarity which I have no doubt was very grateful in many quarters. When we get away from those moments of hilarity and levity, however, there are 1368 many of us who feel that the legislation in which we are now engaged has a very tragic bearing, both upon the history of this country and of our own across the Channel. I would not shrink from the ordeal proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Falls for the opposers of this Bill, and I rise now to move that it be Read a Third time upon this day six months. There comes occasionally in the life of a man a time when he is advised that his only hope of prolonging his life depends upon his undergoing a serious surgical operation. That advice may be bad or it may be good, but when the surgeon has opened out the vital organs of a man, you cannot then argue that the advice was wrong or that the operation has been negligently or unskillfully conducted. You must then, at all hazards, allow him to close the body again and put the necessary stitches in the wound. His Majesty's Government, for good or for ill, have performed such an operation with regard to Ireland, and it is for that reason, and for that reason alone, that those of us who think that they have been ill-advised in their ways realise that now they must be allowed to complete their work. We realise perfectly well that they cannot now go back upon this Treaty, and now, when I am moving the rejection of this Bill, I wish it to be clearly understood that I do so because I do not admit that this is the right moment for this legislation, or that the Bill which we are now discussing, is either the only way or the best way of carrying out that Treaty. My object for the moment is not to enlarge upon alternative methods, but to point to some of the evils that have been done.
There is one observation I would like to make which is not without interest in this connection. Whatever view hon. Members may take of this Bill no one, I think, will deny that it is the most drastic solution that has yet been proposed of a great controversy which for more than a generation has occupied the first place in British politics. Yet when this House comes to carry out this legislation, as we are doing to-day, we are met by this strange fact, that in no shape or form has it ever been submitted to the British people, nor has it ever been sanctioned by them, and except from such indications as may be gathered from the Press or other sources there is no constitutional certainty as to what the opinion of the 1369 British people is. It is certainly a strange thing that within a very few years of a Franchise Bill which has enormously increased the area of our democracy great legislative proposals of this sort can be presented to and carried through Parliament without any consultation of the people whatever. So much is that so that if you look back through the history of this Irish question I think some future commentator will call attention to the interesting fact that the more democratic a country becomes in appearance the less effective is the control which the people exercise over the Government.
I remember very well that the present Leader of the House—I must again express my surprise that he is absent— among others persistently and emphatically used to complain, with reference to the Act which was carried in 1914, that those proposals made by the right hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) had never been submitted to the country, and it was mainly upon that ground that the Conservative and Unionist opposition to that Bill based itself during those years. Therefore it fills mo with surprise that these same right hon. Gentlemen, who took that action then, are now themselves parties to carrying a more important, a more drastic, and a more far-reaching Measure without any consultation with the people at all. We are told that in. many respects the War has altered all our conditions, and that we have a new outlook in many ways. I do not think anyone will say that the changes brought about by the War justify a departure from the first principles of democratic self-government in this respect, or that they justify the Unionist Ministers who complained in 1914 and are now doing worse themselves in 1922.
The way in which we arrived at this legislation was through a correspondence opened by the Prime Minister, in the first instance with Mr. de Valera and continued afterwards with Mr. Michael Collins last summer. I wish now that we have arrived at the last stage to recall that that correspondence began with the Prime Minister emphatically laying down that there was a necessary condition precedent to any sort of negotiation, and that that condition precedent was a clear acceptance by the Irish negotiators of allegiance to the Crown and of adherence to the British Empire. He had hardly 1370 laid down that condition precedent when he waived it under the pressure which probably most of us remember, and he then began protracted negotiations which went on for months on all sorts of other points without that condition being complied with. Then we had for a long time, as we learned from various sources, a desperate search for a formula which would express some form of adherence to the Empire, and which the rish negotiators would accept. It was only at the last moment—there is no doubt about this; in fact I think the Colonial Secretary himself said so the other day—that the form which appears in this Treaty was accepted, of adherence to either the Empire or the Crown. I would like to call attention—although it is a minor point, I agree—to the language used in this Treaty on this point. Why has this new-fangled and unconstitutional language been introduced? In Article I:Ireland shall have the same constitutional status in the community of nations known as the British Empire.Why did you not say: "The British Empire?" Is that not good enough? Why "The community of nations known as the British Empire?" There is no such community of nations, and it is certainly not a description so far as I know that is known to our constitutional law. Then in Article 4 another phrase is used. I believe it is intended to have exactly the same meaning, but there we have:Group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations.It is a very good thing, no doubt, either in oratory or literature to avoid tautology, but I should have thought that in legislation, where precision of all things is necessary, there was no occasion on the same page of print to describe the same thing in totally different phrases, and when both are new fangled and unconstitutional it appears to me to be a matter calling for some explanation.
At last there was a grudging acceptance of the formula we have in this Treaty, but it was to obtain this grudging and ambiguous adherence to the British Empire, and an acknowledgment of the position of the King—without allegiance to him, be it noted—from Irishmen who, it must be remembered, make no pretence, and never have made any pretence of friendliness to this country, that the Government affronted the only real friends they have in Ireland and sub- 1371 jected them to indignity, to injury, and to injustice. I say to the right hon. Gentleman that he and his colleagues have paid too high a price for that formula of adherence. What did the Government get in return for it? The right hon. Gentleman, in the course of these Debates, has assured us, and I believe he tries to assure himself, that in return for this betrayal—for I think it is nothing less— he has an Agreement which binds all Ireland within the Empire and in true allegiance to the Crown. I believe that is his contention, but I very gravely doubt whether the right hon. Gentleman really succeeds in deceiving himself in this matter. There are certainly a good many of us whom he does not deceive.
I do not wish to labour the point taken last December over the Oath. Anybody can read it for himself, but I do want to call attention to the sort of defence put forward by the Government for this very unsatisfactory form of oath. I saw my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War in his place a short time ago, but he has now gone out. I should have liked to call the attention of my right hon. Friend, as well as of the House, to the extraordinary logic which he used in defence of this form of oath. He went and looked up in a dictionary the meaning of "Allegiance," and came back here with great satisfaction to himself and informed us that he found in a dictionary that "Allegiance" was defined as a declaration of fidelity, and therefore he thought he had completely closed the matter and floored all of us who said that this declaration of fidelity was not an oath of allegiance. I should have thought that the Secretary of State for War would have been incapable of using reasoning of that sort. All I can say is that it is a long time since I had to do any elementary logic, but I am quite certain that if the right hon. Gentleman had used reasoning of that sort at the university in his youth he would have been plucked for his "Little Go." If I remember rightly, it was one of the most fundamental fallacies of which he made use, and his argument was just about as effectual as if I were to say a Secretary of State is a biped; therefore a biped is a Secretary of State.
No doubt we have in this Article a declaration of fidelity of sorts, but what is 1372 unsatisfactory to us is that here alone of any part of the Empire, you are setting up a constitution, in which those who are to take part in it and conduct it are relieved of the necessity which every other part of the Empire has of taking an oath of true allegiance to the King. It is interesting to see the view taken of this by the other signatories to the Treaty. One of them, I notice, Mr. Barton, the spelling of whose name has just been corrected by the right hon. Gentleman, has already frankly joined the Republicans. He has repudiated the Treaty. He said he and his colleagues signed the Treaty under duress, and it is no longer binding upon them. He was announced, I notice, to appear—and, I suppose, he did appear—on the platform of Mr. de Valera, the leader of the Republican Party in Ireland, on the 12th of last month. Let us see what the other signatories have been saying. This is what Mr. Arthur Griffith said on 7th January, speaking in the Dail in Dublin:It did not mean that they would not go beyond the Treaty.We are not allowed to alter a comma of the Treaty in this House, but Mr. Griffith said openly, and it was published in the Press, that it did not mean they would not go beyond the Treaty,but they would move on in comfort and in peace towards an ultimate goal. There is no more finality than that this generation will be the final generation on earth.That is to say, the signature to the Treaty was for tactical purposes, in order that he might join with Mr. de Valera later on. This is what Mr. Michael Collins said:It gave Ireland freedom, not the ultimate freedom which all nations hope for and struggle for, but the freedom to achieve that end.Then he went on:Judged by the touchstone of relations between Ireland and Great Britain, we will have a certainty of freedom which cannot be interfered with.In other words, he entirely repudiates the idea that they get the freedom which they require under this Treaty, but it gives them the means of getting it later on. Take another of these signatories, Mr. Gavan Duffy. Speaking on 19th December he said, apropos of the matter we were discussing on an Amendment to-day:The statement that the Irish army would be governed by the King of England was just as true as that their flag would be the 1373 Union Jack. It will be the duty of those who frame the Constitution according to the wishes of the Irish people to relegate the King of England to exterior darkness as far as they can.Then Mr. Duggan—they have all said practically the same thing—Who was going to say what oath the army were going to take? If the Minister of Defence ordered the army to take an oath of allegiance to the King, he was putting the discipline of the army to a severe test.I venture to think that it is a test which probably will be too severe for most of the army of Mr. Duggan. Lastly, I would like to point out to the House that Mr. Arthur Griffith, who is the head negotiator—I do not know exactly what his official position is with regard to the Provisional Government, but, at all events, he is the man who is the responsible negotiator with my right hon. Friend—is also President of the Assembly which, I believe, is called Dail Eireann in Dublin, which is the established Government of the Republic, and, therefore, he is in a double capacity. He is at one and the same time negotiating as the representative of the so-called Irish Free State, and he is holding the position in Ireland of President of the Dail. What I would suggest to the House as the truth to be drawn from this, is that the barrier which separates Republicanism from Free Stateism is an extremely frail and flimsy barrier, and those who are deluding the Government here into thinking they are going to set up a form of constitution in Ireland within the Empire, and accepting allegiance to the Crown and all the rest of it, have given the fullest possible notice that they are going to kick down that barrier at the Very first opportunity.
I want to ask my right hon. Friend what is going to happen then? Surely we are entitled, in a matter of this sort, to look a little way beyond our noses. The Government have given no indication whatever of how they are going to meet a situation which, I agree, is not inevitable, but, obviously, is one within the bounds of possibility if not probability. What are the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues going to do then? The Prime Minister has told us that England, in that case, would fight, just as the Northern Union fought to prevent the Southern States of America from seceding. But when the Prime Minister said that, it was some months ago. The pro- 1374 bability, or, at all events, the possibility, is that the Prime Minister has entirely altered and we cannot assume, because a few months ago he was going to fight as the North fought against the South, that he is prepared to do it a few months hence, when the case will really arise. What I have no doubt will happen will be that if this case arises, and if any of us look up the OFFICIAL REPORT, and read out to the House what the Prime Minister said, we shall be received with a wave of incomparable oratory from the Prime Minister, and be told that they were quite different circumstances. Then, no doubt, the Leader of the House, the leader of the Unionist party, will come in dutifully behind the Prime Minister, and tell us that separatism is the only real union.
I want to fasten my attention for the moment on the right hon. Gentleman who is in charge of this Bill. He says that he will be no party to an Irish Republic. He told me emphatically that he would not be a Member of a Government that was prepared to acknowledge an Irish Republic, and that was said by the right hon. Gentleman, not a few months ago, but a few days ago, and I will say this for him: I think he is a very much less nimble quick-change artist than his chief, and I am willing to accept the statement of the Colonial Secretary that he, at all events, will not be a Member of a Government that will acknowledge an Irish Republic. He is going to be a Die-hard. I do not know how long it will be before the right hon. Gentleman will come out as a Die-hard, but I am afraid he will be in a very bad way, because when he does come out as a Die-hard—and he has already intimated to us that he will under certain circumstances—he will get even less support than I expect to get to-day. He will not get the support of my hon. Friend the Member for the Falls Division (Mr. Devlin), because he told us yesterday that he is not in favour of any representative of England or the Crown having anything to do in Ireland at all. He will not get their support or mine either, for reasons which I will tell him. How is he going to set about his policy of resisting the Republic, which, he told us a few days ago, he was resolved upon if such a situation arose? He will have to deal with a situation 10 times as bad as that prevail- 1375 ing last July. He and his colleagues have given up all the strategic positions in Ireland. They have evacuated almost all their troops, or, at all events, a large proportion, and they have given up their barracks. Every day loyal policemen who have served them in the past are being murdered, and the few that are remaining are being told by the right hon. Gentleman and his friends that they have got to look to Sinn Fein, that is to say, to the Republicans, for their pensions and their future. So that when the right hon. Gentleman starts resisting the Republic, as he tells us he will, he will not get a man to serve him in Ireland. How is he going, then, to do it? He has also surrendered the seat of government, and not only that, but he surrendered it under circumstances, I believe, if I am rightly informed, of every possible indignity, to the representative of the Crown. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman can deny it, but my information is that the representative of the Crown, having these indignities put upon him, came over here and tendered his resignation to the Prime Minister.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
There is really no truth in that. There was a misunderstanding as to the hour of signing the Declaration in accordance with the Articles of the Treaty, but there was absolutely no personal indignity or discourtesy of any sort.
§ Mr. McNEILL
Of course, I entirely accept that. I was misinformed upon that point. At all events, as I pointed out, the difficulties will be infinitely greater. The right hon. Die-Hard will have to start afresh from the very beginning. What is he going to do? Is he going to flood the country with Black and Tans? I doubt very much whether he will get any who are willing to serve him. I do not think he will. Will he have the Chief Secretary, and will the Chief Secretary on that great day be a brother Die-Hard? Will he be ready to keep the Republicans on the run? Will he be there to get them by the throat? Will the right hon. Gentleman come to this House and ask for, I do not know how many troops? I think he said—I believe it was a gross exaggeration—it would require 100,000 troops to do the business last July. How many hundred thousands troops will it take to carry out 1376 his policy of resisting? How many millions of money is he going to ask of this House to carry out that policy? I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has other plans and other resources. I cannot believe that he has not thought of this situation, because if is really a very likely one to arise. Has he got some other plan, apart from Black and Tans, and the Chief Secretary, and troops? Does he contemplate, for example, enforcing the will of this country by, we will say, economic blockade? I do not know whether he does or not. But if he thinks that it might be done by economic blockade the question immediately suggests itself: Why was not that method tried last summer? Therefore I really cannot see how by any possible method the right hon. Gentleman is going to make good the declaration which he made in this House only two days ago, that he would never be, a party to allowing a republic to be set up. The attitude of the Government—and I believe the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman is the same as that of the Government—I do not think he is isolated, because I have already quoted the Prime Minister to the same effect—their attitude is really an absurd one. Under the actual conditions obtaining in Ireland, a republic will no sooner be proclaimed than it will be acknowledged, and I now tell the right hon. Gentleman—
§ Mr. McNEILL
By you—not by the right hon. Gentleman, because, as I say, he is going to be isolated as a "die-hard," but by the British Government.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I feel bound to repudiate that view at once. Taking into account the character of the struggle now going on in Ireland I consider there should be no ambiguity whatever as to the answer to such suggestion, and our attitude to it.
§ Mr. McNEILL
As I have already said, I entirely accept the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman. I have no doubt the Prime Minister, too, in the statement he made four months ago, was just as sincere in that declaration as in many others that he has gone back upon. The position of the right hon. Gentleman will be a hopeless one, and that is why I say that when the time comes, if the right 1377 hon. Gentleman engages in the enterprise of reconquering Ireland—because that is what it will be—that is the only way of preventing a republic being set up—he will stand alone, and not only be a "die-hard," but a "last-ditcher." He will himself ultimately be found, I have no doubt, in the last ditch—Still grasping in his hand of ice,That banner with the strange device—Too late!Because he will be too late; he will not got the support which he might have got if he had pursued a different policy. It is the practical certainty that this will occur that so terribly aggravates in the minds of some of us the treatment which the Government has given to Ulster by this legislation. The right hon. Gentleman—not he alone, but he and his colleagues—time after time have done all they could with utter recklessness to drive Ulster into the Sinn Fein constitution, absolutely reckless as to whether the constitution into which they were driving the people was a constitution that would be alien as well as hostile to this country. Then they have patched up this Treaty in unthinking haste—as I believe it was unthinking haste to patch up the pretence of a peace at any price. Pusillanimous panic in the dead of night, when as has been revealed by several gentlemen in Dublin, they were alternately cajoling and threatening or imploring the Free State representative to sign. They did not even take the trouble to make their Treaty or instrument intelligible as the debates we have had in Committee have abundantly shown. On that night these right hon. Gentlemen were working with the mingled audacity and funk of the burglar who is shovelling the contents of the safe into his bag. They were too flurried to be coherent.
We have had Debates in Committee which have brought to light several of the most glaring ambiguities in the language of this Treaty, ambiguities in all probability—I do not know what the Government think—can only be resolved in blood. The right hon. Gentleman himself has acknowledged that several important adjustments will have to be made to make the position of Ulster clear. But, he tells us, we may not make them now. We have shown in Committee that the effect of this Treaty is to tear great rents in the fabric of the Constitution which 1378 this Parliament conferred upon the North of Ireland only a few months ago, and which was opened by the King himself in person with words of exhortation and encouragement to make it a success. The effect of this Treaty is that in the North of Ireland the administration of justice is paralysed. The Council of Ireland, which Northern Ireland never asked for and never wanted, but which was accepted because it was forced upon her by you— that Council of Ireland upon which depends, under your own Act of 1920, part of the essential machinery of government in Northern Ireland, that cannot function under this Treaty. And if you in your impatience had not guillotined a number of Amendments which we put upon the Paper, I have not the slightest doubt we might have shown many other cases of glaring injustices, and in probably not a few the right hon. Gentleman would have had to confess that adjustments would have to be made.
He has promised us that these adjustments will be made in time. They are going to be made by some future legislation, but he cannot give us the slightest idea of the date. We have got to wait. I say "we," because I associate myself in this matter with my Friends from the North of Ireland. That rich, commercial community has got to wait for these adjustments till the quarrelling factions next door have tired of bloodshed, and until they have produced their constitution—a constitution, remember, in which the North of Ireland has no concern or interest—none! Yet it has to wait for these adjustments until that constitution is made. This Bill, as amended by my right hon. Friend, now gives them four months in Ireland to have their election, I think it is quite likely it may take as many years. I think that Irishmen setting out to form a constitution are capable of almost endless activity and dispute, and he would be a very bold person who would say that the election would be over in four months. What are you going to do then? Come down with another Bill to this House to amend this one, and to extend for a few more months the time within which the election can be held, while more quarrelling goes on in Dublin; and all that time the North of Ireland is held suspended with regard to its administrative functions? Four I months is long enough, and more than 1379 long enough, because all through that time you keep the North of Ireland suspended and in absolute uncertainty as to the future; uncertainty, for one thing, as to whether her territory is going to be filched from her by the Boundary Commission. Uncertainty, also, as to how their institutions in the North of Ireland are to be made to work. The worst of it is that all this uncertainty is an uncertainty which makes it absolutely impossible to put down the fighting and the bloodshed and the quarrelling and the bombing which is disgracing the town of Belfast at the present time. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Absolutely we all agree about that. It makes it impossible to restore either peace or order.
That being so, is it surprising that some of us have felt very strongly about this legislation? By an enormous majority this Bill will, no doubt, be read the Third time. I should like to say, if I may, that in these Debates on the Bill, first for ratification, then Second Reading, then Committee, now Third Reading, if, I say, in the course of these Debates I have spoken with unnecessary heat or ascerbity or with too much insistence, I would ask the forbearance of the House. I know in the views I have expressed I have properly represented the opinions of those Englishmen whom it is my privilege to represent here. But I confess that I have not been able to forget that I also am speaking personally on a subject very near to me and which touches closely my own country, the country of my birth, the country of my boyhood, the country where my mother and father lie buried. In comparison with those considerations it is a small matter to me that after a good many years' faithful service to this House and, I hope, loyalty to the party, I find myself now with no leader, a member of a shattered party, with old friends and political comrades passing with cold glances in the Lobby. That is pretty grievous. But a very much deeper grievance than that springs from the firm conviction which I hold that the policy which the Government has pursued and are now carrying out is going to bring to my own country not peace, but a sharper sword than ever, and to the Empire to which all loyal Irishmen are proud to belong, weakness and dishonour.
§ Major BOYD-CARPENTER
I beg to second the Amendment.
1380 I do so, feeling my own limitations, with great reluctance, but with great sincerity. I ask as one who has not troubled the House on many occasions for its forbearance, lest in moments of some emotion one may let loose words or expressions which, perhaps, are too vigorous, but which really are expressions of very deep and real feeling. I have heard it said— indeed I believe it is assumed in quarters outside the House—that the action of those with whom I am associated have been more frequently in antagonism to personalities, and particularly to that of the Prime Minister. I have no knowledge of that, and I have certainly no sympathy with it, and if I had any antagonism in the matter it would be directed in other quarters and in other directions. I feel that old days, old associations, and old creeds that have been thought and preached by men at whose feet one has sat, with all the traditions of loyalty attaching to them, are sometimes strained under modern conditions. If I had an antagonism it was not in my heart, but rather to one who bears an illustrious name, and who, rightly or wrongly, came down to this House not long ago and created a new code of morality when he said, that while he was still adhering to his own conviction that the Union was the best for this country and for the Empire, he would have been taking the path of ease if he did not destroy the illusions of his followers and undermine his creed.
I wish to ask since when has this new code of morality been accepted. The denial of conviction is put upon a pedestal and adherence to principle is to be thrown into the dust. This is a bitter thing for many of us. The hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. R. McNeill) spoke with great feeling at the end of his speech, and whatever our differences may be upon this great question, I think we must all have been touched by his reference to his own personal connection with Ireland. The curious part of all this is that those who go into the Lobby to support the Government to-day are those who are most exercised in their own mind not only as to the reality of things, but as to any reasonable hopes of peace for the future. I have heard hon. Members say, "I wonder what will happen after this Bill has passed." They expect their pious hopes to be realised, but will they? What 1381 justification have they to ask us to support the Government in this Bill when the sole thing that they can put forward for our consideration is the expression of a pious hope?
We have heard a good deal about gambling in futures. I have no personal acquaintance with that process, but I am told it is tricky and risky, and I am also told that the results sometimes are dangerous. On this question I am sure that gambling in futures would not only be dangerous but destructive when the agent through whom the gambling was to be effected queered the pitch in advance by stating his determination to ruin the escapade. It is a curious thing that the Government who were carrying through this Bill by a system of mass compulsion will not accept the protests of those who are convinced that the Bill itself must end in final failure, and bring greater ruin and disaster upon Ireland than any other previous British Government has ever achieved. They will not accept the words I will not say of their own representatives in Ireland, although they have given their trust to the head of the Provisional Government, who, on the morning of the signing of the Treaty, said:Get the Treaty Act passed through the British House of Commons. Complete the evacuation of British troops from Ireland, and the demand for full Republican rights must be conceded by Great Britain.I very respectfully suggest to the Colonial Secretary that that observation of the head of the Provisional Government is worth considering. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman can demand an explanation from him, but if he got an explanation it would not be worth anything, because he knows perfectly well that Mr. Michael Collins is not master in his own house. There are other and greater forces which are rendering his position impossible, but it was an impossible position from the first. I wish to say one other thing. We are opposing this Bill in no niggardly spirit, but through the strong and intense convictions that the very words of those people who are now in a position of some authority in Ireland have distinctly told the Government of this country that they are not masters in their own house, and indeed that they will use their positions to achieve what the Government say they will deny them. Mr. Michael Collins 1382 said this in Dublin on the morrow of what he called the surrender of Dublin Castle:If the majority at the General Election votes Republican, then you know whose side I am on.That is the man who signed the Treaty, and whose word you are asked to accept to-day, but there is another thing. Reference has been made to the treatment of Ulster. What did Mr. Michael Collins say on this subject?If the Free State was established union was certain. Forces of pressure and persuasion were embodied in the Treaty which would bring the North into a united Ireland.We are told there is no coercion within the four corners of this Treaty, but every line of the Treaty spells coercion. Every line of this Treaty should be read carefully by those who have based their action upon a determination on the hustings never to see the rights of Ulster impugned or coerced or coercion made effective. It is a sad thing that with a new code of morality and the eternal demand for a revision of the Ten Commandments because of political exigencies, that we should be asked after these years of controversy to endorse something that is in itself essentially destructive of the very existence of the British Empire, for what you are adopting with regard to Ireland to-day will be taken, and is being taken in other parts of our Empire, as a symbol of nervelessness of the British Executive, and by that troubles will occur. Where they will end depends, yes, on Providence, and perhaps on government, but they will never depend on a Government that sacrifices all its principles, and all its duties, for its first duty is to protect those people who are its loyal citizens, and who wish to remain in and not go out, and who are determined, notwithstanding injustice, to cling to that Empire of which they are proud to be members.
I remember in 1893 hearing in this House as a small boy one of the most marvellous speeches that it has ever been my lot and privilege to hear on the Second Reading of the Home Rule Bill. On that occasion I heard Mr. Gladstone wind up that marvellous speech when he pictured, with all the graphic power at his disposal, with the memory of Holman Hunt's great picture in his mind, Ireland knocking at the door of the House of Commons. I was taken out of the 1383 House by the then Chaplain of this House, who was afterwards Dean Farrar, and I said to him, "Marvellous!" "Yes," he said, "words, idle words." He then said, "Once you embark upon this policy you can put no limit to the ambition or the idea behind it. You cannot control it to-day once you have accepted the principle." The principle has been accepted, and the Ulster danger is as real and imminent to-day. Those who believe in the essential unity of the British Empire, and who dislike with some intensity the cant use of cant expression, like self-determination which if properly analysed means anarchy, deny that any portion of this Empire, heedless of the interests of the race, has a right to demand from the Imperial House of Commons those powers which Parliament cannot endow them with if Parliament acts as a trustee for the Empire as a whole.
What are we confronted with to-day? The Colonial Secretary told us last week that if this Bill goes through, then Ireland would be called upon to thresh out a Constitution. We do not know what that Constitution may be, and yet he told us at the same time that once it has been threshed out and agreed to by some assembly in Ireland, and has been translated into the form of a Bill in this House, then, indeed, again this House will have no power to alter by one jot or title what is contained therein. Is it the function of an Imperial Parliament to register the decrees of a Government that has sacrificed its Constitutional rights in this House? The Colonial Secretary said we could not alter one jot or title of the Treaty, but that we were to be allowed to consider the possibility of altering something which he now tells us will be brought into being, and we shall still be unable to alter one line of it.
The Government are guardians of the Constitution and of the Empire, and they have no right to insult the House of Commons and the people of this country by telling their representatives that whatever may be imagined or concealed in the fertile brains of a clever race has to be accepted when put into a form of Constitution, and that not one word of it can be altered of those tendencies which are inherent in the Constitution that will be 1384 framed by those who have had least experience in framing it. In the intensity of my conviction I would only like to say one thing more. We who are opposing this Bill feel keenly the disadvantages under which we suffer. Feeling perhaps that a split may occur amongst those forces with which hitherto we have been identified, we also feel this far more strongly, that unless a protest is registered and unless notice is taken of our protest, then indeed the very foundations upon which our country has been built up are shattered. It was written by a poet of old, Omar Khayyam:The moving finger writes and, having writ,Moves on; nor all thy piety nor wit,Can lure it back to cancel half a line;Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.That is what we feel is the position the House is asked to take up to-night. We know that tears will flow, but neither the return to common sense nor a relapse into sanity by the British Government can prevent tears being shed, and prevent the destitution, horror and panic and the destruction of everything that we have valued in this Empire's foundation, and symbols of something higher than our own Imperial civilisation, the foundations of morality and everything that causes us to be proud of this country, which we claim to be the missionary Empire of the world.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Viscount WINDSOR
With the greatest diffidence, particularly after the last able speeches, I rise to address the House for the first time, being fully aware of the importance of the Debate on which we are engaged, and still more aware of my lack of experience in such discussions. I will therefore assure hon. Members that I will detain them but a very short time, and I bog them to accord to me the sympathy and indulgence which they have traditionally accorded to those addressing them for the first time. It is possible that I might have taken an earlier opportunity of doing so, had it not been for the fact that since I entered the House I have invariably spent much of my time considering which way to vote on division. Hon. Members are in the habit of wording their Amendments with masterly craft and ingenuity, in such a way as to trap the unwary and uninitiated like myself. How far I have been successful in avoiding the 1385 traps remains to be seen, but I hope, before long, to be able to reverse the position. I am glad there is no difficult Amendment in question in this Debate, but I do not mean thereby necessarily to imply that I find it all plain sailing even now.
It is primarily because of the complicated nature of the whole Irish problem that I have risen to try and make my views clear on the subject. I am one of that numerous band of men who believe that, if Ireland had been justly and firmly governed during the last 15 or 16 years, the present situation would never have come about, but realising the actual facts of the impossible position at present existing, have come to the conclusion that the only chance of escaping from our difficulties lies in the passing of some such Measure as the Government have brought forward. I therefore voted for the Second Reading of the Bill, and I intend to vote for the Third Reading. Having embarked on our present policy, its rejection would not only obviously create an even worse position in Ireland itself, but would put us once again in the wrong in the eyes of the rest of the world. I intend to vote for this Bill, not because I am in agreement with every detail of it, but rather because I feel that under the circumstances there is really no alternative. I do not think I am quite alone in this attitude. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill has constantly implied during the course of the discussion that the House has endorsed, by a large majority, every detail of the Government policy incorporated in the Irish Treaty. I venture to say that that is not entirely the case. Personally, I have voted with o, number of other hon. Members in favour of several Amendments, though, I admit, with little success, but in so far as the Treaty as a whole is concerned, I feel that some measure of the kind is absolutely essential, and as these Amendments have been rejected, there appears to me to be no alternative.
I, for one, can never forget the loyalty and patriotism which have always been shown by the inhabitants of Northern Ireland in contrast to the inhabitants of the rest of Ireland. I should have thought, therefore, that the Government would have been scrupulously careful to avoid in any way acting unjustly to Ulster. But what has actually happened is that the Government have, without 1386 doubt, broken a definite pledge they gave to Ulster, that her territory and her rights should in no way be infringed by this Treaty. There can be no question of this. It has been demonstrated and proven time after time in this House. I have listened intently throughout the Debates on this Bill with a real desire to hear some justification for this action. Ministers have given numerous explanations of it, but never a justification. The truth of the matter is that there can be no real justification for an action such as this. Take the Council of Ireland. There are certain services, including railways and fisheries which, under the 1920 Act, are to be dealt with by the Council of Ireland—a body consisting of an equal number of representatives of Northern and Southern Ireland. When this Treaty comes into force in Southern Ireland these services will be dealt with by the Irish Free State Parliament, whereas in Northern Ireland they will still be dealt with by the Council of Ireland, whereon the Irish Free State will have an equal representation. This is admittedly unjust. Ulster may not interfere with Irish Free State affairs, but the Irish Free State may interfere in Ulster affairs.
Take, in the second place, the boundary question. I fully realise that this is a most delicate matter. The situation is I this: that the Government have left it to a Boundary Commission to decide whether or not a large part of the six counties at present under the Northern Parliament is to be handed over to the Irish Free State—in direct contravention of the pledge already given. Let us assume that the Commission decides to hand over a large part. Will the Government allow this to be done? It is hardly conceivable. Ministers have repeatedly stated in this House that it was never their intention that this should be so, and I am confident that Ulster would have the support of a great majority of the people of this country in resisting any attempts to rob her of a large part of her territory. Would it not be much wiser to settle matters such as this as soon as possible?
The Government have argued that the difficulties which have been alluded to may never arise, and that therefore there is no reason to jeopardise the passing of the Treaty in Ireland by raising these questions. Surely this is a most danger- 1387 ous policy. It is this policy of constant procrastination that has brought us to this pass. Do not let us fall into the same error once again. I appeal to the Government to act before it is too late. Why should not they go to Mr. Collins and his colleagues and try to get these matters settled forthwith? The proposals they will have to put forward are essentially just and reasonable, so there cannot possibly be anything to be afraid of. The situation is, I admit, a most delicate one, and I entirely sympathise with the desire not to prejudice opinion in Ireland in any way against the Treaty, but the Government should at least have the courage of their convictions and act upon them. It is no good allowing these doubts and difficulties to continue and to mount up for the day of reckoning which is bound to come. A satisfactory settlement cannot possibly be built on uncertain foundations such as these. It is not only most dangerous, but it will also put the Government in any further negotiations they may have with Sinn Fein, at a very serious and obvious disadvantage.
There is one other point I should like to mention. The whole essence of this Treaty is that it should be based upon the goodwill of those concerned in it. What is the use of enlisting the sympathy and goodwill of one section of the population in Ireland while, at the same time, alienating the sympathy and goodwill of another section of the population, particularly when that section is the one that has stuck to this country through thick and thin? That Ulster has legitimate grievances hardly a single Member of this House will deny. I have been continually hoping that the Government would be ready to meet Ulster at least half way; that they would be ready to do something more than merely express sympathy, but I regret to say that up to the present I have not seen any sign of this. Could not the Government still act in such a way as to mitigate the anxiety that is felt by all sides with regard to this question?
I have detained the House too long already, and I will only add this in conclusion: I know full well that it is much easier to criticise than to say anything of a useful or constructive nature, but I have given expression to these humble 1388 criticisms because I feel keenly that the one great chance of success for this Treaty is that it should be based on the goodwill of all those concerned in it. I recognise the courage required to bring forward such a far-reaching Measure. I sincerely hope it may be given every possible chance of success, and that the grievances referred to may yet be swept away. It is difficult at present to see what the result of this Treaty is going to be, or what fate may have in store for Ireland, but surely it is the earnest desire of every single one of us, to whatever creed or political party we may belong, to see peace and content restored to that country, and a large number of us, if not actually all of us, to do everything we possibly can to make this Treaty a success. I trust that this may be made as easy as possible. We most earnestly wish to see this accomplished, and thus to have erased for ever one of the greatest blots on the pages of the history of our country.
§ Captain CRAIG
My first and pleasant duty is to congratulate the Noble Lord on a very able speech. I am glad to have had the pleasure of hearing a maiden speech of such quality. The only criticism to make is that having put the points so well as he has done, I cannot possibly see how he is going to vote for the Government. Ulster Members were in some doubt as to the action which they should take on the Third Reading of this Bill. We were urged by some to follow the course we pursued on the Committee stage when the Government guillotined our Amendments. I personally desired to follow that course, but, unfortunately, as far as one can see, this House, and to a large extent the country, has ceased to care what happens to Ulster. The fate of the 400,000 loyalists in the South of Ireland and of the 800,000 in the North of Ireland no longer seems to concern the people of this country, and therefore any little gain we might have secured in the shape of publicity for our case by abstaining from voting on the Third Reading would have been lost, owing to want of interest in our affairs. It was felt therefore I should make one more statement of Ulster's case and that we should record our votes against the Bill when the Division comes.
The Bill before us is one, as we all know, to set up a Free State. It is a 1389 more important Bill than any Home Rule Bill this House has had before it. The amount of self-government it is proposed by this Bill to give to the Irish Free State is much greater than it has ever been proposed to confer on Ireland before. For that reason alone we claim that the fullest possible opportunity of discussing the Bill, and putting before the Committee such Amendments as we thought necessary, ought to have been given to us. I should like to draw the attention of the House to the amount of time which was given by a former Government to Bills of a somewhat similar character. In the case of the 1914 Bill the Liberal Government gave no fewer than 34 days to the Committee stage—seven days before they proposed the Guillotine and 27 days after. Yet on this occasion, when we have been debating matters of greater importance than that, we were only given a paltry three days! We feel strongly that the Government has treated us in a manner it should not have done, especially bearing in mind the position in which we are likely to be placed by the operation of this Bill. They ought to have had more consideration for us.
This Bill in itself is a more important Bill than any which preceded it, and when we consider, as has been plainly stated by several speakers, that, without any doubt whatever, the result of the Measure will be in a very short time— probably within the year in which we are living—the setting up of a Republic in Ireland, it surely became a thousand times more necessary that every safeguard should be introduced into the Bill to cover the position of Ulster and of those loyalists who before long will become citizens of that Republic. I was surprised, I must confess, to hear the Colonial Secretary repudiate this suggestion. I thought the House of Commons had realised perfectly definitely and clearly that there could be no other result flowing from this Bill than the setting up of a Republic in Ireland in a very short time. I am amazed that the representatives of the Government should make any pretence that that will not be the result of this Bill. It has been stated by practically everybody connected with the Treaty—by Mr. Collins, for instance. Then, again, Mr. Barton, one of the signatories of the Treaty, has gone over to the side of the Republic, and nearly 1390 everyone connected with it has declared that it is only a step on the way to a Republic. Therefore I cannot understand how for one moment the Government should make any attempt to deny that that will probably be the result. I say that 20 days would not have been too much to give to the consideration of Amendments which were designed for the purpose of safeguarding the interests of Ulster.
I now come to the question of justification for the action which we took in Committee. I will leave aside for a moment the Amendments we had on the Paper dealing with the boundary question and other matters which we admit would have necessitated an alteration in the Treaty itself. I will come to those Amendments which we put down for the purpose of dealing with the effect of this Bill on the Act of 1920. It is quite clear that this Bill cuts clean across that Act, and in many respects sets up a condition of affairs in Ulster which can only be described as one of chaos. We have the question of the Court of Appeal. We have the question of the Council of Ireland. We have the question of several Government Departments which are at present common to both North and South. All these are affected by the passage of the Bill, and Amendments could have been carried, dealing satisfactorily with those questions, which would not have altered the effect of or detracted in any way from the meaning of the Treaty.
It is quite futile for the Chief Secretary to urge, as he did in answer to every Amendment that we put on the Paper, that to accept such an Amendment would affect the Treaty or the Bill to such an extent that they could not proceed with it. That is not so. It simply means that the Government, foreseeing, I have no doubt, great criticism of their Bill, and hoping to get a nasty business finished in the shortest possible space of time, obviously, before they entered upon the Committee stage at all, made up their minds that they would accept no Amendments. That is the only explanation that can be placed upon the action of the, Government, because on several occasions the Colonial Secretary acknowledged and admitted the reasonableness of the Amendments, and admitted that, without such Amendments, Ulster would be placed in a very unfortunate position. The only 1391 consolation he could give us was that in due time legislation would be undertaken to cope with the position. I need not say, however, that we place no value on such promises as that. In the first place, we do not believe promises given by the Government, and, in the second place, the Government themselves have not even the power to make such promises, because, on their own showing, it must be many months, at any rate, before the opportunity will arise for bringing in such legislation, and we all pray to God that before that the Government may disappear.
Having dealt with the Committee stage of the Bill and the Government's action thereon, I should like to re-state in a very few words the position which Ulster takes up with regard to this Bill. I have stated, on more occasions than one, that we hoped that an agreement would be reached between the Government and the Sinn Feiners. When I heard that a Treaty had been signed which was going to bring peace to Ireland, I was as pleased and as happy as any man in this country, during the few minutes that elapsed between the time when I saw that statement as a headline in a news-paper and when I read the text of the Treaty. We all wanted the Treaty to be a success, because we in. the North of Ireland realise that without peace we cannot possibly hope to carry on. The condition of affairs in the North of Ireland at the present time can only be described as lamentable. It is terrible, and it is very largely duo to this very Treaty. The border line between the Northern and Southern parts of Ireland is at the present moment like an armed camp. The tramp of policemen and soldiers is heard all day long along the whole length of that line, and the people there are living in a constant state of fear of raids, kidnappings, and incursions by the inhabitants of the Southern parts of Ireland. That is all due directly to this Treaty, and at the very best, we are told, that condition of tension and strain cannot be removed for four or five months. It is a scandal that any Government should submit a portion of its territory, especially one so close to its home as this is, to a state of affairs like that.
It seems unnecessary, however, to enter into the boundary question at any length. I believe it is admitted by everyone—it 1392 has been admitted freely by the Noble Lord who spoke before me, and who is a supporter of the Government and is going to vote for the Third Reading of this Bill, and I believe nearly every other Member of the House must admit—that the Boundary Commission was put into the Treaty against all the pledges and promises ever given by the Government. I have been unable to understand how the House of Commons has been able to take so lightly as it has taken these distinct breaches of pledges by the Government. I was always under the impression that, if a Government was convicted, openly and without any equivocation or doubt, of a breach of a pledge, that Government would have to go. This Government, however, has broken pledge after pledge, but not only do the Government themselves appear not to be disturbed in the slightest degree by that fact, but their supporters, whatever they may feel about it in their hearts, apparently think so lightly of it as not to consider that it necessitates their calling the Government to book and voting against them.
From the beginning of these Debates, the Government has never attempted any justification of these broaches of pledges. The two most important are, of course, with regard to boundaries. They have stated that in no circumstances were the privileges and rights of Ulster to be abrogated. They have stated that Ulster was to be absolute mistress in her own house. They have given us, by the Act of 1920, which we look upon as a sort of Charter, six counties over which we are to rule. We say that those are three solemn pledges, and we cannot understand that the House of Commons sits quietly by and expresses, apparently, no surprise, and certainly casts no blame on the Government for having broken them. The Colonial Secretary is here, to wind up the Debate, I suppose, for the Government, and I hope he will take the opportunity, while there is yet time, of telling us what the justification of the Government is in this matter. We have not heard it yet, and I, for one, shall be very much interested to hear how they are going to justify their action with regard to putting in the Boundary Commission contrary to the pledges they have given to Ulster, and including Ulster in the Trish Free State. If these matters had been left out, if the Government had taken up with their co-negotiators, the 1393 Sinn Fein envoys, the honest and straightforward position that Ulster had been given the six counties and was to be left with those six counties, that Ulster had been given a Parliament, and that every opportunity and encouragement was to be given by this country to make that Parliament over those six counties a success—had they done that, instead of having embittered every Ulster Member in this House, instead of having brought about a state of anarchy in Ulster at this moment, they would have had us, the Ulster representatives in this House, gladly following them into the Lobby in support of their Treaty.
I think the House will admit that we have right on our side. I know it is too late to expect any considerable alteration in the Division lists when we divide at the end of this Debate. I do not want in any way to appear to be threatening the Government, because that would be foolish and ridiculous, but I want to warn them, and I hope they will take this warning. Already they must see for themselves into what a serious mess they have got themselves by their action in respect of the Boundary Commission. They must see quite plainly that the condition of affairs which exists on the border at the present moment, and to a large extent the condition of affairs which exists in Belfast, are due directly to their action in connection with this Bill. That being so I want them to take my warning in all seriousness. I can assure them, as certainly as that I am addressing the House of Commons, that their action in appointing a Boundary Commission is bound to lead to further bloodshed and that far from bringing peace to Ireland, far from bringing North and South closer to one another, far from bringing nearer the day which I understand many people look forward to when it will be possible for the North to join hands with the South under one Parliament, they are putting that day off indefinitely. They are gaining nothing by it. They are placating their enemies at the expense of their friends. They have thrown their friends over, so it seems to me that the motto of the Coalition in future will be, "Embrace your enemies, and kick your friends." We have been treated throughout this matter not as friends—far from it. We have been treated as if we were the people in all the negotiations who least 1394 deserved consideration. We have been treated as a footstool which was in one's way might be kicked to one side. Conduct and treatment of that sort can never conduce towards peace. I know it is too late to have the matter of the Boundary Commission changed in any way, but it is still their duty to get themselves and to get us out of the difficulties in which they have placed us. They have tried to delay the operation of the matter. They have tried to throw the onus on the shoulders of the Prime Minister of Ulster and Mr. Collins to settle the matter between them. It is they who have to do it. It is they who have brought in this Bill, it is they who have brought about all this trouble, and it is they and they alone who will have to find a solution of the question.
I regret very much that so many of my old Unionist Friends who have fought side by side with me on the question of the Union for many years past will be in a different Lobby from me to-night. I cannot understand how any man can adopt to such an extraordinary extent the old adage, "Do wrong that right may come out of it." There is no question that the wrong that has been done to us outweighs any possibility of good or happiness which may come out of the rest of the Bill. It has been wrong for the Colonial Secretary to argue that this matter of the boundaries cannot be touched. He has shown us that other matters in the Treaty have been capable of adjustment. He has shown us that a certain date in the Bill, which was inconvenient for the Government, was capable of change. He went to Mr. Michael Collins, or Mr. Collins came to him, and between them they made two changes in the Bill. They agreed first of all that instead of the Treaty being ratified in Dublin as soon as may be after the passing of the Bill they were to have four months in which to do it. They also agreed amongst themselves that certain words having a quite clear and definite meaning should have another meaning altogether. That was done for the purpose of staving off as long as possible this boundary question. If there is to be further anarchy, further fighting and further bloodshed over this question I would rather get it over now than have to look forward to it in five or six months. That is what is certain to happen. I 1395 consider that Ulster has been shamefully treated in this matter. I was a staunch follower of the Coalition, and I think most of my colleagues were, until two or three months ago. I believed the Prime Minister was actuated by the best of motives. Now I find that the very contrary was the result. I can only hope the dismal forebodings which it has been my duty to place before the House may never be realised, but I can say for certain that the only way to prevent them being realised is for the Government to find out, and to find out soon, some means by which the effects of the Boundary Commission can be avoided.
§ Brigadier - General COCKERILL
I doubt if I should have risen but for the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for North Bradford (Major Boyd-Carpenter), who spoke as a representative of the party to which I belong. I cannot command his eloquence, and I cannot compete with his fierce and almost fanatical vehemence of language, but I can speak with the same sincerity. The pity of the speech to which we listened with such great admiration, the tragedy of it, was to my mind that it was not delivered three or four years ago. The hon. and gallant Gentleman seemed to me to have forgotten that there was such a thing as a General Election, at which he was returned to this House, and he seemed to have forgotten the pledges to which he, as well as I, subscribed. Those pledges were very clear. The hon. and gallant Member for South Antrim (Captain Craig) asserted that the Government had broken pledge after pledge. It cannot at least be said that they have broken any pledge in regard to the solution of this Irish problem. The pledge contained in the joint manifesto of the party to which I belong was clear and explicit. It was a pledge to explore every possible path which might lead to a peace with Ireland excepting only two, one that might lead to the severance of Ireland from the Empire, the other which might lead to the coercion, by which was obviously intended the coercion by force of arms, of Ulster. The hon. and gallant Gentleman two years ago, when the former Bill was before the House on Second Beading, admitted that some form of Home Rule was inevitable. The ques- 1396 tion, therefore, that lay before the country and before this House was what form of Home Rule should be given to Ireland. Was it to be a form agreed between representatives of this country and of Ireland, or was it to be a form of Home Rule dictated to Ireland by Great Britain? Was it to be permanent because accepted by Ireland, or evanescent because forced upon them by force of arms? The solution of the Irish problem at which we are arriving in this Bill differs from every solution which has been previously offered to the country. It differs fundamentally in one particular—and here I am afraid that at least one of my hon. Friends present will be horror struck— because this solution is a Unionist solution. I will seek to prove that statement under three heads. I maintain that it is a Unionist settlement in method, in substance, and in authorship. The authorship is a matter of small moment, but, as a fact, the procedure by which this settlement with Ireland, whether it proves permanent or not, has been reached, was a procedure put forward by a Unionist Member of this House, first in the Press and subsequently in this House, and accepted within three days of its being put forward, by the first of the representatives of Ireland who sign this Treaty. I remember that when it was put forward originally it met with little or no support except in Ireland, and it was not until, many months afterwards, a Member of the other House, also a Unionist, went over to Ireland, putting on a new pair of spectacles through which to see Ireland, and returned to this country its convinced advocate that the procedure, by which this settlement has now been reached, began to gain support. I heard not long ago from the Government Bench a claim made by the Leader of the House that when, a few months later, the Gracious words of His Majesty's Speech at the opening of the Northern Parliament—words which were put into his mouth, according to constitutional practice, by his Ministers—had been delivered, it was a Unionist Member of the Government who pressed upon the Prime Minister that it was necessary to follow up the Gracious words of His Majesty's Speech by some such practical suggestion for peace with Ireland. Therefore, in its initiation and conception, in its support and its advocacy, and finally in its presentation to the Government, the Bill 1397 was, so far as persons were concerned, a Unionist Bill. Further than that, when it passed its Second Reading the majority of Members who voted in favour of it were Unionist Members.
§ Brigadier-General COCKERILL
Thirty-five Unionist Members voted against it, but more than four times that number who voted for it were Unionist Members. That is merely the personal question.
In method, this Bill is in no sense contradictory of Unionist principles. The Bill gives force of law to agreed Articles of peace. I heard arguments in Committee to the effect that the word "Treaty" was ill-selected, as it was unconstitutional to make a Treaty with subjects. It is a Tory principle to maintain the Constitution, but the main principle of the Constitution is that sovereignty resides in Parliament, and that Parliament has power to amend the Constitution. One of the reasons which impels me to support this Treaty with the majority of the people of Ireland for a settlement of this long-standing feud between the two countries is that during the war with Ireland, for it was a war, the hands of the soldiers were tied because the corollary of the power to make a treaty with subjects, viz., the power to make war upon subjects, was not accepted. What really tied the hands of the soldiers? There was a rebellion, and it is, I think, a legal fiction that even when a rebellion becomes more than a rebellion and is, indeed, equivalent to a nation taking arms against another nation, you must still adhere to the principle that you cannot repress that rebellion, to whatever extent it has gone, except on practically the same lines that you can pursue in suppressing a not or similar disturbance. Fundamentally it was that difficulty that tied the hands of our soldiers. Had our troops been able to make war against those who were in the field against them, they would have been in a position to protect our forces, officers and men, in Ireland to a far greater extent than they were, in fact, able to do. Moreover, we should have been in a position to hold those who were in the field against us subject to the laws of war, where the disorders were, in fact, amounting to a state of war. I need not 1398 go into that now, but, in my judgment, it would have been of immense advantage to our troops in Ireland had we been able to accord belligerent rights to the troops who were opposed to them, and instead of carrying out this legal fiction that they were merely rioters disturbing the peace, had been able with both hands to make war against them—with both hands, and with clean hands, fighting hard, protecting life, liberty, and property, and ensuring the safety, not merely of our own troops, but also of the civil population in Ireland. To hit with both hands and to hit clean as well as hard—there is nothing contrary to Unionist principles in that. To offer peace with both hands when you have hit hard is also a Unionist principle, and to shake hands when you have come to the end of the use of force.
I sometimes think that hon. Members who oppose this Bill are not really in full possession of the facts as to the inner history of these negotiations with the Irish people. I have heard hon. Members on the Benches below me, which are almost empty now, Conservatives and Unionists, who are commonly called "Die-hards," suggesting that we have shaken hands with murderers in making this Treaty. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I think they are unaware of what has really happened. What has really happened is what I ventured to say on a former occasion in this House would happen. I said that the weapons of reprisals would break in the hands of those who used them, that that method would fail, and ultimately the Government would be compelled to make war with both hands against the Irish people if they were to restore peace. But any Government worthy of the name was right to offer to the Irish people, as to any other enemy in the field, to make an honourable peace before they proceeded to the last resort of open war. And it was only when His Majesty's Government definitely offered peace or war, and, in the event of the enemy selecting peace, definitely invited them to send their plenipotentiaries on equal terms to negotiate an honourable peace between the two parties, and that that offer was accepted, that this Bill resulted. It is a method in which there is nothing contrary to Conservative and 1399 Unionist principles. We sought to obtain peace, we offered war or peace, and, as Abraham Lincoln did years before as between North and South, we offered them, before waging war to the end, the chance of sending their plenipotentiaries, and, if they willed, of making an honourable peace. They accepted that offer, and here is the result of their labour.
May I turn very briefly to the substance of the agreement. That, too, is Unionist in character. It does pay our debt to Ulster. Is there anyone in this House who supposes that a peace could not have been obtained with Ireland, had there been no Ulster problem, long before this peace was obtained? It was obvious that a peace could have been obtained much earlier. The Prime Minister, speaking from that Bench last Christmas, pointed out that peace might have been obtained earlier, but it was, he said, first essential to secure the position of Ulster. The position of Ulster, as I believe, is secured under this Treaty. She has the right to stay in or come out, and I should have liked to have heard some recognition from the representatives of Ulster of what, after all, has been an act of great sacrifice on the part of the people of Great Britain when they continued this war against Ireland longer perhaps than would have been necessary had there been no Ulster problem, and only made peace after they had secured the position of Ulster. We have to this extent paid our debt to Ulster, and nobody disputes the debt which we owe to her.
Criticism has centred largely on the question of the boundaries of Ulster and the Boundary Commission. In my eyes this is one of the very best points in this Treaty. I cannot develop that point at length now, but my reading of history, for what it is worth, is that every war that has been fought in recent times has resulted in some transfer of territory between the belligerents, and where you find the same result invariably following every war, it seems to me that that result cannot be wholly disconnected with the cause of the War. Nations grow, and as nations grow their boundaries become too constricted for them, and they seek to expand, and that expansion in settled lands like Europe 1400 can take place only at the expense of their neighbours. If you have no machinery for that expansion other than war, I think you must dismiss from your mind the idea that this last War was a war to end war. If I have any criticism—and I made this criticism four or five years ago, when the question of the League of Nations was still in the melting pot-about the League of Nations, it was because it seemed to me that its purpose was to maintain for all time territorial rights unaltered, and that seemed to me to be flying in the face of Providence and contrary to nature. The face of Europe is not the same to-day as it was a thousand years ago or a hundred years ago, and, if you do not provide some means of altering boundaries by peaceful methods, the only method of altering them is by war. Here you have under the aegis of the British Empire those two countries, North Ireland and South Ireland. I hear on all sides the desire expressed that they shall form in the very near future one country and one nation.
§ Brigadier-General COCKERILL
I share in that aspiration, and even when that aspiration is fulfilled it would still be wise that the boundaries should be well and properly delimited. I see no reason why we should suppose that the Chairman of the Commission is going to be either a fool or a knave. You will have two other Commissioners. I believe that we can entrust the delimitation of the boundaries between the two peoples to that Commission and I welcome that Commission as an example of good sense. I think, too, that this Bill is itself a splendid contribution to Imperial unity because it enshrines in it this principle of peaceful adjustment of differences between nations, and what more can we hope than that any differences between the nations of this great Empire should be peacefully dealt with and that machinery should exist for that peaceful adjustment? I think, too, that this Bill is even an example to Europe and to the world of how international differences can best be adjusted, for if they are not adjusted by conference they must be adjusted by conflict. The view which I voice may not be accepted altogether by every Member of the Unionist party, but I believe that it contains nothing contrary to, but is in harmony with Conserva- 1401 tive and Unionist principles, and I support this Bill because it surrenders no principle to which we were pledged at the last election, because it insures the supremacy of the Crown, because it maintains the unity of the Empire and because it gains from the people of the South the admission that the coercion of Ulster is unthinkable.
§ Rear-Admiral ADAIR
While profoundly disagreeing with four-fifths of the speech of the hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down, there are only two points to which I wish to refer. The first is regarding his statement that this Bill is only carrying out our pledges given at the General Election. We fulfilled our pledges, in every way, in the passing of the 1920 Act, and had we told our Unionist supporters that we were going to set up an Army, Navy and Air Force entirely independent of the control of the British Government, none of us would have been returned. I wish now to address myself to that most important question, the effect of this Bill on the safety of Great Britain and the Empire, and to nothing else. We have had so much of everything else that it is high time we addressed ourselves to this point. When the Articles of this Treaty were first published, 18 Members of this House immediately wrote a protest, signed it, and sent it to the Prime Minister. I am happy to say I was one of the 18, and I have been protesting against these proposals ever since. In the Debate on the Address I spoke at some length against this Treaty, on the ground of the danger involved to Great Britain and the Empire. On the Second Reading of this Bill, I had only two and a half minutes in which to lodge my protest, and so was unable to say much about it, but I did make my protest. Throughout the Committee stage I have voted for every Amendment which I thought would elucidate this Bill and help to make it workable. Now we come to the Third Beading, and once again I lodge my emphatic protest against the whole Measure, as being a danger to the Empire. Throughout all the Debates which have taken place in connection with this unfortunate so-called Treaty, the safety of Great Britain has been inadequately dealt with. Everything else has been talked about at length until one grew sick of it, but this matter of primary 1402 importance has not been adequately dealt with.
§ Rear-Admiral ADAIR
When the Debate on the Address was in progress, the Prime Minister did refer to the fact that an army and a navy—he did not refer to an air force but, of course, that is included—were being given to the Irish Free State, but he treated it in an utterly inadequate and misleading manner. He made great play with the need for giving adequate military force, because we were giving an independent government, and he laid great stress on the fact that we were limiting these armed forces. I put this to the House. If we limit these forces, what does it indicate? It indicates the fear of consequences if those limits be exceeded. In other words, the Prime Minister recognised the danger which was involved in these Articles, but yet he incurred it. I ask the House whether we are going to incur this danger? In December, during the Debate on the Address, the Colonial Secretary said:Certain I am that any force which is raised in Ireland will not he a force beyond the military power of the British Empire to control."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th December, 1921; col. 178, Vol. 149.]I ask, have we controlled the armed forces which Sinn Fein raised in the course of the past three years? Far from it. We have surrendered to them.
§ Rear-Admiral ADAIR
Suppose that presently Sinn Fein turns round and says, "We are not going to have these limits." Are we, as suggested by the Prime Minister and the Colonial Secretary, going to war to enforce them, and will the Overseas Dominions help us to do so? I leave the answer to the House, but I think it is pretty obvious. Putting aside these embarrassing questions, let us see what is the potential danger involved in ibis Bill. The Prime Minister has told us I hat the maximum number of men in the Irish Army, for the whole of Ireland, will be 40,000. To-day we hear from the Colonial Secretary that for the Free State portion of Ireland they might be between 20,000 and 30,000. I will take the lowest number, the 20,000, and I put this to the House that given a standing army of trained and armed men of that number, in 20 years they would have 200,000 trained men ready to mobilise. I say 20 1403 years, but it might be even less, and I would point out that we are passing this Measure not for to-day nor to-morrow, but, so far as we know, for ever. It is no exaggeration to say that in 20 years, at any rate, it will be possible for the Irish Free State to mobilise 200,000 trained men. Now, it is the avowed intention of the Sinn Feiners to establish a Republic for all Ireland. There is no question about that. They have accepted this Treaty as a stepping stone towards that. It is true that so far as my figure of 200,000 is concerned, they may have to wait 20 years to have so many, but if the opportunity arose, and if the Irish Free State could mobilise even half that number, when Great Britain possibly was involved in a war on the Continent or elsewhere, what would happen? Ulster would be over-run at once. The resources of Ulster would be at the disposal of the Free State. A Republic would be declared and every port and harbour on the coast of Ireland would be at the disposal of an enemy. Will anyone deny that we may be embroiled in a European war in the course of the next 20 years? Here is Germany, a great nation, suffering humiliation as well as loss of territory and other material losses. Is it to be supposed that they are going to accept that for ever? I regret to say I cannot believe it. Suppose Germany and Russia combine to dismember Poland, which is made up of a part which was German and a part which was Russian, what would happen? There is no question they would effect their purpose on Poland, and what would happen next?
§ The DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir E. Cornwall)
The hon. and gallant Member is getting rather wide of the point.
§ Rear-Admiral ADAIR
I come back to the point. I say if such a situation as that arose we would be embroiled. This country and Ulster would be denuded of troops, an Irish Republic would be set up and the harbours of Ireland would be at the disposal of an enemy, or a combination of enemies. It may be, that though they might set up a republic and might have these 200,000 men, they could not actually invade this country. The Navy would prevent that.
§ Rear-Admiral ADAIR
What of the Air Force, however, they are to be permitted 1404 to set up? It is only 90 miles from the coast of Antrim to Glasgow; it is only 120 miles from the Hill of Howth to Liverpool, distances which are far less than those covered by the German bombing craft which attempted to destroy London, but, apart from the damage which might be done to our cities, there is the grave menace of damage by aircraft attack on our shipping bringing our food and commerce to these ports, in addition to any danger from such navy as they may have. What is the naval side of it? We are allowed, by the grace of the Irish Free State, to use four harbours in the time of peace. Apparently—I do not say it is so—the remainder of the ports and harbours are to be considered foreign territory, and we are not to use them. One of the great preparations for war in the Navy is that you should know every nook and corner of the coast that you are going to use, and from that in the future the Navy is to be debarred. In time of war, we are to be allowed to use any harbours that we may require. They are supposed to be open to us, but supposing such a state of affairs as I have already mentioned in connection with their Army and Air Force, not one of those ports would be open to us. On the contrary, they would be available for the enemy, but closed unmistakably to us.
I will just illustrate this in this way. So long as the surrounding shores of any harbour are in the hands of an enemy, you cannot use that harbour except by forcible entry. May I tell the House this little incident? In the Gallipoli campaign the "Queen Elizabeth," a huge battleship, anchored one day in what was thought to be a safe anchorage for a rest. In the course of a very few minutes she was under the fire of well-hidden field guns, and she had to up-anchor and get away as best she could. That illustrates the danger of using a harbour, the shores of which are in the hands of your enemy. Further, the approaches to these harbours may be mined, they may be defended by aircraft, or they may be defended by such submarines or other craft as are in the hands of the enemy. This provision as to the use of harbours in war is an absolute sham, and it is just worth the paper that it is written on. If we were friendly with the Irish Free State, in the case of war with other countries, there would be no question as to our use of these harbours 1405 without any Treaty; if there were a common enemy, of course we should use her harbours without reference to any Treaty; if, on the other hand, she were hostile we could not use them, and if she were neutral we could not use them without embroiling her on one side or the other. So much for the use of harbours in war; I say these provisions in the Treaty are an absolute sham.
As to the Irish Navy itself, here we have a provision as to ships being maintained for the protection of revenue and fisheries. Any such craft must be armed, and there is the nucleus, though only a small one, of a navy. That is only the commencement of it, because in five years' time this nucleus may develop into a so-called Coastal Defence Force. The wording of the Treaty is:The foregoing provisions of this Article shall be reviewed at a conference of representatives of the British and Irish Governments to be held at the expiration of five years from the date hereof with a view to the undertaking by Ireland of a share in her own coastal defence.That is absolute chicanery. I am confident that no such provision as that was either suggested or agreed to by the Admiralty, and I challenge the Government to say that this provision received the mature consideration of the Admiralty and was agreed to by them. I challenge them to say whether that was so or not. If we refuse to give them this force at the end of the five years, is it to be supposed that they will accept that refusal? Certainly not. They have forced the Government to put that provision in the Articles for the very good reason that they are determined to have a Navy of their own sooner or later, and sooner or later they will have it. Let me now for a moment quote the Prime Minister as to the effect of setting up this Navy. I had his words by me, but I cannot find them for the moment, but he said, in effect, that it did not need any Navy of battleships and so on to be a menace to Great Britain, but that it is quite possible that they should have mine layers and submarines, just the craft, to use his own words, that cost us our troubles mostly in the War. In fact, they will have their Coastal Offence Force, quite ready to start out from their harbours at any moment when the opportunity arises to destroy our commerce and our food supplies which pass round their coasts.
1406 That, however, is not all. I suggest to the House that France has attached great importance to submarines. If French submarines at war with us were to use Irish ports as well as their own, our difficulties in suppressing them would be enormously increased, and further, in the case of such a combination as I have mentioned, of Germany and Russia, there is no question that if they endeavoured to launch against us a submarine service, it would be a terrible menace to the safety of the food supply and the commerce of this country, and the whole of the Irish ports would be open to them to use. Now I think I have said enough to show what is the potential danger of giving to the Irish Free State, or rather to the Irish Republic, these armed forces—Army, Navy, and Air Force. That is my honest opinion. I say it is an appalling danger to this country and that we have no right in this House to incur that danger. That is my opinion, but I am going to support it by quoting two people whose opinions ought to carry great weight in the House. The first is Gladstone. No protagonist of Home Rule ever before advocated or suggested an army or a navy independent of Great Britain being set up in Ireland. This is what Gladstone said:It may be said, and said truly, that the case of the Colonies is not identical with that of Ireland and does not resemble it. The nearness of Ireland compared with the remoteness of the Colonies prevents it.We have had a great deal of reference to the Boer War in South Africa, and to what happened when we gave them what was more or less their independence. Do not let us have any more rubbish talked about South Africa. Liverpool could not be bombed from Cape Town, but it could from Dublin. Here is the opinion of Lord Grey of Falloden:Between Great Britain and Ireland there can be but one foreign policy, one army, and one navy, and we cannot stand any separation in these matters.Why did Lord Grey say that? Because if they are given a separate army and navy great danger is involved to this country. I say if this Bill is passed we are not merely committing a most appalling blunder, but we are committing a most grievous sin against future generations in this country.
§ Captain REDMOND
Unlike the hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down (Admiral Adair), as a mere Irish 1407 nationalist representative of Ireland—Southern Ireland it is true—I have not yet taken any part in the proceedings in this House in regard to this Treaty. I feel, however, that I should not let an occasion such as this pass without giving some expression to the feelings, not only of myself and my own constituents, but also of the great body of the people of the South of Ireland who are not represented in this House. The whole course of this Debate this evening has seemed to me to deal with matters which are not realities. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that he would fear the possible arming of the Ireland of the future. I am glad that I am not an Englishman, because, if I were, I would be ashamed and humiliated to hear that statement from an hon. and gallant ex-member of His Majesty's Navy. I will go no further than that, except perhaps to thank him for the exceedingly high compliment he has paid to the Irish people by being able to think that 5,000,000 Irishmen are equal to 45,000,000 Englishmen. In regard to the speeches delivered by the Mover and Seconder and by the supporters of this Amendment for rejection, I would like to say one word. They have all struck the same note, and it is simply a note of alarm, a note of fright, a note of fear. Even the eloquent speech made by the hon. and gallant Member for North Bradford (Major Boyd-Carpenter), eloquent indeed it was, and touching in in many respects, seemed to meFull of sound and fury, signifying nothing.He said that he feared the future. The same was said by every other speaker; the same was said in 1893. He was in this House on the occasion of the attempted passage of a measure of self-government for Ireland, an eventually successful passage, in that year, and so was I. I remember it to this day, and the same speeches were made then as have been made to-day.
§ Captain REDMOND
Separation was the cry in those days from those benches, and it is exactly the same parrot-cry to-day.
§ Captain REDMOND
The right hon. Baronet says it has turned out to be right. Has the Act of 1893 been put into operation in Ireland? If not, how can it have turned out right or wrong?
§ Captain REDMOND
I am grateful to the right hon. Baronet for his interruption, because the refusal of the Act of 1893 to the Irish people by another place is the very reason why 20 years after you have to-day, and shall have, to give more to satisfy the Irish people than was necessary at that time. The same note has been struck all through, and the Mover of this Motion by his speech to-night has done nothing to alleviate the passions of the people either in Northern or Southern Ireland. It is a strange fact that people talk very glibly and very lightly of affairs in Ireland who do not live there. I live there, I want to live there, and I want to see the people there in enjoyment of their rights and liberties in proper, sober, and contented self-government. I believe, and the reason I am supporting this Treaty is that I believe, that this Treaty properly accepted and properly worked will bring that into being. In the first place the majority of the Irish people have through their representatives accepted this as a settlement of the Irish question. The only Irish assembly in existence elected by the people on the same franchise as you have here in this country has also accepted this Measure; and mark you this, that included in that assembly were several gentlemen who previously were known as South of Ireland Unionists, and who themselves came forward willing to join with their Southern fellow-countrymen in the acceptance and working of this Measure. Furthermore, it may not be known to this House that the Irish Press has been unanimous in their acceptance of this Treaty. [HON. MEMBERS: "Unanimous?"] The Irish Press has been unanimous, both metropolitan and provincial. There has not been a single journal in Ireland of any repute which has not advocated the acceptance by the Irish people of this measure of justice. What is the great difference between this proposal and the proposal of 1920, about which we hear so much to-day? The Act of 1920 was condemned in every corner of Ireland, and it had not even the support 1409 of a single Irish Member, whether he came from the North or the South. This proposal has at least this to its credit, that it has the support of the majority of the Irish representatives.
Apart altogether from that, let me look at this proposal, not from the view point of hon. Members who have spoken this evening, which has mostly been from the point of view of the safety of the British Empire. According to the hon. Member who has just sat down, England will totter, and the British Empire will fall to destruction, at the very mention of the prospect of Ireland being able to raise a few thousand men to man a navy, or to fill up the ranks of an army. Let me look at it from the Irish point of view, and, after all, we have some right to consideration in that respect. This Bill, to my mind, confers upon the Irish people a full measure of legislative independence. It gives to the Irish people complete control of their own affairs. It gives to them, for the first time in history, the right which properly belongs to them, and that is to control their country according to their own ideas, and along their own lines; and, furthermore, it gives them the right to form their own constitution within the bounds of the terms laid down in the Agreement. I have now been in this House for over 12 years. I came here as a supporter of Ireland's national claim. That claim was for executive and legislative independence. In my opinion, this Treaty confers both. I have been associated with the Irish movement all my life. My family have been on these benches for over 80 years. They have come to this House generation after generation from O'Connell's time down to the present moment, fighting for what they believed to be the inalienable right of the Irish race. Could I as an Irishman, with a record such as that, not feel rejoiced in my heart of hearts to-night at the thought that, perhaps, at any rate, this Treaty will give the Irish people the one chance for which they have been struggling for so many generations, and that is to prove themselves worthy of the trust you have placed in them?
It is true there are two conditions laid down in this measure of freedom. Those conditions are conditions which we on these benches have always been willing to accept. Early last year I, myself, made a personal appeal to the Prime Minister. 1410 I begged him to set up a constituent assembly for Ireland. I begged him to let the Irish people decide upon a form of government consistent with, and within and alongside, the other great nations that go to make up what you call your Empire. I told him that if he did that, and if he provided all safeguards for those who, for no reason in the past, seem to want them for the future, the Irish people would be only too willing and ready to accept it, but the Prime Minister turned a deaf ear. Sooner than do it then he was prepared to—and unfortunately he did—wallow through the welter of bloodshed and of murder, until eventually he saw the folly of his ways. It has been done now, and done at last. It has been done rightly, but, unfortunately, as usual, it has been done rather tardily. There is a defect with regard to this proposal, and the defect is writ in one word, and that is "partition." The idea of thinking that by dividing a country into two units and setting up two executive authorities you are then going to bring it together again is surely a rather muddleheaded Saxon way of dealing with a problem of this kind. The hon. Members from the North-East corner of Ireland—I do not claim to call them Ulster representatives—have complained about this Measure. Their complaint is principally based upon one thing. It has been that great and sacrosanct Act of 1920—the Act for which not one of them went into the Lobby to vote, the Act that they themselves declared they did not want, the Act that was forced down their throats by the British Parliament. They base their entire claim upon that Act.
It is really the irony of fate for Members like us upon these benches to sit here and see hon. Members from Ulster calling the Prime Minister and his Government betrayers, saying that they have broken their pledges to them, and saying the British Government's word is not its bond. Honour commenced in 1920, forsooth, with hon. Members opposite. I suppose it was right for the Prime Minister and his friends to tear up the Homo Rule Act of 1914, which was passed, at any rate, by a great majority of this House, and with the assent of the people of this country, and also with the backing and approval of the majority of the people of Ireland, and on the strength of which the Irish people, through their spokesmen here in this House, allied themselves with this country in time of war. It was right 1411 for the Prime Minister to tear up the Act of 1914, but, forsooth, the Act of 1920, which was not wanted, which was forced down their throats, which they would not walk into the Lobby to support—the Act of 1920 must be sacrosanct, and the Prime Minister has grossly betrayed them if in any way he interferes with the property which they now claim as theirs under that Measure. We often hear the phrase, "We will not permit a single inch of our territory to be taken from us." Who gave them the territory? When was it theirs? When did Tyrone and Fermanagh belong to the ascendancy party of North-East Ulster? Tyrone and Fermanagh to-day are part and parcel of Ireland, as they always have been, and always will be. I was a Member for Tyrone in this House a little, more, perhaps, than any of the hon. Members opposite, and I say that no one has a title to stolen property. They stole portions of Ireland, and stole it meanly and improperly. They stole it meanly because they did not admit that they wanted it: they would not take it. Now that the property, which was stolen and handed over to them, is about to be, or should be, restored to its rightful owners, they hold up their hands in holy horror and say, "You must not disturb us. You must leave the property that has belonged to us since 1920, and if you do not, you will rue the consequences." There are many courses open to my friends from the North of Ireland—I venture to call them friends because I regard them as brother Irishmen. They may call themselves Ulster men, but if you say that one of them: not an Irishman, I can assure you you had better look out. There are three courses at least open to these gentlemen. First of all, there is the Boundary Commission proposed in this Treaty. They do not like the Boundary Commission. Why? For a very good reason. There is going to be an impartial chairman on the Boundary Commission—
§ Captain REDMOND
According to the terms of the Treaty, and if you can believe the word of an Englishman and an English Act of Parliament, it is so. I leave the rest with the right hon. Baronet. According to the terms of the Treaty, there is going to be an impartial 1412 chairman. At any rate, he is not going to be a North or a South of Ireland man. Hon. Gentlemen will not accept the Boundary Commission, for the very good reason that any impartial chairman, take him from Timbuctoo or Hong Kong, who has any nous, any intelligence, any sense of justice, could not but divide the country—if division is at all possible, which I myself very much doubt—differently from the way it has been arbitrarily carved out in the Act of Parliament which hon. Members have had forced down their throats, and to which they now so strongly adhere! The second course is to take in the whole of Ulster. We hear a great deal about Ulster from hon. Members who live in Ulster, but they would not have Ulster. Why would they not have the whole of Ulster? Do they think that Cavan, Monaghan, and Donegal are not parts of the Province of Ulster, and, if so, why would they not have them? Let them move an Amendment to this Treaty, or to the provisions of the Act of 1920, giving them the whole of Ulster. No! Why? Because they do not represent the whole of Ulster, and they would not get the support of the majority of the people of Ulster.
Let us come to the third alternative. With all respect to them, I think it is the only alternative that any rational, sensible-minded Ulsterman would adopt. It is to come into the Irish Free State. That sounds very ridiculous. Hon. Members may smile. But I have been in the North of Ireland quite recently, and I have met many business men there, differing from me in politics, who have expressed to me their own opinion that it would be far better for the North to come in with the rest of Ireland. What I want to ask to-night is this: Why should not the North of Ireland come in and work with their fellow-countrymen throughout the rest of the land? After all, what will be their position if they do come in? One would think that they were immediately going to be swallowed up and destroyed. What will be the position? In the first place there will be no Boundary Commission. They will enjoy the occupation of, and legislative and administrative functions over, the same territory which they now purport to enjoy under the Act of 1920. That is, they will have the full six counties within their control 1413 as they have not, but as they might have, at the present moment, the only difference being that the services, which are now reserved for the Imperial Parliament, would be transferred to the Irish Parliament in Dublin, in which the North of Ireland men would have at least a very fair and adequate representation.
I am perfectly sure if they were to take that step, that the Southern Irishmen would meet them more than half way, and give them adequate safeguards and guarantees both as to their religious and political convictions and their pursuits in the Ireland of to-morrow. There is also another way out for these hon. Members, which, however, I do not put forward seriously. It is that they should adhere to the policy that has been preached for so many years, and so ably and so strongly by their late leader, Lord Carson. It is this: "Leave us alone, that is all we want; do not come near us: all we desire is to be part and parcel of England." I do not put that proposition very seriously, because I know full well they do not for one moment entertain it in their minds—to become once more part and parcel of this country, to be treated as an "English" "shire," like Yorkshire and Lancashire. That is a proposition which not one of these Members would dare to put before the people of Ulster to-day! No reply? Very well! Having secured self-government for at least a portion of Ireland in which they have resided all their lives, like every other measure which they have resisted, they will hang on the more tenaciously to it than any other people in any portion of the country?
I am most anxious that Ireland should come together, that peace and order should be restored, that the chaos, both in the North and South, should cease. The only possible chance is for every sensible and patriotic Irishman, no matter to what party or creed he belongs, to come in now and support the Provisional Government and the Free State which has been set up in that country. I should like to say this: as a Nationalist Irishman, I give no credit whatsoever to this Government or this House or to any party in this House for this Measure of freedom. I hope I shall not give offence in making these remarks. I say that this should have been done, and could have been done, years and years ago. It was not done, and we have the consequences, 1414 unfortunately, in Ireland to-day. This I characterise as a pure Measure of expediency on behalf of the present Government. I believe the Government of to-day, those who are proposing this Measure, care no more for justice and fair-play than any Government in days gone by. We in Ireland have been betrayed by all British Governments and all British parties, and we therefore know the value of their words and the value of their pledges. I make this exception because the Labour party have never had the opportunity. The Labour party have never had the opportunity of, having the responsibility of office in this country, and therefore I do not place it within the category. It may be said that I am bitter. Yes, I am exceedingly bitter, and I have every reason to be bitter. If I am bitter, what can you conceive of the feelings of the vast majority of the Irish people? You say they are anti-British. Well, they are anti-British, and they have every reason to be anti-British, and all I say is this—you cannot go about kicking a dog and maltreating it for an extensive period and come along afterwards and offer it a bit of sugar-coated candy and expect it to lick your hand. That cannot be done. An hon. Member below me says it can. Well, he has a greater knowledge of the canine species than I have. You cannot maltreat an animal and expect it to have any regard for you. However, the hon. Member may have a wonderful power of dealing with dogs. I hope his power will be as useful in dealing with his constituents when he goes for the next election.
Much as I feel, and deeply as I feel resentment of the way that we in Ireland have been treated in the past—we especially on these benches by Government after Government of this country—I believe now that at any rate, from what motive I care not, this Government means business. So far, they have kept their word in regard to the Treaty, and I am glad to be able to say that the Secretary of State for the Colonies has shown during the Committee stage of this Bill that he will stand no nonsense, no matter from what quarter it comes. If this country keeps its word—and mind you, it will be a novelty in regard to Ireland—but if it does, then you may trust Ireland to keep hers. I want the future to be a future of amity and friendship 1415 between these two peoples. I want to let bygones be bygones, not only between Great Britain and Ireland, but also between Irishmen themselves. I want Irishmen themselves to come together and to prove as good citizens of this great commonwealth of nations as have Irishmen in every other part of the Empire.
After all, I have been throughout the Empire and know something of it. I know what I am talking about when I say that Irishmen have been your leading lights and pioneers in the legal world, the political world, and in the sciences and industries of the British Empire. The Empire you boast about is by no means a British Empire. It was built by Irish brain and brawn as much as by any other. I do not know whether hon. Members have been as much as I have throughout the Dominions, but I have spent quite a time there, and there is no part of the world, America not excluded, where this Bill will receive most hearty accord than throughout those great self-governing countries which go to make the British Commonwealth of nations. If Ireland is given a chance—if only Ulster people would show that sense and patriotism with which they have been so often credited—time and commonsense will be the healer of all these troubles, and though this is by no means the millennium, though I for one, and those with me, were never consulted about the smallest details of the proposals, I feel that if these proposals are carried into force, they will lead to future happiness and prosperity in that country.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I should regret if this Debate came to its conclusion without someone belonging to the Celtic fringe, the Principality of Wales, availing himself of an opportunity of expressing some measure of sympathy, indeed a great measure of sympathy, with the Bill that is now before the House. I am sneaking the mind of those associated with me on these Benches as well. I have listened to the Debate since its inception, and I am bound to say I have been very much impressed by the great sincerity and conviction disclosed by hon. Members opposing the Measure. I gather from some of the remarks made that this is going to be the end of all things in Ireland—the end 1416 of religion and civilisation, indeed, you might say that "Ichabod," from now, is going to be written over the portals of Ireland. The hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. R. McNeill), who opened the Debate, spoke of the tragic significance of this Bill for Ireland. I confess I am not able to understand this unfortunate Jeremiah, which we heard repeated by speaker after speaker on the opposite benches. I venture to controvert that point of view. This might prove to be the most favourable opportunity yet afforded the Irish people for burying the wretched controversies of the pa6t. We may well to-night be witnessing the rebirth of a nation, and the re-birth of a nation is, indeed, a solemn hour. We may perhaps be present at the time when we may be making possible the redemption of liberty in Ireland, the rejuvenation of her national pride, the restoration of her national unity, and the resuscitation of the spirit of liberty which very often makes small nations become great in history.
I may say that we discovered the real kernel of the opposition in the expression of the hon. Member for Canterbury, who said:The more complete the democratic institution, the further are the people removed from control over the country.It seems a curious expression of opinion in these enlightened days. I quite understand that the hon. Member docs not like democracy, judging from that expression of opinion. The hon. Member who followed him, in an excellent speech, expressed the opinion that, having once started on the road of democracy, you cannot look back. We have often stood, I believe, at the edge of a pond and have seen a stone thrown into the pond, and have observed, as a consequence, a circle being formed, and larger circles, till they have reached the edge of the pond.
Something of that kind has happened since the War of 1914. We have stored up the idea of democracy. It is now penetrating into the mind of all the nations of the world, and not least into the mind of the Irish people. The trouble with hon. Members opposite is that they live in the pre-1914 days. We are living in days when new ideals, new aspirations, and a new outlook pervade the minds of the people of the world. 1417 If, therefore, we are to keep moving with the times, I have a profound conviction that some newer form of democratic constitution must be provided for the Irish people.
I will not follow the example of the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. R. McNeill) in making quotations from people on the Sinn Fein side. That is rather a dangerous precedent to adopt because quotations can be produced which would reflect very little credit on some of the erstwhile leaders of the hon. Member's own party. It is no use reviving these bitter memories, and the quicker we forget those foolish utterances on both sides the better it will be for the prestige of each side. It is the essence of democratic government that whatever form of government be accepted it must be one which has the consent of the governed. The early American constitutionalists laid down that it was the inherent right of every people that they should enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I ask hon. Members opposite whether there is any chance of enjoying those things unless you give-some form of self-government to Ireland. Do hon. Members opposite seriously suggest that the people of Southern Ireland regard the present condition of things as satisfactory. Furthermore, I would ask, would they suggest that the people of Ulster would regard the present condition of things as wholly satisfactory? In each case I think the answer would be in the negative. The Irish people under the present system have seen their country depopulated, millions of people have left their native shores, and when one thinks of all this we are reminded of the lines of Scott:Breathes there the man with soul so deadWho never to himself hath saidThis is in my own, my native land!Those millions of Irish people who left their native shores felt impelled to do so largely because they have not been allowed to call Ireland their native land. Their native industries have been ruined and their native language has been destroyed. For 800 years they have been crushed under the heel of what they believe to be the invader. Has the Irish people deserved all this? They are amongst the finest people on the face of the earth. They are thinkers in the highest degree, chivalrous almost to a fault, and they have a literature that is 1418 most beautiful and a genius that has dazzled the world. Millions from time to time have laid down their lives on behalf of this country, and yet in Ireland you have attempted a method of repression which has completely failed. There is but one other alternative, and that is to try the method of reconciliation. I say, and my countrymen from the Principality say, God-speed to the Irish people in this new attempt at self-government that is going to be made. An hon. Member opposite said they desired peace, for without peace they cannot live, and I entirely endorse that sentiment. The fair flower of liberty cannot live nor thrive in an atmosphere of suspicion and internal rivalry. Therefore, on behalf of my fellow-countrymen, as I believe, and incidentally on behalf of the Labour party, I wish this Bill every possible success and wish good luck to the Irish Free State.
§ Major CHRISTOPHER LOWTHER
I have so far remained silent during the discussions of this Bill, and during the passage of the Act of 1920 through its various stages, but I feel that I should be lacking in my duty if I did not put before the House what I believe to be perhaps a novel point of view upon this subject. Let me preface my remarks by saying that I quite admit that this Bill may have been a necessity. I believe that the Government were beaten to their knees by this so-called Irish Republican Army. I believe they could not go any further, and they could not restore order in the South of Ireland. The Government came to this House in the last Session of Parliament and they proclaimed to all of us that they had made an honourable settlement.
That is what a great many of us dispute. We say no honourable settlement has been made at all. It is possible to judge a man's character by his face, and on the face of this Bill stands clearly imprinted its character, and in it can be seen two things, fear and, if I may say so without offence, cunning. In its very looseness of expression it shows that the Government had in mind all sorts of possibilities whatever hopes they may have expressed. The Secretary for the Colonies has insisted upon this point, that he must in honour carry through this Bill as being the legalising of the Treaty. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken gave us an interesting quotation. I will venture in conclusion to recall to the right hon. 1419 Gentleman's mind another quotation, and it is this:His honour rooted in dishonour stood,And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.
§ Viscount CURZON
I would not have taken part in this Debate had I not thought it my duty, as one who has consistently opposed this so-called Irish settlement, to do my best to justify my action. An hon. Member opposite said that all the speeches he had listened to on this Third Reading Motion had begun and ended on a note of fear. My attitude towards this Bill is not based on a note of fear. I would not oppose the settlement of Ireland, I have never opposed it. What I have opposed is this particular interpretation of the settlement, for I do not regard it as a final settlement. I have always safeguarded myself on this Irish question by declaring that three things are absolutely essential to a settlement. First, there must be no quibble about allegiance, secondly, we cannot concede to the Irish people the question of defence, which is an Imperial matter, and, thirdly, we must protect the loyalists. If we can get a settlement embodying these three reservations I will support it just as ardently as I have opposed this proposal. In my view the oath in this Bill is no oath at all. It binds no one, it means practically nothing. The people to whom you are proposing to hand over the country are people who make no secret of the fact that they oppose the Treaty altogether, or look upon it as a stepping-stone to something else. Only last Sunday Mr. Michael Collins, one of the signatories of the Treaty, said they could not keep the British out by force, and so the Republican ideal was surrendered. But having beaten them by the Treaty, the Republican ideal, surrendered in July, was again restored. There is also the question of the boundary. Talk about Alsace-Lorraine, why that is nothing compared with what is opened up by the state of uncertainty in which the whole question of the Ulster boundary is likely to be placed. I have opposed this Bill with absolute sincerity. It goes very much against the grain for me to find myself constantly in opposition to those with whom I am accustomed to act. But I have felt it my duty to vote as I have done, because I see in this no settlement, 1420 but only the seeds of future difficulties, and even war. I regard it as a desperate gamble which could only be justified by its success. If it fails it opens up a prospect almost appalling. I hope it will succeed, but I wish to take no responsibility for it, and for that reason I shall vote against the Third Reading of the Bill.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
This Debate is now drawing to a close. No one will pretend it has been a pleasant Debate to conduct. I have felt acutely conscious, during its passage, of the intense and natural feeling of the Ulster Members on the whole of the great issue that is before the House of Commons. I have also felt conscious of the inevitable feelings of self-questioning which must arise in the breasts of those who for so many years have been, in one form or another, the opponents of Home Rule settlement in Ireland. I listened, as others in the House listened, with the greatest attention to the admirable speech of the hon. and gallant Member for North Bradford (Major Boyd-Carpenter), in whose eloquent periods and tones one discerned the gifts which he has inherited from his distinguished father. No one could have listened to that appeal without being affected by it, and I say at once, if I have to address myself to that argument, that there is no one who pretends that this solution is an ideal solution, or that it has been brought about in the way which, if we had had an absolute, plenary, unchallenged direction of events, we should ourselves have chosen. No one pretends that.
I feel intensely some of the incidents which have occurred in Ireland since the truce, where loyal, faithful officials, policemen, soldiers, standing at their posts, not only under the authority of the British Crown but under the safeguard of the Irish nation, as signified in a compacted document and Treaty, have been shot dead, and no penalty has been exacted so far—though I am sure it will be, in the name of the Irish people—from those who have done these criminal and detestable deeds. I feel the wrecking, the squandering, of so many loyalties in Ireland, which have been held firm through all these long years of tension. I feel also the position of my hon. Friend the Member for the Falls Division of Belfast (Mr. Devlin) and of the hon. and gallant Member for Waterford 1421 (Captain Redmond), who spoke earlier in the Debate. The hon. and gallant Member for Waterford said he was bitter, and he said some things which I think were a little wounding to the House. But he had a right to be bitter. I do not think we are in a position to ask for compliments from him. After all, he is one whose father devoted the last few years of his life, after a lifetime spent in advocating the Irish cause, to aiding the British Empire, and he himself served with distinction and courage in the Guards Division; and when men like him and like my hon. Friend the Member for the Falls Division, who used all his powerful, human, persuasive eloquence to urge recruits to join the fighting line at the moment when the bayonet was literally at our throats, have suffered so terribly by their adherence to constitutional methods and by their loyalty to the great conception of the British Commonwealth of Nations, it is no use pretending that we, who are for the time being the anxious custodians of the interests of the Imperial Government, are in a position to rejoin upon them with acrimonious severity. But you must not look at this settlement as if it were your ideal. You must look at it in relation to the possible alternatives. What are the possible alternatives? No doubt if we had persevered through these last six months raising military and police forces, developing all our mechanical methods of warfare, pressing on the process of subjection by every means at our disposal—and they are very great—we should be further, on our road to-day than we were in June and July, when the Treaty was signed. But we should have paid a very heavy price in the whole security of our social and political structure today in this island, we should have paid a heavy price in the opinion held of us all over the world, and I think we should have been forced, in spite of all our efforts, into action which would have inflicted in many forms reproaches upon ourselves, in our own hearts and in our own consciences. It was because we found we were being drawn increasingly into action on a great scale of a kind which Britain cannot effectually carry through, not because of I her weakness, but because of her strength, that we were definitely brought in a great atmosphere of national feeling to an attempt to make a solution, even under 1422 the most unfavourable circumstances, even when we were exposed to every kind of taunt, by peaceful means and reconciliation.
We are now embarked in the full tide j of that experiment and effort and act of faith, for such it is, and I should like to ask the House to be very careful when obviously it is a matter of common interest to us all and common importance—all jour fortunes, whatever view we take, are affected by the success or failure of this effort—not to allow itself to despair too soon, not to allow itself to lose heart and faith and hope in the long, weary, disappointing, vexing journey in which we have got to persevere. In the first place do not let us exaggerate the state of Ireland. It is quite natural, when the newspapers collect the information each day and present to us in the morning their budget, that all the things that go wrong should be collected, all the disasters, all the outrages, all the unfortunate episodes and regrettable incidents should figure on the morning page. But there is much more in the life of Ireland than the many unfortunate incidents which are chronicled in the papers. You would get an entirely distorted view of Ireland if you were to take your opinions entirely from the daily budget of incidents. I have been making one or two inquiries into the social, sporting, religious, and industrial life of Ireland, and I have acquired a few facts quite different from those that give one the impression of a general condition of anarchy. For instance, a glance at the sporting columns of the daily newspapers will suffice to show that the social activities of the general public in Ireland have almost reverted to the conditions of normal times. The "Sunday Independent" of the 26th of last month, which is a paper I have examined, contained reports of no fewer than 26 important football matches in Southern Ireland, and announcements of no fewer than 29 Gaelic football fixtures for that Sunday. That would rather shock my Noble Friend the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil). He might regard it as another instance of Irish depravity. The attendance at the semi-final of the Irish football cup is said to have surpassed all recent records. In the International Rugby Match between England and Ireland, played in Dublin on Satur- 1423 day, 11th February, the spectators numbered between 16,000 and 18,000, and the public interest was up to the standard of pre-War days. [HON. MEMBERS: "Who won?"] Do not let us add to our partisanship by entering into that question. The same issue of the "Irish Independent" contained reports of a meeting in Cork on the 24th February—Cork is a very bad place—for the purpose of forming a divisional association of the Football Association of Ireland in Munster.
Among outdoor games, hockey is much in favour, and it is not unlikely that the end of the season will find Ireland holders of the international championship in this game. Racing is very active. Meetings were held recently at Proudstown Park, Navan, and Kilcoman, county Waterford. Seven race meetings are to be held in March, and 15 in April. Coursing and hunting have continued with little or no interference or interruption during the winter. The contest for the Irish Coursing Cup was recently held at Limerick. Indoor amusements have almost reverted to normal conditions. The Dublin theatres have had an exceptionally prosperous season. Dancing is now probably in greater vogue in Southern Ireland than it has been for several years. [An HON. MEMBER: "Give up reading!"] I will not give up. I am endeavouring to present a true picture of the social life of Ireland, and I am entitled to give these facts. No one can form a true opinion of the public affairs of a country who does not watch carefully the social life of the people.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Finally, the Meath, Kildare, Ward Union, and Kilkenny Hunt Balls have all been held without the slightest interference. I will not prolong the story. Why do I dwell upon these things! [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because I think it is ridiculous for people to suppose that the life of Ireland at the present moment is composed of outrages and murders. In the main, the life of Ireland is going on in a normal fashion.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Of course, there are shocking incidents, but there have been 1424 a great many fewer people killed than were killed before. I commend these facts to the consideration of the House, not indeed that the House should imagine that all is well in Ireland—that would be a most foolish thing to do—but that they should not readily accept the arguments which are put forward that the whole country is rapidly lapsing into a condition of Bolshevist anarchy. Nothing of the sort has taken place.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the fact that 30 theatres were open during the great terror of 1794 in France?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Yes, that is an historic fact, but I do not think it at all alters the argument or the facts which I have brought before the House. It is like my Noble Friend to try to suggest that what is now going on in Ireland is a parallel to the great terror in France—an attitude of frenzied exaggeration which seizes theologically-minded people when they approach certain political questions. I can assure my Noble Friend that there have been many cases of this kind of thing in Mesopotamia.
Let me come to a more serious and a more difficult aspect of the case. The hon. and gallant Member for South Antrim (Captain Craig) asked me to refer to the charge which he brought against the Government, of broken pledges. The two instances in which he alleged there had been a breach of faith were, first, the boundary Clause, and, second, the inclusion of Ulster in the Free State area. I do not think that there is much in that second point, because they are included in the Free State area with the full right of opting out, and not for one moment will they be in the Free State area, except in a purely nominal way. But as to the first point I think that one may push a charge of technical breach of faith too far, and I do not think that all the very strong expressions that have been used in the course of this Debate are justified by what has actually taken place. After all, my hon. Friend and his colleagues in Ulster have had themselves to face situations in which a charge of technical breach of faith might be made with some show of force, and in which again they felt that the circumstances were such that, as men of honour and men of good faith who had to face the difficulties of 1425 the situation, they could do no other than they did.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
There is no doubt that when the Covenanters outside the six counties were excluded by an agreement into which, very patriotically, hon. Members for Ulster entered, they had a claim to say that—
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
That situation was as embarrassing to them as I frankly admit the position is embarrassing to us. The hon. Member for South Antrim said on the 29th March, 1920:I knew that the allegation would come sooner or later that, we had broken the Covenant which we had signed in 1912 when we bound ourselves, all the Unionists in all the counties of Ulster, to stand by one another in the crisis which then threatened. There has been a great deal said as to a breach of the Covenant by those of us who voted in favour of the six counties, and we are now prepared to admit a technical breach of that Covenant.I am not quoting this as a matter of reproach, nor am I condoning in any way any breach of good faith. The hon. Member for South Antrim would, I think, have taken the action of a man who would conduct, with the utmost good faith, any affair in which he is concerned. What I do say is, that with a quotation of that kind, which I am entitled to read, some moderation of language should be applied in criticising the Government. I do not say this as an excuse at all on our part, but I have very frankly said, that I wish we had had time to send the final proposals which we reached late at night over to the Northern Government in Ulster to get their opinion before any final decision was taken. I wish we had, but I think, as the late Leader of the House thought, had we taken that step at that time there would have been a complete breakdown, and a complete breakdown when we had disbanded a great many of our means of organising a hostile policy in Ireland, when we had for three or four months Been allowing our machinery of war to rust or to remain in abeyance, and when, after this country had done its part so largely, we should have had to come out of the conference room and urge them to organise another 100,000 men to subdue Ireland, should we not have been under- 1426 taking a task which might well have proved beyond our strength and political influence. I only put this argument not as an excuse for any failure which we may have made in grappling with these difficult matters, and not to impugn any action the Ulstermen have taken, but only in order to say that they must mingle a certain measure of charity in their examination of the actions of public men and of Governments in regard to the baffling subjects which press for decision in the present difficult situation of the world.
Mr. R. McNEIIL
Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that if on that night he had stated to Mr. Collins and Mr. Griffith, "We cannot for the moment sign the Treaty because we have pledged our word," that these men would not have said, "Very well, as men of honour we will allow you time to consult"?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I do not admit the form of the question, but I am quite certain if this Treaty had not been settled that night it would never have been settled at all. The men who signed on the other side had no idea of the treatment they were going to receive when they returned to Ireland. They firmly believed they would be supported by the great mass of their colleagues and compatriots. They little knew they would be held up as traitors by others. Had this Treaty not been signed that night, there is no doubt the Government would have, had to face circumstances incomparably more difficult than if we had broken off in July of last year. I say this about the boundaries. All through these Debates I have definitely refused to be drawn into attempting to write an interpretation upon the Treaty, and the reason is this: If I had dared to write such an interpretation the only result would have been that other interpretations would have been immediately put forward on the other side of the Channel. You would have claim and counter-claim.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
That seems to me a singularly inadequate and irrelevant interruption. If the House will bear in mind the form of Article 12, without asking me to put any interpretation upon it which in any case would have no effect, they will see how very carefully this whole matter has been considered by the 1427 Government from the general point of view, and also from the special point of view, The Article says:Provided that … a Commission … shall determine in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants, so far as may be compatible with economic and geographic conditions, the boundaries between Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland"—the boundaries—and for the purposes of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920"—I dwell on those words—and of this instrument, the boundary of Northern Ireland shall be such as may be determined by such Commission.I absolutely decline to be drawn into an attempt to interpret or forecast, and for very good reasons, what the ultimate decision of the impartial, judicial tribunal will be, but I do say that a careful study of these words will reveal the fact that, even in the stress and difficulty of these times, His Majesty's Government have punctiliously held in view the essence of the Ulster position. More than that I do not propose to say.
The hon. and gallant Member for North Bradford (Major Boyd-Carpenter) whom I do not see, but who spoke so well before dinner, suggested that the British Empire had been drawn into a great humiliation at the present time by the action which we have taken. I quite agree that we could not possibly have done what we have done on the morrow of Majuba Hill, but on the morrow of the Great War we are, I am sure, entitled to look upon these matters from the point of view of what we considered in the long interests of the British Empire as likely to afford the best and the surest solution, without being deflected either one way or the other by feelings of national pride. The hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. McNeill) said, "What shall we do if the Irish break the Treaty—if, instead of getting the Irish Free State, we find an Irish Republic returned at the elections, or if the whole country slides into general disorganisation?" I think we must do what we can. I think we must be very careful not to try to do what we cannot. I do not wish to dwell too much upon the ugly hypotheses which may arise in those circumstances—I am going to dwell on them, but not too much—but I do ask the House to measure up in their minds the enormous power, wealth, 1428 strength of Britain and the British Empire compared to the resources of Ireland, and I do think it is necessary for them to bear in their minds the economic relationship between this country and Ireland. Ireland exported last year £205,000,000 of produce, and of those £205,000,000 Britain bought £203,000,000. Ireland bought from abroad for her own needs £203,000,000, and of that she bought from Britain £161,000,000. Broadly speaking, we are the sole market of Ireland, and we are also the sole source from which, she obtains the coal, manufactures, and vital needs which equip an agricultural country with the means of civilised being.
If you strip Ireland of her grievance, if you strip Ireland of the weapon she has hitherto used, if you strip her of the accusation against Great Britain of being the oppressor, if you strip her of her means of exciting and commanding the sympathy of almost the whole world, of the support she has received in the United States, in our own Dominions, indeed, throughout the whole English-speaking world, if by acting in strict, inflexible, good faith you place Ireland in the position that if she breaks the Treaty she is in the wrong and you are in the right, that she is absolutely isolated in the whole world—then, I say, the strength of your economic position, emerges in its integrity. Is it not an extraordinary thing that Ireland should play such a great part—I hope this argument will not be offensive to my hon. Friend who sits there all alone representing Belfast (Mr. Devlin), but I must express the situation as I see it—and has played for so long such a great part in British Imperial affairs—convulsing parties, disturbing Governments, holding the balance for years, putting the Conservatives out of office in 1885, and the Liberals in office in 1892 and again in 1910—[HON. MEMBERS: "1906!"]—in 1910, holding the balance in all our great affairs? Naturally, when we look back and see what Ireland has done in this matter through the agency of the Parliamentary party, we have a feeling that Ireland is an enormous power, bulking in our affairs as a factor of first magnitude. But when Ireland is stripped of her grievance and stands on her own resources, then, and then alone, will you know how weak she 1429 is, how little power she has to do us harm. When the Sinn Fein ideal is realised—"Ourselves Alone"—though they may wish to follow their own way of life in Ireland, as they have a right to wish, the power to stand in the path of the British Empire and to obstruct our world-wide policy will have absolutely departed. Even if she has the will—and I do not think she would have the will—she would not have the power.
See how this question has been altering as the generations have passed. At the Union the population of this land was twice that of Ireland. Now it is ten times that of Ireland. The problem has altered. I say this for the benefit of hon. Members who may feel there is some inconsistency in their life policy in adopting these methods now. The whole situation is steadily changing. Ireland will be revealed to have been strong only in her grievance, and England weak only in the assertion of her power on interior Irish affairs. But if the power of Ireland to harm us will be small, the power of Ireland to help us will be very great. Why should you assume that they will not try to help us?
The hon. Member for Bradford quoted a statement of Mr. Michael Collins which I do not remember to have seen, although I am very fully in touch with what has been said. He quoted this statement indicating that they were looking forward, when the Army was gone and the Bill was passed, to set up a Republic. I do not recognise such a statement, but I am certain it is not in accordance with what the Provisional Government are actually doing. I think it quite possible that leaders of the Provisional Government have said from time to time, "We do not accept this as a final settlement." That is no more than to paraphrase what Mr. Parnell said, "No one has the right to set bounds to the onward march of a nation." Mr. Griffiths said, "This is not the last generation to live in the world." I see nothing to interfere with the loyal observance of the Treaty in an observation of that kind, provided the action taken is loyal action in accordance with the Treaty. I have heard statements here which seem to suggest that the Irish leaders are only waiting an opportunity to tear up the Treaty, and proclaim a Republic. I do not believe it for a moment. But let me quote what their 1430 other enemies say about them. They stand in a cross-fire at the present time. A few days ago there was this revolt in Limerick. The Commandant of the Irish Republican Army, who revolted against the Provisional Government, issued the following Proclamation:The aims of the head of the army"—that is, the Irish Republican Army—and the majority of the general headquarters staff are now unquestionably to subvert the Republic, to support the Provisional Government, and to make possible the establishment of the Irish Free State. We declare that we no longer recognise the authority of the present head of the army, and renew our allegiance to the existing Irish Republic, confident we shall have the support of all ranks of the Irish Republican Army and of the loyal citizens of the Irish Republic.11.0 P.M.
There is clear evidence, in my opinion, that the action the Provisional Government is taking is deeply obnoxious to those who are determined to set up, if they can, a republic in Ireland, and I have no doubt whatever that the matter will not rest entirely in the region of words. I ask from the House, now that the Bill is going through its Third Reading, all the help we can give to the Irish Provisional Government. Even although there is much with which to be dissatisfied, although there are many episodes which are disheartening or awkward, nevertheless these men need our help, and we have every interest in according it. If we are able to help them, and they are able to win through and establish an Irish Free State, such as we all can figure in our minds, in hours of reflection, then, undoubtedly, that Free State will have a power to help us, to help the British Empire, as it will to an extraordinary extent, first of all by helping themselves, by showing that Irishmen are capable of producing a Government in their own country, and for the life of their own country, which is not markedly below the standard of the civilisation of Western Europe. Secondly, in the Dominions and in the United States. Lastly, they can help us in the whole world by showing the whole world, as we have shown the peoples in the case of South Africa, that we possessed a secret that no other nation in the world has known, how to discover and to employ.
1431 The Leader of the Ulster party complained of the indifference of the House. He said that his friends had put their case with the greatest earnestness—and with the greatest ability—that the House had received indifferent, but that enormous majorities—I think convinced majorities — [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"]—had supported and sustained the Irish Free State Bill. I think the House has been influenced by two quite different sets of considerations: first of all realising the grim facts of the position in which we stand, and the
§ definite pledges we have given, and also by a feeling of hope and faith which, in spite of the unpleasant, disheartening facts, and uncertainties of the Irish situation, has not died out in British hearts. It is from these two motives, faith and hope, that we are entitled on the Third Reading of this Bill to say: "We have put our hands to the plough, and we will not look back."
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 295; Noes, 52.1433
|Division No. 43]||AYES.||[11.2 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis D.||Cowan, sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Hayward, Evan|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A, (Widnes)|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)|
|Amery, Leopold C. M. S.||Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Armitage, Robert||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Davies, Sir William H. (Bristol, S.)||Hinds, John|
|Atkey, A. R.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hirst, G. H.|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Devlin, Joseph||Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G.|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Doyle, N. Grattan||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Edgar, Clifford B.||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. Sir A. J. (City, Lon.)||Edge, Captain Sir William||Hopkins, John W. W.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Ednam, Viscount||Home, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Hotchkin, Captain Stafford Vere|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)||Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.|
|Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund Robert||Entwistle, Major C. F.||Irving, Dan|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Evans, Ernest||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Falcon, Captain Michael||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Fell, Sir Arthur||Johnson, Sir Stanley|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Fildes, Henry||Johnstone, Joseph|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Finney, Samuel||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Foot, Isaac||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Foreman, Sir Henry||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Birchall, J. Dearman||Forestier-Walker, L.||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Forrest, Walter||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||France, Gerald Ashburner||Kennedy, Thomas|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.|
|Boscawen. Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Galbraith, Samuel||Kenyon, Barnet|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Gange, E. Stanley||Klley, James Daniel|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Ganzoni, Sir John||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Knight, Major E. A. (Kidderminster)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Gilbert, James Daniel||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George|
|Britton, G. B.||Gillis, William||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)|
|Bromfield, William||Glanville, Harold James||Lawson, John James|
|Brotherton, Colonel Sir Edward A.||Glyn, Major Raiph||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Gould, James C.||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lloyd, George Butler|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Lorden, John William|
|Cairns, John||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Lort-Williams, J.|
|Cape, Thomas||Gregory, Holman||Loseby, Captain C. E.|
|Carew, Charles Robert S.||Grundy, T. W.||Lowther, Maj.-Gen. Sir C. (Penrith)|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Lunn, William|
|Casey, T. W.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Lyle, C. E. Leonard|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hailwood, Augustine||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Birm., W.)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||McCurdy, Rt. Hon. Charles A.|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Halls, Walter||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)|
|Churchill. Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.|
|Clough, Sir Robert||Hancock, John George||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||McMicking, Major Gilbert|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Mallalieu, Frederick William|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Harris, Sir Henry Percy||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Cope, Major William||Hartshorn, Vernon||Manville, Edward|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Hayday, Arthur||Mason, Robert|
|Matthews, David||Rees, Capt. J. Tudor- (Barnstaple)||Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Middlebrook, Sir William||Remer, J. R.||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)|
|Mitchell, Sir William Lane||Rendall, Athelstan||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.||Robertson, John||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)||Tillett, Benjamin|
|Morden, Col. W. Grant||Rodger, A. K.||Townshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers|
|Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Rose, Frank H.||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Morris, Richard||Royce, William Stapleton||Vickers, Douglas|
|Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund||Waddington, R.|
|Murchison, C. K.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Wallace, J.|
|Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Myers, Thomas||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor|
|Naylor, Thomas Ellis||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)|
|Neal, Arthur||Seager, Sir William||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Seddon, J. A.||Waring, Major Walter|
|Newson, Sir Percy Wilson||Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)||Sexton, James||Warren, Sir Alfred H.|
|Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
|O'Connor, Thomas P||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Parker, James||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Sitch, Charles H.||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry||Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Pearce, Sir William||Smith, Sir Malcolm (Orkney)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)||Windsor, Viscount|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Spencer, George A.||Wise, Frederick|
|Perkins, Walter Frank||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Perring, William George||Starkey, Captain John Raiph||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Strauss, Edward Anthony||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Pratt, John William||Sugden, W. H.||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|Purchase, H. G.||Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Rae, H. Norman||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Raeburn, Sir William H.||Sutton, John Edward||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Swan, J. E.||Col. Leslie Wilson and Mr. Dudley Ward.|
|Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N.||Taylor, J.|
|Redmond, Captain William Archer||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S.||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome|
|Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Moles, Thomas|
|Archer-Shee. Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Dixon, Captain Herbert||Murray, Hon. Gideon (St. Rollox)|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)|
|Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gretton, Colonel John||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Pain, Brig.-Gen. Sir W. Hacket|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Pennefather, De Fonblangue|
|Blair, Sir Reginald||Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W.D'by)||Poison, Sir Thomas A.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Remnant, Sir James|
|Brown, Major D. C.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Sharman-Crawford, Robert G.|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's)||Lindsay, William Arthur||Stewart, Gershom|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Lowther, Major C. (Cumberland, N.)||Whitla, Sir William|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Lynn, R. J.||Wilson, Field-Marshal Sir Henry|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||M'Connell, Thomas Edward||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Cory, Sir C. J. (Cornwall, St. Ives)||McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)|
|Craig, Capt. C. C. (Antrim, South)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Reid and Viscount Curzon.|
Bill read the Third time, and passed.