§ Mr. GWYNNE
I beg to move, "That this House do now adjourn."
It is with some reluctance and with a feeling of responsibility that I move the Adjournment of the House to-night, in order to call attention to the failure of the Government to take adequate steps to secure, the, release of three officers of the British Army who have been kidnapped in Ireland. The facts, as far as I know them, are these: On Thursday, 27th April last, three officers, whose names and whose regiments for obvious reasons I shall not mention, were, motoring in County Cork. They got as far as Macroom, when they were surrounded by armed rebels and kidnapped, and from that day to this, as far as I know, nothing has been heard of them. It is not in order to make political capital or to try to show that the peace of Ireland has broken down, that I raise this question. It is too serious to do so when men's lives are in danger, as these men's lives are in danger at this moment, but I ask the House to realise what the feelings of the relations and parents of these officers must be. I saw a communication to-day from the mother of one of these officers—a piteous appeal. She does not know whether they are alive or dead, and, indeed, had they been in some savage part of Africa their fate could not be surrounded with greater mystery, nor could the uncertainty regarding them be more horrible than it is. It is because I feel the time has arrived when this House should realise its responsibility and should ask the Government to explain what they are doing to protect our troops and the loyalists in Ireland that I feel bound to raise and to press this question to-night.
What is the policy of the Government? They tell the House that an arrangement 2295 was made that the troops should be evacuated from Ireland, but at the present time we do not seem to be pursuing a policy either of evacuation or occupation. If we evacuated, in the ordinary sense of the word, it would surely be, from the military point of view, a criminal act to leave outposts, or small numbers of men, unprotected in various areas under the conditions at present prevailing in Ireland. After all, the soldiers are sent there, and have got to stay there, and I always understood it to be one of the first duties of a Government to see that the men who are serving them in this way do not risk their lives unnecessarily, and are not sacrificed without any precautions being taken. I leave the military point of view to be dealt with by my hon. and gallant Friend who will second this Motion, only making this remark. I do not know whether the soldiers still remaining in Ireland are allowed to go about armed, or whether they have to take precautions against attacks by armed rebels, but I ask the Leader of the House, when he comes to reply, to tell us, from the military point of view, whether the men still remaining in Ireland consider that peace or war exists there. If there be war, the Government are directly responsible for allowing these men to be taken in this way. If there is supposed to be peace, why are we not having actual peace?
Let me point out another factor which is very material at the present time. In order to bring about this so-called peace, all Sinn Fein prisoners were released, whether they were in this country or in Ireland, and, as far as I know, were released unconditionally. There were shut up here something like 1,000 men who were so dangerous that they were not allowed to go about Ireland during the time when we had all our troops there, when we had police there, and when we had some opportunity of protecting our soldiers. These men, after their release, immediately swarmed over Ireland, burning, pillaging and murdering, and naturally, after having previously been captured and put in prison, one of their first objects is to try to go for those men who brought about their captivity. They are free to go about Ireland, and to wreak their vengeance on the very men who got them shut up, and who are sill in Ireland living practically unprotected. That 2296 surely is a very risky proceeding. We have been told many times about regrettable incidents taking place in Ireland. How many hundreds of these regrettable incidents have there been since the truce? Surely it is not unfair to say that the Government were somewhat premature in their rejoicing over the peace which they say they brought about in Ireland.
No doubt the Government will tell us that the Provisional Government is the body responsible for looking after law and order in Ireland, and that it is to the Provisional Government only they can look for getting the release of these officers. Does the Government really think that the Provisional Government have the power at the present time to release these officers I Why, it cannot function in the capital of Ireland. It has not even occupation of the Law Courts there, and cannot look after civilians there. If it cannot function in its own capital, can anyone suggest that the Provisional Government is in a position to protect British citizens in the provinces? We have had clear proof, time after time, that they are unable to do so. The Irish Republican Army has repudiated the Prosional Government, and we have had to sit still and see men who were coming to this country dragged from the boat and taken back by the orders of some rebel body in Ireland. I ask the Leader of the House to tell us how long we are to go on suffering this state of things. How many lives will it be necessary to see sacrificed before some definite step is taken and some firm policy adopted? Is there a single instance to which the Government can point where the Provisional Government have carried out the death sentence on men who have committed murder and had it proved against them? We are told as a fact that a certain number of men have been tried and that sentences have been passed, but we know from evidence we have received that the very next day those men are at large. It is simply a make-belief in order to try and satisfy us over here.
The House should realise its responsibilities and should press the Government to say if there is going to be any limit to this state of affairs. I suppose the election may come in due course, but we do not know when. Are we to go on waiting, are our men to be murdered, 2297 killed, robbed, and butchered in a more savage way than goes on even in Russia, and are we still merely to be told to be satisfied by remembering that the Prime Minister told us as recently as 15th December that Ireland, after this Treaty, was going to bea willing Ireland, radiant because the long quarrel has been settled,because, as he said,by this agreement we win a deep, abiding, passionate loyalty,and because, in future, when we are in trouble,our victory will be her joy"?There surely is a great responsibility on the Government at the present time, and I would appeal especially to-night to those Members in this House who, as I think wrongly, as they think rightly, felt that a trial should be given to this settlement, that something must be done. I would ask them to put themselves in the position of the relations and the parents of these unfortunate officers. Surely the experiment has been tried, surely so far it has failed, and I put it to the House that unless the Government can prove that there is some hope of this state of affairs ceasing, that there is some hope of peace in the very near future, the time has come to reconsider the position and to tell the Provisional Government that, if they cannot function now, other steps must be taken to save this country from the disgrace for which at the present time we are responsible in this House.
If this state of affairs were going on in any other country in the world, we should be looking upon it with amazement. Hon. Members from the benches above the Gangway would be screaming out. I do not forget that not many months ago, when a creamery was burnt down, hon. Members from those benches could not rest day or night about it, but not a word is raised when loyalists, men who have, served throughout the War, men who are still serving their country, are butchered and massacred. Not one word of protest is heard. Those hon. Members protested when a creamery was burnt down. They rose in a body, but they say nothing at all now. [An Hon. MRMBEK: "We voted for your Adjournment Motion to-night."] I do not want to raise feeling over this. It is much too serious, but I ask the House, Is there an hon. Member now who would 2298 go over to Ireland or allow his family to go over under existing conditions, and, if not, what right have they to sit still here and allow these loyalists to be treated in the way in which they are being treated? I trust we shall have some satisfactory explanation. Unless we do, I shall feel bound to divide the House on this question as a protest against the continued delay on the part of the Government in securing that everything is being done that is possible for the protection of our troops in Ireland.
Field-Marshal Sir HENRY WILSON
I beg to second the Motion.
I rise to ask if the Government would in some manner define a situation which is at least difficult to understand, and I would like to ask two or three questions of the Government. What are our troops doing in Ireland? They certainly are not there to maintain law and order. Our troops, so far as my knowledge goes—and it is public knowledge—have been withdrawn from all the outlying stations, and are now grouped in Cork and Dublin, and there may still be a few in the Curragh. It is obvious that the troops grouped in Cork and Dublin are not maintained in the 26 counties to maintain law and order. Then what are our troops in the 26 counties for? Are they there at the request of Mr. Collins? If so, will the Government say so? Will Mr. Collins say so? If they are not, why are they there? We are told that the 26 counties are governed at the present moment by a Provisional Government. If the troops in the 26 counties are not there at the request of Mr. Collins, why are they there I Are they there because there is any difficulty in removing them? I have some experience in the movement of troops, and there is no difficulty whatever in removing the few troops that are still in the 26 counties. Are the troops there at the request of the War Office? I am not in a position to say whether they are or whether they are not, but I imagine that the War Office would be only too glad to get their troops back into England, where they could be properly trained and properly housed, and join their families. If, then, they are not there to maintain law and order, if they are not there at the request of the Provisional Government, if they are not there because of the difficulties of removing them, if they are not there at 2299 the request of the War Office, then why are they there?
May I venture to make a guess? It is a guess, because I do not know, but no doubt some Member of the Cabinet could give us some reason why they are there. May I venture to make a guess? It is this. His Majesty's Government have some doubts as to whether or not Mr. Michael Collins will be able to make a Provisional Government, and, in the event of his not being able to do so, they think it might be a precaution to hold the towns of Dublin and Cork and the ports of Dublin and Queenstown. Surely the House of Commons has the right to know why the troops are in the 26 counties. The Government say they have made representations to the Provisional Government, and they are quite sure that the Provisional Government are doing all that is possible for the release of these three officers. But are the lives of our soldiers in the care of the Provisional Government of Ireland? Have the Government at Westminster handed over the troops now quartered in Ireland to the orders of the Provisional Government, and if they have not—and they have not—then are not the lives of our soldiers in Ireland the responsibility of the Government at Westminster? When the responsibility for the lives of these officers and men is directly on the shoulders of the Government at Westminster, what is the object, what is the use of saying that representations have been made to a Government who are not responsible for the lives of men, the responsibility for whose lives rests on the Government in this House?
Have the Government not yet learnt their lesson about Ireland? Can they not yet see that a Provisional Government, which is not able to eject a small handful of men from the Four Courts in Dublin and Kilmainham Gaol, is totally unable to govern 3,500,000 souls in the 26 counties? Have the Government not yet learnt their lesson about Ireland? How many more murders must be committed in Ireland before the Government realise the true situation of that country? We are dealing to-night with the question of officers and men. May I suggest that some Cabinet Minister should go over to Ireland, and, if necessary, beseech the Provisional Government to grant the lives of our soldiers in that 2300 country? [An HON. MEMBER: "Send all the Ministers."] If, as may be the case— and God forbid!—these three officers have already been murdered, on what body of men lies the responsibility for their lives? As I see it, the whole world is looking on at the present moment at a manifestation of incompetence, and, if I may be allowed in this House to say so, of cowardice, which will surely bear fruit in all the other parts of our great Empire. Therefore, I would ask the Government, as they are responsible for the lives of these poor men who are ordered to remain in Ireland, not at the request of Mr. Collins, not for purposes of law and order, not at the beseechings of the War Office—I would ask the Government who are responsible for their lives to take some action which will insure their lives.
§ Captain Viscount CURZON
I speak to-night as an ex-service man in this House, and I do not in the least understand, after the two able speeches to which we have listened, what reply the Government can possibly made. There is one thing I would ask them to do, and that is, as was suggested by the hon. and gallant Field-Marshal, do, for Heaven's sake, one of you—I do not care which—go over to Ireland in person, and get in touch. You will not do anything by making representations to the Provisional Government by means of the cable. Let them prove that the Government have, as we know they have, the courage of their convictions. Let them be men, and find out over there for themselves what is happening. Nothing is more disgraceful than to see a Government here in Westminster make representations to a Provisional Government, and dare not go over there for themselves and see what is happening. You may say it is unnecessary, because you can get members of the Provisional Government to come over here. Can you? Have you any assurance from them that they have any power to carry out your representations? They have not. Then, why make representations to them? We were told the other day in this House that the Irish Republican Army at Macroom, where these three officers and one driver were captured, does not acknowledge the Provisional Government. Then why make representations to them? What is the good of it?
The only thing to do is to make up your minds, Are you going to enforce law 2301 and order, or are you going to give the country to anarchy? But for goodness sake tell the country where we stand. This motor-driver may be one of my constituents. I find the greatest possible difficulty in putting questions in this House about this case. I tried to put a question about the troops in Ireland today, and I was told I could not put it as a Private Notice question. It must go on the Paper, and I am not sure it will pass the Table. I beg the Government to let the country know where they stand, because every Englishmen worthy of the name is ashamed of the state of affairs going on in Ireland. We hope for the best. We cannot go back on what has been done so far, but what we can do is to provide for the future, and I beg the Government to do what they can, and what lies in their power, to safeguard the lives of our soldiers, and, indeed, of some of our sailors, too, in Ireland.
§ Lieut.-Colonel ARCHER-SHEE
I only rise to ask the Leader of the House to say something in his reply as to the reasons why we agreed to withdraw all our troops from Ireland before the Provisional Government had really established themselves in force. If we were going to make an agreement with rebels in Ireland, which I voted against, and would vote against again if I had the opportunity, it was not fair to hand over the government of a country like Ireland, with three and a half million people, to expect a Government to be formed and begun, and, at the same time, take away all the men by which law and order were preserved. Surely it was necessary to have some intervening time, to say that there should be at least a year or some time like it, during which the Provisional Government should have time to raise a police force to take the place of the Royal Irish Constabulary, which we have been engaged in disbanding this afternoon, and to raise an armed force to back up the police, to have garrisons at certain places, and so on. It was not fair to the Provisional Government. What we should like to know from the Leader of the House, if he can tell us, is why the Government of this country agreed to allow the Provisional Government to take over Ireland on the condition that we were to withdraw our troops at once. They must have known, even if Mr. 2302 Collins and his collaborators did not know, having been engaged in governing the oldest country in the British Empire, that it would be utterly impossible for any Government to carry on without a proper police force, and troops, and garrisons to support that police force. That being so, why did they agree to withdraw troops in Ireland before the Provisional Government had made the necessary rearrangements?
As it is, what we now see is that the Provisional Government—and we give them credit for what they have said they are wishful to do in regard to the matter—are trying to enforce law and order, to do their best in this regard, to arrest the men who have committed murders since the truce, to protect the loyalists, but to what effect? Mr. Collins has issued a magniloquent manifesto, granting an amnesty to those who fought against the so-called Irish Republic, and so on. I give the Provisional Government credit for really meaning what they say, but it is a fact that they have been unable to do any of these things. Even in Dublin itself, as has been pointed out by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Down (Sir H. Wilson), they cannot turn out the men who have seized some of the most important buildings in the City. In other parts of the country they have got absolutely no power whatever. The insurgent Irish Republican Army are turning out disbanded constabulary who have gone back to live peaceably at their own homes; loyalists are being turned out by these insurgents. I read out cases this afternoon in which disbanded Irish constables were ordered out of Ireland by men who had taken over the local barracks on behalf of the Provisional Government. While apparently acting on behalf of the Provisional Government they are driving out men of the Royal Irish Constabulary who have been disbanded, and who have been promised protection by the Provisional Government itself. The whole of the chaos which exists in Ireland to-day is due, not only to some other obvious causes, but to the insurgency that existed before the truce, but is due at this moment principally to the action of the Government signing an agreement by which to withdraw the forces which are the only forces, whatever Government is in power, by which law and order can be maintained in any country at any time. I trust the right hon. Gen- 2303 tleman in his reply will say a few words to explain why it is that this state of affairs should have arisen.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
I hope very much that the Government will be able to clear up some of the doubts which are strongly felt by some of its best supporters.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
Recent events have constituted a very serious strain upon loyalty. What has caused this? Three officers have been kidnapped. Probably in any other country in the world if that had happened there would have been an ultimatum to the Government of that country, and it might have been followed by actual war at once, unless some reparation or restitution was made. I admit that the circumstances in relation to Ireland make the thing exceedingly difficult, but this House does require an assurance—and I earnestly hope the Government will be in a position to give it—that they have taken really serious action so that it may be represented to the world, and not only to the Irish people, that British officers cannot be kidnapped in this way; that for the strength and dignity of this country—to put it merely on that ground—this cannot be allowed to go on. It is idle to pretend that there is no responsibility on the Government in relation to the troops. I hope that at a very early moment some speaker on behalf of the Government will give the assurance the House so earnestly wishes. This is a matter on which some of us who support the Government most loyally cannot continue to give that support unless it can be shown by proof that the difficulties are insuperable and that the Government have made every possible effort to get over them. I am quite certain that the loyal supporters of the Government would not ask them to do anything impossible. All they ask is that proof shall be given to the House that sincerely, honestly, and with courage they are prepared to face the responsibility thrown upon them. If the Government can give that assurance, they can rely upon the loyalty of their supporters.
§ Mr. INSKIP
The House, I think, has been anxious to hear what the right hon.
2304 Gentleman the Leader of the House, or the Government speaker, has to say on this question. Everybody has witnessed the reluctance of hon. Members to intervene in this Debate in the absence of that full information which the House has a right to expect from the Government as to the steps which are being taken. My hon. Friend has voiced the opinion of a great many when he says that, in the absence of some sort of assurance, we shall find ourselves in a difficulty in supporting the Government. For myself, I have not intervened at an earlier stage because I felt sure that at the earliest moment the Government would give us that information which would allay our doubts and correct our lack of knowledge so that we might be comforted in the support which we are anxious to give to the Government. Many of us on these and on the opposite benches supported the Government in enacting the Bill to approve of the Irish Treaty. We realise that the Provisional Government and our own Government are in difficulties during the transitional period in Ireland, and we realise that questions must arise which would perplex anybody, but the great principle which emerges on all these occasions, surely, is, that whatever difficulties present themselves the security of a British subject must be preserved. I recall words, which many hon. Members will recollect, which were used in this House on a famous occasion by Lord Palmerston, who said:A British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him against any injustice and wrong.It would be intolerable if the safety of the British subject were to be less respected in a part of the King's dominions than in a foreign country. It may be asked—What right have the Government to interfere at the present time? It may be said that the constitutional difficulties are insuperable, and having transferred their powers to the Provisional Government of the Free State it is impossible for our Ministers to intervene. I do not take that view. My information is necessarily imperfect, but taking our information as it is, some of us hold the opinion that the Government might have done more. We may not know all that has been done, but let us know at the earliest moment what has been done, and what representations have been addressed 2305 to the Provisional Government. Let us know the full force which is behind the words that have been used in order that the Provisional Government may understand that these British subjects, these British officers, are under the protection of our Government wherever they may go, or wherever they may be.
The matter is not without precedent. There are hon. Members in this House who will remember a Debate which I remember as a member of the public and not as a Member of this House early in 1906, shortly after the Liberal Government came into power, in connection with a very grave interference with the administration of the Government of Natal. The interference which then took place, which was severely criticised in some parts of the House because Lord Elgin as Secretary of State for the Colonies had intervened to prevent the execution of a number of natives who had murdered British police officers. The Government of Natal had gone so far as to permit the execution of these natives, but instead of leaving it to the internal administration of the Government of Natal, our Government addressed a direction to the Governor that the execution of those natives should be suspended until our Government, and not the Natal Government, was satisfied that the proper forms of law had been observed.
These, are the words which the present Secretary of State for the Colonies used in relation to what he conceived to be the duty of this House to protect even South African natives if we were not sure that they were being accorded the justice which is the right of a British citizen. On the 2nd of April, 1906, the right hon. Gentleman, then Under-Secretary for the Colonies, said:I am not going to attempt to plunge into the mazes of a constitutional argument as to the relation of the mother country with the Colonies … but I cannot accept on behalf of the Government for one moment the doctrine that we have absolutely no responsibility.But the right hon. Gentleman used even more emphatic words as to our duty with regard to these 12 natives. He said:We should not be deterred from possessing ourselves beforehand of all that information on these grave matters which we are bound to possess if we are to do our duty by the native races,—2306 It is that grave duty which I now call upon the Government to fulfil. Continuing, the right hon. Gentleman said:If we are to do our duty by the native races, who are after all British subjects, who after all look to the Throne for protection, and to whose well being while they are under the national flag, no one who regards the honour and, indeed, the safety of his country can be indifferent.Those were striking words to be used by a Minister of the Crown with regard to native subjects in so far off a country as South Africa. If we apply those words to these officers and British subjects who, across a narrow channel, have been taken probably to their death, we can appreciate the gravity of the situation, and we can use the words which the right- hon. Gentleman used, and say not only the honour of the country, but the safety of the country begins to be in danger. I do not suppose the right hon. Gentleman will say that the Government have no responsibility. He may say that they have a responsibility, but that they will do nothing more than address a communication to the Provisional Government. At any rate let us know what has been said and what replies have been received. Let us know what the Provisional Government have to say as to the extent of their powers to protect these officers. If the Government say they have no responsibility, or having responsibility they can do nothing effective, that will indeed be a sorrowful confession, and if that is the case, then I venture to say that the proud tradition of the security of the British subject will be an unhappy memory and the greatest possession which this House has ever given up.
Mr. CHAMBERLAIN (Leader of the House)
I hope that no hon. Member will think that I was slow to respond because I did not rise to speak the moment my hon. Friend (Mr. Gwynne) had moved and the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Sir Henry Wilson) had seconded the Motion for the Adjournment. I had undertaken to answer on behalf of the Government, and I hope I was not unreasonable in thinking that it was only fair that I should hoar the Debate develop, in order to know the character of the criticisms which I had to meet. Therefore I did not want to exhaust my right to speak at the very beginning of the Debate, when other aspects might be developed and other criticisms brought forward in the time that remained. I should like to have 2307 waited a little longer, in order to be more fully possessed of the views and anxieties of all sections of the House, but after listening to the speeches which have been made I did not like to delay any longer.
Let me say at once that I have no sort of criticism to offer in regard to the con-duet of my hon. Friend in bringing a matter of this kind before the House, or of requiring from the Government an explanation of its attitude. Neither can I make any criticism of the language in which he introduced and supported his Motion. He spoke with a moderation, with an absence of passion, which is not incompatible with a profound emotion, and which I hope others who take part in this Debate will be able to equal in any observations that they make. What has taken place in Ireland, illustrated by the kidnapping of these three officers and the soldier who was driving them, and by other events more certainly tragic in their conclusion, stirs the hearts of us all, makes us profoundly anxious and uncomfortable, and, I think, might easily lead us, in the depth of the feelings which such savage and lawless deeds arouse, to commit blunders of statecraft and policy that might prejudice all issues which lie between Ireland and this country and the future of both our communities. I wish that I could give to the House information about these officers and the soldier who accompanied them. We have done our best to get news of their whereabouts, and we have failed. Immediately on news reaching us, a communication was sent to the Provisional Government, the gravity of the incident was pointed out to them, and steps were taken to impress upon them their duty to do everything in their power to secure the immediate release of these officers, and, on the part of our representatives, to gain information about them.
Since my hon. Friend gave notice of his Motion to-day, I have been trying to gather the latest information. My only regret, on the occasion of this Debate, is that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies is not present. I regret it, not merely on personal grounds, either as regards himself or me, but because, as he has been the Minister immediately concerned in all our relations with the Provisional Government, he would have been in a better position 2308 to deal with this incident in its relation to the whole than I, who have not had the daily and constant touch with the subject which he has had, and whose information, therefore, in regard to a good many details, has to be acquired rather for the purposes of the Debate, and is not the result of daily experience and knowledge. The House will excuse me if I am not, therefore, quite as perfect in the story that I tell of events, or in my capacity to give information, as my right hon. Friend would have been. As I have said, since I had notice of the Debate I have been trying to get the latest information. I have a message from Ireland that General Macready and Colonel Brind went yesterday and interviewed the British officer who is conducting the inquiry, in connection with the disappearance of the three officers, with the Sinn Feiners. They also saw the Sinn Fein representatives—the representatives both of those who are loyal in their adherence to the Provisional Government and those who have disavowed its authority and are in open resistance to it. Both assured these officers that they had no further news of the officers concerned, and that they knew nothing of their fate. Both sides gave to General Macready and the officer who accompanied him the assurance that every possible step was being taken to unravel the mystery. General Macready, I am informed, is inclined to think that genuine efforts are being made by both sides—that is to say, both Irish parties, those who support the Provisional Government and those who are opposed to it—to ascertain what really happened to the officers.
Hon. Gentlemen who have spoken have asked me various questions, directed, sometimes, from entirely opposite standpoints. One hon. Member asked me why any troops are withdrawn from Ireland. Another hon. Member asked me why any troops are kept in Ireland. My hon. Friend who moved the Motion asked why small bodies of troops were kept in exposed positions. My hon. and gallant Friend, who seconded, stated, quite correctly, that small bodies of troops in exposed positions had all been withdrawn, and that the troops had been concentrated, I think, in Dublin or in Cork, though, like him, I am uncertain whether there may not still be some more troops at the Curragh. Those troops are in process of ordinary evacuation from Ire- 2309 land, but, in the present unsettled conditions, does my hon. Friend or does my hon. and gallant Friend really think that it would be desirable that we should take special steps to hasten the departure of these bodies of troops that still remain in Dublin or in Cork? I must say, for my part, that I think it would be desirable that, while the position is still as it is, while there is so much to give rise to anxiety and care, those positions should not be wholly left, and that we should still have some British troops in that part of Ireland, or that, at any rate, we should not carry out the evacuation faster than we had originally intended. The troops, however, are concentrated in these two, or, at most, three areas. They are not in scattered bodies. Where they were exposed, they were ordered by General Macready, a little before Easter, to observe all military precautions. The precautions observed before the signature of the Treaty were to be resumed at once. I do not think my hon. Friend supposed that these officers, when kidnapped, were actually on military duty. I understand that they left Cork to visit friends in the Macroom area, that they visited one friend, that they then proceeded to Macroom, and that in all probability, I think almost as a certainty, it was in Macroom that they were captured.
No. They were not on duty at the time, but were intending to pay a private visit to certain friends of theirs when they were captured.
I presume he was. My answer to my hon. Friend, therefore, is that in the first place we have taken the precaution of concentrating the troops and not leaving them in scattered and isolated bodies, and in the second place, shortly before Easter the Commander-in-Chief had issued instructions that they were to observe all military precautions. Of course, you cannot confine officers and men to barracks for an unlimited time, but, short of making life intolerable, they were ordered to observe all military precautions for their security, the situation being considered dangerous. Then my hon. Friend suggests that these outrages are committed by the men who 2310 were held here and released, in some cases with no charges preferred against them. I think he is mistaken in supposing that these outrages are in the main committed by the men who were most prominent in the fighting against us, and he is certainly mistaken if he assumes that all those who fought against us and suffered at our hands in fighting against us are now our bitter enemies or wish to pursue a vendetta. [An HON. MEMBER: "He did not say so."] My hon. Friend will himself correct me if I misrepresent him, which he knows I am not anxious to do. I am not anxious in a matter of this kind to make debating points against him or anyone. I am anxious to tell the House what is the position as far as I know it and to satisfy their desire for information. It would be a mistake if he attributes these outrages in particular to the men who were released, or even supposes that those who were most prominent in fighting against us when we were fighting are necessarily the men who are guilty of the hideous outrages which have disgraced Ireland since the signature of the Treaty.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
I merely pointed out that one of the dangers which our troops are in was the release of thousands of men whom we had confined in gaol here, and that naturally they might be expected to seek revenge on our officers.
I think that is not so, and I think some of those men who were released have been amongst the stoutest defenders of the Treaty or agreement which was signed. I have just received the information that the military driver of the car was not in uniform any more than the officers whom he was driving. Thai; is the best information the War Office has got. My hon. Friend asked whether we do not think this experiment has been tried long enough, and whether we ought not to tell the Provisional Government at once that we are now going to take other steps. I think that is the real issue before the House to-night, and a graver issue we could not have to consider and decide. Our hearts are all on one side, but we must consult our heads as well as our hearts before we take an irrevocable decision on a question of vital importance, on a question which involves on the one side patience under great provocation in pursuing through a period of extra- 2311 ordinary, but as we hope, temporary, difficulty, the peace effort which we initiated last year, and which this House approved last year and reapproved and affirmed this year, or whether we are now, under the impression of horror derived from this or that murder, this or that kidnapping, to throw the experiment up here and now, to declare the Treaty at an end, to step in, to reassume the duty of preserving law and order and the whole responsibility of Government in the 26 counties of Ireland.
That is really the issue that is before the House to-night. I feel deeply and profoundly about these outrages. I am not less moved, because I have other responsibilities, by thoughts of the sufferings of their relatives. I am not less moved by the thought of what we owe to these men and of our impotence to pay our debt to them. I could make with a full heart the speeches which I have heard from hon. Members, but I beg the House to think of the larger issue and even, amidst the pain and anguish that exists, to keep its eyes fixed on the great result which may yet be obtained, which I think will be obtained, which the great majority of the House has twice on set occasions expressed its desire to obtain, and which, if obtained, will mean an accession of unity to the Empire, of strength and influence to the British name, and the extension of peace not in Ireland alone, but throughout all the countries where the English language is spoken such as no other single act of statesmanship could give. All that is in the balance. I understand hon. Members who voted against it, I understand hon. Members who from the first thought this policy wrong, who believed that it would fail, that, if it succeeded, success would be almost more dangerous than failure, I understand hon. Members who take that view seizing upon any incident and using it to bring the experiment to an end. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!" and "Withdraw!" Other HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]
§ Rear-Admiral Sir R. HALL rose—
Will my hon. Friends allow me? I think they see that I am not attempting to say anything—
—which is offensive. Let me put my thought in different words, words which, I hope, will give no offence. The subject is far too big to be prejudiced by the clumsiness of a speaker—[HON. MEMBERS: "Not the Leader of the House!"]—the subject is far too big to be prejudiced by the clumsiness of any speaker, in a speech which hon. Members will recognise is necessarily unprepared and impromptu. Hon. Members will believe me when I say that I am seeking to put my case without offence to anyone. Let me try to put my thought in this way. I understand men who thought this wrong, who from the first have thought and urged that, even if temporarily it succeeded, success would lead to ultimate and worse failure, and in that sense would be even more disastrous than failure; I can understand those people being convinced—they needed no conviction—but being reinforced in their conviction, that it is a mistake we ought never to have committed, and that having committed it we ought to reverse it at the first moment at which we can do so. I can understand that, but what I cannot understand, and what I hope is not the case, is that the great majority of the House who wanted the experiment and approved its initiation, who after some months' interval passed the Act establishing the Provisional Government, should at once, because neither they nor we can restore peace or order in this unhappy country, immediately abandon the hope, go back on their own policy and renounce it, with all the prospect in the light of which they and we went into the Lobby together in support of this Measure. By the Act of this House and of Parliament we have transferred the primary responsibility for law and order, the protection of life, and the protection of property in Southern Ireland, to the Provisional Government just as much as we have transferred the same responsibility in the six counties to the Government of Northern Ireland. Theirs is that duty, and they acknowledge it, but it would be idle to pretend, for them or for me to pretend, that throughout all the 26 counties at this moment they have the power to discharge all the elementary duties of all civilised Governments. But the Provisional Government has shown in all its communications an earnest desire to give 2313 this protection, a profound regret for these outrages which have been committed, and a willingness to do all that lies within its power in order to right the wrongs and bring the criminals to justice.
Not without success in some cases. There are a good many cases. There are cases where property wrongfully seized has been returned in whole or in part. There are some eases, at any rate, where men threatened and ordered to leave the country, as described by my hon. Friend and as is within the knowledge of us all, have been successfully protected by the Provisional Government against those threats; and though this Motion arises especially on these three kidnapped officers, I know the minds of Members, and sometimes in their speeches they go back to other incidents of recent occurrence which are part of the same reign of disorder and of tyranny, and which influence their judgment. Take the murders of those Protestants in the Dunmanway district the other day. I think I have here some illustrations of the way in which these outrages were treated by the Provisional Government. The following statement was printed in the "Freeman" of the 29th April:In connection with the murders in Dunmanway, Ballineen, and Clonakilty the Cabinet of Dail Eireamn issued the following last evening: 'The Dail Cabinet desires to express its abhorrence of the murders committed in South Cork. Every effort is being made to bring the culprits-to justice, and all the resources of the Dail and of the Provisional Government will be used to that end. It is appreciated that certain elements in the community'"—and I beg the House to mark this, which is profoundly true and the essence of the present situation—'It is appreciated that certain elements in the community are taking advantage of the present transitional period in Ireland to wreak private vengeance in the hope that under the unsettled conditions they may escape justice. It is the first concern of the Dail and of the Provisional Government to secure their capture and trial. Every good citizen is exhorted to assist in apprehending the murderers of innocent people. The Irish nation consists of no one class or creed. It combines all, and whosoever injures or seeks to injure a fellow citizen because of his class or creed is an enemy of the nation, and will be treated by the Government as such. 2314 To put down outrage and murder and to ensure to every citizen security and personal liberty is the prime duty of Governments. So far as power resides in our hands we shall assert this duty, and we are confident that all true Irishmen will assist us in so doing.'
In the organ, "The Free State," supporting the Provisional Government, they wrote as follows. I quote this because there is in the mind of some hon. Gentlemen an idea that no effort is being made by the Provisional Government to bring murderers to justice. It is one thing to say that the Provisional Government are indifferent or that they connive, and it is another thing to say that they have no power.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
Is it not the fact that the Provisional Government did not punish any criminals, and that even in those cases where convictions were obtained they were released the next day?
I asked my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary, but he could not give any information which would confirm the hon. Member's statement. "The Free State," the organ of the Provisional Government, writes:It is a stain on the glory of Cork that such unspeakable deeds should be done when the custody of life is in the hands of the people themselves. It is a sad and bitter reproach to all Ireland, and it is not rendered the less bitter because it is only one startling and concentrated flashlight on the many semi-political murders that are being committed up and down the country week after week. We must be honest and courageous with ourselves and not hide from ourselves the fact that our war has produced the aftermath of moral chaos that all wars always produce, and we should take all these frightful crimes as a lesson that Peace is the way of life and should be chosen except in the last extremity in preference to war. We need not let ourselves be swept away in an unintelligent reaction, but we must, every one of us and not only Governments or parties, make up our minds that we must have peace and that murder must stop. Ireland looks to the people of Cork to show that they are decent Christians by dealing justly with the perpetrators of this crime.I cite this, and I might cite other protests to show that the Provisional Government has denounced actively and strongly, in language that we ourselves should use, the perpetrators of these crimes, and, in 2315 such language as we ourselves should use in similar circumstances, they have declared their determination to pursue and to bring to justice the perpetrators.
Now I come to the question of ability. I would ask the House to remember the difficulties under which the Provisional Government work. They are a Provisional Government. The Treaty which we signed with their representatives in London has not yet been submitted to the mass of the Irish people. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] It is believed, and I believe, that the vast mass of the Irish people are in favour of its acceptance, and that a growing proportion recognise that the majority are in favour of acceptance and that the will of the majority should prevail. In the meantime, however, a section of the old Irish Republican Army or of new recruits who have joined it, are in revolt against the Provisional Government. They have denounced its authority, and the Provisional Government has not yet been able to establish its authority throughout the country. At this moment negotiations between the two parties have been resumed. I do not know whether they will be successful. We may be on the eve of a very critical situation which may result in a real clash at any moment in Ireland between the forces supporting the Provisional Government and the forces who are resisting it. Under these circumstances is it always possible for the Provisional Government, throughout all Ireland, in districts where their authority has not yet been established and where they have not yet the power or the force to establish it, to ensure justice, to prevent crime or to bring the perpetrators of crime to justice?
After all, there have been in other places other murders, and the prevention of the crime and the detection of the criminals and the bringing of them to justice has not proved so easy a task. Have we a right to impute apathy or connivance to the Provisional Government because, in their extraordinarily difficult position, they have not yet been able to establish order? I do not desire to speak with too great optimism, but I believe and I profoundly hope that the power of the Provisional Government, which is a Government of peace and of good will, is growing and that, given a 2316 little time, they will get a clear mandate from the Irish people and will establish their authority throughout the whole of the twenty-six counties; and that, with the establishment of their authority, they will bring back justice and put down crime. They cannot do it all at once.
Then my hon. Friends ask me, "Will not the British Government act?" My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Central Bristol (Mr. Inskip) quoted a famous and rather rhetorical passage of Lord Palmerston, and then became as eloquent and almost as rhetorical as the model which he had taken. If a foreign Government does not try to protect our subjects, we should take strong action, but if a foreign Government is doing its best to protect our subjects and to bring those who have wronged them to justice then, because that country at the moment is in a state of rebellion, emerging from a civil war and verging on another, we should not go to war with them. I do not see, therefore, why we should have less patience and consideration with the Provisional Government of Ireland. [Interruption.] I think the House will see that I am trying to cover the ground, but hon. Members are so anxious that I should always deal with the point to which I have not yet come. If I get as favourable attention as the criticisms with which I am dealing at the moment received, I shall feel more confidence, when I come, to deal with the points which they desire, that they will pay any attention to what I say.
That is the position. "Why do you not do something?" asks an hon. Member. I ask the House very seriously to consider, very gravely to consider, what is happening. We have no police force in Ireland with which we can help these officers. [Interruption.] If my hon. Friend will permit me, I am not now dealing with the past or trying to justify the past.
I am responsible for it. I stand here to-day twice challenged in the House by the hon. Member and others. I stand here with my responsibility covered and approved, my action endorsed by a great majority—
—of the party which was good enough to place its confidence in me and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Glasgow (Mr. Bonar Law). The great majority of the party to which the hon. Member used to belong—
I am not going to justify my action in the past—action which the House has approved. That is not relevant to the subject of our Debate this evening, except in so far as the action taken by the Government in the past, and embodied by Parliament in the Act establishing the Provisional Government, limits our rights or our powers to act at this moment. I am not asking the House to discuss again the question, nor am I asking my hon. Friends to try again the question of whether we were right in signing the Treaty. We are not asking whether we should give the Irish Free State (Agreement) Act a Second Reading or a Third Reading. We arc asking whether the Government ought to take and could take effectively some steps at this moment, in the circumstances in which we now stand, which would cause the release of these officers or give greater protection to the lives of those who are serving us in Ireland. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Down (Sir H. Wilson) spoke quietly, but in strong language. He talked of our incompetence. That is a charge which is brought against every Government and every Minister. I invite my hon. and gallant Friend and my other hon. Friends to consider what the Government could do, and what the consequences would be.
Does anybody think that my colleagues are deterred from going to Ireland by personal cowardice? Surely the House does not believe such a thing. If anyone of us thought that we could be more effective by going over to Ireland at this moment, of course, we 2318 would go gladly. That suggestion really is unworthy. I am asking my hon. Friends and those who support them in this demand that we should take some Steps, owing to the admitted inability of the Provisional Government to give protection in all parts of Ireland, to consider what their advice tends to, and what must be the inevitable results of their advice.
§ Sir H. WILSON
May I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that, as he has admitted the inability to look after our soldiers, he should take a further step, and that is to withdraw the soldiers.
I do not think my hon. and gallant Friend is quite fair. These soldiers were not kidnapped while on duty. I have already put it to the House that the question of withdrawing troops from Cork or from any other part of Ireland is one that must be reviewed from time to time, and is so reviewed. We concentrate the troops in two places; we have not left them scattered about unprotected, but for reasons I have given we think it would be undesirable to hasten the process of evacuation on which we have decided in the present unsettled condition of Ireland. I suspect that if we had withdrawn the troops my hon. and gallant Friend would not have been the last person to criticise us for that action. I ask the House to consider that we no longer have control of the constabulary. We no longer have in every village, in every town, in every city, police, and in many places up and down the country military assistance at their backs if they require it. We have deliberately, and the House with us, transferred this primary responsibility to the Provisional Government. My belief is that the Provisional Government are doing their best to exercise it. I believe that presently they will be able to exercise it fully, and will give this protection.
Do you want us to step in at this moment and say to the Provisional Government: "You have failed. The thing is at an end. The Provisional Government is at an end. We come in to restore law and order." If you want that, that is what every enemy of the Treaty in Southern Ireland, every supporter of Mr. De Valera against Mr. Collins and Mr. Griffith is praying that they may induce us or compel us to do. These outrages are largely committed by 2319 men as hostile to the Treaty as my hon. and gallant Friend himself, but far less scrupulous in their methods of attack. They are as hostile as my hon. and gallant Friend, but they are wholly unscrupulous in their methods of attack. They want to bring the British Government once more into the struggle in order that they may represent the struggle, not as it is now between Irishmen who are in favour of peace within the British Empire, and in favour of law and order within their own country and under their own Government, and men who are disputing and agitating against both these ends; they want to bring back again the old struggle between this country and Ireland.
For Heaven's sake, with all our bitter memories, with all our failures, and with all our ill-success, do let us give the Provisional Government a chance before we decide that there is nothing for it but to return to the old weary way of trying to dragoon Ireland into peace. I do not want to underrate the anxieties of the present moment or to palliate or excuse any crimes which have been committed, but I do put it to the House that they will not save the lives of loyal subjects in Ireland and they will not save the lives of soldiers by recommencing what must be a civil war, and that if they will not give the Provisional Government a reasonable opportunity to establish its authority, after these years of revolution and of crime, they have no other course open but to go back to where we were on the day when the negotiations were first begun, resume the old warfare, raise the additional men which are necessary to carry it out and, at a loss of life considerably greater and accompanied by an amount of crime not less than before, to fight out the struggle to a bitter finish that will end in subjection but not in reconciliation.
§ Colonel GRETTON
The right hon. Gentleman has taunted my hon. and gallant Friend with making use of the word "cowardice." There is such a thing as moral cowardice. That was the charge which was brought against the Government. What is the issue raised in this Debate? Three officers have been kidnapped in Ireland. What are the Government doing to ascertain what their fate is, and, if possible, to rescue them? We have had no answer. We are told 2320 that there is no news, and the Government to-night have not assisted the House We repudiate the charge, which the right hon. Gentleman brought against the hon. Members who moved and seconded this Motion, and others who have taken part in the Debate, that we have used this occasion to raise the whole Irish Question as a shuttlecock in some game of politics. I hope that our position in this House is known to be more straightforward than the right; hon. Gentleman appears to think.
We do not play, and do not intend to play, some game of double shuffle with the lives of His Majesty's subjects. Far from it. The Debate was raised honestly and straightforwardly to obtain information and, if possible, an assurance from His Majesty's Government. We have had none. Does the right hon. Gentleman, who has drawn a red herring across the path, say that in desiring to take action to secure the lives of soldiers and British subjects in Ireland we are raising the whole Irish Question? I would remind the House that the position which has now arisen is one which the Government has done much to create. How much are you going to stand? Are you going to stand meekly, helplessly, appealing, supplicatingly, in face of every outrage and every crime? Where is this inaction going to stop? Do you not think that the time has come when you might show some more firmness, and indicate your firmness to both parties in Ireland? I do not think that the division is so wide between those parties in Ireland as the right hon. Gentleman appears to indicate. Do you not think that you might in all fairness to the Irish people indicate to them that in certain eventualities they will destroy the Treaty and make intervention inevitable? The only firmness which the right hon. Gentleman shows is to threaten Members of this House with what the consequences would be if they should unhappily vote against His Majesty's Government tonight. The issues to-night are greater and wider than the right hon. Gentleman has chosen to indicate. Is this House always to stand inert in the face of every insult in Ireland to British soldiers and servants of the Crown?
This case to-night is not an isolated one. There are civilians who have been lost, whose lives certainly are in as great 2321 danger as the lives of those officers. We have not raised the whole question. We have been careful to confine ourselves to one issue. The right hon. Gentleman says that we tried to raise the whole Irish Question. If we had thought that that would be in order on this occasion, we should have come down prepared to face the wider issue. Now we are prepared to do so. Will the right hon. Gentleman give us a day to go into the whole position in Ireland—not merely one incident such as may be raised on the Motion for Adjournment at a, quarter past eight, tout all the Irish position as it stands to-day? We want to press His Majesty's Government as to what they are going to do to deal with the situation. Ireland to-day is in a stage of chaos and disorder. Government troops are still there exposed to danger and outrage. If they move from their quarters they are exposed to kidnapping or other violence. Surely it is a military axiom that if you have troops in a country they must be allowed to defend themselves or be removed. If they are not allowed to defend themselves they are useless, and merely a target for insults and a source of weakness. If the Government do not intend to use these troops they should withdraw them.
The Government have not told us why they are there. They are there because the, Government do not think it wise at present to withdraw them. Do the Government intend to lend them to the Provisional Government to restore order? We have not been told. I press the Leader of the House to allow someone on the Front Bench to answer that question. The position is profoundly unsatisfactory. We have heard nothing from the Government as to what can be done for the safety and welfare of the officers who have been kidnapped. That is the issue of the Debate. The Government can give us no assurance whatever. They profess complete ignorance and helplessness. As to the future, they indicate that incidents of this kind may multiply to an extent to which they place no limit. They say the Provisional Government must have a chance. There are two sides to any Treaty. Surely the statesmanlike and correct thing is for the Government to indicate that if the Provisional Government fails to carry out its side of the bargain the Treaty will be null and void, a new situation will be created, and 2322 action will be taken by the Government accordingly. Nothing which the right hon. Gentleman has said can be satisfactory to any party in the House, and unless some other Minister can get up and give us that satisfaction, we shall be obliged to ask the House to express its opinion on the situation.
§ Mr. AUBREY HERBERT
If it is not presumptuous, I would like to thank the Leader of the House for what has fallen from his lips. His speech was a clear, strong, and magnanimous answer to the criticisms that have come from the opposite benches. This Debate, is concerned with the kidnapping of three British officers, who may possibly lose their lives. That must appeal straight to the hearts of every Member of this House, and especially to the hearts of those who have served in the Forces. I ask the House to consider how those officers would be helped, supposing there was an adverse vote against the Government to-night. What is the exact position in which we stand? The actual position is that, for better or worse we have had a Treaty approved by a very great majority of the House. There is to be an election in Ireland in a very short time, and if the Provisional Government wins, it will have at its back a mandate which it has not now. Meanwhile, there will be a state of disorder, with violence, murder, and plunder, that you must have in every country which is going through that transition stage. It is obvious what Mr. de Valera wants to do. He is anxious for one or both of two things. One is to discredit the Provisional Government, which he can do by having these various officers of ours in mufti kidnapped. The second thing, and that he will probably desire even more, is to bring us back to reconquer Ireland. If we do that now, we merely confirm the chaos existing in Ireland and put a British stamp on it.
When friends of mine, like my Noble Friend the Member for South Battersea (Viscount Curzon) beside me, take the attitude they have adopted, I wonder whether they realise what that attitude must mean to the outside world. Surely all that they are doing is this: They are standing for the forces of reaction in this country and playing into the hands of the forces of disorder in Ireland. From their lips nothing constructive has fallen to-night. One suggestion which 2323 my Noble Friend reiterated several times was that a member of the Cabinet should go to Ireland. In the War many of us who happened to be abroad wanted members of the Cabinet to be in the trenches, because we would have liked to have seen some of them shot. That was an intelligible but not a reasoned point of view at the moment. The function of the House of Commons is to legislate. Its function is not to go to any part of the world where there is trouble. There is trouble at the moment in Palestine. Does my Noble Friend want to send the Cabinet to Jericho? Then there is my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Down (Sir H. Wilson). He made a more definite suggestion. It was that the troops should be withdrawn from Ireland. You have had this Treaty passed, for good or evil, by the majority of this House. Once this House determines to sanction the policy of the Government, the Government must be given a certain margin of authority in very difficult circumstances. Without any offence to my hon. and gallant Friend the Field Marshal, I say that if I had been an officer and, at the same time, a Member of this House, I am sure that he, as my superior officer, would not have allowed me to criticise the Government in their executive function.
I want to make two other points. There are Members of this House who, consciously or unconsciously, want us once again to involve ourselves in Irish politics. There is one mentality with which I have been familiar for many years, and which I once had myself, and it is this: There are many of us who would rather see ourselves opposed by a real enemy of this country than by a moderate man who wants to come to terms. That is very easy to understand. In the past this country has always had such a big balance at the bank of power that it was easy for us to afford any enmity, because we could always smash it. To-day we have so many commitments that, putting aside the morality of that attitude, that is no longer a easy thing for us to do. When we meet with conciliation wherever it might be, we ought to stretch out our hands to it.
The Leader of the House said that my hon. Friend the Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gwynne), had initiated this Debate in very moderate and quiet language. That is absolutely true, and my hon. 2324 Friend is a man who speaks purely from conscience, but all the same, at the back of that quiet and humble appeal, which he made to-night, there does lie an appeal to passion, and passion, to-day, only breeds passion. This is not really an appeal for the three officers who have been kidnapped. There is not one of us who would not do anything we could for the officers, but at the actual moment we can do nothing violent to help these men. To a man like myself, and I think there are a large number of us in the House, the situation appears in this way. We have, after 700 years, given the Irish people the direction of their own affairs and we are not going to be driven into taking sides again in Ireland. We have seen quite enough to show where that policy ends. The contagion of that poison has gone right over the Empire. I think all who listened to the Leader of the House must have realised that these things are as painful to him as to any man in the House. In speaking as he did, he must make himself the target for many poisoned arrows, but I think it will be realised that he has the great body of the House behind him in the speech which he made to-night.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
In the few words that I address to the House, I do not propose to deal with the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down, especially as he himself said he was only emphasising what had been said by the Leader of the House. I wish, however, to refer to the speech of the Leader of the House, a speech which was remarkable in its character, and was most remarkable by reason of the fact that it dealt very little with the three officers regarding whom this Debate originated. Nor did the right hon. Gentleman, as far as I was able to hear, give the House any information as to what practical steps, if any, the Government had taken to secure the release of these three officers and their chauffeur. The only information on that subject of which I, personally, am aware, was elicited from the Chief Secretary for Ireland when I questioned him regarding the fate of these men on Monday. After a question on the Paper, and two supplementary questions, all I was able to get from the right hon. Gentleman was that after nearly three weeks' incarceration of these men, the British Government had made representations to the Provisional Government and sent to 2325 a Roman Catholic Bishop to invoke his assistance. That is an extraordinary statement for a British Government to submit to the House of Commons as all they have been able to do when three British officers have been kidnapped. The Leader of the House in speaking to-night —I am sorry he has withdrawn—said the issue before the House was really whether we should go back on the peace effort which we had initiated, and he went on to say, "I can understand those hon. Members who have opposed this Irish Treaty from the first taking the earliest opportunity of pointing out to the House how it has failed, and how it is time some steps should be taken to withdraw from the action which the Government initiated, but I cannot understand how the great majority of the House who supported this Treaty can now go back upon the votes which they gave."
Then, again, in his speech, when I challenged him and said that he was responsible for the state of affairs which now exists in Ireland, he turned round and said, "Yes, I am responsible, but the House has on more than one occasion, by large majorities, approved that responsibility." On behalf of the House of Commons—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]— on behalf, I should say, of a considerable number of Members of the House of Commons, and a very large number of supporters of the Government outside, I say this, that they gave their support to this Treaty because of the representations which were made by the Government, and that they were misled into giving their votes for this Treaty, and I will tell the House why. We all know that the Prime Minister came down to this House and told the Members of the House of Commons that after 700 years of strife and turmoil peace had been obtained in Ireland. He told the House of Commons that we had come to a time when England's hour of adversity would no longer be Ireland's opportunity to strike her in the back, but that England's time of adversity would be Ireland's opportunity to come and help her. Therefore, I say that Members of the House of Commons, not knowing Ireland and the Irish Question as well as some of the Members who sit on this Bench know it, having lived there and having known every phase of the Irish Question for years past, were, I think, almost bound to accept—they had no 2326 other means of judging—the statement made by the Government that they had obtained peace after all these years. Therefore, when the Leader of the House turns round and says that his responsibility was endorsed by the large majority of the House of Commons, I say that that endorsement was obtained by a false pretence.
We have had no reply to the question which was asked by the hon. and gallant Member for North Down (Sir H. Wilson). It is the same question which I took down to the Table of the House and which has been refused by the officers at the Table. The question was this: Why are British troops retained in Southern Ireland when they are forbidden to give protection to the large number of persons who are daily appealing in vain to the British Government and to the Provisional Government for protection for their lives and property? We have had no explanation of that. If we are to have troops in Ireland, we share the responsibility of these outrages which are being perpetrated within a stone's throw of this British garrison that is being maintained in Cork. Why are these officers and men kept there, endangering their lives every time they leave the barracks? As the Leader of the House, I think it was, said, you cannot immure, men in barracks and never allow them outside, though, as a matter of fact, from the information at my disposal, there are certain small detachments beyond Cork and Dublin, where the officers and men have not been allowed out of barracks for weeks and weeks past and are in very serious danger if any raid were made upon them. Only to-day the Leader of the House says: Are we going to turn down this great experiment of freedom because a few more murders have been committed?
Has the right hon. Gentleman read the speech delivered yesterday, I think, by the Irish Primate in Dublin, in which he said there is no doubt that the Protestants in the South are living in "a veritable reign of terror: indeed, a nightmare of terrifying events has been their lot for some time." After that statement of the Irish Primate, a most moderate man, who never speaks more strongly than events warrant, is it not time, when people are living in this state of terror, that the British Government, 2327 for whom the Leader of the House has spoken to-night, and acknowledged their responsibility for these events, did something? If the Provisional Government in Ireland are unable to secure the observance of law and order, surely the responsibility of the British Government ought to be resumed. As I have pointed out before, the Colonial Secretary secured in the House of Commons a Vote of millions and millions of money to be sunk and lost in Iraq. Why? I challenged him about it, and he turned round to these benches and said that the British Government had destroyed the Turkish Government in that country, and a state of anarchy would be the result if British troops were to be removed before a fixed Government was set up in its place. And yet that is the very thing the British Government have done in Ireland, not a thousand or two thousand miles from these shores, but only 17 miles. In the interest of the Treaty and of the Provisional Government, it was an act of madness to remove police, soldiers and organisation of Government before a real Government was in working order. I say that a grave responsibility rests on His Majesty's Government. The Leader of the House was not present Himself, but I understand he has been informed of the pitiful deputation from Southern Ireland that waited on Members of this House a few days ago. Men came here with nothing but the clothes they stood in.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is travelling a very long way from the subject on which the Adjournment was moved.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the House, in his lengthy remarks, stated that the issue before the House to-night was whether we should go back on the peace effort we initiated last year, and certainly the greater part of his speech was to urge the House not to go back on what they have done, and, because a few more murders have been committed, throw away this peace initiative. In deference, however, to what you say, Mr. Speaker, I will not go further on those lines, but I do think it is germane to my argument to point out the terrible state of affairs in all classes of life in Southern Ireland. I have in my hands the deplorable case of a man holding His Majesty's Commission, H.M. Lieutenant for the 2328 County of Roscommon, who was dragged away in the middle of the night, his wife taken from her bed, his chauffeur thrown in a pond outside the house, and then his house burned down, and now the lady has died from shock, and the life of Mr. Talbot, His Majesty's Lieutenant, is despaired of. This sort of thing is happening every day, and humbler folk came here last week, men in small businesses, who have had to leave their homes at the point of the revolver, at a few hours' notice. And now three British officers for nearly three weeks have disappeared, and all that His Majesty's Government do is to make representations, and ask a Roman Catholic bishop if he cannot do something to restore these men. The British House of Commons has always stood for liberty, and at one time we were proud to be British citizens. In early Christian days St. Paul said, "I am a Roman citizen," and was instantly released, and I can remember when it was a proud boast for a man to say, "I am a British citizen—touch me if you dare!" That proud boast, I am sorry to say, is not one that any of us can now share with pride. Now that the Prime Minister of this land shakes hands with murderers, and when the murder of British citizens takes place we only make representations and go to priests and ask them to shrive the people who are murdered. I do hope that this House of Commons, whatever votes they may have given in the past, will look at the situation at the present time, and will say that now, as in the past, British subjects, British citizens, wherever they are, whether in a foreign country, in the Dominions, in these kingdoms, or wherever else, shall be protected in their lives and in their property.
The remarks of the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) leave me in considerable confusion of mind. Towards the end of his speech he made a strong attack upon the Government in having taken away their troops and disbanded the police before the Provisional Government were in a position to take over the responsibility. Earlier in his speech he had used no less unmeasured language as to the action of the Government in still holding Cork. I should like to know on which leg he stands: as I do not see how he can stand on both I Criticism of the Government 2329 to-night has consisted very largely in a general demand for stronger action, but no one has put forward any suggestion as to what effective action could, under present conditions, be maintained. Everybody must feel a deep anxiety as to the position, but I do not see what more can be done, short of military intervention, than the steps announced by the Leader of the House to-night. I am quite sure that, though they have abstained from expressing that view, a great many of the critics who have spoken have military intervention in their minds. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Very well, but the experiment of self-government has not yet been effectively tried in Ireland. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] It has not! Some hon. Members do not seem to realise that there has been no election in Ireland, and it is difficult to see how it can be imagined that Ireland has yet been able to try its hand at governing itself. I do not know what is meant by interruptions.
Lieut. - Colonel GUINNESS
Until Ireland has had an election, any intervention must be premature, and you would only be back in the same position where the Irish people could say, "We have never had a chance to try to run our own affairs."
If after that election chaos continues, intervention is a practicable proposal. Under present conditions, to my mind, it is mere insanity. We have gone so far, and cannot turn back now. I can understand hon. Members fighting in the front trench. But I cannot understand, when all parties in this House agreed to follow the party leaders of the Coalition in their programme of trying self-government for Ireland, and have thus deliberately vacated the main position that they should suddenly, in a fit of disgust, take up a position in a trench at the back of the rest camp. That is really the attitude of some hon. Members under present circumstances. [Interruption.] I do not want to be unjust to any hon. Member, but I do say that hon. Members voted as I have said. Let mc repeat what 2330 I said. It was that all parties followed their leaders at the last election. Did my right hon. Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir H. Craik) put in his election address that he was going to repudiate the promise of his then leader that he was going to try self-government in Ireland?
§ Sir H. CRAIK
Does the hon. Gentleman say that the policy announced by the Government in 1918 is identical with the policy which the Government are now putting forward?
The policy announced by the Leader of the Unionist party before the General Election was that every path to self-government short of complete separation from the British Empire was to be explored. The majority of the Unionist party did not repudiate the undertaking that Home Rule was to be tried, but all this is really beside the point which I am trying to make which is that it is very foolish to start an experiment and change your mind half-way through. Perhaps my right hon. Friend did not do that, and if so, he must have a little consideration for those who did think it wise to make the experiment, and it is to this point that I am speaking. Is England under present conditions going to be able to stop by anything short of a heavy military expedition the disorders which are now going on in the South of Ireland?
Does the House forget that before a single Black-and-Tan had been raised there wore 100 men murdered under British rule in Ireland for which no one was brought to justice I Do hon. Members forget that a British General was kidnapped under British responsibility for Ireland, and there was no very great difference in the way dastardly crimes were dealt with? It would be disastrous if we went back to a policy of vacillation, because that would only be playing into the hands of the anarchists, who are praying for intervention at the present time. The wreckers in Ireland want to strengthen their position, because they know that Irish public opinion is beginning to recognise these bandits as criminal nuisances, and they recognise that British intervention would reinstate them as popular heroes. I would only ask those who, I admit in all honesty, are impatient, and who wish to see immediate intervention there, whether they think 2331 they can effectively protect the law-abiding inhabitants of Southern Ireland if they intervene under present conditions? Do they think the country will sanction the military effort that would be necessary for a far more effective protection than was given during the last three years? Do they think we shall be able to have the troops to prevent the murders which were taking place before the Treaty came into force? Do they think that this country is prepared to go into Ireland again and to stay there? I say that, if they are not prepared to go chat length, and if they merely advocate a sporadic intervention, they are but supporting the greater betrayal of the law-abiding citizens there.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
I am not prepared to follow the hon. and gallant Member into the casuistries to which he has treated us to-night, but I should have liked to refer for a moment, if he had not left the House, after delivering a few-paradoxes and humorous hits against his opponents, to the observations of the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. A. Herbert). I see that the hon. Member has now returned. I think that, when he learns longer of life he will find that grave political questions are not to be decided by paradoxes and by attempted sarcasms and gibes against his opponents.
§ Mr. A. HERBERT
I do not wish to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but I should be very glad if he would give one instance of any paradox that I have uttered.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
The hon. Member said that he thought it was a very good thing to suggest that some members of the Government might be sent to the trenches, and that many of us thought that it was the best place for them. Does he think that that was a contribution of sound counsel? I wish to deal with the matter in a more quiet and careful manner. As regards my Leader, the Leader of the House, I have owed for many years, and have paid, sound and solid service to him. It is an hereditary service, because I knew him who went before him, and who was one of our great leaders. But I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, Was he quite fair to those of us, his followers, in the words that he used to-night? [Interruption.] I would ask the right hon. Gentleman if he thinks he was quite 2332 fair to those of us who have difficulty in following him upon the very doubtful course which he has taken? I know he spoke with the greatest consideration, as he always does, and he did not wish to raise any strong feelings on our part, but he said to us: "You broke away from your leaders. You deserted your party." I asked him: "Had you, before you announced that decision, when we had found ourselves in the very difficult position of having to oppose you, asked us what our opinion was?"
My right hon. Friend interjected that question. I could not understand at the time why he interjected it, because it was wholly irrelevant to what I was saying. I now understand it is because he did not hear what I said—
And supposed me to have said something different. I never reproached him or hon. Gentlemen within my party who take a different view on this question. In all the speeches I have made and in face of all the charges which have been levelled against me, I have carefully refrained from saying one word to challenge the good faith and perfect propriety of the action which they took on a great departure in public policy.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
I thank my right hon. Friend for those words, but he knows that I, whoever else, have never brought against him any charge of dishonourable conduct or in any way brought a personal charge against him. But let me go a little further. I thought he said that we as a small minority of the Conservative party were blameable because we did not follow his lead.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
What did my right hon. Friend go on to say? I can understand why those who oppose this policy were anxious to take the very earliest opportunity of proving that he was wrong. Is that the case? Have we not held ourselves as long as patience was possible? I assure him I was unwilling to move against it once the decision of the House 2333 of Commons had been taken, much as I disapproved and dissented from it. I waited patiently, but day by day the catalogue of crimes and breaches of the truce grew. Day after day the disgrace inflicted upon the British Government in neglecting their responsibilities has grown greater and now, if it has come to this point, that we cannot any longer support him, is the right hon. Gentleman acting as fairly as I know he desires to do when he says to us, "It was natural for you who opposed us at first to take the very earliest opportunity of upsetting our arrangements." We did not do so. We feel, I am certain the heart of Great Britain feels, that the Government has gone as far as it was possible to go in abandoning its responsibilities and in seeing, within a few miles of our own territory, Ireland given over to anarchy, and barbarous anarchy at that. That is why the right hon. Gentleman finds that those old and most loyal supporters of himself and his father and of our leaders are unable now to follow him in this course, and, powerless as we may be, we must feel in honour bidden by our conscience to raise our protest against what is being done in Ireland, and for what our great Empire is being made responsible.
§ Lieut.-Colonel ASHLEY
I only want to bring the House back to the real object of the Motion, which was to ask the Government what they had done and proposed to do to release three British officers and a British private from captivity, and if possible to save their lives. Anybody who has sat through this Debate, as I have, will realise that the Government say, "We have done nothing effective; we can do nothing effective without intervention by force, and we are not prepared to intervene by force because we consider that the larger issues"—the lives of four men are, apparently, not a large issue — "will be jeopardised thereby." If that is the view of the Government, though I cannot assent to it, I can see their point of view.
What is the position? We have now in Cork, Dublin, and a few other places a considerable body of British troops. The Government acknowledge that they cannot protect these troops. The troops are not allowed to protect themselves. What is the only way out of this impasse? If the Government cannot protect the 2334 troops, though, I suppose, they wish to do so, and the troops arc not allowed to protect themselves and to use their arms, in case they should break the peace in Ireland, the only thing seems to me to withdraw those troops at once from Ireland. What useful purpose do they serve? Are they supporting law and order? No. Arc they supporting the Provisional Government? No. Are they preventing outrage and people being deprived of their lives and property? No. Can they protect themselves? No. For what object are they kept on there? Let us withdraw them. Either send others in such large numbers as would re-establish law and order, or withdraw them altogether. There is no middle course. Therefore I urge the Government, as they cannot protect these troops—they say they cannot—to withdraw them at once from Ireland and let the Irish fight among themselves.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I do not intend to talk out the Motion, but I wish to explain why I intend to vote for it. It is many months since I intervened in an Irish Debate in this House, although there have been several in which I could have intervened. In the first place, I believe that it should be made clear in Ireland, by a voice coming from every quarter of the House, that British officers and soldiers cannot be treated in this way with impunity. I therefore rise, and am sure I have the support of those around me when I say that we should make it perfectly clear that this game, which is being played with these officers and soldiers in Ireland, is dangerous.
Secondly, I look upon the retention of these comparatively small bodies of troops in Cork and Dublin as a sign of wobbling on the part of the Government. Either Ireland should be allowed to find her own salvation entirely, whatever the result of the elections, or, as suggested on the other side of the House with perfect propriety and logic, we should send over sufficient troops to restore order. There is no choice between the two policies. We must clear out altogether or have sufficient troops to have our prestige, which we are always losing at the hands of the present Government, respected. I am afraid the Government are keeping these troops in Ireland because they do not know their 2335 own mind and are still afraid they will once more have to change their policy, as they have done in other parts of the world. That is why these British officers and soldiers are placed in danger.
I have had occasion in this House on more than one occasion to draw attention to outrages against British subjects. I did it two days ago with regard to certain fishermen of ours. That was in the case of an alien Government altogether. There is, to all intents and purposes, an independent Government nominally to-day in Ireland. We must make it clear from the very beginning that we look to that Government to respect our subjects in exactly the same way as we look to any other Government in any part of the world to respect them.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
No, but I am saying this because my vote might be misinterpreted if I did not explain it. I am absolutely opposed to any form of intervention in Ireland, but there are forms of pressure to be brought to bear against any Government if only we make it clear that we are determined to stand behind our citizens. It is because it would be wrong that all the protests against this kidnapping should come from one party that I say these few words.
I intend to vote for this Motion, and I hope hon. Members on these benches, or some of them, will support me. I have never hesitated to criticise the Government or their own officers when I think they have exceeded their duty in Ireland. Now that they are in trouble I intend to stand by them. I believe that the Government, by adopting proper measures, could do very much to lighten the lot of
§ the troops that are left in Ireland. Above all, we should make it perfectly clear at the earliest possible moment that every vestige of British power should be withdrawn. The presence of these troops in Cork and Dublin is a source of weakness to the Provisional Government themselves. I believe their enemies in Ireland represent that they are kept there at the request of the Provisional Government. It would be very unfortunate if that came to be generally believed in Ireland. The Government are very largely to blame fox-having these troops in Ireland. They are very largely to blame for the kidnapping of these officers, but, as the thing has happened, I want to urge that all parts of this House should join in making it clear to the Provisional Government, or any other Government in Ireland, that our officers and men cannot be treated in this way with impunity.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
Those who support the Government have a right to say why they support them on this occasion. Those who vote for this Motion ought to know that they are voting for war with Ireland. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish!"] It is not rubbish.
§ Mr. GWYNNE rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but Mr. Speaker withheld his assent and declined then to put that Question.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
Those who support this Motion are voting for war with Ireland, and it is only right that the country should know the reason why.
§ Question put, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 64: Noes, 258.2339
|Division No. 102.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S.||Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.|
|Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James||Davidson, J. C. C.(Hemel Hempstead)||Lindsay, William Arthur|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||M'Connell, Thomas Edward|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)|
|Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.||Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry||Maddocks, Henry|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Moles, Thomas|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Murray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Gretton, Colonel John||Murray, Hon. Gideon (St. Rollox)|
|Blair, Sir Reginald||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Nail, Major Joseph|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W.(Liv'p'l,W.D'by)||Newman, Colonel J. R. p. (Finchley)|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Hotchkin, Captain Stafford Vere||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Pain, Brig.-Gen. Sir W. Hacket|
|Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Sharman-Crawford, Robert G.||Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Pickering, Colonel Emll W.||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander||Wolmer, Viscount|
|poison, Sir Thomas A.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Rawllnson, John Frederick Peel||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Reid, D. D.||Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.||Mr. Rupert Gwynne and Viscount Curzon.|
|Remnant, Sir James||Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)|
|Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Wilson, Field-Marshal Sir Henry|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Foreman, Sir Henry||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)|
|Adkins, Sir William Ryland Dent||Forestler-Walker, L.||Lunn, William|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Forrest, Walter||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Amery, Leopold C. M.S.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camiachie)|
|Armitage, Robert||Galbraith, Samuel||McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Gange, E. Stanley||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Atkey, A. R.||Ganzonl, Sir John||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Mallalieu, Frederick William|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Gilbert, James Daniel||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gillis, William||Manville, Edward|
|Banton, George||Glimour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Martin, A. E.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Glyn, Major Ralph||Mason, Robert|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Gould, James C.||Matthews, David|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Molson, Major John Eisdale|
|Barrand, A. R.||Grant, James Augustus||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Morris, Richard|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Hamar||Murchison, C. K.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh)|
|Birchall, J. Dearman||Gregory, Holman||Myers, Thomas|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Neal, Arthur|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Grundy, T. W.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Parker, James|
|Briggs, Harold||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Hallwood, Augustine||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Bromfield, William||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Brown, Major D. C.||Halls, Walter||Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hancock, John George||Perring, William George|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Philipps, Gen. Sir I. (Southampton)|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Hartshorn, Vernon||Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Haslam, Lewis||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes)||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Cairns, John||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Prescott, Major Sir W. H.|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)||Rae, H. Norman|
|Cape, Thomas||Higham, Charles Frederick||Rattan, peter Wilson|
|Carr, w. Theodore||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Casey, T. W.||Hills, Major John Waller||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hinds, John||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Birm., W.)||Hirst, G. H.||Renter, J. R.|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Renwick, Sir George|
|Clough, Sir Robert||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Hood, Sir Joseph||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hopkins, John W. W.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Hudson, R. M.||Robertson, John|
|Cope, Major William||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Cowan, O. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hurd, Percy A.||Rodger, A. K.|
|Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Jephcott, A. R.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Johnstone, Joseph||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur|
|Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Edgar, Clifford B.||Kennedy, Thomas||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Kenyon, Barnet||Seager, Sir William|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bertweilty)||Kidd, James||Seddon, J. A.|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Sexton, James|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Knight, Major E. A. (Kidderminster)||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Lawson, John James||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Evans, Ernest||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'cattle-on-T.)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Simm, M. T.|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Farquharson, Major A. C.||Lister, Sir R. Ashton||Smithers, Sir Alfred W.|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Lloyd, George Butler||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)|
|Fildes, Henry||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Finney, Samuel||Lorden, John William||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Lort-Williams, J.||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Lowther, Maj.-Gen. Sir C. (Penrith)||Sugden, W. H.|
|Sutherland, Sir William||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Sutton, John Edward||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Swan, J. E.||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Taylor, J.||Watson, Captain John Bertrand||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)||Wilson, James (Dudley)||Younger, Sir George|
|Thorpe, Captain John Henry||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Tickler, Thomas George||Windsor, Viscount||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Townley, Maximilian G.||Winterton, Earl||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr. McCurdy.|
|Tryon, Major George Clement||Wise, Frederick|
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.