HC Deb 19 July 1927 vol 209 cc300-37

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £384,570, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1928, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Commissioners of His Majesty's Works and Public Buildings.


I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £100.

This reduction is being moved in order to call attention to one of a series of pictures which have been placed in St. Stephen's Hall. The series includes one picture which is supposed to be illustrative of our Scottish national contribution to the greater glory of the pageant of British history. Nothing that I have to say will be in the slightest degree in criticism of the very capable young artist who is responsible for the painting, of his treatment of the subject or of the painting as a work of art; nor will I utter one word derogatory to the wealthy patron who, from his abundance, has presented this canvas to the nation. For more than two centuries our historians and our poets, and the gangrel bodies with their chap books, from our national bard down to the humblest balladist, have seared into us as with a branding iron a hatred of two episodes in our history, two great humiliations, one the betrayal of Sir William Wallace by the fause Monteith, and the other the sale, for monetary bribes, of our national Parliament into an incorporating Union. Thank God, we have been spared a representation of the former episode in St Stephen's Hall, and we protest to-night against the latter episode being used as an illustration of all we have had to give towards the building of Britain.

In order that the Committee may understand our point of view in objecting to this episode, may I be allowed to recall briefly the historical setting? In 1681, Scottish factories were beginning to spring up. They were heavily protected. The late Sir Henry Craik, in a contribution to the history of Scotland, has described the economic position at that period. He tells us that in 1704 England closed her trade doors to Scotland as a reprisal for the organisation of our factories. She forbade the export or import of goods and ruined our cattle trade, which was then worth about £100,000 a year—the whole of our Scottish public revenue—and passed what was really an Aliens Act. Under these circumstances, colonies became an economic necessity to Scotland. Scotland raised, or attempted to raise, a sum of about £400,000—almost four years' public revenue—in order to fit out what was called in common parlance the Darien Expedition. A charter was secured from the English King, and by the way, 2 per cent. of the prospective profits had to be promised to several great men at this end for securing the Royal Assent to the Charter.

After the Charter was secured, and public funds and trust funds of all kinds were being swept into the Darien Fund coffers, the English King discovered that he had given a Royal Assent to the initiation of a colonial enterprise which would be in competition with England's colonial enterprise, and he then did his best to crab the Darien scheme. When an attempt was made to raise money in Hamburg in order to assist the Scottish company, the English Ambassador there did his best to crab the finances. The English King turned adrift his two Secretaries of State for Scotland on the ground that he had been ill-advised in granting the Scottish Charter. The worst feature of it, however, was that instructions were sent to the Colonial Governors asking them, or urging them, or instructing them, to provide no assistance whatever to Scots' colonists under any circumstances. That advice was interpreted so literally by some of the Governors that starving Scottish refugees were refused food and Scots' fishermen, sinking and flying signals of distress, were refused assistance.

7.0 p.m.

When the Darien scheme failed, partly because of the opposition of England, though not wholly, and Scotland's money had gone, the English Government offered an incorporated Union between Scotland and England. They offered free trade on condition that Scotland would shoulder a share of the English National Debt. The English Government refused a federal Union, with which the Scottish Commissioners of all parties were in sympathy, and insisted on an incorporating Union and the abandonment in its entirety of the old Scots Parliament. As a further bribe or inducement to the Scots Parliament to agree, the English Government offered to reimburse the Darien shareholders in Scotland to the full extent of their scrip, plus 5 per cent. interest. They offered, further, to pay up the arrears of salaries—I am putting it in the most polite way—of the alleged great men who had been ruling Scotland up to that time, and they proposed an increase in the salaries of the Scottish Judges in order to secure the assent of the judicial arm in the Scottish Government. Under the stress of all these persuasions the majority in the Scottish Parliament agreed to an incorporating Union. We got Free Trade between England and Scotland and the right to trade with English Colonies and a share of the English National Debt to pay for ever, and we got the right of a representation in this House equal in numbers to the representation allotted to the County of Cornwall in England.

Public opinion, so far as it was articulate, protested violently. There were riots in the streets, soldiers carrying bullion and gold were stoned, and there was a day of fasting and humiliation appointed by the Scots Kirk—whether it was observed or not I do not know. The text of the Treaty was publicly burned in several towns, and the names of the Commissioners who assented to it were also publicly burned. We have in St. Stephen's Hall a picture of some of these Commissioners. We have a picture there of some of the people, probably with pay tickets in their pockets, presenting the assent to the Incorporating Act to Her Late Majesty Queen Anne. What about the allegation of bribery? I know that many ingenious attempts have been made by Scottish and English historians to explain it away. One of them says it was the custom of the time—a little backsheesh.


For all times.


The hon. and learned Member for Argyll (Mr. Macquisten) is a greater authority on that subject than I am, but there are some historians who allege that this bribery of the ruling people was a tradition and custom of the period. Forty years afterwards there was a man in Scotland who was hunted from pillar to post. Thousands of people knew him, and £30,000 was offered as a bribe for his betrayer, but not one man in all the North of Scotland would give him away. Then there are some historians even in our time who go the length of denying the bribery stories altogether. The bribery story began with the statement made by Lockhart of Carnwarth, who himself was one of the Commissioners, sent to treat with the English Commissioners for this incorporating union. It is not true, as this Guide Book which is on sale in this House says, that Lockhart of Carnwarth is one of the figures in the picture, for he refused to sign the Treaty. Whatever else is wrong about it the Guide Book is wrong from the beginning in this respect. Lockhart of Carnwarth was one of the Commissioners, and all these Commissioners were appointed, not by the Parliament, but by the English Queen Anne. He was one of the men who refused to sign, and he declared that there was a total sum of £20,540—and I believe that was a gross underestimate—spent more or less directly or indirectly under one pretence or another in bribery. He says £8,215 of that sum was given under the pretence of arrears of salary.

Let us see what the more modern historians have to say about it. Granting that Lockhart of Carnwarth was prejudiced and that he was a Jacobite and would wish to do everything possible to minimise the influence of the other Commissioners who hail signed the Treaty, what does Hill Burton say? In Volume 8, page 182, Hill Button gives an exhaustive examination of Lockhart's charges. Hill Burton himself was more an advocate for the defence than an historian in this matter, but still he is constrained to admit: There is no doubt that the money was clandestinely transferred from England to Scotland and kept out of the usual official channels, and the Committee"— that is the Committee of the English Parliament which later on inquired into the charges— and the Committee pass some slight censures on this secrecy and irregularity. Then in the Jerviswood Correspondence, page 160, the Secretary of the Parliament, Johnstone, definitely alleged that members had been bribed, and Professor Hume Brown, on page 101, Vol. 3 of his history, says: It seems probable that certain sums of money were spent in procuring the support of influential persons for the union. The Lord Clerk register, James Murray, writes to the Earl of Mar—and this may be found in the Mar and Kellie Papers of 20th November, 1705: His Grace"— that is the Chief Commissioner for the English Court— wishes His Lordship to remind the Queen of some secret disbursements he had made when Commissioner, for which he had secret instructions but which, because of their nature, could not be stated in the accounts with the Treasury. All that evidence seems to me emphatic, but, in case there is some hon. Member opposite who would like something more definite still, I would refer to the Carstares Papers, of which there is a copy in the Public Library of this House—page 638. Carstares was the secret agent for King William's Government in Scotland and his confidential adviser. In the Carstares Papers, we find, on page 638, a letter from Queensberry to Mr. Carstares, as he then was: As to the money which seems necessary for the good of the King and the country's services, after reflection, I am of opinion that none ought to be remitted here; but that a thousand pounds should be lodged, as soon as can be, in the Bank of England and their notes taken for it. There is no use for any known name in them, for they are payable to the bearer. So that a fictitious, or any servant's name, is sufficient. Let these notes be sent to me hither. I have already laid out £500, and I believe in a short time I shall have occasion to dispose of the rest. On page 583, we get an even more emphatic statement which has been frequently quoted by historians. There is the letter from Queensberry to Car-stares: I must tell you one thing which you mast keep very secret. I had yesterday a private message from my cousin, my Lady Marshall, by which she tells me that she does not doubt of bringing her Lord entirely under my direction, providing that she may have leave to promise him a pension of £300 as E. Marshall. I have allowed her to do it; and if I had the gift in my custody, I doubt not of breaking him off from that party. … In short, if money could be had. I would not doubt of success in the King's business here, but the low condition of our treasury keeps many things out of my power. So much for the historians. We now come to the novelists. Take Sir Walter Scott, who cannot be accused of being a Radical, although he may have been tainted with Jacobite sentiments. On several occasions, he made reference to the circumstances under which this Treaty was secured. Then there are Burns's lines, which have been burned into the memories of every Scottish boy and girl: Now Sark rins o'er the Solway sands, And Tweed rins to the ocean; To mark where England's Province stands, Such a parcel of rogues in a nation. Chancellor of the Exchequer Seafield's brother, the one who became a cattle dealer in later years, was once remonstrated with by Seafield himself for engaging in the ignoble trade of cattle dealing, and it is on record that he answered his statesman brother by saying: Better sell nowt than sell a nation. So much for the men and the methods by which this Incorporating—not a federal—Union was secured. Some may say, "Look at the beneficial results, and the great advantages which Scotland gained economically and otherwise as a result of this incorporating movement." I am far from seeking to maintain that even the incorporating Union was an unmixed evil, but I do deny that it was an unmixed blessing. We got free trade and peace on the borders—God knows our sorely distraught land sadly needed peace in those days—and our cattle trade benefited, but our nascent industries were ruined. As Professor Scott, who writes an essay in the volume published in connection with the bi-centenary of the Union by the "Glasgow Herald" says: Our nascent industries were ruined as a result of the Incorporating Union. Our taxation increased. We shoulder a share of the English National Debt. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I can quite understand the mirth with which Englishmen ought to indulge in consideration of the financial relationship between the two countries, but, as I hope to show, no such mirth is justifiable from the Scotsman's point of view. Take the position to-day. Presumably, taxation is raised fairly. Presumably, the Income Tax is the same for Englishmen as for Scotsmen and Welshmen. Presumably, indirect taxation is paid according to consumption on both sides of the border, equally, but how is the national revenue spent? Take the Goschen proposals, laid down by the late Lord Goschen, that about eleven-eightieths was Scotland's fair proportion. I do not think that has changed much since then; although it may have changed. What proportion of the national revenue is spent on Scotland? What proportion of the expenditure upon the Army, the Navy, and naval establishments and what proportion of the Air Force expenditure are spent in Scotland. We have asked questions in this House on the subject and we are blandly informed that since 1921 no such particulars can be given. The hon. Gentleman representing the Navy declines to tell us what is the share of public expenditure on the Navy spent in Scotland. We learn in an indirect way the expenditure on soldiers' wages, and we know that only one soldier in 17 spends his wages in Scotland.

I have heard it said, and some of my hon. Friends behind me say: "You may not have any share in Government expenditure; the Civil Service money may be spent down here, Navy money may be spent down here; the money of the Arsenal, the dockyards, the Navy and the Air Force may be spent down here, but look how you come after it!" Quoting a statement by an English Johnson: The pleasantest prospect a Scotsman ever saw was the road over the border into England. What are the facts? Hon. Members who tell us that, or who affect to believe that, might oblige before this discussion is over by going down and examining the census figures, stored in this House, and they will find that in 1921, the year of the last census, with a London population of 4,500,000—I think it is roughly 4,500,000–49,000 men and women of Scots birth were resident in London, while in Glasgow with a million of a population there were over 42,000 Englishmen resident there. There is a far bigger proportion of men and women of English birth resident in Glasgow than of men and women of Scots birth resident in London. I hope, therefore, that that solar myth will disappear for ever.

As there are other hon. Members who desire to take part in this discussion I will not detain the House at any greater length, but I should like to say that we are facing the fact, Socialist Members, Liberal Members, Conservative Members, that our Scottish nation is bleeding to death. No one can deny that, and if we were to accept without protest a glorification of the incorporated union, engineered as we believe under a cloud of corruption, it would mean that we acquiesce in race suicide. There could have been chosen a better subject than that in St. Stephen's Hall. If it had been desired to choose a Scottish illustration of the Union, why not a picture illustrating the tariff barriers being swept away on the border. There were hundreds of other subjects that might have been chosen. If you go back into the dawn of history for your English subjects, you might have chosen Galgachus at Mons, Grampius addressing the Caledonian soldiers, and perhaps quoting the noble words that Tacitus put into his mouth, or you might have had a representation of Saint Columba. There are hundreds of subjects that could have been chosen, and not this picture of gentlemen with fee tickets in their pockets, after selling their national Parliament, presenting their dockets to Queen Anne.

I am fully aware that national sentiment fills no empty bellies, but if we lose pride and honour in our kith and our kin we shall become nothing but an empty belly, and then we shall die. I am a Scotsman, and I am proud of it, and I feel a better Briton and a better internationalist for the fact. I regard it as a very curious form of internationalism, which I have heard indicated on these benches, which advocates Home Rule for India, Egypt, Kenya, Timbuctoo, everywhere and anywhere but Scotland. To each one of us there is given some place that he calls home; some place where we imbibe our traditions, our culture, our speech, our song; where our kin dwell and where our ancestors lie buried. No Scotsman has ever surrendered his essential and distinctive national characteristics, and we decline to acquiesce in the glorification of the absorption of our nationality. The greatest Scotsman who ever lived, Robert Burns, was not ashamed to say that "there poured in him a flood of Scottish sentiment that would not cease until the floodgates of life shut in eternal rest." Robert Burns was not ashamed, neither are we ashamed.


I venture to intervene in this Debate in the interests of international amity. The question before the Committee is obviously a very big one. The picture in St. Stephen's Hall has been the gift of private donors, and it is always a delicate matter to look a gift horse in the mouth. I think there will be general agreement in the Committee that the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) has performed the task of inspection with good taste and good humour. He has given us a speech, part of which is of great historical interest, while part dealt with certain current controversies, in which I do not propose to follow him. One thing I would like to say at the outset is that the spirit which is behind the speech of my hon. Friend has my warmest approval, and I am sure the approval of every Scottish Member in this House. My hon. Friend's plea is for a more careful consideration of Scottish susceptibilities and Scottish interests. He is jealous that anything that is living and valuable in our Scottish traditions should be maintained and that our Scottish culture should not be obliterated by the cruel hoof of modern progress. In that I think he is entirely right.

Just as no man would be a good citizen of the Empire who is not first of all a good Briton or a good Australian or Canadian, so no man can be or will be a good Briton unless he is first of all a good Englishman or a good Welshman or a good Scotsman. If the time ever came when all these traditions were obliterated and the people of these islands were reduced to one dull, common denominator, then I think it would be a bad day for Scotland and it would be a bad day for the British Commonwealth. If my hon. Friend means to fight for the retention of everything that is living and valuable in Scottish culture, then I am entirely on his side, and I would ask our friends of the South to be patient with our national fervour, when it is really in their own interests. No less a person that Sir Walter Scott once said: If you unscotch us you make us damned mischievous Englishmen. While I wholly agree and sympathise with the spirit of my hon. Friend, I think he is wrong in the particular issue which he has raised. As I understood him, he objects to the particular subject chosen for the Scottish picture in St. Stephen's Hall and he objects on three main grounds. If I misinterpret him he will correct me. In the first place, as I understood him. he thinks that the Union of 1707 is a rather discreditable affair, procured largely by bribery and for ignoble means. In the second place, he would argue that that Union left a very bitter memory behind it in Scotland; that the bitterness has not yet gone and that some subject might have been found more attractive to Scottish pride. In the third place, he would argue that the episode itself is not one of first importance; that it does not rank in importance with the English episodes portrayed and that some Scottish subject might have been found of far greater value and significance.

May I be allowed to take these points separately? I do not think that anyone to-day could read the story of the Union with an unbiased mind and conclude that the thing was discreditable either to Scotland or to England. I am not speaking for the moment of what went before; I am not speaking of the Darien scheme, or of a good deal of the English bullying which happened about that time; but I am speaking of the actual events of the Union itself. At that time the need was desperate. Scotland was starving from lack of capital and from lack of opportunity. For government she had a relic of the Middle Ages. England was engaged in a great war with France, the Jacobite menace was deadly and it was by an unfriendly and detached Scotland that she was constantly being threatened on her rear. Let us remember that in Scotland some of the best elements of the country were in favour of the Union. It was supported by all the chief leaders of the Church of Scotland, the great bulk of the middle classes, and even considerable elements of the population, covering such varied interests as the fisherfolk of Ayr and the weavers of Aberdeen, though I am bound to say the Aberdeen weavers did not seem quite to have understood the Union, because they spelt it "onion." Opposition to the Union came from men like Belhaven and Fletcher of Saltoun, who talked most eloquently of the losses of the ancient liberties of Scotland; but the real power of the opposition came from men who wanted to keep Scotland as a jumping-off place for the next Jacobite rising.

I will not deny for one moment that there are many discreditable elements in the actual procedure, but I think that is found in other great movements of the time. Hon. Members may remember that the Habeas Corpus Bill only passed the House of Lords because the tellers by way of a joke counted one very fat peer as 10. The Union was only passed by that kind of accident, and, when the moment of crisis arrived, its supporters were in fear of their lives. The result was felt in every part of Scotland. An ex-provost of Edinburgh had his head broken in the street and the name of the ex-provost was the same as that of the hon. Member for Dundee. Fate intervened because the leader of the opposition to the Union was the Duke of Queensberry and the Duke of Queensberry was then rather a lovable thing, an entirely incompetent Scotsman. The moment the crisis arrived his nerve failed him, and, just as the Habeas Corpus Bill was passed with the aid of a corpulent peer, so was the Union due to the Duke of Queens-berry. I admit there may have been a little money passing hands, but it is almost too small to be dignified by the name of bribery. It is a story which originally came from Jacobite sources, and was assisted by a succession of more modern stories, but no doubt the conclusion is that there was a little illicit payment. After all, when you have two countries at the cross roads, it is not surprising that there should be a little dirty work at those cross-roads. The main payments were made for arrears of salaries and pensions, and there were also some small payments for expenses. In those days, it must be remembered, it cost £500 to travel to London from Scotland, and that was more than the income of the ordinary Scottish peer. Lord Rosebery, in 1707, was so impoverished that he asked to be allowed to decline membership of the Commission, because he could not pay his stabling expenses. A certain amount of arrears of pensions and salaries and a certain amount of travelling expenses—that was very nearly all the bribery, and surely that is a very insignificant matter.

I come to the second point. No doubt the Union roused very bitter memories. Seafield said: It is the end of an old sang, and for many a day the new song was a most mournful ditty. But very soon, within 50 years, that bitterness gradually died away, and survived only as a Jacobite memory, and really it is as absurd to attempt to resuscitate it and emphasise it to-day as it would be for some of us to object to a statue of, say, Queen Victoria, though some of our families suffered severely in her reign. No doubt Scotland made great sacrifices in the Union. She lost two of her ancient institutions, and she had a bitter blow given to her national pride. But was the loss so very great after all? Her Parliament was a piece of ridiculous lumber. It was utterly unrepresentative and thoroughly subservient. Some said it was not a Chamber, but an ante-Chamber of the English court. I have only been able to discover one good custom about that Parliament. When a peerage was to be given, it was necessary to mention the name of the recipient to the Scottish Parliament and explain elaborately his qualifications. I commend that trait in Parliamentary procedure to our present Parliament. Scotland gained in the loss of her Parliament. It was to my mind an inestimable boon that Scotland was forced back on herself. In 50 years the energy of her sons had brought her to the position she occupies to the delight of the modern world. Free of all partisan warfare, she was destined to become within a century a pioneer of industry, banking, thought, science and literature. Was there no gain in that? Would that great development have taken place at the end of the 18th century if Scotland had remained, as before the Union, a prey to mediæ;val lawyers? In losing one kind of independence she gained a far greater kind of independence, of spirit, and, in losing one kind of pride, she won a better pride, the pride of achievement. The Union emancipated the Scottish middle-class, and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee knows, in the long run and after a long battle that meant the emancipation of the people at large.

I come to the last point. Will my hon. Friend really argue that the Union, which inaugurated so great a revolution, is not of the first importance? The pictures in St. Stephen's Hall are supposed to represent the high lights of our Constitution, and the most important, the culminating one, is the Union of the ancient enemies. I should regard that as a compliment. If you portrayed some such subject as the coronation of Robert Bruce, you would have a memorial to the winning of Scottish independence. If you portrayed the events in the reign of James I, you would have a memorial of the Union of the Crown. But in this picture you commemorate something far greater, the Union of two people—a Union under which the little nation of Scotland, having made its peace with its foes and won its own salvation, was able to play a great part in the history of modern Britain. Since the year 1707 there have been eight Scottish Prime Ministers of Britain, more if you count the present Prime Minister, who is half a Scotsman. In every great Imperial enterprise Scotsmen have shared, and in many cases they have been leaders. The events of 1707, to my mind, did far more to unite Scotland and England. They united Scotland and the world at large.

I would make one final point far the consideration of my hon. Friend. We do not know what the future may bring forth. It is possible that our Parliamentary system may become top heavy and that means must be found to ease its burden by some kind of devolution. It is possible that the Parliamentary Union of England and Scotland may in time prove unworkable, and, in the interests of efficient government, the step taken in 1707 may have to be retraced. The time may come when once again a Scottish Parliament will sit in Edinburgh under the shadow of the Castle Rock. I do not know. I am no prophet. But, if such a time should ever come, then surely this picture will acquire a very special significance and value, for it will he a memorial of the events which inaugurated the Parliamentary Union which has lasted for more than 200 years, during which the two allies have played a great part in the world's story. In these two and a-half centuries, Scotland and England in a single Parliament have between them created the British Empire as we know it to-day; they have fought the greatest of all wars; and they have given us the greatest democracy of the world. Let no hon. Member grudge them to the Palace of Westminster a memento of an event so illustrious and so fruitful.


I think an Englishman ought to be allowed to say a word or two in this Debate, and the more so because those of us who are English have to reflect that one result of the Act of 1707 has been to enable those who sit in this House as Englishmen for English constituencies to enjoy the comradeship of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) who raised this question, and our newcomer, the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Buchan) who has charmed us so much. If on other grounds I might be disposed as an Englishman to have some criticism regarding the Act of Union, I would say that, at any rate, it has brought us in this House some pleasures with which we should be very sorry to dispense. This is not solely a Scottish question. The Act of 1707 did not merely put an end to the Scottish Parliament, but to the English Parliament. I am astonished to find an hon. Gentleman who calls himself a Scotsman and who does not know the simple fact that the English Parliament ceased in 1707 and that there was created in place of the Scottish and the English Parliaments the British Parliament to which we all now belong. It is far from being the case, as the hon. Member for Dundee seemed almost to imply, that the Act of Union is an event resented on the Scottish side of the border and welcomed with open arms on the English side. Dean Swift observed about it, that it was an extremely difficult thing for a man to make posies by bundling thistles up with roses. A great many people think that the present combination adds a great deal of pungency and interest, because we draw these supplies from such varied sources. On the other hand, though it is true, as the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken said, that there was considerable resentment for a time in Scotland, the mature judgment of the wisest Scotsmen very soon came to the conclusion that the Act of Union was good for Scotland. Thomas Carlyle thought so. He thought and wrote that the Union with England was one of Scotland's chief blessings, and, as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee has quoted Sir Walter Scott, no doubt he knows as well as some of the rest of us that Scott expressed the very strongest view on that subject. Scott wrote to Maria Edgeworth when there was a very much more doubtful and distressing union, the Union of 1800, and he said in reference to the Scottish Union of nearly 100 years before It was an event which, had I lived in that day, I would have risked my life to have prevented, but which, being done before my day, I am sensible, was a wise scheme. The truth is, that after a certain amount of irritation and misunderstanding at the time, not only on one side of the Border but on both, had had time to die away and things had settled down, it became obvious that it was, as a matter of fact, one of the events in the Constitution of this island about which even historians have meditated very much less than on many others, precisely for the reason that it is probably the most successful example of Union which you can find in the history of all countries.

I have no desire to enter into competition with the learned or national fervour on the Scottish side shown by those Members who have preceded me, but I will only observe that I am surprised that the hon. Member for Dundee did not quote what I should have thought was the best known passage reflecting the criticism which some Scotsmen have made upon the Union of 1707. Andrew Fairservice was so foolish as to complain that because his horse had lost its shoe it was all due to the deteriorating influence of the Union, and what was it that Bailie Nicol Jarvie said? I will not offend better-trained ears by reading it in such Scots as I can command, but I will transliterate for the benefit of more ignorant persons. What he said was this: Whisht, Sir, whisht. It's ill-scraped tongues like yours that makes mischief atween neighbourhoods and nations. There's naething sae gude on this side o' time but it might hae been better, and that may be said o' the Union. Nane were keener against it than the Glasgow folk, with their rabblings, and their risings and their mobs, as they ca' them now-a-days. But it's an ill wind blaws naebody gude—I say, Let Glasgow flourish! whilk is judiciously and elegantly putten round the town's arm, by way of by-word.—Now, since St. Mungo catched herrings in the Clyde, what was ever like to gar us flourish like the sugar and tobacco trade Will anybody tell me that, and grumble at the treaty that opened us a road west-awa' yonder? These are the two views of the Union with Scotland. But, according to the eminent Bailie of Glasgow, it was only the more vulgar and more impetuous influences which denounced the Union, and all reflecting and careful Scotsmen soon came to see that it was a most admirable device. May I say in a concluding sentence what I feel most deeply, that this discussion does call attention to the way in which it is possible to reconcile an intense racial pride with the greater unity which ought to be part of the composition of every man who glories in calling himself a Briton. It is a clear example in our history of that most remarkable combination—intense deathless pride in the things which attach to one's own race, and tradition and folk and literature, combined with the willingness to join in sharing citizenship with a people of a somewhat different origin. Those who imagine for a single moment that the Act of Union is likely to destroy Scottish nationalism can have no idea at all of the impression which Scottish nationalism makes upon others who regard it and see it in operation. Scottish nationalism has been made, as I believe, all the stronger by the circumstance that it is no longer associated with the spirit and outlook of the Jacobite, resisting, and, as it would appear, almost ready to come to blows with any movement and advance which threatened to overwhelm it. It is of the essence of progress in a community like ours that we should give the fullest play to this intense proud racial movement, and to all that belongs to it; and Scotsmen will take very good care that they maintain all that belongs to them. It is essentially fallacious to suppose that they are in the least degree degraded or ridiculed by putting on the walls of the Palace of Westminster a record of one of the most successful, and in the end one of the most beneficent, transactions which was ever entered into between the people of two countries.


I have been surprised at such eminent Members of this House talking in the way they have regarding this Debate to-night. The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken put up a man of straw, and then knocked it down. We are not discussing to-night the benefits that accrue from the Union; what we are discussing is the method by which it was attained, and the picture that has been placed in St. Stephen's Hall to depict the building up of our Empire. So that all that has been said by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) might have been left aside. I do not know of any Scot to-day who says that the Union with England at that time was not desirable, but it was a Federal Union that was wanted, not an incorporating one. It is true that Scott said that it was a good thing for Scotland, but he also said that if was one of the most disgraceful episodes that ever afflicted a country. I want you to remember that when Scott was writing his history, "Tales of a Grandfather," he was writing it for a beloved grandson. To Hugh Littlejohn, or John Hugh Lockhart, he was writing the memoirs of his history, and if a man like Scott with all his Conservative traditions was against the methods which were employed by Scotsmen at that time, surely it becomes us also to be against those methods.

I was really amazed at the way in which the hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Buchan) mixed up history. He knows better. If it had been some person who knew nothing about Scotland or Scottish history I could have excused him, but seeing who he is, a man who is looked up to in our country, a son of the Manse, a man of genius, why, if it gets abroad in the papers what he has been saying, what will they say? He will have the Press, but I shall have the argument. After all, what are the facts of the case? Why does he say that this was a great and glorious happening in Scottish history? He said that it was getting rid of a piece of lumber. Well, that may be so. It may have been lumber to many people, but I want to ask the hon. Gentleman what kind of Parliament they had in England then? I am quite certain that the Scottish Parliament would have compared very favourably with the English Parliament at that time. It was corrupt to the very teeth, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland knows that as well as I do. But we are not discussing the Union; we are discussing a picture. I have no technical knowledge and I have to turn to my hon. Friend (Mr. MacLaren) for any technical knowledge I have, and even that I distrust. I am wondering whether this picture is finished. If it is finished, I shall be very well pleased—my hon. Friend says it is not—because most of the Commissioners who put this money into their pockets would then be left in eternal shame. The hon. Member for the Scottish Universities talked about the money which was to be given to these men who carried through the Union, and he laughingly said that if a little filtered through there was no harm.

8.0 p.m.

The custom to-day is to try to discredit all the information that we have on this subject. He said that the ill-feeling would soon pass, but the ill-feeling was not past when Burns wrote that song which the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) quoted, and that was over 75 years after the Union. The ill-feeling did not pass away then, because it was well known in Scotland and by Burns who had brought about the Union and all the shame that attached to it. After all, it was a miserable pittance and a Judas price they got. They were very poor Scots who made such a bargain. If you are going to sell your birthright, surely you should get a mess of pottage for it. But it was all they were worth, because they were a degenerate lot, every one of them. As for the Earl of Marchmont, I agree with Scott when he said: This is the end of an auld song. Scotsmen should have fallen upon him and murdered him. And the end of a great and glorious tradition was this: After fighting for independence, both spiritual, religious, and political, after fighting all the way for our independence at the very end of the day, Scotland was given up by those men for the paltry sums of money that they put in their own pockets—that was the end of it. No; it will not do to say that there was no bribery. There was. As has been very well said, everybody concerned received money. The Provost of my own native town got £100; better than some of them. My Lord of Banff got £11, and, besides that paltry sum, he had to give up his religion. He was a good Catholic, and he became a Protestant in order to get his vote in, and all he got was this paltry £11. [Interruption.] I do not think breweries flourished in those days, so that there was no question of any share in any brewery. It is not right to say, as the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scottish Universities said, that the great middle-class was in favour of this Union. It is a perversion of history to say anything of the kind. The members of the great middle class—the artisan class, the ordinary folk and the clergy—were all up against this Union to a man Every one of them to a man, and the General Assembly also, was against the Union until they had a great many promises regarding the preservation of the Presbyterian religion in Scotland.

I hate to say these things in this House, but it is not true to talk about Jacobism and to dare to say that Fletcher of Saltoun was a Jacobite. I never knew that he cared for change at any time. He was a profound Republican, and he was against this Union because he believed that his country was to be sold, and he fought against it and spoke against it and worked against it in a way that very few men did at that time. Not all the great ones of Scotland were against it. It is true that His Grace the Duke of Hamilton did not play a very manly part in these transactions. I have no doubt that he was anxious to be against the union, but some things side-tracked that desire, and he was unable to carry through his obligations. There were others who were against the union who did not say very much. There were Jacobites on the side of the negotiating Committee who brought about the union. I remember that the Earl of Mar was very prominent in bringing about the union, and alongside of the Earl of Mar was the great Stair, the hero of Glencoe, who had a part in bringing about this Union, but who died before he saw the fruition of all his eloquence and of all the pains he had taken. I know he was a great jurist, but he was not a very great patriot, nor were any of those who dared to bring about this union great patriots.

But I do not want to get away and discuss even the personalities who brought about this Union. It is the picture we are discussing, and I want the hon. Gentleman who represents the Office of Works to take this into consideration. Why should he hurt the susceptibilities of any people at all? I see a statue outside this House of the great Cromwell. Why is it there? Why is it not inside the House of Commons? Everybody knows why. It is because there was a strong Irish party in this House and they were united and determined on the matter. Surely the hon. and gallant Gentleman who represents the Office of Works knows all about that, and he knows that it was because there was a strong and united Irish party here. If the Scottish Unionists and the Scottish Liberals were all determined on the matter we are now discussing, then that picture would be blotted out. That is what we are asking to-day.

Why should we sit quietly under a picture of that kind? Every time we come up St. Stephen's Hall our eyes are drawn to it. They are always drawn to it. One cannot help seeing this Judas thing there. Why should we allow a thing like that to stand there if we can possibly get it removed? And so I plead with the representative of the Office of Works to say to the donor, "We do not want this picture at all." The donor was a Scot, and I am aware that there are Scots in this House who think that this gentleman has done a meritorious act in presenting St. Stephen's Hall with this picture. But I think that the donor might have chosen some other subject. If he had chosen any other one of a dozen or a hundred other subjects which depict the rise of our Empire, every one of us would have been grateful, and none of us would have been standing here questioning the Vote for the Office of Works at all. If it be possible to remove this thing which has burnt itself into the hearts and minds of the Scottish people for 200 years, if it can be removed, why should we not do something which will placate and soften the feelings of Scottish Members in this House? Lord Belhaven has been spoken of, but he made one of the greatest speeches ever made in any Parliament in defence of the Scottish honour, and what he said was sneered at by the Earl of Marchmont. It would have been far better for his daughter Lady Grisel to have left him to starve in the vault of Polworth Church than that he should have lived to sneer at Lord Belhaven.

It was not the union that made Scotland prosper. Scotland was bound to prosper, and even after the union we were flouted of things that we ought to have got. Those things were not given us and that action brought Scotland to the edge of rebellion. The way we were treated since the Act of Union took place brought Scotland to the edge of rebellion, and why did we only have 45 Members where we ought to have had 66? Why should the old nobility of Scotland have to suffer a diminution in their ranks, and even to-day there are only 16 Members who represent the whole of Scotland in another place. I am no believer in the hereditary principle, but at any rate Scotland did not get fair play. It is because of all that went before, because we have not been fairly treated, because of all that happened at the time and for many years afterwards, because of the strong desire throughout Scotland to be treated fairly, that we are speaking against the exhibition of this picture in the hall of St. Stephen's. I support what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee in asking that this picture should be removed altogether.


I think there is no doubt, from the character of the speeches delivered, as to the extraordinary interest which this topic has aroused. It has aroused interest not only among Scotsmen but, judging from the speech that has been delivered by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) it is clear that English Members have been interested in a topic very much removed from our ordinary discussions in this House. I should like to address one or two observations on what is to all Scottish Members and to all Scotsmen, a topic of peculiar interest, and it is because I feel, as others feel, the peculiar value of the character, of the interest, and, as the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Buchan) said of the idiom of the Scottish race, that I venture to add a word on this topic. Whether or not we want this picture removed must, in the first place, depend on whether we regard the union as a matter of ignominy for Scotland or not. I do not. I cannot think that the union, looked at broadly, leaving aside the exact proportion of Scottish Members in the two Houses and the comparatively small sum which may have been spent in oiling the wheels, leaving aside these small matters, I cannot but think that the junction of Scotland with England in one united and corporate country was neither a matter of ignominy for the smaller country nor for the greater. It seems to have been the natural step in the evolution of the history of this island.

I would like to make one observation on a matter which has not been raised before. We say that the union was a mistake, an ignominy, and a failure. When that is said, I think it is only right to ask what did the union of the Parliaments prevent? It unquestionably prevented—and I am sure my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) will not dissent from this—a war between England and Scotland. Such a war, with the progress of the English people and the progress of warlike knowledge, would not only have been far more severe and bloody than any previous war between the two countries, but it would also have meant that Scotland, once again at the beginning of a new century—a century which, as it turned out was a century of immense progress, as has been so well said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scottish Universities—would have been a destroyed, shattered and ruined country.


What about England?


I think that observation needs no answer. Everybody who cares for history, at all events, knows how constantly in the history of Scotland promising hours and promising centuries were destroyed, time and time again, by the warfare between the two countries. I say that, had the Union been a hundred times more corrupt, had it been a picture as black as hon. Members opposite have painted it, I still believe that the corporate union, as an alternative to the war which would almost unquestionably have broken out, was a step in the history of Scotland and of the two countries which no sane Scotsman would wish not to have been taken.

The hon. Member who preceded me in his own person has shown with what dignity and what acceptance to Scotland he could fulfil one of the duties that has been placed, on public men by that Union. He said, though I think he rather departed from it at a later stage of his speech, that it was a fact that it was an incorporating and not a federal Union that he chiefly felt strongly about, and that unquestionably raises a most interesting question. Was it better for Scotland, assuming that you were going to have a Union at all, that Scottish public life should, as it were, come to Westminster? I think it was, and I will tell the Committee why. Scotland through the centuries had acquired a character which from the martial or the religious point of view, or half-a-dozen points of view which I need not enumerate, was of the very highest type, but there was, I think it must be agreed by all who study history, one element in the life of the citizen which circumstances largely had made it impossible to develop. I mean the Parliamentary and public sense. I hope in loyalty to Scotland I give place to no one, but it cannot honestly be said that there was the same Parliamentary tradition, the same tradition of civic public life in Scotland that there was in the Parliament which had seen Pym and Cromwell.

I believe it was of immense value to Scotland in the new stage of civilisation that was opening in the eighteenth century, a stage in which the main battles of the country were to be fought upon the floor of Parliament and not upon the field of battle, that her real Parliamentary life should begin, her real Parliamentary knowledge should commence, in what, after all, is the Mother of Parliaments and the home of all that could be learned about how to conduct a country through Parliamentary methods. She was not slow to learn. Since the Union no fewer than eight Scotsmen have been Prime Ministers. But I believe the fact that it was an incorporated Union, that Scotsmen who desired to take part in public and Parliamentary life came and learned their business at the fountain head. [Interruption.] My hon. Friend smiles, but I think his smile is not altogether one of dissent. I believe it was a most valuable feature of the history of Scotland.


Is it not the case that all the Scottish Commissioners were hostile to an incorporating Union, and that all of them desired a federal Union, and, with reference to the other question the hon. Member addressed to me in a rhetorical form, does he for a moment imagine that Scotland learned anything in the way of public business by coming to the English Parliament?


I will answer the two questions without hesitation. I was dealing with the most interesting question raised by the hon. Member who preceded me, whether an incorporated Union was the right or the wrong sort. If you look at the history of Scotland carefully, you will find that natural causes have prevented the same development of Parliamentary life north of the Tweed that has come south. It was a matter of real value that it was as part and parcel of the new united Parliament that Scotland began Parliamentary life in what was the first peaceful century of her history. These are the reasons, stated very broadly, that gave Scotland, by one of those fortunate chances of history that never seem to be absent from these islands, at the psychological moment an opportunity of coming without hesitation to the fountain head of Parliamentary tradition and knowledge. These were matters of great importance to the country.

My hon. Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Buchan), while disclaiming the qualities of a prophet, suggested that there might be a time when further devolution might produce some qualification or alteration of the present system. I, for one, am inclined to think that you cannot regard in the history of the nation any system as necessarily permanent or final, but be that as it may, should there be some devolution, some alteration in the present system, and if Scot and has to take up some part of the burden of Parliamentary life for herself North of the Tweed, Scotland will come to that new duty and that new responsibility not as a minor member, not as inferior to England; she will come to it with a full knowledge of Parliamentary life, and she will come because she is ready. At some future time it may he she will come to it, and then she will be ready to take up some part of the Parliamentary burden which is now exclusively and, as I think, very onerously carried on within this Chamber. But that an event so significant, a stage so important in the life of Scotland, should not be commemorated with the acceptance of all Members of the House in St. Stephen's Hall seems to me to argue, even in so well-instructed a Scottish historian as the hon. Member for Dundee, a lack of sense of proportion and a desire to confuse mere tiny matters of method with the great broad result which I, for my part, do not think is worthy either of his intellect or his position in this House.


I think it is appropriate to say something on the general question of these pictures and the other decorations in the House. I am glad this discussion has arisen, although it has taken place more because of the subject of the pictures than because of their æ;sthetic and artistic qualities. It might not be altogether inappropriate if one were to say it is high time some sense of co-ordination impressed itself in the general decoration of this building. When I come into the Inner Hall and see the statue of the late Joseph Chamberlain, I feel more indignant at that than I do about the paintings on the wall. I have seldom seen a more crude effigy of any respectable Member of the House than the effigy standing outside that door, and I hope, if there are to be any other Members of the House commemorated, they will not take the form of a full-sized statue, because these pedestals, and the proportions immediately around them, call for at least a bust if you are going to put anything there at all. When you have these truncated gentlemen in flannelette trousers and cheese-like frock coats stuck upon them, I feel something ought to be done in way of iconoclasm or vandalism to clean these monstrosities out of the place.

One thing to be said about the pictures in St. Stephen's Hall is that they are a relief and a general improvement on the ghastly things that stood there before. We had the painting of the Unknown Warrior, which was a most pathetic performance, giving a very vivid description of a gentleman's back view with his uniform on. It may have been a very touching episode in the history of the late War, but so badly depicted that it should not have found shelter inside the building. It has been removed, and now these new pictures have come. Much might be said about them by way of criticism. I think the one that depicts the reading of the Wycliffe Bible is perhaps the most remarkable picture, and it might have been a good thing for the House if the artist, when he did that, had been left to finish the set. I am never more touched than when I looked at King John signing Magna Charta. It reminds me of the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) dissolving his half-Socialist Cabinet. The artist has so arranged it that rain very respectfully falls on each side of the Royal Head, and he has added an awful atrocity in general artistic design by making the flag pole fall right on the head of the central figure in the picture. That, surely, looks like a Bolshevik rising somewhere. We have a battle in which all those who were employed have suddenly been told to pose for the artist. The artist's conception of warfare is a very quiet arrangement. Right opposite we have this great Scottish picture. I am sorry that the subject has given rise to this heated discussion, because the artist is one of our most promising artists, and the picture, at least, does show a great mastery which I am looking forward to seeing developed in this country.

I would have been prepared to say I would not mind really what the subject was about if the picture expressed some real emotion on the part of the artist who produced it. That, in my opinion, is art. But I suppose it will be a long time before Members of Parliament become artists or appreciators of art. I think it is unfortunate that this little arrangement between Scotland and England on that particular occasion was chosen as the subject of the picture. I would not object personally, for I come of Irish parentage, and can speak with more ease on the position. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Buchan) told the House that in those days the cost of coming from Scotland to London was something like £500, and I am sure there are a number of Englishmen who would wish that the same fare obtained to-day. But the picture does seem to give offence not only to Mmbers of this House but to people who have visited the building. On more than one occasion I have heard expressions of opinion about it. If this incident did take place, whatever the virtues or vices of the incident may be, even Scotsmen should have the courage to look at their own history without blushing. Perhaps the present place is not the best place in which to hang the picture. It may be better to put it somewhere else where fewer Scotsmen will pass it.

The whole scheme of the decoration of this building calls for the appointment of a committee selected from this House to pull the whole thing together and to bring it into some harmonic unity. In the frescoes on the wall in the same hall done by Anning Bell one sees an attempt on the part of the artist to get back to the mosaics and to the simplicity of design. They are a great relief when you compare them with the mosaics in the hail leading to this Chamber, where you get a sort of lithographic relief. Perhaps if we had before now selected a few Members of this House interested in these matters to consider the decorations on the building as a whole, these little incongruities might not have arisen, and this picture might not have been discussed to-night. I think, however, that on the whole it has been a good thing to have had the discussion, because I am quite sure that the English people have come to regard Scotsmen as passive patriots. I hope that we shall get a more notable subject for the next picture, and perhaps we shall hear more of the history of a great country which, my hon. Friend said, although it gained much out of the Union, the price she received for the Union was not high.


Before rising to address the Committee, I had thought of raising a point of Order. My point of Order would have been to ask you, Mr. Hope, whether it is fair and in the interests of the generality of the Members of the Committee that a large number of history books should be removed from the Library of the House of Commons? I have refrained from putting that point of Order, because I felt it might be a very serious reflection on certain Scottish Members who would have proved by their keenness in obtaining these Scottish history books at the last moment that they had not a great deal of previous knowledge on the subject discussed tonight. At any rate, I must use that as my excuse for not taking part in the history of this particular picture, and for dealing more on the facts of the Vote which is before the Committee.

Before passing to what I may term practical politics, I would like to say one word in reply to the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston), who said that amongst other things, "bribery was the custom of the time." He went on to describe very vividly the riots which were taking place in the streets. He described the burning of effigies of the various Commissioners, and in many other gruesome ways he showed us the unpopularity of this Act of Union. What I want to ask him definitely is this. He is, surely, not going to hold my right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of Works responsible for what happened in that respect more than 200 years ago? He said—and this was a point of which I took careful note—that Lockhart refused to sign the Treaty, and that there is an error in the guide book where it says he was one of the Commissioners who actually signed the Act. I would call attention to the difference of opinion between the hon. Member and Sir Henry Newbolt, one of the greatest historians of the day, and I hope Sir Henry Newbolt will make the necessary alteration in the next edition. The hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. J. Brown) said that we were not discussing the Union but the picture. Actually, I think, the question under discussion at the moment is whether or not my right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of Works should have his salary reduced on account of some action which he has taken regarding this picture.

I would like, as I said, to return to practical politics. The Motion before the Committee is the reduction of the salary of my right hon. Friend because, I take it, of his responsibility regarding this picture. What is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend? Those who took part in the unveiling ceremony of these pictures will remember on that occasion the Prime Minister handed the pictures over to the Lord Great Chamberlain, who accepted them on behalf of His Majesty, and the Prime Minister handed them over to the First Commissioner of Works "for custody and maintenance." At that point only does the responsibility of my right hon. Friend come in. It is true that in a semi-public capacity my right hon. Friend had some small responsibility. I will quote from page 2 of the book to which reference has been made where it says: The choice of the subjects was made by the present writer in consultation with Lord Peel, the First Commissioner of Works, Lord Crawford, the Chairman of the Arts Commission, and the Speaker. The official list was only settled after long and careful deliberation. I am quite prepared to admit that my right hon. Friend had some semi-public responsibility in connection with the choice of the subjects, and of course he has authorised me to say that he will accept the fullest responsibility that can possibly be attached to him. The Committee knows that the First Commissioner would we the last person to attempt to shirk any responsibility of this or any other kind. My right hon. Friend realised that there might be some question in the House as to the desirability of the subjects which had been decided upon, and immediately the decision was reached as to the titles of those eight pictures, my right hon. Friend arranged with me that a question should be asked in the House about these different subjects. A question was actually put down, and answered on the 17th December, 1925, and, in reply to that question, I gave an outline of the particular scheme.

In reply to a supplementary question by the hon. Member for the English Universities (Sir M. Conway), I gave the names of the artists, and I promised to publish the titles of the pictures at a later date. I have the actual answer in my hand, but I do not think I need give the actual words. I promised that the titles should be published at an early date, and the full tiles were actually published in all the leading newspapers on the 16th January, 1926. I have here many cuttings of the announcement, and this particular picture which is questioned to-day was described as "Queen Anne giving the Royal Assent to the Act of Union with Scotland, 1707." There was also placed after it the name of the artist, W. J. Munnings. This announcement appeared in the leading newspapers, the "Times," the "Morning Post," and the "Daily Telegraph." [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the Daily Herald'?"] I said the leading newspapers. The "Daily Herald" had access to the information, and I understand that newspaper could have obtained the information from the "Glasgow Herald," which had a longer description of this event than that which appeared in the English newspapers. The fact is that the information was given in the newspapers in January, 1926, but in order to make certain that the Members of this House and the public outside should have full information as to the titles which were going to be given to these pictures, there was a reminder by way of question and answer in this House on the 23rd February this year.

In spite of the fact that the information was originally given more than 18 months ago when the titles of the pictures were given, it was not until the 30th June this year that certain Members of Parliament decided that the title of this particular picture was an act of humiliation. My point is a perfectly clear one. If this title which was well known 18 months ago is an act of humiliation to-day, it was a greater act of humiliation then, because it was nearer the date when the actual humiliation took place. If it was an act of humiliation, it should have been noticed before this.

I want to say a word or two about those responsible for the choice of subjects. One of them was my right hon. Friend Lord Crawford, a great expert on matters of art and a trustee of the National Gallery; and another was Sir D. Y. Cameron, both of them Scotsmen. The donor of the picture who knew the title was himself a Scotsman. All these individuals I might say, with all due respect, are as patriotic as the hon. Member for Dundee.


I never said one word against the picture or the artist. In fact, I especially commended them. I do not think the hon. Gentleman needs to introduce a motive of that kind.


I did not mean to be offensive to the hon. Member. The point I was trying to make was that there are other Scotsmen who hold different views on this question from those held by the hon. Member for Dundee, and I said they were equally patriotic. May I suggest that possibly certain hon. Members who take up one attitude or the other may be biased in connection with this picture? On this question I think I can speak with a perfectly open mind. My father was an Englishman, my mother was a Scotswoman, and that union of England and Scotland, as far as I am concerned, was perfectly satisfactory. May I say that less than 20 years ago I have seen money pass between my father and my mother, and I never dared to call it bribery. It does not always follow that money which may pass from one person to another is necessarily money in the form of bribery.

Doubts have been expressed in this Debate as to whether there was actual bribery regarding the Act of Union. Even if there was corruption—and I am not prepared to admit it—I do not think, after listening to all the speeches that have been delivered, that that need prevent a picture of an act which has been of such value to both countries from being displayed in the Palace of Westminster. What actually were the Scots giving up? We have heard many quotations to-day, and my hon. Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities has already said that the loss of the Scottish Parliament was not of very great importance. May I give another quotation which shows what was actually given up by the loss of the Scottish Parliament? It is from Hallam's "Constitutional History." I believe that Hallam was a very eminent historian—


As dull as ditchwater.


He may have been as dull as ditchwater, but this is what he writes: The best justification of those who came into so great a sacrifice of natural patriotism is that they gave up no excellent form of polity, that the Scots Constitution had never produced the people's happiness, that their Parliament was bad in its composition, and in practice little else than a factious and venal aristocracy. If that were then an accurate description—I do not say that it was—of their so-called sacrifice, I see little for the hon. Member to complain about. I would ask again, is there to be no picture in this Palace of Westminster showing what at any particular time might have been considered to be an humiliation? If that is to be the intention and desire of the House, surely there are many pictures in the building that would have to be condemned. I am not going to mention them all, but just to give an illustration. There is a picture, I understand, in the Speaker's House today of Sir John Trevor. What do we read about Sir John Trevor in the book entitled "Gentlemen of the House of Commons"? I emphasise the word "gentlemen." It says: He received from the Court large sums to buy those whom he could not bully into voting for the Crown. Trevor's rise had been remarkable; an ill-looking lad, with what was called Satanic squint, kept the door of a low-class lawyer's office; his employer apologetically explained of him, 'He is set there to learn the knavish part of the law.' The historian goes on: He showed his earlier proficiency in deciding the disputes of local gamblers; he then sneaked into St. Stephen's as member for a Court borough; exactly 30 years after the squinting urchin had kept the lawyer's door, he sat in the Speaker's Chair; in the next reign, when that title became his by Statute, as the first Commoner of England and the greatest gentleman of the realm, he took his place in the retinue of William III and Mary. Within a week, however, of that event, he had to read aloud in the House of Commons its resolution that Sir John Trevor, for receiving a gratuity of one thousand guineas from the City of London, was guilty of high crime and misdemeanour.''


Is not that a reflection on the Chair?


It is no reflection on the Chair. What I am trying to prove is that Mr. Speaker does not consider, as a consequence, that that portrait is any reflection upon himself. We cannot accept the theory that an act of humiliation, even if it were an act of humiliation, should never be portrayed, especially when such success has resulted from the act. My hon. Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities has already mentioned one point in which great benefit has accrued to England from the Union. He has already said that five of the last nine Prime Ministers have been Scotsmen, and I think he described my right hon. Friend the present Prime Minister as half a Scotsman. One of those Prime Ministers was my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, and I am sure the hon. Member will not wish to decry what he has done for this country. In addition to the five Prime Ministers out of the last nine, the two present Archbishops of the Church of England, I understand, are Scotsmen. This Union between Scotland and England may have started badly, but it has produced enormous results, and I venture to suggest that it would have been actually an insult to Scotland if she had been left out of the great episodes representing the building of Britain. So far from its being a great humiliation that this picture should stand in its present position, it is in fact a great compliment to Scotland that it should be there.


Thank you, very much!


The real question in connection with this Act of Union as an historic occasion is, has it or has it not proved the wisdom of the parties who entered into the contract? The verdict of history is, surely, clear on that point. The Union has been of unquestionable value to both countries. If I might say so, in spite of the interruption which I unconsciously drew forth from the hon. Member for Dundee, I would say that the happy relationship which exists between the Scottish and the English Members of this House is itself almost a sufficient justification of the wisdom of the event. I would ask the House to forget, if they can, any unpleasantness that happened more than 220 years ago. I am not, as I have said, going to state definitely at this stage that there was or was not corruption, but, even if there was, surely, after a period of 220 years, it is possible to forget any humiliation that there might have been at that time. My hon. Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities made an appeal. I would like, if I can find adequate words, to echo that appeal. I would ask the Scottish, and, indeed, I would also ask the Irish and the Welsh and the English Members of this House, to forget that they belong to any particular part of this country, but to remember that we all hold an equal heritage in a great and mighty and farflung Empire.


The point that the hon. and gallant Gentleman made concerning the overlooking of this matter for 18 months was, no doubt, a very strong one from his point of view, but I think a much more important point that has to be remembered by the Scottish people in that connection is that it has taken 220 years to bring about an agitation as to the necessity for a Parliament of our own. I am quite certain that the average Scotsman would be willing to let you have the picture if he could get the reality of the Parliament. There is no doubt in our minds as to the necessity for it. The hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. J. Brown) gave evidence of some of the old-time fervour and depth of feeling. I cannot say personally that there are so many Scotsmen who feel as keenly on the crisis at that, far-back date, but, taking the circumstances up to date, there is no doubt that the feeling is growing very strongly concerning the present situation. While that picture may remain as a remembrance of regrettable facts in days gone by, bribery was, as my colleague in the representation of Dundee (Mr. Johnston) said, a habit of the time. It operates even to-day, not only in Scotland but in England, and is notorious in America. Undoubtedly there is need for a remembrance of the past to bring us to the situation as it stands to-day. The picture is one indicative of what took place between England and Scotland. It is not very creditable on the whole, but, looking at it from the standpoint of the days in which it happened, it is not astonishing to think that a matter of that kind was available for presentation from the historic point of view.

The right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) referred to Bailie Nicol Jarvie. It will also be recollected that on the occasion of the Bailie secretly visiting Tolbooth Prison with Rob Roy so as to interview Mr. Osbaldiston of London, the Bailie explained on the lines of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the ties of blood relationship which somewhat united them. On reminding Rob, however, that one magisterial word would involve the notorious visitor in trouble, the Bailie was emphatically informed that if he said that word the wall would be plastered with his brains. That settled it! Whatever may have taken place in the past, the present situation is that Scotland can hardly hold her own. She has no chance of getting her affairs attended to, and my contention is that it is most essential that Scotland should press for the same advantages which are enjoyed at present by our Colonies and the Irish Free State.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. James Hope)

I am afraid that would require legislation.

9.0 p.m.


I understand that this Vote has to do with these buildings. When this Vote was before the House on a former occasion, I raised the question of the stone that was used in the repair of these buildings, and I should like to ask the hon. and gallant Member who is in charge of the Vote whether his attention has been drawn to the figures which have been given recently by the Medical Officer of Health for Portland, and the Medical Officer of Health for Derbyshire, as to the effect of the use of sandstone upon masons who are called to work it. The rate of mortality arising from the use of this stone is no less than 13.4 per thousand, whereas the rate of mortality in the use of Portland stone is no greater than 1.2 per cent. In view of these facts, I would suggest that it is not too late for the Office of Works to reconsider their decision in respect of the refacing of these buildings. The high rate of mortality among those who had to use this sandstone warrants a reconsideration of the decision. We have no right to impose these conditions on those who will be expected to do this work when we can get

stone equally as good as this sandstone——


The hon. Member is referring to the repair of these buildings. That comes under Class 7, Vote 3. It does not come under the present Vote.


I beg your pardon; I was under the impression that I was in order.

Question put, "That a sum not exceeding £384,470 be granted for the said Service."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 71; Noes, 239.

Division No. 274.] AYES. [9.3 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Scurr, John
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston) John, William (Rhondda, West) Smillie, Robert
Baker, Walter Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Stamford, T. W.
Batey, Joseph Kelly, W. T. Sullivan, J.
Bromley, J. Kennedy, T. Sutton, J. E.
Clowes, S. Lawrence, Susan Taylor, R. A.
Cluse, W. S. Lawson, John James Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Compton, Joseph Lee, F. Townend, A. E.
Dalton, Hugh Lunn, William Viant, S. P.
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Mackinder, W. Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)
Day, Colonel Harry Montague, Frederick Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Dennison, R. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Duncan, C. Murnin, H. Wellock, Wilfred
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Oliver, George Harold Westwood, J.
Gardner, J. P. Palin, John Henry Whiteley, W.
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Paling, W. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Greenall, T. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Potts, John S. Williams, T (York, Don Valley)
Groves, T. Purcell, A. A. Young, Robed (Lancaster, Newton)
Hardie, George D. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Ritson, J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Salter, Dr. Alfred Mr. Johnston and Mr. James Brown.
Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Scrymgeour, E.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Chapman, Sir S. Falle, Sir Bertram G.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Charleton, H. C. Fenby, T. D.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Christie, J. A. Fermoy, Lord
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Fielden, E. B.
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Finburgh, S.
Ammon, Charles George Cobb, Sir Cyril Ford, Sir P. J.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Forrest, W.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Foxcroft, Captain C. T.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Connolly, M. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colone Francis E.
Astor, Viscountess Conway, Sir W. Martin Galbraith, J. F. W.
Atholl, Duchess of Cooper, A. Duff Ganzoni, Sir John
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Courtauld, Major J. S. Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham
Balniel, Lord Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Gillett, George M.
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Goff, Sir Park
Barnes, A. Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Grace, John
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Curzon, Captain Viscount Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Dalkeith, Earl of Greene, W. P. Crawford
Bethel, A. Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)
Betterton, Henry B. Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Grotrian, H. Brent
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Davies, Dr. Vernon Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Brass, Captain W. Dean, Arthur Wellesley Hacking, Captain Douglas H.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Dixey, A. C. Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Drewe, C. Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Duckworth, John Hammersley, S. S.
Brown, Brig -Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Dunnico, H. Harland, A.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Edge, Sir William Harrison, G. J. C.
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Edmondson, Major A. J. Hawke, John Anthony
Burman, J. B. Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Hayday, Arthur
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Elliot, Major Walter E. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Elveden, Viscount Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.
Campbell, E. T. England, Colonel A. Henn, Sir Sydney H
Carver, Major W. H. Everard, W. Lindsay Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Cassels, J. D. Fairfax, Captain J. G. Hills, Major John Waller
Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Neville, Sir Reginald J. Streatfeild, Captain S. R.
Holt, Capt H. P. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Styles, Captain H. Walter
Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Oakley, T. Tasker, R. Inigo.
Hume, Sir G. H. O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Templeton, W. P.
Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Hurd, Percy A. Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Illffe, Sir Edward M. Perring, Sir William George Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Thomson, Trevelvan (Middlesbro. W.)
Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Preston, William Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Price, Major C. W. M. Thurtle, Ernest
Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Radford, E. A. Tinker, John Joseph
Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Raine, Sir Walter Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Kindersley, Major Guy M. Ramsden, E. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
King, Commodore Henry Douglas Rees, Sir Beddoe Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Lamb, J. Q. Remer, J. R. Waddington, R.
Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Remnant, Sir James Wallace, Captain D. E.
Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th) Rentoul, G. S. Ward. Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Long, Major Eric Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Warrender, Sir Victor
Looker, Herbert William Rice, Sir Frederick Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Lougher, Lewis Richardson Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint) Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Lumley, L. R. Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford) Watts, Dr. T.
MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stretford) Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland) White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-
MacIntyre, Ian Ropner, Major L. Wiggins, William Martin
McLean, Major A. Salmon, Major I. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Macmillan, Captain H. Sandeman, N. Stewart Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
MacRobert, Alexander M. Savery, S. S. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Malone, Major P. B. Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby) Windsor, Walter
Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Sheffield, Sir Berkeley Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Margesson, Captain D. Shepperson, E. W. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Skelton, A. N. Wise, Sir Fredric
Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K. Smith-Carington, Neville W. Withers, John James
Meyer, Sir Frank Smithers, Waldron Womersley, W. J.
Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich W.)
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles Wragg, Herbert
Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Sprot, Sir Alexander Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)
Morrison, H (Wilts, Salisbury) Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph Steel, Major Samuel Strang Major Cope and Mr. Penny.
Nelson, Sir Frank Strauss, E. A.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.

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