HL Deb 16 February 1909 vol 1 cc6-36

My Lords, in rising to move that an humble Address be presented to His Majesty thanking him for his gracious Speech from the Throne, I know that members of this House, when addressing your Lordships for the first time, have rarely omitted to ask, and have never failed to receive, the indulgence of the House; and I trust that I may experience the same kindly consideration on this occasion. Last year His Majesty alluded in his gracious Speech to the great and universal pleasure which was caused throughout this country by the visit of His Imperial Majesty the German Emperor and his Imperial Consort to our shores. This year His Majesty, in his gracious Speech, makes reference to his own and Queen Alexandra's recent visit to Berlin; and it must have been a matter of much gratification to every individual throughout the British Empire to hear how enthusiastically our gracious Sovereign and his Consort were received by the great German people. This spontaneous display of goodwill and kindliness should dispel some of the evil forebodings of a certain section in both countries, and will, we trust, be the foundation of a lasting friendship which will become more cemented as time goes on.

My Lords, I turn to the reference in His Majesty's Speech to foreign affairs. As your Lordships are aware, Turkey has resolved itself into a constitutional Power, and I am sure your Lordships will rejoice that such a radical and beneficent change has been accomplished in such an orderly and peaceful manner. Unfortunately, a crisis has been brought up in the course of the last day or so, and the first Ministry has been compelled to resign. We can only trust that nothing will arise to disturb the tranquillity and order which have hitherto signalised the Turkish people in their attempts to remodel their government on the best and wisest lines. Perhaps we ourselves may not be a little flattered that one of our ablest and best Naval officers has been selected to reorganise the Turkish navy and bring it up to modern requirements.

But although the actual revolution in the form of government has up to now been accomplished with comparatively little friction, there are incidents which are giving great anxiety. Bulgaria, as your Lordships are aware, has declared herself a separate State, independent of the suzerainty of Turkey, and the Ottoman Government will only agree to recognise such independence on condition that an indemnity is paid as compensation for the loss of the railway which runs from Turkey proper through Eastern Roumelia to Bulgaria. His Majesty's Government are working in co-operation with the Government of Russia, and we trust that the negotiations will turn out satisfactorily and that the Government of Bulgaria will be persuaded to acquiesce in the demand of Turkey. There still remains to be dealt with a contentious spot on the North-west frontier of Turkey, and it would appear that a peaceful and satisfactory solution can only be found through the goodwill and forbearance of the Austrian Government. A war would practically mean suicide for Servia, and, possibly, Montenegro; and we can only trust that wiser and saner counsels will overcome the hasty and ill-advised counsels of those who are trying to involve Servia in a war with her mighty neighbour.

It is not only in Eastern Europe that events are engrossing the attention and anxiety of our Government. In Persia, unlike in Turkey, the desire of the people for constitutional government has not been realised, and the Government of the Shah appear powerless to cope with the disturbances which are to be heard of everywhere throughout that country. Fighting is no new thing in Persia, and it has unfortunately been going on for some time along the Western frontier. As your Lordships are probably aware, the frontier between Asia Minor and Persia has never been really demarcated, and the result has been that the will Kurdish tribes who inhabit that region have been raiding to their hearts' content and causing endless ill-feeling between Turkey and Persia. His Majesty's Government are fully aware of the gravity of the situation, and they trust that, with the co-operation of Russia, they may be able to arrive at a solution of the difficulty, and that law and order may be restored. At the same time it must be impressed upon those concerned that such a state of things as exists at present cannot be allowed to continue.

I pass now, my Lords, from the engrossing topic of foreign affairs to a subject which, as His Majesty says in his gracious Speech, has called forth the heartfelt sympathy of the whole world. I allude to the terrible disaster that has overtaken Italy in the earthquake in Sicily and Calabria. We in England have in many ways given practical evidence of our sympathy with the Italian people in their distress. Our men-of-war were despatched posthaste to the stricken districts, and all that could be done was done by supplying the sufferers with stores and medical assistance; and it is universally known that our sailors, not only of the Navy but also of the merchant service, rendered invaluable assistance, often at extreme peril to their lives.

His Majesty's Government are heartily to be congratulated on the satisfactory conclusions of two important negotiations with the United Si ates. An Agreement has been signed for the reference to arbitration at the Hague of the North American fisheries question, which has long been a source of grievance and annoyance, not only to our own subjects, but to those of the United States. It has, indeed, formed ground for dispute since 1818, when the present regime was laid down by Treaty. That Treaty has been interpreted in many and different ways, and on several occasions fishery questions have created positions of great difficulty between His Majesty's Government and the United States. It is to be hoped that the Agreement will secure ratification, and that the decision of the Hague Tribunal on this matter—perhaps the most important that has been referred to that Tribunal—will remove for ever a source of possible difficulties between His Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States on this subject.

The second important negotiation has to do with the Treaty for the regulation of the boundary waters to ensure for ever the preservation of the beauty of the Niagara Falls, which is seriously threatened on the United States side of the river by the erection of powerful plant under grants of authority from the State of New York, and, on the Canadian side, by licences granted by the Dominion of Canada and the Province of Ontario. This negotiation will, it is to be hoped, also provide satisfactory means of settlement of the innumerable questions which arise out of the diversion and pollution of the waters which form the boundary between His Majesty's Dominions in North America and the United States. It is a matter of satisfaction that His Majesty's Government have acted with the advice and consent of the Newfoundland Government with reference to fisheries question, and of the Canadian Government with regard to the boundary waters question; and I hope I shall not be considered presumptuous when I say that no one deserves greater credit for the carrying through of these negotiations than Mr. Bryce, our Ambassador at Washington.

An important step has been taken towards the unification of South Africa. Delegates from Natal, the Cape, the Orange River Colony, and the Transvaal met together in the autumn at Durban, and later at Capetown, and, after exhaustive discussion, agreed upon terms of union. These have been published in the form of a draft Bill, which will be considered later by the Colonial Legislatures. The draft Bill published as the result of the Convention provides, first, for the union of the Colonies, not simply for joining them in a loose federation. Secondly, it provides for the taking over by the Union Government of the debts and liabilities of the Colonies, and the Colonial Governments will become provinces of the Union. Thirdly, the Government will consist of a Governor-General, a Senate, in which some members will be nominated for their special knowledge of native affairs, and an Assembly in which the existing Colonies will be represented in certain proportions. Fourthly, the existing franchises in the various colonies, including the native vote at the Cape, are to be left untouched; nor is the native vote to be altered except by a Bill passed with a two-thirds majority by both Houses sitting together. Fifthly, there is a provision for redistribution of seats later, according to the white male population, the voting being on the principle of proportional representation, with a single transferable vote. Sixthly, the various Colonial Courts will disappear and be merged into a Supreme Court of South Africa. Seventhly, both English and Dutch will be the official languages of the Union. Eighthly, there is a provision for the admission later of other territories. And, finally, special provision is made that if and when native protectorates enter the Union, the natives shall keep their land and the sale of liquor shall be prohibited. I think there will be a universal hope that the labours of this Convention may be successful, and that the integral portions of South Africa may be welded and strengthened, not merely for their own good, but for the general wellbeing of the British Empire.

I turn now to that portion of His Majesty's Speech which deals with India. We all have been and are watching the outcome of events in India. As your Lordships are aware, there was and is much to give anxiety; and the Secretary of State and the Viceroy, backed by the great Princes of India, are to be congratulated on the manner in which these difficulties are being faced. A Bill for extending the representative element on the Legislative Councils is ready for the consideration of Parliament, and is to be immediately laid before your Lordships' House. There is a general hope that these changes, together with firmness and tact in executive action, will abate latent discontent, and open a future of peaceful order and progress.

One last point before I sit down. His Majesty's gracious Speech touched on the question of finance. There is, unfortunately, little doubt that the Estimates of 1909–10 will show a deficit. That deficit will be caused, first, by the increased expenditure contemplated on the Navy—for His Majesty's Government intend to uphold the undoubted supremacy of the Navy as laid down in the Prime Minister's speech of November 9 last—and, secondly, by the increased expenditure which will be required for old age pensions, both being, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, not only necessary but vitally essential to the interests of the country. I conclude by thanking noble Lords on both sides of the House for the patience and consideration extended to me. I beg to move.


My Lords, I have the honour to second the Address, and I would ask for that indulgence which is invariably given to those who rise to address this House for the first time. I think your Lordships will agree that the foreign and colonial policy of His Majesty's Government has been most successful. But what has crowned their efforts is the great success of their Majesties' visit to Berlin, which has given a great impetus to the friendship between the English nation and the German people. The magnificent demonstration, both official and popular, on their Majesties' departure from the German capital testifies to the happy effects of the visit, and will do more than anything else to cement the friendship between the people of the two countries.

There is one measure referred to in His Majesty's gracious Speech which I am sure will be accorded a favourable reception at the bands of all sections in your Lordships' House. I allude to the proposal of the Government to deal with the question of the better housing of the working classes. In London alone 250,000 people are one-room dwellers, and what is true of London is true of other great cities. The need for better housing is illustrated in certain towns by a heavy death rate, excessive infant mortality, and prevalence of tuberculosis. In addition, squalid conditions of living are great incentives to drunkenness. A Bill is also to be laid before Parliament for the disestablishment of the Church in Wales. As an Irish Protestant, I can say that the disestablishment of the Church in Ireland has been attended with the most satisfactory results. The Irish Bishops, elected without any interference from the State, are distinguished for their great learning, and for the able way in which they administer the diocesan business. The same may be said of the clergy, who are elected by their congregations; they are most efficient, and their monetary affairs are highly satisfactory.

The Report on Poor Law Reform will shortly be laid on the Table of your Lordships' House. Last year a sum of £80,000,000 was spent in the United King- dom in providing maintenance, medical treatment, and education for the poorer classes ; but the overlapping of administration and the duplication of services by all sorts of local governing bodies caused a large portion of this immense sum to be wasted. Thousands of men are wasting away in the workhouses, and tens of thousands of working men rise up in the morning not knowing where to get work to provide food for their children and themselves. A measure is to be proposed for the better organisation of the labour market through a system of co-ordinated labour exchanges, and by the constitution of trade boards. Labour exchanges, in some form or other, are indispensable for the abolition of casual labour. It is not possible for each employer to employ only irregular men. It is possible for all to agree to take their irregular men from a common centre. The business of the central board will then be so to distribute work as to give each man a regular flow of work under several employers and not under one.

The proposed London Electoral Bill will make London one Parliamentary borough instead of twenty-eight boroughs, as at present. One hundred and sixty thousand voters are disfranchised in London owing to the anomaly of not being able to enjoy the right of successive occupation, which is enjoyed in Manchester, Birmingham, and the other great cities throughout the United Kingdom. A Bill is to be introduced to prevent the landing and sale in the United Kingdom of fish caught by foreign trawlers in prohibited areas of the sea adjoining Scotland. There is also a reference in His Majesty's Speech to the Irish Land Bill, which will be a message of hope to the expectant hearts of the Irish people. His Majesty is keenly interested in the welfare of his Irish subjects—a fact which has caused him to be most popular in Ireland, and which the Irish people recognise by according him a most enthusiastic welcome when he visits Ireland. It is regrettable that, at a moment when this important Bill is being introduced, certain politicians and newspapers should paint Ireland in lurid colours, and describe it as being in a state of great disorder and unrest.

In truth, my Lords, lawlessness in Ireland is grossly exaggerated. In twenty-four counties out of the thirty-two there is no agrarian crime, and the official returns for last year show a marked decrease in agrarian crime as compared with the previous year. The only remedy for this unrest, which is confined to seven or eight counties in the West of Ireland, is to plant the tenants on the land. There has been great and regrettable delay in carrying out the provisions of the Land Purchase Act, owing not to the fault of the Irish Land Commission, but to the fact that the staff of inspectors and examiners is wholly inadequate to deal with the £56,000,000 worth of agreements lodged in the office of the Irish Land Commission. This delay is most injurious, both to the landlord and to the tenant. They tenant has to pay interest at the rate of from 3½ to 4 per cent. instead of paying 3¼ per cent., the amount of the purchase annuity; and the landlord has to pay all charges on the land and lose a considerable portion of his income by the mere fact of having agreed to sell. Your Lordships have on many occasions shown sympathy with the demands of the working-classes in England, notably by passing the Trades Disputes Bill, the Miners (Eight Hours) Bill, and the Old Age Pensions Bill; and the Irish people may justly hope for the same treatment, whereby you will establish tranquillity in Ireland and give greater security to the British Empire.

Moved, "That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty in reply to the gracious Speech from the Throne."—(The Earl of Liverpool.)


My Lords, it is the customary privilege of the person who speaks first in these debates from this side of the House to offer his congratulations to the noble Lords who move and second the Address. I trust that the noble Lords who have done so to-day will accept the congratulations that I offer them. I am bound to say that, having now listened to a very great number of speeches delivered in similar circumstances, I am impressed by the fact that the noble movers and seconders, as years go by, seem to stand less and less in need of that indulgence which, with becoming modesty, they always claim at your Lordships' hands. I trust, nevertheless, that they will take in good part our acknowledgment of the ability with which they perform their task.

Both noble Lords very properly dwelt upon that paragraph of the gracious Speech in which His Majesty expresses his gratification at the manner in which he was received by the Sovereign of Germany and by the people of all classes in the city of Berlin. I do not think it is too much to say that there is probably no recent event which has been received with a greater measure of sympathy by the people of this country, or one which they have noted with greater pleasure. We may, I think, say without fear of contradiction that His Majesty's visit was eminently opportune in point of time, and was conspicuously successful, and there is every reason to hope that it may have far-reaching results of the most beneficial character. The visit was one of a long series of such visits, and I do not think we can find words too strong to express our admiration at the indefatigable energy which His Majesty exhibits in undertaking these extremely useful tasks. Each of these visits—and they have been numerous—has, I believe, either strengthened existing friendships or cemented new ones. In this case we have two Royal families closely connected by ties of blood; two great peoples closely connected by ties of common origin and by common characteristics. No two nations could more properly advance side by side in the van of human progress. We may therefore, I think, rejoice that the two Sovereigns should at this particular moment have emphasised a friendship which ought never to be interrupted, and which, as His Majesty truly observes, makes for the peace of the whole civilised world.

That paragraph seems to form a very appropriate preface to the short sentence which follows, in which His Majesty intimates that his relations with foreign Powers continue to be friendly. I rejoice that in that part of the Speech which follows the first place should be given to our relations with the United States of America. That is the Power of all others from whom it would be intolerable to think that the non-removal of causes of friction might have the effect of dividing or estranging us. Nor, again, is there any Power with whom we would more gladly co-operate in showing to other countries that is should never be beyond the power of two great nations to find an amicable means of removing sources of international difficulty. I note with particular satisfaction the announcement that in regard at any rate to one of the two questions specially referred to, His Majesty's Government have been able to carry the Dominion Government with them. We know how keenly the Colonial Governments feel in regard to these questions; we also know—I am afraid we must admit it—that with the best intentions in the world we have not always been successful in carrying them along with us on questions of this kind, and therefore it is to my mind most satisfactory that in the case of the Waterways question, and I hope we may say the same in regard to the Fisheries question, we have the goodwill and concurrence of the two Colonial Governments concerned.

Then, my Lords, there follows a rather remarkable paragraph with regard to the state of affairs in Persia. I entirely agree with His Majesty's Government in holding that our policy in that country should be as far as possible one of non-intervention so far as internal affairs are concerned. But owing to the geographical position of Persia, and owing also to the amount of British commercial enterprise which has found its way into that country, we cannot afford to be indifferent to what passes within it, and, therefore, it is extremely important to us that Persia should be decently governed, and that the state of anarchy and disorder which has prevailed there so long should come to an end. But I observe that in the view of His Majesty's Government that admirable result can only be arrived at by the introduction of "representative institutions in a practical form." I do not know exactly what that somewhat enigmatical expression is intended to point at. I do not know what is meant by "representative institutions in a practical form." It occurs to me that the draftsman of the sentence may have had some experience of representative institutions which have not assumed an entirely practical form. Be that as it may, I do ask His Majesty's Government to remember that representative institutions as we understand them are not a panacea for all the troubles of Eastern communities. We have been putting, in many parts of the world, a great deal of very old wine into very new bottles, and the experiment is a dangerous one. I note with pleasure that in regard to these questions His Majesty's Government are in diplomatic communication with the Government of Russia; it is of great importance, to my mind, that the two Governments should work together in that part and as far as possible in other parts of the world. We note with satisfaction that His Majesty is able to announce that the prospect in the Balkans has improved. I believe it has improved; at the same time we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that very grave cause for anxiety still exists. We can, however, console ourselves by comparing the situation as we know it to-day with the situation as it appeared to us at that moment when, to the consternation and bewilderment of many of the Governments concerned, it was announced to us that Austria had decided to annex the two provinces and that Bulgaria intended to shake herself free of Turkish supremacy. Those events moved this country very deeply. We had always opposed to the best of our power any violent disturbance of the status quo in South-Eastern Europe. Again, we had always been the Power above all others which had insisted most upon the sanctity of international obligations. In the third place, we have never ceased to maintain a very friendly feeling for the people of Turkey, and we rejoiced to see a prospect of better government for them. Therefore, my Lords, it was with the greatest alarm and regret that we became aware of a state of things which threatened a conflagration in South-Eastern Europe, which gave a great shock to all those who desired to uphold the sanctity of international agreements, and which was likely to retard for an indefinite time the development of better institutions in Turkey. If these difficulties have, as I believe they have, been to some extent surmounted, I think we may say that it is due to the moderation and good sense of the Powers which are most concerned.

One cannot read the news that comes to us from different parts of the world without feeling that there is really a kind of spirit of reasonableness abroad amongst the Powers, and that they are all anxious to maintain the peace and to compose international difficulties so far as that can be done. I think, in fairness to His Majesty's Government, we may say that, so far as they have contributed to the creation of an international atmosphere which has facilitated better understandings of that kind, they deserve all possible credit. I may venture, in illustration of the kind of reasonableness to which I have referred, to point to the recently concluded Agreement between France and Germany with regard to affairs in Morocco, an Agreement upon which we can afford to look with favourable eyes, because it is, so far as we are aware, consonant with the general lines upon which we have always held that the affairs of Morocco ought properly to have been disposed of.

I must not forget to say a word as to the feelings of the people of this country in regard to the catastrophe which recently befell the people of Sicily and Calabria. This was a calamity which no human precautions or foresight could have avoided; it was overwhelming in its disastrous results, and the noble Lord was perfectly right when he said that the feeling of the people of this country was one of unmixed compassion for those who lost friends or lives or homes by that disastrous occurrence.

Now I pass for a moment to the paragraph which deals with the affairs of India, a paragraph which will probably be scanned as narrowly as any in the Speech. I observe that in the first place it contains no reference to the general state of the country. That was touched upon by the noble Lord who moved, and most of us feel that something should be said on that subject, particularly as a few weeks ago the noble Viscount the Secretary of State for India told us that the circumstances were at that moment formidable, obscure and impenetrable. We should rather like to know whether, in his opinion, the situation has undergone any change. One thing we should all be inclined to say—that there must be no weakening, no taking away from the hands of those who on the spot are administering the government of India, no taking away of any of those weapons upon which they rely for coping with so dangerous a position. I cannot express too strongly my belief t hat if matters of this kind are to be successfully dealt with there must be prompt and vigorous action. You must trust the men on the spot with the requisite powers and allow them to use those powers whenever they find it necessary. Above all things avoid dilatory proceedings, appeals from one Court of law to another Court of law, appeals from the local Government to the central Government, or from the central Government to the Secretary of State. All these things tend only to shake the authority. of those who are responsible for the maintenance of order. I hope the noble Viscount will tell us, on this or some other occasion, that he has given the Governor-General and Council all the powers for which they have a right to ask, and that he will trust them to use the powers in such manner as may seem to them necessary.

We are informed that the Bill dealing with the improvement of Indian administration is very shortly to come before your Lordships. We are always grateful for any business that can be given to us at the commencement of the session. I am not sure that I am particularly grateful to the noble Viscount for the colossal Blue-books with which he provided us for the purpose, as he told us, of augmenting the joys of the Christmas holidays. I had to spend a considerable part of my holidays in travelling from place to place, and all I can tell him is that after a very short experience of the rules laid down by the railway companies as to extra luggage, it became impossible for me to carry about the enormous amount of pabulum with which the noble Viscount thoughtfully provided us. I have a more serious grievance—that these books do not contain any of those aids in the way of indices, summaries, or tables of contents to which we are accustomed in well-compiled Blue-books. It is a perfect maze, in which one loses oneself very easily, and the books contain a great deal of matter which really need not have been there at all. What I conceive we want to know is the opinions of local governments and the opinion formed on those opinions by the Government of India; and finally, the judgment of the noble Viscount himself.

We have had another contribution to the literature on the subject, and a very important one, in the reply of the noble Viscount to the Mahomedan deputation which lately waited upon him. I note with great satisfaction one very important point, that the noble Viscount has not yet said his last word, and is prepared to consider the very strong objections raised on behalf of the Moslem population of India. But I naturally desire to reserve what I have to say on this subject until the Bill comes before your Lordships' House. I think we are all agreed that some such steps as the noble Viscount proposes are desirable; the difference between us, if there is a difference, is really one of pace, and that we can discuss at a future time. I will just add that I do not think anything has more reassured those who view these proposals, as many do, with a certain amount of uneasiness than the noble Viscount's frank statement in this House that nothing is further from his intention than to introduce in India anything that can be described as corresponding with Parliamentary institutions as we know them here.

One word more in regard to India. The paragraph is carefully drawn, and in it we are informed that the Bill will deal with matters for which an Act of Parliament will be required. Now, we know that for some of the proposals, in the view of the noble Viscount, the sanction of Parliament is not required, and in those the appointment of an Indian Member to the Viceroy's Council was included. What I wish to say on that subject to-night is whether that matter is or is not dealt with in the Bill, I think it is due to your Lordships that we should have an opportunity of discussing it. To me it appears a matter of very great importance. I feel this the more because the Blue-books, bulky as they are, throw really no light on the subject, and it is to me a somewhat curious fact that the correspondence between the Secretary of State and the Governor-General in Council really contains only one very brief paragraph dealing with the Executive Councils. Lord Minto's Government mentioned, in a tentative tone, that experience which will hereafter be gained of the operation of the proposed measures dealing with the Legislative Councils will show whether it will be desirable or not to strengthen the existing Executive Councils or create new Executive Councils in certain parts of India. The actual words were, I think, that it would be premature even to discuss these questions until after experience had been gained of the other measures. But we know that the noble Viscount has decided to proceed at once, without waiting for further experience, with the changes in the Executive Councils, and the natural inference is that there must have been at some time some kind of discussion, some kind of correspondence between the Government of India and Whitehall. I do not want two more colossal Blue-books, but I think there should be a continuation of the story to tell us how this most important step came to be taken.

I can assure the noble Viscount that I make this criticism in no hostile spirit; my one anxiety is that nothing should be done to impair the efficiency of the Viceroy's Council. That is the object and end of my criticism, and I feel a certain amount of anxiety lest the efficiency of the Viceroy's Council should be impaired by giving him one member, not appointed necessarily because he is the best man for the post, but because he happens to be qualified for the post and also to be an Indian. It is because I have that feeling that I do look with a certain; mount of suspicion upon this part of the noble Viscount's scheme. The noble Viscount will remember that his language was rather uncompromising; he said if a vacancy arises—and we know that a vacancy is about to arise—he will feel it his duty to appoint an Indian. Well, these words have been taken as meaning that, whatever other competitors are in the field, an Indian will be preferred because he is an Indian. Now I conceive that this will not be the removal of a disqualification, but the imposition of a new disqualification upon the other competitors.

I turn now to that part of the Speech which has reference to the South African Colonies, and which is extremely interesting to most of us. South Africa is a land connected in our minds with many painful memories and many bitter controversies, and, if out of these troubles there should emerge a new order of things at once benefiting the Colonies concerned and adding to the renown of the British Empire, we shall all warmly welcome it. The first stage has been arrived at, and if the other stages are successfully accomplished, I think we shall all feel that a great debt of gratitude will be due not only to those who, like my noble friend Lord Milner, and still more our colleague Lord Selborne, have been prominent in bringing about a condition of affairs rendering these things possible, but also to those colonial statesmen who, without distinction of race, have been working together for this purpose.

I come now to what appears to me a somewhat remarkable omission from the gracious Speech. One, if not both, of the noble Lords who spoke just now said something as to the condition of Ireland. The noble Lord who seconded, I think, told us that there was a great deal of exaggeration in what was currently said with regard to the condition of Ireland. I must express my surprise that the Speech contains no reference to the condition of Ireland. I shall avoid, I hope, the language of exaggeration, but I do venture to say that in a considerable part of Ireland the state of the country is scandalous and deplorable, and that the result of events which have taken place in that part of Ireland has been to create a general feeling of insecurity in the rest of the country and to render infinitely more difficult than it was a few months ago the solution of the Irish agrarian problem. I understand that my noble friend behind me is likely to draw attention to this matter to-morrow, and I will not anticipate what he has to say; but I do assert that under the present administration Ireland has made a rake's progress infinitely more rapid than any which that country has achieved since we have had anything to do with it.

It is an overwhelming indictment. We know, to begin with, that we hold your receipt when you took office for an Ireland which the then Chief Secretary described as more peaceful than it had been since the time of Strongbow. Can you say that of the present condition of Ireland? What about the outrages of which we now constantly read, in which firearms are employed? In 1906 there were virtually no such outrages. In 1908 there were 121. I recall a speech delivered last year by the noble Earl who will follow me in which he made very light of the firearms question. I think he said that people could always get firearms if they wanted to commit a murder, or something of that kind. But does the noble Earl know that there is now a roaring trade in firearms in almost every village in some parts of Ireland, with the result that the persons who take part in these cattle-drives are found with firearms in their pockets and use them, as we know, upon occasion? I mentioned the word "cattle-drives." Cattle-driving was unknown until the present Chief Secretary took over the government of Ireland. Has the noble Earl not heard that in the last two years there have been over 1,000 cattle-drives in Ireland—1,050, to give the exact figure? Has the noble Earl not heard, as we are beginning to hear now, of the mutilation of cattle accompanied by that ferocity which in the days of the Land League was too commonly exhibited? Finally, has he not heard of the murder in broad daylight of a w retched constable in the discharge of his duty—a murder which apparently was regarded with enthusiastic approbation by the people of the neighbourhood? Are these things in- ventions of ours, or are they, as we believe them to be, solid facts?

Bad and alarming as are these isolated incidents, worse still to my mind is the complete supremacy, the complete reign of terror, which has been established by these combinations in some Irish districts. I am told that no child is too young, no woman too weak or too unprotected, no poor person too humble or too helpless to escape the tyranny of these organised bands. All these things shock us, and what shocks us even more is the impunity with which these things are done. I said just now there were 1,050 cattle drives within the past two years. I am told that there have been only 162 cases in which proceedings of any kind have been taken.

What is your mode of dealing with these people, when you catch them? You shut them up. You bind them over to keep the peace. I am told that in these circumstances they are treated as untried prisoners. Their friends have access to them. They are fed upon the fat of the land. They have such a glorious time as they never had before in their lives, and they know that, when the time comes for dividing the ranches, it is the people who have undergone this treatment—I will not call it punishment—who will be marked out for special recognition and reward. I would like to ask, why is it that the misguided women who occasionally make themselves extremely objectionable outside Ministerial residences, when they go to prison, are obliged to spend twenty-three hours out of twenty-four in the solitary confinement of a cell, and that these people who go about the country driving cattle, with arms in their pockets, are treated with this conspicuous indulgence? It is the old story. It is because His Majesty's Government have made up their mind that they are going to rely upon the ordinary law. We know why that is. The truth was blurted out in this House by a subordinate member of the Government last year, who told us that His Majesty's Government refused to avail themselves of the Crimes Act, because the people of Ireland had been led to believe by the utterances of leading members of the Liberal party that they would receive more sympathetic treatment. That really is the sole reason why, having ready to your hands a weapon which from experience you know would be sufficient to deal with these evils, you leave that weapon in your pocket without having recourse to it.

I ask, now much longer is this to go on? The noble Viscount the Secretary of State for India has left his place. I was going to suggest that His Majesty's Government might lay to heart some words which he used not very long ago with regard to another part of the British dominions. This is what Lord Morley said— Somehow or other we have got to maintain order. Disorder, whatever your policy may be, must be put down, and that with a firm hand. The maintenance of order is the foundation of anything like future progress.

Why is that sound doctrine for external application only? Why is there to be a firm hand in one part of the King's dominions, and why are you prepared to use the kid glove on an irresolute, vacillating hand in another? I would rather leave unsaid what most people are saying with regard to the heads and hands by which the Administration of Ireland is at present guided.

The next paragraph in the gracious Speech deals with the question of finance, and, although it is short, we can read a great deal between the lines of it. I do not think it needs an expert in finance to discover that we have a waning revenue, that we have vast new commitments, and that we have improvidently dispensed with sources of revenue which would have stood us in very good stead at the present time. I should like to know whether, if the taxation on sugar, tea, and coal had not been got rid of, anybody in his senses would propose to get rid of it now. We know that the Navy will make large calls upon our resources. It is nevertheless satisfactory to remember that the present Prime Minister has in the most emphatic manner undertaken that our naval supremacy shall remain unquestionable, and that we are to have the two-Power standard maintained in this sense—that we are to be given a superiority of 10 per cent, over the combined forces in capital ships of any other two Powers. The country has taken note of that pledge, and I feel no doubt that it will be observed in the spirit as well as to the letter.

There is another liability to which reference is made—I mean the new liability on account of old-age pensions. I think it is pretty notorious that you have considerably outrun the constable in that direction. The noble Earl will remember that, when the Old-Age Pensions Bill was before this House, many Members called attention to tile inequalities which it contained and to the dangerous loopholes which were left for fraud upon the taxpayers of this country. I venture to think that our warnings have been entirely justified. Some of us even went the length of suggesting amendments, but they were brushed on one side, and you invoked the privilege of the House of Commons. What do we find now? You are obliged to bring in a Bill yourselves to deal with the inequalities of treatment which you have now discovered.


May I ask the noble Marquess when we invoked the privilege of the House of Commons on that subject?


My impression is that when we first went into Committee the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack got up and warned us collectively that we had better leave these matters alone, because they were questions of privilege. I remember particularly one Amendment moved by my noble friend, Lord Salisbury, which clearly dealt with a very bad blot in the Bill, and was also ruled out on that ground in common with all the rest. If the noble Earl will refer to Hansard, he will find that my statement is amply justified.

With regard to the particular question of exclusion on account of pauperism, I see that the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other day announced to a deputation that, if the local authorities would only find the money—a little matter of £3,000,000 or £4,000,000—he would be glad to see that "cruel" anomaly removed. Your chickens have come home to roost.

There is another little matter connected with old-age pensions. Some of my noble friends from Ireland will have some very interesting information to supply on that subject. I am told, by people who know what they are talking about, that, whereas your estimate of the cost of old-age pensions in Ireland was three-quarters of a million, the actual cost will be over two millions. In Ireland the taxpayers are being plundered right and left, and if the noble Earl will institute an inquiry he will get some very curious revelations. In reference to the financial situation, I will only say now that I do not believe any Chancellor of the Exchequer has ever in a time of profound peace found himself confronted with such a situation as now confronts Mr. Lloyd-George. Let me add that this House contains a number of Members whose right to speak with authority upon questions of finance stands as high as that of any other public man, in or out of the House of Lords, and therefore noble Lords opposite must not be surprised if, even although this question mainly concerns the House of Commons, the House of Lords also takes some interest in it.

With regard to the measures promised in the Speech, I notice there are one or two important omissions from the list. There is no suggestion of any legislation dealing with your Lordships' House. That is reserved for the public platform. We do not complain of that, but we do observe that, while on the platform friends of noble Lords opposite are extremely eloquent on this subject, as a Government noble Lords opposite are extremely cautious how they translate these vapourings into anything like substantial proposals. Meanwhile, we note with pleasure that the stream of recruits provided by the Government to this House still flows steadily. May we be allowed to offer a welcome to one of the latest of these recruits—the Scottish Secretary, who took his seat this evening? I have noticed ingenious attempts to explain why the noble Lord obtained his promotion at this particular juncture, but I have no hesitation in offering a theory of my own, I am convinced that His Majesty's Government had come to the conclusion that the time had arrived when my noble friends Lord Balfour of Burleigh, Lord Camperdown, and other noble Lords who interest themselves with so much ability in Scottish affairs, were entitled to have opposed to them a foeman worthy of their steel. And so little do I disapprove of the Government's action that I would venture to suggest to them that they should carry it a little further. If they promote the Scottish Secretary, why not the Irish Secretary? If the Irish Secretary were to be allowed to sit side by side with the Scottish Secretary, I feel sure that my noble friends from Ireland would give him a reception the warmth of which would leave nothing to be desired.

The other omission from the Speech is the abandonment of all attempt to deal with the question of education. That seems to me a striking justification of your Lordships' action in not accepting without demur the somewhat crude and hasty legislative proposals which were put before us in 1906. Since then you have had two years in which to deal with this question. You have had the experience of one Bill brought in in 1907; in 1908 there was the Bill of the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of St. Asaph, then the penal Bill of Mr. McKenna, and then, in the autumn session of last year, the olive-branch Bill of Mr. Runciman. These latter have not reached this House, and therefore it cannot be said that the House of Lords stands in the way. Even with your great and docile majority in the other House, you have not been able to frame a measure which you can confidently recommend to the public and to Parliament as a thoroughly just and equitable solution of the question. As we are not to have any legislation, I do trust that the Government will not attempt to do by executive action what they do not dare to do and cannot do by legislative means. Some of your Lordships may have noticed the extraordinary case mentioned in the papers by my noble friend Lord Cawdor in connection with the Swansea school. There was a dispute between the managers of a non-provided school and the local education authority. The matter was referred by the Board of Education to a very distinguished lawyer, who held an inquiry as provided by the Act, and that distinguished lawyer found on all points in favour of the managers of the school and against the local educational authority. The Board of Education apparently tore up his report, reversed his decision, and ruled against the managers of the school and in favour of the local authority; and to give completeness to the story I observe that that distinguished lawyer has within the last few days been promoted to a place in the High Court.

Of the measures mentioned I will not say much. We are promised another Irish Land Bill, and the noble Lord who seconded the Address appears to think that a Bill on the lines of the Bill of last year is likely to be received with acclamation by all concerned. I am afraid he is too san- guine. We are always ready to co-operate with His Majesty's Government in putting the financial basis of land purchase in Ireland on a better footing. We are also prepared to join in doing what we can to improve the condition of the congested districts of that country. But I would entreat His Majesty's Government to apply three criteria to any measure they intend to press forward. Let them ask themselves:—Will it really promote purchase, or will it not ; will it really relieve the wants of the congested districts, or will it not; will it increase or will it diminish the feeling of insecurity in Ireland? I regret to say that if the Bill at all resembles the Bill introduced last autumn it fails when judged by each of these criteria. In the opinion of those most competent to judge, it is likely to arrest the progress of purchase. It is a Bill which will do very little for congested districts because you have set up side by side with your congested districts policy the policy of distributing land amongst what are called the landless men in other parts of Ireland. Finally, it is a Bill which will perpetuate that tribunal upon whose haphazard methods various Committees and Royal Commissions have so strongly animadverted, and you are going to trust that body with new powers which it will be obliged to exercise in a manner that will destroy the last vestige of the security, not only of the landlord who still owns a few acres of land in Ireland, but even of those tenants who have purchased their farms under encouragement from His Majesty's Government and who at any rate might have supposed that they at least had found a haven of security in which they were not likely to be harshly disturbed.

Then I notice that there is to be a Bill for the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church in Wales. Am I wrong in thinking that a Royal Commission, presided over by a learned Judge, is still sitting and inquiring into this matter? If not, why is it thought desirable to bring in a Bill without waiting for the report of that Commission? In the case of the Poor Law, the Government have shown a wiser discretion. They are going to give themselves time to study that Report, and if it is true that the Report contains nearly 700 pages and the evidence extends to 12,000 pages, they are wise in not being in too great a hurry to legislate upon it. The other Bills seem to be not of first-rate importance, but some of them deal with subjects which we all think should be dealt with. To sum up what I have to say with regard to the Speech, it contains undoubtedly several passages on which we can all dwell with pleasure, but it contains others which leave us anxious and dissatisfied, and it presents omissions which require further explanation. With regard to the legislative proposals which we are told we may expect, we shall await them with interest; and I can assure the noble Earl, speaking for those who sit behind me, that if those measures are conceived in a spirit of equity and moderation, it will be most agreeable to us so far as our opportunities permit, to co-operate with His Majesty's Government in supporting their passage through Parliament.


My Lords, it gives me pleasure, first of all, to congratulate my noble friends the mover and seconder of the Address on the manner in which they have discharged their task. The mover of the Address bears a famous Parliamentary name and succeeded a valued colleague of our own, and the seconder is the son of a very familiar figure in the House of recent years. But if we have our gains we also have our losses. In the short interval since we last met this House has lost one of its most brilliant members, Lord Robertson. His darts were often very sharp but they were never envenomed; and those of us who from time to time became their target enjoyed the skill of the marksman as much as any one else. It will be a long time before Lord Robertson's contributions to our debates are forgotten by those who were privileged to hear them.

The Speech opens with an allusion to the visit of their Majesties to Berlin, and I am able to speak from personal observation of the extreme cordiality which was there exhibited from the highest to the humblest without distinction of class or profession. I desire to join in the tribute which the noble Marquess paid as to the manner in which His Majesty has always shown himself willing, at the expense of any personal trouble, to carry out this important part of the Sovereign's duties. Of course, such visits as this cannot do everything. They cannot of themselves settle vexed international questions. They cannot of themselves even dissolve deep-seated international animosities. But in such a case as that of ourselves and Germany, when there are really no important questions at issue between the two countries, and when there is no conceivable reason whatever for anything like international animosity, a visit of this sort can be productive of nothing but the greatest good. It necessarily improves the whole atmosphere between the two countries; and, so far as I can speak from personal knowledge of the communications that passed in Berlin, I can say that the desire winch His Majesty's Government evinced—a desire, I believe, that is shared by the whole of this country—is also shared by those who guide the destinies of the great German Empire; and that desire, I conceive to be, that, without in any way compromising the alliances or understandings to which each country is respectively committed, the two nations should be able to maintain a thoroughly friendly attitude with regard to each other, and to take every opportunity for harmonious co-operation, not merely for the purpose of maintaining the peace of the world, but also of advancing the many interests of both countries which do not in any way clash or interfere with each other.

The King's Speech refers to the earthquake at Messina. Such great natural cataclysms remind us, more than anything else, of the littleness of human affairs. But it is a very distinct satisfaction to us that we were able to do something through our Navy and merchant service towards the alleviation of the terrible trouble which fell upon a friendly nation.

As regards the state of affairs in South-Eastern Europe, the mover of the Address alluded to the recent change of government in Turkey. We are not in full possession of the circumstances which led to that change of government; but even if we were it would not, I think, be our province to comment upon it. So far as the internal affairs of Turkey are concerned, our one wish is that Turkey should go on being strengthened by a policy of reform on a basis of liberty and equality. Therefore, whatever Government may be in power in Turkey, so long as it carries out this policy, it will be benevolently regarded by ourselves. But as regards the conduct of the foreign affairs of Turkey I should be sorry not to pay a tribute to the statesman who has just resigned office. Through a time of very great difficulty he had shown remark- able qualities in conducting negotiations with other countries, and we sincerely hope that the new Government will carry out his policy, for this reason, that that policy seems to be on the very point of securing a settlement between Turkey on the one side and both Bulgaria and Austria on the other side. It is a thoroughly satisfactory feature of the situation that so far as the principal proposals of both Bulgaria and Austria are concerned they have been accepted by Turkey, and I sincerely hope that this may lead to an amicable solution. It is impossible to look with quite the same satisfaction upon the position as regards Servia. But we must hope for the best. There are also difficulties which cannot be blinked both in relation to Montenegro and Crete. I can assure noble Lords opposite that the policy of the Foreign Office will be directed towards arriving at a peaceful settlement of all the difficulties in South-Eastern Europe.

The question of Persia is distinctly less satisfactory. The noble Marquess asked for the meaning of the phrase in the gracious Speech— The state of affairs in Persia imperatively demands the introduction of representative institutions in a practical form.

That means that if representative institutions are granted by the Shah they should be genuinely representative institutions. We agree that representative institutions in Persia, or anywhere else, are not an absolute panacea for all the evils of that country; but the fact remains that they are demanded in Persia and have been promised by the ruler of that country; and all we say is that we cannot feel ourselves in a position to support the Shah, either by means of a loan or in any other way, so long as he persists in his present policy. It is perfectly true that we are exceedingly desirous to avoid intervention in Persia, but it is not always as easy as might be supposed to avoid intervention in the affairs of other countries. A state of general disorder becomes sometimes so great a public menace and constitutes so serious an interference with trade, that anything short of absolute intervention is a matter of extreme difficulty. That applies particularly to the case of Russia because, as noble Lords know, Russian interests are distinctly affected in the, north of Persia, which has for some time been the most disturbed district of any. The Russian Government take the same view of the whole matter that we do, and we are in friendly communication with them on the whole subject on the lines indicated in the gracious Speech.

I was very glad to hear what fell from the noble Marquess opposite with regard to the subjects concerning Canada and Newfoundland mentioned in the Speech—the Waterways Treaty and the fisheries arbitration. I do not wish to say very much of the Waterways Treaty, because it is at this moment before the American Senate, and, as the noble Marquess very well knows, that body is in the habit of discussing pretty freely international treaties which come before it. The subject is one of first importance and of very great difficulty. There are complicated questions of the level to which waterways and lakes may be reduced and of the abstraction of water for power, and I should like to bear testimony to the skill and patience shown not only by Mr. Bryce, though I desire that he should have his full share of it, but also by Mr. Root, and certainly not less by the Canadian Ministers engaged all through the discussions. With regard to the fisheries arbitration, these questions are almost, I suppose, the most repulsive with which public men can be confronted. Everybody has shied away, if I may use the expression, from the fisheries question of Newfoundland for a great many years past. Here, again, I should like to pay a tribute to the desire for accommodation shown both by the Colony and the United States, and I sincerely hope that if these matters come, as I trust they may, before The Hague Tribunal, this exceedingly tiresome question may be finally got out of the way.

Then I pass to Africa, and there again I am in full accord with what has fallen from the noble Marquess. It is, as the Speech says, the first step towards the consummation of the union of a large part of the great continent of Africa. So far as I am able to judge from what has passed during the discussions, the qualities of statesmanship shown by the South African politicians of all the colonies and of every race have been of the most remarkable character. When one comes to think of the recent history of South Africa it does seem to be almost a magical thing that it should have been possible for these public men to meet and ,discuss and decide upon questions which go deepest to the life of the nation, and with scarcely varying harmony and steadfast determination to arrive at a solution to get over or round their difficulties in a way which cannot be too highly praised. Beyond those qualities of intellect we can prize even more highly the thoroughly human feeling that has been shown both in dealing with racial and with native questions, especially those relating to the great Protectorates under our administration. I hope that it will be found that the good-will which South African statesmen have shown may tend towards the settlement of those very difficult problems caused by the presence within the union, and in districts that may become part of the union, of those vast native populations—problems for which I ask your Lordships to remember there is no precedent whatever in any kind of union attempted in any other part of the world. In saying that I should also like to endorse fully the tribute that the noble Marquess paid to Lord Selborne. Lord Selborne has throughout shown the valuable combination of robust common sense and vivid sympathy, which have enabled him to be of very real service to South African statesmen in setting before them certain aspects of the problems with which they had to deal.

I now come to that part of the Speech which deals with domestic affairs. The noble Marquess complained that no direct mention is made in the gracious Speech of the condition of things in Ireland. My Lords, our reference to the condition of Ireland, from our point of view, consists in the announcement of our intention to bring in an Irish Land Bill, because the state of Ireland, unsatisfactory as it may be in some parts, though greatly exaggerated by many people for party purposes, does, in our opinion, depend exclusively and entirely on the state of things with which our Land Bill is designed to deal. The noble Marquess brought an indictment against us. He said we found a peaceful Ireland; and what is the state of Ireland now? Now, my Lords, it seems to me that that involves a fallacy of which it is not very difficult to dispose. It is perfectly true that Ireland was in a peaceful condition when we went there. But you can always make Ireland peaceful for a time by bribing it, and the last and greatest of all these bribes was the Irish Land Bill of 1903, which was at the time captivating the imagination of the Irish people. There- fore, to draw a comparison between then and now seems to me as unreal as to draw a comparison between the state of Ireland to-day and what it was when the noble Marquess opposite was there in 1887. It was then infinitely worse than it is now, though I quite admit that it does not follow from that that the noble Marquess necessarily governed Ireland worse than we do. It is really, I submit, fatuous to say that because there is more crime Ireland is worse governed, and because there is less crime it is better governed. To put that statement simpliciter leaves out all the circumstances of the case.

What are the circumstances of the case with regard to some counties in Ireland? That state of things directly, in my judgment, arises out of your Irish Land Act. It is the unfortunate fruit of that otherwise noble tree. If you establish a peasant proprietary it may be a wise or foolish thing to do, but if you tell by your legislation every Irish peasant that the object at which he ought to aim is to become a peasant proprietor you excite a new form of that land hunger which has always existed in Ireland. That is exactly what has happened. You cannot do what you did in 1903 without causing comparisons to be drawn between the peasant proprietors with their small holdings and the great unoccupied tracts of grass-land. It may be economically best for Ireland that you should have a graduated system of hill farms, and land for half fattening, and land for finishing; but these considerations do not appeal to people who see these large tracts of empty land, and now we see, what we did not foresee at the time, this land hunger for the grass-land as the direct outcome of what you did in 1903. The noble Marquess referred to 1,000 cattle-drives. I believe that the number of what may be called cattle-drives in the strict sense is very much smaller than is represented, though I have not the figures before me now; but they can and will be produced.

Then we come back to the old point of difference between the two sides, as to the administration of the Crimes Act. It is assumed to-night, as it has been so frequently assumed before, that you have nothing to do but depend on one section of the Crimes Act of 1887 and peace will reign in the country. The very reason we do not apply the Crimes Act is that we believe it is a rotten weapon. As regards intimidation, I have always held the view that well-organised intimidation cannot be checked by law. I know no method of checking it by the application of the most drastic coercion. That may be an unhappy admission for a Government to make, but it was made by Lord Salisbury, and I believe that what I say will be confirmed by everyone who has had to do with the Government at Dublin Castle.

The subject of town-planning is one in which I have always taken a great personal interest. In driving the other day through the wide suburbs of Berlin it was impossible not to feel how much more thought and sense and method have been brought to the development of the outskirts of that great capital than have ever been applied to the outskirts of any great town in this country. I sincerely hope we may be able by the Town Planning Bill to do something to avoid the haphazard methods which have been hitherto in vogue. I do not attempt to enter on the question of the, Poor Law. We hope the legislation which we propose to introduce for the establishment of labour exchanges, which I was not surprised to find is a matter put in the forefront by those who sat on the Royal Commission, may be of some real service. One great evil is not only unemployment, but under employment, and if anything can be done by organisation to improve the lot of those workers, I feel that a good deal will be gained. On the question of Welsh Disestablishment, I understand the Report of the Commission is practically completed or will be at a very early date. The noble Marquess rather suggested that the measure should not be introduced until the Report has been seen.


I rather suggested that the policy of the Government should not be decided until the Report has been received.


As far as the policy of the Government is concerned we have no reason to suppose that the great national demand to which we endeavoured to give effect on a former occasion has been in any way modified, and we shall be surprised if the Report goes to show that it has. I only touch the question of India very briefly, because my noble friend will bring in his Bill in a very short time, and we shall then be able to discuss the question as a whole. I have my noble friend's authority for saying that he is anxious that all matters relating to India should be fully threshed out in this House, and even although the question of the appointment of a native on the Viceroy's Council, being an executive act, does not arise on the Bill, it will be a comparatively slight breach of order to discuss a topic so kindred to the whole subject on the Second Reading.

The noble Marquess twitted us with not bringing in a Bill again on this occasion on the vexed subject of education. I am afraid the forces of bigotry, not confined to one school of thought, have been too much for us. I deeply lament it should be so. It seems to me a profound misfortune that after enlisting the very generous co-operation of the most reverend Primate, and after devoting, as my right hon. friend the President of the Board of Education has done, weeks and months to the discussion of the subject, we are not much nearer each other than when this Parliament first met. I regard that as something like a national disgrace, and I lament as much as the noble Marquess did, though in a somewhat different spirit, the omission of this measure from the gracious Speech.

I have no doubt that when our financial proposals come before this House they will be very fully discussed, as indeed a considerable number of your Lordships are well qualified to discuss them. It is perfectly true that the task of my right hon. friend is by no means a simple one. He has to meet these great commitments with a revenue which cannot be described as anything but unsatisfactory, though I should hope there is some indication of improvement before very long. The noble Marquess alluded to the Navy and said something about its requisite strength. I do not remember the precise words of the noble Marquess, but I wish to guard myself by saying that the words which we adopt in that connection are the words as used by the Prime Minister. It is true we have to find a vast sum for old-age pensions. It was fully admitted last year that there would be a certain degree of risk of pensions being claimed by those who were not entitled to receive them, and if noble Lords can produce proofs of cases of that kind they will be interesting, and I hope they may lead to the establishment of measures for reducing that risk. In this connection I may point out that there is another side to the large Irish claim. I think It shows that the proportion of very old people in the country is lamentably great, due, of course, to the fact that such a large proportion of the younger population leave the country year by year. If a miscalculation has been made it is due to the fact that those responsible have taken the English ratio of population and have forgotten that in Ireland the ratio is a different one from what it is in the other divisions of the United Kingdom. I think I have nothing more to add on that subject.

The noble Marquess has given a kind welcome to my noble friend the Secretary for Scotland and a kindly invitation to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, if His Majesty should be pleased to raise him to the peerage by the advice of my right hon. friend. I think the Chief Secretary for Ireland, in whichever House he may sit, will feel it is something like a choice between frying-pan and fire—which position my right hon. friend might consider your Lordship's House I really cannot say without asking him. In speaking of my noble friend the Secretary for Scotland, the noble Marquess said that various noble Lords well acquainted with the affairs of Scotland, would now find "a foeman worthy of their steel," but really I cannot allow the Lord Chancellor, who, after all, has been in charge of our attempted Scottish legislation in this House, I cannot allow him to rest under the imputation of not being worthy of anybody's steel, although I frankly admit, of course, as regards the representation of the office, it is of great advantage to have my noble friend here instead of a noble friend of mine who has always conducted Scottish business efficiently but who naturally is not conversant with official details as is my noble friend the Secretary for Scotland. Having endeavoured to deal with the points raised I think I need now say no more.


There are certain noble Lords who are anxious to discuss the very serious condition of certain parts of Ireland, and I therefore move the adjournment of the debate.

Moved, "That the Debate be adjourned."—(The Marquess of Londonderry.)

On Question, Debate adjourned accordingly till to-morrow.

House adjourned at five minutes past Seven o'clock, till To-morrow, a quarter past Four o'clock.