*THE LORD PRIVY SEAL AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (THE MARQUESS OF CREWE)
My Lords, I feel sure that your Lordships would not desire that we should proceed to the business of the day without my calling attention to the loss which the House has sustained during the last few days in the death of Lord Ashbourne. It is not merely a question of the disappearance from the Front Bench opposite of a familiar and a popular figure, but we cannot forget that during a period of no less than eighteen out of the last eight-and-twenty years Lord Ashbourne filled one of the highest offices under the Crown, and filled it with distinction. Of Lord Ashbourne's position as a lawyer and as a Judge I am not competent to give any opinion. We remember him here as the foremost figure in a number of Irish debates, and his name will always be associated in history with the beginning of that new land policy in Ireland which by a process of evolution has since changed the tenure of the greater part of the land in that country. Speaking from this side of the House, I feel bound to say that, though we always found Lord Ashbourne a strenuous opponent, yet we found him a fair and even a generous one. Those of us in particular who had been, or were, associated with the government of Ireland felt that, however much he might denounce our actual methods, and however much he might hate our ultimate aims, he was always willing to give us the credit of doing our best on behalf of the country of which he was so faithful and so characteristic a son. It would be, of course, affectation to pretend—and no one would have pretended it less than Lord Ashbourne himself—that be was one of the most outstanding figures of the later Victorian era, but he will long be remembered as a most skilful Parliamentarian, a ready and formidable debater, a man of no small political culture, and one who gave the best years of his life to the service of his country.
§ *THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, the tribute which the noble Marquess who leads the House has paid to the many sterling qualities of the late Lord Ashbourne will, I feel sure, please and touch his many friends both in this country and in Ireland. I will not attempt to add at any rate many touches to the picture, lest I should spoil it. As the noble Marquess has reminded us, although Lord Ashbourne had a long 416 career in this House, the most active years of his life were probably those which he spent upon the Front Unionist Bench in the House of Commons. During those years he took part in all the important Irish legislation of that period—legislation of the highest importance—and in the many historical Irish debates which then took place. Notably he took a distinguished part in all measures affecting land legislation, and, as the noble Marquess has told us, his name is in particular associated with what, I think, may be fairly described as the first successful attempt to deal with the problem of land purchase. Lord Ashbourne in those days was a host in himself upon the Unionist Front Bench. In this House he invariably showed an intimate knowledge of, and a great interest in, all questions affecting the country to which he belonged. He was a ready, a resourceful, and a well-informed contributor to our debates. Of his judicial work in this House, like the noble Marquess opposite, I do not feel competent to speak. We shall, however, all of us remember Lord Ashbourne on account of the great kindliness of his disposition, on account of his fine temper, and the imperturbable good humour with which he addressed himself to any work which it fell to his lot to discharge. We take leave of him with unfeigned regret, and we offer our cordial sympathy to all those who are now mourning him.
§ EDUCATION BOARD PROVISIONAL ORDERS CONFIRMATION (CARDIGAN, &o.) BILL. [H.L.]
§ Read 2a (according to Order).