HL Deb 02 November 1920 vol 42 cc134-77

EARL LOREBURN rose to move to resolve—

That this House strongly condemns the murders and other excesses that have been perpetrated in Ireland and believes that the remedy is not to be found in reprisals and in the senseless destruction of property, and urges upon His Majesty's Government that they should not confine themselves to the punishing of offenders by process of law, but should also without delay announce and bring into operation a comprehensive measure of self-government for Ireland including fiscal autonomy, and reserving to the imperial Parliament the control of the Navy, Army, and Foreign Affairs, and this House welcomes the growing opinion on the part of moderate men throughout Ireland in favour of this course.

The noble and learned Earl said: My Lords, I feel that I owe some apology to the House for intruding in Irish business, because I am well aware that there are many members of this House who have more local and familiar knowledge of it and who are more competent to deal with it than myself. But my feeling is this, that in the extraordinarily critical situation in Ireland it is the right of this House to have an opportunity of expressing its opinion both in debate and also in the Division Lobby as to the proper policy to be adopted.

I do not propose to gird at His Majesty's Ministers or at anybody else. I know they have a great deal of most important and anxious duties all over the world, in which I should be very glad to do what I could to help rather than to hinder. But of all these questions the most urgent and the most dangerous, and I think the most far-reaching, is the difficulty which exists now in regard to Ireland. I am aware that there is a Bill of the Government which is expected very shortly in this House, but I do not see any prospect of a peaceful settlement in that Bill. Nor, from what I hear, do I think it is favoured in any but very few quarters in Ireland.

Before I come to the Motion your Lordships will allow me to say that having just come out of a very great war, we have fewer friends or well-wishers than we should like to have in any part of the world, except in His Majesty's Dominions. It is a curious thing that in former times those Dominions have been a source of very great difficulty to this country. There were wars in many of them preceding their independence, but the one thing which has secured complete unity and good will throughout the British Empire is the gift to all the Dominions of practically full, complete self-government. I think it is not unwise to remember this when we are considering what ought to be done in regard to Ireland. I know very well, and your Lordships will remember, that it is thirty-five years since Mr. Gladstone first proposed Home Rule, and he devoted his old age to the effort to carry it through. It is not any part of my purpose to revise the prolonged and tedious controversies which followed, but practically his proposals were enthusiastically supported in Ireland outside of Ulster for very many years, and they always assumed the shape of a constitutional demand. I know that some noble Lords and other gentlemen thought that the constitutional demand was a mere film, but I do not assent to that. It was, however, always put in a constitutional form and nothing was ever asked by formulated Irish opinion except proposals of a constitutional character.

That lasted for many years, but at length, in 1918, the Constitutional Party, the National, Party, was absolutely destroyed. It was destroyed, I think, by reason of several things. One was the war and the hatred of conscription. The second was the long delay and disappointment there had been in realising any effective form of self-government for Ireland. I also think that the opinion was very largely diffused in Ireland that British Ministers were completely insincere and had no intention of carrying out the measure which they had placed on the Statute-book. I do not agree with that opinion, but it was, I believe, held in Ireland. It was thought that there was the intention, by means of some amending Bill, to alter the terms of the Act which was on the Statute-book. In this way the old Constitutional Party was broken to pieces, and the Sinn Feiners, who professed to doubt the honesty of the English Parties, were completely successful. Then extreme men got control of them and negotiated with our foreign enemies. Since that time all the work of the law has been overthrown and horrible murders have been perpetrated on the pretext that there was a state of war between England and Ireland.

No man's life was safe, or is safe. There is a state of terror. You cannot get witnesses to give evidence; you cannot get any evidence at all. You cannot get juries to convict; indeed, you cannot get juries. No one is punished, and the course of justice has been completely paralysed. This has led, of course, to terrible retributions, to reprisals. It is very difficult to learn the whole truth, but Parliament is entitled to know the whole truth. It seems hardly disputed that in some cases at least those whose duty it is to execute the law have taken the law into their own hands. Responsible people have very openly and frequently made statements to the effect that there has been systematic, calculated outrage on the part of officers of the Crown—not in hot blood, but calculated, planned, and organised—of which the victims have been innocent and inoffensive civilians. The gentleman whose words I have quoted is Mr. Asquith. Certainly I am no supporter of Mr. Asquith, but he is a responsible person and this is not any flimsy accusation that is made in a hurry. The provocation that preceded these reprisals was, no doubt, enormous. The acts of men who see their comrades shot from behind a hedge when the law is unable to protect them from assassination ought not, I agree, to be impugned in haste, but Mr. Asquith tells us that his charges rest upon the evidence of perfectly independent, honest and responsible persons who had seen with their own eyes what was going on. In my humble opinion if there is any truth whatever in these statements—your Lordships will have to judge what proof there is, partly from the statements made in this debate and from private communications within your own knowledge—if there is any truth at all in the statements of these reprisals and the horrible character of the reprisals, then I say that it concerns the honour of the whole country, and we shall never be able to free ourselves of great blame if we do not inquire thoroughly and take action for the purpose of preventing things of this kind recurring in Ireland.

There have been some statements in the papers this morning from noble Lords indicating their experiences on these subjects, but may I be permitted to quote from a letter that I have received from an old schoolfellow of mine—there are not many of them left now—living in Ireland who is an old soldier and in no way pre- possessed in favour of the opinions I entertain, either then or now. He says— If the sound sense of the English people really understood the way in which the present policy is consolidating Irish opinions of all creeds and classes into one common detestation of the English connection they would not tolerate it for a moment. The general opinion of all those who endeavour to steer clear of political wrangles has been steadily crystallising into a belief that no matter what is said or done openly England is determined to use her power to the utmost to stifle commercial and Industrial progress in Ireland. All these buntings and destructions of creameries and so forth produce the worst possible effect in this direction, When speaking of the practice of visiting houses between midnight and dawn he says that "if England really wants to restore order the road is pain to many." He goes on— No more disastrous method could have been taken than letting loose on a countryside of a body of young men qualified b3 personal courage under the circumstances of a e late war. The most pitiable, miserable part of the whole business is that the men who are being shot at sight without trial are the very cream of the manhood of the country. I meet them or boards and committees and work with them, and am proud to do so, and I know what I am suing. I cannot believe, and I do not believe, that His Majesty's Government and Ministers of the Crown can sympathise in any way with the kind of irregular warfare which seems to be going forward in various parts of Ireland. I hope, however, that they will not merely say so—it it really hardly necessary for them to say that they do not approve of these methods—but that they will give an inquiry for the purpose of letting the world see and know whether these things are true or not.

When anyone criticises the Government he is usually and properly asked "What is the alternative you propose?" I will try to answer that question, although the alternative I suggest is not one of my own discoveries but is a proposal instituted by Irishmen in Ireland, supported by Irishmen and also by a great many people in this country. The position of Sinn Feiners, as I understand it, is this. Their declared policy is complete separation from Great Britain. The methods that have been adopted by their leaders are assassination and crime, and I believe that their refusal to help the Government against crime or give any evidence in support of prosecutions is largely because it is the British Government which the y are asked to support. There is partly fear—and intimidation naturally creates is fear—and partly political hostility, and it is the mixed effect of these methods which seems to me to produce such fatal results in Ireland.

I can hardly believe that the majority of the Irish people—I am not speaking of the ruffians who direct and organise crime—are favourable to murder. It is very difficult to know what is the opinion of a mass of men at any time, but I do not believe-that the instinct and feeling of the Irish people, with all their peculiarities, is favourable to crime and murder. It is very difficult to frame an indictment against a whole nation, and for myself I think that the Irish people are shrewd enough to know that crime and murder cannot end, and never has ended, in a good result, and that if they wish to sever wholly the connection between Great Britain and Ireland they are engaged in a tremendously long, anxious, and almost impossible task. In the main I think they have too much good sense to contemplate a final attitude of that kind.

I should like to present your Lordships with a view of what has actually been going on in Ireland and partially reported in the Press. I promise you I will not be unduly long and will not waste time. On August 3, 1920—I take a recent date—a body of business and professional men met at Cork and unanimously passed a resolution expressing their alarm at the condition of things in Ireland and at the more serious consequences certain to ensue if the Government did not at once take steps for a peaceful settlement. They also desired to impress their views on the Government, recommending an immediate grant of Dominion status, and asked for an interview with the Prime Minister. Mr. Lloyd George and other Ministers received this deputation. They made clear the necessity of reserving to the Imperial Parliament defence, foreign affairs, and the position of Ulster, and asked the deputation to consider these things and come back the same afternoon. They did so, and they recognised the necessity of those points of the British Government, and suggested methods of meeting their requirements.

At the close of these discussions Mr. Lloyd George made a remarkable statement, which I think is very important. He said that he regarded this visit as the first message of hope, and asked— Is it not possible to do for the whole of Ireland, or at least for the whole of the South and West of Ireland, what you have done for Cork? Is it not, possible to gat together a representation of the whole of the moderate opinion of Ireland that wants peace, to get it somewhere in Dublin, and then conic and talk to us? That was the origin of a later meeting on the 24th of August, which I will refer to now, and it was attended by representatives front all parts of Ireland. I find among the people who moved motions considerable men. There was Sir Nugent Everard, Sir Stanley Harrington, Sir Thomas Esmonde, Mr. Swayne, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Fennell, Sir T. Callan Macardle, the Right Hon. Thomas Lough, and Major Gerald Pease. Well, these gentlemen were assembled on the 24th of August. There was a discussion, and I beg your Lordships to listen to the result of that discussion, which I think was temperate and wise. The first resolution was lamenting the condition of the Lord Mayor of Cork, but he is past all human help. Then comes the resolution moved by Lord Ffrench— That this Conference hereby records its conviction that the policy of the Government in Ireland is inevitably leading to civil war, and that it is of paramount importance that immediate steps be taken to secure peace in Ireland. The next Resolution was moved by the noble Lord, Lord MacDonnell, who is now here in his place. It was threefold— (a) That in the judgment of this Conference the grant of full national self-government within the Empire can alone bring peace to Ireland; and that complete administrative, fiscal and financial independence is the decisive test and characteristic of national self-government; (b) That this Conference welcomes the acceptance by North-East Ulster of the principle of self-government and repudiates the idea of coercion by armed force of any part of Ireland, and that, while expressing its unalterable repugnance for any form of partition of Ireland, it recognises that in any negotiations concerning the relation of North-East Ulster to the rest of Inland, the former must be accorded the status of a free contracting party; (c) That the grant of such full national self-government, which is wholly different from the provisions of the Bill for the Better Government of Ireland at present before Parliament, is quite compatible with the Prime Minister's recent declaration of the Government's Irish policy. My Lords, there was only one other resolution if you will allow me to read it. It was— That this Conference calls upon the Government, in the interests of peace and in order to create a suitable atmosphere for a policy of general appeasement upon the lines indicated in the preceding resolutions, to abate forthwith the stringency of its policy of repression and to adopt a policy of amnesty, and pledges itself, if a truce be thus begun, to assist in the formation of local Committees of Conciliation for the purpose of furthering the cause of local and general pacification. These Resolutions were all passed at Dublin on that occasion and after full discussion; and the Irish Dominion a League, of which Sir Horace Plunkett, a very distinguished man, is the President, have issued a circular affirming that their policy was in every respect consistent with these resolutions.

I might refer to other private affairs or individuals in Ireland, but I will only allude to one more, and that is taken from the Morning Post, which I believe may be relied upon as a fairly impartial newspaper in this sense. It reports on October 20 that at a meeting of the Lord Lieutenant and Deputy-Lieutenants of County Louth, convened by Sir Henry Bellingham, at (Castle-bellingham, the following resolution was unanimously passed— We, the Lieutenant and Deputy-Lieutenants of County Louth, deploring the desperate situation of our country, with all the horrors of murder, reprisals, and insane destruction of property, consider that a general meeting of all the Lieutenants and Deputy-Lieutenants of Ireland should be held at the earliest convenient date in Dublin. The object of the meeting would be to impress on the Government, with all the weight of its influence, the absolute necessity of immediately passing and putting into operation a generous measure of self-government, and this measure should include fiscal autonomy within the Empire.

It really comes to this. There are two policies, between which, it seems to me, His Majesty's Government have to choose. One of them is to stand by their Bill—I am afraid it is a hopeless Bill—and to wait until the Sinn Feiners come in and solicit an agreement with the Government. I am afraid that that means a policy of civil war. It may be successful or it may not he, but it means a policy of civil war. The Government will have for an indefinite time to continue in the course which has now left Ireland drenched in blood, and after that is over it will be followed by irreparable hatred.

The second course is for Mr. Lloyd George and his colleagues to meet the Dublin delegates who have asked to be met for an interview in order that they may discuss these resolutions which I have read to the House, and, after discussion with them upon any details or any principles that they like, to make at once a firm offer which would be a rallying point for all well-wishers of their country and bestow full self-government within the Empire.

I have spoken to a good many people—of course I must rely upon others, because I am not myself a resident in Ireland—and I believe the predominant feeling is one of complete distrust of I political promises and political pledges. These people feel that after Mr. Gladstone left the party to which I then belonged the Irish vote has been used to carry government Bills and proposals in Parliament, and that governments have not "delivered the goods" in return. That is the feeling, I believe, which obtains very largely in Ireland. Therefore promptitude and firmness in a proposal are elements which will go a long way to restoring confidence in that country. I believe that the Bill no w before Parliament excites little or no interest, and if passed would not solve the difficulty.

Your Lordships will see that it is not any nostrum of my own that I am endeavouring to enforce upon your Lordships' consideration. I submit that the meeting at Dublin was substantially right. It is impossible to be certain—no man can be certain—but this seems at all events a good chance of peace. People living in Ireland cannot wish for continued anarchy. What these meetings recommend is generally Dominion Home Rule, which is described in special resolutions, and there is my thing equivocal about it. It seems that it does several good things. First of all, military control and foreign policy are reserved to the British Government. I think that is necessary both for the security of England and for the security of Ireland. In the second place, it secures full administrative and fiscal independence and legislative control, and it excludes all coercion either of Ulster or of the rest of Ireland.

The constitutional position of His Majesty's Dominions is no doubt well known to your Lordships. I will take for example the instance of Canada or of Australia. There is a Central Parliament in those Dominions, and various Provincial Parliaments. The distribution of powers between them is fixed between themselves when the Constitution is established. There is in several of them a power to include other States in their dominions—for example, the State of Newfoundland in the case of Canada, and the State of New Zealand in the case of Australia. But that is dependent upon their option, and both these States have preferred to stand out and do stand out. Therefore there is an extremely good precedent if Ulster wishes to stand out, though I hope sincerely that she will not.

Let me apply these ideas to Ireland. There is great anxiety on all sides in regard to the partition of Ireland. If Ulster chooses to come in she can do so, and can make terms as to the conditions on which she will come in. If she chooses to stand out she can do so, or she can remain as she is. That, as I understand, is the proposal which these patriotic Irishmen have propounded, and I think your Lordships will find that there is no shorter method of restoring peace to Ireland than to make up your minds definitely—for you must do it soon—what course you will take; whether you will take the course of coercing the country (which will be a very long and difficult task), or whether you will have recourse to the old and tried expedient of former British Governments of giving self-government where there has been discontent. I have tried to be as concise as I can, and I am extremely obliged to your Lordships for the courtesy with which you have listened to me.

Moved to resolve, That this House strongly condemns the murders and other excesses that have been perpetrated in Ireland and believes that the remedy is not to be found in reprisals and in the senseless destruction of property, and urges upon His Majesty's Government that they should not confine themselves to the punishing of offenders by process of law, but should also without delay announce and bring into operation a comprehensive measure of self-government for Ireland including fiscal autonomy, and reserving to the Imperial Parliament the control of the Navy, Army, and Foreign Affairs, and this House welcomes the growing opinion on the part of moderate men throughout Ireland in favour of this course.—(Earl Loreburn.)


My Lords, I do not propose to attempt to travel over the ground which has been covered by the noble and learned Earl, whose voice we are so glad to hear again in this House after a long interval. Had this debate been one upon Irish policy simply, I should certainly not have ventured to intervene. I imagine that there is not one of us but has watched with absorbing interest and even trembling anxiety the efforts of successive Governments to deal with a situation of unparallelled and unexampled difficulty, and those of us who know least about Ireland—and I, as regards its details, am one of them—would yield to no one in the watchful anxiety with which we have tried to observe all that is attempted. We resent the accusation sedulously propagated in Ireland and across the Atlantic that the English people want to ride roughshod over the Irish people or to thwart aspirations which can in any way be described as legitimate. I suppose that even those of us who are least familiar with the details have all long ago made up our minds that this is not a conflict between England and Ireland in the large sense, or the inability and unwillingness of England to handle Irish affairs, but is a contest between one part of Ireland and another part, and the inability or unwillingness of the two parts of Ireland to come to an agreement upon terms which, if they once were agreed upon them, England would, I imagine, also not fail to agree upon, provided they were consonant with the safety of the Empire. But these are generalities.

I do not know Ireland much and I have no special information or knowledge upon the subject, but this is not mainly an Irish debate. The first part of the long Resolution which the noble and learned Earl has moved is the only part to which I want to refer. As to the second part, I feel that I have no right to intervene upon it. I refer simply to that part which speaks of the murders and other excesses that have been perpetrated in Ireland, and says that the remedy for these is not to be found in reprisals and in the senseless destruction of property, and urges upon His Majesty's Government another policy. The thoughts there embodied bear upon two great principles of our polity, upon the rules of government, and upon the fundamental aspects of right and wrong in public life. When any one of us who cares about public matters or is responsible in regard to them has these subjects raised clearly, he has to deal with thoughts that are finding at this moment a very wide circulation among the English people and the Irish people, and are clamouring for expression. I speak with absolute knowledge, which is augmented by every post and interviews every day, when I say that a wave of such thought is astir just now in England among a vast number of responsible people upon the subject of reprisals and what they mean. Whenever thought arises in that kind of way on a wide scale the man who holds my position is neces- sarily the target of a great deal of criticism as to whether or no he intends to say anything on what is called the side of right. It is often a very unreasonable and unreasoning case that is made, and now and then I believe it to be true that if one who holds my position were silent it might be quite fairly attributed either to carelessness, cowardice, or policy, and it is for that reason that I want to intervene for a very few minutes in this debate.

For the reason I have given—my practical ignorance of the details of Irish work and Irish life—I want to avoid any controversial word about the particulars alleged or denied, or rather I should say alleged and denied on either side, as to what is happening at this moment in that country. The pictures that are drawn of current horrors may be over-coloured to almost any extent; they may be exaggerated, some of them may be altogether false; there may be and there certainly is bias and exaggeration, if you like, even lying on one side or the other, but the residuum of things which are admitted and unchallenged is quite enough for my purpose to-night. May I remind you for a moment of a very familiar story, and of what, for my purpose, are undisputed facts. Every one can corroborate them probably from his own correspondence or his own interviews with those who have been a great deal in Ireland or are writing from there at this moment. I certainly can.

The forces of disorder, or rebellion if you will, are active and widespread. The outrages committed against the police and against citizens who are loyal to the Government of the British Empire at this time are unutterably horrible. Both in their facts and in the manner of their committing they are calculated to inflame every passion among an excitable people and to justify the sternest punishment that can possibly be brought to bear, or the final sentence of death upon those who are guilty of such perpetrations. We have the deepest sympathy for the devoted men who are giving themselves to that task in the face of such difficulties. We have the profoundest sympathy for the bereaved and the sorrowing whose homes have been darkened by the outrages that have taken place. We are actuated every one of us by feelings of indignation, which easily burst into flame when we try to contemplate the fact that men who are trying to serve their King and their country should meet with such a fate. No words that we can utter are too strong.

To meet that situation there is the great, well-known, and famous force the Royal Irish Constabulary, backed at this moment, I suppose, by a potent and indeed ultimately an irresistible military force. It would be childish to dwell in this House upon the record of the Royal Irish Constabulary, a splendid record of devotion and courage, and, until now perhaps, of discipline, in conditions as grave and terrible as those to which they have been subjected during the last Jew years. To them has been added this year a supplementary force of ex-soldiers, young, eager, adventurous in spirit, who have the desire to throw themselves into tie fray, and of whom it is no reflection to say that they are not exactly the men who would approach a matter of this kind with a judicial mind or with calm and quiet consideration of the problems with which they have to deal. Their history, their characteristics, their young enthusiasm—for the are most of them young—and the rest, are all likely to lead them rather in another direction. Many of them are, so to speak, out for adventure rather than for the quiet solution of a very difficult and complicated problem. These men, infuriated and maddened by outrages which they have seen, mixed up with the R.I.C., whom they are to some extent, as I should gather, infecting with the same spirit—there I speak under correction—have beyond question or doubt (for no one challenges it) committed reprisals against persons and property not only in the heat of the moment, but hours and even days afterwards, wish deliberate intent. But they have done it in an unorganised way, without authority or guidance given to them by people in high command. They have done it "on their own," as we should say in popular phrase.

The degree to which these outrages have extended is not in question for my purpose; I mean, it is not material to my argument not to allow for any kind of exaggeration, or misstatement even, in regard to it. The fact is unquestionably admitted on every side by every one who has spoken on behalf of the Government or in criticism of them, that men wearing the King's uniform and possessing, as wearers of that uniform, in other ways a position of privilege, and credited as such, have done and are doing these things not under authority but on their own. No one can be greatly surprised that that should happen, but it goes on, and when the notice of the Government is called to it we receive the reply we should expect, that the Government entirely disapproves of these things. We are told that in ten cases men who were guilty of them have been deprived of their position and dismissed. We want more than that in this country to-day. We are faced by a series of incidents without precedent or parallel in our history, where the disciplined forces of the Crown appointed to suppress disorder have themselves, though without definite superior authority and command, given terrible examples of the very kind of disorder which they are sent there to suppress. If that be true—and no one, I think, will deny it—we strike at the root of sound principles of civilised government, of orderly observance of law, even of fundamental right and wrong in civilised society. Of course, we can all imagine conditions—God grant they may not arise!—in which reprisals on a great scale in a country so disordered would be necessary—


Hear, hear.


—where they would have to be carried out, and carried out under orderly authority, presumably military, and definitely taken in hand as something which for the good of the country—I am not for the moment assuming it will happen, but it is conceivable—might be necessary. If that; were done, I should not be here to-night to protest against it, for I should feel that it was a matter of policy of the day and not a fundamental principle of right and wrong. But this differs from it. Here we have what seems to me to be principles of right and wrong.

There is at this moment in the air, both in this and other countries and certainly not least in Ireland, a wide disregard of law as such, not merely on these great questions of outrages and the rest, but in all the kinds of problems with which we have to do—disregard of ordinary obligation, of loyalty to leadership, of loyalty to constituted authority and the like—which is certainly spreading both in our civil and industrial and other branches of our life on this side the Irish Channel, as well as on the other. We are playing into the hands of those who are fostering that spirit if we allow a condition of things to continue which can be described as the present condition of things in Ireland can undoubtedly be described. It is it seems to me, the duty of those of us who, setting apart for the moment the details of Irish policy, think of the principles which are involved in what we are now witnessing, to say something about the question at this time. We are told, as a matter of fact, that what is now being done is successful, that it is producing the results that were aimed at. I am ready to admit, if you will, that that is so, though I cannot say that reading to-day's newspaper would have made one think it was particularly successful, or that the results were commensurate with what we are told they were expected to be. But granted that that was true, it would make no difference to my argument. There have been abundant instances in history when the forces of tyranny, of persecution, of high-handedness and wrong, exercised vigorously, have for a time succeeded, but in the long rim the harvest has been reaped. They have not succeeded in the end, and it has been absolutely true to say that the right will not be won by that means. I do not think it is out of place to quote here the grave and solemn warning that you do not cast out Beelzebub by Beelzebub; and that is, as it seems to me, what is happening in these matters at this moment.

But, putting aside the ultimate result, look at what is happening even now. What is the continuance of these things doing as regards the spirit of English orderliness in public life; and—more important perhaps—what is it doing as regards the opinion of England formed in foreign countries, in the United States, and elsewhere, under the sedulous propaganda of the stories—exaggerated if you like to any extent—of what is now happening in Ireland, which are made current as to the manner and the process of English rule. That, it seems to me, is a most Vital consideration which you are bound to bear in mind to-day—that it is not the Government that is being discredited but the whole country that is being discredited by these stories. It runs counter, as it seems to me, to the whole principle of which we have been proud with regard to our relation to what has been called the imperial side of our rule—the story of our rule in India, the story of the civilisation of parts of Africa, and so on. Our administration has often been unwise, often mistaken, no doubt, in its detail, but it has always been of the sort calculated, and deliberately calculated, to bring about and enforce respect for law, and it has been based from top to bottom on that. These ideals which we proclaim as ours have been cherished, they have even been paraded as specially British and as those which we specially value. What is to become of them if we can even plausibly be accused of doing the kind of things which the records show are being done in Ireland today by men wearing the uniform of the Crown, accredited and privileged by the fact of the status that they hold, and remaining, I will not say unrebuked (that would be too strong) but remaining in such a position that, at all events, the bringing of them to an end is not obviously or, as far as we can judge, necessarily imminent.

With all the force that I possess I would appeal to the Government to relieve us, if it can, of a position in which the fame of our country, as a nation which cares for righteousness, which has strict regard for justice, which has a deep rooted love of order, is being lowered and besmirched. We are disloyal to our whole ideals as a Christian people; the ideals for which in the great war we set ourselves to contend and for which we sacrificed so much, if this goes on, will be represented as having been abandoned or set aside. I know as well as any one can what are the extraordinary, the almost incalculable, difficulties with which a Government has to contend with at this time, but I am quite certain that unless something stronger, something more robust in the way of the denunciation, the prevention, and the ending of these reprisals comes about, we shall have done quite untold harm to the credit of the public life of England at home and abroad.


My Lords, my reason for venturing to intervene in this discussion is that I desire to offer what might be called some reassuring considerations regarding the apprehensions which have been so freely expressed as to such a scheme of policy as the noble and learned Earl has put forward to-night. I hope it is not egotistical to add that my opinions, such as they are, have not been formed hastily, but are the result of at least thirty-five years of rather close acquaintance with Ireland and Irish affairs. There are two theories very prevalent regarding the Irish question which, I am convinced, will some day be recognised as being fallacious. The first is that the hostility manifested, unhappily so strongly and during such a long period, in Ireland against England is something that will be permanent. Surely we may reflect that this hostility has grown up, not under self-government, but in the absence of self-government. We are told that hope deferred makes the heart sick, and this is not only deferred but in the opinion of many absolutely put aside. I am convinced that the remedy for the Existing hostility will be found in what the noble Earl describes as a generous offer of the kind which he indicated. I am not now speaking of the details. I perhaps go further than the noble Earl in some respects, but that is the policy which he advocated, and which has been advocated by other people of weight, whose words deserve respect.

The other fallacy that I alluded to is that Ulster, according to the usual opinion, would be in danger of molestation and injury if such a system, for instance, as what is called Dominion Home Rule were adopted. Whatever we think of the Sinn Fein movement and of all the deeds committed in its name, we must admit that the Sinn Feiners, as a body, are not fools, and they know perfectly well that for the administration of Ireland to be successful it must be an administration representing the whole of the country. And, when we come to notice what is said, we never find anything like denunciation or permanent hostility to the Ulster Party on the part of the Sinn Feiners. I am convinced that under Dominion Home Rule Ulster would not only take care of herself very well, but would he encouraged to do so, for this reason among others, that for the success of the country as a whole there must be cooperation in the industries of the country and in its commerce and enterprise. I put those sentiments very briefly; I could easily enlarge upon them, but I shall not do so.

As to the need of an inquiry, which the most rev. Primate has been urging, surely the time has come when it is inevitable that there should be an inquiry because of the challenge which has been offered with regard to the testimony to certain events. People who are entitled to credibility have been told that they must be under a misapprehension or a delusion when they make certain statements. They reply that they know they are speaking facts. For example, there are persons suffering in a hospital in Galway from gunshot wounds. The surgeons could give testimony about the extracted pellets. How did those gunshot wounds occur? That, I think, is a question which ought to be solved, and it can only be solved by an inquiry of a searching and comprehensive character. I am not going to enter into that question now. I rose simply in order to offer such testimony as I can to the groundlessness of the apprehensions as to the success of a generous policy of self-government accorded to Ireland.


My Lords, when the noble Marquess rose I thought he would have given your Lordships some advice on the present condition of Ireland from the point of view of his experience as Viceroy of that country. I confess that I think the noble Marquess has something to explain away with regard to the condition of Ireland as he found it and its condition as he left it.


With the permission of the House. I should be thankful for an opportunity. The statement is to be made in a sentence. I left Ireland when a state of order was prevalent and when magistrates were receiving white gloves because of the absence of cases, at the beginning of 1915. I will listen to what the noble Earl says, and, if the House permit, I shall he delighted to reply.


The noble Marquess's view of order and that of some of your Lordships would be rather different. My recollection is that when he went to Ireland it was stated by the Chief Secretary, who was his colleague, that Ireland was in a more peaceful and a more prosperous condition than it had been for six hundred years. My recollection also is that when he left there was a condition bordering on civil war. The noble Marquess left I think, in 1914.


Early in 1915.


That was a time when large forces were arrayed in Ulster for the protection of its liberties and the whole question of employing the Forces of the Crown for the subjugation of Ulster had arisen. I could put another question to the noble Marquess. He spoke of hopes deferred. Would he explain to your Lordships why he accepted the office of Lord Lieutenant and held it for five years before any Bill was introduced in the direction of Home Rule, if the matter was so urgent as he now represents, and I am far from saying that the urgency of this question could now be exaggerated. I cannot but look back on those five years, and, indeed, on the whole ten years when the noble Marquess had the opportunity, as having been a period of lost opportunities in regard to Ireland—opportunities which, having been lost, have gone a very long way to account for our present condition of confusion and trouble. I feel very strongly that we have never yet had the explanation of the whole period during which the noble Marquess and Mr. Birrell administered the affairs of Ireland. I hope I speak with becoming gravity and with a great sense of responsibility on this subject, because, when I remember what conditions were in 1905, I cannot imagine how those who had to deal with these Irish questions during the whole period from that date up to the war can now fail to feel that they, and not the Government, who have been their unfortunate residuary legatees, are those who have most to explain as to conditions which the wisest Government would now find it difficult to meet.

I do not rise, however, to enter upon past controversies, of which there are many, but rather to ask your Lordships to consider that if the noble Earl should press his Motion to a vote he is asking this House to connect subjects which, to a large extent, are divorced from each other. I am not going to speak of the state of crime in Ireland. None of us can approach it without feelings of the gravest apprehension in regard to the immediate future. But I feel that the speech which was made by the Leader of the House a few nights ago, when the noble and learned Earl was not able to be here, went to the root of the whole matter, and the statement which he then made on behalf of the Government has not been effectively challenged up to the present. What I ask is this, Does anybody, does the noble and learned Earl himself, really believe that any measure which might be proposed at present in the direction he advocates would receive a welcome from those who are engaged in these murders, or would cause the cessation of them, even if the measure were pressed? I cannot but feel that until order has been to some extent restored it is useless to suppose that any Party will come forward to accept any proposals, however advantageous they may be to the country. The one desire of those with whom I am associated is that this question should be settled; that it should be settled by generous concessions by the Government; and that every effort should be made to find a body of public opinion in Ireland which would rally to any generous settlement.


May I, in one sentence, say that I think it would rally public sentiment in Ireland in the sense that the noble Earl suggests, and that I believe it would have an effect in putting an end to disorder and crime. Irishmen have told me so.


I quite realise the noble and learned Earl's intention. I would only point out to him that this moment is not a very opportune one for the attempt to rally such sentiment. In fact, while I believe that a minority of the Irish people (and a small minority) are in sympathy with these crimes, I also believe that the large majority are at this moment afraid, or unwilling, or unable to come forward to promote any settlement of any description. In the very few remarks that I venture to make there are two or three points which I would urge. The first is that if we cannot do anything positive towards a settlement at this moment, at least a negative should be discouraged. It is not only those who advocate a Republic, and who think that by crime a Republic can be expedited, who are doing much to retard a settlement. I deeply regret the speech made and the letter written by the late Prime Minister a few days ago. I believe that Mr. Asquith, in proposing a settlement for Ireland which would hand over to her the power of an Army and Navy, as far as he can do it, indefinitely retarded a settlement, just as Mr. Gladstone, in 1886, retarded a settlement. I am convinced from the attitude of the House of Commons as it then was, when opinion was so comparatively evenly weighed, that at that moment, had he made a more moderate proposal, he would probably have attained support for it. I believe my noble and learned friend opposite would say the same. But Mr. Gladstone overbid his hand. I do not think anything is more calculated to retard a settlement of this question than the proposal of Mr. Asquith to make concessions which, in my opinion, every Englishman who fought for his country in the late war has the right to resent.

There is a third class of danger most likely to exasperate feeling in this country and retard a settlement. The most rev. Primate spoke just now of public opinion abroad and in America. We cannot prevent American politicians straining outside a proper purview of American politics. We cannot prevent them showing their ignorance of American tradition and interfering in European politics, or their indifference to the facts of American history in the greatest struggle ever fought by a nation against the disruption of its own State. We cannot prevent their advocating for this country that which the whole history of America proves they would themselves resent if it were attempted to be applied to their own. But the less publicity given in this country to these doctrines the less is likely to be the exasperation of people on this side, many of whom in the present state of disorder in Ireland are only too much inclined to clutch at any reason for avoiding every advance towards a general settlement.

I would venture to say this to the Government. They are about to ask your Lordships to deal with a measure which comes to us certainly with no Irish support unless it be the very qualified approval given to it in the North of Ireland. I do not know whether they really think that by putting this Bill on the Statute Book they will assist their own officers in the suppression of crime or accelerate a good understanding between the two countries. I fear it will be the reverse. It is very bad to attempt to prophesy in these Matters, but I should be wanting in my duty if I did not say that it is my firm conviction, which is shared I believe by nine men out of every ten in the South and West of Ireland, that you will never get a settlement by a measure which contemplates a permanent partition of the country. In the second place, if you are to get the support of any large class in Ireland to this measure, you will have to give wide and generous financial arrangements. I am not asking that Ireland should abjure her obligations for the past, but that for the future financial concessions should be made which will prevent her feeling, however unfairly, unjustly and untruly, that the smaller nation in finance is at the mercy of the bigger country. The third point on which I feel strongly is that you will not get a settlement if it is really believed that the interests of any minority in the country have been considered to a greater extent than those of the majority.

I know that matters look very dark at this moment. How far we may be able to influence the Government, when the measure conies to us, at all events to withdraw from it some of those points which are most likely to be a stumbling-block in the future, I will not attempt to enter upon now. But this I do say. I firmly believe that once the mass of the Irish people can feel that law has been reestablished, and that the Government are dealing with the crisis with firmness and impartiality, the moment will come when, in a country which is prosperous, which has made great progress, which is far from being down-trodden, poor, and weak, which is moved by convulsions which are more on the surface than at the bottom, an opportunity will be found for moving advantageously towards a permanent settlement.

I do not think it is fair for the Government to say that they are quite ready to deal with any party who will accept a settlement if they can find a party ready to accept. The Government cannot wash its hands of the situation as it is. They cannot say "We shall wait until we find ourselves on a secure platform on which we can transfer the concessions we have to offer." I want them to give up this Pontius Pilate attitude of trying to look at the question of a settlement in Ireland as if it could be dealt with merely by putting forward the views held by the Government, which meet with no support in the country they are intended for. The wiser and the more effective policy will be for them, in consultation with those who are genuinely desirous of a settlement—perhaps an opportunity may occur before many months are over—to give the utmost they can give with due regard to the Imperial supremacy of this country and the proper rights of the greater nation as regards the smaller country.


My Lords, the proposal which the noble and learned Earl has pressed on the acceptance of the Government to-night has, in one form or another, been already placed before them, but, so far as I know, without the least effect. No day passes without continuing proof being given of the great necessity for some such measure as the noble and learned Earl proposes. Perhaps his personality and his recent detachment, from public affairs and in particular the desperate situation to which Ireland has now been reduced may induce the Government to bestow greater attention upon his proposals than hitherto. I sincerely trust that this may be so.

For the last one hundred years the need of Ireland for reformatory measures has never been so great as it is to-day, and when I attempt to pass in review the situation of that country for the last five or six years I am oppressed with a feeling of extreme discouragement, almost of despair. Yet, my Lords, you will remember that in one of the most dramatic incidents in the recent Parliamentary story of this country a great statesman found—"amid the encircling gloom," that Ireland was a point—the sole point—of encouragement. You will remember that when war was declared Ireland took up her position by the side of England without any conditions whatever. Perhaps I might say that she made one condition—that the Irish soldiers who would be recruited should be permitted to go into battle shoulder to shoulder, their object being to revive the memories of old stricken fields, memories that are enshrined in Irish story and in Irish song.

My Lords, that was the position of Ireland, and that was the feeling which inspired Ireland six short years ago. How is it that things have come to pass which have reduced her to the present state? The first of these things which I may cite is the manner in which Ireland has been dealt with in the matter of recruitment. I remember as if it were yesterday how the Prime Minister of England, Mr. Asquith, gave his consent to the request of the Irish people that they should be allowed to make their own regiments and their own brigades. It was the policy of the War Office that this should not be. It was the policy of the War Office that all discouragement to Irish recruitment should be offered, so that from the very commencement every Connaught and Munster peasant might know that Irishmen were not to be allowed to fight together, and that Irish recruits would be sent to other regiments—for what reason, unless it be mistrust of the Irish people, I quite fail to understand. Undoubtedly from the manner in which that discouragement of recruitment was shown there was an increased and growing estrangement between the two peoples. So much did it increase that the cause of the estrange- ment which before prevailed seemed to me to fade into insignificance, and the feeling throughout the peasantry of the South and West of Ireland was that they were no longer trusted by England.

I mention this matter to-day because I think it is well that on this occasion one should take a brief retrospect of what, has brought us front the position which we were in six years ago to the position in which we are now. And I particularly want to fix responsibility upon the Department of the Government which, I believe, was the chief source of the discontent I feel that in the War Office I can trace that Department. I feel that in the War Office there has always been an anti-national and anti-Catholic feeling which has had the very worst result on the relations of the two countries. That estrangement between the two countries continued throughout 1916 and reached its climax in that year in the outbreak in Dublin. That outbreak was not general throughout the country. It was an outbreak on the part of the extreme party, which has always existed in Ireland, just as extreme parties exist in every other country; but the manner in which that outbreak was suppressed, the extreme severity which was shown, exercised a great influence upon the whole of the people. For the first fortnight of the time the people were entirely in favour of the Government, but the executions which were carried out almost in a night changed that sentiment and brought about a strong anti-English sentiment throughout the country.

During the succeeding years that hostility grew, and when the negotiations for a settlement of the Home Rule question were commenced it was hoped that some agreement would be come to. We all know of the negotiations which preceded the assembly of the Irish Convention. These negotiations came to nothing, but the Irish Convention was called. When the Irish Convention was assembled it seemed to be productive of great harmony, and the result really was that an agreement had been all but come to. Of all the attempts which were made throughout those six years it seems to me that the attempt of the Irish Convention was the one which came nearest to success. I may quote to you, my Lords, the remark which the Prime Minister made in his letter to the Chairman of the Convention in 1918— It is evident that there is on the part of all parties in the Convention a willingness to provide for, and to safeguard, the interest of the Empire and the United Kingdom. A settlement can now be reached which will reserve by common consent to the Imperial Parliament its suzerainty—its control of Army, Navy, and Foreign Policy and other Imperial Services, while providing for Irish representation at Westminster and for a proper contribution from Ireland to Imperial expenditure. All these matters are now capable of being settled within the Convention on a basis satisfactory both to the Imperial Government and to Ireland. There remain, however, the difficult questions of Customs and Excise, and the other essential element of a settlement—the securing of an agreement to establish a single Legislature for a United Ireland. It seems to me that on that occasion we were very near a settlement, and that if the singular ability which has been displayed in reconciling the claims of the mining community with those of the State had been put into operation we should then have reached a settlement. But time passed, and no agreement was come to. No doubt during the year 1918 the serious and dangerous state of affairs in France placed a weight of anxiety and work upon the Government, and precluded them from taking advantage at that time of the opportunity of bringing the parties together.

It was not until July, 1919, that the Government declared what its policy was in regard to Ireland. The policy was announced in a speech in this House on July 15 by the noble and learned Lord then on the Woolsack. His speech was certainly such as to discourage every hope on the part of people interested in the Irish question, and it was followed by an immediate increase of outrages. That increase in outrages was still more manifested when at the end of the year the Prime Minister explained what his policy was in regard to Ireland, and indicated the line that legislation would take. It may have been a coincidence, but it is a strange coincidence that the delivery of the Prime Minister's speech and the introduction of the present Bill led to a great increase of outrages in Ireland.

Things went from bad to worse during the early months of this year, and, as my noble and learned friend has told your Lordships, some professional and commercial men in Cork and its neighbourhood came together, made a proposal, and begged for an audience of the Prime Minister. They wished to urge that an endeavour should be made to give to Ireland complete Home Rule. The noble and learned Earl has shown your Lordships how that proposal was received by the Prime Minister, and what message he gave to the deputation when they were leaving. That deputation took the message either as an invitation or a challenge (whichever be the appropriate word), and on going back to Ireland they published in the newspapers an announcement headed "The Irish Peace Conference." That intimated to all who desired peace rather than war in Ireland, and who were willing to take part in a Conference free from all entanglement with any political party, association, league, or group, that a Conference would be held with a view to securing a firm offer of national self-government to Ireland. It was stated that that was to be the object of the Conference, which was to assemble on August 24 at Dublin.

That Conference took place, and I was present at it. A more representative or a, more dignified assembly I never saw. It was composed of many Lieutenants and Deputy Lieutenants of counties, many justices of the peace, and the heads of the great commercial communities. There were some 800 to 1,000 present, and there was no man who was not a person of mark in his particular vocation. The business of the Conference was discharged in a most earnest and dignified manner. My noble and learned friend has told your Lordships of the resolutions that were carried at that Conference, and I need not repeat them. The noble Earl, Lord Midleton, said that it was impossible to get together in Ireland at the present time a responsible body of moderate men, but I do not think that he would pin himself to that statement had he been present at this particular Conference.

The resolutions adopted at the Conference were sent to the Prime Minister on August 29, and he was asked to favour the deputation with an early interview. Later, on September 8, he was asked to postpone for a few days a meeting with the deputation because there was at that time very great excitement in Ireland in regard to the Lord Mayor of Cork. The deputation thought that it might be necessary to modify the resolutions in view of disturbances which might arise. However, no such disturbances did occur, and the request for an interview was repeated on September 24. It was once more repeated on September 28, and then, for the first time, a reply was sent in the following words— The Prime Minister desires me to advert to your various letters and telegrams asking that he should receive a deputation from the Standing Committee of the Irish Peace Conference, and to say that he hopes to give an appointment for the purpose one day this month. That was dated October 1. October has passed, and no appointment has been made. In the meantime the Bill before the House of Commons has passed out of Committee, and probably the opportunity for a useful interchange of views between the Prime Minister and the deputation has gone for ever. I wish that Mr. Lloyd George had found it possible to have seen the deputation, which was composed of men who were of a social standing and personal influence that entitled them to be received.

What remains for Ireland? This system of reprisals has been condemned by public opinion in Ireland for certain. You have heard to-night what is thought of it by the noble Lords who have addressed you. There is only one opinion in Ireland—that the true facts of the case are not known in England, and that if they were known the spirit of the people would rise up against their maintenance, and would insist upon a public inquiry into the condition of affairs. There were two letters in The Times to-day, one from Lord Dun-raven and the other from Lord Monteagle, who speak from personal observation and knowledge. These things cannot be doubted; yet if the Government does not condone reprisals it endeavours to paliate them, and it is certain from their frequent recurrence that nothing has been done in the way of enforcing stronger discipline.

I said before that I was oppressed with great discouragement, even with despair. When I look back on the last few years I see that peace and mutual amity was very near at hand. I see now that at least a century must pass before the feelings which have been engendered during the past six years are forgotten. In my boyhood I heard stories of the rebellion of 1798, and I say that nothing was clone in 1798 which was worse than is being done to-day. I pray you, my Lords, to take the opportunity of supporting this Motion, and I hope that when the Bill from the House of Commons reaches this House your Lordships will at all events enable the country to have more time in which to discuss the present state of things, and perhaps arrive at a better judgment and a more certain assurance for the future.


My Lords, it is a strange fact that though policemen have been murdered almost daily during the last two years in Ireland no Motion has been brought forward in this House expressing the hope that the Government would give them some protection. Yet during the last fortnight two Motions have been before your Lordships deprecating reprisals on the part of the military. I am afraid it is true that when there is a war on nothing is too good for the soldier, but when there is no war nobody bothers about him. I do not approve of reprisals, and I believe that whatever good they may do is only temporary. But I do not in the very least blame the soldiers for taking the law into their own hands at times. After all, they are only human beings, and you cannot expect them to go on indefinitely walking to their death with their hands tied behind their backs.

It is said that the Government ought to stop reprisals. But is it so easy where you are really up against human nature and the instinct of self-defence and retribution? You have to teach them that they are to fight people who are at war with them without using the severe measures of war. You would have to explain to policemen who, on the news of an ambush, had been called up, and had seen their comrades lying on the ground shattered by the expanding bullets that Sinn Fein murderers use now and bleeding to death from horrible wounds, that though the inhabitants may have watched with gloating eyes the slow approach of a patrol to its death, they must not be touched because they are not the actual attackers, but must be allowed to follow their ordinary occupations, which they will drop another day when it becomes their duty to arrange another death-trap. It is no use for the Government to explain to troops that though this policy is not at all in their interests it is very much in the interest of the whole of Ireland, especially, when the soldiers know that reprisals have struck terror into the hearts of the Sinn Fein murder gang, that instead of the inhabitants welcoming an ambuscade near their villages they now do everything they can to explain to the Sinn Fein ambushers that another locality is more suitable for their particular purpose.

The Sinn Fein Press in England, The Times for instance, has always been very horrified at any act of indiscipline on the part of soldiers and the police, and has always made the most of it. The day when Mr. Lloyd George called Lord Northcliffe a "grass-hopper" was a very unfortunate one for us loyalists in. Ireland. Ever since then he has poured his wrath upon our heads. But whatever offence may have been committed by Mr. Lloyd George then, I do not think it can equal the offence of Lord Northcliffe, who, in The Times of August 28 last, allowed a letter from the Bishop of Cork to be inserted, in which the direct accusation was made that District Inspector Swanzy, who was at that time lying dead after being murdered at Lisburn, had been responsible for the murder of the former Lord Mayor of Cork. That statement was absolutely untrue. Mere was no evidence of that sort at all. 1ff course, the man was dead and could not answer the accusation in any way. But if Lord Northcliffe was here, which I am afraid he is unlikely to be, I would like to ask him whether he or his editor, before inserting a letter from such a source as the Bishop of Cork, took any steps to find out if there was any truth in the accusation. Perhaps it is not wholly relevant to this debate, but I could not help giving such publicity as I could in my Tumble way to this matter, because Inspector Swanzy was a brother Ulsterman of mine and very much respected in the country. I do not think that Miss Sylvia Pankhurst's Dreadnought would have been guilty of such conduct as was the editor of The Times on that occasion.

The Resolution expresses the hope that the Government will at once put into operation a comprehensive measure of self-government, but I would remind your Lordships that at present three-quarters of Ireland is governed by Sinn Fein, and that Shin Fein is out for one thing and one thing only, and that is Republicanism, and they will accept nothing else. And unless you can persuade this vast majority of opinion that some such modified scheme of government would be more suitable for them I believe that there is no other policy possible for a Government than that which they have lately adopted, which is repression of murder and anarchy by force.


My Lords, I only rise to indicate in two or three sentences the course which I personally propose to take if my noble and learned friend who made this Motion goes to a Division. My noble and learned friend knows the deep respect I have for him and for his great and wide sympathies and deep sincerity, but he also knows my opinions, and that upon this matter he and I do not look at policy from exactly the same point of view. If my noble friend, therefore, goes to a Division and the Government, as I presume they will, resist him, I shall, of course, support the Government. I might do so upon the simple ground that it was inopportune for your Lordships to anticipate, as this Motion does, the discussions which will take place upon the proposals which His Majesty's Government are about to submit to your Lordships' House. But I may perhaps add to that barren statement an additional observation.

My noble and learned friend Lord Lore-burn knows very well that he has always been a Home Ruler and I have always been a Unionist. I do not agree with his remedy, as he would naturally suppose, for the disorders in Ireland. I do not believe that his policy is the right one to pursue. I do not think it is a practicable policy if it were put into force. I could, of course, were the opportunity suitable, go into that at length, but I will content myself with emphasising what has just fallen from the noble Marquess (Lord Dufferin), that when the noble and learned Earl and those who support him point to opinion in Ireland favourable to his proposal they forget, to tell your Lordships that by far the most important opinion in Ireland at the present moment, the opinion in Ireland which has until quite recently defeated His Majesty's Government, the Sinn Fein Party, were not consulted in those conversations to which he referred and would not be satisfied with the remedy which he proposes.

I should like to say one word further in reference to what fell from the noble Marquess. He has spoken, in terms not too strong, of the exasperation with which the soldiers in Ireland are naturally affected by the experiences through which their friends are going. He has only followed in that respect many other noble Lords tonight and on a previous occasion. I should like to say one word upon this subject of reprisals. I confess I have shrunk from speaking upon the subject because I am most anxious, for my own part, not to weaken the hands of His Majesty's Government, now that they have wakened up to the necessity of maintaining law and order in Ireland. But I feel that there is some difficulty, indeed I have sonic scruple in not saying a word after listening to the very striking passage in the speech of the most rev. Primate.

What ought to be our feeling as to reprisals? If the reprisals are a proper sort of reprisals I am all in favour of them; so is the most rev. Primate. I say quite frankly I do not think that Ireland ought ever to have been allowed to get into such a condition that reprisals were necessary. The noble Earl, the Leader of the House, knows my feeling on that, and it is to the lasting shame of His Majesty's Government that such a state of things should have been allowed to grow up. But it has been allowed to grow up, and I believe there is no remedy except reprisals. But my idea of reprisals is reprisals ordered by constituted authority. I cannot understand why His Majesty's Government shrink from the responsibility. Why should they think it better that reprisals should be done unofficially by non-commissioned officers and men of the Army and of the Royal Irish Constabulary, rather than have proper reprisals by authority given and ordered by His Majesty's Government themselves? What are they afraid of? If the reprisals are good things, which indeed they are in the present condition of Ireland, why should they not order them? Why should they riot avow them? Because the difference would be very great. Not merely would they be legal and by order, but they would be carried out with all the proper discipline and caution which such a policy requires. But do not let the Government, I beg them, think that I desire to weaken their hands. I have always urged them to use the power with which the country has entrusted them in order to maintain law and order to Ireland, and to do that which is the elementary duty of a Government earnestly hope that they will continue to do so, hat I hope that, instead of screening themselves behind these unofficial personages as if they were afraid to face the people of England and to tell them what they consider to be right, they will avow fully and without fear that they consider reprisals are necessary, and that they themselves are responsible for them.


My Lords, I join the most rev. Primate in welcoming back the noble and learned Earl, Lord Loreburn, to our debates after an absence that from our point of view has been unduly prolonged. But the noble and learned Earl signalised his return by one obiter dictum which, although it had, as I conceive, no direct relevance to the subject under discussion, I must as Foreign Minister be allowed to dispute. He told us that at this moment we had very few friends and well-wishers in the world except in our own Dominions. If that were true no one would be more conscious of it, no one would be daily brought into sharper contact with it, than myself. It is my duty afternoon after afternoon, very often when I might otherwise be enjoying the pleasure of assisting in your Lordships' debates, to meet the Ministers and Ambassadors of half the countries of the world. It is a very remarkable thing that the noble and learned Earl has made a discovery which is entirely unknown to them. On the contrary they assure me, and I believe it to be true, that there has been no time, at any rate in recent history, when this country—I do not for a moment say His Majesty's Government, but this country—has been regarded with greater confidence and esteem by the nations in general, or when, owing to the glorious part which it played in the war, it stood on a higher pinnacle of influence in the world at large. Therefore I must tell the noble and learned Earl that if his remark was well-founded, which fortunately it is not, my task would be a much harder one than it already is.

The noble and learned Earl, with the cleverness with which we are familiar, has connected in his Motion two subjects widely different in character by a wholly, as it seems to me, arbitrary and artificial link. He seems to me to be totally unaware that less than a fortnight ago we spent the greater part of an afternoon in discussing the first part of this question, and I can only congratulate him if, in his peaceful retreat, he refrained from acquainting himself with our proceedings on that occasion. On the other hand I do not quite see what we are to come to if a noble Lord, having for one reason or another abstained from, or having for one reason or another not read, our proceedings, is at liberty to come here and take advantage of the opportunities given in this House to resume a debate in which he himself declined to take part only a few days ago. The first part of his speech would have been strictly pertinent on that occasion, and had he been present he would have enjoyed the misfortune of hearing my reply. Even in face of the excuse provided by the very striking speech delivered by the most rev. Primate I am not going this afternoon to repeat at length what I said the other day. The explanation and the defence, such as it was, of the conduct of the Government given on that occasion still stands.

In a sentence or two what did I endeavour then to point out? I said that we were face to face with certain broad facts, indisputable, undeniable, in Ireland. We see going on there a criminal and ferocious conspiracy, the agents of which know no scruple or remorse and who operate by means which would disgrace the Hottentot of the Bush. I said that this conspiracy exists to paralyse law and order, to subvert government, and ultimately to secure an Independent Republic in Ireland. I said that on the other hand we see the forces of the Crown, military and police, engaged in what it is no exaggeration to describe as a heroic struggle against these sinister forces, face to face with death at every hour of the day and night liable to be shot, wounded, mutilated, killed. We see them, in the discharge of their duty, hitting back at the enemy—I can call him by no other phrase—engaged in these so-called reprisals for the most part in self-protection and self-defence, or in attempts to arrest the criminals of whom I have spoken, or in the vindication of justice. Now, everybody admits the, provocation. It was admitted by the mos[...] rev. Primate. But I do not think that ail: House is precisely the place in which, without any knowledge of the evidence, relying upon little beyond what we either read in the papers or learn from private correspondents of our own, such as Close who have been quoted to-night—I do not think it is precisely the place in which we can fairly appraise the degree of provocation, or form an opinion as to the nature of the so-called reprisals, or assess the amount of damage that has been done.

At the bottom, do we really differ about the matter? The principles have been stated by every speaker in a rather different form according to the angle from which he approaches them. The most rev. Primate considered the matter from the point of view of the fundamental principles of right as against wrong. The noble Marquess who has just spoken, coming from Ireland, aware of the situation as it there exists, points out the character and condition of the circumstances in which these things take place, and he extends a greater measure of tolerance, of forbearance, even of forgiveness, towards the men who err, if they do err, than others might be disposed to do who look at it from merely an abstract point of view.

Then the noble Marquess who has just sat down introduced another distinction. He is all in favour of reprisals provided they are orderly, organised and undertaken by the Government. That, I confess, filled me with a certain alarm, awl I should await a much clearer definition of what the noble Marquess really invites the Government to do, apart from its ordinary duties in the protection of life and property and the vindication of law and order.


If the noble Earl appeals to me, may I say that of course the Government should act according to law. If the law is not strong enough, let them come to Parliament to strengthen it.


That is not reprisals.


With respect, I do not think that carries us much further. Is there, as I ask, any fundamental difference between us? There are certain reprisals—we have read about them; whether they are true or not I do not know—but there are certain reprisals obviously senseless, possibly causeless, unprovoked, vindictive in their character. With such reprisals neither the Government nor any individuals have ever expressed any sympathy, and in so far as the Government can, from the evidence at their disposal, cheek them, punish them, they do so. On the other hand there are reprisals which are being committed every day and which I think even the most rev. Primate would admit to be legitimate. They are the kind of reprisals that take place when the forces of the Crown, military and police, go forth on this campaign to fight against crime and criminals. We all of us realise that they must be at liberty to defend themselves; that they are entitled to go to great extremes in self-protection and self-defence; that they are entirely right to shoot those by whom they would otherwise be shot; that they are entirely justified in shooting at sight those who are engaged in this conspiracy, in putting down which they are themselves engaged.

In the course of these operations it is not only very likely, but it is inevitable, that destruction of property, of houses, of creameries, and very likely of life, will take place. That is all very deplorable and very wrong—that is to say, it is very deplorable and very wrong if it exceeds the bounds that I endeavoured to define just now, but you cannot fight this kind of war according to the strict principles that you would lay down in the study. The noble and learned Earl, Lord Loreburn, spoke of an "irregular" war going on in Ireland. So it is but we ought to see that it is not a one-sided war—I mean that a war, wrong in itself, does not become any more right if it is only waged by one party. Here you have those criminals of whom I am speaking, firing, shooting, killing, and so on and it is too much to expect that it can be confined to their side and not assume the nature of reprisals.

You must not only consider the degree of provocation which is given, but you must consider that these men, our guardians and protectors, are engaged in a war with a merciless enemy who has no consideration for them. Therefore I am not the least impressed when anybody says "The policeman or soldier ought not to act in this way or that. He ought to wait until he has evidence against the guilty man and then arrest him. He ought not to shoot or kill anybody unless he is certain that the man at whom he fired has himself fired a fatal shot." It is impossible to proceed in the circumstances of Ireland in that way and all that the Government, I think can do is to exercise the utmost vigilance in their power, to lay down (as they have endeavoured to do) sound principles of conduct, to punish open and admitted violation of them, and, above all, to inculcate the right spirit of discipline amongst their men. That is all I think I need say upon the question of reprisals in view of the fact that I spoke about it at so much length a little while ago.

I am rather more concerned myself, because it is more important, to turn to the constructive part of the Motion of the noble and learned Earl. In the first sentence of the second part of his Motion he urges upon the Government that they should not confine themselves to the punishing of offenders by process of law, but should also without delay announce and bring into operation a comprehensive measure of self-government for Ireland. That is exactly what I thought we were doing. The Bill that will shortly reach your Lordships' House may be a good or a bad one; we shall have an opportunity of discussing that in a few weeks' time. Lord Loreburn said that in his view it was a hopeless measure, and Lord Midleton stated that it did not meet with the satis- faction of those for whom he speaks in the South of Ireland. All these matters we shall be able to thrash out. But nobody can deny that it is a Bill to give self-government to Ireland, certainly on a greater scale than ever attempted before. Nobody can deny that it is a comprehensive measure, and nobody can deny that it goes far beyond any previous Home Rule Bill, whether introduced by Mr. Gladstone, by Mr. Asquith, or anybody else. And further, when it is brushed aside with so much contempt, be it remembered that the Bill in the month of March passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons by a majority of over 250. It is now through the Committee stage; I do not think the Third Reading has been taken, but I estimate that its majority on Third Reading will be equally great; and therefore if we do attach any value to Parliamentary representation it will reach your Lordships' House, whatever may be said of it, with considerable credentials in its favour.


The noble Earl surely recollects that there is scarcely a representative of the South of Ireland sitting in the House of Commons at present.


That may be so, and the representatives of the South of Ireland will, I hope, having so able a spokesman as the noble Earl, have an opportunity of stating their views in this House. We shall be only too glad to hear them. The Bill is not cast in any procrustean form, and I hope that noble Lords will assist us in shaping it into what they regard as a better measure.

I note that Lord Loreburn does not propose, as Lord Monteagle did in a Motion he made in your Lordships' House a few months ago when he introduced a Dominion Home Rule Bill, that his Bill should be evolved by an Irish Constituent Assembly. He throws the responsibility on the Government, although he told us almost in the same breath that we have failed in everything we have undertaken in Ireland, and we are also told by others that any Bill introduced by the Government is foredoomed to failure. Again, the noble and learned Earl has not explained quite clearly to what area his Bill will be applied. I imagine that it is a Bill for the whole of Ireland undivided. Yet he knows perfectly well that Ulster would not accept any such measure, and he knows also that Mr. Asquith, who, whether he can speak for the noble and learned Earl or not, was the Leaden of the Government of which the noble Earl was a member, has stated that in no circumstances would it be possible to coerce Ulster.

I do not conceive that it is part of my business this evening to attempt to dissect all the various alternative proposals for dealing with the situation in Ireland. Scarcely a week passes but some eminent statesman favours us with a new scheme. We have Mr. Asquith's scheme, Lord Grey of Fallodon's scheme, Lord Dunraven's scheme, and now we have Lord Loreburn's scheme, which I understand from what he said is identical with the views put, forward by a conference that has recently met in Ireland. The scheme of Ate noble and learned Earl differs substantially from the scheme of Mr. Asquith, his former leader, because Mr. Asquith is prepared to give Dominion Home Rule to Ireland without, limitation, and he proposes to give her control of the military and naval forces and the ports, although I note that in his letter to the said nothing about foreign affairs. But Lord Loreburn's scheme, Lord from Lord Grey of Fallodon's, because Lord Grey of Fallodon, in his letter on the papers, contemplated that the Irish should draw up their own Bill, and that at the end of two years, in which we were to scramble on as lest we could, the British Government should withdraw all its forces and its representatives from Ireland and leave the two parties either to agree or to fight out their quarrel—in my judgment a host lame and deplorable conclusion. Therefore Lord Loreburn's scheme differs from those of his two former colleagues.

Let me examine his scheme for a moment. I was a little surprised that he did not devote rather more time to elucidating it, but as, for reasons which I have no doubt were good, he abstained front doing so perhaps he will allow me to do it instead. He reserves control to the Imperial Parliament of the Navy, Army, and Foreign Affairs, and there, of course, he carries us all with him. Mr. Asquith, as I have pointed out, was willing to surrender these on the ground that, no Irish Parliament would be so insane as to squander money on armaments or deny its ports to Great Britain. I was astonished at that confidence on the part, of Mr. Asquith. I was a member of Mr. Asquith's Government, as were certain noble Lords opposite, at the time of the Rebellion in April, 1916.

We had ample evidence at that time of a conspiracy between the rebels in Ireland and the Germans. It was to begin by a rising in Ireland, the import of arms and munitions from Germany, and ultimately a German invasion of the country. At a later date in Mr. Lloyd George's Government we had similar evidence of another attempt which proved abortive. In these circumstances the confidence of Mr. Asquith strikes me with extreme surprise.

Now look at it for a moment in relation to both Forces. Take the Army. Let us suppose that Ireland were given an Army of her own in the future. Is there any reason to suppose that she will be content with a small Army? There is nothing to prevent her having a large Army; there would be nothing to prevent her raising an Army by compulsory service. She might be just as keen to have compulsory service under those conditions as she was reluctant a year or two ago to contribute her fair share in the Empire's hour of trial. Can we reasonably contemplate a situation in which Ireland would be allowed an Army, and in which it would be in her power if she so chose, to introduce conscription, within sight of our own shores, where we have disavowed any such intention on our part?

Then as regards the Navy. Ireland might not care to buy or build battleships or cruisers, butt there is a much smaller, a much less costly, and a much more effective Navy which she might create. A fleet of submarines is a much greater danger in modern warfare than a fleet of Dreadnoughts. And the ports of Ireland, converted into possible submarine bases, constitute a danger which none of us can contemplate without great alarm. I need not argue the question of Foreign Affairs, because an Irish State with a Foreign Office of its own, with Ambassadors or Ministers in foreign countries and with a Treaty-making power of its own is a contingency which I am sure that no British statesman will be rash enough to propose.

Up to this point I am in respectful agreement with the noble and learned Earl. Now I come, if I may do so, to point out the respects in which I differ from him, and in regard to which I could not advise your Lordships to accept his counsel. He proposes that Ireland should be given fiscal autonomy, and in the course of his speech he explained that what he was desirous of conferring was "complete fiscal independ- ence." Those were his words. He is not, however, proposing anything of the sort. On the contrary, if the Imperial Parliament is to retain control of the Army and the Navy and of the Foreign Affairs of Ireland, it is quite clear that Ireland will have to contribute towards their cost. She cannot have them for nothing. She must pay her share. Therefore to talk of complete fiscal independence is to be guilty of an abuse of terms.

Upon another point I am not quite clear. The noble and learned Earl will agree with me that so far Ireland ought to pay her share. Very well. But is that all? Has she not under his scheme of complete fiscal independence to pay anything towards the cost of the war which her Members of Parliament across the way voted for in 1914? Is she to pay nothing towards the diminution of the National Debt which has been raised by the terrific expenditure of the war? The Home Rule Bill which your Lordships will shortly have before you proposes an Irish contribution for the first two years after the Bill comes into operation of £18,000,000, and that is only at the rate of £4 2s. per head of the population of Ireland as compared with £14 13s. 8d. per head of the population of Great Britain. I am glad to produce those figures, because the noble Earl, Lord Midleton, said, "Cannot you be a little more liberal in your treatment of Ireland? Her contentment depends so much upon a liberal financial arrangement." There is great force in that, and I dare say we shall be in a position to discuss it when the Bill conies before us. I only mention it now to show that that is the very desire we have in mind, and the figures I have quoted, figures which cannot be disputed, afford proof of what I say.

Another point in Lord Loreburn's scheme. If Ireland is to make this contribution of which I speak, is it to be compulsory or is it to be optional? Is it to be left to the Irish Parliament to decide whether she does or does not, out of her good will, make such a contribution to the Empire? if it is to be optional, is it by any means unlikely that Ireland will refuse to pay? And if she refuses she ceases, by her own act, to be an integral factor in the Empire.

I have shown up to this point that it is quite clear that Lord Loreburn is advocating only a very limited form of fiscal autonomy for Ireland. But now I go on. I imagine that the fiscal autonomy that he proposes really means the handing over to Ireland of Customs, of Excise, of Income Tax—that at any rate is the form which the proposal takes.


It is so. I suggest that Ireland should decide what taxes she chooses to impose. I am not making any concealment of it at all.


Very well. That means that Ireland is to be given the right to impose her own taxes, and that, of course, includes Customs Duties, Excise, and Income Tax. Now I have no time to examine into the various forms of Federal government that exist in the world, and if I am wrong I shall be corrected by those with more constitutional knowledge than I can claim to possess, but I certainly am under the impression that Customs are always, or at any rate in the vast majority of cases, Federal taxes.




Take the case of Germany. Before the war you had independent States in Germany—Saxony, Würtemberg, Bavaria; each had Kings and Armies of their own, but none of them had Customs of their own. Take the case of Germany now. I looked up before coming here the Constitution of the new German Republic, and I find that Foreign Relations, Defence, Customs Duties, taxation and railway services are matters for the Central Authority. Therefore, my Lords, it seems to be clear that precedent as regards Customs Duties is against the noble Earl.

I will next take Income Tax. And here I give the example which jumps at once to the memory of all of us—that is, the United States of America. Up to a few Years ago the Income Tax in America was a State tax. Each State levied the Income Tax that it chose, but the Federal Government found that it could not spare the money which was raised in those various States for this purpose, and accordingly—I think it was the year before the war—they introduced a law by which they made it a national or Federal tax. Here again the noble and learned Earl would be acting contrary to precedent, and I could quote many others.

But let us suppose that we did hand over all these sources of income to the Irish Government. What would then happen? The Irish Government would be at liberty to collect these taxes. It might refuse to hand them over, or, what is perhaps even more likely, it might utilise the power which we had given to it to bring about a differential treatment in Ireland. She would have an Irish Parliament, and an Irish Parliament would so arrange matters that the Irish people would have cheaper tea, tobacco, beer, whisky, and the like; she would institute a lower Income Tax in that country. Why should we tolerate a situation in which an Irishman living on this side of St. George's Channel would have to pay his Income Tax of from 6s. to 9s. in the £, according to his wealth, while if he lived across St. George's Channel on the other side he might only have to pay 1s. or 2s. in the £.

Let me give the noble Earl one or two more practical difficulties. If you give Customs Duties to an undivided Ireland, as he would propose, of course it means a Customs harrier between Ireland and Great Britain, and if you have, two Parliaments in Ireland and still give them Customs it means a Customs barrier between the North and South of Ireland. Is that wise or practicable? Is it not the case in history that the raising of these duties by the Central Government has been so arranged not merely because the State wanted the money that was thus collected, but because it had a unifying effect upon the various constituent elements of the body politic? And if we want a united Ireland, which really at the bottom is the dream of every one of us—although we are setting up two Parliaments in Ireland there is not one of us but looks forward to a single and united Parliament in Ireland—would it not be a dangerous act to introduce fiscal measure which will have a disuniting and a disrupting rather than a uniting effect?

I have been supplied with another point which I should like to put to your Lordships about the Income Tax, on the hypothesis that the Income Tax is one of the sources of revenue which it would be proposed to hand over. The power over the Income Tax is difficult to assign away to an Irish Parliament on account of administrative complications. These complications arise from the system of taxation at the source. In the first place in many cases of companies doing business in both countries—for instance, barking or mercantile businesses—it may be impossible to divide the taxable profits between the two countries, and difficult questions of double Income Tax might arise which might be only partly met by the proceedings recently adopted to deal with double Income Tax as between this country and the Dominions. There is a serious danger if Income Tax is lower in Ireland—and I have contemplated that it would be almost of a certainty—that companies which have their head office in England but do not otherwise do business here might migrate to Ireland. Such migration would deprive us of tax, not only on the dividends paid to Irish and to non-British shareholders, but also on the sums put by companies to reserve; and even, perhaps, on the dividends paid to British shareholders and transferred to England without the intervention of a bank. It is unnecessary to enlarge upon the possible abuses and leakages of revenue. It is possible that they could be, later on, remedied by new administrative arrangements, but this is doubtful, and in any case would involve inconvenience to the taxpayers.

I might here say one word on a point which is too often forgotten. If you re serve these taxes, as I think you ought, to the Parliament of the United Kingdom it does not necessarily follow from that that their proceeds will be retained for Imperial purposes. It is quite possible to credit Ireland with the proceeds that you derive from these taxes, even though they are imposed and collected by the Imperial authorities. And that is what is actually done or what is contemplated to be done in the Government Bill, under which the Irish contribution to Imperial services is deducted from the sum to be so collected. I have now, I hope not at undue length, tried to point out some of the weaknesses and flaws in the scheme which has been put before us by the noble and learned Earl to-night.

In the concluding words of his Motion the noble Earl asks this House to "welcome the growing opinion on the part of moderate men throughout Ireland in favour of this course." I have no means of knowing what the opinion of moderate men in Ireland is—I am afraid that moderate men in Ireland are rather at a discount at the present moment—but I should like to put to the noble and learned Earl the question which was suggested by, I think, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, "Will his scheme be accepted, not by the moderate men in Ireland, but by the immoderate men?" It is the immoderate men who are in a vast and overwhelming majority. What is the good of trying to make a scheme that will satisfy only the moderate men when we know that over the way, in another place, there might be sitting, if they chose to do so, seventy-five Sinn Fein Members out of a total of, I think, 105 Members returned from Ireland? They do not want moderation. They do not want the kind of Home Rule that the noble and learned Earl offers them. They do not want those advantages about which he expatiated this evening. They want an Independent Irish Parliament and an Independent Irish Republic. I see no point in offering these boons which, as I have suggested, may be fraught with real danger, so long as there is no chance of their being accepted by those who speak for the great majority in that country.

There remains the proposal of His Majesty's Government. I seldom hear any good word said about our Home Rule Bill. It is we are told, widely unpopular. I have never known any Home Rule Bill of which that has not been said. The noble and learned Earl and his colleagues spent many months—I think it was years—in passing a Home Rule Bill into law. I remember his solemn adjurations from the Woolsack on the subject. He warned us, if we did not accept the Bill, of the doom to come, and the Bill was ultimately passed over our heads at that time, extolled by its authors as the quintessence of wisdom. It is now condemned as one of the most foolish proposals that ever were placed upon the Statute-book.

I myself am not disturbed by being told at this stage that our Bill is a bad one. After all, it proceeds upon a principle which has hitherto been accepted even by those with whom the noble and learned Earl has acted for so many years—namely, on the principle that we desire to retain Ireland inside the United Kingdom and inside the Imperial Parliament, and that we desire to give her the largest measure of self-government that is compatible with national security. That is the basis upon which the Bill is composed. Whether it will successfully carry out that object or not I hesitate at this stage to say, but when the noble Earl, Lord Midleton, said that the Bill was regarded with contumely by everybody I do not think he was quite fair upon Ulster. It is true that in the earlier stages Ulster would have preferred to be left alone—she has never concealed her desire to remain part of the United Kingdom—but when that was discovered to be physically and politically impossible she was willing to accept this Bill. I have heard from their own mouths that the Ulster Members accept the Bill with sincerity, and that they mean to carry it out with effectiveness. That is something. I have never known any Home Rule Bill before this that was not rejected with scorn by Ulster.

I cannot hope, the Government cannot hope, for the time being to conciliate the extremists in Ireland any more than the noble and learned Earl can do so. Let us conciliate somebody, and if, as I contend Ulster is prepared to take this Bill and to work it as I believe she will do, at least there will be the example of her success which may operate in time. I am inclined to think that, so far from this discrediting attempts in future at a solution of the problem it may constitute an example and provide a stimulus which may ultimately lead the other parts of Ireland to join with her. The Bill, as I have said, has nearly completed its course through the House of Commons. It will come here, and I do not think we shall in any way assist its course by carrying such a Motion as that which the noble and learned Earl has put before us. But when the Home Rule Bill is here I shall count confidently upon his great authority and experience and counsel to assist us in making our measure a better one than it now is.


Your Lordships will, perhaps, bear with me for two or three minutes while I reply to what the noble Earl has said. I thank him for his courteous references to myself. The noble Earl has discussed a variety of possibilities and difficulties that might arise on all features of the proposal that I made. I do not intend to follow him; in fact, it would be inexcusable to take up your Lordships' time in that way. What I have done is simply this. I put forward proposals which appeared to me to be reasonable but which no doubt might be improved by discussion between the parties, proposals which are largely supported in Ireland by influential people as a means of getting peace. I have suggested that we might express our concurrence with those proposals, but I am afraid, from the noble Earl's speech and also from the speech of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, that there is very little prospect of succeeding in that. Nevertheless I intend, if your Lordships will allow it, to divide the House—for this very good reason. The noble Earl referred to some previous occasion on which I ought to have come here and put forward my opinions, but he forgot that on the previous occasion there was merely

Resolved in the negative, and Motion disagreed to accordingly.