House Of Commons
Friday, 20th March, 1874.
MINUTES.]—SELECT COMMITTEE—Privilege, appointed; Public Accounts, nominated; Printing, appointed and nominated; Kitchen and Refreshment Rooms (House of Commons), appointed and nominated.
RESOLUTION IN COMMITTEE—East India Loan.
PUBLIC BILLS— Resolutions in Committee— Ordered— First Reading—Permissive Prohibitory Liquor* ; Spirituous Liquors (Scotland)* ; Merchant Shipping Survey* ; Public Worship Facilities* 
Ordered— First Reading—Ancient Monuments* ; Tribunals of Commerce* ; Metropolitan Buildings and Management* ; Betting* ; Factory Acts Amendment* ; Elementary Education Act (1870) Amendment* ; Household Franchise (Counties)* ; Leases and Sales of Settled Estates* ; Married Women's Property Act (1870) Amendment* ; Offences against the Person* ; Women's Disabilities Removal* ; Revenue Officers Disabilities* ; Elementary Education (Compulsory Attendance)* ; Game Laws (Scotland)* ; Juries* ; Imprisonment for Debt* ; Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act (1870) Amendment* ; Parliamentary Elections (Polling)* ; Working Men's Dwellings* ; Public Meetings (Ireland)* ; Legal Practitioners* ; Infanticide* ; Church Rates Abolition (Scotland)* .
Privilege—Committal Of A Member For Contempt
A Select Committee Appointed
said, he had very specially to solicit the favourable consideration and indulgence of the House for a few remarks—and they should be very few—which he desired to address to the Speaker in reference to the communication from the Lord Chief Justice which the right hon. Gentleman had read to the House on the previous day. He was not present when that letter was read, or a very few words at the close would, perhaps, have disposed of the matter so far as he was himself personally concerned; but acting under the best advice he could obtain, he considered it was due to the House—though emulating, in some small degree, the excellent example of the Lord Chief Justice himself in paying due respect to that House—that he should not allow the circumstances which he had thought fit to bring to the notice of the House to pass without notice; he (Mr. Whalley) being the person concerned in that transaction —being the Member of the House who had the misfortune to come under, as it were, a two-fold penalty, as communicated by the Lord Chief Justice to the Speaker. In the first place, he had been so unfortunate as to commit the offence of contempt of Court, and having committed that offence, and having been fined for the same, he had refused to submit to that fine, and had elected to be sent to prison. He felt it was right that he should at all events place himself before the House, offering any explanation that might be demanded as between himself and his hon. Colleagues as to the circumstances, and then leave the matter. Nothing could have induced him to avoid cither fine or imprisonment, or to obtrude himself and his personal affairs, his penalty, or his imprisonment on the attention of the House, unless a sense of the absolute and imperative necessity of public duty justified him in doing so. The transaction took place during the last Parliament, of which he was a Member, as he had the honour to be of the present. That would not have deterred him in reference to this transaction; though it was a matter in which he had doubts whether it was one which required him to communicate to the House, or which demanded the cognizance of the House. The Lord Chief Justice had himself admitted in the letter which was read from the Chair yesterday that he had doubts as to the propriety of the course which had been pursued; but nevertheless he had made a communication to the House by a Letter which would, he presumed, be placed upon the records of the House; and if that was the case, he ventured to say—acting upon advice of high authority—that the formal intimation by the Lord Chief Justice that a Member of the last Parliament had been imprisoned by the Court of Queen's Bench, was a matter worthy of the consideration of the House. Under the circumstances, and acting on the spur of the moment, he had to submit a suggestion—which he would have made at a later period of the evening, on the Motion for Adjournment, but he found that no Motion for Adjournment was made that night—the suggestion that he now therefore ventured to make was that the letter of the Lord Chief Justice be referred to the Committee of Privileges, with a view to their reporting whether the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench in committing a Member of the late Parliament to Prison for contempt of Court had done anything wrongly affecting the privileges of Members of that House? The question of Privilege was one of great importance, not only to individual Members, but to the House at large, and their Privileges ought, therefore, to be most jealously and carefully guarded and maintained. In the course which he had taken with regard to the late trial he acted to the best of his humble abilities, and with a full sense of the responsibilities which he thereby incurred. He believed, further, that the propriety of that course had been recognized by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the late Government, who, in answer to a Question put to him, said he saw no objection to measures being taken to provide the defendant in the late trial with means to bring up witnesses and conduct his defence. Such a course was all the more necessary because, if the defendant had been committed for trial in the ordinary way, the means would have been provided under statute. In consequence of what the right hon. Gentleman had so stated, he (Mr. Whalley) wished to explain the course he had taken in the matter. He ventured to submit that if ever there was a person who could lay claim to the privileges of a Member of Parliament in regard to anything done outside the House, he (Mr. Whalley) was that person. ["Oh!"] He trusted he was saying nothing to obtrude upon the House what might be called his peculiar, or even eccentric, views upon this matter. He had acted with perfect honesty of purpose and according to the best of his judgment, and without any idea that he was in any way infringing the Privileges of the House, when in soliciting aid for the defendant at public meetings, he was carrying on what had been called an agitation, and had been denounced by the Lord Chief Justice, and in consequence of that he had been fined and also imprisoned. He was acting in what he believed to be the discharge of his public duty, and for which he had the assent of the House—["Oh!"]—so far as what he had stated to the House was not contradicted. With regard to what he had to submit to the House now, in Sir Erskine May's work on the Law and Practice of Parliament, it was distinctly recognized that the Committee of that House would not take cognizance of any interference with the Privileges of this House, or with the liberties of its Members, without first inquiring into all the circumstances of the case. The passage referring to Lechmere Charlton's Case was to the effect that, although the Lord Chancellor had power to declare what he deemed to be a contempt of the High Court of Chancery, it was necessary that the House of Commons, as the sole and exclusive judge of its own Privileges, should be informed of the particulars of the contempt before they could decide whether the contempt was of such a character as to justify the imprisonment of a Member. Now, he thought the circumstances of the present case were well worthy of attention. They simply amounted to this—that he had ventured to state, in a letter which he wrote for the information of his constituents, that it was his belief that a man committed on a charge of perjury in the Court of Queen's Bench was not guilty of perjury so far as regarded one particular portion of the evidence given in Court, and he felt that as an Englishman he had a right to express that view. It was the result of extreme labour undertaken at his own risk and cost—he referred to his journey to America. He gave his reasons why he believed that certain parts of the story or narrative of a particular person committed for perjury were true, and held that a man put upon trial, and not yet found guilty, was innocent. That was really the whole ground of his offence—the whole ground upon which he had been found guilty of contempt of Court. The reason why he had made an effort to address the Court was that he might take the opinion of the Exchequer Chamber on the subject of this law of contempt, than which nothing could be more repugnant in connection with the course of our English jurisprudence. That was the general outline of his offence, and he ventured to submit that this matter, which had been brought under the notice of the House by the Lord Chief Justice, ought to be referred to the Committee of Privileges for inquiry into the circumstances with a view to their reporting whether it was desirable that the House should take any further steps in the matter.
Will the hon. Member be good enough to bring up the terms of his Motion?
accordingly handed up his Motion in writing—as follows—"That the Letter of the Lord Chief Justice, read by Mr. Speaker to the House on the 19th instant, he referred to the Committee of Privileges to examine and report whether any of the matters referred to therein demand the further attention of this House."
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That the Letter of the Lord Chief Justice of England to Mr. Speaker, informing the House of the commitment of Mr. Whalley, a Member of this House, be referred to the Committee of Privileges, to consider and report whether any of the matters referred to therein demand the further attention of the House."—(Mr. Whalley.)
Sir, any question which involves the Privileges of the Members of this House should always be treated with great attention and consideration. In regard to the present case, I am not prepared in any way to give an opinion on its merits. I am not sufficiently aware of the circumstances, nor have I myself had time to consider them. But certainly, primâ facie, there has been an apparent violation of the Privileges of a Member of this House, and whenever such a violation occurs the House cannot, I think, be too cautious in the course it pursues. The proposition of the hon. Member for Peterborough is however, one which I think it would hardly be convenient for the House to adopt. The Committee of Privileges is a body which we should all of us at all times speak of with great respect, but it is not, upon the whole, a very convenient body to appeal to; and, unless the subject is complicated, I should hardly advise the House to have recourse to such a Committee. The Committee of Privileges is a heterogeneous body, and it is not expedient to appoint one unless the case is of great complexity. It appears to me that the merits of the present case would be met if we were to appoint a Select Committee. My suggestion is that we appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the circumstances.
said, they were not called upon to form any opinion as to the merits of the case, but certainly he did not think this was a case which ought to be passed by without the appointment of a Committee to inquire into it. He was not going to be so impertinent as to express his admiration of the Lord Chief Justice, or of the manner in which he discharged the duties of his high position, but he might say he was very glad that learned Judge had arrived at the conclusion that he ought to acquaint the House with the fact of his having committed one of its Members for contempt. He would venture to point out one or two considerations which appeared to him to make it imperative on all the Courts, whenever they committed a Member of that House, whether during the Recess, or when the House was sitting, to acquaint the House of the fact. What were the facts of the present case? A Member was committed almost immediately before the Dissolution of Parliament. It would have been quite possible, therefore, that he might have been prevented from presenting himself to his constituents for re-election. A Member might be committed—if any other doctrine held good—the day after Parliament was prorogued, and released again the day before Parliament met; and yet no official information might be conveyed to the House on the subject. He did not think the House would be content with any sort of record, or that a County Court Judge might commit one of its Members to prison during the Recess,. and yet that it should receive no official intimation of the fact. If, therefore, a Committee were in the present instance appointed, a good opportunity would, he thought, be afforded for expressing some opinion on the part of the House that information should be conveyed to it whenever any Court of justice happened to commit one of its Members. As to the appointment of a Select Committee instead of a Committee of Privileges, he had only to say that for such a case as that under discussion a Select Committee might command the confidence of the House; but, on the other hand, the unbroken rule had been to refer such cases to a Committee of Privileges. There were instances in which some hon. Members were named specially to serve on a Committee of Privileges, the Committee, with the exception of those names, being constituted in the ordinary way. Such wore, perhaps, not convenient precedents to be followed; but whenever a case arose, of the committal of one of its Members, in which the House took a serious and deep interest it might be of advantage to have a large Committee of Privileges, in whoso proceedings almost the whole of the House might take part. He should not like to see the old practice done away with of referring such cases to a Committee of Privileges. The House had inherited the Privileges which it possessed from those who had established and sustained them in difficult times, and though in the present day they were not often infringed, he thought they should always be jealously watched.
I cannot help thinking that the advice given to us by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government is the one that we should do wisely to adopt—that we should refer the matter to a Select Committee of moderate numbers, where it can be very much more conveniently dealt with than it could be by the Committee of Privileges, which embodies practically the House at large. It must be observed that the Lord Chief Justice has informed us of the fact that a Member of this House has been committed for contempt, but has not stated the circumstances of the ease. It will therefore be the duty of the Committee to ascertain those circumstances, and I think that can be better done by a moderately sized Select Committee of inquiry than by a very largo Committee of Privileges. I therefore quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is very desirable that we should have a Select Committee to inquire into the circumstances. It is quite right, I wish to add, that the House should always be jealous on this subject, and that it should allow nothing to pass without investigation. At the same time I hope it will be fully understood that in appointing a Committee to ascertain the circumstances, that appointment does not imply the slightest censure on the Lord Chief Justice.
said, he was a Member of the House when Mr. Wellesley was committed by Lord Brougham for contempt of his Court. He believed that on that occasion a Select Committee was appointed to inquire into the circumstances, and he therefore wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair whether a precedent had not been furnished in that case which might very properly be followed in the present instance?
The precedent to which the hon. and learned Member referred was of this sort. The matter was referred to the Committee of Privileges. That, I am bound to say, has been the ordinary course. At the same time, it has been found in practice somewhat inconvenient, because the Committee of Privileges is composed of all knights of the shire, all gentlemen of the long robe, and all merchants. It must, therefore, be obvious to the House that the composition of such a Committee would, to say the least, be inconvenient, and it will be for the House to determine for itself whether this matter shall be referred to a Select Committee or to a Committee of Privileges.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Ordered, That the Letter of the Lord Chief Justice of England to Mr. Speaker, informing the House of the commitment of Mr. Whalley, a Member of this House, for Contempt of Court, be referred to a Select Committee, for the purpose of considering and reporting whether any of the matters referred to therein demand the further attention of the House.—(Mr. Disraeli.)
And, on March 26, Committee nominated as follows:—Mr. DISRAELI, Mr. GOSCHEN, Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL, Mr. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN, MR. SPENCER WALPOLE, Mr. WHITBREAD, Mr. STEPHEN CAVE, Sir CHARLES FORSTER, Sir SEYMOUR EITZGERALD, Sir HENRY JAMES, Viscount HOLMESDALE, Sir EDWARD COLEBROOKE, Sir GRAHAM MONTGOMERY, Mr. MASSEY, Viscount CRICHTON, Mr. ATTORNEY GENERAL, and Mr. ROEBUCK:—Power to send for persons, papers, and records; Five to be the quorum.
Bank Holidays—The Customs Department—Question
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, as business in the City is now discontinued on the days set apart as Bank Holidays, Her Majesty's Government will extend to the employés in the Customs Department the benefit of the holidays established by the Bank Holidays Act?
, in reply, said, that a correspondence was going on between the Board of Customs and the Treasury on this subject, and that no decision had yet been arrived at.
asked the Under Secretary of State for India, How soon the Papers relating to the Indian Famine would be laid upon the Table of the House?
in reply, said, that he hoped to be able to lay on the Table to-morrow an abstract of the despatches which had passed between the Viceroy and the Secretary of State for India, and to supplement this abstract by furnishing the last three despatches in full.
Parliament—Business Of The House
inquired of the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether it was his intention that the House should sit to-morrow, and, if so, at what time and for what business?
thought it would be convenient if the First Lord of the Treasury would also state what was likely to be the course of business next week, and at what time they were to be released from their arduous labours?
I am not surprised at the feeling of astonishment—I hope it may not be described as even a more painful sentiment—which has been shown on an allusion being made to a proposal that the House should meet to-morrow. The fact is, however, that the claims of Public Business are at this moment so exigent that I must not only ask this House to meet to-morrow, but we must use our influence to induce the august Assembly which sits in "another place" to meet likewise on a Saturday—I mean on Saturday week. I will point out the mode in which I think the claims of Public Business, however exigent, may be met—but it is only with the aid of the cordial support of the House that they can be met successfully. We propose that the House should assemble at 12 o'clock to-morrow, and we shall at that sitting introduce the Excess Votes for 1872–3, and the Supplementary Estimates, amounting to £315,000, for 1873–4, and shall ask, moreover, for a Vote of Credit on account of the Ashantee War. On Monday we propose to go into Committee of Supply, when we shall ask for a Vote on Account for two months. On Tuesday, with the assistance of the House, and by hon. Gentlemen showing friendliness and forbearance, we may take the Report of Supply, and the Bill framed upon it may be read a first time. On Wednesday the second reading of that Bill may be taken, on Thursday we may go into Committee on it, and on Friday we may take the third reading. This House need not meet on Saturday. If we can induce the august Assembly in "another place" to meet on Saturday, the Lords, by suspending their Standing Orders, may pass through the Bill, and on Monday, the 30th, in that case, it would receive the Royal Assent. The Secretary for War and the First Lord of the Admiralty may also, on the 30th, move a Vote for the number of men required for the public service, and on Tuesday the report on that subject may be agreed to. That is precisely the last day of the financial year. Now this can be done with the forbearance and assistance of the House and in no other way. I think the requirements of the public service authorize that forbearance on the part of the House, and I trust it will be exercised. It is only by using judiciously every moment of our time, by sitting at unusual hours, and by both houses responding readily to the appeals we make, that we can hope to succeed in accomplishing this financial tour de force. With regard to the question of which the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge has asked as to the period of relaxation which he needs, I may say that if we can carry out the business I have mentioned by Tuesday, the 31st, I shall then move, if it be agreeable to the House, that we adjourn from that date till Monday, the 13th of April. And perhaps I may be allowed to take this opportunity of saying that on Thursday, April 16, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes to introduce his Budget.
The Address In Answer To The Queen's Speech
Report of Address brought up, and read.
Address read a second time.
, in moving an Amendment to the Address, said, he was fully aware of the objection that might be raised to a course being followed which would bring controversial questions to the vote on such an occasion as the present. He ventured at the same time to think that if the House favoured him with a hearing he would be able to satisfy hon. Members that he was justified in acting as he did—he hoped, in short, to show that there was an absolute necessity for giving Ireland a new system of internal government. The proposal he desired to submit to the House was that the following passage should be added to the Address:—
He thought there was one result of this dissatisfaction in Ireland as exhibited by the recent elections to which no person could be indifferent and which no wise statesman could disregard. For the first time since the Act of Union a majority—he would call it a decisive majority—of Irish Members had been returned pledged to seek such a modification of the arrangements of the Union as would give to Irishmen in Ireland the right of managing their own affairs. He referred to this fact as evidence of dissatisfaction with the existing state of things. The Irish Members who had been returned as Home Rulers were a decisive majority of the Irish representatives, and these had not been pledged to any mere vague declaration in favour of Home Rule. Those who had thought it right to endeavour to excite the attention of the country to the question of Home Rule had deliberately prepared and put before the country the plan contained in the Resolution, which he ventured to say was framed in terms as clear and distinct as possible. They asked that Ireland should have the management of exclusively Irish affairs. Their plan would relieve the House of business which it had not the time, and, he might say without disrespect, not the capacity, to manage. Their plan would not in the slightest degree affect the prerogative of the Crown or the stability of the Empire. They saw no reason why an Irish Parliament could not manage exclusively Irish affairs without endangering the stability of the Empire. Had the grant of Parliaments to Canada, Australia, and other Colonies endangered the stability of the Empire? He believed he spoke for every Member who had been returned for Ireland on the Home Rule principle when he said that they repudiated in the strongest terms the slightest wish to break up the unity of the Empire or to bring about a collision between England and Ireland. They made no secret that they had all been elected to put forward the claim of Ireland to Home Rule, and, whether rightly or wrongly, they had come to an agreement among themselves that they would act separately and independently of all existing political combinations in that House. Whether that course was wise or not, it certainly was a new feature in Irish politics, and one that could not be overlooked. They took up that position because they could not acquiesce in anything that appeared to them to imply that there was nothing in the state of Ireland that required a remedy. In taking up that position he felt that they had taken a great responsibility upon themselves, and he knew the difficulty of their position. He knew the prejudice which the statement that they had determined to act independently of political combinations would naturally provoke, but he would ask the House to judge thorn by their conduct. They would pursue a course very different from anything like faction. He thought he might base the first part of this Amendment upon the mere fact that a majority of the Irish Members were returned expressly to endeavour to obtain for Ireland self-government. He knew not what stronger proof could be given of the dissatisfaction existing in Ireland. That dissatisfaction had been constitutionally expressed. It had not been expressed by any disturbances such as on former occasions were noticed in the Royal Speech. The Irish people had made this great political movement at a time when perfect tranquillity prevailed throughout the country, and in all the agitation by which the result had been brought about there had been nothing unconstitutional or illegal. It had been expressed through that political fran- chise which had been given to thorn for the purpose of declaring their political opinion. Ireland at present was in a state of perfect tranquillity. The assizes that had just closed had ended in every place with congratulations from the Judges upon the peaceableness of the different counties. In the last summer assizes in the city he had the honour to represent (Limerick) white gloves were given to the Judge, there not being a prisoner to be tried. In the City of Cork, another great city in the South of Ireland, the very same thing occurred. He thought the dissatisfaction in Ireland called upon the House, he would not say to alter or reverse any policy that had been hitherto pursued with reference to Ireland, but certainly to review calmly and deliberately that policy, and ascertain the causes that had given rise to the dissatisfaction as to the management of Irish affairs by that House. He thought he need not go far to justify the second part of this Amendment, which affirmed that the Irish people complained that they had not had the full benefits of the Constitution of England. He believed that at this moment Ireland was under a code of law which for severity had not its parallel in any European State. He would not speak for a moment of the law that prevailed all over Ireland independently of the will of the Lord Lieutenant. The Lord Lieutenant had power by proclamation to make it illegal in any district to carry arms without a licence from a police magistrate, and any man having a gun, a pistol, or dagger was liable, unless he had a magistrate's licence, to imprisonment for two years. Of the 32 counties in Ireland 26 had been proclaimed; the greater part of five others had been proclaimed, and there was just one county in Ireland, designated Tyrone, which was free from proclamation. Of the eight counties and cities Carrickfergus only was free from proclamation. Now that, he thought, was a very startling state of things in Ireland. But more than this—at any time of the night, in any district where this law prevailed any policeman holding a warrant might demand to be admitted into any house in a proclaimed district, and might break open the door, if admittance was refused, to search the house for arms, and 119 of these general warrants were now in operation. Even this was not all. By proclamation the Lord Lieutenant might make it a crime to be out of doors after dark, while by another proclamation he could empower the police to seize any stranger, and a large portion of Ireland was at present under this law. By another proclamation any magistrate or police officer might demand admittance to any man's house and ransack his papers for the purpose of comparing the handwriting with the handwriting of a threatening letter. Let it not be imagined that these powers were never used. On one occasion a number of young men, one of whom was the son of a respectable merchant, determined to play Hamlet. A police inspector, hearing of this, went to the theatre, arrested the young gentleman, and kept him in prison from Saturday night till Monday morning, when he was brought before a magistrate on a charge of having arms in his possession. Cases like this were of frequent occurrence in Ireland. Under the pretext of searching for arms the police often sought to procure evidence of robberies and thefts, and these powers might be abused for many other purposes. He cared not how these provisions might be defended, for he was sure they were not necessary. This, he thought, amply justified him in saying that Ireland did not enjoy the advantages of the British Constitution, nor the free principles of the English law. These powers were in constant use. With regard to arresting persons after sunset, he would toll the House what occurred on the 5th of the present month, according to an account which appeared in a very respectable newspaper. Early in the morning on that day a band went to attend an election meeting. In going through the town they played some tune—which however was not a party tune—and the young people of the place were naturally attracted by the music. The crowd cheered, and then a policeman thought fit to think an offence had been committed against the law. Subsequently the constable followed two young men, whom he knew perfectly well, a distance of two miles, and at six minutes to 6 o'clock, just after sunset, he told them they were out under suspicious circumstances. Thereupon he carried them to gaol, where they were detained until they were brought before a magistrate the next day. Was this a state of things that ought to be endured in a country which was nominally under the British Constitution? The police in Ireland were in truth a military force. A high Conservative authority had said they were ten times as numerous as they need he for the purpose of keeping the peace; and the late Lord Mayo said that by converting them into a military force their efficiency as detectors of crime had been destroyed. The existing laws made the police the masters of the daily life of the people. Indeed, the police had been termed an "army of occupation," and when the civil power of a country was confided to such an army the law was identified with the idea of conquest. But how did Ireland stand with regard to other matters? In the first place, the franchise was not the same as in England. When the late Reform Act was passed for England household suffrage was introduced into the boroughs; whereas in Ireland no one could vote in a borough unless he had a rating qualification above £4. Moreover, the franchise in Ireland was encumbered by so many vexatious rules about rating that it was difficult for anybody to obtain a vote. In England, with a population of 26,000,000, as many as 1,200,000 persons enjoyed the town franchise; while in Ireland, with a population of 5,500,000, there were just 50,000 town voters, of whom 30,000 were to be found in Belfast, Dublin, Cork, and Limerick. In the whole of the rest of Ireland only 20,000 persons were admitted to what ought to be a popular franchise. Perhaps it might be said that the town population of Ire-laud was not so large as that of England. This was doubtless true, but in England one man out of every eight had the franchise, whereas in Ireland only one man out of every 20 had it. He would ask them whether the Irish people had the full benefit of the Constitution which had been established in England? It was a strange circumstance that the progress of Liberal opinions led to this divergence between the English and Irish franchises. Formerly they were the same in both countries, but shortly after the passing of Catholic Emancipation the 40s. freeholders were abolished, and by the Reform Bill the franchise in Ireland was made higher than in England. There was also a difference between the municipal franchise in the two countries. In Ireland—the poorer country be it remembered—a man could not take part in a municipal election unless he occupied a house worth £10 a-year; but in England every householder had a right to vote. Again, how were fiscal affairs managed in Ireland? A Grand Jury was summoned by the Sheriff in every county for the purpose of finding bills and discharging the criminal administration of justice, and the members of this body, who were not elected by the people, were made the guardians of the whole county expenditure, which amounted throughout the whole of Ireland to £1,200,000 a-year. In fact, the whole system of government in Ireland was based on distrust of the people, just as the whole system of government in England was based upon trust of the people. This circumstance, he thought, justified the complaint of the people of Ireland that they had not the benefit of the Constitution. In accordance with an old principle of the British Constitution, sheriffs in all towns were elected by the people, and this was the case in Ireland until Liberal legislation reformed the corporations and took from them this power of electing sheriffs. Did not the facts he had mentioned justify him in asking the House to recede from its policy of coercion and distrust? The conclusion had been reluctantly forced upon him that conceding to Ireland a Parliament to manage its own affairs was the only way to establish a perfect constitutional government in that country. He was persuaded that any candid Englishman who would examine the peculiar condition of Ireland, and the differences which existed between Ireland and England, would arrive, as he had done, at the conclusion that the only way to have a really constitutional government in Ireland was to allow the representatives of the people, freely chosen by the people, to administer their own affairs. However, the Amendment he was about to move did not express any opinion on that point. All he now asked the House to say was that Ireland had not the benefit of the Constitution, and to consider a remedy. The Amendment ought to commend itself to the common sense and candour of English gentlemen. A new state of things had arisen in Ireland, and an opportunity was now given to the House of Commons to review its policy with regard to that country. He did not at present ask the House to concede Home Rule to Ireland. That question remained to be discussed, and perhaps to be discussed for many years. But first the advocates of Home Rule must satisfy the English people that they were not seeking separation. Ireland had given up the idea of separation, because she had before her the prospect of obtaining another and a far better thing. He did not believe Ireland would ever be content with the existing state of things; but if Englishmen approached the subject with unprejudiced minds there would be no difficulty in framing a measure which would make Ireland contented, while the integrity of the Empire would be perfectly maintained. "We were now entering upon a new phase of Irish politics. It was not his wish to say one word of disrespect towards the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who by his genius had raised himself to the exalted position he at present occupied. The right hon. Gentleman was now for the first time in his life in power, although he had previously been in office. Ireland was a field largo enough for the ambition of any man if he could reconcile that country cordially to the British nation, and dispel every trace of disloyalty to the British Crown. He believed it was possible to do this by wise legislation. There might be a veiled policy as well as a veiled rebellion. It would be a mistake, however, if the right hon. Gentleman were to conceive that other questions would not have to be dealt with. If a policy of conciliation were pursued towards Ireland, the right hon. Gentleman would not find himself obstructed by Irish representatives, but if he should unfortunately pursue a different course he would find himself disappointed; but however great their wish to relieve the House of Commons from the management of exclusively Irish affairs, for which they believed the House unfit, while those affairs were managed in this House, and they continued Members of it, a duty devolved upon them which would be ill-discharged by offering factious opposition to any measures for the benefit of Ireland, from whatever side of the House those measures might emanate. He thought he had shown that a crisis had arisen in the affairs of Ireland presenting new phases; that those Gentlemen who had associated themselves for the purpose of obtaining self-government for Ireland were bound not to acquiesce in an Address which inferred that things should remain as they were; and it was with this view that he would now place in the hands of the Speaker the Amendment which he had prepared."We also think it right humbly to represent to Your Majesty that dissatisfaction prevails very extensively in Ireland with the existing system of government in that country, and that complaints are mode that under that system the Irish people do not enjoy the full benefits of the Constitution and of the free principles of the law and we humbly assure Your Majesty that we shall regard it as the duty of Parliament, on the earliest opportunity, to consider the origin of this dissatisfaction with a view to the removal of all just causes of discontent."
, in seconding the Amendment, claimed indulgence as a new Member, and said he professed to be a loyal and dutiful subject of Her Majesty; he yielded to no man in the desire to maintain the dignity of the Throne and the integrity of the Empire; but, having a stake in Ireland, and as Chief Magistrate of the second city of the Empire (Dublin), he did not shrink from the responsibility he had undertaken. It was impossible to look round and say that dissatisfaction did not prevail in Ireland. He did not hesitate to declare that dissatisfaction in Ireland was wide-spread, while disloyalty was rare. As to the causes of that dissatisfaction, when he remembered that the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and the clergy and laity without one single dissentient, claimed that the higher education of the youth of the country should be free from the control of his co-religionists, the Protestants, and the Imperial Parliament had refused that demand, dissatisfaction could not but prevail in Ireland. There was also a strong feeling among his countrymen that really Irish affairs should be managed according to Irish ideas.
Amendment proposed, at the end of the eighth paragraph, to add the words—
"We also think it right humbly to represent to Your Majesty that dissatisfaction prevails very extensively in Ireland with the existing system of Government in that Country, and that complaints are made that under that system the Irish people do not enjoy the full benefits of the Constitution or of the free principles of the Law; and we humbly assure Your Majesty that we shall regard it as the duty of Parliament, on the earliest opportunity, to consider the origin of this dissatisfaction, with a view to the removal of all just causes of discontent."—(Mr. Butt.)
Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
said, it could not be denied that the new Parliament met under peculiar circumstances. It was not only that the two great parties in the State had undergone so wondrous a transformation—it was not only that the new Prime Minister was one of whom the verdict of posterity would pronounce that his career had been the most remarkable of that of any Statesman in the present century—it was not only that they had witnessed in the fortunes of a party and its loader a reverse, probably the most striking on record—but they were now confronted with a Motion which, in spite of the protestations of the hon. Mover and his party, could only have one object—and it was well to speak plainly—to aim a vital and a fatal blow at the integrity of the Empire. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), whom they were all glad to see in his place in a House in which he had gained a credit and a renown which would linger in the minds of men long after these material walls had ceased to exist, had been at considerable pains to point out last night the reasons why he thought it wise to advise a Dissolution, but he declined altogether to investigate the causes which produced the results which the General Election had so unexpectedly revealed to him. In his (Mr. Chaplin's) opinion these causes bore more or less directly upon the Motion now before the House; and it would be neither wise nor right for hon. Gentlemen on either side of the House to conceal from themselves that there must have been some great occasion for such a change, and there was no man who could fail to derive great instruction from the causes that had produced these results. When the late Administration came into office the right hon. Gentleman was then at the head of a majority, probably the largest and most powerful which it over fell to the lot of a leader to control. For a time they followed him without a murmur; their discipline was perfect and their ranks remained intact. What was the use which the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues proceeded to make of their majority? The policy of the right hon. Gentleman in Ireland might be described as one of weak, unwise conciliation, followed swiftly in almost every case by measures of stringent and severe coercion. That policy was first applied to the Established Church in Ireland, with this twofold result—first, that, as a conspicuous Member of the late Administration (Mr. Bright) had declared, the principle was now irrevocably fixed in the legislation of this country that an Established Church might be removed; and, secondly, that a new Peace Preservation Act was rendered necessary in the very next Session, to meet a fresh crop of outrages which had sprung up in Ireland. The policy of confiscation having failed completely in that case, it was next applied to the landlords, and with almost a precisely similar result, for Parliament had hardly met when the noble Lord then the Chief Secretary for Ireland (the Marquess of Hartington) almost begged the House on his knees to grant a Committee, whose deliberations were to be secret, in order to help him to govern parts of Ireland as rebellious counties, which all the concessions of the right hon. Gentleman had failed entirely to conciliate. And, here he might, perhaps, be permitted to observe that to those who appreciated rightly the full meaning and effect of the Irish Land Bill, it was always from the first a measure so pernicious, both in character and principle, that they could view it at no time except with feelings of dislike—dislike which was rapidly converted into real alarm when it became apparent how every principle of justice was ignored; how every remonstrance on their part was met, not by valid argument or reason, but by the majority that there was at the Minister's back; and how recklessly he confiscated the rights of property in Ireland. He had formed his own opinions on that measure at the time,; he had never scrupled to express them then; he did not hesitate to do so now—that it was the very worst measure that had ever been passed. That Act, when its history came to be written, would be found to be the darkest blot upon the career of the right hon. Gentleman, and on the day when it was placed in the statute book the first nail was driven home in the coffin of the late Administration. It had been said that whatever might be the blame attaching to the Government of the day for passing that measure, the people of this country must accept their share of it; but in that view he could by no means concur, as it was founded on a total misconception, and he challenged the right hon. Gentleman or his Colleagues, or any of his supporters, to point out when or where it was that the principle of compensation for disturbance, which was the very pith and marrow of the Act, and which, was the sole provision that obtained for that measure the approval of the Irish peasantry, was submitted to the people of this country, and their deliberate judgment upon it obtained. The principle of that measure was never submitted to the people of this country until January, 1874, and then they expressed their opinion upon it in a manner that it was impossible to mistake. Five years had elapsed since the late Government embarked on their career; five years since, the House had been told that legislation for Ireland was the question of the day; and five years since, the then First Minister said that Ireland must be governed according to Irish ideas. Was it not a climax to the policy of the right hon. Gentleman and of his Colleagues that after they had held unequalled sway and power in Ireland for five years they were brought face to face with some 50 Gentlemen in that House who were pledged to vote in favour of Home Rule? That was a striking illustration of the effect of the right hon. Gentleman's ideas on the subject of Irish legislation having been carried out. The late Government laboured under the double mistake of supposing, first, that the people of this country ever really understood the nature of their Irish measures, and, secondly, of supposing that the country ever condoned or admitted the principle of confiscation. Actuated by those erroneous notions, they proceeded to put in force the principle of confiscation whenever the fancy seized them. He would not detain the House at length by going through a long catalogue of the misfortunes and the misdemeanours of the late Government; but at length, by happy accident—or, as some think, by a happy intervention of Providence—they turned their attention to their old friends the Licensed Victuallers, whoso indignation, in conjunction with that of all who had anything to lose, had found expression in the result of the General Election, which must carry conviction to all minds that a policy of confiscation is not suited to the feelings of the English people. There were principles of justice and of good government which had been sanctioned by the knowledge and experience of a thousand years, and which had been endorsed by the approval of countless generations, within whose limits the rulers of mankind might travel safely, and still give full scope to the most transcendent intellect and genius; but when those limits were exceeded, unknown regions were entered upon, where was danger both to the rulers and to the country. In the rashness of his transcendent genius the right hon. Gentleman had entered upon those unknown regions, and had been coquetting with dangerous principles until at length a nation, indolent as a rule, and not given to either forming or giving expression in a hurry to its political feelings, had risen in genuine alarm, and with united voice had hurled its former leader from his high position. He trusted that, from the fate of the right hon. Gentleman, succeeding Governments would take warning in the future, and we must all rejoice that England, in the exercise of the highest and greatest functions committed to her by the Constitution, had placed in power men who would uphold the fame of English statesmen, and maintain inviolate the integrity of Great Britain.
rose to support the Amendment. He especially needed the indulgence which that Assembly usually accorded to those who were addressing it for the first time, because he was about to submit to it views which were, perhaps, thoroughly opposed to the preconceived opinions held by the largo majority of the hon. Members he was addressing. He was not, however, unacquainted with the traditional courtesy and forbearance of that branch of the Legislature. It had been stated by a high authority that one of the safeguards of the liberty of this country was that any opinion, provided it was a reasonable one, and was expressed with reasonable courtesy and moderation, was sure of a fair hearing in the British House of Commons. He was old enough to remember principles which, when first advocated in that House, were distasteful to the great majority of the Members, being in the main right, and being in the main honestly advocated, had eventually been accepted by the Legislature, and embodied in Acts of Parliament which were triumphantly passed by overwhelming majorities, and were now regarded as safeguards of the State. Attention had been called to the special circumstances under which Parliament was dissolved and the present Ministry brought into power. No doubt there had been a remarkable series of events. One great party which had occupied the seats of power, with rare intervals, for more than a generation—a party illustrious in its leaders, illustrious in its history—and, as an Irishman, he desired to say it was a party that had rendered illustrious services to Ireland—had been hurled from, and another placed in office almost as if by magic. That change had been brought about by the people of England. In Ireland, too, there had been elections, and there also a remarkable change had been made in the representation. A majority of the constituencies had declared that some measure was necessary which would enable the Irish people exclusively to manage their own affairs. But mark the difference. In England the will of the constituencies was instantaneously obeyed; in Ireland it was utterly ignored. He was one of those dreadful Homo Rulers—men who were sent to that House chiefly to represent to it with all respect, but with all sincerity and firmness, the ancient, deep-seated, and ineradicable conviction in the minds of the great majority of Irishmen that it was indispensable for the welfare of their country that the internal affairs of Ireland should be managed by an Irish Legislative Assembly, composed of Queen, Lords, and Commons of Ireland. Their sincere conviction, arrived at after mature consideration, was that the change they desired could be effected in accordance with historical precedent, and with politico-philosophical science, without the violation of one constitutional principle, and without depriving properly of its security, and that such a change would tend not to weaken, but to strengthen the unity, integrity, and abiding peace of this great Empire. What they purposed was simply this—that the internal affairs of Ireland should be relegated to an Irish Assembly, and that all the affairs of Great Britain and of the Empire, that all that concerned the colonies and foreign States, and that all matters connected with peace and order in this Kingdom should be left to the arrangement of the Imperial Parliament, and that in that Parliament, but only for Imperial purposes, Ireland should be represented. He submitted with confidence that whatever might be said of that proposition, it could not be said to be a proposition for separation, and it was only confusing two things which were entirely different to regard it as a proposal for dismemberment of the Empire. One of the essential ingredients of their proposal was the maintenance of the integrity, the supremacy, and the unity of the Empire. It had been said that the proposal was revolutionary. He submitted, however, that neither in principle nor in fact it could be said to be revolutionary. It was a proposal strictly within the limits of the Constitution; it did not violate any one constitutional principle; it was not rebellion either veiled or unveiled. "When the proper time came they would submit to the House the particulars of their scheme; stating what they considered ought to appertain to the affairs of of Ireland and what to the affairs of the Empire, what provision should be made for the maintenance of peace and order, and what safeguards should be taken against the danger of the clashing of the two jurisdictions. All those things they had considered carefully, and at the proper time they would be prepared to submit their views fully and frankly. The main idea underlying their proposal was that it was a middle course between separation on the one hand and centralization on the other. No Members of that House felt more strongly than the Irish Members that a separation between two Islands, associated as were England and Ireland, geographically, historically, and by so many ties of interest and friendship, would be a disaster; but over-centralization was no less a disaster. It was disastrous to have the government of Ireland vested in an Assembly which, however eminent, did not understand Irish likings and dislikings, and that, moreover, admittedly had no time to attend to Irish affairs. He would repeat to the House the words of one of the greatest of Conservative statesmen, and one of the greatest political thinkers of all time, Edmund Burke—
In conclusion, he would say that they wished to pass between the Scylla of separation and the Charybdis of centralization."Be assured that a natural, cheerful alliance is a more secure bond of connection than subjugation borne with grumbling and discontent."
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had announced that he proposed the House should meet de die in diem to provide for the financial necessities of the country, and now they had submitted to them by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) not a proposal, as he assured them, for the dismemberment of the Empire, but a modification of that proposal by which the House was to be precluded in future from all interference with or part in the regulation of the internal affairs of Ireland. He asked himself whether, if they were to abandon the regulation of affairs in Ireland, the Members for Ireland would be prepared to cease from interference with the internal affairs of England and of Scotland? If they were to have this abstinence, it ought to be reciprocal, and he believed the Business of the House, so far as it related to the affairs of England and Scotland, would not be otherwise than facilitated by the absence of the Members from Ireland. He remembered the Repeal agitation, and that it was not until the late Sir Robert Peel came down to this House and proposed the grant to Maynooth that that agitation was appeased. From the speech of the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment (Mr. Brooks), and who made special reference to the question of higher education in Ireland, it was clear to him that behind the present agitation there were ulterior objects, and that one of those objects was to compel the House of Parliament to assent to such measures with reference to higher education as would be agreeable to the Roman Catholic; Bishops and priesthood in Ireland—some such measure as that with respect to University education in Ireland, which the last House of Commons deliberately rejected. His objection to the Motion was based on experience. He saw great danger in the policy advocated by Members from Ireland. It was the policy of the Intransigentes—a policy reconcilable with neither a Monarchy nor a Republic; and referring to the debate which took place in that House the preceding day on the Address, he noticed one serious omission. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), with the ability that he could ever command, then stated the reasons which had actuated him in recommending to Her Majesty an abrupt Dissolution. The right hon. Gentleman stated that the Government was bound, not only to look to its position in that House, so far as its being supported by a majority was concerned; but that the Government should also look to the indications of opinion manifested by the occasional elections which vacancies might have created, and to take the result of these as indications of the opinion of the country. He (Mr. Newdegate) was not about to dispute that conclusion; but, at the same time, it tended to this, that, in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, Ministers were not to hold office solely upon their responsibility to Parliament. He was still more struck by the omission of all notice of another fact; that, after the right hon. Gentleman had been informed, no doubt by the electoral agencies, which so ably served his party, and by the newspapers, and by common report, that the elections were likely to transfer the majority which he had commanded to his political opponents, the right hon. Gentleman resigned office without ever meeting the House. In the year 1868, after the General Election in that year, the same course was taken by the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury. He recommended a Dissolution. He appealed to the country. He was given to understand by his election agents, by the newspapers, and by common report, that he would not find himself at the head of a majority in this House, and the right hon. Gentleman resigned office without ever meeting Parliament. He (Mr. Newdegate) held that the practice was an invasion of one of the great principles of the Constitution. By the Constitution of this country the appointment of the great officers of State rested with the Crown, but also by the practice of the Constitution those great officers of State, the persons holding those offices, were not justified in continuing in them unless they could command the confidence of Parliament. There were other forms of government in the world. In France the head of the State, whether it be a King, an Emperor, or a President of the Republic, was the responsible power. In this country, on the contrary, the responsible power was the Parliament, and he strongly objected to the practice, to which he had alluded as being in contravention of a great principle of the Constitution, upon two successive occasions, of the Ministers of the Crown recommending a Dissolution of Parliament, and then failing to meet Parliament, in order to afford Parliament, as the legitimate representation of the people, the opportunity of expressing the feeling of the nation, whether that feeling be one of confidence in the Government which recommended the dissolution, or of confidence in their political rivals. It appeared to him (Mr. Newdegate) that this omission constituted a grave departure from Constitutional practice. As to the proposal before the House, he trusted it would he speedily rejected. It was indefinite and crude, completely inchoate, and a more phase of agitation for ulterior objects. He had been 31 years a Member of the House, a witness of the anxious endeavours of successive Houses of Commons to satisfy and to pacify Ireland by concession. He regretted to see so many Members for Ireland combined in support of the present crude proposal, after the labours of the last Parliament which, to gratify Ireland, violated the feelings of the people of England and Scotland. It now appeared that so deeply ungrateful were the people of Ireland for what was then done, if they were not misrepresented, that they now contemplate an attack on the Constitution of the House of Commons.
I need make no apology for addressing the House when it is considered that the debate, although short, has been one of many branches, and that it concerns the conduct of the late Government more than that of the present Administration. In particular I am anxious to acknowledge the perfectly legitimate character of the appeal made to me by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate). In addressing the House last evening I confined myself strictly to the points that were then raised, with an exception to which I need not now refer; but the point to which the hon. Member has referred is one of much constitutional importance, and I am glad he has afforded me an opportunity of offering a word of explanation. He has stated the doctrine and the practice of the Constitution with perfect accuracy. It is to the Crown that the selection of Ministers is intrusted, and the advice of Parliament is that to which the Crown has regard in the selection or continuance of Ministers. As a general rule it has been—and, in my opinion, it ought to be—the practice that transactions relating to the accession and retirement of an Administration ought to be conducted between Members of the Administration, the Crown, and the Houses of Parliament. The hon. Member observes that we retired from office without awaiting the judgment of Parliament, and he is aware that we, in so doing, followed the precedents set by the previous Ministers. But the conduct of that Ministry was exceptional, and had regard to the peculiar circumstances of the case. Our own proceeding also had not reference to the precedent of 1868, except so far as this—that it was a deviation from a sound general rule, but a deviation brought about entirely by considerations of practical convenience and advantage to the country. It should be known and remembered that in former times it has been the practice of a Government that has not succeeded in obtaining a majority at a General Election to refer the decision to the arbitrament of Parliament. And I will not disguise from myself that although no practical danger could happen in the instances which have lately occurred, yet it is conceivable that a Government that had been guilty of serious malversation might seek, by the immediate surrender of office, to avoid the judgment or to weaken the force of the judgment which it might have to anticipate from an adverse House of Commons. In the present case we were guided exclusively by the consideration of time. The new Parliament was to meet on the 5th of March. If we had met on that day we should have proceeded to business on the 9th or 10th of March. An Amendment would then have been moved on the Address, which would have infallibly led to a debate of very great length, involving the whole course and conduct of the late Administration. It would probably have been not before the day on which I am now addressing the House, or some day very near it, that that debate would have come to an issue. Under these circumstances, although the issue would have been certain, yet it would have been postponed by several weeks, and the inconvenience that we have already suffered in respect to the Business of the House would have been so much aggravated that it would have been almost impossible for the Government to approach, with a fair opportunity, the consideration of the practical legislation to be accomplished during the Session. Whether we were right or wrong, it was the strong feeling of the Government, and equity demanded of us that we should interpose no unnecessary delay in the way of their immediate accession to office, and the execution of the duties which devolved upon them. After what had happened these were the considerations which led us to the course we adopted, and although it is a course which was justified by the circumstances, it is one which ought not to be adopted in the absence of strong justifying circumstances. I come now to the Amendment before the House, and it will be no matter of surprise to hon. Members if I cannot hesitate, on many grounds, to vote against it. I cannot avoid saying, as it appears to me, that the House has some title to complain of the course adopted by hon. Members. Why are we now for the first time acquainted with the terms of this Amendment? It is, according to them, the result of the deliberate consideration of a body of Gentlemen who represent constituencies in Ireland. [Mr. BUTT: It was only come to last night.] Some body of gentlemen who considered this matter last night. Then I am very much astonished that that body of Gentlemen, impressed as they are, and charged with a sense of the importance of their mission, could not make it convenient to themselves to take into consideration the course they were to pursue in this House, until this House was itself actually engaged in considering the Address. I ask my hon. and learned Friend whether, taking into consideration the magnitude and scope of his Amendment, it is fair to this House, and to the Members composing it, and to the gentlemen for whom he acts, and to the cause which he professes and believes himself to represent, that in this manner, on a sudden, and without the slightest opportunity of previous knowledge, we should be called upon to discuss a question which he says is one of the gravest national importance? I must own it appears to me that, if the object of my hon. and learned Friend had been to reduce to a minimum the number of those who could possibly vote with him, he could not have succeeded better. There are two modes of handling grievances in this House. One is to endeavour to cure grievances, and the other is to endeavour to make them. And the mode he has adopted is certain to entail the rejection of his proposal by an immense majority of the House—indeed, by almost every one except the favoured few who were admitted to that secret deliberation. I will not say that the hon. and learned Gentleman intends to create in Ireland the impression that this House is actuated by a spirit hostile to Ireland; but if that had been his intention—if he had wished to create an appearance of opposition on the part of this House to the interests of Ireland—I do not think he could have selected a course better calculated to promote such a purpose than the course upon which he has actually decided. What is it my hon. and learned Friend asks us to do? He says he has framed a perfectly intelligible plan by which affairs exclusively Irish are to be discussed in an Irish Parliament, but that affairs not exclusively Irish are to be discussed in this Parliament; and the Members representing Ireland are to come here for that purpose. But my hon. Friend (Mr. Newdegate) has pointed out that oven if this misty Resolution were passed, the plan must still be judged as it stands, and that plan is this—that exclusively Irish affairs are to be judged in Ireland, and that then the Irish Members are to come to the Imperial Parliament and to judge as they may think fit of the general affairs of the Empire, and also affairs exclusively English and Scotch. [Mr. BUTT: No, no!] It is all very well for Gentlemen to cry "No" when the blot has been hit by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Newdegate). My hon. and learned Friend says he has produced a plan, although in another part of his speech he said he had not produced a plan, but there Mould be no difficulty in devising such a plan as he suggests; well, I want to know in what portion of his plan are we guaranteed against the danger that our friends from Ireland who shall be invested with exclusive power over the consideration of Irish affairs in Dublin may come here to meddle with matters exclusively English and Scotch? ["Hear, hear!"] I gather from these cheers that they are perfectly ready to introduce such a measure, and that they are perfectly willing to have a clause by which Members of this House shall be precluded by law from dealing with a number of measures which are submitted to the consideration of Parliament; and that is one of the points of the admirable plan to which my hon. and learned Friend refers—that Irish Members are to deal with Irish affairs, and with Irish affairs exclusively. And what specimen of affairs "exclusively Irish" has boon laid before us by the right hon. Member who seconded the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend? Why, that 13 unfortunate prisoners are now languishing in the dungeons of England. That is one of the exclusively Irish affairs that will have to be decided by a Parliament sitting in Dublin. My hon. and learned Friend is a great deal too acute—he is far too good a tactician to submit such a ragged scheme as that to the judgment of the House; therefore, what has he done? He has not called upon us to adopt it—he has, in fact, carefully told us not to do so, and he has told us that what he denominates Home Rule is not now submitted to the decision of the House. He knows a great deal too well to ask that. He knows if he ever proposes such a plan for remedying national dissatisfaction—if it exists in Ireland—the plan will be carefully examined. We shall first inquire whether it be intelligible before we inquire whether it be expedient. Before he thinks of asking a vote of the House on the scheme he proposes, what is the proposition he submits? He says great dissatisfaction exists in Ireland, and we are to promise to inquire with a view to the removal of this dissatisfaction. Taking my hon. and learned Friend on his own showing, does bethink, if dissatisfaction exists in a country, the vague promise of an intention to inquire into it can be held a fitting mode in which a great Assembly like the Imperial Parliament should meet that state of things? I say, on the contrary, it is a dangerous and tricky system for Parliament to adopt—to encounter national dissatisfaction, if it really exists, with the assurance which may mean anything or nothing—which may perhaps conciliate the feeling of the people of Ireland for a moment and attract a passing breath of popularity, but which, when the day of trial comes, may be found entirely to fail them. It is a method of proceeding, which whatever party may be in power, or whatever measures may be adopted, I trust this House will never condescend to adopt. And why are we to adopt this vague, delusive, and even unworthy mode of meeting the complaints of Ireland? Is there anything mystical in the grounds and causes of these complaints? On the contrary, my hon. and learned Friend sets them out. I took down five of them. One was the state of the law with regard to the election of sheriffs. But there are 105 Representatives of Ireland in this House—have these Representatives of Ireland endeavoured to procure a change in the law as regards the election of sheriffs, and have they been prevented from obtaining it by the decision of the Representatives of England and Scotland? [Mr. BUTT: Yes.] I think not. But when my hon. and learned Friend makes his proposal for such a change in the law he will have the opportunity of verifying the statement he seems inclined to make. My hon. and learned Friend in drawing a comparison between the English and Irish franchises—in England household, and in Ireland a rating suffrage—forgets that Scotland has a rating suffrage as well as Ireland, and then what he considers is peculiar in his complaint entirely disappears. If in 1868 when the Irish Reform Bill was passed the rating franchise was a grievance to Ireland, why was it not generally opposed by Irish Members? No such opposition took place, and unless you can show that they were prevented from giving due effect to their wishes by the obstruction of a mass of English Representatives there is no cause on which to found such a grievance. If, again, my hon. and learned Friend thinks that the harsh operation of the Arms Act should be restricted, why does he not make a proposal to the House on the subject? Fairness and equity towards Parliament and the country require that some proof should be given of the incapacity or unwillingness of English and Scotch Members to give effect to the wishes of Irish Members before charges are made against them; but no such attempt has been made to-night. My hon. and learned Friend condemns the state of the law in Ireland; but he has not said one word to show that it is not as much due to the action of the Representatives of Ireland as to that of the Members for England and Scotland. Another complaint was with regard to the constabulary force in Ireland. My hon. and learned Friend complained bitterly of the multiplication and character of that force. But has any Irish Member ever moved to reduce the numbers of the constabulary? The impression hitherto has been that any attempt to reduce it would be exceedingly unpopular with the Representatives of Ire-laud; and I am not aware of any instance in which a proposal was made by any Irish Member to reduce that force on the ground that the great numbers to which it had been raised, giving it somewhat the character of an army, constituted a grievance to Ireland. It therefore appears to me that equity demands of my hon. and learned Friend that he should try and test us a little in particular proposals before making these sweeping charges against the Imperial Legislature. I cannot quit this subject without recording the satisfaction with which I heard one declaration made by the right hon. Gentleman who seconded the Amendment (Mr. Brooks). My hon. and learned Friend said that Ireland has entirely given up the idea of separation from this country; and the right hon. Gentleman who seconded him said—and I heard him with satisfaction—that dissatisfaction was rife in Ireland, but disloyalty was rare. Whatever difficulties may obstruct the path of this House in future Irish legislation, I, for one, accept these statements with un-doubting belief and lively satisfaction. I believe them founded in the truth of the case. They are marks of the advance already achieved, and encouragements to administer equal and impartial justice to the people of Ireland, in common with and on the same principles as to the people of England and Scotland. Now, a few words on the attack which has been made upon me by the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Chaplin). He thinks it a great pity that there has not been an investigation into the causes of the fall of the late Government, which in his view would have been highly instructive. Such an investigation may, no doubt, be highly instructive. We, in our silent retirement, have derived much instruction from recent events; and those who live long enough to give proof of the effect of the instruction and correction we have received may show that we are sadder and wiser men. I do not deny that if the House had nothing else to do it might be highly interesting to have a long, protracted, thorough investigation into the causes of the fall of the late Government; but I must say, if such an investigation is to take place it must be conducted with far greater precision and a much larger degree of care and accuracy than characterized the short and succinct remarks of the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Chaplin). What did he say? He spoke of his good old friends the Licensed Victuallers, and long may he continue to enjoy the luxury of so describing them. He said they had resented the wrongs done them by the late Government. But what measures had been passed by the late Government with respect to the Licensed Victuallers? I recollect the passing of one important Bill with reference to the Licensed Victuallers, but it was not the Bill of the late Government. It was not one which was debated as between party and party, but one which was carried with the general assent of the House. So much for the accuracy of the hon. Gentleman about his good old friend the Licensed Victualler, his friendship for whom has not sufficiently stimulated him to induce him to face the labour of acquainting himself with the dry details of the ease. The hon. Gentleman says we have applied to the Irish Church the principle of confiscation; but that term has two meanings. He does not mean we took away from any man the property to which by law, or by a reasonable, equitable, and liberal construction of his claim he was entitled. Such a statement would be wholly unreasonable, and the hon. Gentleman would not give his valuable adhesion to it. When the hon. Gentleman says we sanctioned the principle of confiscation, he means that because there were 600,000 people of one religious persuasion and nearly 5,000,000 of another, and we, after satisfying every individual claim, dealt with the residue of the property of the majority, therefore, we were guilty of confiscation, and that to the lesser sect, by some sacred principle of law, this property must ever attach. I will not re-open a debate which has occupied years of the time of Parliament; but I must say it is an extraordinary use of language to treat such a dealing with property by Parliament as exposing it to the odious charge of confiscation. The hon. Gentleman said this confiscation led to the introduction of coercion into Ireland. He seems to think the extraordinary constitutional laws now in force in Ireland are more severe than they were before the Church Act was introduced. Here, again, the hon. Gentleman, assuming the office of critic, has taken no pains to acquaint himself with the facts of the case. If he had given the slightest attention to the subject, he would have known that, whereas partial restriction of the liberty of the subject does now exist, immediately before the proposal of the Church Act, and certainly at the time we came into office, the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended. So that the hon. Gentleman is entirely wrong, and he ought to have been led to a precisely opposite conclusion; because whether these extraordinary provisions in Ireland are justified or not, they are of a less extraordinary and less stringent character than those which were in existence immediately before the Irish Church Act. But the indignation of the hon. Gentleman is chiefly excited by the Land Act. The Church is a sacred subject, but the Land is a subject more sacred still. And what are the statements of the hon. Member with respect to the Land Act? Here again he has his vocabulary of hard words, and a vocabulary of hard words is a weapon of which it is in the power of any hon. Gentleman, whether possessed of the considerable talents of the hon. Member opposite or not, readily to possess himself. He applies the epithet of "confiscation" to the Irish Land Act. I presume if we have partially confiscated the land of Ireland the moaning of that is that the land is of less value now to the landlords than it was before the passing of the Act. [Mr. CHAPLIN: Not necessarily.] Then the process of confiscation must have been highly beneficial to the proprietors. If that be the latitude assumed by the hon. Gentleman in the construction of his words, I have some difficulty in dealing with him. I suppose that within the last three or four years no cause except that of legislation has operated upon the value of landed estates in Ireland, and the prices at which landed estates have been sold since the Act came into operation have been higher than they were before it was introduced. So much for the charge of confiscation made by the hon. Gentleman. But if the proposal of confiscation was so dreadful, what were the hon. Gentlemen and others in this House about to allow the stages of this wicked Act to pass without a protest? There was a division on the second reading, and the numbers were—ayes 442, noes 11; majority 431. If the Government were guilty, what was the character of the House of Commons? If the majority were guilty, what was the character of the minority—that minority which so largely assisted to swell the numbers I have quoted? To refer to names would be invidious; but there is no invidiousness in taking them in alphabetical order; and the second name on the list is that of a right hon. Friend of mine belonging to the Government—Sir Charles Adderley; then follow those of such stanch political opponents as Mr. Amphlett, Q.C., and Colonel Annesley. If the Act was of the character described it was a most extraordinary circumstance there should have been such a dereliction of duty on the part of hon. Members opposite, and of the party with which the hon. Member is connected. But this confiscation Act drew forth commendations from Conservative candidates for counties in Ireland. Said one—
These are the words of Lord C. Hamilton, than whom and his family none more orthodox, politically speaking, are to be found in the ranks of the party opposite. The statements of the hon. Gentleman were a series of extravagances. If we are to have an examination of the conduct of the late Government, which, I say, we must deprecate, it is needful it should be conducted with care and impartiality, of which the speech of the hon. Gentleman, however spirited and able it may have been, seemed to offer a very sorry specimen. With regard to the Amendment, I hope we shall be permitted to arrive at an early vote upon it, and that my hon. Friend (Mr. Butt) will exhibit that zeal with which he is so filled by legislation for Ireland, by constant attendance in this House, by incessantly—or at least frequently—producing practical proposals, by making himself' master of all their details, by fairly challenging the judgment of Parliament, and by only condemning it when he has found that it is unable or unwilling to discharge its duties."With regard to the question of the Land Act I beg to refer yon to the votes I gave during the passing of the Land Act, every one of which was given in support of its principle, but at the same time directed to make it clear and simple. The hest proof of my sincerity on the subject is to he found in the relations which exist between my father and his tenants.""
said, he would not condemn the course adopted by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) in declining to sanction the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt); for if he had himself been consulted unon the question he should have advised that no Motion should have been made upon the Address. If the hon. and learned Member intended to divide the House upon his Motion he would prejudge the question, and he (Lord Robert Montagu) agreed with the right hon. Member for Greenwich that the hon. and learned Member would be taking the most certain course for making very few Members vote with him. He (Lord Robert Montagu) never entertained the notion that there should be a separate Irish Parliament, and yet that Irish Members should interfere in English and Scotch affairs; it would be unjust and unreasonable. What was asked for was bare justice—equal treatment with the rest of the Empire; but Home Rulers objected to being swamped in an English Parliament, and to having the voice of Ireland ignored altogether. What we claim, we claim as of right under the Constitution. The right hon. Gentleman supposed two alternatives—either that Irish Members were to enter the Imperial Parliament and be precluded from voting upon a certain class of subjects, or else that things were to remain as they now were. Those were not alternatives. What Irish Members desired existed in Ireland until 1800. It had been proclaimed by the Queen in Orders in Council; it was carried out in every Colony, in the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands; and why did Ireland not have it? The right hon. Gentleman asked what were Irish affairs. The right hon. Gentleman was in the House when it provided a Parliament for the Colonics, and especially for Canada; and did he ever ask what were Canadian or Australian subjects and what were English, subjects? Did he know what subjects belonged to the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands and what to England? The drainage of the Shannon, for example, was a matter that concerned Ireland exclusively; and there were many others which belonged to Ireland and not to England. Did not the King and Parliament of England set their seal to this—that the Irish Exchequer should be for ever separate from that of England? And yet in 17 short years the faith of King and Parliament was broken. Had faith been kept that the revenue and expenditure of Ireland should be kept separate? Not at all; and so it came to pass that the proportion of taxation which Ireland was to pay had been far exceeded, and what England had pledged her word to had been totally disregarded. The debt of Ireland was very small at the time of the Union, and England pledged herself that the proportion of taxation paid by each country at the time should be maintained. But the moment the Exchequers were amalgamated the debt of Ireland was increased by fraud and by falsehood. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick had done an unwise thing in manufacturing a new word. "Home Rule" presented no definite meaning to a man's mind; but what idea did "self-government" raise in the mind? Why, that of the ancient Constitution of England? At one time every parish could by Common Law manage its own affairs, and do everything, and the towns, by their ancient charters, could govern themselves. It was true we had departed from that policy in after years, but the Municipal Act was an attempt to revive it; and, though London consisted of parishes, we had federated them by two Parliaments—the one the Metropolitan Board, the other the London School Board. But self-government was the ancient Constitution, not only of England, but of all Europe; and it was at this day the Constitution of America and of a great part of Asia. Localities were federated into Provinces, Provinces into States, and until recent times States were federated into Empires; for in those days there were Emperors and Empires, but in these there were none. In those days an Emperor was a Sovereign elected by his fellow Sovereigns to rule over a federation of kingdoms, so that there was a hierarchy of Sovereigns. Why, then, was it said that this proposal of self-government for Ireland was unconstitutional? It was the Constitution given to the Colonies; it was merely carrying out an Order of Council, substituting the word "Ireland "for the name of a particular colony. Self-government was a synonyme for liberty. To manage one's own affairs was freedom; if a man was a lunatic, or had committed a crime, he was not allowed to manage his own affairs. Self-government was the old Tory doctrine; it was true Conservatism. Tories said now—"We will support the Constitution;" but their mistake was this—that they never asked themselves what the Constitution was. Home Rulers were, in his opinion, the only good Constitutionalists, the only good Conservatives. Liberalism was centralization. Self-government, or the management of one's own affairs, meant the election of persons whom the locality know to be most fit to manage its affairs; it thus had a strong aristocratic element in it—he meant aristocratic in the ancient sense of "the best" men. But what was the doctrine of the Liberal party? It was a doctrine which they obtained from the Declaration of the Bights of Man in 1789—the doctrine of Centralization. In France, when the Revolution of 1789 was brought about, the whole country was speedily centralized, and it was that centralization which had since been the cause of innumerable revolutions. In Austria the Radical Germans were straining every nerve in favour of centralization, while the National party supported federation. In Switzerland the Internationalists aimed at centralization and the National party at federation, or Home Rule. Therefore, he maintained that this doctrine of self-government was eminently a Conservative doctrine, and later on he would show that it was the doctrine of the Prime Minister of this country. Let the House think of a Colonial House of Representatives, the number of whose Members was 70. Each constituency would, therefore, have 1–70th share in the government of the Colony. If two such were amalgamated together, each constituency would have but half of the former share. Multiply them by 10, and they would have a House very like the House of Commons, and each constituency would hardly have anything to say to the Government of the country. Put suppose that all the Colonies and the Mother Country were merged together in one Representative Assembly, what would be the result? Why, that each of the Colonies, and the Mother Country also, would be swamped. If a Canadian question, for example, arose, Canada would be out-voted by a number of representatives who know nothing about Canada. If that were true about Canada, it was true for England also. An amalgamation of Houses of Parliament, therefore, tended not to liberty and good government, but to tyranny and bad government; because legislation was carried out in them by persons who know not the circumstances of the country for which they were legislating. The amount of business in such a House would be so great that it must be scamped, and the multiplicity of the questions arising would be such that Cabinet Ministers would always have to be attending Cabinets, and would have to trust on every question to the guidance of their own clerks. This was the system which had ruled so fatally in Prance. If this was a political question, it made no difference whether there were 3,000 miles or 100 miles of salt water between the two countries. If it were a true principle for Canada, it was true for England also, and if that principle were carried out for a little island between England and Ireland, why should it not be carried out in the case of Ireland as well? Parliament once learned a most terrible lesson of self-government. In 1775, Parliament was eager for supremacy, as perhaps it was now, and thought to rule our North American Colonies, but ruled them badly. She was ignorant of their circumstances, and the consequence was the Colony was irritated and at last broke away from England, and the effect was that in 1778 an Act was passed disavowing all future interference with the Colony or its dependencies. The United States consisted now of 34 States. Each had its Parliament; they were federated together, and under that system the United States had grown great and powerful. He would now allude to the Order in Council in which Her Majesty stated that all the Colonies before the 19th century had granted to thorn their own Legislatures by Letters Patent from the King, but that since the beginning of the 19th century Parliament invariably granted Legislative Assemblies to every Colony. It went on to say—"Whenever a Colony can bear the expense of Government out of the local revenue this ought to be the invariable practice." It then stated that municipal institutions ought also to be created throughout all the Colonies, and added that "the system of local government has been one of the main elements of national greatness and of the stability of the British Constitution." In that Order, Her Majesty in Council set forth the doctrine that the advocates of Home Rule proclaimed, and for doing which they were twitted with an intention of destroying the integrity of the British Empire—a desire which had not entered into the Irish mind, and which was repudiated as soon as it was mentioned. He had said that this was a grievance 300 years old, and he would show that it was. Sir John Davis, who was Attorney General in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, stated that the cause of all the miseries of Ireland was this—that England persisted in legislating for Ireland, not for all the Irish people, but for the Presbyterian and Protestant minority as against the wishes of the Catholic majority. Henry VIII., as they knew from State Papers, coolly and calmly intended and designed to exterminate the Irish because they would not abandon their religion. The answer of the Lord Deputy and Council in Ireland put this idea of King Henry VIII. beyond all doubt. Queen Elizabeth was so savage in her treatment of Ireland, through her Lord Lieutenant, Henry Sidney, that they were told the churches throughout the country were roofless, and the ditches and waysides filled with the skulls and bones of priests and people. James I. carried on the same policy. They had all heard of the famous Plantation of Ulster, which meant the driving out of the Irish and the establishing in their places of English Calvinists and Scotch Presbyterians—each recipient of laud being made to swear that he would never employ an Irish Catholic. Charles I. tried to abandon that policy, but they could road in the Journals of the House that Parliament resolved, on the 20th of September, 1643, that the King had no right to make peace with the Irish, and that if a cessation of arms occurred it would be dangerous to the Protestant religion. This cruelty was carried on merely to exterminate the Irish. The Government of Lord North in subsequent times received such a check that the Parliament of 1782 was the consequence. A sorry Parliament it was, because only a fifth of the people—and these only Protestants—had the franchise; while, in a House of 300 Members, 219 seats were in the hands of persons who openly and avowedly sold seats to the English Ministers. Yet even this Parliament in 1793 enfranchised the Catholics, gave them a franchise, which they never enjoyed, as there was no Dissolution until after the Union. This was the state of things when Pitt came into power, and he determined to get rid of the Irish Parliament, because, although Protestant, it had acted on an enlightened policy. Pitt sent the Irish regiments to foreign countries, and replaced them in Ireland by 130,000 English, Welsh, and German soldiers. He suspended the Habeas Corpus Act and proclaimed martial law everywhere. Then he tried the softer side, and offered £10 to every militiaman who volunteered for foreign service, and 10 regiments so volunteered. Simultaneously with all this, his Lord Lieutenant Lord Cornwallis, to induce the Roman Catholics to support the Government, promised them that if the Union were agreed to, their Church should have a distinct endowment of its own, that they should have their own Universities and seminaries, and the passing of the Act of Union should be followed by Catholic emancipation. These promises, however, as had been shown in Parliament by Lord Holland, the Earl of Moira, and other Liberal statesmen, had been completely falsified. In the first year the Union was utterly repudiated by Parliament and people; but in the next many places were given away, 55 Peerages were created, and £3,000,000 was given to Members of the Irish House of Commons. With these facts before him, he was justified in saying that the Union of the two countries had been brought about by falsehood, fraud, and perjury. For his part, he did not regard that Union as valid. The way in which it was brought about was fatal to it; but lest any doubt should remain in the minds of any one as to the object of the Union he had only to refer to what was stated by Mr. Canning, who advocated it in the English House of Parliament, and by Lord Castlereagh in the Irish. Canning advocated the Union in the English House of Commons, on the ground that that or some other plan for the fortification of Protestant ascendancy must be adopted, while Lord Castlereagh told the Irish Protestant Parliament that it would insure the stability and permanence of the Established Church. He had not done with the grievances of Ireland yet, because though England had of late years proclaimed a policy of religious liberty and respect for the rights of conscience, it seemed to be generally forgotten that up to recent times her policy had been one of religious persecution. When Pitt proposed to establish religious equality in Ireland, he was vigorously resisted and defeated; and later on, in 1829, when Peel proposed and carried Catholic emancipation, it was not from any sense of justice or respect for the rights of conscience, but simply, according to his own admission to Bishop Jebb, because he was terrified into it by the threatening state of affairs. That was not the ease now, however, and it was the glory of the present Prime Minister that he was the first to raise his voice in favour of religious freedom and equality in a speech he made in 1814. He would not quote from Hansard, the incorrectness of which was well known, but from a collection of speeches published by the right hon. Gentleman; and though the speech in question was delivered in 1844, the right hon. Gentle-man stated in 1808 that, though it might have been expressed with the heedless rhetoric which was the appanage of those sitting below the gangway, its sentiment in his historical conscience was right. The Prime Minister laid down in it the principle—"that the Government of Ireland should be on a system the reverse of England, and should be centralized."—[3 Hansard, Ixxii. 1012.] Now, since it could not be centralized in London, and yet be the reverse of the English system, it must, If centralized at all, be so in Dublin, which was the very thing now demanded. "These principles"—the principles of self-government—were, he added,—
Cromwell desired to clear Leinster and Minister in the same way as Ulster, the Act for that purpose being nick-named—"to Hell or Counaught," and he offered rewards for the capture of three noisome beasts—the wolf, the priest, and the Tory—the Tory being defined as a desperate character without principles, led by needy landed gentlemen. The right hon. Gentleman continued—"Tory principles, the natural principles of the democracy of England. They might not be the principles of those consistent Gentlemen whose fathers had bled in England for Charles I., and who now would support in Ireland the tyranny established by Oliver Cromwell.—[Ibid.]
Under that policy, as stated by a contemporary writer, quoted by the right hon. Gentleman, the majority of the Parliament, many Members of the Council, several of the sheriffs, and a considerable number of the magistrates were Catholic, the municipalities being also full of them. The right hon. Gentleman proceeded to say—"Let them forget two centuries of political conduct for which Toryism was not responsible: let them recur to the benignant policy of Charles I.; then they might settle Ireland with honour to themselves, with kindness to the people, and with safety to the realm."—[Ibid, 1013.]
In that enlightened and statesmanlike speech, then angrily received, the right hon. Gentleman was the first to proclaim the policy of liberty of conscience now received with equanimity. In advocating the establishment of Home Rule, or what he preferred to call self-government in Ireland, he felt not only that he was acting on the principles of the old Tory party, and in the spirit of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman in 1844, but that they would by that succeed in making Ireland contented and prosperous. In 1799, the population of Ireland was somewhat similar to what it was now, and about a corresponding number of sheep and cattle were raised. But there was this difference. At that time there were only 800 sheep, and 14,000 beasts exported; while in 1870, 620,834 sheep and 415,673 cattle were exported. What was the terrible meaning of that? It meant that nearly all the cattle and sheep raised in Ireland in 1799—the year before the Union—were eaten by the people; whereas now they had to be sent out of the country and consumed elsewhere. This spoke volumes for the present misery of Ireland and her greatness under self-government. But they then not only raised all the cattle, but they grew all the corn they needed; whereas now they could not afford to grow corn, and had to deport their cattle and sheep. Lord Plunkett, moreover, in 1800, spoke of Irish trade and manufactures as prospering beyond any other country of equal extent and as advancing within a few years with astonishing rapidity, while Lord Clare, the opponent of Grattan, said no other country had advanced with equal rapidity in commerce, agriculture, and manufactures. That was the effect of self-government in Ireland. What was the proposal now made to the House? They were asked to consider if any grievances existed; and, if so to sec how the causes of those grievances could he removed. That was an humble, modest, and, he might say, almost a timid request. If it was not granted what might happen? There were now in the United States alone 14,000,000 of Irish, by birth or descent. In the days of the American War of Independence, there were a few Irish Roman Catholics there who had been driven from our shores by persecution, and the famous "Pennsylvanian line" was formed out of them. 16,000 Irishmen fought for Home Rule in America, and it was they who gained it. Besides the 14,000,000 of Irish now in the United States, there were, he knew not how many thousands in our Colonies, and many more thousands in all the great towns of England and Scotland. Let it not be imagined that the poor were without their history and their traditions. The poor clung to the history of their families much more closely than the rich. The rich were diverted by pleasure, carried away by amusement and a thousand employments; but the poor treasured up their traditions from year to year and from century to century. Lid the House think they had forgotten those 300 most miserable years of persecution, cruelty, and bloodshed? Would it continue a policy that would exasperate the Irish, not in Ireland alone, not in our great cities alone, but in our Colonics, and make, not one, but ten thousand "Pennsylvanian lines?" It would be the greatest stupidity for any Parliament to do so. It was very possible now—for it was not too late—to conciliate all those Irishmen in our own Empire and in the United States by merely carrying out the policy of the Prime Minister, by adhering to true Conservatism and old Tory principles—namely, by giving Irishmen their self-government. But he might be told from the other (the Opposition) side of the House that surely a better day had dawned for Ireland, that they should look to what was done in 1868, 1869, and 1870. Now, he did not think very much of the Church and the Land Acts. They were good in themselves, perhaps; but how were they granted? Russia and the United States had be-come friends over the cession of Alaska, and had agreed to stand by each other, the one in acquiring universal empire in the East, and the other in acquiring universal empire in the West; and those facts our Government knew. They also knew that the Fenian conspiracy had been promoted by American agents, to keep England with her hands full at home and prevent her from interfering. Then it was that the late Government came down and proposed that sham arbitration by which £3,000,000 were given to the United States, besides the Straits of San Juan and an indemnity for the Fenian Raids. They proposed, at the same time, the Church Act and the Land Act, thinking there by to conciliate America on the one hand, and Ireland on the other. Did the House not know the reason why those Acts were passed? It was no change from the old policy of 1782, 1793, and 1829, when concessions were extorted from them by fear. In conclusion, he appealed to those who now accepted the principles of liberty of con science and equality between Churches to repeal the Act of Union which was associated with a policy of religious intolerance and Protestant ascendancy."Did not Mr. Pitt, the last of Tory statesmen, propose measures for the settlement of Ireland"—an equal endowment for the Catholic Church and the erection of Catholic Universities and seminaries—"which, had they been agreed to by Parliament, would have saved Ireland from her present condition? They would have had the Roman Catholics of Ireland emancipated at a very early period, and they would have had the Church question, too, settled at a very early period."—[Ibid.]
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) had reproached the Irish Members of Parliament with not having stopped or opposed measures which they had to-night complained of. As to the truth of the reproach, he admitted that it might be true as related to many of the former Irish Members; but he denied that it was ever true as related to the Irish electors. It was a fact that in former times many of the Irish County Members were returned by territorial influence despite of the popular desire; but now there was a considerable number of Irish Members in the House in accordance with that feeling. Formerly the Irish borough Members did represent the Irish boroughs; but he denied that the Irish people could be held responsible for the action or in-action of many of the former County Members, who had been returned, not by the people, but by the magnates of the country. If the Irish Members were allowed to settle Irish questions, or most of them, fewer complaints would exist. As to the present county representation of Ireland, it would be found that three things were insisted upon in the addresses of the candidates for the counties at the late General Election—Home Rule, fixity of tenure, and denominational education; and if a division were taken on any one of those points, it would be found that the votes of the majority of the Irish representatives were in accordance with the popular views. With respect to one of them—Home Rule—as his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) did not seem disposed to enter into the question fully that evening, he would abstain from discussing it at any length. He thought, however, he might disclaim for those with whom he acted that they had any wish to legislate formatters affecting exclusively England or Scotland, provided they were allowed to legislate for themselves in matters relating to Ireland. But then it was said they wanted separation. That, he must contend, was by no means a correct interpretation to put on their views. They did not want separation, or anything that would lead to it. They did not want a separate Army or Navy, nor did they seek for anything which would weaken the authority of the Monarchy, or which might eventually lead to the disruption of the Empire. He might perhaps be allowed, in passing, to observe that Norway had an Army and Navy separate from those of Sweden, and that the Militia of Hungary was separate from that of Austria. Those who advocated Home Rule for Ireland had, however, no wish to take any military power away from the central authority. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had, he might add, accused his hon. and learned Friend near him of not having thought proper to introduce a Bill dealing with corporate privileges, although he had spoken upon that matter as involving a grievance. The fact, however, was that his hon. and learned Friend had introduced two Bills granting certain privileges to corporations, and that on both occasions the Government of the right hon. Gentleman had opposed those measures. Descending to a smaller question, but one which, he assured the House, gave rise to no inconsiderable amount of dissatisfaction in the rural districts, he wished the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister would relax the Coercion Laws somewhat—certainly so far as to allow farmers to have guns. It was a fact that in his county the rooks had lost all fear of man, and did such an amount of damage in consequence to the wheat and potatoes that it was an absolute necessity that farmers should be allowed to use some weapon in order to drive them off the fields. In conclusion, he would remark that outside that House the Home Rulers had been accused of conjuring up factions, and of professing objects which they had not really in view. It was assuredly their wish to manage the internal affairs of Ireland subject to the veto of the Crown, but they certainly did not wish for separation.
desired to enter a strong protest on behalf of the province of Ulster against the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt). The people of Ulster were perfectly satisfied with the British connection, and were sensible of the advantages which accrued to Ireland from the fact that she was an integral part of the great British Empire. They did not desire that their connection with a nation which had added lustre and honour to the name of Irishmen should be brought to a close. They desired, on the contrary, to protest against the secret and insidious meaning of this Home Rule movement. Attempts had been made on several occasions to disguise that meaning; but the noble Lord (Lord Robert Montagu) who had spoken, he was sorry to say, from the Conservative side, with the zeal of a convert at once political and religious, had quite disabused their minds of any notion which might have prevailed that this was not really a religious question, and that the desire for Rome rule was not the actual motive of the agitation for Home Rule. The noble Lord had manifested a desire for denominational education. What did denominational education mean? It meant the handing over of the education of Ireland to the Romish hierarchy. Those who were anxious to obtain the control of the education of the country had thrown all the weight of their influence—a very great influence, no doubt it was—into the scale of Home Rule. The noble Lord had said he did not think much of the Irish Church and Land Acts. Well, some people were hard to satisfy. One would have thought he would have welcomed the Church Act as a heavy blow to Protestantism in Ireland. It seemed, however, to have been otherwise received. He (Mr. Johnston) earnestly protested against any further attempt to conciliate a party which could never be conciliated with safety to the British Empire or honour to the British Crown. Not only in his own name, but in the name of hundreds of thousands of people in the prosperous Province of Ulster, he besought the House to pause before giving any encouragement to those who, bringing forward Motions of this kind with a pretext of moderation, were really putting in the thin end of the wedge for the dismemberment of the British Empire. The inhabitants of Ulster very well knew the object of those who were behind the scenes, who were pulling the wires in this movement. Those who were ruled from beyond the seas had not the integrity, the welfare, and the glory of a Protestant kingdom at heart. Their real object was to obtain ascendancy for a Power which neither our fathers nor we had been able to bear—to bring about, under the guise of a demand for justice, a Romish supremacy. He would have been glad to hear from hon. Members who supported this movement some words of approval and applause with regard to the gallant leader of the expedition that had just acquired additional glory for the British name. The people of Ulster did not forget that Sir Garnet Wolseley was an Irishman. Perhaps, however, the House would scarcely credit that there were men who rejoiced in the name of Irishmen, who yet had looked forward to the result of the Ashantee expedition with a desire for disaster to the British arms. Articles had appeared in Irish newspapers expressing a hope that England would be defeated; but the people of Ulster trusted that the British Army would never be defeated. The people of that province were determined to resist to the last the movement for the dismemberment of the Empire. It was their firm desire to maintain by every means in their power—peaceably if possible, but, at any rate, by every means in their power—the integrity of the British Empire.
mentioned that, although no Home Rulers had been returned for Ulster, one candidate belonging to that party, who stood in the neighbouring county of Monaghan, had been exceedingly near getting in. Even in Ulster, notwithstanding the result of the elections, the people were very much divided on the subject of Home Rule.
praised the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) for the courage he had shown in bringing prominently before the House and the country the general grievances of the Irish people. If any excuse were wanted for the circumstance that those who were interested in Irish affairs had refrained from introducing this subject yesterday, it was to be found in their desire to give a fair opportunity to the Government now in power of showing a readiness to conciliate the Irish people. But surely it could not be contended that if one great portion of the British Empire was discontented, it was unconstitutional to declare that fact at the very opening of Parliament. Wherever discontent might exist in England, Ireland, or Scotland, it must affect the hearts of the people and weaken the integrity of the Empire; and he would indeed be an unconstitutional statesman who did not desire to ascertain without delay the causes of the dissatisfaction in order that, if possible, they might be removed. The subject of Home Rule had been calmly and deliberately considered in Ireland, and by the voice of the great body of her representatives that integral part of the United Kingdom had declared her firm conviction—while desiring to cement still further the bonds which united us in a common Empire—that the whole system of the government of Ireland must be changed if we were really in the future to stand shoulder to shoulder as a united, consolidated power. He regretted to hear the unfortunate words that had been used with reference to a loyal portion of the people of Ireland—namely, that in seeking for Home Ride they were advocating rebellion. If any writer or speaker elsewhere said that advocates of Home Rule "wished to enjoy the luxury of treason without incurring its danger," he calumniated 58 loyal Members of that House; he calumniated a large number of the Members who sat for English and for Scotch constituencies. A few years ago the population of Ireland was between 8,000,000 and 9,000,000. At the time of the greatest population of Ireland the most distressing famine in modern times occurred there. They had been told that that famine was brought about by overpopulation. Since that time the population of Ireland, in spite of good laws and good motives, had continued to decline, and it was now little more than 5,400,000. But that which struck terror into his heart was that the forced emigration of the Irish, people was going on as vigorously as it ever did within the last five or six years. Would the House believe that during the last ten months 80,000 of the population of Ireland fled across the Atlantic? The population was decreasing every year by nearly 100,000, and those who were taken away were the stalwart and the young, and they went across the Atlantic with feelings of bitter hatred to this country. It was true the price of labour had increased in Ireland. It had risen so high that at this moment the farmers could hardly cultivate their land, and the result was that during the year just closed 217,000 acres in Ireland went out of cultivation; 37,000 of those acres were converted into grass farms, but that loft 180,000 acres, which had gone to absolute waste. Hut they were told of the increase in the number of cattle exported from Ireland that were reared on her soil, and of the increase in the deposits in the banks, and that the people of Ireland were becoming richer than they were. He admitted that there was more money in Ireland, in proportion to the population, than there was some years ago, but politicians and statisticians would do well to remember the sentiment—
It was said that the deposits in the banks had greatly increased, and that Ireland was therefore richer than formerly; but he believed the real amount did not exceed £7,000,000 or £8,000,000, an accumulation which did not prove that the country was richer, but that there had been a change of habits. Formerly, and still to some extent, people buried their savings or stored them in old stockings, keeping them in their houses, while some member of the family remained at home night and day on guard. [Laughter.] The merriment of hon. Gentlemen was another melancholy proof that those who undertook to pronounce on the government of Ireland were ignorant of the habits of the population. They were constantly told that if Ireland kept quiet, and agitation ceased, they would attract to Ireland the magic of English capital But there were £27,000,000 now lying idle in Ireland, which led to the conclusion that they did not want money but confidence in using it. The Irish people were discontented with their government; they had not confidence to lay out their money in the cultivation of their own soil. Ireland was occupied, as the kingdom of Ashantee had been, and as India now was, by a garrison of from 12,000 to 14,000 soldiers and an army of 10,000 policemen; and so long as Ireland continued to be governed on present principles, neither of those forces could be diminished. But if the wrongs of the people were turned into a constitutional force, they would no longer require such a standing army. All that the advocates of Home Rule asked was that the House, which did not now understand that subject, would wait till it was fully explained, and that they would believe that those who advocated Home Rule had as great a love for their Sovereign, as great a desire to retain the unity of the Empire, as hon. Gentlemen who sat in any part of the House. If there was one thing which should commend the subject of Home Rule to the attention of Parliament, it was this—that the discussion which that subject had undergone in Ireland had had the effect of Meaning the people from the hopeless desire for unconstitutional courses. They believed that the day was dawning when their voice would be heard in Parliament, and when those measures by which popular feelings and wishes were to be expressed would be freely accorded to Ireland; and they hoped that one of the earliest acts of the Government would be to remove those restrictions which prevented the free discussion of public subjects, and to restore to the people of Ireland the right which belonged to them, as free men, of bearing arms, and walking at will erect on the earth, as long as they kept within the lines of the Constitution and did no ill to their fellow-men."Ill fares the land to hastening ills a prey. Where wealth accumulates and men decay."
I have listened to this debate with a feeling of gratification somewhat mingled with disappointment. I have been gratified to hoar from the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) that Irishmen no longer desire the separation of the United Kingdom. I have been gratified also to hear from other hon. Members who have taken part in the debate, that they arc, equally with us, in favour of supporting the dignity of the Crown and the integrity of the Empire, and that among the ranks of those who have been returned to this House as Home Rulers there are men who yield in loyalty to no subjects of Her Majesty. But I confess I have also been disappointed to find, after the hopes which were hold out elsewhere by the hon. Member who has just sat down, and who said that the Resolutions to be moved on the first night of the Session would astonish the sleepy benches opposite, [Mr. MITCHELL HENRY: Not Resolutions in reference to Home Rule.] that the Resolution which has boon proposed and the arguments which have been adduced in support of it are scarcely of a character to correspond with the hon. Member's description. I have also been disappointed that in a debate which after all has mainly turned on the question of Home Rule—a question which, as we have been informed by the hon. Member for Galway, the Irish people have gravely considered and made up their minds upon—we have had no definite sketch whatever of what is meant by Home Rule. I do not intend on the present occasion to enter at any length into that question. I do not think this is a fitting time to debate it, and, at any rate, it is impossible to debate a proposal which has never yet been presented to this House. What I would say, however, is this. If hon. Members who have been returned to support Home Rule are, as no doubt they are, loyal subjects of the Crown and anxious to redress a constitutional grievance, as they consider it, by constitutional means, it is somewhat strange that they should have been obliged to hold a secret meeting in Dublin with a view to agree on their future course of procedure. It appears to me that this was rather a sign that they are not thoroughly united among themselves as to what they mean by Home Rule. And when I hear the hon. and learned Member for Limerick tell us that he, for his part, merely wants such a modification in the present system as would allow Ireland to manage her own internal affairs—that is, such as are exclusively Irish; and when, on the other hand, I hear from the noble Lord the Member for Westmeath (Lord Robert Montagu) comparisons of what he requires with the present government of the British Colonies, I am tempted to ask whether they really mean that the Parliament which they propose should sit in Dublin is to consider purely local affairs, and therefore to be in the position of a larger metropolitan vestry, or whether Ireland is to be, like one of our colonics, practically self-governing, self-taxing, and without aid from the Imperial Exchequer? Home Rule, so far as I understand it, has presented itself in different shapes during the past election to different classes of people. It appears to me that every class in Ireland has interpreted the cry as put forward in the late election to menu the fulfilment of its own particular desires. The priesthood consider that Home Rule means denominational education entirely under their own control, but whether to be still supported by a grant from the Exchequer of no inconsiderable amount, I have not heard. The farmers consider that Home Rule means tenant-right in its most exaggerated form—practically a confiscation of landlord-right, and the transference of property from their landlords to themselves. Those who are in favour of the purchase of the Irish railways by the State, think the State under Home Rule is to pay for the railways, without imposing any additional burden upon Ireland. Those who think the salaries of the national teachers ought to be raised say that this object is to be secured under Home Rule, and there is hardly a wish in Ireland which has not been considered by those who are in its favour to be included under this one term of Home Rule. I will not attempt to discuss to-night how far Home Rule could give those people all they want. That may be spoken of on another occasion. But I will venture to say that if Home Rule means that Ireland is to be self-governing and self-taxing, with power over her customs and excise, such as is possessed by one of our Colonies, that is a dismemberment of the United Kingdom. To any such interpretation of Home Rule no Government in this country could for a moment consent. Again, I wish to know why it is that, except, I think, from the hon. Member for Belfast (Mr. Johnston), we have had in the course of this debate a series of hon. Gentlemen rising as the Representatives of merely one portion of the Irish people, and talking of the wants of Ireland as a whole. Why, we know from the hon. Member for Belfast, and from the addresses and speeches of those hon. Gentlemen who have boon successful at the recent elections, that in the North of Ireland separation from. England could not be forced upon the people except at the cost of a war. We know, besides, that if it is sought to establish not only a House of Commons in Dublin, but also a House of Lords, the Peers of Ireland would be as a body against it, with the exception of a few whose relatives have been returned as Home Rulers by Southern constituencies. Then we know that England and Scotland are decidedly against such an alteration as is sought for. I want to know, therefore, and I hope some day we may be told, why the opinion of a portion of the Irish people is to outweigh the opinions of all the rest of the United Kingdom. Now I turn from that question to the speech and arguments of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick, and in doing so I must express a hope that we shall be able to discuss this matter without the fear before our eyes of 14,000,000 of Irishmen coming over from America to invade us. That threat which has been held out by the noble Lord the Member for Westmeath the House of Commons will, I trust, deem unworthy of consideration. [Lord ROBERT MONTAGU: I never said anything of the kind.] The hon. and learned Member for Limerick has spoken of the grievances which are felt by Irishmen owing to the provisions of the Peace Preservation Act, and the part of his Resolution referring to that subject, runs in the following words:—
Now, I do not deny that the Peace Preservation Act and the "Westmeath Act are measures of an exceptional and a coercive character. They were passed by the late Government in accordance with the opinion of a vast majority of this House, and also, I believe, in accordance with the opinions of a majority of the Irish Members, because it was considered necessary to maintain peace and order in Ireland. Therefore, when the hon. and learned Member for Limerick comes to this House and objects to these Acts, I would ask him in turn why, last spring, out of more than 100 Members from Ireland, only 24 recorded their votes against the second reading of the Peace Preservation Bill? The hon. and learned Member for Limerick has admitted that the state of Ireland is at present exceptionally peaceful and quiet. There can be no doubt on that point. I believe that state of affairs to be mainly owing to the existence of the Acts in question. I believe they do not interfere with law-abiding and peaceful citizens. They are not regarded by such persons as injurious or oppressive, but they are a terror to, and do keep quiet those who would otherwise be a terror to their fellow-subjects. I can only tell the House what, perhaps, the House would hardly have supposed from the general denunciation of the hon. and learned Member, and I can prove the correctness of my statement. The hon. and learned Member has spoken of the grievance which is felt on account of the convictions which have been recorded against Irishmen for having arms in their possession."That under that system the Irish people do not enjoy the full benefits of the Constitution or of the free principles of the Law."
I did not complain at all of any convictions. I complained of the law which makes it a penal offence to own a pistol, and of the unconstitutional power given to policemen to search houses for arms, and of the exercise of that power.
In answer to the first point, I believe I may say, with certainty, that to every person who could have any fair or reasonable ground for the request, a licence to carry arms would be granted. With regard to the second point, I can inform the hon. and learned Gentleman that during the half-year ending the 31st of December, 1873, there have been only 21 arrests in the whole of Ireland for the unlawful possession of arms. There have been only four summary convictions by magistrates under these provisions, and only seven convictions at quarter sessions and assizes. Next I come to the question of search. It is said to be a great grievance that the police should be able to make searches for handwriting, and so on, in persons houses. Well, 11 searches for handwriting have been made by the constabulary with a view to discover the authors of threatening letters. Next I come to the provision by which persons being out at night under suspicious circumstances are liable to arrest. Only 37 persons in the whole of Ireland have been arrested under that provision. Two of them have been committed to gaol for trial at petty sessions, and only six have been punished by imprisonment. Under the section which provides for the arrest of suspected strangers, only eight persons have been arrested, and only one has been committed to gaol. Having now alluded to all the special points in the Acts to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred, I ask whether the facts I have mentioned do not prove that by the vast majority of the Irish people—by all law-abiding and peaceful citizens—these Acts are not felt, in practice, to be coercive, objectionable, or oppressive? The hon. and learned Gentleman did not refer to the Westmeath Act, but I may also inform the House that under that Act, whatever objections may be taken to it by hon. Members from Ireland, only two persons at the present time are lodged in gaol. I do not wish to dwell upon other grievances alleged by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick in support of this portion of his Amendment. He spoke of the franchise in boroughs as being too high, and of the municipalities having been unfairly treated by Liberal legislation, for which, of course, we are not responsible. But I entirely agree with what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Membor for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone)—if evils exist, why do not some Irish Members bring in Bills to remedy or remove them? I can answer for the Government that any proposals of that nature will receive attentive consideration, and I also believe they will receive it from the House generally. When, however, it is alleged by the hon. and learned Member that the Grand Jury system is one of the things which prove that the Irish people do not enjoy the full benefit of the Constitution, I would ask him whether he has over heard of the system of quarter sessions in England? Whatever may be said against the Irish Grand Jury system—and I dare say it is quite open to amendment—Irish ratepayers have more representation than English ratepayers possess at quarter sessions in this country; yet, in spite of what has been said here in support of County Financial Boards, I never heard the system of quarter sessions in England alleged as a reason why the English people do not enjoy the full benefits of the Constitution. The hon. and learned Member spoke of cases in which the police were continually exceeding their powers, and referred to one particular case which was fortunately before me only two days ago. He stated the facts of the case with some little exaggeration, having no doubt taken his opinion from a source not likely to be very favourable to the Constabulary. He forgot, however, to add that the constable who committed the offence had been punished for it. This constable went somewhat improperly into a room and committed a very trivial assault, and for that offence—pushing a man by the shoulder—he was fined by the magistrates at petty sessions, while for improperly arresting a man on the road he has been censured by his officer. If the hon. and learned Member will bring forward names, dates, and specific facts with regard to any grievances of this kind, and will make me acquainted with any case of alleged misconduct by the Constabulary, I will endeavour to do justice fairly between them and the Irish people. Perhaps I may be pardoned if I say a word or two as to my present position. The hon. and learned Member spoke of me in no unfriendly terms as an individual sent from Gloucestershire to administer the affairs of Ireland; and yet it was only the other day that I saw the hon. and learned Member had boon finding some fault at a meeting in Ireland with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister because more Irishmen were not included in the Government. I only ask hon. Members from Ireland to extend to me the same consideration which they claim for themselves. If Irishmen are qualified to fill places in the Government of England and of the Empire, surely to be an Englishman is no special disqualification for one called upon to administer the affairs of Ireland. I do not deny—and the more I see of Ireland the more I dare say I shall be able to admit the fact—that there is much which requires to be remedied in the laws relating to that country. In my opinion the last Parliament spent rather too much time in what has been called sensational legislation and did not attend sufficiently to matters of social and administrative importance, for from what I can see I believe there are many points of this kind with which Parliament ought to deal, but which have for some years past boon pushed aside. For example, I can conceive that many questions which are at present considered at great cost in this House, and relate purely to local wants—such as railways, canals, and gas works—might, with advantage, be inquired into by local tribunals and possibly be decided in Ireland. But this is a question which does not relate to Ireland alone; it is a question of great importance affecting other parts of the United Kingdom; and it is one which has already been discussed in Parliament, for hon. Gentlemen who were in the last Parliament may remember that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chester (Mr. Dodson) brought forward a plan with this view in the last House of Commons. England, being the wealthier country, has more local matters requiring legislation, and therefore, although nearer head-quarters, has at least as great a claim to consideration in this matter as Ireland; and Scotch Members will not forget that Edinburgh is as far from Loudon as Dublin. I wish to make no pledge nor even to express an opinion at this early stage in my official experience as to what may be done for Ireland or other parts of the Kingdom in this matter. But I think all three parts of the Kingdom should be considered at once. I hope Parliament will before long take the question into its most careful consideration, and for myself I believe that much real good may be done by some legislation in this direction. Meanwhile I ask hon. Members from Ireland, as far as I am personally concerned, not to judge me untried. I can assure them that, though an Englishman, I will endeavour, in those duties which fall to my lot in connection with Irish affairs, to throw off any prejudices I may have felt, and act with a single eye to the welfare of Ireland. I will endeavour to administer the laws of that country fairly and without favour. I will endeavour to act impartially between different creeds and different sects, whether in religion or in politics. But at the same time I will endeavour to administer the law without fear and with firmness, because I hold that laws which cannot be enforced had better be repealed. If I can act as I promise I will try to act, I have no fear but that the generosity which is an inherent feature in the Irish character will at any rate look leniently upon any mistakes I may commit from my previous inexperience, and will give me credit for an endeavour honestly and fairly to do my duty.
Sir, it, is manifest from the speech which we have just heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland that the Motion of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) has, at all events, wrought a remarkable conversion with at least one Member of the Administration. The right hon. Gentleman has declared there is a great deal needed in the way of legislation for Ireland which he alleges this House is willing and able to do. Well, it is something for us to know that the right hon. Gentleman does not agree with his Chief in considering our country to have been "debauched by legislation," and that he is ready to grapple with the questions awaiting solution. He tells us that any laws which cannot be on-forced had better be repealed. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. I take him at his word. There are many such laws relating to Ireland, hateful relics of a bygone time when oppression and persecution were free to wreak their will upon our land. I call upon the right hon. Gentleman to keep his word with us on this point; and I beg him to begin by repealing a law cruel, unjust, and wicked, which has never been enforced, which never could be enforced, in Ireland. I allude to the law against the Regular Orders of the Catholic Church. It may be a surprise to some hon. Gentlemen to learn that at the present moment, in this age so lauded for tolerance and religious equality, the Religious Orders of the Catholic Church are still under a penal proscription, and may, every man of them, be dragged to prison or deported as a criminal. The right hon. Gentleman will hardly say that this is a law he means to enforce; it was and is too outrageous to be enforced; it cannot be enforced in Ireland. I rejoice to find Her Majesty's Ministers so completely committed to its repeal. The right hon. Gentleman has very eagerly grasped at the speech of the hon. Member for Belfast (Mr. W. Johnston) as a setoff against the demands of the Irish Members. Nay, he complains of us that we speak as if in the name of all Ireland, forgetful, he says, that Ulster is determined to have a civil war rather than let the rights of this House or the Crown of the Sovereign be assailed. Sir, it is true we speak in the name of all Ireland, and represent, not a party or a faction, but a nation—in this sense, Sir, and in no other, that we are a majority of the national representation; a majority proportionably larger than that which the present Administration commands in this House. No doubt the hon. Member for Belfast and Friends are able to muster about 30 out of the 108 Irish Members, while we number about twice as many. We make him a present of the fact, and repeat that we have the right to speak for our country as a whole. But the right hon. Gentleman opposite appeared to take to his heart, with great consolation, the promise made by the hon. Member for Belfast, that Ulster would go to war against Ireland in defence of Parliament and the Sovereign. Sir, it will be well for this House never to need to put that promise to the test. It is a promise that will not avail you much. When last the House of Commons needed arms to defend it—when armed men broke into the Commons' chamber, and when the mace was ordered to be "taken away"—the Parliament found no defenders in Ulster, unless mayhap amongst men like myself; while the destroyer of the Parliament found help and co-operation from the men of Ulster to whose principles the hon. Gentleman has succeeded. So, Sir, if this House is to be again broken into, and invaded, and dispersed, and overthrown.—if yonder mace is to be again removed as a "bauble"—it will be a poor reliance to look about for the hon. Member for Belfast and call up the promise of Ulster. And the Queen too! The Sovereign also has been ostentatiously taken under the protection of the hon. Gentleman and his "men of Ulster." Why, there never yet was a Sovereign of these Realms engaged in armed conflict for his throne that he did not find the "men of Ulster" in the camp of his foes. Whenever Englishmen chose to rebel against and drive away their Sovereign, how did those men of Ulster act? Did they back the King? Nothing of the kind, Sir, as history attests. The men who, unfortunately for themselves and their descendants, backed their loyalty with their swords, were the men whose Irish principles pervade the constituencies represented by my Friends around me on those benches. It will be a poor day for the Sovereign if her reliance is to be on the promise of Ulster made here to-night. But, indeed, have we not had quite; recently a good illustration of Ulster loyalty—aye, and of the dependence to be placed on these threats of civil war by the "men of Ulster?" Have we forgotten the throats of some of the hon. Gentleman's friends to "kick the Crown into the Boyne "if a certain measure then before; the House should receive the Royal Assent? Well, what came of those threats? The Bill—the Irish Church Bill—was passed; it received the Royal Assent; yet the Crown sits securely on the head of the Sovereign, who may, I trust, long live to wear it without danger from such foes. So much for these wonderful threats, so constantly paraded, of what "the men of Ulster" will do. We can discuss this Amendment without minding such menaces. What is the issue which we raise? Sir, last night, on the first evening I took my place in this Assembly, I heard a good deal from the right hon. Member for Greenwich, the late Prime Minister (Mr. Gladstone), about "the Constitution;" about what was "constitutional" and what was not. It may be, and I doubt not it is so, that to the minds of Englishmen these references to "the Constitution" call up proud reflections and represent a grand and glorious reality; a Constitution that secures them the blessings of freedom, the rights of a nation. Were I an Englishman, I too, could feel these emotions; for well may Englishmen be proud of what they possess. I have travelled something in republican countries, and I have seen nothing to shake my conviction that Englishmen enjoy, on the whole, more of solid, secure, and substantial liberty without licence than, perhaps, any other nation in the civilized world. But how different is the case with my country. As I listened to all that was said about the Constitution, I could not help feeling, as an Irishman, that my journey to England would be well undertaken if I could, even if only for curiosity, see this Constitution of which we Irishmen hear so much, but which in our country we can never feel or see. What is it? Where is it? Where may one peruse it? Does it include the Bill of Rights? We have no such rights in Ireland, unless it may be on the sufferance or with the permission of the chief Government official. Does this Constitution include trial by jury? A priceless possession, indeed. But in Ireland I can have no trial by jury, if the chief official of the Government chooses to say that I have written sedition. Does the Constitution include protection for property? In Ireland I have no protection for mine. The Lord Lieutenant is entitled to seize and confiscate my property without any trial or judicial procedure whatsoever. Does the Constitution of which we hoar so much include liberty of the Press? Aye, indeed—what would an Englishman think of a Constitution without it? Yet in our country the Press may be suppressed on barely one avertissement. [" Oh, oh!"] Sir, I state the fact; I refer to the statute book and challenge contradiction. Well, does this Constitution include the right to carry arms? In Ireland it is a matter of imprisonment to have even a percussion cap in your possession, unless by favour of the police. Does the Constitution afford protection against domiciliary visits? Irishmen have no such protection, as may be seen by a glance at the surplus left by the late Government. I do not mean the Revenue surplus or the Church Fund surplus. I mean the surplus of Coercion Bills, which the present Government will find ready to their hands, bequeathed by the late Ministry. Does the Constitution afford protection against arbitrary arrest? The speech of my hon. and learned Friend Mr. Butt—[" Order, order!."]—I beg the indulgence of the House—the Member for Limerick City, and the cases he cited, settle that we have no such constitutional protection in Ireland. Does the Constitution insure the punishment of Government officials convicted of illegality and crime before the tribunals of the land? In our unfortunate country Government officials may violate the law without fear of punishment, for the Government will pay the fine for them out of the public funds. [Cries of "No, no!" and "Hear, hear!"] Again, Sir, I appeal to public record. In Derry City and in Dublin, juries have again and again convicted Government officials of assaults—some of them most brutal and aggravated. Yet in no instance that we are aware of has any punishment touched the offenders so convicted; for the Government has stepped in and decreed thorn indemnity for wrong-doing by paying both the fine and costs; or else, as in the case of the Phoenix Park assaults, by using the public funds to so litigate the suits as to beggar and weary out the hapless who sued for redress. Take away all these rights and protections, and how much of the Constitution, or what kind of a Constitution, remains? Yet this is how we stand in Ireland. Shall I be told that in practice no hardship is felt—that I have been referring to obsolete laws never enforced? Nothing of the kind. The hardship, cruelty, and injustice of these coercion laws are felt every day in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland asked for names, and cases, and dates. Well, I will give a few—barely one or two out of a weary list during the past 10 years. In February, 1864, an old woman at Clonmel—[Laughter]—yes, well may hon. Gentlemen laugh when the machinery of the Coercion Bills is turned against such formidable foes of "the stability of the Empire" as old women—this miserable old woman, who was a dealer in rags and in scraps of metal—a marine store dealer, in fact—was arrested and brought to trial for having in her possession some broken and battered bits of an old horse-pistol. The Crown Prosecutor gravely pointed out that she was liable to two years' imprisonment for thus having "arms in a proclaimed district." The magistrates, however, took a more lenient view of the case, and contented themselves with binding the old woman in her own recognizances to appear for sentence when called on. But, Sir, it may be a satisfaction to hon. Members to know that the wise precaution was taken of forfeiting to the Crown the arms—that is to say, the bits of the old horse-pistol seized from the old conspirator. Take another ease in the same county. In April of the same year, a little boy of 16 years, who had bought at a toy shop one of those large knives or dagger-blades which sailors carry, and which are the envy of schoolboys, was arrested and tried for having this "arms in a proclaimed district." He was sent to jail for six months. Again, in the same year, in October, at the Thurles Quarter Sessions, we find a man getting imprisonment for the awful crime of having in his possession seven percussion caps. A more remarkable case still is reported at the Moate Quarter Sessions of April, 1860. The Catholic Young Men's Society, a non-political organization under the auspices of the Catholic clergy, were having their annual display of amateur theatricals. The piece selected on this occasion was Douglas, or the Haunted Inn. They got down from Dublin, from a theatrical property man, the necessary attire for Douglas, and the requisite furniture for the Haunted Inn. So little did the proceeding appear to the magistrates to bode danger to the Crown and Constitution that they freely gave the use of the Court-house for the performance. But on the night of the display, while poor Douglas, theatrical sword in hand, was in the act of delivering a most beautiful oration, the Constabulary sprang upon the stage, arrested him for having "arms in a proclaimed district," and carried him off a prisoner in his theatrical costume, through the streets. Well, Sir, I will not weary the House with such cases. I will cite just one more. It occurred only the other day, and in the town of Belfast. An Italian organ-grinder and his monkey were arrested under the Act—[laughter]—the monkey, it seems, was the offender. Now, Sir, many of us saw that poor monkey performing. He used to fire off a sort of gun, and I believe shoot peas through it. The Belfast police arrested him for "having arms in a proclaimed district." The right hon. Gentleman asked us to give him names. Well, I do not know the name of the monkey; but I do of the master, and it-is quite at the right hon. Gentleman's service. These things are ludicrous indeed, but have they not their sad and serious aspect too? Such is the sort of "Constitution" which Ireland is under. Such a code has defenders. Why, I have listened to a defence of this dreadful coercion code here to-night; a sort of defence as old as tyranny itself in the world; a defence a recent King of Naples might have made for the laws that evoked such sympathetic throbs from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich. That defence is, that if the people do not resist, if they will be quiescent, they will not feel the chain. Why, Sir, "any man can govern with a state of siege." One excuse is, that the country is full of crime, and needs these laws; another is that the country is peaceable, because of these laws; so that whether Ireland is peaceable or turbulent, tranquil or disturbed, there is always an excuse with the coercionists. I may be referred to the laxity of this code, unless in times of excitement. Why, it is exactly in times of excitement that constitutional rights of protection are really needed. At other times neither public nor personal liberty is in danger. It is precisely when those in authority feel alarm that a constitutional protection is needed for a citizen's liberty, And thus, in Ireland, our constitutional rights disappear whenever we need them; thus for us the sword of the Constitution is a mockery, a delusion, and a snare; so contrived as to be apparently sound as long as it is left in the scabbard, but to break in pieces the moment it is drawn in legal self-defence. Sir, I have no doubt these things are new to the ears of many hon. Members. I am not going to purchase any man's favour by flattery. I will not offer panegyrics on the English character. It has many grand and noble traits; but, if so, it has also many serious failings. But this, I say, that I do believe there is manliness and generosity enough in the breasts of English-born men to cause them to feel some sympathy with my unfortunate country, if they were more familiar with such facts as I have stated. If such men there be, they will find us no foes. For my own part, as one Irish Member, I stand here to declare that my countrymen will always be found ready to reciprocate every offer of the hand of reconciliation, and that there is no people on earth more generous to forgive and forget an unhappy past, if treated as a free people. We have heard of Home Rule. Sir, I will not condescend to defend my co-religionists from a charge proudly confuted by history. I will not descend to defend the Catholics of Ireland from the implied charge that if they secured Home Rule the Protestant minority would be subjected to a Catholic ascendency. I say, I, as a Catholic, will not lower my self-respect by volunteering extravagant protestations on such a subject. Let our accusers not weigh us according to the standards of a broken down Protestant ascendency. It is the old, old story—
Need I point to the action of my Catholic fellow-countrymen where Catholic emancipation put an ascendency into their hands if they would descend to use it? Look at the Catholic constituencies of Ireland, municipal and Parliamentary. How do they exercise their power? Do they oppress or ostracise Protestants? Look at my own native county, Cork, the population of which is Catholic almost to a man. It returns, and has, I believe, always since 1829 returned, at least, one Protestant as the popular Member. Look at Limerick City, look at Meath, look at Tipperary. Ah, Sir, it is the simple truth that the Catholics of Ireland had no sooner won their emancipation than they hastened to share the gifts of their newly-won liberties with their Protestant fellow-countrymen. Sir, I thank the House for the kindness it has extended to me in speaking for the first time here to-night. I do look forward to a future, a near future, brighter and happier for my own country and for England too. Yes; we are tired of hate; it is true I shall be glad if we can have a spell of love. But if we, Irishmen, have hated, it was because of reasons that would have made Englishmen, were they in our place, hate too. If we have been angered, it has been because ye under the same goad would have been similarly roused. Here we are now in this House willing to fight out our cause with constitutional agencies. We will not bow, and we will not sue; we will meet friendliness with friendliness; and even if taunted or assailed, we can exhibit the equanimity of men who feel that power is with them. ["No, no!"] I have no objection that a few of the Irish minority should say "no, no," and convince the House, if they can, that 30 is a greater number than 60. Yes, we are the party of strength in Ireland, and have a strong faith that we are going at last to make an end of this ancient quarrel. I do look forward to the not distant day when a Minister will come down to this House to announce that the time has come for conceding what he will then call "lateral" Home Rule; or it may be a Minister who, with more generous emotions, will proclaim that he comes to erase a rooted sorrow from the troubled brain of Ireland. Let what may be said now, that day will come, and with it the dawn of a new era of peace, and good-will, and liberty, and prosperity for Ireland and for the Empire."Forgiveness to the injured doth belong; They never do forgive who do the wrong."
said, he must attribute the fact that the advocates of Home Rule were denounced as enemies of the Crown, and desirous of destroying the integrity of the Empire, to the general want of information on the subject, and to the circumstance that the question was a new one. The people of this country were always frightened at new things until they got accustomed to them or were educated to their reception. He thought that a question which involved an alteration in the Constitution of England ought only to have been brought forward after due Notice, and certainly not upon the occasion of the Report on the Address to the Crown. But as the matter was before the House he would make some observations on it. With regard to the subject itself, he remembered when Lord Durham, who was the Governor of Canada, reported in favour of responsible government for the Colonies, that his opinion was denounced at the time as a most revolutionary proposal, but it had ultimately been carried into effect. Now every large and self-governing colony in the Empire had a Ministry responsible to the Parliament of the colony. There were, no doubt, difficulties to be overcome in the application of Home Rule to Ireland, but as similar difficulties had been overcome in the case of the Colonies, there was no reason to suppose they were insuperable. It was said that to grant Home Rule to Ireland would be to cause the disruption of the Empire. Yet self-government had been granted to Canada, Australia, &c., without disruption, although these colonies were thousands of miles distant, and the vicinity of Ireland was so far from being a reason against granting self-government, that it was most improbable Ireland would ever wish to be separated from this country. There existed between the two countries a community of interests, of language, and of legal in- stitutions, and there was every reason why Ireland should continue to be united to England. The difficulties in carrying out self-government could not be described as insurmountable when they had been worked out in all the Colonics of the Crown. Every State in the United States of America was called a Sovereign State, yet Federal and State rights were clearly defined, and every possible question that could arise between the Federal and States Governments had been sifted and decided in the Supreme Court of America. That Court had a power which was not possessed by any other Court in the world, for it could declare the acts of Congress null and void, if they trenched on the rights of individual States. If Ireland had local government and could legislate for matters exclusively Irish, it might be desirable to constitute a Court like the Supreme Court of the United States, to decide upon the matters within the attribution of the local Legislature and the Imperial Parliament respectively. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) thought he had hit upon a blot when he asked whether Irish Members were to deal at home with all Irish matters, and to come to the Imperial Parliament to deal also with all English and Scotch affairs. There were two ways of solving this difficulty. One was that the Members for Ireland should be limited in their powers and vote solely on certain Imperial questions; and the other was to leave Irishmen to manage their own Parliament without any representation in the English Parliament. In conclusion, he must say that if the question were fairly dealt with on all its merits he believed a satisfactory solution might be found, and the demands of Ireland were certainly deserving of the fullest consideration.
said, he did not wish to put the House to the trouble of dividing. He would ask permission to withdraw the Motion, or allow it to be negatived without a division.
said, that the opinion of the people of Ireland had been constitutionally called for, and they had in reply returned a great majority of Members pledged to demand an entire change in the management of affairs. If hon. Members wished to know the strength of Irish feeling on this subject, they must look not only to the number of Home Rule Representatives, but to the prodigious majorities by which they had been returned. They could only deal with Ireland in one of two ways—either they must give serious and earnest consideration to the causes of the dissatisfaction which existed, or they must go on governing the country by force, terror, and coercion. He hoped the people of England, notwithstanding the unscrupulous misrepresentations of the Press, would not, when the case was fairly placed before them, be disinclined to meet the wishes of their Irish fellow-subjects in a conciliatory spirit. The demands of Ireland were not so unreasonable or so exorbitant as to be too great a price to pay for internal peace and prosperity, neither could he see how the Empire was to be dismembered, because the people of Ireland wished their own local affairs to be conducted according to their own wishes. For those reasons, he cordially supported the Amendment.
said, he would only make one observation. He was sorry the hon. and learned Member for Limerick did not state at an earlier hour of the evening that he had no intention to divide. It appeared to him that the Amendment so stealthily prepared and introduced to the House, was no more than a pretence. He had been told that the debate would go on till late, as many English Members were so enamoured of the views of the hon. and learned Member that they were determined to ad-dross the House. But that now appeared to be a mere pretence, not one English Member having yet addressed the House, and he believed it would turn out that no English Member was in favour of the views of the hon. and learned Member, and that statements of that kind were only thrown out to delude the Irish people.
wished to say one word in explanation. He did intend to divide.
said, with reference to the observations of the hon. Member for Tralee (The O'Douoghue), he begged to state that in his opinion that hon. Member himself had been the main cause of the delusion and pretence on this subject. He well remembered on one occasion, when there was a meeting of what were called the Nationalists at the Rotunda in Dublin, the hon. Member was the foremost in fomenting discord and bad feeling towards Great Britain—a feeling which had existed more or less ever since.
The House divided:—Ayes 50; Noes 314: Majority 264.
Address agreed to:—To be presented by Privy Councillors.
|Biggar, J. G.||Morris, G.|
|Blennerhassett, R. P.||Murphy, N. D.|
|Bowyer, Sir G.||Nolan, Captain|
|Brady, J.||O'Brien, Sir P.|
|Brooks, rt. hon. M.||O'Byrne, W. R.|
|Browne, G. E.||O'Cleary, K.|
|Bryan, G. L.||O'Conor, B. M.|
|Collins, E.||O'Gorman, P.|
|Conyngham, Lord||O'Keeffe, J.|
|Dease, E.||O'Leary, W.|
|Dunbar, J.||O'Shaughnessy, R.|
|Ennis, N.||O'Sullivan, W. H.|
|Errington, G.||Power, R.|
|Esmonde, Sir J.||Redmond, W. A.|
|Eyton, P. E.||Ronayne, J. P|
|Fay, C. J.||Shaw, W.|
|French, hon. C.||Sherlock, Serjeant|
|Gourley, E. T.||Simon, Serjeant|
|Gray, Sir J.||Smyth, P. J.|
|Henry, M.||Staepoole, W.|
|Lewis, H. O.||Sullivan, A. M|
|M'Carthy, J. G.||Thompson, T. C.|
|M'Kenna, Sir J. N.||Tighe, T.|
|Meldon, C. H.||TELLERS.|
|Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R.||Butt, I.|
|Moore, A.||Synan, E. J.|
|Adam, W. P.||Beach, W. W. B.|
|Agnew, R. V.||Bective, Earl of|
|Alexander, Colonel||Bell, L.L.|
|Allen, Major||Bentinck, G. C.|
|Allsopp, H.||Benyon, R.|
|Allsopp, S. C.||Beresford, Lord C.|
|Anderson, G.||Beresford, Colonel M.|
|Anstruther, Sir R.||Birley, H.|
|Anstruther, Sir W.||Boord, T. W.|
|Archdale, W. H.||Bourke, hon. R.|
|Arkwright, A. P.||Bourne, Colonel|
|Arkwright, F.||Bousfield, Major|
|Arkwright, R.||Briggs, W. E.|
|Ashbury, J. L.||Bright, R.|
|Assheton, R.||Brise, Colonel R.|
|Astley, Sir J. D.||Bristowe, S. B.|
|Baggallry, Sir R.||Bruce, hon. T.|
|Balfour, Sir G.||Bruen, H.|
|Ball, rt hon. J. T.||Brymer, W. E.|
|Baring, T. C.||Bulwer, J. R.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Burrell, Sir P.|
|Bass, A.||Callender, W. R.|
|Bass, M. T.||Cameron, C.|
|Bassett, F.||Cameron, D.|
|Bates, E.||Campbell, C.|
|Bathurst, A. A.||Carington, hn. Col. W.|
|Baxter, rt. hon. W. E.||Cave, rt. hon. S.|
|Beach, rt. hn. Sir M. H.||Cave, T.|
|Cavendish, Lord F. C.||Gordon, rt. hon. E. S.|
|Cawley, C. E.||Gore, J. R. O.|
|Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.||Gore, W. R. O.|
|Chaine, J.||Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.|
|Chambers, Sir T.||Green, E.|
|Chaplin, Colonel E.||Greenall, G.|
|Chaplin, H.||Gregory, G. B.|
|Chapman, J.||Grey, Earl de|
|Christie, W. L.||Grieve, J. J.|
|Churchill, Lord R.||Gurney, rt. hon. R.|
|Clarke, J. C.||Hall, A. W.|
|Clive, Col. hon. G. W.||Halsey, T. F.|
|Cobbett, J. M.||Hamilton, Lord C. J.|
|Cobbold, J. P.||Hamilton, I. T.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Hamilton, Lord G.|
|Colman, J. J.||Hamilton, Marquess of|
|Conolly, T.||Hamilton, R. B.|
|Coope, O. E.||Hardcastle, E.|
|Corbett, Colonel||Hardy, rt. hon. G.|
|Cordes, T.||Harrison, C.|
|Corry, J. P.||Hartington, Marq. of|
|Cotes, C. C.||Havclock, Sir H.|
|Cowan, J.||Hay, Sir J. C. D.|
|Crawford, J. S.||Heath, R.|
|Crichton, Viscount||Henley, rt. hon. J. W.|
|Cross, rt. hon. R. A.||Hermon, E.|
|Crossley, J.||Hick, J.|
|Dalrymple, C.||Hodgson, K. D.|
|Damer, Capt. Dawson-||Hogg, J. M.|
|Davenport, E. G.||Holms, J.|
|Davies, R.||Holms, W.|
|Deakin, Colonel J. H.||Holt, J. M.|
|Denison, C. B.||Hood, Captain hon. A. W. A. N.|
|Denison, W. E.|
|Dick, F.||Hope, A. J. B. B.|
|Dickson, T.||Horsman, rt. hon. E.|
|Dilke, Sir C. W.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Disraeli, rt. hon. B.||Huddleston, J. W.|
|Dixon, G.||Hunt, rt. hon. G. W.|
|Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.||Ingram, W. J.|
|Douglas, Sir G.||Isaac, S.|
|Dowdeswell, W. E.||Jackson, H. M.|
|Duff, R. W.||Jenkins, D. J.|
|Dundas, J. C.||Johnson, J. G.|
|Dyott, Colonel R.||Johnston, W.|
|Earp, T.||Johnstone, H.|
|Edmonstone, Admiral||Johnstone, Sir F.|
|Egerton, hon. A. F.||Jones, J.|
|Egerton, Sir P. G.||Karslake, Sir J.|
|Elliot, Admiral||Kay-Shutlleworth, U. J.|
|Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H.||Kensington, Lord|
|Emlyn, Viscount||Knatchbull-Hugessen, rt. hon. E.|
|Estcourt, G. B.|
|Ewing, A. O.||Knowles, T.|
|Feilden, H. M.||Lacon, Sir E. H. K.|
|Fellowes, E.||Laing, S.|
|Ferguson, R.||Laird, J.|
|Fitzimaurice, Lord E.||Laverton, A.|
|Fletcher, I.||Law, rt. hon. H.|
|Floyer, J.||Lawson, Sir W.|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Learmonth, A.|
|Forester, rt. hon. Gen.||Lee, Major V. H.|
|Forster, Sir C.||Leeman, G.|
|Forster, rt. hon. W. E.||Lefevre, G. J. S.|
|Forsyth, W.||Legard, Sir C.|
|Freshfield, C. K.||Legh, W. J.|
|Gallwey, Sir W. P.||Leigh, Lt.-Col. E.|
|Gardner, J. T. Agg-||Leith, J. F.|
|Gardner, R.||Lewis, C. E.|
|Garnier, J. C.||Liddell, hon. H. G.|
|Goldney, G.||Lindsay, Lord|
|Goldsmid, J.||Lloyd, T. E.|
|Locke, J.||Roebuck, J. A.|
|Lopes, H. C.||Round, J.|
|Lowther, J.||Russell, Lord A.|
|Lubbock, Sir, T.||Russell, Sir C.|
|Macduff, Viscount||Ryder, G. R.|
|Macgregor, D.||Salt, T.|
|Mackintosh, C. F.||Sandon, Viscount|
|M'Arthur, A.||Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G.|
|M'Lagan, P.||Scott, Lord H.|
|M'Laren, D||Scott, M. D.|
|Maitland, J.||Scourfield, J. H.|
|Majendie, L. A.||Seely, C.|
|Makins, Colonel||Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J.|
|Marlon, A. G.|
|Maxwell, Sir W. S.||Shute, General|
|Mellor, T. W.||Sidebottom, T. H.|
|Milles, hon. G. W.||Simonds, W. B.|
|Mills, A.||Smith, A.|
|Mills, Sir C. H.||Smith, S. G.|
|Monk, C. J||Smith, W. H.|
|Montgomeric, R.||Smyth, R.|
|Morley, S.||Somerset, Lord H. R. C.|
|Mowbray, rt. hn. J. R.||Spinks, Serjeant|
|Mulholland, J.||Stanford, V. F. Benett-|
|Muntz, P. H.||Stanhope, hon. E.|
|Mure, Colonel||Stanley, hon. F.|
|Naghten, A. R.||Starkey, L. R.|
|Nevill, C. W.||Stevenson, J. C.|
|Neville-Grenville, R.||Stewart, M. J.|
|Newport, Viscount||Sturt, H. G.|
|Noel, E.||Swanston, A.|
|Northcote, rt. Hon. Sir S. H.||Talbot, J. G.|
|O'Donogbue, The||Tennant, R.|
|Onslow, D.||Thynne, Lord H. F.|
|Paget R. H.||Torr, J.|
|Parry, T.||Trevelyan, G. O.|
|Patteshall, E.||Vance, J.|
|Pell, A.||Wait, W. K.|
|Pelly, Sir H. C.||Walker, T. E.|
|Pemberton, E. L.||Walpole, hon. F.|
|Peploe, Major||Walsh, hon. A.|
|Perceval, C. G.||Walter, J.|
|Perey, Earl||Waterlow, Sir S. H.|
|Perkins, Sir F||Watney, J.|
|Phipps, P.||Wethered, T. O.|
|Playfair, rt, hn. Dr. L.||Whitelaw, A.|
|Plimsoll, S.||Whitwell, J.|
|Plunket, hon. D. R.||Whitworth, W.|
|Plunkett, hon. R.||Wilmot, Sir H.|
|Powell, W.||Wilmot, Sir J. E.|
|Price, Captain||Wolff, Sir H. D.|
|Puleston, J. H.||Yarmouth, Earl of|
|Raikes, H. C.||Yeaman, J.|
|Reed, Sir C.||Yorke, hon. E.|
|Reid, R.||Yorke, J. R.|
|Renton, G. W.||TELLERS.|
|Richard, H.||Dyke, W. H.|
|Ripley, H. W.||Winn, R.|
|Ritchie, C. T.|
Revoked, That this House will, Tomorrow, resolve itself into a Committee to consider of the Supply to be granted to Her Majesty.
Ways And Means
Resolved, That this House will, Tomorrow; resolve itself into a Committee
to consider of the Ways and Means for raising the Supply to be granted to Her Majesty.
East India Loan
Considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
, in rising to move a Resolution, That it is expedient to enable the Secretary of State in Council of India to raise a sum, not exceeding £10,000,000, in the United Kingdom, for the service of the Government of India, on the credit of the revenues of India, said, that the portion of Her Majesty's most gracious Speech which referred to the Bengal Famine, expressed a wish that no money should be spared so that life might be saved, and in the spirit of that wish he was now about to ask leave for the introduction of a Bill which would place funds with that object in the possession of the Indian Government. Considering the exceptional gravity of the crisis existing in India, and the great interest felt in it not only by hon. Members, but throughout the country, he trusted the Committee would excuse him if he detained them at some little length. His hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury (Mr. "W. M. Torrens) yesterday moved an Amendment to the Address, on the ground that Her Majesty's Government were not sufficiently aware of the gravity of the present crisis, and were not, in consequence, prepared to take sufficiently energetic action. If his hon. Friend, or any other hon. Gentleman, still entertained that idea, he trusted he should be able to dispel the illusion when he said that in the Bill which he proposed to introduce he was about to ask for power to raise £10,000,000. He thought that sum would be a sufficient indication that the Government were fully alive to the gravity of the present crisis. In making a statement which would necessarily involve a certain amount of detail, he trusted the House would not forget the difficulties under which he laboured—first in having to succeed the hon. Member for Elgin (Mr. Grant Duff), who for five years not only represented the India Office in that House with great ability, but who, in addition, brought to bear on every Indian subject a fund of accumulated knowledge to which he himself could not pretend. Lithe second place, he would remind the House that he became associated with the India Office exactly when the famine, before impending over Bengal, had descended on the most densely-inhabited portions of that province. Thirdly, he was now under the difficulty of explaining measures which were sanctioned, elaborated, and carried out, not by the Government to which he belonged, but by their predecessors. He did not say that with the intention in any way of censuring any of the acts of the late Government, but merely to point out that it would have been far easier for the hon. Member for Elgin to explain them than for his successor. And, further, he would remind the House that there was sonic little difficulty in placing the figures before them, because the India Office had week by week received despatches from India, and, after having perused those despatches and managed to retain a certain number of figures, it was found next week that those figures were entirely changed. If, therefore, the figures which he should give differed from those which hon. Gentlemen, by their own industry or from the public prints, had been able to gather, they must not consider their own as accurate and his as the reverse, but they should bear in mind that he, as the Representative of the India Office in that House, had been able to obtain better and more recent information. On the 27th of October Lord Northbrook telegraphed to the Duke of Argyll—"Very bad failure of crops in Bengal. I leave at once to consult with Sir George Campbell." It seemed scarcely credible to Europeans that the failure of one crop over an area as large as that of England, Scotland, and Wales combined, and far more densely populated, should spread famine over the length and breadth of that district. But Lord North-brook was fully aware of the crisis; he at once proceeded to Calcutta, and there issued a weighty Resolution. That Resolution was shortly afterwards considered at a general conference, and he would by-and-by state its purport to the House. The Resolution to which he referred was issued in consequence of Information which the Indian Government had received, which led them to believe that in four districts of Bengal, comprising a population of 35,000,000, there would be, for the next eight months, great scarcity, and very probably famine. He must remind the House that in 1848 we had a famine in Ireland, which Lord Russell had graphically described as "a famine of the 14th century among a population of the 19th." On that occasion, though the English Government had a large Navy to assist it, and had the advantage of enormous subscriptions placed at its disposal, and an amount of individual charity and agency such as probably never before was at the command of a Government, and though the means of interior communication in Ireland were excellent, they were, nevertheless, unable to prevent the Irish people from dying by thousands. He did not state that as wishing in any way to diminish the responsibility attaching to the Indian Government or the India Office; he merely reminded the House of the difficulty which the English Government had to contend with in dealing with a famine on a much smaller scale. The population of the district now affected by famine was probably the densest in the world, being upwards of 496 persons to a square mile, or very nearly double the density of the population of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In addition to that, there was a peculiar people to be dealt with who, whether from their habits or the nourishment upon which they existed, had neither physical nor mental stamina which would enable them to bear up against great privation or scarcity. The Government of India had besides to contend against the prejudices of caste. These were difficulties which were known to the public, but there was another difficulty to which sufficient importance had not been attached. Any Government, having to deal with a difficulty of this enormous magnitude must depend very much upon the information furnished by its local officers. He would say, in no spirit of censure, of the present or past Governors of Bengal, that there was no province of India so badly provided with the means of local administration, for they were not in Bengal under the same necessity which existed in other parts of India of having an accurate local survey. That arose from the fact that in that province certain Zemindars became responsible to the Government for the revenue, and the Government, therefore, had no reliable Returns as to the cultivation of the soil. All persons acquainted with India would concur with him when he said that statistical deficiency had attained an extreme point in Bengal when, some four years ago, a population was estimated at 42,000,000, which by a Census two years afterwards was found to amount to 66,000,000. Sir George Campbell, in a recent Report, dwelt on the difficulty that existed in the way of gathering reliable information as to the condition of the distressed districts, He had, however, taken steps to overcome those difficulties of which his successor would reap the benefit. He now came to the Resolution which was passed by the Governor General of India in Council, in which they determined not to prohibit exports. They also resolved that measures should be taken for the vigorous prosecution of public works. The Lieutenant Governor of Bengal was authorized to open local relief works, and loans were to be advanced to municipalities as well as to landlords for the purpose of effecting improvements. It was further resolved that levies made on account of roads should be postponed; that one-half the cost of the carriage of grain to the distressed districts should be defrayed by the Government; that relief committees should be formed in all the districts; and their medical staffs considerably augmented. It had been hinted that the relations of the different Governments in carrying out this work were not as cordial as could be desired; but that was an error. The Government of India undertook to procure the necessary grain for the relief of the districts—the Government of Bengal, by a subsequent Resolution, were to provide the transport necessary for its distribution. That Government was also authorized to procure food for all who were employed upon strictly local works. As time went on more accurate information was obtained as to the districts in which real distress might be experienced, and as to its probable extent. The four divisions of Bengal to which he had alluded were divided into two by the Ganges. In the districts south of that river, little anxiety had been felt during the last two months, as it was traversed by the East Indian Railway and the local communication was far bettor than in the north. It was in the district north of the Ganges that the greatest difficulties were experienced. The district was bounded on the south by the Ganges and on the north by Nepaul, and it was felt from the very first that in this great district the utmost obstacles would have to be overcome in the transport of grain and rice for the relief of its inhabitants. At a meeting held by the Government in Calcutta on the 4th of February last, and which was attended by the Governor-General, it was determined to establish district committees; and various other measures of relief were resolved upon. Sir Richard Temple had already been despatched by the Governor-General to travel through the districts in which the greatest distress existed, with a view to place the transport in a more satisfactory condition, and of making a most accurate calculation as to the actual amount of food that would be required. The despatches of Sir Richard Temple bad only reached the India Office during the last week, and they afforded some most interesting information as to the districts north of the Ganges in which the greatest distress had hitherto been experienced. He calculated that in the district of Tirhoot not less than 1,000,000 persons would be on the hands of the Government, and possibly for a period of from six to eight months. The transport, he found, was to a certain extent backward, but the officials and private persons were exerting themselves very much, and he estimated that in that district alone, 148,000 tons of grain and rice would be required. He then passed on to the adjoining district, and calculated that not less than 400,000 persons would, for the same time as he had before mentioned, be likely to be on the hands of the Government, and that 37,000 tons of grain and rice would be required for their relief. In the next district he visited he found that not less than 200,000 would be obliged to come to the Government for relief, and that a corresponding amount of grain and rice would have to be transported into the district; and he further reported that the transport arrangements were not so perfect as he could have wished. Now, during the time that had elapsed between the holding of the first meeting by the Governor-General at Calcutta and the starting of Sir Richard Temple on this expedition, the Viceroy had frequently in public despatches expressed his dissatisfaction with the state of the local transport, and had urged upon the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal the necessity of more strict supervision, so that the necessary transport requirements might be adequately met. Sir Richard Temple, during the expedition to which he had referred, went up far north, and found that in the districts beyond our own—in Nepaul—there was considerable scarcity and distress. The House would see that the difficulty to be overcome in dealing with the district north of the Ganges was rendered greater by the fact that there was access to it only from the south, and that the districts which lay to the north, beyond our border, were themselves in a state of great distress. The Government had, therefore, to contend with very great and exceptional difficulties in transporting food to the distressed districts. He might state that Sir Richard Temple had estimated that the amount of grain and rice which would be required in the provinces he had visited amounted to not less than 332,000 tons. Since then they had had information by telegraph that that amount should be considerably increased. Now, what amount had Lord Northbrook procured? By the last telegram received they learnt that he had ordered 425,000 tons of rice and grain, and that on the 4th of March, 100,000 tons of that amount had arrived at Calcutta. Although they could not from their recent advices from India state positively that more than 425,000 tons had been purchased, yet the Secretary of State for India, both the late and the present, had earnestly impressed upon Lord Northbrook the necessity of purchasing amply sufficient stores of grain and rice to meet the heaviest estimates that had been made, and had further pointed out, that, on the one hand, if his estimates should exceed the requirements, the result would merely be that a certain amount of food would remain upon the hands of the Government which they could easily dispose of at a pecuniary loss, while, on the other hand, if his supplies should in any way run short the most terrible responsibility would rest upon all concerned in the government of India. Therefore, as they could not say that the 425,000 tons, although considerably in excess of the estimates the Government had received, would be sufficient, that amount would be considerably added to during the next few weeks. He now came to the important question of transport. That was from the first seen by the Governor General to be the great difficulty to be contended with. Sir Richard Temple, during his expedition through the northern tracts, placed the transport in a fair state of organization, and to give the House some little idea of the enormous amount of carriage required to transport the food necessary to feed so large a population, he might say that not very long ago they received a telegram from Sir Richard Temple, in which he stated that he had no fewer than 50,000 carts at work north of the Ganges, and that that number would shortly be increased to 70,000. The amount of grain now carried by the East India railroad, running nearly parallel with the Ganges, was not less than 4,000 tons per diem—a little more than 2,000 from Calcutta, and the rest from the northwest Provinces—the greater part of which was imported by private traders. The great burden cast on the East India Line had attracted the attention of the Government, and only the other day a gentleman was commissioned to engage, if possible, 40 English stokers, and send them out by the earliest mail. Attention had also been paid to increasing the rolling stock and supplementing the engines at present available. Owing to the scarcity of rain during the past few months, many rivers were too low to be utilized for water carriage; but the Indian Government had asked the Imperial Government to authorize the building of steamers, and 10 had boon ordered on almost the same lines as those recently built for the Butch to assist them in their war in Sumatra. These, it was hoped, would soon be completed, and would be carried out in sections by the Suez Canal, each having a carrying power of 20 tons, while it was proposed to send out with them live barges, each carrying 60 tons. The Indian Government, moreover, had ordered four steamers at Calcutta, so that when the rainy season set in, the rivers would be thoroughly utilized throughout the distressed districts. A tramway, or rather railroad, had also been laid with great expedition from the Ganges up to the most distressed districts, a large quantity of matériel lying at Calcutta, and intended for one of the large lines, having been employed. He believed it would in a very short time be lit for use, in which case it would relieve very considerably the local transport. In the northernmost parts of Tirhoot, there being few roads, the local authorities had felt the necessity of relying a good deal on hand carriage, and to overcome the difficulty, small bags to contain 60lbs. of rice were being prepared in Bengal. Considerable anxiety had been felt as to the labour test, which it had been supposed, was rigidly enforced. Lord Northbrook, however, in a Circular of the 13th of February, addressed to all the Government officials, had laid down that it was merely a precautionary measure, and was not to be applied to those who had been hitherto unaccustomed to labour, or who were of such high rank as to prevent their accepting food on such terms. The labourers on many Relief Works had hitherto been paid in money; but it was felt by the Indian Government that when prices became very high it would be impossible for those receiving but small sums to purchase sufficient food, and Lord Northbrook had therefore decided that when 20lbs. of rice could only be purchased for 2s., food instead of money should be given. Many comments had been made on the class of food imported by the Indian Government from Burmah and elsewhere, and experiments had been made as to its nutritiousness. A Government orderly was ordered to cat a certain amount of Burmah rice and report from hour to hour how digestion was going on. He ultimately reported that it was not unpalateable and was easily digested, and although it could not be hoped that everybody was as complaisant as Government employés, there was reason to believe that the aversion which might be felt to Burmese rice resulted from the prejudice arising from ignorance, which frequently caused the lower orders at home to refuse healthy and nutritious food merely because they were not accustomed to it Lord Northbrook had set out elaborate rules indicating what were to be the nature and duties of the relief committees, the necessity of which was evidenced by the fact that a strong opinion existed that it was the duty of the Government to provide food and its distribution, and that private individuals should in no way interfere. Now, in the famine in the north-west Provinces in 1860–70, the total number of persons daily relieved was upwards of 100,000, of whom 80,000 were on the Government relief works, and 20,000 were relieved by relief societies. Those rules were to the effect that the chief duty of such committees was not to purchase, but to distribute, grain, and he attached much importance to their formation, because it placed at the disposal of the Government an organization for distribution which could not otherwise be obtained. In no country was it more necessary to secure the co-operation of native gentlemen than in India, for he was informed by the best authority that there were many well-born persons who would far sooner starve than incur what they deemed contamination, and who could not be kept alive unless the food was actually brought to their houses by persons whom they knew, or who were of their own caste and rank. Now, Government relief, especially if on a large scale, must be administered on system, and no system could be made sufficiently elastic to meet all these exceptional and isolated cases of distress. It was, therefore, earnestly to be hoped that persons would subscribe as well as give their moral support to the formation of relief committees, for, even from his limited knowledge of India, he was sure the famine could only be successfully combated by a thorough system of relief committees established throughout the distressed districts. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Sunderland (Mr. Gourley) had given Notice of a Question as to the measures the Government were prepared to take to prevent a repetition of the famine. Now, there were two classes of public works which could alone do this—irrigation, which would save the country from the effects of drought, and roads, which would open it up, and facilitate communication. With reference to these, a very large number of persons were at work on the Soane canal, with which many hon. Members were acquainted, as well as the various canals connecting it with the Ganges, while north of that river many persons had been employed during the past few months upon the Gunduck embankment. At the same time, in the north of Bengal many persons had been employed on the construction of a railway, while a tramway, or rather railroad, had been laid to the most distressed part of Tirhoot, and in every other part of the district, roads were being made and tanks made or cleaned out. Before turning to the financial part of the question, he must testify to the personal courage and resolution which had been exhibited by the Viceroy during this trying emergency. He had never deviated from the principles on which he believed it would be right to carry out relief. He had been subjected to attacks both in India and in England, but there was only one point to which, he would allude. He had been severely criticized for not prohibiting the export of rice from Bengal. That question resolved itself into two—the effect as regarded the supply of food, and the ultimate effect on the trade of Bengal. The latter it was now hardly necessary to consider. He now came to what would have been the immediate effect in reference to the food supply required for the present emergency. Those who blamed Lord Northbrook for not prohibiting the export of rice and grain, did not seem to have learnt the first principle on which he had conducted his measures for the relief of the distress. Lord North-brook saw that the calamity was one of so gigantic a nature that it would be utterly impossible for any Government to cope with it alone, and he therefore laid it down that it was the duty of the Government in no way in the first instance to interfere with private trade, but that they must rely mainly in the first instance on private trade and enterprise in supplying the wants of the people, and that when private trade failed, then it would be the duty of the Government—having in the meantime provided stores—to supplement it and supply deficiencies. He ventured to say that no one placed in Lord North brook's critical and exceptional position could well have come to any other determination, and the best justification of that measure was founded on the fact that at the present moment grain was pouring in from the northwest Provinces mainly through private trade at the rate of 1,500 tons per diem. Another strong reason for not prohibiting exports was that famines had occurred from time to time in various parts of India, and, although they were localized, they had been very severe in the localities to which they were restricted, mainly because a system of selfish isolation was pursued by the native rulers who refused to allow food to be exported from their districts. We had constantly preached against that practice, and he could not conceive a greater satire on our doctrine than if we had ourselves adopted the very principle we had condemned, the very first time that we had to contend with famine on a large scale. In the Council Chamber at Calcutta there was an old motto indicative of that high quality which had enabled us as Europeans to maintain our Empire, and it was comprised in these four words—"Mens æqua in arduis." It had distinguished many illustrious men who had filled the office of Viceroy of India; and of this he was certain, that though many had borne their part in deeds which might perhaps have more attracted the eye of the superficial public, yet, when history came to be written, no man would be found more justly entitled to credit for the quality he had mentioned than Lord Northbrook, as shown in his personal conduct during the great crisis through which they were now passing. Let him say one word with reference to finance. He had stated that they would ask powers to raise £10,000,000, but he sincerely trusted it would not be necessary for them to raise any sum equivalent to that amount. At the present moment they drew monthly upon the Government of India for about £1,300,000. Some time back the Governor-General telegraphed to the Secretary of State, requesting him to diminish his monthly drafts by £250,000. The Duke of Argyll had proposed, and Lord Salisbury had agreed to diminish them still further, and they had now reduced them by £400,000 per month. The expenditure for the famine up to the end of February was about £2,500,000. Sir George Campbell, in his Estimates—which would shortly be before the House—calculated that the total amount incurred in relieving the distress and in starting relief works during that famine would be £6,295,000, but of that sum about £1,900,000 was expected to be refunded, and speaking roughly it was estimated that the total expenditure would not be less than £4,500,000. Although they hoped it might not be necessary for the Secretary of State in Council to raise more than the £3,000,000 which would be the amount by which be was originally requested to reduce his monthly drafts—namely, £250,000 per month, still he deemed it absolutely essential to ask for longer powers, and for this reason—it was impossible to foretell what would be the condition of the great winter crops this year. Parliament would in all probability be up at the end of July; they would receive no accurate information very likely till late in October, and those who had experience of the East knew that those famines frequently lasted more than one year, and he would point out to the House what a terrible position they would be placed in if they merely asked for power to borrow£3,000,000, the amount by which Lord Northbrook expected them to diminish their drafts, and when Parliament was prorogued they received intelligence from India that there was every probability of a perhaps even more dreadful famine lasting during the winter months, and they had no power of raising the necessary money to moot such an emergency. Proposals had been made, both in public and in private, by which it was insinuated that it would have boon a better course if the English Government had undertaken to guarantee any loan which they might propose to raise; but he thought that anybody who considered the matter would see that it would confer very little present advantage, while unquestionably it would deteriorate their financial character morally, and ultimately India would have to pay dearly for the English guarantee. He would only add one word in conclusion. It might be thought by some hon. Gentlemen, as they proposed to borrow £10,000,000 when they were asked for £3,000,000, that they were about to inaugurate an era of extravagance in India, but he could assure them that no one was more anxious than the present Secretary of State for the economical administration of the finances of India. His noble Friend conceived that for years the revenue, as well as the expenditure, of that country would require the most careful supervision to place it in a satisfactory position after such a terrible famine. He felt, further, that it was the duty of the Government to develop as far as possible the resources of India, with a view of preventing the recurrence of a similar calamity. But the difficulty which every one connected with India had to contend with could be summed up in a sentence—they had to govern India upon European principles, and they had merely an Asiatic revenue to depend upon. It had been supposed in years gone by that the functions of the Government were merely to collect the revenue and maintain peace and order; now he was glad to say they had higher and nobler views, and it would be the earnest wish of the Secretary of State in Council to develop by every practicable means the material resources of that country. His noble Friend felt that after they had successfully passed through the present ordeal, public attention would naturally be directed to India, and they hoped also that private enterprise would be extended in that country. He trusted that no one would grudge the money that was now asked for. He could not conceive that the sternest economist could hesitate when the choice lay between the expenditure of millions of money and the sacrifice of millions of lives. He therefore hoped the House would accord its unanimous assent to the bringing in of that Bill, and by doing so place at the disposal of the Indian Government the requisite funds which alone could enable them successfully to terminate the dreadful battle they were now fighting against famine and all its attendant horrors. He would conclude by moving the Resolution.
Moved to resolve, That it is expedient to enable the Secretary of State in Council of India to raise a sum, not exceeding £10,000,000, in the United Kingdom, for the service of the Government of India, on the credit of the revenues of India.
said, he wished to congratulate the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for India on the admirable manner in which he had performed the delicate and difficult task which had been entrusted to him. He rejoiced at the measure which the Government proposed to take, believing it was a first step in the right direction. The finances of India did not at this moment require the Imperial guarantee. They were sufficiently sound and solid for Parliament simply to give its sanction to the raising of such a loan as the Indian Government thought necessary for the moment. He sincerely trusted that the calculations made by the Viceroy and the Home Government would be amply justified by the result. He had never felt any serious doubts as to the ability of the Indian Government to supply the requisite amount of food; his apprehensions related to the question of transport, and the still greater difficulties of distribution. He was not at present prepared to say that the difficulties in the way of transport had been overcome, and he had only to express his earnest hope that these difficulties which were not matters of to-day or to-morrow, might by the varied and concentrated energy of Indian officials be successfully combated. As to the distribution of food when it reached its destination, he could not hesitate to believe that with the example of the Governor-General and the Lieutenant Governors before them, there would not be a man in any of the districts in question who would not give the Government all the assistance which so great an emergency demanded. There could, he might add, be no question that private charity would have an ample field for its exercise, even in the later days of the famine, when hundreds of thousands of people would be in such a state of helplessness that they would have to depend upon relief rather than upon the labour of their own hands, and if it should be found necessary to supplement the larger works of irrigation and locomotion which had been referred to, Parliament would, no doubt, give its assent.
expressed the great satisfaction with which he had listened to the statement of the noble Lord the Under Secretary for India. It showed that a great calamity had been met in a spirit worthy of the English nation and of the Government of India. It was perfectly clear that the Government had not been drifting on loosely and vaguely, but that the difficulty had been looked in the face by Lord Northbrook from the first, and that he had provided for it with a wisdom and energy deserving of commendation. The late as well as the present Government showed, in his opinion, great wisdom in not interfering with the measures taken by the Viceroy. Our duty was, beyond doubt, to furnish without stint the means necessary to meet the emergency, and then to give the able men who had to deal with it in India our cordial support. As to the particular proposal before the House, the Government was, he thought, quite right in applying for a large sum of money to cover any possible contingency, though the whole of that money might not be required. In the long run it would, he believed, be found to be the truest economy to provide ample resources. With respect to an Imperial guarantee, it might have been granted if the financial position of India had been entirely different; but when a question of merely a half or three-quarters per cent was involved it would be unwise, in his opinion, to raise a large question for so small an amount. He wished, in conclusion, to ask the noble Lord, as the whole of the £10,000,000 was not likely to be wanted, if he could tell the amounts which would be required, and the periods at which it would probably be necessary to raise the money in this country?
said, that if Parliament rose early he hoped that Government would take care that proper funds should be available, if required, for the saving of life in India, for he doubted very much when he recalled the history of the famine which had occurred in the same part of India 100 years ago, whether the present famine would not continue till September, and therefore whether it would not be wise to ask for powers to borrow £15,000,000 instead of £10,000,000. He thought he might add that, owing to the inaccurate and indeed unreliable statistics they were possessed of relating to Bengal, the causes of the famine ought to be clearly investigated, and the area of cultivated land for the production of food ought to be considerably extended, in order that an adequate supply of food might be provided for the present vast and yearly increasing population of the country. Steps ought also, he contended, to be taken to meet the difficulties of transport and distribution of food which were obviously the serious obstacles, in the present crisis, to feeding the people. He trusted the House would cordially support the propositions now made to it, and without delay pass the Bill authorizing a loan of £10,000,000, and thereby prove to India that the people of this country were anxious and ready to lend their money to aid the Government to provide food for the famine-struck districts of Bengal.
Motion agreed to.
Resolved, That it is expedient to enable the Secretary of State in Council of India to raise a sum, not exceeding.£10,000,000, in the United Kingdom, for the service of the Government of India, on the credit of the revenues of India.
Resolution to be reported To-morrow.
EAST INDIA [ANNUITY FUNDS],—Committor to consider of making provision for the transfer of the Assets and Liabilities of the Bengal and Madras Civil Service Annuity Funds, and the Annuity Branch of the Bombay Civil Fund, to the Secretary of State for India in Council (Queen's Recommendation signified), To-morrow.
Committee of Public, Accounts nominated:—Mr. CUBITT, Mr. O'REILLY, Mr. SEELY, Mr. LIDDELL, Mr. COLONEY, Mr. DODSON, Mr. SALT, Colonel BARTTEIOT, Mr. THOMSON HANKEY, Lord FREDERICK CAVENDISH, and Mr. WILLIAM HENRY SMITH.
Select Committee appointed, "to assist Mr. Speaker in all matters which relate to the Printing executed by the Order of this House, and for the purpose of selecting and arranging for Printing, Returns and Papers presented in pursuance of Motions made by Members of this House:"—Mr. SPENCER WALPOLE, Mr. HENLEY, Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, The O'CONOR DON, Mr. HUNT, Mr. STANSFELD, Mr. SCLATER-BOOTH, Mr. DODSON, Mr. MASSEY, Mr. WHITHREAD, and Mr. WILLIAM HENRY SMITH:—Three to be the quorum.
Kitchen And Refreshment Rooms (House Of Commons)
Standing Committee appointed, "to control the arrangements of the Kitchen and Refreshment Rooms, in the department of the Serjeant at Arms attending this House:"—Committee nominated:—Mr. ADAM, Mr. DYKE, Mr. EDWARDS, Mr. DICK, Mr. GOIDNEY, Mr. STAC-P'OOLE, Sir HENRY WOLFF, Captain HAYTER, Mr. MUNTZ, and Lord KENSINGTON:—Three to he the quorum.
Ancient Monuments Bill
On Motion of Sir JOHN LUBBOCK, Bill for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments, ordered to he brought in by Sir JOHN LUBBOCK, Mr. RUSSELL GURNEY, Mr. BERESFORD HOPE, Sir WILLIAM STIRLING MAXWELL, and Mr. OSBORNE MORGAN.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 1.]
Tribunals Of Commerce Bill
On Motion of Mr. WHITWELL, Bill for the establishment of Tribunals of Commerce, ordered to be brought in by Mr. WHITWELL, Mr. NORWOOD, Mr. MONK, Mr. SAMPSON LLOYD, and Mr. RIPLEY.
Bill presented, and read the first time;. [Bill 2.]
Metropolitan Buildings And Management Bill
On Motion of Colonel HOGG, Bill for consolidating, with Amendments, the Building Acts relating to the Metropolis; for making better provision respecting Streets and Sewers and Drains in the Metropolis; and for other purposes relating to the Metropolis, ordered to be brought in by Colonel HOGG, Mr. GRANTHAM, and Sir HENRY WOLFF.
Bill presented and read he first time, [Bill 3.]
On Motion of Mr. ANDERSON, Bill to amend the Act of sixteen and seventeen Victoria, chapter one hundred and nineteen, intituled, "An Act for the suppression of Betting Houses," ordered to be brought in by Mr. ANDERSON, Sir WILLIAM STIRLING: MANWELL. Mr. STEVENSON, and Mr. M'LAGAN.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 4.]
Factory Acts Amendment Bill
On Motion of Mr. MUNDELLA, Bill to amend the Factory Acts, ordered to be brought in by Mr. MUNDELIA, Mr. SHAW, Mr. CALLENDER, Mr. PHILIPS, Mr. COBBETT, Mr. ANDERSON, and Mr. MORLEY.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 5.]
Elementary Education Act (1870) Amendment Bill
On Motion of Mr. RICHARD, Bill to repeal the Twenty-fifth Clause of the Elementary Education Act (1870), ordered to be brought in by Mr. RICHARD, Sir THOMAS BAZLRY, Mr. MORLKY, Mr. WILLIAM M'ARTHUR, and Sir HENRY HAVELOCK.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 6.]
Household Franchise (Counties) Bill
On Motion of Mr. TREVELYAN, Bill to extend the Household Franchise to Counties, ordered to be brought in by Mr. TREYELYAN, Mr. LAMBERT, Mr. OSBORNE MORGAN, Sir ROBERT ANSTRUTHER, and The O'DONOGHUE.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 7.]
Leases And Sales Of Settled Estates Bill
On Motion of Mr. GRECORY, Bill to extend the powers of the Leases and Sales of Settled Estates Act, ordered to be brought in by Mr. GREGORY, Sir JOHN KENNAWAY, and Mr. LOBES.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 8.]
Permissive Prohibitory Liquor Bill
Considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Resolved, That the Chairman be directed to move the House, that leave be given to bring in a Bill to enable Owners and Occupiers of Property in certain districts to prevent the common sale of Intoxicating Liquors within such districts.
Resolution reported:—Bill ordered to be brought in by Sir WILFRID DAWSON, Sir THOMAS BAZLEY, Mr. DOWNING, Mr. RICHARD, Mr. DALWAY, Mr. CHARLES CAMERON, and Mr. WILLIAM JOHNSTON.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 9.]
Spirituous Liquors (Scotland) Bill
Considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Resolved, That the Chairman be directed to move the House, that leave be given to bring in a Bill for placing the sale by retail of Spirituous Liquors in Scotland under local control.
Resolution reported:—Bill ordered to be brought in by Sir ROBERT ANSTRUTHER, Mr. FORDYCE, and Mr. DALRYMPLE.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 10.]
Merchant Shipping Survey Bill
Considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Resolved, That the Chairman be directed to move the House, that leave be given to bring in a Bill to provide for the periodical Survey of Merchant Ships, and for so marking Ships as to diminish the practice of overloading.
Resolution reported:—Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. PLIMSOLL, Mr. ROEUCK, Mr. SAMCDA, Mr. KIRKMAX HODGSON, and Mr. HORSMAN.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 11.]
Married Women's Property Act (1870) Amendment Bill
On Motion of Mr. MORLEY, Bill to amend the Married Women's Property Act, 1870, ordered to be brought in by Mr. MORLEY, Sir JOHN LUBBOCK, and Sir CHARLES MILLS.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 12.]
Offences Against The Person Bill
On Motion of Mr. CHARLEY, Bill to amend the Law relating to Offences against the Person, ordered to be brought in by Mr. CHARLEY, Mr. WHITWELL, and Mr. EDWARD DAVENPORT.
Bill presented, and road the first time. [Bill 13.]
Women's Disabilities Removal Bill
On Motion of Mr. FORSYTH, Bill to remove the Electoral Disabilities of Women, ordered to be brought in by Mr. FORSYTH, Sir ROBERT ANSTRUTHER, Mr. RUSSELL GURNBY, and Mr. STANSFFLD.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 14.]
Revenue Officers Disabilities Bill
On Motion of Mr. MONK, Bill to relieve Revenue Officers from remaining Electoral Disabilities, ordered to be brought in by Mr. MONK and Mr. RUSSELL GURNEY.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 15.]
Elementary Education (Compulsory Attendance) Bill
On Motion of Mr. DIXON, Bill to amend the Elementary Education Act, 1870, by making obligatory the formation of School Boards and the enactment of compulsory attendance Bye-laws in England and Wales, ordered to be brought in by Mr. DIXON, Mr. MONDELLA, Sir. JOHN LUBBOCK, Mr. TREVELYAN, and Mr. MELLY.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 16.]
Game Laws (Scotland) Bill
On Motion of Mr. M'LACAN, Bill to consolidate and amend the Laws relating to Game in Scotland, ordered to be brought in by Mr. M'LAGAX, Sir EDWARD COLEBROOKE, Mr. ORR EWING, and Mr. MAITLAND.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 17.]
On Motion of Mr. LOPES, BUI to amend and consolidate the Law relating to Juries, ordered to be brought in by Mr. LOPES, Mr. GREGORY, and Mr. GOLDNEY.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 18.]
Imprisonment For Debt Bill
On Motion of Mr. BASS, Bill to amend the Law of Imprisonment for Debt by County Court Judges, ordered to be brought in by Mr. BASS, Mr. COBBETT, and Mr. HENRY FEILDEN.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 19.]
Landlord And Tenant (Ireland) Act (1870) Amendment Bill
On Motion of Mr. NOLAN, Bill to amend "The Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act, 1870," ordered to be brought in by Mr. NOLAN, Sir JOHN GRAY, Mr. MELDON, and Mr. TIGHE.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 20.]
Parliamentary Elections (Polling) Bill
On Motion of Sir CHARLES DILKE, Bill to extend the hours of Polling at Parliamentary Elections, ordered to be brought in by Sir CHARLES DILKE, Mr. ANDERSON, Mr. BURT, Mr. MACDONALD, and Mr. NORWOOD.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 21.]
Working Men's Dwellings Bill
On Motion of Mr. WHITWEIL, Bill to facilitate the erection of Dwellings for Working Men on land belonging to Municipal Corporations, ordered to be brought in by Mr. WHITWELL and Mr. MORLEY.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 22.]
Public Meetings (Ireland) Bill
On Motion of Mr. P. J. SMYTH, Bill to assimilate the Law of Ireland with reference to public meetings to that of England. ordered to be brought in by Mr. P. J. SMYTH, Mr. RONAYNE, and Mr. M'CARTHY DOWNING.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 23.]
Legal Practitioners Bill
On Motion of Mr. CHARLEY, Bill to amend the Law relating to Legal Practitioners, ordered to be brought in by Mr. CHARLEY and Mr. CHARLES LEWIS.
Bill presented, and road the first time. [Bill 24.]
On Motion of Mr. CHARLEY, Bill to amend the Law relating to Infanticide, ordered to be brought in by Mr. CHARLEY, Mr. GILPIN, Mr. HOLKER, and Mr. EDWARD DAVENPORT.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 25.]
Church Rates Abolition (Scotland) Bill
On Motion of Mr. M'LAREN, Bill for the abolition of Compulsory Church Rates in Scotland, ordered to be brought in by Mr. M'LAREN, Mr. BAXTER, Mr. TREVELYAN, Mr. GRIEVE, Mr. LAING, Sir GEORGE BALFOUR, and Dr. CAMERON.
Bill presented, and road the first time. [Bill 26.]
Public Worship Facilities Bill
Considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Resolved, That the Chairman be directed to move the House, that leave be given to bring in a Bill to provide facilities for the performance of Public. Worship according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England.
Resolution reported:—Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. SALT and Mr. CAWLKY.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 27.]
House adjourned at a quarter before One o'clock.