Motion For A Committee Adjourned Debate
Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [30th June],
"That this House will immediately resolve itself into a Committee to consider the present Parliamentary relations between Great Britain and Ireland."—(Mr. Butt.)
Question again proposed.
asked the Speaker in what way the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) would be put—whether the vote would be taken on the series of Re-solutions, or on the Motion for going into Committee?
said, the Question before the House—and which he would have to put—was that the House should immediately resolve itself into a Committee to consider the present Parliamentary relations between Great Britain and Ireland.
Sir, in approaching this question, I ask every hon. Gentleman who feels really inte- rested in it to lay aside these "spectacles of routine" which a great thinker says are too habitually worn in this House. I pray you to look frankly and freshly at the facts of the case; and I propose to show that the adjustment of Parliamentary relations now suggested, however opposed it may be to preconceived opinions, is, in reality, such as common sense dictates for the benefit of all concerned; that it is such as political philosophy prescribes for the state of facts with which we have to deal; that it is such as the experience of the world approves for such a state of facts; and that, so far from being injurious, it would be practically advantageous both to Great Britain and to Ireland. What are the essential facts of the case? They may be stated in a few sentences. Great Britain and Ireland are two Islands separated from the rest of the world and from each other by many miles of stormy sea. The two communities speak the same language, read the same literature, and are connected by ties of friendship, of kinship, and of association. It is clearly their interest to pull together as one Imperial State. But though the two communities are in many respects similar, they are in many other respects dissimilar. Their likings and dislikings are dissimilar. Their social conditions are dissimilar. Their predominating religions are dissimilar. Their predominating races are dissimilar. Their domestic institutions are dissimilar. The domestic arrangements which suit one do not suit the other. Moreover, both Islands have from immemorial time claimed the right to manage their own domestic affairs. This right was more or less preserved by Ireland until the year 1800, when, by means which were admittedly indefensible, the Irish Legislature was abolished. Both Islands have since been attempted to be ruled by the British Parliament, on the implied assumption that they formed only one homogeneous Kingdom, and that Ireland is merely West Britain. Prom some cause this attempted centralization has not worked satisfactorily for either Island. The two communities have not been fused into one, and do not seem likely to be so fused. As The Pall Mall Gazette once wrote, they can no more amalgamate than oil and water. As Mr. Lecky puts it, Pitt's measure cen- tralized, but did not unite, or rather by uniting the Legislatures it divided the nations. The contingent of Representatives which Ireland sends to London is necessarily divided and out-numbered. The result is that Great Britain virtually rules Ireland, nominates her administrators, and decides on every detail of her domestic life. At first she ruled very badly indeed—selfishly, ignorantly, and carelessly. Latterly she has been trying hard to rule well; but somehow she never "hits it off." You, English and Scotch Representatives are constantly complaining that you cannot understand Ireland. You are quite right. You do not understand Ireland. Your rule has been a failure. You have given us neither prosperity nor peace. Under your rule industries are dying out, manufactures falling away, agriculture deteriorating, and the population fleeing to other lands. Moreover, we Irish object to our domestic affairs being governed by another community, whether it govern well or ill, whether it be well-intentioned or ill-intentioned. The desire of national freedom, and the hope of it, have never left the Irish national heart. It occasionally rises to patriotism. It occasionally sinks to rowdyism. But it is always there—a vehement, deep-seated, wide-spread, apparently indestructible national instinct, underlying every agitation, outliving every concession, flashing in the eye and flushing in the cheek of most Irish men and women, rich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, of Celtic descent and of Saxon descent. Finally, the Imperial Parliament finds itself overwhelmed with all sorts of work, and some division of legislative labour appears indispensable if the Public Business is to be effectually done at all. Such are the essential facts of the case with which we have to deal. Now, I submit that any impartial and intelligent person, if asked to suggest a remedy for this state of things, might reasonably suggest, as a matter of common sense and common business, the very proposal which is now before the House. He might say, in effect, discontinue this unsuccessful experiment of over-centralization, which is only a recent experiment at best; seek no further to treat as absolutely homogeneous two communities which are thus geographically, socially, and historically distinct; let there be a divi- sion of legislative labour; relieve the Imperial Parliament of the management of Irish internal affairs; let an Irish Assembly look to these; let each country manage for itself what concerns itself only; let both manage in a common Assembly what concerns both collectively. Thus healthy national aspirations will be satisfied, and the "deadlock" of Imperial business prevented. Thus will a desirable middle course be found between the separation of two countries which have so many interests in common, and the over-centralization which has been found to work so badly for both. This, Sir, I submit, is the common sense of the matter. But, though common sense counts for much, political philosophy, which ought to be the quintessence of common sense as applied to political affairs, counts for a great deal more. It is unwise to approach this question as if it were something new, as if the circumstances were unprecedented, or as if the way of dealing with such circumstances had never before been considered. I need scarcely remind you that this question is nearly "as old as the hills;" that the state of facts we have been considering is of frequent occurrence; and that the mode of dealing with it has engaged the heads of the best political thinkers from Thales to Calhoun. From the earliest civilized times until now, and now in some of the greatest countries of the world, we find communities so united by circumstances of geographical position, of race, of commercial interests and of civil institutions, that it is their interest to be joined in a common state; yet so distinct in internal structure, habitudes, and characteristics, or so separated by physical boundaries and national idiosyncracies, as to render it desirable that each should retain the management of its own domestic affairs, and impracticable to fuse them into one homogeneous community. To suit this state of facts a political system was devised 2,000 years ago, and has since been perfected by many a wise statesman in many a famous state. It is known, technically, as the composite system, or Federalism; by German writers as Bundesstät. Like every political system, it suits only the state of facts for which it was devised. To apply it to any other state of facts, as was lately insanely attempted in France, is to mis- apply it. Indeed, more than most systems, it needs caution in application. To what state of facts does it apply? Let Mr. Freeman, the distinguished historian of the system, answer; and we are the safer to take his answer, because it is given without reference to Ireland, and because his opinion would appear to be adverse to Irish claims. Mr. Freeman says:—
Such is the canon of fitness for Federal government which the historian of Federalism lays down; and he is in substantial accord with every great authority on the subject. But it is evident that the English language could not summarize with more neatness the very state of facts we have been considering. Ours is precisely "the intermediate set of circumstances" for which political philosophy prescribes Federalism as the "true solvent;" and Federalism is precisely what we propose for that state of facts. I submit, therefore, that it is not the Federal proposal that needs to be justified in the face of science; it is the resistance to it that needs such justification. Our present arrangement is clearly defective, inasmuch as it forces a system suitable only for one homogeneous community on two communities which are clearly not homogeneous, and because its practical result is the subjection of the domestic affairs of one distinct, idiosyncratic, and ancient community to the management of another community which, admittedly, does not understand these affairs and has not time to attend to them; which, confessedly, has failed to manage them to the satisfaction of any one concerned; and whose interference in these domestic affairs at all is notoriously at variance with the deepest national instincts of the subject people. But, what has actual historical experience to say to this system of local self- government combined with Imperial unity? I shall not trouble the House with detailed historical retrospects. I merely remind you that this, so far from being a fanciful or new-fangled system, is one of the oldest and best settled in the world's history. It worked well in the Achaian League of early times and in the United Netherlands of the middle age. It existed for seven centuries in Switzerland. Under it the United States of America have grown from a few despised colonies into the mightiest of modern States. This system has thriven in Sweden and Norway since 1814. Austria and Hungary have recently adopted it. The new Imperial German Constitution has adopted it so far at least as to provide that the representatives of one community cannot vote in what concerns only the domestic affairs of any other community. Self-government has been reconciled with Imperial unity under the British Crown in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The Imperial Parliament has adopted this as a fixed principle in dealing with all its colonies of European race. Indeed, some of the shrewdest thinkers of all countries concur with Mr. Laing in holding that the Federal system is that towards which civilized society is naturally tending all over the world. Nature forbids, says Mr. Laing, by unalterable moral differences between people and people, that one government can equally serve all. Federalism is a principle more akin to natural, free, and beneficial legislation than this forced centralization. Sir, I have shown that the Federal proposal is in accord with common sense. I have shown that it is in accord with political science. I have shown that it is in accord with historical precedent. Permit me briefly to note, in conclusion, the practical advantages which may be expected from it. One very obvious practical advantage is that it would relieve the plethora of business in this House. If England ever fail as a nation, says Sir Arthur Helps, it will be from too much pressure of business on Parliament. The union of several Parliaments in one, said Sir George Grey, has thrown upon that one Parliament an amount of business that it cannot perform. Under the present system the work of the House of Commons is plainly getting beyond its powers. How can it be otherwise? Consider the difference between the Parliaments of 1874 and 1800. In a few years more the expansion and requirements of to-day will be equally left behind. Now, I put it to any hon. Member, is there any one arrangement which would so tend to lighten the pressure of business, and set English and Scotch Members free to consider their own most pressing national affairs, as the proposed transference of Irish domestic business, to an Irish Assembly? Is there a single English or Scotch Member who has not been worried almost beyond endurance by this ever recurring, never ending "Irish question?" Moreover, would it not be a pleasure to every Briton to know that the domestic affairs of his country would be transacted by his own representatives and no others? What can we, Irish Members, know about the internal affairs of England? How can our interference in them be other than a disturbing element in the equilibrium of parties, and an inconvenient interference in other people's domestic affairs? Another practical advantage would be this—that the domestic affairs of Ireland would be transacted by men who know all about them, who would have time to attend to them, and who would have no other public business to attend to. After all, even in these high pressure days, time and knowledge are essential to the proper conduct of business. Is it not evident that the Imperial Parliament has neither the time nor the knowledge? As to time, we know that the most urgent affairs of Ireland are put off incessantly, often for years, often indefinitely, simply because Parliament cannot spare time to attend to them. As to knowledge, how can hon. Members from England and Scotland know very much about the details of Irish life? I hope it is not discourteous to say that since I came into the House I have been deeply impressed with this lack of knowledge. I hear hon. Members speaking of Irish affairs ably, eloquently, and kindly. They have every element of suitability for legislating for Ireland except the one indispensable element—knowledge of Ireland. You really do not know Ireland. You only guess about it, and you generally guess wrong. You insist on managing our affairs—you generally make a mess of them, and you blame us for the result. Again, there is the important practical advantage of accustoming Irishmen to put their heads together about their own affairs. It is only by exercising some degree of self-government that a country gains political experience, tolerance, and self-control. Again, there is the practical advantage of checking the tendency to over-centralization. As it is, the intellectual, artistic, and social life of Ireland is dying out. Ireland is being gradually reduced to the condition of an out-lying farm for the supply of the English markets. Nearly every national interest is neglected. The national wealth, material and moral, is directed into other channels. Nearly every Irish interest is in a muddle—agriculture, manufacture, education, railways, law, literature, art, and science. Surely it is only reasonable to let Irishmen consult together about these exclusively Irish affairs—the nature and requirements of which none can understand so well as themselves. But over and above all these material advantages, is the great moral one of civil liberty. If there be any one thing about which it is safe to say that all the civilized world and all political thinkers are agreed, it is that, ordinarily speaking, a community gets on better when it manages its own affairs, than when these affairs are managed for it by another community; just as, ordinarily speaking, a man gets on better when he is not in bondage or tutelage to anyone else. This thought underlies all the praises of civil liberty that ever were said or sung. It is, beyond doubt, a true thought. Unless the community or the man be mad, they know their own business better than anyone else can know it. Unless they be utter incapables they will do it better than anyone else can do it. Unless they be sneaks, they will feel as an intolerable grievance the pretension of anyone else to supersede them in it. Keep a man in such bondage or tutelage, and you will make him a milksop. All inventiveness, all brightness of genius, all force of character, all aspiration to achievement will die out in him; no such man ever does any real good for himself or anyone else. Keep a community in such bondage and tutelage, and you emasculate it for all good purposes, and put it in "the way of temptation" to all bad ones. Public spirit, self-reliance, self-control, self-knowledge, national faith, national hope, national charity will decline. No such community prospers, or ever yet really prospered since the world began. Lastly, there is the immense practical advantage of removing Irish disaffection by removing its cause. It must be plain by this time that Great Britain can never be really safe while Ireland is discontented, and that utterly discontented Ireland will remain so long as she is denied that control over her local affairs which, as Grattan truly said, is the very "essence of liberty," and without the possession of which, as Sir George Grey admits, "no nation can be contented, prudent, or prosperous." The concession of such control may have dangers of its own. But is there any danger so great as persistent defiance of the reasonable requirements, the ancient instinctive longings, and, as I venture to say, the plain and certain rights of the Irish community? Of old, Grattan warned Pitt that in destroying the Irish Parliament he was "pulling down one of the pillars of the British Empire." Poster predicted that its consequences might be the "utter ruin" of both countries; and Charlemont declared that—"The Federal system requires a sufficient degree of community in origin, or feeling, or interest to allow the members to work together up to a certain point. It requires that there should not be that perfect degree of community or rather identity, which allows the members to be fused together for all purposes. When there is no community at all Federalism is inappropriate; the cities or States had better remain wholly independent. When community rises into identity Federalism is equally inappropriate; the cities or States had better both sink into the counties of a kingdom. But in the intermediate set of circumstances … Federalism is the true solvent. It gives as much union as the members need, and not more than they need."
Let us be wise before it is too late. God made the two Islands neighbours, and separated them from all the world beside. History, race, kinship, social intercourse, individual friendship, knit them together by many a strong and tender tie. There can be no "practical advantage" so great to both as to make both friends, to end the miserable quarrels of the past, and to enable them both to enter on the future with combined strength and individual freedom. It is objected that we have submitted no definition of the particular duties which should belong-respectively to the Imperial Parliament and to the Irish Parliament. These have been more than once defined by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick and by others; but lest there should be any misconception, I shall now give an exact specification of what is properly Imperial business and Irish business. It is proposed that the following matters should be left to the Imperial Parliament:—All relations with foreign States, all questions of peace and war, the government of the Colonies; the Amry, Navy, and all that relates to the defence and stability of the Empire; control of the Imperial customs, general trade regulations, control of expenditure and supplies for Imperial purposes, power to levy general taxation for such purposes; charge of the Public Debt and the Imperial Civil List; sovereign power, within the limits of the attributes of the Imperial Parliament, over individual citizens in both countries. To the Irish Parliament it is proposed to leave Irish education, Irish agriculture, Irish trade and manufactures, Irish public works, Courts of Justice, magistracy, railways, Post Office, Grand Juries, and every other detail of Irish national life. The general principle is that Ireland should manage for herself what concerns Ireland, and that both countries should manage in this Imperial Assembly what concerns both collectively. But how prevent the clashing of jurisdictions? By strict definition beforehand, and a Supreme Court independent of both, to decide all disputes. This practice works well in America and in Austro-Hungary. It is said that there would be a danger of the separation of Ireland from England if Home Rule were adopted. I admit that; but at present there is a danger of separation. All the material force which now prevents separation would remain absolutely unimpaired if Home Rule were established. But plus that material force, there would be a great moral support of the Union, and the moral support of a contented people has proved in all history more efficacious than any material support whatever. De Tocqueville was right in asserting that every citizen in a confederation had an interest in maintainng it, because in defending it he defended the prosperity and freedom of his own State. Under a confederate system it would be just as impossible for Ireland as it is now to take part in a foreign war. Under that system, Ireland would have to contribute taxes for Imperial purposes; and it would not be open to her to interfere with the Customs Duties or to abolish Free Trade. All these matters would remain as they now are, under Imperial control. I am surprised that so distinguished a scholar as the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. R. Smyth) should suggest that the Irish Parliament would be a vassal Parliament. Under the confederate system, there is no subordination whatever. The Imperial and the Local Legislatures are each supreme within the limits of their own special attributions. As to the objection that the English capital invested in Ireland would not be safe if Home Rule were established, I may remark that out of a total sum of £35,000,000 invested in the purchase of lands sold by the Landed Estates Court in Ireland, only £7,000,000 was non-Irish money. There is, I believe, more English money invested in Egypt and in Russia, and even in the miserable South American Republics, than in Ireland. I will go so far as to say that more capital is invested in the deposits of the Peruvian sea-fowl than is invested in Ireland. But so far from acting as a deterrent to the investment of English capital, the giving to Ireland the right to govern herself will act as an encouragement in its investment in that country. Whatever conduces to civil liberty conduces to social order. That which causes social disorder is the want of civil liberty. When both communities are united, as has been said by a celebrated Member of this House, "in the silken bonds of love," that will cause English capital to flow far more abundantly into Ireland than it does at present. Lastly, it has been objected that the Protestant minority will be over-ridden if the Motion be given effect to. I answer that the Roman Catholics have not the will to over-ride their Protestant fellow-countrymen, and that even if they had the will, they would not have the power. Irish Protestants are, it is true, the minority; but they number nearly one-third of the whole community, and they have had the start of the two-thirds in ancestral wealth and in all branches of professional life; and, besides, have all the advantages of hereditary education, refinement, and culture. I respect my Protestant fellow countrymen, and I know that cowardice is not among their failings. But utterly cowardly would they be if they seek to deprive themselves of the advantages of that civil liberty for which their forefathers have struggled, in order to cling to an alien domination, instead of joining in brotherly harmony with their fellow countrymen in the career of civil freedom."It would, more than any other measure, contribute to the separation of two countries the perpetual connection of which was one of the warmest wishes of his heart."
said, it was a matter of regret that so much of this debate had been occupied with historical reminiscences, which, in the case at least of the last speaker, had extended to a period of 2,000 years; for after all the question before the House was one which must be decided with reference, not to past history, but to the pre-sent circumstances and necessities of our country. He could not but regret that the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) should have raked up the old stories of pre-Union corruption and excess. What useful purpose could be served by such allusions? There was one point in which the present discussion was immeasurably inferior to these which on a kindred subject had preceded it. Forty years ago, Mr. O'Connell brought before the House the question of Repeal. That proposal was supported by a loss number of votes than that before the House was expected to receive; but it was discussed with a reality and a power which were wanting on the present occasion. Why was that so? Why was it that the 37 Members, who followed Mr. O'Connell, were more powerful than the 59 who, it was expected, would follow the hon. and learned Member for Limerick? This was the reason; because they had made up their minds as to what they really wanted, and were not afraid to declare it. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick, on the other hand, touched upon every topic but one in his able speech, and that one was how he meant to carry out his proposal. And why did he take care to avoid that topic? Because he knew full well that when he came to deal with it he would split up the party at his back. It was for some recognized authority among the hon. Members who were prepared to support Home Rule to say what Home Rule really meant; because the definition given by the hon. Member who had just spoken and by some other hon. Members was one which would, he believed, disappoint 99 out of every 100 persons who supported the cry. Again, why was this proposal, which he admitted had the countenance of a certain portion of the Irish people—not of the wealthy, not of the specially intelligent, not of the educated classes, but which, nevertheless, was recommended to the House as being backed up by the whole force of the Irish nation—why was a proposal which was supported by a portion only of the Irish nation, and which in itself was vague and indefinite, to be granted against the unanimous wish of the people of England and Scotland, and the most intelligent and wealthy portion of the people of Ireland? The hon. and learned Member for Limerick, if the House should resolve itself into Committee, proposed to move—
He at once demurred to the assertion that was contained in these words. He would not quote history, but he would quote an authority which the hon. and learned Gentleman, were he in his place, would not object to, and it was a speech delivered by himself when, in his earlier years, a rising advocate of the Irish Bar, a leading politician in Ireland, the hope of the Tory party, he supported the rights of the Protestant Corporation of Dublin, and before that body opposed the proposal of Mr. O'Connell for a repeal of the Union. On that occasion the hon. and learned Member, in a speech which would compare for ability and argumentative power with any he had ever delivered, showed most conclusively that Ireland never had the right or power which in this Motion he attributed to her. He said—"That it is expedient and just to restore to the Irish Nation the right and power of managing all exclusively Irish affairs in an Irish Parliament; that provision should be made at the same time for maintaining the integrity of the Empire and the connection "between the Countries by reserving to this Imperial Parliament full and exclusive control over all Imperial affairs."
["Hear, hear!"] Well, what were these rights? The hon. Gentlemen who cheered that statement should have considered how the hon. and learned Gentleman had defined them. "Parliaments of the Pale were," according to the hon. and learned Gentleman—"There is no impression more common, yet none more utterly erroneous, than the belief that in adopting the views of the hon. and learned Gentleman we are but demanding for Ireland the restoration of something that this country once had. I am quite prepared to demonstrate (to this assembly) that there cannot be anything like restoration in the case. … All that we can seek is of English origin. Our common law is the common law of England—the Parliament which is claimed is a Saxon institution—the hon. and learned Gentleman can trace the liberties of Ireland to no higher source than the English conquest. His claim is for Anglo-Saxon rights."
The hon. and learned Gentleman proceeded—"mere conventions of English settlers; irregular in their constitution, in their place, and their time of meeting, without any of the attributes of legislative, or even of deliberative, assemblies."
And he went on to say—"In after times, before any Parliament was called in Ireland, the heads of every Bill intended to be proposed to that Parliament were sent over to the English Privy Council, and were approved of there."
Was this the state of things that would be restored by a Motion to vest in an Irish Parliament the exclusive power to manage Irish affairs? Was it not clear that for any amount of freedom really possessed by the Irish Parliament in the days referred to, the present Representatives of Ireland in the Parliament of the United Kingdom possessed more than double the power in everything that concerned Irish affairs? They sat in the House as representing Ireland in at least a fair proportion to its population, as compared with the rest of the United Kingdom, and in perhaps a greater proportion than the wealth and commerce of Ireland might warrant. And, in addition to this, the Irish Representatives discussed in common with the Members returned from England and Scotland the affairs of the United Kingdom and of the Empire. They had the right to vote upon any and every question which was submitted to the House; they had a power sufficient for the unmaking of Ministries; and he ventured to assert that there was never a time in the history of Ireland when that country enjoyed so much constitutional freedom as she did at the present moment. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick in the course of his speech mentioned an allusion in the debate on the Irish University Bill of last Session to that measure as one which was to be forced upon Ireland because the Irish Members objected to it. But what happened? For once the Irish Members were perfectly unanimous, and their votes not only defeated that measure, but practically terminated the existence of the Government which had proposed it. In the present Session also the Irish Members were unanimous upon one occasion, and by voting as one man in favour of a grant of £10,000 in aid of the Irish Fisheries brought about the only defeat which had been sustained in that House by the present Government. He believed that if the Irish Members were anything like unanimous upon alterations or amendments in the laws of their country they would not be likely to find the Parliament of the United Kingdom opposed to them. The real difficulty in legislating for Ireland was that its Representatives were almost invariably divided into two opposing camps, differing far more widely from one another than the Representatives of other parts of the United Kingdom. And hence arose some special advantages of an Imperial as compared with a local Parliament. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick spoke of the way in which he should vote upon a Scotch Bill, and he thought the House appreciated the fact that he must have spoken without consideration. The great advantage of the Representatives of the whole Kingdom meeting in one House to consult together for the common interest of the country was that petty local interests were overborne by the opinion of Gentlemen who came unbiassed by local prejudices to the consideration of questions laid before them. This was essential for the whole of the United Kingdom, but perhaps more essential for Ireland than for any other portion of it; because—if he might complete the sentence without giving offence—if there was one defect in the political character of hon. Members for Irish constituencies, on whichever side of the House they sat, it was that they were not quite so moderate either in their views or in their mode of expressing them as these hon. Members who sat for English and Scotch constituencies. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick referred to the case of the coercion laws as an argument in support of his proposal to relegate the management of Irish affairs to an Irish Parliament; but he seemed to forget that these laws were voted by Parliament in order to protect life and property in Ireland, with the tacit consent of the great majority of the Irish Members in the House of Commons. The hon. and learned Member also referred to the appointment of stipendiary magistrates in Ireland as one of the grievances which proved that Ireland ought to manage her own affairs by means of her own Parliament. The system was not unknown in England, where stipendiary magistrates were appointed to perform duty in places where the ordinary non-professional magistrates were unable, from some cause or another, to do the whole of the work. And Ireland had this advantage over England—that her stipendiary magistrates were paid out of Imperial funds, while on this side of the Channel the localities for which they were appointed had to bear the cost. The hon. and learned Gentleman also referred to the Irish constabulary as being more in the nature of a foreign garrison than of a police-force. But, as a matter of fact, it might safely be said that 99 out of every 100 men in the force were natives of the country. Then, reference had been made to the little time at the disposal of the House, and it was said that Ireland had no fair chance of having her affairs considered. He did not wish to enter into a detailed history of the last Parliament, but certainly some considerable portion of its time was occupied with a careful and prolonged consideration of the Irish Church and Land Bills. He might, perhaps, be supposed to look at their proceedings during the present Session with a prejudiced eye; but, so far as his recollection served, there was a period when almost every Tuesday and Friday seemed to be devoted to some Irish business or other, and, judging from the manner in which the statements then made on behalf of the Government were received, he did not think the result of the consideration of Irish affairs by that House had been entirely unsatisfactory to Irish Members. Several important questions had already been dealt with, although the Session had not been one in which Her Majesty's Government had thought it necessary to propose any very important measure of Irish legislation. The Government might be of opinion that rest was the best policy for Ireland, but other hon. Members had not been of that opinion, and a goodly proportion of the measures introduced related exclusively to the affairs of that country. He did not say that all, or nearly all of them had been considered, but he very much questioned whether all of them were ever intended to be considered. There was another ground on which the House was asked to give to an Irish Parliament the power of dealing exclusively with Irish affairs, and it was that Ireland was a very poor country. On this point he should like to lay a few figures before the House. In the year 1800 there were six banks in Dublin and six in the provinces, but in 1874 Dublin had 17 banks and the provinces 371. In the year 1843 the amount deposited in Irish savings banks by 82,486 depositors was £2,447,110. After this date the famine and the failure of two large savings banks in Dublin caused a decrease in the number of depositors and the amount of money intrusted to banks, but a gradual recovery followed, and in 1873 the deposits in savings banks amounted to £2,839,000. This, however, was not a fair test, because on account of the loss of confidence in such institutions caused by the savings bank failures to which he had referred, a large amount of money was deposited in other banks. Taking joint-stock banks and savings banks together, he found that in 1845 the amount invested was, in round numbers, £12,000,000, and in 1873 it had reached £32,000,000, giving £1 9s. per head of the population in 1845, and £6 per head in 1873. The total amount invested in Government funds, joint stock banks, and savings banks, in 1845, was £48,200,000, or £5 16s. 2d. per head of the population, and in 1873 it was £66,900,000, or £12 10s. 8d. per head of the whole population of Ireland. The average estimated capital of Ireland in the years 1826–30 was £129,639,000; in the years between 1846–50 it was £95,286,000—but in this period the famine occurred—and in the years 1869–73 it had reached £217,792,000. Let them next glance at the trade of the country. Since the time of George IV., owing to the existence of an extensive coasting trade between Ireland and Liverpool, it had been impossible to distinguish clearly the foreign trade of Ireland, but he found that in 1835 the coasting trade between Great Britain and Ireland amounted to 1,100,389 tons entered and 1,440,617 cleared, against 7,057,680 tons entered and 6,833,844 tons cleared in 1872. The tonnage of sailing and steam vessels employed in the intercourse between Great Britain and Ireland was 786,637 tons in 1823; 1,255,901 tons in 1843; and 8,115,997 tons in 1873. The total length of railways in Ireland was 987 miles in 1855, and in 1873 it was 2,100 miles. The total number of passengers conveyed was 7,212,286 in 1855, and 16,371,708 in 1873. The total of railway traffic receipts was £999,832 in the first-named, and £2,576,934 in the last-named year, the net receipts being £591,766 and £1,155,547. Coming next to the question of factories, he admitted that in regard to the production of manufactures, Ireland could not be compared satisfactorily with England, nor, perhaps, with Scotland. He wanted to know however, with whom the fault rested? If there was one thing more susceptible than another of insecurity in a country, surely it was capital invested in machinery. If Irish manufactures had not increased in the same proportion as these of England and Scotland, the circumstance, he feared, was not a little due to the perpetual political agitation which had been going on in the Sister Country, and to a general feeling that something or other might happen which would destroy or forfeit all the capital engaged in the production of manufactures. Nevertheless, he found that in 1850 there were 91 factories of all kinds with 532,303 spindles, and employing 24,687 persons; whereas, in 1870, there were 242 factories, with 1,057,952 spindles, and employing 61,965 persons. With regard to exports, he remembered that during a debate in the earlier part of the present Session the noble Lord the Member for Westmeath (Lord Robert Montagu) strangely enough alluded to the great increase in the exports of beef and mutton from Ireland as a great grievance to that country, forgetting probably that his constituents and other Irishmen were clever enough to take care they got well paid for what they sold. In 1850 there were 2,917,949 cattle in Ireland; whereas in 1873 the number had increased to 4,142,400. The number of sheep was 1,876,096 in 1850 and 4,482,053 in 1873. There were 927,502 pigs in Ireland in 1850 and 1,042,244 in 1873. Poultry had increased from 6,945,146 in 1850 to 11,734,929 in 1873. He was perfectly aware of the answer which hon. Gentlemen opposite might make to these statistics. They might say—" You have increased your production of live stock, but you have diminished the population." He had heard with great pleasure and with a great deal of cordial agreement the argument of the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Harrington) the other evening. Surely it did not follow that the increase of the population of a country out of all proportion to the increase of its wealth was a blessing to that country. Everybody knew how the large increase of population in Ireland in the first half of the present century terminated at the time of the Irish Famine; and he thought—as indeed had been already remarked in the course of this debate—that few statements were more unfair than to charge the existing system of Parliamentary Government with causing a famine which no Government in the world could have prevented. But as far as statistics were concerned, if it were any pleasure to hon. Gentlemen opposite to learn that emigration in Ireland was diminishing, he could give them some facts which he trusted they would deem satisfactory. Of course, under ordinary circumstances, a considerable increase in emigration occurred in the Spring months. Well, in the year 1873 there was an increase of emigration in March of 1,595; in April of 3,392; and in May of 5,776 over the corresponding months in the preceding year; but no sooner did the present Government come into office than a very remarkable change was made. In February, for which month the late Government might be held responsible, there was an increase in emigration of 710 persons. But there was an absolute decrease in March of 2,435; in April of 8,301; and in May of 3,272 persons, as compared with the corresponding months in the preceding year. These facts he gave for what they might be worth, and he thought if hon. Gentlemen opposite really desired to check emigration they ought to support the present Government. Having thus dealt with the principal reasons which the hon. and learned Member for Limerick had urged in favour of the adoption of his Motion, he now asked, what that Motion really was? The hon. and learned Gentleman proposed, as far as he could understand, to give to an Irish Parliament the right and power of managing all exclusively Irish affairs, allowing at the same time Members from Ireland to sit in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, as Representatives of that part of the United Kingdom for the discussion solely of Imperial affairs. Let it be considered how much hon. Members for Ireland would lose by that arrangement. He could not conceive a more unsatisfactory position for a Representative of a Roman Catholic constituency in Ireland to be placed in. The other evening, for example, he would have been at liberty to discuss the claims of the Nawab Nazim of Bengal; but when the next Motion was brought forward by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) for the inspection of convents in England and Scotland, he would have been obliged to leave the House and would have been debarred from voting or speaking respecting a matter on which he felt an intense personal and religious interest. The question of denominational education was dear to Roman Catholics in Ireland as well as in England, and if the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) proposed to abolish all denominational schools in Great Britain, or to refuse them all State aid, would it be a pleasant position for a Roman Catholic Member from Ireland to have to walk out of the House and not record his vote upon the question? The hon. and learned Member for Limerick would take from the Irish Members who, after all, were practically Representatives of the Roman Catholic element in the constituencies of England and Scotland, all power of interfering with such matters in that House. And what would be given to them in return? The power of managing exclusively Irish affairs. Now, he wanted very much to know what that power was. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick had introduced to their notice a system of federation, and had referred to Austria and Hungary, to the United States, to Canada, and to the Cape of Good Hope. What system from all these countries was the hon. and learned Member prepared to recommend? He thought he might dispose at once of Austria and Hungary, for he could not conceive a case in which it would be less easy to draw a parallel between the circumstances of two countries than between Austria and Hungary on the one hand, and Great Britain and Ireland on the other. Hungary had a Constitution dating from a very early period. She possessed rights and liberties which were taken from her, and she was reduced to subjection under an arbitrary and a de- spotic Government. This was not the case with Ireland. Again, Hungary was larger in area than Austria, and had a population in the proportion of 15 to 20. Well, it was only necessary to look at the map to compare the relative size of Great Britain and Ireland, and to look at the Census for the respective populations. Under the system which had now been in force for 70 years in Ireland there had been growing up silently, perfect Constitutional freedom, and this was not the case in Austria and Hungary. Then, would the hon. and learned Member for Limerick adopt the system of the United States? He would call the hon. and learned Gentleman's attention to a point which he seemed to have entirely overlooked, but which was of the greatest importance in discussing this question. With the exception of Austria and Hungary, no case could be mentioned in which a Federal system had not been adopted by the States comprised within it as a step towards a closer union. Take the United States for example. They were a collection of Sovereign States. They came together for Federal purposes, giving to the Federal Government certain carefully defined rights, leaving in the power of each separate State all local rights and everything that was undefined. What had been the result? The hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. MacCarthy) quoted De Tocqueville as saying that Federalism in America had been in every way satisfactory. Did the War of Secession bear that out? The Federal system as it existed in the United States before the War of Secession, without any real power on the part of the Federal Government, had broken down. The result of that war had been to increase immensely the power of the Federal Government, and every step that was taken as years went by was tending in the same direction. What was the case of Canada? The Canadian Dominion had been constituted of a number of provinces differing in the habits and circumstances of their people, many hundred miles apart, some of them weeks in time from communication with each other, and with populations having all kinds of varied or conflicting interests. It was deemed necessary to bring these different provinces more closely together. That had been done under the system of federation. But under the Act which consti- tuted the Dominion Government, the system of federation adopted in Canada, one of the greatest of our Colonies, and perhaps more nearly resembling what might he adopted here than any other system which could be named, gave practically almost all power to the Dominion Government, and nothing but municipal power to the Provincial Assemblies. He did not wish to trouble the House with the detail of all the varied powers which the Act of 30th Vic. c. 3, defined as belonging to the Dominion and the Provincial Governments respectively. But from the speech of the hon. Member for Mallow he found that more than one of the points which the hon. Member expected would be left to the Provincial Parliament of Ireland were in Canada vested in the Dominion Parliament. The management of the public debt and public property was vested in the Dominion Parliament. The hon. Member for Mallow talked of Imperial Customs and general trade regulations being left to the Imperial Parliament, and Irish trade to an Irish Parliament. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. and learned Member for Limerick cheered that statement. [Mr. BUTT said, he expressed neither assent nor dissent.] That was precisely what he complained of. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick allowed these things to be said by his lieutenant or his followers, and then would not tell the House what he meant himself. The hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan), and also, he thought, the hon. and learned Member for Limerick spoke of the wretched state of trade and commerce in Ireland. Now, he had himself quoted figures to show that that state was not so bad as was supposed; still, he admitted that it was not so good as the state of trade and commerce in England. But was that owing to any legislation of the Imperial Parliament? If it was, why had not hon. Members from Ireland come down to the House during the present Session, and, instead of proposing a number of political nostrums, which nobody wanted, propose some measure which would have remedied the injustice inflicted on the trade and commerce of Ireland? The hon. and learned Member for Limerick knew perfectly well that the trade and commerce of Ireland were subject to the same laws as the trade and commerce of England and Scotland. Their policy for years past had been a Free Trade policy. Did the hon. and learned Member for Limerick wish to reverse that policy for Ireland? Did he wish for Protection to Irish industry. Because that was one of the points upon which that Motion for Home Rule had found very considerable support in Ireland. Were they to have recourse to the system of Bounties, which meant jobs, so much in favour with the Irish Parliament? Were they to return to that system of Protective duties for native manufactures which, in order to enable native manufactures to obtain a market at home, deprived them altogether of any market abroad? He much wished that the hon. and learned Member for Limerick had told the House precisely what he would propose with respect to the question of trade and commerce. If he was satisfied with our present system of Free Trade, he had no right to say that the Imperial Parliament had done any harm to Ireland in that matter. If he desired to return to a system of Protection for Ireland, he was asking for an Irish Parliament powers which they had never conceded to a Provincial Legislature, to which England and Scotland could never agree, and which in the end was certain to prove ruinous to these for whose benefit it was intended. Then came the question of taxation. He did not know how far it was expected that the Irish Provincial Parliament was to have any power of dealing with taxation in Ireland, beyond that which was possessed by the Provincial Legislatures of Canada, New Brunswick, and the other component parts of the Dominion, and which was similar to the power of imposing municipal taxation possessed by any borough of England or Wales. They could not, under any system which could possibly be adopted, have any power of taxation beyond that. At any rate, no such power had been proposed to be vested in the Provincial Governments of the Canadian Dominion. The hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to other points, among them to the Postal Service, which, he thought, would be an entirely Irish matter. But how could the Postal Service, including the conveyance of the mails between England and America, be regarded as a purely Irish question? Under the Canadian Federation the sea-coast fisheries were an Imperial matter. He did not know whether it was proposed that the sea-coast fisheries should be dealt with by a Provincial Parliament in Ireland. If that were so, he hoped that the Provincial Parliament would be prepared, from local funds, to make that grant which had been pressed so much upon the Imperial Parliament by hon. Members on both sides of that House. If it were not so, he wanted to know why the hon. Member for Louth found fault with hon. Members from England and Scotland for objecting to a grant from the Imperial taxes for the sea-coast fisheries of Ireland? But, after all, there were two important matters connected with that division of Imperial and Provincial duties, which would, in the case of Ireland, really occupy the attention of the House more than any other, and these were education and the rights of property. Under the arrangements of the Canadian Federation, legislation about education, property, and civil rights was included in the powers of the Provincial Legislatures. But it was included with this check—that any Bill which passed the Provincial Legislature might be vetoed by the Lieutenant Governor of the Province—an officer appointed by, and responsible only to the Federal Government—or it might be sent by him to be negatived by the central authority at Ottawa, which retained that control over any legislation upon either of these important subjects which would effect any material alteration in the law relating to them. But, more than that, points were laid down in the Act itself which regulated the rights of minorities with regard to education in the different provinces of Canada, and they were, he thought, sufficient to insure that these rights should be properly respected. Let him now take the question' of property. Suppose legislation in regard to property were delegated to a Provincial Parliament in Ireland. They were told the other evening that a large, if not the greater part of the wealthy and independent tenant-farmers in the most prosperous agricultural counties of Ireland were in favour of Home Rule. But why were they in favour of it? Because they occupied farms at a low rent, and they thought that Home Rule meant fixity of tenure, under which they would practically obtain the ownership of their farms without paying for them. Fixity of tenure was therefore advocated by many of the Representatives of these farmers in Parliament, whom he now saw before him. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick himself had said in that House, during that very Session, that nothing less than fixity of tenure would content the Irish people. [Mr. BUTT dissented.] How much more they might demand it was perhaps difficult to say; but, at any rate, that might be taken as one of the first measures which a Provincial Irish Parliament, formed on a popular basis, would probably pass. Well, what would be the result of that? Supposing such a measure were passed by an Irish Provincial House of Commons—supposing that, under the influence of popular terrorism, an Irish House of Lords succumbed, as they had sometimes seen in England, to what was assumed to be a popular cry, and passed it also against their own inclination. Supposing a measure for securing fixity of tenure in Ireland came to the Central Government armed with that power of veto which was thought essential to the Federal system in Canada, and that veto were exercised in obedience to the universal demand of the owners and mortgagees of property in Ireland, whether resident in Ireland, England, or Scotland. What would be the result then? Would these who believed that Home Rule meant fixity of tenure be much longer in favour of their Home Rule system, or would they not agitate for something more—namely, the abolition of the controlling power of the Central Government? Take, again, the question of education. The question of education, as between Ireland and England, was in a similar position to the question of education as between Lower and Upper Canada. Lower Canada, as they knew, was essentially Roman Catholic; and there was a difference in race and in language far stronger than that between Ireland and England. Again, let him suppose that the priesthood of Ireland should exert their influence with the Provincial Parliament of Ireland, and induce it to pass a law for the advancement of denominational education, to be paid for out of the resources of the nation, or by means of rates levied on the local taxpayers. What would, under these circumstances, happen? Would the people of Ulster calmly and passively submit to such a measure? Would not such, a proposal, on the contrary, arouse the fiercest passions between the Protestants of the North and the Roman Catholics of the South? and might it not become necessary for the Imperial Government to interfere, not in a Parliamentary way, but by force, in the local affairs of Ireland, with the simple view of preventing civil war. He had now alluded to two questions which it appeared to him would be likely to cause discord in an Irish Parliament, and to create dangerous differences between it and the Central Government. But after all he did not know that he had not dwelt at too great length on these questions, inasmuch as he regarded the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick as being founded altogether on an anachronism. The hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to him to have altogether ignored that fusion of races and feeling which had been going on in recent years between England and Ireland, and to forget that there were thousands of English and Scotch in the latter country, and hundreds of thousands of Irish domesticated in the large towns in England and in Scotland. The hon. and learned Gentleman seemed also to forget the difference which prevailed between the North and South of Ireland, almost as marked as the distinction which existed between Englishmen and Irish-men, and that in proposing to treat Ireland as a separate nation he was doing so at a time when no such separation really existed. What the hon. and learned Member for Limerick proposed for the adoption of the House was a Federal system, not as the step towards union which it had been in all other countries but one, but as a step towards disintegration. The hon. and learned Gentleman might not mean that; but, unless his followers meant it, there would be no real vitality in the half-dying movement which the Motion before the House sought to resuscitate. So far as it merely aimed at the adoption of a Federal system, there seemed to be an unreality in this agitation, which made him ask himself, for what purpose was the hon and learned Member promoting it? He would remind him of some words which had been used by one whom he would admit was no small authority; at any rate, they were spoken by himself. At the time to which he had already referred, when the hon. and learned Gentleman stood forward as a Tory among Tories boldly to oppose national prejudices and feelings in the Dublin Corporation, he said—"By the constitution of 1782, a Bill which might receive the unanimous consent of both the Irish Houses of Parliament required the assent of the Sovereign, under the Great Seal, not of Ireland, but of England; a Great Seal in the custody of the English Chancellor alone—a Minister responsible to the English Parliament, and not to the Irish."
The hon. and learned Gentleman went on to say—"I believe that political agitation has, more than any other cause, prevented the improvement of the country. Our own dissensions have kept us back; but what is the inference from this? That it is our duty now to abandon agitation that can lead to no practical or real good, and cordially unite in a generous rivalry and co-operation to improve the condition of our people."
Now, he would commend to the attention of the hon. and learned Gentleman his own words, uttered 30 years ago, when, he would say, he hoped without giving offence, he assumed in Ireland the rôle of a true and noble patriot, in endeavouring not to fan, but to withstand popular prejudices and feelings, and, in spite of them, to promote what he thought right for the common welfare of his country. But, what was the course which the hon. and learned Gentleman now adopted? He submitted to the House a Motion which was really, he thought, believed in by very few of these by whom he had been hitherto supported. What did that Motion mean according to the ideas of 99 out of every 100 Irishmen? Why, neither more nor less than separation from England. ["No, no!"] He could quote from the speeches even of hon. Members in that House passages which showed that they would not be contented with a Federal Constitution which would leave all real power in the hands of a Central Government and bind Ireland more closely than ever under the dominion of England. But there was one thing in which, if they did not mean separation, their energies might be usefully employed. If they did not wish for the disintegration of the Empire, let them endeavour to see how they could all combine with the object of abolishing, so far as the circumstances of the two countries would admit, the remaining differences in the law between England and Ireland. Let them encourage Ireland in the endeavour to shift for herself rather than to look to the Central Government for everything which had to be done. Let them trust to the Imperial Parliament in all matters which were its proper concern, and let them leave local authorities—whether in England or Ireland—to manage matters which might properly be committed to the hands of local tribunals. It should, however, be borne in mind that owing to the fact that English and Irish legislation had hardly kept pace with one another, the local authorities in Ireland would probably require to be much strengthened before they could perform the work which it might be deemed desirable to intrust to them in so satisfactory a manner, as was the case in this country. He had only to refer for proof of this to the condition of the Liffey and the action of the Dublin Corporation. There was one phase of the present agitation upon which he thought they might congratulate themselves—that this proposal was now brought before Parliament in a legitimate and Constitutional way. It was discussed openly in Ireland. It was brought forward in a legitimate manner in that House. But he must remind the hon. Gentlemen who supported the Motion, that they must accept the same measure as was meted out to Englishmen and Scotchmen, and that in discussing this or any other question they must be content to submit to and be guided by the decision of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was, however, necessary to add one word of caution as to what might happen in the sister country. As the House was aware, the present proposal was supported here by men who had taken the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty, and who probably would yield in loyalty to none of her subjects. But it had been stated publicly in Ireland that if Home Rule were not granted by the House of Commons, other means might be tried to attain it. Now, he could conceive no greater guilt nor folly than that of these who would even suggest—for they did not recommend it—that force should be used to secure the end which they had in view. There had been in the past but one result from the adoption of such means—failure and disgrace to all concerned; and he was convinced there never was a time when failure and disgrace were more certain to follow any attempt of the sort than the present. If such suggestions as these to which he was alluding, made sometimes by men of ability and powers of persuasion, should have the effect of exciting the populace to deeds which all would regret, it would be the duty of the Government to deal with the matter with energy, promptitude, and decision. When it was proposed in the United States that that great Empire should be dissolved, there was a unanimous feeling among the American people of the North that neither blood nor treasure should be spared in order to prevent such a catastrophe. And he would venture to say that if the occasion should arise—which God forbid it should!—the unanimous voice of the people of England and Scotland, as well as of all the loyal population in Ireland, would determine that nothing should ever be done which would lower the United Kingdom among the nations of the world, or deprive her of that proud position which she now held. The noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Hartington) had said the other evening—with a manly courage which did him honour—as the representative of what remained of the Liberal party of England, that nothing could persuade them to assent to the proposal before the House. The present Government would be unworthy to occupy their position, if they did not state with equal emphasis their sincere and firm resolve, caring not for place or power or for the fleeting breath of popular favour, to oppose in any and every way what they believed would conduce to the destruction of the United Kingdom and the disintegration of the Empire."How much better would we consult her true interest if we all agreed that the energies which must be wasted on this project should be applied to her social improvement? What Ireland wants is repose—a rest from the fever of excitement which wastes and consumes her. We want a little interval of peace—an interval in which we might learn to forget our feuds and to reconcile with the freedom of social intercourse, with kindly feelings towards each other, with calm and serious discussion of the truth, with cordial and generous co-operation for our common country, our deep, our earnest, our solemn differences on the most important subject that can engage the feelings of man."
said, the right hon. Gentleman had referred to the change of opinion which had come over the hon. and learned Member for Limerick, but he thought it did not become the Chief Secretary of the present Government to complain of that, for the present Prime Minister, under whom he served, began his political life with views very different from these which he at present entertained. What had taken place in this respect showed that men were willing to learn from experience, and in the House of Commons such taunts were of all others the least effective, provided men's changes of opinion had been honest and sincere, for they touched all sides alike. If, however, the right hon. Gentleman would read the whole of the speech from which he had quoted a passage, he would find that the hon. and learned Gentleman opposed the Motion of Mr. O'Connell for Repeal, because, in his opinion, it would have led to the separation of the two countries, but he also even then intimated that a federal Government would be highly advantageous to both countries; and the exertions he was now making were intended to effect that object. The right hon. Gentleman had also raised a bugbear by assuming that there was a desire on the part of Ireland to return to the system of Protection. While this was a matter which ought to be left to every nation to decide for itself, it must be obvious that it was now impossible to return to that system. Protection was as dead in Ireland as it was in England. At the same time it would be possible, on entering into a Federal arrangement, to make an express stipulation with regard to free trade, if they doubted the common sense of the Irish people. But did anyone seriously believe that the Irish peasant would be content to buy dear sugar, tea, broadcloth, or even any native produce at an artificial price in order to promote the interests of particular trades or protective manufacturers? To remove particular duties and hostile tariffs was one thing, but to restore them when once they had been removed, was beyond the power of man. He denied, too, that the Roman Catholics of Ireland wished for Home Rule in order that they might be able to force denominational education upon the country; for he contended that the large majority of the Irish people were in favour of denominational education. All the Roman Catholics asked for was fair play, and that they should be placed upon a footing of equality with the Protestants who had all the advantages of the middle class schools, and virtually the monopoly of the University of Dublin, notwithstanding the spurious liberality of the sham of last Session which was said to have thrown it open. Lastly, as regarded the rights of property, and that fixture of tenure with which he thought to frighten a timid public, the Chief Secretary had forgotten to inform them that every proposal of the kind had been accompanied by a proviso for the periodical revision of rents, so as to secure the interest of the landlord as well as of the tenant. Passing from these matters, he pointed out that the demand of the Irish people for the restoration of their right of self-government had been placed before the House in its historical and national aspects, by these whose position and knowledge qualified them to speak with authority. It would be his duty to consider the matter in another light, as it related to financial and economical conditions; and while he had to trouble the House with a certain number of figures, he would endeavour to make them as plain and intelligible, and as little tedious as possible. He confessed that, in so doing, he was not placing the national cause in its most lofty position, for the rights of a nation rested upon something higher than political economy. They were enshrined in the sanctuary of men's hearts, and were as immortal as the spirit of liberty which God breathed into man when He made him into His own image, and endowed him with life. The present generation were little familiar with the history of the Union, and the details of the fraud, violence, and perfidy with which it had been accomplished would, he believed, open an unread chapter in the histories of many hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House. Men knew less of the events of the times immediately preceding their own era than of any other part of history; but they could hardly mix much with foreigners, either in Europe or in America, without knowing that in their eyes Ireland was the Poland of England, and the joint in British armour through which, as they believed, England was most vulnerable. He said this not in menace, but in sorrow; for as Hungary and Austria had been reconciled, so it was in the power of thoughtful and courageous men to extinguish the hate of centuries, and to consolidate the Empire as the bulwark of liberty throughout the world. Children were cowards in the dark, and men dreaded that which they did not understand; and it was unquestionable that, in the estimation of many who might easily learn better, Home Rulers were destructives and Communists—arrayed not only against the greatness of the British Empire, but against order and good government of any kind. He trusted that not only the debate of that night, but the experience of the present Session, would dispel these clouds of prejudice, and relegate their proposals into the domain of rational argument. His own belief was that neither Ireland could do without England, nor England without Ireland. As against the world, they must be a united Empire, having one Sovereign, one Army, one Navy, one foreign policy; whilst, in their internal affairs, admitting of these rational diversities of thought and action which must exist in the case of peoples whose race and religion were as different as the resources and capabilities of the countries were different. He would put it on the highest ground, and say that it was impossible that the mission of England in the great purposes of the Creator could ever be fulfilled so long as she suppressed or ignored the genius and sentiments of the Irish people. He would not, however, dwell longer on that aspect of the argument; but, as he was speaking to a practical audience, he would ask them to take a practical view of the Irish question. It might be contended that, before the Irish people could ask with weight for the management of their own affairs, it should first be shown that the English management had been a failure. The question, then, was at once raised—has Ireland been so governed that the country has prospered? If it could be proved that Ireland alone, of European nations, continued unprosperous up to the present day, a grave presumption was raised against the Government under which this bad been possible, and the strongest reason was shown why there should be a change made in the government. If a country was persistently unprosperous, as Ireland could be shown to be, its government was certainly one of the cooperating causes. History showed this abundantly, though they could point to hardly any contemporary instance, save Ireland herself, of such failure. In considering the question of the material condition of Ireland, they had only to consider the two beads of Population and Wealth, and to show a great decline in both; that this decline was remediable, and could now be arrested by a Government really interested in the matter. That the Irish people had alarmingly decreased in numbers everyone knew. Let him be permitted, for a moment, to dwell on the figures. In 1871, the population was 5,500,000, about the same amount as at the period of the Union. During the same 70 years, England and Wales increased in population two and a-half times, or from nearly 9,000,000 to nearly 23,000,000, while Scotland had doubled her population. Had Ireland increased in a like proportion to Scotland, as might have been fairly expected, she would now have 11,000,000, and she actually reached nearly 8,500,000 in 1845, after which the decline began, and though with less force, still went on at the rate of nearly 100,000 per annum. He would, of course, be told the stock answer to this fact—that Ireland was over-populated, and that emigration was a great good. He denied the over-population theory in any sense except that she had more people than she could then support under existing arrangements; but, save for her history and government, Ireland, from her natural endowment and size, ought to be able to support a far larger population than any she had had hitherto. There was a natural tendency in wealth to increase in every civilized country, so as to permit of a like increase on the part of population—a correction in the principle of Malthus, made in political economy at the instance of the late Mr. Senior; and this tendency was seen at work in England and Scotland, and in all European nations except Ireland and France. In France only wealth increased, not population. In Ireland, neither. They were next told that emigration was a good thing. It certainly seemed at one time to be a good thing from the English statesmen's point of view. It promised to transplant wholesale the Irish nation to the other side of the Atlantic, and thus to save England from the Irish difficulty in a new and unexpected way. But emigration, he said emphatically, was not a good thing in itself. It was only a terrible remedy to be adopted when starvation or the workhouse were the other terrible alter-natives. It was an unnatural and desperate remedy, and the Government which allowed its subjects no means of escaping from it would not be loved by these who must leave their country. A Government might one day be called in question by these who had not yet left, but were only under orders to go, if that Government did not first exhaust every rational remedy; and this consideration applied to the case of the English as well as of the Irish labourers. But if it was good for England, certainly Irish emigration was not favourable to Irish prosperity. And this brought him to the second point in his argument concerning Ireland's material state. He affirmed that the loss of 3,000,000 of people had been accompanied by a loss of £20,000,000 in the annual produce of the soil of Ireland, with all the loss that the circulation of so much additional national capital entailed. He asked here the closest attention to his figures, which proved this without the possibility of contradiction. The figures were official, and he would here observe that no other country was possessed of so good a set of statistics as Ireland, for they were carefully collected under Government direction, and admirably arranged by Mr. Donnelly, while, so far as they went, they might be thoroughly relied upon. Everybody admitted that Ireland was an agricultural country, and it was the fashion to say that she was a country whose mission it was to produce beef and mutton for the English people. Twenty years ago the soil of Ireland produced £21,000,000 worth of crops more than it did now; and the decline in the agriculture of the country, the staple wealth of Ireland, was proceeding with such frightful rapidity, that even during the past year alone 273,000 acres more ceased to be tilled. Cattle had been turned out upon some portions, but without tillage these pastures must rapidly deteriorate, and cease to be able to rear even the beasts of the field; and it was a most startling circumstance, as shown by the tables published under the authority of the Government, that no less than 50,000 acres were added last year to the bog and waste land of Ireland. The decline in the produce of the cereals within the last 20 years had been equal to £11,000,000, and in the root crops to £10,000,000. But, it was replied, Ireland found her compensation in the rearing of cattle; the land had been devoted to other purposes more remunerative and equally useful. Let them examine that proposition for a moment. Taking the official tables as the guide, the value of the cattle in Ireland between 1852 and 1872 increased by £10,000,000—namely from £28,000,000 to £38,000,000; but that had been estimated at the prices which were current in 1842. He thought a more correct estimate was to be found by adding one-sixth to the prices of 1842 to obtain the value in 1852, and one-third of the prices of 1842 to obtain the value for 1872. He was anxious not to overstate his case, and, therefore, if anything, he rather exaggerated the value of the live stock in Ireland, by placing it at the figure of £51,000,000 against £33,000,000, an increase of £18,000,000 over 1852. An error must here be guarded against, for in any country only one-third of the total live stock was produced in a year—only one-third of that £18,000,000 therefore represented the annual increase of the stock which had to be set against the annual loss of £21,000,000, caused by the decline in the cultivation of the soil. That left a loss of £15,000,000, but to the £6,000,000 increased value of live stock, they had to add £2,500,000 for the increased value of the butter, hides, hoofs, &c., making the increased annual produce of the soil, devoted to the raising of cattle, £8,500,000—leaving a permanent annual loss of over £12,000,000. In fact, Ireland was engaged in the most unprofitable trade in the world—that of roaring young stock, which, as soon as it grew of an age to be remunerative, was shipped off to be fattened, and made marketable in England; and to make up for the materials thus extracted from the soil, no part of which was returned to it, large amounts of artificial manures had to be purchased, or the land would become altogether sterile. Grazing of that kind was only fit for a new and thinly populated country, in which vast tracts of land could be left fallow from year to year; and, in his opinion, there could be no surer evidence of the decline of a country than that attempt to make it an Australia or a New Zealand. In just the same way they raised their stock of young men, who, as soon as their labour became valuable, shipped themselves off beyond the Atlantic, to find that prosperity which ought to attend them at home. Was, then, this decline compensated for by increased value in manufactures, or from any other sources? Not from manufactures, which had increased certainly, but only in a natural rate of increase, from their own created capital and credit. If money withdrawn from land were applied to manufactures, then they might set the increased value of manufactures against loss in agriculture; but that had not been the case. In fact, their manufactures had suffered from general decrease in the produce of the soil, for flax had now to be imported at advanced prices, which diminished profits in the product manufactured. And their manufactures might suffer still further owing to English interference against the wishes of the trade, as expressed by all the Irish Members during that Session. There was, of course, no doubt that the linen trade of Ireland had greatly increased during the last 10 or 15 years, for at the present moment the linen factories had increased to 150 from 100, and they now employed 55,000 hands as against 38,000 ten years ago. But where was the flax grown from which the linen was manufactured? Why, within the last five years, there had been a falling off in the cultivation of flax of 100,000 acres, and at that moment there were 11,000 acres of flax less than there were 20 years ago. But after all was said, the total number of mills in Ireland was only 273, and they did not give employment to more than 80,000 persons—a mere bagatelle out of a population of 5,500,000; while it was stated by the best statisticians that, previous to the Union, Ireland employed in manufactures at least one-fifteenth of her population. On the other hand, there had been no increase in the yield of the mineral resources of Ireland, which were in themselves of comparatively small value—too small to count for anything in the argument. Then, again, the manufacture of spirits and porter was pointed to, and no doubt great wealth to individuals was derived from that source, but it gave comparatively little employment to the people, while within the last 20 years the value of barley grown in Ireland for the manufacture of spirits had decreased £1,300,000. Another branch of industry—namely, the fisheries—had declined in the most frightful proportions. Twenty years ago the fisheries of Ireland employed 111,000 men and boys, whereas they now employed only 20,000. At that period there were 20,000 fishing vessels; now there were only 7,000. And with all this there had been a very large increase in the amount of out-door pauperism, as would be seen by referring to the tables of the Poor Law Board; but at the same time a decrease in the in-door pauperism. In fact amongst that class who were just able to keep out of the workhouse, of which the Irish people had the greatest horror, there had been a very large increase in numbers. Again, in estimating the condition of Ireland, it was impossible to forget a question that had been so often agitated—that of absenteeism. Suffice it now to observe that the return of 1870 showed that out of 20,000,000 of acres of land in Ireland considerably more than one-fourth—upwards of 5,000,000—were in the hands of absentees; and it was only a moderate calculation to say that they drew from the country annually nearly £5,000,000. This might be put in a very striking light when it was stated that the annual export of live stock being £10,000,000, it took one half of that to pay the rents of the absentees, who returned nothing to the country, just as the exported cattle returned nothing to the soil. At the time of the Union the absentee rents did not amount to more than £1,000,000; but the drain from the capital of the country in the shape of absentee rents still augmented like a drain of blood from the circulation of an already exhausted patient. The perpetual flowing away of nearly £5,000,000 from the circulating capital of the country must, if unchecked, bring Ireland to utter ruin; for this sum was as completely abstracted from the country's wealth as if it were thrown into the sea. There was absolutely no return for it. While it went on, people must emigrate, and Ireland increase in poverty. No European nation was in like case, nor was there any example in history that could be compared with it. Would Home Rule remedy it? They contended it would. Home Rule would recall their absentees to attend to home interests and stop this drain of Ireland's resources. But, in spite of all these facts, they would be told Ireland was progressing in wealth, and would be referred to certain tests. They would be told that the income tax yielded more, that deposits in banks were greater, that railway receipts were increasing, and that our contribution to the Imperial Revenue was expanding. As to the first, the test afforded by the income tax was very precarious, as it fell only on the rich, and after all the increase was very slight, while the total produce was not two-thirds that of Scotland, with not much more than half Ireland's population; and a slight increase from a small class did not show greater wealth even in them, because the purchasing power, through rise of prices, was diminished in a greater degree. The right hon. Baronet, like many others, made much of the deposits in the banks as affording triumphant testimony to the prosperity of the country, but no test was more fallacious, for it included secured loans. The £30,000,000 of deposits which had figured at so many Viceregal banquets as an evidence of the prosperity of the country, were not what most people believed them to be—namely, deposits of money. Under the Scotch system of banking, which prevailed especially in the North of Ireland, they were in point of fact balances to the credit of customers, half discounted bills and half loans, and, according to the best calculation, the amount of real deposits was not more than £12,000,000. Of this the farmers could not be credited with more than £5,000,000, and that indicated not entirely a growth of capital, but a change in the habits of the people, for the farmers of Ireland did not, as they formerly did, hoard their savings in very considerable sums in their own houses. The graziers, many of whom belonged to the upper classes, and raised their beasts on land which used to raise men, were undoubtedly richer and would continue to grow richer still, until the soil which had been reclaimed and made fertile by the patient labour of thousands who had gone beyond the Atlantic, returned to its primitive condition, as much of it was already doing. Who could think without a shudder that 50,000 acres of formerly cultivated land had, within one short year, been added to the bogs and waste of Ireland? Again, it was said the railway receipts were much larger. Well, there were 57 railways in Ireland, and of these 40 paid no dividend; and of the rest which did pay dividends, the receipts arose from cattle transit, and from the expansion of the linen trade in the north, owing to the dearth of cotton, but it was by no moans general over the country. Lastly, he had to refer to the fact that their contribution to the Imperial Revenue was increasing; but that, in fact, was not an evidence of increased prosperity, but a direct cause of the nation's poverty, and rapid decline. Ireland was taxed far beyond her powers, and far, indeed, beyond what she ought fairly to contribute. With all the political and social benefits the right hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) had conferred on Ireland, he had shown himself most inequitable in his taxation of so poor a country, and had inflicted great injury upon her. By imposing the income tax in 1853, and by equalizing the spirit duties shortly after, the revenue had been raised from about £4,500,000 to £7,000,000—a sum out of all proportion to the wealth of the country; and in order to make this clear, he would ask the attention of the House for a moment to the principles which ought to regulate all taxation. Adam Smith had laid it down that the subjects of every State ought to contribute to the support of Government as nearly as possible in proportion to their several abilities; and what was true of individuals was true of States also. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Stafford Northcote) recognized this truth, and in the Report he prepared for General Dunne's Committee, in 1864, he said—
At the time of the Union this principle was so clear that Lord Castlereagh's words in respect of it were these—"The pressure of taxation will be felt most by the weakest part of the community, and as the average wealth of the Irish taxpayer is less than the average wealth of the English tax payer, the ability of Ireland to bear heavy taxation is evidently less than the ability of England."
And now, he asked, how had these equitable considerations been kept in view by English Chancellors of the Exchequer? The total wealth of Ireland was only one-seventeenth that of England, yet she contributed one-eleventh to the Imperial Revenue. That was established by a great variety of data which were given in considerable detail by Mr. Chisholm, the Clerk of the Exchequer, before General Dunne's Committee of 1864. But it admitted of several other proofs. The total of the national income, according to Mr. Baxter—who was the best authority on the subject—was about £800,000,000; and, for his part, he believed that in now crediting Ireland with an annual income of £50,000,000, he was not understating the case. But Great Britain, with an income of £750,000,000, contributed £70,000,000, or less than one-tenth of that income to the support of the Imperial Government, while Ireland contributed £7,000,000, or one-seventh of hers. Now, taxes exhausted a poor country more than a rich one, even if they paid equal parts, while he had shown that Ireland paid far more of her gross revenue than Great Britain. Moreover, it was not to be forgotten that by far the larger part of the duties on foreign produce was collected in England, whilst the duty-paid produce was thence exported to Ireland, and in this way Ireland contributed a very large sum to the national Exchequer, for which she got no credit. Putting all these things together, there was a loss of £12,000,000 annually to Ireland from the change from tillage to grazing; of £2,000,000 overcharge for Imperial taxation; £500,000 for decay in the fisheries; and £5,000,000 for rents of absentees, mating a total loss of nearly £20,000,000 annually from the resources of Ireland. So that the Union, instead of introducing prosperity and plenty into Ireland, had been, in several matters, the direct cause of her decline. Then the local taxation of Ireland was in proportion about double that of England, and that was a fact which he commended to the attention of the hon. Gentleman who had made that subject a matter so interesting to that House. For example, in Cork, local taxation amounted to 8s. 6d. in the pound, and, in Dublin, to 10s. in the pound; and the proportion was equally high in many other parts of the country. He did not say that all this was sufficient reason for dissolving partnership, but, at least, it should make the House inquire why the condition of Ireland was so little creditable to the Empire. These facts were placed before the House free from passion or declamation for their consideration as practical men, and if they did not convey the lesson that Ireland was as unprosperous as she was discontented he should think that the Members of that House were resolved to close their ears to the unpleasant subject in the face of the clearest evidence. It only remained for him to say that if this state of things continued there was little hope for the country. He would remind the House that when Themistocles appeared off the Island of Andros with his fleet, he sent word to the inhabitants that he had brought with him two powerful gods—Persuasion and Force. The unfortunate people replied that they possessed two gods greater than his—Poverty and Impossibility. At present, in the eyes of Englishmen, the general outlook was prosperous; but the time might arrive sooner than many here supposed when England might be rudely summoned from the fancied security which superior might begot, and perhaps be involved in struggles for very existence with the colossal Powers around her; and therefore he thought that it was neither wise nor generous to close their ears to the cry of a decaying country, or the national sentiment of a discontented people. The Irish were a peaceable, loyal, and religious people; and a people of that kind should be made much of; but they felt deeply the arrogant assumption of superiority with which public writers and speakers expressed themselves on all Irish subjects. England never exhibited to the Irish people the grandeur of the English nation, and but rarely had the Sovereign condescended to visit the country. Was it supposed that loyalty could flourish without personal communication, or that the bulk of the people could for ever continue loyal to an abstraction? His belief was that in no other country in Europe would the principle of loyalty have survived the strain put upon it in Ireland. The hon. Gentleman having warned the House that this question could not be disposed of by a two nights' discussion, but would be heard of again and again, concluded by urging that it would be a task worthy of the statesmanship of this country to reconcile the legitimate aspirations of the Irish people with the preservation of the integrity of the Empire."The two countries were to unite as to future expenses on a strict measure of relative ability."
regretted that he could not congratulate the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down on having thrown much light on the question in hand. The miserable and lugubrious description he had drawn of Ireland might or might not be true. For himself, he totally disbelieved it, and he thought he could scarcely have resided so long in Ireland without having ascertained that half the income of Ireland, or £20,000,000 out of £50,000,000 a-year, was uselessly drawn out of the country, as the hon. Gentleman had stated. That could not be substantiated; but even if it could, it did not follow as a sequitur that they should exchange the best Government in the world for what, he believed he could show, would be the worst. No sane man would listen to such a proposal. Was the circumstance of Ireland being poor a good reason for her being governed by hon. Gentlemen opposite instead of these who now occupied the Treasury bench? A prudent statesman would not take the lowest class, and these least competent, and put them in the place of Government. Nay, they had it recorded by M. Guizot in his work on Democracy—"That no more in a Democracy than in any other form of Government, do men choose these to govern them from below." Ireland had not yet reached such a state of barbarism as to take by her deliberate choice the worst Government that could be devised. Since he had been in that House he had never listened to a debate which could compare with this in its results on Ireland, or in the anxiety with which it was regarded by vast numbers of his countrymen. This was no new subject; Repeal of the Union was a tocsin which had rung from Cape Clear to Malin Head. But what was the history of Repeal? O'Connell, by the force of his character, by his eloquence, and the wonderful faith reposed in him, having electrified Ireland, and roused her from her political slumber, and having with signal success forced upon the Legislature the consideration of the claims of the Roman Catholics; having carried the Emancipation Bill with triumph, essayed the further and more daring stroke of Repeal. He tried to carry this by the same means, and his failure was complete—as complete as his victory had been. Well, then, let him ask hon. Gentlemen if O'Connell so failed when he took in hand this question, then surely the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) was merely beating the air when he came to the British House of Commons and asked them, in effect, to give Ireland the worst possible Government, and to dismember the Empire in order to accomplish it? The price was high for the article. He admitted frankly that the movement for Home Rule had the support of a large majority of his countrymen, but this movement had, too, its history—a history little creditable to these who were its actors. What had been the teaching of the political leaders of the Irish people?' Let him give some specimens of that teaching. [The hon. Member then read extracts of the most inflammatory character from the speeches and manifestos of Mr. O'Connell, and supplemented them by one even worse, which he described as having emanated from a Member of that House.] ["Name, name!"] No, he would not name, as that hon. Member had lately entered their Councils, and he (Mr. Conolly) hoped that the Gentleman would now turn his great talents to a worthy course. ["Name, name!"] No, he would not. With such exhortations the people had been urged to rebellion. [Cries of "No, no!"] Why, had there never been a rebellion in Ireland? Were hon. Gentlemen afraid of the sound? It was too true that the people had been driven by teachings like these, and the desperation of their cause to fly to arms. That, no doubt, was wicked; it was wrong, but it proved one thing, and that he wished the House to notice—at all events, it proved that they were in earnest. He did not doubt their being in earnest. Under these circumstances, the Irish people being so enthusiastic, and led by such false guides in pursuit of this phantom of Home Rule, and deeply convinced of the truth of their case, this question came before the House for its decision, challenging the statesmanship of the House of Commons to fathom the abyss of that discontent which had produced such painful antagonism between the two countries. That was a question of Imperial gravity—that was a question before which statesmen had gone down, and would go down, but it was one which must be answered. He owned that he felt surprise and pain that these who represented the Conservative Government in that House could do nothing and say nothing beyond giving that miserable non possumus of an incapable Government, which had become historical, and which, as an historical phrase, had wrought its own mischief in the world. The subject had been brought before Parliament in a perfectly legitimate way by a distinguished Irish Member, and the Government should have something better to say to it than that nothing could be done. He must say, that while with all his feelings as an Irishman he could not entertain any hope of such a regeneration of Ireland by means of Home Rule, as some of his hon. Friends opposite appeared to cherish, he looked upon Home Rule as a chimera and a snare, but he could not disguise from himself the vast sentiment which lay behind this movement; that vast sentiment should count for something with this House, and it was to this point that he should direct his last observations. He denied that, as the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan) bad claimed, the appeal to the people should be conclusive. That hon. Gentleman had tried such an appeal, and it resulted in the rejection of a statesman well known to this House, and the preference of the hon. Gentleman. Such was their view of the requirements of Ireland. He therefore did not go with the hon. Member for Louth and ask for a plebiscite to decide the question. He thought rather that it was worthy of the grave consideration of that Empire which it was now proposed to dissolve—of England, who was to lose her right hand; of Scotland, who had already with consummate prudence and wisdom led the way in affirming and strengthening her own Union; of Ireland, whose interests from the highest to the lowest were wrapped up, enmeshed, encircled, enriched, or impoverished by the decision of this question. Look at her material condition. He affirmed that the daily and hourly relations subsisting between the two countries, and in which every county in Ireland up to the extreme—Donegal, which he answered for here—had such relations with Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Wolverhampton, and all the great centres of English industry as amounted to a positive union of interests by means of such a web of mutual trade as would require the wand of a magician to undo. They were really and de facto united; and while Nature and the requirements of both countries thus demanded Union, how could it be that this feeling of so-called patriotism demanded, and continued with intense ardour to demand, separation? How was such a question to be resolved? Patriotism! Patriotism was a power which some might undervalue, some even affected to sneer at; but he believed that among the best and worthiest of men it was rightly considered as at once the strongest and most honourable of all the emotions of the human heart. Patriotism had made men dare more, suffer more, endure more, than any other passion; but it was a matter of bitter pain to him to see a man who had served Her Majesty loyally, honestly, and truly, carried away by that sacred impulse into a line of conduct which led to ruin. Sergeant Macarthy was as brave a non-commissioned officer as ever were the Queen's uniform; but he was tried for Fenianism. At his trial he wore the medals of honour awarded to him for several campaigns in which he had served in India, and a double good conduct stripe. Was it not terrible that such bravery, so much fine feeling should be thus sacrificed to a hopeless cause; and that men adorned with every manly virtue should be lost to their country from excessive zeal? Yet this had happened in innumerable cases, and he had hoped that some Member of the Government would have stooped from his lofty position and have endeavoured to see whether there was not something in the Irish heart better than these unworthy and unpracticable aspirations. He had hoped that the examination opened up by this debate would have led the Government to probe the Irish difficulty a little farther, and have induced them for once to join their political opponents in an honest endeavour for that purpose. He had hoped, in a word, that the Government would have been induced to accept with thankfulness the steps which their opponents had made, and that instead of the miserable taunts which they had heard from the Attorney General for Ireland, cast on an absent Minister, they would have been prepared to say—"You have made so many steps towards the regeneration of Ireland; we will join you in an endeavour to fathom the nature and reason of this question, and to lead to practical purposes this proud and unmanageable Irish isolation."
said, he agreed with many of the observations that had fallen from the hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House, whose speech was very different in tone from that delivered by the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland. He had heard the remarks made by the Attorney General on Tuesday night with very great regret; for, whether concurring in the views of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) or not, it was impossible for anyone, and particularly for any Irishman, not to feel that this was a question of deep and vast importance, and one that had, more than any previous question, taken a great hold on the minds of the Irish people. The right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (the Attorney General for Ireland) had replied to the Motion with words of contempt and menace; but that was not the way in which such a question should be met, nor was it the way, he would frankly admit, in which it had been met by most of the speakers who had taken part in the debate. It was said that these who supported the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick were bound, in the first place, to show that the laws which had been passed by the Imperial Parliament for Ireland were intrinsically bad; and, in the next place, that there had been a failure in passing good laws for that country. He demurred to a line of reasoning such as this, which would lead to an examination of each particular Act of Parliament that had been passed for Ireland. The only way in which the question could be examined was by judging of the legislation by its results. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick stated what he believed to be its results, and he asked, whether the legislation since the Union had made Ireland prosperous and contented?—by which condition he asked that the question should be judged. He (The O'Conor Don) confessed he could see no other reliable test, and he denied that any answer to the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick could be founded upon an examination of particular Acts of Parliament. Good laws, in particular instances, might exist under the most despotic form of Government, and bad laws under the most free; and what they had to consider was, not whether in particular instances the laws were intrinsically good or bad, but whether the Irish people had or ought to have the same constitutional control over their legislation as the people of England had over theirs. If the legislation of Parliament affected all parts of the Kingdom similarly, he would admit that there might be no ground of complaint. But that was not the case. In the great majority of instances the laws on the most important subjects differed in the various parts of the Kingdom. Scarcely an Act passed which did not contain a clause to this effect—" This Act shall apply to Ireland only," "this Act shall not apply to Ireland," and so on; and, under these circumstances, was it unreasonable to contend that the people of Ireland, through their Representatives, should have the same control over these separate laws, which were to affect them and them only, as the people of England had through their Representatives. That was not the case at present, and when measures affecting Ireland were passed by majorities representing other countries there was no wonder that disaffection and dissatisfaction prevailed. But the evil did not end here. It had often been said that the proposals made by the Irish Members on both sides of the House were unpractical, and marked by a want of moderation and an absence of responsibility. But was this to be wondered at? He thought not; for there could not be any real sense of responsibility amongst Representatives on whose opinions and votes the legislation of their country did not depend. This he considered one of the greatest evils of the present system, and it extended even to the constituencies. There, also, no responsibility was felt to exist. There was not in Ireland that wholesome public opinion which existed in England, and upon which the good government of the country so much depended. But let Irish constituencies and Irish Representatives feel the full force of Constitutional responsibility, and this public opinion would soon arise. Holding these opinions, if the hon. and learned Member for Limerick went to a division on the Motion for going into Committee he would certainly support him. The Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman, however, must be considered not alone with respect to the proposal to go into Committee, but in connection with the Resolutions which were to be proposed in Committee. The scheme proposed by these Resolutions would establish a system of Federalism and of separate Parliaments—one in Ireland dealing with Irish affairs, and another Parliament in London dealing with Imperial affairs. His hon. and learned Friend proposed that all exclusively Irish affairs should be transacted in an Irish Assembly. He (The O'Conor Don) was not blind to the practical difficulties in the way of carrying out such a scheme, some of which had been ably stated by the noble Marquess, the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (the Marquess of Hartington). These were, however, chiefly difficulties from the Imperial point of view, but there were other difficulties from the Irish point of view, which he could not conceal from himself, which were even more important, and which arose from the very great differences of opinion which existed in that country. It was quite true that three of the Provinces of Ireland might be claimed as supporting this proposal; but there were even in these Provinces many influential classes without whose co-operation the scheme could not be worked, and whose support had not yet been secured. On the other hand, in the North of Ireland, almost the whole country was opposed to the proposal. ["No!"] There was, at least, a very large, influential, and powerful class against it, and until there was more unanimity and cordiality in the demand he felt that success was unattainable. He was unable to join in the complaint that the scheme was vague and undefined. On the contrary, he believed it erred in being too minute, and he could see no advantage likely to arise from propounding an elaborate and detailed plan, before the principle on which it was founded was admitted. There was, however, mixed up with the scheme of the hon. and learned Member a sort of undefined, vague notion that it was intended by it to establish a separate Irish Nationality, and most of the support which the project commanded in Ireland was due to this idea. On the other hand, this same idea frightened and kept aloof certain sections of the people, and the majority of the inhabitants of the North, without whose cooperation the proposal, even if accepted by the Imperial Parliament, could not possibly work. This he believed to be a great mistake. There should be no doubt or uncertainty on this point. The question could not be worked on two lines. It would not do to represent to the people, on the one hand, that it was the restoration of a great and glorious Irish nationality which was sought for, and on the other, that it was nothing but better machinery for the passing of local laws which was looked forward to. From the experience of other countries, he had come to the conclusion that the most extended form of Federal Government would not only not create or restore Irish nationality, but would not, even to any great extent, increase or foster it. The United States had entered into Federalism as separate and independent States, and they had taken great precautions in the Treaty of Federation to preserve their sovereignty and independence, but with what result they all knew. The operation of Federalism in the British Provinces of North America would be the same, and in a few years Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia would entertain less the feeling of separate independence than at present. Austria and Hungary were united in a system of Federation more distinct than that proposed to be adopted between England and Ireland, yet the effect of Federation would be even then, if the system lasted, the same as elsewhere. He was not one of these who believed that Ireland had lost her nationality. He hoped she never would lose it, but he would be deceiving his countrymen if he held out to them expectations that any system of Federalism would realize the glorious visions pictured to some of their imaginations. The hon. Member for Limerick did not place his proposal in any such light before the House. In his opening speech he stated it to be simply a proposal for enabling the Irish people to exercise real control over their own laws, such as was now enjoyed by England, and, regarded in this light, it was not a proposal this House ought to refuse to entertain. Under these circumstances, he would vote for going into Committee, but with the distinct understanding that he would be no party to professing the belief that, if granted, this Federalism would accomplish anything beyond what was suggested in the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick.
The position, Sir, is so changed in Ireland, the circumstances are so different from these which existed in the last century, that the proposition of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) could hardly, even if it were advisable to do so, be carried out. If you alter the Parliamentary government of Ireland, and give "the right and power of managing exclusively Irish affairs in an Irish Parliament," as the hon. and learned Gentleman would have them, you will deal a more deadly blow at the well-being of that country than almost any which a sometime evil policy has dealt in the past. Looking back over the last 70 years, we see that Ireland has generally progressed—in spite of various drawbacks; in spite of a famine which spread like a pall over the land; in spite of what, to my mind at least, was frequently a pernicious policy, carried out by Whig or by Tory; and—I must add, Sir—in spite of such speeches as that which we have just heard from the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry). But the province which has outrun all the others in energy, in industry, and consequently in material prosperity, has been Ulster, And what is the secret of Ulster's success? Why is it that the people who occupy that part of the Island least favoured by nature, and which is so lightly esteemed in that respect that it is spoken of as the Black North—why is it that these people have been more successful in the battle of life than the inhabitants of the other provinces? I will tell the House, Sir. It is because they follow the golden rule of minding their own business, and not interfering or meddling in the affairs of their neighbours. In one sense they suffered as much as—perhaps even more—than their fellow-countrymen in other parts by the Union; but they set before themselves the task of deriving what good they could from it, instead of wasting the land and the people by constant and wicked agitation. The bane of Ireland, Sir, has not been the Union, but it has been the spouters and newspaper writers—fomenters of restlessness and sedition—some of whom have boasted that they had been in prison for what they euphemistically called their country's cause; and the grievance—the real grievance—which the industrious classes of Ireland have against England is the encouragement which the latter country has given to such persons—the way in which she has fostered and caressed them. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that Ireland was "subject to a system of coercion more galling and oppressive than existed in any civilized European State." The industrious classes, Sir, do not suffer from this system—they do not cry out against it; and if there is any point or logic in the hon. and learned Member's proposition, it is this—Give us a Legislature which will remove these restrictions, which will let loose these turbulent people, which will remove these safe-guards. And what is to become of the industrious classes when this happens? We have had abundant evidence during this Session that every institution would be assailed, everything which we think good would be done away with, everything bad strengthened, if the party which the hon. and learned Gentleman leads had its way in Ireland; and I ask, would they so eagerly advocate this change did they not expect to rule when it was accomplished? If you desire to see a sample of what an Irish Parliament would be like, you have only to turn to the Dublin Town Council. If I had not known it before, inquiries which I instituted with reference to a Bill lately before the House would have opened my eyes to the opinion generally entertained of that august body. I may sum it up in the words of a leading Queen's Counsel, one of the Representatives of Tipperary in the last Parliament, and who is now engaged in a sensational trial in Dublin—"The Liffey would cease to flow before the Corporation of Dublin ceased to debate." But, Sir, if the Liberal Members are divided on this subject, the Home Rulers themselves are far more so. An hon. Member, who has been second only to the hon. and learned Gentleman himself in prominence and activity on this subject during the last two years, gives this opinion in a letter in a Dublin journal—
Well, there was a Conference held in the Dublin Council Chamber, I believe, last winter, and at that Conference the plan of the hon. and learned Gentleman was propounded. The Resolution which the hon. and learned Gentleman now proposes is identical, or almost identical, with one which was passed at that Conference; and the hon. and learned Gentleman, in his speech on Tuesday, said that he "thought that he had devised a plan which would satisfy the just wishes of the Irish people." It may satisfy the exigencies of the hon. and learned Gentleman for the moment; but it does not satisfy the wishes of the Irish people. I could not give a better authority for this than the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. P. J. Smyth), from whose letter I have already quoted. He writes—"To proceed on the present line is fatal; for of all the impracticable schemes which human ingenuity could invent, I regard the Conference programme as the most impracticable."
I should like, if the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Butt) was now in his place, to ask him, does he represent the voice of the Conference or the voice of the country? Because, according to the above authority, they are very different things. But, Sir, the gravest objection to the proposition is that which under- lies most of the objections to Home Rule in Ireland, and which is put prominently forward by an Ultra Liberal English newspaper—The Spectator—and that is the religious objection. The hon. and learned Member affected to sneer at it on Tuesday; but it must be remembered that the Homo Rule Members are pledged to denominational education. An Irish Parliament under present conditions would be an Ultramontane Parliament. We do not—I am sure I do not—object to the presence of enlightened Roman Catholics; but if there was an Irish Parliament, Sir, His Holiness the Pope would, through Cardinal Cullen, govern Ireland; and, objecting as the people of Ulster do to the immense power which that ecclesiastic at present possesses, they would be unwilling to be left entirely at his mercy. The hon. Member for the county of Derry (Mr. R. Smyth) is perfectly right when he says it would be prejudicial to the material prosperity, and dangerous to the peace and independence of the Irish nation if the hon. and learned Gentleman's proposition were passed. As Representative of a constituency which has long been noted for its attachment and loyalty to England and the British connection, I have felt bound to raise my voice against it, and to warn the House of the evil consequences of entertaining it."When I said at the Conference that if it was the will of the nation to accept that programme I would go with the nation, I had reason to assume that the voice of the Conference was the voice of the country. I soon learned the contrary. I know now, for positive certainty, that it was not the voice of the country."
said, although it was well known this Motion would not lead to what might be termed a Parliamentary result, the subject of discussion was very serious. It was, perhaps, the only question of which it might be affirmed with entire truth that it never would be a Party question. There was much in the manner of many hon. Members who supported this Motion which might lead the House to imagine—to use a familiar phrase—that it was only a joke. Nevertheless, it seemed to him to be the duty of the House generally, and of every individual Member who fully realized the responsibility of his position, and did not agree with certain hon. Gentlemen, to treat their proceedings on this occasion with the sternest reprobation. Every look, every word, ought to be carefully watched; for the slightest symptom of acquiescence with the Motion would be used as a pretext for perpetuating in Ireland what he must be permitted to call a gross and mischievous delusion. It was said that the Home Rule movement was a Constitutional movement, and great stress was laid upon this, as if it were a wonderful concession, an act of condescension. He, for his part, declared it to be a violation—an abuse of constitutional rights, and a compromise concocted by these who would not face the perils and the penalties of Fenianism. It appeared to him, however, from the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt), that he was literally oppressed by the difficulties of his task; that he could not extricate himself from the consciousness that he was doing something which he ought not to have been doing; that he had no real sympathy with the policy he recommended, and no faith that it would ever lead to any beneficial result. The hon. and learned Gentleman knew that the overwhelming majority of the House looked upon his Motion with disfavour. The natural instincts of every true Englishman and Scotchman predisposed them to union as a means of consolidating the strength and perpetuating the power, prosperity, and happiness of the people of the Empire; but the proposal of the hon. and learned Gentleman was an insidious and treacherous assault upon the principle of unity, and all that depended upon it. There was not an Englishman or Scotchman endowed with the most ordinary intelligence, capable of forecasting the future even in the most limited sense, who could read this Motion without a feeling of indignation; and he could imagine sensations of a very different kind coming from the hearts of many who during the last few years had taken an active part in public life. If one thing more than another recently marked the progress of future events in Great Britain, it had been the desire manifested by all classes to conciliate the majority of the Irish people; to atone for past misgovernment; and, if possible, even to efface the memory of the past by an absolute reversal of the system of bygone days. With this view the Church was pulled clown from her position of ascendancy, and the tenants of Ireland, after mature deliberation, were invested with new and unheard of claims upon the landlords and the soil. As a happy corollary the voter was emancipated, and the Parliamentary Representatives of Ireland became for the first time the free choice of the constituent body and of the whole people. The action of Parliament had been a declaration by England and Scotland that the reign of repression, of passion, of prejudice, had passed away, and that thenceforth all the advantages legislation could confer were within the reach of Ireland. What had happened? In defiance of every consideration of gratitude, of common sense, and of patriotism, the hon. and learned Member for Limerick, who for some years had been somewhat in the position of a frozen-out politician, assisted by one or two newspaper editors, whose mission it was to misrepresent the object and motives of every concession, or turn them into instruments for assailing the Imperial Constitution, seized upon the moment which seemed the most opportune for the formation of an Association which sought to pledge the Irish people to withhold their confidence for ever from the Imperial Parliament, and never to cease from agitation until they had secured what was well known to be unattainable while the arm of England could wield the sword. Let not the House suppose that he looked upon the proceedings of these organizers as mere idle talk. It was a great mistake to treat the movement as one of these mild political fevers to which the Constitutional system not only was liable, but which it generated, or to classify it with the agitations for Catholic Emancipation, on the Land question, or for the disestablishment of the Church. It was the most formidable political movement that ever existed in Ireland; because the people were now for the first time in full possession of their constitutional rights, and were startled by the voices which told them that it was their duty as Irishmen to use these rights, not for the purpose of obtaining certain necessary reforms in union with their brethren in England and Scotland, but of separating themselves for ever from a Parliament which they were told never had worked and never could work anything but evil for their country. It was upon misgovernment real or imaginary that the Homo Ruler had to rely. If he abandoned this position, he had no ground to stand upon. He pointed to abuses and said, "Look there!" He dared not note any signs of an improving temper in the future, for to admit even a ray of hope would be fatal to his game, so that if he referred to recent legislation it was only to scoff and laugh at it. Whatever merits our institutions might claim in the abstract, whatever credit Englishmen might claim as the friends of civil and religious liberty, were either denied or kept out of sight, or completely neutralized by representations that, in spite of anything which might appear to the contrary, there existed in this country an ineradicable hatred towards Ireland. That was the Home Ruler at home. Here he was a much tamer creature, and did not escape being suspected by earnest mistaken men, who had no notion of resting content with having elected a few Members of Parliament who might come to a secret understanding with the enemy. In The Freeman's Journal of last night he found a report of a speech which contained a very fair specimen of the oratory of the Home Ruler at home. He did not know whether that speech was delivered in this House, for he did not hear it, nor did he know anyone who had heard it, but it was represented as having been delivered by the hon. Member who had recently taken his seat for the county of Mayo (Mr. O'Conner Power), and it was interspersed with all the indications which marked the progress of a great oration. The hon. Member was represented to have said, "The only way in which you could make it appear—"
I rise, Sir, to a point of Order. Has the hon. Member any right to quote from a speech which he himself has declared no one heard in this House?
I did not say that no one heard it, but that I did not know of anyone who had.
The matter to which the hon. Member has referred is relevant to the subject-matter of debate.
said, the report of the hon. Gentleman's speech contained these words—
This was a specimen of the genuine article, without any of that adulteration of which the hon. Member who presided over their whiskey department had such a horror. The result of the action of the Home Rule Association was to foster and develop among a section of the community a feeling of hostility to Parliament and the Government, of which these could have but a faint conception who had not come into contact with these people—a feeling which had been accurately described by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister as a state of "veiled rebellion." The agitation of other questions might produce a temporary excitement, a passing irritation; but the distinguishing characteristic of the Home Rule movement and of every movement for the establishment of a separate Legislature was a persistent and gradual process of alienation. The whole fabric of Government was attacked, Parliament was pointed at as the very fountain of evil, and the voice of hate was poured unceasingly upon the popular ear, so that the most beneficent acts of legislation were like seeds scattered upon barren or stony soil. The Imperial Parliament thought it had done a great thing when it passed the Church and Land Acts, and he was of the same opinion; but the orators of the Homo Rule Association were at their posts, and shouted into the oar of the people that these acts were concessions to fear, and they called upon the nation to gird itself for a final and crowning effort of intimidation. This it was that made the Home Rule movement dangerous and formidable. The object of its leaders was to estrange the people from the Government, to inculcate the duty of sullenly standing aloof, and to eradicate from the public mind all these sentiments which induced men to live harmoniously together. Could anyone doubt where all this was leading to, or for what it was a preparation, no matter what might be the intentions or declarations of its nominal leaders? The natural and inevitable consequence of this policy was civil war. It was impossible to rouse with impunity the passions of millions of men, or to regulate the glow so as to produce the exact amount of heat that might be deemed safe by the managers. In 1842 the great Repeal movement was initiated by O'Connell, who was a real leader. No man who ever lived was more averse to bloodshed, or a more sincere advocate of moral force. For years his will was the law of millions; but in spite of all he could do or say, the inevitable tendency of his policy was to inflame the minds of the people against England, and they thus irresistibly took the direction that led to the unfortunate outbreak of 1848. The name of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Limerick was inseparably associated with the great Repeal movement of 1842. He was the David who stood forward on behalf of the enemies of Repeal to do battle with O'Connell. This was in the clays when Ireland had real grievances; when the constitution, so far as the great body of the people were concerned, was little more than a name; when the representation of the people in Parliament was little more than a sham; when the principle of Catholic exclusion, though abandoned in theory, was rigidly adhered to in practice; and when the Tory party seemed firmly fixed in power. O'Connell saw that the time had come when a supreme effort should be made to get rid of the Parliament that was responsible for all this injustice, and he raised the cry of Repeal, more than 3,000,000 of Repealers flocking to his standard. At that time the present hon. Member for Limerick—the Father of Home Rule, as he was called—had no sympathy either with O'Connell or with the majority of the Irish nation, but asserted, and did his best to prove, that to repeal the Union would be to ruin and degrade Ireland. His zeal carried him so far, that he instigated the Government of the day to prosecute O'Connell, and, as a member of the Dublin Corporation, gave notice that he would move for the discharge of the Corporation law agent, an old and faithful servant, who had taken some part in the formation of a body known as the Repeal Cavalry. He on another occasion said that the whole Protestant population of Ulster would rally round the Minister of the Crown. He would ask the House to consider the astounding inconsistency of the present position of the hon. and learned Gentleman compared with what it was in 1842. When the Imperial Parliament was an aggressor, and the people were excluded from it, he supported it; now that it had conferred freedom upon all, he called upon the people to renounce all confidence in the Imperial Parliament. The Catholics and Protestants were now all equal; the voter was free, and the causes which impelled O'Connell to agitate for Repeal had disappeared. ["No, no!"] He said they had. The enemy of Repeal, and the opponent of O'Connell, with a power of transformation which the most nimble might envy, informed the public that he had become that most inscrutable hybrid—a Federal Repealer. He would not follow the hon. and learned Gentleman in his new disguise, because his policy was impracticable, and would simply push a portion of the Irish people towards a collision with the power of Great Britain, without a shadow of the justification which misgovernment would afford. He further refused to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman, because he preferred to walk in the path plainly pointed out by the wisdom of O'Connell, who would never have raised the question of Repeal in the altered circumstances of Ireland at the present day. Mr. O'Connell, in October, 1843, said—"The only way in which you could make it appear you were justified in your oppression of Ireland was by showing that the Irish were less than human, and, as such, in no way entitled to the rights of citizenship. Your Press, your platform, your pulpit give expression to the unalterable hate, the indescribable contempt, you entertain towards the Celtic race."
At no period of his life would he have agitated for Repeal had it not been that he thought the policy of the Tories of that day would be preserved for many years to come. If he had foreseen that there would have been a free and a real representation of the people in Parliament, and the Members of that House transformed from an oligarchical bureau into a free Parliament, he never would have quarrelled with England about an Irish Parliament. He had great confidence in the liberality and love of justice of the English people, and he believed that when they had the power, they would share all their political privileges with Ireland. In a debate in that House in 1844, on the state of Ireland, he explained what he meant by "justice to Ireland." Mr. O'Connell asked—"I will not reject any Federal, for a Federal must be a Repealer, inasmuch as the Union must be repealed before a Federal Parliament could be assembled."
The report continued—"Has the Union been what it ought to be, the amalgamation of the two countries? It ought to have been an identification of the two Islands. There should have been no rights or privileges with one that should not have been communicated to the other. The Franchise should have been the same—all corporate rights the same—every civic privilege identical. Cork should have no more difference from Kent than York from Lancashire. That ought to have been the Union. …. A solemn pledge was given that the grievances of Ireland should be redressed. For five years we declined the Re- peal Agitation, lest it might be said we refused to believe a solemn promise, which, though not morally the law, had nearly all the effect, because the three Estates had been pledged to it. I do not like recriminatory documents, but here is one which will shorten my speech and show the House how we conducted ourselves on this subject. Before we took one step more towards the repeal of the Union we formed what was called the Precursor Society, and I presented this Petition from that society, and moved upon it myself in this House. I drew up this Petition and signed it."—[3 Hansard, lxxiii. 189–195.]
The fact was, Mr. O'Connell knew the project of separating the Legislatures to be a desperate undertaking—an attempt which should only be made on the failure of loyal endeavours to secure justice in the last resort, and as a final protest against mis-government, and the most formidable means left to the weak of resenting the oppression of the strong. It was no part of his teaching that they should sit down quietly and submit to injustice. When the Liberals of his day came into office, he suspended the Repeal agitation, not, as his enemies insinuated, in order to make corrupt bargains with the Whigs, but because he knew that to agitate in Ireland for Repeal, and to work here for her regeneration were proceedings wholly incompatible. He knew that the best influence of legislation would be destroyed by the corroding effect of such an agitation. But he had another reason—he had faith in the efficacy of Liberal principles. He saw that the Liberals of his day were the pioneers of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), and with a far-seeing eye he recognized the fact that their measures must inevitably lead to the extension of the franchise and the ballot, and that before these potent weapons must go down ascendancy, undue class privileges, and all these obstacles which a monopoly of political power opposed to the happiness of the nation. For himself, he, too, had faith in Liberal principles, and acting, he was confident, in the spirit that animated Mr. O'Connell, he called upon his countrymen to rely on these principles, to accept their constitutional rights in the spirit in which they had been given, and to use them for the purposes for which they were intended. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick, who, having long been the enemy of Mr. O'Connell, now assumed to take his place, must allow him to tell him that he looked upon him as something very different from that great man. Mr. O'Connell was the leader of millions, and proved, by his every word and act, that he would never have descended to become the tool of a revolutionary faction, to be used as long as they found him sufficiently mischievous, and then be thrown aside. He (The O'Donoghue) denied that the majority of the Irish people had any faith whatever in the Home Rule movement as it was put before Parliament by the hon. and learned Gentleman. Those who claimed to be the most earnest and most practical of Irish patriots had long since avowed their utter disbelief in the power of a Parliamentary movement to achieve the separation of the Legislatures. The Fenian movement of 1865 was their terrible protest against the futile policy of these whom they stigmatized as Parliamentary agitators. They had no idea of lending themselves to the aims of men who sought to display their extraordinary talents to a Parliament which they intended to dismember. They would employ Members of Parliament as the most effective instruments for maturing and developing that state of feeling in Ireland which he had described at an earlier stage of his observations. They knew that a succession of Parliamentary campaigns would not advance matters one step in their direction; and results were what they wanted. They would insist on their Members, by degrees, subscribing every article of the revolutionary creed. They would not allow the hon. and learned Member for Limerick to plant an annual in the Parliamentary garden, to come over year after year to superintend its growth, and then to return on the steamer with a sprig in his buttonhole to show how his root was flourishing. It was painful to see how many hon. Gentlemen had been forced into very dubious attitudes by what they had been compelled to promise. They were practically in the position of the renowned juggler who announced that he would take a running jump into a pint pot. Their performances as advertised were equally feasible. It was clear that many of these hon. Gentlemen were anxious to take things easy; but the hon. and learned Member for Limerick, at the great Home Rule Conference held in Dublin, gave them a hint of the lengths to which he was prepared to go. In a fit of enthusiasm he let out that neither he nor his Colleagues would meet a British Minister at any table but the Table of that House—[Mr. BUTT: No.]—and he astonished his hearers by declaring that henceforth he and his Colleagues were to add the ambassadorial to their representative character. In that movement time was everything, and a new scheme was now set on foot for the purpose of obtaining the signatures of every man, woman, and child in Ireland, and he believed of the Irish race out of it, to a paper expressing their approval of that Homo Rule agitation, the genuineness of their autographs to be attested by the deposit of 1s. It had been decided by a high authority that no man's political opinions were to be deemed thoroughly reliable unless he was prepared to back them by a small cash payment. But all these proceedings from beginning to end, including the Motion now before the House, were so much trifling—so many devices to put off that day, which hon. Members ought to know must soon come, when they would have to tell a people—not, he hoped, excited to rebellion—that the pledges and promises made to them could not be redeemed, as the dismemberment of the Imperial Parliament by Constitutional means was an impossibility. The Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman was suggestive of many topics. As to the assertion that it proposed simply to confer on Irishmen the power of managing their own local affairs, was it not the fact that every county in Ireland now, to a very great extent, did manage its own local affairs, and had in a very great degree complete control over its own local resources? Was there a county in Ireland where the magistrates and the cess-payers, who were the farmers, could not tax themselves quite as much as they were disposed to do for any work proved to be of public utility? And it was intended to add to the powers of local bodies, and to make them more thoroughly representative. Under the hon. and learned Member's system of Home Rule the local rates must be the subject of his financial experiments, and he could not avoid increasing the local burdens, especially if he did anything in the way of draining bogs and reclaiming mountains to satisfy that distinguished autonomist the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. MacCarthy.) Indeed, it was admitted by so high an authority as the hon. Member for the county of Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) in a letter to The Times, that Home Rule would increase local taxation in Ireland. It was true the hon. Member endeavoured to explain away what he knew would create great alarm by referring to some wonderful counterbalancing advantages, which, however, he did not specify, and which, it was to be suspected, were of rather a shadowy character. As to the suggestion that the Irish private business now transacted before Committees of that House should be transacted in Dublin, his hon. Friend the Member for the county of Carlow, would remember that be consulted with him long since how that could best be attained. It would be very hard to find a Session more unfortunate than the present for the arguments of the hon. and learned Gentleman. Her Majesty's Government had evinced the best dispositions to deal with Irish questions, and the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary had shown not only that he shared their general feeling in that respect, but that he possessed in an eminent degree all the capacity requisite for fully carrying out their wishes. Though differing from the Government politically, he looked forward to their administration conferring many advantages on Ireland, and he had as much confidence in their administration of the law and their determination to act impartially between all classes as any of these who sat behind them. It would not do for the hon. and learned Member and his friends to meet in some secluded corner—prepare a number of Bills, throw them on the Table, and say—"Pass these measures, or admit your incompetency to legislate for Ireland." If he wished his Bills to pass—no matter on what side of the House he sat—he must not exclude the general body of Members from his councils; he must consult with them through their recognized Leaders. If he did not wish them to pass, he would adhere to his present course of isolation. Again, he could not admit that every Notice put on the Paper must be taken as an utterance of the public voice in favour of that proposal. His experience led him to think that the House always found time to pass measures for which there was a real public demand. It would be a great misfortune if they were not allowed a little time to dwell on these measures or these crotchets; but even supposing the hon. and learned Member for Limerick really represented public opinion in Ireland, he must deny that the House of Commons could fairly be held to be responsible for the decay of which he complained. The hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to 1782, and he would tell him that an Irish House of Lords would not be likely to pass any measure which was advocated by him or his friends. But as matters now stood the majority of the Irish Members could, he believed, direct the affairs of Ireland in that House, provided their proposals could stand the test of argument and were not disfigured by any of these flaws for which many of his hon. Friends, and especially his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren), had so keen an eye. It would not for a moment, he thought, be denied that the chance of success on the part of the Representatives of Ireland would be immensely increased if they could only produce the impression that they loyally accepted their position as Members of that House, and were desirous, among other considerations, of increasing the confidence of the Irish people in the Imperial Parliament. Before sitting clown he wished to add his testimony to what had already been given as to the increasing prosperity of Ireland. In that part of it with which he was best acquainted—the county of Kerry—every man, woman, and child bore about them on their persons the signs of improvement. They were all better dressed and possessed in a greater degree the substantial comforts of life. The wages of the agricultural labourer had gone up, and he confidently expected they would go up still higher. In the various schools of the county the whole youth of the humbler classes were to be found, and with education, honesty, and industry success was open to every man, while the law made no distinction of creed or person. Indeed, he could see no obstacle to the growing prosperity of Ireland, except the discontent which some persons in that country thought it consistent with their duty to forward. The hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan) was as sagacious as any man need be, but he did not venture to deny that great prosperity might arise in Ireland under the Imperial rule. He took care, however, to console the House by assuring it that, with increasing prosperity, it must expect increased discontent, and he had no doubt whatever that the hon. Member would leave no stone unturned to verify his own prediction. But it was the duty, he maintained, of everyone who had really the interests of the country at heart, to step to the front and to endeavour to counteract the policy of the hon. Gentleman and his confederates. He (The O'Donoghue) at all events, was glad that the present Motion had been made. It brought us one step nearer to the end of the play. Since the General Election a story had been circulated that many English and Scotch Members promised to support the proposition for the establishment of a separate Parliament in Dublin, and that many more were going through the process of conversion. Now, he had never hesitated to affirm that that statement was a pure invention, and that no appreciable number of English or Scotch Members could ever be found to deem it consistent with their duty to advocate the separation of the two Legislatures. As to the movement itself, all who were acquainted with the secret workings of Irish politics knew that it sprung altogether from a spirit of mischief, animated by a few newspaper editors who could not forgive the restraint that was put upon their malignity by the clauses of the Peace Preservation Act, and he was sorry to have to add by one or two parsons who could not forgive these by whom the Irish Church had been disestablished. The vitality of this movement depended altogether upon the power of the Home Rule Association to persuade the Irish people that the Imperial Parliament was hostile to them, and resolved to legislate against their interests. To what consequences that putrid poison might lead if it were deeply instilled into the minds of the Irish people it was impossible to say; but every Irish Member could bear testimony to the fair spirit which was evinced by the Representatives of Scotland and England, and that spirit could not fail to evoke a sympathetic response in the generous hearts of the Irish peasantry, and produce the best fruit unless marred by statements of which the staple must necessarily be calumny. The great majority of the gentry, and indeed of all classes in Ireland, were, he would add, opposed to the views of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick. Who were with him, time would soon make clear if he persevered with his movement. For his own part, he thought the best evidence he could give of his opposition to these views was to vote against his Motion as one of the greatest bubbles of the day and the only obstacle to Ireland becoming really prosperous. To separate the Legislatures would, in his opinion, be to strike a fatal blow at the Imperial Parliament, the dignity of the Queen, and the welfare of all her subjects, and would, he firmly believed, place in imminent peril the individual interests of every man in Ireland of every class."The hon. Member read the Petition, which claimed equalization of the franchise, equalization of corporate reform, equalization of religious equality, equalization of rights and privileges with England, and stated if that were granted the petitioners would not claim the repeal of the Union."—[Ibid. 195.]
said, the House had heard very little from the opponents of the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick to show that Home Rule had not been called for by a majority of the Irish people; but a great charge had been preferred against him (Mr. Butt) that 30 years ago he gave expression to opinions which were diametrically opposed to the sentiment contained in the Motion which he had submitted to the House. Not only had extracts been read from speeches made 80 years ago, but extracts had been quoted from a speech which had never been delivered. Now, he would read to the House one or two passages from a speech which was delivered by an hon. Member, and that was the hon. Member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue). In a speech which the hon. Member for Tralee delivered, not 30 years ago, but in 1860, these words occurred—
"Although the question of Repeal has not recently occupied a very prominent position, nevertheless it has always been before the public mind. In fact, it can never pass from before the public mind, unless the inhabitants of Ireland become the most abject slaves, or unless the people be transformed into, or be removed to make way for, Englishmen."
Sir, I rise to Order. I am entitled to ask the hon. Member where the passage he has read is quoted from, for I doubt his accuracy.
replied that the quotations he made were from the public newspapers.
The Nation. Moreover, he was authorized to say that the proofs of the very speech from which he was quoting had been corrected by the hon. Member himself. Well, this very interesting speech of the hon. Member went on to say—
Further on the hon. Member said—"The representatives of English power in this country may he able to imprison or to banish our patriots; they may suppress our meetings; but let me tell them there is something which they can never suppress till they banish the Irish race, and that is the spirit of patriotism and the longing for self-government, which is the inevitable result of that patriotism."
He (Mr. Power) saw no objection whatever to analyzing the causes of a change of opinion with regard to national questions in Ireland. Although the House might listen very attentively to the expression of opinions, nevertheless it could not fail to ask what motives might have actuated the speaker. If somebody rose in his place who was recorded in the book of the House, as the hon. Member for Mayo, other hon. Members might attribute to him the motive of trying to gain public approbation. Sentiments which came from the Treasury Bench or from Ministerial quarters were naturally attributed to a desire to maintain the power of the Executive; and no surprise was felt when Representatives whose associations made them Conservative gave expression to Conservative principles. Now, he would not pretend to be sufficiently sagacious in judging men, or sufficiently acquainted with the careers of Irish Members of Parliament, to be able to analyze the causes which had enabled the hon. Member for Tralee to take so great a political rebound, as the speech he had just delivered showed he had made, since he addressed that excited meeting in the Rotunda at Dublin. But, adopting means which he thought would be satisfactory to every impartial man in that House, he would make a quotation from another speech of the hon. Member, in which he said—"We have come together for the purpose of declaring in the name of Ireland that Irishmen will never rest tranquil or satisfied till they have secured for themselves the blessings of a native Parliament."
"It is melancholy to observe how a patriot falls. There are few to remind him of his duty, and the power of the seducer is great. It is easy to perceive that there is an interior struggle going on, for he has the look of a man who is trying to make himself think that he is doing right but cannot succeed, and who is ashamed of himself."
I ask, Sir, for the date of this speech; I doubt the accuracy of the quotation.
I am quoting, Sir, from a pamphlet issued by the orders of the hon. Member for Tralee, and published at The Nation office in Dublin.
The date, Sir; I ask for the date.
1861. The rest of the passage was as follows:—
—such as might have been noticed in the phrases of the hon. Member for Tralee that evening—"How the Whips first act upon him—whether they begin by sending him in the morning neatly-printed invitations to come down in the evening to support the Government, which look confidential, or whether they begin by staring at him, I cannot tell. The first dangerous symptom is an evident anxiety on the part of the patriot to be alone in corner with the Government Whips. If you happen to pass him he tries to assume an air of easy indifference "
If the House would grant him their indulgence for a few moments, he would press within the smallest possible limits his views with regard to the subject now before them. First of all, he would say that he regretted very much the tone and temper adopted in the first instance by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, and more recently in the debate by the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland. The right hon. Baronet had alluded to the possibility of force being used to settle the question, and in doing so had introduced an element into the discussion which had much better have been left out. Such an argument would never have been employed if the right hon. Baronet had had a larger Ministerial experience. Considering the perfectly constitutional character of this movement had been admitted by hon. Members in all parts of the House, no good object could be achieved by threatening the people of Ireland with the terrible consequences which might follow on unconstitutional assertion of their rights. When the language of the right hon. Baronet was read in Ireland people would say—" It was not to deter intending rebels that that speech was delivered; it was a desperate attempt to crush freedom of speech on the part of Representatives of Ireland." Viewing the matter to some extent in that light himself, he must take the liberty of telling the right hon. Baronet that they would not be driven from the temperate, manly, and constitutional advocacy of this cause by the false prophecies in which he had indulged, or by the threats which he had hurled at their heads. It had been a matter of complaint that the hon. and learned Member for Limerick had not given the House a definition of what was meant by Home Rule; but, as hon. Members seemed to find every form of the proposal for self-government bad, it was strange that they should trouble themselves about a definition. What an advocate of a great constitutional change had first of all to do was to endeavour to convert a majority of the House to the general principle involved. For himself, although he regarded Federalism as the most logical basis on which a perfect union between Great Britain and Ireland could be secured, yet if they did not like Federalism he would be willing to accept any other mode which the House might devise for giving self-government to Ireland, provided that it really gave self-government—provided that they did not attempt to satisfy it with a mere vestry. Anyone who imagined that because large public meetings had not been held in Ireland, the masses of the people did not wish for Home Rule, fell into a very great mistake. Some two years ago the hon. and learned Member for Limerick stated in a letter, published in the newspapers, that it had never been intended the Home Rule Association should become a great popular organization; that, on the contrary, he was content to have recourse to the safer and more ordinary means provided by the Constitution for the expression of public opinion in Ireland. And because he had not imitated previous agitators in rousing the passions of the people, but had abstained from the course which the hon. Member for Tralee had so unsparingly denounced, that was made a reason for hon. Members rising and saying that self-government was not demanded by the majority of the Irish people. In reply to some observations which were made by an hon. Member opposite as to the composition of the Home Rule Conference in Dublin and the requisition calling for that Conference, he had to say that that requisition was signed by members of the influential classes, and that that Conference was the first great national attempt made in Ireland to attract public attention to the cause of Home Rule. He believed that Conference was one of the most thoroughly representative assemblies that had been held in Ireland to consider a great national question for the last 50 years. That Conference contained 25 Irish Members of Parliament. Magistrates, professional men, and clergymen of all denominations were present at that Conference. On the question of Homo Rule, the people of Ireland expressed their opinion at elections which had just been held. He thought hon. Members, in making up their minds on this question, should not forget that the struggle which had been going on in Ireland, on the one side for self-government and for the supremacy of England on the other, had been waged at very great disadvantage on the part of the people of Ireland; and when they found them not merely contending against that principle of English supremacy for 74 years, but as strong in their opposition to it that day as they were 700 years ago, he thought hon. Members would not look upon the cause of Home Rule as a phantom or a delusion. That cause had a substantial existence in Ireland, and the people of Ireland were determined that she should no longer be treated as a trampled Province, but should take an important part in the management of the world's affairs."and utters a monosyllable in a loud voice. An evening or two afterwards, when the Ministry can scarcely scrape together a majority, the patriot votes with them, and remarks to his friend the Whip that it was a close thing. From bad he goes to worse, taking corn-age to himself from the idea that nobody knows him in the great wilderness of London. He gets up early and slips down a back way to the Treasury, and all is over."
said, in endeavouring to address the House he must ask their indulgence, because at present he was physically unable to do justice to the great task he had set himself. Hon. Members might ask, "Why did he undertake it?" His answer was, because he took it to be the consummation of a long political life. He wanted before he left the House to express his opinion upon this great question, which he thought was really vital to the interests of this great country. They had to decide upon a question which at the very outset presented a difficulty—namely, the difficulty of knowing what was the question. On one side there were this great country and Ireland. They were united under one Constitutional power; they were a great people, maintaining a great influence in the world's affairs, and exercising great weight in the opinions of mankind. On the other side they had offered to them what was said to be a separation of Ireland from England upon Federal principles. It was said that Ireland was merely to have the consideration of Irish affairs, while England should undertake all that was really Imperial. But Englishmen could not help feeling that they approached this question from a different point of view from that which was taken by Gentlemen from Ireland. The position which he held in the House was that of a Member of a United Parliament. He did not regard himself merely as an Englishman, he was not a Scotchman, he was not an Irishman; but he was a Member of the United Parliament of the Three Kingdoms. He had to consider what was best for the interests not of one particular portion of the country, but of all the countries of the United Kingdom. He had to ask himself whether this proposition to give a limited Parliament to Ireland was for the benefit of the whole United Kingdom. The arguments that had been used in support of this Motion were arguments which, if carried to their natural and logical conclusion, would call back the Kingdom of Wessex and re-establish the Heptarchy. That was the real effect of the arguments of hon. Gentlemen who had talked about Nationality. Now, there was no Irish Nationality; there was no English Nationality; there was no Scotch Nationality; but there was the Nationality of the United Kingdom. That was his Nationality. To that he clung, and he called upon hon. Gentlemen who represented Ireland to desist from talking about a fantastic Irish Nationality, and calmly to consider this question in the large and generous spirit in which he wished to address himself to it. [The hon. and learned Member here paused and seemed unable to resume his address. After short hesitation, he said, "My force fails me" and sat down, amid marks of sympathy.]
said, he desired to make a few observations before the debate closed, particularly after the speech which had just been made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue). He agreed with the hon. Member that this was not a measure solely affecting Ireland, but that it was one affecting the Empire at large. He rejoiced that the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) had brought this question before the House, because, having regard to what occurred at the General Election and to the number of Irish Members who came to that House pledged to support Home Rule, he thought it but right that this question should be fairly discussed, and that the reasons upon which hon. Members supported this Motion should be put before the country at large. The ground upon which the majority of the people of Ireland demanded Home Rule was that, in their opinion, Imperial legislation had failed in Ireland, and that there would never be a contented people in Ireland until it had the power in some degree of making its own laws. Under the present system of Imperial legislation, Committee after Committee had sat to investigate the condition of Ireland, and from time to time her constitution had been suspended, and the Irish people deprived of these rights which were the pride and glory of Englishmen. When the history of the 19th century came to be written, would the fault of this state of things be laid to the turbulence of the Irish people or to the mis-government of England? During the debate of 1844, which lasted nine nights, the present Prime Minister made the speech, so often quoted, in which, after describing Ireland as a country with the largest population in the world in proportion to its size, he used the following terms:—
Of course, it would be said that times had changed since then. This he admitted; but, nevertheless, that language truly, in his opinion, described the state of Ireland 44 years after the passing of the Act of Union. The right hon. Gentleman had since said the speech just referred to was "heedless rhetoric." It might have been "heedless rhetoric," but it contained truths which, when spoken, sank deep into the minds of the Irish people, and much of it was there still. The teeming population had, indeed, been got rid of by the fever shed and the emigrant vessel, and the alien Church had been abolished through the exertions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone). But Ireland still had an absentee aristocracy spending their money in the distant capitals of Europe, and also the weakest Executive in the world. The Executive was weak because it was opposed to the feelings of the Irish people. In theory, English and Irish Government were the same, but in practice they were quite different. In England every wave of public opinion was carefully watched, but Ireland was not governed in accordance with the views and feelings of the people. Very few Lord Lieutenants were Irishmen, and not more than four or five Irishmen had filled the office of Chief Secretary since the Union. The noble Marquess the late Chief Secretary (the Marquess of Hartington) had asserted that Ireland had been brought so close to England by modern science that she might be almost regarded as an English county. However this might be, the two countries had not been brought so close together as to induce English Ministers to visit Ireland. An American would scarcely believe that neither the present nor the late Prime Minister had ever set foot on Irish soil. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) might have read in Moore's Melodies of the "Vale of Avoca" and the "Meeting of the Waters," and perhaps he might have learnt from the columns of The Times that Dublin, Cork, and Belfast still existed in spite of the passing of Catholic Emancipation, of the Church and Land Acts, and of the other measures which it was said would entirely destroy the material prosperity of Ireland. But never had the right hon. Gentleman stood on Irish soil and gazed on the "melancholy ocean," which he once described as the main source of the evils of the country. How was Ireland governed? As a rule, the noble Lord who was sent to discharge the duties of Lord Lieutenant, and the Chief Secretary, who was sent to assist him, got all their information from officials in Dublin Castle, being themselves entirely ignorant of Irish affairs, and therefore obliged to go through a sort of education which was equally painful to the master and the scholar. Referring to the speech of the hon. Member for the county of Londonderry (Mr. R. Smyth), the right hon. Baronet said: Catholic Emancipation was not passed voluntarily by the imperial Parliament. It was not till the country was on the verge of revolution that the Duke of Wellington, yielding to fear, advised Parliament to pass the Bill. In like manner, the Church and the Land Acts were, in reality, the result of the Fenian insurrection. How long was that state of things to last? What were the remedies proposed? One remedy proposed was revolution, but that was absurd. Another was to do by Imperial legislation that which revolution would accomplish. The right hon. Member for Greenwich attempted this—in other words, he attempted to govern Ireland in accordance with Irish ideas; but the Imperial Parliament would not allow him to do so, and he had to give up the attempt. Another remedy proposed was to increase the number of Irish Members in that House; but English and Scotch Representatives would never give their assent to that suggestion. The only remaining remedy, therefore, was to give the Irish a Parliament of their own, and to let them make laws for themselves. During the present Session, upwards of 30 Irish Bills had been introduced into that House which could have been far better disposed of by an Irish Parliament. It was said a difficulty would arise under the scheme now proposed if, in the event of war, it should become necessary to place a tax upon Ireland; but the answer was that of course the Imperial Parliament would have power to tax Ireland for Imperial purposes. Very lately Iceland had been pacified by the granting of a new Constitution and the establishment of a Federal Parliament. He would advise hon. Gentlemen to consider what had been done in Iceland in order to show that a Federal Parliament was consistent with Imperial Government. The question now before the House could not be sneered at. It was backed by three-fourths of the Irish people, and even in Ulster it had many supporters. The national feeling was in favour of it. It was a movement which enlisted the strongest degree of interest in the hearts and desires of the Irish people, and the agitation for Home Rule would go on and increase until it was conceded."That dense population in extreme distress inhabited an island where there was an established Church which was not their Church; and a territorial aristocracy, the richest of whom lived in distant capitals. Thus they had a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, and an alien Church, and, in addition, the weakest Executive in the world. That was the Irish question. Well, then, what would hon. Gentlemen say if they were reading of a country in that position? They would say at once, 'The remedy is revolution.' But the Irish could not have a revolution; and why? Because Ireland was connected with another and a more powerful country. Then what was the consequence? The connection with England thus became the cause of the present state of Ireland. If the connection with England prevented a revolution, and a revolution were the only remedy, England logically was in the odious position of being the cause of all the misery in Ireland."—[3 Hansard, lxxii. 1016.]
I shall trouble the House but for a few minutes, and I would not do so at all if I did not think that I had some small contribution which will enable you to come to a right conclusion upon this subject. I entirely agree in everything that was said by my noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington) the other night, and therefore I need not travel over the same ground as he went over. But it appears to me that this House has been more engaged with the reasons which are alleged for this change than with the nature of the change which is proposed. I would point out some of the consequences of the change which we are asked to adopt, that are well worthy of consideration. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick has been reproached for not explaining sufficiently what his plan is. I do not think he is open to that reproach. He says that he intends to invest Irishmen with full powers to legislate upon Irish affairs, reserving only Imperial powers to the Imperial Parliament. This he declares in his Resolutions, and in his speech he has also told us that he means that Irish Members are only to vote in this House upon Imperial questions, and not upon any other. Now, I undertake to show the House not only that this would be most difficult, but that it would be a moral impossibility, and that no scheme in the least resembling this could be carried into effect. In the first place, we are all familiar with the fact that the authority of an Act of Parliament in this country is absolute; that Parliament is omnipotent; and that, as the lawyers say, it can do anything, except make a man a woman, or a woman a man. If a man disobeys an Act of Parliament the only excuse he can offer for so doing is that he is physically incapable of complying with its requirements. If we should agree to this Motion, how then will matters stand? The Irish Parliament will have a power limited by the reservation in favour of the Imperial Parliament, and the Imperial Parliament will also have a limited power, the bounds of which it cannot transgress; and we shall have passed from our old Constitution into a written Constitution, something like that of the United States, having taken up all the landmarks that have distinguished the English Constitution from its beginning. We shall want some authority to decide when we are within, and when we are not within, the bounds of that authority. It must not be an English tribunal, for it would not be fair to Ireland that their rights should be decided upon by what would then be an alien tribunal. That authority must not be an Irish Parliament, because it would not be fair or right that its rights should be decided upon by a tribunal of another part of the Empire. And it must not be one that is neither English nor Irish, for that would be to place the validity or invalidity of our laws in other hands than ours. Thus we should have the anomaly of a man acting under an Act of Parliament and thinking himself safe, when all the while his act was illegal because the law was ultra vires of the body that passed it. There is another matter almost as clear. Suppose that on domestic questions on which the Irish are not to vote the Government is in a majority—suppose on Imperial questions on which the Irish are to vote that the Government is in a minority, you will say—The Government must resign. Yes; but how replace it? How is a Government possible, the very condition of whose existence is that it must be in a permanent minority either on Imperial or domestic questions? I do not scruple to say that such a system would absolutely destroy the possi- bility of the existence of any Government. These things must be considered by the House before it consents to the change now proposed. The hon. and learned Gentleman proposes that there shall be still the same number of Irish Members as at present, only they are to have liberty of voting and speaking on Imperial questions, and no other. He thus proposes to foist on the present Constitution habits and practices foreign to this House. What will be the effect? Either the Irish Members would not be Members of Parliament at all or they would be very little Members. It puts me in mind of the question of Artemus Ward, "how much of a Mormon elder was married to each of his 84 wives." They are to be summoned when Imperial questions are to be decided; but it is not the practice of this House to set aside particular things for certain days, but for any Member to call attention to anything when and how he thinks proper. An Irish Member would have a right to speak and vote on a foreign question on going into Committee of Supply on the ground that it is an Imperial question. The next subject might have reference to the English Local Government Board, when Irish Members must turn out; but, according to the present accommodation afforded by the House, where could they go? A colonial question next arising, all the Irish Members would have to come back, and so this kind of see-saw would be continued each night, and night after night. When the Treasury Estimates came on a question might also arise whether Irish Members had or had not a right to vote on money matters, and the rest of the evening might be spent, not in going on with the Estimates, but in debating the indirect question, that might afterwards have to be settled by the international tribunal that would have to decide on the nature of the different Acts of Parliament. When the House was discussing non-Imperial questions Irish Members would have no right to be present. They would have no more right to be in the House than strangers, and if they wanted to continue their presence and hear the debates, the only way it could be done would be by their humbly applying to English or Scotch Members for an order to the Strangers' Gallery. [Laughter.] These things are, no doubt, ludicrous; but I hope the House will not lose sight of the serious part of the question in the ridicule. This must be the effect of the measure we are asked to pass, unless the House is prepared to alter all their habits and proceedings to enable this matter to be worked. Before we vote upon the matter, we ought to be informed how these difficulties are to be met. One other thing ought to have an effect on Irish Members. They have contributed an enormous amount of ability and talent to the House of Commons in our time. There is nothing we can look upon with more pleasure than the brilliant ability they have displayed in this House; but, if this were passed, Gentlemen might possess all the eloquence of Flood, Grattan, O'Connell, and Sheil, and still must remain comparatively provincial, and all that splendid constellation of power would be lost altogether—a power we struggle after in vain to emulate, and can only admire. What have Irish Members done? What have the youth of Ireland done that they should be subjected to the proscription? I cannot believe that any Irish Gentleman, when he looks this side of the thing fairly in the face, can countenance it for a moment. I do not state this in any ill-spirit towards Irish Gentlemen; but I feel bound to point out to them what I sincerely believe, that this proposal will lead them into a course which, so far from benefiting or elevating them, will lower and degrade them, which everyone would deplore and deprecate. Is there any way open? Can England and Scotland set up local Parliaments, and have an Imperial Parliament besides? [Mr. BUTT: Hear, hear!] How can it be done? It reminds me of an anecdote of Sheridan, who, when coming home and seeing a man lying drunk in the gutter, said to him—" Unfortunately, I can't pick you out of the gutter, but I can lie down beside you." I will not waste time in arguing against the probability of changing the habits and practices that have existed over 600 years in England, and for 165 years since the Union with Scotland, with incalculable benefit, in order to carry out such a crotchet as this. Will Irish Members adopt a third remedy—that of being content to absent themselves altogether, much as they did between 1782 and the Union? I shall be unwilling to consider that Ireland would voluntarily descend from her Imperial position as part of the first legislative State—the honoured Member of the first country in the world—to the position of a dependant, or a colony. If she is not content to accept such a position, she must remain as she is at present—a part of the United Kingdom.
Sir, we are asked to go into Committee in order that we may assert the right of Ireland to manage exclusively Irish affairs in an Irish Parliament and by the Irish people. I demur to going into Committee, because I do not admit the principle involved. "Why should we do so in order that we may assert that the Irish people have the right of dealing and of managing exclusively Irish affairs in an Irish Parliament? Is it a right enjoyed by the English? The English people have not the right of managing in their own Parliament—the existing Parliament—exclusively English affairs. The Scotch have not that right. I remember when I first entered Parliament, that for a long period there was a majority of English Members arrayed against the existing Government, and that existing Government flourished by dealing largely with Irish legislation, but no English Member—although they might disagree with the policy of the existing Government—no English Member for a moment questioned their constitutional right, if they obtained a majority in Parliament, of passing these measures. Then, again, cases are not rare where hon. Members from Scotland have brought forward measures supported by a considerable majority of Scotch Members, and they have not been passed. I never heard a Scotch Member rise and say that because such measures were not carried, they had a right of managing exclusively Scotch affairs in a Scotch Parliament for that purpose. They might have regretted the loss of the measure; but they acknowledged the constitutional right of Parliament in refusing to accede to it. Therefore the principal purpose of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick in asking us to go into Committee that we should assert the right of the Irish people to manage exclusively Irish affairs, is to assert a right which has never existed, and which ought not to exist, and one not enjoyed either by the English or Scotch people. But assuming—which is a very large assumption —that the principle of the hon. and learned Member is a principle which ought to be admitted, and that this right should be acknowledged, I want to know how it is to be carried into effect. Now, we have listened to the right hon. Gentleman who has just addressed us with much acuteness, and who, speaking upon matters of which he has both Parliamentary and official experience, has pointed out some of the difficulties and the ridiculous consequences of the course which we are invited to adopt. We have also listened to speakers on the previous night, and especially to the noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington) who in an effective address showed, from his own experience as a Minister of State, the great difficulties in which we should be involved. But admitting the principle, I will ask the House—having followed this debate with interest and attention, and especially the addresses of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick and his principal supporters—have they obtained any definite conception from any language that has been used of the means by which they intend to carry into effect the vague policy which they recommend? We are told that what they require is not Repeal, but Federation; and for a time that seemed to fall upon the House as a new, if not a true, point in debate. But Federation is an arrangement between equal and independent States, and it would be impossible to construct a Federation without previously repealing that Act of Union, which we are told is not sought to be repealed. Well, if this arrangement be carried into effect—the means not being detailed to us, and which I cannot divine—but, assuming that it is possible, I am quite sure that it will pull down the whole administrative hierarchy of the country, with the whole system of constitutional administration which has been gradually formed during two centuries by the constant efforts of Parliament. All that must be abolished. Whether we should have one Imperial Parliament and one Local Parliament, or whether we must have, as has just been suggested—and it will probably be the solution of many difficulties, although it will lead to greater ones—one Imperial and three Local Parliaments; one thing is quite clear—that we should end in having co-ordinate and competing authorities, and that we should find officers of State acting on policies totally distinct, and bringing about a course of affairs hostile to each other. I shall also be glad to ascertain—for I have not learnt it from anything the hon. and learned Member for Limerick has told us—how he means to manage this double representation, which is to be enjoyed by the Irish Members, and which is to be at the same time Imperial and Local. Are there to be two sets of Members? I infer from something that has been said by the hon. and learned Member, or perhaps from his friends allowing the assertion to be made by others, that there is to be only one set of Members, and that they are to be hurried from capital to capital to fulfil their duties. Let us see how that would work. Let us suppose, what is not impossible, that the Local Parliament in Dublin is deeply engaged in a subject of domestic interest—of exclusively Irish interest—it might be, we will say, the subject of National Education. The attendance of every Member of the Local Parliament is necessary. Well, there is a question of Imperial importance at the same time brought forward at Westminster, and one which might equally interest all the Members of the Local Parliament in Dublin engaged on this subject of domestic interest. It might concern our relations with some foreign power of importance, and between which and Ireland we are frequently reminded there are feelings of intimate sympathy and friendship. I cannot doubt for a moment that if there were a question that might involve a war, we will suppose with France, all the Irish Members would immediately feel that they had pressing Imperial duties to fulfil; and how are they at the same time to fulfil their domestic duties at Dublin, and their Imperial duties at Westminster? Would they communicate by the telegraph their votes and decisions? Is it in an age when we have denounced proxies as an abuse, that we should settle by means of proxies the controversies of nations? I cannot conceive that the hon. and learned Gentleman would have recourse to such a scheme. But if there are such difficulties, not to say impossibilities, in devising any means of carrying into effect the scheme of the hon. and learned Gentleman—if it is full of these difficulties which have been dwelt upon by so many hon. Members during this debate—if there is a chance of it producing immediately so much uneasiness, not to say injury, I want to know what is the cause—the sufficient cause—why we should run the risk of such a change as that which is suggested? I have not yet learnt sufficiently from the hon. and learned Gentleman what that cause is. I want to know whether there is a sufficient cause for this change, or if there is any cause? I have listened with great attention to what the hon. and learned Gentleman said, especially on that head. I was anxious—while I followed him in his bold scheme, and in the ambiguous details by which it was to be carried into effect—particularly to discover why we were to run so great a risk, why we were to consent to so vast a change, and what was the overwhelming reason which should induce an experienced and practical people like the British nation to adopt the suggestions of the hon. and learned Gentleman. I do not say that he did not offer some reasons—it would be impossible for him to come here and make such a proposition as he has made without offering some. But what are they? I took them down, and I think I am accurate. There were causes of complaint, and for these causes of complaint it was necessary to establish an Irish Parliament which should devote itself exclusively to Irish affairs—an arrangement which all must admit, without going into the consideration of great questions of policy, would at first produce immense confusion, and probably produce a most injurious effect on the public service of the country. Now, what are the causes of complaint of the Irish people, proclaimed to us by their chosen leader, who is in constant training for the office which he fulfils on this occasion, and who, therefore, you may depend upon it, has naturally omitted none. The first and principal complaint is, that Irishmen are not preferred to high office. The hon. and learned Gentleman stated that there were five principal offices in the Irish Government, and at the present moment they were all filled by Englishmen and Scotchmen. Well, the hon. and learned Gentleman has more information on that subject than I have myself. I will not contradict him on that head. All I know is, I have known the highest offices in Ireland filled by Irishmen; and, if they are not so filled at this moment, I suppose it is from one of these casualties that occur in the course of human affairs, and we cannot draw any inference from it as to the general course of conduct on that subject. All I know is, that if the present Lord Lieutenant is not an Irishman, still, when his Sovereign most graciously expressed her wish to confer upon him the highest dignity in the Peerage, he made a humble condition that it should be a purely Irish dignity, and when he was made Duke of Abercorn he became an Irish Duke, and therefore, if he was not born an Irishman, he must be very Irish indeed. But is it the fact that the great offices of the State are not enjoyed by Irishmen? I have not had time to make any researches. The hon. and learned Gentleman, who has given up his life to one subject ought, of course, to be master of it. I can only speak from my memory, stimulated by the course of the debate; but while the hon. and learned Gentleman was speaking, while he was proposing a revolution in order that justice might be done to his countrymen, and that they should enjoy that which, according to him they never yet enjoyed—namely, possession of the great offices—it did occur to me that, within my own experience, I have known three Prime Ministers who were Irishmen—three Viceroys of India who were Irishmen. The present Lord Chancellor of England is an Irishman. The Secretary for Ireland in the late Government was an Irishman. The Secretary for Ireland in the Government of Lord Derby was an Irishman, and Members on both sides of the House have competed with each other in announcing the Judges of all descriptions that are Irishmen. And yet we are asked to put an end to the Imperial Parliament, and make this great revolution because Irishmen have not had their fair share of the great offices of the State. Well, what was the next complaint of the Irish people upon which this demand was founded? It was that Ireland is at this moment governed by Coercion Bills, that it has been periodically and frequently governed by Coercion Bills, and Coercion Bills of the most stringent and stern character. I do not deny their stringency and sternness, but it should be remembered that the Irish Members made no protest against these Bills. ["Oh, oh."] When did they make their protest? Where did they make it? It must have been in their local Parliament. It certainly was not in the Imperial Parliament. Well, then—I will not say with what face, for that is hardly a classical expression—but with what degree of self-complacency and self-respect can the hon. and learned Gentleman come forward and make the present coercion system of legislation that exists in Ireland a ground for taking the course he has done, seeing that that system has been supported, generally speaking, by all the Irish Members; for, with the exception of some dozen, they all either voted for it or absented themselves? I repeat, with what degree of self-complacency can he make that system a ground for the enormous proposition he has submitted to the House of Commons? I must do the hon. and learned Gentleman the justice to say there were other grounds stated besides coercion and the want of official preferment. He seemed to bring forward the famine as one of the great complaints; but, as he treated that in a somewhat nebulous manner, I will not press him on that point. I leave it to the general feeling of the House. The famine was originally produced, no doubt, by the amount of the population of Ireland being greatly in excess as compared with the means of supporting the people. [An hon. MEMBER: Emigration.] I do not share the feelings of all in this House on that subject. I cannot say that I view without emotion that immense and extensive emigration of the people. I have never considered it in these transcendental lights of political economy in which some have regarded it. But I want to know, what is or can ever be the remedy for this system of emigration? There is only one, and it is to increase the means of the employment of the people and vary the species of that employment. As long as the Irish are actuated by the passionate love of the soil, which, I suppose, is the consequence of their tribal relations in a great degree—so long as they will not be weaned from it—so long as that passion leads them to deeds of rapine and outrage into which they periodically break out—so long will the capital of this country be diverted from Ireland and prevented from being invested there, and so long the means of varying and increasing the employment of the people will fail. But when you come to the diminution of the population, the hon. and learned Gentleman, who knows everything connected with this subject, must be perfectly aware that the great increase to the population of Ireland occurred after the Union, and therefore the inferences drawn from his general political dogmas on that subject cannot be accepted. There was, I admit, one practical complaint which the hon. and learned Gentleman brought forward, and that was that the borough franchise of Ireland was higher than the borough franchise of England. Well, that is a very small matter. If that were so, it hardly is a sufficient cause for that great change which the hon. and learned Gentleman and his Friends have proposed to-night. If you look into the question, the conclusion which an impartial mind would draw would be exactly contrary to the conclusion which has been drawn by the hon. and learned Gentleman. Why the borough franchise of Ireland for a long period—since the Reform Act of Lord Grey until the Act of 1868—has always been much lower than the borough franchise in England. Ireland has been dealt with, so far as the question of Parliamentary reform is concerned, in a different and a much more liberal manner than England. There have been more Acts to invest the Irish people with the political franchise than there have been Acts to invest the people of England with it, and for this simple and singular reason—that it was found almost impossible to establish and maintain a sufficient constituency either in the counties or in the boroughs. The consequence is there have certainly been three Reform Acts since the Act of 1832, the object of which has been to increase the constituencies of Ireland both in the counties and the boroughs by reducing the franchise; and the franchise of the Irish boroughs was for a long series of years—between 30 and 40 years—much lower than the borough franchise in England. Ireland was not dealt with at the same time as the English and Scotch franchises in 1868, but no one in that Parliament for a moment supposed that it was from any jealousy of Ireland, or any unwillingness to treat the Irish on the same general principle of equality with regard to the franchise as England. But time was then most precious, and Ireland had been repeatedly, and in its favour, and for its peculiar advantage, dealt with on this subject of the franchise, when England and Scotland were not; and, therefore, under the circumstances, it was not necessary then to take into consideration the borough franchise of Ireland, which was a very low franchise. Who can for a moment suppose that the franchise of Ireland being for six or seven years higher than the borough franchise of England, which had been probably for 35 years much lower, was a sufficient reason, or a reason that could be alleged with any plausibility, for effecting the change which the hon. and learned Gentleman proposes? I have asked the House to consider why we should acknowledge the principle of the hon. and learned Gentleman that Ireland has a right to manage all exclusively Irish affairs in an Irish Parliament; I have asked, assuming this right, how it is to be done—a subject on which I can throw very little light. Not only so, it would produce endless confusion; and I may ask, when this confusion would probably be the consequence of the course he recommends, whether he has alleged sufficient cause, I may say any cause, adequate for such a change? Now, I want to discover what the real cause is; and, indeed, I should have given that up had it not been for the speech of the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. MacCarthy); he who addressed us with so much animation appeared to me to throw off the mask. He did not tell us that he wanted an Irish Parliament for local purposes, or because Irishmen were not sufficiently promoted, or because there were Coercion Acts, or because a famine had once raged in the land, or because the borough franchise was not as low as the borough franchise in England. He went at once to the root of the subject. He told us the real cause. He said—" We require this great change—we require our own Parliament to put an end to our own subjugation." ["Hear, hear!"] I accept that "hear, hear" from the hon. Gentlemen as an evidence that I am stating the case with that accuracy which I trust always distinguishes me. I must say there is to me nothing more extraordinary than the determination of the Irish people to proclaim to the world that they are a conquered race. I have been always surprised that a people gifted with so much genius, so much sentiment, such winning qualities should be—I am sure they will pardon me saying it; my remark is an abstract and not a personal one—should be so deficient in self-respect. I deny that the Irish people are conquered as they are proud to tell us; I deny that they have any ground for that pride. The hon. Member for Louth was quite elated when he spoke of the subjection of his people. He seemed almost inspired when he talked of the Irish being still in chains. I must enter my protest against a course which appears to me so extraordinary. And, first of all, I deny that the Irish are an ancient nation that have been conquered more than all ancient nations have been. I deny that the Irish have been conquered more than, or even as often, as the English. You never hear of an Englishman going about and boasting of his subjection. He boasts sometimes of having come over with William the Conqueror or rather of his ancestors having done so. The Irish have been conquered by the Normans and so have we, and in modern times I will not deny that Oliver Cromwell conquered Ireland, but it was after he had conquered England. William III. could not have succeeded in conquering Ireland if he had not previously conquered England. Therefore, there is no foundation for this statement of which the hon. Member for Louth and the school he represents are always so proud. Allow me to point out to the House that this morbid sentiment is the only real foundation for this violent change which is now proposed. If they are not a subject race, they have no argument at all, according to the reasoning of the hon. Member for Louth, for the course they are pursuing. I would most respectfully remark to my Irish friends, there is something, I think, impolitic in the boastful manner in which they will recall the disgraces and disasters of their people. It is peculiar to them, but I would recommend them not to be too fond of indulging in it. We have the advantage of living in an age when people are not remarkable for a superstitious veneration for history or acquaintance with it. We cannot spare so much time to the past as our fathers did, and I have no doubt when all the various systems of education now afloat are matured, and their consequences really accomplished, the great body of the nation will not be acquainted with anything but the information of the current hour. If, therefore, Irish Gentlemen would only hold their tongues, I do not believe that in the course of a generation anybody would remember that they ever had been subjugated, for in the course of a generation they will turn out to be the Representatives of a contented and prosperous people. I have touched upon these points because they were referred to in the course of the debate, and because my doing so would show that I have listened with attention to the general observations which have been made. So far as my own individual opinion is concerned—and my opinion upon the subject is very clear and very firm—I have had no need whatever to take into consideration the various subjects to which I have cursorily alluded. I will, however, say even this—that if it could be proved to me that the Union had absolutely impoverished Ireland instead of having, as I believe it has, enriched it, that could not be held as a sufficient reason for the course proposed to be adopted to-night. We have been told that the proper mode by which to remedy this imaginary grievance of Ireland is to adopt a Federal Union, and we had a good deal of light thrown upon this subject by reference to Federal Unions in Austro-Hungary, the United States, Switzerland, and so forth. I I should never speak of the Empire of Austro-Hungary but with the greatest respect, and I have no doubt, myself, that on both sides of the House great sympathy must be always felt for the Monarch of that Empire. He has experienced extraordinary vicissitudes and has encountered great calamities, and from the period when first as a youth he accepted—and at a time of much turbulence—the throne, he has conducted himself, I think, with courage and conscientiousness. I heartily wish success to that great experiment, and, what is more, I believe there is every prospect of its success and of the increased strength and prosperity of that Empire. But I must say—and I hope without offence to anyone—that I am not prepared to stake the fortunes of an ancient and famous Monarchy like our own, and of an Empire whose flag floats on many waters, upon the success, the limited suc- cess, of an experiment which has only commenced in our own time, and which certainly ought not to he adduced as a guide and model for a country like England. As far as the other cases are concerned which have been brought forward—namely, the United States, the Swiss Confederation, and especially that happy exemplar of Iceland which was introduced in so grave a manner, I dispute the propriety of arguing the question on such grounds. I dispute the propriety of arguing the practicability of adopting a federal connection between England and Ireland or any other part of our dominions upon abstract principles or upon any general instances like these. The question of a federal connection between England and Ireland depends upon the circumstances of the case, upon the circumstances of the two countries, the evidence we have to deal with now, and the consequences we may have hereafter to encounter. That is the only way that I should consider this question. I ask myself if it be possible for a moment to establish that division of duties between Local and Imperial business suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick. Admitting, for the sake of argument, that it is possible—not only that it is possible, but that the result is consummated, and that we have Parliaments sitting at Dublin and at Westminster—I ask how this scheme will practically work, and what will be the probable consequences? In the first place, I must naturally look at the character of the population of Ireland in order that, when I know what the constituency is, I may be able to form a notion of what will be the character of the Representatives. There is, no doubt—I may say it without offence—that the large majority of the population of Ireland are of the Roman Catholic faith. Hon. Gentlemen opposite need not be alarmed. I am not going to make any observations disparaging to their religion. I have always expressed, as I do now, my respect for that venerable faith. But I cannot conceal from my self that the organization of the Roman Catholic religion is a most powerful organization—perhaps, the most powerful now in existence. I will say this, that it is not the less powerful because the head of that faith has been deprived of his capital and a few provinces. I believe, indeed, that his power has increased. I am not here to impute to the head of that faith or his counsellors any aggressive spirit against civilization or the tranquillity of Europe. But they are flesh and blood, animated by the feelings and influenced by the passions which have always governed the transactions of mankind; and I cannot doubt that such influences and such feelings must have great effect upon the conduct of a Parliament elected in Ireland by an overwhelming majority professing the Roman Catholic faith and returning to that Parliament a large majority of representatives of the same faith. I want to know, suppose that to happen, which it is not improbable may happen, and which, perhaps, I may say, will certainly happen in the generation which is now commencing—suppose there was a great movement in Europe, the object of which was to restore the head of the Roman Catholic faith to the capital which he has lost and the provinces of which he has been deprived—and suppose we were assembled in Parliament to take counsel upon some of the circumstances and events which such combinations might produce, would Irish Members be satisfied by coming to the Imperial Council and availing themselves of their Imperial position to express their sentiments and give their votes? And if their counsels were disregarded, if their votes were out-numbered, can we believe that a Roman Catholic Parliament in Ireland would be indifferent to events which they must class amongst the highest and most interesting to them, and in which their feelings are the most deeply engaged? Sir, I cannot for a moment, myself, resist the conviction that in such a state of affairs the Parliament of Ireland would not hesitate in believing that it was an exclusively Irish affair to consider the condition of the head of the Roman Catholic faith. Well, I believe that that would lead to great dangers, and possibly to great disasters, and that if we found the two countries pursuing a different policy, that might happen, which none can contemplate without a feeling of terror—we might be called upon to interfere between a portion of the Irish people who did not sympathize with the majority of the Irish Parliament, and perhaps to interfere with force. Nor can we suppose, from the experience that we have had, that the majority of the Irish people, with a majority in their Parliament which had declared its opinions clearly and decidedly upon this question, would easily be daunted, either by the threats of the Protestant minority of the people of Ireland or by the interference of England. We might be approaching one of these great crises in human affairs that fill the largest pages of history. Civil War might even be a lesser evil than the calamities which might impend over both countries. There might be sympathy with nations which have not been subjugated. We have been told even in the course of this debate by an hon. Member that there is great sympathy between Ireland and a foreign nation—a nation once a mighty Power, and probably one to whom there are future destinies of authority yet remaining. Sir, these are considerations which greatly influence me in the consideration of this question. I cannot view it as one whether we ought to establish a vast vestry in Dublin. I cannot stop merely at the consideration whether it may or may not involve our administrative system in infinite difficulties and inconsistencies. These are all light matters compared with the issue which I have submitted to myself, and which to my eye assumes much greater magnitude. I am opposed, therefore, to this Motion, because I think involved in it are the highest and nearest interests of our country. I am opposed to it for the sake of the Irish people as much as for the sake of the English and the Scotch. I am opposed to it because I wish to see united at an important crisis of the world—a crisis that perhaps is nearer arriving than some of us suppose—because I wish to see a united people welded in one great nationality, and because I feel that if we sanction this policy—if we do not cleanse the Parliamentary bosom of all this "perilous stuff"—we shall bring about the disintegration of the Kingdom and the destruction of the Empire.
denied the accuracy of the Prime Minister's statement that the Irish did not feel that they were a conquered nation. The iron of conquest had entered deep into their souls, and the wounds caused by the various conquests would, he feared, hardly be healed by the honeyed words of the right hon. Gentleman, the Prime Minister. They had, however, never based their claim to Home Rule on the fact that they were conquered; what they said was, that when they lost Home Rule they were simply sold. The object of the Government of this country might be to set one class of the Irish people against the other, to set Catholics against Protestants and Protestants against Catholics. He denied that if an Irish Parliament were granted, Roman Catholics in Ireland would interfere with the rights of their Protestant fellow-countrymen. They had felt too much the effects of religious intolerance to wish to inflict it upon any portion of their brethren.
Sir, there is no parallel between the cases of Scotland and Ireland. After the debate that has taken place, I feel that I need add little in support of the Motion before the House; nor would I venture to do so—fully satisfied as I am with the case so triumphantly established by the facts and arguments adduced by my hon. Friends who have preceded me—were it not that I entered this House the Representative—unopposed—of nearly 17,000 electors of an agricultural county, whose first requirement of me was a pledge that I would advocate in this House, and demand from it, the restoration to Ireland of her Parliament, of which she was so fraudulently deprived, in the modified form asked for to-night. Sir, were it possible that the issue to be determined to-night could be determined by a statesman selected from each of any 12 European States, I would, notwithstanding the comments of the morning papers on the debate of Tuesday, entertain no doubt as to the verdict being in favour of the claim made on behalf of Ireland. That being impossible, I entertain as little doubt as to what the result will be; at the same time hoping that in this great Assembly there are some, if not many, who laying aside prejudices, interests, and parties, will be found in what may be called the Irish Lobby. I now redeem that pledge, which it was unnecessary to ask from me, because my convictions, for many years before I entered this House, were that the regeneration of Ireland can only be achieved by her Representatives and her Peers having the management of her internal affairs, sitting in her capital—convictions fortified by my experience of this House, which however, well inclined, has neither the knowledge nor the time to legislate according to the wants, necessities, and requirements of the Irish people. [The hon. Member then referred to what has taken place in Hungary, in Norway and Sweden, in Iceland, and at Capetown, where self-government has been granted to the inhabitants. He concluded:] I will say, Sir, before I sit down, that it is with sorrow, humiliation, and indignation I have listened to the speech to-night made by the hon. Member for Tralee (the O'Donoghue). It is sad to think that he who now sits here by the accident of two or three votes, should rise in this House to traduce the principles of his own life-time, and, worse still, to defame in his grave the illustrious Irishman whose name he has had the temerity to claim as against the concession of the legislative independence of Ireland.
complained of the reception which on many occasions was afforded to Irish Members. On a late occasion he had risen at an early period in the debate upon the Gold Coast to state his opinions, formed after having given much care and attention to the subject, and after having spent much time in reading documents and Despatches connected with the Gold Coast administration, but was not afforded an opportunity of expressing his opinions. On this occasion his name and race justified him in making some observations upon the great question before the House—that, he thought, would not be disputed. In doing so he proposed to give a resumé of Irish politics. ["Oh, oh!" and "Divide."] Were the feeling of the House that he should not proceed, he would sit down. ["Sit down."] He would not do so except he were stopped by the highest authority. "Well, he would say that were he an Englishman he would have been a Whig; but as an Irishman he supported the Motion before the House. The term "Whig" seemed to be distasteful to hon. Members; but he recollected that the term "Gueux," meant to be a term of reproach, was accepted as a term of honour in former times in Belgium. He should support the Motion.
The House divided:—Ayes 61; Noes 458: Majority 397.
|Biggar, J. G.||Meldon, C. H.|
|Blennerhassett, R. P.||Moore, A.|
|Bowyer, Sir G.||Morris, G.|
|Brady, J.||Nolan, Captain|
|Browne, G. E.||O'Brien, Sir P.|
|Bryan, G. L.||O'Byrne, W. R.|
|Burt, T.||O'Callaghan, hon. W.|
|Collins, E.||O'Clery, K.|
|Conyngham, Lord F.||O'Conor, D. M.|
|Cowen, J.||O'Conor Don, The|
|Cross, J. K.||O'Gorman, P.|
|Dease, E.||O'Keeffe, J.|
|Digby, K. T.||O'Leary, W.|
|Dilke, Sir C. W.||O'Loghlen, rt. hon. Sir C. M.|
|Dunbar, J.||O'Sullivan, W. H.|
|Ennis, N.||Power, J. O'C.|
|Errington, G.||Power, R.|
|Eyton, P. E.||Redmond, W. A.|
|Fay, C. J.||Ronayne, J. P.|
|French, hon. C.||Shaw, W.|
|Gourley, E. T.||Sheil, E.|
|Gray, Sir J.||Sherlock, Mr. Serjeant|
|Hamond, C. F.||Simon, Mr. Serjeant|
|Henry, M.||Smyth, P. J.|
|Jenkins, E.||Stacpoole, W.|
|Kirk, G. H.||Sullivan, A. M.|
|Lawson, Sir W.||Synan, E. J.|
|Lewis, O.||Ward, M. F.|
|M'Carthy, J. G.|
|M' Kenna, Sir J. N.|
|Martin, J.||Butt, I.|
|Martin, P.||O'Shaughnessy, R.|
|Adam, rt. hon. W. P.||Bective, Earl of|
|Adderley, rt. hn. Sir C.||Bentinck, G. C.|
|Agnew, P. V.||Benyon, R.|
|Alexander, Colonel||Beresford, Colonel M.|
|Allen, Major||Biddulph, M.|
|Allen, W. S.||Birley, H.|
|Allsopp, S. C.||Bolckow, H. W. F.|
|Anderson, G.||Boord, T. W.|
|Anstruther, Sir W.||Booth, Sir R. G.|
|Antrobus, Sir E.||Bourke, hon. R.|
|Archdale, W. H.||Bourne, Colonel|
|Arkwright, A. P.||Bousfield, Major|
|Arkwright, F.||Brassey, H. A.|
|Arkwright, R.||Briggs, W. E.|
|Ashbury, J. L.||Bright, R.|
|Ashley, hon. E. M.||Bristowe, S. B.|
|Assheton, R.||Broadley, W. H. H.|
|Baggallay, Sir R.||Brocklehurst, W. C.|
|Bagge, Sir W.||Brooks, W. C.|
|Balfour, A. J.||Brown, A. H.|
|Balfour, Sir G.||Bruce, rt. hon. Lord E.|
|Ball, rt. hon. J. T.||Bruce, hon. T.|
|Barclay, A. C.||Bruen, H.|
|Barclay, J. W.||Brymer, W. E.|
|Baring, T. C.||Buckley, Sir E.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Bulwer, J. R.|
|Barttelot, Colonel||Burrell, Sir P.|
|Bass, A.||Buxton, Sir R. J.|
|Bassett, F.||Callender, W. R.|
|Bates, E.||Cameron, C.|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Campbell, C.|
|Bathurst, A. A.||Campbell-Bannerman, H.|
|Baxter, rt. hon. W. E.|
|Bazley, Sir T.||Carington, hn. Col. W.|
|Beach, rt. hn. Sir M. H.||Cartwright, W. C.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Cave, rt. hon. S.|
|Beaumont, Major F.||Cave, T.|
|Cavendish, Lord F. C.||Evans, T. W.|
|Cavendish, Lord G.||Ewing, A. O.|
|Cawley, C. E.||Fawcett, H.|
|Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.||Feilden, H. M.|
|Chadwick, D.||Fellowes, E.|
|Chaine, J.||Ferguson, R.|
|Chaplin, H.||Fielden, J.|
|Chapman, J.||Finch, G. H.|
|Charley, W. T.||Fitzmaurice, Lord E.|
|Cholmeley, Sir H.||Fitzwilliam, hon. C. W. W.|
|Christie, W. L.|
|Churchill, Lord R.||Fletcher, I.|
|Clarke, J. C.||Floyer, J.|
|Clifford, C. C.||Foljambe, F. J. S.|
|Clifton, T. H.||Folkestone, Viscount|
|Clive, Col. hon. G. W.||Forester, rt. hon. Gen.|
|Clive, G.||Forster, Sir C.|
|Close, M. C.||Forster, rt. hon. W. E.|
|Clowes, S. W.||Forsyth, W.|
|Cobbold, J. P.||Freshfield, C. K.|
|Cogan, rt. hn. W. H. F.||Gallwey, Sir W. P.|
|Cole, hon. Col. H. A.||Galway, Viscount|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Gardner, J. T. Agg-|
|Colman, J. J.||Gardner, R. Richardson-|
|Corbett, Colonel||Garnier, J. C.|
|Corbett, J.||Gilpin, Colonel|
|Cordes, T.||Gladstone, W. H.|
|Corry, hon. H. W. L.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Corry, J. P.||Goldney, G.|
|Cotes, C. C.||Goldsmid, Sir F.|
|Cowan, J.||Goldsmid, J.|
|Cowper, hon. H. F.||Gooch, Sir D.|
|Crawford, J. S.||Gordon, rt. hon. E. S.|
|Crichton, Viscount||Gordon, W.|
|Cross, rt. hon. R. A.||Gore, J. R. O.|
|Crossley, J.||Gore, W. R. O.|
|Cubitt, G.||Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.|
|Cuninghame, Sir W.||Gower, hon. E. F. L.|
|Cust, H. C.||Grantham, W.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Greenall, G.|
|Dalrymple, C.||Greene, E.|
|Dalway, M. R.||Gregory, G. B.|
|Damer, Capt. Dawson-||Grieve, J. J.|
|Davies, R.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Denison, C. B.||Guinness, Sir A.|
|Denison, W. E.||Hall, A. W.|
|Dick, F.||Halsey, T. F.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Hamilton, I. T.|
|Dillwyn, L. L.||Hamilton, Lord G.|
|Disraeli, rt. hon. B.||Hamilton, Marq. of|
|Dixon, G.||Hamilton, hon. R. B.|
|Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.||Hanbury, R. W.|
|Douglas, Sir G.||Hankey, T.|
|Dowdeswell, W. E.||Harcourt, Sir W. V.|
|Duff, M. E. G.||Hardcastle, E.|
|Duff, R. W.||Hardy, rt. hon. G.|
|Dundas, J. C.||Harrison, C.|
|Dyott, Colonel R.||Hartington, Marq. of|
|Eaton, H. W.||Harvey, Sir R. B.|
|Edmonstone, Adm. Sir W.||Havelock, Sir H.|
|Hay, rt. hn. Sir J. C. D.|
|Edwards, H.||Hayter, A. D.|
|Egerton, hon. A. F.||Heath, R.|
|Egerton, Adm. hon. F.||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Egerton, Sir P. G.||Hermon, E.|
|Egerton, hon. W.||Hervey, Lord F.|
|Elliot, Admiral||Heygate, W. U.|
|Elliot, G.||Hick, J.|
|Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H.||Hill, A. S.|
|Emlyn, Viscount||Hill, T. R.|
|Eslington, Lord||Hodgson, K. D.|
|Estcourt, G. B.||Holford, J. P. G.|
|Holker, J.||Mahon, Viscount|
|Holland, S.||Majendie, L. A.|
|Holmesdale, Viscount||Makins, Colonel|
|Holms, J.||Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.|
|Holt, J. M.||Marten, A. G.|
|Hood, Capt. hn. A. W. A. N.||Maxwell, Sir W. S.|
|Mellor, T. W.|
|Hope, A. J. B. B.||Melly, G.|
|Hopwood, C. H.||Milles, hon. G. W.|
|Horsman, rt. hon. E.||Mills, A.|
|Howard, hon. C. W. G.||Mills, Sir C. H.|
|Hubbard, E.||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Hubbard, J. G.||Monckton, F.|
|Huddleston, J. W.||Monckton, hon. G.|
|Hunt, rt. hon. G. W.||Monk, C. J.|
|Ingram, W. J.||Montgomerie, R.|
|Isaac, S.||Montgomery, Sir G. G.|
|Jackson, H. M.||Morgan, hon. F.|
|James, W. H.||Morgan, G. O.|
|Jenkins, D. J.||Morgan, hon. Major|
|Jervis, Colonel||Morley, S.|
|Johnson, J. G.||Mowbray, rt. hn. J. R.|
|Johnstone, H.||Mulholland, J.|
|Johnstone, Sir H.||Mundella, A. J.|
|Jolliffe, hon. S.||Muntz, P. H.|
|Jones, J.||Mure, Colonel|
|Karslake, Sir J.||Naghten, A. R.|
|Kavanagh, A. Mac M.||Neville-Grenville, R.|
|Kay-Shuttleworth, U. J.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Kennard, Colonel||North, Colonel|
|Kennaway, Sir J. H.||Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.|
|Kingscote, Colonel||O'Donoghue, The|
|Kinnaird, hon. A. F||O'Neill, hon. E.|
|Knatchbull-Hugessen, rt. hon. E.||Onslow, D.|
|Palk, Sir L.|
|Knight, F. W.||Parker, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Knowles, T.||Pateshall, E.|
|Lacon, Sir E. H. K.||Pease, J. W.|
|Laing, S.||Peel, A. W.|
|Laverton, A.||Pell, A.|
|Law, rt. hon. H.||Pelly, Sir H. C.|
|Learmonth, A.||Pemberton, E. L.|
|Leatham, E. A.||Pender, J.|
|Lee, Major V.||Pennington, F.|
|Leeman, G.||Peploe, Major|
|Lefevre, G. J. S.||Perceval, C. G.|
|Legard, Sir C.||Percy, Earl|
|Legh, W. J.||Perkins, Sir F.|
|Leigh, Lt.-Col. E.||Philips, R. N.|
|Leith, J. F.||Phipps, P.|
|Lennox, Lord H. G.||Pim, Captain B.|
|Leslie, J.||Playfair, rt. hn. Dr. L.|
|Lewis, C. E.||Plunket, hon. D. R.|
|Lindsay, Col. R. L.||Plunkett, hon. R.|
|Lloyd, M.||Polhill-Turner, Capt.|
|Lloyd, S.||Portman, hon. W. H. B.|
|Lloyd, T. E.||Potter, T. B.|
|Locke, J.||Powell, W.|
|Lopes, Sir M.||Price, Captain|
|Lowe, rt. hon. R.||Price, W. E.|
|Lowther, J.||Raikes, H. C.|
|Lubbock, Sir J.||Ramsay, J.|
|Macartney, J. W. E.||Rathbone, W.|
|Macduff, Viscount||Read, C. S.|
|Macgregor, D.||Reed, E. J.|
|Mackintosh, C. F.||Reid, R.|
|M'Arthur, A.||Rendlesham, Lord|
|M'Arthur, W.||Repton, G. W.|
|M'Combie, W.||Richard, H.|
|M'Lagan, P.||Ripley, H. W.|
|M'Laren, D.||Ritchie, C. T.|
|Robertson, H.||Taylor, P. A.|
|Roebuck, J. A.||Temple, rt. hon. W. Cowper-|
|Rothschild, N. M. de|
|Round, J.||Tennant, R.|
|Russell, Lord A.||Thynne, Lord H. F.|
|Russell, Sir C.||Tollemache, W. F.|
|Ryder, G. R.||Torr, J.|
|Sackville, S. G. S.||Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury-|
|St. Aubyn, Sir J.|
|Salt, T.||Tremayne, J.|
|Samuda, J. D' A.||Trevelyan, G. O.|
|Samuelson, B.||Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill-|
|Sanderson, T. K.||Turner, C.|
|Sandford, G. M. W.||Turnor, E.|
|Sandon, Viscount||Vance, J.|
|Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G.||Verner, E. W.|
|Scott, Lord H.||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Scott, M. D.||Vivian, A. P.|
|Scourfield, J. H.||Waddy, S. D.|
|Seely, C.||Wait, W. K.|
|Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J.||Walker, T. E.|
|Wallace, Sir R.|
|Shaw, R.||Walpole, hon. F.|
|Sheridan, H. B.||Walpole, rt. hon. S.|
|Sherriff, A. C.||Walsh, hon. A.|
|Shirley, S. E.||Walter, J.|
|Shute, General||Waterhouse, S.|
|Sidebottom, T. H.||Waterlow, Sir S. H.|
|Simonds, W. B.||Watkin, Sir E. W.|
|Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.||Watney, J.|
|Smith, A.||Weguelin, T. M.|
|Smith, S. G.||Welby, W. E.|
|Smith, W. H.||Wellesley, Captain|
|Smyth, R.||Wethered, T. O.|
|Somerset, Lord H. R. C.||Wheelhouse, W. S. J.|
|Spinks, Mr. Serjeant||Whitbread, S.|
|Stafford, Marquis of||Whitelaw, A.|
|Stanford, V. F. Benett-||Whitwell, J.|
|Stanhope, hon. E.||Williams, Sir F. M.|
|Stanhope, W. T. W. S.||Wilmot, Sir H.|
|Stanley, hon. F.||Wilmot, Sir J. E.|
|Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.||Wilson, Sir M.|
|Starkie, J. P. C.||Wolff, Sir H. D.|
|Steere, L.||Woodd, B. T.|
|Stevenson, J. C.||Wyndham, hon. P.|
|Stewart, M. J.||Yarmouth, Earl of|
|Storer, G.||Yeaman, J.|
|Sturt, H. G.||Yorke, hon. E.|
|Swanston, A.||Yorke, J. R.|
|Sykes, C.||Young, A. W.|
|Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Taylor, D.||Dyke, W. H.|
|Taylor, rt. hn. Colonel||Winn, R.|
Endowed Schools Acts Amendment Bill
On Motion of Viscount SANDON, Bill to amend the Endowed Schools Acts, ordered to be brought in by Viscount SANDON and Mr. Secretary CROSS.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 187.]
Commissioners Of Works And Public Buildings Bill
On Motion of Lord HENRY LENNOX, Bill to regulate the Incorporation of the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Works and Public Buildings; and for other purposes relating thereto, ordered to be brought in by Lord HENRY LENNOX and Mr. WILLIAM HENRY Smith.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 188.]
The House adjourned at a quarter before Two o'clock.