Business Of The House
Can the First Lord of the Treasury state what business will be taken after eleven o'clock to-morrow night?
And Thursday night?
As regards Thursday I will answer to-morrow, but Wednesday none.
Government Of Ireland Bill
[ Progress, 21st October.—Fifth Allotted Day.]
Considered in Committee.
[ME. WHITLEY in the Chair.]
Clause 2—(Legislative Powers Of Irish Parliament)
Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Irish Parliament shall have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of Ireland with the following limitations, namely, that they shall not have power to make laws except in respect of matters exclusively relating to Ireland or some part thereof, and (without prejudice to that general limitation) that they shall not have power to make laws in respect of the following matters in particular, or any of them, namely:—
Provided that the limitation on the powers of the Irish Parliament under this Section shall cease as respects any such reserved matter if the corresponding reserved service is transferred to the Irish Government under the provisions of this Act.
Any law made in contravention of the limitations imposed by this Section shall, so far as it contravenes those limitations, be void.
With regard to the Amendments on the Paper to-day I understand that the desire is to take first the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Croydon (Mr. Malcolm), which has reference to the Gaelic language; and, secondly, the Amendment of the hon. Member for the Appleby Division (Mr. Sanderson) dealing with Joint Stock Companies. The Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for South Birmingham (Mr. Amery), dealing with Customs and Excise, I am of opinion, cannot come in at this stage and should be raised on Clause 15.
On a point of Order. Is not Clause 15 a purely Financial Clause dealing with a great controversial financial matter which is not the same thing as a constitutional Amendment, which stands in the name of an hon. Member. Apart from whether we shall have an opportunity to discuss the constitutional question, this Amendment is different in this sense, that, even if carried, Customs and Excise would simply be excluded from Clause 15. Every financial arrangement which is in the Bill is open to revision at a future period. By this Amendment of Clause 2, Customs and Excise would be entirely outside the constitutional purview of any Irish Parliament, and if the question of finance comes up for revision, the question of Customs and Excise could not be raised at all, as it would stand outside the powers of an Irish Parliament, or of a Scottish legislative body, or any other legislative body to be created in future.
I think we could not possibly discuss the question on this Clause without discussing Clause 15. We attempted that last Thursday on another Amendment, and within ten minutes we found ourselves discussing Clause 15. As to the second point, that this Amendment would have a superior effect to the one for the same purpose on Clause 15, I have examined the Bill from the hon. Member's point of view, and I do not think that is so. In either case, it would require an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom to alter the arrangement.
May I ask you, Sir, whether you can tell us when we shall be able to raise a discussion on the Royal Irish Constabulary?
As far as I can see, I propose to take the Amendment dealing with that subject after the two mentioned. It would be the next I should take.
I beg to move, in paragraph (11), after the word "Act" ["Irish Government under the provisions of this Act"], to insert the words, "(12) The maintenance of English as the sole official language in the Irish Parliament, in the Irish Law Courts, and in the Irish public service, and the imposition of tests disqualifying officials or candidates for official positions on the ground of ignorance of the Gaelic language."4.0 P.M. The Amendment is really and truly to-determine that the Gaelic language shall not be the official language of Ireland in the Irish Parliament or any department, and that no man or woman shall be at the disadvantage that they cannot enter a profession or public life if ignorant of that language. We have found, in the course of this Debate, that many things have occurred since 1893, and that many matters are viewed differently from what they were when Home Rule was last under discussion. I submit that the Gaelic language is just one of those questions which in 1893 was not considered of very great importance, and was not discussed in this House; yet it is just one of those things in regard to which I think opinion has changed, and I submit that the revival which has taken place in the teaching of the Irish language through the instrumentality of the Gaelic League is of quite sufficient importance to make necessary the Amendment that I have put on the Paper. In order to understand the importance and inner meaning of this revival of the Gaelic language through the instrumentality of the Gaelic League, I think it is necessary to know something of the machine which has produced this singular result. What is this Gaelic League which has brought about the revival of the Gaelic language, and which we would prevent, if we can, from becoming the official language of Ireland in future? In its origin it was certainly an intellectual movement of the greatest interest. I remember it being started very well, and, so far as I know, at that moment it had no-political significance whatever. But, like-many other leagues and associations in this country and in Ireland, and especially in Ireland, it has, in its later days, been drawn into the vortex of political warfare. Let me quote one or two proofs of what I have said. There is the Clan-na-Gael, which in its printed circulars in 1905 states that the work of the Gaelic League is on a line with the objects of the Clan-na-Gael. I do not know whether most Members of the Committee are aware what are the objects of the body calling itself the Clan-na-Gael. I would just remind them what the judges of the Parnell Commission said in relation to them. They said:—
I pass from that to another account of the Gaelic League. Its own president, Dr. Douglas Hyde, speaking at Londonderry in January, 1912, said:—"It was a body actively engaged in promoting the use of dynamite for the destruction of life and property in England."
He was supported by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford in a speech which he delivered at Aughrim on 25th September, 1911, when he said:—"The United Irish League and the Gaelic League are working for the same end though by different means."
That shows how an intellectual language movement tending towards a better understanding and comprehension of the language of Ireland has also a very strong political bias at the same time. Then a very brilliant Nationalist, Mr. Shane Leslie, speaking in New York in November, 1911, said:—"The ideals of the Gaelic League are our ideals—the Ideals of the United Irish League—and we will struggle for them in the future. Soon, indeed, we will find that these ideals will be realised, when Ireland will not only be self-governing, and not self-governed as a province of a foreign nation, but in the sense of fully self-governed, and self-reliant nation able to work out her own destiny."
I have been very careful, and shall always be very careful, in describing the objects of the Gaelic League not to use any language of my own. I have instead used the descriptions given by those who are authorised to speak for it, and I have torn away the veil which has seemed to shroud its real political ambitions. What has the Gaelic League done, by the revival of the Gaelic language, to achieve its ambitions? In the first place, it has succeeded in persuading the new University in Ireland to make the Gaelic language a compulsory course, after matriculation, for those who have not taken Irish at the matriculation examination. I must say that in these modern days that seems to be a most astounding thing to have done. At an age when men are preparing to be able to earn their bread in and outside the learned professions, to bind them to take the Irish language as a compulsory course before going any further with their university studies is a most extraordinary thing to do. In the second place, this League has persuaded the majority of the Irish county councils to make the knowledge of the Irish language a compulsory subject for county council scholarships. That seems to me to be extraordinarily unfair upon those who have not had an opportunity of learning the Gaelic language. It is unfair not only to the individual but it is also unfair to the public service generally, because I think that knowledge of Irish ought not to be the sole qualification for entering into the public service. In the third place, many local bodies in Ireland have already given preference in the appointments which are within their gifts to those who know the Irish language. I have here a couple of instances to prove what I have said. I have a resolution passed by the Central Council of the Gaelic League last November to this effect:—"Let there be stated the truth, naked and unashamed, that we, who have taken upon ourselves to save a dying language, deliberately and knowingly have set ourselves, if I may use a great phrase, to break the last link that lies between Ireland and England."
That resolution, if it means anything, means that preferment in the Post Office is to be given only to those who speak the Irish language. I hold that that does not make for public efficiency at all. As to the local bodies, I have a mass of resolutions which I could read to this House, but I will read only one, and that one of the earliest, namely, a resolution by the Dublin Municipal Council, reported in the "Freeman's Journal" on 8th May, 1906. The report says:—"That the Post Office in Ireland continues to be a powerful Anglicising agency: we ask, therefore, that under any scheme of Home Rule the Post Office in Ireland in its working be placed under Irish control: otherwise it will be a grave danger to the Irish language and Irish nationality."
"Mr. John D. Kelly, who spoke in Irish, moved:
"'That it be an instruction to the Town Clerk, the secretaries of the various committees and all other officers concerned, that in future all the correspondence of the corporation and its several offices be addressed in Irish only.'
"Mr. Clear seconded the motion.
Apparently the object was to annoy the Post Office, but not to embarrass the recipient. Is it conceivable at this time of the day that the chief municipal corporation in Ireland—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, no"]—well, a corporation which considers itself the chief municipal corporation in Ireland—should do a thing so childish as to suggest, not that its correspondence should be conducted in Irish, but that the envelopes enclosing the correspondence should be written in Irish? Of course that really means, both with regard to the Post Office and in regard to local appointments, that in the future, if the Gaelic League can manage it, in the near future positions in the Post Office and in the public service and on local bodies shall be given exclusively to people who speak this ancient Irish language. I submit that that is a tendency which ought not to be encouraged. But it is encouraged, and if the responsibility, which is a far-reaching one, is to be encouraged at all, it should be done on the sole authority of the Imperial Parliament and not be left to a local subordinate Parliament to do it. Of the tendencies I have just spoken, I may say they are threefold. One may be, and I really believe it is, the main tendency in the far or near future that Irish shall be the only language to be spoken in Ireland. That would be a death-blow to the commerce of Ireland and it would be a death-blow to something else which the hon. Members behind me, the Nationalist party, are very prone to press upon us. It would be a great disaster to the comity which ought to exist between the English and Scotch people on this side of the Channel and the Irish people on the other side. It is incumbent that they should understand one another's language; otherwise the estrangement would be fifty times wider than that ever effected by the Act of Union. The other tendency will be to make the Irish people bi-lingual. Let me say, from a considerable study and experience of foreign nations, that it would be quite impossible for the Gaelic League or any other body to make the Irish people bi-lingual; that is an acheivement which has never been accomplished by any race in the world. [An HON. MEMBER: "How about Wales?"] It is quite impossible that the hon. Member is speaking seriously. The commercial part of Wales is not bi-lingual. But it does seem to me a tremendous power to put into the hands of the Irish Parliament when you consider that, after all this agitation, after all this movement, whichever you like to call it, only 0.2 per cent. of the people of Ireland are Irish speaking. I hope I am generally found, outside party politics, on the side of great ideals and great aspirations for all. But I really do not think that this ideal is great enough or good enough for us to identify ourselves with. It will have a most cramping effect on people of Ireland and on the prosperity of that country. It will have the most cramping effect upon those who have to earn their livelihood in other ways than by studying Celtic literature, and the ancient Irish tongue as an art or profession. It is because I feel that we must protect the vast majority of the people of Ireland from the effect of such a power as this, and from the kindly attentions of the Gaelic League, and also because I think that this House must understand now, if it has not understood before, that the Gaelic League is another euphonism for the Clan-na-Gael and the United Irish League, which are the beginning and the end of the claim for the separation of Ireland from this country, that I ask this House, by this Amendment, to tear away the veil from the pretended revival of the Gaelic language, and protect the Irish people and the British Empire from the insidious attentions of the Gaelic League."The Lord Mayor suggested that the word 'envelopes' be substituted for 'correspondence.'"
In supporting this Amendment I should like to guard myself against its being supposed that I am in any way out of sympathy with the sentiment that prompts people in Ireland to attempt to keep alive some remnant of the old Gaelic language. I have tried to learn the language myself, but I had to suffer the disappointment and humiliation of finding that my intelligence was not equal to mastering its difficulties; and I cannot help thinking that there may unfortunately be some other people, possibly even some Members of this House, who may spend a considerable amount of time and energy which could possibly be devoted to better objects with the same disgraceful results that attended my efforts. It is very desirable that nothing should be done by the Government of Ireland in the future to stimulate beyond what seems to be healthy, the desire to study a language which has no practical object in view. It is, after all, entirely a sentimental question. There is no real commercial, practical, or utilitarian benefit in the study of the language. I am familiar with a district in Ireland where very considerable efforts have been and are being made to induce the young people to study the Gaelic language. Those efforts are confined for the most part, I think, to well-to-do females of a rather enthusiastic and feather-headed type, and the people for whose benefit the efforts are made appear to me to carry on their studies with the least possible result. The children in the schools, who, after all, have not a great deal of time to devote to education, and the result of whose education is certainly not satisfactory to any party in this House, learn about as much of the Irish language when they have gone through the school as the average public schoolboy learns of Greek. It would be impossible to reduce it to a lower minimum than that.Not long ago I was examining in Ireland a youth of my acquaintance who occupies the proud position of driving His Majesty's mails, and I inquired whether he had learnt the Irish language at school, which he had not long left. He told me with great enthusiasm that he had learnt the language as far as opportunity offered during the whole of his school life. I then tried to find out what the results were, and as far as I could gather his knowledge was confined to some half a dozen nouns. Ho knew the Irish for "horse" and for "donkey," but when you got beyond that into more recondite recesses of the language he appeared to be entirely at a loss. It is a feature of this Gaelic revival that in many parts of Ireland you come across this very curious phenomenon. You may go into a part of the country where you are a total stranger—you may have the misfortune to be an Englishman—and you will find, at the corners of the roads, finger-posts directing you to different places; but those finger-posts are written in Irish. Other notices also are written in Irish. That appears to me to be a most misplaced zeal in this matter, because as a rule finger-posts are intended for strangers. In France you very often find notices of that sort in English and in German for the benefit of strangers. In Ireland you find them written in Irish, a language which certainly no visitors or ft rangers are likely to understand, and which is not understood by more than one in a thousand of the natives themselves. May I give another example of the methods by which it is sought to impose this practically dead language upon the people of the country? On 24th May last there was held in Dublin a meeting of the advisory committee under the Insurance Act, when as a business proposition it was seriously proposed by a member of the committee that the insurance cards for all the employed people in Ireland should be printed in the Irish language. All this would be nothing more than a certain amiable and harmless lunacy if it were not for the fact that there really is behind it a symptom of the desire for a separate and distinct nationality in Ireland. It is the spirit of nationality, and nothing else, which prompts the desire for the revival of this dying language. I am not in any way condemning the study of the language by scholars or antiquarians. It is a most interesting language and has a most interesting literature. But that is a totally different thing from trying to impose it as an unnatural exotic study upon the bulk of the population. I do not in the least quarrel with the spirit of nationality in Ireland. I have never done so in these Debates or anywhere else. I have the greatest possible sympathy with the spirit of Irish nationality. I would like to think that every Irishman was as steeped in the spirit of Irish nationality as Sir Walter Scott was in the spirit of Scottish nationality, provided that they combined their spirit of nationality with the robust good sense which distinguished Sir Walter Scott, who, after all, exhibted in a superlative degree all the romantic, literary, and sentimental sides of Scottish nationality, combined with the practical good sense which kept him firm in his allegiance to the existing order of things, and his adherence to the House of Hanover. This attempt on the part of an aspiring nationality to re-establish some of its ancient dialect does not find its only example in Ireland. Exactly the same thing has been done, with success from their own point of view, in Bohemia, where the Czech language had practically died out. It was revived in the first place, just as Irish has been revived in Ireland, by a small group of "intellectuals" or literary men. It was then forced upon the people for the very purpose of keeping alive and stimulating a separate nationality in the political sense, and the success which has attended the movement in that country has brought in its train the most unfortunate results, both for the people themselves and from the point of view of the Empire of which Bohemia forms a part. In the case of Ireland, hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway are now professing to be extremely loyal to the British Empire, to be non-separatist in tendency, and to be merely desiring in this Bill a subordinate Parliament perfectly compatible with their allegiance to the British Empire and to the English Crown. It appears to me that in this Amendment hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway have an opportunity of showing whether or not there is any real sincerity in that profession; because the Amendment does not propose to damage, and could not have the effect of damaging, in the smallest degree the revival of the Irish language for literary or sentimental purposes. All that the Amendment aims at is to prevent the majority of the Government of Ireland in the future taking hold of that revived language and making it an engine for a separatist policy, or at any rate for carrying on the Government in a language which would be foreign to the rest of the Empire, and to that extent have a separatist tendency. It may be said that this is another case to which applies the only principle which we hear preached from the opposite side of the House, namely, "Trust the Nationalist party." It may be, and I dare say will be, said that it is preposterous—to use a favourite word of the Chief Secretary—to suppose that any Irish Government or Irish House of Commons could ever be so foolish or so extravagant as to insist upon the official language in Irish public life being any other than English. I think we are bound to protest again, as we have protested before, against this principle being hurled at our heads in answer to every argument that we put forward. If that principle is the one which is to govern our procedure in this matter, why has the Government not produced an infinitely simpler Bill than the measure under discussion? It might have been a Bill of two Clauses, the first Clause being that on and after the appointed day there should be a Parliament in Ireland, and the second that the Government of Ireland should carry on the government of the country as economically as possible and that England would stand any deficit that might arise. If we are to trust the Irish or the Nationalists, that would be an ample Bill. You might trust hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway to fill in the details in a perfectly reasonable spirit. But considering that we have a fairly elaborate Bill, attempting, so far as form goes, to impose a certain amount of restriction and definition upon the future government of Ireland, it would be perfectly legitimate for us to carry a little further the distrust which the Government themselves have to that extent shown of the Irish Nationalist Parliament, and ask the Government to accept an Amendment of this sort, which does offer some security that the Government of Ireland in the future shall be Carried on without the pre- posterous idea of the Irish language being the official language of Parliament, the Law Courts, and the various Government Departments. We are legislating not merely for to-morrow but for a long future. Hon. Gentlemen expect that the Constitution which they are now setting up is to subsist in Ireland for centuries to come. Although it is true that the efforts to reestablish the Irish language amongst the population of Ireland have so far produced very meagre results, if you once got the Irish Government or the Irish House of Commons armed with the power of saying that in future all the patronage at the disposal of the Government would be confined to those who could use the Irish language, and that in future the use of that language would be a passport to advancement in public life, there is nothing absurd or ridiculous in the assumption that, just as has happened in Bohemia, so in Ireland within a comparatively limited period you might have a sufficiently general knowledge of the Gaelic language to make it practicable to carry out the policy which is aimed at by the Amendment of my hon. Friend. Does the House proceed with this legislation—very foolishly, as I think—on the assumption that it is going to reconcile old differences; that it is going to reconcile two peoples who have been separated by bitterness in the past? Does this House really believe that if in the future the Government of Ireland and the Public Departments in Ireland were to be carried on by the use of the language which is entirely foreign to this country, and foreign to every part of the Empire, that the result would not be exactly the opposite to what hon. Members profess to expect—that this legislation will have dividing rather than reconciling influences?
When a very similar Amendment to this, but, I think, rather better worded, was before the Committee on the last occasion, Mr. (now Lord) Morley, who was then Chief Secretary, remarked, "I certainly think that in Amendments like this we are getting down to the dregs of triviality." I am not at all prepared to take exactly the same line as my distinguished predecessor. I am rather pleased than otherwise to be able to take part in a Debate in which the name of Sir Walter Scott has been introduced. But I would like to call attention to a few figures relative to the Irish language, and the number of persons in Ireland who speak it, in order that the Committee may have before them the actual dimensions of this problem. Two things, I think, everybody will agree with: If the Irish language becomes, by adoption and affection, the practice of the people of Ireland; if everybody speaks Irish in the ordinary course of their lives, at the dinner table, at the breakfast table, in the details of life and business, and so forth; if they talk Irish in preference to English, you would not be able to prevent them. People will always talk the language that is easiest to them, and that comes most naturally into their lives, unless it may be necessary, for the purposes of commerce and the like, to learn some other language.If, therefore, you are going to contemplate an Ireland in the future where Irish is really the dominant, the prevailing, language, it is not much use putting into a Bill of this kind a proposal that the language which everybody speaks is not to be used in the Law Courts, or in public or official life. If that is going to be the case, this Amendment is useless. If, on the other hand, Irish is always going to remain an exotic, practised by a few learned persons, or, at the most, a language which, owing to the extraordinary domesticity in humble villages, is used there, and is not much used by the mass of the people; then probably Irish would not be known in the Irish Parliament, and the judges, who would not know Irish in the Irish Courts and the counsel practising before them, who would not know Irish, are not in the least likely to use the language. Therefore, really it seems to me that you are on the horns of a dilemma. Either the language is going to be universal—in which case you could not stop it—or it is not going to make any great impression upon the people of Ireland, in which case it is not much worth talking about.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman understand the third alternative—the process between?
The process between? But just let me give you the figures with regard to this matter. In 1891 in the whole of Ireland there were 38,192 persons who spoke Irish only. That is to say, they spoke no other language. That is a small number, yet at the same time it is a remarkable number. In 1901, owing to the spread of education, the number had dropped from 38,000 to 20,593. In 1911 it had dropped still further to 16,873.
In spite of your Grant!
I do not know whether it was in spite of the Grant or not. But I want the Committee to understand the facts of the case. These are the people that in these particular years spoke Irish only. Now I come to what is perhaps, after all, more remarkable figures, because no one contemplates or desires that the increasing enthusiasm of the people of Ireland should lead to the speaking of Irish only. No well-educated person wishes to contemplate any such notion as that. Therefore we now consider the people who talk Irish and English. In 1891 there were 642,000, a very considerable number of bi-lingual people. In 1901 that 642,000 had dropped—no very great drop, but still a drop—to 620,000. The last figures I have for 1911 show that the drop had been to 565,573.
Will the right hon. Gentleman permit me to ask whether those figures are based upon the Census, or upon an examination which really shows that the people were bi-lingual?
These figures are Census figures. I do not know that it is possible to conduct an examination upon the point. I do not know that either the hon. Member or myself would care to have our exact acquaintance in language put to a test. It is an inquisitorial process which is easier to desiderate than to carry out. [An HON: MEMBER: "Get a Private Committee."] To find out the number of persons who possess to a useful extent a knowledge of the Irish language is a very difficult problem. No one who knows Ireland will deny that there are in Ireland a diminishing number of persons, that is 16,000, who know Irish only. You do meet them. I have met them again and again in the West of Ireland. They are people whom you can easily see are perfectly genuine in their ignorance of the English language, but they can converse with great volubility in Irish, and have a great capacity for making their wishes known. Then there are the large number of persons, certainly over half a million, who are bi-lingual. Some people may regret this, and some not. It depends upon sentiment and the like. Then appears on the scene the Gaelic League, which I think in the fervid imagination of my hon. Friend is associated, even more than necessary for anybody—even the most timid person—with revolutionary proposals. All grammarians are enthusiasts. Many persons who read the book of Dr. Douglas Hyde, a friend of my own, and I daresay of many Members of this House, will believe that he no doubt does really and honestly consider that it is a matter of enormous moment that the Irish language should be more spread over Ireland. You cannot complain of that. I think it is very foolish for anyone to complain of anybody learning anything.If hon. Members of this House think they are going to dictate to the Irish people or to any other people what they are or are not to learn, such an attempt will completely and absolutely fail. The hon. Member who has just sat down referred to Bohemia and other countries. There has been in a mysterious manner, to the annoyance of a great many decent people, the spread of a desire to re-learn languages that had begun to die out. I am not here to generalise or to account for that fact but anybody can see it. You need only go to Brussels. When I was a boy in Brussels we never used to hear anything but the French language. Now the other language of the country is asserting itself in a manner so distasteful to hon. Members opposite. I quite agree with the observations of the hon. Member opposite, I think it is an excess of zeal of a most unfortunate kind to put the Irish language on the sign posts which are made to direct the wayfarer, who is very likely from a far land. It may be perfectly true, but after all it is really descending into something like trivialities when we are discussing a Bill of this sort, to discuss tendencies, extravagances, motives of this sort. Everybody, I think, will agree that it is a desirable thing that the children of Ireland, living in the country, should be able to know what the names of the places signify. If the child has not a knowledge of Irish at all, places, villages, streams, fords, and mountains will have no meaning for it, and life will be dull and prosaic. I have myself been amongst it all, and but for Dr. Joyce's book one might be in the remotest part of an unknown world. With that book; with the knowledge of Irish that you gain from a perusal of its pages, everything becomes of interest—each mountain top, each ford which crosses a stream, every village. Travelling becomes a thing full of interest, and the scenes are embedded in your memory. Therefore Irish has got to be taught in the schools. I am perfectly certain whatever is the fate of this Bill, and whatever happens to the Government of Ireland in the future, no Irish Government whatsoever, however English in its sympathies or its actions, will wish to interfere with the Irish people in their study of the language. Foolish things have been done by the Gaelic League. I am perfectly ready to admit that foolish things are done by most Leagues. It is an excess of enthusiasm. I regret the modified form of compulsion that is employed at the New University. After all we Englishmen have no right, of our own motion, to expect other nations, other peoples across the water, with other notions and other ideas, to accept the opinions which we may wish to thrust down their throats.
Have minorities no claim upon you?
Minorities! Oh, certainly, every possible claim.
Don't! I suppose it is absolutely impossible to avoid it, but I submit that these words will be engraven upon my tomb. They are constantly used in reference to Ulster. I made use of them whilst I was pleading the cause of minorities. I was pleading that cause on Clause 4 of the Education Bill, and I was asserting that you ought to do whatever you can for minorities, because when the law has done all that it can do for them, they still remain at a disadvantage because they are minorities. The Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin understood what I meant. He has stood up as my defender in this case. But all this is by the way; but I do protest, whenever I approach within ten miles of the question of minorities, against being greeted in this way. My case is this: There is no reason whatsoever upon the figures we have to suppose that the Irish language is ever likely within such boundaries of time as we have, to assume the gigantic proportions contemplated by this Amendment, and which it is intended to restrain and restrict. That is really the great question. The hon. Member opposite very good humouredly referred to his own difficulty in learning the Irish language. It is an extremely difficult language to learn, and there are obstacles in the way of learning it except for great philologists, and there is no reason whatever to suppose that it will in any way be at all likely, or can by any possible means, oust English for the purposes of business. All I say is this, if everybody took the Irish language by preference to any other, then that fact, whether you remain under the Act of Union or whether the relations were modified in any way, you cannot prevent. The thing is out of the question.The hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon spoke of Mr. Shane Leslie and his reference to severing the last link. Mr. Shane Leslie is a very charming young man, full of generous enthusiasm, and on that occasion he made a very foolish observation. I think when many people talk of severing the last link they had better think of the cattle trade, which is a much bigger and sounder link, as we lately had an example of, than any other. I therefore think it is hardly worth while for the hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon to introduce this matter. We are now dealing with the question. Is there any reason to suppose that Irish will be substituted for England in the State services, in the Law Courts, and in other departments. I say there is no reason to suppose anything of the kind. This Amendment raises again the bogey of the Gaelic League. The list of Amendments in the Paper shows a lot of things that hon. Members are frightened of, and this Amendment shows that the hon. Member for Croydon is now frightened of the Gaelic League.
I am frightened at the Clan-na-Gael.
There is not the slightest association between the two.
The Clan-na-Gael is enthusiastic for the Gaelic language.
That does not identify the Gaelic League with the operations of the Clan-na-Gael, criminal and otherwise. The Clan-na-Gael, I daresay, would be very glad to be associated with anything respectable; but to assert that, because the Clan-na-Gael said it was enthusiastic for Dr. Douglas Hyde and the Gaelic League we must accept that as evidence that the Gaelic League is actuated by the same motives as the Clan-na-Gael is quite ridiculous. The Gaelic League has an enthusiastic desire for the spread of a language which is not dead, which still lives, and which is capable of being very usefully spread among the children of Ireland. You cannot stop it, and you say you do not wish to stop it, and that all you wish to do is to draw a line so that if ever the Irish language becomes so widespread and predominant that the people want to talk it in the Law Courts, in the Corn Exchange and the Church Congresses and Presbyteries you can stop them. Then indeed your case is lost. You cannot prevent anything of the sort, and therefore if you are really afraid that that may happen in the future you ought to have the courage of your opinions and say you will not have it and that you will punish people who speak it and that you must have a penal law against it. That is the only course if you want to stop the spread of this language. It is absolutely impossible for the Government to accept this Amendment. I will not stop to criticise the language of the Amendment. I really do not understand what it means; but as I ask the House to reject it, it is hardly worth while to criticise its language.
The right hon. Gentleman did not agree with his predecessor, Lord Morley, in thinking that this Amendment is getting down to the dregs of triviality. The right hon. Gentleman certainly in his speech gave us not the dregs but a full cup of irrelevancies. From beginning to end he never even once touched either the speech of my hon. Friend or the object he had in view in moving this Amendment. The whole speech of the right hon. Gentleman from the beginning to the end, in so far as it was relevant at all, was a speech in support of the Amendment now before the Committee. In his speech he pointed out how small were the number of people who know Irish exclusively. How comparatively small, not absolutely small, but that they are even diminishing, are the numbers of those who know it even as a second language, and I should think that these figures lead directly to this result, that in a country where that is the position now, it is not in the interests of anyone, and it is least of all in the interests of the Empire, where one language is mainly spoken, that anything should be done to make it possible that another language under such conditions should be made absolute or official. That would seem the natural thing to deduce from these figures. We all listened; I confess I always listen with interest to the right hon. Gentleman, for whatever other people may feel when the right hon. Gentleman speaks, I cannot help feeling sympathy with him. I think the way in which this Bill is being worked in the House of Commons must be very trying to the right hon. Gentleman. Whenever it is possible, as we found yesterday, to make a concession to this 6ide of the House, the head of the Government himself makes it. On the other hand, the nominal Chief Secretary has received his instructions before hand when the Government cannot accept the Amendment, and the right hon. Gentleman is placed in the invidious position of refusing a reasonable Amendment and of trying to find reasonable argument for that refusal.I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman that if the Irish language was the sole language of a large section of the Irish people, it would be perfectly right that it should be used officially, just as in South Africa, and in Canada, two languages are used officially now. Nobody would have any objection to that; but that is not the point. The point is simply this: Is it desirable for anybody in Ireland to use his official position not merely for the sake of encouraging the Irish language—against which, as I know nothing about it, I have nothing to say—but with the fear that the knowledge of the Irish language may be used as a means of discrimination against others. That is the whole point, and the right hon. Gentleman never touched it. I do not understand why the head of the Government, the hon. and learned Member for Waterford cannot agree to this Amendment. I cannot see why he does not agree to it, and why his Friends who sit around him do not agree to it. They now tell us in every speech they make in this country, and perhaps some they make in Ireland, but never one they make in America, that there are no greater Imperialists in the world than Gentlemen who sit on the Irish Bench below the Gangway. Here is a test case. There is no practical object in using the power of the Government to discriminate against people who do not know Irish. If they do not intend to use that power then what is easier than to say, "The thing is absurd, we would never dream of using it, and because we would never dream of using it, we are willing to accept the Amendment." Why do they not do that? 5.0 P.M. Everybody knows that the real vitality of this movement in support of the Irish language depends on the hone of those pushing it that it may become another factor in the separate nationality of Irish as distinguished from the rest of the United Kingdom. That is its sole object. The hon. and learned Member for Water-ford is one of those who think that. He says, "We want Ulster in this Bill, because they are all Irishmen. Everybody is Irish in Ireland, and we want them all." How can he say that when he refuses to accept this Amendment. He says they will never discriminate between one class of Irishmen in favour of another class. Well, whatever else is certain this is certain, that you will never get the people in Ulster to learn Irish, and therefore any discrimination in favour of the Irish language is a discrimination against the minority in Ireland. I ask the Committee to realise what this means. It looks trivial, but do not let us think it is trivial. It is not trivial for this reason, that it is a test of sincerity. It is one thing to have a national langauge and to be proud of it; it is one thing to desire, as Professor Blackie and many people in Scotland desire, to keep up the Gaelic language for the sake of old associations. That is a perfectly legitimate desire which no one would do anything to counteract. But that is a very different thing from using the power of the Government to give favour and to give position to men who know that language; in other words, not to allow the matter to grow in its natural way, but to stimulate it for the express purpose of discrimination in favour of one section of the Irish people as against another. So far as I understand it, that is the whole case. If the position arises which the right hon. Gentleman has put; if through natural causes there was a large section of the Irish people who only spoke the Irish language, then this House would never for a moment refuse to give the privilege it is now asked to give. We have never shown any such narrow-mindedness in any part of the world, and we would never hesitate in giving the use of a second language in Ireland. That, however, is a very different thing from asking this House now to give to the Parliament which you are setting up the right to use the knowledge—and very likely it will be a very slight knowledge, but it will be sufficient—of the Irish language as a means of giving positions to one set of men and refusing them to another set of men in Ireland.
May I submit a point of Order in reference to the first part of this Amendment? I wish to ask what would be the effect, if carried, of the governing words in the Amendment. Would the effect not be to preclude the Irish Parliament from maintaining English as its own language?
I must confess that when I read the Amendment I had some doubts myself, but it is not my duty to scan Amendments on that ground, and I take them as they are proposed by hon. Members.
I desire to say a few words upon this subject. I have listened with considerable attention to the speeches which have been delivered, particularly to the speech which has just been made by the Leader of the Opposition. As far as I could glean, the main object of the Leader of the Opposition is that the British Empire should have one language and one language only, and that Welsh, Irish, and all other languages which go to make up our Empire are all to disappear. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] As far as I understood the right hon. Gentleman, that is what he said. In Canada, when the Act of 1867 was passed, a special Clause was inserted to secure that whoever wished to speak in French or in English in that Parliament could do so; and in addition the debates of that House of Parliament, all orders, notices, etc., were to be printed in French as well as in English. When the South African Constitution was set up under the Act of 1899 special provisions were made for the speaking of English and Dutch in the House of Commons there, and for the printing of the debates in both Dutch and English. In this Home Rule Bill Irishmen have not asked that a special Clause should be inserted providing from the outset that Members should have the right to speak in the Irish Parliament in both English and Irish. We do not ask from the outset that the Debates should be printed in both Irish and English. Therefore, with the examples of the two Colonies I have mentioned before us, and what was done in that period, I think our demand in regard to the Irish language is extremely moderate.Some interesting figures in regard to the Irish language have already been emoted, and as I come from a district where Irish is the spoken language, and represent a district in which they speak Irish only, I have some knowledge of what actually does take place in districts such as these. The 500,000 men and women who are called bi-linguists, or at least the greater number of them, know considerably more Irish than English. The amount of English they know is extremely limited, and the main language they speak in their ordinary work is the Irish language. With those figures before me, and with the knowledge of the existence of the Irish language in Ireland, I think it most invidious to carry your reservation in this Bill to such an extent as to insert a special Clause demanding of the Irish people that at no time, under no conceivable circumstances, and no matter what language they naturally use in the ordinary course, shall the Irish Parliament have the right of allowing its Members to speak in the Irish House of Commons in Irish, or for its Debates to be printed in Irish. The Chief Secretary has answered the arguments very fully. Of course, in this matter there is the usual prejudice in the North of Ireland, where they think that the Irish language is part of a wild Fenian separatist movement. I have been connected with this movement from the very beginning, and I repudiate that notion. Anyone who knows Dr. Hyde, the president of the Gaelic League, who is the son of a Protestant minister, and who has devoted his life to the furtherance of this movement, will be ready to admit that the charges which have been made against him as having joined in a political agitation is absurd. I have some knowledge of the North of Ireland and of Belfast itself. I have been in the new University of Belfast, and I have seen the work that is being done there. There are hundreds and thousands of Protestants in the North of Ireland who are ardent advocates of Irish, and who are studying that language every day and are able to-speak it even in the North of Ireland. To say that the Irish language is to be the sole possession of the Catholic because the Protestants refuse to learn it is absurd. There are in Ireland some 140 volumes of the most beautiful old Irish manuscript available to every student of history. Many people have gone to learn this language from the professor in Trinity College. I do not understand why our friends in the North of Ireland so readily and cheerfully try to make this question peculiarly a Nationalist question. Are they ashamed of the language of their own country? What are they afraid of in the spread of a language which is at least as old as English—in fact, I would go further and say that it is a thousand years older than English. Is the language of our country going to be the means of breaking away the ties that unite Ireland with this country? That is an absurd argument, and it is only used by those who wish, not to further their own particular argument, but to bring up any argument which will help to destroy or delay this Bill. I do not wish to quote Sections of the Acts of Parliament in regard to the two countries to which I have referred, but the fact that you gave to the Canadians and to the people of South Africa the right from the beginning to speak in their own Houses of Parliament in whatever language they liked, and that you permitted the Debates to be printed either in French or English, shows that you are not justified in seeking to hamper from the beginning the Irish Parliament in this way, when there is not the slightest necessity for doing so. I am sorry to say that when our new Irish House of Commons begins very few of us will be able to speak in the Irish language, therefore I do not think there is any fear of any danger. But that is not the spirit which animates the men who will support this Amendment. I am afraid they have quite another object. This Amendment is meant to irritate, because it is quite a needless and useless Resolution, and I hope the Committee will reject it.
The hon. Member who has just sat down has really only followed the Chief Secretary in his arguments, if he will allow me to call them such. The hon. Member has just stated that the object of this Amendment was to prevent Irish members from speaking Irish in the Irish Parliament. That is not so, because the object of this Amendment is to prevent Irish from becoming the official language, and to prevent any discrimination in regard to appointments in the Civil Service in Ireland. The Chief Secretary never dealt with the question put to him, for he founded his whole speech, which was extremely humorous and delightful, upon the development of freedom and a taste for languages in Ireland and elsewhere. But we are all in favour of that. There is no one who does not desire to see antiquarian research and precocity of language developed for the cultivation of taste. But this is a Bill which has to do with the Constitution and not with the cultivation of taste. This Amendment does not legislate against the development of the Gaelic language in Ireland. The hon. Member who has just sat down has referred to Canada, Australia, and South Africa. I do not think the analogy is a good one, because it does not touch our case at all. You had in Canada in 1867 a whole province practically French speaking with only about five per cent. of the whole population speaking English, and French has been the recognised language in the country, and had been used by everybody since the time of Jacques Cartier. You had in the case of South Africa a people who could speak no other language. The vast majority of the Dutch could speak no other language than their own, and they could not have entered Parliament unless some provision for speaking their own language had been made.In the ease of Canada how could the French have entered the Dominion Parliament and taken any part in its deliberations unless they had been permitted to speak the French language, or, in the case of the South African Parliament, the Dutch language? I do not know that any member of the Irish Parliament, or any gentleman likely to become a member of that Parliament, will be put to any disadvantage from the fact that he speaks Gaelic only. All that we want by this Amendment is to prevent an absolutely artificial demand being made to develop the Irish language for political purposes. The Chief Secretary said that there were only about 16,000 people who spoke Irish, and about 500,000 people who spoke both English and Irish. The Chief Secretary said if the time ever comes when the majority of the people will speak the Irish language in Ireland how can you prevent Irish from becoming the official language of the Legislature? When that time comes Ireland will have passed through all the processes of the destruction of her commerce and industry. In the time between you might have in all the Government departments of the State, with the policy of the Government behind it, an attempt to discriminate against those who were candidates for positions, and by that means you would have an artificial development of the Gaelic language and an artificial use of it, a use not natural to the people, but a thing acquired as you acquire French. You want to guard against that. I venture to say there are as many people in Ireland now who speak French as who speak Gaelic. [HON. MEMBERS: "More."] Well, I am on the side of safety. Why not make French compulsory also? Does anyone venture to say this is really a concession to Irish patriotism and feeling? I do not believe there is a single hon. Member below the Gangway who is deeply moved by a desire to have Gaelic spoken in the Irish Parliament and made the official language unless to secure a kind of affected artificial prestige. They have to learn it themselves before they can speak it. The right hon. Gentleman gave us no valid reason why the Government did not eliminate the possibility of this interference with a natural and proper competition for places in the Civil Service. They would all speak English in any case; but you will discriminate against those who speak English only and do not speak Gaelic unless you make it clear in the Constitution you are giving that there shall be no such discrimination. The Gaelic language is in fact a foreign language so far as the majority of the people of Ireland are concerned, and so far as all the possible candidates to the Irish Parliament are concerned. You have got throughout the whole of the Empire at the present time an extension of vision, a desire to see further than your own local interests, and to imagine such an organisation of all the elements of our administrations throughout the Empire as to simplify the great objects of civilisation. Such attempts as these are only attempts to narrow the vision of those who throughout the Empire have been struggling since 1867 to enlarge and to develop the vision of every man, woman, and child within the bounds of our Empire. I can remember myself, as a boy, in Canada, how the vision of every lad was stirred by the fact that while before he was a provincial he suddenly became a member of a great federation. I lived in Australia at the time of the struggle made there for federation when the Intercolonial Council was formed, and I can remember there the same feeling and the same spread of an ambition to take a larger view. Here you have in this refusal of the Government to remove a possible source of difficulty, friction, and danger within the Civil Service a tendency to reopen the old provincial irritations and feelings which, if Irish Members are to be trusted, they desire not to have preserved but to have obliterated from the understanding and feelings of the people on both sides of the Channel. We support the Amendment because we believe official pressure might be used to develop the Trish language to the detriment of those who speak English and English only. We believe it will mean a return to sectionalism unless you prohibit this use of the Gaelic language in the Parliament of the country officially, and we say if it were permitted it would be uneconomic and wasteful. There is enough expenditure in any Parliament, upon stationery and upon—I was going to say useless things—so-called useful things, without our opening up the opportunity for that wasteful expenditure in the Legislature of Ireland. It is for these reasons, which I think are adequate, that I submit the Government will place itself in a foolish position in the eyes of sensible men if it does not accept this Amendment, which I think must commend itself to everybody on the other side of the House, since not even a Welsh Member, nor a Scotch Member, nor an English Member has risen in his place to defend the position of the Government.
We have had no chance.
I did not see the hon. Member get up. I hope this challenge of mine will draw some hon. Member on the opposite side of the House to get up and defend the Government, which has not yet been able to defend itself. Certainly the Government was not defended by the speech made by the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway. I support the Amendment in the belief that it is a wise one, that it will prevent difficulty, that it will remove the possibilities of friction, and that it does not interfere in the very least with the natural development of all Irish aspirations. I want to see the super-nationality of this United Kingdom made prominent and not the local nationality developed artificially for purely political purposes.
I might say, for the information of the hon. Member who has just sat down, that I had intended rising earlier in the Debate, but I have observed the claims of other hon. Members. I want to know where the hon. Member the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment stand exactly. Do they contend that in a district where the people prefer to speak and are much better able to speak the Irish language it ought not to be regarded for the purposes of efficiency as an extra qualification for a Government official that he would be able to deal with them in the language which they best understand?
The answer is a very short one. We suggest Irish should not be made compulsory for appointments by Local Government Boards or for any public office at all.
I do not yet quite understand. Does the hon. Gentleman object to Irish being made exclusive? If that is so, I agree with him.
I object to the knowledge of Irish being made compulsory for public appointments.
I think the hon. Member and those who agree with him have gone back a great deal. The people of Wales have known what this is; they have had to fight very hard for years and years to get recognition of the Welsh language. We had it from a Conservative Government. Even a Conservative Government came to recognise that where a whole population speak one language it is not of much use sending there a man who has no knowledge of the language of the people among whom he is going to work. How on earth are you going to secure that unless you make the talking of the language compulsory and a qualification in the appointment of a man? You will otherwise get an Englishman down there, as we have unfortunately had in Wales. I take it now hon. Gentlemen are agreed that in districts where the prevailing language is Irish, assuming for the purposes of argument there are such districts, men who go there as officials of the Government ought to be able to deal with the people directly in that language. Hon. Members have gone further, and I am very pleased to see it, than the hon. Member who moved the Amendment. Most hon. Members, including the Leader of the Opposition, have said they are heartily in sympathy with the idea of the general spread of the Irish language amongst the people of Ireland as of second or bilingual language apart from political considerations and motives. Suppose in the course of another generation or two this 600,000 odd has in the natural development grown to 1,000,000 or 1,500,000, and suppose they are accustomed in their daily talk to use the Irish tongue, are hon. Members prepared to allow those people to have officials moving amongst them who will converse with them in the language they prefer and can best use? If hon. Members are in favour of that, why put in this Amendment to block the way? I think the position of hon. Members is absolutely inconsistent. Granted their general propositions, then, of course, this Amendment is futile and pusillanimous to the extreme. I was very sorry to hear from the hon. Member for Gravesend (Sir G. Parker) some abstract observations, very much out of date, which were made more elaborately by the hon. Member who moved the Amendment. I wonder whether cither of those hon. Members have read the remarkable essay of Matthew Arnold, in which he trounces the "Times" for its intolerant attitude towards the Welsh language. I would recommend them when they talk of Imperialism and high idealism to turn to Matthew Arnold, who was not pro-Irish or pro-Welsh, and read that article. I think they would be very sorry for some of their expressions today. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment made some remarks about idealism and about the learning of a language like this affecting the commercial advancement of a people. I am only just going to contribute this little fact to the Debate.Another peculiar thing which we have found in Wales is that as our people have developed industrially and commercially the more keen have they become in acquiring the Welsh language and resuscitating it among themselves. We have recently had most remarkable evidence of that, and I just mention this because it illustrates what very probably will happen in Ireland. The town of Newport used to be regarded as an English town. There they have recently had a plebiscite of the whole of the inhabitants, and they have carried a resolution by a large majority in favour of making Welsh compulsory. This is a spontaneous decision on the part of a big industrial and commercial town. The poverty of the people—the extreme poverty of the people—militates against the culture of language. Where misery is predominant it is found that the culture of language is impossible. Its absence has conduced to growing poverty in Wales, and no doubt the same applies to Ireland. When culture returns, as it will return, it will bring with it a certain minima of prosperity. The people return to the language which is theirs by preference. You cannot stop it or control it. The people will have it in their own way. As to commercial success we find in Wales that the men who have distinguished themselves most, I say it without prejudice, the men who have made the greatest names in the Colonies and in different parts of the world, and here in England, in literature as well as in commerce, are men who spoke a word of nothing but Welsh until they reached the age of eighteen or nineteen years. All this talk therefore about industrial success is absolutely out of date. It is absolutely alien to the facts, and altogether unworthy of consideration in discussing a practical matter of this kind. I appeal to hon. Members if they are going to argue this from political motives, not to talk about abstract principles. You may try to stop this. You cannot do it and you will never do it by Act of Parliament or in any other way. If hon. Members merely desire protection from abuse let them keep to that specific point. It really is most exasperating to people in Wales, at any rate, and I think also to the people in Ireland, to hear expressions of the kind that have fallen from speakers in this Debate to-day. If the people will revive their language; if they will make it the language of worship and of domestic talk and conversation; if they will make it general, then it is our duty to give them officials who can speak their language and to make the knowledge of it a test of fitness for service among them.
I am sorry to find the only hon. Member who has spoken from the back benches opposite has taken his view from the Chief Secretary—a view which is really not before the House. It is not a question whether or not the Irish language is to be taught to the Irish people. No one quarrels with that, and the Amendment does not raise it, and I think the hon. Member might have given some other contribution towards the solution of the real question. Another matter that struck me very forcibly was this: You have always said from the Front Bench, and from the benches below the Gangway, that you are perfectly ready and willing to make any concessions to get rid of reasonable fears on the part of the people of Ireland. Now, if this Bill were to become law, there would be a very reasonable and well-grounded fear amongst a large number of people in Ireland that strong use would be made of this Irish language question to deprive those of them we wish to see protected of any reasonable chance of securing appointments or promotion in the Irish service. We know very well that at the present time the National University has made one of the main grounds of the admission of students a knowledge of the Irish language. We know that the counties in which the United Irish League in Ireland has the greatest interest, make it a condition of their contributing anything towards education in universities that students who get scholarships shall have a knowledge of the Irish language. We know from advertisements which appear from time to time for officials to fill offices under local authorities, that the Irish language is the one thing that the local authorities wish to impose as a condition of appointment. We have knowledge which you have not here in England, and it makes us convinced that if ever this Bill should become law there ought to be something in it to prevent the use of the power which a Parliament in Ireland would have to make appointments incumbent on the possession of a knowledge of the Irish language. If that be not so, why do not the hon. and learned Member for Waterford and his colleagues at once accept this Amendment? No one suggests that any one of them, except perhaps the hon. Member for Kerry, could make himself intelligible in Irish in the Irish Houses of Parliament, and no one suggests that they could conduct a case in Court in the Irish language. So far as they are concerned, it is not necessary for them to have the power to conduct their debates in Irish, or to carry on their legal business in that language. Consequently the real ground why they object to this Amendment is that they know perfectly well the power to make knowledge of Irish an absolutely essential qualification for appointment to any office would give them a power which would be unfair and unreasonable to other people in Ireland, who neither know the language nor have any desire to acquire a knowledge of it. It would enable them to prevent these people from getting any appointment, and it would also enable them to give the appointment to their own friendsIt is idle and absurd to say that this Amendment would affect the teaching of Irish in Ireland. It is taught in a great many of the Irish national schools, and it is taught by other people who take a keen interest in it. They would not be affected in any way by the adoption of this Amendment. But why should it be in the power of anyone to compel a person who does not want to learn it, who believes it, would be of no advantage to know Irish, and that it would be more profitable for him to spend his time in acquiring a perfect knowledge of the English language, or of some foreign language which is used by people who carry on trade with this country, or still more in acquiring a good sound technical education—why, I ask, should it be in the power of the Irish Parliament to compel them to do this against their own convictions? There are people in Ireland who prefer these things to the Irish language. There are those who wish and have a sentimental desire that they and their children should acquire a knowledge of Irish. Let them do so, but this is one more test of the hollowness of the professions of the Nationalist party that they are perfectly willing to concede any safeguard which any reasonable person may ask for. It can do them no good. The idea of talking about what might happen when these 600,000 persons who speak Irish have increased to a million or more! As a matter of fact, these 600,000 are diminishing yearly and daily. The number of people who can speak Irish only has in my time fallen off by one-half. The English language is becoming more and more not merely the language of commerce, but the language of the fireside. I confess I have not tried to acquire the language—that I am told that it is a most difficult process. It may be possible for a person to obtain a grammatical knowledge and perhaps be able to write the language, but he would require to live to the age of Methuselah before he would be able to speak it. Are these people who speak Irish, or who speak Irish only, going to be the only ones to have to do with the Irish Parliament? Are the debates there going to be conducted in Irish? Is the business in the Law Courts going to be carried on in Irish? No, Sir. The only thing that prevents the hon. and learned Member for Waterford from coming down and accepting the Amendment is that he knows that if he were to do so he would sweep away from the people who desire to retain it that power which would enable them to compete with the only ascendency that exists in Ireland, the ascendency of industry and independence and progress, and they could only compete with it by being able to use a vexatious weapon like this insisting on a knowledge of the Irish language before securing an appointment.
I should not have risen had it not been for the speech of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Edgar Jones), which so completely misrepresented the speeches delivered from this side of the House. Not a single speaker on these benches has advocated anything that he suggested when he said that he had listened with sorrow to the speeches delivered from this side. No one has spoken either disrespectfully or in any way disparagingly of the Irish language and its legitimate spread. The hon. Member himself admitted that a Conservative Government had acknowledged the necessity for recognising the use of the Welsh language in Wales. The object of this Amendment, however, is to prevent the artificial resuscitation of the Irish language being used as a disability to particular people. We do not wish to see the Irish language used as a political disability in order to prevent public officials being appointed. There is no analogy at all between the positions of Ireland and Wales in this respect. I have been in many parts of Ireland and I have never once heard the Irish language spoken naturally among the people, except in one isolated case, and that was in the southwest corner of County Down.A very small proportion of the population of Ireland speak Irish. Whenever anybody arrives at the station in Dublin the first thing he sees is a large poster containing an advertisement in Irish. I have asked drivers, porters, and any number of people to translate it for me, but I have never found anybody to translate it. Compare that with the condition of things in Wales. The hon. Member probably knows Merionethshire as well as I do. There you have nearly one-half of the population who cannot speak a word of English. I know other parts of Wales where there are Welshmen who all their lives have never spoken English. Even if they know it, they would die rather than give up the Welsh language. That is an utterly different state of affairs from that existing in Ireland. Yet the hon. Member stood up to make political capital by representing that hon. Members on this side of the Committee had spoken against the Gaelic language. Nobody on this side of the Committee did so. We merely seek to insert the safeguard in this Bill that the Irish language—which is a diminishing language in the number of those who speak it, according to the Chief Secretary's figures, and not like Welsh in any way—shall not be used as a language test in order to impose a disability. I have a very strong objection to language tests being used as disabilities, for I suffered from them once myself, being ploughed at Oxford in responsions, because I had not learned Greek. A language test for an official who has to administer the Home Rule Bill in Belfast is useless, for of what use would the Irish language be there? It is absurd to suggest that Irish should be made compulsory in this sort of appoint- ment. I should like to correct the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil in one matter. He said that where poverty was, there you did not find bi-lingualism.
I am afraid the hon. Member did not follow what I said. I said that poverty in the past caused it.
I dispute that. How is it that it is in the poorest districts of Ireland that Irish is used altogether? It is in Kerry, West Connemara, Clare, and parts of Sligo where Irish has survived. It is in the richer agricultural parts of Ireland that the Irish language has disappeared utterly.
Representing as I do one of the largest counties in the Highlands, where Gaelic is still the language used, especially in the agricultural districts, I should like to say a few words on this Amendment. I think the Committee hardly appreciates how very important it is that we should wherever we can reasonably do so, keep alive among the people the desirability of their being able to learn two languages from their childhood. It is all very well to say that it would be of more advantage to learn German and French, but when you grow up with two languages from childhood you are able to think in two languages. There is nothing more important from the Imperial point of view than that when we can have children brought up as bi-lingualists from childhood we should do so. We have it on the authority of a Governor-General of one of our Dominions that among the Colonists none were so successful as those who could speak two languages; because, having grown up with two languages they very easily learn a third. I have been told the same thing with regard to the soldiers of the Highland regiments in India. They can more easily learn the native language than those who have not had the advantage of bi-lingual education. Our Colonists and soldiers, and everyone who have to go abroad to other parts of the Empire, should go with every qualification of learning in the language if possible. What better qualification could there be than that of having been brought up from childhood with two languages. In the Highlands of Scotland, and in Wales, two languages are still used. What an advantage it would be for every doctor who goes to see a patient, and every lawyer who goes to make a will, to be able to understand the people in their own language. I think it is a great advantage to make it a test for a public department that the two languages should be known, both English and the native language. Anybody who takes a public appointment is at an enormous disadvantage in the Highlands if he has no Gaelic, or in Ireland if he has no Irish, or in Wales if he has no Welsh. One of the most leading men who ever sat in this House, who is now at the head of the legal bench in Scotland, was a Gaelic scholar. I believe that the Noble Lord the Member for West Perthshire (the Marquess of Tullibardine) is also a good Gaelic scholar, and you, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, if I may refer to you, come from the Highlands, and there is nothing you can be more proud of than that you are a Highlander and know something of the language. I hope the Opposition will see that they are spending their strength for naught in discouraging what would be a great advantage in that part of the United Kingdom whose interests we are now discussing. Far from making knowledge of Irish a matter for contempt, they should look upon it as a great advantage.
I really cannot quite follow the argument—so far as I could hear it—of the last speaker. He said that two languages are always better than one. Supposing that is so, is it not tyranny to force a man to learn a language if he does not want to? That is what it amounts to. The hon. Member seemed to think that this Amendment was for the purpose of cutting out Irish. It does not affect anyone who wants to learn Irish or prevent him from going on with it. The object of the Amendment is to prevent people who do not want to learn it from being put in an invidious and unfair position. The Chief Secretary read out the figures. These Census figures about Irish are a byword in Ireland. What happened? The Nationalist party, when in Opposition, began speaking about Government assistance for the teaching of Irish. They had to create a demand for it, and then when the year for the Census came round the word went forth in the papers, in correspondence, and in speeches, "For goodness sake let everybody who knows the Irish word for whisky write himself or herself down as an Irish-speaking and an English-speaking person." As soon as this Government came in, they began bolstering up the language with a yearly Grant of £10,000. In every national school where the pupils are not under Protestant management the national school teacher is forced to begin to teach Irish. In spite of these silly returns, in which, if they knew the words "slainte" or "cushla machree," these persons were invited to return themselves as bi-lingualists, the figures have gone down enormously. They are paid by capitation Grants. That is why you have the local branch of the League saying that everyone must know Irish in order to pave the way to greater things, and of course it is taken up in this way. What happens in the North of Ireland? The school teachers there are just as desirous to teach their pupils another language, and we have asked to have French recognised as an extra subject and put on the same footing as Irish. The Chief Secretary refused it, because he had not the consent of hon. Members below the Gangway, so that French, which would really be of use to the child when lie grows up and goes into the world, is penalised, and Irish is unfairly subsidised. We have asked for it again and again. If hon. Members below the Gangway would join with us in the demand we could get it to-morrow from the Government, but they have always refused.6.0 P.M. Personally, I do not say anything against Irish. I have a certain smattering of it myself. It is quite an interesting language. I am only putting my argument on a political ground, and if it were Hebrew it would be exactly the same from my point of view. I believe it will be the same thing from the point of view of hon. Members below the Gangway. Our distaste in the North of Ireland for Irish—call it Hebrew if you like—is that it is used purely as part of a political propaganda for the purpose of cutting the last link and driving everything that is British and Imperial out of the country. It is run in competition with the English language, which we speak, and which our fathers before us have spoken for years. I heard the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. T. O'Donnell) say that we were neglecting our native language. I am like hundreds of thousands of other people. I do not suppose that any of my own class in the North ever had an ancestor who could speak a word of Irish. They spoke English. They were from England or from the Lowlands of Scotland, and that has been the language of our forefathers. We are to have a bar to our having a share in any way in a Parliament dominated by Members who have been using this language as part of a political propaganda, unless we bow our necks to the yoke and begin to master all the difficulties of this language. If you take up the Irish papers you will see again and again when a man is looking for a collectorship or something in the West of Ireland he has his league card and one will say, "I am as good a leaguer as another. There is my league card with the last subscription paid." A Nationalist rural council advertised for someone and, though it was a public appointment, the applicant had to bring a letter from his priest, which, of course, eliminated all Protestants at once. But the new test is that there is to be a knowledge of Irish. Language tests are as old as the days when it was a matter of "shibboleth" or "sibboleth," and the Irish Unionists and Protestants in the national schools whose teachers will not teach Irish, because they find French or German more useful to the boys in after life, will be penalised. Suppose this Parliament says that no member of the executive down to the smallest doorkeeper is to hold office unless he has a knowledge of Irish—they appoint their own examiners, naturally—I wonder what chance there is under that test for a man whose politics will be distasteful to the majority. This is an attempt to force a new language on a great industrial English speaking democracy under the terms that if they do not submit they are to be ostracised and excluded from everything in Irish life. Is that fair? I heard a case the other day of a Welsh parish or rural council, and there was a Welsh majority on the board, and they wished to exercise their full powers against English-speaking members of the Board and they defeated them at once by passing a resolution that all the proceedings were, to be carried on in Welsh.
I cannot name it. I could not pronounce it. I read it in the paper, and I am only giving it for what it is worth. I do not profess to know it personally. Probably some Welsh Member could supply the full text and details. In-that particular case, if it happened, it was unfair to the minority and I would condemn it just as strongly as I condemn this proposal which would allow a majority to fasten this extra burden by way of test upon the democracy that we represent. When I look at the Amendment and see that all that is meant is that the English language cannot be abolished—the official language and the Court language—I cannot see why any Member of the House should object to that unless he had his eye on political motives, and those political motives are mainly inspired by not running counter to the eighty voters who sit below the Gangway. If they vote against this Amendment they put it in the power of the Irish Parliament to-morrow to print the proceedings of the House in Irish. You see day by day a column in the "Freeman's Journal" or the "Independent" in Irish characters which no one can read and no one attempts to read. The hon. Member (Mr. Flavin) regretted that at the beginning they might not be able to print the debates. Irish is being used as an instrument of unfairness and discrimination against the Unionist and Protestants minority at the National University now. The Chief Secretary regrets it, but he let them do it. You do not get Protestants from national schools where Irish is taught, and therefore as soon as you make the university only open to those who know Irish you are excluding the Protestants, which is what you intended to do when you handed them over that Imperial money from this House, although he said it was to be an undenominational university. That is going on all round us, and we ask for a simple safeguard, that nothing shall be done on the one hand which will cripple Ireland, and on the other hand, that nothing is to be done which will prevent English being the official language of the country. Surely it is going rather far to say we are unreasonable in that, and I quite agree it is one of the best tests of the anxiety of the Nationalist party and the Government to meet the reasonable wishes of the Irish minority when they refuse such a small safeguard as that is.
It is very difficult to reconcile the arguments of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Moore) and the hon. and learned Member for South Londonderry (Mr. Gordon). The latter said that in the whole Irish Parliament there would be only one Gentleman who would be able to make a speech or conduct a case in the Courts in the Irish language. At the same time he said he doubted very much whether the number of people in Ireland who were able to speak Irish was anything like as large as the number quoted by the Chief Secretary. If that is the case what kind of probability is there that these tests, which this Amendment is designed to prevent, would be attempted to be imposed? Is it likely that a Parliament in which only a single Member could speak the language would make a test which would prevent any of them getting an appointment? Is that a reasonable thing to suppose? The fact is that this Amendment, like almost all those which have been produced from the Opposition side of the House, is designed not to improve this Bill, but to make it unworkable. It might not affect Ireland very much, but it would irritate Ireland. It is the withholding of the natural powers, which every legislative body ought to have, which is calculated to cause irritation against the governing body of the country which passes the legislation. It would be a certain cause of friction between the two Parliaments. The hon. Member (Sir G. Parker) must have known that perfectly well from the history of Canada. In the original Constitution of Canada there were a great many restrictions which made it impossible to work the Constitution in practice, and it did not work well in practice until those restrictions were removed. The hon. Gentleman called upon some Scotch or Welsh Member to support the Government in its objection to the passing of this Amendment. As a matter of fact, in recent Scotch legislation there is a very excellent instance of the injurious method in which such an Amendment would affect the working of the Constitution. In the Scotch Land Holders Bill of last year a Clause had to be inserted providing that one member of the Land Court must be a person who is able to speak the Gaelic language. The Scotch Members, therefore, if the question of Home Rule for Scotland ever comes up, will be quite unable to accept an Amendment such as this. It would be absolutely impossible to conduct the business of the Land Court in the Highlands if you had a provision of this kind which prevented the imposition of a test, and the same thing applies in the case of Ireland. I only rose because the hon. Gentleman challenged a Scotch Member to support the policy of the Government. All I can say is that when the question of Home Rule for Scotland comes to be proposed, and there is this kind of proposal to impose restrictions upon the legislative independence of the Scotch Parliament, they could not for a moment be accepted.
The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bryce) told us that he was moved to speak by the challenge given by the hon. Gentleman (Sir G. Parker) that some one should get up behind the Government and support them in their policy. The Government is very often unfortunate in the selections made by Gentlemen of their own voices to defend the Government, but never more so than in this case. The hon. Gentleman began by telling us that he could not understand the speeches which have been made on this side of the House or what their purport was. The whole purport of his speech was to show that this Amendment ought to be accepted because, by his own showing, on the evidence of this Debate, it is not a wild improbability that the powers which are sought to be checked by this Amendment would be exercised in the Irish Parliament. Then the hon. Gentleman went on to make an amazing statement. He told us with great solemnity that this was an Amendment which was intended and designed to wreck the Bill. So this hon. Gentleman who wants to support the Government in refusing this Amendment believes that an Amendment which says that the English language shall be the language of the Parliament and the Courts and the people in Ireland under this new Constitution—the imposition of this one condition is going to wreck this Bill and to make it impossible for it to succeed. Some people have to go out into the highways and the byways to find material with which to attack the Opposition.Surely no one has ever proved himself more hard up in his search than the hon. Gentleman has done when he told us seriously that if the Amendment were carried it would wreck the Bill. He may be qualified to speak for the Government. I do not know. I leave that for him to settle with the Government, but he is neither qualified nor entitled to speak for the Opposition, and when he tells us we are proposing Amendments, which have the support of the whole party with which I am associated, and which are supported by forcible speeches such as those made by the hon. Members (Mr. Gordon and Mr. Moore)—speeches which have not been answered—which are intended to wreck the Bill, and that we are animated by motives of this kind, I suggest to him that he should confine himself to a field quite large enough even for his energies, namely, that of replying for the Government and the party which the Government represents, and leave the Opposition to make their own statements as to their policy. If the hon. Gentleman contents himself merely with saying that we are opposed to the Bill and should be very glad to see it wrecked, I do not differ from him. We are. When he tells us that this Amendment, if adopted, will make the Bill un- workable, that is a perfectly unnecessary proceeding, because in our judgment the Bill as it stands will be unworkable. But I desire to say a word on this particular question, because there is one branch of the subject to which only the most partial reference has been made by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I have listened to the Debate with very great interest. During the short time in which I was Chief Secretary, I had to deal with this question of the teaching of Irish in the schools. I was amazed to find that the line which I took, and which I am prepared to stand by now and which I maintain ought to be the policy of this House, was not the policy of the Chief Secretary, who is himself the head of the Education Department and who has done distinguished service both inside and outside the House. The line which I should have expected to be taken by the Government, who are supposed to be such keen advocates of all educational work, is the one that we adopted then. If it is sought to teach Irish, if there are people who desire to learn Irish, by all means let them have reasonable facilities afforded them. But to put the teaching of Irish on a separate platform by itself is to do that which is wasteful in regard to the money it costs, injurious to the children upon whom you force this branch of useless education, and destructive, to a very large extent, of the work that you are doing in training them to take their part in the world in the future. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have quoted the case of Canada. The hon. Gentleman (Sir G. Parker), who speaks with exceptional authority on this subject, told us the true history of the Canadian question. Those who are conversant with Canadian history now know perfectly well that we do not get any further than this. No one will deny that there is a vast number of people who believe that a dual language is a mistake, even in that country. But how can anyone who is really anxious to deal with this question on its merits compare either the Canadian case or the South African with that of Ireland. In both cases you have a very large proportion of your population who are not English speaking. In the early days of the federation of Canada the population of Quebec, who were all French, probably represented at least half of the total population coming into the confederation. In the case of South Africa the proportion of Dutch speaking people was even larger. But further than that there was a good deal to be said for teaching French in Canada and Dutch in South Africa, on the ground that both these languages might probably be of use to the children who acquired them, enabling them to make their way in the world afterwards. Some of the South Africans might wish to come to the country where Dutch is the language, and the French Canadian might desire to come to France. These are both languages of commerce, and the children who learn them might be able to do business with each other. I agree with the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Edgar Jones) that if there is a section of people in Ireland who can only talk one language, and if they are to be brought into contact with Government officials, there should be someone who would be able to understand them. There is nothing in this Amendment to prevent that. Where it is necessary it can be done. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] At all events, there is no object in quibbling, and we will not fight over the words of the Amendment. If that is the only objection to it, the words can be altered. There is no intention whatever to make that impossible, but we do desire to make it impossible to make the teaching, the learning, or a knowledge of Irish on the part of officials or the people generally, compulsory. The hon. Gentleman who preceded me said, "You have this great mass of opinion in Ireland in favour of the teaching of Irish." Where is the evidence of this great mass of opinion in Ireland?
I did not say so.
I thought the hon. Member said so, but certainly if he did not, somebody else did. Even suppose it exists, surely our duty and business here to-day, when framing a new Constitution not only for Ireland, but one which will materially affect the rest of the United Kingdom, is to see that it is so framed, if it ever comes into existence, as to make this a most useful measure, and one likely to do the greatest amount of good. We who have been responsible for the Government of Ireland and have watched the progress of events in that country in recent years know that my hon. Friend the Member for North Armagh (Mr. Moore) did not use the language of exaggeration in the smallest degree when he said that those who desire the teaching of Irish, and to use it in a compulsory way, are advocating something which is popular with a section of the community, because it is regarded as a useful means of weakening the English side of the Irish character, and the English people in Ireland. There are a very large number who do not believe that the teaching of Irish is necessary or desirable, and it is in their interest that the Amendment has been proposed. I am amazed that the Government has not accepted it. There has not been a single argument advanced against it. All experience teaches that it is desirable to have one official language, and certainly in Ireland it is quite evident it ought to be English. We know perfectly well that efforts have been made, and are being made from day to day now, to use the Irish language as a weapon to advance the interests of some people and to injure the interests of others. It is to make that impossible that this Amendment is proposed. When hon. Gentlemen talk as they do about the "olive branch," the "union of hearts," and the new earth this Bill is going to create, they do not give much evidence of the sincerity of their opinions, or the reality of their hopes, when they oppose an Amendment of this kind which, at all events, shows that there is a general desire on this side to meet the views of those who think that there might be an unfair use of Irish which would be injurious to Ireland. Its acceptance would be some evidence of the feeling that so often finds expression. We who not only believe that these ideas as to the future exist only in the imagination of hon. Gentlemen who decline to face the facts, and who decline to make themselves conversant with the circumstances of the case, support this Amendment because we believe that it will be in the best interest of Ireland if she is ever called upon to groan under a Home Rule Bill.
The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Long) we remember very well as Chief Secretary for Ireland a few years ago, and we who have worked for the restoration of the Irish language to its proper position remember that when he held that office the movement did not get fair treatment. I refer to the position he took up with respect to grants to day-schools. When the right hon. Gentleman taunts the Irish people by saying that their language is not in the same position in Ireland as French is in Canada, I ask him to remember what has been the policy of himself and his party, and other parties in this country, in the past, namely, deliberately to destroy the Irish language. Now that they have succeeded to a certain extent, and wiped it out amongst all except a few hundred thousand, they come and taunt us because, in wishing to retain the vestiges of our own national language, we are doing our best to bring it to a position of honour. I have felt all during this Debate that this Amendment is a direct invasion of the national right of the Irish Parliament of the future to look after its own affairs, because in the words of the Amendment it is proposed that English shall be "the sole official language in the Irish Parliament, in the Irish Law Courts, and in the Irish public service." In other words, they deny the right of a nation to Ireland whose language has been sought to be robbed from it. They deny the right to Ireland to develop in the ordinary way its national life, to bring back again its national language, and to progress along its own national lines. That is to my mind a distinct invasion of the rights which are being created by this Bill to enable Ireland in its own Parliament, subject to the control of the Imperial Parliament, to work out its own destiny.The hon. and learned Member for North Armagh (Mr. Moore) referred to the action of the Chief Secretary in connection with the Irish University Bill two years ago. As far as I could understand he deliberately accused the right hon. Gentleman of so framing the University Bill that no Protestant would be able to enter the National University, and he mentioned the fact that Irish is to be one of the subjects in the matriculation examination of that university for next year as a definite proof that the Chief Secretary wanted no Irish Protestant to go to that university. So far is that from being the case, there is nothing at the present moment to prevent a single Irish child from being educated with a view of entering the National University. Notice was given three years ago that in years to come Irish would be one of the subjects of matriculation. Fair notice was given to the whole country, and it is only from 1913 that Irish will become a compulsory subject in matriculation. If any man does not wish to see his child properly educated in Ireland with a knowledge of the Irish language, he has always Trinity College, Dublin, and Belfast University to send him to. But there is nothing in the constitution of the National University, or in the Bill which was passed through this House, to prevent any man from sending his child to the National University if he so desires. A number of the professors in the National University are Protestants. No distinction has been made with respect to their religious convictions. Let me refer to another argument which was used, I think, by the Leader of the Opposition, in whose mind the word "Ulster" seems to loom so largely. He said that in the North of Ireland there was no demand for teaching the Irish language, thereby suggesting that the language is not spoken there at all. I have examined the figures of the last Census, and I find that in Ulster there were 4,700 people who did not know a single word of English, and 91,000 who had a knowledge of English and Irish. What is more remarkable still, Ulster and Leinster were the only two provinces which showed since 1901 an increase of those who have a knowledge of the Irish language. So far, therefore, from its being a fact that Ulster is a benighted province, it has shown an advance in the learning of the Irish language which does it every credit and every honour. So far as I am able to judge from the course of this Debate, I honestly believe that there are some Members of the Unionist party who think that the learning of the Irish language is a backward, instead of a forward, step. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I gather from their cheers that that is their opinion. If I, or any of my colleagues, or anyone who is working for this movement, believed that we were going backward, rather than forward, in having the Irish language taught in our schools and restored to its natural position, we should not be in this movement. We know, as a matter of fact, that any country that gives up its national language is giving up one of its fairest claims to be considered a nation. I, for one, would cease to have regard for the English nation if it decided to take up some other language instead of its own. So far as commercial development and the future of Ireland are concerned, I venture to say that there has been no movement, either educational or intellectual, in the whole of last century in Ireland, which has made such remarkable strides as that, in connection with the language revival—the revival of the drama and literature. The fact that we have established throughout the country voluntary schools for the teaching of the Irish language and phonetics—the fact that we have twelve colleges working on a purely voluntary basis to which teachers go during their well-earned holidays to study the lauguage—shows what progress has already been made. All this has been the direct result of the movement started in 1893. I venture to say there is hardly a country in Europe that has been able to show such an extraordinary revival of interest in its own national language. So far as the future is concerned, I am convinced that the Irish Parliament, left absolutely uncontrolled as it should be, will do nothing unfair or unjust to the people whose misfortune it is that they have looked too long outside their own shores for the means of developing the commerce and intellectual activities of the nation. We believe that by our own efforts we will in future be able to do far more for that development than we could ever gain by relying on an outside Power which has maintained hitherto a position of ascendency.
The hon. Member jeered at us in the North of Ireland for not cultivating the Irish language and national aspirations in order to build up prosperity, but when we compare the fine industrial centre of Belfast and the province of Ulster with Kerry or any part of the South and West of Ireland, it will be seen that such remarks do not advance the hon. Gentleman's case. But what has his speech to do with this Amendment? Every speaker on these benches has disclaimed emphatically all objection to letting any Irishman spend his spare hours learning Irish. Hon. Members on the other side of the House who spoke of the Welsh language said the same thing, that there was no objection to anyone taking up the Irish language and other nationalist aspirations in order to satisfy private sentiment. But this goes further. This goes to a depth that Nationalist Members do not, or at any rate, pretend they do not, appreciate. The fact remains that Irish was dying out, and that it is only spoken in the very poorest parts of the country, or in the most out of the way places where trade and commerce have not penetrated to the same extent as in other parts of the country; and the whole ideal of the Nationalist party was to encourage the learning of Irish not because it will assist in the encouragement of industries throughout Ireland, but simply that it might be made a political lever.Does anyone deny that the modern teaching of Irish has been carried out with no other purpose than to use it as a political lever in the county councils, the boards of guardians, and in other local institutions? We have a very recent example of the way in which this language has been forced upon the people. There is no real demand coming from the people to learn it, otherwise far more people in Ireland would speak it than do so to-day. But the idea thrown out by hon. Members was that if you do not accept this Amendment you crush some of the national aspirations and destroy what he calls the development of Ireland along national lines. This word "national" is cropping up very frequently from the Nationalist Benches in contrast to the humble talk of being subject to Imperial supremacy which is indulged in by hon. Gentlemen outside the House of Commons. Does anyone present imagine that if hon. Members had their way this learning of Irish would not penalise everybody who was not prepared to come to hon. Members and ask for mercy? That is really what it amounts to. The great industries in the North of Ireland were not built up in a narrow spirit of that sort. There is no penalty attached to any language in the North of Ireland.
Nor to any religion?
Nor to any religion.
What about the shipyards?
I am not going to be tempted away to a question which is quite outside what is before the Committee, but I am prepared to discuss it with any Nationalist any day. The object of the Nationalist party in opposing this Amendment is to keep open, at all events, the possibility that what has happened in the National University in Dublin will occur if a Parliament is ever established in Dublin. It is true, as hon. Members say, that there is nothing in the regulations of that university that prevents any Protestant from going into it, but still, by this back-handed method, the boys in more prosperous parts of Ireland who desire to learn a language which will fit them for their future life in going into commerce, or some form of industry, are to be excluded unless they throw over some useful foreign language, such as French or German, and take up the dead language—Irish. Hon. Members know perfectly well that these inspectors who test the boys throughout the country on their knowledge of Irish would be the paid officials of the Nationalist party in Dublin, and the test of the knowledge of Irish would be such as to qualify those whom that party decided to qualify, and disqualify all those whom they did not desire to see advanced in any way in Irish life. That being so, we would look forward—it is purely hypothetical, I agree—to seeing every post that could be filled, filled by one or other of the nominees of the Gaelic League, under the control of the Molly Maguires. What a pathetic future to look forward to for Ireland! Instead of having the one official language which has served this country and been the envy of every other country in the world, so that if you have Scotch and Welsh Parliaments, the members might all congregate here, and at all events speak the same language, it is proposed apparently by the Welsh Members, and by one of the Scottish Members, that they should have national languages, and that the whole of the United Kingdom should be split up, so that I do not know if the First Lord of the Admiralty would find enough languages to go round his dozen Parliaments and keep them going.But this whole discussion shows the farce of the suggestion that is thrown out, that we should not stick to the official language as in other Parliaments where one language is nominated as the official language, and is understood by everybody. You would have in this case splitting up to such an extent that Ireland, it it were wanted by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, would become nothing but an Irish speaking race, and cut off from all the intercourse and all the sympathy which knit, not only the United Kingdom, but the British Empire so closely together. How do they expect that they would ever go along the same path of prosperity as this country, if they relegate themselves to a back place; especially when they are unable to prosper alongside this country and progress with it in its natural progress? They seem to me all through these Debates to picture an Ireland which is going back instead of forward in the march of nations. They seem to me to be looking forward to what the hon. and learned Member for Waterford said were rags and tatters and poverty, and to be going forward with those attributes as long as they have got nationality, whatever that means. And, talking of nationality, how many of the hon. Members sneak Irish themselves? Will one of those hon. Members get up and make a speech in this House in Irish?
Tuigeann tû é a amadan?
I had forgotten that the hon. Member who had to pass a slight test when he joined the Royal Irish Constabulary, was able to say a few words in Irish. The whole matter shows clearly that when they ask for Home Rule, the Nationalist party are not asking for prosperity, but are simply asking for an ideal which is based on false promises. The hon. Member for Inverness Burghs (Mr. Annan Bryce) concluded his speech by what I thought was an unnecessary remark, because he said that these Amendments from this side of the House were proposed not in order to improve the Bill, but in order to make the Bill unworkable. My answer to that is that it will not be the Amendments put forward which will make this Bill unworkable. It will be Ulster.
The hon. Member who has just sat down has told the House the attitude of that portion of Ulster from which he comes, and I find that I understand now his position and that of his party. His mind is full of suspicion of his own countrymen and the use to which they would put self-government.
The outcome of experience.
To listen to the hon. Gentleman one would have thought that the Bill imposed obligations on every Irishman and everyone who lived in Ireland to learn Irish. There is nothing of the sort in the Bill. The only disability that will be imposed is the disability which is proposed by this very Bill, a disability to prevent the making of a knowledge of Irish a qualification for any public service. The hon. Gentleman cavilled at the expression used by my hon. Friend the senior Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. E. Jones) when he said that this Amendment sought to impose in Ireland exactly the same sort of disqualification as was imposed in Wales. The law with regard to the Welsh language is the same. It cannot be used in the Law Courts or in the public service. It is true that there are exceptions, and those exceptions have grown up very lately. I remember when the present Lord Chief Justice was Attorney-General twenty years ago, he was asked in this House whether it was lawful for the Welsh language to be used in the Law Courts in Wales, and his answer was that it was not. His answer was that it was not lawful. I know of my own personal experience that occurs. I have known eases where counsel on both sides knew the Welsh language, in which all the witnesses were Welsh-speaking people, and where the judge also know Welsh; yet, because of this disqualification, which is now sought to be imposed upon Ireland by this Amendment, the whole of the proceedings had to be conducted in English, causing a great waste of public money and time. It is a farcical situation. The Welsh witness was asked a question in English by the counsel, who knew Welsh, and the question had to be translated into Welsh, and the answer of the witness in Welsh had to be translated into English—an absolute waste of time, and all because of this disqualification now sought to be imposed by the Amendment. What does this Amendment do? The hon. Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Long), with his usual common sense, when he came to look at the facts of the case, gave away the whole position when he came to look at the subject from the point of view of practical administration. He said that if there are people in Ireland who prefer Irish to English, then it is only right that the official who administers the law to them should be conversant with the Irish language.And that is all this Bill proposes to do. But if this Amendment were accepted that would be impossible, because the Amendment says in terms, "the imposition of tests disqualifying officials or candidates for official positions on the ground of ignorance of the Gaelic language." Therefore it would be impossible for the Administration in Ireland to look to this qualification, namely, a knowledge of Irish as one of the necessary qualifications for an official position. The hon. Member for North Armagh (Mr. Moore) said this was an attempt to bolster up the Irish language. We have heard a similar criticism before. Whenever we seek to make a knowledge of Welsh a qualification for the public service we get the same kind of criticism—that we are bolstering up the Welsh language. It is nothing of the sort. We want equality of opportunity for the Welsh language side by side with the English language. What happens now with regard to the English language? You say here that an official must know the English language, yet you seek to say, at the same time, that Welsh and Irish shall not be in any sense official languages. Give them the same chance. The Celtic language has existed for thousands of years, and we ask that you should give it the same chance as you give to the modern and rather hybrid English language. I have mixed with Welsh-speaking people who, as an hon. Member observed just now, would rather die than give up their Welsh language. I have never heard in all my life any hostility expressed or felt towards the English language. Of course not. Is it to be supposed for a moment that the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) is going to impose a test upon the Irish Parliament, which I hope we shall see opened by the King within two years from now? Is it to be supposed that hon. and learned Gentleman is going to propose a test of membership which will make his, the most eloquent tongue in the Irish Parliament, silent in the National Assembly of his country? I do not think that many counsel in Ireland know sufficiently the native tongue to be able to conduct a case in the Irish language, and are we to suppose that those men will impose a tax which would cut them off from practice as advocates, the majority of the legal profession. Nothing of the sort. All the Bill seeks to do—and I submit it is a perfectly reasonable thing to do—is to allow the Irish Parliament to make provision that, where a knowledge of Irish is required, that knowledge should be a necessary qualification for the public service, whether in the Courts or even in Parliament. I have had experience in Wales of this disqualification which is sought to be imposed by this Amendment, and I know how hard it is to bear. I for one will gladly support the Bill in opposition to this Amendment.
The speeches against this Amendment have taken two forms. I repudiate as much as other hon. Members on this side the charge made by the hon. Member for Inverness Burghs that this Amendment has merely been moved with the object of wrecking the Bill. We consider that a far more important principle is at the bottom of this proposal than the mere question of wrecking even this Bill. The two kinds of speeches we have heard have been either advocating the Government position on the ground of pure scholarship, such as, for illustration, the speech of the hon. Member for Kerry and the speech of the hon. Member for Argyllshire; or, on the other hand, we have had the other kind of speech which is illustrated in the speech we have just heard and in the speech of the senior Member for Merthyr Tydvil, who speak as admirers of the confusion produced at the Tower of Babel. I have some sympathy with the scholarship point of view. I think there is something to be said for encouraging the study of different languages which aids, from the educational point of view, the training of the mind, and so on. But from that point of view you might just as well study Greek iambics or any dead language, such as Sanscrit and Hebrew. It is a very desirable object in its way; but that is not the point which arises here. The point which arises here is to maintain as a qualification for higher promotion—and in a wide degree to the detriment of other candidates—a knowledge of the Trish language.I cannot myself see the advantage, from the commercial point of view, of taking up the position, as was done in the last speech we heard, of merely maintaining the existence of a language, even when very few people know it. If you look to our Colonies or to foreign countries I am sure the opposite is the case. I quite agree that it is difficult to find any parallel either in our Colonies or foreign countries that exactly meets the present case. There are very few in Ireland who speak the Irish language as compared with those who speak French in Canada, Dutch in South Africa, or Flemish in Belgium. Surely the disadvantage which arises from dual languages must be great. How can there possibly be any advantage in having the names of streets put in two languages; of having Government Regulations put in two languages; of having the Debates of the House of Parliament produced in two languages; to have the coins stamped in two languages; to have postage stamps bearing two languages? All this tends to confusion, and those who desire to strengthen the bonds of the United Kingdom, would, I should have thought myself, seek to arouse a sense of common interests and to unite under one language, rather than to set up the differences which this Bill would establish. I think it is a great misfortune that we should be face to face with this proposal. It cannot do good in the long run to the Empire, it cannot do good to the commercial relationships between different parts of this kingdom, or be good for any purpose whatever. It can do harm. The time that would be spent in learning the Irish language could be used much more advantageously, from the general and commercial point of view, if employed in learning French or German, and I do hope the Government will reconsider their position, and not merely, at the bidding of the hon. Member for Waterford, assist in refusing the principle of this Amendment. The position taken up by the Government is really to make as a qualification for promotion a knowledge of a language which is of no practical use in the world in general, or in commercial matters in particular. It has this further disadvantage, that it would result in the separate institution of a language, a course which would tend to separation rather than to unity. It would stimulate differentiation, whereas we want to stimulate unity; and instead of official languages tending to create differences of feeling and of interests, I would much rather see an official example that would make for the common interests of the community.
Into this very simple and small question there has been introduced by some of those who have spoken a spirit of exaggeration and a spirit of sectarian animosity. With regard to the sectarian aspect that has been put upon it by some of the speakers, a very elementary knowledge of this whole movement would have removed that impression. How did this movement start, and who started it? This movement received its main inspiration from the gentleman who still is its honoured head, namely, Dr. Douglas Hyde, President of the Gaelic League. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for North Armagh said that certain regulations had been introduced into the National University Bill for Ireland for the purpose of expelling Protestants from that university. They even went the length of saying that was the motive that was behind that violent "Papist," the present Chief Secretary for Ireland, in passing for Ireland the National University Bill. It was, we were told, his hereditary and bitter hatred of Protestantism that induced him to carry this Bill in order to exclude Protestants from the National University of Ireland. A statement like that in face of the fact that this National University has four or five Protestant professors is one of those statements which shows the length of exaggeration to which hon. Gentlemen representing Ulster Constituencies will go. There are four professors of Irish in that university, and an hon. Friend here tells me that three out of the four are Protestants. Dr. Douglas Hyde was the inspiring personality behind this movement. As everybody knows, he is a Protestant and the grandson of a Protestant and one of the very first principles upon which he started this movement, and to which he has rigidly adhered in that movement, is that it should be neither sectarian nor political. It is not sectarian as is evident by the fact that the President is a Protestant. It is not political. I cannot say I am altogether contented with that frigid and unapproachable reserve which Dr. Douglas Hyde has always assumed with regard to political questions. I will not quarrel with that now, but as a matter of fact the Gaelic League has always absolutely and immutably refused to mix itself up with any political issue at all. What has been the fact? This movement denounced by hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway as sectarian and political, as dividing north from south, Catholic from Protestant, and Nationalist from Orangeman, this movement, among its many beneficent effects, has brought together Protestant and Catholic, and north and south, on what I think is the issue that will ultimately unite them, the national welfare, the national consciousness, and the national self-respect of Ireland.Let me tell hon. Gentlemen from England and Scotland, Welshmen probably will understand our position more readily, what lay behind this movement. Let me go back a little, and if the House will permit me, I will illustrate it by a personal experience. When I was a schoolboy I could tell in an examination paper the disease from which every King of England died, whether it was a dish of lampreys or some other epicurean indulgence. I actually believe I could tell you the names of all the wives of Henry VIII., and that required a certain strain on the memory. What I could not tell you was a single fact in the history of my own people and my own country. I was not taught a word of it until I was able to read and until I was able to direct my own studies. The names of some of the greatest figures of Irish history were absolutely unknown to me. That was one of the features of Irish life in my boyhood. Another feature was this: I am told that in some parts of the country parents were so convinced of the position of inferiority in which their children would be placed by having a knowledge of the Irish language that they were punished when they spoke Irish. There is a tale, though I cannot vouch for it from personal knowledge, that the child used to bring to the school in those Irish-speaking districts of Ireland a small piece of stick. The master made a notch in the stick every time that the child spoke a word of Irish, and when the stick and its notches were examined by the parent when the child returned, the amount of whips the child got was in proportion to the number of notches upon the stick. That was the state of things that prevailed with the generation that brought forth Douglas Hyde, who in this movement has sought to restore to the Irish people and to give to the Irish people an interest in their own history, in the language of their race, and the archæology of their race—to make them understand the meaning of all the scenes around them, red with the blood of their ancestors, who had died in the cause of national rights. They had to give to Ireland a feeling of national self-respect, and that they could only do by restoring the interest which another generation had tried to destroy in the literature, the language, and the history of Ireland. Making an appeal on those lines, as Dr. Douglas Hyde did in the Gaelic League, they were able to enlist what I am happy to be able to say is the daily increasing number of Irishmen of all creeds and classes. They had to make an appeal to them to help Ireland towards a profounder sense of national individuality and national self-respect, and, acting on those lines, they brought into the organisation Protestant and Catholic alike. In any sense of the word it is ridiculous to talk of this question as sectarian. In the North of Ireland Protestants speak Irish as well as Catholics, and in the Gaelic League you have zealous Protestants engaged in this great work of giving a new self-consciousness and self-respect to Ireland, as well as Catholics. Therefore, to describe this as a sectarian body is, I think, one of the most absurd misrepresentations I have ever heard. I come to the tone of exaggeration which is familiar to all of us. According to the Gentlemen above the Gangway, you cannot give anything with confidence to an Irish Parliament. From their starting-point, in all this controversy, the Irish Parliament must consist of, I may almost say, homicidal and even suicidal lunatics. I have read sermons and speeches in which it has been suggested that Home Rule may even bring the massacre of the Protestants of the North of Ireland. I have read speeches in which it has been suggested that the Bible, which one old Presbyterian carried in one of the processions of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Sir E. Carson), would be closed by an Irish Parliament, and now I hear another form of exaggeration, that the Irish Parliament is not only determined and certain to encourage the Irish language, but to destroy the English language—
made an observation which was inaudible.
I must express my surprise that an English Member, bearing the honoured name he does, should express his agreement with that kind of nightmare, which I thought was confined to the hallucinated dreams of the hon. Gentlemen from Ulster. What splendid party spirit! I am sure the party spirit of many an English Tory like him has been put to a considerable strain during the last few weeks. However, as long as we are at this stage of the fight, I am perfectly sure their party spirit will rise to the most exaggerated demand. Not only, we are told, is an Irish Parliament going to encourage Irish, but that it is also going to destroy English, said the hon. and gallant Gentleman who spoke a few moments before me, and that this was for the purpose of producing a retrograde Ireland, and that we are going to separate Ireland from the rest of the world, and particularly destroy its commercial relations with England and the rest of the world.Let us examine the proposition. As the Chief Secretary, I think very relevantly and rightly, reminded the House, we have had within the last few weeks some object lesson as to the interdependence of England and Ireland in reference to the cattle trade. Religion—or perhaps I should say, so-called religion—may divide us, but the right hon. Gentleman and myself were members of the same deputation the other day. Cattle and pigs bring us together, and the right hon. Gentleman can talk sense, and even something approaching Nationalism when he is talking about cattle and pigs, but the moment he gets to religion his ordinary sense deserts him, And, what is worse, he not only forgets his sense, but he forgets his Christianity. What, then, is going to happen in Ireland? We are going to destroy England; we are going to destroy the English language, and not merely encourage the Irish language, because that is the contention of the hon. and learned Gentleman who preceded me, and of other speakers. Thus we are not only going to encourage Irish, but we are going to destroy English and blot out the names of Swift and Moore and Congreve and Burke from our history and our litera- ture. If we are going to have a Parliament of homicidal and suicidal lunatics, of course we will do that. I do not think the Irish Parliament is going to consist either of homicidals or of lunatics. Then our men dealing in cattle and pigs and sheep in England and coming over to every market in England every week are not to be allowed to learn English, the hybrid language, as my hon. and learned Friend from Wales said, though I for myself must say that the language of Shakespeare is quite good enough for me. Still this hybrid language is going to be denounced as an outrage upon the real proud self-consciousness of Irish nationality, and no man will be allowed to learn a word of it in Ireland, and he will go and try and sell his cattle and his pigs and his sheep in England, and he will have to have an interpreter. I have described this imaginary Irish Parliament as homicidal and suicidal. Let me see how suicidal we are going to be according to the hon. and gallant Gentleman's contention. The hon. and gallant Gentleman made a challenge to me which I am sorry to say I cannot accept. He asked me to address you, Sir, in Irish. I could not do so even if it were in order to do so. I think twenty words would exhaust all the Irish I know. I did understand the interruption of my hon. Friend, "Tuigeann tu amadan," though I am glad to say the hon. Gentleman did not, just as I would understand "Tabhairdham poge cailin og," which I was asked once to say to an Irish speaker. [An HON. MEMBER: "I understand that."] The hon. Gentleman understands everything except about matters from the North of Ireland. I am not going to be tempted by him to translate for other ears the language which he understands. Here you will have a Parliament composed of Members nine out of ten of whom probably will not understand Irish. They are to begin by decreeing that nobody shall be allowed to address that assembly unless he does so in a language of which nine-tenths of the Members are ignorant. In addition to that, we are to use the language as a weapon against hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway. What weapon are we not going to use against them? Their lives are not safe; their property is not safe. The hon. and gallant Gentleman will have to choose between fighting for his liberties and exiling himself from his country. I heard all these prophecies years ago, and I believe I destined some of them to immortality by reporting them for the newspaper with which I was then connected. The Protestants who were to be massacred or exiled from Ireland are there still—an honoured, powerful, and influential section of Irish life; and when all the dust and heat and folly and ignorance of this controversy have passed away we will look to them for being as they were in the past, among the most ardent defenders of the nationality and prosperity of Ireland.
I cannot hope to follow the eloquence or wit of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. T. P. O'Connor). But when he asks the Committee to consider that it is an utterly impossible thing that a Parliament which in its first years may be composed of Gentlemen few of whom know the Irish language, should in course of time set itself to work deliberately and artificially to promote the Irish language and to use it as a means of prejudicing and excluding the English language, I think those Members who believe him have studied very little what has happened in other countries. My hon. Friend quoted the instance of Bohemia. There was a time when the whole of the Austrian empire was bitterly divided over the proposal to make German and Bohemian compulsory on all officials in Bohemia. That proposal was defeated, because it was recognised that this in practice meant the exclusion of all Germans from official positions. Now I remember the Leader of the Czech party telling me at the time that his father used to say that when the Nationalist language movement began some sixty years earlier, only three people in Bohemia knew more than 200 words of the Czech language. It was an entirely artificial revival. I will take another instance, that of the Magyar language in Hungary.When the war of 1848 was fought, there was not a single leader of the Hungarian revolutionaries who was in any sense a master of the Hungarian language. The whole of the correspondence between the revolutionary leaders was conducted in German. After they got into power in 1867, a deliberate attempt was made—and nobody had the courage to resist it—to force the exclusive use of the Hungarian language on Parliament, and one of the most gallant of the Hungarian leaders was unable to accept a position as Minister because he confessed that he was unable to speak the language. A few years ago when there was an attempt to act a play in German at Budapest, the play was violently stopped by a public demonstration. The police in Budapest were under instructions not to answer questions addressed to them in German. If I wanted to find my way I always began by saying. "I am an Englishman," and then when I spoke in German they did not mind answering. There you have an instance where a very difficult language, spoken only by a few of the peasants, was for political reasons forced upon a country, and I do not believe that it has made for civilisation or for progress in that part of the world. The whole movement under Home Rule is likely to be of the same tendency. This Amendment of ours is not aimed at discouraging the study or the natural spread of the Irish language. It is aimed at preventing the Nationalist movement from using the lever of the Government in order as far as it can, to destroy the English, language and English sentiment in Ireland. This Amendment goes straight to the root of an issue on which we have never had any answer from the Treasury Bench. Is the object of this Bill to set up in Ireland, as an integral part of the British nation and of the United Kingdom, a system of local government; or is it to be the starting point of the setting up of a-new nation with a new language separate from this country? If that is the object, is it one which the great majority of hon. Members opposite really want? It certainly is not a proposal which they have ever commended to their constituents. Not a single speech has ever contained anything about setting up a separate and distinct nation with a separate and distinct language. I do not wish to say a word in disparagement, of the study of an ancient and interesting language, or to prevent—and this Amendment would not prevent—officials, with a knowledge of Irish, being appointed in Irish-speaking districts. My hon. Friend pointed out the entire difference which exists between the case of the French in Canada or the Dutch in South Africa, and the case in Ireland. In South Africa, Dutch was spoken by more than half the population, and it was a language which had some use in the world outside. Yet when a year or two ago the present Government made a proposal that it should be compulsory for all teachers in the Union to know both languages, the proposal met with the bitterest opposition and was defeated, because everybody knew that it was unfair. When you have two languages, one a great world language and a great commercial language, and the other a local language—I say nothing against its philological interest or the affection with which it is regarded—to make both languages compulsory means that you practically disqualify those with whom the wider and greater language is their mother tongue. And, in practice, you disqualify capacity. It works on the same principle as the ancient law of economics known as Gresham's law, about the inferior coin displacing the better coin. I contend that we are raising not a trivial or wrecking Amendment, but one which goes to the heart of the question whether you are setting up a system of local government or whether you are dismembering the United Kingdom and destroying it as a nation.
I wish to say one word in reply to the hon. Member for the Scotland Division. [Interruption.]
May I ask hon. Members to give other hon. Members the courtesy of a hearing.
May I call your attention to the disorderly method of cheering adopted by a Member on the Nationalist benches?
I am much obliged for the Noble Lord's assistance. I intended what I said to apply all round. Hon. Members ought to remember that they themselves require courtesy when they address the House. May I say also that hon. Members will do well to address the Chair rather than to turn to any particular part of the House. Through mo they can address their remarks wherever they wish them to go.
Division No. 259.]
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Cave, George E.|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Beresford, Lord Charles||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Bigland, Alfred||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Bird, Alfred||Chambers, James|
|Astor, Waldorf||Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Clive, Captain Percy Archer|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Boyton, James||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham|
|Baker, Sir Randolt L. (Dorset, N.)||Bridgeman, William Clive||Cooper, Richard Ashmole|
|Balcarres, Lord||Bull, Sir William James||Cory, Sir Clifford John|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Courthope, George Loyd|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond)||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Butcher, John George||Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)|
|Barnston, Harry||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Craik, Sir Henry|
|Barrie, H. T.||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Cassel, Felix||Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Castlereagh, Viscount||Croft, Henry Page|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cator, John||Dalrymple, Viscount|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Cautley, Henry Strother||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)|
I will certainly follow your advice. May I ask whether it applies to Ministers of the Crown as well? I have only one minute left. [Several MEMBERS: "Four minutes."] If we are to be Closured, are we also to be denied a hearing? The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool said: "What you want to do is to destroy the English language." Nobody made so absurd a suggestion. Bitterly as some of the Irish Members may feel towards this country, that task is too great for them. But what they do wish to do, and what they intend to do, and that is the whole meaning of the resistance to this Amendment, is to put the English language in the second place in the Irish Parliament and in Irish official affairs. We have sometimes been accused, as Englishmen, of not having a sufficiently strong national feeling. I can assure the Government that we do care; all Englishmen care, especially about their own language, and when they find that this Home Rule Bill is being used as an engine not to increase local government powers in Ireland, but to reduce the status and position of the English language, they will give it a reception which I think even the most sanguine Members of the Government never anticipated.It being half-past Seven of the clock, the OIAIIIMAA' proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 14th October, to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at half-past Seven of the Clock at this day's sitting.
Question put, That those words be there inserted."
The Committee divided: Ayes, 220; Noes, 329.
|Denniss, E. R. B,||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Joynson-Hicks, William||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Royds, Edmund|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Kerry, Earl of||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Keswick, Henry||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Falls, Bertram Godfray||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Fell, Arthur||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Larmor, Sir J.||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. w. Hayes||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l., Walton)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Forster, Henry William||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Gardner, Ernest||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Stanier, Beville|
|Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Gibbs, George Abraham||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo., Han. S.)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Goldman, Charles Sydney||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Mackinder, Halford J.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Macmaster, Donald||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)|
|Gretton, John||Magnus, Sir Philip||Sykes, Alan John (Cites., Knutsford)|
|Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Moore, William||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Morrison-Bell. Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Mount, William Arthur||Touche, George Alexander|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Newdegate, F. A.||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Newman, John R. P.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Nield, Herbert||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Helmsley, Viscount||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Hills, J. W.||Parkes, Ebenezer||Winterton, Earl|
|Hill-Wood, Samuel||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Perkins, Walter Frank||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Peto, Basil Edward||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Home, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Horner, Andrew Long||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||Younger, Sir George|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Hume-Williams, Wm. Ellis||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.||Malcolm and Mr. R. McNeill.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Brace, William||Crumley, Patrick|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Brady, Patrick Joseph||Cullinan, John|
|Adamson, William||Brocklehurst, William B.||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Brunner, J. F. L.||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Bryce, J. Annan||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Burke, E. Haviland-||Dawes, James Arthur|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Delany, William|
|Armitage, Robert||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Dickinson, W. H.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Doris, William|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Duffy, William J.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Cawley, H. T. (Heywood)||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Clancy, John Joseph||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)|
|Barton, William||Clough, William||Elverston, Sir Harold|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||dynes, John R.||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)|
|Bentham, G. J.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Falconer, James|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles|
|Black, Arthur W.||Cotton, William Francis||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson|
|Boland, John Pius||Craig, Herbert James (Tynemouth)||Ffrench, Peter|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Field, William|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Crean, Eugene||Fitzgibbon, John|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Crooks, William||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Furness, Stephen||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||McGhee, Richard||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Gill, A. H.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Ginnell, Laurence||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Gladstone, w. G. C.||Macpherson, James Ian||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Glanville, Harold James||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Goldstone, Frank||M'Kean, John||Robinson, Sidney|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Greig, Col. James William||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Manfield, Harry||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Rowlands, James|
|Guiney, Patrick||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Hackett, John||Martin, J.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Hancock, John George||Meagher, Michael||Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Rossendale)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Scan Ian, Thomas|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Millar, James Duncan||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Molloy, Michael||Seely, Colonel Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Sheehy, David|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Mooney, John J.||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Morgan, George Hay||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Havelock-Allen, Sir Henry||Morrell, Philip||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Morison, Hector||Snowden, Philip|
|Hay ward, Evan||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Hazleton, Richard||Muldoon, John||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)||Munro, R.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Sutherland, John E.|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sutton, John E.|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Needham, Christopher||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Neilson, Francis||Tennant, Harold John|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Thomas, James Henry|
|Hinds, John||Nolan, Joseph||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Hodge, John||Nuttall, Harry||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Hogge, James Myles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Brien, William (Cork)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Doherty, Philip||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Donnell, Thomas||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Dowd, John||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Ogden, Fred||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Jardine, Sir John (Roxburgh)||O'Grady, James||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|John, Edward Thomas||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Wardle, George J.|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Malley, William||Waring, Walter|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)||O'Shee, James John||Webb, H.|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Rushcliffe)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Outhwaite, R. L.||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Parker, James (Halifax)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Joyce, Michael||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Keating, Matthew||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Kelly, Edward||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Pirie, Duncan V.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|King, Joseph||Pollard, Sir George H.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Lamb, Ernest Henry||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molten)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Lansbury, George||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Pringle, William M. R.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Radford, George Heynes||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
|Lundon, Thomas||Reddy, Michael|
|Lyell, C. H.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
The Committee divided: Ayes, 328; Noes, 222.
Division No. 260.]
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Ffrench, Peter||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Adamson, William||Field, William||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Fitzgibbon, John||Lundon, T.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lyell, C. H.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||France, G. A.||Lynch, A. A.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Furness, Stephen||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Gelger, Sir William Alfred||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Armitage, Robert||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||McGhee, Richard|
|Arnold, Sydney||Gill, Alfred Henry||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Ginnell, Laurence||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Glanville, Harold James||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Callum, Sir John M.|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Goldstone, Frank||McKean, John|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Barnes, G. N.||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick, B.)||Greig, Colonel J. W.||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding)|
|Barton, William||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Griffith, Ellis Jones||Manfield, Harry|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Units, St. George)||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Bentham, G. J.||Guiney, Patrick||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hackett, J.||Martin, Joseph|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.|
|Boland, John Pius||Hancock, John George||Meagher, Michael|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.(|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Millar, James Duncan|
|Brace, William||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Molloy, M.|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Mond, Sir Alfred M.|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Bryce, John Annan||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Mooney, J. J.|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Morgan, George Hay|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Morrell, Philip|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hayden, John Patrick||Morison, Hector|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hayward, Evan||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Hazleton, Richard||Muldoon, John|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Helme, Sir Nerval Watson||Munro, Robert|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hemmerde, Edward George||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Henry, Sir Charles||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S)||Neilson, Francis|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Higham, John Sharp||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hinds, John||Nolan, Joseph|
|Clough, William||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.|
|Clynes, John R.||Hodge, John||Nuttall, Harry|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Hogge, James Myles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Brien, William (Cork)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Holt, Richard Durning||O'Connor, J. (Kildare, N.)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Home, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Connor, T, P. (Liverpool)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Hudson, Walter||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Dowd, John|
|Crean, Eugene||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Ogden, Fred|
|Crooks, William||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||O'Grady, James|
|Crumley, Patrick||John, Edward Thomas||O'Kelty, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Cullinan, John||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Mailey, William|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||O'Shee, James John|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Dawes, J. A.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Delany, William||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Jowett, F. W.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Joyce, Michael||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Keating, Matthew||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Doris, W.||Kellaway, Frederick George||Pearson, Hon. Weetman, H. M.'|
|Duffy, William J.||Kelly, Edward||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Kilbride, Denis||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||King, J.||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Lambert, Richard (Wilts (Cricklade)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lansbury, George||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Falconer, J,||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid, Cockerm'th)||Radford, G. H.|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Levy, Sir Maurice||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||Ward, W, Dudley (Southampton)|
|Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Sheehy, David||Wardle, George J.|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Sherwell, Arthur James||Waring, Walter|
|Reddy, M.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmanan)|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)||Webb, H.|
|Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Snowden, Philip||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West;||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Robertson, Sir G, Scott (Bradford)||Sutherland, John E.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Sutton, John E.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Robinson, Sidney||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Tennant, Harold John||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Thorne, William (West Ham)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Rose, Sir Charles Day||Toulmin, Sir George||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Rowlands, James||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Winfrey, Richard|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Verney, Sir Harry||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wadsworth, John||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Scanlan, Thomas||Walton, Sir Joseph|
TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
|Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Courthope, George Loyd||Hills, John Waller|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Hill-Wood, Samuel|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Craig, E. (Ches., Crewe)||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Hohler, G. F.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Hope, Harry (Bute)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Craik, Sir Henry||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)|
|Baird, J. L.||Cripps, Sir C. A.||Home, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Croft, Henry Page||Horner, Andrew Long|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dalrymple, Viscount||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Hume-Williams, W. E.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Denniss, E. R. B.||Hunter, Sir C. R.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Ingleby, Holcombe|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Dixon, C. H.||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Doughty, Sir George||Joynson-Hicks, William|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.|
|Barnston, H||Duke, Henry Edward||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr|
|Barrie, H. T.||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Kerry, Earl of|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Keswick, Henry|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Fell, Arthur||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford|
|Benn, ton Hamilton (Greenwich)||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Larmor, Sir J.|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Lee, Arthur Hamilton|
|Bird, Alfred||Fletcher, John Samuel||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Forster, Henry William||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Gardner, Ernest||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Boyton, James||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Gibbs, George Abraham||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo., Han. S.)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Goldman, Charles Sydney||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Butcher, John George||Goulding, E. A.||Macmaster, Donald|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin, Univ.)||Gretton, John||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)|
|Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S. E.)||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Malcolm, Ian|
|Cassel, Felix||Haddock, George Bahr||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Cator, John||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Cautley, H. S.||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Moore, William|
|Cave, George||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Chaloner, Col R. G. W.||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Mount, William Arthur|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Chambers, James||Harris, Henry Percy||Newman, John R. P.|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender I||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Nicholson, William G. G. (Petersfield)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Nield, Herbert|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Paget, Almeric Hugh||Sanders, Robert A.||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Sanderson, Lancelot||Valentia, Viscount|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)||Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Perkins, Walter Frank||Spear, Sir John Ward||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Peto, Basil Edward||Stanier, Beville||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Pollock, Ernest Murray||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Starkey, John Ralph||Winterton, Earl|
|Randles, Sir John S.||Staveley-Hill, Henry||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Stewart, Gershom||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Rawson, Colonel Richard H.||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Rees, Sir J. D.||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Remnant, James Farquharson||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Ronaldshay, Earl of||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Royds, Edmund||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)||Younger, Sir George|
|Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir Hildred Carille and Viscount Helmsley.
|Salter, Arthur Clavell||Touche, George Alexander|
Clause 3—(Prohibition Of Laws Interfering With Religious Equality, Etc)
3. In the exercise of their power to make laws under this Act the Irish Parliament shall not make a law so as either directly or indirectly to establish or endow any religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, or give a preference, privilege, or advantage, or impose any disability or disadvantage, on account of religious belief or religious or ecclesiastical status, or make any religious belief or religious ceremony a condition of the validity of any marriage.
Any law made in contravention of the restrictions imposed by this Section shall, so far as it contravenes those restrictions, be void.
On a point of Order. May I ask you, Mr. Whitley, whether the Opposition will have an opportunity of discussing the fifty-two important Amendments that have been cut out just now?
That is not a point of Order.
I wish to put it as a point of Order.
It is not a proper point of Order.
You can judge afterwards, because I am rather getting past the time, to tell the truth, when I care whether it is in order or not. I wish to ask you, does the fact that you proposed Clause 3 from the Chair cut out all possibility of the Opposition being able to discuss the fifty-two important Amendments dealing with the Royal Irish Constabulary and other things in this Bill which is now brought before the House for the first time?
With regard to the point the hon. and gallant Gentleman has made, I think it arises on Clause 5.
May I ask whether it is not the case that of these fifty-two Amendments a very large proportion were duplicates and out of place?
Before that point of Order is answered—
None of these are points of Order, and it is not a very fair use of the position, on my resuming my seat, to get up an argumentative question.
It is done by a Cabinet Minister.
I agree that in both cases it is a matter of argument. I am instructed by a Resolution of the House to proceed in a certain way, and questions of that kind should not be put to me.
May I whether your roiling means that in regard to these Amendments, shut out in consequence of the closure at the present hour, we are precluded from putting them down and having them discussed at a later stage?
I have already pointed out that the one mentioned by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Captain Craig) is pertinent to Clause 5. If hon. Members will put them down where they think they come in, I will consider them. With regard to Amendments on the Paper to Clause 3, the first in the name of the hon. Member for Glasgow (Camlachie) to leave out the word "Parliament" ["under this Act the Irish Parliament shall not make a law"], and insert instead thereof the word "Council," and the second in the name of the hon. Member for Graves-end (Sir Gilbert Parker) to leave out the word "Parliament," and insert instead thereof the word "Legislature"; they have been already dealt with. The next two are out of place, because we must first deal with the subject-matter of the Clause before we propose to add to them. The next Amendment, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Hicks Beach), to insert after the word "law" ["The Irish Parliament shall not make a law"], the words, "or vote or grant any public money," is, I think, met by the words in the Bill; and the next Amendment, in the name of the hen. Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Cassel), after the word "law," to insert the words "requiring or authorising any judge at the instance of the Executive to give a decision upon any question not actually in litigation of," is out of place. The one I propose to call is the one standing in the name of the hon. Member for York (Mr. Butcher), about endowments; but before that I understand the hon. Member for South Bucks (Sir Alfred Cripps) wishes to raise a point upon his Amendment after the word "to" ["so as either directly or indirectly to establish"], to insert the words "disestablish or." I do not quite appreciate the purport of that Amendment.
Before that Amendment is taken there are certain words that come before which I should like to move to leave out, in order to ask a question of the Attorney-General. The Clause commences:—In the exercise of their powers to make laws under this Act the Irish Parliament shall not make a law so as, etc. I want to know what is the effect of the words, "in the exercise of their powers lender this Act," and why these words are there at all, and I move to leave them out, because unless there is some other power reserved to the Parliament, the Section will read properly and legally by commencing. "The Irish Parliament shall not make a law." It seems to me these words are either surplusage or have behind them some other meaning of which I do not know. The Bill is so very complicated with all the general powers' to make laws and the reservation to make laws, that one does not actually know what is the meaning of putting in words like these. It occurs to me they ought to be left out.
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out, stand part of the Clause."
These words were inserted to carry out what has already been passed in Clause 2. If you look at the beginning of Clause 2 it says:—Subject to the provisions of this Act the Irish Parliament shall have power to-make laws. And Clause 3 says:— In the exercise of their powers to-make laws under this Act the Irish Parliament shall not make a law, etc. It is a restraining Section in the exercise of the powers already conferred under Clause 2.
The right hon. Gentleman has not explained what the effect would be to leave these words out, because it would then read:The Irish Parliament shall not make-a law so as either directly or indirectly. There is no other way that I know in which they could make laws except under the previous Clause. What I want an explanation of is: What is behind these words?
There is nothing behind them at all. It is simply carrying out what is in Clause 2 of the Bill as passed, and we begin the third Clause by saying, "Now in the exercise of these powers given the Irish Parliament shall not do certain things." There is nothing whatever behind it.
You do not say what the words add. Surely, if the Irish Parliament is going to be restrained from doing a thing, it is not proper to say in the exercise of their powers they shall not do it. What you want to add is "the Irish Parliament shall not make certain laws."
In reference to what the Attorney-General said, it is quite clear these limiting words ought not to be inserted in this Clause, because what he said, in effect, is that the Irish Parliament shall not have powers to make laws in certain circumstances. If the words are put in "In the exercise of their powers to make laws under this Act" it would certainly be argued that the limitation in this Clause is only in reference to-the exercise of powers given, and that out- side these powers the Irish Parliament, although a subordinate body, had powers included in this Section 3. It is quite clear that these words ought to be eliminated. If, as I understand the Attorney-General, the Irish Parliament are to be prohibited altogether from making laws with reference to certain subjects, under Clause 3 these words of limitation ought not to be introduced if that is the intention.
From the explanation of the Attorney-General, it is clear to demonstration that these words are absolutely surplusage. They are wholly unnecessary. I do not know what mischief the Attorney-General suggests would be done by leaving them out if they mean what he says. What is the reason for retaining these words on the explanation of the Attorney-General? He says that they are merely a reference to Clause 2, but Clause 2 defines the powers of the Irish Parliament, and what you want to do by this Clause 3 is to impose limitations. I really cannot see the sense of keeping these words in, and I am driven to suspect that there may be something behind them. Why not leave them out if they are surplusage, as the Attorney-General says they are?
I never said any such thing.
But it follows from the explanation that they are mere surplusage.
What has been done by Clause 2 is to limit the functions of the Irish Parliament with regard to legislation. It is provided that, they can only exercise their powers in certain respects, and there are certain exclusions. In Clause 3 you refer again to what has been enacted under Clause 2, and in the exercise of those limited powers there is this further limitation.
Will the Attorney-General say what difference it will make if these words are left out?
I cannot help thinking that all my hon. and learned Friends are getting very angry on both sides about what is really a matter of small importance. The Attorney-General says there is nothing behind these words, and he is perfectly right, because there is nothing behind them, not even a meaning. I respectfully suggest to the Government that whenever they cannot show a meaning to words they would hasten business and smooth the proceedings if they would leave out words, which, although they may commend themselves to those who are masters of drafting English and whose business it is to construct drafting English, are words to which the lay House do not attach the smallest significance. I think it would simplify and smooth the proceedings in this House if the Attorney-General, unless his hon. Friends have been able to find the meaning of the words, would agree to drop those words.
I am greatly disappointed with the few words that have just fallen from the right hon. Gentleman. I thought he rose in the interests of peace. May I make a suggestion? The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has conducted a number of Bills through this House, and he knows that it is rather a dangerous thing to drop out words which the draftsman has put in. I suggest that the Attorney-General should consider the words before the Report stage, and if he finds they are necessary, then he can stick to them, and if they are not necessary he can get rid of them. That course would get rid of this difficulty for the moment.
Should I be in order, Mr. Chairman, in moving to report Progress in order to—
My answer is contained in the words of the Motion. I cannot accept any such proposal.
Then may I appeal to the Government to send for the hon. and learned Member for Waterford to come and explain the Bill which he drafted?
If the Attorney-General is willing to accept the suggestion made by my right hon. Friend, I will sit down. The words of the Clause are, "In the exercise of their power to make laws under this Act." We will suppose the Home Rule Bill has passed and the Irish Parliament has been set up. [An HON. MEMBER: "Never."] We will suppose also that they have asked for some extension of powers, and those powers have been given to them perhaps in pecunia. If they get such an extension of powers, will the exercise of those new powers be governed by the words of Section 3 or not? If these words are left out, whatever new powers the Irish Parliament get will be governed by Section 3. If these words are left in. any extension they get will not be governed by Section 3, and I ask the Attorney-General to clear up that point.
I want to know what is the difference in the Section with those words in and with them out? If there is no difference, then the words ought to come out, and if there is a difference, then the Attorney-General ought to tell us what the difference is. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us what is the difference in the meaning of the Section, if the words are struck out or kept in?
Under Clause 3 you have the limitation of the use of those powers, and if you leave out those words you run the risk of extending the powers. The object of putting in those words at the beginning of Clause 3 is to limit and not extend the powers you have already limited by Clause 2. There as no general power of legislation, and what you are doing by these words is to show that there is a limitation being imposed upon a limited exercise of the powers thus provided for.
I know nothing is more tedious to the Committee than a mere discussion by lawyers, but perhaps the Attorney-General will forgive me for saying that I think his explanation is too transparently absurd. He makes the statement that if these words are not inserted there will be some risk of extending the powers, but there is no such risk, and there is no possibility of any such risk. Supposing the Clause read, "The Irish Parliament shall not make a law to directly or indirectly disestablish or disendow any religion." That provision would be an absolute protection, and I defy the Attorney-General to show how the omission of those words permits any such risk. It is clear to any fair-minded man on either side of the House that if these words are left out the protection is absolute. No hon. Member opposite who has spoken has suggested a single reason why the retention of these words makes the slightest difference.
The Attorney-General said this was a drafting question, but if these words have no meaning, how can it possibly be in the interests of good drafting to put them in? It is good drafting as well as common sense not to put in words which have no meaning at all. The Attorney-General knows quite well that when words in an Act of Parliament come before a judge which apparently have got no meaning, and which ought to have been left out, he looks about for some hidden meaning. We are told that there is no hidden meaning, or any other meaning, attached to these words, and why, in the name of all that is sensible, does not the Attorney-General get up like a man and say, "I will leave them out"?
I think there is a meaning in those words. The Clause as it is drafted deals with what we may call the legislative powers of the Irish Parliament, leaving the administrative and executive powers of the Irish Parliament untouched. The Clause lays down that the Irish Parliament in the exercise of their power shall not "give a preference, privilege, or advantage, or impose any disability or disadvantage." As the Clause stands, it appears to me that the Irish Parliament, in the exercise of its executive power, could give such a preference. Therefore, I think it is important that those words should be omitted.
I must ask the right hon. Gentleman to give an answer to my question or else say that he cannot do so. Supposing under some future Statute the Irish Parliament gets additional powers, will the exercise of those powers in the future be limited by Section 3 or not?
Really, I think they must be.
The thing might be passed in pecunia. If you leave those words out the whole Section will govern any future legislation.
As I proposed to leave out those words, let me say that I did so in the expectation that I would get some reasonable answer from the other side. I really moved this Amendment because, in reading over the Clause, it occurred to me that the words were absolutely surplusage. We have gone on for a considerable time trying to get some information from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but we have not got any. I am going to appeal to my hon. Friends not to prolongs this discussion. I know perfectly well that no Opposition would be treated in the way we have been treated, or could be treated for a moment in this way, but for the fact that the Government are relying upon us spending the short time allotted to us in this way, and it makes no difference to them whether they give us a proper answer or not. If we were discussing this Bill under normal conditions, of course there would be a Motion to report Progress, and that would be the natural way to deal with the difficulty. This is how we are being treated under the Closure, and we shall only have a few moments to discuss a large number of Amendments. Here we are under these conditions having to spend all this time on a point like this
Division No. 261.]
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Fitzgibbon, John||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lundon, Thomas|
|Adamson, William||France, G. A.||Lynch, A. A.|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Furness, Stephen||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Gill, Alfred Henry||McGhee, Richard|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Ginnell, Laurence||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Armitage, Robert||Gladstone, W. G. C.||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Glanville, Harold James||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Callum, Sir John M.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Goldstone, Frank||M'Kean, John|
|Barnes, George N.||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Greig, Col. J. W.||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding)|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts, St. George)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Manfield, Harry|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Hackett, John||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Black, Arthur w.||Hancock, John George||Martin, Joseph|
|Boland, John Pius||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Meagher, Michael|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Molloy, Michael|
|Brocklehurst, William B||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Bryce, John Annan||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Mooney, John J.|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Morrell, Philip|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Morison, Hector|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hayden, John Patrick||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hayward, Evan||Muldoon, John|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Hazleton, Richard||Munro, Robert|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, w.)||Needham, Christopher|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Higham, John Sharp||Neilson, Francis|
|Chapple, Dr. W. A.||Hinds, John||Nicholson, Sir Charles (Doncaster)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Nolan, Joseph|
|Clough, William||Hodge, John||Nuttail, Harry|
|Clynes, John R.||Hogge, James Myles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Connor, John (Kildare)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hudson, Walter||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Cotton, William Francis||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||O'Dowd, John|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||Ogden, Fred|
|Crooks, William||John, Edward Thomas||O'Grady, James|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Cullinan, John||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Malley, William|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Shee, James John|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Dawes, J. A.||Jowett, Frederick William||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Delany, William||Joyce, Michael||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Keating, Matthew||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Kellaway, Frederick George||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Doris, W.||Kelly, Edward||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Duffy, William J.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Kilbride, Denis||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||King, J.||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Crick lade)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lansbury, George||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Radford, G. H.|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson 1||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Raffan, peter Wilson|
|Ffrench, Peter||Levy, Sir Maurice||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry|
|Field, William 1||Lewis, John Herbert||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
because we cannot get a single explanation from the right hon. Gentlemen opposite who treat us with absolute contempt when we try to raise this question.
Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
The Committee divided: Ayes, 267; Noes, 115.
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Sheehy, David||Wardle, G. J.|
|Reddy, M.||Sherwell, Arthur James||Waring, Walter|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||Webb, H.|
|Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Snowden, Philip||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Sutherland, John E.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Robinson, Sidney||Sutton, John E.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Rowlands, James||Thorne, William (West Ham)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Toulmin, Sir George||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Ure, Rt. Hon, Alexander||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Verney, Sir Harry||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)||Wadsworth, John||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Scanlan, Thomas||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
|Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
|Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Malcolm, Ian|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Ashley, W. W.||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Moore, William|
|Astor, Waldorf||Fletcher, John Samuel||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Balcarres, Lord||Forster, Henry William||Nield, Herbert|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Gardner, Ernest||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Gastrell, Major w. Houghton||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Barrie, H. T.||Gibbs, George Abraham||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Gretton, John||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Bird, Alfred||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Randies, Sir John S.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Beyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Harris, Henry Percy||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Helmsley, Viscount||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Butcher, John George||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hills, John Waller||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Hoare, S. J. G.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'pool, Walton)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H,||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Cave, George||Home, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Chambers, James||Horner, Andrew Long||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Houston, Robert Paterson||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Larmor, Sir J.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R,||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Dennis, E. R. B.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (St. Geo., Han. S.)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Duke, Henry Edward||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Mackinder, Halford J.||Younger, Sir George|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Macmaster, Donald|
|Fell, Arthur||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)|
TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Stanier and Mr. Hewins.
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Magnus, Sir Philip|
I wish to hear the hon. and learned Member for Bucks (Sir A. Cripps) as to the meaning and purpose of his Amendment.
The meaning of my Amendment is that the new Irish Parliament shall not only not establish or give legislative sanction to any religious body or community, but shall not act prejudicially to any religious institution by disestablishing that institution or by interfering with its existing constitution. I agree my Amendment raises very much the same point as a later Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Dudley (Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen), but I think it is properly raised in my Amendment, and that I use the proper expressions applicable to it.
I understand the hon. and learned Member's view to be that the meaning of the words "disestablish or" is the same and the proper legal expression for "interfere with the constitution of."
That is my view.
If that be so, I think the hon. Member is entitled to move, but of course the Amendment cannot be moved subsequently in the form suggested by the hon. Member for Dudley.
I beg to move, after the word "to" ["or indirectly to"], to insert the words "disestablish or."My object in moving this Amendment is to make it as clear as I, can that, so far as the Irish Parliament is concerned, it should not have any power whatever to interfere with the great doctrine of equal religious treatment irrespective of the denomination of the body itself. I want to make it quite clear at the outset, in dealing with this question of religious equality, that I am not throwing any doubt on the intention of the Roman Catholic community, because the proper attitude of anybody as regards religious equality is not to draw any distinction between one denomination and another. Christian people undoubtedly express their convictions most earnestly under different forms. I want to dissociate myself at the outset from the idea that I am finding fault with the Roman Catholic community either in this country or in Ireland. I wish this religious question to be dissociated from the question of Home Rule. I never like religious questions coning into our discussions, and I have the same respect for the sincere Roman Catholic as I have for the Presbyterian or any other Nonconformist. As regards the Section, its object, I take it, is to prevent the establishment of any religion. Of course, one is cognisant of what is meant by the establishment of a religious body, but I have great difficulty in understanding what is meant by establishing a religion. It is a contradiction in terms. It is an absolute impossibility. No Legislature could ever establish a religion. On that most people interested in religious topics will agree with me. But I understand that the word "religion" here is a synonym for religious body or Church, and if we alter the word religion into a meaning of that kind the Clause as it stands is quite intelligible. The proposal is that you shall not give State existence or legislative sanction to any religious body or community. I un- derstand that is the meaning of the Clause, if it is to have any meaning at all. But I want to make it clear that if you are asked to give no established position to any religious community in Ireland you are not at the same time to interfere by legislation or compulsion with the existing constitution of any religious body in that country at the present moment. Suppose I take for illustration one of the Nonconformist or Presbyterian bodies. I want to make it quite clear that whatever legislative powers may be vested in the Irish Parliament it cannot have any right or power to interfere compulsorily with the establishment or constitution of any religious community in any part of Ireland. I think it all the more necessary to make that clear because it is rather curious—I am not in any way trying to deal with a subsequent Amendment—that in the latter-part of this Clause you do not prevent legislation giving preference to a particular religious body. What you say is that members of any particular religious body shall not be put under any disability owing to the religious body to which they belong. Unless these words are introduced there is not a single word in the Clause as it stands which would prevent the Irish Parliament interfering with the constitutional establishment of any religious community which happens to exist in Ireland at the present time, or which may exist in the future. I put this to the Committee and to the right hon. Gentleman who represents the Irish Office, whether it is not his intention to have religious equality in this sense; that it is not to be in the power of the Irish Parliament either to give preference to a particular body as I understand the word established, or to interfere with the establishment or constitution of an existing body having regard to its powers and privileges, whatever they may be, which exists at the present time. I should like to add one word as regards the use of the word "establishment" because it is sometimes used in this country in the sense of a Church established by law and sometimes to refer to the legislation of Henry VIII.'s time. I take an entirely different view of the meaning of that word altogether. I think any Christian fraternity of a defined faith or Constitution is an establishment in the ordinary sense in which we use the word in our religious language and literature. I want therefore to make it quite clear that using the word in that sense neither Roman Catholic, nor Presbyterian, nor Anglican, nor any other religious body in Ireland could ever be preferred by a subordinate Irish Parliament when constituted or put under any disability by having its constitution interfered with. I do not know whether it is the intention of the Government to make Clause 3 govern the principle of religious equality. I dare say it may be so, but I am quite clear that the words as they stand do not carry that out, and in order to carry out that intention, if it be the intention of the Government, they must either adopt the words which I propose in my Amendment or words of a similar character. I am not discussing a mere question of drafting, but when a Member of the Government replies to this Amendment I would ask him to say whether they intend what' I have denned as the true aspect of religious equality, namely, non-interference with the establishment of any existing constitution.
I do not know if I had time to enter into a long conversation with the hon. and learned Member that I should differ materially from anything he has said. But I feel perfectly satisfied that the introduction at this place of the word "disestablish" in front of the word "establish" would mislead ordinary persons who are not quite so well acquainted with the history of ecclesiastical matters as he may be. The real protection which the hon. and learned Member desires to have for every form of religious body that may be in the possession of property would be much better secured by the careful consideration of subsequent words in this Clause and on Amendments which appear in the name of the hon. and learned Member for York and other hon. Members. What he proposes to do is to say, "You must not disestablish any religious body which is established." He used the word "compulsorily" in his speech, but there is nothing of that sort in the Amendment, and it would be a very clumsy limiting form to put upon a Parliament which might have to deal with religious bodies to say if they came to Parliament, as people have lately done in Scotland, asking for an alteration or confirmation of their trust, that they cannot under this Clause disestablish any Church. Hon. Members opposite are always viewing with alarm the possibility of danger from any Irish Parliament. They never think that the fact of taking away the power to do harm also takes away the power to do good. I am prepared to argue that this is a body capable of doing both harm and good, but I am not prepared to assert it can only do harm. I think the words in he introduction of this Clause preventing the Parliament from ever doing anything to what the hon. and learned Member calls disestablish any Church are sufficient in view of the fact that the Irish Church has been disestablished and that the Clause forbids the establishment of any other Church in place of it. We have therefore got rid of the word "disestablish" altogether in that sense. But the hon. and learned Member attaches another meaning to the word. Ho is not thinking of the Liberation Society. He means by "disestablish" that nobody is to interfere, in any possible shape or way, in this Parliament with the constitution or the property of any religious body.
I only dealt with the constitution.
With the constitution of any religious body. I say that would be a limitation upon the powers for good of that Parliament which might very likely interfere with and do particular damage to the very body whose interests he is seeking to protect. I do not quarrel with the general words used by the hon. and learned Member as to what we intend by this Clause. Although we are quite willing to consider whether our language cannot be improved by some of the Amendments which subsequently appear on the Paper, I do honestly put it to the hon. and learned Member that the introduction of this word "disestablish," which, in minds less clear than his own, has a quite different meaning attached to it, would be rather to cloud counsel and deprive the Irish Parliament of useful powers which the religious bodies might be desirous of its having, and do no good at all.
The speech of the right hon. Gentleman illustrates the very great difficulty we are under, thanks to the procedure adopted by the present Government. We are not allowed fully to discuss this Clause or fully to discuss this point. The right hon. Gentleman admits that my hon. and learned Friend has put his finger upon a defect in the Clause as drafted.
I do not, in the least.
Then what was the meaning of your speech? I presume the words of the right hon. Gentleman had some meaning. He said that the matter might be reconsidered hereafter on a subsequent Amendment.
No, I said that the points which he urged might better be considered on a subsequent Amendment.
That is very much what I said. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that subsequent Amendments will not be reached.
It is the very next Amendment.
The next Amendment deals with disendowment, an absolutely different point altogether. It is quite true there is an Amendment of my own on the Paper, but we have been told that it is not to be reached. The Chairman has already told us. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] He said that if the matter were discussed on the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend, it could not be raised again on my own Amendment. That is the very point the right hon. Gentleman made. My Amendment says that the Irish Parliament may not divert the property or, without its consent, alter the constitution of any religious body. My hon. and learned Friend wishes to prohibit the Irish Parliament from altering the constitution of any religious body now established in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman knows that that cannot be discussed later, yet he refuses to consider this Amendment, and asks the Committee to reject it. This is a very important matter. It is all very well to use the word "establish" or "disestablish" in what may be called the ordinary sense of common talk. The right hon. Gentleman knows that every religious body that holds property is legally established.
That, at all events, is a matter of controversy. A great many people think it is not so.
Then ought not the matter to be cleared up? We want to know definitely, and not to leave it vague, whether the Irish Parliament is to legislate on a matter of this sort or not. The right hon. Gentleman now admits that it is a matter of contraversy. Who is going to decide it when the Irish Parliament is set up? In my humble judgment any religious body that holds property is established. I hold that every Nonconformist body in this country, at any rate since the Toleration Act, has been established and is established, and the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that they cannot alter an iota of their constitution without coming to this House.
What is to be their position?
That is the point. Are they to go to the Irish Parliament, or to come to this House, or is the Irish Parliament to have the right, whether they come to it or not, to alter their constitution without their wish? That is the most important point of all. The right hon. Gentleman said—I think it is a mere debating point quite unworthy of him—that what is called the Protestant Episcopal Church of Ireland was disestablished by the Act of 1869. Does he not also remember that by Royal Charter it was re-established, and that subsequently to its new constitution it was set up, and by that charter, which was a definite act of establishing it, it holds its property at the present time. What we want to know is whether the Irish Parliament is to have the right to interfere with the present constitution of that Church? It is not only a question of that Church. The Presbyterian Church in Ireland holds property, and is in that sense established. It holds property subject to a certain definite constitution and definite obligations and duties. It is an endowed church in a very real sense. As the right hon. Gentleman remembers, there was a very large Grant made to the Presbyterian Church before the Disestablishment of the Church in Ireland. There was what was called the regium donum, a lump sum which was handed over to the Presbylerian Church of Ireland. They hold that property under a certain constitution.
Like every other church, on trust.
Are the rights of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland to be interfered with at the sweet will of the Irish Parliament, or can its constitution only be altered by the act of this Parliament?
They hold their property like other churches, under trusts.
An act of Parliament can override trusts. The question we are arguing at the present time is whether it is to be an act of the Trish Parliament or an act of the Imperial Parliament. I think it is clear from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that he recognises that something must be done. He thinks that to introduce the word "disestablish" will cause confusion. It may be that the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend is not the best way of dealing with this matter; but I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, as he has admitted a grievance, what is his proposal? Has he any words to bring up, or any suggestion to make, whereby under the conditions under which we are discussing this Bill words can be brought up? If he has, we shall be glad to hear it; if he has not, the only thing for us to do is to support the Amendment, because we hold it will be a monstrous injustice if the Irish Parliament is permitted to interfere in any way with the constitution of any religious body now established in Ireland.
I should have preferred if we had had an opportunity of discussing this matter on the wider Amendment which stands lower down. We had an intimation from the Chairman that on this Amendment it would not be open to the House to discuss the later one, so I take it this is the only opportunity the Committee will be afforded of discussing the important matters raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman. I may be permitted to speak especially as representing the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and I do not think even the Chief Secretary denies that there is grave anxiety amongst the Presbyterians of Ireland as to what their possible fate may be should this Bill ever become an Act. I say it in no spirit of disrespect as regards the Roman Catholic Church, but we have no precedent in the? Colonies for the Constitution to which considerable reference has been made during these Debates, and we know that in the eyes of the Romish Church we are heretics, and therefore our property is not entitled to the respect which the property of other Communions might be entitled to receive. It is well known in Ireland that the Presbyterian body is numerous and influential. Its property is estimated to be worth at least £5,000,000, and I am sure the property of the Episcopal Church is worth very little less and may be quite equal to that. The Chief Secretary, at Bristol, freely and fully admitted that he was setting up a Roman Catholic Parliament in Dublin, and in view of the past treatment that Protestants have received where that Church has been in power, it is only reasonable, and even the Chief Secretary must admit it, that in fair play to the Protestants who will be under the power of that Parliament, if it were ever established, a protective Clause should be inserted in this Bill. How does the Chief Secretary receive this suggestion? He says he would rather have had it raised in a subsequent Amendment. He was in the House when the Chairman ruled that the subsequent Amendment could not be raised.
I am loth to interrupt the hon. Member, but he may be confusing the Amendments. The next Amendment to be called is that in the name of the hon. Member (Mr. Butcher), which raises the precise point which the hon. Member is now raising.
Under the limitation of time that we are working under, it is quite evident that no further Amendment can possibly be reached this evening. Therefore the Chief Secretary in making that suggestion, is only repeating the tactics the Government have so constantly resorted to during the progress of the Bill under the guillotine Motion of evading difficult problems by suggesting that they might better be raised on some other Amendment. If I am wrong in that suggestion, it is quite easy for the Chief Secretary now to say that at some later stage in these proceedings he is prepared to move words, the insertion of which would give the protection that is called for by my co-religionists, and until we have some such declaration from the Chief Secretary, I think the fears to which I have given expression, will remain and, if possible, increase. I do not know that we need enlarge upon the point further, but I do not think even the Chief Secretary will suggest that I am at all exaggerating the state of feeling prevalent amongst the Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Methodists in Ireland, and I think we are entitled to this protection if the Government are sincere in their oft expressed wishes to grant any reasonable safeguard which may be demanded by the representatives of the unfortunate minority in Ireland in the House of Commons. I submit that with all respect to the Chief Secretary. He has now an opportunity which, under the Parliament Act, will not recur of showing that there is some sincerity in all his avowals of a desire to treat the minority fairly.
I have been moved to make a few remarks on this Amendment by the jeers which emanated from hon. Members sitting below the Gangway at some remarks of my hon. Friend. I think the House of Commons is the only place on the face of the earth where Members seem to be determined to ignore the fact that in the main our objection, not only to this Clause, but to the whole Bill, lies in the hostility—I am sorry to say—which exists between the various Churches in Ireland. Everyone who knows anything about it knows perfectly well that if we Protestants, Presbyterians, Churchmen, or whatever we may be, thought for a moment that we should receive fair treatment from our Roman Catholic fellow countrymen, and particularly from the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, we should look upon the proposal for Home Rule in a very different spirit and from a very different point of view. Why do hon. Members below the Gangway make jeering remarks at my hon. Friend when he states the plain truth?
My name has been mentioned by various hon. Members below the Gangway. If that is so, ought not they to state why they mention my name, and what object they have in view? Otherwise I submit they are out of order.
Hon. Members below the Gangway will not get away from the plain facts of the case by referring to my hon. Friend or in any other way. The fact remains that this religious hostility between the various sects in Ireland is at the bottom of our opposition to Home Rule. Everyone knows that, and what is the good of trying to disguise the fact here? This is a most important Amendment from that point of view. I frankly admit that until I had studied it I was inclined to look upon the word "disestablish" in the other sense than that which has been used by my hon. Friend; but, after hearing what has been said, I quite agree that it would be open to an Irish Parliament to construe the word "disestablish" in the way that he has construed it, and he has opened to me a danger which until he had spoken I was not conscious of. After hearing his speech I may say that this is a most important Amendment, for, without introducing words similar to these, it is quite clear that the Irish Parliament will have power to interfere with the constitution of any Church in Ireland. You may scoff at our fears, but a great many of you know they are perfectly well founded. [An HON. MEMBER: "We know you think so."] I have heard it stated by hon. Members and by innumerable so-called Liberals outside the House. It is perfectly ridiculous to pretend that there are not a large number of Liberals, or so-called Liberals, throughout the country who believe that our fears on this point are well founded. That being so, I say we are entitled to have some such words in the Bill as have been suggested by my hon. Friend.
I understand from what was said by the right hon. Gentleman who represents the Irish Office that the question of interfering with the constitution of religious bodies should be left to the Irish Parliament, because as between the two Parliaments he thought that was the proper Parliament to leave it to. That, I think, is a most important matter. There is no matter that ought less to be left to the Irish Parliament than a question of that kind. If there is one matter on which you ought to have limitations, and on which you ought to reserve the right of the Imperial Parliament, it is as regards the constitution of religious bodies in Ireland. I thought I was moving my Amendment on the principle of religious equality. If there is one matter that is more likely to lead to religious strife in Ireland than another, it would be the leaving of the Irish Parliament to deal with the religious constitution of existing bodies. So important do I consider that it should be a matter for the-Imperial Parliament that I will certainly go to a Division on my Amendment.
I cordially support the Amendment, although I do not like the word "disestablish." I believe that as the Clause stands at present there is nothing to prevent an Irish Parliament interfering with the property of Protestant denominations, and having regard to-the cleavage of opinion in Ireland on religious matters, I believe it is the duty of this Parliament to make quite sure in framing the Clause that no opportunity be given to the Dublin Parliament to interfere with the status of Protestant denominations. I do not wish to cast any aspersions on conscientious men anywhere, but any one who has read the history of Ireland must feel that the Protestant minority do require, in stating this constitution, that there shall be complete security for that minority. I venture to-say that no one who has read the oath taken by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and who knows the attitude which they manifest—[HON. MEMBERS: "There is no oath."] I have read the oath myself, and I venture to say that if words mean what they are supposed to express it is an argument that they are justified in extinguishing, if possible, the Protestant faith. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I like the interpretation which I have placed upon the "words, and, that being so, I say that the responsibility rests on this Parliament to see that justice be done to all—Roman Catholic and Protestant alike. I believe that can only be secured by the insertion of the words suggested in the Amendment. It is evident that the Government see the necessity for safeguarding to some extent the Protestant minority because they prohibit any action being taken under the Ne Temere decree. I venture to say that in any country where such a decree as that can be enunciated and have such an effect as it had in the McCann case it is necessary that this Parliament should see that no loophole be left whereby any such persecution as was manifested in that case can be given effect to. I feel confident that this is a simple measure of justice to the Protestant minority in Ireland, not to dictate terms, but to see that in the eye of the law they should have fair play, and that their position should be duly safeguarded by the action of this House.
I was a little sorry, I admit that the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite on a somewhat technical word came before other Amendments which I wanted to have discussed. I cannot accept the words proposed by the hon. and learned Gentleman. There are two points of substance. One is the property, the vast property, of the Protestant Church and of the Presbyterian Church. That has got to be considered, and that was an Amendment which I hoped would be considered some time ago on the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for York (Mr. Butcher). We were quite prepared to hear what he had to say, and if it was thought desirable, to introduce language to secure the property. We were willing to consider that with the view of giving hon. Gentlemen opposite the protection they desire. Then there is the question of constitution to which the hon. and learned Gentleman attaches some importance. He seems to think that the constitution of these religious bodies, Presbyterians, or the Protestant Church of Ireland, would be likely to raise in the new Parliament, quite apart from property or any question of that sort, some question of altering their constitution. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] I am arguing the question, and I want you to consider it. I say that the constitution of these churches deals with domestic matters and the determining of the particular form of faith of those belonging to the churches, and apart from property, apart from interference with endowments, apart from taking away from these religious bodies some money or estates that belong to them, I cannot conceive an. Irish Parliament-—except at the instigation of these religious bodies themselves, who might require Parliamentary interference or assistance— interfering of their own motion in matters which do not concern them, such as dioceses, synods, and regulations of the Presbyterians, and the Protestant Church of Ireland.Why, in the name of commonsense, should Roman Catholics interfere with them? If you say that you object to the Dublin Parliament interfering with property, I understand your objection. Very well, property touches everybody, and quite properly. But as to this constitutional point, the notion that the Church of Rome would wish for some purpose of its own to interfere with the constitution—[Interruption]—The hon. Member said quite frankly that it is a Roman Catholic Parliament. Can you conceive of anybody coming and asking this House to interfere with the constitution of the Baptists? I could understand you wanting to take the Baptists' property, but can you imagine anyone coming to this House and saying, "I am dissatisfied with the constitution of the Baptists. I do not like their methods or system of teaching their doctrines. I do not like their constitution or their order. I do not like their mode of church government, and I propose in future that the Baptists should adopt the synodical form instead of the congregational form, and that they should require the sanction of the synod of the locality as the Presbyterians do, instead of doing it simply as a congregational matter"? That, to me, is an almost impossible conception. But there are those who think it is possible and that it is of great consequence. I do not think it is of any consequence, but I would say to my hon. and learned Friend opposite, as he and others think it is, that though I cannot accept his words now, I am quite prepared to consider whether we should not insert some restrictive words in the sense of an Amendment which appears later on, that the constitution of religious bodies should not be interfered with by this Irish Parliament except on their instigation or with their consent. I suppose that the hon. Member does not really want to prevent any religious body in Ireland, if it wants some Parliamentary assistance, from going to the Parliament nearest to hand to have effect given to their wishes, but I am quite prepared, though I do not give any pledge on this subject, to consider words with my hon. and learned Friend to secure that the constitution of religious bodies shall, except at their own wish, be removed from the purview of the Parliament. We shall come to the question of property on the Amendment later on and we can then discuss it.
I should like to meet the right hon. Gentleman on this point, because I think it an extremely important one. He says that it is most unlikely that the Parliament would desire to interfere with the constitution of any Church apart from the property of the Church. I cannot accept that, because we have got an instance in which there is interference with the constitution of the Church in what many people think a very vital matter. I take that as an illustration, and say that it is absurd to say that a Parliament may not deal with a question of this sort. Looking to the future, no one can say that, and the only question, if the right hon. Gentleman agrees with what I say, is to take precautions that they cannot do so. I am not dealing with mere voluntary action, because if any religious body in Ireland or elsewhere wishes of its own motion and desire to alter the constitution of its Church, I have nothing to do with that. What I wish to put quite straight is that there shall not be legislative power, at any rate, against the will of a religious denomination, which might under particular conditions be a very small minority, to alter it. I do not think the question of minority and majority have anything to do with religious questions at all. Therefore I want to make it quite clear, as a fundamental proposition outside the power of a majority, that in future the constitution of religious bodies in Ireland cannot be compulsorily altered by the new Irish Parliament. If the right hon. Gentleman says that he will introduce words to that effect I shall be satisfied. I put it that there shall not be compulsory interference, because I realise what he said about voluntary interference. On the understanding that there will be a provision to that effect in this Clause, I shall not seek to go to a Division.
Notwithstanding what the hon. and learned Gentleman has said, I cannot bring myself for a moment to conceive how any Parliament would seek to-interfere in the domestic constitution of any religious body. I cannot conceive what gain they could get, what money they could get, or what harm or injury they would inflict on any person. To come to any voluntary body, as all religious bodies in Ireland are, and say, "We are going to alter your constitution; we are going to interfere with your regulations," seems tome to be almost an impossible conception; but, at the same time, though I can see great difficulty in settling how the will of a voluntary religious body is to be determined, whether it is to be a mere majority or a majority of a certain size, yet if it is put to me that if this Irish Parliament claims the right to interfere with the constitution of voluntary religious bodies, I do not think it should have that right, and I am quite willing to give a pledge to introduce words which I think would have that effect.
I thought that the right hon. Gentleman had gone the whole length when he used the word "consider," but if now he says that he is willing to introduce words to carry out the view which I have expressed as regards compulsory interference, then I withdraw the Amendment.
Question proposed, "That the Amendment be withdrawn."
As there has been so flattering a demand for my opinion on this subject, I feel bound to give it. My view as to this whole Bill is that I am against any subordinate Parliament in any part of the United Kingdom, and if there are to be any subordinate Parliaments I want their sphere of action and their power, whatever use they are likely to make of it, restricted in every possible way. That I would apply to a Bill for any part of the United Kingdom in any sphere of activity, and I say with regard to this particular Amendment, though for different reasons from my hon. Friend's, that I am just as much entitled to support it as the blackest Orangeman from Portadown.
You will vote with them in any case.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move, in the first paragraph of the Clause, after the word "endow," to insert the words "or interfere with the existing endowments or property of."The object of this Amendment is to prohibit the Irish Parliament from making laws which will have the effect of diverting the property of any religious body to other uses. In the Parliament of 1893 I moved practically the same Amendment, and the Chief Secretary for Ireland, then Mr. Morley, admitting that the point was a good one, accepted an Amendment in substantially the form in which I propose it. The Chief Secretary for Ireland first said "the point is quite a good one, but is already provided for in the Bill," and he pointed to two provisions in the Bill which he said met the point. But after Debate he was convinced that the point was not met in the Bill as it stood, and thereupon he accepted an Amendment prohibiting the Irish Parliament from passing any laws diverting the property of any religious body. The present position is in some respects similar to and in some respects a great deal worse than that of 1893, because in 1893 there were certain safeguards in the Bill which do not exist now. The Government are never tired of telling us in answer to almost every Amendment we propose, "You have already got plenty of safeguards in the Bill." With regard to this matter in general they are never tired of pointing to Clause 3, and saying, "Here are ample safeguards for all religious interests," and I doubt not that on many a platform Clause 3 has been read out to an admiring, perhaps, I might add, in some cases, ignorant audience, as though it were an ample provision for every form of religion and every endowment of every form of religion. I assert, and I challenge the Government to contradict me when I say that, as the Bill stands, there is no word or line in it which would in any way restrict the power of the Irish Parliament to divert the property of religious denominations to secular uses. If that be so, I say that it ought not to be allowed to stand as it is. If the Government were disposed to adopt the methods which were largely adopted by the Government in 1893, in dealing with the then Home Rule Bill, why, of course, they would accept my Amendment at once. But they have already in the course of the discussion on this Bill shown that they adopt a very different attitude, and they have already told us—I think the Prime Minister told us in one of his early speeches—that they have expressly left out from this Bill certain provisions which were thought necessary to be inserted in the Bill of 1893. I think the Prime Minister gave some reasons, or alleged reasons, which were totally inadmissible. The real reason why they have not inserted these safeguards which were put into the Bill of 1893, and which are not found in this Bill, is that they are more susceptible to the wishes of hon. Members who sit on the Nationalist benches than was the Parliament of which Mr. Gladstone was Prime Minister, and which, of course, never submitted to such servitude as that under which the present Government labour. Therefore I am not surprised that on these proposed Amendments and safeguards they give various reasons for refusing them, though they never once give the real reason, that is that they are not permitted by the hon. Member for Waterford and his Friends to answer them. I suppose we shall be told to-night that, after all, this objection is founded on the view that the Irish Parliament will be endowed with a double dose of original sin. We have had that suggestion before. On this occasion it is not necessary to suggest that they have a double dose of original sin, or, indeed, any greater dose of sin, original or otherwise, than have hon. Members who sit on the benches opposite. What, after all, are the Government of the present day doing? They have introduced a Bill into this House for the purpose of diverting the endowments of a religious body in Wales from their original uses, and turning them to secular uses. Is it not possible, to say the least, that the same reasons which have caused the Government to bring forward this Bill for diverting the small endowments of the Church in Wales from their original purposes, might animate the Irish Parliament, and induce or impel them to introduce a Bill in the Irish Parliament for diverting the religious endowments in Ireland from their existing uses. What reasons maybe which are to-day animating the Government to pursue their policy of Welsh Disendowment I do not know and I do not care. It may be original sin, or merely predatory instinct, or, indeed, it may be pressure from a relatively small section of their supporters which they are not able to resist. Whatever their motive may be, it is to say the least of it not improbable that the same motive may animate the Irish Parliament some day, and induce them to bring in a Bill for diverting from their proper purposes the endowments belonging to religious bodies. The Irish Government might have, I do not say some justification, but some excuse, for such a Bill, which this Government cannot allege for their Bill for Welsh Disestablishment. The Government do not say that their reason for Welsh Disestablishment is to get money; but when the Irish Government is set up they will be a Government hunting on every side for some means, legitimate or illegitimate, of getting money, and they may say, "We have got no money for the public service; here are funds possessed by different religious bodies; why should not we take some of those religious funds and convert them to our own purposes and enable us to carry on this so-called measure for the better government of Ireland?" That is one of the dangers which I think you run when you set up this Irish Parliament without such a restriction as I suggest. In the case of the Church of Ireland, there is a special reason why this provision which I suggest should be inserted. The Church of Ireland, as we all know, under the Disestablishment Act of 1869, were confirmed in their possession of some of the ancient cathedrals and some of the endowments of the Church of Ireland. As the matter stands with regard to cathedrals, we know that the view of the Roman Catholic Church—I am not complaining for a moment of it—is that, historically, the Roman Catholic Church are entitled to all the cathedrals and ancient churches of Ireland. That is their claim; and they also go further and say that, notwithstanding the long continued relation of these Cathedral Churches with the Church of Ireland, and notwithstanding the fact that the Act of 1869 expressly confirms the right of the Church of Ireland to these cathedrals, their title to those cathedrals is a good one. I am not going further into that, but I shall refer the House to a recent speech of Archbishop Walsh delivered in Dublin in October last year, in which, while disclaiming any intention to act oppressively to the Church of Ireland, he condemned as utterly unlawful and utterly illegitimate the process by which St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin had got into the possession of the Church of Ireland. There are numerous other authorities for that proposition. I do not for a moment impugn the sincerity of the Roman Catholic Church in putting forward their claim. I do not discuss whether it is a good claim or not, but that view being as strongly held as it is by the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland at this moment, I see great danger that the Parliament in Ireland, consisting largely as it must necessarily consist of Roman Catholic members, might be induced by these Roman Catholic Members to divert some of those cathedrals, and hand them over to the Roman Catholic Church. I say that is a danger which ought to be guarded against. But it is not only with regard to the Church of Ireland itself that this danger arises. There is another Church in Ireland, and a very large Church, mainly in the North of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church of Ireland. The Presbyterian Church of Ireland is possessed of very considerable endowments. Previous to the Act of 1869 the Presbyterian Church of Ireland was endowed out of State funds: but when the Church of Ireland was disestablished then the Presbyterian Church was disendowed as well. The State handed over to the Presbyterian Church at that time a very considerable sum of money by way of commutation. An hon. Friend reminds me that that amounted to £750,000. That sum has ever since remained and now is part of the property and endowment of the Presbyterian Church. That is not the only endowment the Presbyterian Church have got. They have got other large endowments which were subscribed for by their own followers, and to those endowments, whether given to them by the State or raised for them by their own followers, I conceive that they have as good and indefeasible a right as any body, public or private, in this country. I ask the Government is it not right that they should insert an express Clause in this Act to prevent the Irish Parliament from even having the temptation to interfere with those endowments? I shall be told, I suppose, as we have been told on former occasions, that to insert such a provision would mean distrust of the Irish Parliament. Let me ask what reason is there, beyond that suggestion of distrust, why such a provision should not be inserted in this Bill? Clause 3 as it stands admits the necessity of preventing the Irish Parliament from interfering with religion. It prevents it from endowing religions; it prevents it from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Does that imply no distrust? If your confidence was so great in the Irish Parliament, or was well founded, would Clause 3 have appeared at all? Clause 3 goes on preventing the Irish Parliament from giving any powers, privileges, or advantages, or imposing any disability or disadvantage on account of religious belief. If it is necessary, as everyone admits it is necessary, to have prohibitive Clauses of that sort in the Bill, what reason can you allege for not having a prohibitive Clause protecting the endowments, such as I suggest by my Amendment? If I may summarise the matter in two or three words, I would put it in this way: If it is to be supposed that the Irish Parliament intends to exercise this power, which they have under the Bill at present, of diverting the endowments or property of religious bodies to secular uses, then I say it is the undoubted and clear right of all those interested in religious bodies in Ireland to prevent them exercising that power. If, on the other hand, you tell us that they have no such intention and that the Irish Parliament would not dream of diverting those funds, then I say this Amendment will do no possible harm and it may do a great deal of good, and on those grounds I beg to move.
I am most surprised at the temerity of the hon. and learned Member for York in moving this Amendment, which is, in the words of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, offensive to the Irish people. It is an insult to the Irish people, in the words of the Solicitor-General, and we are to show our trust in the Irish people and to trust them to do everything right. Those are the views that are put forward, and this is almost contrary to the general opinion of hon. Members on the other side of the House, who, I suppose, consider that it would be quite right that your Protestant cathedrals in Ireland should be handed over to the Roman Catholics, and that the Roman Catholic people should get any moneys which are now in the hands of any Protestant body in Ireland at the present moment because those cathedrals were theirs as of ancient right and the moneys the Protestant people have got were moneys filched from Roman Catholic churches. The people will all believe that and they will send to Parliament Members whom they think will give effect to their wishes. It almost strikes me dumb to hear the hon. Member get up and dare to move such an Amendment as this in the House. But if the Irish Nationalist Parliament does not wish to do this, what reason is there for not accepting this Amendment? It is not taking anything from the Irish Nationalist Parliament. It is only asking to preserve to religious bodies certain funds and certain endowments which they have at the present time. I know the Chief Secretary for Ireland is in a very great difficulty because the master of the Government is not here to-night to tell him whether he will accept this Amendment or not. He is then in this position, that he has to wait for the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) to get up and to say this is an Amendment which, really, though it is an insult and offensive to the Irish people, ought to be accepted. And then the Chief Secretary says, "We will accept it," or the Chief Secretary may come down and say. "Well, really we think this Amendment ought to be accepted, but I have to think about it," and the real reason he thinks about it is that he has to consult the hon. and learned Member for Waterford as he did in the last Amendment. "I must," he says, "wait until I see if he will approve of it."
Here is an Amendment, and a commonsense man like myself and those who are members of the Nonconformist Churches who would like to preserve their own property, ask what justification there is for refusing to accede to this Amendment giving protection to religious bodies for their monies and their endowments. They ask, if you inflict upon Ireland what we regard to be this terrible calamity of Home Rule, that, at all events, you should do something to protect the property belonging to those religious bodies. Are you so utterly lost to all sympathy which your Protestant fellow citizens as to say, "We shall run the risk even in face of their determined opinion that it would be a grave danger, we shall leave them to run the risk of having their property filched and taken away from them by a Parliament which we create, and over which we shall not be able to exercise any control in reference to this matter." I should like to hear from the Chief Secretary or whoever answers on behalf of the Government, what is their objection to putting in these simple words, or what fair reason can they adduce for saying that they shall not provide that the Irish Parliament shall not interfere with the endowment of any religious body. Does an Irish Parliament wish to do so? I am tired of listening to this "Oh, we trust the Irish people." Trust them or not trust them, what are you taking from them by inserting an Amendment of this kind. The Irish Church, when it was disestablished, got a very large sum of money, and a great deal of money which had belonged to the Irish Church, and whether rightly or wrongly is a question I am not entering into, was taken away from them by Parliament, and was handed over to other Imposes in Ireland, and is being used for those purposes. What is to prevent an Irish Parliament saying that the Imperial Parliament did not go half far enough, and here are funds which are ear-marked as part of the funds belonging to that Church which was disestablished and disendowed by the Imperial Parliament, and why should we not take some of it to meet our necessities. Is not that a logical conclusion? And what power would you have to prevent them? Would they not turn to you and say, "We are only following the lesson you taught us in dealing with Church property"?The Presbyterian body, in which personally I am interested, have a very large sum of money—£700,000 or £800,000—which has been supplemented by their putting their hands into their own pockets and by people interested in the Church leaving large sums of money under their wills. That money has been invested under the control of trustees, who have the authority and sanction of this Imperial Parliament for their existence. You are going to hand the whole of that over to be dealt with by the Irish Parliament. What answer have you if they say, "We are only following your example when we say that this fund, which was originally public property, and which came out of the pockets of the ancient Irish people, should be taken hold of and put back in their pockets"? Even supposing they do not want to do that, there is nothing to prevent their saying, "You ought to invest these funds by lending them to the Irish Government for certain purposes." How are you to control them in that matter? What is to prevent them from putting the money into the worst securities of the Irish Government? I think that, at all events, men who have any conscience left should see that the religious bodies in the country are protected from any chance of spoliation and plunder which might arise under this measure—more particularly when they are taking away nothing from their dearly beloved friends of the Irish Nationalist party.
If, as I suppose is really the case, the Mover and Seconder of this Amendment desired to commend it to the Government and to present it in a conciliatory spirit, their notions of what is conciliatory are certainly very strange. For my part, before I deal with the Amendment, I must say in answer to the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gordon) that he is not the only representative of Nonconformist feeling in this House. I am glad to avow that I, too, come from a Nonconformist stock, and I should indeed be ashamed if it went forth as the real view of the Nonconformists of this country that they entertained these miserable suspicions of every religious opinion except their own. I regret more than I can say, that in the name of religion and charity opinions of that sort should be put forth in such a temper and spirit. As to the Amendment itself, which these two hon. Gentlemen are so anxious to get the Government to accept, I can relieve their anxiety. They both knew before they began to speak that an announcement had already been made, that as it is proposed to modify the Clause in view of protecting the constitution of these bodies, so that is not the slightest objection to making a modification as regards their property.
The hon. and learned Gentleman has no right to say that I knew perfectly well what was in his mind. I did not.
The hon. and learned Gentleman has made a statement which I beg to characterise as absolutely unfounded. I had not the slightest notion when I got up to move my Amendment, that he was going to accept it, and it would have been perfectly open for him to have said in two or three words that that was his intention. I assumed that the Government would treat it in the way they have treated other Amendments. Therefore I beg to tell the hon. and learned Gentleman that his statement about me had no foundation whatever.
I offer my apologies to both hon. and learned Gentlemen. One of them claims to be a gentleman of common sense, and they both claim to follow the Debate. I supposed therefore that they were aware of what the Chief Secretary had said. Of course I perfectly accept their statement, and they were justified in interrupting me when I attributed to them a state of knowledge which is not theirs. What must be their gratification, surprise, and pleasure to learn that the proposal which they make on behalf of Nonconformists, is one which in principle the Government do not find any difficulty in accepting. I congratulate them on their good fortune. The remaining question is as to the proper form in which this protection should be put. The Mover of the Amendment would be the first to recognise that it vas not intended by asking for this change to make it impossible for a railway company, or for the promoters of some other work of utility to acquire, if need be, under Lands Clauses Act terms, the fabric of a particular church or chapel if good cause is shown. I am not attempting to turn aside from the real proposition which lie put, forward by pointing out that we have to be careful to safeguard ourselves from any such consequence. It is not desired, I presume, by those who support this Amendment, that the Irish Parliament should be debarred from giving authority in a proper case for such an ordinary case of taking over the property even of a religious body. Subject to cases of that kind which we have to be careful to provide for, I can say—and I speak in this matter, of course, with the authority of the Government—that in principle, if this is really, as of course it is, such a satisfaction to hon. Gentlemen opposite, there is no objection to the Amendment.Personally, I do not believe that, because the majority of the nation happens to be Catholic it is therefore reasonable and proper to suppose that they are going to behave in an outrageous manner. That is, perhaps, because I am such a poor Nonconformist that I do not understand the real opinion of Nonconformists. Therefore whilst the words which the hon. Gentleman proposes do not appear to me to be the most apt, and while we have to guard ourselves against incidental consequences such as those to which I have referred, it is our intention to introduce a provision which will meet the substance of the case, and secure that in regard to property of religious bodies in Ireland it shall not be within the competence of the Irish Parliament to deal with it in a manner which would amount to its diversion for improper purposes, or contrary to the church trusts. I hope the hon. Gentleman will see that that is at any rate a straightforward and clear statement, made quite unconditionally. I must ask him to take my word for it that it is not from a desire to criticise the words, but with the real desire to carry out the intention which he has at heart, that I ask him not to press the Amendment in its present terms in face of the statement I have made.
I want to be quite clear. As I understand the Solicitor-General, the limitation on the words which he thinks are necessary would only really be a limitation to reserve similar to a case of a railway company seeking by private Bill legislation to take a particular property? In this case it would be the property of one of these religious bodies for public purposes. That is the only limitation he suggests?
That is one which occurs to me; but the hon. and learned Gentleman knows—no one better—the case of a limitation of that kind. I want the Committee carefully to consider limitation similar to the one I referred to which might arise in another direction.
I want to make it quite clear. That would be a case in which in the property which is so taken there was pecuniary compensation. As regards religious endowments, of course, everyone will agree that cases of that kind ought to be provided for. That is the only limitation that is in his mind. One question as regards the general matter. I want to-say, quite shortly, that at the present time, when Members of the Nonconformist bodies in this country are attacking endowments of the Church, that the simulated virtue of the Solicitor-General is rather out of place. I hope when the question does arise in a larger sphere that he will bear in mind what he has said this evening.
I think the Solicitor-General imparted unnecessary heat into his remarks. The tone of his speech throughout was rather rasping. But I want to make this point: The Solicitor-General said that my hon. Friends were not justified in casting suspicion upon the intentions, or the possible intentions, of the Irish Parliament; and that they were not willing to trust to the fair play, the honour, and the honesty of their Catholic fellow-citizens in Ireland. I want to recall to the Solicitor-General, who is learned in historical and constitutional law this fact: That in 1791, when French Canada and Upper or English Canada were united, the very suspicion which he speaks of, and that anxiety which he condemns, was the dominant feeling on the part of the French Catholics in Canada. They pressed their point with so much force that when the British Government said that the status of the priesthood of the Catholic Church and the position of the endowments of the Catholic Church in Quebec, the revenues, the tithes, and so on, would not be interfered with, that did more than anything else to produce a good feeling on the part of the French people of Canada—a quarter of a century after the conquest.
It will be the same here.
Well, but then how was the Solicitor-General justified in accusing my hon. Friends of being unduly suspicious? "Miserable suspicion," he called it. My hon. Friends were absolutely justified. They would be lacking in their duty as representing the Nonconformists and the Established Church in Ireland and in this country if they did not put forward this claim which has always been put forward in such circumstances in the British Empire.
A point emerges directly out of the statement of the Solicitor-General, but it is not confined to the particular question which we are now discussing. The Solicitor-General made it perfectly clear—I was in some doubt upon the subject—that it was not the speeches of my two hon. Friends that had influenced him. He intimated that the Government had considered this Amendment—as we know every Government does consider in advance Amendments—and that this was not one of those cases in which the Debate altered the preconceived notions of the Government, causing them to accept the Amendment. That being so, and it having been the intention of the Government beforehand to accept this Amendment, with an alternative, I venture to say that it would be to the convenience of the Committee, and I think it is due to Mem- bers and critics of the Bill, that in a case of this kind the Government ought to put their alternative on the Paper. That is always to the convenience of the Committee in any Bill, and it is specially necessary when we are discussing a Bill under such conditions as prevail at the present time. If the Government had their words waiting they could have moved them as an Amendment to the one we have been discussing; this Amendment would have been withdrawn, and we should have turned the discussion at once, if necessary, on to the words of the Government. The discussion would have been continuous, and the House would have dealt with this matter at a moment when it was prepared to deal with it. But when the Government come down and say they are prepared to accept the spirit of the thing, but must be allowed to produce their own words, and do not produce them till a subsequent time, they must remember that under the circumstances in which we are it is at once a matter of the greatest doubt whether we shall ever have the opportunity to consider them.We shall see them some day on the Paper. Very likely they may have to be voted into the Bill when some night the the guillotine falls and discussion may not be possible. My appeal to the Government is that when they are prepared to accept the spirit of an Amendment, and they think it necessary to offer some alternative words, they ought in advance to put their alternative words upon the Paper, so that we may all have an opportunity of seeing what they are, and so discussion may proceed in its regular course, and we may not be asked to withdraw words on which we set a value without knowing in the least what are the words the Government are going to produce in their place. I am not suggesting that the Government are quibbling over words, but very often differences of opinion do arise as to the adequacy, even of Government words. Very often a little debate shows the Government that their words are not wide enough to cover all the cases they wish to cover, or to include cases which they have no intention of including. I make my appeal for Bills which will be discussed in their normal course, but I think the appeal has a special force on an occasion like this, when, if you do not deal with questions finally at the moment they arise, there is a very great probability you will never have an opportunity of discussing them at all.
I think the right hon. Gentleman has made a very reasonable appeal; and whenever we can meet it we shall be very glad to do so. And we have with that object in mind prepared words which I will read to the Committee, in order that the Committee may see that we are really not only saying that we will meet them, but that we have attempted to do so by drafting words which I will propose as embodying what my hon. Friend the Solicitor-General has said would be inserted in the Bill. The words are to insert after the word "thereof" ["or prohibit the free exercise thereof"] the following words, "or divert property from any religious denomination except for roads, railways, lighting, or drainage works, or other works of public utility."
And that there shall be compensation?
I have no objection, if hon. Members think that that is a serious defect in the Amendment, to add the words, "upon the payment of compensation." I have no objection whatever to doing that, but I think it naturally follows. I am very anxious to meet any reasonable objection, and if there is any reasonable apprehension that property can be taken or diverted from religious the words "upon the payment of compensation, I will add at the end of my Amendment the words "upon the payment of compensation." That, I think, would meet any objection. These are the words we suggest as embodying to the full what was said by my hon. Friend the Solicitor-General on behalf of the Government, and I hope the Committee will think that we have really attempted to meet these points by the insertion of the words I suggest in the Bill.
Will the right hon. Gentleman add the form of the compensation, because the expression "compensation" by itself is hardly adequate?
I will consider that.
I do not think the words of the Attorney-General are very satisfactory. I think what he means is this, not to divert property from any religious denomination except for such purposes as roads, railways, lighting, or drainage works, or other works of public utility, and then only on the payment of compensation and that the amount of compensation should be invested for the benefit of the same religious denomination. That makes it quite clear I think. I do not want the words or divert property only for certain purposes, but also that the words should be put in, when you get the compensation provided that the money should be used for the same purpose.
I will ask the hon. and learned Gentleman who is an authority on these matters, whether he considers it necessary to add such words as he suggests. You cannot divert property for works of public utility except upon the payment of compensation. It necessarily follows that compensation must go to the body whose property was diverted. The Amendment makes it perfectly clear that you have that limitation. I suggest that it will not be necessary to-insert these words.
As the Attorney-General asks me I think the words are necessary to make it perfectly clear. The Attorney-General says that without the insertion of these words you would arrive at the same result. I do not think that necessarily follows. I ask him to put in those words so that there may be no doubt about it at all. If you put in these words, the question can never be raised afterwards. This Committee will have clearly expressed its intention and no subsequent difference will arise.
I would like to-meet the hon. and learned Gentleman. I suggest that if the Committee thinks fit to-adopt these words we will consider if it is necessary to add them, and if upon careful consideration, we think there is any doubt we will add the words. It does not occur to me at the present moment that they are necessary.
I should like to know exactly what the Attorney-General means by "works of public utility." It seems to me that they cover a very wide field. I cannot help thinking you might include under that head all the various objects for which you want the property you wish to-take from the Church in Wales. I own that I much prefer the phraseology of my hon. Friend's Amendment as it stands, and I cannot see why the Government should not accept it and all the more so-as the words of the Amendment are almost identical with those accepted in 1893. Mr. Gladstone at that time at once accepted a Sub-section proposed from this side of the House in these words:—
These words seem to me to meet the case very much better than the extremely vague words we have here from the Attorney-General. I hope, therefore, my hon. Friend will not withdraw his Amendment, but will maintain his own words which cover the ground much more accurately than those of the Attorney-General, and that we shall have no such vague words as "works of public utility." Let me draw the attention of the Committee to this curious fact. At the present moment there are two prominent Bills before this House. The arguments by which the Government have attempted to justify the one are absolutely inconsistent with the arguments we have just heard upon this particular Amendment. It would be out of order to go into the argument urged in favour of the Welsh Church Bill; but it is relevant to this Amendment to say that the two arguments: first, that the majority has a right to deal with religious endowment; and, secondly, that a nationality has no right to deal with religious endowment, are entirely at variance with the concession which the Attorney-General has outlined. By your concession you deny to Irish nationality what you are claiming as a right for Welsh nationality. Surely the concession we have heard outlined by the Attorney-General is another step in the game of make-believe that we have been playing here for the last fortnight."divert the property, or without its consent alter the constitution of any religious body."
You have disestablishment in Ireland.
We all know that paper safeguards are no good, and now we are engaged in a task congenial to right lion. Gentlemen opposite, of window-dressing. It seems to me that if we are engaged in that operation, we should do it thoroughly. Accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for York and make the proposal complete and not be put off with the vague words suggested by the Attorney-General.
I object to this word "compensation," and I should like to explain why. Our compensation code in Ireland is under the Railways Compensation Act. The Railways (Ireland) Act is not exempted from the powers of the Irish Parliament, and the Irish Parliament could amend the Railways (Ireland) Act in several ways. They could put in a provision that no religious body shall be paid more than a limited amount of compensation, or they could appoint a number of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway as a jury to fix the amount. It is not exempted from their powers, and compensation means exactly what the Irish Parliament chooses to legislate for. Therefore, when the word "compensation" is used here, it should be defined to be in the sense provided for under the Lands Clauses Act or the Railways Acts, and not in the sense in which an Irish Parliament might determine. I think the word "compensation" ought to have after it the words "as at present defined by the Railways (Ireland) Act or the Lands Clauses Act," or otherwise the whole thing may be an absolute farce. I understand that adequate compensation is meant under the law as it stands, and not as it may be altered by an Irish Parliament, whose ideas of justice may be different to ours.
If the Government intended to make this concession, why did they not put it in the original Bill? It was in the Bill of 1893, when it was introduced by the present Lord Morley, who accepted an Amendment that it should not be competent for the Irish Parliament to divert the property of any religious body. If that had been inserted in this Bill we should have known where we were. The Government gave us no inkling of their intention, but after the speech of the hon. Member for York and others they improvised words which are unsatisfactory to most of us, and they have asked the Committee to accept them. For my part, I do not in the least understand the exact purpose of the words suggested by the Attorney-General, who said, "Supposing it was found necessary to take the fabric of a church, we do not desire to give the Irish Parliament power to take the fabrics of any religious body in Ireland." It seems to me by far the best course would be to accept the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for York, and then on Report make any Amendment which was found to be necessary. The hon. Member for Chelsea (Mr. Hoare) has pointed out very well the absurdly illogical position the Government are in in making this concession at all. In fact we have another Bill before us under which the Church in Wales is to be disendowed simply and solely on the ground that the Welsh nation demands it: and now the Irish nation in their own Parliament are not to be allowed to disendow any religious body in Ireland. I accept the concession, but it makes the position of the Government on the other matter absolutely illogical. Supposing this Bill passes and Welsh Disestablishment does not pass, and suppose, further, that the scheme of the First Lord of the Admiralty comes about, and we have a Home Rule Parliament for Wales, will that Parliament be debarred from disendowing the Church there?
I desire to draw attention to the very marked difference between the speech of the Attorney-General and that delivered by his colleague the Solicitor-General. The speech of the Attorney-General was conciliatory and courteous, whereas the air of supercilious ness and self-conscious superiority of the Solicitor-General was extremely offensive. The right hon. Gentleman prided himself that he came of a Nonconformist stock—
If I was offensive I am sincerely sorry, and I will endeavour not to repeat the offence. I hope hon. Gentlemen will do the same.