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Volume 41: debated on Thursday 5 August 1920

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rose to move to resolve—

"That this House deplores the failure of the Government to warn the public of the true character of the revolutionary movement in Ireland, and of the international influences which are behind it; and urges them to appeal for the united support of the nation in this crisis."

The noble Duke said: My Lords, I do not know that it is necessary for me to apologise for calling your Lordships' attention to the present state of Ireland, because I think the very serious and indeed critical condition of that country is in itself sufficient reason why your Lordships will feel, as I feel, that we should hardly have been fulfilling our responsibilities and our obligations had we not had, before the recess, another opportunity of giving further consideration to the situation in Ireland and expressing our views upon it.

I think those who carefully examine the hard facts of the Irish situation and then turn from the contemplation of those facts to consider the policy of His Majesty's Government must be aware of a certain atmosphere of unreality which seems to pervade every measure and every step which is taken in regard to that country. We have only to look at the present Home Rule Bill. It is ostensibly intended to meet the aspirations of what was, six years ago, the Nationalist part of Ireland and of avoiding the evils of coercion. As that portion of Ireland which was Nationalist six years ago is Nationalist no longer, but something entirely different—what it is we shall see presently—it is perfectly obvious that the Bill does not meet any single requirement and has no relation whatever to the hard facts of the Irish situation.

The same may be said of the other steps that the Government have taken to deal with the situation in Ireland. I am not going to enter into particulars regarding the present position there, because your Lordships will have ample opportunity of considering it on Monday when the Crimes Bill comes before this House, 1,11t I should like to point out that it may be said, roughly, that in the whole of Munster and Connaught, the greater part of Leinster, and considerable areas in Ulster the King's Writ no longer runs except in certain small areas; there is no protection for life or property except in those districts which are immediately under the protection of British troops and police; very large districts have been abandoned altogether by our garrisons, and throughout the whole of those areas a rebel form of Government has been set up. The functions of government, of local administration, and justice have all been usurped by that rebel Government, who have set up courts and tribunals for the trial of offences, for the settlement of the land question, for the compulsory expropriation of property, and so on. All that is quite as well known to your Lordships as it is to me, and is known a great deal better to those who live in Ireland itself.

I may point out that a state of open war exists all over the areas I have mentioned. Fighting on a considerable scale takes place; barracks are besieged in broad daylight; armed parties are attacked, and that primeval mode of dealing with the forces of government, assassination from behind hedgerows, is also adopted on a very large scale. On July 2 the Chief Secretary for Ireland said that fifty-one policemen had been killed during the present year and a very large number had been wounded. Over sixty policemen and soldiers have been killed since January I and a very large number wounded. In July alone twenty-two persons were murdered, and fifty-seven wounded. The estimated loss of property up to July 14 was over £2,000,000.

The situation has been steadily getting worse. In July it was much worse than ever before. The remedy of the Government is to pour troops into Ireland, and their very last measure is to introduce a Bill which sets up a mere summary form of jurisdiction for the punishment of criminals; but as the difficulty is not to punish the criminal but to find the criminal, and find witnesses to give evidence, it is not likely that the Bill will have much result. No doubt it is an excellent measure and I do not want to pre-judge the issue, but it ought to have been introduced long ago. The point is that to deal with the situation in Ireland, the state of war which now exists, it is absolutely futile. It is as futile as it would have been for the British Government, when Germany declared war, to have proposed an international tribunal for the trial of the Kaiser as a reply to that declaration.

Such was the situation a week ago when fresh light was thrown upon it. A deputation consisting of a few Members of your Lordships' House and a considerable number of Members of another place waited upon the Prime Minister in order to draw his attention to the serious condition of affairs in Ireland and to the sinister international influences which were behind this insurrection. What was the Prime Minister's reply? His reply was this, that he was in substantial agreement with the views of the deputation although he thought we, had perhaps slightly exaggerated the Bolshevist influences which were behind the agitation in Ireland. He went on to point out that the state of affairs in Ireland was more alarming than we had depicted. He said—
"The use of force presented great difficulties, because the resources of this Empire were being severely taxed in other directions. We do not got the necessary number of recruits; we do not get the officers, and we do not get the men. I should like to see the same assistance given to the Government for the recruitment of the forces in Ireland as was given to the Government during the period of the war. The troops are facing an intolerable strain, a strain worse than they had to face at any time on the Western Front during the war, and the men are not forthcoming in the necessary numbers. We want hundreds, we want thousands. We are doing our best, but we want help."
The Prime Minister also pointed out that the organisation behind the law had been weakened—the Secret Service, Intelligence Department, and the Constabulary. Then he said—
"Suddenly it is called upon to face, after years of comparative repose, the worst conspiracy we have seen in our time."
He appealed to the deputation for help and advice as to the means for strengthening the forces of law and order, and pointed out that public opinion was not wholeheartedly behind the Government; that it was necessary to get the temperate, moderate, and sensible section of labour behind the Government as well as the great masses of the British people, but that it was the temperate, moderate, and sensible section of labour which presented the difficulty. He also said that it was necessary to have public opinion in the Dominions behind the Government.

If one wished—and I do not—to frame a damning indictment of the Government's policy in Ireland one could find good material in the reply of the Prime Minister to the deputation. The situation in Ireland is far too serious to spend any time in doing anything so futile as crying over spilt milk. We have to find some remedy. The Prime Minister says that " the organisation which is behind the law in Ireland has been weakened—the Secret Service, the Intelligence Department, and the Constabulary." If it has been weakened, why has it been weakened? It can only be the Government's fault. And what does the Prime Minister mean when he says that "suddenly it is called upon to face a conspiracy." There is no "suddenly" about it. The Situation has been developing for years and years. A more unfortunate word could hardly be imagined.

Then the Prime Minister says that "the use of force in Ireland presents great difficulties because the resources of the Empire are being severely taxed in other directions." We all know that, but it is one of the strangest commentaries on the foreign policy of the Government. We are pledged to give Poland all the support in our power, and yet the Prime Minister informs us that we have not the necessary troops to maintain law and order in Ireland. He appealed for help to the deputation—to a casual deputation of Members of Parliament who came to him to point out the situation—and says he would like to see the same measures introduced as were introduced during the war. Is it for the deputation to introduce these measures? The Government knows perfectly well that if it appeals to this House it will get all the help it requires.

The Prime Minister said that it was also necessary to have public opinion behind the Government. If public opinion is not wholeheartedly behind the Government whose fault is that? Has the Government made any attempt to appeal to public opinion on this question? The attitude of the Government is precisely the same as the attitude of the Government before the war. It was then argued that it was no use telling the people the truth because they would not believe it, and we proceeded to try and ease our consciences by proposing such things as a naval holiday and by saying that it was an abstract virtue in every man to defend his hearth and home. The real danger was never pointed out. Exactly the same situation has occurred to-day. The Government are not trying to inform the people of the county of the danger of the situation in Ireland because they are afraid of labour and think it better to say nothing about it.

We are confronted with a state of war in Ireland, and war in Ireland is exactly like war anywhere else. You can only meet that situation by surrendering to the enemy or by fighting. We have to face realities in this matter, and probably we shall be called upon to reconquer that part of Ireland which is in the hands of a rebel Government. That is the issue before the country. If you are going to put the issue before the country and appeal for their support, what is the story you are going to tell? This danger in Ireland has nothing to do with the Nationalist movement championed by Mr. Redmond. It is a demand for complete independence, for an independent. Republic in Ireland. Even that is a very inadequate description of the situation. There is far more behind it.

Sinn Fein in its origin was a very impracticable form of idealism. It was a society designed to uphold the abstract ideal of national independence, the preservation of the Irish language and traditions. How did this Utopian form of philosophy ever become converted into an organisation which to-day maintains an army of 110,000 men, has its representatives abroad and officials in Ireland, and maintains the vast organisation which exists to-day? The man who was mainly responsible for its organisation or for the present development was James Connolly who was executed during the Easter rebellion of 1916. Now Connolly was not merely a demagogue and au agitator, but something more. He was an organiser and a great thinker. The Connolly theory of Irish history was that all those who had championed the cause of independence in Ireland had been mistaken, because they had only tinkered with the problem. Their theory was that England had misgoverned Ireland, and therefore Ireland must be granted Home Rule, or some measure of independence from England. Connolly said the whole of that conception was entirely false; that so far from England having governed Ireland badly England had governed Ireland extremely well, and he laughed at Mr. Redmond's theories. He said "Our grievance is not the misgovernment of Ireland by England, but that England should attempt to govern Ireland at all." That was the first plank in Connolly's programme. He objected to any form of English, or as he called it foreign, domination in Ireland. He said it was necessary, in order to mobilise all the forces of rebellion and revolution in Ireland, to mobilise the fortes of social revolution, and to unite them with those who were in favour of the national independence of Ireland; that England was the great bulwark of capitalism throughout the world and the great obstacle to social revolution; and that England had to be swept away, because she prevented social revolution and the independence of Ireland.

That theory was the origin of the alliance between the social revolutionists and nationalists in Ireland. At the outset we are met with this difficulty. How comes it that a population of peasant proprietors, who are largely Catholics, have been welded into this alliance with those who are out for a communistic republic, and the answer is that the agricultural workers have, chiefly through the influence of Connolly and Larkin, been enrolled in Larkin's great organisation of transport workers, round which all other trade unions in Ireland have been centred. The other reason is that, as in all revolutions, the people who were out for complete national independence had to go to the extremists for support, and the best chance of getting support was from the urban and industrial workers. It is also true, of course, that in every revolutionary movement the extremists always finally capture fife movement.

The reason for this alliance— for these apparently discordant elements having come into unity—cannot be better described than in the words of Mr. Walsh, one of the Sinn Fein members of Parliament—
"If the devil himself and all the devils in bell be against the British Government, the Irish people would be pro-devil and pro-hell." Sinn Fein has got to go forward, because it cannot go back.
To return for one moment to Connolly, if I were to give you a full description of the development of Sinn Fein it would take me all the afternoon, and I shall try to be as brief as possible. When the Prime Minister talks about the "shallow soil of Bolshevism" I would point out that the movement goes back to 1798—to Jacobinism, and how far that goes back I do not think I need remind your Lordships. I do not think it is a good description of the soil of Bolshevism or of Jacobinism to describe it as "shallow," but there is an extraordinary similarity between the revolution of 1798 and the social revolutionary movement to-day. It was Wolfe Tone who did exactly the same as Connolly, and who said he relied for success in his rebellion on that respectable class, the men of no property. That was the class on which Connolly was relying. In 1896 Connolly formed the Irish Socialist Republican Party, and among his other activities at this time— his anti-British activities— he organised the Irish brigade which fought with the Boers in South Africa against us. He was also responsible for various anti-British movements all over the world. He continued his policy as organiser for the next twelve years, and made great progress.

The next date to which I will refer is 1909, when James Larkin formed the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union, with industrial and political aims. This, as I have said, was the centre for all other trade unions in Ireland. It made immense progress, and since the 1916 rebellion even women and clerical workers have joined this organisation. When Larkin had formed this union Connolly became organiser for both the Socialist Republican Party and the Transport Workers, and this brought the Irish labour into line with revolutionary labour throughout the world. In 1911 the membership of the Trish Trade Union Congress was 50,000, and in 1918 the Labour Party and Trade Union Congress numbered 250,000. In the great Dublin strike of 1913 the transport workers organised their own citizen army, which, with the Irish Volunteers, carried out the Easter Insurrection of 1916. That insurrection is important because it marks the culminating point of the alliance between the partisans of National Independence and a National Irish Republic, on the one hand, and the partisans of Social Revolution and the Communistic Republic on the other, and also between the Irish National Volunteer Army formed before the war. and which was the Sinn Fein Army, and the Irish Citizen Army formed by Larkin. Those two forces took part in the 1916 Rebellion.

I have traced, very briefly, the development of this movement up to 1916. The failure of the 1916 Rebellion showed that Sinn Fein had very little to expect from Germany, and it then threw itself into the arms of Russia. The Russian Revolution gave it its chance. A delegation was sent to the Russian delegations which were visiting Western Europe, and at the end of November, 1918, immediately after the Armistice, Sinn Fein threw off all disguise and openly declared war on this country, and Dr. McCartan, the envoy of America, was elevated to the rank of so-called Ambassador and appointed to negotiatean alliance with what were termed at that time the "Russian Democrats." The Bolshevists sent over a Mr. Martens, who met Dr. McCartan and concluded an alliance. He was very warmly welcomed by the Irish Revolutionaries in America, and a firm understanding was reached. To quote Dr. MeCartan—
"The 4,000,000 people of the Republic of Ireland, in their struggle to free themselves from military subjugation, want and welcome the aid of the free men of the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic. Between the Russians and the Irish, isolated in their struggle against British armies of occupation to found securely the Republic of Ireland, there can exist only that sense of brotherhood which a common experience, endured for a common purpose, alone can induce."
This declaration was very satisfactory to the Bolsheviks; and Tchitcherin, the Bolshevik Foreign Minister, on June 16, 1919, said how satisfactory it was to the Bolshevists. He stated —
"Whereas in nearly every country our compatriots have neither protection nor representation, we have put all foreigners in the same position, and we will afford them no special protection. Exception will be made, however, in the case of the Irish and the Egyptians. and of any other nationality oppressed by the Allies."
Bolshevism has thus taken Sinn Fein under its wing, for which the latter is duly grateful. " For this special mark of honour," says Mr. Cathal O'Shannon in the Voice of Labour (one of the Sinn Fein papers) "both Irishmen and Egyptians will be grateful to the Soviet Republic." After this the Irish Labour Party were represented at all the international con- gresses which led up to the announcement of the Third International which met at Moscow in March, 1919. We have all the reports of those conferences, and we find that the programme of the Irish Labour Party was identical in every respect with the programme laid down in the Third International. The Third International was founded in Moscow in March, 1919, with the object, of course, of enforcing the dictatorship of the proletariat, the abolition of existing systems of government, and the expropriation of all property.

A message from Russia was read while the Conference was going on as follows—
"John Thompson presented the ease for Ireland at the Soviet Congress at Petrograd, and had a splendid reception. The President Zinoviev sent to the workers of Ireland the sympathy and fraternal greetings of the workers of Petrograd. We stated that the Third International favoured Irish freedom. The meeting had under consideration matters of great importance, and it was felt to be a great compliment that the spokesman of Ireland was privileged to address the assembly. Thompson is now in Moscow for the purpose of discussing Ireland's case with thee central authorities of the Soviet Republic."
It should be noted that the Third International specially singles out Great Britain for attack as being the chief stronghold of capitalism throughout the world, and the main cause of the war, and also the chief oppressor among the nations of the day. It makes special mention of Ireland, and refers to it as an enslaved country, and states that it is the mission of Bolshevism to liberate it.

It is a striking fact in connection with Sinn Fein and the Third International that the programme of each is identical. Take the programme of the Third International—immediate universal dictatorship of the proletariat, involving the seizure of governmental power, and the replacing of it by proletariat power. It goes on—
"This implies the setting up of working-class institutions as ruling power, and the principle of all rights to workers and no rights to any hut workers, and is to be effected by the displacement of all bourgeois judges and establishment of all proletarian courts, the elimination of control by Government officials, and substitution of new organs of management of proletariat."
If we turn to the Sinn Fein programme, which may be gathered from the report and memoranda presented to the International Labour and Socialist Conference at Berne in February, 1919, we find this—
"The enrolment of all workers in the Union, the Transport Union forming an organised pro- letariat. The establishment of Dail Eireann, a council of duly elected representatives of the Irish people to constitute de facto as well as de jure a National Government. The establishment of Republican Court, and the compulsory withdrawal of litigants from British Courts. The formation (promised but not yet accomplished) of a board responsible for local government to take the place of the Local Government Board."
Again coming back to the Third International we find advocated international disarmament of the bourgeoisie and the general arming of the proletariat in order to make revolution secure. That is done by means of the Irish Volunteer Army and the Irish Republican Army, and by an organisation now controlled by the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Turning once more to the Third International we read—
"The dictatorship of the proletariat should be the lever of the immediate expropriation of capital and the suppression of the right of private property in the means of production, which should be transformed into the property of the whole nation."
I could go on for any length of time pointing out the programme which is laid down by the Third International for bringing about the dictatorship of the proletariat and showing that it follows exactly on the lines of the revolutionary movement in Ireland. Every step which the Third International advocates is now being taken by the forces of revolution in Ireland. Such is the connection which exists between the Soviet Government, between the forces of international revolution and the forces which are behind this revolutionary movement in Ireland. We have to consider other ramifications of this conspiracy. What is the connection between the international revolutionary movement and the movement in Great Britain? How far is Sinn Fein being helped by the revolutionary movement in these islands? Sinn Fein works through two revolutionary societies which are both affiliated to the Third International. There are some eight or nine societies which are affiliated to the Third International, but those with which Sinn Fein chiefly deals are the London Workers' Committee—which is the headquarters of various Soviet committees that have been established throughout the country, and whose chief activities, though London is the headquarters, are on the Clyde—and the Workers' Socialist Federation, of which Miss Sylvia Pankhurst appears to be the moving spirit. All through this we see the Soviet Government aiming at two things. Its first great effort is to control the Sinn Fein movement in Ireland. Its next effort is to get control of the executives of the miners, the railwaymen, and the transport workers. In that it has been almost wholly successful as regards the miners, and to some extent successful as regards the executives of the transport workers and railwaymen.

The executive of the miners has always been far more under the control of the International revolutionary movement than any other working class organisation in this country. That is chiefly due to the association of its president, Mr. Smillie, with M. Longuet, the French syndicalist, before the war. At any rate it is noticeable that on the outbreak of war the executive of the Miners' Federation adopted a wholly different attitude from that of any other organisation of industrial workers. They adopted the international attitude. They did their utmost to prevent this country coming into the war, and to prevent any one coming forward to enlist. The South Wales Miners' Executive actually refused to co-operate with the Admiralty when, on the outbreak of war, they issued an appeal to the men to forego three days' holiday in order to provide an extra supply of coal to the Navy, of which the Navy was at that time very much in need.

I will not trouble your Lordships with what happened during the early part of the war, but will come to what happened after the Russian Revolution. This seemed to give those elements of British labour to which I have alluded their chance, and in June, 1917, their policy was propounded at the notorious Leeds Conference which was repudiated by all patriotic workers. That was an entirely bogus conference. At that time, chiefly through the agency of Mr. Smillie, the miners' executive dissociated themselves from the trade union movement altogether and associated themselves with the rank and file movement and the shop stewards movement which were designed for the sole purpose of smashing trade unions. A resolution was passed at that conference to set up immediately the organisation of workers' and soldiers' councils all over this country. The purpose of these councils was afterwards described by the secretary of the head committee which was organising them. He said in the Call—
"After thirty years of persistent socialistic propaganda in this country we believe there is sufficient socialistic consciousness amongst the workers to accomplish revolution if means can be found to give it complete and definite expression. The workers' and soldiers' councils will provide the means."
Mr. Smillie was a member of the board, or whatever they call it, the head committee. which was organising all these councils, and towards the end of that year he was present at a meeting of the West London allied engineering trades organising committee when it was decided to set up workers' and soldiers' councils in the engineering trade.

All this time association between the miners' executives and the Bolshevists was becoming closer and closer. An interview between Mr. Smillie and Mr. Litvinoff took place early in 1918, which was described in the Daily Herald of January 19,1918. At that interview Mr. Lityinoff described Mr. Smillie as "the most outstanding figure of the British Labour movement." Mr. Smillie replied by expressing his entire sympathy with the aims of the Bolshevists. in a subsequent conversation with Mr. Williams he announced that "we ought to have a responsible and authoritative body who could occupy a position in this country Comparable with the All-Russia Soviet meeting and shaping policy in Petrograd." There seems little doubt, from the references he constantly makes to the Triple Alliance, that Lenin has taken the hint and sees in the executives of the Triple Alliance the germ of such an authoritative body which will be ready to his hand the moment revolution breaks out in this country. Then we have various messages which passed between the President of the Miners' Federation and Lenin. Compliments have been showered upon him, and, Mr. Williams, the were tars of the Transport Workers' Federation, who has been decorated by Lenin, appears to act as a kind of envoy between the two.

We now come to the beginning of 1919. I may mention that all this time, having decided to set up workers' and soldiers' councils, the work was going on all through 1918, until we come to 1919, after the conclusion of peace. A very large number of workers' and soviet. committees had been formed by the beginning of that year. The London group headquarters, to which I have already referred, has been a party to the Third International. It is presided over by Mr. W. F. Watson, who boasted that there were at this time no fewer than 200 such committees, which are largely composea of undesirable aliens. This organisation works in the closest cooperation with other organisations and notably, as I have said, with the revolutionary societies and committees on the Clyde, formed by Arthur McManus who, as your Lordships will have seen the other day, presided over a meeting of the Communist League in London, a newly formed body which is designed to amalgamate all these different societies. The London workers' committee is associated with the societies on the Clyde of Arthur McManus, John McLean, John Anderson and others.

In November, 1918, a message was sent by the President of the Miners' Federation to McManus and Watson—McManus the moving spirit of the Clyde workers, and Watson the moving spirit of the London workers—to the following effect. Tins message was read at the Reunion of Rebels dinner as follows—
"Say to my comrades McManus and Watson it is impossible for me to be present as I am speaking to the men at Blackburn on Saturday for the purpose of urging them utterly to refuse to recognise the Coalition Government and at once form a Soviet workers' Government as the time is now arriving for the workers to control their destinies."
If that means anything it means that the president of one of the most powerful federations of working men in this country is in league with these revolutionary societies, taking their orders from Lenin. He keeps in close association with them, offers them his sympathy and promises support.

We now come to another member of these Clyde workers who are in the closest touch with Sinn Fein—another member of the name of John McLean, specially mentioned by Lenin in the Third International as being the head of a section of the British Socialist Party. The British Socialist Party is one of the Parties associated with the Third International. Mr. McLean is the head of what is called the miners' reform movement and this is the programme of that movement. I need not read it all because I want to shorten what I have to say. He says that by reducing hours and by increasing wages all profits will eventually be extinguished and therefore the mines will come under the control of the miners. He goes on to say that—
"With a determined revolutionary minority we shall be able to take control of the country and the means of production at once and hold them tight through the workshops and the district and national councils."
This is rather important—
"Through the co-operative movement we shall be able to control the efficient distribution of the necessaries of life and so win the masses over to socialism."
Mr. John McLean, in a speech he delivered in January, 1919, called himself an old friend of Mr. Smillie and quoted his speeches as endorsing the programme of the miners' reform movement. I shall show your Lordships shortly that this is of some importance.

We go back for one moment to these two gentlemen who are specially mentioned by Mr. Smillie in a message to the Reunion of Rebels dinner in November, 1918. I need not go into the private history of Mr. McManus and Mr. Watson, except to observe that Mr. Watson, on December 1, 1918, made a speech in which he boasted that 200 of these workers' committees had been formed, that he himself had brought over a considerable number of soldiers and sailors to the Bolshevik programme and that he had suborned them from their duties. He also said that he had made arrangements for a rising of several hundred Sinn Feiners who were in London at that time. A few days later on December 6. 1918, Mr. Smillie made a speech at Glasgow in which he said that if a capitalist Government were returned in the General Election which was then going on, he hoped the Labour Party would issue an invitation to the Sinn Feiners to come over arid help them because, to use his own words, "We can say, Your fight is ours!" The closer we examine the history of this movement the closer we shall see is the association between all these revolutionary societies, the miners' executive and the Sinn Fein movement in Ireland.

To sum up, the Executive of the Miners' Federation, having throughout the war cut itself completely adrift from other sections of Labour, after the outbreak of the Russian Revolution pledges its support to Russia through its President. The President of the Miners' Federation communicates with the officials of Lenin in this country—with Mr. McLean, who boasts that he is the Bolshevist Consul and the accredited agent of Lenin in Glasgow—and helps them to set up a Bolshevist organisation, and expresses sympathy and promises them support. At the time—the end of 1918—when all this was done it was known that there was a widespread revolutionary movement in this country, by which it was intended to paralyse industry, while the revolutionaries in London would organise a rising there, incite the masses to revolution, and mobilise the foreign element in the East End of London. But the trump card, without which success was unattainable was a strike of the Triple Alliance, which Mr. Smillie was using every effort to bring about.

So much for the situation at the end of 1918. What is the situation to-day? It is very curious how all these movements in the Labour world, these international movements, always synchronise. The defeat of the Polish Army, the invasion of Poland, the growing acuteness of the situation in Ireland, the demands of the Millers' executive in this country— all these come at the same time. The recent Trade Union Congress made a demand that, unless the Government would consent to withdraw troops from Ireland, and to cease to support Poland they would bring about a general strike. This was combined with a demand on the part of the miners for higher wages, and a deputation recently saw the President of the Board of Trade on the subject. The only reason for this recrudescence of activity is that the revolutionaries think that their chances have now revived, owint, to the situation in Ireland, and owing to the situation in Central Europe. It is a very curious fact that. in every speech which the President of the Miners' Federation makes he refers to Ireland. He keeps on reiterating the phrase that there is the greatest danger of a massacre in Ireland. He also says, of course, that Ireland should be left to choose its own form of government, and he hopes it will choose a republic. It is strange that at the moment when he is making these declarations about the fear of a massacre in Ireland Mr. John McLean, who calls himself his "old friend," has hit upon the same phrase. He has recently produced a pamphlet which is headed "Proposed Irish Massacre," in which the Scottish workers are informed that Scottish troops are being used to massacre the Irish. He calls on the Scottish workers to proclaim a general strike, to provoke a civil war and a world war. The west coast of Ireland is, he says, England's weak spot. We know well that Lenin has always realised that the west coast of Ireland was England's weak spot. I could quote numerous declarations by international Socialists from the European Press, and notably from the head of the Communist Party in Holland. He has pointed out that England, being a great prop of capitalism, is the first enemy to be destroyed, and that the way to destroy it is through the control of Ireland by a rebel government.

There is one other matter, before I leave the present situation, which it is necessary to mention. I have already quoted an extract from a speech by Mr. McLean in Glasgow, in which he says that revolution is to be brought about through the control of the co-operative movement, or rather, through the control of the means of distribution by the co-operative movement. The way in which it is hoped to make a general strike successful is by the accumulation of large stores of food by the cooperative movement, and their distribution to the strikers, thus keeping the strikers supplied whilst the rest of the population go short. They hope to carry out this programme by capturing the machinery of the co-operative movement, and the seriousness of the situation may be judged from the fact that the leaders of the co-operative movement have agreed to put their machinery at the disposal of the strikers in the next strike. The Labour Research Bureau of the General Staff for Labour have been working at this plan for some time past. The wholesale co-operative societies have been laying in enormous stocks of provisions and buying motor lorries with a view to taking s leaf out of the Government's book during the railway strike last year.

It may interest the public, and it may interest your Lordships to know that a determined effort is being made on the part of many of the branches of the Co-operative Wholesale Society to induce the delegates to place the financial resources of those societies at the disposal of the Co-operative Party for the furtherance of their political policy. A resolution to this effect was moved by seventeen branches, but was finally defeated. It is noteworthy, however, that in the case of London, the Midlands, Lancashire and South Wales the resolution was passed by a large majority. This shows the danger which the public are now running of seeing the money which they have invested used for the organised starvation of themselves and their families. Although the money is not available for this revolutionary strike the whole of the organisation of the co-operative movement is at the disposal of the strikers, and I think it is a pity that the Government, who must be fully informed of all that is going on have not, so far, informed the public of the nature of this conspiracy.

I have had to travel over a great deal of ground, and I almost despair of making a connected and complete story of it, because the subject is really a very vast one. But it seems to me evident that we have to face a position where it is necessary for the Government to give the public full information regarding what is going on, and to appeal for their support. It is necessary to break through this atmosphere of unreality, and to face hard facts. This atmosphere of unreality is not dissipated by the reflection that at the very time when Soviet Government is, as we know, carrying on these intrigues in this country we are negotiating with its emissaries. Lenin the other day proclaimed that his purpose in this country was what he described as heavy civil war." Every effort is being made by the Bolshevist Government to carry that programme into effect. It is necessary for us to set our house in order before it is too late.

In Ireland we see even those who have hitherto been loyal to the British connection becoming demoralised. There is a general feeling now that any form of government is better than none. "If this country," it is said, "is not going to govern Ireland then you had better hand us over to our enemies, for then we shall, at least, get some form of law and order. It may be only an apology for it, but even that is better than nothing at all."

My Lords, the time has come not, only to inform the public but to appeal to national sentiment, and, as the Prime Minister said, to take exactly those measures which the Government took during the war Why is it so easy to hold mass meetings all over the country and to organise a great campaign when it is being done for the purpose of what I may call a political stunt? Why was it so easy to do that ten years ago for the purpose of appealing to the cupidity of the multitude by such a programme as that of plundering hen-roosts? It was so easy to organise mass meetings all over the country then and to make fine speeches. Why is it not equally easy when there is something a little better, a little nobler, and a little more inspiring to appeal to the people about? There is no use in the Government trying to avoid taking the necessary measures in Ireland—that is to say, those measures which are involved in a state of war. Because it is really going to be taken out of their hands. I do not know whether the Government have reflected—of course, they must have done—on the effect which the present situation is having on the Army in Ireland. Your Lordships have read in the newspapers innumerable instances of our troops having taken the law into their own hands, and this may go from bad to worse. No more disastrous effect on the discipline of the Army could possibly be imagined. It is also having the most disastrous effect on India and Egypt.

If the security and integrity of these islands are not sufficient incentives to the Government to take the action which the situation imperatively demands, there is another consideration which might have that effect, and that is the elementary obligation of honour. We have a beleaguered garrison in Ireland. I am not referring to the soldiers and the police, because after all it might be said of them that they are paid to be killed. But we have another garrison, those who have upheld British interests for 800 years. To our shame and dishonour they are being compelled to submit to the tyranny of those who have set up a rebel Government and defy the King's authority. They have been compelled to submit to it not only for their own sakes or the preservation of their property, but for the sake of their wives and children. When you mention the shame and dishonour of this thing it may, perhaps, be said that after all we in this country bear a greater proportion of that shame because we sit with folded hands, regarding the humiliation of the loyalists in Ireland and contemplating the spectacle of the national honour being dragged in the dust. If on us rests some portion of that stigma and that bitter humiliation, what must be the burden of responsibility and the weight of reproach that rest on His Majesty's Government?

Moved to resolve, "That this House deplores the failure of the Government to warn the public of the true character of the revolutionary movement in Ireland, and of the international influences which are behind it; and urges them to appeal for the united support of the nation in this crisis."—(The Duke of Northumberland.)

My Lords, I do not desire to detain your Lordships for very long, but as the subject of the noble Duke's Motion refers mainly to Ireland and a considerable part of the important speech to which your Lordships listened with close interest was concerned with the situation in that country, it is right that I should say a few words. As a matter of fact, it is against the administration of government in Ireland rather than against the policy of His Majesty's Government in that country that the noble Duke has directed his artillery. This is not the moment to attempt to discuss Irish policy at large. We had a debate a short time ago upon the policy of His Majesty's Government, and upon the policy which might be substituted for it, on the Bill introduced by my noble friend Lord Monteagle, and there would be no purpose, even if it were in order, in repeating anything that was said at that time. In the course of that debate I stated my clear views—at least, I hope they were clearly understood—as to the alternative policy which His Majesty's Government ought to pursue, and I have no desire to repeat them.

All I wish to say now is that I do not believe, unless the policy of His Majesty's Government is boldly changed, that any administrative steps which they can take by the military occupation of the country or otherwise can hope to succeed in the long run. His Majesty's Government have announced their intention of doing two things in Ireland. First of all, they have introduced a measure to intercept the grants and loans made to county councils and other local authorities where those authorities have proved recalcitrant or have shown public sympathy with the forces of rebellion. That may be a necessary thing to do, and I do not dispute it. But it is quite clear, however necessary it may be, that it will not of itself create peace or improve the situation in Ireland. In the second place it is proposed, as the noble Duke reminded us, to set up tribunals of a new description to administer justice in a more summary way than it can be administered by the ordinary Courts of Law. But, as the noble Duke again reminded us, before you can turn those tribunals into a useful piece of machinery you must be able to bring before them the persons charged with offences against the law, and, what is more, even in tribunals of that kind you cannot dispense with evidence. No tribunal can or will convict without a certain definite modicum of evidence, and, as we all know, military tribunals Court s-Martial are very often even more particular as to the necessity of proving a ease than are the ordinary Courts.

One asks, What is it all going to lead to? How is the situation to be in any degree mended, even though such administrative measures as the Government may find it possible to take may lead to a certain surface alleviation of the situation? We first have to ask what Sinn Fein is, and on that the noble Duke expressed a most distinct view, fortified by a number of quotations from documents carefully obtained, I suppose, by some of the societies which have set themselves to combat these revolutionary movements. He traced Very carefully the story of Sinn Fein from the first. It seemed to 111C that the noble Duke in the earlier part of his speech fell into a certain error in apparently supposing that, the revolutionary propaganda. in Ireland was in itself a novel thing, and that it might for practicable purposes be taken as starting from the time when Connolly and Larkin formed their Labour societies.

As we know, there always has been an undercurrent of revolution in Ireland ever since the Union. There have always been societies composed of men who thought that O'Connell and Butt, and latterly even parnell, were pursuing a milk-and-water policy unworthy of those Who desired to strike for national freedom. The degree of success which has been achieved by such revolutionary bodies has varied greatly during the last 120 years. There have been moments when it seemed as though the Irish Republican Brotherhood—in 1866 for instance—was likely once more to become a, formidable ma-'ire in the direction of revolution. It cannot, of course, be disputed that modern developments, the facility of communication and transport, improvements in the form of arms and the like, have added in certain directions new powers to such revolutionary movements and strengthened the hands of their active agents.

Altogether apart from the question as to whether this revolutionary movement in Ireland might not have been dealt with earlier and differently from the manner in which it has been dealt with, I cannot help feeling that there is some colour of criticism of the Government in this respect. We were always told in former days that it was the defect of all Governments, whether Liberal or Conservative, that their treatment of Ireland consisted of alternate doses of conciliation and coercion—one year a Land Bill giving the Irish farmers much of what they asked, followed a year or two later by a Coercion Bill. But this is surely the first time that it has been attempted to carry on both processes simultaneously. To combine a grant of self-government with the announcement that the larger part of the country is to be governed in a purely arbitrary manner represents an attempt for the success of which it is very difficult indeed to hope.

This is not the moment to discuss the contents of the Government of Ireland Bill, and, as I have already said, there is an alternative policy which His Majesty's Government may some day still be tempted to try by remodelling on broad lines the policy expressed in the present Bill. The noble Duke would entirely dissent from any such attempt because, as he pointed out in enforcing his arguments by many illustrations, he desired to prove that the Sinn Fein movement is in reality nothing more—I think I am not misquoting him—than part of a world movement for revolution of which evidences can be found all over Europe and in other parts of the world. There, I confess, I am not in agreement with him. I do not think he attaches enough weight to the purely national side of the Sinn Fein movement as it affects the greater number of those who would describe themselves as Sinn Feiners. No doubt it has joined up to a certain degree with Russian revolutionaries, with American revolutionaries, and revolutionaries in other parts of the world. Assuming that to be so, there is nothing surprising in it. It has always been the desire, as indeed the noble Duke pointed out in the ease of the French Revolution and Wolfe Tone, of revolutionaries all over the world to couple themselves with those in other parts who desired a similar movement. Precisely the same thing happened in India. The Indian revolutionaries, as some of us had good cause to know, were closely allied with extremists in France. Germany, and the United States. Therefore, however deplorable it may be, there is nothing new or fresh in the fact that a certain number of the revolutionary leaders of Sinn Fein have allied themselves closely with those people of revolutionary views in England and else- where and that some reciprocity exists between them.

I cannot help thinking that there must be a great number of people in Ireland who would call themselves Sinn Feiners who neither know or care anything about the Third International but who have a feeling for Irish independence. Those people, I believe, could be satisfied by a grant of real self-government within the Empire. If it is not so, if it really is true that every man, woman, and child in Ireland now who are not immediate followers of Sir Edward Carson are all revolutionaries, determined to have nothing whatever to do with this country in any form, the situation of course is terribly grave, and it will be for the people of this country to consider whether they do desire to go through the whole process of reconquest, and possibly extermination, of a large part of the population of that island. I do not believe it has reached that point, or anything like it, and till I do, one is not called upon to express an opinion as to what the proper policy of His Majesty's Government ought to be.

I cannot help thinking also that the noble Duke, in weaving together the extremely ingenious web of evidence which he produced, has been somewhat biassed by the very severe views which he entertains about the personality and opinions of Mr. Smillie Mr. Smillie is a gentleman all of whose views, I think one might say, would find themselves unacceptable to almost every member of your Lordships' House. Certainly, speaking for myself, I do not know that I ever heard him express an opinion with which I agreed; but I think it is possible, even though he be president of the Miners' Federation, to over-rate, not so much the influence which from the coal trade point of view he may exercise over the Federation in their character of miners, but the influence which his political views exercise over the great body of those who belong to that industry.

The noble Duke told us that the executive of the Miners' Federation did their best in the first place to prevent this country, so far as they were able to do so, from joining in the war, and did their utmost to prevent recruiting. If they did their utmost one can only say that they failed miserably, because there was no trade from which enlistment was better than that of the miners. Indeed, the only difficulty was that too many of them enlisted, and a certain number would have been, as it afterwards proved, much better at work in the pit, and had to be replaced by men who were not competent to get coal. I cannot help thinking that the noble Duke to a certain extent lost the proper perspective of the situation, and that he almost proved too much in making out, entirely to his own satisfaction, I am sure, and very possibly with the agreement of some of your Lordships, that Sinn Fein was in fact part and parcel of the Bolshevist movement, and therefore, from a national point of view, an even greater danger than it must be thought to be if it is regarded as a mainly national movement.

My Lords, the noble Duke did not enter into much detail as to the steps which he thought His Majesty's Government ought to take to combat the ever-increasing danger of this movement, not merely in Ireland but in this country. He frankly admitted that the South and West of Ireland might have to be reconquered by a definite act of war. I fervently trust it may never come to that. I think there are expedients yet to be tried, which may enlist—not on the side of England, because I am afraid England as such is likely to remain unloved in the three southern provinces, however much (and I am not sure it is so very much) she may be loved in Ulster—but I do believe there is a substantial body of opinion in Ireland which can be enlisted on the side of law and order and of decent government. If I did not think so I should come very near to despairing of the whole situation. What the Government may say in reply to the noble Duke of course I have no means of knowing. I am by no means sorry that he has brought the subject forward, and I listened to the whole of his speech with the deepest interest, although, as I have endeavoured to point out, I found much in it with which I was not able to agree.

My Lords, I quite agree with the noble Duke in his description of the present state of Ireland but I entirely differ from him in the reasons which he has given for that state of affairs. I agree with the noble Marquess who has just spoken that there has always been in the minds of Irishmen a dissatisfaction with the political connection with England. I entirely agree with him in thinking that that has been the case since the time of the Union. In the early days the political dissatisfaction was more manifest, as appeared in the Repeal agitation, and afterwards in the Home Rule agitation, but a period came when that agitation ceased and greater importance was attached to economic evils, more especially in regard to the land.

From the time when the land question was first taken up, in the year 1870 I think, up to the time when in 1903 it was finally solved, there was no effort made, so far as the Irish tenant ever saw, by the great British public to lead to a satisfactory solution of that question. It was not till a great Liberal statesman arose who regarded the land question from the point of view of the Irish tenants themselves—I refer to Mr. Gladstone—that the Irish at last gained hope that their views would be regarded by the Government of England. Throughout those years there always was a small section of Irish people who regarded violence and force as a better remedy than appeals to the ideas of British justice, but they were very small in number, and in the course of time I believe they would have disappeared altogether if British Governments in turn had regarded their desire for Home Rule with greater attention than has been the case.

My Lords, the struggle for Home Rule I date from the coining into power of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's Government. Before then it was more a question of ideals than of actual politics, but from the year 1907 a definite proposal was placed before the Government, and improvements upon that proposal have been made from time to time. It is well-known now what the great bulk of moderate opinion in Ireland want. They do not want separation from England. They do not want a Republic. They are opposed, so far as I know, to the idea of a Republic, but there are extreme politicians. The majority of the peasantry is now said to be republican, but that is a matter of yesterday. The claim for a Republic has not a long period of time behind it, and I believe that if a proper system of government were tomorrow established in Ireland you would hear very little of a Republic.

The satisfaction of the Irish wish for Home Rule has always been opposed by the Unionists of Ulster. When it was first brought forward the answer of Ulster was, "We will not have Home Rule, not even in the portions of Ireland which are purely Irish, and which contain no admixture of a foreign element." The Irish people have been essentially desirous that Ireland should be a unit, a nation, in which the Ulster people should be included. I believe that there was no request or demand which the Ulster people might make with the object of securing themselves against anything like oppression from the South or the West that the Ulster people would not have got. Over and over again in the Convention the delegates of Ulster were asked, "What do you want?" "There is nothing which you want," we said, "that we can give you that we will not give you." But we had no response whatever to our desire. As far as I myself could see, there was no will to make any settlement.

The Bill which is now in the House of Commons will not satisfy any section of Irish people. I believe that opposition to it will be continued, and that no military force that can be brought into play will destroy the wish of the people. That will continue from generation to generation, but I think that if the Irish people were given a moderate scheme of Home Rule and allowed to administer their own revenue and their own affairs, they would not put forward any claim for separation from the Empire, nor would they put forward any claim that would in any way weaken the strength of the Empire. If properly and reasonably approached, I think they would make a certain contribution to the Empire.

Having these thoughts and feelings put before your Lordships by responsible men from Ireland and by responsible deputations from Ireland, I can hardly tell you of the despair with which I regard the proposal to establish martial law and withdraw all the ordinary methods of legal procedure in Ireland. It has always been my hope that the North and South might be brought together. There is no difficulty in their coming together in matters of business, and I believe now, as I have always believed, that the question at issue is not really a question of polities, but one that belongs more to the 17th century than to the century in which we now live. I think the noble Duke's diagnosis of Ireland is entirely mistaken, and that the Bolshevik feeling is shared by only a very few extravagant persons, as is the case in England. To impute to Ireland a love or a desire for Bolshevism is, I think, an entire delusion.

My Lords, if I consulted my own inclination it would be not to trouble your Lordships with any observations upon the Motion which has been brought forward to-day by the noble Duke; and for two reasons. In the first place, I am conscious of that want of experience which enables a man in your Lordships' House to place clearly and in order before the House those views which he honestly possesses, and it is a source of regret to me that in any observations which I may make I must be more or less disjointed, and I claim your Lordships' indulgence. In addition, no Irishman, no matter what particular view of politics he may have, can, in looking at the present state of affairs in Ireland, have any feeling other than one of intense grief and sadness. I have always been one of those who have allowed myself to be sustained by hope. During the decades of which I have had experience of Irish life I have only lived to see time after time my hopes not only diverted but apparently destroyed. Yet I still retain some slight belief that if, even at the eleventh hour, some radical and clear change is made in the method of dealing with Ireland our hope may still be justified, and in any observations that I wish to make on the noble Duke's Motion, that is the feeling, the only feeling, which actuates me. I respect every one's opinions no matter how they may differ from my own, and I do not think that at any time any good end is served by remarks which are in any way calculated to embitter a situation which is at the present time terribly embittered.

The noble Duke, in the Motion originally put down by him, proposed simply to call attention to the position in Ireland. That has been modified and put in the form of a very clear Motion which asks the House to resolve that it
"deplores the failure of the Government to warn the public of the true character of the revolutionary movement in Ireland, and of the International influences which are behind it; and urges them to appeal for the united support of the nation in this crisis."
I am not here to do what members of the Government, in due time I am sure, will properly do; but I cannot avoid saying—and this is my reason for intruding on your Lordships' time—that the Motion in its present form, while merely suggesting that there has been a failure by the Government to warn the public of a certain thing, pledges the House clearly and unmistakably to the view of that thing against which the public were to be warned, which was clearly enunciated in the speech of the noble Duke. With that speech, and the views expressed in it, I am bound to say I could not be in agreement. I wish to state, as I understand them, what I conceive to be the suggestions in this particular Motion. If I am wrong, of course I shall stand corrected. Taking not the form of the Motion but the speech which supported it, I imagine that we are asked to say that the state of unrest in Ireland, the present state of affairs in Ireland, is the culmination of one branch of a conspiracy which extends over all Europe and finds its particular development at the present time in Ireland. We are also asked to solicit and appeal for the support of the nation in order to combat that hypothetical (as I believe it to be to a great extent) state of affairs.

The noble Duke has made several quotations, as I understood, from a very important speech of the Prime Minister, of which an official report has appeared in the Press. There is, however, one passage in that speech to which I desire to refer. It occurs near the beginning—
"I am in complete agreement with a great deal of what has been said by both speakers as to the state of affairs in Ireland. To a certain extent I agree as to the origin. There is no doubt at all that there is Bolshevist support behind the anti-British activity in Ireland and I should not be surprised if there were Bolshevist money behind it."
But now comes the important qualification which, in my opinion, takes a much truer view than that put forward by the noble Duke—
"But we should make a mistake if we came to the conclusion that Sinn Fein is purely a Bolshevist conspiracy against Great Britain. It is deeper than that. It is older than that. It is an old feud which breaks out now and again in Ireland. It breaks out sometimes after generations, but it has steadily gone on. In my time I remember two or three outbreaks. I agree that this is the worst I have seen, but I have seen many bad ones, and therefore we must, if we are going to deal with this problem, understand that the roots of it are much deeper than the shallow soil of Bolshevism. How are we to deal with it? Force, of course, is essential as a sanction for any law. We are strengthening our force, but you must remember that the present demand has come at a time when there is a greater demand on the resources of the Empire in the matter of force than at any time in its history."
Speaking with respect of the Prime Minister, these words which I have quoted, if I may say so, give a far truer estimate of the condition of affairs in Ireland than that given by the noble Duke. I may not be in entire agreement with the view of His Majesty's Government as to the extent or the exact form that remedial measures may have to take. That is not, I think, a matter for discussion to-day.

The question to-day is the measure of supposed Bolshevism behind the Irish political movement, and upon that I think I can say that the passage which I have read from the Prime Minister's speech contains substantially a trite view of the situation. The noble Duke will pardon me. I used the words not at all in any way to despise or minimise the views which he has put forward, but as being what I regard as reasonable criticism, and to which I respectfully draw your Lordships' attention. I conceive that the view which has been put forward is one of a series of views which, from time to time as the years pass by, are advanced with regard to this unfortunate Irish question and which invariably are based on the error of confounding cause and effect. In my life, during which I have been brought into contact with Irish affairs, I have seen many instances of this erroneous view (as I believe it to be) of affairs in Ireland, and I shall give you some examples. At the beginning of the '80's a very formidable conspiracy broke out connected with the tenure of land in Ireland. It was accompanied by crimes, and crimes of a very terrible character; it was widespread; it was highly organised; and it was directed by men of great ability. There were also within that organisation those whose objects were solely and entirely those of mending and ending once for all the land system in Ireland, but who detested cordially the crimes in which a small section indulged.

In that we have a parallel at present, because I do say—I am convinced it is so; I can hardly reconcile my mind to thinking anything to the contrary—that the great mass, the large majority, of those who in Ireland at the present time proclaim views that are covered under the general term of Sinn Fein, are not in sympathy with those crimes and that they regret them as much as any member of your Lordships' House. And I think they regret them for the very old reason that crime does not help in the long run the development of national aspirations. But at that time, and in connection with the land war, the idea in this country was that it was all the result of Mere agitation brought about by agitators. The agitators were produced by the economic situation; it was not the agitators who produced the situation.

And in the same way I conceive humbly that at the present time the situation in Ireland has been a growth for which, not the extremists are responsible, but for which our own shortcomings, our own errors, our own dilatoriness are mainly to blame. On that matter I could not gather that the noble Duke had any remedy except the simple remedy of reconquest, as he described it. The very word suggests a condition of affairs almost impossible to contemplate within the small part of Europe which constitutes the British Islands, and the view which I think would be the logical one is that, if after attempts extending over 120 years to regulate Irish affairs upon a proper basis, we find that in 1920, or 1921, there is nothing before us but armed reconquest, we have failed indeed.

I do not think that we have failed. I do not think that matters are at all to be regarded in the light that has been presented to your Lordships. I speak with some knowledge, and, although I may he wrong, I speak at least with conviction, and I do believe that the great majority of those in Ireland still are willing to welcome the remedy, which is not reconquest by force, but reconquest by reasonableness and a due regard to the proper aspirations of Irish people. I do not give up that hope, and I think that the time is not so far off when perhaps we shall realise in Ireland that that is the true state of affairs.

With regard to the immediate matter which was so ingeniously, and with such great ability, woven together by the noble Duke, namely the connection between Sinn Fein and the European revolutionary societies, I should wish to make one observation which appears to me to be reasonable. I am not now going to indulge in any criticism of the action of any member of His Majesty's Government, but I am merely going to deal with the views that have been put forward. In 1914, at the outbreak of the war, I should certainly say that Sinn Fein in Ireland was, in so far as it was largely distributed, rather a philosophic than a violent revolutionary association. But names and words very often convey false impressions, and a name which is attractive in form may be adopted by a party whose aims and objects are totally different from those which, we now conceive, are intimately associated with and indissoluble from that name. The general name "Sinn Fein" was adopted by those who were minded to appeal to force, to violence, and to crime, but with regard to those who always were opposed at heart to those methods I believe that there has been no change, and that they still represent the majority of the people of Ireland.

It would be something extraordinary in the history of communities if, within the space of four years, we saw such a change as has been suggested in the whole population of Ireland, with their traditional views with regard to religious matters, and also having regard to the very strong and potent fact that the proprietorship of the land in Ireland had passed into the hands of the majority from the minority, and that those who are possessed of property do not readily lend their minds to handing it over to some one else; it would be certainly extraordinary if that population were suddenly seized with the wildest and most mischevous form of continental Bolshevism. As the Prime Minister said, there may be grounds for believing that those whose objects are revolutionary in the sense that they would overthrow all civilised government are utilising the situation in Ireland. Who is to be blamed for that? I respectfully submit that if the atmosphere and the conditions are so extraordinarily favourable that this vile plant takes root and develops into a tree in so short a time, it is to the conditions which have made this tree flourish that we must look, and we must again avoid this confusion of cause and effect. I have been one of those who have invariably, through popularity and unpopularity, maintained that there was really only one way of procuring peace in Ireland. It is no satisfaction to me that I think that the course which has beep followed in not adopting those methods—in not setting up a Parliament in Ireland in respect to purely Irish affairs—is responsible for the present state of things. It is a matter not of gratification to me, but of profound regret, that I have seen things go from bad to worse, and that I am convinced that they have gone from bad to worse because of the fatal hesitation which would not permit a measure of real breadth and efficiency to be adopted.

I am only stating my own view. I know that many of your Lordships have views absolutely hostile, and I merely claim the right for myself to place my-views respectfully before your Lordships' House. I see two things. I see this horrible spectre of reconquest which has been held out. Heaven forbid that such a thing should happen! Even now at the eleventh hour I see the possibility of producing by a bold, strong policy a condition of affairs which would absolutely destroy or, if it did not entirely destroy, would render innocuous, any Bolshevist or revolutionary element that exists in my unhappy country.

My Lords, I hope the two noble Lords who have just addressed the House will permit me to say with what sympathy I listened to their speeches. I was sorry for them. They have been brought up in the belief that, after all, the Irish difficulty is just a constitutional difficulty which can be settled by the concession of a certain amount of self-government. They remember the many years in which they have urged it upon their countrymen; and now they are presented with this grim spectre—this element of force, of bitter hatred and deep disorder—they rebel against it and are not able to accept the facts of the situation.

Even so distinguished a statesman as my noble friend Lord Crewe did not seem to me, when he was speaking, to appreciate the real meaning of what is going on in Ireland. He dwelt upon the recurrent disorder which in his political lifetime has taken place there, as if the present situation was really to be reckoned as only another example, perhaps a little worse, of what we have so often seen before. I believe that the noble Marquess is entirely in error. If it does not differ in kind, it differs in degree so profoundly from what we have witnessed that we are face to face with a wholly new proposition which will try to the utmost the powers of our statesmen and the strength of mind of our pepole to deal with.

It is, of course, that point and that aspect of it to which the noble Duke really addressed himself in that masterly speech which he delivered to your Lordships this afternoon. He sketched what was in his belief the true inwardness of the movement in Ireland. It was not that he had forgotten what Lord MacDonnell and Lord Shandon dwelt upon—the old desire for self-government in Ireland, with which we are all familiar. But what my noble friend sees is that it has passed far beyond that, and, as so often happens in these revolutionary movements, the forces of disorder, the extreme forces, are getting—nay, have got—control of the movement. It is no use treating it as a mere question of land hunger or a little adjustment of self-government. The question, as my noble friend submitted it to your Lordships, is whether this is not a revolutionary movement in league with all the revolutionary forces on the Continent, whose main and only object is the destruction of this country.

I do not think it can be doubted that what the noble Duke has said is more or less true. I do not know exactly what line the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack .will take, but I shall be very much surprised if he denies that the virus of Bolshevism has entered into the Irish movement, or if he denies that it is a most powerful force that has got to be reckoned with. I believe he will even admit that it is the most powerful force at the moment in the Irish situation. If he does so, he will, of course, follow in the footsteps of the Prime Minister. No doubt the Prime Minister did not admit my noble friend's case to the full extent to which he stated it, but he did admit that there was a substantial element of truth in it, and that the Bolshevist connection with the Irish movement was well established.

We have to face a movement which is inspired with a profound and deep hatred of this country, and which has for the moment got the upper hand in three parts of Ireland. That is a most tremendous statement that I have made. Is it not true? Does not that differentiate this situation from anything which the noble Marquess, Lord Crewe, remembers? I recall very well the time of the Land League when my right hon. friend Mr. Arthur Balfour was Chief Secretary. I was in Ireland then. No doubt the situation was very serious. There was a good deal not only of disorder but of attack upon life and property, but the forces of the Crown were always absolutely secure. The Queen's power was always well established, and nothing really threatened it. Now under the government of the present Minister three parts of Ireland are no longer under the control of His Majesty's servants. My noble friend Lord Crewe and others have tried to reassure us by telling us that things are not after all so very bad, and I hope he will allow me to say that I distrust those optimistic phrases.

May I ask the noble Marquesss to repeat anything I said to that effect. I have no recollection of saying anything of the kind. I entirely agree with him that you cannot overdraw the gravity of the situation.

I owe my noble friend a great apology, and I entirely withdraw those observations. I am sorry I did not hear all his speech, and that is the reason why I made a mistake. I do not desire for a moment to misquote him, but I do distrust any phrase which minimises the situation. I very well remember debates in your Lordships' House during the last two years, in the course of which we listened to the noble Earl the Leader of the House as he defended the administration of Mr. Duke and explained to us that, after all, things were not so bad, and that the forces of the Government were getting the upper hand. Of course, it was the administration of Mr. Duke, and the administration of Mr. Birrell which went before it, which were responsible in the first degree for what has happened.

In 1917 the noble Earl said—

"That section of the Sinn Fein Party which is really extreme, which is prepared for acts of violence, which would like a rebellion, which tries to promote collisions with the police and military forces and which is animated by direct hatred of England, is, I believe, not only in a minority but in a minority that becomes smaller instead of larger from day to day."
Does my noble friend still think that Sinn Fein is in a minority and is getting smaller day by day? He has lived to witness Sinn Fein, or rather the successors of Sinn Fein, being the ascendent force in Ireland. A year afterwards he said—
"The moment that Sinn Fein in its manifestation was converted into a criminal conspiracy we struck, and I think we struck with success."
What success? Look at Ireland! Where is your success? No; the Government through their hesitation and vacillation, through their Birrells and their Dukes, have reduced Ireland to the condition in which we now see it.

Are we to say that this hesitation and vacillation has come to an end? I hope it may be so. I am, I must say, much encouraged by the speeches which have been delivered in your Lordships' House by the Lord Chancellor. It is a matter of great satisfaction and comfort to some of us to recognise that he is taking a strong line on this question. May I recall what he said on May 19 this year? He said this—
"Let me at once, in reply to the last words that fell from him, make more complete if I can the assurance I attempted to give when I last addressed your Lordships that it is the policy of the Government, whether the struggle be short or long, to employ the whole available forces and all the resources of these islands, in the first place to restore law and order in Ireland, and, in the second place, to render utterly impossible the campaign with the object of secession which is at present in progress in that country."
That is certainly the policy which the Government ought to pursue, and no doubt. it is in pursuance of that policy that the Bills now before another place have been introduced.

It would not be in order for me to say anything in reference to those Bills, and I do not desire to comment on them in any adverse spirit. But I agree with the noble Duke that the Bills by themselves will not be sufficient. It does not depend merely upon these Bills. It depends upon the spirit in which the Government approach the object of restoring law and order in Ireland. I hate these coercive Bills just as much as any of your Lordships, just as much as Lord MacDonnell. Of course they are odious. The suspension of the ordinary law and the pursuit and punishment of these misguided people is not agreeable to any of your Lordships, certainly not agreeable to me. But if you do pursue this policy, if you are forced, as the Government are now, to fall back upon coercion, let it he effective coercion. There is no such cruelty as ineffective coercion; there is no such colossal blunder as ineffective coercion. And when you are driven to coercion, as the Government has been driven, largely through their own fault, let it be done in the spirit in which it is likely to be effective.

When I listened to the Prime Minister—I was in the company of the noble Duke the other day—I heard with regret the familiar balance which he made between coercive legislation and remedial legislation; between coercive legislation and concessions to the spirit of self-government. I am not going to prejudge the ultimate solution of self-government in Ireland now, but I say that this is not the moment to dwell upon it, when you are forced to these exceptional measures to restore law and order. I have said before, and I venture to repeat it now, How can you expect the sentiment of law and order to rally round the Government if you tell the people who are rallying that within a very brief period you propose to hand them over to their enemies? It appears to me to be a fatal combination.

It has often been said in this House that what you want to do, the whole object of government, is to gather round the Administration all the sympathies of the law-abiding people in the country. Quite so. But if you say that within two years you are going to hand them over to their enemies, it is fatal. How can you expect them to stand by you? There is only one way to treat the question when you are face to face with revolutionary disorder as we see it in Ireland, and that is to say that until the King's authority is completely restored in Ireland you will not consider the question of granting any concession of self-government. That must be laid aside until law and order is completely restored; and "we will engage"—this is what the Government should say"— "not only that we will not touch the question of self-government until law and order is restored, but that whatever we do ultimately we will take care that you shall not be handed over to your enemies."

Let me say one further word upon this point, as I believe my noble friend Lord Crewe touched upon it. I think he said that he believed a solution could be found in the grant of some form of Dominion Home Rule. While this is not the time to consider that, I should not like his observation to go by without comment lest it should be thought that many of us consider that Dominion Home Rule would ever be a possible solution of this question. I do not think it would, and may I just say why? Of course, if you can give the Irish complete control, complete independence, that would be a solution of a kind, although a very unsatisfactory solution from the point of view of Imperial con- siderations, but it would be a solution of a kind. But no one that I know of, and no one at any rate who has addressed this House, is prepared to give Dominion Home Rule of so complete a character as that. It is always Dominion Home Rule with limitations. Now, my Lords, those limitations really would make it completely unworkable, unless, of course, Ireland were entirely friendly. If Ireland were as friendly as our existing great Dominions no doubt any system would work, but so long as Ireland continues to be unfriendly—or not Ireland itself, because I believe a body of opinion exists that is not unfriend]y— but so long as the controlling power of Irish opinion is unfriendly, then Dominion Home Rule with limitations would not be a settlement but only a jumping off ground for demands for further concessions, and a jumping off ground which would have this great advantage for the people who demanded further concessions, that they would be able to point to the victories they had achieved in the past and be able to say that there was no moral strength left in the British. Government to resist them.

My Lords, I have ventured to say this much upon the ultimate solution, but I would return to what 1 have already said. I would urge upon your Lordships that this effort of the Government to restore order will be an effort which they will want all their strength of mind to carry through successfully. They must cast aside anything which hampers them, and they must face it with an absolutely single mind. The responsibility upon them is very heavy. I often wonder, as I sit opposite my noble friends who sit upon that Bench, what they must be feeling on the Irish question. When I think of the history of the Unionist Party and the great and distinguished part which they have taken in it, and of their conviction, so often expressed, on behalf of the Union and on behalf of law and order, I wonder how they can face the condition to which, under their administration, Ireland has been reduced.

I do not complain so much of the Prime Minister. He is a Radical, and does not believe in force as a remedy at all. My noble friends know as well as I do that although force is no remedy for evils of the State yet it is an absolutely essential element in administration, and they are the people who have allowed Ireland to get into this state. It is no good their saying that they were not Chief Secretary or Lord Lieutenant. They are members of the Government, and they are responsible, and I earnestly hope that they will reflect upon the deep and profound character of that responsibility, and that when we listen to the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, in his reply, we shall have reason to be satisfied that he has laid to heart the lessons of recent experience, that he appreciates the very profound wisdom of the remarks of my noble friend the noble Duke and the strength of his case, and that the Government will convince Irish public opinion now once and for ever that the authority of the Crown and the power of the British Government must be entirely and absolutely restored.

My Lords, I had no intention, until my noble friend was near the end of his speech, of intruding upon your Lordships any remarks, but there are one or two expressions which he used at the close of his speech which I could not entirely accept for myself, and I have no desire that the noble and learned Lord should, in replying, assume that there was no other view than that which is expressed by my noble friend Lord Salisbury.

I am not going on this occasion to recapitulate in any way what I think may be regarded as the responsibility of the Government for the present position, but I think that the noble Duke, in using the words which fell from the Prime Minister, that all this had come suddenly, has shown quite sufficiently what the pre-occupation of the Government has been on equally or more important topics, and how little some members of the Government have been able to appreciate the gradually growing rush and force of a revolutionary movement which has gone so far that there are many people in Ireland, who are the best friends of the British connection, who believe that that movement has got too far now to be resisted. It is not necessary for me to remind your Lordships how often from this Bench we have from every point of view urged that that state of affairs should be brought to an end. We are now, not at the eleventh hour, but at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute, and the reestablishment of British rule in Ireland is probably one of the most serious operations this country has ever undertaken, although I, for one, fully recognise the strength of the Prime Minister's assertion that a country which has just challenged the greatest military Power in the world successfully should not shrink from such an endeavour.

The point which I wish to make is this. While I fully agree with my noble friend as regards the absolute necessity of avoiding threatening force unless the Government are prepared to go right through with the use of force until they have restored law and order which should be done without delay, I do think that he has not stated what is the general feeling with regard to the position in which the Government find themselves with respect to what are called remedial measures. I have never liked the coupling of force with the promise of something which is to be immediately done, but I do not think my noble friend sufficiently allowed for the fact that you have a Bill at this moment before Parliament, a Bill far advanced in the House of Commons and a Bill of which even its authors will not say that they have any encouragement whatever to believe that any class in Ireland will be conciliated by carrying it out. That is really a blot on the present situation. If we were beginning afresh I could quite understand the noble Marquess getting up in this House and saying, "Your present business is to restore order; when that is done talk of what you will make the new constitution of the country so as to satisfy the legitimate aspirations, or what you regard as the legitimate aspirations, of those who wish for self-government."

The real difficulty at this moment is that you cannot ask people to cluster round you for support if you antagonise all of them by a measure of which none of them approve, and I would ask the noble and learned Lord to assure us this afternoon that the Government are fully conscious of the grave responsibility which lies upon them. The noble Duke said that there is a large section of people in Ireland who feel that they must live under some law, and that at this moment they are living under no law. If you want the support of those who have hitherto been opposed to the Government and to retain the support of those who have been and are supporters of British rule, you will be prepared, before you proceed with the measure that is now before the other House for the granting of self-government, to offer more generous terms than you have offered up to now. I make that statement not on my own responsibility but on behalf of many with whom I am associated. I hope that my noble friend will not suppose for a moment that what I am suggesting is that you should hand over, bound hand and foot, the supporters of the British connection to those who have been their implacable enemies. Nor do I suggest that you should be intimidated by murderers, but I do most earnestly suggest that what you are going to give must be something which is acceptable to the loyal classes as well as to the others. You will find, if you take a ballot of the loyal classes in Ireland at this moment as well as of those who have not hitherto been supporters of His Majesty's Government, that both classes desire that if there is to be a measure of Home Rule it should be framed on more generous lines than those on which the present Bill has been brought forward.

I therefore hope that my noble and learned friend, when he rises to reply, will be able to assure us that the situation will be brought to an end, and that while we shall see the re-establishment of law, we shall also see some provision made whereby the large number of persons who desire the British connection in Ireland to continue—and they are the majority of the people—may be enlisted on the side of law by the measure which His Majesty's Government brings in with the intention of satisfying the rights of Ireland.

My Lords, at an earlier period this evening I ventured to express on another subject this opinion, that there has hitherto been two policies in Ireland, one a policy of surrender and concession, the other a policy of firm administration of the law. So far as the speech of my noble friend who has just sat down differs from what I said then. I desire to say now that I entirely adhere to the views I have expressed. I agree with the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, that the first duty of the present Government is to insist above all other things on restoring law and order.

My Lords, the perplexities and the difficulties amid which we grope our way to-day cannot be more strikingly illustrated than by the divergence of view—to some extent real divergence of view— which even the closing moments of this debate exhibited between Lord Salisbury and Lord Midleton. Lord Chaplin has just reminded your Lordships that in his view the first duty of the Government was the restoration of law and order. I have frequently made the same observation, and I repeat it to-night. It is elementary. It has never been doubted by any member of the Government. All that can be dealt with is as to whether or not we have attained to much success in our task of restoring law and order—a topic about which I would ask leave to make hereafter some observations. Let me assure Lord Chaplin that there is no member of the Government, to whatever school of political thought in earlier days he belonged, who does not accept unreservedly the view that this is the first. task of the Government. The divergence of view between Lord Salisbury and Lord Midleton is notable. Lord Salisbury says that we ought to address ourselves to the restoration of law and order, and that we ought to address ourselves to no constructive task of any kind—

Until law and order is restored. Lord Midleton, on the other hand, has recommended—and I entirely assent to his view—that concurrently with the attempts to restore law and order, and without the slightest prejudice to the attempt to restore law and order, we shall discover whether the proposals for which at present we are responsible. can or cannot, without any sacrifice of principle, be made more acceptable to those to whom they are addressed. In that divergence of view to which I have referred there can be, in my judgment, no doubt that Lord Salisbury is wrong and that. Lord Midleton is right. With the exception of the noble Duke who made this Motion, I have gathered the impression from everyone who has spoken in this debate that there is a realisation that there are many men in Ireland to-day who are devoted to the cause of Irish self-government, and who have had no part of any sort or kind in violent crime. Many of them, it may be, are so intimidated that they cannot discharge their duties as jurymen, or will not discharge them, and will not run the risk involved to their lives by developing an active resistance to the campaign of murder and treason which is now going on all over Ireland.

I have had many opportunities, as other members of the Government have had, of acquainting myself with what is being thought by those who live in the south of Ireland, who are loyal to the British connection and who desire, equally with ourselves, that tolerable conditions should be restored in Ireland. I have heard very few who share the views which have been expressed by the noble Marquess in this House to-night. Let me make this abundantly plain. I have, I think, indicated it before, but it is a matter so fundamental to the argument that I would desire to state it beyond the possibility of any misunderstanding or of any misrepresentation. I do not believe that there is one member of this Cabinet who would retain his place and his responsibility as a Minister for one moment, if he were not satisfied that every coercive step was being taken, and would be taken, as necessity justified it, with the object of putting down these murders and assassinations and, so far as possible, bringing to justice those who are guilty of them. We are all agreed, and your Lordships may take it that we are all agreed, in the assertion of that policy. There has been, of course, profound and growing disappointment at our failure to carry out the expectations which, from time to time, have been expressed by those who are responsible, and the noble Marquess who, in these matters—entirely unlike himself in his private capacity—is not always too generous an opponent, has openly taunted members of the Government who sit on the Front Bench to-night. He has recalled, almost with an appearance of rhetorical satisfaction, the expectations which were genuinely entertained and which were expressed in debate by my noble friend the Leader of the House a year or two years ago.

The Leader of the House was too sanguine. Many of us, whether we have discharged Ministerial responsibility or whether we have only had to discharge the somewhat simpler duty of offering intermittent criticism of those who, in these terrible years, have discharged this responsibility—many of us, both those who have belonged to Governments and those who have attacked Governments, have been too sanguine. All his colleagues, including myself, shared his error. That we should be taunted as though we had shown incapacity or incompetence because we could not foresee the whole extent. of this development, is really a course which the noble Marquess, I think, ought not to pursue.

The noble Marquess asked a further question with an extreme exhibition of rhetoric. Pointing to the Government Front Bench, he said, "I should like to know what are the feelings of those who sit there—I do not speak of the Prime Minister, but those who sit there—those who are and have been our leaders, when they realise the state to which they have brought Ireland and the condition in which they find themselves to-day?" The noble Marquess obviously asked that question meaning something which the noble Duke said much more crudely. The noble Duke said that members of the Government must feel themselves involved to-day in shame and dishonour. Such words come with little grace from his lips. Those who are the members of the Government to-day, so far as I know them—I am speaking now of the period before the Armistice—faced as they have been by problems the intensity and the extent and the danger of which are well-known to all the House, have laboured incessantly to deal as best they could with the Irish situation. That they have made mistakes, I am not concerned to deny.

If the noble Marquess is so anxious to know what are the feelings of those who, at the period before the Armistice, were members of the Government, I suggest that he might conveniently consult Lord Robert Cecil. Lord Robert Cecil is a statesman of the greatest possible ability, experience, and patriotism. His devotion to the Union has never been impeached. During the whole period of the tenure of office as Chief Secretary of the present Lord Justice Duke (of whom the noble Marquess has thought it necessary to speak so contemptuously), unless I am mistaken, Lord Robert Cecil was, just as much as the Leader of the House, a colleague of Mr. Duke in the Cabinet, and therefore that source might be accessible to the noble Marquess for information as to how Unionist Ministers felt who shared the responsibility at that period.

If he feels inclined to carry his researches further, he can easily ascertain what are the feelings of Unionist leaders since the Armistice by consulting his most distinguished relative, Mr. Arthur, Balfour, who, of all living Englishmen, I will venture to say, by his record in history, will most command the confidence of the country in dealing with Irish problems. And when the noble Duke says the Government feel shame and dishonour, I say that to speak of statesmen like Mr. Walter Long and Mr. Arthur Balfour, who have grown grey in loyal service to the Union, and to say that they must be feeling, or ought to be feeling to-day, sentiments of shame and dishonour, is to use language which will be repudiated by the whole of the generations earlier than that of the noble Duke which fought with them, shared their successes and, at times, mourned their reverses.

We have so far failed. Nothing is to be gained by attempting to attenuate the extent or the gravity of that failure. We are challenged to-day by forces which can only, so far as their origin is concerned, be obscurely affiliated with the movement of which the noble Duke speaks with so much eloquence. I am not one to deny that Bolshevik influence and Bolshevik propaganda have played a great and growing part in the situation of Ireland. It is, on the contrary, obvious that they have played such a part. It would have been highly surprising if they had not played such a part, because it is almost elementary that in every part of the British Empire in which the opportunity for revolutionary activity has presented itself since the Armistice, and indeed for some considerable period before the Armistice, the revolutionary forces of the world, recognising, as one speaker quite truly said, that the traditional, historic home of stability and order in the world finds its centre and heart in these Islands, have exerted all their power and all their ingenuity to strike at these Islands, or any part of the outlying Dominions, where as it seems at the moment the most final and destructive blow might be aimed.

Undoubtedly India, Egypt and Ireland have been marked out by those who have set before themselves the object of effecting the world's subjugation and of gradually substituting for those varied and ordered systems of Government which civilisation has adopted for centuries, and which we believe the world has finally assented to, a rule of dictatorship by a few men, seizing by violence the reins of power and holding them when seized by continued acts of murder and violence. Such a scheme, as the noble Duke has pointed out, is undoubtedly in progress throughout the world. It has its supporters in every country in the world. It has its supporters in these Islands. It had many supporters in these Islands in the course of the Napoleonic Wars and in the anxious years of our history which immediately followed upon the Battle of Waterloo.

I pass to the Motion which the noble Duke has put forward. He has moved to resolve—
"That this House deplores the failure of the Government to warn the public of the true character of the revolutionary movement in Ireland, and of the international influences that are behind it—"
That is the first limb of the noble Duke's Motion. The second is in these terms—
"and urges them to appeal for the united support of the nation in this crisis"
If the noble Duke's Motion had been limited to its closing words, "that the House urges the Government to appeal for the united support of the nation in this crisis," there is no member of this House who would not have warmly welcomed it, and who would have not stated the view that the noble Duke had rendered a great public service in once again directing attention to this matter. But when I address myself to the first limb of this Motion I find that, the House is invited to pass a vote of censure upon the Government because they have failed to warn the public of the true character of the revolutionary movement in Ireland. I have no means of judging what course your Lordships will think it proper to take, but I confess I should be sorry if your Lordships thought this was a proper justification for passing a Vote of censure upon the Government, or if I thought—and I am sure that this will count much more in your minds—that any useful public service would be served if at this crisis in our fortunes your Lordships, who share equally with the Government the desire to maintain or restore law and order, should be exhibited as voting in one Lobby, while the Government, who have these responsibilities to bear, are voting in the other. I say, in passing, that I doubt Whether any great public purpose would be served by such a demonstration. I doubt still more whether the slightest justification in fact exists for your Lordships taking such a course.

I do not know whether the noble Duke, who has had the good fortune to labour under somewhat less responsibility since the Peace than some of us, has reflected in cool perspective upon the matters which he says the Government ought to have done. The Government, apparently, ought to have warned the public of the true character of the revolutionary movement in Ireland. Enough has been said in the course of the debate to show that any such statement as the noble Duke desires would certainly have been very crude and, I venture to think, by no means accurate. It simply is not true to say that the whole Irish movement is Bolshevist in its character. Such a statement has no contact with known and admitted facts.

I listened to the noble Duke with deep attention, and I and subsequent speakers who commented on the same fact certainly derived the impression that the noble Duke meant to imply that the movement in Ireland at this moment was overwhelmingly Bolshevist in its character. The noble Duke certainly meant that it was revolutionary in its object.

The noble Duke says it is controlled by the. Bolshevist element, but he must mean a little more than that, because he actually proposed to censure the Government because we have not warned the public of the true character of the revolutionary movement in Ireland. I take the view that the particular gang who are devoting themselves to the purposes of murder in Ireland are entirely revolutionary in their motives, and it may well be that they are being financed with money which is supplied from Bolshevist sources. These things are very difficult to prove, because the degree of cunning and ingenuity which are exercised in avoiding detection are very remarkable. But I am quite prepared to take the view that, so far as the criminals and those who directly protect the criminals are concerned, their activities have a revolutionary and a Bolshevist origin, and that many of their funds are derived from Bolshevist sources. But I cannot quite understand what it is that the noble Duke thinks that the Government ought to have done which they have not done. I have been under the painful duty—the recurrently painful duty—of attempting to justify that which the Government has done and has left undone, and the tragedy of that which happens every week makes such a task recurrently painful. I can truthfully say that, having represented the Government in this House for now a period of some nineteen months, I have never, so far as I know, spoken upon the Irish question without making plain, with every language of emphasis that was at my command, how grave I thought the situation was. And I have more than once gone out of my way to manufacture an occasion, when some Bill apparently insignificant but dealing with Ireland was under discussion to rise and render the debate more general in its scope.

The noble Duke—it was unlike him, for it was hardly generous—said, speaking about the Prime Minister, there was a time when a policy was to be developed of robbing hen-roosts, when the Prime Minister could go all over the country and exhibit his persuasive eloquence to the masses, but that was when it was a question—I forget the exact words, but the suggestion undoubtedly was of toadying to Labour. I do not think the noble Duke could have employed that language if he had reflected upon the burdens which the Prime Minister has borne in the course of the last three or four years. And if the noble Duke did not think it right to remember how great and how unceasing were those burdens during the whole course of the war I think he might still have remembered what their extent has been since the day on which the Armistice was signed. Surely the noble Duke has not failed to see that one day the presence of the Prime Minister is imperatively demanded at Spa; on another occasion M. Millerand, responding to the desire and the conviction of the whole French nation that they must yet again meet immediately, comes to Boulogne and the Prime Minister must go there; and then he goes again on the Continent leaving to others decisions and responsibilities, and immediately on his return he must be confronted by deputations, and must meet and justify his policy in the House of Commons. When the noble Duke, in contrast with the activities of the Prime Minister when he was merely Chancellor of the Exchequer in pre-war days and when he was developing and justifying a political policy to the nation, says that he ought to go and address political meetings in this country now, and apparently founds a censure upon it, I must confess it seems to me a very astonishing suggestion.

I may add this, that if the noble Duke means that we have not employed every resource which is open to us in the Press to make it known how gravely we think this situation, the noble Duke is again in error. Our resources in the Press, so far as 1 am in a position to form a judgment, are by no means universal in their scope. But as I have had the duty for some considerable time of being a member of the Committee which was called into existence by the Cabinet some time ago in order to keep in touch with the Irish Government and to make any suggestions that occurred to us—a responsibility which I share with the First Lord of the Admiralty and Mr. Arthur Balfour—it is a point on which I have some knowledge, and I may assure the noble Duke that every effort it has been in our power to make to persuade the Press to bring home to the people of this country the gravity of the situation in which we find ourselves, has been made; nothing has been left undone. I am sure the noble Duke reads the speeches that are made in the House of Commons, and I recollect no occasion since Mr. Macpherson became Chief Secretary the period when this crisis began to make itself felt on which there has been the slightest attempt made in the House of Commons to conceal the gravity of the menace by which we are confronted in Ireland to-day. That has not been challenged even in the alarmist speeches which we have heard to-day.

My Lords, I speak quite plainly when I say that in my judgment our capacity to maintain the security and integrity of this Empire, and therefore our capacity to retain all the glory, all the security, all the material advantage of which this treaty affords us a prospect—all these will be lost if we are unable to make it plain that we are the masters of our own house in Ireland, that we will again restore and make effective the King's Courts, and that we will bring murderers and assassins to justice. I say plainly that it should be accounted to us as failure every day until that task is achieved, and a cause for a feeling of immense depression if we finally fail. But let us hear nothing of shame and dishonour when the only fault that the noble Duke asserts on the Paper is the failure of the Government to warn the public of the true character of the revolutionary movement in Ireland. Be this remembered by those who are very much concerned—I am not speaking of your Lordships, who have been very indulgent during a very trying period—and who have been very ready to criticise the Government elsewhere, that after all the justification of such criticism must depend entirely upon the difficulty of the task with which the Government has been confronted. It is a task so difficult that, so far as my knowledge of history goes, no civilised Government in the whole world has ever been faced with a difficulty of this kind upon quite so large a scale. What is the difficulty? The noble Duke said tonight that there is a state of war. That is entirely wrong; there is a state of onesided war. If it was a state of war the problem would indeed be simple of solution. But what happens now to the Ministers of the Government in Ireland? Every adherent of this criminal conspiracy holds himself to be at liberty, by virtue of the superstition shared by the noble Duke that there is a state of war, to shoot every policeman and every English soldier the moment he meets him. But how about the English soldiers and the policemen who, on the hypothesis that there is a state of war, can give a very good account of themselves? If there is even a suspicion that a policeman or an English soldier has retaliated there is a scream throughout all Southern Ireland, and a coroner's jury brings in a verdict of murder against the Constabulary and the Prime Minister. That is not war.

The noble Duke made no allowance for the nature of the task with which the Executive is confronted for the first time in history, a task that Imperial Rome herself never had to face. Your Lordships will remember many cases of the shooting of brave men by those who are their own fellow-countrymen, particularly that of a Roman Catholic who was killed at the very moment when he put the sacrificial water upon his brow. If he finds people who are fiendish enough to do those kind of things, to do them in lonely streets and villages, choosing their own time, the noble Duke must not turn to any Government—I care not whether it is this Government, or their successors—and say that because they have not put this down, because they have not succeeded in dealing with mischief which no civilised Executive has ever had to face in the history of the world, therefore they must be branded with shame and dishonour. It seems to me we might have looked for a little sympathy from the noble Duke and for a few practical suggestions in a speech which consumed, and which we were all very glad should consume, over an hour of your Lordships time. It is by no means time thrown away, but I should have thought that in the course of so exhaustive a contribution to this debate he might have let fall at least one sentence which the Chief Secretary for Ireland, harrassed as he is, living amid daily and growing peril as he is, might have carried with him back to Dublin when he leaves to-day or tomorrow or whenever it may be. He might have said something of which the Chief Secretary could say, "I read a speech by the Duke of Northumberland which took over an hour to deliver, and 1 am glad I read it so carefully because he has made at least three or four practical suggestions from which I shall derive great help, or some help, in alleviation of that task in which daily and hourly I risk my life."

I listened to the speech of the noble Duke—I did not miss a sentence or a word of it—and I would ask any one of your Lordships who reads it to-morrow to find in it one helpful word in the task and in the perplexities which confront the Government to-day. Let me tell the noble Duke and others who are enthusiastic how they could help the Government more, I think, than by delivering historic or political disquisitions on matters on which generalisations are extremely unsafe. For instance, it is extremely unsafe when the noble Duke quotes a speech made by the head of a great trade union in circumstances of which I know nothing, and then asks your Lordships to label the whole of that trade union on the strength of that individual speech. To suppose, because Mr. Smillie makes a speech on one occasion, that it represents the views of the whole of the trade union of which Mr. Smillie is the head—

I did not say that. I mentioned the executive of the Miners' Federation particularly. I did not say trade union.

Even so, and put in that way, I think the statement made by the noble Duke is inaccurate. When Mr. Smillie makes a speech it is fair to assume, and it very likely corresponds with the facts, that it represents the views of the executive, but in the face of the generalisation which the noble Duke made I do not think he is correct. Your Lordships must remember, as the Marquess of Crewe said, and I am very glad he did, the immense encouragement which was given by the action of the members of trade unions in the course of the crisis in which we have been placed in the last five years. The difficulty in regard to these very coal miners was not to persuade them to recruit but to prevent them from recruiting, to prevent them weakening the coal trade.

It is due to the spirit and tradition of our race to say that, however grave this crisis may be, we must not make ourselves the slaves of pessimism. In the last five years we have passed through moments of very great danger. There was a moment when it was believed, by persons highly placed in our combatant services, that we could not survive the perils of the submarine campaign. At a later stage many who were competent to offer advice believed that the fortunes of battle on the Western Front must end in our destruction. The destiny of this people proved itself able to support these grave perils, and the true heart of this strong people never failed at these critical moments.

I have affirmed in your Lordships House before, and I affirm it again, that if the people of this country realised the character and extent of the crime which prevails in Ireland—the great service which those who possess the ability and the power of clear expression can render would be to help us to do what we have exhausted every effort to do, that is make it known to the men of this country, the officers who served in the late war: there are many young officers whose valour has been asserted on many fields and whose health, happily, is still unimpaired—if they realised that in fighting there, and in supporting the members of the police there, they are sustaining and supporting the cause of the Empire as directly as in the trenches in France, I cannot doubt that there would be sufficient response. The Prime Minister said, in answer to the deputation, that we want thousands. Let it be made widely known that we want thousands; that there is a career of gallant service to the Empire to be rendered by men who will say, "Irishmen are being foully done to death by assassins in Ireland. I will go and help them." There is no limit to the numbers we will take, and no limit to the services which they can render. I cannot help thinking that, while no one will regret this debate which the noble Duke has initiated, your Lordships will hesitate, in the light of the observations I have ventured to make, before even presenting the appearance of adding to the embarrassments which confront the Irish Government to-day.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.