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Title: A Leap in the Dark - A Criticism of the Principles of Home Rule as Illustrated by the - Bill of 1893
Author: Dicey, Albert Venn, 1835-1922
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Leap in the Dark - A Criticism of the Principles of Home Rule as Illustrated by the - Bill of 1893" ***

_Reprinted_ _June_ 1893
THIRD EDITION _January_ 1912



K.C., HON. D.C.L.





This book is not a disquisition on the details of the Home Rule Bill. It
is an examination into the leading principles of the Bill with a view to
establishing two conclusions. The first is, that the Home Rule Bill,
though nominally a measure for the government of Ireland, contains in
reality a New Constitution for the whole United Kingdom. The second is,
that this New Constitution must work injury both to England and to
Ireland, and instead of 'closing a controversy of seven hundred years,
opens a constitutional revolution. The whole aim, in short, of the book
is by the collection together of arguments which separately have been
constantly used by Unionist statesmen, to warn the people of England
against a leap in the dark.


OXFORD: _May_ 1893.



Home Rule Bill a New Constitution for United Kingdom, p. 1.--The present
constitution, p. 2: 1. Effective authority of Parliament throughout
United Kingdom, p. 2: Distinction between supremacy of Parliament in
United Kingdom and supremacy of Parliament in Colonies, p. 4: 2. Absence
of federalism, p. 6: The New Constitution, p. 8: 1. Abolition in Ireland
of effective authority of Imperial Parliament, ib.: 2. Introduction of
federalism, p. 13.--Features of federalism, p. 15: Restrictions on Irish
(State) Parliament, ib.: Imperial (federal) Parliament, ib.: Means for
enforcement of federal compact, ib.: Recognition of federal spirit, p.
17.--Importance of change in constitution, p. 19.--The New Constitution
an unknown constitution, p. 19.


The four essential characteristics of the New Constitution, p.
21.--Supremacy of Parliament maintained, p. 22.--What is meaning of
supremacy of Imperial Parliament? p. 23: What it does not mean, ib.:
What it does mean, p. 24.--Real effect of reserved supremacy, p.
28.--Peril arising from ambiguity of supremacy of Parliament, p.
30.--Retention of Irish members at Westminster, p. 32.--Change of
Gladstonian opinion, p. 33.--Presence of the Irish members involves ruin
to Ireland, pp. 33, 34.--Mr. John Morley's opinion, p. 39.--Weakness of
England, p, 41. Mr. Morley's opinion, p. 41.--Manner in which England
weakened, p. 43: 1. Irish vote determines composition of British
Cabinet, ib.: 2. System of Cabinet Government destroyed, p. 45: 3. Irish
members changed into an Irish delegation, p. 46: 4. British Parliament
not freed from Irish questions, p. 47.--Inducements to accept plan, p.
48.--Maintenance of Imperial supremacy, p. 49.--English management of
English affairs, ib.--England does not really obtain management of
English affairs, ib.--Minority tempted to unfairness, p. 51.--Minority,
without intentional unfairness, may be oppressive, p. 52.--Plan of
retaining Irish members for all purposes, p. 53.--Comparison with power
hitherto held by or offered to Great Britain, p. 55.--Authority of
England before 1782, p. 55.--Authority of England under Grattan's
Constitution, p. 56.--Authority of England since the Union, p.
57.--Authority offered to England under Bill of 1886, p. 58.--Why should
England accept in 1893 a worse bargain than was offered her in 1886? p.
59: Two alleged reasons, p. 60: First reason, Retention of Irish members
concession to Unionists, p. 60: Futility of plea, ib.: Second reason,
England will not suffer any greater evil than she does at present, p.
63: Answer. Fallacy of statement, ib.--Explanation of Gladstonian
policy, p. 65.--Powers of Irish Government, p. 66: I. Irish Executive,
ib.: Importance of Executive, p. 68: Powers of Irish Executive, p. 68:
Position of military forces, p. 74: II. The Irish Parliament, p. 73: Its
power to appoint the Irish Government, ib.: Its legislative power, p.
76.--Legislation in opposition to English policy, p 78.--Power to pass
resolutions, p. 79.--The Restrictions, etc, p. 80: I. Their nature, ib.:
1. No restriction on power of Executive, p. 83: 2. No prohibition of
Acts of Indemnity, ib.: 3. No prohibition of _ex post facto_ law, p. 84:
4. No safeguard against violation of contract, p. 85: II. Enforcement of
Restrictions, p. 88.--The Veto, p. 88.--The Privy Council, p. 90.--Power
to nullify Irish Acts, ib.--Power as final Court of Appeal to treat
Irish Acts as void, p. 91.--How arrangement will work, p.
94.--Presumptions on which working of Constitutions depends false, p.
97: 1. Presumption that restrictions do not irritate, p. 98: Its
falsehood, ib.--Financial arrangements certain to cause discontent, p.
100.--The Customs, ib.--Charges in favour of England on Ireland, p.
102.--Irish objection to financial proposals, p. 103.--Presumption that
Ireland cannot nullify Restrictions. Its falsehood, p. 104.--Summary of
criticism, p. 110.


New Constitution is intended to be final settlement of Irish Question,
p. 112: But will not settle Irish Question for three reasons, p. 113: I.
New Constitution does not satisfy Ireland or England, ib.: Ireland not
satisfied, ib.: New Constitution detested by influential minority, p.
114: Irish Home Rulers not wholly satisfied, p. 115: New Constitution
will cause discontent of whole Irish people, p. 118: England not
satisfied, p. 119: 2. New Constitution rests on unsound foundation, p.
121: Belfast subjected to Dublin, p. 122: England subjected to Ireland,
p. 123: 3. New Constitution based on ambiguity, p. 125.--The nature of
the ambiguity, ib.--The result of the ambiguity, ib. The New
Constitution cannot last, p. 127.--Irish discontent leading either to
Federation or Separation, p. 128.--English discontent threatens
reaction, p. 130.


Gladstonian apology, p. 132.--As to general considerations, ib.--General
Gladstonian objections, ib.: I. Strictures are prophecy, p. 133: 2.
Anomalies already exist in English Constitution, p. 135.--As to specific
arguments for Home Rule, p. 138.--Necessity, p. 138.--Argument for
necessity, ib.--Answer: argument invalid, 140.--Premises unsound, p.
141.--Premises do not support conclusion, p. 145.--No necessity for
Home Rule, ib.--True meaning of necessity forgotten, p. 146.--No danger,
p. 148: I. Safeguards, p. 149: Their unreality, ib.: 2. Grattan's
Constitution, ib.: No precedent, p. 150: 3. Success of Home Rule in
other countries, p. 152.--Instances of 'Home Rule' which need not be
considered, ib.--Cases of 'Home Rule' which require consideration, p.
154.--Federal Government, p. 155.--Colonial independence, p.
156.--Neither federal government nor colonial independence compatible
with the authority required in Ireland by Imperial Government, p.
157.--Weakness of law in case of federation, p. 158.--Weakness of law in
case of colonies, pp. 161, 162.--Policy of trust, p. 163.--Trust in
Irish leaders impossible, p. 164.--History of the Irish agitators, p.
164.--Gladstonian guarantee of trustworthiness worthless, p. 167.--Trust
in teaching of power, 169.--Answer. Fallacy exposed by Mr. Bryce,
ib.--Trust in the people and effect of Home Rule, p. 171.--Answer.
Political changes do not ensure content, pp. 171, 172.--Gladstonian
pleas are pleas for policy of Home Rule, but not pleas for new
Constitution, p. 173.


The impending danger, p. 175.--Peril concealed by trust in Mr.
Gladstone, ib.--Peril concealed by peculiar condition of opinion, p.
178.--The path of safety and true policy, p. 180.--Policy of
seriousness, ib.--Seriousness of question at issue, ib.--Danger of civil
war, p. 181.--Policy of simplicity, p. 183.--Strenuous opposition to
Bill, ib.--Cry of obstruction futile, p. 184.--Details not to be made
too prominent, p. 185.--No appearance of concession allowable, p.
186.--Policy of appeal to the nation, p. 187.--House of Lords must
ensure dissolution, ib.--House of Lords may be called upon to enforce
Referendum, p. 188.--Conclusion, p. 191.



     1. Establishment of Irish Legislature, p. 197--2. Powers of Irish
     Legislature, ib.--3. Exceptions from powers of Irish Legislature,
     ib.--4. Restrictions on powers of Irish Legislature, p. 198.--5.
     Executive power in Ireland, ib.--6. Composition of Irish
     Legislative Council, p. 199.--7. Composition of Irish Legislative
     Assembly, ib.--8. Disagreement between two Houses, how settled, p.
     200.--9. Representation in Parliament of Irish counties and
     boroughs, ib.--10. As to separate Consolidated Fund and Taxes, p.
     201.--11. Hereditary revenues and income tax, p. 202.--12.
     Financial arrangements as between United Kingdom and Ireland, p.
     203.--13. Treasury Account (Ireland), ib.--14. Charges on Irish
     Consolidated Fund, p. 204.--15. Irish Church Fund, p. 205.--16.
     Local loans, ib.--17. Adaptation of Acts as to Local Taxation
     Accounts and Probate, etc., duties, ib.--18. Money bills and votes,
     p. 206.--19. Exchequer judges for revenue actions, election
     petitions, etc., ib.--20. Transfer of post office and postal
     telegraphs, p. 207.--21. Transfer of savings banks, p. 208.--22.
     Irish appeals, p. 209.--23. Special provision for decision of
     constitutional questions, ib.--24. Office of Lord Lieutenant, p.
     210.--25. Use of Crown lands by Irish Government, ib.--26. Tenure
     of future judges, ib.--27. As to existing judges and other persons
     having salaries charged on the Consolidated Fund, ib.--28. As to
     persons holding civil service appointments, p. 211.--29. As to
     existing pensions and superannuation allowances, p. 212.--30. As to
     Police, ib.--31. Irish Exchequer Consolidated Fund and Audit, p.
     213.--32. Law applicable to both Houses of Irish Legislature,
     ib.--33. Supplemental provisions as to powers of Irish
     Legislature, ib.--34. Limitation of borrowing by local authorities,
     p. 214.--35. Temporary restriction on powers of Irish Legislature
     and Executive, ib.--36. Transitory provisions, ib.--37. Continuance
     of existing laws, courts, officers, etc., p. 216.--38. Appointed
     day, ib.--39. Definitions, ib.--40. Short title, p. 217.

SCHEDULES                                     218-223

1. Legislative Council                        218
2. Irish Members in the House of Commons      220
3. Finance                                    222


Irish Unionists have pressed for a republication of _A Leap in the
Dark_. They hold that it will be of some service in their resistance to
the Coalition of Home Rulers, Socialists, and Separatists formed to
force upon the people of England and of Scotland a virtual dissolution
of the Union between Great Britain and Ireland. It would in any case
have been a pleasure to afford aid, however small, to the Irish
Unionists, whether Protestants or Catholics, engaged in the defence at
once of their own birthright and of the political unity of the United
Kingdom. Yet for a moment I doubted whether the republication of a
forgotten criticism of a forgotten Bill would be of essential service to
my friends. On reflection, however, I have come to see that, though the
Unionists of Ireland probably overrate the practical value of my book,
yet their hope of its serving the cause whereof they are the most
valiant defenders is based on sound reasons.

_A Leap in the Dark_ is a stringent criticism of the Home Rule Bill,
1893.[1] But the book has little to do with the details and intricacies
of that Bill. _A Leap in the Dark_ was published before the Home Rule
Bill of 1893 had reached the House of Lords, or had assumed that final
form, which made patent to the vast majority of British electors that a
measure which purported to give a limited amount of independence to
Ireland, in reality threatened England with political ruin. My criticism
is therefore in truth an attack upon the fundamental principles of Home
Rule, as advocated by Gladstone and his followers eighteen years ago.
These principles, moreover, have never been repudiated by the Home
Rulers of to-day. Some members of the present Cabinet, notably the Prime
Minister and Lord Morley, were the apologists of the Bill of 1893. In
that year _A Leap in the Dark, or Our New Constitution_, was, I venture
to say, accepted by leading Unionists, such as Lord Salisbury, the Duke
of Devonshire, Mr. Balfour, Mr. Chamberlain, Sir Henry James (now Lord
James of Hereford), as, in the main, an adequate representation of the
objections which, in the judgment of such men and thousands of
Unionists, were fatal to the acceptance of any scheme whatever of Home
Rule for Ireland. The battle over Home Rule lasting, as it did for
years, and ending with the complete victory of the Unionists, has been
forgotten by or has never become known to the mass of the present
electors. It is well that they should be reminded of the solid grounds
for the rejection by the Lords of the Home Rule Bill of 1893. It is well
that they should be reminded that this rejection was in 1895 ratified by
the approval of the electorate of the United Kingdom _A Leap in the
Dark_ will assuredly remind my readers that in 1893 the hereditary House
of Lords, and not the newly elected House of Commons, truly represented
the will of the nation. This is a fact never to be forgotten. It is of
special import at the present moment. Another equally undoubted fact
deserves attention. Home Rulers themselves despair of carrying a Home
Rule Bill until they shall have turned the Parliament Bill into the
Parliament Act, 1911, and my readers ought never to forget that the
passing of the Parliament Bill into law destroys, and is meant to
destroy, every security against the passing of any Home Rule Bill
whatever which the present majority of the House of Commons choose to
support. This gives an ominous significance to the obstinate refusal of
the Government to alter or amend any of the material enactments
contained in this ill-starred measure. _A Leap in the Dark_, combined
with a knowledge of the Parliament Bill and the legislative dictatorship
with which it invests the existing Coalition, suggests at least four
conclusions which must at all costs be forced at this moment upon the
attention of the nation. They may be thus summed up:

     _First_.--If the Parliament Bill passes into law the existing
     majority of the House of Commons will be able to force, and will
     assuredly in fact force, through Parliament any Home Rule Bill
     whatever (even were it the Home Rule Bill of 1893), which meets
     with the approval of Mr. Redmond, and obtains the acquiescence of
     the rest of the Coalition.

     The Coalition need not fear any veto of the House of Lords. There
     will be no necessity for an appeal to the electors, or in other
     words to the nation. The truth of this statement is indisputable.
     The legal right of the majority of the House of Commons to pass any
     bill whatever into law, even though the House of Lords refuse its
     assent, is absolutely secured by the very terms of the Parliament
     Bill. That the leaders of the Coalition, such as Mr. Asquith, the
     Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Mr. John Redmond, will press their
     legal right to its extreme limits is proved to any man who knows
     how to read the teaching of history, by the experience of 1893. Mr.
     Gladstone used every power he possessed, and used it
     unscrupulously, to drive a Home Rule Bill through the House of
     Commons. He was a man trained in the historical traditions of
     Parliament. He assuredly did not relish the use of the closure and
     the guillotine. He was supported in the Commons by a very narrow
     majority, never I think exceeding forty-eight, and often falling
     below that number. The power of the party system, or as Americans
     say, the "Machine," was admittedly much less in 1893 than it has
     become in 1911. Yet Mr. Gladstone used such power as he possessed
     to the utmost. He hurried through the House of Commons a Bill
     which had not in fact received the assent of the nation. He made
     the freest use of every device for curtailing freedom of debate. A
     large and most important portion of the Home Rule Bill was not
     discussed at all in the Commons. And this Bill contained
     provisions, not appearing in its original form, for the retention
     of eighty Irish members at Westminster with full authority to take
     part in every kind of legislation which might be laid before
     Parliament; though Mr. Gladstone himself held the fairness to
     England of this provision dubious[2] and Mr. (now Lord) Morley had
     in 1886 demonstrated by reasoning which to my mind is absolutely
     conclusive that under a system of Home Rule the presence of Irish
     representatives in the Imperial Parliament at Westminster would
     work fatal injury to Ireland and gross injustice to England.[3] Can
     any man able to draw from political precedents their true meaning
     believe that Mr. Asquith, and the allies who are his masters, will
     be more scrupulous in forcing the next Home Rule Bill through the
     House of Lords than was Mr. Gladstone in forcing the Home Rule Bill
     of 1893 through the House of Commons? Mr. Asquith is supported by a
     large though incongruous majority. His almost avowed aim in pushing
     the Parliament Bill, unchanged and unchangeable, through the Houses
     of Parliament is to force the Home Rule Bill on the people of Great
     Britain against their will. Hesitation to make use of this
     dictatorial authority, should he ever obtain it, will to himself
     mean political ruin; to his English supporters it will seem
     political pusillanimity; by his Irish confederates it will be
     denounced as breach of faith and treachery. As certainly as night
     follows day the passing of the Parliament Act will be succeeded by
     the attempted passing of a Home Rule Act.

     _Secondly_.--Mr. Redmond and the Home Rulers, or Separatists, of
     whom he is the leader, will exact under any Home Rule Bill of say
     1912 or 1913, at lowest, every advantage which was demanded by
     Irish Nationalists in 1893.

     Why, in the name of common sense, when Irish Nationalists are
     absolute masters of the situation, should they demand lower payment
     for their support than was offered to them twenty years ago when
     the Home Rule majority was every day losing strength, when every
     one knew that nothing but the show of moderation gave the slightest
     chance of a Home Rule Bill escaping the veto of the House of Lords,
     when every one, except perhaps Mr. Gladstone, foresaw that the next
     General Election would give to Unionists a crushing majority? Every
     advantage conceded in 1893 to Irish Separatists at the expense of
     England will assuredly reappear in one form or another in the next
     Home Rule Bill. Thus Ireland will, we may anticipate, under the
     next Home Rule Bill send to the Parliament at Westminster at least
     eighty members armed with the fullest legislative authority, so
     that, to revive the language current eighteen years ago, Ireland
     will govern and tax England whilst England will retain no right
     either to govern or to tax Ireland.

     _Thirdly_.--Every question to which in 1893 Gladstonians could
     discover no answer satisfactory to Unionists or to the electorate
     of Great Britain requires an answer in 1911 as much as in 1893. The
     answer favourable to Home Rule has not as yet been discovered.

     Is it possible to combine the effective supremacy of the Imperial
     Parliament with Home Rule or the substantial legislative
     independence of Ireland? Can Ireland, close to the shore of Great
     Britain, occupy the position of a self-governing colony, such as
     New Zealand, divided from Great Britain by thousands of miles of
     sea? Is it possible to create, or even to imagine, a Court which
     shall decide whether a law passed by the Irish Parliament violates
     the provisions of the proposed Home Rule Act? Above all, can the
     wit of man devise any scheme of constitution which shall at once
     satisfy the aspirations of Irish Nationalism and the patently just
     demand of Ulster that Protestants shall retain the freedom and the
     rights secured to them as citizens of the United Kingdom? Is there
     any form of Home Rule which will satisfy the desire of Irish
     Nationalists for something approaching national independence
     without the urgent peril of rousing civil war between Ulster and
     the Parliament at Dublin? All these inquiries, and others like
     them, harassed the Parliament of 1893; they were all answered by
     Unionists, that is by the majority of the British electors, with a
     decided negative; they will all be raised and will all need an
     answer when the leaders of the Coalition condescend to produce
     their next Home Rule Bill or even to reveal its fundamental

     _Fourthly_.--England in the circumstances of to-day is threatened
     with two perils which did not exist in 1893, and yet are of
     stupendous gravity.

     The first is, that in the case of a measure of Home Rule the
     opportunities for discussing its provisions which are contained in
     the Parliament Bill may turn out nominal rather than real. It is
     not at all certain that for such a Bill, even though it be abhorred
     by the electorate of the United Kingdom, the House of Lords will be
     practically able to secure the delay and elaborate discussion to
     which Mr. Asquith professedly attaches immense importance.
     Unionists will believe that the measure passed by a large majority
     of the House of Commons is detested by the majority of the British
     electors. But how will it be possible to carry on the government of
     Ireland, to maintain order, or to save a loyal minority from gross
     oppression after a Home Rule Bill applauded by Separatists has been
     passed through the House of Commons, and for the first time has
     been rejected by the House of Lords? Every official in Ireland,
     down from the Lord Lieutenant to the last newly appointed member of
     the Irish Constabulary, every Irishman loyal or disloyal, will know
     that the Bill will within a year or two become law and that Irish
     Nationalists will control the Parliament and the government of
     Ireland. Will not the House of Lords be urged by every alleged
     consideration of good sense and humanity to close without delay a
     period of uncertainty which is threatening to turn into a reign of
     anarchy or of terror? The question supplies its own answer. The
     second peril is one whereof nobody speaks, but which must occur to
     any man who has studied the history of the past eighteen years or
     reflects upon the condition of public opinion. The peril, to put
     the matter plainly, is that Home Rulers will not stop at attaining
     Home Rule for Ireland, and that they may, and probably will,
     attempt to undermine the political predominance of England.
     Everything points in this direction. The agitation for Home Rule
     has fostered in Ireland, and to a very limited extent in certain
     other parts of the United Kingdom, a feeling approaching to
     jealousy of English power. England or Great Britain is the
     predominant partner. England is wealthy, England is prosperous.
     England, as the language of common life imports, is the leading
     member of the United Kingdom. Lord Rosebery announced with wise
     foresight that Home Rule in Ireland could hardly be established
     with benefit to the United Kingdom until the assent thereto of the
     predominant partner had been obtained by force of argument. The
     idea was grounded on common sense. Will it not suggest to Irish
     Nationalists that their moment of authority must be used for
     obtaining far greater privileges for Ireland than the extravagant
     political power offered by Gladstonians in 1893? Is it not natural
     for Home Rulers to think that the predominant partner ought to be
     deprived of his predominance? The conduct of the Coalition and some
     of its leaders points in this direction. They will have obtained
     through the Parliament Act temporary, but strictly unlimited and
     dictatorial, power. They will have obtained it by intrigue; they
     have rejected and treated with scorn the idea of an appeal to the
     people. They have claimed, not for Parliament but for the existing
     House of Commons, an absolute legislative power superior to that of
     the nation, a power which I assert with confidence is not possessed
     by the elected Assemblies of the United States, or of the French
     Republic, or of the Swiss Confederation: And by a strange
     combination of circumstances one method for depriving the
     predominant partner of legitimate authority may seem to a Home
     Ruler to lie near at hand. Raise the cry of 'Home Rule all round,'
     or of 'Federalise the British Empire.' Turn England into one State
     of a great federation, let Wales be another, Scotland a third, the
     Channel Islands a fourth, and for aught I know the Isle of Man a
     fifth. Let the self-governing Colonies, and British India, send
     deputies to the Imperial or Federal Parliament. You may thus for a
     moment, under the pretence of uniting the Empire, not only divide
     the United Kingdom, but deprive England or Great Britain, in form
     at least, of that political supremacy and predominance which is the
     real bond of union and peace not only throughout the United
     Kingdom, but also throughout the length and breadth of the British
     Empire. I do not tremble for the power--the lawful and legitimate
     power--of England. Political devices, however crafty, break down
     whenever they are opposed to the nature of things. I know that
     unity is increasing throughout the Empire not through the cunning
     or the statecraft of politicians, but through the whole course of
     events. One part of our Imperial system becomes daily under the
     effect of railways, steamers, telegraphs, and the like, nearer and
     nearer to every other part. The sentiment of unity which is more
     valuable than any law aiming at formal federation each year gains
     strength. What I do fear and insist upon is the danger that a
     legislative dictatorship conferred on a party, and therefore
     necessarily taken away from the nation, should be employed in the
     attempt, vain though it ultimately must be, to deprive the
     predominant partner of a predominance requisite for the maintenance
     both of the United Kingdom and of the British Empire.

The four reflections at any rate which may be suggested by _A Leap in
the Dark_ are well worth the consideration of the loyal citizens of the
United Kingdom.



[1] Its technical title as given in the Bill is the Irish Government
Act, 1893.

[2] See _Annual Register_, 1893 (New Series), p. 180.

[3] See especially pp. 39, 40, 41-43 _post._



[4] My readers are earnestly recommended to study Mr. Cambray's _Irish
Affairs and the Home Rule Question_. It brings the history of the Home
Rule movement well up to date, and strengthens almost every argument
against Home Rule to be found in _A Leap in the Dark._ The notes in
square brackets are new.



The Home Rule Bill[5] contains a New Constitution for the whole United

The Bill bears on its face that its object is 'to amend the provision
for the Government of Ireland'; it is entitled 'The Irish Government
Act, 1893'; it is in popular language known as the Home Rule Bill. But
all these descriptions are misleading. It is in truth a measure which
affects the government alike of England, of Scotland, and of Ireland.
It changes, to some extent the form, but to a far greater extent the
working, and the spirit of all our institutions. It is a bold attempt to
form a new constitution for the whole United Kingdom; it subverts the
very bases of the existing constitution of England.

The present constitution of the United Kingdom is marked and has long
been marked by two essential characteristics, the one positive and the
other negative.

The positive characteristic is the absolute and effective authority of
the Imperial Parliament throughout the length and breadth of the United

To this characteristic Englishmen are so accustomed that they hardly
recognise its full importance. A government may make its power felt in
three different ways--by the action of the Executive, including under
that head all the agents of the Executive, such as the judiciary and the
armed forces--by legislation--and by the levying of taxes. Take any of
these tests of authority, and it will be found that the British
Parliament is not only theoretically, but actually and effectively,
supreme throughout the whole of Great Britain and Ireland. The Cabinet
is virtually appointed by the Houses of Parliament; the army, the
judges, the magistracy, all officials who throughout the country
exercise executive power in any form whatever are directly or indirectly
appointed by Parliament, and hold office subject to the will of
Parliament Of the legislative authority of Parliament as regards the
United Kingdom it is scarcely necessary to speak. Any law affecting the
United Kingdom not only lawfully may, but can in fact, be changed by the
Imperial Parliament. Of the unlimited legislative authority ascribed to,
and exercised by, Parliament in the United Kingdom the Home Rule Bill
itself is sufficient evidence; and the Gladstonian Ministry, at any
rate, see no reason why Parliament should not within the course of a few
weeks remodel the fundamental laws of the realm. The right to impose
taxes is historically the source of Parliamentary power, and in all
matters of taxation Parliament has absolute freedom of action from one
end of the United Kingdom to the other; whether the income tax is to be
lowered, raised, or abolished, whether some new duty, such as the cart
and wheel tax, shall be imposed, whether the United Kingdom shall
maintain free trade, or return to protection, how taxes shall be raised
and how they shall be spent--all matters in short connected with revenue
are throughout the United Kingdom determined and determinable in the
last resort by Parliament alone.

Hence, as things now stand, no kind of governmental action in any part
of Great Britain and Ireland escapes Parliamentary supervision. The
condition of the army, the management of the police, the misconduct of
a judge, the release of a criminal, the omission to arrest a defaulting
bankrupt, the pardon of a convicted dynamiter, the execution of a
murderer, the interference of the police with a public meeting, or the
neglect of the police to check a riot in London, in Skye, or in
Tipperary, any matter, great or small, with which the executive is
directly or indirectly concerned, is, if it takes place in any part of
the United Kingdom, subject to stringent and incessant Parliamentary
supervision, and may, at any moment, give rise to debates on which
depend the fate of ministries and parties. If there be such a thing as
supreme actual and effective authority, such authority is throughout the
whole of the United Kingdom exercised by the Imperial Parliament, not
occasionally and in theory, but every day and in the ordinary course of

This exertion of actual and effective power by the Imperial Parliament
throughout the United Kingdom is a totally different thing from the
supremacy or sovereignty exercised by Parliament throughout the whole
British Empire. As a matter of legal theory Parliament has the right to
legislate for any part of the Crown's dominions. Parliament may lawfully
impose an income tax upon the inhabitants of New South Wales; it may
lawfully abolish the constitution of the Canadian Dominion, just as some
years ago it did actually abolish the ancient constitution of Jamaica.
But though Parliament does in fact exert a certain, or rather a very
uncertain, amount of power throughout the whole Empire, we all know that
the Imperial Parliament neither exercises, nor claims to exercise, in a
self-governing colony such as New Zealand,[7] that kind of effective
authority which Parliament exercises in the United Kingdom. The Cabinet
of New Zealand is not appointed at Westminster; the action of a New
Zealand Ministry as regards the affairs of New Zealand is not controlled
by the English Government. Not a pennyworth of taxation is imposed on
the inhabitants of New Zealand, or of any colony whatever, by the
Imperial Parliament. Even the imposition of customs, though it has an
important bearing on the interest of the Empire, is in a self-governing
colony determined by the colonial, and not by the British, Parliament.
It is the Parliament of New Zealand, and not the Parliament of England,
which governs New Zealand. The Imperial Parliament, though for Imperial
purposes it may retain an indefinite supremacy throughout the British
Empire, has, as regards self-governing colonies, renounced, for all
other than Imperial purposes, executive and legislative functions. To
labour this point may savour of pedantry. But the distinction insisted
upon, whilst often overlooked, is of extreme importance. We risk being
deceived by words. The Imperial Parliament is supreme in the United
Kingdom, it is also supreme in New Zealand. But the supremacy of the
Imperial Parliament is a misleading expression; it means one thing in
the United Kingdom, and another thing in New Zealand or in Canada. In
the United Kingdom it means the exercise of real, actual, effective and
absolute authority. In New Zealand it means little more than the claim
to regulate matters of a distinctly and exclusively Imperial character.
The distinction is vital. The essential feature of the English
constitution is the actual and direct government of the whole United
Kingdom by the Parliament at Westminster. No change could be more
fundamental than a change which, in England, Scotland, or Ireland,
reduced this actual authority to the ultimate or reserved sovereignty
exercised, or rather claimed, by Parliament in Canada or in New Zealand.

The negative characteristic of the English constitution is the absence
of federalism or of the federal spirit.

The spirit of institutions is as important as their form, and the spirit
of English Parliamentary government has always been a spirit of unity.

The fundamental conditions of federal government are well known. They
are first the existence of States such as the Cantons of Switzerland or
the States of Germany, which are capable of bearing in the eyes of their
inhabitants an impress of common nationality, and next the existence
among the inhabitants of the federalised country of a very peculiar
sentiment, which may be described as the desire for political union
without the desire for political unity.[8] This condition of opinion
leads to a division of powers between the federal or national government
and the States. Whatever concerns the nation as a whole is placed under
the control of the federal power.

All matters which are not primarily of common interest remain in the
hands of the States. Now each of these conditions upon which federalism
rests has, as a matter of history, been absolutely unknown to the people
of England. In uniting other countries to England they have
instinctively aimed at an incorporative not at a federal union. This
absence of the federal spirit is seen in two matters which may appear of
subordinate, but are in reality of primary, consequence. Every member of
Parliament has always stood on a perfect equality with his fellows; the
representatives of a county or of a borough, English members, Scottish
members, Irish members, have hitherto possessed precisely equal rights,
and have been subject to precisely the same duties. They have been sent
to Parliament by different places, but, when in Parliament, they have
not been the delegates of special localities; they have not been English
members, or Scottish members, or Irish members, they have been simply
members of Parliament; their acknowledged duty has been to consult for
the interest of the whole nation; it has not been their duty to
safeguard the interests of particular localities or countries. Hence
until quite recent years English parties have not been formed according
to sectional divisions. There has never been such a thing as an English
party or a Scottish party. Up to 1832 the Scottish members were almost
without exception Tories; since 1832 they have been for the most part
Liberals or Radicals; they have kept a sharp eye upon Scottish affairs,
but they have never formed a Scottish party. The same thing has, to a
great extent, held good of the Irish members. The notion of an Irish
party is a novelty, and in so far as it has existed is foreign to the
spirit of our institutions. Hence further, the Cabinet has been neither
in form nor in spirit a federal executive. No Premier has attempted to
constitute a Ministry in which a given proportion of Irishmen or
Scotchmen should balance a certain proportion of Englishmen. English
politicians have as yet hardly formed the conception of an English
party. Not a single Prime Minister has claimed the confidence of the
country on the ground that his colleagues were, or were not, English,
Scottish, or Irish. That a Premier should glory in his pure Scottish
descent is an innovation; it is an innovation ominous of revolution; it
betrays a spirit of disintegration. If at the moment it flatters
Scottish pride, Scotchmen and Irishmen would do well to recollect that
it is a certain presage of a time when some Englishman will rise to
power and obtain popular support on the ground of his staunch English
sympathies and of his unadulterated English blood.

Now place the new constitution side by side with the old. Assume, as I
do assume throughout this chapter, that our new Gladstonian policy works
in accordance with the intentions of its authors.

The new constitution abolishes in Ireland the actual and effective
control and authority of the Imperial Parliament.

The government of Ireland is under the Home Rule Bill[9] placed in the
hands of an executive authority, or, in plain terms, a Cabinet,
undoubtedly to be appointed by the Irish Legislature, in the same sense in
which an English Cabinet is appointed by the British Parliament, or a
New Zealand Cabinet is appointed by the Parliament of New Zealand.[10]
For the first time in the whole course of history the administration of
Irish affairs is placed in the hands of an Irish Ministry, in the
selection of which the Imperial Parliament has no hand or concern
whatever. Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Healy, Mr. Redmond, Mr. Davitt, any leader,
known or unknown, loyal or disloyal, who commands the confidence of the
Irish Legislature, or, as I will venture to term it, the Irish
Parliament,[11] will naturally become the Premier of Ireland, and,
together with his colleagues, will possess all the authority which
belongs to a Parliamentary Executive. On the action of this Irish
Cabinet the Bill places, with rare exceptions, either no restrictions at
all or restrictions which are only transitory.[12] Speaking generally,
we may lay down that, except as to the control of the army, if that be
an exception, the Irish Cabinet will, when the constitution gets into
full working order, occupy in Ireland the position now occupied by the
British Cabinet in regard to the whole United Kingdom. The appointment
of officials, the conduct of Irish affairs, all the ordinary functions
of government will, with certain exceptions meant for the most part to
protect the rights of the Imperial Parliament, be exercised by Irish
Ministers responsible to the Irish Parliament; and the British or
Imperial Parliament will, in the ordinary course of things, have no more
to do with the administration of affairs in Ireland than it has to do
with the administration of affairs in New Zealand. The Irish, not the
British, Cabinet will decide what are the steps to be taken for the
protection throughout Ireland of the rights of property or of personal
liberty; the Irish and not the English Cabinet will determine by what
means the payment of rent is to be enforced; the Irish and not the
English Cabinet will decide what persons are to be prosecuted for crime;
the Irish and not the English Cabinet will determine whether the means
for enforcing the punishment of crime are adequate, and whether
Ireland, or some part of Ireland, say Belfast, requires to be governed
by means of a Coercion Act; the Irish and not the English Cabinet will
decide with what severity wrong-doers are to be punished, and whether,
and under what circumstances, convicted criminals deserve either pardon
or mitigation of punishment.

It is patent that under the new constitution the Irish Parliament and,
under ordinary circumstances, the Irish Parliament alone will legislate
for Ireland. For the Irish Parliament can, subject to certain
Restrictions,[13] pass any law whatever 'for the peace, order and good
government of Ireland, in respect of matters exclusively relating to
Ireland or some part thereof'[14]; and, subject to the same
Restrictions, may repeal any law which, before the Home Rule Bill
becomes law, is in force in Ireland. Under the new constitution the
Irish Parliament and not the Imperial Parliament will, it is clear, as a
rule legislate for Ireland. Under the new constitution the Irish
Parliament may enact a Coercion Act, applying say to Ulster, or may
repeal the existing Crimes Act. It may abolish trial by jury[15]
altogether, put any restraints it sees fit on the liberty of the press,
or introduce a system of administrative law like that which exists in
France, but is totally foreign to English notions of jurisprudence.

Under the new constitution, again, the financial relations of Great
Britain and Ireland are made the subject of an elaborate arrangement
which may fairly be called a contract[16]. Ireland takes over certain
charges[17], and speaking very generally, whilst all the duties of
customs levied in Ireland are collected by and paid over to the
Exchequer of the United Kingdom, as Ireland's contribution to Imperial
expenditure, all the other taxes are, as a general rule, paid over to
the Irish Exchequer. The justice or the policy of these financial
arrangements is for my present purpose immaterial. All that need be
observed is that the ordinary taxation of Ireland passes from the hands
of the Imperial Parliament into the hands of the Irish Parliament, and
that under the new constitution this arrangement is a settlement which
the Imperial Parliament is morally bound to respect for a period of at
least fifteen years[18].

In Ireland therefore the new constitution abolishes the effective
exercise of authority by the Imperial Parliament in matters of
administration, in matters of legislation, in matters of finance; every
concern which affects the daily life of Irishmen will be under the
control of the Irish Cabinet and the Irish Parliament. The relation of
the Imperial Parliament towards Ireland will not be the relation which
it now occupies towards the whole United Kingdom, and which under the
new constitution it will still occupy towards Great Britain. The
Imperial Parliament, it is true, retains considerable reserved powers;
what are the effect and nature of these powers shall be considered in
its due place. The matter upon which I now insist is simply this: the
new constitution does in any case transfer the effective government of
Ireland from the Imperial Parliament to the Irish Parliament. The
authority reserved to the Imperial Parliament may be termed supremacy,
or sovereignty, or may be described by any other fine-sounding name
which we are pleased to use, but the fact remains unaltered that, as
long as the new constitution stands and works, the Imperial Parliament
will not govern Ireland in the sense in which it governs England and
Scotland, and that such authority as it exerts in Ireland will be
analogous not to the power which it now exercises there, but to the
influence which it possesses in Canada or in New Zealand.[19]

The new constitution is at bottom a federalist or semi-federalist
constitution; it introduces into English institutions many of the forms
of federalism and still more of its spirit.

The Parliament sitting at Westminster becomes for the first time a
Federal Congress.

Of its members, 567 will represent Great Britain; 80 will represent
Ireland. The exact numbers are for the present purpose insignificant.
The serious matter is that the Imperial Parliament undergoes an
essential change of character. The British members will have, or are
intended to have, no concern with the government of Ireland. The Irish
members ought to have nothing to do with the government of Great
Britain. On Imperial subjects the Imperial Parliament, or, to call it by
its proper name, the Federal Congress, votes as a whole; on Irish
subjects it does not vote at all; on British topics its British members
only vote. The British and the Irish members, in short, alike represent,
though in a very clumsy fashion, the States of a Confederacy. Though the
fact be artfully concealed, we have under the new constitution already,
in germ at least, a British State and an Irish State, a British
Parliament and an Irish Parliament, and a third body consisting of these
two Parliaments, which is the Imperial or Federal Parliament.[20]

The different features of federalism make their appearance though under
strange forms.

The constitution imposes Restrictions on the powers of the State
Governments and of the Federal Government.

This appears unmistakably in the limitations placed upon the authority
of the Irish Parliament.

These Restrictions, be they wise or unwise, politic or impolitic, are
perfectly in keeping with the constitutional arrangements of a Federal
Government, but are absolutely unknown to the theory and practice of
English parliamentary government.

The powers of the Imperial Parliament, it may be said, are under the new
constitution subject to no limitations. In words this assertion is true,
in substance it is false. If the constitution works properly the
Imperial Parliament will clearly be subject to the terms of the
Government of Ireland Act, 1893, or, in other words, of the Federal
Constitution. This subjection is not absolute; it is moral, not legal,
still it exists. A breach of the federal compact will be no light

The constitution again, as one would expect under a federal scheme,
provides for the enforcement of the compact.

In the case of Ireland this is manifest. The royal veto,[21] the power
of the Courts, and ultimately of the Privy Council, to pronounce on the
constitutionality of any Irish Act, and treat it as void if it is in
excess of the authority bestowed upon the Irish legislature, the
provisions for the legal determination of constitutional questions,[22]
the arrangements as to the payment of the Irish customs into the
Imperial Exchequer, the special and very anomalous position of the
Exchequer Judges, are all attempts, whatever be their worth, to restrain
the Irish legislature and government, or in effect the Irish people,
from the undue assertion of State rights.

Restraints again are placed on the unconstitutional action of the
Imperial or Federal Parliament. They are less obvious, but at least as
real and effectual as the safeguards against the breach of the
constitution by the Irish government or legislature. They are all summed
up in the presence of the Irish representatives at Westminster. The only
legitimate reason, if legitimate reason there be, for their presence is
the guardianship of Irish rights under the constitution. It is for them
to see that these rights are held sacred. No diminution thereof can take
place without either the assent of the Irish members or else the
existence of such a majority in the Parliament at Westminster as may
override the protests of Ireland.[23] No doubt this is not an absolute
security. But whoever considers the habits of English political life
will conclude that, except in the event of the Imperial Parliament being
resolved to suspend or destroy the constitution, there exists the
highest improbability that any inroad should be made upon the privileges
conferred under the new constitution upon Ireland. The security, though
not absolute, is a good deal better than any safeguard given by the Bill
that the State rights of Great Britain shall be duly respected by the
representatives from Ireland. Assume, however, that the constitution
works properly, and that all parties respect the spirit of its
provisions. The result is that the new constitution forms a fundamental
law, fixing the respective rights of Ireland, of Great Britain, of the
Irish Parliament, and of the Imperial Parliament.[24]

The federal arrangements which, utterly unknown as they are to our
institutions, form the foundation of the new constitution, are as
nothing compared with the recognition and fostering of the federal

Great Britain and Ireland constitute for the first time in history a
confederation. The difference or opposition of their interests receives
legislative acknowledgment: each country is to possess in reality,
though not in name, State rights; each must rely upon the constitution
for the protection of these rights; each may suffer from the
encroachments of the Imperial or central power. Ireland may complain
that the Imperial Parliament by legislation, or the Privy Council by
judicial interpretation, encroaches on her guaranteed rights. Great
Britain may complain either that Irish members intermeddle in British
affairs, and thus British rights are violated, or that the Privy Council
so interprets the constitution that the prerogatives of the Central
Government (which be it remembered must in practice be identified with
the power of England) are unduly diminished. To imagine such complaints
is not to assume that the constitution works badly. They are of
necessity inherent in the federal system. There exists no federal
government throughout the world where such complaints do not arise, and
where they do not at times give rise to heart-burnings. It is well
indeed, judging from the lessons of history, if they do not produce
bitter conflicts, or even civil war. Let us take, however, the most
sanguine view possible. Let us grant that both in England and in Ireland
every minister, every legislator, every judge, is inspired with a spirit
of perfect disinterestedness and absolute fairness. This concession,
immense though it be, does not exclude vital differences of opinion. In
our new confederacy, as in every other, there will arise the contest
between State rights and federal rights, between the authority of the
Central Government and of the State Government. In any case, a whole
class of new difficulties and questions of a totally new description
will make their appearance in the field of English politics, and call
for the exercise on the part both of English and of Irish statesmen of
extraordinary wisdom and extraordinary self-control. The new
constitution in short, in virtue of its federal tendencies, will
revolutionise the public life of the United Kingdom.

From whatever side the matter be considered we arrive at the same
result. The Home Rule Bill is a new constitution; it subverts the bases
of the English constitution as we now know it, for it destroys
throughout Ireland the effective authority of the Imperial Parliament,
and turns the United Kingdom into a federal government of a new and
untried form.

The change may be necessary or needless, wise or unwise. The first and
most pressing necessity of the moment is that every elector throughout
the United Kingdom should, realise the immense import of the innovation.
It is a revolution far more searching than would be the abolition of the
House of Lords or the transformation of our constitutional monarchy into
a presidential republic.

The next point to which the attention of every man throughout the land
should be directed is, that the new constitution offered to us for
acceptance is unknown to any other civilised country. Parts of it are
borrowed from the United States; some of its provisions are imported
from the British colonies, whilst others are apparently the inventions
of the unknown and irresponsible Abbé Siéyès, who is the ingenious
constitution-maker of the Cabinet. But the new polity as a whole
resembles in its essence neither the American Commonwealth nor the
Canadian Dominion, nor the Government either of New Zealand or of any
other self-governing colony. It is an attempt--its admirers may think an
original and ingenious attempt--to combine the sovereignty of an
Imperial Parliament with the elaborate limitation and distribution of
powers which distinguish federal government. The whole thing is an
experiment and an experiment without precedent. Its novelty is not its
necessary condemnation, but neither on the other hand is innovation of
necessity the same thing as reform. The institutions of an ancient realm
are not exactly the _corpus vile_ on which theorists hard pressed by the
practical difficulties of the political situation can be allowed to try
unlimited experiments. We are bound to scrutinise with care every
provision of this brand-new polity. We are bound to consider what will
be their effect according to the known laws of human nature and under
the actual circumstances of the time. It is vain to tell us that many of
our institutions remain untouched. The introduction of new elements into
an old political system may revolutionise the whole; the addition of new
cloth to an old garment may, we all know, rend the whole asunder. There
is no need for panic; there is the utmost need for prudence.


[5] References made in this treatise to the Home Rule Bill are, unless
otherwise stated, made to the Bill as ordered to be printed by the House
of Commons, February 17, 1893. _A Leap in the Dark_ was published months
before the Bill was sent up as amended to the House of Lords.

[6] This is true of both of Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule Bills, and must
necessarily be true of any Bill which satisfies even for a time the
wishes of Home Rulers.

[7] I have substituted New Zealand for Victoria as the example of a
typical self-governing colony; the position of Victoria has since 1900
been complicated by the country having become a State of the Australian
Commonwealth or Confederation.

[8] See Dicey, _Law of Constitution_ (7th ed.), ch. iii. pp. 136-140.
Compare Mill, _Rep. Government_, ch. xvii.

[9] For the sake of convenience I throughout this treatise refer to the
'Bill to amend the provision for the government of Ireland' under its
popular name of the Home Rule Bill, 1893, or simply the Bill. See the
Bill in Appendix.

[10] Bill, clause 5.

[11] (The constitutional history of Victoria affords a curious
illustration of what will certainly happen in Ireland.) In Victoria the
Legislature, though not termed a Parliament in the Constitution Act, 18
& 19 Vict, c. 54, has assumed, under a Victorian Act, the title of the
Parliament of Victoria. See Jenks, _Government of Victoria_, p. 236. Who
can doubt that the Irish Legislature will, by an Irish Act, give itself
the title of the Parliament of Ireland? I have therefore throughout
these pages called the Irish Legislature the Irish Parliament. Few
things are more absurd and more noteworthy than the deliberate refusal
of English Gladstonians to call the Irish Parliament by its right name.
They are willing to create an Irish Parliament; they are not willing to
admit that they have created it. See debates of May 9, in _The Times_,
May 10, 1893.

[12] See Bill, clauses 19, 27, 28, 30.

[13] Bill, clauses 3, 4.

[14] Bill, clause 2.

[15] This will perhaps be disputed. Trial by jury, it will be said, is
saved by the expression 'due process of law,' in clause 4, sub-clause
(5). But this contention is, in my judgment, unfounded, and its validity
must in any case be held open to extreme doubt.

[16] See Bill, clauses 10-19, and note especially clause 12, sub-clause

[17] _Ibid_, clauses 14-16.

[18] _Ibid_, clause 12, sub-clause (3).

[19] I am aware that to this statement moderate Gladstonians may take
exception. What may be the effect of the preamble which reserves the
supreme authority of Parliament or of Bill, clause 33, which recognises
the right of the Imperial Parliament to legislate for Ireland will be
most conveniently considered in the next chapter. In this chapter, be it
noted, I am concerned only with the constitution as it is intended to
work, and most Gladstonians will admit that as long as the Government of
Ireland, including in that expression both the Cabinet and the
Parliament, keeps within the terms of the Act, it is not intended that
the British Cabinet or Parliament shall, except in certain excepted
cases, intervene in Irish affairs.

[20] All the provisions which under clause 9 of the Home Rule Bill,
1893, in its earliest form, were intended to restrain Irish Peers, or
members representing Irish constituencies, from deliberating or voting
on any Bill or motion the operation of which should be confined to Great
Britain, were swept away by the Gladstonian majority before the Home
Rule Bill was sent up to the House of Lords. The unfairness of giving to
Ireland a Parliament intended to legislate on all, or nearly all, Irish
affairs, and at the same time retaining eighty Irish members at
Westminster with full power to legislate on all English and Scottish
affairs, secured in 1895 the enthusiastic approval by the British
electorate of the rejection of the Home Rule Bill of 1893 by the House
of Lords.

[21] See Bill, clause 5 (1).

[22] Bill, clauses 22, 23.

[23] 'The Imperial Parliament was supreme, but he held the passing of
the Home Rule Bill, reserving certain subjects to the Imperial
Parliament and committing others to the Parliament of Ireland, as
amounting to a compact which would be observed by men of common sense
that there would be no capricious or vexatious interference by this
Parliament with an action within the appointed sphere of the Parliament
of Ireland. If such interference were attempted, the presence in this
Parliament of eighty Irish members--a number which had been found to be
sufficient to initiate an Irish constitution--would be found sufficient
to protect an Irish constitution when it was given.'--Mr. Sexton, Feb.
13, 1893, _Times Parliamentary Debates,_ p. 318.

[24] For evidence that the power of the Imperial Parliament is intended
under the new constitution to be subjected to at any rate a moral limit,
the reader should note particularly the terms of the Home Rule Bill,
clause 12, sub-clause (3).



A critic of the new constitution, intent on ascertaining how it affects
the relation of Great Britain and Ireland, will do well to divert his
attention from the numerous details of the Home Rule Bill, important as
many of them are,[25] and fix his mind almost exclusively upon the four
leading features of the measure.

These are:--

     _First_. The supremacy of the Imperial Parliament.

     _Secondly_. The retention of the Irish members in the Parliament
     at Westminster.

     _Thirdly_. The powers of the Irish Government, in which term is
     here included both the Irish Executive and the Irish Parliament.

     _Fourthly_. The Restrictions (popularly known as the safeguards)
     and the obligations imposed upon the Irish Government.

These features are primary and essential; everything else, however
important in itself, is subsidiary and accidental.

A. _The Supremacy of the Imperial Parliament_[26]

The Home Rule Bill asserts in its preamble the inexpediency of
'impairing or restricting the supreme authority of Parliament'; and in
clause 33, apparently[27] assumes the right of the Imperial Parliament
after the passing of the Home Rule Bill to enact for Ireland laws which
cannot be repealed by the Irish Parliament.

The new constitution therefore maintains the supremacy of the Imperial

What, however, is the true meaning of this 'supreme authority,'
'supremacy,' or 'sovereignty,' if you like, of the Imperial Parliament?

The term, as already pointed out,[28] is distinctly ambiguous, and
unless this ambiguity is cleared up, the effect of the Home Rule Bill,
and the nature of our new constitution, will never be understood.

The supremacy of the Imperial Parliament may mean the right and power of
Parliament to govern Ireland in the same sense in which it now governs
England, that is, to exercise effective control over the whole
administration of affairs in Ireland, and for this purpose, through the
action of the English Government, or, when necessary, by legislation, to
direct, supervise and control the acts of every authority in Ireland,
including the Irish Executive and the Irish Legislature. If this were
the meaning of the expression, the Imperial Parliament would, after the
passing of the Home Rule Bill, as before, be as truly supreme in Ireland
as in England, in Scotland, in the Isle of Man, or in Jersey. The Irish
Executive and the Irish Parliament would, of course, be bodies
possessing large--and it might be very dangerous--delegated powers, but
they would stand in the same relation to the Imperial Parliament as does
the London County Council, which also possesses large delegated powers,
which administers the affairs of a population as large as that of
Scotland and which, very possibly, may receive from Parliament as time
goes on larger and more extended authority than the Council now
possesses. This is the sense which many Gladstonians, and some
Unionists, attribute to the term 'supremacy of Parliament.' It is not
the sense in which the expression 'supreme authority of Parliament' is
used in the Home Rule Bill.

The supremacy of Parliament may bear quite another sense; it may mean
that Parliament, whilst completely giving up the management of Irish
affairs (subject of course to the Restrictions contained in the Home
Rule Bill) to the Irish Executive and the Irish Legislature, retains in
Ireland, as elsewhere throughout the Empire, reserved sovereignty, or
the theoretical right (which exceptionally though rarely may be put into
practice) of passing laws for Ireland and of course, among other laws,
an Act modifying or repealing the terms of the Home Rule Bill itself. If
this is the meaning of the expression 'supreme authority of Parliament,'
the Imperial Parliament will, after the passing of the Home Rule Bill,
stand in substance in the relation to Ireland which Parliament occupies
towards any important self-governing colony, such as is the Canadian
Dominion or New Zealand. The Irish Executive and the Irish Parliament
will on this view constitute the real substantial government of Ireland,
just as the Ministry and the Parliament of New Zealand constitute the
real and substantial government of New Zealand. No doubt the Imperial
Parliament will retain the theoretical right to legislate for Ireland,
_e.g._ to pass an Irish Coercion Act, just as Parliament retains the
theoretical right to legislate for New Zealand or Canada. So the
Imperial Parliament has the legal right to repeal or override any law
passed by the New Zealand Parliament, to tax the inhabitants of New
Zealand, or finally, by the repeal of the New Zealand Constitution Act,
1852, 15 & 16 Vict. c. 72, to abolish the constitution of New Zealand
altogether. But these things Parliament will not, and to speak truly
cannot, do in New Zealand. The inhabitants of New Zealand possess as
regards their internal affairs for practical purposes complete
independence. They are governed from Wellington, they are not governed
from Westminster. If in short the supremacy of Parliament means under
the Home Rule Bill in Ireland what it means under 15 & 16 Vict. c. 72 in
New Zealand, the inhabitants of Ireland will, when the Home Rule Bill
passes into law, be governed from Dublin, they will not be governed from
Westminster. Every Irish Home Ruler, be he Parnellite or
Anti-Parnellite,[29] believes that the supremacy of Parliament is
intended to mean in Ireland what it means in New Zealand, and the Irish
Home Rulers are right. Any one will see that this is so who reflects on
the meaning of the policy of Home Rule, who studies the authoritative
utterances of Gladstonian leaders, such as Mr. Gladstone[30] himself,
Mr. Asquith,[31] or Mr. Bryce.[32] Gladstonian statesmen wrap up their
meaning in vague generalities; they insist, and in one sense with truth,
that the sovereignty of Parliament is reserved. They do not wish to
alarm their English followers. It is possible that they conceal even
from themselves how completely the Imperial Ministry and Parliament
surrender the practical government of Ireland into the hands of the
Irish Parliament and its leaders. But for all this, their own language
and the Bill itself prove that the supreme authority of Parliament is
under the new constitution to be taken in its limited, and what for the
sake of distinction we may call its 'colonial' sense. This is proved, if
evidence were wanting, by the provision[33] that after fifteen years from
the time when the Bill passes into law the financial relations between
England and Ireland may be revised in pursuance of an Address to the
Crown from the House of Commons or from the Irish legislative assembly.
If the Imperial Parliament retains an effective or practically unlimited
supremacy, the provision is futile and needless. What necessity is there
for enacting that a sovereign Parliament, which institutes, may alter a
scheme of taxation? But the provision is intelligible enough on one
supposition, and on one supposition only. It is both intelligible and in
place if Parliament gives up the real right of governing Ireland and
occupies towards what is now a part of the United Kingdom the position,
or something very like the position, which Parliament occupies towards a
self-governing colony. It then embodies a compact between England and
Ireland, and institutes a regular method for revising their financial
relations. But this very compact proves that as regards Ireland the
Imperial Parliament, if it reserves to itself ultimate sovereignty, has
for practical purposes surrendered the reality of control.

There is no need to assert that this supremacy of the Imperial
Parliament means nothing. The assertion would not be true. The
reservation of sovereign authority means something, but it does not mean
much. It does not mean the power or the right to govern Ireland; it
means at most the legal and moral right to modify, or put an end to, the
new constitution if ever it works badly.

The power, indeed, to abolish the constitution can neither be given nor
taken away by Acts of Parliament, by the declarations of English
statesmen, or the concessions of Irish leaders, whether authorised or
not to pledge the Irish people. It is given to Great Britain, not by
enactments, but by nature; it arises from the inherent capacity of a
strong, a flourishing, a populous, and a wealthy country to control or
coerce a neighbouring island which is poor, divided, and weak.[34] This
natural supremacy will, if the interests of Great Britain require it, be
enforced by armies, by ironclads, by blockades, by hostile tariffs, by
all the means through which national predominance can make itself felt.
All reference to superior power is, in controversies between citizens,
hateful to every man endowed with a sense of humanity or of justice. But
in serious discussions facts must be faced, and if, for the sake of
argument, I contrast, much against my will, the power of Great Britain
with the weakness of Ireland, let it be remembered that the conception
of a rivalry or conflict is forced upon Unionists by the mere proposal
of Home Rule. As long as we remain a United Kingdom, there is no more
need to think even of hypothetical or argumentative opposition between
the resources or interest of England and of Ireland than there is to
consider what in case of a contest may be the relative force of London
and of the Orkneys.

What, then, the new constitution secures is not the power, but the legal
right to abolish the new constitution. It is a right to carry through a
fundamental change by lawful means. The Bill legalises revolution. This
is well, for it is desirable that in a civilised State every change of
institutions should be effected by constitutional methods. But should
the circumstances ever arise under which Great Britain is resolved, in
spite of the wishes of the Irish people or a large portion thereof, to
abolish Home Rule and exercise the right of reserved sovereignty, there
is no reason to expect that Irishmen who oppose British policy will
admit that her use of sovereign power is morally justifiable. By force,
or the threat of force, the controversy will, we must expect, in the
last instance, be decided. However this may be, we must now realise what
the supremacy of Parliament, at any rate to the Irish leaders who accept
it, really means. It means nothing but the right of the Imperial
Parliament of its own authority to repeal the Home Rule Bill and destroy
the new constitution. The right may be worth having. But it is not the
right to govern Ireland or to control the Irish Government; it is not a
means of government at all: it is a method of constitutional revolution,
or reaction.

Some critic will object that this supremacy of Parliament means to him
a good deal more than the mere right to abolish the constitution. So be
it. Let the objector then tell us in precise language what it does mean.
If his reply is that the term is ambiguous, that its meaning must be
construed in accordance with events, and may, according to
circumstances, be restricted or extended, then he suggests that
Parliamentary supremacy is not only an empty right, but an urgent peril.
Nothing can be more dangerous than a compact between England and Ireland
which the contracting parties construe from the very beginning in
different senses. If by asserting the supreme authority of Parliament
English statesmen mean that Parliament reserves the right to supervise
and control the government of Ireland, whilst Irishmen understand that
Parliament retains nothing more than such a kind of supremacy or
sovereignty as it asserts, rather than exercises, in New Zealand, then
we are entering into a doubtful contract which lays the sure basis of a
quarrel. We are deliberately preparing the ground for disappointment,
for imputations of bad faith, for recriminations, for bitter animosity,
it may be for civil war. If there be, as is certainly the case, a fair
doubt as to what is meant by the supremacy of Parliament, let the doubt
be cleared up. This is required by the dictates both of expediency and
of honour. Meanwhile we may assume that the supremacy of Parliament, or
the 'supreme authority of Parliament,' means in substance the kind of
sovereignty which Parliament exercises, or claims to exercise, in every
part of the British Empire.

For the maintenance of such supremacy, be it valuable or be it
worthless, Great Britain pays a heavy price. For the sake of 'an
outward and visible sign of Imperial supremacy' we retain eighty Irish
members in the Imperial Parliament.[35]

B. _The Retention of the Irish Members in the Imperial Parliament_

This is now[36] an essential, or at least a most important part of the
ministerial policy for Ireland, yet it is a proposal which even its
advocates must find difficult of defence. In 1886 every Gladstonian
leader told us that it was desirable, politic, and just to exclude Irish
members from the Parliament at Westminster; this exclusion was pressed
upon England (plausibly enough) as a main advantage to be derived from
the concession of Home Rule to Ireland. In 1893 every Gladstonian leader
tells us that it is desirable, politic, and just to retain the Irish
members at Westminster, and their presence is, for some reason not easy
to explain, treated as removing every objection to the concession of
Home Rule to Ireland. This astounding variation of opinion in the
doctors of the State savours of empiricism, not to say quackery. A
surgeon who tells a patient that he will not live unless his leg is
amputated may be right, and may be worthy of trust; another surgeon who
asserts that amputation is unnecessary may be right, and worthy of
trust. But the surgeon who one moment insists that amputation is
necessary to the preservation of his patient's life, and the next moment
that it is unnecessary and may be fatal, is not the kind of adviser who
inspires confidence in his wisdom.

Let the ingenuity of Gladstonians reconcile, as best it can, the
doctrine of 1886 with the doctrine of 1893. To a man of sense who weighs
the matter without reference to considerations of party, one thing will
soon become apparent: the retention at Westminster of eighty, or indeed
of any Irish members at all, means under a scheme of Home Rule the ruin
of Ireland and the weakness of England.

As to Ireland.--The presence of Irish members at Westminster robs
Ireland of the one advantage which Home Rule might by any possibility
confer upon that country.

Any man in order to see that this is so has only to consider, first,
what may under favourable circumstances be the benefit of Home Rule to
Ireland, and next what is the natural result of summoning Irish members
to the Parliament at Westminster.

The best conceivable result of Home Rule is that it may detach Irishmen
from interest in English politics, and induce the most respected and
respectable men in Ireland to take matters into their own hands and
manage for themselves all strictly Irish affairs. For the last twenty
years, at least, Ireland has been represented, or misrepresented, by
eighty and more politicians, nominated in the main by Mr. Parnell. No
one supposes for a moment that the Nationalist leaders who appeared
before and were condemned by the Special Commission are fair samples of
the Irish people. They are, take them at their best, reckless agitators.
They were chosen by their patron, Mr. Parnell, not on account of their
worth or talent, but because they were apt instruments for carrying out
a policy of parliamentary intrigue, reinforced by a system of lawless
oppression.[37] These men are the product of a revolutionary era; they
no more represent the virtues and the genius of the Irish people than
the demagogues or fanatics of the Jacobin Club represented the genius
and the virtues of the French nation. We all know that Ireland abounds
in citizens of a very different stamp. She has never lacked among her
sons, and does not lack now, men of virtue, of vigour, and of genius.
Throughout the length and breadth of the country you will find hundreds
of men of merit--landlords whose lives have been honourable to
themselves, and a blessing to their tenants; merchants as honest and
successful as any in England or in Scotland; small landowners and tenant
farmers who have paid their rent and paid their way, who have cultivated
their land, who have never insulted or boycotted their neighbours, and
have never been driven by intimidation into meanness and fraud. Add to
these lawyers, thinkers, writers, and scholars, who rival or excel the
best representatives of their class in other parts of the United
Kingdom. These good men and true are not peculiar to any one creed or
party; they are not confined to any one province, or to any one class;
they are scattered through every part of the land; they are the true
backbone of Ireland; they have saved her from utter ruin; they may still
by their energy raise her to prosperity. But they have been thrust out
of politics by the talkers, the adventurers, the conspirators. It is
possible that if Home Rule compels Irishmen to turn their whole minds
to Irish affairs, the so-called representatives who misrepresent their
country may be dismissed from the world of politics, and the Parliament
at Dublin be filled with members who, whether they come from the North
or from the South, whether Unionists or Home Rulers, whether Roman
Catholics or Protestants, whether landowners, tenant farmers, ministers
of religion, merchants, or tradesmen, represent the real worth and
strength of the country. If this should happen, Home Rule would still
entail great evils on the whole United Kingdom. But even zealous
Unionists might hope that for these evils Ireland at least will obtain
some compensation. This hope, if the Irish members are retained at
Westminster, will never be fulfilled.

For even the occasional presence[38]--which will in practice be the
frequent presence--of the Irish members at Westminster destroys every
hope that Ireland will be governed by her best citizens. The reasons why
this is so are various; some of them may be shortly stated. The system,
in the first place, of double representation, under which members of the
Irish Parliament must flit to and fro between Ireland and England, and
debate one day about Irish matters in Dublin, and the next about
Imperial, or in truth British, matters in England, makes it impossible
for quiet hard-working Irishmen, who carry on the real business of
Ireland, to take part in politics. The political centre of interest, in
the second place, will after, as before, the passing of the Home Rule
Bill, be placed in London and not in Dublin. The humdrum local business
which under a system of Home Rule ought to be discussed in the Irish
Parliament, may vitally concern the prosperity of every inhabitant of
Ireland, but it will not in general lend itself to oratory, or arouse
popular excitement. The questions, on the other hand, to be discussed in
the Imperial Parliament at Westminster, as, for example, whether Mr.
Gladstone or Lord Salisbury shall be head of the British Cabinet,
whether the royal veto on Irish legislation shall be exercised on the
advice of the English or of the Irish Ministry, are matters which do not
in reality greatly affect the happiness of ordinary Irishmen. But they
give room for management, for diplomacy, for rhetoric, and are certain
on occasions to arouse both the interest and the passions of the Irish
people. We may take it for granted that the character of the Irish
representation at Westminster will govern the character of the
Parliament at Dublin.[39] Hence arises a third and fatal obstacle to the
active participation in Irish public life of Irishmen who are not
professional politicians. The Home Rule Bill of 1893 professes to
restrain on every side the action of the Irish government and
Parliament. These Restrictions are the comfort of English Gladstonians;
they are thought to be safeguards, though in reality there is nothing
which they make safe. But Restrictions which delight Gladstonians are
hateful to Irish Home Rulers. Their watchword is, 'Ireland a nation.' To
this cry every Home Ruler will rally, and so too will, if once the
Union is broken up, many an ardent loyalist, converted by anger at
England's treachery into an extreme Nationalist. Irishmen will wish for
an Irish army; they will wish for a protective policy; they will desire
that Ireland shall play a part in foreign affairs, and will claim for
her at least the independence of such a colony as New Zealand. To all
these wishes, and to many more, some of which under a system of Home
Rule are quite reasonable, the terms of the Home Rule Bill are opposed.
Home Rulers, and probably enough the whole Irish people, will insist
that the Bill, which will then have become an Act, must be modified. How
is the modification to be obtained? How is Home Rule to be made a
reality? By one method only: that is, by the freest use of those arts Of
intrigue and obstruction by which Home Rule will have been gained. But
for the carrying out of such a policy the agitators and intriguers who
for the last twenty years have weakened and degraded the Imperial
Parliament are the proper agents. For this work they, and they alone,
are fit. The quiet, industrious, stay-at-home merchants or lawyers, who
might be sent to Dublin for a month or two in the year to manage Irish
business on business-like principles, will not be sent to Westminster to
hold the balance between English parties. They cannot leave their
every-day work; were they willing to forsake their own business, they
are not the men to conduct with success the parliamentary game of brag,
obstruction, and finesse. Keep, in short, the Irish members at
Westminster, and you ensure the supremacy in Ireland of professional
politicians. By a curious fatality the Gladstonian policy which weakens
England ruins Ireland. Let no one fancy that this is the delusion of an
English Unionist. Sir Gavan Duffy is an Irish Nationalist of a far
higher type than the men who have drawn money from the Clan-na-Gael. In
'48 he was a rebel, but if he was disloyal to England, he was always
careful of the honour and character of Ireland. He, at least, perceives
the danger to his country of retaining Irish members in a Parliament
where they had ceased to have any proper place. 'For my own part,' he
says, 'I should not care if they did not attend [the Imperial
Parliament] for a generation, which will be needed for the manipulation
of their own affairs.'

All this, I shall be told, is prophecy; Gladstonian hopes are as
reasonable as Unionist fears. So be it. But in this matter my
predictions have a special claim on the attention of the Ministry, they
coincide with the forecast, or the foresight, of the present[40] Chief
Secretary for Ireland.

'Let us suppose that these Irish representatives for Imperial purposes
are not chosen by the legislative body, but are chosen directly by Irish
constituencies. You have already, according to our plan, two sets of
constituencies. You have the 103 constituencies that return the popular
branch of the legislative body, and you have those other constituencies
up to seventy-five which return the elective members of the other branch
of the legislative body. You have, therefore, got already on our plan
two sets of constituencies. Now, if you are going to send members to
Westminster for Imperial purposes to the number of forty-five or to the
number of ninety-five, you must mark out a third set of
constituencies--you must have a third set of elections. A system of that
kind does not strike me at least as being exactly the thing for a
country of which we are assured that before everything else its prime
want is a profound respite from political turmoil. There are plenty of
other objections from the Irish point of view, which I am not now going
to dwell upon. Depend upon it that an Irish Legislature will not be up
to the magnitude of the enormous business that is going to be cast upon
it unless you leave all the brains that Irish public men have got to do
Irish work in Ireland. Depend upon this, too, that if you have one set
of Irish members in London it is a moral certainty that disturbing
rivalries, disturbing intrigues would spring up, and that the natural
and wholesome play of forces and parties and leaders in the Irish
Assembly would be complicated and confused and thrown out of gear by the
separate representatives of the country. All this is bad enough.'[41]

These are the words of my friend Mr. Morley.[42] They were spoken at
Newcastle on April 21, 1886. He was then, as now, responsible for the
government of Ireland. Nothing can add to their gravity; nothing can add
to their force; they were true in 1886, they remain as true to-day as
they were seven years ago.[43]

As to England.--The presence of the Irish members at Westminster is on
the face of it a gross and patent injustice to Great Britain. It is
absurd, it is monstrous, that while the Irish Parliament and the Irish
Parliament alone settle whether Mr. Healy, Mr. M'Carthy, Mr. Redmond, or
Mr. Davitt is to be head of the Irish government, and England, though
vitally interested in the character of the Irish Executive, is not to
say a word in the matter, eighty Irishmen are to help in determining,
and are often actually to determine, whether Lord Salisbury or Mr.
Gladstone, Mr. Balfour or Mr. Chamberlain, is to be Prime Minister and
direct the policy of England. Here again 1 can rely on the invaluable
aid of Mr. Morley. He has denounced the effect on England of retaining
Irish members at Westminster with a strength of language and a weight of
authority to which it is impossible for me to make any pretension.

'But there is a word to be said about the effect on our own Parliament,
and I think the effect of such an arrangement--and I cannot help
thinking so till I hear of better arrangements--upon our own Parliament
would be worse still. It is very easy to talk about reducing the number
of the Irish members; perhaps it would not be so easy to do. It is very
easy to talk about letting them take part in some questions and not in
others, but it will be very difficult when you come to draw the line in
theory between the questions in which they shall take a part and those
in which they shall not take a part. But I do not care what precautions
you take; I do not care where you draw the line in theory; but you may
depend upon it--I predict--that there is no power on the earth that can
prevent the Irish members in such circumstances from being in the future
Parliament what they were in the past, and what to some extent they are
in the present, the arbiters and the masters of English policy, of
English legislative business, and of the rise and fall of British
Administrations. You will have weakened by the withdrawal of able men
the Legislature of Dublin, and you will have demoralized the Legislature
at Westminster. We know very well what that demoralisation means, for I
beg you to mark attentively the use to which the Irish members would
inevitably put their votes--inevitably and naturally. Those who make
most of the retention of the Irish members at Westminster are also those
who make most of there being what they call a real and effective and a
freely and constantly exercised veto at Westminster upon the doings at
Dublin. You see the position. A legislative body in Dublin passes a
Bill. The idea is that that Bill is to lie upon the table of the two
Houses of Parliament in London for forty days--forty days in the
wilderness. What does that mean? It means this, that every question that
had been fought out in Ireland would be fought out over again by the
Irish members in our Parliament. It means that the House of Lords here
would throw out pretty nearly every Bill that was passed at Dublin. What
would be the result of that? You would have the present block of our
business. You would have all the present irritation and exasperation.
English work would not be done; Irish feeling would not be conciliated,
but would be exasperated. The whole efforts of the Irish members would
be devoted to throwing their weight--I do not blame them for this--first
to one party and then to another until they had compelled the removal of
these provoking barriers, restrictions, and limitations which ought
never to have been set up. I cannot think, for my part I cannot see, how
an arrangement of that sort promises well either for the condition of
Ireland or for our Parliament. If anybody, in my opinion, were to move
an amendment to our Bill in the House of Commons in such a direction as
this, with all these consequences foreseen, I do not believe such an
amendment would find twenty supporters.'[44]

This was the opinion of Mr. John Morley in 1886. A word in it here or
there is inapplicable to the details of the present Bill; but in
principle every syllable cited by me from his Newcastle address forms
part of the Unionist argument against summoning as much as a single
Irish member to Westminster. His language is admirable, it cannot be
improved. All that any one who agrees with Mr. Morley can do in order to
force his argument home is to point out in a summary manner the ways in
which the Irish delegation at Westminster will enfeeble the Imperial

_First_. The Irish members, or rather the Irish delegation, will have a
voice and often a decisive voice in determining who are the men that
shall constitute the English Cabinet; on the Irish vote will depend
whether Conservatives, Liberals, Radicals, or Socialists shall
administer the government of England. It is vain to tell us Irish
members will be restrained, whether by law or custom, from voting on
British affairs when they will vote on the most important of all British
affairs, the composition and the character of the body which is to
govern England.

That the Irish members will thus vote on a matter of special and vital
importance to England is admitted. But things stand far worse than this.
The vote of the Irish delegation will and must be swayed by an interest
adverse to the welfare of Great Britain; for the interest of Great
Britain, or, to use ordinary language of England, is that the English
Government should be strong, and should represent the majority of the
English or British electors. The direct interest of the Irish delegation
is that the English Government should be weak, and represent the
minority of English electors. That this is so is obvious. The weaker the
British Government, the greater the weight of the Irish representatives.
But if the English Cabinet represents a minority of the British people,
and are kept in office only by the votes of their Irish allies, then the
influence of the Irish representatives and the weakness of the English
Government will have reached its extreme point. The effect therefore of
the arrangement which brings Irish members to Westminster is to place
the administration of English affairs in the hands of the party,
whichever it be, that does not represent the wishes of the English
people. This master stroke of Gladstonian astuteness ensures that
Radicals shall be in office when the opinion of England is Conservative,
and that Conservatives shall be in power when English opinion tends
towards Radicalism.

_Secondly_. The retention of the Irish members breaks up our whole
system of Cabinet government. This system has some inherent defects, but
it cannot work at all with any benefit to the country unless the Cabinet
can depend on the support of a permanent majority. The result of what
has happily been described as the 'in-and-out plan,' that is the scheme
for allowing Irish members to vote on some subjects and not on others,
will be the constitution of two majorities, and it is more than possible
that the one majority may belong to one party and the other majority to
another. Look at the effect on the transaction of public affairs. The
Irish members and the English Liberals combined may put in office a
Liberal Cabinet. On English matters, _e.g._ the question of
Disestablishment, or of Home Rule for Wales, the British majority
consisting of British members of Parliament only may constantly defeat
the Gladstonian Cabinet, and thus force into office a Conservative
Cabinet which could command a majority on all subjects of purely British
interest, but would always be in a minority on all matters of Imperial
policy, _e.g._ on the conduct of foreign affairs. Which Cabinet would
have a right to retain power? The sole answer is--neither. The proposed
plan, in short, undermines our whole scheme of government.

_Thirdly_. The Irish members who are now simply Irish members of the
Imperial Parliament will be transformed into a very different thing--an
Irish delegation. The importance of this change cannot be over-rated.
The essential merit of our present system of government is that the
Executive, no less than the Parliament of the United Kingdom, represents
the country as a whole. Our Premier may be a Scotsman, but we know of no
such thing as a Scottish Premier. Englishmen may form the majority of
the Cabinet, but we have never had an English Cabinet as contrasted with
a Scottish or an Irish Cabinet. It has never been contended, hardly has
it been hinted, that a Ministry ought to be made up of members taken in
certain proportions from each division of the kingdom. But from the
moment that sectional representation, and with it open advocacy of
sectional interests, is introduced into the House of Commons, there will
arise the necessity for the formation of sectional Cabinets.

The demand will be made, and the demand will be granted, that in the
administration no less than in the House there shall be a system of
representation; that England, that Scotland, that Ireland shall each
have their due share in the Ministry. But this state of things must be
fatal both to the capacity and to the fairness of the government. The
talent of the Cabinet will be diminished, because the Prime Minister
will no longer be able to choose as colleagues the ablest among his
supporters without reference to the now irrelevant question whether they
represent English, Scottish, or Irish constituencies. The character of
the Executive will be lowered because the Cabinet itself will represent
rival interests. It may seem that I am advocating the special claims of
England. This is not so. I am arguing on behalf of the efficiency of the
government of the United Kingdom. My argument is one to which Scotsmen
and Irishmen should give special heed. If once we have cabinets and
parties based upon sectional divisions, if we have English ministries
and English parties as opposed to Scottish ministries or Irish
ministries, and Scottish parties and Irish parties, it is not in the
long run the most powerful and wealthy portion of what is now the United
Kingdom which will suffer. It is hardly the interest of Scotsmen or
Irishmen to pursue a policy which suggests the odious but inevitable cry
'England for Englishmen.'

_Fourthly_, as long as Irish members remain at Westminster the English
Parliament will never be freed from debates about Irish affairs.

This is a point there is no need to labour. Unless (what no honest man
can openly propose) the 80 or 103 members from Ireland are to be taken
from one Irish party only, they must represent different interests and
different opinions. Some few at least will represent the wishes, the
complaints, or the wrongs of Ulster. But if this be so, it is certain
that the controversies which divide Ireland will make themselves heard
at Westminster. Can any sane man fancy that if the Dublin Parliament
passes an Act for the maintenance of order at Belfast, if the people of
Belfast are suspected of intending to resist the Irish government, if
Irish landlords, rightly or not, fear unfair treatment at the hands of
the Irish Ministry or the Irish Parliament, none of these things will be
heard of at Westminster? The supposition is incredible. Let Irish
members sit at Westminster and Irish affairs will be debated at
Westminster, and will often be debated when, under a system of Home
Rule, it were much better they should be passed over in silence. Admit,
what is not certain, that Home Rule in Ireland will occasionally
withdraw a few Irish questions from discussion in England, it must be
remembered that a new crop of Irish questions will arise. The federal
character of the new constitution must produce in one form or another
disputes and discussions as to the limits which bound the respective
authority of the Imperial and of the Irish Governments. The Imperial
Parliament will, for the first time, be harassed by the question of
State rights. Add to this that at every great political crisis the House
of Commons will have before it an inquiry which must produce
interminable debates, namely whether a given bill is or is not a measure
which concerns only the interest of Great Britain.

Two inducements are offered to England for the adoption of a plan the
evils whereof were so patent in 1886 that it then could not, if we are
to believe Mr. Morley,[45] have commanded twenty supporters in the House
of Commons.

The first inducement is that the presence of eighty Irish members at
Westminster is an outward and visible sign of the supremacy of the
Imperial Parliament.[46] On this point it is needless to say much; few
Englishmen will on consideration think it worth while to dislocate all
our system of government in order that the British Parliament may retain
in Ireland the kind of sovereignty which it retains in New Zealand. We
are rightly proud of our connection with our colonies, but no one would
seriously propose to retain nominal sovereignty in Canada at the price
of a perilous and injurious change in the constitution of England.

The second inducement is that Great Britain will be allowed the
exclusive management of British affairs.

This sort of spurious Home Rule for England turns out however to be as
illusory a blessing as the maintenance of parliamentary supremacy.

Great Britain is, under the new constitution, not allowed to appoint the
British Cabinet. Great Britain is forbidden to determine for herself any
matter of legislation or administration which, however deeply it
concerns British interests, trenches in the least degree on any Irish or
Imperial interest. Any matter of finance, which comes within the wide
head of Imperial liabilities, expenditure, and miscellaneous
revenue,[47] falls within the competence of the Irish members. Questions
of peace or war, our foreign relations, every diplomatic transaction, is
a matter on which the Irish delegation may pronounce a decision. The
conjecture is at least plausible[48] that Irish members will have a
right to discuss and vote upon any subject debated in the Parliament at
Westminster which involves the fate of a British Cabinet. Let it be
granted that, if the provisions of the Home Rule Bill be observed, no
Irish representative can vote 'on any Bill, or motion in relation
thereto, the operation of which Bill or motion is confined to Great
Britain.'[49] But then when is the operation of a Bill confined to Great
Britain, or, to use popular language, what is a British Bill? This is an
inquiry in the decision whereof the Irish members will take part. The
Irish members, therefore, at Westminster will be judges of their own
rights, and in the only cases in which it is of practical importance to
Great Britain that the Irish representatives should not vote, will be
able with the aid of a British minority to fix the limits of their own
jurisdiction.[50] Let the Irish members and a British minority boldly
vote that the operation of a Bill, say for the Disestablishment of the
English Church, is not confined to Great Britain, and they can boldly
vote that the Bill do pass, and no Court in Great Britain or the British
Empire can question the validity of a law enacted in open defiance of
the spirit or even the words of the Constitution.[51] The right of
British members to the management of even exclusively British affairs
will depend not upon the law of the land, but upon the moderation and
sense of equity which may restrain the unfairness of partisanship.

For a parliamentary minority will, if only it throw scruples to the
winds, be constantly able to transform itself into a majority by the
unconstitutional admission of the Irish vote. This is not a power which
any party, be it Conservative or Radical, English, Scottish, or Irish,
ought to possess. Partisanship knows nothing of moderation. And the
reason of this blindness to the claims of justice is that the spirit of
party combines within itself some of the best and some of the worst of
human passions. It often unites the self-sacrificing zealotry of
religious fanaticism with the recklessness of the gambling table. Let an
assailant of the Contagious Diseases Act, a fanatic for temperance, a
protectionist who believes that free trade is the ruin of the country,
an anti-vivisectionist who holds that any painful experiment on live
animals is the most heinous of sins; let any man who has come to believe
that his own credit, no less than the salvation of the country, depends
on the success of a particular party, know that the triumph of his cause
depends upon his voting that a particular measure operates beyond Great
Britain, and we know well enough in which way he will vote. He will vote
what he knows to be untrue rather than sacrifice a cause which he
believes to be sacred. He will think himself both a fool and a traitor
if he sacrifices the victory which is within his grasp to the
maintenance of technical legality, or rather to respect for a rule of
constitutional procedure.

Suppose, however, that I have underrated the equity of human nature, and
that no faction in the House of Commons ever attempts to violate the
spirit of the Constitution. The supposition is bold, not to say absurd;
but even if its reasonableness be granted, this does not suffice for the
protection of England's rights. The question whether a given Bill does
or does not operate exclusively in Great Britain may often give rise to
fair dispute, and (what should be noted) this dispute will always be
decided against Great Britain in the only instances in which its
decision is to Great Britain of any importance whatever. An example best
shows my meaning. Let a Bill be brought forward for establishing Home
Rule in Wales. Is the operation of the Bill confined to Great Britain?
An English member, unless he is a Home Ruler, will answer with an
undoubted affirmative. An English, or Irish, or Welsh Home Ruler will
with equal certainty, and equal honesty, give a negative answer. The
question admits of fair debate, but we know already how the debate will
be decided. If the Unionists constitute a majority of the House, the
Irish vote will be excluded. But in this case its exclusion is of no
practical importance. If the Unionists constitute indeed a majority of
British representatives, but do not constitute a majority of the House,
the Irish vote will be included. The Irish representatives will decide
whether Wales shall constitute a separate State, and the right of Great
Britain to manage British affairs will not prevent the dismemberment of
England. Home Rule, such as it is for England, means at best a totally
different thing from Home Rule for Ireland. In the case of England it
means a limited and precarious control of legislation for Great Britain
by British members of Parliament. In the case of Ireland it means the
real and substantial and exclusive government of Ireland by an Irish
Ministry and an Irish Parliament.

But will the advantage of even this modified half-and-half Home Rule be
really offered to England?

Gladstonians, it is rumoured (and before these pages are in print the
rumour may turn out to be a fact), have their own remedy for some of the
only too-patent absurdities of the 'in-and-out system' embodied in
clause 9 of the Home Rule Bill. A suggestion is made which would be
amusing for its irony, were it not revolting for its cynicism, that the
difficulty of the double majority should be removed by the allowing
members not only to remain at Westminster in their full number, but also
to vote there on all matters whatever, including those affairs which
exclusively concern the interests of Great Britain. This is no doubt a
remedy for some of the evils of an unworkable proposal. It is a cure
which to any Englishman of sense or spirit will seem tenfold worse than
the disease. It is a cure in that sense only in which a traveller may be
said to be relieved from the fear of robbery by a highwayman shooting
him dead. The irregular interference of the Irish delegation in the
formation of the British Cabinet, and other matters which indirectly
concern England, is to be regularised (if I may use the term) by
allowing to Irish members permanent despotism over England in matters
which, on a system of Home Rule, concern England alone. Irish members
may disestablish the Church of England, though England is to have no
voice in the pettiest of Irish affairs. Irish members are to be allowed
to impose taxes on England, say to double the income tax, though of
these taxes no inhabitant of Ireland will pay a penny; the Irish
delegation--and this is the worst grievance of all--is to be enabled, in
combination with a British minority, to detach Wales from England, or to
vote Home Rule for Scotland, or to federalise still further the United
Kingdom by voting that Man, Jersey, and Guernsey shall send members to
the Imperial Parliament. Note that all this may be done by the Irish
delegation, though, under the new Constitution, England will not have a
word to say on such questions as whether the right of electing members
for the Parliament at Dublin shall or shall not be extended to every
adult, or whether Ulster shall, or shall not, be allowed Home Rule of
its own. The absurdity of this policy ought to prevent its ever being
adopted; but in these days absurdity seems to tell as little against
wild schemes of legislation as their injustice.

All this consideration of haggling and trafficking between Great Britain
and Ireland is loathsome to every true Unionist who considers Englishmen
and Irishmen as still citizens of one nation. But, when Gladstonians
propose to divide the United Kingdom into two States, it is as essential
as it is painful to weigh well what is the gain of Great Britain in the
new scheme of political partnership. If the matter be looked at from
this point of view, it is easy to see how miserable are the offers
tendered to England. Compare for a moment the authority to be given her
under the new constitution with the authority she has hitherto
possessed or the authority tendered to her under the Home Rule Bill of

Up to 1782 the British Parliament held in its own hands the absolute
control not only of every British affair, but every matter of policy
affecting either Ireland or the British Empire. The British Parliament,
in which sat not a single representative of any Irish county or borough,
appointed the Irish Executive. The British Parliament, whenever it
thought fit, legislated for Ireland; the British Parliament controlled
the whole course of Irish legislation; every Act which passed the
Parliament of Ireland was inspected, amended, and, if the English
Ministry saw fit, vetoed in England. The system was a bad system and an
unjust system. It is well that it ended. But as regarded the control of
the British Empire it corresponded roughly with facts. The Empire was in
the main the outcome of British energy and British strength, and the
British Empire was governed by Great Britain.

The constitution of 1782 gave legislative independence to Ireland, but
did not degrade the British Parliament to the position which will be
occupied by the Imperial Parliament under the constitution of 1893. The
British Parliament remained supreme in Great Britain; the British
Parliament controlled the Imperial policy both of England and of
Ireland. The British Parliament, or rather the British Ministry,
virtually appointed the Irish Executive. The British Parliament
renounced all rights to legislate for Ireland[52]; the British
Parliament technically possessed no representatives in the Parliament
at Dublin. But any one who judges of institutions not by words but by
facts will perceive that in one way or another the influence and the
wishes of the British Government were represented more than sufficiently
in the Irish Houses of Parliament. Grattan's constitution, in short,
left the British Parliament absolutely supreme in all British and
Imperial affairs, and gave to the British Ministry predominating weight
in the government of Ireland. This is a very different thing from the
shadowy sovereignty which the English Parliament retains, but abstains
from exercising, in our self-governing colonies. It is a very different
thing from the nominal power to legislate for Ireland which the new
constitution confers upon the Imperial Parliament.

Since the Union England and Ireland have been politically one nation.
The Imperial or British Government has controlled, and the Imperial
Parliament has passed laws for, the whole country. Nor has the presence
of the Irish members till recent days substantially limited the
authority of Great Britain. Till 1829 the Protestant landlords of
Ireland who were represented in the Imperial Parliament shared the
principles or the prejudices of English landowners. Since the granting
of Catholic emancipation Roman Catholic or Irish ideas or interests have
undoubtedly perplexed or encumbered the working of British politics.
But the representatives of Ireland have been for the most part divided
between the two great English parties, and it was not till Mr. Parnell's
influence united the majority of Irish representatives into a party
hostile to Great Britain that any essential evil or inconvenience
resulted from their presence at Westminster. This inconvenience,
whatever its extent, has been the price of the Union. The gain has been
worth the payment: the action of Parliament has been hampered, but its
essential and effective authority throughout the realm has been

In 1886 Mr. Gladstone framed a constitution which was meant to be a
final and a just settlement of the questions at issue between England
and Ireland. Under the constitution of 1886 Great Britain surrendered to
Ireland about the same amount of independence as is offered her under
the proposed constitution of 1893. But the difference in the position of
Great Britain under the two constitutions is immense.

Under the constitution of 1886 Great Britain was offered a position of
the highest authority.

To the British Parliament (in which was to sit not a single Irish
member) was to fall the appointment of the British or Imperial Ministry.
The British Parliament received absolute control of all British,
colonial, Imperial, and foreign affairs. Perfect unity was restored to
the spirit of her government, and predominance in the British, or, to
use ordinary language, in the English, Parliament was given to the
conservative elements of English society. Great Britain became mistress
in her own home; she became much more than this; she was enthroned as
undisputed sovereign of the British Empire.[53]

Under the constitution, in short, of 1886, if Great Britain was weakened
on one side she was strengthened on another. Her Parliament obtained an
immense accession of authority, and was all but entirely freed both from
the necessity for considering Irish questions and from the damage of
Irish obstruction. Ireland surrendered to England all share in the
government of the Empire, and the further dismemberment of Great Britain
without the assent of the British people became difficult, if not
impossible. It does not lie in the mouth of Gladstonians to say that the
measure of 1886 was unjust. It was laid before the country as a
compromise which was just to England and to Ireland. The Irish leaders,
we were told, accepted the proposal, just as we are told that they
accept the proposed constitution of 1893. If the acceptance was honest,
then in 1886 they agreed to a bargain far more favourable to England
than the contract now pressed on our acceptance. If their acquiescence
was a mere pretence, what trust can we place in the assertion that they
accept the arrangement of 1893?

However this may be, it is clear that England is now offered a position
of weakness and of inferiority such as she has never occupied during the
whole course of her history. What is the meaning or justification of the
proposed surrender by England of every compensation for Irish Home Rule
which was offered her in 1886?

For this surrender Gladstonians assign but two reasons.

The presence of the Irish members at Westminster is, it is said, a
concession to the wishes of Unionists.

This plea, even were it supported by the facts of the case, would be
futile. It might pass muster with disputants in search of a verbal
triumph, but to any man seriously concerned for the welfare of the
nation must appear childishly irrelevant. The welfare of the State
cannot turn upon the neatness of a _tu quoque_; retorts are not reasons,
and had every Unionist, down from the Duke of Devonshire to the present
writer, pressed in 1886 for the retention of the Irish members at
Westminster, the controversial inexpertness of the Unionists seven years
ago would not diminish the dangers with which, under a system of Home
Rule, the presence of the Irish members at Westminster actually
threatens England. But the plea, futile as it is, is not supported by
fact. It rests on a misrepresentation of the Unionist position in 1886.

'The case in truth stands thus:--Mr. Gladstone was [in 1886] placed in
effect in this dilemma: "If you do not," said his opponents, "retain the
Irish representatives at Westminster, the sovereignty of the British
Parliament will be, under the terms of your Bill, no more than a name;
if you do retain them, Great Britain will lose the only material
advantage offered her in exchange for the local independence of
Ireland." Gladstonians, in substance, replied that the devices embodied
in the Government of Ireland Bill at once freed the British Parliament
from the presence of the Parnellites and safeguarded the sovereignty of
the British, or (for in this matter there was some confusion) of the
Imperial Parliament. On the latter point issue was joined. The other
horn of the dilemma fell out of sight, and some Unionists, rightly
believing that the Bill as it stood did not preserve the supremacy of
the British Parliament, pressed the Ministry hard with all the
difficulties involved in the removal of the Irish members. In the heat
of debate speeches were, I doubt not, delivered in which the argument
that you could not, as the Bill stood, remove the Irish members from
Westminster and keep the British Parliament supreme in Ireland, was
driven so far as to sound like an argument in favour of, at all costs,
allowing members from Ireland to sit in the English Parliament. Those
who appeared to fall into this error were, it must be noted, but a
fraction of the Unionist Party, and their mistake was little more than
verbal. When the Ministry maintained that the removal of the Irish
members from Westminster was a main feature of their Home Rule policy,
opponents naturally insisted upon the defects of the scheme laid before
them, and did not insist on the equal or greater defects of a plan which
the Government did not advocate. Mr. Gladstone, we are now told, has
changed his position, and assents to the principle that Ireland must be
represented in the British Parliament. If this assent be represented as
a concession to the demands of Unionists, my reply is that it is no such
thing. It is merely the acceptance of a different horn of an
argumentative dilemma. Grant for the sake of argument (what is by no
means certain) that the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament is really
saved. The advantage offered to England in exchange for Home Rule is
assuredly gone. My friend, Mr. John Morley, used to argue in favour of
Home Rule from the necessity of freeing the English Parliament from
Parnellite obstruction. As a matter of curiosity, I should like to know
what he thinks of a concession which strikes his strongest argumentative
weapon out of his hands. My curiosity will be satisfied on the same day
which tells us Lord Spencer's reflections on the surrender of the policy
represented by the Land Purchase Bill. Meanwhile, I know well enough the
thoughts of every Unionist who is not tied by the exigencies of his
political antecedents or utterances. To say that in the eyes of such a
man the proposed concession is worthless, is to say far too little. It
is not a concession which he rates at a low price; it is a proposal
which he heart and soul condemns.'[54]

These words were not written to meet the present condition of the
controversy; they were published in 1887 at a time when no Gladstonian,
except Mr. Gladstone (if indeed he were an exception), knew whether the
retention in the Parliament at Westminster, or the exclusion from the
Parliament at Westminster, of the Irish members, was an essential
principle of Home Rule.

England again, it is alleged, suffers without murmuring all the
inconvenience caused by the Irish vote at Westminster; and she may well,
under a system of Home Rule, bear without complaint evils which she has
tolerated for near a century.

The answer to this reasoning is plain. It is a sorry plea indeed for a
desperate innovation that it leaves the evils of the existing state of
things no worse than they now are. For the sake of the maintenance of
the Union, which Unionists hold of inestimable value, England has borne
the inconvenience caused to her by the Irish vote. It argues simplicity,
or impudence, to urge that England should continue to bear the
inconvenience when the national unity is sacrificed for the sake of
which it was endured. But the reply does not stop here. The presence of
Irish members at Westminster under the new constitution increases and
stereotypes the evils, whatever their extent, now resulting from the
existence of 103 Irish members in the House of Commons. The evils are
increased because the Irish members are turned into a delegation from
the Irish State, and their action ceases to be influenced, as it now is,
by the consideration--a very important one--that the Imperial Parliament
not only in theory but in fact legislates for Ireland, and that the
English Cabinet controls the Irish administration and directs the course
of political promotion in Ireland. The sentiment and the interest of the
Irish members will be changed. Whether they come from North or South
they will be representatives of Ireland, and will naturally and rightly
consider themselves agents bound in every case to make the best bargain
they can for Ireland as against the United Kingdom, or, in plain
language, as against England. They will no longer feel it their interest
to keep in power the English party which they think will best govern
Ireland, for with the government of Ireland the Imperial Parliament
will, as long as the new constitution stands, have no practical concern.
No honest Home Ruler supposes that, if the Home Rule Bill passes into
law, the Imperial Parliament will, even should the tragedy of the
Phoenix Park be repeated in some more terrible form, pass a Crimes Act
for Ireland; to the Irish Government will belong the punishment of Irish
crime. No interest will therefore restrain the Irish delegation from
swaying backwards and forwards between the two English parties, in
order to obtain from the one or the other some momentary advantage, or
some lucrative concession, to the Irish people. Intrigue will be
pardonable, diplomatic finesse will become a duty. This evil no doubt in
some degree exists, but under the present state of things it admits of
diminution. A just redistribution of the franchise will undoubtedly
lessen the number of Ireland's representatives, whilst it will increase
the relative importance, if not the actual numbers, of loyalists in the
representation of Ireland. The gradual settlement of the land question,
as Unionists believe, will further strike at the true root of Irish
discontent, and in removing the true grievance of the Irish tenants will
diminish the strength of the party which depends for its power on the
revolutionary elements in Irish society. But all chance of mitigating
the inconvenience inflicted upon England by the presence of the Irish
members vanishes for ever when they are changed into an Irish
delegation, and are compelled by their position to be the mere
mouthpiece of Ireland's claims against England.

The alleged reasons for the weakening of England are untenable, and,
were they tenfold stronger than they are, could not remove the flagrant
contradiction between the Gladstonian policy of 1886 and the Gladstonian
policy of 1893.

But a contradiction which cannot be removed may be explained.

The withdrawal of the Irish members from Westminster might give Ireland
the chance of obtaining some of the benefits, and compensate England for
some of the evils, of Home Rule. But however this may be, one result it
would produce with certainty; it would dash the Gladstonian party to
pieces. The friends of Disestablishment, the Welsh, or the Scottish,
Home Rulers, the London Socialists, all the revolutionists throughout
the country, know that with the departure of the Irish representatives
from Westminster their own hopes of triumph must be indefinitely
postponed. England is the stronghold of British conservatism, and an
arrangement which leaves the fate of England in the hands of Englishmen
may be favourable to reform, but is fatal to revolution. Has this fact
arrested the attention of Gladstonians? I know not. It is an unfortunate
coincidence that the least defensible portion of an indefensible policy
should, while it threatens ruin to England, offer temporary salvation to
the party who rally round Mr. Gladstone.[55]

C. _The Powers of the Irish Government_

I. _The Irish Executive_. At the head of the Irish Executive will
nominally stand the Lord Lieutenant; he will however in reality occupy
the position of a colonial Governor, and be, for most purposes, little
more than the ornamental figure-head of the Irish Administration. The
real executive government of Ireland[56] must be a parliamentary
Ministry or Cabinet[57] chosen in effect, though not in name, by the
Irish Parliament, or rather by the Irish Legislative Assembly, or House
of Commons, just as the English Cabinet is appointed in effect by the
English House of Commons. Allowing then for the occasional intervention
of the Lord Lieutenant as the representative of the Imperial Parliament
to protect either the interests of the Empire or the special rights of
the United Kingdom,[58] the Irish Ministry is to occupy in Ireland the
position which the New Zealand Ministry occupies in New Zealand, and
will for most purposes as truly govern Ireland as the New Zealand
Ministry governs New Zealand, or as Mr. Gladstone's Ministry governs
England. The Irish Ministry will be the true Government of Ireland.

This is a fact to which the attention of the English public ought to be
sedulously directed. The creation of an independent Irish Parliament
strikes the imagination; it is seen to be an innovation of primary
importance. The creation of an independent Irish Cabinet or Ministry is
taken as a matter of course, and neither Unionists nor Gladstonians see
its full import. Yet in Ireland, as elsewhere, the character of the
Executive is of more practical consequence than the character of the
Legislature. A country may dispense, for a long time, with legislation;
no country can dispense with good government.

This principle holds good even in an orderly country such as England,
where the sphere of the administration is far less extended than it is
in most States. We might get on for a good while prosperously enough
without a Parliament, or without new laws, but if anything deprived us
even for a week of an Executive, or if, for any reason, the whole spirit
of the public administration were changed, every Englishman would feel
this portentous revolution in every concern of his daily life. The
protection of the Government, of the army, of the police, of the law
courts, are with us so much matters of course, that we never realise how
much the comfort and prosperity of our existence hang upon it, nor do we
reflect that the aid we derive from the Courts is in the last instance
dependent upon the decisions of the judges being actively supported by
the forces at the command of the executive power. Again, we are so used
to the preservation on the part of the Executive and the Courts of an
attitude of perfect impartiality and to the extension of their aid to
all citizens alike, that we can hardly even in imagination conceive what
would be the condition of things if the public administration favoured
particular classes and looked askance on the rights of one class, whilst
it enforced with rigour the rights of another. Yet events which have
been passing before our eyes may show any one how absolutely dependent
we may be, at any moment, for our enjoyment of life, property, or
freedom upon the authority and the equity of the Executive. Consider the
strike at Hull. Practically the legal rights and personal freedom of
every inhabitant of the city depend upon the action of the Government.
It is as plain as day that if the Government had taken actively and
unfairly the side of one party or the other to the contest, the party
which the Government favoured would at once have won. Suppose, though
the supposition is a very improbable one, that the Home Secretary had
directed the police to put down every form of picketing and to arrest
every one who counselled the free labourers to desert their employment,
the strike would come at once to an end. Suppose on the other hand--the
supposition is also a wild one--that the Home Secretary had declined to
protect the rights of the free labourers, that the troops had been
withdrawn, and that the police had been inactive; suppose, in short,
that the Government had been careless to maintain order. The Trade
Unionists would at once have become supreme, and freedom of contract, as
well as liberty of person, would have been at once abolished. Even in
England then the power to exercise our rights as citizens has its source
in the constant, though unobserved, intervention of the executive power.
What is true of England is truer still of countries where the sphere of
the administration is more widely extended than with us, and what is
true of every civilised country is truest of all of Ireland. Ireland is
a country where the sphere of the administration is large, and where it
will probably be increased. Ireland is divided by hostile factions not
too much prone to respect the law. Even as things stand, the Irish
Executive finds it hard enough to hold a perfectly even and level
course, and the whole state of the country depends upon the spirit in
which the law is enforced. One of the very gravest defects of our
present system is that in Ireland a change of government means, to a
certain extent, a change in the administration of the law. Yet both Mr.
Balfour and Mr. Morley have enforced the law, and have meant, according
to their lights, to act towards all citizens with equitable
impartiality. And Mr. Balfour, Mr. Morley, or any statesman appointed by
the Imperial Parliament, is likely to act with more fairness than at the
present moment would any Executive chosen by any Irish Parliament. One
thing, at any rate, is certain. An independent Irish Executive will
possess immense power. It will be able by mere administrative action or
inaction, without passing a single law which infringes any Restriction
to be imposed by the Irish Government Act, 1893, to effect a revolution.
Let us consider for a moment a few of the things which the Irish Cabinet
might do if it chose. It might confine all political, administrative, or
judicial appointments to Nationalists, and thus exclude Loyalists from
all positions of public trust. It might place the Bench,[59] the
magistracy, the police wholly in the hands of Catholics; it might, by
encouragement of athletic clubs where the Catholic population were
trained to the use of arms, combined with the rigorous suppression of
every Protestant association suspected, rightly or not, of preparing
resistance to the Parliament at Dublin, bring about the arming of
Catholic and the disarming of Protestant Ireland, and, at the same time,
raise a force as formidable to England as an openly enrolled Irish army.
But the mere inaction of the Executive might in many spheres produce
greater results than active unfairness. The refusal of the police for
the enforcement of evictions would abolish rent throughout the country.
And the same result might be attained by a more moderate course. Irish
Ministers might in practice draw a distinction between 'good' landlords
and 'bad' landlords, and might grant the aid of the police for the
collection of reasonable, though refusing it for the collection of
excessive rents, and might at last magnanimously recognise the virtues
of Mr. Smith-Barry, whilst passing a practical sentence of outlawry on
Lord Clanricarde. Is there anything absurd or unreasonable in the
supposition that a Ministry of Land Leaguers chosen by a Parliament of
Nationalists should attempt to enforce the unwritten law of the Land
League? A Gladstonian who answers this question in the affirmative
entertains a far lower opinion than can any candid Unionist of Mr.
Gladstone's Irish allies. It would be the grossest unfairness to suggest
that every man convicted of conspiracy by the Special Commission added
to criminality and recklessness a monstrous form of hypocrisy, and that,
whilst urging Irish peasants to boycott evictors and land-grabbers, he
felt no genuine moral abhorrence of evictions and land-grabbing. But if,
as is certainly the case, the founders of the Land League really
detested the existing system of land tenure, and considered a landlord
who exacted rent a criminal, and a tenant who paid it a caitiff, it is
as certain as anything can be that they will be under the greatest
temptation, not to say, in their own eyes, under a stringent moral
obligation, to strain the power of an Irish Executive for the purpose of
abolishing the payment of rent. Nothing, at any rate, will seem to an
Irish Ministry more desirable than that within three years[60] from the
passing of the Bill landlords and tenants should come to an arrangement,
and nothing is more likely to produce this result than the withdrawal
from the landlords of the aid, if not the protection, of the law. My
argument, however, at the present point does not require the assertion
or the belief that an Irish Ministry will be guilty of every act of
oppression which it can legally commit. All that I insist upon is that
an Irish Ministry will exercise immense power, and that without
violating a letter of the constitution, and without passing a single act
which any Court whatever could treat as void, the Ministry will be able
to change the social condition of Ireland. The Irish Cabinet, remember,
will not be checked by any Irish House of Commons, for it will represent
the majority of that House. It will not need to fear the interposition
of the Imperial Ministry or the Imperial Parliament, for if the
authorities in England are to supervise and correct the conduct of the
Irish Cabinet, Home Rule is at an end. Mr. Asquith has repudiated all
idea of creating two Executives in Ireland[61] for the ordinary purposes
of government, and from his own point of view he is right. The notion of
a dual control is preposterous; the attempt to carry it out must involve
anarchy or revolution. The Irish Ministry must in ordinary matters be at
least as free as the Ministry of a self-governing colony. The
independence of the Irish Executive is indeed a totally new phenomenon
in Irish history, and is, as I have said, a far more important matter
than the independence of the Irish Parliament, but it is an essential
feature of Home Rule, and every elector throughout England should try to
realise its import.

One check, indeed, is placed upon the power of the Irish Cabinet. The
military forces of the Crown, and the Royal Irish Constabulary and
Dublin Metropolitan Police (as long as they exist[62]), are subject to
the control of the Imperial or English Ministry.[63] The result is that
the English Cabinet will have the means of using force in Ireland for
the maintenance of order, for the execution of the law, or for the
maintenance of the authority of the Imperial Parliament. But this
advantage is after all purchased at the price of placing the country
under the rule of something very like two Executives. If the policy of
the Irish Cabinet, _e.g._ as to suppressing a riot at Dublin or Belfast,
should differ from the policy of the English Cabinet, the ordinary
police may be called into action whilst the army or the royal
constabulary stand by inactive, or the army may disperse a meeting which
the Irish Ministry hold to be a lawful assembly.

II. _The Irish Parliament._ The authority of the Irish Parliament,
whilst acting within the limits of the constitution, is extremely

The Parliament appoints the Irish Government of the day; it will
determine whether Mr. M'Carthy or Mr. Redmond, Mr. Healy or Mr. Davitt,
directs the Irish Administration. In this matter the British Government
will have no voice. The English Ministry are under the new constitution
expected in many ways to co-operate with the Irish Ministry, yet it is
quite conceivable that the Ministers of the Crown at Dublin may be men
whose whole ideas of expediency, of policy, of political morality, may
be opposed to the ideas of the Ministers of the Crown at Westminster.

The Irish Parliament, again, even if every Restriction on its powers
inserted in the Home Rule Bill should pass into law, will be found to
have ample scope for legislative action.[65]

It can repeal[66] any Act affecting Ireland which was enacted before the
passing of the Home Rule Bill. Thus it can do away with the right to the
writ of _habeas corpus_; it can abolish the whole system of trial by
jury; it can by wide rules as to the change of venue expose any
inhabitant of Belfast, charged with any offence against the Irish
Government, to the certainty of being tried in Dublin or in Cork. If an
Irish law cannot touch the law of treason or of treason-felony, the
leaders of the Irish Parliament may easily invent new offences not
called by these names, and the Parliament may impose severe penalties on
any one who attempts by act or by speech to bring the Irish Government
into contempt. A new law of sacrilege may be passed which would make
criticism of the Irish priesthood, or attacks on the Roman Catholic
religion, or the public advocacy of Protestantism, practically
impossible. The Irish House of Commons may take the decision of election
petitions into its own hands, and members nominated by the priests may
determine the proper limits of spiritual influence. Thus the party
dominant at Dublin can, if they see fit, abolish all freedom of
election; nor is this all that the Irish Parliament can accomplish in
the way of ensuring the supremacy of an Irish party. After six years
from the passing of the Home Rule Bill--let us say in the year 1900--the
Irish Parliament can alter the qualification of the electors and the
distribution of the members among the constituencies. Parliament can in
fact introduce at once universal suffrage, and do everything which the
ingenuity of partisanship can suggest for diminishing the
representation of property and of Protestantism. If, further, in any
part of Ireland there be reason to fear opposition to the laws of the
Irish Parliament, a severer Coercion Act may be passed than any which
has as yet found its way on to the pages of the English or the Irish
Statute Book. Worse than all this, the Irish Parliament has the right to
legislate with regard to transactions which have taken place before the
passing of the Home Rule Bill. An Act inflicting penalties on
magistrates who have been zealous in the enforcement of the Crimes Act,
an Act abolishing the right to recover debts incurred before 1893, an
Act for compensation to tenants who had suffered from obedience to the
behests of the Land League, are all Acts which, however monstrous, the
Irish Parliament is, under the new constitution, competent to pass.

My assertion is, be it noted, not that all or any of such laws would be
passed, but that the passing of them would, under the new constitution,
be legal. The Irish Parliament could further by its legislation pursue
lines of policy opposed to the moral feeling and political judgment of
Great Britain, and this too where Irish legislation practically affects
Great Britain. State lotteries might be re-established, gambling tables
might be re-opened at Dublin. If the imposition of protective duties on
imported goods is forbidden, there is nothing apparently to prevent the
reintroduction of Protection into Ireland by the payment of bounties;
there is certainly nothing to prohibit the repeal or suspension of the
Factory Acts, so that English manufacturers might be compelled to
compete with Irish rivals who are freed from the limits imposed upon
excessive labour by the humanity or the wisdom of England. The power of
the Irish Parliament to pass laws which in the eyes of Englishmen are
unwise or inequitable, is, it will be urged, an essential part of the
policy of Home Rule. I admit that this is so. But this makes it the more
necessary that English electors should realise what this essential
characteristic of Home Rule means, or may mean. The Nonconformist
conscience exposed Irish Home Rulers to painful humiliation and possible
ruin by forbidding them to follow the political leader of their choice
to whom they had deliberately renewed their allegiance. Is it certain
that Englishmen who could not tolerate the official authority of Mr.
Parnell will bear the official leadership, say of Mr. Healy, if employed
to carry out the economical principles of Mr. Davitt?

The legislative powers, ample as they are, of the Irish Parliament are
in some respects restricted, but what the Parliament cannot accomplish
by law it could accomplish by resolution. The expressed opinion of a
legislature entitled to speak in the name of the people of Ireland must
always command attention, and may exert decisive influence. Suppose that
the Irish House of Commons asserts in respectful, but firm, language,
the right of the Irish people to establish a protective tariff; suppose
that when England is engaged in a diplomatic, or an armed, contest with
France, the Irish House of Commons resolves that Ireland sympathises
with France, that Ireland disapproves of all alliance with Germany, that
she has no interest in war, and wishes to stand neutral; or suppose
that, taking another line, the Irish Parliament at the approach of
hostilities resolves that the people of Ireland assert their inherent
right to arm volunteers, or raise an army in their own defence. No
English Minister can allege with truth that these resolutions or a score
more of the same kind are a breach of the constitution; yet such
resolutions will not be without their effect in England; they cannot be
without their effect abroad; in many parts of Ireland they will have
more than the authority of an Act of Parliament.

Assume, for the purpose of my argument, that the Irish Parliament always
acts absolutely within the limits or the letter of the constitution,
though to make this assumption is to substitute unreasonable hopes for
rational expectations. What Englishmen should note, because they do not
yet understand it, is that within the limits of the constitution the
Irish Cabinet and the Irish Parliament possess and must possess the most
extensive powers, and that these powers may be used in ways which would
surprise and shock the British public, and impede and weaken the action
of the Imperial, or English, Government.

D. _The Restrictions (or Safeguards) and the Obligations_

I. _Their Nature_. The limitations on the power of the Irish Legislature
are of a twofold character.

The Restrictions contained in clause 3 of the Bill are intended to
restrain the Irish Parliament from acting as the representative body of
an independent nation. This clause invalidates for example acts with
respect to the Crown or the succession to the Crown, with respect to
peace or war, with respect to the naval or military forces of the realm,
with respect to treaties or other relations with foreign states, and
with respect to trade with any place out of Ireland, which apparently
includes the imposition of a protective tariff.

The Restrictions[67] contained in clause 4 may be roughly divided into
three heads; first, prohibitions intended to ensure the maintenance of
absolute religious equality[68]; secondly, prohibitions intended to
prevent injustice to individuals, such as deprivation of life, liberty,
or property without due process of law, denial of equal protection of
the law, the taxing of private property without due compensation, or the
unfair treatment of any existing corporation; thirdly, a provision
prohibiting any law which deprives any inhabitant of the United Kingdom
of equal rights to public sea fisheries.[69]

On these Restrictions it were easy to write an elaborate treatise.
Should our new constitution ever come into force, they will give rise to
a whole series of judgments, and to lengthy books explanatory thereof.
The language in which the Restrictions are expressed is in many cases
exceptionable. No lawyer will venture to predict what for instance may
be the interpretation placed by the Courts on such expressions as 'due
process of law,' 'just compensation,' and the like, and it is more than
doubtful whether the so-called safeguards are so expressed as to carry
out the intention of their authors, or, even in words, adequately to
protect either the authority of the Imperial Parliament or the rights of
individuals. But it is not my purpose to criticise the Restrictions, or
the Bill itself, in detail. The drafting of the Government of Ireland
Bill needs much amendment, but at the present juncture it is waste of
time to criticise defects removable by better draftmanship or by slight
changes in the substance of the measure. My object is to dwell on such
points relating to the Restrictions as show their bearing on the
character of the new constitution.[70]

_First._ The Restrictions are one and all of them limits upon the
powers of the Irish Parliament; they are none of them limits upon the
powers of the Irish Executive. The new constitution does not
contain--from its nature it hardly could contain--a single safeguard
against abuse of power by the Irish Ministry or its servants. Yet in all
countries there is far more reason to dread executive than parliamentary
oppression, and this is emphatically true of Ireland.

_Secondly._ The Restrictions contain no prohibition against the passing
of an Act of Indemnity.

Yet of all the laws which a Legislature can pass an Act of Indemnity is
the most likely to produce injustice. It is on the face of it the
legislation of illegality; the hope of it encourages acts of vigour, but
it also encourages violations of law and of humanity. The tale of
Flogging Fitzgerald in Ireland, or the history of Governor Eyre in
Jamaica, is sufficient to remind us of the deeds of lawlessness and
cruelty which in a period of civil conflict may be inspired by
recklessness or panic, and may be pardoned by the retrospective sympathy
or partisanship of a terror-stricken or vindictive Legislature.
Circumstances no doubt may arise in Ireland, as in other countries,
under which the maintenance of order or the protection of life may
excuse or require deviation from the strict rules of legality. But the
question, whether these circumstances have arisen, will always be
decided far more justly by the Parliament at Westminster than it can be
decided by the Parliament at Dublin. Can any one really maintain that a
Parliament in which Mr. Healy, or, for that matter, Col. Saunderson,
might be leader, would be as fair a tribunal as a Parliament under the
guidance of Mr. Gladstone or Lord Salisbury for determining whether an
officer who, acting under the direction of the Irish Government and with
a view to maintain order at Belfast or at Dublin, should have put an
agitator or conspirator to death without due trial, had or had not done
his duty.

_Thirdly._ There is among the Restrictions no prohibition against the
passing of an _ex post facto_ law. Yet an _ex post facto_ law is the
instrument which a legislature is most apt to use for punishing the
unpopular use of legal rights. There is not a landlord, there is not a
magistrate, there is not a constable in Ireland, who may not tremble in
fear of _ex post facto_ legislation. There is no reason, as far as the
Home Rule Bill goes, why the gaoler who kept Mr. William O'Brien in
prison or the warders who attempted to pull off his breeches, should not
be rendered legally liable to punishment for their offences against the
unwritten law of Irish sedition. No such monstrosity of legal inequity
will, it may be said, be produced. I admit this. But the very object of
prohibitions is the prevention of outrageous injustice. The wise
founders of the United States prohibited both to Congress and to every
State legislature the passing of _ex post facto_ legislation. If any man
hint that it be an insult to Ireland to anticipate the possible
injustice of an Irish Parliament, my reply is simple. No Irishman need
resent as an insult prohibitions which were not felt to be insulting
either by the citizens of America or the citizens of Massachusetts.

_Fourthly._ The Restrictions on the powers of the Irish Parliament do
not contain any safeguard against legislation which sets aside

This is remarkable, not to say ominous. The Gladstonian constitution has
been drawn up by legislators who profess to profit by the experience of
America. Under the Constitution of the United States[71] no State can
pass any law 'impairing the obligation of a contract.' This provision
has kept alive throughout the Union the belief in the sacredness of
legal promises. It embodies a principle which lies at the bottom of all
progressive legislation. It gives the best guarantee which a
constitution can give against the most insidious form of legislative
unfairness; it embodies a doctrine which all legislatures are likely to
neglect and which an Irish Parliament is more likely to neglect than any
other legislature, for in Ireland there exist contracts which do not
command popular approval, and the Imperial legislation of twenty years
and more has taught the Irish people that agreements which do not
command popular approval may, without breach of good faith, be set aside
by legislative enactment. We all know further that reforms, or
innovations, are desired by thousands of Irishmen which cannot be
carried into effect unless the obligation of contracts be impaired. Why,
then, have statesmen who borrow freely from the Constitution of the
United States omitted the most salutary of its provisions from our new

The official reply is at any rate singular; it is apparently[72] that
the section of the United States Constitution which invalidates any law
impairing the obligation of a contract has given much occupation to the
Courts of America. This answer is on the face of it futile; it urges the
proved utility of a law as a reason for its not being enacted; as well
suggest that because the criminal courts are mainly occupied with the
trial of thieves there ought to be no law against petty larceny, or that
because the labours of the Divorce Court increase year by year, the law
ought not to permit divorce. The absurdity of the official reply
suggests the existence of some reason which the defenders of this
strange omission are unwilling clearly to allege. The true reason why
the founders of the new constitution have omitted in this instance to
copy a polity which they profess to admire is not hard to discover. An
enactment which enjoined an Irish Parliament to respect the sanctity of
a contract would be fatal to any remodelling of the Irish land law which
tended towards the spoliation of landowners. Yet this very fact makes
the matter all the more serious. That British statesmen should under
these circumstances deliberately decline to insert an injunction to
respect the sanctity of plighted good faith is much more than an
omission. It amounts to the suggestion, almost to the approval, of
legislative robbery; it is a proclamation that as against landlords, as
against creditors, as against any unpopular class, the Imperial
Parliament sanctions the violation of good faith. To the Irish
Parliament the authors of the new constitution in effect say: 'You may
raise no soldiers, you may not yourselves summon volunteers for the
defence of your country, you shall not impose customs on foreign goods,
and are therefore forbidden to follow a policy of protection approved of
by every civilised State except England; you shall neither establish nor
endow a church, you shall not by providing salaries for your priesthood
at once lighten the burdens of the flock, and improve the position of
the pastor; these things, not to speak of many others, you are forbidden
to do, though there are many wise statesmen who deem that the courses of
action from which you are debarred would conduce to the dignity and the
prosperity of Ireland; but there is one thing which you may do, you may
sanction breach of faith, you may encourage dishonesty, you may enjoin
fraud, you may continue to teach the worst lesson which the vacillation
of English government has as yet taught the Irish people, you may drive
home the conviction that no man need keep a covenant when the keeping
thereof is to his own damage.' This is the message of political morality
which the last true Parliament of the United Kingdom hands over to the
first new Parliament of Ireland.

II. _Their Enforcement._ The nature of the Restrictions imposed upon
the Parliament, and indirectly upon the Government of Ireland, is of far
less importance than are the means provided for their enforcement. A law
which is not enforceable is a nullity; it has in strictness no

The methods provided by the Home Rule Bill for keeping the Irish
Parliament within its proper sphere of legislative activity are two in
number--the veto of the Lord Lieutenant, and the action of the Courts.

_The Veto._ This is little more than an empty sham, for it must in
general be exercised on the advice of the Irish Cabinet; in other words
it will never be exercised at all.[73] Were the matter not so serious
there would be something highly amusing in the conduct of
constitution-makers who, intending to provide against unconstitutional
legislation on the part of the Irish Parliament, provide that the Irish
Cabinet, who are practically appointed by the Irish Parliament, and who
direct its legislation, shall have power to veto Bills passed by the
Irish Parliament presumably on the advice of the Irish Cabinet.

The English Ministry no doubt may, if they see fit, instruct the Lord
Lieutenant to veto a given Bill. So also the Imperial Parliament has
authority to repeal or override any Act, constitutional or
unconstitutional, passed by the Irish Parliament. Each power stands on
the same footing, neither is meant for ordinary use; either is a means
of legal revolution. The veto of the Crown means little in New Zealand;
it will at best mean no more in Ireland; but in truth it will mean a
good deal less. New Zealand sends no member to Westminster to stay the
hand of the Imperial Government whenever it attempts by way of veto or
otherwise to put in force the reserved powers of the Imperial

_The Privy Council and the Courts_. The English Privy Council[75] may
nullify the effect of Irish legislation in two ways.

It may as an administrative body give a decision that an Act is
void.[76] This power can by exercised only upon the application of the
Lord Lieutenant or a Secretary of State, and it is a power which we may
expect will be but rarely employed, for its use would at once give rise
to a direct conflict between the Irish Parliament and the English Privy
Council. Let it be noted in passing that this provision for the decision
of constitutional questions is foreign to the habits and traditions of
English Courts; no judge throughout the United Kingdom ever pronounces
a speculative opinion upon the extent, operation, or validity of an Act
of Parliament. It is the inveterate habit of our judges to deal with
particular cases as they come before them, and with particular cases
alone. They will find themselves greatly perplexed when they come to
pronounce judgment upon abstract questions of law. This is not all. The
proposed arrangement is as foreign to the spirit of American Federalism
as it is to the spirit of English law. The Supreme Court of the United
States never in strictness pronounces an Act either of Congress or of a
State Legislature void. What the Court does is to treat it as void in
the decision of a particular case. Tocqueville and other critics have
directed special attention to the care with which the Federal tribunals,
by dealing only with given cases as they arise, avoid as far as possible
coming into conflict with any State. They determine the rights of
individuals; they do not determine directly what may be the legislative
competence of the State, or for that matter of the Federal,
Legislature.[77] The extraordinary power given to the Privy Council
violates a fundamental principle of federalism, which by the way is
violated in other parts of the Home Rule Bill. It brings, or tends to
bring, the central power, represented in this case by the Privy Council,
into direct conflict with one of the States of the Federation.[78]

The English Privy Council, or, in strictness, the Judicial Committee of
the Privy Council, is under the new constitution constituted a Final
Court of Appeal from every Court in Ireland.[79]

The Privy Council also is the Court of Appeal from a new kind of
Imperial, or as one may say 'Federal,' judiciary, specially formed for
the determination of matters having relation to the competence of the
Irish Parliament.

This Imperial or Federal judiciary consists of the two Exchequer Judges
of the Supreme Court in Ireland; they are appointed under the Great Seal
of the United Kingdom, and therefore by the English Ministry. Their
salaries are charged on the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, and
they are removable only on an address to the Houses of the Imperial
Parliament. They constitute therefore an Imperial not an Irish Court.
Before this Court may be brought on the application of any party thereto
any legal proceedings in Ireland which _inter alia_ 'touch any matter
not within the power of the Irish Legislature, or touch any matter
affected by a law which the Irish Legislature has not power to repeal or
alter.'[80] With the details of these arrangements I need not trouble my
readers; the point to notice is that, whenever in any proceeding in
Ireland the validity or constitutionality of an Irish Act can come into
question, the matter may, at the wish of any party concerned, and in
many cases apparently must be, brought before an Imperial or in effect
British Court--the Exchequer Judges--and be determined by them subject
to an appeal to another Imperial or British Court, viz. the Privy
Council. Note further that to the Exchequer Judges are given special
powers for the enforcement of any judgment of their Court. If the
Sheriff does not give effect to their judgment, they may appoint any
other officer with the full rights of a Sheriff to enforce it.[81]

Here then we have the machinery of the Imperial, or Federal, Judicature.
To put the matter simply, the Restrictions imposed on the Irish
Parliament depend for their effectiveness on judgments of the Privy
Council enforced by the Exchequer Judges.

Consider how the whole arrangement will work.[82] The theoretical
operation of the scheme is clear enough. _A_ sues _X_ in an Irish Court,
say, to simplify matters, before the Exchequer Judges, for £1,000 due to
_A_ for rent. _X_ bases his defence on an Act of the Irish Parliament,
drawn by Irish statesmen, and approved presumably by Irish electors. _A_
questions the constitutionality of the Act. The Exchequer Judges are
divided in opinion. The matter at last comes before the Privy Council.
The Privy Council pronounce the Act void, and give judgment in _A's_
favour. He has a right to recover the £1,000 from _X_. The whole
question in theory is settled. The law is unconstitutional, the law is
void; _A_ has obtained judgment. But can the judgment be enforced? This
is the essential question; for the object of a plaintiff is to obtain
not judgment but payment or execution. What then are the means for
enforcing the judgment of the Privy Council when it is not supported by
Irish opinion, when it sets aside an Act of the Irish Parliament, and
when it may possibly be opposed to the decision, in a similar case, of
an Irish Court? The means are the action of the Sheriff. What if the
Sheriff is a strong Nationalist, and makes default? The only thing to be
done is to appoint an officer empowered to carry out the decree of the
Court. Of course if the Irish Ministry are bent on enforcing the
judgment, if the Exchequer Court, whose judgment, it may be, has been
overruled, is zealous in supporting the authority of the Privy Council,
if the Irish people are filled with reverence for tribunals which are
really English Courts, all will go well. But Mr. Gladstone himself
cannot anticipate that novel constitutional machinery will work with
ease, or that on the passing of the Home Rule Bill the disposition, the
traditional feelings, and the sympathies of the Irish populace will be
changed. Suppose that _A_ is Lord Clanricarde; suppose that _X_ is an
evicted tenant. It is not common sense to believe that the judgment in
his lordship's favour will as a matter of course take effect. At the
present moment the Irish Courts, backed by the whole authority of the
Imperial Government and the Irish Executive, often find a difficulty in
enforcing their judgments. Will English Courts find it easy to give
effect to a judgment in Ireland if the Irish Executive and its servants
stand neutral or hostile? What if the Irish House of Commons turn out as
unwilling that force should be used for enforcing the decree of the
Privy Council as are some English Radicals that force shall be employed
for the protection of free labourers against Trades Unionists? What if
the officer of the Court is in fact some bailiff trembling for his own
life? He may, I am told, call in the military. Of his authority to do
this I am not quite sure. He must, I suppose, in the first instance
apply to the Irish Home Secretary. The Irish Minister pressed by the
opposition turns a deaf ear to the appeal of the bailiff. Application
must then be made in some form or other to the English Ministry. The
Imperial Cabinet will think more than once before horse, foot, and
artillery are, against the wish of the Irish Government, put in movement
to enforce the judgment of a British Court, and to obtain £1,000 for
Lord Clanricarde. The matter will have become serious; the dignity of
the Irish nation will be at stake; the complaints of the plaintiff will
be drowned by the indignant clamours of eighty members at Westminster.
The essential principle of the new constitution is that there shall be
but one Executive in Ireland. The moment that the British Government
intervenes to support the judgment of British Courts, we have in Ireland
two hostile Executives. We tremble on the verge either of legal
revolution or of civil war. An English Cabinet, I suspect, will hardly
enforce the unpopular rights of a hated plaintiff by use of arms.

Why, it will be said, assume that the Irish Government and the Irish
people will not enforce the law? The assumption, I answer, is justified
not only by the history of Ireland, but by general experience. In all
federations, even the best ordered, difficulties constantly arise as to
the sphere of the Federal Government and the State Governments, and as
to the enforcement of judgments delivered by Federal Courts. The
authority of the federal tribunals has not always been easily enforced
even in the United States. Serious difficulties hamper the action of the
Swiss federal authorities. Even in England enthusiasm or conviction
occasionally triumphs over legality. English clergymen are at least as
reasonable as excited politicians, yet Ritualists have not invariably
submitted to the authority of the Privy Council. Why should Irishmen be
more reasonable than other men? In Ireland we are trying an entirely
novel and dangerous experiment; we are fostering the spirit of
nationality under the forms of federation. The Privy Council, hide the
matter as you will, represents British power. If Ireland is a nation,
the Government of Great Britain is an alien Government; the judgments of
the Privy Council are the judgments of an alien Court, and reason
forbids us to expect more submission to the decisions of an alien
tribunal than to the laws of an alien legislature.

Suppose, however, that British judgments are enforced by the British
army. Is this a result in which any Englishman or Irishman could
rejoice? Can we say that the new constitution works well when its real
and visible sanction is the use of British soldiers? The plain truth is
that arrangements for legally restraining the Irish Parliament within
the due limits of its powers must be ineffective and unreal and, if the
principle of Home Rule be once admitted, the widest must be the wisest
form of it. Colonial independence is better for Ireland and safer for
England than sham federalism.[83]

Grant, however, that the judgments of the Privy Council can be enforced
more easily than I suppose, still even Gladstonians would admit that the
proper working of the new constitution depends on two presumptions. The
one is that the Irish people are under no strong temptation to oppose
the Restrictions or to throw off the obligations imposed upon the Irish
Parliament or Government. The other that they possess no ready means for
nullifying these Restrictions or obligations.

Each of these assumptions is false.

Restraints ineffective for the protection either of British interests or
of individual freedom may be intensely irritating to national sentiment.

The limitations imposed on the powers of the Irish Parliament, or, in
other words, of the Irish people, are opposed to the spirit of
nationality and independence which Home Rule, it is hoped, will appease
or satisfy. They will be hateful therefore not only to that multitude
whom Gladstonians call the Irish people, but to every Irishman who is
bidden by Gladstonians to consider himself a member of the Irish nation.

The Irish are a martial race; they excel in the practice, and delight in
the pageantry, of warfare, but they are forbidden to raise a regiment or
man a gunboat. They cannot legally raise a regiment of volunteers, they
cannot save their country from invasion. Will they permanently acquiesce
in restraints not imposed on the Channel Islands? Irishmen, Unionists no
less than Home Rulers, are mostly Protectionists, and believe that
tariffs may give to Ireland, not indeed a 'plethora of wealth,' for of
this no man out of Bedlam except Mr. Gladstone dreams, but reasonable
prosperity. Vain to argue that Protection is folly. Englishmen think so,
and Englishmen are right. But English doctrine is not accepted in
Germany, in France, in the United States, or in the British Colonies;
why should Irishmen be wiser than the inhabitants of every civilised
country, except England? The fact, in any case, cannot be altered that
most Home Rulers are Protectionists, and that many of them desire Home
Rule mainly because they desire Protection for Ireland. Yet Protection,
at any rate in the form of a tariff, they cannot have.[84] Take again
the Restrictions imposed on the endowment of religion. All English
Nonconformists, and many English Churchmen, hold these Restrictions to
be in themselves politic and just. But the one strong reason for the
concession of Home Rule is that Irishmen disagree with English notions
of policy and of justice. No one can assign any reason why Irish
statesmen, Catholics or Protestants, might not feel it a matter of duty
or of policy to endow the priesthood, to level up instead of levelling
down, to enter into some sort of concordat with Rome. It is a policy
which is distasteful to English Nonconformists and to most Irish
Protestants. But under a system of Home Rule, at any rate, English
Nonconformists have no right to dictate the policy of Ireland. There is
not the remotest reason why Restrictions on the endowments of religion
and the like should not be hateful to Irishmen.

The limitations, in short, on the competence of the Irish Parliament are
inconsistent with the fundamental principle of Gladstonian statecraft.
It is a policy we are told of trust in the people, the limitations are
dictated by distrust of the Irish people; Home Rule is to be granted in
order that Irishmen may give effect to Irish ideas; the Restrictions are
enacted to check the development of Irish ideas, and to impose English
ideas upon the policy of Ireland.

As though, however, the Restraints were not enough to cause first
irritation and then agitation, the financial provisions contemplated by
the Bill are in themselves certain to generate, not future, but
immediate discord.

Of the financial arrangements instituted under the new constitution, my
purpose is to say very little. My object is not to show that Mr.
Gladstone's financial calculations are wrong, or that they are ruinous
to Ireland or unfair to England. All this is for my present purpose
immaterial. My aim is to insist that, in their very nature, they are a
cause of conflict; and that they bring the interest, and, even more,
the sentiment, of Ireland into direct opposition with the power of

All the customs payable at every Irish port are to be regulated,
collected, and managed by, and to be paid into, the Exchequer of the
United Kingdom. Not a penny of these customs benefits Ireland; they are
all--and this is certainly the light in which they will appear to most
Irishmen--a contribution to the revenue of the United Kingdom, that is,
of England. If every taxable article were smuggled into Ireland, so that
not one pound of Irish customs were paid to the English treasury, the
Imperial power would lose, but the Irish State would gain. Ireland would
be delivered from a tax which will soon be called a tribute. If,
moreover, Ireland continues to be treated as financially a part of the
United Kingdom, then free smuggling, which is free trade, would make
Ireland a free port, where might be landed untaxed the goods required by
the whole United Kingdom. It is easy to see how the English revenue
would suffer, but it is equally easy to see that Irish commerce might
flourish. If I am told that the ruin of the British revenue may be
averted by the examination of goods brought from Ireland to Great
Britain--this, of course, is so. But then freedom of trade within the
United Kingdom is at an end. We are compelled, in substance, to raise an
internal line of custom houses; we abolish at one stroke one great
benefit of the Treaty of Union.

The mode, again, in which the customs are levied outrages every kind of
national sentiment. Coast-guards, custom-house officers, and gaugers are
never popular among a population of smugglers; they will not be the more
beloved when every custom-house officer or coastguard is the
representative of an alien power, and is employed to levy tribute from

Another leading feature of the financial arrangements is the charging
upon the Irish Consolidated Fund of various sums rightly due and payable
to the Exchequer of the United Kingdom.[86] They are made a first charge
upon the revenue of Ireland. They are to be paid in the last resort upon
the order of the Lord Lieutenant, acting as an Imperial officer. The
necessity for some arrangement of this kind is clear. Millions have been
lent to Ireland, and these millions must be repaid. But if the need for
some such arrangement be certain, its desperate impolicy is no less
certain. England and Ireland, the English Government and the Irish
Government, are brought into direct hostile collision. The rich English
Government appears in the light of an imperious creditor the Irish
Government stands in the position of a poverty-stricken debtor. Note,
and this is the point which should be pressed home, that in all
confederations the difficulty of exacting the money needed by the
federal government from any state of the confederacy has been found all
but insuperable. Study the history of the thirteen American colonies
between the time of the acknowledgment of their independence by England
and the formation of the United States. This has been termed 'the
critical period' of American history. The colonies were united by
recollections of common suffering and of common triumph, they were not
divided by race or religion; no State aspired to separate nationality,
yet they drifted rapidly towards anarchy; they were discontented at
home, they were powerless abroad, above all, they nearly made shipwreck
on the financial arrangements. Congress was never able, for the
satisfaction either of national needs or of national honour, to obtain
fair contributions from the different States.[87]

Already, further, before the Home Rule Bill has passed from the hands of
the House of Commons Mr. Gladstone's very moderate demands, as they seem
to Englishmen, are held by some Irish Nationalists to be outrageous.[88]
The difference, moreover, is not a matter of calculation, to be settled
by accounts and balances, or disposed of by auditors. No one can read
the statements of Nationalists such as Mr. Redmond or Mr. Clancy without
seeing that the real difference of view lies very deep. These typical
Nationalists do not regard the United Kingdom as a nation. Ireland is
the nation. They doubt what is her interest in the British Empire; they
believe, and already hint, that the financial arrangements between the
two countries cannot be treated as a mere pecuniary transaction. Ireland
has been overtaxed and overburdened. She has claims for compensation.
All the feelings or convictions which inspired hatred of Irish landlords
are already being aroused with regard to the Imperial power. A campaign
against tribute may become as popular as a campaign against rent. The
two campaigns indeed have a close affinity; a large portion of the
tribute is in reality payment in respect of rent, and the instalments
which an Irish farmer pays to buy his land will, to him at any rate,
appear rent or tribute payable to Great Britain. The rent or tribute
will be collected under the new constitution by the Irish
Government.[89] No Irish Ministry will relish the position of collector.
It would have been difficult for a landlord to collect rent after his
agent had publicly announced that it was excessive and unjust. Yet a
landlord could dismiss his agent; the English Cabinet cannot dismiss the
Irish Government. It is certain too that the Irish Ministry will not
find the collection of rent easy. Should the Irish Government state that
the rent is iniquitously high, and refuse to collect it, what will be
the position of the British Ministry? It must either set the
constitution aside or undertake for itself the collection of rent in
opposition to, or, at any rate, unaided by, the Irish Executive and the
Irish Parliament. No more odious task was ever undertaken by a
government. Suppose, however, that things do not come to the worst, the
financial arrangements of the Bill ensure that Ireland will soon demand
modifications of its provisions. Opposition is a probability, discontent
is a certainty.

Ireland is provided under the new constitution with the readiest means
of nullifying the Restrictions. The Irish Cabinet and its servants can
at any moment reduce an unpopular law to a nullity. Even in England a
resolution of the House of Commons may be enough to turn a law into a
dead letter. The Imperial Cabinet at this moment could go very near
making the Vaccination Acts of no effect, and by declining to have
troops sent to Hull could, as I have already pointed out, give victory
to the Trades Unionists. Nor is it necessary that the Cabinet should
decline sending forces to Hull for the support of the law. An intimation
that persons accused of intimidation would either not be prosecuted at
all, or if prosecuted and convicted, would be pardoned, would be
sufficient of itself to make the strike successful. In no country could
the Executive do more to render laws ineffectual than in Ireland. The
Irish Cabinet might by mere inaction render the collection of rent
impossible; they might, as I have already pointed out, give tacit
encouragement to smuggling. If the people regarded a coastguard as an
enemy, if he and his family were left severely alone, if he were often
maltreated and occasionally shot, his position might be a difficult one,
even if supported by the whole force of the state. But if smuggling were
regarded as no crime, if the smuggler were looked upon as the patriot
who deprived an alien power of a revenue to which England had no right,
it is clear that nothing but the energetic support of all the central
and local authorities in the country could give a revenue officer the
remotest chance of victory in his contest with smugglers. But suppose
the national government were apathetic, suppose that the Irish Ministry
looked with favourable eye on the diminution of English revenue; suppose
that no Irish official gave any aid to a custom-house officer; suppose
that, if a British coastguardsman were murdered, Irish detectives made
no effort to discover the wrong-doer; and that when the culprit was
discovered the Irish law officers hesitated to prosecute; suppose that
when a prosecution took place the Attorney-General showed that his heart
was not in the matter, and that the jury acquitted a ruffian clearly
guilty of murder, is it not as clear as day that smuggling would
flourish and no customs be collected? In the same way the Irish Ministry
might by mere apathy, by the very easy process of doing nothing, nullify
the effect of judgments delivered by the Exchequer judges, and the Irish
Ministry would show very little ingenuity if they could not without any
open breach of the law impede the carrying out of executions against the
goods of persons whom popular feeling treated as patriots.

The Irish Executive might, as already pointed out,[90] easily raise an
Irish army. Drilling countenanced or winked at by the Irish Ministry
could never be stopped by the British Government. Prussia at the period
of her extreme weakness, and under the jealous eye of Napoleon, sent
every Prussian through the ranks. Bulgaria raised an army while
pretending to encourage athletic sports. The value of the precedent is
not likely to escape an Irish Premier.

The Irish Parliament cannot legally repeal a single provision of the
constitution, but an Irish Parliament might render much of the
constitution a nullity. The Parliament might pass Acts which trenched
upon the Restrictions limiting its authority. Till treated as void such
statutes would be the law of the land. Such voidable Acts, and even
parliamentary resolutions,[91] would go like a watchword through the
country and encourage throughout Ireland popular resistance to Imperial
law. A profound observer has remarked that people do not reckon highly
enough the importance at a revolutionary crisis of any show or
appearance of legality.[92] Revolution acquires new force when masked
under the form of law. This is a point which Englishmen constantly
overlook. They know the moral influence of leagues and combinations;
they do not reflect that a Parliament or House of Commons in sympathy
with resistance to Imperial demands would possess tenfold the moral
authority of any National League. Note too that the Irish Ministry and
the Irish Parliament would play into one another's hands, and would
further be strengthened by their Irish allies at Westminster, as also by
the Irish electoral vote in England.

For the true stronghold of the Irish Government lies, under the new
constitution, at Westminster.[93]

There they would command at least eighty votes: the Irish members could
still, as now, and far more effectively than now, coerce under ordinary
circumstances any Ministry disposed to enforce the rights of the
Imperial Government, or, in other words, of England.

Take a concrete case to which I have already referred.[94] Irish farmers
who have purchased under the Ashbourne Act grow weary of paying
instalments which are equivalent to rent. The Irish Cabinet refuses to
collect the rent; it urges its absolute inability to pay the sums due to
the Imperial Exchequer and asks for remission. Meanwhile the Irish House
of Commons passes a resolution supporting the conduct of the Irish
Government. The British Ministers are stern, and reject the request of
the Irish Cabinet. The Cabinet at Dublin retire from office. No
successors can be appointed who command the support of the Irish
Parliament. The Lord Lieutenant advises the Government at home that
things have come to a deadlock and that a dissolution will change
nothing. Thereupon the Irish members at Westminster begin to move; they
threaten general hostility to the British Ministry.

They proffer their support to the Opposition. It may of course happen
that the British Ministry can, like the Unionist Government of 1886,
defy the Opposition and the Irish members combined. If so the English
Cabinet can risk a constitutional conflict in Ireland, though it is a
conflict likely to end in disturbance or civil war. But judging the
future by the past the eighty members will hold the balance of power. If
so their course is clear. They expel from office the Ministers who have
protected the rights of the Imperial Government. A weak Ministry
depending on Irish votes rules, or rather is ruled, at Downing Street.
Every one knows how, under the supposed conditions, the affair will
end. There will be a transaction of some sort, and we may be certain
that such a transaction will be to the advantage of the Irish
Government, and will weaken or discredit Imperial or English authority.
We come round here to the root of the whole matter. Were the
Restrictions on the power of the Irish Parliament real and easily
enforceable, were the obligations imposed upon or undertaken by the
Irish people obligations of which an English Ministry could at once
compel the fulfilment, Restrictions and obligations alike would be
rendered futile and unreal by the presence of the Irish members at
Westminster. Every Home Rule scheme which can be proposed is impolitic
and is as dangerous as Separation; but the most impolitic of all
possible forms of Home Rule is the scheme embodied in the Bill of 1893.
Its special and irremediable flaw is the retention of the Irish members
at Westminster. This governs and vitiates all the leading provisions of
the new constitution. Under its influence every conceivable safeguard,
the supreme authority of Parliament, the veto, the legal restrictions on
the competence of the Irish legislature melt away into nothing.

They are some of them capable of doing harm, they are none of them
capable of doing good.

Cast a glance back at the leading features of the new constitution.

The Imperial Parliament remains in form unchanged, and retains the
attribute of nominal sovereignty. But in Ireland the Imperial Parliament
surrenders all, or nearly all, the characteristics of true and effective
power; it retains in fact in Ireland nothing more than the right to
effect under the semblance of a legal proceeding a revolution which
after all must be carried out by force. For practical purposes it has no
more power at Dublin than it has at Melbourne, _i.e._ it retains at
Dublin scarcely any real power whatever.

For the sake of this nominal and shadowy authority the Imperial
Parliament is itself transformed into a strange cross between a British
Parliament and the Congress of an Anglo-Irish Federation.

The Irish Executive and the Irish Parliament become under the new
constitution the true and real Government of Ireland. But the Irish
Government and the Irish people are fettered by Restrictions which would
not be borne by the Government or the people of a self-governing colony.
These Restrictions are ineffective to bind, but they are certain to
gall, and if taken together with onerous financial obligations to Great
Britain, which whether just or not must have an air of hardness, and
with the habitual presence in Ireland of a British army under the
direction of the British Executive, lay an ample foundation for the most
irritating of conflicts.

The new constitution, lastly, places in the hands of the Irish people
ample means for constitutional or extra-constitutional resistance to
Imperial, or in fact to English, power, and almost ensures the success
of Ireland in any constitutional conflict. The presence of the Irish
members at Westminster saves, or proclaims, the nominal sovereignty of
the Imperial Parliament; but their presence in truth makes this
sovereignty unexercisable, and therefore worthless, and while increasing
the apparent power ensures the real weakness of England.


[25] Thus little, if anything, is said in these pages on the
constitution of the Irish Legislature, though it is in several points,
and especially in the character of the Legislative Council, open to
grave criticism. Little, again, is said of the financial arrangements in
their fiscal character. The topic is of the highest importance, but it
must be debated in the main by experts. My remarks upon these
arrangements refer almost exclusively to the way in which they may
affect the working of the constitution. The inclusion of Ulster within
the operation of the Bill and the refusal to give weight to the demand
of Ulster that the Act of Union should not be touched, are of course
matters of primary importance. They ought never to be distant from the
thoughts of any one concerned with the policy or impolicy of Home Rule;
they dominate, so to speak, the whole political situation; they are
constantly referred to in these pages; but they do not form part of the
new constitution so much as conditions which affect the prudence or
justice of creating the new constitution.

[26] Bill, 1893, Preamble, and clauses 33, 37.

[27] The language of clause 33 is vague, but, according to the best
interpretation I can put upon it, its effect as to laws made for Ireland
after the Home Rule Bill becomes law will be this: The Imperial
Parliament will be able to pass enactments of any description whatever
with regard to Ireland, and the Irish Legislature will not be able to
repeal or alter any enactments so enacted by the Imperial Parliament
which are expressly extended to Ireland. Thus the Irish Parliament
might, it is submitted, on the Home Rule Bill passing into law repeal
the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1887, 50 & 51 Vict. c. 20.
But if, after the Home Rule Bill passed into law, the Criminal Law and
Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1887, were continued, or after its repeal by
the Irish Parliament were re-enacted, by the Imperial Parliament, then
the Irish Parliament could not repeal the Act or any part of it. Still
clause 33 of the Home Rule Bill is much too vaguely expressed. What, for
example, is the effect of an Act of the Imperial Parliament which is
'impliedly' extended to Ireland? If my interpretation of the clause is
the right one, the meaning of the clause ought to be made perfectly
clear; ambiguity in such a matter is unpardonable.

[28] See pp. 4-6 _ante_. This ambiguity underlies and vitiates almost
every argument used by Home Rulers, whether English or Irish, in favour
of Home Rule. English Home Rulers emphasise and exaggerate the extent of
the control, or the so-called supremacy, which, after the establishment
of an Irish Parliament, can and will be exerted in Ireland by the
Imperial Parliament at Westminster. Irish Home Rulers, when addressing
English electors, or the Imperial Parliament, often use language which
resembles the phrases of their English allies. But assuredly Irish Home
Rulers, when addressing Irishmen, or when collecting subscriptions from
American citizens of Irish descent, speak the language of Irish
Nationalists and cut down the effective supremacy of the Imperial
Parliament after the granting of Home Rule so as to make it consistent
with the war cry of 'Ireland a Nation.' (Compare Cambray's _Irish
Affairs and the Home Rule Question_, pp. 48-65.)

[29] Mr. Sexton, Feb. 13, 1893, _Times Parliamentary Debates_, p. 319;
Mr. Redmond, Feb. 14, 1893, _ibid_. pp. 350-52; and April 13, 1893,
_ibid_. p. 414. Compare especially language of Mr. Redmond, _Irish
Independent,_ Feb. 17, and note that all the arguments for Home Rule
drawn from its success or alleged success in the British Colonies imply
that the relation of the Imperial Parliament to Ireland shall resemble
its relation to the Colonies. See generally, debate of May 16 in _The
Times,_ May 17, pp. 6-8.

[30] Feb. 13, 1893, _Times Parliamentary Debates_, p. 303.

[31] April 14, 1893, _ibid_. pp. 439, 440.

[32] Feb. 14, 1893, _ibid_. pp. 340, 341, 343.

[33] Bill, clause 12, sub-clause (3).

[34] This is the only sense in which the sovereignty of the Imperial
Parliament is inalienable. This should be noted, because a strange and
absurd dogma is sometimes propounded that a sovereign power such as the
Parliament of the United Kingdom, can never by its own act divest itself
of sovereignty, and it is thence inferred or hinted that there is no
need for the Imperial Parliament to take measures for the preservation
of its supremacy. The dogma is both logically and historically
untenable. A sovereign of any kind can abdicate. A Czar can lay down his
power, and so also can a Parliament. To argue or imply that because
sovereignty is not limitable (which is true) it cannot be surrendered
(which is palpably untrue) involves the confusion of two distinct ideas.
It is like arguing that because no man can while he lives give up, do
what he will, his freedom of volition, so no man can commit suicide. A
sovereign power can divest itself of authority in two ways. It may put
an end to its own existence or abdicate. It may transfer sovereign
authority to another person, or body of persons, of which body it may,
or may not, form part. The Parliaments both of England and of Scotland
did at the time of the Union each transfer sovereign power to a new
sovereign body, namely the Parliament of Great Britain. The British
Parliament did in 1782 surrender its sovereignty in Ireland to the Irish
Parliament. In 1800 both the British Parliament and the Irish Parliament
alienated or surrendered their sovereign powers to the Parliament of the
United Kingdom. Compare Dicey, _Law of the Constitution_ (7th ed.), note
3, p. 65.

[35] It may, I am quite aware, be argued that the presence of Irish
representatives is not requisite for the maintenance of parliamentary
supremacy. In theory it is not. An arrangement might quite conceivably
be made (which if Home Rule were to be conceded might be the least
objectionable method of carrying out a radically vicious policy) under
which it should be distinctly agreed that Ireland should occupy the
position of a self-governing colony with all the immunities and
disadvantages thereof, and should cease to be represented at
Westminster, whilst the British Parliament retained the right to
abolish, or modify, the Irish constitution. Such an arrangement would,
however, make it perfectly plain that the sovereignty of the British
Parliament meant in Ireland what the sovereignty of the Imperial
Parliament now means in New Zealand. But 'the retention of the Irish
members is a matter of great public importance' (at any rate in the
opinion of Mr. Gladstone) 'because it visibly exhibits that supremacy'
(_i.e._ the supremacy of Parliament) 'in a manner intelligible to the
people.'--Mr. Gladstone, Feb. 13, 1893, _Times Parliamentary Debates_,
p. 306. See as to Home Rule in the character of colonial independence,
_England's Case against Home Rule_ (3rd ed.), pp. 197-218.

[36] _i.e._ at the moment when these pages are written. What parts of
the Government of Ireland Bill may or may not be officially deemed
essential by the time these pages appear in print, no sensible man will
undertake to predict. Mr. Gladstone's own language is most
extraordinary. On the retention of the Irish members, which in the eyes
of any ordinary man affects the whole character of the new constitution,
and essentially distinguishes the Home Rule policy of 1886 from the Home
Rule policy of 1893, he uses (_inter alia_) these words: 'On the
important subject of the retention of the Irish members I do not regard
it, and I never have regarded it, as touching what may be called the
principles of the Bill. It is not included in one of them. But whether
it be a principle of the Bill or not, there is no question that it is a
very weighty and, if I may say so, an organic detail which cuts rather
deep in some respects into the composition of the Bill.'--Mr. Gladstone,
Feb. 13, 1893, _Times Parliamentary Debates_, pp. 305, 306. This
statement, with the whole passage of which it forms part, is as
astounding as would have been a statement by Lord John Russell on
introducing the great Reform Bill, that he could not say whether the
disfranchisement of rotten boroughs did or did not form a principle of
the measure.

[37] Compare Report of Special Commission, pp. 18, 19.

[38] Under the Home Rule Bill of 1893 as sent up to the House of Lords,
it would have been the 'constant presence.'

[39] The division of parties in an American State is governed not by
questions concerning the internal affairs of the State, but by the
questions which divide parties at Washington. State politics depend upon
federal politics. 'The national parties have engulfed the State parties.
The latter have disappeared absolutely as independent bodies, and
survive merely as branches of the national parties, working each in its
own State for the tenets and purposes which a national party professes
and seeks to attain.' See Bryce, _American Commonwealth_, ii. p. 194.

[40] _i.e._ in 1893.

[41] Mr. Morley at Newcastle, _The Times_, April 22, 1886.

[42] Now Lord Morley of Blackburn.

[43] _i.e._ in 1893, and as they continue to be in 1911.

[44] Mr. Morley at Newcastle, _The Times_, April 22, 1886. [Morley's
argument applied primarily, no doubt, to the Home Rule Bill of 1886; its
force, however, was infinitely strengthened as applied to the Home Rule
Bill of 1893 by the change which retained eighty Irish members at
Westminster with unrestricted powers of legislation. The tenor of his
argument applies, I contend with confidence, to any Home Rule Bill which
shall propose to give Ireland a real Irish Parliament led by an Irish
Cabinet, and at the same time to retain representatives of Ireland as
members of the British Parliament.]

[45] See p. 43, _ante_.

[46] See Motley's speech, _Times_, April _22_, 1886.

[47] See Bill, Third Schedule.

[48] This is at any rate the opinion of Mr. Redmond expressed in the
_Nineteenth Century_, Oct. 1892.

[49] Bill, clause 9, sub-clause (3).

[50] The authors of the Home Rule Bill foresee the possibility of such
an erroneous decision. They have carefully provided that such an error
shall have no legal effect. Clause 9, sub-clause (4), 'Compliance with
the provisions of this section shall not be questioned otherwise than in
each House in manner provided by the House,' is in reality a provision
sanctioning the grossest unfairness. Its effect is that a British Bill
passed solely by virtue of the Irish vote is, on its becoming an Act,
good law, in spite of its having been passed in violation of the
constitutional rule laid down in clause 9, sub-clause (3), that an Irish
member shall not be entitled to deliberate or vote on any Bill the
operation of which is confined to Great Britain.

[51] Compare Bill, clause 9, sub-clause (3), and sub-clause (4), which
provides that 'compliance with the provisions of this section shall not
be questioned otherwise than in each House in manner provided by the

[52] 23 Geo. III. c. 28.

[53] The reader, in order to understand this account of the proposed
constitution of 1886, should remember that under that constitution there
were in effect, though not in name, constituted three different
Parliaments, which must be carefully distinguished.

     1. The British Parliament at Westminster, containing no Irish
     members, which was to legislate for Great Britain and for the whole
     British Empire except Ireland.

     2. The Irish Parliament at Dublin, containing no British
     representatives, which was to legislate for Ireland, but which was
     not to legislate for England, Scotland, or for any other part of
     the British Empire, and was not to have any voice whatever in the
     general policy of the Empire.

     3. The Imperial Parliament also sitting at Westminster, and
     comprising both the British and the Irish Parliament. This body
     would have corresponded nearly, if not exactly, with the existing
     Parliament of the United Kingdom, and was intended to come together
     only on special occasions and for a special purpose, namely the
     revision or the alteration of the Gladstonian constitution. For the
     fuller explanation of the whole of this subject see _England's Case
     against Home Rule_ (3rd ed.), pp. 234, 238

Note that England gains little or nothing (as compared with what was
offered to her under the Home Rule Bill of 1886) by the Imperial
Parliament retaining the power to legislate for Ireland, for even under
that Bill the Imperial Parliament (_i.e._ the Parliament at Westminster
when consisting both of British and of Irish members) could legislate
for Ireland.

[54] _Unionist Delusions_, pp. 6-9.

[55] The following passage from the writings of a man whose words,
whilst he was yet amongst us, Unionists and Gladstonians alike always
heard with the respect due to sense, to ability, to knowledge, and to
fairness, deserves attention:--

     'In Mr. Gladstone's proposed measure of Home Rule' _[i.e._ the Bill
     of 1886]' the Parliament sitting at Westminster was no longer to
     contain Irish members. I hold this to be an essential feature of
     the scheme, an essential feature of any scheme of Home Rule. By Mr.
     Gladstone's scheme, Ireland was formally to exchange a nominal
     voice, both in its own affairs and in common affairs, for the real
     management of its own affairs and no voice at all in common
     affairs. This is the true relation of Home Rule. As dependent
     Canada has no representatives in the Parliament of the United
     Kingdom, so neither would dependent Ireland have representatives in
     the Parliament of Great Britain. I am unable to understand why this
     provision, which seemed so naturally to follow from the rest of the
     scheme, awakened so powerful an opposition among Mr. Gladstone's
     own supporters. I believe the Irish have no wish to appear in the
     British Parliament. They wish to manage their own affairs, and are
     ready to leave Great Britain to manage its own affairs and those of
     the "Empire" to boot. It is very hard to see in what character the
     Irish members are to show themselves at Westminster. If they may
     vote on British affairs, while the British members do not vote on
     Irish affairs, surely too great a privilege is given to Ireland; it
     is Great Britain which will become the dependency. If they are to
     vote on "Imperial" affairs only, to say nothing of the difficulty
     of defining such affairs, it will be something very strange, very
     novel, very hard to work, to have members of Parliament who are
     only half-members, who must walk out of the House whenever certain
     classes of subjects are discussed.' (E.A. Freeman, 'Irish Home
     Rule and its Analogies,' _The New Princeton Review_, vi. pp. 194,

Mr. Freeman's language proves that I have not overrated the essential
difference or opposition between the Home Rule policy of 1886 and the
Home Rule policy of 1893.

[56] It is styled in the Home Rule Bill 'an Executive Committee of the
Privy Council of Ireland.'

[57] If there were reason to expect (which there is not) that the Home
Rule Bill would pass into law, it would be worth while to consider
carefully a question which has not yet engaged the attention of English
statesmen: Is it desirable that under a system of Home Rule the Irish
Executive should be a Parliamentry Ministry? The answer to this question
is by no means clear. Both in the United States, and in every State of
the Union, the executive power is lodged in the hands of an official who
is neither appointed nor removable by the Legislature. The same remark
applies to the Executive of the German Empire. In Switzerland the
Ministry, or Council of State, is indeed appointed, but is not removable
by the Federal Assembly or Parliament. Arguments certainly might be
suggested in favour of creating for Ireland an Executive whose tenure of
office might be independent of the will of the Irish Parliament.
Ireland, in short, like many other countries, might gain by the
possession of a non-parliamentary Executive. See as to the distinction
between a parliamentary and a non-parliamentary Executive, _Law of the
Constitution_ (7th ed.), App. p. 480.

[58] See Bill, clause 14.

[59] This would apparently approve itself to Dr. Nulty, Roman Catholic
Bishop of Meath. Of Mr. Justice Andrews he seems to have written that
'this Judge is a Unitarian,' and that it appears to the Bishop that 'the
man who denies the divinity of our Lord is as incompetent to form clear,
correct, and reliable conceptions of the feelings, the instincts, the
opinions, and the religious convictions of an intensely Irish population
as if they were inhabitants of another planet.' See _The Times_, April
3, 1893, p. 8, where a correspondent from Ireland purports to give the
effect of a pamphlet by Dr. Nulty. The Bishop wrote, I suppose, with a
view to Mr. Justice Andrews' opinions as to priestly influence at
elections, but the Bishop's words suggest the inference that the
government of a Catholic country ought to appoint Catholic Judges. Why
should we be surprised at this? Religious toleration is not a doctrine
of the Roman Catholic Church.

[60] See Home Rule Bill, 1893, clause 35, p. 214, _post_.

[61] 'I am not suggesting for a moment that we are going to set up in
Ireland two independent and separate Executives. I think the granting of
Home Rule in any intelligible sense would be entirely incomplete if it
were not supplemented by the granting of executive power, and in my
judgment the Executive in Ireland is intended to be and must be
dependent upon and responsible to the Irish Legislature in Irish
affairs. But that does not in the least prevent the retention in the
Crown of the executive government of the United Kingdom, as it provided
in this Bill such executive authority as is necessary for the execution
of the Imperial laws' (sic). Mr. Asquith, April 14, 1893, _Times
Parliamentary Debates_, p. 440. Compare _Hansard_, vol. xi. same date,
p. 348.

[62] Bill, clause 30.

[63] This is technically expressed in the Bill by the provision that
'the two forces [viz. the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin
Metropolitan Police] shall, while they continue, be subject to the
control of the Lord Lieutenant as representing Her Majesty.' As to the
military or naval forces of the Crown, the Bill contains no provision,
but it cannot, it is submitted, be doubted that they will remain subject
to the Imperial Government, and, except with the sanction of the
Imperial Government, will not be subject to the control of the Irish

[64] See Bill, clauses 1-5, and as to the Restrictions on its
legislative power, see pp. 80-110, _post_.

[65] See two excellent articles in the _Spectator_ of February 25 and
March 4, 1893.

[66] Of course all these statements are to be taken subject to the
Restrictions placed on the powers of the Irish Legislature by Bill,
clauses 3, 4, pp. 197, 198 _post_.

[67] These Restrictions, or safeguards, deprive Ireland of powers in
fact possessed by the Legislature of any self-governing colony, and I
believe by the Isle of Man or Jersey. [Compare the Home Rule Bill 1893,
clause 3, sub-clause (3) (p. 197, _post_,) as it appears in the original
Bill, with the same clause as amended by the House of Commons and sent
up to the House of Lords. The original clause forbids the Irish
Parliament to make any law in respect (_inter alia_) of 'naval or
military forces or the defence of the realm.' The clause as amended by
the House of Commons forbids the Irish Parliament to make any law in
respect of '(3.) Navy, Army, Militia, Volunteers, and any other military
forces, or the defence of the realm, or forts, or permanent military
camps, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings, or
any places purchased for the erection thereof.'

In 1893, Unionists and Gladstonians alike were determined that on no
pretence whatever should an Irish Parliament be allowed to raise an
Irish army, even of volunteers. The very name of 'volunteers,' and the
history of 1780-82, explain and justify their prudence.

[68] Clause 4, sub-clause (1) to (4).

[69] For the details of the Restrictions contained in clauses 3 and 4
the reader should study carefully the terms of the Bill itself. See
Bill, in Appendix.

[70] In more than one case it is pretty clear that the Restrictions are
in themselves ineffective. Take these instances:--

     1. The Restrictions do not really prevent the drilling of an armed
     force. The Act which makes drilling illegal is a statute of 1819,
     60 Geo. III. 1 Geo. IV. c. 1. This Act applies to Ireland and
     cannot (it is submitted) be repealed by the Irish Parliament. But
     this statute of 1819 might easily be evaded, for by sec. 1 meetings
     for training and drilling may be allowed by any two Justices of the
     Peace. The Irish Executive might, and probably would, appoint
     plenty of justices who were willing to allow training and drilling.
     The men thus trained and drilled could not, I conceive, technically
     be made a volunteer force, but they might, for all that, be a very
     dangerous armed body.

     2. It is not certain what is the real effect of the provisions
     whereby no 'person may be deprived of life, liberty or property
     without due process of law.' Does it, for example, preserve a right
     to trial by jury? I doubt whether it does. American judgments on
     the same words in United States Constitution, Amendments, art. 14,
     would of course have no legal authority in the United Kingdom, and
     there is a special reason why they often could not be followed. No
     process would (it is submitted) be considered in an Irish or
     British Court as not a 'due' process, for which a parallel could be
     found in the legislation of the Imperial Parliament. But the
     Prevention of Crime (Ireland) Act, 1882, sec. 1, to instance no
     other enactment, took away the right to trial by jury in cases of
     trial for treason, murder, etc.

     3. Private property might still in fact be taken without just
     compensation. The Privy Council would not apparently have to
     consider whether in any given case property was taken without just
     compensation, but whether a particular law was a law whereby it
     might be taken without just compensation. Suppose, for example, Sir
     James Mathew and the commissioners who sat with him were
     constituted by an Irish Act a Court for determining what
     compensation should be given for the taking of certain property for
     public use, and the Act itself provided that just compensation must
     be given. It is very doubtful how far the Privy Council could treat
     the Act as invalid, or could in any way enter upon the question
     whether just compensation had been given. Yet it is plain that such
     a Court might give very far from just compensation, say to Lord

[71] Constitution, art. i sect. 10.

[72] See Mr. J. Morley, April 18, 1893, _Times Parl. Deb._, p. 500.

[73] See Bill, clause 5, sub-clause (3). The language of this clause
disposes of the contention put forward by at least one Gladstonian
candidate at the last general election [_i.e._ of 1892], that the veto
must of necessity be exercised under the control of the British Cabinet;
an arrangement too futile for an ardent Gladstonian to contemplate as
possible is therefore actually enacted in the Government of Ireland

[74] It is to be presumed that the Crown, or in effect the British
Cabinet, does not in the case of Ireland retain the power of
'disallowance' under which the Crown occasionally annuls colonial Acts
which have received the assent of a colonial Governor. The power to
disallow an Irish Act which, though not unconstitutional, has worked
injustice, might be of advantage. But in truth the parliamentary methods
for enforcing the Restrictions or safeguards are utterly unreal; they do
not repay examination; whether there be two sham modes of enforcement,
or one, must be to a sensible man a matter of indifference. As to the
disallowance of Acts see Rules and Regulations published for the use of
the Colonial Office, chap. iii.; Legislative Councils and Assemblies,
Rules 48-54; British North America Act, 1868, sections 55-57; _England's
Case against Home Rule_ (3rd ed.), p. 33. [Compare Dicey, _Law of
Constitution_ (7th ed.), pp. 111-114.]

[75] The appeal to the English Privy Council, both under clauses 19,
_22_, and 23 of the Bill, appears to be in each case an appeal to the
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. [The particular provisions
contained in the Home Rule Bill, 1893, as to an appeal to the Privy
Council, etc., are now of little direct importance, but they are worth
study as showing the extreme difficulty of providing any satisfactory
body for acting as a Court called upon to decide the numerous
constitutional questions, as to the legislative power of an Irish
Parliament, which must be raised under any Home Rule Act whatever.]

[76] See Bill, clause 23.

[77] See Tocqueville, _Démocratie en Amérique_, i. chap. viii. pp.
231-250; Bryce, _American Commonwealth_, ii. (1st ed.) p. 45; _ibid._ i.
ch. 23.

[78] Compare _England's Case against Home Rule_ (3rd ed.), pp. 257, 258.

[79] Compare Bill, clauses 19, 22, pp. 206, 209, _post._

[80] Bill, clause 19, sub-clause(4).

[81] Clause 19, sub-clause (5). The whole of the provisions as to the
Exchequer Judges are extremely obscure. The jurisdiction and the powers
of the Court, should it ever be formed, will need to be defined by a
special Act of Parliament. There are special laws regulating the action
of the Federal Judiciary both in the United States and in Switzerland.
As the matter at present stands the jurisdiction of the Exchequer Judges
and of the Privy Council as a Court of Appeal from them may apparently
be thus described.

It extends to all legal proceedings in Ireland which

     (i) are instituted at the instance of or against the Treasury or
     Commissioners of Customs, or any of their officers, or

     (ii) relate to the election of members to serve in [the Imperial]
     Parliament, or

     (iii) touch any matter not within the powers of the Irish
     Legislature, or

     (iv) touch any matter affected by a law which the Irish Legislature
     have not power to repeal or alter.

It is possible that sub-clause (4) gives the Exchequer Judges a much
wider jurisdiction than is intended by the authors of the Home Rule
Bill, and the strictures which have been made on this sub-clause deserve
attention. My purpose, however, is not to criticise the details of the
Home Rule Bill or to suggest amendments thereto. Its fundamental
principle is, in the eyes of every Unionist, unsound, and the Bill
itself therefore unamendable. My object is simply to describe and
criticise the general constitutional provisions of the Bill and to show
their bearing and effect.

[82] Compare _England's Case_ (3rd ed.), pp. 258, 259.

[83] See _England's Case_ (3rd ed.), pp. 214-218.

[84] See Home Rule Bill, clause 3, sub-clause (7) (p. 198, _post_), and
compare same clause slightly amended, in Bill, as sent up to the House
of Lords, sub-clause (8).

[85] These strictures on the financial arrangements which were to exist
between England and Ireland apply directly to the Home Rule Bill as
introduced into the House of Commons, but they are less applicable to
the Bill as amended, more or less in favour of Ireland, before the Bill
was sent up to the House of Lords. Compare clause 10 of the original
Bill with clause 11 of the Bill as amended and brought up to the House
of Lords.

[86] Bill, clauses 14, 15, and 16. [Compare with these clauses of the
original Bill clauses 13, 14, 15, and 16 of the Bill as amended before
being sent to the House of Lords.]

[87] See Fiske, _Critical Period of American History_, chs. iii. and iv.

[88] See, _e.g._, letter of Mr. Clancy, M.P., on the Financial Clauses of
the Home Rule Bill, _Manchester Guardian_, April 4, 1893.

[89] Bill, clause 15.

[90] See pp. 72 and 82, _ante_.

[91] See pp. 79, 80, _ante_.

[92] _Souvenirs de Alexis de Tocqueville_, p. 63.

[93] The reader should note the history of the insurrection in Ticino
during 1891. It is quite clear that the Liberals of Ticino who had
distinctly broken the law were more or less comforted or protected by
the Liberal party in the Swiss Federal Assembly. Compare Hilty,
_Separatabdruck aus dem Politischen Jahrbuch der Schweizerischen
Eidgenossenschaft_ (_Jahrgang_ 1891).

[94] See p. 103, _ante_. [The force of this illustration has been
increased by every Land Act passed since 1893. 'The Imperial Exchequer
[_i.e._ in effect Great Britain] has made a free grant of £17,000,000
towards furthering land purchase; moreover to that end it has expressed
its willingness to pledge its credit to the amount of £183,000,000 of
which over £35,000,000 has already been raised. The Imperial Exchequer
looks to the Irish tenant purchaser for the interest and sinking fund on
that loan.'--Cambray, _Irish Affairs_, p. 214.]



'_We believe that this measure [the Home Rule Bill] when improved in
Committee will be, at all events in our time, a final settlement of the
Irish question_.'[95]

'Five speeches were made from the Irish benches ... there was not one of
those speeches which fell short of what we have declared to be in our
opinion necessary for the acceptance of this Bill. That is where we
look for a durable and solid statement as to finality. We find the word
_finality_ not even eschewed by the generous unreserve of the honourable
member for North Longford[96] who attached the character of finality to
the Bill.... What said the honourable member for Kerry[97] last night?
He said, "_This is a Bill that will end the feud of ages_" This is
exactly what we want to do. That is what I call acceptance by the Irish
members of this Bill.... _What we mean by this Bill is to close and bury
a controversy of seven hundred years.'_[98]

This hope of ending the feud of ages has been for years dangled by
Gladstonians before the English electorate. It has gained thousands of
votes for Home Rule. But it is doomed to disappointment. The new
constitution will never be a settlement of the Irish question: and this
for three reasons, which can be definitely stated and easily understood.

_First._ The new constitution satisfies neither Ireland nor England.

It does not satisfy Ireland.

Ulster, Protestant Ireland, and indeed, speaking generally, all men of
property in Ireland, whether Protestant or Catholic, detest Home Rule.
They hate the new constitution, they protest against the new
constitution, they assert that they will to the utmost of their ability
resist the introduction and impede the working of the new constitution.
Their abhorrence of Home Rule may be groundless, their threats may be
baseless; their power to give effect to their menaces may have no
existence. All that I now contend is that the strongest, and the most
energetic, part of Irish society is in fact and in truth bitterly
opposed, not only to the details, but to the fundamental principle, of
the new polity. It avails nothing to urge that the Protestants and the
educated Catholics are in a minority. This plea shows that in Parliament
they can be outvoted; it does not show that they will, or can, be
pacified by a policy which runs counter to their traditions, their
interests, and their sentiment. You cannot vote men into content, you
cannot coerce them into satisfaction. Let us look facts in the face. The
measure which is supposed to gratify Ireland satisfies at most a
majority of Irishmen. This may be enough for a Parliamentary tactician,
it is not enough for a far-seeing statesman or a man of plain common
sense. When we are told a minority are filled with discontent, we must
ask who constitute the minority. When we find that the minority consists
of men of all descriptions and of all creeds, that they represent the
education, the respectability, the worth, and the wealth of Ireland, we
must be filled with alarm. Wealth, no doubt, is no certain sign of
virtue, any more than poverty can be identified with vice; a rich man
may be a scoundrel, and a poor man may be an honour to the human race,
but the world would be much worse constituted than it is, if the
possession of a competence were not connected with honesty, energy,
adherence to duty, and every other civic virtue. When it is said or
admitted by Gladstonians that the propertied classes of Ireland are
against Home Rule we know what this means; it means that the energy of
Ireland is against Home Rule, that the honesty of Ireland is against
Home Rule, that the learning of Ireland is against Home Rule, that all
that makes a nation great is against Home Rule, and that the Irishmen
most entitled to our respect and honour implore us not to force upon
them the curse of Home Rule. This is no trifle. Let us at any rate have
done with phrases; let us admit that the satisfaction of Ireland means
merely the satisfaction of a class, though it may be the most numerous
class of Irishmen, and that it also means the bitter discontent of the
one class of Irishmen who are specially loyal to Great Britain. If we
are closing one feud we are assuredly opening another feud which it may
at least be as hard to heal.

But is it true that even the Home Rulers of Ireland are satisfied? Their
representatives indeed accept the new constitution. Their acceptance may
well, as far as intention goes, be honest. Mr. Davitt, I dare say, when
he sentimentalises in the House of Commons about his affection for the
English democracy, is nearly, though not quite, as sincere as when he
used to express passionate hatred of England.[99] But acquiescence is
one thing, satisfaction is another. There is every reason why the Irish
members should acquiesce in the new constitution. They obtain much, and
they gain the means of getting more. Quite possibly they feel grateful.
But their gratitude is not the gratitude of Ireland, and gratitude is
hardly a sentiment possible, or indeed becoming, to a nation.

England saved Portugal and Spain from the domination of France. Do we
find that Portuguese and Spaniards gladly subordinate their interests to
the welfare of England? France delivered Italy from thraldom to Austria;
French blood paid the price of Italian freedom. Yet France is detested
from one end of Italy to the other, whilst Italians rejoice in the
alliance with Austria. In all this there is nothing unreasonable and
nothing to blame. Policy is not sentimentality, and the relations of
peoples cannot be regulated in the same manner as the relations of
individuals. Thirty, twenty, ten, five years hence all the sentiment of
the year 1893 will have vanished. Irish content and satisfaction must,
if it is to exist at all, rest on a far more solid basis than the hopes,
the words, the pledges, or the intentions of Mr. M'Carthy, Mr. Sexton,
or Mr. Davitt. Note that their satisfaction is even now of a limited
kind. It absolutely depends on the new constitution being worked exactly
in the way which they desire. The use of the veto, legislation for
Ireland by the Imperial Parliament, any conflict between the wish of
England and the wish, I do not say of Ireland, but of the Irish
Nationalists, must from the nature of things put an end to all gratitude
or content. But we may go further than this: the new constitution
contains elements of discord. It denies to Ireland the rights of a
nation; it does not concede to her the full privileges of colonial
independence. No genuine Nationalist can really acquiesce in the
prohibition of Ireland's arming even in self-defence. Where, again, is
the Nationalist who is prepared to say that he will not if the Bill is
passed demand that every conspirator and every dynamiter, who is
suffering for the cause of Ireland, shall be released from prison? Is it
credible that the Land Leaguers have forgotten what is due to the
wounded soldiers of their cause? Are they prepared to forget the
imperative claims of evicted tenants or imprisoned zealots?[100] I
cannot believe it.

But if they are so base as to forget what is due to their friends and
victims, what trust could England place in the permanence of any
sentiment expressed by such men with however much temporary fervour and
however much apparent honesty? If, as I am convinced, the Irish leaders
are not prepared to betray the fanatics or ruffians who have trusted and
served them, then with what content does England look on the prospect of
a general amnesty for criminals or of lavish rewards for breach of
contract and the defiance of law?

But in truth the new constitution provides for the general discontent,
not of one class of Irishmen, but of the whole Irish people.

Home Rule is at bottom federalism, and the successful working of a
federal government depends on the observation by its founders of two
principles. The first is that no one State should be so much more
powerful than the rest as to be capable of vying in strength with the
whole, or even with many of them combined.[101] The second is that the
federal power should never if possible come into direct conflict with
the authority of any State. Each of these well-known principles has,
partly from necessity and partly from want of skill, been violated by
the constructors of the spurious federation which is to be miscalled the
United Kingdom. The confederacy will consist of two States; the one,
England, to use popular but highly significant language, in wealth, in
population, and in prestige immensely outweighs the other, Ireland. And
by an error less excusable because it might have been avoided, the power
of the central government will be brought into direct conflict with the
authority of the Irish State. Read the Bill as it should be read by any
one who wishes to understand the working of the new constitution, and
throughout substitute 'England' for the term 'United Kingdom.' Note then
what must be the operation of the constitution in the eyes of an
Irishman. The federal power is the power of England. An English Viceroy
instructed by an English Ministry will veto Bills passed by an Irish
Parliament and approved by the Irish people. An English court will annul
Irish Acts; English revenue officers will collect Irish customs, and
every penny of the Irish customs will pass into the English Exchequer.
An English army commanded by English officers, acting under the orders
of English ministers, will be quartered up and down Ireland, and, in the
last resort, English soldiers will be employed to wring money from the
Irish Exchequer for the rigorous payment of debts due from Ireland to
England. Will any Irishman of spirit bear this? Will not Irishmen of all
creeds and parties come to hate the constitution which subjects Ireland
to English rule when England shall have in truth been turned into an
alien power?

The new constitution does not in any case satisfy England.

That England is opposed to Home Rule is admitted on all hands; that
England has good reason to oppose the new form of Home Rule with very
special bitterness is apparent to every Unionist, and must soon become
apparent to any candid man, whether Gladstonian or Unionist, who
carefully studies the provisions of the new constitution, and meditates
on the effect of retaining Irish representatives in the Parliament at
Westminster. For my present purpose there is no need to establish that
English discontent is reasonable; enough to note its existence.

A consideration must be here noticed which as the controversy over Home
Rule goes on will come into more and more prominence. We are engaged in
rearranging new terms of union between England and Ireland; this is the
real effect of the Home Rule Bill; but for such a rearrangement Great
Britain and Ireland must in fairness, no less than in logic, be treated
as independent parties. Whether you make a Union or remodel a Union
between two countries the satisfaction of both parties to the treaty is
essential. Till England is satisfied the new constitution lacks moral
sanction. That the Act of Union could not have been carried without, at
any rate, the technical assent both of Great Britain and Ireland is
admitted, and yet the moral validity of the Treaty of Union is, whether
rightly or not, after the lapse of ninety-three years assailed, on the
ground that the assent of Ireland was obtained by fraud and undue
influence. But if the separate assent of both parties was required for
the making of the treaty, so the free assent of both must be required
for its revision, and the politicians who force on Great Britain the
terms of a political partnership which Great Britain rejects, repeat in
1893 and in an aggravated form the error or crime of 1800.[102]

_Secondly_. The new constitution rests on an unsound foundation.

It is a topsy-turvy constitution, it aims at giving weakness supremacy
over strength.

The main, though not the sole, object of a well-constituted polity is to
place political power (whilst guarding against its abuse) in the hands
of the men, or body of men, who from the nature of things, _i.e._ by
wealth, education, position, numbers, or otherwise, form the most
powerful portion of a given state. The varying forms of the English
Constitution have, on the whole, possessed the immense merit of giving
at each period of our history political authority into the hands of the
class, or classes, who made up the true strength of the nation. Right
has in a rough way been combined with might. Wherever this is not the
case, and genuine power is not endowed with political authority, there
exists a sure cause of revolution; for sooner or later the natural
forces of any society must assert their predominance. No institution
will stand which does not correspond with the nature of things. Vain
were all the efforts of party interest or of philanthropic enthusiasm to
give to the Blacks political predominance in the Southern States. Votes,
ballot boxes, laws, federal arms, all were in vain. By methods which no
man will justify, but which no power could resist, the Whites have
re-acquired political authority. The nature of things could not be made
obedient to the dogmas of democratic equality. Now the gravest flaw of
the new constitution, the disease from which it is certain to perish, is
that, in opposition to the forces which ultimately must determine the
destiny of the United Kingdom, it renders the strong elements of the
community subordinate to the weak.

In Ireland Dublin is made supreme over Belfast, the South is made not
the equal, but in effect the master of the North; ignorance is given
dominion over education, poverty is allowed to dispose of wealth. If
Ireland were an independent state, or even a self-governed British
colony, things would right themselves. But the politicians who are to
rule in Dublin will not depend upon their own resources or be checked by
a sense of their own feebleness. They will be constitutionally and
legally entitled to the support of the British army; they will
constitute the worst form of government of which the world has had
experience, a government which relying for its existence on the aid of
an external power finds in its very feebleness support for tyranny.
Murmurs are already heard of armed resistance. These mutterings, we are
told, are nothing but bluster. It is at any rate that sort of "bluster"
at which the justice and humanity of a loyal Englishman must take alarm.
I have not yet learnt to look without horror on the possibility of civil
war, nor to picture to myself without emotion the situation of brave men
compelled by the British army to obey rulers whose moral claim to
allegiance they justly deny and whose power unaided by British arms they
contemn. Civil warfare created by English policy and despotism
maintained by English arms must surely be to any Englishman objects of
equal abhorrence.

But in England no less than in Ireland our new constitution gives
artificial power to weakness. At Westminster the Irish members, be they
80 or 103, will have no legitimate place. Mr. Gladstone on this point
is, for aught I know, at one with the Unionists. In 1886 he without
scruple, and therefore no doubt without any sense of injustice, expelled
the representatives of Ireland from the British Parliament. In 1893 he
brings them back to Westminster. But his words betray his hesitation. He
expects, may we not say he hopes, that they will remain in Ireland and
on their occasional visits to London have the good sense and good taste
not to interfere in British affairs. Few are the persons who share these
anticipations. If they are to be realised they must be embodied in the
constitution; the Premier might at this moment without shame, and
without regret, revert to the better policy of 1886. On his present
policy we all know that his expectations will not be fulfilled. The
voluntary absence of the Irish members from Westminster is as vain a
dream as the fancy that Ireland under Home Rule may suffer from a
plethora of money. To Westminster the Irish members will come. If they
do not come of their own accord they will be fetched by allies who need
their help. At Westminster they will hold the balance of parties, and
will while the constitution lasts rule the destiny of England with a
sole regard at best to the immediate interest of Ireland, at worst to
the interests of an Irish faction. To Ireland will be given power
without responsibility, to England will belong responsibility without
power. Nor will the unnatural subjection of a great, a flourishing, a
wealthy, and a proud country to a weaker and poorer neighbour be
rendered the more bearable by the knowledge that the ill-starred
supremacy of Ireland means, in England, the equally unnatural and
equally ominous predominance of an English faction, which, since it
needs Irish aid, does not command England's confidence. Radicals or
revolutionists will in the long run have bitter cause to regret an
arrangement which identifies their political triumph with England's

_Thirdly_. The new constitution is based on a play of words which
conceals two contradictory interpretations of its character.[103]

The supremacy of the Imperial Parliament means to Irish Home Rulers and
to most Gladstonians that Ireland shall possess colonial
independence.[104] It means to Unionists and to many electors who can
hardly be called either Unionists or Gladstonians, that the British
Parliament, or, in other words, England, shall retain the real,
effective, and even habitual control of Irish affairs. In the one sense
it means only that Ireland shall remain part of the British Empire, in
the other that Ireland shall still be part of the United Kingdom. And,
what is of great importance, the mass of Englishmen waver between these
two interpretations of Imperial supremacy. When they think of Home Rule
as satisfying Ireland, they hold that it gives Irishmen everything which
they can possibly ask. When they think of Home Rule as not dismembering
the United Kingdom, they fancy that it leaves to the British Parliament
all the real authority which Parliament can possibly require.

This difference of interpretation lays the foundation of
misunderstanding, but it does far more harm than this. It must keep
Irish Nationalists alarmed, and not without reason, for the permanence
of the independence which they may have obtained. A change of feeling or
a change of party may cause the Imperial Parliament to assert its
reserved authority. England keeps her pledges.[105] Yes, but here it is
not a mere question of good faith. When two contractors each from the
beginning put _bona fide_ a different interpretation upon their
contract, neither of them is chargeable with dishonesty for acting in
accordance with his own view of the agreement. The spirit of Unionism
and the spirit of Separation will survive the creation of the new
constitution. Under one form or another Unionists will be opposed to
Federalists and it is more than possible, should the Bill pass, that the
division of English parties may turn upon their reading of the Irish
Government Act, 1893.

The possibility, again, that the Parliament at Westminster may assert
its reserved authority, if it raises the fears of Irishman, may excite
the hopes of English politicians. If at any time the supremacy of
Ireland becomes unbearable to British national sentiment, or if the
condition of Ireland menaces or is thought to menace English interests,
the new constitution places in the hands of a British majority a
ready-made weapon for the restoration of British power. The result might
be attained without the necessity for passing any Act of Parliament, or
of repealing a single section of the Irish Government Act, 1893. A
strong Viceroy might be sent to Ireland; he might be instructed not to
convoke the Irish Parliament at all; or, having convoked, at once to
prorogue it. He might thereupon form any Ministry he chose out of the
members of the Irish Privy Council. The Imperial Parliament would at
once resume its present position and could pass laws for Ireland. This
might be called revolution or reaction. For my argument it matters not
two straws by what name this policy be designated. The scheme sketched
out is not a policy which I recommend. My contention is not that it
will be expedient--this is a matter depending upon circumstances which
no man can foresee--but that it will be strictly and absolutely legal.

The supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, combined with the presence of
the Irish members at Westminster, will thus by a curious fatality turn
out a source at once of permanent disquietude to Ireland and of
immediate, if not of permanent, weakness to England.

Our New Constitution is not made to last Home Rule does not close a
controversy; it opens a revolution.

No one in truth expects that the new constitution will stand. Its very
builders hesitate when they speak of its permanence,[106] and are
grateful for the generous credulity of a friend who believes in its
finality. Nor is it hard to conjecture (and in such a matter nothing but
conjecture is possible) what are the forces or tendencies which threaten
its destruction.

If Ireland is discontented Irishmen will demand either the extension of
federalism or separation. In every federal government the tendency of
the States is to diminish as far as possible the authority of the
federal power. But this tendency will be specially strong in the
grotesque Anglo-Irish federation, since the federal power will be
nothing but the predominance of England. The mode of weakening the
federal authority is only too obvious. 'The more there is of the more,'
says a profound Spanish proverb, 'the less there is of the less.' The
more the number of separate States in the confederacy, the less will be
the weight of England, and the greater the relative authority of
Ireland. Let England, Scotland, and Wales become separate States, let
the Channel Islands and Man, and, if possible, some colonies, be added
to the federation, and as the greatness of England dwindles so the
independence of Ireland will grow.

Some seven years ago Sir Gavan Duffy predicted that before ten years had
elapsed there would be a federation of the Empire.[107] Like other
prophets he may have antedated the fulfilment of his prediction, but his
dictum is the forecast of an experienced politician--it points to a
pressing danger. Home Rule for Ireland menaces the dissolution of the
United Kingdom, and the unity of the United Kingdom is the necessary
condition for maintaining the existence of the British Empire. Home Rule
is the first stage to federalism.

But Irish discontent, should it not find satisfaction in a movement for
federalism, will naturally take the form of the demand for colonial or
for national independence. You cannot play with the spirit of political
nationality. The semi-independence of Ireland from England, combined
with the undue influence of Ireland in English politics, is certain to
produce both unreasonable and reasonable grounds for still further
loosening the tie which binds together the two islands. The cry 'Ireland
a nation' is one of which no Irishman need be ashamed, and to which
North and South alike, irritated by the vexations of a makeshift
constitution, are, as I have already insisted, likely enough to rally.

Nor is it certain that Irish Federalists or Irish Nationalists will not
obtain allies in England. The politicians who are content with a light
heart to destroy the work of Pitt may, for aught I know, with equal
levity, annul the Union with Scotland and undo the work of Somers, or by
severing Wales from the rest of England render futile the achievement of
the greatest of the Plantagenets. Enthusiasts for 'Home Rule all round'
would appear to regard their capacity for destroying the United Kingdom
as a proof of their ability to build up a new fabric of Imperial power,
and to fulfil their vain dreams of a federated Empire. Sensible men may
doubt whether a turn for revolutionary destruction is any evidence that
politicians possess the rare gift of constructive statesmanship. And
should the working of the new constitution confirm these doubts, persons
of prudence will begin to perceive that Irish independence is for both
England and Ireland a less evil than the extension of federalism.

The natural expression however of English discontent or disappointment
is reactionary opposition. Reaction, or the attempt of one party in a
state to reverse a fundamental policy deliberately adopted by the
nation, is one of the worst among the offspring of revolution, and is
almost, though not entirely, unknown to the history of England. Yet
there is more than one reason why if the Home Rule Bill be carried,
reaction should make its ill-omened appearance in the field of English
public life. The policy of Home Rule, even should it be for the moment
successful, lacks the moral sanctions which have compelled English
statesmen to accept accomplished facts. The methods of agitation in its
favour have outraged the moral sense of the community. Mr. Gladstone's
victory is the victory of Mr. Parnell, and the triumph of Parnellism is
the triumph of conspiracy, and of conspiracy rendered the more base
because it was masked under the appearance of a constitutional movement.
Neither the numbers nor the composition of the ministerial majority are
impressive. The tactics of silence, evasion, and ambiguity may aid in
gaining a parliamentary victory, but deprive the victory of that respect
for the victors on the part of the vanquished which, in civil contests
at any rate, alone secures permanent peace. But the pleas and
justifications for reaction are rarely its causes. If Englishmen attempt
to bring about the legal destruction of the new constitution, their
action will be produced by a sense of the false position assigned to
England. No device of statesmanship can stand which is condemned by the
nature of things. The predominance of England in the affairs of the
United Kingdom is secured by sanctions which in the long run can neither
be defied nor set aside; the constitution which does not recognise this
predominance is doomed to ruin. That its overthrow would be just no one
dare predict; the future is as uncertain as it is dark. A main reason
why a wise man must deprecate the weak surrender by Englishmen of
rightful power is the dread that, if in a moment of irritation they
reassert their strength, they may exhibit neither their good faith nor
their justice.


[95] J. M'Carthy, April 10, 1893, _Times Parliamentary Debates_, p. 354.
No part of these quotations is italicised in the report.

[96] J. M'Carthy.

[97] Mr. Sexton.

[98] Mr. Gladstone, April 21, 1893, _Times Parliamentary Debates_, p.

[99] At Bodyke, June 2, 1887, Mr. M. Davitt said:--'Our people, however,
who so leave Ireland are not lost in the Irish cause, for they will join
the ranks of the Ireland of retribution beyond the Atlantic; and when
the day shall again come that we have a right to manage our own affairs,
the sun may some day shine down upon England when we here in Ireland
will have the opportunity of having vengeance upon the enemy for its
crimes in Ireland.'--_Freeman's Journal_, June 3, 1887. See 'Notes on
the Bill,' published by the Irish Unionist Alliance, p. 368. These
expressions were used after the union of hearts.

[100] 'But all these matters are, as it were, minor details. They all
sink into comparative insignificance before the one great demand--and I
almost apologise for mentioning them--because I want you to concentrate
your attention on the one great demand which we make, and the one
unalterable statement we intend to adhere to, that whether guilty or
innocent, these men, according to their lights and their consciences,
were trying to serve Ireland; that any of them who were guilty were
driven into this course by the misgovernment of Ireland, and the
oppression of Ireland by an outside power, and that if we are asked to
settle this Irish question, if we are asked to let peace reign where
discord and hatred reign at present, there must be no victims--that if
there is to be peace there must also be amnesty. I don't discuss the
question of guilt or innocence. For the sake of argument I will say that
there are some men in jail who are guilty. They must come out as well as
the innocent, because their guilt is due to misgovernment in the
past.'--Mr. Pierce Mahony, _Irish Independent_, April 5. See 'Notes on
the Bill,' p. 423.

'There is no use in deceiving ourselves upon this matter; we would be
fools if we thought that in the next few weeks, or within the next few
months, we would succeed in getting our brethren out of prison. I don't
believe we will; ... but I am convinced of this, that there is not a man
amongst them who will ever be called upon to serve anything like the
remainder of his sentence. I am convinced that in a short time--and the
extent of its duration depends upon other circumstances--every one of
these men will be restored to liberty if only we conduct this agitation
with determination, with resolution, and I would say above all with
moderation and with wisdom.'--Mr. John Redmond, M.P., _Dublin Irish
Independent_, April 5. See 'Notes on the Bill,' p. 424.

[101] See Mill, _Representative Government_, 1st ed. p. 300.

[102] Of course I do not for a moment dispute the legal right of
Parliament to repeal all or any of the articles of the Treaty of Union
with Ireland. I am writing now not upon the law, but upon the ethics of
the constitution. My contention is, that, as things stand, the undoubted
assent of Great Britain (or even perhaps of England, in the narrower
sense) is morally requisite for the repeal or at any rate for the
remodelling of the Treaty of Union. Note that Ireland would stand
morally and logically in a stronger position if demanding Separation
than when demanding a revision of the Act of Union. An example shows my
meaning. _A, B_, and _C_ form a partnership. _A_ is by far the richest,
and _C_ by far the poorest of the firm. _C_ finds the terms of
partnership onerous. He may have a moral right to retire, but certainly
he cannot have a moral, and would hardly under any system of law have a
legal, right to say, 'I do not want to leave the firm, but I insist that
the terms of partnership be remodelled wholly in my favour.' Nor again
is it conceivable that _B_ and _C_ by uniting together could in fairness
claim to impose upon _A_ disadvantages the burden of which he had never
intended to accept.

[103] See pp. 22-31, _ante_.

[104] 'But who proposed that Ireland should be anything else than an
integral part of the United Kingdom (Ministerial cheers), or rather of
the Empire?' (Opposition cheers).--Mr. Sexton, April 20, 1893, _Times
Parliamentary Debates_, p. 522. The confusion of ideas and the
hesitation implied in Mr. Sexton's expressions are noteworthy.

[105] England adhered with absolute fidelity to her renunciation of the
right to legislate for Ireland. Whatever were the other flaws in the
Treaty of Union, it was no violation either of 22 Geo. III. c. 63, or of
23 Geo. III. c. 28. The worst features of the method by which the Act of
Union was carried would have been avoided had the English Parliament
resumed the right to legislate for Ireland. The Treaty of Union depends
on Acts both of the British and of the Irish Legislature. This is
elementary but has escaped the attention of Mr. Sexton (see _Times
Parliamentary Debates_, Feb. 13, 1893, p. 319), whose investigations
into the history of his country are apparently recent.

[106] "The plan that was to be proposed was to be such as, at least in
the judgment of its promoters, presented the necessary
characteristics--I will not say of finality, because it is a discredited
word--but of a real and continuing settlement."--Mr. Gladstone, Feb. 13,
1893, _Times Parliamentary Debates_, p. 303.

[107] See Mr. Gladstone's Irish Constitution, _Contemporary Review_,
May, 1886, p. 616.



Gladstonians when pressed with the manifest objections to which the new
constitution is open rely for its defence either upon general
considerations intended to show that the criticisms on the new
constitution are in themselves futile, or upon certain more or less
specific arguments, of which the main object is to establish that the
policy of Home Rule is either necessary or at least free from danger,
and that, therefore, this policy and the new constitution in which it is
to be embodied deserve a trial.

My object in this chapter is to examine with fairness the value both of
these general considerations and of these specific arguments.

The general considerations are based upon the alleged prophetic
character of the criticisms on the new constitution or upon the
anomalies to be found in the existing English constitution.

Ministerialists try to invalidate strictures on the Home Rule Bill, such
as those set forth in the foregoing pages, by the assertion that the
objections are mere prophecy and therefore not worth attention.

This line of defence may, as against Home Rulers, be disposed of at once
by an _argumentum ad hominem_. No politicians have made freer use of
prediction. Every Gladstonian speech is in effect a statement that is a
prophecy of the benefits which Home Rule will confer on the United
Kingdom. Gladstonian anticipations no doubt are prophecies of future
blessings; but whoever foretells the future is equally a prophet,
whether he announces the end of the world or foretells the dawn of a
millennium. And history affords no presumption in favour of the prophet
who prophesies smooth things. The prognostics of a pessimist may be as
much belied by the event as the hopes of an optimist. But for one
prophet to decry the predictions of another simply as prophecies is a
downright absurdity. Even among rival soothsayers some regard must be
had to fairness and common sense; when Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah,
smote Micaiah on the cheek, he struck him not on the ground that he
prophesied but that his gloomy predictions were false. Zedekiah was an
imposter, he was not a fool, and after all Micaiah, who prophesied evil
and not good, turned out the true prophet.

But an _argumentum ad hominem_ is never a satisfactory form of
reasoning, and it is worth while considering for a moment what is the
value of prophecy or foresight in politics. Candour compels the
admission that anticipations of the future are at best most uncertain.
Cobden and Bright foretold that Free Trade would benefit England; they
also foretold that the civilised world would, influenced by England's
example, reject protective tariffs. Neither anticipation was
unreasonable, but the one was justified whilst the other was confuted by
events. All that can be said is that on such anticipations,
untrustworthy though they may be, the conduct no less of public than of
private life depends. Criticism on anything that is new and untried,
whether it be a new-built bridge or a new-made constitution, is of
necessity predictive. But there is an essential difference between
foresight and guessing. The prevision of a philosophic statesman is
grounded on the knowledge of the past and on the analysis of existing
tendencies. It deals with principles. Such, for example, was the
foresight of Burke when he dogmatically foretold that the French
Constitution of 1791 could not stand.[108] Guessing is at best based on
acute observation of the current events of the day, that is of things
which are in their nature uncertain. On January 29, 1848, Tocqueville
analysed the condition of French society, and in the Chamber of Deputies
foretold the approach of revolution.

On February 21, 1848, Girardin said that the monarchy of July would not
last three days longer. February 24 verified the insight and foresight
of the statesman, and proved that the journalist was an acute observer.
The difference is worth consideration. Tocqueville's prophecy would in
all probability have been substantially realised had Louis Philippe
shown as much energy in 1848 as in 1832, and had the Orleanist dynasty
reigned till after his death. Girardin's guess would not have been even
a happy hit if one of a thousand accidents had averted the catastrophe
of February 24. The worth of the arguments against or for the new
constitution depends upon the extent to which they are based upon a
mastery of general principles and upon a sound analysis of the
conditions of the time, and in these conditions are included the
character of the English and of the Irish people. But to object to
criticisms simply as prophecies is to reject foresight and to forbid
politicians who are creating a constitution for the future to consider
what will be its future working.

Another Gladstonian argument is that because the English constitution
itself is full of paradoxes, peculiarities, and anomalies, therefore the
contradictions or anomalies which are patent in the new constitution
(such for example as the retention of the Irish members at Westminster)
are of no importance.

The fact asserted is past dispute. Our institutions are based upon
fictions. The Prime Minister, the real head of the English Executive, is
an official unknown to the law. The Queen, who is the only
constitutional head of the Executive, is not the real head of the
Government. The Crown possesses a veto on all legislation and never
exercises it; the House of Lords might, if the House pleased, reject
year by year every Bill sent up to it by the House of Commons; yet such
a course of action is never actually pursued and could not be dreamt of
except by a madman. There is no advantage in exemplifying further a
condition of things which must be known to every person who has the
slightest acquaintance with either the law, or the custom, of the
constitution. But the inference which Gladstonian apologists draw from
the existence of anomalies is, in the strict sense of the word,
preposterous. On the face of the matter it is a strange way of reasoning
to say that because the constitution is filled with odd arrangements
which no man can justify in theory, you therefore, when designing a new
constitution, should take no care to make your arrangements consistent
and harmonious. But the Gladstonian error goes a good deal deeper than
is at first sight apparent. The anomalies or the fictions of the
constitution are in reality adaptations, often awkward enough in
themselves, of some old institution, and are preserved because, though
they look strange, they are found to work well. Thus the King of England
was at one time the actual sovereign of the State, or at any rate the
most important member of the sovereign power, and the Ministers were in
reality, what they are still in name, the King's servants. The powers of
the Crown have been greatly diminished, and have been transferred in
effect to the Houses of Parliament, or rather to the House of Commons,
and the Ministers taken from the Houses are in fact, though not in name,
servants of Parliament. This arrangement leaves an undefined and
undefinable amount of authority to the Crown. It is not an arrangement
which any man would have planned beforehand; but it is kept up, not
because it is an anomaly, but because it has, as a matter of
experience, turned out convenient. What even plausible argument can
thence be drawn to show that a new constitutional arrangement, on the
face of it awkward and inconvenient, will for some unknown reason turn
out workable and beneficial? He who reasons thus, if reasoning it can be
called, might as well argue that because an old shoe which has gradually
been worn to the form of the foot is comfortable, therefore a shoemaker
need not care to make a new shoe fit.

These two general replies to strictures on the new constitution are in
themselves of no worth whatever. They deserve examination for two
reasons only. They are, in various shapes, put forward by politicians of
eminence, they exhibit further in a clear form a defect which mars a
good deal of Gladstonian reasoning. Ministerialists seem to think that
arguments good for the purpose of conservatism are available for the
purpose of innovation. This is an error. A conservative reasoner may
urge the uncertainty of all prevision, or the fact that the actual
constitution, though theoretically absurd or imperfect, works well, as
reasons of some weight, though not of overwhelming weight, for leaving
things as they are, but it must puzzle any sensible man to see how
either the uncertainty of prevision or the fair working of existing
institutions can be twisted into reasons for taking a political leap in
the dark.

Let us dismiss then objections which as they are fatal to all criticism
are in reality ineffective against any criticism of our new
constitution. When this is done it will be found that the Gladstonian
pleas in favour of Home Rule, for such are in reality their apologies
for the new constitution, may be brought under two heads. They are
intended to show, first, that the concession of parliamentary
independence to Ireland is a necessity, and, secondly, that at worst it
involves no danger.[109]

A. _Necessity for Home Rule_. That the concession of Home Rule to
Ireland is a necessity, forms the implied, if not always the asserted,
foundation of the case in favour of Gladstonian policy.

Ireland, it is argued, has for generations been discontented and
disloyal. Every sort of remedy has been tried. The rule of the ordinary
law, coercion, Protestant supremacy, Catholic relief, the
disestablishment of the Anglican Church, the maintenance of the English
land tenure and English landlordism, the introduction of a new system of
land tenure unknown to any other country in the world and more
favourable to tenants than the land law of any other State in Europe,
the removal of every grievance which could be made patent to the
Imperial Parliament, every plan or experiment which could approve itself
to the judgment of English politicians has been tried, and no scheme,
however plausible, has ended in success. Concession has proved as
useless as severity, and the existence in the Statute Book of a
permanent Coercion Act is a standing proof of failure. He who asserts
that Irish disloyalty or discontent has not declined understates the
case. It has increased. Grattan was a statesman of a more exalted type
than O'Connell, and Grattan was more zealous for connection with England
than was the Roman Catholic tribune. And though in Grattan's time the
grievances of Ireland were in every man's judgment far more intolerable
than, even on the showing of Home Rulers, are the wrongs which Ireland
now endures, the Ireland of Grattan was loyal to England. O'Connell was
a nobler leader than Parnell, and it would be absurd to suppose that any
Parnellite or Anti-Parnellite exerted a tenth of O'Connell's influence.
Yet Parnell and Parnell's followers have achieved a feat which the hero
of Catholic emancipation could never accomplish; O'Connell never
obtained for Repeal more than half the votes of Ireland's parliamentary
representatives; Parnell and his followers have rallied the vast
majority of Irish members in support of Home Rule. Meanwhile year by
year the government of England is weakened, and (though the argument
comes awkwardly from the mouth of English constitutionalists who are
allies and friends of conspirators and boycotters) the morality of
English public life has been undermined, by the presence at Westminster
of Irish members who, regarding the English Parliament as an alien
power, weaken its action, despise its traditions, and degrade its
character. One remedy for Irish miseries and for English dangers has not
been tried. No English statesman before Mr. Gladstone (it is urged) has
offered to Ireland the one thing which Ireland desires--the boon or
right of parliamentary independence. Be the desire for Home Rule
reasonable or not, it is Home Rule for which Ireland longs. Ireland
feels herself a nation. Satisfy then Ireland's wish, meet the feeling of
nationality, and Ireland will be at rest. This experiment must at least
be tried; its perils must be risked. The present situation is
intolerable, the concession of Home Rule to Ireland is a necessity.

This, to the best of my apprehension, is the Gladstonian argument. My
aim has certainly been to state it fairly and in its full force.

Is the argument valid? Is the plea of necessity made out? The answer may
be given without hesitation. It is not. The allegations on which the
whole train of reasoning rests are tainted by exaggeration or
misapprehension, and the allegations, even if taken as true, do not
establish the required inference; the premises are unsound, and the
premises do not support the conclusion.

The premises are unsound.

The Gladstonians are far too much of parliamentary formalists. Their
imagination and their reason are impressed by the strength in the House
of Commons of the Irish party. The eighty votes from Ireland daunt them.
But wise men must look behind votes at facts. The eighty Irish Home
Rulers are, it is true, no light matter, even when allowance is made
for the way in which corruption and intimidation vitiate the vote of
Ireland. But their voice is not the voice of the Irish people; it is at
most the mutter or the clamour of a predominant Irish faction. It is the
voice of Ireland in the same sense in which a century ago the shouts or
yells of the Jacobin Club were the voice of France. To any one who looks
behind the forms of the constitution to the realities of life, the voice
of Irish wealth, of Irish intelligence, and of Irish loyalty is at least
as important as the voice of Irish sedition or discontent. The eighty
votes must in any case be reckoned morally at not more than sixty, for
to this number they would be reduced by any fair and democratic scheme
of representation. No one can be less tempted than myself to make light
of Irish turbulence and Irish misery. But it must not be exaggerated.
The discontent of 1893 is nothing to the rebellion, sedition, or
disloyalty of 1782, of 1798, of 1829, or of 1848. If Irishmen of one
class are discontented, Irishmen of another class are contented,
prosperous, and loyal. The protest of Irish Protestants--the grandsons
of the men who detested the Union--against the dissolution of the Union,
is the reward and triumph of Pitt's policy of Union. The eighty Irish
members ask for Home Rule, but the tenant farmers of Ireland ask not for
Home Rule but for the ownership of the land; and the Irish tenant
farmers will and may under a Unionist Government become owners of their
land, and, what is no slight matter, may become owners by honest means.
Vain for Mr. M'Carthy[110] to assert that Irish farmers would not have
accepted even from Mr. Parnell the most favourable of land laws in
exchange for Home Rule. Mr. M'Carthy believes what he says, but it is
impossible for any student of Irish history or of Irish politics to
believe Mr. M'Carthy. Facts are too strong for him. Mr. Lalor showed a
prevision denied to our amiable novelist. Gustave de Beaumont understood
political philosophy better than the lively recorder of the superficial
aspects of recent English history. Mr. Parnell and Mr. Davitt, and the
whole line of witnesses before the Special Commission, tell a different
tale. The very name of the _Land_ League is significant. Home Rule was a
mere theme for academic discussion in the mouth of Mr. Butt. Repeal
itself never touched the strongest passions of Irish nature, though
advocated by the most eloquent and popular of Irish orators. Not an
independent Parliament, but independent ownership of land, has always
been the desire of Irish cultivators. It was a cry for the land which
gave force to the demand for Home Rule; and an Irish agitator, if his
strength fails, renews it by touching the earth. But why confine our
observation to Ireland? We here come upon the passions, not of Irish
nature, but of human nature. There is not a landowner in France who does
not care tenfold more for the security of his land than for the form of
the government. If peasants trembled for their property the Republic
would fall to-morrow. This is no mere conjecture; the peasantry were
Jacobins as long as the Jacobins gave them the land, they were
Imperialists whilst Napoleon was their security against a restoration
which to them meant confiscation of land purchased or seized during the
Revolution. The country population of France heard with indifference of
the fall of Louis Philippe, and possibly approved the proclamation of
the second Republic. But the communism of 1848 roused every landowner
against Paris. The peasant proprietors filled the benches of the
National Assembly with Conservatives or Reactionists who would save them
from plunder; fear became for once the cause of courage, and dread of
loss of property sent thousands of peasant proprietors to Paris, that
they might crush by force of arms the socialist insurrection of June.
Perjury, fraud, and cruelty disgraced the _coup d'état_ of 1851. But, as
Liberals now see, the second Empire, hateful though it was to every man
who loved freedom or cared for integrity, did not owe the permanence of
its power to cunning or to violence. It was the dread of the Red Spectre
which drove the landowners of France into Imperialism; they may have
liked parliamentary liberty, it was a pleasant luxury, but they loved
their land and property, it was their life-blood, and by Socialism their
land and property was they believed menaced.

As to the Coercion Act, no sensible man, be he Radical or Tory, need
trouble himself. The Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1887, is
neither a disgrace to England nor an injury to Ireland. Its permanence,
which is the cause of its mildness, is its merit. Well would it have
been had the Act been extended to the whole United Kingdom. Local laws
are open to some of the same objections as temporary laws. The
enactment contains some improvements in our criminal procedure. There is
no more idle superstition than the belief that criminal procedure does
not, like other human arrangements, require change. If incendiarism
should become an element in the conduct of trade disputes, if dynamite
is to be recognised as a legitimate arm in political conflicts, the
criminal law of the United Kingdom will, we may be sure, need and
receive several alterations and improvements.

By far the strongest portion of the Gladstonian argument is the stress
that can be laid on the demoralisation of Parliament, produced partly,
though not wholly, by the Irish vote. This is a consideration which, as
far as it goes, tells in favour of Home Rule. It is, however, a
consideration of which the Gladstonian apologist for the new
constitution of 1893 [can] make no use. His reasoning of necessity
stands thus:

The presence of 80 Irish members at Westminster has demoralised
Parliament, therefore we must above all things retain 80 or possibly 103
Irish members at Westminster. He is placed in a hopeless dilemma; he
dare not draw the only conclusion to which his argument points, namely,
that the Irish members must be excluded from the Parliament at
Westminster. By a strange fatality, the policy of 1823 retrospectively
condemns the policy of 1886, whilst the very strongest argument in
favour of the policy of 1886 condemns the policy of 1893.

The premises, were they sound, do not support the conclusion.

There exists undoubtedly such a thing in politics as necessity.

When England acknowledged the independence of the Thirteen Colonies, or
when France surrendered Metz and Strasburg, no one could talk of
imprudence of impolicy. The will of Englishmen and of Frenchmen was
coerced by the force of events. When all Protestant Ireland was in arms,
when the whole Irish nation demanded parliamentary independence, when
England had been defeated in America, when France and Spain were allied
against her, then the acceptance of Grattan's declaration of right was
in truth a necessity. When Wellington became the supporter of Catholic
Emancipation because he would not face civil war, when famine was at our
gates and Peel repealed the corn laws--then again politicians could
plead the excuse of necessity. In these and like crises the wisest men
and the bravest men are forced to recognise the logic of facts; and
necessity rather than prudence dictates the course of statesmanship. But
no such crisis has now arisen. England and Ireland were as safe under
the government of Lord Salisbury as under the government of Mr.
Gladstone--perhaps safer. No one except an extremely excited and very
rhetorical politician will venture to assert that, if Lord Salisbury
instead of Mr. Gladstone had last summer gained a majority of forty, any
man or woman throughout the United Kingdom would have trembled for the
safety of the country. The sky is far less dark than on that fearful day
eleven years back[111] when England stood aghast at the assassinations
of the Phoenix Park. Irish discontent is an immense evil, of which every
just man must deplore the existence; its removal would be the greatest
benefit which statesmanship could by any possibility confer upon
England. But the immediate dealing with it in a particular way is not a
necessity. Were the Home Rule Bill, and every Home Rule Bill, rejected
by Parliament, the United Kingdom would be as safe as it has been at any
time for the last ninety years and more.

In plain truth we have all of us forgotten the meaning of necessity.
Gladstonians have come honestly to confuse the needs of a party with the
necessities of the country. This is a delusion that at all times and in
all lands affects great political connections which, having once
rendered high services to the nation, have outlived the valid reasons
for their existence. The Republicans saved the United States from
disruption. Hence in 1888, when Secession was an historical memory, many
of the most to be respected among Americans believed that the rule of an
honest Democrat was a worse evil than the rule of a corrupt Republican.
Thousands of Frenchmen, amidst the moral bankruptcy of Republican
politicians, still hold that, because Republicans years ago saved France
from ruin, even reconciled Conservatives cannot in the year 1893 be
placed in office without danger to the commonwealth. So it is abroad; so
it has been in England. In 1760 the best and wisest of English statesmen
deemed it impossible that England should be rightly governed by any
politicians but the representatives of the Revolution Families. In 1829
honest citizens trembled at the thought of power passing into the hands
of the Whigs; for the Tories had ruled for nearly sixty years, and the
Tories had preserved England from revolution and invasion. So at this
moment to many well-meaning Liberals the long predominance of the
Liberal party makes the possibility of a Cabinet containing politicians
who may in any sense be called Tories seem a monstrous calamity, which
it is a necessity to avert. Vain to point out that Lord Salisbury and
Mr. Balfour are such Tories as Eldon would have called Jacobins and Lord
Melbourne Radicals, and that, they are allied with the best and most
trustworthy of living Liberal leaders. Their is no arguing with
sentiment; it is necessary to keep the Gladstonian Liberals in office,
and the constitution must be sacrificed in order that Lord Salisbury may
not resume the Premiership. But there is a deeper cause than all this
for our strange ideas of necessity. Habitual ease and unvarying
prosperity have for a moment lowered the national spirit. Englishmen
confuse inconveniences with dangers; they have forgotten what real peril
is; they cannot understand the calmness with which, not a century ago,
their fathers resisted at once insurrection in Ireland and the most
powerful foreign enemy who has ever challenged the power of England, and
this too at a time when the population of Great Britain was not above
nine millions and the people of Ireland numbered more than four
millions, when France was the leading military power of the world, and
Ireland might at any moment receive the aid of a French army led by one
of the best French generals. The men of 1798 or 1800 would mock at our
ideas of necessity. Ireland has not an eighth of the population of the
United Kingdom; our Home Rulers are not Ireland; they are a very
different thing--the Irish populace. Let us yield everything which ought
to be yielded to justice; let us obey the dictates of expediency, which
is only justice looked at from another side; let us concede much to
generosity; but in the name of common sense, of honesty, and of
manliness, let us hear no more of necessity. Once in an age necessity
may be the defence of statesmanship forced to confess its own blindness,
but it is far more often the plea of tyranny, of ambition, of cowardice,
or despair.

B. _No danger in Home Rule_. The arguments which are employed to show
that the policy of Home Rule and the new constitution which embodies it
involve no danger for England are in the main drawn from the
'Safeguards' or Restrictions contained in the Bill--from the alleged
precedent of Grattan's Constitution--from the success of Home Rule in
other parts of the world--and, generally, from the expediency of

i. _The Safeguards_. The Restrictions on the power of the Irish
Parliament are, it is asserted, sufficient and more than sufficient to
reassure Unionists, and an intimation is sometimes added that, if
further security is wanted, further safeguards may be provided.

This ground of confidence may be briefly dismissed; its answer is in
effect supplied by the foregoing pages.

On the action of the Irish Executive the Restrictions place, and from
the nature of things can place, no restraint whatever, and yet both
England and the Irish Loyalists have far more reason to dread the abuse
of executive than of legislative authority. On the legal action of the
Irish Parliament the Restrictions do place a certain restraint, but the
Restrictions are, as already shown, not in reality enforceable. They are
for good purposes a nullity; they are effective, if at all, almost
wholly for evil; they exhibit the radical and fatal inconsistency of
Gladstonian policy. The policy of Home Rule is a policy of absolute and
unrestricted trust; the safeguards are based on distrust. There is
something to be said for generous confidence, and something also for
distrustful prudence; there is nothing to be said for ineffective

ii. _Grattan's Constitution_. From the asserted harmony between England
and Ireland from 1782 to 1800 under Grattan's Constitution, the
inference is drawn that there is no reason to fear discord between
England and Ireland under the Gladstonian constitution of 1893.

The fallacy underlying the appeal to this precedent has been, to use
words of Mr. Lecky, 'so frequently exposed that I can only wonder at its
repetition.'[112] Under Grattan's Constitution the Irish Executive was
appointed, not by the Irish Parliament, but by the English Ministry; the
Irish Parliament consisted solely of Protestants; it represented the
miscalled 'English garrison,' and was in sympathy with the governing
classes of England. With all this to promote harmony, the concord
between the governing powers in England and in Ireland was dubious. The
rejection of England's proposals as to trade, and the exaction of the
Renunciation Act, betray a condition of opinion which at any moment
might have produced open discord. When at last the parliamentary
independence of Ireland had led up to a savage rebellion, suppressed I
fear with savage severity, English statesmen knew that an independent
Irish Parliament threatened the existence of England. I may be allowed,
even by Gladstonians, to place the genius and patriotism of Pitt on at
least a level with the genius and patriotism of the present Premier. I
may be allowed to doubt whether Mr. Gladstone's studies, however
profound, in the history of Ireland, can, in 1893, render his
acquaintance with the circumstances and the dangers of 1800 equal to the
knowledge of the Minister who, in 1800, carried the Act of Union. And
Pitt then held that the Union with Ireland was necessary for the
preservation of England. If moreover Grattan's Constitution be a
precedent for our guidance, let us see to what the precedent points. The
leading principles or features of Grattan's Constitution are well known.
They are the absolute sovereignty of the Irish Parliament, and its
independence of and equality with the Parliament of Great Britain; the
renunciation by the British Parliament of any claim whatever to
legislate for Ireland, and of any jurisdiction on the part of any
British court to entertain appeals from Ireland; and, lastly, the
absence of all representation of Ireland in the Parliament at
Westminster. Each of these principles or features is denied or reversed
by our new Gladstonian constitution. The Irish Parliament is to be, not
a sovereign legislature, but a subordinate legislature created by
statute, and a legislature of such restricted and inferior authority as
to be unworthy of the name of a parliament. The Imperial Parliament,
with its vast majority of British members, asserts its absolute
supremacy in Ireland, and the right at its discretion to legislate for
Ireland on any matter whatever; in Ireland there is to be founded an
Imperial or British Court appointed by the Imperial Ministry, having
jurisdiction on all matters affecting Imperial rights, and the final
Court of Appeal from every tribunal in Ireland is to be the British
Privy Council. Add to this that Irish members are to sit in the
Parliament of Westminster as the 'outward and visible sign' of the
Imperial Parliament's supremacy. But if every principle of Grattan's
Constitution be contradicted by the Gladstonian constitution, if every
principle which Grattan detested is a principle which Mr. Gladstone
asserts, with what show of reason can the success, uncertain though it
be, of the Constitution of 1782 be pleaded as evidence of the probable
success of the Gladstonian constitution of 1893? That two arrangements
are unlike is to ordinary minds no proof that they will have similar
results; a parliamentary majority of forty-two may repeal the Act of
Union, but it cannot repeal the laws of logic.[113]

iii. _Success of Home Rule_. All over the world, we are told, Home Rule
has succeeded; there are, under the government of the British Crown, at
least twenty countries enjoying Home Rule, and their local independence
causes no inconvenience to the United Kingdom or to the British Empire.
It follows therefore that Home Rule in Ireland will be a success and
will in no way disturb the peace or prosperity of the United Kingdom.

The sole difficulty in meeting this argument is the extreme vagueness of
its principal term. The words 'Home Rule' are in their signification so
vague, at any rate as employed by Ministerialists, that they cover
governments of totally different descriptions. Hungary, Norway, a State
of the American Union, a Province of the Canadian Dominion, the Dominion
itself, Man, Jersey, and Guernsey, every English colony with
representative institutions, are each described, by one Gladstonian
reasoner or another, as happy and prosperous under Home Rule. But there
is no one who will deny that the dissimilarities between the governments
existing in each of the countries referred to are at least as striking
as are their similarities; that the contrast, for example, between the
relation of Hungary to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the relation of
New York to the United States is at least as obvious as its likeness.
The analogy, moreover, between Home Rule in any of these countries and
Home Rule in Ireland is at best distant and shadowy.[114]

The crisis is too serious to permit us to waste words in examining the
curiosities of the Home Rule controversy. Of Hungary, and its relation
to the Empire of which it forms part, nothing at all will here be said.
There is nothing in that relation analogous to Irish Home Rule. Nor need
we trouble ourselves with the 'Home Rule' of Rhodes, of Samos, or of the
Lebanon. Of these and any other States, if such there be, which enjoy
'Home Rule' under the supremacy of the Sultan, all that need be said is
that it is satisfactory to learn on the authority of Mr. Gladstone that
any part whatever of the Turkish Empire is well governed and happy. If
any one can seriously suppose that the prosperity of Man and the Channel
Islands, which reap all the benefits and bear none of the burdens of
connection with Great Britain, and moreover have at no time been
discontented, affords any reason for supposing that the secular
miseries and discontent of Ireland will be cured by a system of
government totally different from that which prevails either in Man, or
Guernsey, or in Jersey, let him refer to these interesting islands.[115]
For myself I shall leave them out of account. Of the cordial relations
between Sweden and Norway we hear nothing; the goodwill generated by a
system of Home Rule is bringing these countries to the brink of civil

There are two analogous cases or precedents on which serious reasoners
rely in support of a policy of Home Rule for Ireland. The success of
federal government in other countries, and especially in the United
States, and the success of colonial independence throughout the British
Empire, are adduced as presumptions that Home Rule would knit together
Great Britain and Ireland, or, as the cant of the day goes, transform a
paper union into a union of hearts. If New York be loyal to the United
States, if New Zealand be loyal to the British Crown, why should not
Ireland, when endowed with local independence resembling the
independence of an American State or of a self-governing British colony,
be a loyal member of the United Kingdom?[117]

This is the suggested argument--let us consider its validity.

As to federalism.--All the conditions which make a federal constitution
work successfully in the United States, in Switzerland, and possibly in
Germany, are wanting in England and Ireland. No man till the last five
or six years has even suggested that Englishmen or Scotsmen desire a
federal government for its own sake. Whether Mr. Gladstone himself has
any wish to federalise the whole United Kingdom is at least open to
doubt. Where federalism has succeeded, it has succeeded as a means of
uniting separate communities into a nation; it has not been used as a
means of disuniting one State into separate nationalities. The United
States, it has been well said, is a nation under the form of a federal
government. Gladstonians apparently wish to bind together two, or shall
we say three or four, nations, or nationalities, under the reality of a
federation and the name of a United Kingdom. While all the powerful
countries of the world are increasing their strength by union, the
advocates of the new constitution pretend to increase the moral strength
of the United Kingdom by loosening the ties of its political unity. If
any one ask why federalism which has succeeded in America should not
succeed in the United Kingdom, the true answer is best suggested by
another question: Why would not the constitutional monarchy of England
suit the United States? The answer in each case is the same. The
circumstances and wants of the two countries are essentially different;
and if this be not a sufficient reply, the reflection is worth making
that in the three great Confederacies of the world unity has been
achieved, or enforced by armed conflict.

As to colonial independence.--The plain and decisive reason why the
loyalty of New Zealand to the Empire affords no presumption of the
loyalty under our new constitution of Ireland to the United Kingdom is
this: The whole condition of New Zealand is different from the condition
of Ireland, and our new constitution is not intended to give Ireland the
position of New Zealand. Thousands of miles separate New Zealand from
Great Britain. Ireland is separated from us by not much more than twelve
miles. New Zealand has never been hostile to England; her people are
loyal to the British Crown. Ireland, or part of the Irish people, has
been divided from England by a feud of centuries; it would be difficult
among Irish Nationalists to obtain even the show of loyalty to the
Crown. New Zealand is wealthy, and New Zealand pays not a single tax
into the Exchequer of the United Kingdom. Ireland is poor, and, if her
taxation is lightened by Home Rule, the tribute which will be paid to
England will be heavy, and far more galling than the taxes she now pays
in common with the rest of the United Kingdom. The new constitution,
again, is utterly unlike a colonial constitution. Its burdens would not
be tolerated by any one of our independent colonies. The rights it
gives, no less than the obligations it imposes, are foreign to our
colonial system. The presence of the Irish representation at Westminster
forbids all comparison between Ireland under Home Rule and New Zealand
under a system of colonial independence.

But the matter must be pressed further. Even were it possible to place
Ireland in the position either of an American State or Swiss Canton, or
of an independent colony, the arrangement would not meet the needs of
the United Kingdom. This is a point which has not as yet arrested
attention. For the safety of the United Kingdom it is absolutely
necessary that the authority of the Imperial Government, or, in other
words, the law of the land, should be enforced in Ireland in a sense in
which the law of the land is rarely enforced in federations, and in
which it is certainly not enforced by the Imperial Government in
self-governing colonies.

In federations the law of the land is nearly powerless when opposed to
the will of a particular State. President Jackson's reported dictum,
'John Marshall[118] has delivered his judgment, let him now enforce it
if he can,' and the fact that the judgment was never enforced,[119] are
things not to be forgotten. They are worth a thousand disquisitions on
the admirable working of federalism. But there is no need to rely on a
traditional story, which, however, is an embodiment of an undoubted
transaction. The plainest facts of American history all tell the same
tale. No Abolitionist could in 1850 without peril to his life have
preached abolition in South Carolina; difficult indeed was the
enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law and small the practical respect
paid in Massachusetts to the doctrine of the Dred Scott Case. Unless all
reports are false, the Negro vote throughout the Southern States is at
this moment practically falsified, and little do the Constitutional
Amendments benefit a Negro in any case where his conduct offends
Southern principle or prejudice. For my present argument it matters
nothing whether the oppression of individuals or the defiance of law was
or was not, in all these cases, as it certainly was in some instances, a
violation to the supreme law of the land. If the law was violated then,
why should we expect Imperial law to be of more force in Ireland than
federal law in South Carolina, or in Massachusetts? If the rights of
individuals were not adequately protected by federal law against the
injustice of a particular State, then why expect that the provisions of
our new constitution, far less stringent as they are than the protective
provisions of the United States Constitution, should avail to protect
unpopular persons in Ireland against the legal tyranny of the Irish
Executive or the Irish Parliament?

Experience of federalism is not confined to the United States. The Swiss
Confederation is in Europe the most successful both of democratic and of
federal polities. The Swiss Executive exercises powers common to all
continental governments but of a description which no English Cabinet
could claim, and the Swiss Executive is made up of statesmen skilful
beyond measure in what may be called the diplomacy of federalism. Yet in
Switzerland, as in the United States, federal government means weak
government. Ticino is a small Canton, but from the days of Athenian
greatness small States have been the instructors of the world, and
Englishmen, hesitating over a political leap in the dark, would do well
to study the Ticinese revolution of September 11, 1890. The Radicals of
the Canton rose in insurrection, and deposed the lawful government by
violence; as Englishmen may remember, the contest though short involved
at least one murder. The Swiss Executive (called the Federal Council)
forthwith took steps to restore order and to reinstate the lawful
Cantonal government. Their own commissioner, a military officer, in
effect declined to put the overthrown government back in power. Order
was restored, but the law was never vindicated. A strange set of
negotiations, transactions, or intrigues took place. In the Federal
Assembly at Berne, the Conservatives, a minority, urged the rights of
the lawful government of Ticino. The Liberals defended or palliated the
revolutionists. On the whole the advantage seems to have rested with
the latter. A trial before a Federal Court took place, but the accused
were acquitted. No one, if I am rightly informed, was punished for an
act of manifest treason. It is even more noticeable that Professor
Hilty, a distinguished and respected Swiss publicist, vindicates or
palliates the admitted breach of law, in deference to the principle or
sentiment, which if true has wide application, that 'human nature is not
revolutionary, and that no revolution ever arises without a heavy share
of guilt (Mitschuld) on the part of the government against which the
revolution is directed.'[120] The instructiveness of this passage in
Swiss history as regards the working of our new constitution is obvious;
Englishmen should specially note the interconnection between lawlessness
in Ticino and the balance of parties at Berne; it is easy to foresee an
analogous connection between revolution, say in Dublin or Belfast, and
the balance of parties at Westminster. But this is not my immediate
point; my point is that the Federal Government at Berne cannot enforce
obedience to law in Ticino in the way in which Englishmen expect that
the Imperial Government shall, under any circumstances, enforce or cause
the law to be enforced in Ireland.

But Ireland, it will be said, is to occupy a position like that of a
self-governing colony. In British colonies the Imperial power and the
rule of law are respected; both therefore will be respected in Ireland.
The plain answer to this suggestion is that in a British self-governing
colony, no law is enforceable which is opposed to colonial sentiment and
which the colonial Ministry refuse to put into execution. One
well-ascertained fact is enough to dispose of a hundred platitudes about
Imperial supremacy and the loyal obedience of our colonies. Victoria is
as loyal to the Crown as any colony which England possesses, yet the
submission to law of the Victorian Government and people is not by any
means unlimited. Ten years ago three British subjects arrived at
Melbourne and were about to land. Popular sentiment, or in other words
the will of the mob, had decreed that they should not enter the colony.
The Victorian Premier (Mr. Service) announced in Parliament that their
landing should be hindered. The police, acting under the orders of the
Ministry, boarded the ship which brought the strangers, went near to
assaulting the captain, and forcibly prevented the hated travellers from
setting foot on shore. By arrangement between the Melbourne Government,
the captain, and the three men, who were by this time in terror of their
lives, the victims of lawlessness were carried back to England. That the
law had been grossly violated no one can really dispute. The violation
was the more serious because it excited no notice. No appeal was
apparently made to the Courts. The Governor--the representative of
Imperial power and Imperial justice--knew presumably what was going on,
yet he uttered not one word of remonstrance. The Agent-General for
Victoria, when at last a private person in England called attention to
the outrage at Melbourne, pleaded in effect the plea of necessity, and
described the act of tyranny, whereby British citizens were in a British
colony turned into outlaws, as 'an act of executive authority.' The
Imperial Government did I believe--what was perhaps the wisest thing it
could do--nothing. Imperial supremacy in the colonies was, as regards
the protection of unpopular individuals, admitted to be a farce. What,
however, rendered the three travellers unpopular? They were Irish
informers who had aided, unless I am mistaken, in the conviction of the
Phoenix Park murderers. Let us now in imagination conceive our new
constitution to have come into being, and transfer the transactions at
Melbourne in 1883 to Dublin in 1894. Will the Imperial supremacy which
is supposed to be so effective in the colonies be of any more worth in
Ireland than in Victoria?[121]

Were it true, then, which it certainly is not, that the conditions exist
in Ireland which conduce to the maintenance of federal power in the
State of a well-arranged federation, and to the maintenance of Imperial
power in a self-governing British colony, this would not be enough to
support the argument in favour of the new constitution. For the Imperial
Government needs that the law should be maintained, and the rights of
individuals be protected, in Ireland with greater stringency than the
law is enforced or the rights of individuals are protected either under
a federal government or in a British colony. Miserable indeed would be
the position of England were she forced in Ireland to wink at
lawlessness such as but the other day disgraced New Orleans, or at mob
law countenanced by the 'Executive,' such as in 1883 ruled supreme at
Melbourne. Foreign powers at any rate would rightly decline to let the
defects of our constitution excuse the neglect of international duties.
If England cannot shuffle off her responsibilities, England is bound in
prudence to maintain her power.

iv. _The Policy of Trust_. 'I believe myself that suspicion is the
besetting vice of politicians and that trust is often the truest

This sentiment is followed by curious and ambiguous qualifications. It
is not cited for the sake of fixing Mr. Gladstone with any doctrine
whatever; it is quoted because it neatly expresses the sentiment which,
in one form or another, underlies most of the arguments in favour of
Home Rule or of our new constitution. The right attitude for a
politician, it is urged, is trust; he should trust the Irish leaders and
their assurances or professions; he should trust in the training
conferred upon men by the exercise of power; he should trust in the
healing effects of a policy of conciliation, or, to put the matter
shortly, he should trust in the goodness and reasonableness of human
nature. Exercise only a little trustfulness and the policy of Home Rule,
it is suggested, may be seen to be a wise and prudent policy.[123]

How far, then, is trust in any of the three forms, which it may on this
occasion take, a reasonable sentiment?

We are told to trust the Irish leaders.

My answer to this advice is plain and decided. Confidence is not a
matter of choice. You cannot give your trust simply because you wish to
give it. Men are trusted because they are trustworthy. The Irish Home
Rule leaders as a body cannot inspire trust, for the simple reason that
their whole policy and conduct prove them untrustworthy. Politicians,
strange as the fact may appear to them, cannot get quit of their past.

Look for a moment at the history--the patent, acknowledged history--of
the agitators or the patriots (and I doubt not that many of them are,
from their own point of view, patriotic) in whom we are asked to
confide, and whose assurances are to form the basis on which to rest a
dubious policy. They have been till recently the foes of England. This
in itself is not much; many a rebel has been the enemy of England, and
yet has been entitled to the respect of Englishmen. But there are deeds
which neither hatred to England nor love of Ireland can justify. Even
sedition has its moral code, and like war itself is subject to
obligations which no man can neglect without infamy. The conspirators
condemned by the Special Commission--and among them are to be found the
most prominent of the Irish leaders[124]--have been guilty of conduct
which no wise man ought to forget and no good man ought to palliate.
They have for years excited Irish ignorance against England and against
English officials by a system of gross incessant slander; witness the
pages of _United Ireland_ when Lord Spencer and Sir George Trevelyan
were in power at Dublin. The men whom we are told to trust are men who
did enter into a criminal conspiracy by a system of coercion and
intimidation to promote an agrarian agitation against the payment of
agricultural rents, for the purpose of impoverishing and expelling from
the country the English landlords[125]; they are men found guilty of not
denouncing intimidation which led to crime and outrage, but of
persisting in it with a knowledge of its effect.[126] They are proved to
have made payments to compensate persons injured in the commission of
crime[127]; they are men who have solicited and taken the money of
Patrick Ford, the advocate of dynamite; and have invited and obtained
the co-operation of the Clan-na-Gael.[128] Their whole system of
agitation has been utterly unlike that of honourable agitators,
conspirators, or rebels; it would have excited the horror of O'Connell;
it would have been repudiated with disgust by Davis, by Gavan Duffy, by
Smith O'Brien, and the other Irish leaders of 1848. The men who now ask
for our confidence have in their attack upon England forgotten what was
due to Ireland; they have deliberately taught Irish peasants lessons of
dishonesty, oppression, and cruelty, which the farmers of Ireland may
take years to unlearn. Of the degradation which they have gradually
inflicted upon the English Parliament one is glad to say little. It is,
however, well that the House of Commons should recollect that
parliamentary debates are open to all the world and that Englishmen and
Englishwomen see no reason why brutalities of expression should be
tolerated in the oldest representative Assembly of Europe which would be
reproved in any respectable English meeting. But you can sometimes trust
men's capacity where you cannot trust their moral feeling. Unfortunately
the Irish Parliamentary party have given us examples of their ability in
matters of government which are not reassuring. The scenes of Committee
Room No. 15[129] are a rehearsal of parliamentary life under Home Rule
at Dublin.

But the Gladstonians, we shall be told, guarantee the good faith of
their associates. Unfortunately, as judges of character the Gladstonians
are out of court. The leader who first obtained their confidence was Mr.
Parnell. If the Home Rule Bill of 1886 had become law Mr. Parnell would
have become Premier of Ireland, and we should have been bidden to put
trust in his loyalty and his integrity. There are no Gladstonians now
who think Mr. Parnell trustworthy. Why should they be better judges of
the trustworthiness of Mr. Dillon, Mr. M'Carthy, or Mr. Davitt, than
they were of the character of the statesman who was the leader, friend
or patron of the whole Irish Parliamentary party? Note, however--for in
this matter it is essential to make one's meaning perfectly clear--I do
not allege, or suppose, that the assurances of the Irish leaders are
mendacious. They believe, I doubt not, what they say at the moment; but
their words mean very little. In a sense they believed, or did not
disbelieve, the slanderous accusations which filled the pages of _United
Ireland_. In a sense they now believe that the Home Rule Bill is a
satisfactory compromise. But the belief in each case must be considered
essentially superficial. Men are the victims of their own career: it is
absolutely impossible that leaders many of whom have indulged in
virulence, in slanders, in cruelty, in oppression, should be suddenly
credited with strict truthfulness, with sobriety, with respect for the
rights of others. Even as it is, landlords are, in Mr. Sexton's eyes,
criminals,[130] and he therefore cannot be trusted to act with fairness
towards Irish landowners. Mr. Redmond holds that imprisoned dynamiters
and other criminals should be released, whether guilty or not, and it is
therefore reasonable not to put Mr. Redmond in a position where he can
insist upon an amnesty for dynamiters and conspirators. Nor is it at all
clear that as regards amnesty any Anti-Parnellite dare dissent from the
doctrine of Mr. Redmond. It is odious, it will be said, to dwell on
faults or crimes which, were it possible, every man would wish
forgotten. But when we are asked to trust politicians who are
untrustworthy, it is a duty to say why we must refuse to them every kind
of confidence. Of the penalty for such plain speaking I am well aware.
It will be said that to attack the Irish leaders is to slander the Irish
people. This is untrue. In times of revolution men perpetually come to
the front unworthy of the nation whom they lead. To treat distrust of
the leaders of the Land League as dislike or distrust of the Irish
people is as unfair as to say that the censor of Robespierre, of Marat,
or of Barère denies that during the Revolution Frenchmen displayed high
genius and rare virtues. There are thousands of Irishmen who will
endorse every word I have written about the Irish leaders. Add to this
that I am not called upon to pronounce any further condemnation upon the
party than was pronounced upon the chief among them by the Special
Commission. All I assert is that from the nature of things the men found
guilty by the Commission cannot inspire trust.

Power, it is often intimated, teaches its own lessons. Trust Irishmen
with the government of their own country, and you may feel confident
that experience will teach them how to govern justly.

To this argument I need not myself provide a reply: it has been
admirably given by my friend Mr. Bryce. Every word which in the
following passage refers to the State legislatures of the United States
applies in principle to the future Parliament at Dublin:--

     'The chief lesson which a study of the more vicious among the State
     legislatures teaches, is that power does not necessarily bring
     responsibility in its train. I should be ashamed to write down so
     bald a platitude were it not that it is one of those platitudes
     which are constantly forgotten or ignored. People who know well
     enough that, in private life, wealth or rank or any other kind of
     power is as likely to mar a man as to make him, to lower as to
     raise his sense of duty, have nevertheless contracted the habit of
     talking as if human nature changed when it entered public life, as
     if the mere possession of public functions, whether of voting or of
     legislating, tended of itself to secure their proper exercise. We
     know that power does not purify men in despotic governments, but we
     talk as if it did so in free governments. Every one would of course
     admit, if the point were put flatly to him, that power alone is not
     enough, but that there must be added to power, in the case of the
     voter, a direct interest in the choice of good men, in the case of
     the legislator, responsibility to the voters, in the case of both,
     a measure of enlightenment and honour. What the legislatures of the
     worst States show is not merely the need for the existence of a
     sound public opinion, for such a public opinion exists, but the
     need for methods by which it can be brought into efficient action
     upon representatives who, if they are left to themselves, and are
     not individually persons with a sense of honour and a character to
     lose, will be at least as bad in public life as they could be in
     private. The greatness of the scale on which they act, and of the
     material interests they control, will do little to inspire them.
     New York and Pennsylvania are by far the largest and wealthiest
     States in the Union. Their legislatures are confessedly the

The passage is the more impressive just because it is not written with a
view to Ireland. No one doubts that the people of the United States,
both in morality and in talent, equal if they do not excel the people of
any other country in the world. But the warmest eulogist of America
seeks throughout his work for the explanation of the fact which is
really past dispute, that the political morality of the United States
sinks below the general morality of the nation.[132] There is not the
least reason why under a vicious constitution the government at Dublin
should not reflect or exaggerate the vices, rather than represent the
noble qualities and the gifts, of the Irish people.

But the doctrine of trust takes another and more general form. You may
place confidence, it is alleged, in the goodness of human nature, and
should believe that the concession of Home Rule, just because it meets
the wishes of the Irish people, will take away every source of
discontent, and thereby remove any difficulty in making even an
imperfect constitution work well.

To this the answer may fairly be made, which I have made in the
preceding pages, that Home Rule does not meet the wish of the most
important part of the Irish people, but in truth arouses their
abhorrence, and that even Home Rulers care much less than Gladstonians
suppose about constitutional changes. To give a man a vote for a
Parliament at Dublin when he is demanding an acre or two of land, comes
very near giving him a stone when he asks for bread. But I assume for a
moment that the Irishmen, who express no great enthusiasm for the Home
Rule Bill, desire the new constitution as ardently as sixty years or so
ago our fathers desired parliamentary reform. Yet even on this
assumption the belief in Home Rule as a panacea for Irish ills is
childish, and belongs to a bygone stage of opinion. We now know that
changes in political machinery, however important, do not of themselves
produce content. A poverty-stricken peasant in Connaught will not be
made happy because a Parliament meets at Dublin. We now further know
that the difficulty of satisfying popular aspirations often arises from
the fundamental faults of human nature. Trust in the people may often be
wiser than distrust, but to suppose that masses of men are wiser, more
reasonable, or more virtuous than the individuals of which they consist,
is as idle a political delusion as the corresponding ecclesiastical
delusion that a church has virtues denied to the believers who make up
the church. On this point an anecdote makes my meaning clearer than an
argument. On May 15, 1848, the French National Assembly was invaded by
an armed mob, who shouted and yelled for three hours and more, and
threatened at any moment to slaughter the representatives of France.
From June 22-26, 1848, there raged the most terrible of the
insurrections which Paris has seen. For the first time in modern history
the workmen of the capital rose against the body of the more or less
well-to-do citizens. There was not a man in Paris who did not tremble
for his property and his life. Householders feared the very servants in
their homes. Between these days of ferocity intervened a day of
sentiment. On May 21, 1848, the Assembly attended a Feast of Concord.
There were carts filled with allegorical figures, there were
processions, there were embraces; the whole town, soldiers, national
guards, gardes mobiles, armed workmen, a million of men or more, passed
in array before the deputies. The feast was a feast of concord, but
every deputy had provided himself with pistols or some weapon of
defence. This was the occasion when we are told by the reporter of the
scene, 'Carnot said to me with a touch of that silliness (_niaiserie_)
which is always to be found mixed up with the virtues of honest
democrats, "Believe me, my dear colleague, you must always trust the
people." I remember I answered him rather rudely, "Ah! why didn't you
remind me of that on the day before May 15?"' The anecdote is told by
the greatest political thinker whom France has produced since the days
of Montesquieu. 'Trust in the people' did not appear the last word of
political wisdom to Alexis de Tocqueville.[133]

The Gladstonian pleas to which answer has been made are, it will be
said, arguments not in favour of our new constitution, but in support of
Home Rule. The remark is just; it points to a curious weakness in the
reasoning of Gladstonians. They adduce many reasons of more or less
weight for conceding some kind of Home Rule to Ireland. But few indeed
are the reasons put forward, either in the House of Commons or
elsewhere, in favour of the actual Home Rule Bill of 1893. As to the
merits of this definite measure Ministerialists show a singular
reticence. It may be that they wish to save time and hold that the
measure commends itself without any recommendation by force of its own
inherent merits. But to a critic of the new constitution another
explanation suggests itself. Can it be possible that Ministerialists
themselves are not certain what are the fixed principles of the new
policy? Everything about it is indefinite, vague, uncertain. Who can say
with assurance what Gladstonians understand by Imperial supremacy? Is
there or is there not any idea of excluding Ulster from the operation of
the Bill? Is it or is it not a principle that members from Ireland shall
be summoned to Westminster? Are the Irish members, if summoned, to vote
on all matters, or on some only? To each of these questions the only
answer that can be given is--nobody knows. But in this state of
ignorance it is natural and excusable that apologists should confine
themselves to general lines of defence. No politician who respects
himself would willingly risk a vigorous apology for the special
provisions of a particular measure, when, for aught he knows, the
provision which he thinks essential turns out to be an unimportant
detail, and is liable to sudden variation.


[108] 'I have told you candidly my sentiments. I think they are not
likely to alter yours.... But hereafter they may be of some use to you,
in some future form which your commonwealth may take. In the present it
can hardly remain; but before its final settlement it may be obliged to
pass, as one of our poets says, "through great varieties of untried
being," and in all its transmigrations to be purified by fire and
blood.'--_Burke's Works_, ii. (ed. 1872), p. 517, 'Reflections on the
Revolution in France.'

[109] As to the general causes of the strength of the Home Rule movement
in England, and the general considerations in its favour, see _England's
Case against Home Rule_ (3rd ed.), ch. iii. and iv. pp. 34-127. From the
opinions expressed in these chapters I see no reason for receding.

[110] Mr. M'Carthy, April 10, 1893, _Times Parliamentary Debate_, 353.

[111] [May 6, 1882. Now twenty-nine years back.]

[112] Every one should read Mr. Lecky's letter of April 4, 1893,
addressed to the Belfast Chamber of Commerce, and printed in the
_Chamber's Reply_ to Mr. Gladstone's speech. It deals immediately not
with the relations between England and Ireland, but with the alleged
prosperity of Ireland under Grattan's Constitution. But in principle it
applies to the point here discussed, and I venture to say that every
page of Mr. Lecky's _History of England in the Eighteenth Century_ which
refers to Grattan's Parliament bears out the contention, that no
inference can be drawn from it as to the successful working, as regards
either England or Ireland, of the legislature to be constituted under
the Home Rule Bill.

[113] Add also that steamboats and railways have practically, since the
time of Grattan, brought Ireland nearer to England, and Dublin nearer to
London. At the end of the last or the beginning of this century a Lord
Lieutenant was for weeks prevented by adverse winds from crossing from
Holyhead to Dublin. Mr. Morley can attend a Cabinet Council at
Westminster one afternoon and breakfast next morning in Dublin.

[114] With the conclusions as to Home Rule of my lamented friend Mr.
Freeman it is impossible for me to agree. But for that very reason I can
the more freely insist upon the merit of his paper on _Irish Home Rule
and its Analogies_ as an attempt to clear up our ideas as to the meaning
of Home Rule. He, for instance, points out that the relations between
Hungary and Austria do not constitute the relation of Home Rule and
afford no analogy to the relation which Home Rulers propose to establish
between Great Britain and Ireland. See _The New Princeton Review_ for
1888, vol. vi. pp. 172, 190.

[115] A Gladstonian who thinks the case of the Channel Islands in point,
would do well to get up the facts of their history. They were no more
'given' a constitution by England than, as most Frenchmen believe, they
were conquered from France. See Mr. Haldane, April 7, 1893, _Times
Parliamentary Debates_, p. 333.

[116] They have now (1911) led to political separation, happily without
the need for civil war.

[117] See further on this point, Home Rule as Federalism, _England's
Case against Home Rule_ (3rd ed.), pp. 160-197, and for Home Rule as
Colonial Independence, _ib_. pp. 197-218.

[118] Then the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

[119] See 'Andrew Jackson,' _American Statesmen Series_, p. 182.

[120] Hilty, _Separatabdruck aus dem Politischen Jahrbuch der
Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft_ (_Jahrgang_ 1891), p. 377.

[121] For the story of Kavanagh, Hanlon, and Smith, and their attempted
landing at Melbourne, see _England's Case_ (3rd ed.), p. 207.

[122] Mr. Gladstone, February 13, 1893, _Times Parliamentary Debates_,
p. 307.

[123] An eminent and very able Gladstonian M.P. once said in my
presence, in effect, for I cannot cite his actual words, that the
difference between Gladstonians and Unionists was a difference in their
judgment of character or of human nature. He touched I believe far more
nearly than do most politicians the root of the differences which divide
the authors and the critics of our new constitution.

[124] Report of Special Commission, pp. 54, 55.

[125] _Ibid_. pp. 53, 119.

[126] _Ibid_. pp. 119, 120.

[127] Report of Special Commission, p. 120.

[128] _Ibid_.

[129] This Committee Room was the scene of the desertion of Parnell by
the majority of his former followers.

[130] 'The crime of the Land League was a trifle compared to the crime
of the landlords.'--Mr. Sexton, April 20, 1893, _Times Parliamentary
Debates_, p. 525.

[131] Bryce, _American Commonwealth_ (1st ed.), ii. pp. 190, 191.

[132] Compare _ibid_. ii. p. 618.

[133] 'Carnot me dit avec cette niaiserie que les démocrates honnêtes ne
manquent guère de mêler à leur vertu: "Croyez-moi, mon cher collègue, il
faut toujours se fier au peuple." Je me rappelle que je lui répondis
assez brusquement: "Eh! que ne me disiez-vous cela la veille du 15
mai?"'--_Souvenirs de Alexis de Tocqueville_, p. 196.



We stand on the brink of a precipice.[134] To say that Englishmen are
asked to take a leap in the dark is far to understate the peril of the
moment. We are asked to leave an arduous but well-known road, and to
spring down an unfathomed ravine filled with rocks, on any one of which
we may be dashed to pieces.

The very excess of the peril hides its existence from ordinary citizens.
Mr. Gladstone, they argue, is a wise man and a good man, his colleagues
are partisans, they are not conspirators; it is incredible that they
should recommend a measure fraught with ruin to England. But the matter
is intelligible enough. Mr. Gladstone's weakness, no less than his
strength, has always lain in his temporary but exclusive preoccupation
with some one dominant idea. The one notion which possesses his mind--to
judge from his public conduct and speeches--is that at any cost Home
Rule, that is, an Irish Executive and an Irish Parliament, must be
conceded to Ireland. Enthusiasm, pride, ambition, all the motives, good
and bad, which can influence a statesman, urge him to achieve this one
object. If he succeeds his political career is crowned with victory, if
not with final triumph; if he fails his whole course during the last
seven years turns out an error. But it has long been manifest that only
with the greatest difficulty can English electors be persuaded to accept
Home Rule. Hence it has been found essential that the principles of the
measure should not be known before the time for passing it into law.
Hence the ill-starred avoidance of discussion. Hence the ultimate
framing of a scheme which is made to pass, but is not made to work, and
which probably enough does not represent the real wishes or convictions
of any one statesman. Where is the Minister who will tell us that this
particular Government of Ireland Bill is according to his judgment--I
will not say in its details, but in each and all of its leading
principles--the best constitution which can be framed for determining
the relations between England and Ireland? This Minister has not
appeared--I doubt whether he exists. The Bill may be a model of artful
provision for conciliating the prejudices or soothing the fears of
English electors, but it is not a well-digested constitution. It is
inferior to the Home Rule Bill of 1886. Another consequence of the
circumstances under which the Bill has been framed is that its authors
themselves have never had the benefit to be derived from the mature
discussion of its principles. Mr. Gladstone himself cannot say what are
and what are not the fundamental ideas of his scheme. He obviously held,
at any rate when the Bill was introduced, that the presence of the Irish
members at Westminster was a detail, whereas it is in reality the fact
which governs the character of the new constitution. To imply that such
a matter can be treated as subsidiary is, in the eyes of any student of
constitutions, as ridiculous as it would seem to Mr. Gladstone for a
Chancellor of the Exchequer, on introducing his budget, to assert that,
whether he maintained or did not maintain the income tax, was an organic
detail which did not fundamentally affect his financial proposals. The
Ministry are as much at sea as their chief; nor is this wonderful. There
are two things of which English statesmen have had little experience.
The one is a revolutionary movement, the other is the construction of a
constitution. But the Home Rule Bill is at once the effect and the sign
of a revolutionary movement, and the task in which the Gladstonians are
engaged is the formation of a new constitution. Blind leaders are
leading a blind people, and our blind leaders, some of whom care more
for Radical supremacy in England than for Imperial supremacy in Ireland,
are like many other men of our time, the slaves of phrases, such as
'trust in the people,' which pass muster for principles. If the blind
lead the blind, what wonder if they stumble over a precipice?

The peril in which the country stands is concealed from us by a curious
reaction of opinion. Good political institutions, it was at one time
held, were the cause of a nation's happiness, and England, it was firmly
believed, owed her prosperity wholly to her constitution. A century of
revolutions has taught us all that a good form of government cannot of
itself save a state from ruin, and many of us have come to think that
forms of government are nothing, and that no constitutional changes can
impair the strength of England. No delusion however is more patent or
more noxious. Never was a country richer in the elements of strength
than were the Thirteen Colonies when their independence was acknowledged
by England. Yet the Confederation by the vices of its constitution
filled the colonies with discord, and made them both weak at home and
contemptible abroad, whilst the creation of the United States restored
them to peace and opened for them the road to greatness. The
predominance for more than fifty years of the Slave Power in the
politics of the American Union, the struggle measured by centuries
through which at last the Protestant and progressive Cantons of
Switzerland asserted their rightful supremacy over the Catholic and
unprogressive Cantons of Switzerland, the weakness of Prussia when, not
much more than forty[135] years back, she could hardly maintain her
rights and her dignity against Austria, the classical instance of
Germany, which though possessed of every source of power lay for
generations at the mercy of France, mainly on account of vicious
political institutions, are proofs, if evidence were wanting, of the
capacity of ill-designed constitutions to hamper the action and threaten
the prosperity of great nations. A constitution in truth is a national
garb. A good constitution will not make a weak country strong, but an
unsuitable constitution may reduce a strong country to feebleness. A
weakling does not become a strong man by putting on armour, but a giant
can derive no advantage from his strength if once he be got by fraud or
force into a strait waistcoat.

Strength, it is true, will in the long run assert itself. The artificial
supremacy of Ireland, or of a faction supported by Irish votes, will not
last for ever; probably it will not last long. If the new constitution
prove unbearable by England it will not be borne; it will be overthrown
or evaded. Far am I from asserting that the breach or evasion will, when
it shall occur, be justifiable. Englishmen's ideas of good faith are
strict, but they are narrow. One main reason for dreading the new
constitution is that it may try beyond measure the patience and the
honesty of England. If, for instance, Ulster should resist the legal
authority of the Parliament at Dublin, there may arise one of those
terrible periods in which the observation of pledged faith seems
inconsistent with the natural dictates of honour and humanity, and weak
concession at the present moment will, at such a crisis, be found to
have contained among its other perils the danger lest England, when at
last she re-asserts her power in Ireland, should not re-establish her

Where then lies the path of safety? The road is difficult, but it is
clearly marked; it is at any rate to be found, not by any exercise of
subtlety or of extraordinary acuteness, but by obeying the plain
dictates of common sense and sound public morality. The characteristics
of Unionist policy must be seriousness, simplicity, and reliance upon
an appeal to the nation.

Seriousness is essential.

The need of the time is to impress on the mass of the people the intense
gravity of the crisis. Far too much was said before the general election
about the weaknesses and the inconsistencies of the Gladstonians, and
far too little about the causes of their strength and the absolute
necessity for arduous efforts to defeat the Separatists at the
polling-booths. The error must not be repeated.

The people must be told, as they may be told with absolute truth, that
the fate of England is in question, and that nothing but the efforts of
every Unionist throughout the land can save the country from
destruction. The contest has, without either party being aware of the
change, shifted its character since 1886. Then the names of Unionists
and Separatists expressed the whole difference between the opponents and
supporters of the Home Rule Bill. The Gladstonians for the most part
meant the Bill to affect, as far as possible, the condition of Ireland
alone. They did not mean to change the constitution of the United
Kingdom. It is now plain, as has been shown throughout these pages, that
the measure of so-called Home Rule is a new constitution for the whole
United Kingdom. In 1886 the Gladstonians _bona fide_ intended to close
the period of agitation. In 1893 many Gladstonians see in Home Rule for
Ireland only the first step towards an extended scheme of federalism.
In 1886 no Gladstonian had palliated crime or oppression, no
Gladstonian statesman had discovered that boycotting was nothing but
exclusive dealing, no Gladstonian Chancellor had made light of
conspiracy. All this is changed. Alliance with revolutionists or
conspirators has imbued respectable English statesmen with revolutionary
doctrines and revolutionary sentiment. The difference between Unionist
and Separatist remains, but it is merged in the wider difference between
Constitutionalists and Revolutionists. The question at issue is not
merely, though this is serious enough, whether the Act of Union shall be
repealed or relaxed, but whether the United Kingdom is morally a nation,
and whether as a nation it has a right to insist upon the supreme
authority belonging to the majority of its citizens. A similar question
was some thirty-two years ago put to the people of the United States; it
was decided by the arbitrament of battle.

The terrible calamity of an appeal to the test of force Englishmen may
avoid, but if it is to be avoided the national rights of the whole
people of the United Kingdom must be asserted as strenuously by their
votes as the rights of the citizens of the United States were vindicated
by their arms. The people of England again must be solemnly warned that
errors in policy or acts of injustice may snatch from us the power of
determining a political controversy at the ballot-box instead of on the
battle-field. It is folly to raise cases on the constitution; it is
always of the most doubtful prudence to handle the casuistry of
politics. Nothing will tempt me to discuss in these pages what are the
ethical limits to the exercise of constitutionally unlimited
sovereignty, or at what point legal oppression justifies armed
resistance. Two considerations must at this crisis be kept in mind. The
one is that, until oppression is actually committed, the maintenance of
order is the duty of every citizen, and, like most political duties, is
also a matter of the most obvious expediency; the other is that the
compulsion of loyal citizens to forgo the direct protection of the
government whose sovereignty they admit, and to accept the rule of a
government whose moral claim to their allegiance they deny, is a
proceeding of the grossest injustice. Let the people of England also be
solemnly warned that the Gladstonian policy of 1893 repeats the
essential error of the condemned policy of Protestant ascendency.
Gladstonians hold that the democracy of England may ally itself with the
democracy of Ireland, and may treat lightly the rights and the wishes of
a Protestant and Conservative minority. In bygone times the aristocratic
and Protestant government of England allied itself with the Protestant
and aristocratic government of Ireland, and held light the rights and
the wishes of the Catholic majority. Each policy labours under the same
defect. The enforced supremacy of a class, be it a minority or a
majority, is opposed to the equitable principle of the supremacy of the
whole nation. There is no reason to suppose that Catholic ascendency
will be found more tolerable than was Protestant ascendency.

The policy of Unionism should be marked by simplicity.

The Unionist leaders have a clear though a difficult duty to perform.
Their one immediate function is resistance to a dangerous revolution.
Logically and politically, there was a good deal to be said for the
deliberate refusal to discuss, or to vote upon, any of the details of
the Home Rule Bill. There is always a danger lest the attempt to amend a
radically and essentially vicious measure should promote the delusion
that it is amendable. And any success in debate would be dearly
purchased if it led the electors to suppose that the Government of
Ireland Bill, which in fact embodies a policy, so fundamentally perverse
that no alteration of details can render it tolerable, is a measure
which, though faulty in its execution, is sound in principle. The
Unionists leaders, however, whom we can absolutely trust, have decided
that abstention from debate would be an error. As far as the matter is
to be looked at from a parliamentary point of view their judgment is
decisive, and since the policy of combating the Bill point by point has
been adopted it should be carried out, as it is being carried out, with
the utmost stringency. Minute discussion of the clauses of the Bill is
elaborate instruction for the mass of the nation.

To the cry of obstruction no heed whatever need be paid. As long as
there is real discussion obstruction becomes, when the matter in debate
is the formation of a new constitution for the United Kingdom, an
impossibility. The business needs the most careful consideration.
Ministers themselves are uncertain as to what are the essential
principles of their own scheme. Every detail involves a principle, and
in a Bill where clearness is of vital importance, every clause involves
an ambiguity. Each part moreover of the new constitution must be
considered with regard to the rest, and the expression of different
views as to the meaning of the Bill is of itself of utility, when it is
of the greatest importance that Englishmen and Irishmen, Conservatives
and Radicals, should be agreed as to the meaning of the new Fundamental
Law. When, in short, a constitution for the country is being drawn up,
no discussion which is rational can be obstructive. If a week or a
fortnight of parliamentary time is expended in defining the meaning of
the supreme authority of Parliament, or in deciding whether the Irish
delegacy is or is not to be retained at Westminster, not a moment too
much is devoted to points of such transcendent importance. 'But the
debate,' it is urged, 'will at this rate last for months.' Why not? 'No
other Bills,' it is added, 'can be passed.' What Bills, I answer, ought
to be passed whilst the constitution of England is undergoing
fundamental alteration? 'But the principles of the measure,' it is
objected, 'might have been discussed and settled during the last seven
years.' So, I reply, they might, if it had pleased the Gladstonians
either to produce their Bill or to announce its general principles.
Their silence was politic; it won them a majority at the general
election, but you cannot from the nature of things combine the
advantages both of reticence and of outspokenness. Silence may have been
justified as a piece of clever party tactics; it is a very different
question whether the concealment of seven years has turned out high
statesmanship. Gladstonians, like other men, cannot, as the saying goes,
have their cake and eat it. They have had the advantages, they are now
paying the inevitable price of reserve. Unionists in any case are bound
to turn this invaluable time to account. Discussion of the constitution
is the education of the people.

In order, however, that this political training may be effective, our
parliamentary teachers must take care that the public are not confused
by the prominence necessarily given to details. Minute criticism of the
Bill is important, but at the present moment it is important only as
enforcing the radical vice of its main principles. No effort must be
spared to keep the mind of the nation well fixed upon these principles.
The surrender by the British Parliament and the British Government of
all effective part in the government of Ireland, the ambiguities of such
a term as 'Imperial supremacy' and all that these ambiguities involve,
the inadequacy and the futility of the Restrictions, the errors and
impolicy of the financial arrangements, above all the injustice to
England and the injury to Ireland of retaining, under a system of Home
Rule, even a single Irish representative at Westminster, these broad
considerations are the things which should be pressed, and pressed home,
upon the electors. Minor matters are good topics for parliamentary
discussion, but should not receive a confusing and illusory prominence.

The electors again must be made to feel that it is the essential
principle of Home Rule, the setting up of an Irish Government and an
Irish Parliament, to which Unionists are opposed. The least appearance
of concession to Home Rulers, or any action which gives increased
currency to the delusion, certainly cherished by some moderate
Gladstonians, that Home Rule can be identified with or cut down to
extended local self-government,[136] will be fatal to the cause of
Unionism. The concession to Ireland of a petty, paltry, peddling
legislature, which dare hardly call itself a Parliament, and is
officially designated say as a national council, combined with some
faint imitation of a Cabinet, called say a committee, would disappoint
and irritate Home Rulers; it would cheat their hopes, but it would
afford them the means of gaining their end. It would not give assurance
to Unionists, it would not be a triumph of Unionist policy, it would
rather be the destruction of Unionism. The one course of safety is to
take care that at the next general election the country has laid before
it for determination a clear and unmistakable issue. The question for
every elector to answer must be reducible to the form Aye or No; will
you, or will you not, repeal the Union and establish an Irish Executive
and an Irish Parliament in Dublin? If the question be so raised
Unionists have no reason to fear an answer.

The policy of Unionism has always relied on an appeal to the nation.

The one desire of Unionists has always been to fight their opponents on
the clear unmistakable issue of Home Rule. The policy of Separatists has
been to keep Home Rule in the background whilst making its meaning
indefinite, and to mix up all the multifarious issues raised by the
Newcastle programme, as well as many others, with the one essential
question whether we should or should not repeal or modify the Act of

To their policy of appeal to the people the Unionists will, of course,
adhere. The House of Lords will, it may be presumed, as a matter not so
much of right as of obvious duty, reject the present Home Rule Bill, so
as to refer to the electors of the United Kingdom the question whether
we shall, or shall not, have a new constitution. Even if such a
reference to the electors should result in a Gladstonian majority, it is
still possible that a further dissolution might be necessary. The
majority for Home Rule might be much reduced. I doubt whether Mr.
Gladstone himself would maintain that with a majority say of ten or
twenty, a Minister would be morally justified in attempting a
fundamental change in the constitution. As to such speculative matters
there is no need to say anything. It is worth while, however, to repeat
a statement which cannot be too often insisted upon, that the most
important function of the House of Lords at the present day is to take
care that no fundamental change in the constitution takes place which
has not received the undoubted assent of the nation. The peers are more
and more clearly awakening to the knowledge that under the circumstances
of modern public life this protection of the rights of the nation, which
is in complete conformity with democratic principle, is the supreme duty
of the Upper House.

The question, however, to be considered at the moment is whether for the
performance of this duty something more may not be required than the
compelling of a dissolution. This something more is a direct appeal to
the electors in the nature of a Referendum. The question is still a
theoretical one; it cannot (unfortunately as it will appear to many
persons) be raised during the debates on the Bill in the House of
Commons. When the Bill reaches the House of Lords, it will, we may
suppose, be rejected, and all that a Unionist can wish for is, first,
that before actual rejection its general principles should be subjected
to complete discussion, and what is in this case the same thing,
exposure, and next that the House of Lords should, if necessary, take
steps which can easily be imagined, for providing that the rejection of
the Bill shall entail a dissolution. If, however, the dissolution should
result in a Gladstonian majority, and should lead to another Home Rule
Bill being sent up to their lordships, the question then arises as to
the Referendum. My own conviction, which has been before laid before the
public, is that the Lords would do well if they appended to any Home
Rule Bill which they were prepared to accept a clause which might make
its coming into force depend upon its, within a limited time, receiving
the approval of the majority of the electors of the United Kingdom. And
in the particular case of the Home Rule Bill it is fair, for reasons
already stated,[137] that the Bill before becoming law should receive
the assent of a majority of the electors both of Great Britain and of
Ireland. This course, it may be said, is unconstitutional. This word has
no terrors for me; it means no more than unusual, and the institution of
a Referendum would simply mean the formal acknowledgment of the doctrine
which lies at the basis of English democracy--that a law depends at
bottom for its enactment on the assent of the nation as represented by
the electors. At a time when the true danger is that sections or classes
should arrogate to themselves authority which belongs to the State, it
is an advantage to bring into prominence the sovereignty of the nation.
The present is exactly a crisis at which we may override the practices
to save the principles of the constitution. The most forcible objection
which can be made is that you ought not for the sake of avoiding a
particular evil to introduce an innovation of dubious expediency. The
objection itself is valid, but it is in the present instance
inapplicable. My conviction is that the introduction of the Referendum,
in one shape or another in respect of large constitutional changes,
would be a distinct benefit to the country. It affords the one available
check on the recklessness of party leaders; for the check is at once
effective and in perfect conformity with democratic principle and
sentiment. A second objection is that a Referendum renders any law which
obtains the approval of the electors more difficult of alteration than
an ordinary Act of Parliament. The allegation is true, but it really
tells greatly in favour of an ultimate reference to the people of any
Home Rule Bill passed in a Parliament. If such a Bill becomes law, it
ought to be a law not admitting of easy repeal. No doubt reaction may be
justifiable, but reaction is a great evil, and the Referendum puts a
check as well on reaction as on hasty innovation. In any case the time
has arrived when Unionist statesmen should consider the expediency of
announcing that no Home Rule Bill will finally be accepted until it has
undergone a reference to and received the approval of the electors. On
no better issue could battle be joined with revolutionists than on the
question whether the people of the United Kingdom should or should not
be allowed to express their will. Unionists have every reason to feel
confidence in their cause; their only policy, their one path of safety
is to make it, as they can do, absolutely plain that they rely upon
justice, and that they appeal from parties to the nation.

We have now before us the essential features of the new constitution
framed by Gladstonians for the whole United Kingdom. We know its
inherent defects and inconsistencies; we have considered what may be
said on its behalf, or rather of the policy of which it is the outcome.
The proposed change in our form of government touches the very
foundations of the State, and deeply, though indirectly, threatens the
unity of the whole Empire. Never surely since the day when the National
Assembly of France drew up that Constitution of 1791, which built to be
eternal endured for not quite a year, has an ancient nation been so
strangely invited to accept an untried and unknown polity.

The position indeed of the French constitution-makers was in some
respects stronger and more defensible than the position of our English
innovators. The members of the National Assembly knew precisely what
they were doing. They meant to alter the fundamental institutions of
France. A change moreover in the whole scheme of French government was
an admitted necessity. France might be uncertain as to the working of
the new constitution, but France was absolutely certain that the _ancien
régime_ was detestable. Individuals or nations may wisely risk much when
they are escaping from a social condition which they detest, they may
know that an innovation is in itself of doubtful expediency, yet may
consider any alleged reform worth a trial when no change can be a change
for the worse. In the France of 1791 confidence in the future meant
abhorrence of the past.

The authors of our new constitution can hardly be called the designers
of their own handiwork; they have been the sport of accident. Their
intention, or rather the intention of their leader, was in 1886 merely
to grant some sort of Parliamentary independence to Ireland. The
resolution to concede Home Rule was sudden; it may have been taken up
without due weighing of its consequences. It has assuredly led to
unexpected results. The statesmen who meant merely to give Home Rule to
Ireland have stumbled into the making of a new constitution for the
United Kingdom. What wonder that their workmanship betrays its
accidental origin. It has no coherence, no consistency; nothing is
called by its right name, and words are throughout substituted for
facts; the new Parliament of Ireland is denied its proper title; the
supremacy of the Imperial Parliament is nominally saved, and is really
destroyed; and the very statesmen who proclaim the supremacy of the
Imperial Parliament refuse to assert the subordination of the Irish
Parliament. The authors of the constitution are at sea as to its
leading principles, and its most essential provision they deem an
organic detail, which may at any moment be modified or removed. The
whole thing is an incongruous patchwork affair, made up of shreds and
tatters torn from the institutions of other lands. It is as inconsistent
with the proposed and rejected Constitution of 1886 as with the existing
Constitution of England. While however our constitution-makers tender
for the acceptance of the nation a scheme of fundamental change, whereof
the effect is uncertain, conjectural, and perilous, and the permanence
is not guaranteed by its authors, Englishmen are well satisfied with
their old constitution; they may desire its partial modification or
expansion, they have never even contemplated its overthrow. Politicians,
in short, who meant to initiate a moderate reform, are pressing a
revolutionary change on a country which neither needs nor desires a
revolution; they propose to get rid of grave, though temporary,
inconveniences by a permanent alteration of which no man can calculate
the results in our whole system of government. Never before was a nation
so strangely advised by such bewildered counsellors to take for so
little apparent reason so desperate a leap in the dark.


[134] The whole gist of this chapter applies to the state of England in
1911 with greater force than even to its condition in 1893. Home Rule
will be carried, if at all, only by a House of Commons freed from the
authority of the House of Lords, and from the need of an appeal to the

[135] Now sixty-one years.

[136] If any one wishes to see the difference between local
self-government and Home Rule, let him compare the Bill for the
extension of self-government in Ireland, brought in by the late
Ministry, with the Home Rule Bill. The Local Government Bill went very
far, some persons may even maintain dangerously far, in creating and in
extending the authority of local bodies in Ireland. But it was not Home
Rule, or anything like Home Rule. The most extended Local Government
Bill and the most restricted Home Rule Bill differ fundamentally in
principle. The one in effect denies, the other in effect concedes, a
separate national government to Ireland.

[137] See pp. 119-121, _ante_.




_Legislative Authority_
1. Establishment of Irish Legislature.
2. Powers of Irish Legislature.
3. Exceptions from powers of Irish Legislature.
4. Restrictions on powers of Irish Legislature.

_Executive Authority_
5. Executive power in Ireland.

_Constitution of Legislature_
6. Composition of Irish Legislative Council.
7. Composition of Irish Legislative Assembly.
8. Disagreement between two Houses, how settled.

_Irish Representation in House of Commons_
9. Representation in Parliament of Irish counties and boroughs.

10. As to separate Consolidated Fund and taxes.
11. Hereditary revenues and income tax.
12. Financial arrangements as between United Kingdom and
13. Treasury Account (Ireland).
14. Charges on Irish Consolidated Fund.
15. Irish Church Fund.
16. Local loans.
17. Adaptation of Acts as to Local Taxation Accounts and probate, etc.,
18. Money bills and votes.
19. Exchequer judges for revenue actions, election petitions, etc.

_Post Office Postal Telegraphs and Savings Banks_
20. Transfer of post office and postal telegraphs.
21. Transfer of savings banks.

_Irish Appeals and Decision of Constitutional Questions_
22. Irish appeals.
23. Special provision for decision of constitutional questions.

_Lord Lieutenant and Crown Lands_
24. Office of Lord Lieutenant.
25. Use of Crown lands by Irish Government.

_Judges and Civil Servants_
26. Tenure of future judges.
27. As to existing judges and other persons having salaries charged on
the Consolidated Fund.
28. As to persons holding civil service appointments.
29. As to existing pensions and superannuation allowances.

30. As to Police.

31. Irish Exchequer Consolidated Fund and Audit.
32. Law applicable to both Houses of Irish Legislature.
33. Supplemental provisions as to powers of Irish Legislature.
34. Limitation on borrowing by local authorities.

_Transitory Provisions_
35. Temporary restriction on powers of Irish Legislature and Executive.
36. Transitory provisions.
37. Continuance of existing laws, courts, officers, etc.
38. Appointed day.
39. Definitions.
40. Short title.



Whereas it is expedient that without impairing or restricting the
supreme authority of Parliament, an Irish Legislature should be created
for such purposes in Ireland as in this Act mentioned:

Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and
with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and
Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of
the same, as follows:

_Legislative Authority_

1. _On and after the appointed day_ there shall be in Ireland a
Legislature consisting of Her Majesty the Queen and of two Houses, the
Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly.

2. With the exceptions and subject to the restrictions in this Act
mentioned, there shall be granted to the Irish Legislature power to
make laws for the peace, order, and good government of Ireland in
respect of matters exclusively relating to Ireland or some part thereof.

3. The Irish Legislature shall not have power to make laws in respect of
the following matters or any of them:--

     (1) The Crown, or the succession to the Crown, or a Regency; or the
     Lord Lieutenant as representative of the Crown; or

     (2) The making of peace or war or matters arising from a state of
     war; or

     (3) Naval or military forces, or the defence of the realm; or

     (4) Treaties and other relations with foreign States or the
     relations between different parts of Her Majesty's dominions or
     offences connected with such treaties or relations; or

     (5) Dignities or titles of honour; or

     (6) Treason, treason-felony, alienage, or naturalisation; or

     (7) Trade with any place out of Ireland; or quarantine, or
     navigation (except as respects inland waters and local health or
     harbour regulations); or

     (8) Beacons, lighthouses, or sea marks (except so far as they can
     consistently with any general Act of Parliament be constructed or
     maintained by a local harbour authority); or

     (9) Coinage; legal tender; or the standard of weights and measures;

     (10) Trade marks, merchandise marks, copyright, or patent rights.

Any law made in contravention of this section shall be void.

4. The powers of the Irish Legislature shall not extend to the making of
any law--

     (1) Respecting the establishment or endowment of religion, or
     prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or

     (2) Imposing any disability, or conferring any privilege, on
     account of religious belief; or

     (3) Abrogating or prejudicially affecting the right to establish or
     maintain any place of denominational education or any
     denominational institution or charity; or

     (4) Prejudicially affecting the right of any child to attend a
     school receiving public money, without attending the religious
     instruction at that school; or

     (5) Whereby any person may be deprived of life, liberty, or
     property without due process of law, or may be denied the equal
     protection of the laws, or whereby private property may be taken
     without just compensation; or

     (6) Whereby any existing corporation incorporated by Royal Charter
     or by any local or general Act of Parliament (not being a
     corporation raising for public purposes taxes, rates, cess, dues,
     or tolls, or administering funds so raised) may, unless it
     consents, or the leave of Her Majesty is first obtained on address
     from the two Houses of the Irish Legislature, be deprived of its
     rights, privileges, or property without due process of law; or

     (7) Whereby any inhabitant of the United Kingdom may be deprived of
     equal rights as respects public sea fisheries.

Any law made in contravention of this section shall be void.

_Executive Authority_

5.--(1) The executive power in Ireland shall continue vested in Her
Majesty the Queen, and the Lord Lieutenant, on behalf of Her Majesty,
shall exercise any prerogatives or other executive power of the Queen
the exercise of which may be delegated to him by Her Majesty, and shall,
in Her Majesty's name, summon, prorogue, and dissolve the Irish
Legislature. (2) There shall be an Executive Committee of the Privy
Council of Ireland to aid and advise in the government of Ireland, being
of such numbers, and comprising persons holding such offices, as Her
Majesty may think fit, or as may be directed by Irish Act. (3) The Lord
Lieutenant shall, on the advice of the said Executive Committee, give or
withhold the assent of Her Majesty to Bills passed by the two Houses of
the Irish Legislature, subject nevertheless to any instructions given by
Her Majesty in respect of any such Bill.

_Constitution of Legislature_

6.--(1) The Irish Legislative Council shall consist of _forty-eight_
councillors. (2) Each of the constituencies mentioned in the First
Schedule to this Act shall return the number of councillors named
opposite thereto in the schedule. (3) Every man shall be entitled to be
registered as an elector, and when registered to vote at an election, of
a councillor for a constituency, who owns or occupies any land or
tenement in the constituency of a rateable value of more than _twenty_
pounds, subject to the like conditions as a man is entitled at the
passing of this Act to be registered and vote as a parliamentary elector
in respect of an ownership qualification or of the qualification
specified in section five of the Representation of the People Act, 1884,
as the case may be: Provided that a man shall not be entitled to be
registered, nor if registered to vote, at an election of a councillor in
more than one constituency in the same year. (4) The term of office of
every councillor shall be _eight_ years, and shall not be affected by a
dissolution; and one _half_ of the councillors shall retire in every
_fourth_ year, and their seats shall be filled by a new election.

7.--(1) The Irish Legislative Assembly shall consist of _one hundred and
three_ members, returned by the existing parliamentary constituencies in
Ireland, or the existing divisions thereof, and elected by the
parliamentary electors for the time being in those constituencies or
divisions. (2) The Irish Legislative Assembly when summoned may, unless
sooner dissolved, have continuance _for five_ years from the day on
which the summons directs it to meet and no longer. (3) After _six_
years from the passing of this Act, the Irish Legislature may alter the
qualification of the electors, and the constituencies, and the
distribution of the members among the constituencies, provided that in
such distribution due regard is had to the population of the

8. If a Bill or any provision of a Bill adopted by the Legislative
Assembly is lost by the disagreement of the Legislative Council, and
after a dissolution, or the period of _two years_ from such
disagreement, such Bill, or a Bill for enacting the said provision, is
again adopted by the Legislative Assembly and fails within three months
afterwards to be adopted by the Legislative Council, the same shall
forthwith be submitted to the members of the two Houses deliberating and
voting together thereon, and shall be adopted or rejected according to
the decision of the majority of those members present and voting on the

_Irish Representation in House of Commons_

9. Unless and until Parliament otherwise determines, the following
provisions shall have effect--

     (1) After _the appointed day_ each of the constituencies named in
     the Second Schedule to this Act shall return to serve in Parliament
     the number of members named opposite thereto in that schedule, and
     no more, and Dublin University shall cease to return any member.

     (2) The existing divisions of the constituencies shall, save as
     provided in that schedule, be abolished.

     (3) An Irish representative peer in the House of Lords and a member
     of the House of Commons for an Irish constituency shall not be
     entitled to deliberate or vote on--

       (_a_) any Bill or motion in relation thereto, the operation of
       which Bill or motion is confined to Great Britain or some part
       thereof; or

       (_b_) any motion or resolution relating solely to some tax not
       raised or to be raised in Ireland; or

       (_c_) any vote or appropriation of money made exclusively for some
       service not mentioned in the Third Schedule to this Act; or

       (_d_) any motion or resolution exclusively affecting Great Britain
       or some part thereof or some local authority or some person or
       thing therein; or

       (_e_) any motion or resolution, incidental to any such motion or
       resolution as either is last mentioned, or relates solely to some
       tax not raised or to be raised in Ireland, or incidental to any
       such vote or appropriation of money as aforesaid.

     (4) Compliance with the provisions of this section shall not be
     questioned otherwise than in each House in manner provided by the

     (5) The election laws and the laws relating to the qualification
     of parliamentary electors shall not, so far as they relate to
     parliamentary elections, be altered by the Irish Legislature, but
     this enactment shall not prevent the Irish Legislature from
     dealing with any officers concerned with the issue of writs of
     election, and if any officers are so dealt with, it shall be
     lawful for Her Majesty by Order in Council to arrange for the
     issue of such writs, and the writs issued in pursuance of such
     Order shall be of the same effect as if issued in manner
     heretofore accustomed.


10.--(1) _On and after the appointed day_ there shall be an Irish
Exchequer and Consolidated Fund separate from those of the United
Kingdom. (2) The duties of customs and excise and the duties on postage
shall be imposed by Act of Parliament, but subject to the provisions of
this Act the Irish Legislature may, in order to provide for the public
service of Ireland, impose any other taxes. (3) Save as in this Act
mentioned, all matters relating to the taxes in Ireland and the
collection and management thereof shall be regulated by Irish Act, and
the same shall be collected and managed by the Irish Government and form
part of the public revenues of Ireland: Provided that--

     (_a_) the duties of customs shall be regulated, collected, managed,
     and paid into the Exchequer of the United Kingdom as heretofore;

     (_b_) all prohibitions in connection with the duties of excise, and
     so far as regards articles sent out of Ireland, all matters
     relating to those duties, shall be regulated by Act of Parliament;

     (_c_) the excise duties on articles consumed in Great Britain shall
     be paid in Great Britain or to an officer of the Government of the
     United Kingdom.

(4) Save as in this Act mentioned, all the public revenues of Ireland
shall be paid into the Irish Exchequer and form a Consolidated Fund, and
be appropriated to the public service of Ireland by Irish Act. (5) If
the duties of excise are increased above the rates in force on _the
first day of March one thousand eight hundred and ninety-three_, the net
proceeds in Ireland of the duties in excess of the said rates shall be
paid from the Irish Exchequer to the Exchequer of the United Kingdom.
(6) _If the duties of excise are reduced below the rates in force on the
said day, and the net proceeds of such duties in Ireland are in
consequence less than the net proceeds of the duties before the
reduction, a sum equal to the deficiency shall, unless it is otherwise
agreed between the Treasury and the Irish Government, be paid from the
Exchequer of the United Kingdom to the Irish Exchequer_.

11.--(1) The hereditary revenues of the Crown in Ireland which are
managed by the Commissioners of Woods shall continue during the life of
Her present Majesty to be managed and collected by those Commissioners,
and the net amount payable by them to the Exchequer on account of those
revenues, after deducting all expenses (but including an allowance for
interest on such proceeds of the sale of those revenues as have not been
re-invested in Ireland), shall be paid into the Treasury Account
(Ireland) hereinafter mentioned, for the benefit of the Irish Exchequer.
(2) A person shall not be required to pay income tax in Great Britain in
respect of property situate or business carried on in Ireland, and a
person shall not be required to pay income tax in Ireland in respect of
property situate or business carried on in Great Britain. (3) _For the
purpose of giving to Ireland the benefit of the difference between the
income tax collected in Great Britain from British, Colonial, and
foreign securities held by residents in Ireland, and the income tax
collected in Ireland from Irish securities held by residents in Great
Britain, there shall be made to Ireland out of the income tax collected
in Great Britain, an allowance of such amount as may be from time to
time determined by the Treasury, in accordance with a minute of the
Treasury laid before Parliament before the appointed day, and such
allowance shall be paid into the Treasury Account (Ireland) for the
benefit of the Irish Exchequer_. (4) Provided that the provisions of
this section with respect to income tax shall not apply to any excess of
the rate of income tax in Great Britain above the rate in Ireland or of
the rate of income tax in Ireland above the rate in Great Britain.

12.--(1) The duties of customs contributed by Ireland and, save as
provided by this Act, that portion of any public revenue of the United
Kingdom to which Ireland may claim to be entitled, whether specified in
the Third Schedule to this Act or not, shall be carried to the
Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, as the contribution of Ireland
to Imperial liabilities and expenditure as defined in that Schedule. (2)
The civil charges of the Government in Ireland shall, subject as in this
Act mentioned, be borne after the appointed day by Ireland. (3) After
_fifteen_ years from the passing of this Act the arrangements made by
this Act for the contribution of Ireland to Imperial liabilities and
expenditure, and otherwise for the financial relations between the
United Kingdom and Ireland, may be revised in pursuance of an address to
Her Majesty from the House of Commons, or from the Irish Legislative

13.--(1) There shall be established under the direction of the Treasury
an account (in this Act referred to as the Treasury Account (Ireland)).
(2) There shall be paid into such account all sums payable from the
Irish Exchequer to the Exchequer of the United Kingdom, or from the
latter to the former Exchequer, and all sums directed to be paid into
the account for the benefit of either of the said Exchequers. (3) All
sums which are payable from either of the said Exchequers to the other
of them, or being payable out of one of the said Exchequers are
repayable by the other Exchequer, shall in the first instance be payable
out of the said account so far as the money standing on the account is
sufficient; and for the purpose of meeting such sums, the Treasury out
of the customs revenue collected in Ireland, and the Irish Government
out of any of the public revenues in Ireland, may direct money to be
paid to the Treasury Account (Ireland) instead of into the Exchequer.
(4) Any surplus standing on the account to the credit of either
Exchequer, and not required for meeting payments, shall at convenient
times be paid into that Exchequer, and where any sum so payable into the
Exchequer of the United Kingdom is required by law to be forthwith paid
to the National Debt Commissioners, that sum may be paid to those
Commissioners without being paid into the Exchequer. (5) All sums
payable by virtue of this Act out of the Consolidated Fund of the United
Kingdom or of Ireland shall be payable from the Exchequer of the United
Kingdom or Ireland, as the case may be, within the meaning of this Act,
and all sums by this Act made payable from the Exchequer of the United
Kingdom shall, if not otherwise paid, be charged on and paid out of the
Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom.

14.--(1) There shall be charged on the Irish Consolidated Fund in favour
of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom as a first charge on that fund
all sums which--

     (_a_) are payable to that Exchequer from the Irish Exchequer; or
     (_b_) are required to repay to the Exchequer of the United Kingdom
     sums issued to meet the dividends or sinking fund on guaranteed
     land stock under the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891, or (_c_)
     otherwise have been or are required to be paid out of the Exchequer
     of the United Kingdom in consequence of the non-payment thereof out
     of the Exchequer of Ireland or otherwise by the Irish Government.

(2) If at any time the Controller and Auditor-General of the United
Kingdom is satisfied that any such charge is due, he shall certify the
amount of it, and the Treasury shall send such certificate to the Lord
Lieutenant, who shall thereupon by order, without any counter-signature,
direct the payment of the amount from the Irish Exchequer to the
Exchequer of the United Kingdom, and such order shall be duly obeyed by
all persons, and until the amount is wholly paid no other payment shall
be made out of the Irish Exchequer for any purpose whatever.

(3) There shall be charged on the Irish Consolidated Fund next after the
foregoing charge:

     (_a_) all sums, for dividends or sinking fund on guaranteed land
     stock under the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891, which the
     Land Purchase Account and the Guarantee Fund under that Act are
     insufficient to pay; (_b_) all sums due in respect of any debt
     incurred by the Government of Ireland, whether for interest,
     management, or sinking fund; (_c_) an annual sum of _five thousand_
     pounds for the expenses of the household and establishment of the
     Lord Lieutenant; (_d_) all existing charges on the Consolidated
     Fund of the United Kingdom in respect of Irish services other than
     the salary of the Lord Lieutenant; and (_e_) the salaries and
     pensions of all judges of the Supreme Court or other superior court
     in Ireland or of any county or other like court, who are appointed
     after the passing of this Act, and are not the Exchequer judges
     hereafter mentioned.

(4) Until all charges created by this Act upon the Irish Consolidated
Fund and for the time being due are paid, no money shall be issued from
the Irish Exchequer for any other purpose whatever.

15.--(1) All existing charges on the Church property in Ireland--that is
to say, all property accruing under the Irish Church Act, 1869, and
transferred to the Irish Land Commission by the Irish Church Amendment
Act, 1881--shall so far as not paid out of the said property be charged
on the Irish Consolidated Fund, and any of those charges guaranteed by
the Treasury, if and so far as not paid, shall be paid out of the
Exchequer of the United Kingdom.

(2) Subject to the existing charges thereon, the said Church property
shall belong to the Irish Government, and be managed, administered, and
disposed of as directed by Irish Act.

16.--(1) All sums paid or applicable in or towards the discharge of the
interest or principal of any local loan advanced before the appointed
day on security in Ireland, or otherwise in respect of such loan, which
but for this Act would be paid to the National Debt Commissioners, and
carried to the Local Loans Fund, shall, after the appointed day, be
paid, until otherwise provided by Irish Act, to the Irish Exchequer.

(2) For the payment to the Local Loans Fund of the principal and
interest of such loans, the Irish Government shall after the appointed
day pay by half-yearly payments an annuity for _forty-nine_ years, at
the rate of _four_ per cent, on the principal of the said loans,
exclusive of any sums written off before the appointed day from the
account of assets of the Local Loans Fund, and such annuity shall be
paid from the Irish Exchequer to the Exchequer of the United Kingdom,
and when so paid shall be forthwith paid to the National Debt
Commissioners for the credit of the Local Loans Fund.

(3) After the appointed day, money for loans in Ireland shall cease to
be advanced either by the Public Works Loan Commissioners or out of the
Local Loans Fund.

17.--(1) So much of any Act as directs payment to the Local Taxation
(Ireland) Account of any share of probate, excise, or customs duties
payable to the Exchequer of the United Kingdom shall, together with any
enactment amending the same, be repealed as from the appointed day
without prejudice to the adjustment of balances after that day; but the
like amounts shall continue to be paid to the Local Taxation Accounts in
England and Scotland as would have been paid if this Act had not passed,
and any residue of the said share shall be paid into the Exchequer of
the United Kingdom.

(2) The stamp duty chargeable in respect of the personalty of a deceased
person shall not in the case of administration granted in Great Britain
be chargeable in respect of any personalty situate in Ireland, nor in
the case of administration granted in Ireland be chargeable in respect
of any personalty situate in Great Britain; and any administration
granted in Great Britain shall not, if re-sealed in Ireland, be exempt
from stamp duty on administration granted in Ireland, and any
administration granted in Ireland shall not, when re-sealed in Great
Britain, be exempt from stamp duty on administration granted in Great

(3) In this section the expression "administration" means probate or
letters of administration, and as respects Scotland, confirmation
inclusive of the inventory required under the Acts relating to the said
stamp duty, and the expression "personalty" means personal or movable
estate and effects.

18.--(1) Bills for appropriating any part of the public revenue or for
imposing any tax shall originate in the Legislative Assembly.

(2) It shall not be lawful for the Legislative Assembly to adopt or pass
any vote, resolution, address, or Bill for the appropriation for any
purpose of any part of the public revenue of Ireland, or of any tax,
except in pursuance of a recommendation from the Lord Lieutenant in the
session in which such vote, resolution, address, or Bill is proposed.

19.--(1) Two of the judges of the Supreme Court in Ireland shall be
Exchequer judges, and shall be appointed under the great seal of the
United Kingdom; and their salaries and pensions shall be charged on and
paid out of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom.

(2) The Exchequer judges shall be removeable only by Her Majesty on
address from the two Houses of Parliament, and each such judge shall,
save as otherwise provided by Parliament, receive the same salary and be
entitled to the same pension as is at the time of his appointment fixed
for the puisne judges of the Supreme Court, and during his continuance
in office his salary shall not be diminished, nor his right to pension
altered, without his consent.

(3) An alteration of any rules relating to such legal proceedings as are
mentioned in this section shall not be made except with the approval of
Her Majesty the Queen in Council; and the sittings of the Exchequer
judges shall be regulated with the like approval.

(4) All legal proceedings in Ireland, which are instituted at the
instance of or against the Treasury or Commissioners of Customs, or any
of their officers, or relate to the election of members to serve in
Parliament, or touch any matter within the powers of the Irish
Legislature, or touch any matter affected by a law which the Irish
Legislature have not power to repeal or alter, shall, if so required by
any party to such proceedings, be heard and determined before the
Exchequer judges or (except where the case requires to be determined by
two judges) before one of them, and in any such legal proceeding an
appeal shall, if any party so requires, lie from any court of first
instance in Ireland to the Exchequer judges, and the decision of the
Exchequer judges shall be subject to appeal to Her Majesty the Queen in
Council and not to any other tribunal.

(5) If it is made to appear to an Exchequer judge that any decree or
judgment in any such proceeding as aforesaid has not been duly enforced
by the sheriff or other officer whose duty it is to enforce the same,
such judge shall appoint some officer whose duty it shall be to enforce
the judgment or decree; and for that purpose such officer and all
persons employed by him shall be entitled to the same privileges,
immunities, and powers as are by law conferred on a sheriff and his

(6) The Exchequer judges, when not engaged in hearing and determining
such legal proceedings as above in this section mentioned, shall perform
such of the duties ordinarily performed by other judges of the Supreme
Court in Ireland as may be assigned by Her Majesty the Queen in Council.

(7) All sums recovered by the Treasury or the Commissioners of Customs
or any of their officers, or recovered under any Act relating to duties
of customs, shall, notwithstanding anything in any other Act, be paid to
such public account as the Treasury or the Commissioners direct.

_Post Office Postal Telegraphs and Savings Banks_

20.--(1) As from _the appointed day_ the postal and telegraph service in
Ireland shall be transferred to the Irish Government, and may be
regulated by Irish Act, except as in this Act mentioned and except as
regards matters relating--

     (_a_) to such conditions of the transmission or delivery of postal
     packets and telegrams as are incidental to the duties on postage;

     (_b_) foreign mails or submarine telegraphs or through lines in
     connection therewith; or (_c_) to any other postal or telegraph
     business in connection with places out of the United Kingdom.

(2) The administration of or incidental to the said excepted matters
shall, save as may be otherwise arranged with the Irish Post Office,
remain with the Postmaster-General.

(3) As regards the revenue and expenses of the postal and telegraph
service, the Postmaster-General shall retain the revenue collected and
defray the expenses incurred in Great Britain, and the Irish Post Office
shall retain the revenue collected and defray the expenses incurred in
Ireland, subject to the provisions of the Fourth Schedule to this Act;
which schedule shall have full effect, but may be varied or added to by
agreement between the Postmaster-General and the Irish Post Office.

(4) _The sums payable by the Postmaster-General or Irish Post Office to
the other of them in pursuance of this Act shall, if not paid out of the
Post Office moneys, be paid from the Exchequer of the United Kingdom or
of Ireland, as the case requires, to the other Exchequer_.

(5) Sections forty-eight to fifty-two of the Telegraph Act 1863, and any
enactment amending the same, shall apply to all telegraphic lines of the
Irish Government in like manner as to the telegraphs of a company within
the meaning of that Act.

21.--(1) As from _the appointed day_ there shall be transferred to the
Irish Government the post office savings banks in Ireland and all such
powers and duties of any department or officer in Great Britain as are
connected with post office savings banks, trustee savings banks or
friendly societies in Ireland, and the same may be regulated by Irish

(2) The Treasury shall publish not less than six months' previous notice
of the transfer of savings banks.

(3) If before the date of the transfer any depositor in a post office
savings bank so requests, his deposit shall, according to his request,
either be paid to him or transferred to a post office savings bank in
Great Britain, and after the said date the depositors in a post office
savings bank in Ireland shall cease to have any claim against the
Postmaster-General or the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, but
shall have the like claim against the Government and Consolidated Fund
of Ireland.

(4) If before the date of the transfer the trustees of any trustee
savings bank so request, then, according to the request, either all sums
due to them shall be repaid and the savings bank closed, or those sums
shall be paid to the Irish Government, and after the said date the
trustees shall cease to have any claim against the National Debt
Commissioners or the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, but shall
have the like claim against the Government and Consolidated Fund of

(5) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, if a sum
due on account of any annuity or policy of insurance which has before
the above-mentioned notice been granted through a post office or trustee
savings bank is not paid by the Irish Government, that sum shall be paid
out of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom.

_Irish Appeals and Decision of Constitutional Questions_

22.--(1) The appeal from courts in Ireland to the House of Lords shall
cease; and where any person would, but for this Act, have a right to
appeal from any court in Ireland to the House of Lords, such person
shall have the like right to appeal to Her Majesty the Queen in Council;
and the right so to appeal shall not be affected by any Irish Act; and
all enactments relating to appeals to Her Majesty the Queen in Council,
and to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, shall apply

(2) When the Judicial Committee sit for hearing appeals from a court in
Ireland, there shall be present not less than four Lords of Appeal,
within the meaning of the Appellate Jurisdiction Act, 1876, and at least
one member who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court in Ireland.

(3) A rota of privy councillors to sit for hearing appeals from courts
in Ireland shall be made annually by Her Majesty in Council, and the
privy councillors, or some of them, on that rota shall sit to hear the
said appeals. A casual vacancy in such rota during the year may be
filled by Order in Council.

(4) Nothing in this Act shall affect the jurisdiction of the House of
Lords to determine the claims to Irish peerages.

23.--(1) If it appears to the Lord Lieutenant or a Secretary of State
expedient in the public interest that steps shall be taken for the
speedy determination of the question whether any Irish Act or any
provision thereof is beyond the powers of the Irish Legislature, he may
represent the same to Her Majesty in Council, and thereupon the said
question shall be forthwith referred to and heard and determined by the
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, constituted as if hearing an
appeal from a court in Ireland.

(2) Upon the hearing of the question such persons as seem to the
Judicial Committee to be interested may be allowed to appear and be
heard as parties to the case, and the decision of the Judicial Committee
shall be given in like manner as if it were the decision of an appeal,
the nature of the report or recommendation to Her Majesty being stated
in open court.

(3) Nothing in this Act shall prejudice any other power of Her Majesty
in Council to refer any question to the Judicial Committee or the right
of any person to petition Her Majesty for such reference.

_Lord Lieutenant and Crown Lands_

24.--(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any Act, every
subject of the Queen shall be qualified to hold the office of Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland, without reference to his religious belief.

(2) The term of office of the Lord Lieutenant shall be _six years_,
without prejudice to the power of Her Majesty the Queen at any time to
revoke the appointment. 25. Her Majesty the Queen in Council may place
under the control of the Irish Government, for the purposes of that
government, such of the lands and buildings in Ireland vested in or held
in trust for Her Majesty, and subject to such conditions or restrictions
(if any) as may seem expedient.

_Judges and Civil Servants_

26. A judge of the Supreme Court or other superior court in Ireland, or
of any county court or other court with a like jurisdiction in Ireland,
appointed after the passing of this Act, shall not be removed from his
office except in pursuance of an address from the two Houses of the
Legislature of Ireland, nor during his continuance in office shall his
salary be diminished or right to pension altered without his consent.

27.--(1) All existing judges of the Supreme Court, county court judges,
and Land Commissioners in Ireland and all existing officers serving in
Ireland in the permanent civil service of the Crown and receiving
salaries charged on the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, shall,
if they are removeable at present on address from both Houses of
Parliament, continue to be removeable only upon such address, and if
removeable in any other manner shall continue to be removeable only in
the same manner as heretofore; and shall continue to receive the same
salaries, gratuities, and pensions, and to be liable to perform the same
duties as heretofore, or such duties as Her Majesty may declare to be
analogous, and their salaries and pensions, if and so far as not paid
out of the Irish Consolidated Fund, shall be paid out of the Exchequer
of the United Kingdom: Provided that this section shall be subject to
the provisions of this Act with respect to the Exchequer judges.

(2) _If any of the said judges, commissioners, or officers retires from
office with the Queen's approbation before completion of the period of
service entitling him to a pension, Her Majesty may, if she thinks fit,
grant to him such pension, not exceeding the pension to which he would
on that completion have been entitled, as to Her Majesty seems meet_.

28.--(1) All existing officers in the permanent civil service of the
Crown, who are not above provided for, and are at the appointed day
serving in Ireland, shall after that day continue to hold their offices
by the same tenure and to receive the same salaries, gratuities, and
pensions, and to be liable to perform the same duties as heretofore or
such duties as the Treasury may declare to be analogous; _and the said
gratuities and pensions, and until three years after the passing of this
Act, the salaries due to any of the said officers if remaining in his
existing office, shall be paid to the payees by the Treasury out of the
Exchequer of the United Kingdom_.

(2) Any such officer may after _three years_ from the passing of this
Act retire from office, and shall, at any time during those three years,
if required by the Irish Government, retire from office, and on any such
retirement may be awarded by the Treasury a gratuity or pension in
accordance with the Fifth Schedule to this Act; Provided that--

     (_a_) six months' written notice shall, unless it is otherwise
     agreed, be given either by the said officer or by the Irish
     Government as the case requires; and

     (_b_) such number of officers only shall retire at one time and at
     such intervals of time as the Treasury, in communication with the
     Irish Government, sanction.

(3) If any such officer does not so retire, the Treasury may award him
after the said three years a pension in accordance with the Fifth
Schedule to this Act which shall become payable to him on his ultimate
retirement from the service of the Crown.

(4) _The gratuities and pensions awarded in accordance with the Fifth
Schedule to this Act shall be paid by the Treasury to the payees out of
the Exchequer of the United Kingdom._

(5) All sums paid out of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom in
pursuance of this section shall be repaid to that Exchequer from the
Irish Exchequer.

(6) This section shall not apply to officers retained in the service of
the Government of the United Kingdom.

29. Any existing pension granted on account of service in Ireland as a
judge of the Supreme Court or of any court consolidated into that court,
or as a county court judge, or in any other judicial position, or as an
officer in the permanent civil service of the Crown other than in an
office the holder of which is after the appointed day retained in the
service of the Government of the United Kingdom, shall be charged on the
Irish Consolidated Fund, and if and so far as not paid out of that fund,
shall be paid out of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom.


30.--(1) The forces of the Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin
Metropolitan Police shall, when and as local police forces are from time
to time established in Ireland in accordance with the Sixth Schedule to
this Act, be gradually reduced and ultimately cease to exist as
mentioned in that Schedule; and after the passing of this Act, no
officer or man shall be appointed to either of those forces;

Provided that until the expiration of _six_ years from the appointed
day, nothing in this Act shall require the Lord Lieutenant to cause
either of the said forces to cease to exist, if as representing Her
Majesty the Queen he considers it inexpedient.

(2) The said two forces shall, while they continue, be subject to the
control of the Lord Lieutenant as representing Her Majesty, and the
members thereof shall continue to receive the same salaries, gratuities,
and pensions, and hold their appointments on the same tenure as
heretofore, _and those salaries, gratuities, and pensions, and all the
expenditure incidental to either force, shall be paid out of the
Exchequer of the United Kingdom_.

(3) When any existing member of either force retires under the
provisions of the Sixth Schedule to this Act, the Treasury may award to
him a gratuity or pension in accordance with that Schedule.

(4) _Those gratuities and pensions and all existing pensions payable in
respect of service in either force, shall be paid by the Treasury to the
payees out of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom_.

(5) _Two-thirds of the net amount payable in pursuance of this section
out of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom shall be repaid to that
Exchequer from the Irish Exchequer_.


31. Save as may be otherwise provided by Irish Act--

     (_a_) The existing law relating to the Exchequer and Consolidated
     Fund of the United Kingdom shall apply with the necessary
     modifications to the Exchequer and Consolidated Fund of Ireland,
     and an officer shall be appointed by the Lord Lieutenant to be the
     Irish Comptroller and Auditor General; and

     (_b_) The accounts of the Irish Consolidated Fund shall be audited
     as appropriation accounts in manner provided by the Exchequer and
     Audit Departments Act, 1866, by or under the direction of such

32.--(1) Subject as in this Act mentioned and particularly to the
Seventh Schedule to this Act (which Schedule shall have full effect) all
existing election laws relating to the House of Commons and the members
thereof shall, so far as applicable, extend to each of the two Houses of
the Irish Legislature and the members thereof, but such election laws so
far as hereby extended may be altered by Irish Act.

(2) The privileges, rights, and immunities to be held and enjoyed by
each House and the members thereof shall be such as may be defined by
Irish Act, but so that the same shall never exceed those for the time
being held and enjoyed by the House of Commons, and the members thereof.

33.--(i) The Irish Legislature may repeal or alter any provision of this
Act which is by this Act expressly made alterable by that Legislature,
and also any enactments in force in Ireland, except such as either
relate to matters beyond the powers of the Irish Legislature, or being
enacted by Parliament after the passing of this Act may be expressly
extended to Ireland. An Irish Act, notwithstanding it is in any respect
repugnant to any enactment excepted as aforesaid, shall, though read
subject to that enactment, be, except to the extent of that repugnancy,

(2) An order, rule, or regulation, made in pursuance of, or having the
force of, an Act of Parliament, shall be deemed to be an enactment
within the meaning of this section.

(3) Nothing in this Act shall affect Bills relating to the divorce or
marriage of individuals, and any such Bill shall be introduced and
proceed in Parliament in like manner as if this Act had not passed.

34. The local authority for any county or borough or other area shall
not borrow money without either--

     (_a_) special authority from the Irish Legislature, or

     (_b_) the sanction of the proper department of the Irish

and shall not, without such special authority, borrow;

     (i) in the case of a municipal borough or town or area less than a
     county, any loan which together with the then outstanding debt of
     the local authority, will exceed twice the annual rateable value of
     the property in the municipal borough, town, or area; or

     (ii) in the case of a country or larger area, any loan which
     together with the then outstanding debt of the local authority,
     will exceed one-tenth of the annual rateable value of the property
     in the county or area; or

     (iii) in any case a loan exceeding one-half of the above limits
     without a local inquiry held in the county, borough, or area by a
     person appointed for the purpose by the said department.

_Transitory Provisions_

35.--(1) During _three_ years from the passing of this Act, and if
Parliament is then sitting until the end of that session of Parliament,
the Irish Legislature shall not pass an Act respecting the relations of
landlord and tenant, or the sale, purchase, or letting of land
generally: Provided that nothing in this section shall prevent the
passing of any Irish Act with a view to the purchase of land for
railways, harbours, waterworks, town improvements, or other local

(2) During _six_ years from the passing of this Act, the appointment of
a judge of the Supreme Court or other superior courts in Ireland (other
than one of the Exchequer judges) shall be made in pursuance of a
warrant from Her Majesty countersigned as heretofore.

36.--(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act Her Majesty the Queen in
Council may make or direct such arrangements as seem necessary or proper
for setting in motion the Irish Legislature and Government and for
otherwise bringing this Act into operation. (2) The Irish Legislature
shall be summoned to meet on the _first Tuesday in September, one
thousand eight hundred and ninety-four_, and the first election of
members of the two Houses of the Irish Legislature shall be held at such
time before that day, as may be fixed by Her Majesty in Council. (3)
Upon the first meeting of the Irish Legislature the members of the House
of Commons then sitting for Irish constituencies, including the members
for Dublin University, shall vacate their seats, and writs shall, as
soon as conveniently may be, be issued by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland
for the purpose of holding an election of members to serve in
Parliament for the constituencies named in the Second Schedule of this
Act. (4) The existing Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and the senior of
the existing puisne judges of the Exchequer Division of the Supreme
Court, or if they or either of them are or is dead or unable or
unwilling to act, such other of the judges of the Supreme Court as Her
Majesty may appoint, shall be the first Exchequer judges. (5) Where it
appears to Her Majesty the Queen in Council, before the expiration of
_one year_ after the appointed day, that any existing enactment
respecting matters within the powers of the Irish Legislature requires
adaptation to Ireland, whether--

     (_a_) by the substitution of the Lord Lieutenant in Council, or of
     any department or officer of the executive Government in Ireland,
     for Her Majesty in Council, a Secretary of State, the Treasury, the
     Postmaster-General, the Board of Inland Revenue, or other public
     department or officer in Great Britain; or (_b_) by the
     substitution of the Irish Consolidated Fund or moneys provided by
     the Irish Legislature for the Consolidated Fund of the United
     Kingdom, or moneys provided by Parliament; or (_c_) by the
     substitution or confirmation by, or other act to be done by or to,
     the Irish Legislature for confirmation by or other act to be done
     by or to Parliament; or (_d_) by any other adaptation; Her Majesty,
     by Order in Council, may make that adaptation.

(6) Her Majesty the Queen in Council may provide for the transfer of
such property, rights, and liabilities, and the doing of such other
things as may appear to Her Majesty necessary or proper for carrying
into effect this Act or any Order in Council under this Act.

(7) An Order in Council under this section may make an adaptation or
provide for a transfer either unconditionally or subject to such
exceptions, conditions, and restrictions as may seem expedient.

(8) The draft of every Order in Council under this section shall be laid
before both Houses of Parliament for not less than two months before it
is made, and such Order when made shall, subject as respects Ireland to
the provisions of an Irish Act, have full effect, but shall not
interfere with the continued application to any place, authority,
person, or thing, not in Ireland, of the enactment to which the Order

37. Except as otherwise provided by this Act, all existing laws,
institutions, authorities, and officers in Ireland, whether judicial,
administrative, or ministerial, and all existing taxes in Ireland shall
continue as if this Act had not passed, but with the modifications
necessary for adapting the same to this Act, and subject to be
repealed, abolished, altered, and adapted in the manner and to the
extent authorised by this Act.

38. Subject as in this Act mentioned the appointed day for the purposes
of this Act shall be the day of the first meeting of the Irish
Legislature, or such other day not more than _seven_ months earlier or
later as may be fixed by order of Her Majesty in Council either
generally or with reference to any particular provision of this Act, and
different days may be appointed for different purposes and different
provisions of this Act, whether contained in the same section or in
different sections.

39. In this Act unless the context otherwise requires--The expression
'existing' means existing at the passing of this Act.

The expression 'constituency' means a parliamentary constituency or a
county or borough returning a member or members to serve in either House
of the Irish Legislature, as the case requires, and the expression
'parliamentary constituency' means any county, borough, or university
returning a member or members to serve in Parliament.

The expression 'parliamentary elector' means a person entitled to be
registered as a voter at a parliamentary election.

The expression 'parliamentary election' means the election of a member
to serve in Parliament.

The expression 'tax' includes duties and fees, and the expression
'duties of excise' does not include licence duties.

The expression 'foreign mails' means all postal packets, whether
letters, parcels, or other packets, posted in the United Kingdom and
sent to a place out of the United Kingdom, or posted in a place out of
the United Kingdom and sent to a place in the United Kingdom, or in
transit through the United Kingdom to a place out of the United Kingdom.

The expression 'telegraphic line' has the same meaning as in the
Telegraph Acts, 1863 to 1892.

The expression 'duties on postage' includes all rates and sums
chargeable for or in respect of postal packets, money orders, or
telegrams, or otherwise under the Post Office Acts or the Telegraph Act,

The expression 'Irish Act' means a law made by the Irish Legislature.

The expression 'election laws' means the laws relating to the election
of members to serve in Parliament, other than those relating to the
qualification of electors, and includes all the laws respecting the
registration of electors, the issue and execution of writs, the creation
of polling districts, the taking of the poll, the questioning of
elections, corrupt and illegal practices, the disqualification of
members and the vacating of seats.

The expression 'rateable value' means the annual rateable value under
the Irish Valuation Acts.

The expression 'salary' includes remuneration, allowances, and

The expression 'pension' includes superannuation allowance.

40. This Act may be cited as the Irish Government Act, 1893.





      Constituencies           Councillors.
      --------------           -----------
      Antrim county               Three
      Armagh county               One
      Belfast borough             Two
      Carlow county               One
      Cavan county                One
      Clare county                One
      Cork county--
        East Riding               Three
        West Riding               One
      Cork borough                One
      Donegal county              One
      Down county                 Three
      Dublin county               Three
      Dublin borough              Two
      Fermanagh county            One
      Galway county               Two
      Kerry county                One
      Kildare county              One
      Kilkenny county             One
      King's county               One
      Leitrim and Sligo counties  One
      Limerick county             Two
      Londonderry county          One
      Longford county             One
      Louth county                One
      Mayo county                 One
      Meath county                One
      Monaghan county             One
      Queen's county              One
      Roscommon county            One
      Tipperary county            Two
      Tyrone county               One
      Waterford county            One
      Westmeath county            One
      Wexford county              One
      Wicklow county              One

The expression 'borough' in this Schedule means an existing
parliamentary borough.

Counties of cities and towns not named in this Schedule
shall be combined with the county at large in which they are
included for parliamentary elections, and, if not so included,
then with the county at large bearing the same name.

A borough named in this Schedule shall not for the purposes
of this Schedule form part of any other constituency.



Constituencies.              Number of Members for House of Commons

Antrim county                   Three
Armagh county                   Two
Belfast borough (in divisions
    as mentioned below)         Four
Carlow county                   One
Cavan county                    Two
Clare county                    Two
Cork county (in divisions as
    mentioned below)            Five
Cork borough                    Two
Donegal county                  Three
Down county                     Three
Dublin county                   Two
Dublin borough (in divisions
    as mentioned below)         Four
Fermanagh county                One
Galway county                   Three
Galway borough                  One
Kerry county                    Three
Kildare county                  One
Kilkenny county                 One
Kilkenny borough                One
King's county                   One
Leitrim county                  Two
Limerick county                 Two
Limerick borough                One
Londonderry county              Two
Londonderry borough             One
Longford county                 One
Louth county                    One
Mayo county                     Three
Meath county                    Two
Monaghan county                 Two
Newry borough                   One
Queen's county                  One
Roscommon county                Two
Sligo county                    Two
Tipperary county                Three
Tyrone county                   Three
Waterford county                One
Waterford borough               One
Westmeath county                One
Wexford county                  Two
Wicklow county                  One

(1) In this Schedule the expression 'borough' means an
existing parliamentary borough.

(2) In the parliamentary boroughs of Belfast and Dublin, one
member shall be returned by each of the existing parliamentary
divisions of those boroughs, and the law relating to the divisions
of boroughs shall apply accordingly.

(3) The county of Cork shall be divided into two divisions,
consisting of the East Riding and the West Riding, and three
members shall be elected by the East Riding, and two members
shall be elected by the West Riding; and the law relating to
divisions of counties shall apply to those divisions.





For the purposes of this Act 'Imperial liabilities' consist of:--

     (1) The funded and unfunded debt of the United Kingdom, inclusive
     of terminable annuities paid out of the permanent annual charge for
     the National Debt, and inclusive of the cost of the management of
     the said funded and unfunded debt, but exclusive of the Local Loans
     stock and Guaranteed Land stock and the cost of the management
     thereof; and

     (2) All other charges on the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom
     for the repayment of borrowed money, or to fulfil a guarantee.


For the purpose of this Act Imperial expenditure consists of
expenditure for the following services:--

     I. Naval and military expenditure (including Greenwich Hospital).
     II. Civil expenditure, that is to say--

       (_a_) Civil list and Royal family.
       (_b_) Salaries, pensions, allowances, and incidental expenses of--

         (i) Lord Lieutenant of Ireland;
         (ii) Exchequer judges in Ireland.

       (_c_) Building, works, salaries, pensions, printing, stationery,
         allowances, and incidental expenses of--

         (i) Parliament;
         (ii) National Debt Commissioners;
         (iii) Foreign Office and diplomatic and consular service,
           including secret service, special services, and telegraph
         (iv) Colonial Office, including special services and telegraph
         (v) Privy Council;
         (vi) Board of Trade, including the Mercantile Marine Fund, Patent
           Office, Railway Commission, and Wreck Commission, but
           excluding Bankruptcy; (vii) Mint; (viii) Meteorological Society;
         (ix) Slave trade service.

       (_d_) Foreign mails and telegraphic communication with places
         outside the United Kingdom.


For the purposes of this Act the public revenue to a portion
of which Ireland may claim to be entitled consists of revenue
from the following sources:--

    1. Suez Canal shares or payments on account thereof.

    2. Loans and advances to foreign countries.

    3. Annual payments by British possessions.

    4. Fees, stamps, and extra receipts received by departments, the
    expenses of which are part of the Imperial expenditure.

    5. Small branches of the hereditary revenues of the Crown.

    6. Foreshores.

[The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Schedules are for the
saving of space omitted.]


[138] The Bill is printed as it was originally presented to the House of


_American Commonwealth_, by Rt. Hon. James Bryce, 37 _n_
_American History, Critical Period of_, by Fiske, 103
Andrews, Mr. Justice, a Unitarian, 71 _n_
Appeals under Irish Government Act, 209
Asquith, Rt. Hon. H.H., on the policy of Home Rule, 26, 74 _n_

Balfour, Rt. Hon. Arthur, on Ireland, 71
Beaumont, Gustave de, 142
Bright, John, on Free Trade, 134
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James, 26, _American Commonwealth_, 37, 169
Burke, Edmund, _Reflections on the Revolution in France_, 134

Cambray, Mr., _Irish Affairs and the Home Rule Question_, 1, 23
Canada as a self-governing colony, 20, 25
Civil servants under Irish Government Act, 210
Clancy, Mr., M.P., and the financial clauses of the Home Rule Bill, 103
Cobden and Free Trade, 134
Coercion Act, the, 144
Colonies, self-governing, _see_ New Zealand, Canada, Victoria
_Constitution, Law of_, by Professor Dicey, 6 _n_, 29 _n_, 67 _n_
Constitution of Legislature under Irish Government Act, 199
Constitution, old and new, 1-20, 56;
  the new, 21 _et seq_., 191;
  no settlement of the Irish question, 112 _et seq_.;
  rests on an unsound foundation and contradictory, 125;
  pleas for, 132 _et seq._
Constitutional questions, decision of, under Irish Government Act, 209
Contracts, laws as to, 85, 86
Crown Lands under Irish Government Act, 210

Davitt, Michael, and the New Constitution, 115, 142, 167
Dicey, Professor A.V., _Law of the Constitution,_ 6 _n_, 29 _n_, 67 _n_
Duffy, Sir Gavan, Irish Nationalist, 39, 166;
  his prediction, 128

England, present constitution of, 2 _et seq_.;
  retention of Irish Members at Westminster, 32 _et seq_., 66,
     123, 200, 218, 221;
  inducements to, 48;
  meaning of Home Rule to, 53 _et seq_.;
  result of helping Portugal and Spain, 116;
  opposition to Home Rule, 119 _et seq_.;
  Grattan's constitution, 149;
  the path of safety, 175 _et seq._
_England's Case against Home Rule_, 59 _n_, 91 _n_, 94
     _n_, 97 _n_, 138 _n_, 155 _n_, 162 _n_
Executive authority under Irish Government Act, 198

Feast of Concord in France, 172
Federalism, 6;
  and Home Rule, 13 _et seq_., 96, 118;
  application to England, 155;
  how it works in other countries, 153 _et seq._
Finance, under Irish Government Act, 27, 100, 102, 201-207, 222, 223
Fiske, _Critical Period of American History_, 103
Ford, Patrick, 166
France, and Italy, 116;
  Feast of Concord, 172;
  the constitution of 1791, 191
Freeman, E.A., _Irish Home Rule and Its Analogies_, 67 _n_, 153 _n_

Germany, federalism in, 6
Girardin, M., on the French Revolution, 135
Gladstone, W.E., and Home Rule, 26, 113, 128 _n_, 140, 163, 175;
  on the retention of Irish Members at Westminster, 32 _n_, 39, 66, 123
Government, _see_ Parliament
Government of Ireland Bill, _see_ Home Rule Bill
Grattan's constitution, 139, 149-152

Hilty, Professor, Swiss publicist, 160
Home Rule, a new constitution for the United Kingdom, 1, 19;
  compared with the old constitution, 8 _et seq_.;
  four leading features of, 22;
  the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, 22-31;
  the retention of the Irish Members in the Imperial Parliament, 32 _et
  seq_., 66 _n_, 123, 200, 218-221;
  powers of the Irish Government, 66 _et seq_., 197 _et seq _.;
  the Veto, 88;
  Finance, 100-103, 201-207, 222, 223;
  as a settlement of the Irish question, 112 _et seq_.;
  is federalism, 118;
  reasons for, 132 _et seq_.;
  necessity for, 138;
  the safeguards, 149;
  Grattan's constitution, 149;
  success of, 152 _et seq_.;
  the policy of trust, 163 _et seq_.;
  a revolutionary movement, 177, 191

Imperial Parliament, _see_ Parliament Ireland, the old constitution, 1-8;
  the new constitution, 8 _et seq_.;
  the retention of Irish Members in the Imperial Parliament, 32 _et seq_.,
    66 _n_, 123, 200, 218-221;
  meaning of Home Rule to, 53;
  powers of the Irish Government under Home Rule Bill, 66 _et seq_.,
   197 _et seq_.;
  the Irish Parliament, 75;
  restrictions and obligations, 80 _et seq_.;
  the Veto, 88;
  the Privy Council and the Courts, 90 _et seq_.;
  Home Rule no settlement of the Irish question, 112 _et seq_.;
  arguments for the new constitution, 132 _et seq_.;
  her desire for parliamentary independence, 140
_Irish Affairs and the Home Rule Question_, by Cambray, 1, 23 _n_
Irish Constabulary under Home Rule Bill, 75 _n_, 212
Irish Executive, 66
Irish Government Act, _see_ Home Rule Bill
_Irish Home Rule and its Analysis_, by E.A. Freeman, 67 _n_, 153 _n_
Irish Parliament, 75
Irish representation in the House of Commons, 32 _et seq_., 66, 123,
  200, 218-221
Italy and France, 116

Jackson, Andrew, President of the United States, 158
Judges under Home Rule Bill, 210

Lalor, Mr., 142
Lecky, Mr., _History of England in the Eighteenth Century_, 150
Legislative authority under Home Rule Bill, 197 _et seq_.
Local Government Bill compared with Home Rule Bill, 186
Lord Lieutenant, office of, 66, 210

McCarthy, J., on the effect of the Home Rule Bill, 112, 142, 167
Mahoney, Pierce, _Irish Independent_ on the release of prisoners, 117
Marshall, John, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,
Melbourne, Irish informers' reception at, 161, 162
Mill, John Stuart, _Representative Government_, 6 _n_, 118 _n_.
Morley, John, Chief Secretary for Ireland, on retention of Irish Members
    at Westminster, 39-43, 49, 62;
  changes in administration, 71;
  safeguards against legislation setting aside contracts, 86

New Zealand as a self-governing colony, 4, 5, 9, 20, 25, 31;
  compared with Ireland, 156
Nulty, Dr., Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath, 71 _n_.

O'Connell, Daniel, compared with Parnell, 139; 166

Parliament, British and Imperial, authority of, in the United Kingdom,
    2 _et seq_.;
  in the Colonies, 4 _et seq_.;
  supremacy of, 22 _et seq_.;
  retention of Irish Members in, 32 _et seq_.;
  power up to 1782, 55;
  since the Union, 56 _et seq._
Parnell, 34;
  and Home Rule, 139, 142, 167
Phoenix Park murders, 146
Police under Home Rule Bill, 75 _n_, 212
Post Office and postal telegraphs under Home Rule Bill, 207, 208
Privy Council and the Courts, 90
Protection, 99, 198

Redmond, John, M.P., Home Rule, 26, 50, 103;
  and the imprisoned dynamiters, 117 _n_, 168
Referendum, Dicey on, 189, 190
Religion, restrictions on, 99
_Representative Government_, by John Stuart Mill, 118 _n._
Restrictions and obligations in Home Rule Bill, 80 _et seq_.,
     197, 198, 214
Retention of Irish Members in House of Commons, 32 _et seq_.,
     66, 123, 200, 218-221
Russell, Lord John, 32 _n_

Savings banks under Home Rule Bill, 207, 208
Sexton, Thomas, on Home Rule Bill, 16 _n_, 26, 112, 126
Siéyès, Abbé, 19
Switzerland an example of successful federalism, 6, 159

Taxes, right to impose, 2, 3
Ticino, insurrection in, 107, 160, 161
_Times Parliamentary Debates, 26 _n_, 32 _n_;
  Mr. Asquith on executive authority, 74 _n_;
  John Morley on legislation to set aside contracts, 86 _n_;
  J. McCarthy and W.E. Gladstone on Home Rule as a final settlement,
     112 _n_, 113 _n_, 142 _n_;
  Gladstone on the policy of trust, 163 _n_.

Tocqueville, Alexis de, and the French Revolution, 134, 173
Trust, the policy of, 163

Unionism, the policy for, 183 _et seq._
_Unionist Delusions, _62 _n_.
United States of America, division of parties in, 37 _n_;
  no law allowed to impair the obligation of a contract, 85;
  Bryce on State Legislatures in, 169, 170

Veto, the, 15, 199;
  its uselessness, 88
Victoria as a self-governing colony, 4 _n_.
_Victoria, Government of_, by Jenks, 9 _n_.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Leap in the Dark - A Criticism of the Principles of Home Rule as Illustrated by the - Bill of 1893" ***

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