The Framework of Home Rule
by Erskine Childers
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[53] See footnote, p. 159.

[54] "Organization and Policy of the Department," Official Pamphlet.



- Description. Number of Membership. Paid-up Loan Turnover. Societies. Shares. Capital. - 1910. 1909. - Creameries 392 380 44,213 138,354 111,365 1,841,400 Agricultural 169 155 16,050 6,253 40,326 112,222 Credit 237 234 18,422 56,469 57,641 Poultry 18 18 6,152 2,292 4,026 64,342 Industries 21 21 1,375 1,267 1,450 7,666 Miscellaneous 37 15 4,633 15,015 2,864 48,987 Flax 9 9 589 482 5,796 2,286 Federations 3 3 227 6,753 6,360 259,925 - 886 835 91,661 170,416 228,656 2,394,469 -

[56] An Irish Trademark has been secured, and has proved of great value "Irish Weeks," for the furtherance of the sale of Irish products, are held. The organ of the Association is the Irish Industrial Journal, published weekly in Dublin.

[57] On December 31, 1909, Irish was taught as an "extra subject" in 3,006 primary schools out of 8,401, and in 161 schools in Irish-speaking districts in the West a bi-lingual programme of instruction was in force (Report of Committee of National Education, 1910). Forty-six thousand pupils passed the test of the inspectors. Irish in 1910 was made a compulsory subject for matriculation at the National University.

[58] The election by Nationalist votes of Lord Ashtown, a militant Unionist peer of the most uncompromising type, in the spring of 1911 to one of the Galway District Councils is a good recent example of this tendency.

[59] Permissive powers exist for County Councils to enforce compulsory attendance.

[60] Including 342 convent, 54 monastery, 125 workhouse, and 71 model schools.

[61] See "Prospectus of the Municipal Technical Institute, Belfast," 1910-11, pp. 55 and 57-58. Reading, Grammar, and Simple Arithmetic are taught.

[62] See Report of the Congested Districts Board, 1909-11.

[63] See Report of Royal Commission on Congestion in Ireland (Cd. 4097); especially a Memorandum by Sir Horace Plunkett, published as a separate pamphlet by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction.

[64] See Chapter XIV.

[65] Annual Report (1910) of the "Irish Association for the Prevention of Intemperance." The estimate is that of Dr. Dawson Burns. By the Licensing (Ireland) Act of 1902, the issue of any new licenses was prohibited.

[66] I write before the scheme has been fully discussed in Parliament.

[67] It is scarcely necessary for me to remind the reader that the word "Ulster," as used in current political dialectics, is misleading. Part of Ulster is overwhelmingly Catholic; in part the population is divided between the two creeds, and in two counties it is overwhelmingly Protestant. In the whole province the Protestants are in a majority of 150,000, but since a number of Protestants vote Nationalist, the representation of the province is almost equal, the Unionists holding seventeen seats out of thirty-three.

[68] "Ireland in the Eighteenth Century," "Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland," "Clerical Influences."

[69] See "Democracy and Liberty."

[70] Many Unionists are to be found in the same breath prophesying Catholic tyranny under Home Rule and averring without any evidence that clerical influence caused the repudiation in 1907 of the Council Bill, because it placed education under a semi-popular body.

[71] "Religious Intolerance under Home Rule: Some Opinions of Leading Irish Protestants," pamphlet (1911) compiled by J. McVeagh, M.P.

[72] The Census of 1911 shows that the population of Ireland is still falling. The province of Leinster, mainly Catholic, alone shows a small increase, derived from the counties of Dublin (including Dublin City) and Kildare. In Ulster, Down and Antrim, which include the city of Belfast, alone show an increase, but not so great as that of County Dublin.





It was not only to support the principle of Home Rule for Ireland that I followed in some detail the growth of the Liberal principle of government as applied to outlying portions of the British Empire. The historical circumstances which moulded the form of each individual Colonial Constitution, the Constitutions themselves, and the modifications they have subsequently undergone, supply a mass of material rich in interest and instruction for the makers of an Irish Constitution. Nor is the analogy academical. Ireland is at this moment under a form of government unique, so far as I know, in the whole world, but resembling more closely than anything else that of a British Crown Colony where the Executive is outside popular control, and the Legislature is only partially within it; with this additional and crowning inconvenience, that the Irish Crown Colony can obstruct the business of the Mother Country. What we have to do is to liberate Great Britain and to give Ireland a rational Constitution—not pedantically adhering to any colonial model, but recognizing that, however closely her past history resembles that of a Colony, Ireland, by her geographical position, has a closer community of interest with Great Britain than that of any Colony.

Three main difficulties have to be contended with: first, that the system to be overthrown is so ancient, and the prejudice against Home Rule so inveterate; second, the Irish are not agreed upon any constructive scheme; third, the confusion in the popular mind between "Federal" and other systems of Home Rule.


With regard to the first of these obstacles, we have got to make a big national effort to take a sensible and dispassionate view of the whole problem. We must cease to regard Ireland as an insubordinate captive, as a "possession" to be exploited for profit, or as a child to be humoured and spoiled. All this is vieux jeu. It belongs to an utterly discredited form of so-called Imperialism, which might more fitly be called Little Englandism, masquerading in the showy trappings of Bismarckian philosophy. We have gone too far in the "dismemberment" of our historic Empire, and near enough to the dismemberment of what remains, to apply this worn-out metaphor to the process of making Ireland politically free.

In Ireland we must build on trust, or we build on sand.

What is best for Ireland will be best for the Empire.

Let us firmly grasp these principles, or we shall fail. They may be carried to the extreme point. If it were for Ireland's moral and material good to become an independent nation, it would be Great Britain's interest to encourage her to secede and assume the position of a small State like Belgium, whose independence in our own interests we guarantee. Since nobody of sense, in or out of Ireland supposes that her interest lies in that direction, we need not consider the point; but it is just as well to bear in mind that a prosperous and friendly neighbour on a footing of independence is better than a discontented and backward neighbour on a footing of dependence. The corollary is this—that any restrictions or limitations upon the subordinate Irish Government and Parliament which are not scientifically designed to secure the easy working of the whole Imperial machinery, but are the outcome of suspicion and distrust, will serve only to aggravate existing evils. When the supreme object of a Home Rule measure is to create a sense of responsibility in the people to whom it is extended, what could be more perversely unwise than to accompany the gift with a declaration of the incompetence of the people to exercise responsibility, and with restraints designed to prevent them from proving the contrary?

Centuries of experience have not yet secured general acceptation for this simple principle. In this domain of thought the tenacity of error is marvellous, even if we make full allowance for the disturbing effect on men's minds of India and other coloured dependencies where despotic, or semi-despotic, systems are in vogue. Since the expansion of England began in the seventeenth century, it cannot be said that the principle of trusting white races to manage their own affairs has ever received the express and conscious sanction of a united British people. It has been repeatedly repudiated by Governments in the most categorical terms, and repudiated sometimes to the point of bloodshed. In other cases it has met with lazy retrospective acquiescence on the discovery that powers surreptitiously obtained or granted without formal legislation had not been abused. The Australian Acts of 1850 and 1855 were the first approach to a spontaneous application of the full principle; but even then many statesmen were not fully alive to the consequences of their action, while there was no public interest, and very little Parliamentary interest, in the fate of these remote dependencies. The fully developed modern doctrine of comradeship with the great self-governing Dominions, a doctrine which we may date from the accession of Mr. Chamberlain to Colonial Secretaryship in 1895, was not the natural outcome of a belief in self-government, but a sudden and effusive acceptation of its matured results in certain definite cases. Irish Home Rule itself had, in the preceding decade, twice been rejected by the nation. With the first opportunity, after 1895, of testing belief in the principle, namely, in the Transvaal Constitution of 1905, the Government failed. Finally, in 1906, when, to redeem that failure, for the first time in the whole history of the Empire a Cabinet spontaneously and unreservedly declared its full belief in the principle, and translated that belief into law, the whole of the Opposition, representing nearly half the electorate, washed their hands of the policy, and, if the constitutional means had existed, would, admittedly, have defeated it, as they had defeated the Home Rule Bills of 1886 and 1893. The change of national opinion has, I believe, been considerable; but the circumstances remain ominous for the dispassionate discussion of the Irish Constitution. Patriotic people can only do their best to ensure that the grant of Home Rule shall not be nullified by restrictions and limitations which, if they are designed merely to appease opposition, are destined to create friction and discontent.

I am far from implying that restrictions are bad things in themselves. All Constitutions, whether the sole work of the men who are to live under them, like that of the United States, or the gift of a Sovereign State to a dependency, or the joint work of a Sovereign and a dependent State, contain restrictions designed for the common good. The criterion of their value is the measure of consent they meet with from those who have to live under and work the Constitution, and it is that circumstance which makes it urgent that Irish opinion should be evoked upon their future Constitution, and that the Irish Nationalist party should think out its own scheme of Home Rule. The Constitution of the United States contains many self-imposed restrictions upon the powers both of the Central and the State Governments, in the interest of minorities; and nobody accuses the Americans of having insulted themselves.

It will be no slur on Ireland, for example, if the most elaborate safeguards against the oppression of the Protestant minority are inserted in the Bill, provided that Nationalist Ireland, recognizing the fears of the minority, spontaneously recommends, or, at any rate, freely consents to their insertion—a consent which could not, of course, be expected if their tendency was to derange the functions of Government or cripple the Legislature.

On the other hand, it would be a slur on Ireland which she would justly resent, besides being a highly impolitic step, to deny to the Irish Executive an important power, such, for example, as the control of its own police.


It is a grave difficulty that there is no public opinion in Ireland as to the form of the Irish Constitution. That is an almost inevitable result of political conditions past and present. Violent intestinal antagonisms are not favourable to constructive thought. The best men of a country, working in harmony, are needed to devise a good Constitution, and if any Irishman could succeed in convening a Conference like that which created the South African Union, he would be famous and honoured for ever in the annals of the future Ireland. That Conference, we must remember, was itself the result of the grants of Home Rule two years previously, and these grants in their turn were greatly facilitated by the co-operation of Britons and Dutchmen.[73] Canada, in 1840, is a warning of the errors made in constructing a Constitution without such co-operation. Eventually it had to be torn up and refashioned. The best way of avoiding any such error in Ireland's case is to expel the spirit of distrust which animated the framers of the Canadian Union Act of 1840.


So much for the spirit in which we should approach the problem, and I pass to the consideration of the problem itself. What is to be the framework of Home Rule? I take it for granted that there must, in the broad sense, be responsible government, that is to say, an Irish Legislature, with an Irish Cabinet responsible to that Legislature, and, through the Lord-Lieutenant, to the Crown. So much is common ground with nearly all advocates of Home Rule, for I take it that there is no question of reverting to anything in the nature of the abortive Irish Council Bill of 1907.[74] But agreement upon responsible government does not carry us far enough. What are to be the relations between the subordinate Irish Parliament and Government, and the Imperial Parliament and Government?

We immediately feel the need of a scientific nomenclature. In popular parlance, two possible types of Home Rule are recognized—"Federal" and "Colonial." Both, of course, may be "Colonial," because there are Colonial Federations as well as Colonial Unitary States. But, nomenclature apart, the two possible types of Irish Home Rule correspond to two distinct types of subordinate Constitution. The "Colonial" type is peculiar to the British Empire, the other is to be found in many parts of the world—the United States, for example, and Germany, and Switzerland.

Let us examine these types a little more closely, confining ourselves as far as possible to the British Empire, past and present, because within it we can find nearly all the instruction we need. As I showed in my sketch of the growth of Colonial Home Rule, all the Colonies now classed as self-governing, together with the American Colonies before their independence, were originally unitary States, subordinate to the Crown, each looking directly to Great Britain, possessing no constitutional relation with one another, and gradually obtaining their individual local autonomies under the name of "Responsible Government." New Zealand and Newfoundland alone have maintained their original individualities, and their Constitutions, from an historical standpoint, are the best examples of the first of the two types we are considering. Now for the Federal type. Very early in the history of the American Colonies (in 1643) the New England group formed amongst themselves a loose confederation, which was not formally recognized by the British Government, and which perished in 1684. In the next century the War of Independence produced the confederation of all the thirteen Colonies, but this was little more in effect than a very badly contrived alliance for military purposes, and it was a keen sense of the inadequacy of the bond that stimulated the construction of the Great Constitution of 1787, the first Federal Union ever devised by the English-speaking race. All the States combined to confer certain defined powers upon a Federal Parliament, to which each sent representatives, and upon a Federal Executive whose head, the President, all shared in electing. At the same time, each State preserved its own Constitution and the power to amend it, with the one broad condition that it must be Republican, and subject to any limitation upon its powers which the Federal Constitution imposed.

Eighty years elapsed before any similar Federal Union was formed by Colonies within the British Empire. As we have seen, all the various North American Colonies which received Constitutions in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, and all the Australasian Colonies similarly honoured in the nineteenth century, were placed in direct relation to the British Crown and in isolation from one another. Upper Canada had no political ties with Lower Canada, Nova Scotia none with New Brunswick, Victoria none with Tasmania. Several abortive schemes were proposed at one time or another for the Federation of the North American Colonies, but the first measure of amalgamation, namely, the union of the two Canadas in 1840, was a step in the wrong direction, and bore, as I have shown, a marked resemblance, particularly in the motives which dictated it, to the Union of Great Britain and Ireland. It was a compulsory Union, imposed by the Mother Country, and founded on suspicion of the French. So far from being Federal, it was a clumsy and unworkable Legislative Union of the two Provinces, which lasted as long as it did only because the principle of responsible government, established in 1847, covered a multitude of sins. The somewhat similar attempt in Australia in 1843 to amalgamate the two settlements of Port Phillip, afterwards Victoria, and New South Wales, at a time when each had evolved a distinct individuality of its own, was defeated by the strenuous opposition of the Port Phillip colonists, and revoked in 1850.

Meanwhile, all aspirations after Federation in the outlying parts of the Empire were discouraged by the home authorities. The most practical plan of all, Sir George Grey's great scheme of South African Federation in 1859, was nipped in the bud. Canada eventually led the way. The failure of the Canadian Union brought about its dissolution in 1867 by the Provinces concerned, under the sanction of Great Britain (an example of really sensible "dismemberment"), and their voluntary Federation as Ontario and Quebec, together with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, under the collective title of the Dominion of Canada, and the subsequent inclusion in this Federation of all the North American Provinces with the exception of Newfoundland.

Note, at the outset, that this Federation differed from that of the United States in being founded on the recognition of an organic relation with an external suzerain authority—an authority which the Americans had abjured in framing their independent Republic. In the matter of constitutional relations with Great Britain, the Dominion of Canada now assumed, in its collective capacity, the position formerly held by each individual Province, and still held by Newfoundland. Direct relations between the individual Provinces of the Federation and the Mother Country practically ceased, and were replaced by a Federal relation with the Dominion. Provincial Lieutenant-Governors are appointed by the Dominion Government acting in the name of the Governor-General, not directly by the British Government,[75] and, although in constitutional theory the Crown, as in every least fraction of the Empire, is the sole and immediate source of executive authority, and an indispensable agent in all legislation, not only in the Dominion, but in the Provinces,[76] in actual practice the only organic connection left between a Province and Great Britain is the right of appeal directly to the King in Council, that is, to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, without the intervention of the Supreme Court of Canada.

So much for the external relations of the Dominion. In respect to the domestic relations between the Provinces and the Dominion, the Federal principle used in Canada is fundamentally the same as that which obtains in the United States and in every true Federation in the world, whether Monarchical or Republican, whether self-contained, like the United States, Germany, and Switzerland, or linked, as in the British Empire, to a supreme and sovereign Government centred in London. Each Province, as in every genuine Federation, is an imperium in imperio, possessing a Constitution of its own, and delegating central powers to a Federal Government. The nature and extent of the powers thus delegated or reserved, and the character of the Federal Constitution itself, vary widely in different Federations, but we need not consider these differences in any detail. Let us remark generally, however, that the powers of the Canadian Province are much smaller than those of the American State, and that what lawyers call "the residuary powers"—that is, all powers not specifically allotted—belong to the Dominion, whereas in the United States and Switzerland they belong to the State or Canton.

The Australian Commonwealth of 1900 came into being in the same way as the Dominion of Canada, by the voluntary act of the several Colonies concerned—Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland—under the sanction of the British Crown and Parliament. New Zealand stood out, and remained, like Newfoundland, a unitary State directly subordinate to Great Britain. Nor, in the matter of relations with the Mother Country, were the federating Colonies merged so completely in the Commonwealth as the Provinces of Canada in the Dominion. The Canadians had not only to construct the Dominion Constitution, but new Constitutions for two of the federating Provinces—Ontario and Quebec—and it was natural, therefore, that they should identify the Provinces more closely with the Dominion. The Australians, having to deal with six ready-made State Constitutions, left them as they were, subject only to the limitations imposed by the Commonwealth Constitution. One of the results is that the State Governors are still appointed directly by the British Government, not by the Commonwealth. This constitutional arrangement, however, has no very practical significance. The right of appeal direct from a State Court to the King in Council, without the intervention of the High Court of Australia, remains, as in Canada, the only direct link between the individual States and the British Government.

The Federal tie between the States and the Commonwealth, as defined in the Act of 1900, is looser than that between the Provinces of Canada and the Dominion, and bears more resemblance to the relation between a State and the Federal Government of the United States. As in that country and in Switzerland, residuary powers rest with the State or Canton Governments, not with the Federal Government.

The South African Union of 1909, comprising the Colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, the Transvaal, and the Orange River Colony, had a Federal origin, so to speak, in that the old Colonies agreed to abandon a great part of their autonomies to a central Government and Legislature; but the spirit of unity carried them so far as almost to annul State rights. The powers now retained by the provincial Legislatures are so small, and the control of the Union Government is so far-reaching, that the whole system is rightly described as a Union, not as a Federation. The Provinces, which are really little more than municipalities, have no longer any relation except in remotest constitutional theory with the Mother Country, their Administrators are appointed by the Union, and, unlike the Provinces of Canada and the States of Australia, they have not even an internal system of responsible government.[77] No direct appeal lies to the King in Council from the provincial Courts, which are now, in fact, only "divisions" of the Supreme Court of South Africa. The Provinces, in short, do not possess "Constitutions" at all. Their powers can be extinguished without their individual assent by an Act of the Union Parliament, whereas the Canadian Dominion has no power to amend either the Dominion or the Provincial Constitutions, and in Australia constitutional amendments must be agreed to by the States separately as well as by the Commonwealth Parliament. But these revolutionary changes in the status of the old South African Colonies were brought about, let us remember, by the free consent of the inhabitants of South Africa, after prolonged deliberation.

The United States, the Australian Commonwealth, and the Canadian Dominion are, then, the three genuine Federations which the English-speaking races have constructed. The two last are included in the present British Empire, and they stand side by side with the three unitary Colonies—South Africa, New Zealand, and Newfoundland. The constitutional relation of each of these five bodies to the Mother Country is precisely the same, although they differ widely in internal structure, as in wealth and population. Within each of the two Federations, as we have seen, there exists a nexus of minor Constitutions, State or Provincial, which have virtually no relations with the Mother Country, but are integral parts of the major Federation.



We are now in a position to pose our main question, and the simplest course is to pose it in an illustrative form. Broadly speaking, is the relation between Ireland and Great Britain to resemble that between the Province of Quebec and the Dominion of Canada, or that between the Dominion of Canada and the United Kingdom? One might equally well contrast the relation of Victoria to the Australian Commonwealth with the relation of New Zealand or Newfoundland to the United Kingdom. I choose the Canadian illustration because it is more compact and striking, and because it corresponds more closely to the history and to the realities of the case. Moreover, Quebec, although she had a no more stormy domestic history, owing to lack of Home Rule, than Ontario, is bi-racial, and on that account underwent in 1840 compulsory amalgamation with her wholly British neighbour, just as Ireland, originally bi-racial, was forcibly amalgamated with Great Britain in 1800. The Canadian partners agreed to break this bond, to fashion a better one on the Federal principle, in the manner vaguely adumbrated by advocates of the "Federal" principle for Irish Home Rule, and, as regards their relations with the Mother Country, to pool their interests and accept representation by the Dominion alone.

Quebec Home Rule or Dominion Home Rule? Needless to say, these are only broad types chosen expressly to illustrate two possible types of relation between Ireland and Great Britain, which I shall henceforth refer to as "Federal" and "Colonial." There is no reason why we should not profit in other respects by both examples, nor is there any possibility of copying either faithfully.

Both types fulfil the fundamental condition laid down at the beginning of our discussion—both, that is to say, are consistent with responsible government in Ireland. Quebec, in its inner working, is a microcosm of the Dominion, and the Dominion system of responsible government is almost an exact copy of the unwritten British Constitution. In Quebec (as in all the Provinces and States of Canada and Australia) there is a Cabinet, headed by a Prime Minister, composed of Members of the Legislature, and responsible at once to that Legislature and to the Lieutenant-Governor as representing the Crown. Ireland, under a similar system (and, a fortiori, if she were put in the position of the Dominion), would have a Cabinet responsible at once to the Irish Legislature and to the Lord-Lieutenant representing the Crown. The parallel is more apposite in the case of the Province of Quebec than in the case of an Australian State, because, as I noted above, the provincial Lieutenant-Governor is actually appointed by the Dominion Government, and is in his turn responsible in the first instance to that Government, just as the Irish Governor, or Lord-Lieutenant, who, under Home Rule, will for the first time justify his existence, is, and will still be, appointed by the British Government.

But with the possibility of responsible government granted, it must be confessed that the arguments against "Quebec Home Rule" as a measure of practical politics at the present moment, are insuperable. In the first place there is no question in the coming Bill of federalizing the United Kingdom on the lines of the Dominion of Canada—that is, of constructing a new Federal Parliament elected by the whole realm, together with new local Legislatures elected by the various fractions of the realm. Scottish and Welsh Home Rule are in the air, but they are not practical issues. English Home Rule is not even in the air. I mean that Englishmen, whatever their views on the congestion of Parliamentary business owing to the pressure of Irish, Welsh, and Scottish affairs, have not seriously considered the idea of a subordinate Legislature exclusively English, which would be just as essential a feature of a completely federalized kingdom as subordinate Legislatures exclusively Irish, Scottish, and Welsh.

Not that it is essential to the federalization of the United Kingdom that Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales, should all have separate Legislature. Any one of these fractions could coalesce with another or others in a joint Legislature. It would be technically possible, though highly unreasonable, to go to the extreme of giving Great Britain, regarded as one Province, a separate Legislature; Ireland, regarded as another Province, a separate Legislature; and, above these two subordinate bodies, a new Imperial Parliament representing the whole realm. Such a dual Federation was nearly coming about in Canada, when Ontario and Quebec dissolved their Union and resolved to federate. It became a quadruple Federation, owing to the adhesion of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; but in a dual form it would have worked just as well. It is scarcely necessary to say that the disparity in population, resources, and power between Ireland and Great Britain render a dual Federation, which, of course, involves three Legislatures, chimerical. What I want to insist on is that, whatever subdivisions are adopted, it is absolutely essential to every Federation that there should be a division of powers between a central and at least two local Legislatures—three altogether. That is the minimum. Other things are also essential, but for the moment we can confine ourselves to the outstanding requirement. Now, there is no question in the coming Bill of any such Federation. Later years may see such a development, whether from pressure of work on the Imperial Parliament or from irresistible demand for Home Rule from Scotland or Wales, or both, but not next year. The Bill will contemplate two Parliaments, not three, namely, the existing Imperial Parliament and the Irish Legislature. There is, therefore, no question of Federal Home Rule, and the term "Federal," as applied to Irish Home Rule at the present time, is meaningless.

Nor can the coming Bill for Ireland make any preparation, technically, for a general Federation. Morally, as I shall show, it might have an important effect in stimulating local sentiment, not only in England, Scotland, and Wales, but in Ireland, towards a general Federation in the future, but in its mechanical structure it must be not merely non-Federal, but anti-Federal. One often hears it carelessly propounded that Irish Home Rule, so devised as to be applicable in later years, if they so desire, to Scotland, Wales, and England, will give us by smooth mechanical means a General Federation. This is a fallacy. At one stage or another, the earliest or the latest, we should have to create a totally new central Parliament, still elected by the whole people, but exclusively devoted to Imperial affairs, and wholly exempt from local business, before we possessed anything in the nature of a Federation. But, whatever the future has in store, it would be a scandal if Irish Home Rule were to be hampered or delayed by the existence of Scotch or Welsh claims, and it is earnestly to be hoped that no action of that kind will be taken. The case of Ireland is centuries old, and more urgent than ever. It differs radically from any case that can possibly be made for Scotland and Wales.

The Bill, I repeat, must be anti-Federal, centrifugal. In the case of Ireland we have first to dissolve an unnatural union, and then to revive an old right to autonomy, before we can reach a healthy Federal Union. Such, exactly, was the history of Canada. If, in that case, the dissolution of the Legislative Union and the construction of the Federal Union were consummated simultaneously in the British North America Act of 1867, they were nevertheless two distinct phases, and of these two phases the first, implying the revival of the old separate autonomies, was the indispensable precursor of Federal Union. This antecedent recognition of autonomy was not peculiar to Canada. Every Federation in the world arose in the same way, by the voluntary act of States under one Crown or suzerainty, but independent of one another, and it is of the essence of Federalism that this psychological condition should exist. Compulsory Federation would not last a year. It would indeed be practicable to federalize the United Kingdom by one Legislative Act, but the prior right to and fitness for complete Home Rule on the part of each of the component parts would have to be implicitly recognized.

It needs only a moment's consideration of Anglo-Irish history to see the special applicability of the psychological rule to Ireland. The evils of the Canadian Union, during the twenty-seven years of its duration, are infinitesimal beside the mischief, moral and material, which have been caused to both partners by the forcible amalgamation of Great Britain and Ireland; the waste of indigenous talent, industrial and political; the dispersion all over the globe of Irishmen; the conversion of friends into enemies, of peaceable citizens into plotters of treason, of farmers into criminals, of poets and statesmen into gaolbirds; the check to the production of wealth and Anglo-Irish commerce; the dislocation and demoralization of Parliamentary life; and, saddest results of all, the reactionary effect upon British statesmanship, domestic and Imperial, and the deterioration of Irish character within Ireland. The voluntary principle—at any rate, among the English-speaking races—is as essential to a true Union, like that of the South African Colonies or that of Scotland and England, as to a Federation. It is a sheer impossibility to create a perfect, mechanical Union on a basis of hatred and coercion; witness the strangely anomalous colonial features surviving in Irish Government—the Lord-Lieutenancy, the separate administration, and the standing army of police.

Persons inclined to reckon the advantages, whether of Federation or of Union, in pounds, shillings, and pence, may regard the psychological requirement as fanciful. It is not fanciful; on the contrary, it is related in the clearest way to the concrete facts of the situation. Before there is any question of Federation Ireland needs to find herself, to test her own potentialities, to prove independence of character, thought, and action, and to discover what she can do by her own unaided will with her own resources. As I endeavoured to show in the last chapter, these are the true reasons for Home Rule.

Home Rule is neither a luxury nor a plaything, but a tremendously exacting duty which must be undertaken by every country conscious of repression and valuing its self-respect, and which Ireland is praying to be allowed to undertake. When a people has learnt to understand the extent of its own powers and limitations, then it can safely and honourably co-operate on a Federal basis with other peoples, and, in the interests of efficiency and economy, can delegate to a central Government, partly of its own choice, functions hitherto locally exercised. Once more, that is the origin of all true Federations, British and foreign, in all parts of the world.

If, then, the Home Rule Bill cannot in legal form be a federating or unifying measure, it must be one of a precisely opposite character, and a measure of devolution. It is a proof of the need for a scientific nomenclature that the word "devolution" has to Irish ears come to mean something similar in kind to "Federal" Home Rule, but less in degree, and something different in kind from "Colonial" Home Rule, and infinitely less in degree. What a tangle of truth and fallacy from the misuse of a single word! It is associated rightly with the ill-starred Irish Council Bill of 1907, and it has been universally but wrongly used to indicate a small measure of local government in contradistinction to the Home Rule Bills of Mr. Gladstone and, a fortiori, to any more liberal schemes.

Nevertheless, the problem before us is one of devolution pure and simple, and the question is, how far is devolution to go? It may go to the full length of Colonial Home Rule, that is, Ireland may be vested with the full freedom now enjoyed by a self-governing Colony (for the grants of Colonial Home Rule were measures of devolution), or it might at the other extreme take the form of a petty municipal government. By hypothesis, however, we are precluded from considering any scheme which does not admit of responsible government in Ireland. That condition commits us to something in the nature of "Colonial" Home Rule, now enjoyed by States widely varying in size, wealth, and population, from the Dominion of Canada, with over seven million inhabitants, to Newfoundland, with under a quarter of a million inhabitants and very slender resources. It is worth notice also (to shift our analogy for the moment) that little Newfoundland, which, owing to divergency of interest, has declined both federation with the Dominion and union with any of the constituent parts of the Dominion, subsists happily and peacefully by the side of her powerful neighbour; and that New Zealand, for the same reason, prefers to occupy the same independent position by the side of Australia.



We have discarded the "Federal" solution as wholly impracticable, and have arrived at the "Colonial" solution. And at this point I feel it necessary to plead for the reader's patient, if reluctant, attention to what follows. The solution I suggest is unpopular, mainly, I believe, because prejudice has so beclouded the issue in the past, and because for the eighteen years since the last Home Rule Bill, while prejudice has diminished, the subject of Irish Home Rule has ceased to be studied with scientific care.

Where is the crux of the problem? In what provision of the coming Bill will the difference between Federal Home Rule and Colonial Home Rule arise? The answer is clear: in the retention or exclusion of Irish Members at Westminster. No Colony has representatives at Westminster. The Federal solution, on the other hand, whether it be applied to the whole Empire or to the United Kingdom alone, involves an exclusively Federal Parliament unconcerned with State or provincial affairs. That we have not got. What we have got is an absolutely supreme and sovereign Parliament which has legal authority, not only over all Imperial affairs within and without the United Kingdom, but over the minutest local affairs. Unrepresented though the Colonies are, they can legally be taxed, coerced, enslaved at any moment by an Act passed by a party majority in this Parliament. Such measures, though legal, would be unconstitutional; but, both by law and custom, and in actual daily practice, Parliament passes and enforces certain Acts affecting the self-governing Colonies, and wields potential and actual authority of all-embracing extent over the Empire and over the local affairs of the United Kingdom.

When we set up an Irish Legislature, then, we have to contemplate four different classes of affairs in a descending scale: (1) Affairs of common interest to the whole Empire; (2) affairs of exclusive interest to the United Kingdom; (3) affairs exclusively British; (4) affairs exclusively Irish.

With regard to (1), the prospects of Imperial Federation do not affect the Irish issue. It is no doubt illogical and sometimes highly inconvenient that the British Cabinet and Parliament, representing British and Irish electors only, should decide matters which deeply concern the whole Empire, including the self-governing Colonies, but it is the fact. In the meantime we are securing very effective consultation with the self-governing Colonies by the method of Imperial Conference. A Federal Parliament for the whole Empire is a possible though a remote alternative to that system. Colonial representation in the present Imperial Parliament is an altogether impracticable alternative. The suggestion had often been made for the American Colonies at the height of their discontent, later for Canada as an alternative to the Act of 1791, and in recent times also. The same fallacious idea underlay the Union of Ireland with Great Britain and her representation in Parliament, while retaining colonial institutions. At present the prospects of Imperial Federation seem to be indifferent. On the other hand, the affection between all branches of our race which is the indispensable groundwork of Federation becomes visibly stronger, and will become stronger, provided that we do not revert to the ancient and discredited policy either of dictating to the Colonies or taking sides with one or another of the parties within them, provided also that the Colonies in their growing strength do not dictate to us or take sides with one or other of our parties.

But, whatever the prospects of Imperial Federation, so long as the present situation lasts, there is no reason for giving a self-governing Ireland more control over Imperial matters affecting the self-governing Colonies than the self-governing Colonies themselves possess. The present position is illogical enough; that would be to render it doubly illogical. Representation of Ireland, therefore, at Westminster, on the ground that she should take part in settling matters of the widest Imperial purport, is indefensible. The alternative and much more effectual method, as with the Colonies, is Conference.

(2-4) But it is when we come to regard the United Kingdom as a self-contained entity that the difficulty of retaining Irish Members at Westminster appears most formidable. If we discard the Federal solution we must discard it wholeheartedly, not from a pedantic love of logic, but to avoid real, practical anomalies which might cause the whole political machine to work even worse than it does at present. From what I have written, it will be seen at once that to retain the Irish Members in the House of Commons, while giving Ireland responsible government, would be to set up a kind of hybrid system, retaining the disadvantages of the Union without gaining the advantages of Federalism. A Federal system needs a Federal Parliament, which we have not got, and shall not get for a long time yet. To introduce into it a quasi-Federal element is to mix oil with water.

I state the proposition in this broad way at first in order to push home the truth that Irish representation at Westminster will involve anomalies and dangers which, beyond a certain very limited point, cannot be mitigated. Methods of mitigation I will deal with in a moment. Let me remark first upon the strange history of this question of Irish representation at Westminster. Obviously it is the most fundamental question of all in the matter of Home Rule. The whole structure of the Bill hangs on it. It affects every provision, and particularly the financial provisions. Yet Mr. Gladstone went no farther than to call it an "organic detail," and in popular controversy it is still generally regarded in that light, or even in a less serious light. As a matter of history, however, it has proved to be a factor of importance in deciding the fate of the Home Rule Bills. In 1886 Mr. Gladstone, in proposing to exclude Irish Members altogether, roused a storm of purely sentimental opposition. In 1893, in proposing to retain them—first with limited functions, then on the old terms of complete equality with British Members—he met with opposition even more formidable, because it was not merely sentimental, but unanswerably practical. On both occasions Mr. Chamberlain took a prominent part in the opposition: in 1886 because he was then a Federalist, advocating "Quebec" Home Rule for Ireland, and regarding the exclusion of Irish Members from Westminster as contravening the Federal principle; in 1893 because, having ceased to be a Home Ruler, he had no difficulty in showing that the retention of Irish Members, either with full or limited functions, was neither Federation nor Union, but an unworkable mixture of the two.

These facts should be a warning to those who trifle thoughtlessly with what they call "Federal" Home Rule. It was through a desperate desire to conciliate that Mr. Gladstone caught at the Federal chimera in 1893, and produced a scheme which he himself could not defend. And it was one of the very statesmen that he sought to conciliate—a statesman, moreover, possessing one of the keenest and strongest intellects of the time—who snatched at the chimera in 1886, and argued it out of existence in 1893. We Home Rulers do not want a repetition of those events. We want Home Rule, and if we are to be defeated, let us be defeated on a simple straightforward issue, not on an indefensible complication of our own devising.

Now to details. There are five ways of dealing with the question, and of these I will take first the four different ways of including Irish Members in the House of Commons, leaving their total exclusion to the last.

1. Inclusion of Irish Members in their full numbers for all purposes—that is, with a right to vote upon all questions—British, Irish, and Imperial. [By "full numbers" I mean, not the existing figure of 103, but numbers fully, and no more than fully, warrantable according to the latest figures of population—say 70.]

2. Inclusion in full numbers for limited purposes.

3. Inclusion in reduced numbers for all purposes. [By "reduced numbers" I mean in numbers less than population would warrant.]

4. Inclusion in reduced numbers for limited purposes.

Now (4) I only set out for symmetry. It has never been proposed by anybody, and hardly needs notice.

The three others are alike in two respects—that they leave untouched the question of representation in the House of Lords, and that they directly infringe both the Federal principle and the Union principle by giving representation, both in a unitary and a subordinate Legislature, to one portion of the realm.

Let us look at No. 1—inclusion in full numbers for all purposes. This was Mr. Gladstone's revised proposal of 1893, and it formed part of the Bill thrown out by the Lords. The number of Irish Members was to have been 80. But reduction, as Mr. Gladstone admitted, would scarcely affect the inherent difficulties of inclusion. Nor must it be forgotten that reduction from 103 to 70 can be justified only by the concession of a large measure of Home Rule. It is one of the paradoxes of an unnatural Union that, over-represented as Ireland is, she has not now power enough to secure her own will. To reduce her numbers, while retaining large powers over Irish affairs at Westminster, would be unjust. For the time being I shall defer the consideration of those powers, and argue the matter on broad principle, assuming that the powers retained in Imperial hands are small enough to warrant a reduction from 103 to 70.

Now let us apply our touchstone to this question of inclusion in "full" numbers. Will it be good for Ireland? Surely not.

(a) It will be bad for Ireland, in the first place, to have her energies weakened at the outset by having to find two complete sets of representatives, when she will be in urgent need of all her best men to do her own work. There is no analogy with Quebec, Victoria, Massachusetts, or Wuertemburg, which had all been accustomed to self-government before they entered their respective Federations. Ireland has to find her best men, create her domestic policies, reconstruct her administration, and the larger the reservoir of talent she has to draw from the better. When true Federation becomes practical politics it will be another matter. By that time she will have men to spare.

(b) More serious objection still, retention in full numbers will, it is to be feared, tend to counteract the benefits of Home Rule in Ireland by keeping alive old dissensions and bad political habits. If, after long and hot controversy, a system is set up under which Great Britain can still be regarded as a pacificator—half umpire and half policeman—of what Peel called the "warring sects" of Ireland, it is to be feared that the Members sent to London may fall into the old unnatural party divisions; a Protestant minority seeking to revoke or curtail Home Rule, and a Nationalist majority—paradoxical survival of a pre-national period—seeking to maintain or enlarge Home Rule. These unhappy results would react in their turn upon the Irish Legislature, impairing the value of Home Rule, and making Ireland, as of old, the cockpit of sectarian and sentimental politics. The same results would have happened if, simultaneously with the concession of Home Rule to Canada, Australia and South Africa, these Colonies had been given representation in the British Parliament.

(c) Whatever the extent of the danger I have indicated, inclusion in full numbers will tend to keep alive the habit of dependence on Great Britain for financial aid, a habit so ingrained, through no fault of Ireland's, that it will be difficult to break if the Parliamentary leverage is left intact. If ever there was a country which needed, as far as humanly possible, to be thrown for a time—not necessarily for a long time—upon its own resources, it is Ireland. Every other self-governing Colony in the Empire has gone through that bracing and purifying ordeal, accepting from the Mother Country, without repayment, only the loan of military and naval defence, and Ireland can imitate them without dishonour.

What is bad for Ireland is sure to be bad for Great Britain, too, and the bad effect in this case is sufficiently apparent. Imagine the result if Quebec, besides having her own Legislature and her own representatives in the Dominion Parliament, were to be represented also in the Ontario Legislature. Ireland, besides controlling her own affairs, free from British interference, would have a voice in British affairs, and sometimes a deciding voice. "If you keep the Irish in," said Mr. John Morley in 1886—and he meant in their full numbers—"they will be what they have ever been in the past—the arbitrators and masters of English policy, of English legislative business, and of the rise and fall of British administrations." That is a rather exaggerated account of the past, for had it been literally true Ireland would have had Home Rule long ago; and it was unduly pessimistic about the future, for it hardly made sufficient allowance for a change in Irish spirit as a result of Home Rule; but there is a truth in the words which everybody recognizes and whose recognition is one of the great motive forces behind Home Rule. Even a total change in Irish sentiments and parties would not remove the danger, and might intensify it by producing at Westminster a solid instead of, as at present, a divided, Irish vote. It would be truer, perhaps, to say what I said above, that retention of Members would tend to stereotype Irish parties and the mutual antipathy of Ireland and Great Britain.

2. Inclusion in full numbers (say 70) for limited purposes. This (with the figure of 80) was Mr. Gladstone's original proposal of 1893, and it took the form of a clause known as the "In and Out Clause," which purported to divide all Parliamentary business into Imperial, Irish, and non-Irish business, and to give Irish Members the right to vote only on Imperial and Irish subjects. Mr. Gladstone never disguised his view that a sound classification was impracticable, and put forward the clause, frankly, as a tentative scheme for the discussion of the House. Like its successor, the "Omnes omnia" Clause, it was riddled with criticism, and it was eventually withdrawn. Without investigating details, the reader will perceive at once the hopeless confusion arising from an attempt to inject a tincture of Federalism into a unitary Parliament, forming part of an unwritten Constitution of great age and infinite delicacy. It is not merely that it is absolutely impossible to distinguish rigidly between Imperial, Irish, and British business. The great objection is that there would be two alternating majorities in an Assembly which is, and must be, absolutely governed by a party majority, and which, through that majority, controls the Executive. It "passed the wit of man," said Mr. Gladstone, to separate in practice the Legislative and Executive functions in the British Constitution. At present a hostile vote in the House of Commons overturns the Ministry of the day and changes the whole British and Imperial administration. A hostile vote, therefore, determined by the Irish Members, on a question affecting Ireland, such as the application to Ireland of a British Bill, would seriously embarrass the Ministry, if it did not overturn it. The log-rolling and illicit pressure which this state of things would encourage may be easily imagined. A Ministry might find itself after a General Election in the position of having a majority for some purposes and not for others. That was actually the case in 1893, when Mr. Gladstone, with a majority, including the Irish Nationalists, of only 40, was carrying his Bill through Parliament. It is actually the case now, in the sense that if the Irish Nationalists voted with the Opposition, the Ministry would be defeated. Any change for the better in Irish sentiment towards Great Britain would pro tanto mitigate the difficulty, but would not remove it, and might, as I suggested above, increase it, by the creation of a solid Irish vote. If Great Britain resents the present system, she alone is to blame. As long as she insists on keeping the Irish Members out of Ireland, where they ought to be, she thoroughly deserves their tyranny, and would be wise to get rid of it by the means they suggest. Until they are given Home Rule, they are not only justified in using their power, but are bound, in duty and honour, to use it. To reproduce in the Home Rule Bill, albeit in a modified form, conditions which might lead to the same results as before would surely be a gratuitous act of unwisdom.

3. Inclusion in reduced numbers for all purposes. By "reduced numbers" is meant numbers less than the population of Ireland warrants. For the sake of argument we may assume the number to be 35, that is, approximately half the proper proportion; but directly we desert a scientific principle of allocation, the exact figure we adopt is a matter of arbitrary choice.

Mr. Gladstone appears to have contemplated this plan for a brief period in 1889; but he dropped it. Clearly it cannot be defended on any logical grounds, but only as a compromise designed, as it avowedly was, to conciliate British opinion. It would minimize but not remove the difficulties inherent in No. 1; and so far as it did lessen these difficulties, the representation given would be impotent and superfluous. That is why I have taken it last in order of the three possible methods of inclusion. It raises in the sharpest and clearest form the important question underlying the whole of the discussion we have just been through—namely, what are to be the powers delegated to the Irish Parliament and Executive, and what are to be the powers reserved to the Imperial Parliament and Executive?

If the powers reserved are small, it will be possible to justify not merely a small Irish representation in the House of Commons, but even under certain conditions the total exclusion of Irish members. Indeed, if the figure 35 corresponded to the facts of the case, one might as well abandon these painful efforts to "conciliate British opinion," accept total exclusion, and substitute Conference for representation. If the powers reserved are large, full representation in spite of all the crushing objections to it, will be absolutely necessary, in order to safeguard Irish interests. Here is the grand dilemma, and it says little for our common sense as a nation that we should submit to be puzzled and worried by it any longer. Half the worry arises from the old and infinitely pernicious habit of regarding Ireland as outside the pale of political science, of ignoring in her case what Lord Morley has called the "fundamental probabilities of civil society." Let us break this habit once and for all and take the logical and politic course of total exclusion, with its logical and politic accompaniment, a measure of Home Rule wide enough to justify the absence of Irish representation at Westminster. That will be found to be the path both of duty and of safety.

Let it be clearly understood that lapse of time has not diminished appreciably the power of the arguments against the inclusion of Irish Members in the House of Commons. On their merits, these arguments are still unanswerable, and we had better recognize the fact. Mr. Balfour said, in 1893, "Those questions" (of representation at Westminster) "are not capable of solution, and the very fact that they are incapable of solution affords, in our opinion, a conclusive argument against the whole scheme, of which one or other of the plans in question must form a part." Speaking as a Unionist, Mr. Balfour was right, and, as Home Rulers, we should be wise to remember it.

Lastly, even if the question of inclusion in the House of Commons were "capable of solution," as it is not, there would remain the problem raised by the House of Lords. It is idle to ignore the fact that the bulk of the Irish peerage, and the Assembly of which it forms part, has been for a century in consistent and resolute opposition to the views of the vast majority of Irishmen. The recent curtailment of its powers, whether a right or a wrong measure in itself, does not make it any the more suitable as an Upper Chamber, under a Home Rule scheme, for the decision of important Irish questions reserved for settlement at Westminster; indeed, the bare proposal is the best imaginable example of the extraordinary complications which would ensue from the introduction of a quasi-Federal element into a unitary Constitution.

Federal Upper Chambers, so far from being hostile to State rights, are almost invariably framed on the principle of giving disproportionately large representation to the smaller States. In the United States and Australia, for example, every State, however small, has an equal number of Senators.

It will be clear now that there are two distinct ways of approaching the question of the framework of Home Rule. One may begin with the nature and extent of the powers reserved or delegated, and proceed from them to the inclusion and exclusion of Irish representation at Westminster, or one may begin with the topic of inclusion or exclusion and proceed from it to the nature and extent of powers. While premising that we must trust Ireland and evoke her sense of responsibility, I chose the latter of the two courses, because I believe it to be on the whole the most illuminating and trustworthy course. It is also the more logical course, though I should not have adopted it for that reason alone; and I have already given, I hope, some good reasons to show that in this matter logic and policy coincide. Englishmen pride themselves on the lack of logic which characterizes their slowly evolved institutions, but they may easily carry that pride to preposterous extremes. Faced now with the necessity of making a written Constitution which will stand the test of daily use they would commit the last of innumerable errors in Irish policy if, with full warning from experience elsewhere, they were to frame a measure whose unprecedented and unworkable provisions were the outcome of a distrust of Ireland which it was the ostensible object of the measure itself to remove.



I pass to what I suggest to be the right solution: Total exclusion, as proposed by Mr. Gladstone in 1886, though he shrank from recommending what he knew to be its financial corollary. Mr. Bright regarded exclusion as the "best clause" of a dangerous scheme, and Mr. Chamberlain has admitted that he attacked it, as he attacked the proposals for Land Purchase, which he knew to be right, in order to "kill the Bill."[79] I propose only to recapitulate the merits of exclusion before dealing with the alleged difficulties of that form of Home Rule, and in particular with the point on which the controversy mainly turns—Finance.

To give Ireland Colonial Home Rule, without representation in London, is to follow the natural channel of historical development. Ireland was virtually a Colony, and is treated still in many respects as an inferior type of Colony, in other respects as a partner in a vicious type of Union. We cannot improve the Union, and it is, admittedly, a failure. Let us, then, in broad outline, model her political system on that of a self-governing Colony.

History apart, circumstances demand this solution. It is the best solution for Ireland, because she needs, precisely what the Colonies needed—full play for her native faculties, full responsibility for the adjustment of her internal dissensions, for the exploitation, unaided, of her own resources, and for the settlement of neglected problems peculiar to herself. As a member of the Imperial family she will gain, not lose. And the Empire, here as everywhere else, will gain, not lose.

These ends will be jeopardized if we continue to bind her to the British Parliament, and restrict her own autonomy accordingly. Reciprocally, we damage the British Parliament and gratuitously invite friction and deadlock in the administration either of British or of Imperial affairs, or both. Of the difficulties raised we can mitigate one only by bringing another into existence. Endeavouring to minimize them all by reducing the Irish representation to the lowest point, we either do a gross injustice to Ireland, by diminishing her control over interests vital to her, or, by conceding that control, remove the necessity for any representation at all. Most Irish Unionists would, I believe, prefer exclusion to retention. One gathers that from the debates of 1893, and the view is in accordance with the traditional Ulster spirit, and the spirit generally displayed by powerful minorities threatened with a Home Rule to which they object on principle. It was the spirit displayed by the Upper Canadian minority, in 1838-39 (vide p. 101), in threatening to leave the Empire rather than submit to Home Rule, and by the Transvaal minority in the lukewarm and divided support given to the half-baked Constitution of 1905, and in the hearty welcome given to the full autonomy of 1906. How the Colonists expressed themselves matters nothing. We must make generous allowance for hot party feeling and old prejudices. The Canadian minorities did not really mean to call in the United States, nor does it signify a particle that some of the Johannesburgers vowed that anything could be borne which freed them from the interference of a Liberal Government. These opinions are transient and negligible. The spirit is essentially healthy. Paradox as it may seem, the uncompromising attitude of Ulster Unionists, as voiced by the ablest representative they ever had, Colonel Saunderson,[80] is hopeful for the prospects of Home Rule. They fight doggedly for the Union, but I believe they would prefer a real Home Rule to a half-measure, and in making that choice they would show their virility and courage at its true worth.

Where are the dangers and difficulties of exclusion? The dangers first. I believe, from a study of events in the last twenty-five years, that the strongest opposition to it was founded, not so much upon a reluctance to give Ireland powers full enough to render needless her representation at Westminster, but on a jealous desire to keep Irish Members under surveillance, as a dangerous and intractable body of men who would hatch mischief against the Empire if they were allowed to disappear from sight; the same kind of instinct which urged revolutionary Paris to stop the flight of Louis and to keep him under lock and key. In the case of Ireland it is possible to understand the prevalence of this instinct in 1886, though even then it was irrational enough. But in 1911 we should be ashamed to entertain it. Irish plots against the Empire have passed into electoral scares, and if they had not, representation in London would be no safeguard. We should also dismiss the more rational but groundless view that Imperial co-operation necessitates representation in a joint Assembly. Conference is a better method. Anyone who studies the proceedings of the last Imperial Conference and observes the number and variety of the subjects discussed and the numerous and valuable decisions arrived at, will realize how much can be done by mutual good-will and the pressure of mutual interest.[81]

It may be objected that, with one or two exceptions of quite recent date, the Colonies have contributed nothing to the upkeep of the Empire, except in the very indirect form of maintaining local military forces, that their present tendency —unquestionably a sound tendency—is to co-operate, not by way of direct money contribution to Imperial funds, but by the construction of local Navies out of their own money, and, in time of peace, under their own immediate control, and that Ireland cannot be allowed to follow their example. The objection has no point. Ireland, through no fault of her own, has reached a stage (if we are to trust the Treasury figures) where she no longer pays any cash contribution to Imperial expenses, nor is it possible to look back with any satisfaction upon the enormous total of her cash contributions in the past. They were not the voluntary offerings of a willing partner, but the product of a joint financial system which, like all consequences of a forced Union, was bad for Ireland. If we consider that a similar attempt to extort an Imperial contribution from the American States led to their secession; that the principle was definitely abandoned in the case of the later Colonies; that, on the contrary, large annual sums raised in these islands were, until quite recent times, spent for purposes of defence within these Colonies; that in the South African War two hundred and fifty million pounds were spent in order to assist British subjects in the Transvaal to obtain the rights of freemen in a self-governing Colony; and that to this day indirect colonial contributions in the shape of local expenditure are small in proportion to the immense benefit derived from the protection of the Imperial Navy, Army, and Diplomacy, and from the assistance of British credit; if we then reflect that before the Union Ireland was, in the matter of contribution, somewhat in the same position as Canada or Australia to-day—that is, paying no fixed cash tribute, but voluntarily assuming the burden, very heavy in time of war, of certain Army establishments; that for seventeen years after the Union contributions fixed on a scale grossly inequitable drove her into bankruptcy; that from 1819 until two years ago, she paid, by dint of excessive taxation and in spite of terrible economic depression, a considerable share, and sometimes more than her proportionate share, of Imperial expenditure;[82] if, finally, we remember that, cash payments apart, Irishmen for centuries past have taken an important part in manning the Army and Navy, have fought and died on innumerable battle-fields in the service of the Empire, and have contributed some of its ablest military leaders; if we consider all these facts soberly and reasonably, we shall, I believe, agree that it would be fair and right to place a Home Ruled Ireland in the position of a self-governing Colony, with a moral obligation to contribute, when her means permit, and in proportion to her means, but without a statutory and compulsory tribute.

What form should that contribution eventually take? Does it necessarily follow that Ireland should be given power to construct her own Navy, and raise and control her own troops? Let us use our common sense, and use it, let me add, fearlessly. If Ireland really wanted full colonial powers, if, like Australia and Canada, she would be discontented and resentful at their denial, we should be wise to grant them, and rely on common interests and affections to secure friendly co-operation. Does it not stand to reason that a friendly alliance even with a foreign power, such as France, to say nothing of the far more intimate relations with a consanguineous Colony, is better business than any arrangement for common forces unwillingly or resentfully acceded to? But, as I pointed out in Chapter VIII., all these uneasy speculations about independent Irish armaments are superfluous. Ireland does not want separate armaments. The sporadic attempts to discourage enlistment in the Imperial forces are, as every sensible person should recognize, the results of refusing Home Rule. They would have occurred in every Colony under similar circumstances, and they do occur in one degree or another wherever countries agitate vainly for Home Rule. If Russia misinterprets such phenomena, we have, let us hope, more political enlightenment than Russia.

Ireland's strategical situation bears no analogy to that of Australia and Canada, which, for geographical reasons, are compelled, as South Africa will be compelled, to make a certain amount of independent provision, not only for military, but for naval defence, and would be wanting in patriotic feeling if they did otherwise. New Zealand, on the other hand, is too small to be capable of creating a Navy, and rightly contributes to ours. We have arrived at an interesting psychological point when Australia and Canada both seem to be inclined to reserve, in theory, a right to abstain from engaging their Navies in a war undertaken by Great Britain, but nobody will be alarmed by this theoretical reservation. It is an insignificant matter beside the Naval Agreement reached at the last Conference (1911)—an agreement worth more than volumes of unwritten statutes—to the effect that the personnel of the colonial fleets is to be interchangeable with that of the Imperial fleet and that in a joint war colonial ships are to form an integral part of the British fleet under the control of the Admiralty. With such an agreement in existence, it becomes superfluous to lay stress upon the fact that without formal and complete separation from the Mother Country in time of peace, the neutrality of a Colony would not be recognized by a belligerent enemy of Great Britain in time of war. In any case these developments have no concern for Ireland, which does not want, and need not be given, power to raise a local Navy. Nor, with regard to the regular land forces, will anything be changed. Troops quartered in Ireland will be, as before, and as in the Colonies now, under complete Imperial control. So will Imperial camps, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards. On the other hand, arrangements should certainly be made to permit the raising of Volunteer forces in Ireland. There are large numbers of Irishmen in the British Territorial Army, and Ireland sent five companies to the South African War. Though the poverty of the country will for a long time check the growth of Volunteer forces, it is the Union which presents the only serious obstacle to their establishment. No surer proof of the need for Home Rule could be adduced than the fact that it was held to be impossible to extend the Territorial system to Ireland. One of the objects of Home Rule is to remove this suspicious atmosphere. Whether local power to organize and arm Volunteers in Ireland should be given to the Irish authority, or, as in the Home Rule Bills of 1886 and 1893, reserved to the Imperial Government, is, if we trust Ireland, as we must, a secondary and not a vital matter, which would not affect the question of representation at Westminster.[83] Probably it would be most convenient to leave the matters in the hands of the Irish Legislature. In any case, the Command-in-Chief of all forces in Ireland, regular or volunteer, would, as in the Colonies,[84] be vested in the King.

The control of the Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan Police does not affect the question of representation at Westminster. With or without representation, Ireland should be given the control of all her own police forces from the first, without the restrictions imposed by the Bills of 1886 and 1893 with regard to Imperial control of the existing forces.[85]

With the important exception of taxation, with which I shall deal last, no other power which should properly be reserved to the Imperial Parliament, or delegated to the Irish Parliament, has any appreciable bearing upon the exclusion of Irish Members from the House of Commons. Nor do any of them raise issues which are likely to be troublesome. Common sense and mutual convenience should decide them. The Army, Navy, and other military forces I have already dealt with. The Crown, the Lord-Lieutenant, War and Peace, Prize and Booty of War, Foreign Relations and Treaties (with the exception of commercial Treaties), Titles, Extradition, Neutrality,[86] and Treason, are subjects upon which the Colonies have no power to legislate or act, and of which it would be needless, strictly, to make any formal statutory exception in the case of Ireland, though the exception no doubt will be made in the Bill. Naturalization, Coinage, Copyright, Patents, Trademarks, are all matters in which the Colonies have local powers, whose existence, and the limitations attaching to them, are determined either solely by constitutional custom or with the addition of an implied or express statutory authority.[87] The two former would, I should think, be wholly reserved to the Imperial Parliament. In the case of the latter three, which were wholly reserved in the Bill of 1886 and 1893, Ireland might be placed in the position of a self-governing Colony.[88]

In Trade and Navigation it would be wise to take the same course. The Home Rule Bill of 1886, without giving Ireland representation at Westminster, denied her all powers over Trade and Navigation. The Bill of 1893 gave her powers over Trade within Ireland and Inland Navigation, and these powers at any rate should be given in the coming Bill, together with the larger functions also; though Ireland would naturally leave in operation the great bulk of the statutes concerned, since they intimately affect the commercial and industrial relations of the two countries. For the rest, Ireland no more than the Colonies can be freed from a measure of Imperial control maintained by Acts like the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894.

The Postal Service in Ireland should, as in the Bill of 1886, come under Irish control.

In the Home Rule Bill of 1893 (Section 34) it was laid down that for three years the Irish Legislature should not "pass an Act respecting the relations of landlord or tenant, or the sale, purchase, or letting of land generally." Such a provision repeated in the coming Bill would be inconsistent with the absence of Irish Members from Westminster. But I take it for granted that there is no question of its repetition. At first it might appear that Land Purchase should be distinguished from other branches of land legislation and reserved to the Imperial Government on the ground that it needs Imperial credit. I shall deal with this point fully in Chapter XIV., and only need here to express the view that Land Purchase cannot be separated from other branches of land legislation, or from the Congested Districts Board, or even from the control of the police, and that we are bound to give, and shall be acting wisely in giving, all these powers to the Irish Legislature from the first.

It is necessary perhaps to add that non-representation at Westminster does not in the smallest degree affect the complete legal supremacy of the Imperial Parliament over the subordinate Irish Legislature. This Legislature will in legal language be a "local and territorial" body, like those of the Colonies. It will be the creature of Parliament, and could be amended or even extinguished by it in a subsequent Act. The Bill of 1886 (perhaps because it never reached the Committee stage) said nothing explicit about the supremacy, though the Bill of 1893, while providing for representation at Westminster, repeatedly (and sometimes quite superfluously) affirmed it—in the Preamble, for example, and in a rider to Clause 2. The King's authority, through the Lord-Lieutenant, will be supreme in Ireland, as, through the Governors, it is supreme in the Colonies. Every Irish Bill, like every Colonial Bill, will require the Royal Assent, given through the Lord-Lieutenant, who will correspond to the Colonial Governors. The Lord-Lieutenant, like his colonial counterpart, will have to exercise both his Executive and Legislative functions in a double capacity: in the first instance by the advice of his Irish Cabinet, but subject to a veto by the British Cabinet. This dual capacity has belonged to all Colonial Governors ever since the principle of responsible government was established. As I showed in earlier chapters, it was regarded even by Lord John Russell as impossible and absurd as late as 1840; but it ought by now to be understood by every educated man, and we may hope to be spared the philosophical disquisitions and hair-splitting criticisms which it evoked from men who should have known better in the Home Rule debates of 1893.

Laws framed at Westminster will be applicable to Ireland, as they are frequently made applicable to the Colonies.[89] Conversely, only through the express legislative authority of Westminster will an Irish, like a Colonial Act,[90] be held to operate outside the borders of Ireland.

Apart from the strict legal omnipotence of Imperial sovereignty, it is, of course, impossible to say now what the exact constitutional position of Ireland will be under any form of Home Rule. No Bill can state it fully in set terms. Time, custom, and judicial decisions will build up a body of doctrine. It is so with the Colonies, whose exact constitutional relations with the Mother Country are still a matter of juristic debate, and are only to be deduced from the study of an immense number of judicial decisions and of Imperial Acts passed subsequently to the grant of the original Constitutions. Some of these Acts I have already illustrated. The one Act of general application, namely, the Colonial Laws Validity Act, cannot be read without the rest, though in form it appears to contain a complete set of rules. While giving general power to a self-governing Colony "to make laws for the peace, welfare, and good government of the Colony" (words which will also necessarily appear in the Home Rule Bill), the Act makes void all colonial laws or parts of laws which are "repugnant to the provisions of any Act of Parliament extending to the Colony to which such law shall relate," and this provision will no doubt, be applied, mutatis mutandis, to Ireland, as it was in Section 32 of the Home Rule Bill of 1893. The Irish Legislature, that is, will be able "to repeal or alter any enactments in force in Ireland except such as either relate to matters beyond the power of the Irish Legislature, or, being enacted by Parliament after the passing of this Act, may be expressly extended to Ireland."

It will be noticed that the words "beyond the power of the Irish Legislature" referred to the subjects expressly excepted in the Bill itself. This is one of the points in which the Irish Constitution will bear at any rate a superficial resemblance to that of a Province or State within a Federation rather than to that of a self-governing Colony. The practice of expressly, and in the text of a Constitution, forbidding a self-governing Colony to legislate upon certain subjects, or of expressly reserving concurrent or exclusive powers of legislation to the Mother Country, has fallen into disuse since the establishment of the principle of responsible government. Such restrictions were inserted in the Canadian Union Act of 1840, where the old right of the Mother Country to impose customs duties in the Colonies for the regulation of commerce was reaffirmed, and even in the Acts of 1855 for giving full powers of self-government to the Australian Colonies, which were forbidden to impose intercolonial customs, though they were expressly granted the power of imposing any other customs duties they pleased,[91] but they do not appear in modern Constitutions, for example in the Transvaal Constitution of 1906. As I have indicated, this implies no change in the strict legal theory of Colonial subordination to the Mother Country; for, although the tendency of modern juristic thought is to ascribe "plenary" power to a Colony, restrictions nevertheless do exist in practice, and are contained, express or implicit, in a number of disjointed Acts.

A Federating Colony, on the other hand, like a foreign Federation, has in its own self-made, domestic Constitution to apportion powers with some approach to precision between the federal and the provincial authorities, and in this respect the Irish Bill, in reserving certain powers to the Imperial Parliament, will resemble a federating Bill, and it should follow the American and Australian precedents in leaving residuary powers to the subordinate or Irish Legislature, not, in accordance with the Canadian precedent, to the Parliament at Westminster. That is an indispensable corollary of excluding Irish Members from Westminster.

In speaking of powers reserved or delegated, and of residuary or unallocated powers, I have thus far referred only to powers which must be exercised, or at any rate may need to be exercised, if not by the subordinate legislature, then by the superior Parliament. Those restrictions on the Irish Legislature which are imposed in order to protect the religious or economic interests of a minority within the State, or as a recognition that there are certain kinds of laws which it is morally wrong to pass, fall into an altogether different category. By implication they morally bind the superior Parliament too, and are irrelevant, therefore, to the question of representation. They will be necessary, no doubt, in the coming Irish Bill, though they need not be so extensive as those which are to be found in Clause 4 of the Bill of 1893, some of which are borrowed from the famous anti-slavery amendments of 1865-1869 to the Constitution of the United States.[92] In inserting them we shall again be following the "Federal" rather than the "Colonial" model. No such restrictions have been imposed by the Mother Country upon any self-governing Colony. The nearest approach, perhaps, to such a tendency was the provision in the Transvaal Constitution of 1906 (Section 39), that "any law whereby persons not of European birth or descent may be subjected or made liable to any disabilities or restrictions to which persons of European birth or descent are not also subjected or made liable" should be specially "reserved"—that is, sent home by the Governor—for the signification of the Royal pleasure; but no similar provision appeared in the Act of 1909 for constituting the South African Union. In Federal systems, on the other hand, such restrictions, taking the form of self-denying ordinances, are common, whether appearing in the Federal Constitution itself or in the subordinate State Constitutions. The Constitution of the United States, for example, in addition to the anti-slavery provisions noted above, enacts that the National Government cannot (by Amendment I.) establish any religion or prohibit its free exercise, or (by Amendment V.) take private property for public use without just compensation, or (by Article 1, Sec. 9) grant a title of nobility. Neither (by Amendment XIV. and Article 1, Sec. 10 respectively) can a State do these things. By Article 1, Sec. 10, a State cannot pass a law impairing the obligation of a contract. Exactly similar restrictions appear in many of the individual State Constitutions. Others forbid the establishment of any church or sect; the introduction of armed men "for the suppression of domestic violence"; "perpetuities or monopolies," and a variety of other things. Analogous provisions are to be found in the British North America Act, 1867 (constituting the Dominion of Canada), where the provincial Legislatures are forbidden to interfere with certain rights and privileges of religious bodies in the matter of education. There are no limitations of the kind in the Australian Commonwealth Act of 1900. Australia, no doubt, correctly represents the tendency of modern thought on this matter. Some of the American safeguards have produced great inconvenience. Nor can it be denied that the most elaborately contrived legal safeguards are of less value than the moral safeguard afforded by the sense of honour, justice, and prudence in the community. The existence of these qualities in Ireland, as in other white countries, is the true foundation of Home Rule. Some day Irishmen will ask, as a united country, for the repeal of these statutory safeguards.

That brings me to the penultimate point of importance, which may be held to affect the inclusion or exclusion of Irish Members at Westminster—I mean the question of future constitutional amendment. Here the colonial analogies are a little complicated. Since the Australian Colonies Act of 1850, in the new grant of a Constitution to a self-governing Colony, power has invariably been given to amend its own Constitution, without, of course, detracting from any powers specified in it for preserving the sovereignty of the Mother Country. Canada, when federating in 1867, took the somewhat singular course of making no provision in her Federal Constitution for its subsequent amendment, though, by Section 92 of the British North America Act, she gave her Provinces the exclusive right to amend their own Constitutions, a right which three of them have used to abolish their Upper Chambers. The Dominion Constitution, then, cannot be amended otherwise than by an Imperial Act. Such amending Acts are promoted by the Dominion Government without any specially devised machinery for ascertaining the public opinion of Canadians. Australia, on the other hand, when federating in 1900, made elaborate arrangements, which have been put several times into operation, for the amendment of the Federal Constitution by the Australian people itself, without an Imperial Act. Now, it will follow as a matter of course that Ireland will be given powers, as in both the previous Bills,[93] to amend her own Constitution within certain defined limits, after a certain lapse of time, and without encroaching upon Imperial authority. For my part I would strongly urge that the powers now to be conferred should be much wider; for I believe that Ireland alone can make a really perfect Constitution for herself. But, that point apart, the question arises of the further amendment, outside such permissive powers, of the Home Rule Act itself, which will, of course, contain within its four corners the whole of the Irish Constitution, so far as it can be written down. No special arrangements were made for such a contingency in the Bill of 1893, presumably because Ireland was to be represented at Westminster and would have a share in the making of any amending act. In the Bill of 1886, which excluded the Irish Members, Mr. Gladstone proposed (in Clause 39) that no alteration of the Act should be made (apart, of course, from points left for Irish alteration) except (1) by an Imperial Act formally assented to by the Irish Legislature, or (2) by an Imperial Act for the passing of which a stated number of Members of both branches of the Irish Legislature should be summoned to sit at Westminster.

It will be clear, I think, now, in 1911, that this latter proposal is not worth revival. No substantial amendment of the Act should properly be made without the formal consent of the Irish Legislature, representing Irish public opinion, and the prior consultation with the Irish Cabinet which such consent would imply. If the lamentable necessity ever arose of amending the Act against the wishes of Ireland, the sudden invasion of Westminster by a body of angry Irish Members, too small to affect the result (for otherwise the attempt to amend would not be made) and large enough to revive the old political dislocation and passion, would not simplify the process of amendment or be of value to anybody concerned. The proposal was probably only suggested by a vague leaning towards the Federal principle, which, in the present case, we should certainly reject. It serves indeed as one more illustration of the anomalies which might result from the inclusion of Irish Members at Westminster. No more unhealthy position could be imagined than one which would render it possible for an amendment of the Home Rule Act, whether in the direction of greater latitude or of stricter limitation, to depend solely upon the Irish vote in an Assembly predominately non-Irish. That is not to the discredit of Ireland. The system would be just as indefensible, whatever the subordinate State concerned. It would be Federalism run mad, and would make Alexander Hamilton turn in his grave. It is worth while to note that, even under a sane and normal Federal system, the Irish Constitution would be less easily alterable in either direction than under the plan of treating her as a self-governing Colony. In the latter case action is direct and simple, while most Federal Constitutions are extraordinarily difficult to amend. The Dominion of Canada is only an apparent exception.

I turn lastly to Finance, the point which most closely affects representation at Westminster, and which distinguishes any form of quasi-Federal Home Rule most sharply from its alternative, "Colonial" Home Rule.

All Federal systems necessarily involve a certain amount of joint finance between the superior and the inferior Government. The distribution of financial powers varies widely in different Federations, but all have this feature in common—that the central or superior Government controls Customs and Excise, and is to a large degree financed by means of the revenue derived from those sources. The United States Government, as distinguished from that of the individual States, pays in this way for almost its entire expenditure.[94] So does the Dominion of Canada;[95] while in the Australian Commonwealth the receipts from Customs and Excise alone more than cover the whole Commonwealth expenditure.[96]

Finance makes or mars Federations. Some Federations or organic Unions of independent States have come into being through a strong desire in the separate States to have, among other things, a common system of Customs, and in the case of the German Empire and the South African Union a Customs Union or Zollverein has preceded Federation. These phenomena are the most marked illustration of the general truth that a common desire to federate, or unite, on the part of individual States is a condition precedent to a sound Federation or Union. On the other hand, finance, especially the question of joint Customs, has sometimes presented obstacles to a Federation which, on other grounds, was earnestly desired. The long delay in achieving the Australian Federation was largely due to the desire of New South Wales to maintain her Free Trade system, while the financial arrangements generally caused most of the practical difficulties met with in arranging the Federation both of Canada and Australia, and in their subsequent domestic relations. Nova Scotia in the former case, and Western Australia in the latter, held out to the last instant, and the former subsequently had to receive exceptionally favourable treatment. In both Federations some measure of friction is chronic, and in neither has a perfectly satisfactory system been evolved. The Union of Ireland and Great Britain in 1800 was in this respect, as in all others, a flagrant departure from sound principle. The Customs Union which followed it was a forced Customs Union, and, together with the other financial arrangements between the two countries, has produced results incredibly absurd and mischievous. Some of these results I briefly indicated in Chapter V. In the following chapters I shall tell the whole story fully, and I hope to convince the reader that we should follow, not only historically, but morally and practically, the correct line of action if, in dissolving the Legislative Union, we dissolve the Customs Union also. That would involve a virtually independent system of finance for Ireland, and place her fiscally in the position of a self-governing Colony. If and when a real Federation of the United Kingdom becomes practical politics, she would then have the choice of entering it in the spirit and on the terms invariably associated with all true Federations or Unions. That is, she would voluntarily relinquish, in her own interest, financial and other rights to a central Government solely concerned with central affairs.

I need scarcely point out in this connection the vital importance of the question of representation at Westminster. Ireland resembles the self-governing Colonies, and differs from Great Britain, in that the greater part of the revenue raised from her inhabitants is derived from Customs and Excise—that is, from the indirect taxation of commodities of common use. If she is denied control of these sources of revenue under the coming Bill, it will be absolutely necessary, in spite of all the concomitant difficulties, to give her a representation at Westminster which is as effective as it can be made. But let it be realized that we could not make her control over her own finance as effective as that exercised by a small State within a Federation, because such a State, however small, has equal, or at any rate disproportionately large, representation in the Federal Upper Chamber, and Federal Upper Chambers can reject Money Bills. The Upper Chamber in Ireland's case would be the House of Lords, where she could scarcely be given effective representation, and which, in any case, cannot reject Money Bills.

Let us now examine Ireland's claim for fiscal autonomy.


[73] See p. 140.

[74] The Bill set up a Council of eighty-two elected and twenty-four nominated members, with the Under-Secretary as an ex-officio member. So far it resembled the abortive Transvaal Constitution of 1905 (see p. 130), but the Irish Council was only to be given control of certain specified Departments, and was financed by a fixed Imperial grant. It was to have no power of legislation or taxation, and was under the complete control of the Lord-Lieutenant.

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