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out of Parliament in the struggle. The relays of Chairmen, the arrival of fresh batches of members in the small hours of the morning, the cheerful appearance after an early breakfast of members wbo had enjoyed a night's rest, with the object of sustaining duty when others retired, were episodes of the notable sitting. Sir Stafford Northcote remained at his post throughout the sitting ; and it must be said for the Irishmen that they stood the fatigue of their raid against business and order remarkably well. The spirits of other members were naturally affected by the consciousness that the whole proceedings were humiliating and undignified. This was a sentiment that did not much affect the Irish minority, though Mr. O Donnell did once speak of himself as fully conscious of the ridiculous position he occupied. The body of the House found the matter too serious for the display of any of the spirit of fun and good-humour which generally finds space and verge. The Times spoke a general feeling in commenting upon the unsatisfactory nature of the conclusion of the battle, when Sir Stafford Northcote found himself reduced to the necessity of coercing a minority of seven by a threat of strong measures, and likened the menace to the proclaiming of a state of siege. The obvious necessity of dealing seriously with this policy of annoyance before another Session became evident to all. Let it be said that Mr. Parnell and his friends asked the country to believe that they were solely concerned to promote the careful conduct of business in the House and to obviate its reckless habits of legislation. But it was unfortunate for the member for Meath that some words of his own were established against him in the course of the long sitting, which proved that at a public meeting he had defined his tactics as “a policy not of conciliation but retaliation.”

The mischief caused by the policy of the Obstructives might have been greater in a season of legislative activity, but the meagre promise of the Queen's Speech was not in this respect bettered in the fulfilment. At the very close of the Session the House had to adjourn for want of anything to do; and more than ever the results of the present constitution of the House of Commons began to become apparent. Measures were promised and measures were dropped-long speeches made, and more or less imperfectly reported; but the entire absence of anything like a Liberal programme made itself very clearly felt. On one measure of considerable political importance the Government suffered an unexpected defeat. Early in the Session the Duke of Richmond introduced a Bill which was partly framed for sanitary purposes, and which was also intended to evade the necessity of opening churchyards to Dissenters who insisted on their own forms of burial. The positive enactments of the Bill were unobjectionable, as they principally consisted of provisions for the establishment of additional cemeteries in rural districts. Half-a-dozen years ago such a Bill might have passed without opposition, unless, indeed, it had excited the suspicions of the Clergy. It now met with vebement resistance from the opposite quarter. It could not be expected that the Dissenters would accept a measure which omitted all the provisions of Mr. Osborne Morgan's Bills. Sentimental and social grievances are not to be conciliated by sanitary contrivances. The leaders of the Dissenters were much more anxious to assert their right to the use of the churchyards than to provide for the material necessities of funerals. For two or three years Mr. Osborne Morgan had seemed to be within reach of success, and the Duke of Richmond's Bill provided no compensation for the loss of an anticipated victory. It was announced that the Government Bill would be strongly opposed in the House of Commons, and it might probably have been rejected; but there was no opportunity for a trial of strength between the Government and the Liberal party. The second reading was carried in the House of Lords by a considerable majority, which rejected an amendment of Lord Granville's in favour of the admission of Dissenters to churchyards; but the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Oxford spoke in support of the Amendment, and it was evident that a divided Church party would not long be able to resist the demand of the united body of Nonconformists, which was cordially seconded by the Opposition in both Houses. When the Bill went into Committee both the Archbishops spoke in favour of concession, and an amendment of Lord Harrowby's for allowing Dissenting services in churchyards was, on an equal division, only rejected by the casting vote of Lord Redesdale. At a later stage Lord Harrowby carried a similar clause against the Government by 127 to 111; and, after taking time for consideration, the Duke of Richmond withdrew the Bill. The decided action of the House of Lords in assuming so spontaneously liberal an attitude was the cause of much comment and of much speculation, for while it proved a new factor in the generally disturbed condition of the ecclesiastical atmosphere, it at least promised to secure quiet and content in the general mind in a matter in which the natural love of order and reverence for family feeling, prescribe the greatest toleration. In withdrawing the Bill, the Duke of Richmond and Gordon stated that since the last division he had conferred with his colleagues as to the course which ought to be pursued in reference to that measure, and they had come to the conclusion that Lord Harrowby's amendment, which was carried on the Report, amounted to such an entire departure from the principle on which the Burials Bill was framed, that they felt it incumbent to withdraw the measure, intending to give the whole subject attentive consideration during the recess.

Lord Granville regretted that a question which both sides of the House admitted it was desirable to settle should be thrown over for another year, and so left to excite feelings of hostility not only between the Nonconformists and the Church, but in the Church itself.

A Bill of the Attorney-General's for the amendment of the Law of Patents by the appointment of qualified examiners, and

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by the introduction of a system of compulsory licences, was received at the beginning of the Session with apparent favour ; but in the press of business, or of impediments to business, it disappeared, like many preceding mcasures of the same kind. Mr. Sclater-Booth did not succeed in carrying either a Valuation Bill, which was scarcely opposed, or a Bill for consolidating the law of public health affecting the Metropolis, which, as might have been expected, proved distasteful to the vestries. The Bill for transferring the control of prisons from local authorities to the Government, had been abandoned at the end of the Session of 1876, after receiving the virtual approval of the House of Commons. Its progress in the present year was delayed by the obstructive section of Irish members, who took occasion to discuss the alleged treatment of Fenian convicts and other irrelevant topics. Mr. Cross, by accepting from them one or two amendments, enabled them afterwards to boast that for once they had taken part in practical legislation. The Judicature Bill was the only Government measure of importance relating to Irish business, and it remained one of the few accomplished facts of a lazy Session. It was one of the first which the Government pledged itself to introduce when it came into power in 1874. The enactment in the previous year of Lord Selborne's scheme reconstructing the English judicial system had rendered it imperative that similar principles should be applied to Ireland unless the unfortunate chasm which exists between the Administrations of the two kingdoms was to be deliberately widened. Unfortunately, the reorganisation of the Irish courts was not separable from the question whether the judicial staff ought to be reduced, and, if so, to what extent. The Irish bar were very anxious that the patronage to which they were in the habit of looking as supplying the deficiencies of private practice should not be diminished in quantity; and when they discovered that the adaptation of the English system to Ireland would involve the probable suppression of three or four minor judgeships, they threw great difficulties in the way of the project. During three Sessions they were successful, for Lord Cairns was unwilling to place himself in conflict with the opinions and interests of a powerful body of practising lawyers. But at length the absurdity of announcing a scheme of change which was never practically applied became intolerable. The Irish bar came to understand that their privileges would only be placed in greater peril by a longer postponement of the inevitable settlement, and the result was that when some important concessions had been extorted from the Goverpment the Irish lawyers in Parliament gave way. The Bill passed through the House of Commons without serious opposition, though it was attacked by the obstructionists as a “ lawyers' job,” a charge showing, it was said at the time, not only ignorance of the subject but an entire absence of the faintest sense of humour. Mr. Biggar and Mr. Parnell, however, reserved their energies for their attack upon the South Africa Bill, and were perhaps prudently disinclined


to bring their theory of Irish patriotism into practical conflict with the ambitions of the Irish bar. In the House of Lords the career of the Irish Judicature Bill was brief and uneventful; it went through Committee without alteration or pretence of discussion. The experience of former sessions had proved that it was inpossible to provide for the enactment of such a measure if introduced in the House of Lords. Accordingly, it was brought in by the Chief Secretary and the Attorney-General for Ireland in the Lower House early in February, and was read a second time on the 19th of that month. But it did not go into Committee until June 4, and was not “reported as amended” until July 21. After that date progress became more rapid, but obviously no time was left for an elaborate discussion in the House of Lords.

The Bill, which follows very closely the lines of the English Judicature Act, consolidated the existing higher tribunals as tbe

Supreme Court of Judicature in Ireland,” divided as in England into a High Court, with original jurisdiction and a Court of Appeal. The Bill established in Ireland a staff of eighteen judges, consisting of the Lord Chancellor, two salaried appellate judges, and fifteen judges of first instance, at the full annual cost of some seventy thousand pounds. Preserving the jurisdiction of the Master of the Rolls over public records, and with certain minor exceptions, the High Court of Justice obtained under the new Act the authority of the higher tribunals in Ireland, in all matters not specifically assigned by its provisions to the Court of Appeal, and the fusion of Law and Equity was carried out as in England.

The Judicature Bill was the only Government measure of importance relating to Irish business, and only a few unsuccessful motions were made by Mr. Butt and his supporters. It must have been with a feeling of hopelessness that the leader of the Home Rule party promoted the introduction of the annual motion for a Committee on Home Rule. Mr. Shaw, in proposing it, began by admitting the unpopularity of the question in this country; but he maintained that the people of England had at last become aware that there was something in the cry of Home Rule which they would have to face. It did not involve such a shock to British prejudice as Household Suffrage or the Disestablishment of the Irish Church. Protesting that he wished the question to be dealt with solely on practical grounds, he urged that the Imperial Parliament lacked the time, the knowledge, and the capacity to legislate for Ireland. The Irish members in an united Parliament were entirely outnumbered and powerless. The independent power to manage its own affairs would stimulate the material prosperity of the country, for, at present, Mr. Shaw maintained the country was not prospering. There was no reason antecedently why the question should not be considered by a Committee, to which ,a plan would be submitted, and Great Britain, he admitted, bad a right to be consulted as to the terms of the bargain.. Replying to objections, as a Protestant he protested that he had no fear of Roman Catholic tyranny, for religious bigotry was dying out in Ireland. He disclaimed altogether any idea of dismembering the Empire, and though he feared that for some years his proposal would be rejected, the time would arrive when party interests would compel English statesmen to take up the question. As the Liberal party was in search of a policy he offered the question as a part of their Imperial policy.

Mr. King-Harman, in seconding the motion from the Conservative side, emphatically disclaimed “separatism," and insisted that a demand made by three millions of Irishmen could not be treated with contempt.

Mr. Forster remarked that no apology was needed for bringing the question before Parliament as long as sufficient interest was taken in it in Ireland, but he hoped that this was the last occasion on which it would take the form of a demand for a Committee. Until the House was convinced that a separation of some sort was necessary—which he believed would never be the case

-such an enormous Constitutional change as this ought not to be referred to a Committee. Home Rule made an enormous demand on the English and Scotch members. Suppose it to be granted, and there would be three Parliaments side by side with the Imperial Parliament. But to define the respective spheres of the local and Imperial legislatures would require a statute ; in other words, our ancient historic Constitution was to be exchanged for a written Constitution, with all its inconveniences. There must also be some body to interpret this written Constitution, and either we must have recourse to the American system of a Supreme Court, or to the Austro-Hungarian plan, by which the Emperor's despotic will decided all differences between the two countries. Although Repeal of the Union would be ruinous to Ireland and dangerous to this country, Mr. Forster said he should prefer it to Home Rule, which would equally bring about a collision and a civil war. Expatiating on the practical difficulties of separation, Mr. Forster pointed out that Ireland would no longer have the same interest in India and the Colonies, and that Irish members would not have the same influence in Imperial politics. As to the capacity Imperial Parliament to legislate for Ireland, Mr. Forster emphatically denied that English and Scotch members had no sympathy with Ireland. On the question of time, he referred to the tactics of Messrs. Biggar and Parnell, which, he said, bad not decreased that difficulty, and he was loudly cheered on declaring that Parliament was not to be frightened into granting Home Rule by such skirmishing. Althou, h he was ready to consider any suggestion for saving the time of Parliament by enlarging the functions of the local authorities all over the country, he was not prepared to sanction this attack on the integrity of the Empire. Deprecating the continuance of a mischievous and hopeless agitation, Mr. Forster expressed a confident belief that annually a smaller number



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