Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/169

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JAMES BRYCE

ON THE GOVERNMENT OF IRELAND BILL

(1886)

Born in 1838; practised law until 1882; Regius Professor of Civil Law at Oxford 1870-1893; elected to Parliament in 1880; Under-Sec- retary of State for Foreign Affairs { u 1886; President of the Board of Trade in 1894; author of " The American Commonwealth," 1888; Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in 1906.

Nothing is more essential than that in passing a measure like this we should base it on firm legal grounds, and that we should clearly under- stand what relation the law we are asked to pass is to bear to the political action that is to go on under it. I do not think anything better deserves the attention of the House, and I hope the House will suffer me to deal somewhat minutely with it.

My right honorable and learned friend laid down three propositions: the first was that by this Bill the unity of the empire would be de- stroyed; the second, that the imperial Parlia- ment would not be able, henceforth, to legislate for Ireland; and the third, that the sovereignty of the imperial Parliament would disappear. My right honorable and learned friend said that the unity of the empire was created by the union of Parliament. What, was there no unity of the British Empire before 1800 ? Were we not one

1 From a speech in the House of Commons on May 17, 1886. By kind permission of Mr. Bryce and Cornelius Buck &. Son. V— 10 11j

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