Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/175

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JAMES BRYCE

��If we pass a statute purporting to extinguish our right to legislate on any given subject, or over any given district, it may be repudiated and repealed by any following Parliament — aye, even by this present Parliament on any later day.

What then, I may be asked, is the position in which we are to be placed after the concessions proposed in this Bill ? It will be this : While the ultimate right to legislate will reside in, and for all English, Scottish, and imperial purposes will be exercised by, the imperial Parliament, we shall have conceded to the Irish Legislature the right to legislate on subjects upon which we do not intend to exercise the right of legislating ourselves. This is exactly what we have done with our Colonies. We have yielded to them self-governing powers; the Colonies exercise those powers; and we rarely interfere with the exercise of those powers by them. It has been pointed out in debate that in the Colonial Acts we had expressly reserved all legislative power to the imperial Parliament. But if the House had leisure to listen to a detailed argument, I could show that the reservation to which my right honorable friend seemed to refer in the Act of 1865 had a purpose and meaning different from that which he imagines. In the Act of 1867, which created the Dominion Legislature of Canada, there is no express reservation of the legislative power of the imperial Parliament, yet since then the imperial Parliament has legislated 149

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