Mr. Chamberlain also condemned that scheme utterly, de- claring that
he would rather go out of politics altogether than vote for it ; but on the Home-rule Bill he was, in form at all events, more doubtful. We do not think he is doubtful, for he said that the Bill was accepted by Mr. Parnell, who had con- sistently declared it to be his policy to " snap the last link that bound Ireland to Great Britain ;" that the argument from terror was a cowardly one, which ought not to have been addressed by an Englishman to Englishmen ; that under the Bill the British Parliament would become a foreign Parliament to Ireland ; that it imposes on Ireland a Constitution " which is absolutely odious and hateful ;" that it would be in no way a final or permanent settlement ; that under it the integrity of the Empire would become " an empty name ;" that England might be in the throes of a death-struggle, and Ireland would be unaffected ; and that Ireland really consisted of two nations, one of which—the Protestant, prosperous, and contented one—was by the Bill abandoned to the other. Every one of these argu- ments is fatal to the Bill ; but Mr. Chamberlain pro- ceeded to disclaim hostility, and stated that if thirty or thirty-five Irish Members remained, and the Imperial Parlia- ment retained the right to tax, and Ulster were granted a separate Legislative Assembly, and the minority clauses were struck out of the Bill, he would support it. These changes must, however, be clearly promised before the second reading, or he should vote against it, for in Committee there would be no changes made.