The country was most ably represented in those quarters, and he felt the importance of having its representatives in those quarters during the present Crisis of European Affairs.
With that proviso, he might say that he agreed to that paragraph of the Address; for, notwithstanding the duties devolving on the British Parliament at this most important Crisis of European Affairs, and the anxious considerations connected with the war to which they must attend, he could not think it creditable to that House to be unable at the same time to devote attention to matters of domestic importance.
I am not speaking now of the personal inconvenience to which hon. Members on both sides have been put, but of the condition in which that dissolution placed the Government of this country in a great Crisis of European Affairs.
He was not prepared to admit that the House of Commons should necessarily at all times, when public affairs on the Continent were in an important or momentous position, be debarred from the expression of its opinion; on the contrary, he ventured to think, that in any important Crisis of European Affairs, 1307 the opinion of perhaps the only free assembly of free men in Europe—for no one knew what had become of the Sardinian constitution—so far from being detrimental, might be highly beneficial, when expressed in a becoming manner.
Actuated by common patriotism they should be careful that no step was taken and nothing done which would interfere with the union of their common country in any grave Crisis of European Affairs.
Whatever differences might exist upon particular legislative measures, Ireland, as England, was for peace; and at the present moment, he believed, if fully ascertained, the views of the Irish people would be found to be in favour of a unanimous voice in going to Her Majesty in this grave Crisis in European Affairs.
The only way in which the League can do any business is by getting one or two leading men of the various countries together, whenever there is any Crisis in European Affairs to discuss it frankly, not to discuss it by hurling speeches at each other for a kind of new League OFFICIAI.
We held on to obsolete ships as long as there was any chance of disarmament, and by the time we found ourselves faced by this Crisis in European Affairs, and the temporary end of all hopes of disarmament, we were faced with the necessity of practically rebuilding a new Fleet.