^Ei. 34] ME. GLADSTONE AND HOME HULE 211
sentatives, and from their desire to establish what they term Home Eule. If you ask me what I think of Home Eule, I must tell you that I will only answer you when you tell me how Home Eule is related to local government. I am friendly to large local privileges and powers. I desire, I may almost say I intensely desire, to see Parliament relieved of some portion of its duties. I see the efficiency of Parliament interfered with, not only by obstruction from Irish members, but even more gravely by the enormous weight that is placed upon the time and the minds of those whom you send to represent you. We have got an overweighted Parliament, and if Ireland or any other portion of the country is desirous and able so to arrange its affairs that by taking the local part or some local part of its transactions off the hands of Parliament it can liberate and strengthen Parliament for Imperial concerns, I say I will not only accord a reluctant assent, but I will give a zealous support to any such scheme. One limit, gentlemen, one limit only, I know to the extension of local government. It is this; nothing can be done, in my opinion, by any wise statesman or right-minded Briton to-weaken or compromise the authority of the Imperial Parliament, because the Imperial Parliament must be supreme in these three kingdoms. And nothing that creates a doubt upon that supremacy can be tolerated by an intelligent and patriotic man. But, subject to that limitation, if we can make arrangements under which Ireland, Scotland, Wales, portions of England, can deal with questions of local and special interest to themselves more efficiently than Parliament now can, that, I say, will be the attainment of a great national good.'