Protest of the Scottish Home Rule Association against the present policy of Official Liberals towards Scotland.
I. The proposal to grant a Legislature and Executive Government to Ireland, and withhold them from Scotland is unjust to a loyal, industrious, patient, and intelligent people, and appears to set a premium upon disorder.
II. If any priority were possible in the granting of Home Rule, then Scotland might claim it first, seeing that in 1707 she was deprived of a real Parliament, which had worked to the satisfaction of the people of Scotland for hundreds of years, whereas the Irish never possessed such a Parliament a Protestant Council, empowered to govern a Roman Catholic country.
III. The granting of Home Rule to Ireland first, without any promise or guarantee that the claim of Scotland to a Legislature and Executive government will be conceded, would be destructive of the National life of Scotland, and act of treachery towards the Scottish people, and a wilful throwing away of the support of the Irish vote, which in some small degree has tempered the overwhelming vote of the English members on bills relating to Scotland. For as Scotland as such never entered into a Treaty of Union with Ireland, but only with England, whenever Ireland gets a Parliament and Executive of her own, the state of affairs that prevailed before the Union of Great Britain with Ireland is restored, and Scotland would thus be deprived of the whole Irish vote for Scottish Home Rule or any other measure.
IV. The retention of the Irish members in the British Parliament after being granted a Legislature of their own would be unjust alike to England, Scotland, and Wales, as the Irish would have a vote on the domestic concerns of the other three countries, while they would have no control of the domestic affairs of Ireland. Even if provision were made for giving the Irish members a vote on Imperial affairs only, they would still be able to exercise control of our business, for, by an indirect vote or by allying themselves with a discontented minority in the British Parliament, they could upset the Government on an Imperial question, and by so doing retard measures relating to Scotland, while their own domestic concerns were secure in their own Legislature. In point of fact, the Irish would become the Masters of the British Parliament!
V. The Incorporating Union of 1707, against which our forefathers protested and which was passed against the wishes of the vast majority of the Scottish people, having had ample trial, has been found to act unjustly towards Scotland by (a) Altering the Laws of Scotland by English votes against the voice of Scotland’s representatives; (b) Retarding our business and leaving us without any intelligent Government; (c) Enabling the Government of the day to extract from Scotland millions of money more than her just share of the Imperial burdens, and starving all the Institutions in Scotland which go to mould the character and refine the life of a civilised people; (d) Depriving Scotland of the fame derived from the deeds and genius of her own people by encouraging the practice of calling the United Kingdom England, the Government English, the Army and Navy English, in violation of the 1st Article of the Treaty of Union, and thus treating Scotland as an English province.
VI. These evils can only be removed, and the business of the British Empire properly conducted by Home Rule all round, and whether the Home Rule measures for the four divisions of the country be passed simultaneously or in rotation, is of no moment, since none can come into operation till all are passed. We believe that the vast majority of the people of Scotland are in sympathy with this protest, and we ask the Leaders of the Liberal Party to recognise the right of the Scottish people to manage and control all purely Scottish affairs.
13th October 1890.