THE LANE PICTURES.

I beg to move the motion standing in my name:—

"That the Seanad regrets the refusal by the British Government to give effect by legislation to the codicil of Sir Hugh Lane of the 3rd February, 1915, which was invalid by reason of being unwitnessed, and in view of the finding of the Committee appointed by the British Government on July 9th, 1924, that Sir Hugh Lane, when he signed this codicil, believed that he was making a legal disposition of the pictures therein mentioned to the City of Dublin, the Seanad is of opinion that the British Government should be urged to provide by some form of legislation for the permanent return of these pictures to Dublin."

My reason for bringing this matter before the Seanad at this particular time is this: About two years ago a Committee was appointed by the British Government to advise them as to the destination of what are known as the Lane pictures. That Committee reported some considerable time ago, but its report was not published until about a fortnight ago. Last week, in answer to a question in the House of Commons, the British Government stated its intention of carrying out the recommendation of that Committee, of refusing to legislate for the purpose of making valid the invalid codicil in Sir Hugh Lane's will. The matter of these pictures is of such importance to this country, and the feeling in this country on the subject of their destination is so strong, that I felt it was right that the matter should be brought before this House and that Senators should have an opportunity of expressing their opinions on it and of urging the Government to take any steps in their power for the purpose of trying to alter the determination of the British Government on the subject. The facts in connection with the bequest of these pictures to the Corporation of Dublin are within the recollection of us all. Long prior to the year 1915, Sir Hugh Lane had formed the intention of giving this noble collection of modern French pictures to the City of Dublin. The difficulty was a gallery for them. The Municipal Gallery in Harcourt Street, in this city, was wholly unsuitable for their reception. They had, in fact, been there for some little time, but being in an old house, in an old street in this old city, they were not safe from fire, and very naturally Sir Hugh Lane, when he made up his mind to give these pictures to the city, made it a condition of his gift that the Corporation should erect a proper gallery within a certain time.

Now the Corporation agreed to erect that gallery, but we all remember the unfortunate discussion which took place as to its site. That discussion became so acrimonious and prolonged that ultimately Sir Hugh Lane removed the pictures from this country and gave them on loan to the National Gallery in London. There again a difficulty occurred as to their exhibition, and, undoubtedly, early in the year 1915, Sir Hugh Lane had no definite intention as to the ultimate destination of these pictures. But probably if things had gone on in the ordinary way, he would have given them to London or to Dublin, according to the treatment which one or other of these cities gave them in the way of providing a gallery. One thing is quite clear, that in the year 1915 he was starting on a visit to America and was conscious of the risks of the voyage, and with a strange prevision of his fate he executed a codicil to his will by which he bequeathed these modern French pictures—thirty-nine of them—to trustees for the City of Dublin on condition that the Corporation provided a suitable gallery for their reception within five years after his death. We all know that on his journey back he was lost on the "Lusitania." The codicil was found in his office of the National Gallery, just beside us here in Dublin. It was found in a desk in a sealed envelope directed to his sister, who was his executrix. When it was opened it was found that it was unwitnessed, and that it was, therefore, invalid. After his death the question arose as to whether his last wishes as to the destination of these pictures should be carried out.

Now the codicil was unwitnessed, and it was practically a war will. If he had, instead of going to America with the dangers of the voyage, gone out to France, executed the will and died, the unwitnessed will would be perfectly valid. The question almost immediately after his death as to whether this codicil of his should be given effect to by legislation was raised, and there was quite an animated correspondence in the English Press, in the "Times," the "Morning Post" and the "Observer." There was in 1916 a petition by the Corporation of the City of Dublin, as the trustees of the National Gallery, asking that the pictures should be returned to Dublin. In 1918 there was a mass meeting held in the Mansion House of Dublin, one of the most representative meetings ever held in this city, at which resolutions were passed in favour of the return to Dublin of these pictures. Then came the troubled times, but even in the troubled times representations were made by the Provisional Government through General Collins to the British Government, and these representations were most favourably received by the British Government. On the 9th May, 1923, this House unanimously passed a resolution asking the Government to press on the British Government the return to Dublin of the pictures in the unwitnessed codicil to the will. A similar resolution was passed unanimously by the Dáil.

Therefore we have from 1916, practically from the death of Sir Hugh Lane, a continuous and public claim by this country for the return of these pictures. That is of very great importance when we come to consider one of the reasons given for the conclusion arrived at by the Committee which was appointed to advise the British Government. So much had this question become a national one that in the year 1924 a Committee of three was appointed by the then Labour Government to report on the matter of the pictures, and two quite definite questions were left to that Committee. First, whether Sir Hugh Lane, when he signed the codicil on the 3rd February, 1915, thought he was making a legal disposition, that is, thought it would be effective in law; and, secondly, whether it was proper that in view of the international character of the matter of these pictures, the legal difficulty in the codicil should be remedied by legislation. The first of these questions was a question of fact, and that question the Committee has answered in the affirmative, that is, they have come to the conclusion, and so reported, that Sir Hugh Lane when he executed this unwitnessed codicil thought he was making a legal disposition. Having myself seen all the evidence on that question of fact, I hold they could come to no other conclusion. The answer to the second question is not only most unsatisfactory, but is based on considerations which were absolutely irrelevant to the question which was referred to them.

In answer to this second question the Committee recommend that the legal defect in the codicil should not be remedied by legislation, and for this conclusion they give three reasons. The first is they state that they are advised that the validation by Act of Parliament of Sir Hugh Lane's imperfect codicil would constitute a legal precedent of the first importance, and that recourse to such a step would be justified only on the grounds of general public interest. Now, with great respect, in giving that as a reason the Committee obviously mistook both the terms and the nature of the question that was put to them. They were told that this was an international question, and it was, therefore, a question of general public interest, and they were asked, this being an international question, and a question of general public interest, to order a precedent to be made. Their answer is: "You could only make a legal precedent on the grounds of general public interest." That is the false assumption which underlies this report. The question has been dealt with by this Committee as if it were a question between two galleries, whereas it was a question between two nations. They were told it was a question between two nations and their answer to the Government which appointed them was, it is not.

The second reason given by the Committee for recommending no legislation was that it would be a breach of faith as regards the donor of the gallery for modern continental pictures which was opened a week or two ago at Millbank. That would only be a valid reason if the donor of this gallery was induced to build it on the assurance that the Lane pictures would be housed there. Now it is inconceivable on the facts that any undertaking of that kind or assurance could have been given. As I pointed out, from the date of Sir Hugh Lane's death there was this continuous and public claim by this country for these pictures, of which the donor of that gallery must be perfectly well aware. It was followed in 1924, by the appointment by the British Government of this Committee, which could not have been appointed if any such assurance had been given. The third and last reason of the Committee is perhaps the most difficult of all their reasons to understand. They found as a fact that when Sir Hugh Lane signed this codicil he intended and believed, in the event of his death before his return to this country, that the pictures would come to Dublin, yet they give us a reason for recommending that his last wishes should not be given effect to, that to do so would be contrary to the spirit and purport of his wishes as expressed during the last two years of his life. Now it is very difficult indeed to understand or to deal with reasons of this kind. They were not asked to consider what Sir Hugh Lane's wishes as expressed during the last two years of his life were. They were asked, what were his wishes as expressed in the codicil, and did he believe that if he died before his return to this country they would be given legal effect to.

Sir Hugh Lane, as a matter of fact, gave different expressions as to his wishes during the last two years of his life. It depended very much on the treatment that he thought his pictures were going to get if they went to London or to Dublin. He had no settled intentions at the time, but when he came to start on his last journey there was no doubt. Therefore, in giving this as the reason for the recommendation they made to the Government that no legislation should be adopted for the purpose of validating the codicil, they had no ground to go on. They departed, as they did in answer to the second question, from the reference under which they sat. I have gone fully into these matters for the purpose of showing that our national claim for the pictures has not only not been answered but has not really been duly considered. It has been turned down by a nation which is rich in examples of modern art of this kind, whereas our examples of that art are the few pictures in the small collection in Harcourt Street. It has been suggested that our moral claim for the pictures would be met if some of them were lent to us from time to time. That is no satisfaction of our claim. If our moral claim is satisfied it will be for us to lend the pictures, and there would be nothing to prevent that being done, and there would be everything in favour of it if the pictures were ours by right and made so by legislation. I have no doubt that this country would see that England got its share of the pictures on loan from time to time.

The terms of the resolution which I am proposing are on the Order Paper. They express regret at the refusal of the British Government to give effect by legislation to the unwitnessed codicil of Sir Hugh Lane, and they ask our Government to urge on the British Government to provide, by some form of legislation, for the permanent return of the pictures to Dublin. No form of legislation is suggested by the resolution. They have declined to pass legislation which will validate the codicil. There are many other forms of legislation by which it can be done. There is a Bill, which was recently introduced by Lord Carson into the House of Lords and which provides that the pictures shall be transferred by the trustees of the National Gallery to this country. There are many ways of carrying out by legislation what is desired by this country, and what we believe is due to this country. It can be easily done, and, having regard to the fair play and generosity which the British Government have extended to us since we have been established as a State of our own,——

Having regard to their generosity, I do not think that it would be asking too much off them to say that they should pass some form of legislation which would bring these pictures back to this country as they were intended to come here in the event of Sir Hugh Lane's death.

I would like to support the motion. I know that it will receive plenty of support from literary and artistic Senators, but I support it as an ordinary citizen. We eagerly desire that the wishes of a great Irishman should be respected and that the treasures which he desired to leave to his own country should be availed of here. While I admire the studied moderation of the Senator Brown's appeal, I feel it difficult to restrain my feelings about the mentality of the Committee that brought in such a report.

And the Government that backed it.

And the Government that backed it. Apparently they came to the conclusion that Sir Hugh Lane desired that the pictures were to be kept here. At a moment in a man's life, when he feels that he ought to be most in earnest, when he makes his will and goes on a journey which he knows will be beset with difficulties, he explicitly implies what he feels. At that particular moment, Sir Hugh Lane, going on what proved to be a dangerous enterprise, then and there explicitly conveyed to those who were to follow him that his desire was that the pictures should be given to his own country, Ireland. His decision, as Senator Brown has pointed out, was respected by the Committee who were asked to make such a finding. They said: "Yes; it was his intention that Ireland should get the pictures, but no legislation should be introduced to give effect to his wishes." What do you call that? I, a plain man, call it dishonesty. I feel that there is no man in this country of ours, under similar conditions, even though we are a poor country, who would grab the treasures which England already liberally possesses. If Ireland under similar conditions possessed them, she would not attempt to grab and keep things which in her heart she knew were not hers, and which a Committee set up by an Irish Government found that the donor of these pictures did not mean to be hers.

It is gross dishonesty, and I am to be forgiven if I do not use the moderate language which Senator Brown so effectively used. There is a time when we cannot restrain our words, and I feel that there is a time when to mince one's words would be dishonest. We are told about the generosity of England. Here is a concrete example of her honesty. Here is a great instance of her desire to spread the light in various countries, but when it is a question of spreading artistic light in Ireland, she says, "No artistic light for Ireland." That is the policy; that is the creed. Is it any wonder that some of us for many years have not believed in the honesty of England in spreading the light? If we did not believe it, perhaps we are beginning to believe it now. A concrete instance, such as this, brings it home to plain men that there is no honesty there. I would ask the Government to press the resolution, so moderately conveyed by Senator Brown, and I believe that it will not be unsuccessful if our Government presses it to the bitter end.

It will be within the memory of Senators that some two years ago both this House and the Dáil passed resolutions urging the British Government to give effect to the unwitnessed codicil of Sir Hugh Lane's will. Lord Glenavy gave his very emphatic opinion at the time that it was impossible to doubt that Sir Hugh Lane did intend that codicil as his last will and testament. The only satisfactory thing in the report issued some two weeks ago by the British Government is that it also decides that Sir Hugh Lane did intend that codicil for his last will and testament. Senator Brown and others have analysed and exposed the excuses made by the Commission and accepted by the British Government for not giving effect to that decision. In this country we have to decide upon a course of action, and it is largely with that object that I speak. It has been a long dispute; some of us have given much time and thought to it; my closest friend, Lady Gregory, has given the best of her thought and much of her time to it for the last ten years. The property involved, though great in monetary value, is more than property, for it means the possession of the implements of national culture. You will forgive me if I forget that I am occasionally a politician, and remember that I am always a man of letters and speak less diplomatically and with less respect for institutions and great names than is, perhaps, usual in public life. In our endeavour to have our case laid before the British public once more, to have the fallacies of this report exposed, we are faced with an unexpected difficulty. Three weeks ago, while the report was still unissued, when the British Government had announced no decision, when the whole matter wassub-judice between the nations, the King opened the new wing of the Tate Gallery, that is to say, the building which, it is claimed, was built to contain these pictures by Sir Joseph Duveen, and of which they are the principal ornament. As he made his speech, or as he passed through the gallery to deliver it, his eyes must constantly have looked upon the words, “Lane Bequest.”

It is the policy of most of us in this country, seeing that very lately we preferred a king to a president and that we fought a civil war that we might be governed by a king rather than a president, to remain upon the friendliest terms with the King of England, who is also the King of Ireland. We have been told, I do not know whether truthfully or not, that the King is personally friendly to us, that a certain speech which influenced our affairs for good was made on his own initiative. Statements of that kind are frequently untrue; they are put out for policy, but, whether true or not, we have no desire to disturb the impression that they have left. Our relations with Ulster make this more essential. But it would be impossible to preserve this attitude towards Royalty if certain obvious conditions are ignored. When the King was urged to perform an action which seriously compromised the claim made by this nation, when he was urged to intervene in this international dispute, was it pointed out to him that he should be advised, not by his English Ministers alone, but also by the Governor-General, or otherwise by his Irish Ministers? We have no means of questioning Ministers in this House, and I would be glad, therefore, if someone in the Dáil would ask President Cosgrave if his Government was consulted before the King recently opened the new modern gallery in London. Important as our claim for the Lane pictures is, this question seems to me to raise an issue of far greater importance, one vitally affecting the constitutional position not only of this country but of every Dominion. I can imagine the British Government replying in the evasive spirit of its Commission that as our claim was moral and not legal the King was not bound to take cognizance of it, but in disputes between nations— and the British Government itself has, within its terms of reference to the Commission, called this dispute international—it is not legal but moral and material issues that cause trouble. A day may come when the action of the King may prejudice some claim involving the most fundamental rights. I see by the daily papers that Canada and the Irish Free State are to seek at the next Imperial Conference for some clarification or modification of the relations between the Crown and the Dominions. I think that this recent experience of ours shows that one or the other is necessary.

When I addressed this House some two years ago on this question I believed that our case was almost won, and from that day to about three weeks before the issue of the report we had continual assurances that it had been practically decided in our favour. The persons who gave us these assurances seemed to be in a position to know. I am certain of their sincerity. If you ask me about the sincerity of those from whom they derived their information, I can merely say that I am without conviction, one way or the other. What happened at the last moment is unknown to me. I am sure of one thing; it was not any particular force or authority in the report of the Commission that made the change. Senator Brown has dealt effectively with the two or three reasons which they give for retaining in London property which they admit that Sir Hugh Lane intended for Dublin, and believe that he had legally bequeathed to Dublin. Of these arguments, that which seems to have weighed most with English public opinion, and probably with the Commission, is the statement put forward by the Tate Gallery and accepted by the Commission, that Sir Joseph Duveen received a promise on June 9th, 1916, that if he were to build a new wing to the Tate Gallery Sir Hugh Lane's pictures should be deposited there. I hold letters in my hand which will prove conclusively that no such promise was ever given. Those letters were not laid before the Commission, because it never passed through the minds of the three witnesses, Lady Gregory, Mrs. Shine and myself, that the Commission would go outside its reference, nor did it occur to the Commissioners to question us upon this point. They had been appointed to find out whether Sir Hugh Lane intended the codicil to be a legal document, and whether, if so, considering the international issue involved, it should be given effect to. It never occurred to us that they would repudiate their reference, and declare that there was no international issue involved, and then go into a mass of detail which seemed excluded by that reference. Before repudiating their reference they should have referred the matter back to the English Government for a new reference, and have informed us of their action. If such a promise had been given, it would have carried no weight, for it would have been given by one party in the dispute without the knowledge of the other, but it was not given, as I shall now show.

Sir Hugh Lane was drowned in the "Lusitania" on May 7th, 1915, and at the end of that month Lady Gregory laid the codicil before the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the English National Gallery, which had the custody of the pictures. I have here a letter written by her on June 6th of that year to a great New York connoisseur and collector:

"I went to see (taking a copy of the codicil) Lord Curzon, the most active of the London National Gallery trustees, and one who appreciates most the French pictures. He would, of course, like to keep them but said he thought Hugh's wishes, so clearly expressed, ought to be respected, and he would say that when the time comes to the other trustees."

On June 1st, 1915, that is to say, three or four days before the date of the letter I have just quoted, Lady Gregory received the following letter from Lord Curzon:

"I mentioned to-day to the National Gallery Board the subject which you had been good enough to bring before me the evening before ....I think the right thing would be for the executors to address them formally through solicitors, and lay the whole case before them."

On September 15th Lord Curzon wrote as follows:

"It seems to be a matter in which the executors will have to formally approach the Board, who will, no doubt, consult their solicitors."

A year later I was in London and heard privately that the National Gallery intended to have a gallery built for modern French pictures, and to put the Lane collection into it. I told Lady Gregory of this, and she wrote to Lord Curzon, who answered as follows on October 10th, 1916:

"The matter is not in my hands nor at this moment even in the hands of the Board. They are waiting to be advised by their legal advisers, and in the interim it would not be right for any individual trustee to intervene."

Yet our opponents allege, and the Commission accepts their allegation, that an individual trustee did intervene. Here are the words of the report:

"Not only has the London Gallery the legal possession of the pictures but, on the assurance that such a gift would be in perpetuity, it has secured the gift of a gallery in which the pictures are to be housed."

An editorial in the Burlington Magazine for 1924 gives the precise date and circumstance of the alleged promise:

"On June 9th, 1916, Sir Joseph Duveen, being on the point of returning to America, saw Lord D'Abernon about the project."

It then goes on to say that Lord D'Abernon thereupon promised the pictures if Sir Joseph Duveen built the gallery.

I have read you the assurances of the Chairman of the Board, Lord Curzon, stating that the matter was undecided, assurances repeated several times for more than a year, the last and most specific, that in which he states that no individual governor had the right to intervene, being written some months after the date of the alleged promise. Relying upon those repeated assurances we had summoned no meetings, organised neither petitions nor protest, and we were right. It was entirely impossible that a man of Lord Curzon's position and training would have deliberately deceived us. Unless minutes of the National Gallery recording that promise were laid before the Commission, I have a right to affirm that such a promise was never given. Sir Joseph Duveen or Mr. McCall imagined the whole thing, or Lord D'Abernon made some vague statement which was misinterpreted. The matter is very serious, a very large amount of property is involved, property which may already be worth some £200,000 and which will certainly rise in value from year to year. I, therefore, ask the Irish Government to press upon the British Government the production of the minutes of the Board of Governors of the National Gallery of London for the period during which the promise is stated to have been made. If no such minute can be discovered then the Commission has been grossly misled; if it is discovered, we have.

I was going to deal with the other indefinite argument, that if Sir Hugh Lane had lived he would have changed his mind. He was the most generous of men. A famous artist said of him that he had raised the profession of a picture dealer into the magnificence of the Medici. Had he lived I have no doubt he would have given great endowments right and left to Dublin, to London, and to that great gallery in South Africa that was partly his foundation. But when he was going on that last voyage he knew he had only one collection of pictures to bequeath. He preferred to bequeath them, where the rest of his bequests had gone, to the gallery which will always bear his name, where everything had been chosen by himself, and where they were not to be lost among the growing richness of the great London gallery.

There is that other argument—I am not competent to deal with it—that there is no precedent for altering a will. While we do not press that point I have heard great lawyers differ on it. The other day the "Independent" newspaper—and I should like to thank the "Independent" newspaper for the great vigour with which it is pressing this question—gave a very remarkable precedent. In the midst of the Great War, by Act of Parliament, the will of Cecil Rhodes was modified. In that case there was no question of the letter of the will or of his intentions. He had left a large bequest to enable German students to attend certain English universities. They abrogated that request not merely for the time of the war but for ever. That is precisely one of those actions which all nations do in time of war and are ashamed of afterwards. Yet it seems to me if we had claimed that we would not make an excessive claim. It seems to me what they did by Act of Parliament to modify the will of Cecil Rhodes under the influence of national hatred they might well be asked to do—to modify the will of Sir Hugh Lane under the influence of national honour. Now what are we to do? No compromise. We ask and we must continue to ask our right—to hold 39 pictures, and for ever. Let the Dublin Commissioners build that long-promised gallery. We have already, in Harcourt Street, great treasures that will make it one of the richest galleries in the world. Let them build that gallery and let them see there is ample space for those 39 pictures. Let them write the names of the pictures on the wall, in spaces reserved for them, and let the codicil be displayed in some conspicuous place and watch the public opinion of these countries. I do not believe that the public opinion of these countries will permit the London Gallery to retain pictures which it was not the intention of the donor to leave to it.

I do not favour demand for favours in these times when it is so difficult to get our rights. It is always difficult to ask for favours, but in these times when it is the custom of the friends of our neighbours both on this side of the water and the other to publish so much propaganda with regard to the extremely moral character of their minds, and the very high ideas which they possess in these matters, I, with some hesitation and with a great deal of doubt, ask that this moral right should be taken advantage of and claimed. The Committee admitted, and it has been already stated that the codicil showed, it to be the desire of Sir Hugh Lane to hand over the pictures to Dublin, but they tried to get out of it by saying "Oh, his desire to hand them over to Dublin was only a second preference. His real preference was to find a house to store the pictures." They insinuated that as he was a man of great vanity he desired honour and a great house in London, and that it was only a second kind of arrangement when he sent them over to Dublin. I had the honour of Sir Hugh Lane's acquaintance when he first came to Dublin. Everyone recognises, as I do, that he was a man of the highest honour. He was much above the ordinary folk of any country in his moral views and his honesty as regards pictures and otherwise. He bought those pictures because he loved them. He gave them to Dublin ungrudgingly without any thought of glory because he wished to do honour to them. That was the only reason he had in mind, as far as I can find out. He was annoyed when opposition arose, when people here said it was a pity a big palace should be built in Ireland at a time when the people were living in hovels. That, of course, was an appeal which many honest and honourable men were touched by very much. Annoyed by this opposition for the moment, he made his will handing them over to Britain. I think he did so purely perhaps on account of a little pique, but I do not think that was a matter which entered much into his character. He did it really as a sort of an inducement to the Irish people so that when they saw those pictures moving away they would become more reasonable and grant his wishes. I have no real doubt in my mind that the desire of his heart was to have those pictures in Dublin. He was an Irishman and came over to to live in Dublin when, from the material point of view, he had much more advantage in living in some other great capital, in London or elsewhere. He established here a gallery in Harcourt Street, of which he became director, and he gave to that gallery a great number of pictures. He was appointed director of the National Gallery, and, I think, taking all those things, one with another, it seems to me that his wish was that his name should be continued in Dublin and that Dublin should profit by all that he has done. I think also that the Committee is somewhat hypocritical in the reasons they have given.

Now, what they say is that a will should not be altered. There may be some truth in that when it is the will of one individual towards another. That individual would have certain rights, and it might be a hardship to take them from him, but we will suppose that that individual, having received that donation, says to himself: "No doubt, I have a legal right, but I have also to consider the moral right." If he were an honourable man, an exceedingly honourable man, he would say: "Well, I have received this, but I hand it back to the person who has a moral right to it." Is there anybody in the world who would say that that man had not a right to do so or that he should be debarred from handing back the donation made to him? I think everybody would say that he had not only a right to hand it back but that it would be an extremely honourable thing to do. In this case it is not a donation to an individual. It is a donation to the English nation that is pleaded. Has that English nation, which exists and has life, not the same right as that individual to say: "This donation is made to me, but I do not consider that I have a moral right to it, and I will hand it back"? This Commission is trying to say that the English nation could not do what the individual can do, that they would not be entitled to say, "We will hand that back to the person for whom it was meant."

It seems to me that this is rather a test case. I never had so much belief in national honour as some people here have, but now we have an example by which this matter can be tested and put to the proof. Is the British nation going to act as an honourable man would have acted in similar circumstances or is it not? We have made every appeal we could make and we can go no further. I entirely approve of the suggestion of the Senator who said that the Gallery should be built, that the places for these pictures should be written over one by one—thirty-nine empty spaces—with the names of the pictures, and a tablet that would be somewhat of a disgrace to the nation and a public and everlasting record. So far the disgrace rests only on the Committee, so far as I know. The British nation has taken no steps and may yet redeem its honour. I hope and trust it will do so.

I cannot hope to add much to the strength of the debate which has been so ably started by Senator Brown and Senator Yeats, but I wonder how far the circumstances of this case are known to the man in the street in England. For forty years I served amongst Englishmen in the British Army, and I am able to assure you all that I have not the slightest doubt that if this matter is put to the decision of the British people the overwhelming majority will be in our favour.

The Government has taken steps in this matter during the past two years, and we are very disappointed that a decision has not been reached which would be fair in all the circumstances. I do not believe that in asking that these pictures be restored to Dublin we are asking for any favour. We are asking for what is clearly and simply a right. We have had many dealings with British Ministers, and since the setting up of the Free State the experience of us all has been that we have been met fairly on everything that has been under discussion, that there has been no attempt to treat us meanly or shabbily or to do anything other than full justice. I do think myself that the question of the Lane pictures has not been dealt with by the British Government, so far at any rate, in the way in which other problems have been dealt with by them. I think that is a pity from every point of view. I hope that they will yet deal with it in the spirit in which questions arising between the two countries must be dealt with if the advantage of both countries is to be served to the full.

Motion put and agreed to.