Today in History: Irish Government Bill 1886 (April 8, 1886)
The Irish Government Bill of 1886 was the British parliament’s first substantial attempt to create home rule for Ireland. It was introduced on April 8, 1886 by Prime Minister William Gladstone for the purpose of creating a devolved Irish assembly. The law was far from a declaration of independence: Britain retained control over all matters of policing the territory, waging war, defence, foreign treaties, international trade and the mint. The bill was introduced by Liberal Prime Minister William Gladstone, but failed to pass even in the face of Gladstone’s insistence that one day Britain would be forced to relinquish control.