HC Deb 16 February 1857 vol 144 cc702-21

said, that the rather disagreeable duty had devolved upon him of bringing before the House a Resolution for the expulsion of one of its Members—namely, Mr. Sadleir, the Member for the county of Tipperary. He did not apprehend it would be necessary for him to occupy the attention of the House at any considerable length, since an unanimous feeling had been expressed among men of all parties, that sooner or later the order for the expulsion of Mr. Sadleir must be made, and it only rested with him to satify the House that at the present period, without danger and without forming an unconstitutional precedent, he might ask the House to agree to an order for his expulsion. That the House possessed the right to expel a Member did not admit either of doubt or controversy. The right had been repeatedly exercised from an early period, either when Members had been guilty of a positive crime, or had offended against the laws or institutions of the House or had been guilty of acts tending to bring religion into discredit, or that were discreditable, or had been guilty of fraudulent practices or other acts, which showed that the particular Members were unfit to exercise the trust which their constituents had reposed in them, and that they ought not to continue to associate with the other Members of the House. There could be no doubt that this power existed, and the records of Parliament would show that it had been repeatedly exercised. The House did not in such cases proceed upon mere technical legal proof. It sometimes acted upon the conviction of the parties, but it had also acted without any such conviction and even against an acquittal. Sometimes it proceeded by its own peculiar methods to inquire into the state of facts. Sometimes it heard the Member in his place, and in other cases, where charges of fraud, or discreditable conduct, had been made openly against a Member, when he had failed when summoned to attend in his place, and when the House had been induced to believe that he had fled from justice, it proceeded without hearing him to make the order for his expulsion. He would shortly advert to the precedents which bore upon the case now under consideration, which would show that it came within the class of cases already provided for, and would not form a new precedent of its own. He would now call the attention of the House to two or three instances in which this course had been adopted. It appeared from the report of the Committee of Precedents that the earliest period at which the power of expulsion had been exercised by the House was in 1580, when Mr. Hall, one of the Members for London, was fined, imprisoned, and expelled that House for having published a book reflecting upon certain Members. In 1606, Sir C. Pigott, the then Member for Buckinghamshire, was expelled for using words of scandal and obloquy, Ill beseeming such an audience. Not pertinent to the matter in hand, and very unseasonable for the time and occasion. The House might think that a dangerous precedent, but they would not be surprised at it when he told them that it occurred in the reign of James I., and that the slanderous words were spoken of Scotland and Scotchmen. In 1620 Mr. Shephard was expelled for using profane language in debate. In 1628 Sir Edmund Sawyer was expelled without hesitation for a discreditable attempt to tamper with a witness who was about to be examined before a Committee, by telling him that he would not be examined upon oath, and he need not speak of anything that had passed between them. He would pass over the period of the Long Parliament and the contest between the Parliament and the Crown, and come to the somewhat less unconstitutional reign of Charles II., during which there were many instances of expulsion. In 1667 Mr. Ashburnham was expelled for having committed the dishonourable offence of receiving £500 for promoting the business of the French merchants. An instance occurred in 1668 which in one of its elements made a near approach to the present case. An inquiry took place before the House in reference to the naval battle which had been fought off Lowestoft in 1665, in which the Dutch were defeated by the Duke of York, the result of which was that Mr. Burchell, the Member for New Romney, was ordered to attend in his place on the following Tuesday to answer matters objected against him in relation to the miscarriage in not pursuing the Dutch fleet. He did not appear, and for his contempt of the order and not waiting the justice of the House he was expelled. Passing over several intermediate instances, he now came to the reign of William III. In 1715 Mr. Pryse was expelled, his offence being that he had refused to attend the service of the House, and having been committed into the custody of an officer had absconded. In 1720 Mr. Aislabie, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was expelled for having been concerned in the South Sea frauds. In 1722 Lord Barrington was expelled for having been concerned in a fraudulent undertaking called the Harburgh Lottery. The next precedent he should mention appeared to him to bear very much on the present case. In 1732 Mr. George Robinson, the Member for Great Marlow, was expelled. It appeared that a petition was presented from Blenheim complaining of a fraud committed on a charitable corporation for the relief of the industrious poor. The petition was referred to a Committee, which reported in the course of its proceedings that Mr. George Robinson, one of the Members, had been charged with fraudulent practices, not that the charges had been proved as to time, but that he had been charged with participation in the fraudulent practices complained of. Notice having been taken of the report in the House, George Robinson was ordered to attend on the following Tuesday. He did not attend, and the messenger having proved the service of the order at the town and country residences of the Member, and stated his belief that he had gone beyond the seas, an inquiry took place, after which, on the 3rd of April, 1732, the House came to the following resolution— That George Robinson, M. P. for Great Marlow, having been charged in Parliament with having been concerned in many indirect and fraudulent practices, and never having attended the service of the House, although required to do so, is guilty of a high contempt. That, for his said contempt, he be expelled. He called the attention of the House to the fact that in this case there was no proof of guilt, although there was every reason to believe that the person charged had fled the country in consequence of the charge. In 1810 Mr. Hunt was expelled in his absence, there being evidence that he was in France, in a letter written to the Speaker. In 1812 Mr. Benjamin Walsh was convicted of felony, but subsequently pardoned, as the facts did not bear out the charge of felony. Notwithstanding that his conviction was quashed, the House came to the conclusion that the charge of felony involved a case of fraud, and he was accordingly expelled. He had mentioned these precedents (all of which occurred previous to the year 1814, since when there had been no instance of positive expulsion) merely to show the power possessed by the House, and he would now proceed to call attention to the circumstances of this case, especially to those which distinguished its present position from the position in which it stood when it was brought under the notice of the House on the 24th of July last. About twelve months ago they were all startled by the intelligence of the miserable suicide of the Member for Sligo, and in consequence of that catastrophe inquiries were instituted which led to the discovery of the extensive frauds and crimes in which that unfortunate man had involved himself, the pressure of which, doubtless, drove him to the further crime of self-slaughter. Among the institutions injured by his acts the greatest sufferer was the Tipperary Bank, which was entirely ruined. A suit was soon instituted, and, proceedings connected with the suit having come before the Master of the Rolls in Ireland, that learned Judge, on the 4th of June, plainly indicated, not in a judgment, but in some observations from the bench, that he was of opinion that there was a sufficient case on which to found a criminal charge against James Sadleir, and that on that criminal charge he ought to be prosecuted. The charge made against James Sadleir, therefore, was not private, but open and notorious, proceeding from the bench of justice, and must have been known to him. On the same occasion the Master of the Rolls gave the persons known in the litigation as the English shareholders an opportunity of making further affidavits, for the purpose of bringing forward additional evidence of the fraud of James Sadleir, and he believed that on the 7th of June the affidavit of a person named Ginger was filed in the Court of Chancery. On Monday, the 9th of June, James Sadleir made an affidavit, in answer to that of Ginger, describing himself as of Clonacody, in the county of Tipperary, M. P., which was not sworn at the proper office in Dublin, but at Kingstown; and there was every reason to believe that when it was sworn James Sadleir was on his way out of the country, to which he had never since returned. On the 20th of June the judgment of the Master of the Rolls was delivered, in which that learned Judge, after a careful examination of the documents and evidence, came to the conclusion that those documents and that evidence established the case of fraud he had before shadowed out; he also went through several cases of fraud which had been established, and among them he mentioned the abstraction of the sum of £250,000 from the Tipperary Joint-stock Bank for his (James Sadleir's) brother's purposes, the result of which had been the ruin of that institution. Proceedings were taken immediately afterwards against James Sadleir, which resulted in a warrant being issued for his apprehension, founded upon a declaration or information upon oath. That warrant, together with the information, had been before the House since July last. On the 6th July a duplicate of that warrant was transmitted to England to be placed in the hands of the police authorities. Subsequent to the 4th of July no less than seven different warrants were issued for his apprehension. On the 18th of July bills of indictment were preferred against him at the summer assizes at Tipperary, that being the county he represented in Parliament; and these bills, charging him with several conspiracies to defraud, were found by the grand jury. Though such finding was not proof of guilt, yet the House could not forget that the duty of a grand jury was to proceed on the ground that the case, if unanswered, would warrant conviction. Looking, then, to the notoriety of the proceedings, to the fact of witnesses being examined and of bills being found by the grand jury in the county which Mr. James Sadleir represented, it did appear that the circumstances were such as left no doubt that the facts must have come to his ear. At this stage of the proceedings the Member for Sheffield, on the 21st of July, obtained an order of the House that Mr. James Sadleir should attend in his place on the third day therefrom. That order was regularly served at the residences of Mr. Sadleir, and also upon the solicitors acting for him in the litigation of the Tipperary Bank; and on the 24th of July the hon. Member brought forward his Motion for the expulsion of Mr. James Sadleir, urging the circumstances he had just adverted to as the foundation of his Motion. The Motion was supported by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University. who brought several precedents under the attention of the House, and both these Members expressed their strong opinion that upon the notoriety of the case there was sufficient ground before the House to justify it in proceeding to order the expulsion of Mr. James Sadleir. On that occasion other Members of this House took a more cautious view, though he believed there was no difference of opinion that Mr. James Sadleir must sooner or later be expelled. It was thought by many hon. Members that to proceed to expel Mr. J. Sadleir, after the lapse of only six days from the time of the bills of indictment being found, and of three days from the passing of the order for his attendance, was to run the danger of setting a precedent which was unconstitutional in its character; and which might in other times be used for a bad purpose. Accordingly the previous question having been moved, was carried. He would now proceed to state what had occurred in the mean time, which he thought would justify him in asking the House now to make the order which in July last was thought dangerous. He had told the House that proceedings had been taken against Mr. Sadleir which would result in outlawry, and he had hoped that in the course of this Session those proceedings to outlawry would have been completed. A miscalculation of the time which those proceedings would require had been made, and he found that they would not be complete until November next. He had already stated that several warrants were out for Mr. James Sadleir's apprehension, and the exertions of the authorities to execute them were unremitting; but in bringing forward this Motion, he considered it his duty to place before the House documentary evidence of this fact. The Deputy Inspector-General of constabulary stated:— I am enabled to state that in their endeavours to execute these warrants the most strenuous and reiterated, and at the same time discreet, though unsuccessful, exertions were put forth by the police; the suspected localities, not only in the county of Tipperary, but elsewhere, being watched, patrolled, or searched by night as well as day, while a special watch was kept (by a man acquainted with Mr. Sadleir's appearance, sent up from Clonmel for that purpose) both at Bray (where Mr. Sadleir lodged) and at Kingston pier, early in the month of July last, previously to which time, however, as the police ascertained, Mr. Sadleir had left that place. From all the information we have received it is considered that Mr. Sadleir has, without doubt, left the country. The county inspector of the Tipperary constabulary reported:— Searches were made on eleven different occasions on these warrants, at his own residence (Clonacody), at his father's residence, and also at the houses of those friends and relations where there was a reasonable probability of his being secreted, but without success. Since his flight from this country the cattle on the lands and the furniture of the house of Clonacody have all been disposed of, the house and demesne being now occupied by Captain R. O. Kellett. I never could trace to any authentic source Mr. Sadleir having been seen in any part of this riding since the month of June, 1856. The indictment against Mr. James Sadleir was removed to the Court of Queen's Bench in October. If, therefore, in Michaelmas term in the month of November Mr. Sadleir had surrendered, he would have had an opportunity, on application to the court, of having the charge against him tried either in the sittings in term or those after term. Again, in Hilary Term, on the 9th of January, if he had surrendered, he would have had a full opportunity of meeting the charges against him, and his case would have been tried in Hilary Term or in the sittings after that term. In addition, he must call the attention of the House to certain documents delivered that morning, containing the orders made by the Courts at Dublin, in October, December, and January last, to substitute service. The meaning of that was, that when a court of law was satisfied that the person who was to be served with process had left the country, but having some agent or person in it on whom a service of process for him would be good, it made an order substituting service. Accordingly, he found that the three superior Courts of law in Dublin had, in proceedings against Mr. James Sadleir, in which Mr. Sadleir was personally interested, made orders to substitute service, being satisfied by evidence that that person had left the country. Feeling it to be his duty to lay before the House all the information he possessed on the subject, he would read a letter he received last Friday. It was not marked ''private," and he replied to the writer that unless he heard to the contrary, it would be his duty to read the letter in his place in the House of Commons. To that reply he had received no answer. The hon. and learned Gentleman here read the letter referred to. It is as follows:— Hotel du Louvre, Rue de Rivoli, Paris, Feb. 12, 1857. Sir,—I consider it my duty to inform you that the notorious culprit James Sadleir is now in Paris, having seen him last night enter a restaurant in the Palace Royal, where I dined, and having caught my eye, he immediately withdrew. The proprietor, M. Dupuis, afterwards informed me that he dines there every day. If the Government is anxious to arrest him, by sending over persons acquainted with his personal appearance, the object can be attained. His countenance is much altered; having lost his flesh and colour, and also wearing a moustache, a considerable change has taken place. This information shall be kept secret by me until I receive your reply. I remain your obedient servant, JAMES SCULLY. J. D. FitzGerald, Esq., M. P., London. He was not acquainted with the writer of that letter, but he had been informed that he was a gentleman who recently resided in Tipperary, of great respectability, and ample fortune, and who, he believed, had been ruined and driven from the country by the disruption of the Tipperary Bank. The House might ask why the Government did not proceed at once upon that information to arrest Mr. Sadleir in Paris; but his case did not come within the extradition treaty between Great Britain and France, dated the 13th of February, 1843, and which was made law in this country by the 6 & 7 Vic. c. 75, for the crimes included therein were restricted to murder, an attempt to commit murder, forgery, and fraudulent bankruptcy. These were the only offences for which the treaty provided, so that the Government had no power to arrest Mr. Sadleir in France, or if he was arrested to demand his extradition. He (Mr. FitzGerald) had now stated all the additional circumstances which had occurred since last July. There could be no controversy that gigantic frauds had been committed by Mr. Sadlier, both with reference to the Tipperary Bank and other matters. Mr. Sadleir had been openly charged with those frauds. Mr. Sadleir was in the country when the Master of the Rolls in Ireland charged him from the bench in a suit in which he was a party with being implicated in them. He knew, or ought to know, that a Motion for his expulsion was made by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield. He was aware that warrants had been issued for his apprehension, and, knowing all these things, he had fled from the country. All efforts to arrest him were vain. He (Mr. FitzGerald) had examined the division lists of that House in order to ascertain whether upon any occasion since the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield was made Mr. Sadleir had taken part in the proceedings of the House, but his name was not to be found in those lists. Fourteen days' notice had been given of the present Motion. If he had any intention of taking any step in consequence of the Motion, he had no doubt agents and acquaintances in this country whom he could employ for the purpose of defending him and informing the House why he continued to absent himself. Under these circumstances, which were not similar to those of July last, but after writs bad been issued and bonâ fide efforts made to arrest Mr. Sadleir, and after the lapse of seven months he (Mr. FitzGerald) felt it to be his duty to ask the House to accede to the Motion for Mr. Sadleir's expulsion. He did not anticipate that the House would be unwilling to exercise the process of self-purgation. The precedents to which he had referred amply justified the House in taking that step. He believed that the unfortunate man was an outcast and a fugitive, and that he had already imposed upon himself a heavier punishment than any that could be inflicted upon him by the House, for he had doomed himself to exile for life. The House, nevertheless, had a duty to perform, and he (Mr. FitzGerald) trusted that it would unhesitatingly agree to the Motion for the expulsion of Mr. Sadleir. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, concluded by moving the Resolution.


seconded the Motion.

Motion made and Question proposed— That James Sadleir, Esq., a Member of this House, having been charged with divers frauds and fraudulent practices, and bills of indictment for certain misdemeanours having been found against him, and warrants issued for his apprehension, and the said James Sadleir having failed to obey an Order of this House that he should attend in his place on Thursday the 24th day of July last, and having fled from justice, be expelled this House.


said, he believed that there was no difference of opinion at all on this occasion, and that they would all be ready and even eager to agree to the Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman. But as they were about to add another to the list of disagreeable precedents, it should be well understood on what grounds they were proceeding, and that they should be marked out distinctly so as to be understood by those who came after them. The right hon. Gentleman had adverted to a Motion made on the 24th July last by his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Sheffield. At that time certain facts were brought forward by his hon. and learned Friend which were notorious—which, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman says, must have been perfectly well known to James Sadleir himself; and his hon. and learned Friend, quoting various precedents, many of which had been mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman that day, showed that it was not necessary at all that James Sadleir should have been convicted of any offence in order to justify the House in his expulsion. The right hon. Gentleman at that time resisted the Motion, and the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) stated that the Motion was premature, that there had been no conviction, no confession, no report of a Committee of the House; and the right hon. and learned Gentleman added, that there might be proceedings to outlawry instituted, and that after such proceedings were taken there might be something for the House to proceed upon. What was known now was known at that time. It was perfectly well known that what the Master of the Rolls in Ireland characterised as a gigantic fraud had been committed, and that James Sadleir was a party to it, there had been warrants issued for his apprehension, the inspectors of constabulary had endeavoured to apprehend him, and it appeared that he had eluded the pursuit, and had absconded. He was indicted at the assizes, true bills had been found against him. All these circumstances were well known at the time when his hon. and learned Friend brought on his Motion in which he asked the House to expel Mr. Sadleir. Besides notice was given to Mr. Sadleir to attend in his place in the House, messengers and a summons were sent after him; and his house was found to be deserted, and all the attempts that had been made to discover him had failed. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) said that the circumstances of the case were such that it would be perfectly safe for the House to decide to expel Mr. Sadleir; and this view was supported by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Napier), who brought forward a number of precedents, many of which were pressed into his service by the Attorney-General that day, although upon the former occasion he did not seem to feel the force of them. Give him (Sir Frederic Thesiger) leave to ask in what the difference of the position of things then and now consisted?—and what was it which now enabled them the better to proceed with this matter. The right hon. Gentleman, when the Motion was made in June, said that if the proceedings went on to outlawry, there would be something to go on; and the noble Lord then said there had been no conviction, no confession, no report of a Committee of the House. Had there been any conviction now? None. Had there been any confession? None, except perhaps by the flight of Sadleir. Had there been any report of a Committee of the House? None. Indeed, none was required. What, then, was the difference between the position of things then and now? The right hon. Gentleman had stated what he thought would improve the position of things, and had adverted to the attempts which had been made to arrest James Sadleir. Surely there had before been sufficient proofs that he had absconded, and that there was no chance of his being taken. What more was there? Why proceedings to outlawry, which were so dilatory that it was impossible to complete them before Michaelmas Term, in November next. Might they not now retort on the right hon. Gentleman, and say—Why not wait until the outlawry was completed? But now it was discovered that they did not need any such thing to justify the expulsion of an unworthy Member of that House. What else was there, as regarded the facts? The right hon. Gentleman had thought it necessary to communicate to the House all the facts in his possession, and he extracted from his pocket a letter from a private individual, having told him that he would use the letter, unless he heard from him forbidding it, and the right hon. Gentleman thought it discreet and prudent on the part of the Government to announce to James Sadleir that they perfectly well knew where he was, and that he was perfectly safe while here, because no extradition treaty applied to him—and the right hon. Gentleman thought this a decent exercise of duty towards the House and the Government. This was the only additional information which had been brought before the House, on which they could act, but he must say the House would have been happy to relieve the hon. and learned Gentleman from the painful necessity of imparting that information. The House was considering the proper means by which they could expel an unworthy Member, They found from the admission of the Government that there was no necessity for a conviction nor for a report of a Committee of the House, nor for a confession, nor for an outlawry, but that the facts which now appeared and which had been so powerfully brought forward by the hon. Member for Sheffield on a former occasion were quite sufficient to justify the expulsion of Sadleir. He could not, therefore, conceive on what grounds that Motion had been formerly rejected. He desired properly to understand the position of the question, as they were adding another precedent to an unfortunate list, and f that was his only reason for troubling the House, for as to the Resolution itself he did not think there could be the slightest difference of opinion on the subject.


said, that perhaps the House would pardon him for interfering; between it and the Solicitor General, when it considered the peculiar position in which it stood. He made this same Motion last July. It had through life so often been his fate to be told, "You are too soon," that he was not surprised at the proceedings of to-night, but he was surprised to hear the powerful and convincing speech of his right hon. and learned Friend (Sir F. Thesiger). He wished that speech had been delivered on the 24th of July last. [Sir F. THESIGER said he was not present.] He was sorry that he was not. He (Mr. Roebuck) was then told by his right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General (Mr. S. Wortley) that he was attempting to establish a dangerous precedent. There were some persons "who were content to dwell in decencies for ever," and he had no doubt that his right hon. Friend knew the position in which he stood, and that he was not in a position to create a dangerous precedent. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland what difference there was between existing circumstances and those in July last, except as regarded time. [Hear!] He understood that cheer. He knew whence it came. If last July the House had said to this man, "You have done that which compromises the honour of a gentleman. You have been accused by a Judge in his place. A grand jury has found a Bill against you, and you have not appeared. You have fled from justice." Saying, that would have had a great moral influence upon society; but what was the difference now? The only additions made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman were the reports from the sheriffs of various counties in Ireland who had sought for this man, and a private letter from Paris; but was there no difference in the moral effect of calling upon a man as a Member of that House to answer a charge upon its first blush, and waiting for six months and making no such demand until their myrmidons had sought and had failed to find him? After having done that, they could not say that the House of Commons was very tenacious of its honour: instead of calling upon Members upon the first blush of a charge for their appearance and answer, they gave them time to run away, and they did run away, and then Members produced a private letter to prove that they had run away. Every grave fact which had been adduced that night was known on the 24th of July last. A Judge had charged James Sadleir from the judgment seat; a grand jury had found a true Bill against him; that House had issued an order that he should appear in his place, and he did not come. Had not all these things been stated that night, and with what addition? Why, with that miserable addition to which he had alluded—the reports from the sheriffs of different counties of Ireland and a private letter. Were not these the very grounds upon which he (Mr. Roebuck) asked the House to expel this man—he would not call him gentleman—he would not call him an hon. Member? If it had been the case of a duel, he could have understood the argument of his right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General, who said perhaps—and it was curious how acute and astute lawyers were in finding out a "perhaps"—perhaps he would answer it. He (Mr. Roebuck) knew that in what were called affairs of honour—when a man was charged with an offence against the laws of his country in accordance with the laws of honour—he said, "Oh, I do not like to go to prison, but I will come and answer the charge." But there was a grave difference between such a case and that now in question. There was a charge against a man's morality:—"You have picked the pockets of thousands of poor people; you are a thief, you are a swindler; in the eyes of all honest men you are a degraded creature." Would not an honest man rush to meet such a charge? Would he go away upon the plea that he disliked a prison? Would not he seek the dungeon rather than bear the stigma of such an imputation? But, said his (Mr. Roebuck's) right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General, "Perhaps he does not like to go to prison." He (Mr. Roebuck) supposed he did not. He supposed the man to have been a thorough rogue. He charged him with being so. The charge against him was, that his honour was gone, that he was a thief and a swindler; and he would ask, what was there in this man which created in his favour such very tender sympathy on the part of the Government? The time was come when the Members of that House ought to look round and see who among them were open to such charges, and to expel all upon whom such a stigma could be fixed, A man who at the very outburst of such a charge did not rush to meet it was unworthy to be a representative, and too tender sympathy for him did not redound to the credit either of that House or of those who put it forward.


said, he would not long prevent the House from passing from this subject to one which, although not of greater importance than was the honour and dignity of that House, excited a great deal of interest at the present time; but, as he had been pointedly alluded to, and as he was the first person who suggested that delay and that caution which had been complained of by his hon. and learned Friend opposite (Sir F. Thesiger), and again by his hon. and learned Friend below him (Mr. Roebuck), he thought that it was due to the House that he should recall to its recollection that which had been kept a good deal out of sight—namely, what were really the grounds upon which this Motion was resisted in July. His hon. and learned Friend below him (Mr.Roebuck) asked what had happened since but the lapse of time. Why, the whole question which was made in July was one of time. The objection to the Motion was, that it was too soon, that it was premature, that up to that moment Mr. Sadleir had had no opportunity of vindicating himself, that on the previous Monday the House had ordered him to appear in his place on Thursday, and on that very Thursday, because he did not attend, it was proposed at once to expel him. The want of time was the very essence of the objection which was taken. He (the Solicitor General) stated at the time that he fully acceded to the doctrine that that House was not to be tied down by the necessity of a conviction, that it might, apart from mere legal technicalities, acting upon its moral conviction, but acting cautiously, proceed to the expulsion of a Member. He and those who spoke in that sense grounded their opposition upon the want of time and the premature character of the proceeding. The papers referring to the Motion had been circulated only that morning, and he urged that Members ought to have time to look over them. It was at the very end of the Session, on the 24th of July, and he certainly imagined what be had now heard from the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Sir F. Thesiger), that he could not have been present, or he would not have taken the line which he had tonight. [Sir F. THESIGER said that he had read the debates.] In point of fact, it was a period of the Session at which there were but few Members of the legal profession in their places, and that was an additional reason why the decision should have been postponed. It was now said, that there was no difference between the present time and that at which the House refused to accede to a Motion similar to that now before it. It was not his duty to vindicate the position of the House. There was no division. Even his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) did not take a division, but acquiesced in the Motion for the previous question. The ground on which he had resisted the Motion of last Session was, that the indictment was found only on the 18th of July, that the order to attend that House was made on the 21st of July, and that the House was called upon on the 24th of that very same month to take the last step of expulsion. He (the Solicitor General), under those circumstances, said that James Sadleir had not had an opportunity of receiving the order of the House; that they did not know that he did not mean to meet the charge; and that, at all events, they should not act with precipitate haste. Since that time Mr. Sadleir had been offered two opportunities of meeting the charge. His right hon. Friend the Attorney General for Ireland had made a Motion in November in the Court of Queen's Bench, when Mr. Sadleir might have appeared on his trial; and again, in the month of January, a similar opportunity was afforded to him; but he had availed himself of neither. A new Session having therefore opened, and this Member of the House not having presented himself to vindicate his character, the matter now stood in an essentially different position. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Sir F. Thesiger) seemed to consider that his right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. FitzGerald) had been guilty of some indiscretion in allowing Mr. Sadleir to know that he was safe from arrest. But the treaty to which reference had been made was no secret treaty, and no one could suppose that Mr. Sadleir's advisers were not aware of its existence, and that they had not told him that he could not go to a better, pleasanter, or safer capital than Paris. It was of the utmost importance not merely that they should be cautious in these grave proceedings, but that they should assert distinctly that it was not necessary there should be a legal conviction to justify the course about to be taken, and he trusted that the House would adopt with perfect unanimity the Resolution now proposed for the defence of its honour.


said, it was quite true that, when this question was before the House on the 24th of July, the present Solicitor General based his opposition on the ground of time. But the right hon. Gentleman, and also the noble Lord at the head of the Government, then laid down the wholly untenable doctrine, that in a case like the present there must be either a conviction, a confession, or a formal Parliamentary inquiry. But beyond that, the then Attorney General (Sir Alexander Cockburn) maintained, that there must be an outlawry, and insisted that it would be dangerous and unconstitutional to expel James Sadleir on the facts then before the House. It was of the utmost importance that they should understand the principle on which the House proceeded. It did not act upon a conviction, or an acquittal, or even a pardon. If Her Majesty were graciously pleased to pardon a man, that House, if he had behaved unworthily, would still persist in expelling him. That principle was affirmed in the case of Mr. Walsh, in 1812, and was then better laid down by a lay Member of the House than by Sir S. Romilly and the other lawyers who took part in the discussion. It was alleged that it was a rare thing to expel a man for the breach of a pecuniary trust. On this point Mr. Bankes was reported to have observed:— Among all the precedents there were none of more frequent occurrence, or which had been visited more uniformly by the just punishment of the House, than cases of fraud and notorious breach of trust in pecuniary transactions for private and undue emolument. … … And Mr. Bankes went on to maintain, therefore, that the governing principle upon which the House was called to act was the notoriety of the fact, demonstrable from papers on the table, which showed that it was a gross breach of trust, beyond the power of cavil or dispute; a case of great moral guilt would be enough. No doubt several lawyers resisted this argument, but their opinions were overruled by the majority of the. House. What was the case against James Sadleir on the 24th of July? The documents which the right hon. Gentleman had laid on the table contained a statement made by Mr. Kelly, the manager of the Tipperary Bank, to this effect:— In the early part of January, 1856, I received from James Sadleir, at the bank at Clonmel, a letter, dated London, December 30, 1855, written to him by John Sadleir, with an enclosure purporting to be a balance-sheet of the affairs of the bank to the 31st of December, 1855. James Sadleir requested me to take the letter and enclosure home and read them. I read the letter and considered the subject, and in a subsequent conversation told James Sadleir that it would be wrong to carry out the views contained in that communication. He acquiesced, and in reference to the balance-sheet observed, that it was very foolish of John Sadleir to put forward such a, document. The balance-sheet prepared in John Sadleir's handwriting was manifestly fraudulent, both as regards the paid-up capital and the assets and liabilities of the bank, and also in the profit and loss account, all of which are overstated to a vast amount. In May, 1856, I saw in print, for the first time, a copy of the balance-sheet above referred to, to which my name is attached as manager. I never put my name to the document, or sanctioned it, directly or indirectly, nor did I know of its being in existence, in print, until then. These disgraceful facts were before the House in July last, and the acknowledgment of guilt implied by flight was as strong then as now. One of the documents laid on the table was thoroughly Irish in its character. A letter to the Crown Solicitor from the Deputy Inspector General of the Constabulary, describing the commendable exertions made by the police to execute the warrants on James Sadleir, showed that "a special watch was kept (by a man acquainted with Mr. Sadleir's appearance, sent up from Clonmel for that purpose) both at Bray, where Mr. Sadleir lodged, and at Kingstown-pier, early in the month of July last." Then followed these remarkable words—"Previously to which time, however, as the police ascertained, Mr. Sadleir had left that place." This was quite correct. Mr. Sadleir had long left the place; but the police, nevertheless, kept watch on the pier, to gaze out on the sea, and enjoy the fresh air for as many days as the Attorney General directed the sham to be gone through of looking for a man whom everybody knew to have left Ireland in June. "I may add my own belief (the Crown Solicitor himself stated), and what I fancy is that of most, if not all here, that Mr. James Sadleir, M. P., is not in Ireland, and has not been in Ireland since the middle of June." These facts existed and made a strong case, when the Government resisted the Motion of the 24th of July last, on the ground that there had been no conviction, no confession, and no judgment of outlawry. As soon as the Master of the Rolls had pronounced his judgment of the 20th of June, Mr. Sadleir had the good sense to obtain legal advice as to whether or not he could be prosecuted. The answer he received to this question from one who was not a law officer of the Crown being, of course, in the affirmative, he immediately made his preliminary arrangements, and went off to Copenhagen. A letter from the Crown Solicitor to the right hon. Gentleman, dated Dublin, the 7th of February last, stated that on the 9th of July, 1856— A telegraph message was sent to you, informing you that an anonymous letter had been received by the metropolitan police here, in which the writer offered to show where Mr. James Sadleir then was if a reward would be given. You immediately, by telegraph, desired that the Under Secretary should be consulted, while you advised a liberal reward. £100 was accordingly offered, and on the 14th a stranger had an-interview with Colonel Browne. He stated, 'that Mr. James Sadleir was then under the assumed name of John Smith at Mulmoe, near Copenhagen, where he would remain for five or six days, and thence he proposed to go through France to America.' After all this it was a farce to pretend that on the 24th of July, Sadleir had not had any opportunity of appearing. Why, an order had been made by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland on the 23rd of July, in which he said that he should appoint a receiver over Sadleir's estate, as Sadleir was a fugitive from justice, and there was no reason to suppose that he would ever be made amenable to justice. That was on the 23rd, and on the 24th of July the Irish Attorney General actually stated that Sadlier had then had no opportunity of appearing! The Lord Chancellor of Ireland had at that time declared him a "fugitive from justice." The case was as clear then as it was now. There had since then been nothing to change the case, neither outlawry, nor confession, nor conviction, nor trial, nor even opportunity for trial; for though the Solicitor General, lately the Recorder of London, had stated that Sadleir might have been tried in Michaelmas Term or in Hilary Term, because the case had been removed by certiorari into the Court of Queen's Bench, that hon. and learned Gentleman ought to know that this could not be, but that the case must be sent down to the assizes at Tipperary, and no assizes had yet arrived. So that there had not yet been any opportunity of trial.


He could be tried in Dublin with the consent of the Crown.


Not without his own consent also. So that there had not yet been any opportunity of trial, and if the step now proposed to be taken was premature last Session it was so still. But it was as clear now—though not more clear than it was then—that the House ought at once to expel a Member who was a discredit to the House and a disgrace to the country.


said, that as the House appeared to be unanimous in the course it should adopt with regard to the Resolution, it was with some regret that he found that so much time had been lost in its discussion, and that an attempt was made to fix a charge of inconsistency upon the Attorney General and the Government. The objection made to the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Sheffield, on the 24th of July, was that there was no evidence to show that Mr. Sadleir had had an opportunity of relieving himself from the charges which had been brought against him. The Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, who was then Attorney General, said the Motion ought not to be agreed to unless there was a conviction on the part of the House that Mr. Sadleir had an opportunity of defending himself, and that speech had been very much misrepresented. It was urged at the time that the Government had been asked to commit themselves to a dangerous principle, which, upon a future opportunity, they might have occasion to repent. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Stamford (Sir F. Thesiger) was not in the House at that time, but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) was in his place and spoke, remarking that the worse the case appeared to be, the more careful ought they to be in giving the person accused an opportunity of being heard. The Government agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, who was one of the leading Members of his party, that ample time should be afforded, and they were under the impression that Mr. Sadleir had not had sufficient time to vindicate himself. That view of the case was concurred in by a majority of the House, the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield having been negatived without a division, and now, with perfect consistency, the Government asked the House to affirm the Resolution which had been proposed.


said, he had a distinct recollection that the ground of opposition to the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield taken both by the Attorney General for England and the Attorney General for Ireland was, that the House ought to have actual proof of the guilt of Mr. James Sadleir, either by his conviction or confession. No one could be more convinced of that now than he was in the month of July last, when the first Motion for expulsion was made. The House would have been perfectly justified then in expelling Mr. James Sadleir, but it would probably not have been so politically convenient.

Motion agreed to.

Resolved accordingly.