HC Deb 20 August 1860 vol 160 cc1609-26

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1 (Exhibition of Banners, &c., calculated to provoke Animosity, to be a Misdemeanour).


said, he proposed to substitute for the clause as it stood the following clause, and then he thought the objections raised would be removed. He would move that Clause one be struck out:—

Amendment proposed, In page 1, line 8, to leave out from the word 'shall' to the end of the Clause, in order to add the words ' willfully do any of the acts hereinafter mentioned in such a manner as may be calculated or tend to provoke animosity between different classes of Her Majesty's subjects, and lead to a breach of the public peace, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour; that is to say, the publicly exhibiting or displaying upon any building or place, of the wilfully permitting or suffering to be publicly exhibited or displayed upon any building or place, any banner, flag, or party emblem or symbol, or the publicly meeting and parading with other persons, or the playing of any music, or discharging any cannon or firearm in any public street, road, or place.


said, he was of opinion that the new clause, as a whole, was a great improvement upon the one in the Bill, but he objected to the word "tend," as being very vague and unmeaning, and therefore he should, at the proper moment, move the omission of the words, "or tend to."


said, the word was in the old Act, and he thought they could not do better than follow the precedent which they had before them.


did not see much difference in the words proposed and the words to be left out. The playing of music in public places was to be made a misdemeanour, if it were played in such a manner as might provoke animosity. What did the words mean? He should like to know whether there was any English statute in force with such words. He believed that no such disgraceful Act could be found in the books, and therefore could not, as an Irishman, agree to the passing of this Bill for Ireland. The Bill was badly and vaguely drawn, and it contained expressions of the loosest kind. Who was to determine what the meaning of these words was? The word "Emblems," for instance, might be construed to mean the crosses affixed to Roman Catholic chapels. He thought tranquillity would not be greatly promoted in Ireland by putting down such "emblems."


agreed that the whole clause was highly objectionable, and especially that part of it which made the discharging of cannon and firearms a misdemeanour. That part of the clause was directed against the celebration of the siege of Derry. That siege lasted 105 days, and the number of original defenders of 7,000 were reduced by famine and disease to 3,000 before the siege was over. The late Lord Macaulay had expressed, in most graphic terms in his History, the result of that siege, and he hoped that the celebration of it would be always kept up. He had received a letter from a gentleman of high position in Derry, and he stated that there were no party displays or emblems used—only a red flag and a Union jack. The Bells did not ring party tunes, and if the clause were agreed to the people of Derry would feel themselves insulted, for the celebration of this siege would have to be brought to a close.


proposed that the original clause should be negatived before the discussion upon the new proviso was proceeded with.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause, put and negatived."

Question proposed, "That the proposed words be there added."


in answer to the observation of the hon. and learned Member for the King's County (Mr. Hennessy) said, that the clause was directed against "party emblems," and that there was not the least ground for supposing that crosses upon Roman Catholic chapels could come within any possible construction of the clause.


said, it was quite plain that this Bill carried out and gave good effect to the Party Processions Act, which bad been always approved of. He was surprised that the leader of the Catholic party in that House, the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Sir George Bowyer) should give such a construction to this clause as to make it apply to the cross on a Roman Catholic place of worship. The Catholics of the north were constantly exposed to the insults of the apprentice boys of Berry, who set at defiance the orders of their own Bishop when those orders were opposed to party displays. He hoped that this Bill would pass into a law, for he thought it essential to the preservation of peace in the North of Ireland.


objected to the words "as may be calculated or tend to provoke animosity." Those words, he understood, were taken from the Party Processions Act. He wished to ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether any convictions had taken place or could take place under such language. There was no such language in any English Act. A crime depended upon the intent with which it was committed. Who was to judge of "such a manner as may be calculated or tend to provoke animosity?" Any person seeing a flag on the top of a church might say it was calculated or tended to provoke animosity in his mind. Nothing could be more dangerous or absurd. The offence was in the intention of the party exhibiting the flag. He therefore proposed, in lieu of the words he had quoted, to insert,—"With the intention of provoking animosity."


said, there had been numerous convictions under the Party Processions Act. At the late assizes two sets of persons—one Protestant and the other Roman Catholic—were convicted before Mr. Justice FitzGerald at Belfast under the words "calculated or tend to provoke animosity," and sentenced to a long imprisonment, and their conviction had produced a very beneficial effect in the North of Ireland. The Party Processions Act was made perpetual with the assent of all parties, and wherever it had been enforced it had been productive of the best results.


had proposed to introduce the word "knowingly" into the clause, so that the provision should be that the Act was committed in a manner calculated "knowingly" to provoke animosity.


asked why this Bill was not expressly limited to Ireland, in the same manner as the Party Processions Act? In that Act the first clause stated distinctly that it only applied to Ireland; but the principle of this Bill was enacted in the first three clauses for the whole of the United Kingdom, and it was only by the 4th clause that England and Scotland were excepted from it.


repeated the opinion he had expressed on a former occasion, that if such a Bill were passed for England he should feel a degraded man, and he would, therefore, move the insertion of the words "in Ireland" in the first clause, which would make it perfectly clear that it was only in Ireland that such acts as these were penal.

Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, before the word "wilfully," to insert the words "in Ireland."


said, he should oppose the Amendment. If such a Bill as this were to pass for Ireland there was no reason why it should not pass for England and Scotland also. Such Bills as this only showed how imbecile the Irish Government was, and how useless it was to carry the common law into execution. Mr. Justice FitzGerald on a recent occasion had stated that the common law was sufficient. He disapproved these party celebrations as much as any one could; but such Acts as these would do more to perpetuate them than anything else. The good feelings of the gentry and a strong Government determined to carry the common law into effect would soon put down such breaches of the peace; but Bills of this sort were of no use but to display the weakness of the Government. The Secretary for Ireland said he could not govern the country without such a Bill, and perhaps he and the Government which he represented could not, but last year the country was governed without any such Bill, and there were no riots.


concurred in the sentiments just expressed by the hon. and gallant Member for Portarlington (Colonel Dunne). He (Mr. Scully) had voted against the Bill as a Coercion Bill, and because he thought it went far beyond common law, justice, and reason. He opposed the introduction of the words "in Ireland," believing that what was sauce for Ireland's goose was also sauce for England's gander. He should prefer a bad law in common with England, to a good law that was peculiar to Ireland, because he knew that the former would very soon be remedied. He believed that the common law of the land was sufficient to meet all such cases as were apprehended. He did not think this enforcement of the common law by Act of Parliament necessary if the Executive Government only did their duty. He should support the clause as it stood.


contended that the Government ought to extend the laws of England to Ireland generally. At present Ireland had not the benefit of the laws of England, but was governed by a series of by-laws passed by the Lord Lieutenant and the Irish Secretary. It would be of the greatest benefit if they swept away every statute relating to Ireland from the statute-book, and introduced generally the laws of England, and in addition abolished the Lord Lieutenancy, the Chief Secretaryship, and the Irish Attorney Generalship, and other special contrivances for keeping up a separate system of law for Ireland. He would treat Ireland, in fact, as an English county, and thought there was no necessity for inserting Ireland in the clause.


saw no objection to the insertion of those words if his hon. and learned Friend thought them desirable. He cordially agreed with all that bad been said as to the desirability of having uniform legislation for England and Ireland; but a local mischief must be mot by a local enactment. In Ireland every year they were compelled to move a large force of infantry and constabulary on account of apprehensions of a breach of the peace; and the first sign of disturbance was a display of flags from the steeples and the playing of party tunes on drums and fifes. The Party Processions Act was allowed to expire in 1845, but so much was its want felt that in the year 1850 that House unanimously re-enacted it and made it perpetual. It had now been found that that Act was defective in two or three particulars, and, at the request of Gentlemen on both sides of the House, this Bill had been brought in by the Government, and bad received the unanimous assent of the House of Lords. He could understand a proposal to repeal the Party Processions Act altogether, but he did not understand how it could be objected to remedy its admitted defects. It had been said that these evils might be put down by moral influence. He had shown how moral influence failed between 1845 and 1850. In the year 1857 the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and the Primate endeavoured by moral influence to avoid the occurrence of these disturbances, but without success; and he understood that before the recent riots the hon. Baronet, who was one of the first to ask the Government to introduce this Bill, exerted his influence in the north of Ireland to prevent the occurrence of any outrages. It therefore appeared that moral influence was not sufficient, and he spoke with knowledge when he said that many bishops and clergymen in Ireland would regard this Bill as a protection to them, and an earnest of future peace in Ireland.


said, that by his speeches, but still more by his acts, the right hon. Gentleman had placed the House in a difficulty with regard to this measure. When the Bill came down from the Lords it unquestionably did supplement the Party Processions Act; it created several new substantive offences which were clear and intelligible, and applied a remedy to an acknowledged difficulty and grievance. The right hon. Gentleman had swept away all that, and had introduced a clause which said that any person who did any act calculated to lead to a breach of the peace should be guilty of a misdemeanour. That was already the common law of Ireland, as well as of England, and therefore this enactment was surplusage. Not only, however, was it surplusage, but it tended, in a most material degree, to do that which of all things was most mischievous—to weaken the common law of the land, and, without strengthening the hands of the Government, to excite animosity in the minds of persons who might think that this legislation was directed against them. There was an elasticity about the common law which enabled it, in various ways, to catch persons whom the statute law would never reach; because, no sooner had they passed an Act of Parliament than people would, to use Mr. O'Connell's phrase, "drive a coach and six through it," and laugh at them. The clause, as it came from the Lords, was sharp and severe to an extent beyond the common law; hut the clause now proposed went not a hair's breadth further than the common law went already. He wished to ask the Attorney General for Ireland a question relative to the act of any persons who, for any purpose whatever, should march along a public road carrying a large cross before them. If that were to be regarded by the law as a "party procession" or a "party emblem" in Ireland—and he thanked God they were troubled with no such questions in England—it would be a most unfortunate construction of a statute. He should grieve to hear that there was any ground for supposing that that emblem which all Christians respected and revered would come within the legal interpretation of "party emblem."


said, that nothing could be more contrary to the wishes of the Government and, he was sure, of the House also, than that any such construction should be put upon these words as would lead to the consequences which the right hon. Member for Oxford then had indicated. But he could not conceive it possible that anybody could so construe the words "party emblem or symbol" as to make them applicable to the case supposed. By the Emancipation Act all religious processions outside the walls of places of worship were rendered illegal.


said, his question did not refer to a religious procession, but to one before which a cross was borne.


That, he apprehended, might be, or would be, a religious procession. He must say that this clause did go beyond the common law, otherwise he would not have asked the Committee to assent to it. As had been clearly and distinctly explained by the hon. and learned Member for Marylebone (Mr. E. James), any person who did an act with an intent to provoke a breach of the peace, was guilty of a misdemeanour at common law. This Bill, however, went further than that, because it applied to acts calculated to excite animosity and thus to provoke a breach of the peace, irrespective of the particular intention of the person who did them. So, also, by the Party Processions Act, an offence was constituted without reference to the intent of the parties. Consequently, the allegation in the indictment was that the persons accused did the act in a manner calculated to provoke animosities be- tween different classes of Her Majesty's subjects.


said, the intention was the essence of all crime, and a contrary principle might do for Turkey, but ought not to be tolerated in a civilized country. According to the doctrine of the Attorney General for Ireland, a man for putting his hat on one side, biting his thumb, waving his hand, or whistling a tune, without any intention of affronting another, might be prosecuted for an offence. That was going beyond any penal law that they had ever vet heard of.


had never heard so much bad constitutional law as during that discussion. The Solicitor General for England the other evening said that this Bill was declaratory of the common law. He was much surprised at that statement, but had not then an opportunity of replying to it. On the other hand, the Attorney General for Ireland told them that night—and told them truly—that the Bill went far beyond the common law; but that right hon. Gentleman had not yet distinctly explained the purport of the measure. They all thoroughly understood the Party Processions Act. If a man joined in such a procession tending to provoke a breach of the peace, he must be held responsible for his own act and that of his associates. But the sole object of the present Bill was to create an individual offence. Both the Attorney General for Ireland and the Secretary for Ireland had spoken on this subject with a vehemence almost "calculated to provoke animosity." The question had not yet been calmly and rationally discussed. This measure was all the more dangerous because it went beyond the common law. They ought to take care that they did not enact for Ireland a Bill violating the principle of the common law, and unaccompanied by proper safeguards. He was astonished to find several Gentlemen who represented Roman Catholic constituencies, and who had always resisted coercion Bills, now strongly supporting a measure that would be established as a precedent from which they would themselves perhaps be the first to suffer. This legislation was pointed against the act of any individual who might hang a flag from the window of his house during an election. Such a person would be liable to prosecution for a misdemeanour if somebody alleged that his act was calculated to excite animosity. Now this was a principle that had never yet been imported into the criminal law. It must be shown that the man intended by the act he did to commit the offence charged; and he would not consent to pass for Ireland an enactment that was unconstitutional and unjust here. He put it to the Attorney General whether by the law of England a man could be convicted constructively, and whether the jury must not be satisfied of the intention of a party to commit the offence charged? This Bill would form a most dangerous precedent, and they ought not to extend to Ireland a law they would not think of applying in this country.


admitted that the law of England had been rightly expounded by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Marylebone. It was expressed in the well-known axiom haud reus est nisi mens sit rea. Intention was the substance of every criminal offence. Now, there existed in Ireland a state of society in which, unfortunately, certain external acts have been proved by long experience to be the sure causes of results involving a breach of the public peace. No Gentleman connected with Ireland would venture to deny that there were acts in that country which when done, inasmuch as they were known to be attended by certain consequences, could not be done without a knowledge that they would lead to those consequences; and if they were committed with a knowledge that they would lead to such results, they were done with a criminal intention. In certain parts of Ireland the exhibition of an Orange flag on a certain day was sure to be attended with certain consequences. The playing of a particular tune, which for 100 years had been the symbol of strife in a particular locality, was known to lead to a disturbance of the public peace; and therefore the criminal intention was apparent. The Bill as it came down from the Lords pronounced a thing criminal because it was calculated to produce animosity, which might be a mere feeling of the mind, without being attended by any overt act; he therefore thought it desirable to provide that what was prohibited must be an act not only tending to create a feeling of animosity, but such a feeling of animosity as would lead to a breach of the peace. He thought a clause so worded, whilst laying down a rule which the state of Ireland positively required, would be in perfect conformity with the spirit of our criminal law as administered both in this country and in Ireland. These party ex- hibitions did not lead to breaches of the peace in England and Scotland; and therefore it was not necessary that this measure should be extended to those countries.


said, the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down was very different from that of the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland. He (Mr. Butt) could not conceive anything more dangerous than to withdraw the question of intention from the cognizance of the jury. If the act naturally led to a breach of the peace it was punishable by the existing law, but it was for the jury to decide whether or not it had that tendency. The Question now before the House was whether the measure should only apply to Ireland. It was said that no such practices took place in England. But he remembered the riots in Liverpool and at Stockport; and he recollected a Chief Justice trampling upon a Cardinal's hat. [An HON. MEMBER: That was only in a figure of speech.] He was glad to hear that; but he warned Roman Catholic Members that the measure might be used against them. There was no election in the south where it would not apply, and, in fact, it was a measure to put down the expression of public opinion in Ireland.


said, he wondered how so many Irish Members could rise to address the House, and indulge in mere hair-splitting while the lives of their poor Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen in the North of Ireland were at stake; for the real question at issue was, whether the members of that persuasion were, every 12th of July, to be exposed to be shot at like dogs or not, by persons calling themselves Protestants. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Malins) had told the Committee that he would feel degraded if such a clause as that under consideration were applied to England. It was all very well for the hon. and learned Gentleman, who was, in all probability, much better acquainted with the tranquil neighbourhood of Wallingford, where there were no party processions except those which accompanied him to the hustings, than with the North of Ireland, to make such a statement. If, however, the hon. and learned Gentleman knew Ireland sufficiently well, he would be aware that so surely as the 12th of July came round, breaches of the peace were committed in that country which the common law was totally unable to restrain, and which it never had succeeded in preventing. He was not, of course, speaking of Ireland generally—to which he denied that there was any necessity that the Bill should be made applicable—but of the northern portion of it, and he should therefore suggest that for the words "in Ireland," the words "in Ulster" should be substituted, thus confining the operation of the measure to that province in which alone it was needed. To trust to the moral feeling of the better classes there, as had been suggested, to put an end to the party strifes by which it was disgraced, was, he contended, idle, inasmuch as those occurrences were but too often countenanced by those very classes themselves. No one who had not been in that part of the country, as he had been, could be aware how like infuriated animals, men became on such occasions as those to which he was alluding, when no person's life was safe if he attempted to show his face out of doors, or presumed to interfere with the processions. The hon. and learned Member for Marylebone seemed to think that the Attorney General and the Secretary for Ireland had displayed great vehemence in speaking on the subject; but he must say that the vehemence appeared to be rather on the side of the hon. and learned Gentleman himself, who, no doubt, thought he had got hold of a good thing when he fixed on a clause dealing with party songs and tunes. Now he would ask the hon. and learned Gentleman, who he knew had an ear for music, whether he had ever heard of a tune called "Croppies, lie down?" [Mr. JAMES intimated that he knew the tune.] But the hon. and learned Gentleman was not, perhaps; aware that when played in the North of Ireland, it was but too frequently accompanied by bloodshed. He was annoyed, therefore, to hear hon. Members from Ireland of constitutional leanings splitting hairs about a clause, the rejection of which, through their exertions, would tend to place the peace of Ireland and the lives of Roman Catholics in Ulster in a position of periodical peril. The Roman Catholic Members who did not give their support to the Bill would, in his opinion, be guilty of a grave dereliction of duty, inasmuch as they would thereby be deserting the cause of their co-religionists, who were already but too much oppressed by a rampant party in the North of Ireland. It was very likely that the clause that came down from the Lords was the best, inasmuch as it enacted that specific propositions were crimes; but he had every confidence that the law officers of the Crown in Ireland had no inclination to strain the law, and he should not, therefore, oppose the clause now proposed.


said, that to those who knew nothing of the North of Ireland, the language which the hon. Gentleman, who had just spoken, had used with respect to it, might appear to be merited; but that in the case of those who were acquainted with that part of the United Kingdom, the accusations they had just heard against the gentry there were absurd. The audacity of the language was lost in the absurdity of the charges which it conveyed. The speeches which had been made by the legal Members of the House, by whom the hon. Gentleman had been preceded, ought, he thought, to prove to the Government that they were running a most dangerous course in endeavouring to pass into a law the measure under consideration; so far from removing occasions of religious animosity, it was a measure which he firmly believed would do more to perpetuate the animosities which it was intended to extinguish, than any number of flags hung on church spires every day in the year could effect. It had not been attempted to be shown that the existing law had failed, or that a single riot had been caused by the display of party flags on a church steeple. The Government sought, by means of the Bill, to put an end to the exhibition of party symbols; but were they, he should like to know, aware that the cross was regarded, to a certain degree, by many Protestants in Ireland as a party symbol ["No, no!"] and the sign of an idolatrous worship? [Mr. OSBORNE: It must be in Ulster.] Now, if the present Bill were passed, it would be looked upon by the Roman Catholics of Ireland in the light of a triumph, notwithstanding the honourable opposition which had been made to it by some Roman Catholic Members, on the ground that it was a measure at once tyrannical and unconstitutional. The Government, in short, asked the House, in calling upon it to assent to such a Bill, to legislate not so much for the protection of life and property, as for the purpose of shielding Roman Catholics from that which some of them might be disposed to look upon as an insult; and if Parliament were to proceed in that course of legislation, where, he should like to know, was the line to be drawn? Who could say what might not be considered an insult? Why, the next thing of which the Roman Catholics would demand the prohibitior, upon the plea that it was an insult to them, would be the attendance of Protestants at church—thus going on from grievance to grievance, until at length they would declaim against the very existence of a Protestant Church in Ireland. But if concessions were to be made to one party in that country, similar concessions could not, in all fairness, be refused to another; and an appeal might be made to the Government to restrain the language used by Judges of Assize, or to put an end to the officious interference of a quasi-Protestant Bishop, who attempted illegally to prevent the commemoration of the defence of Londonderry, one of the most heroic exploits on record. In making those observations, he must not be deemed to be an advocate of the exhibition of party symbols on the churches in Ireland. Such displays were no more necessary to the existence of the Orange Society, than was a gilt frame to the beauty of a Claude Lorraine; but he must, at the same time, protest against the course which the Government were pursuing in dealing with the subject. Before he sat down, he wished to add, in correction of a statement which he had made a few days ago, to the effect that all the officials of the Crown in the County of Fermanagh were Roman Catholics, that he had since ascertained that Mr. Brady, the Clerk of the Crown for the county, was not a member of that persuasion.


I hope the House will not be led into a discussion such as that which the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken is so well "calculated to provoke." Hon. Members not well acquainted with Ireland may, I think, easily perceive from the language which this subject has induced the hon. and gallant Gentleman to use, how it is that party symbols may produce in Ireland animosities and excitements of mind which it is extremely desirable to prevent. I may, in reply to the observations of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, be permitted to say that the Bill under our notice has not been framed with the view to give a triumph to Roman Catholics or to the members of any other persuasion, but simply for the purpose of putting an end to physical contests frequently resulting in loss of life on all sides. It is, however, contended that we ought not apply to Ireland a law, the operation of which we are not prepared to extend to England. Now, that proposition may as a general maxim be very sound; but if experience tells us that there exists a state of social antagonism in certain parts of Ireland which does not prevail in England, and that that condition of things loads in the former country to events the occurrence of which we must all deplore, surely there is no reason in saying that we ought not to apply to the one country legislation which the circumstances in which it is placed call for, because we do not, at the same time, legislate in a similar way for the other, in which no such legislation is needed. If the same state of things existed in England, we should be equally ready to apply a similar remedy. But it is because, unfortunately, there continue to be in Ireland the remnants of ancient disputes and antagonisms that, for the purpose of preventing the annual recurrence of these lamentable scenes, we propose to the House to apply to that country legislation which is exceptional because the causes that produce it are exceptional. I should hope that hon. Gentlemen will not continue the controversial discussion which the speech of the hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down is calculated to give rise to, but all will agree to remedy an evil which is known to exist. That speech had reference to a discussion that took place about a month ago, in which it was stated that Orange flags bad been displayed from towers and the steeples of churches for ten days together, and that this display had produced the disputes and conflicts out of which grew the offences for which persons in great numbers are now under trial or condemnation. I should hope hon. Members will not put the question on the ground of giving a triumph to one side or the other, of setting Catholic against Orangeman, or Orangeman against Catholic; but will see that here unfortunately are dissensions which we all deeply deplore, and that this Bill is calculated to prevent those dissensions from coming to a head and from eventuating in the loss of life.


while wishing to view the question in the light in which it had. been put by the noble Lord, differed from him in opinion as to the probable results of the Bill. He did not believe that the exceptional legislation proposed would be attended with the desired effect. Party riots unquestionably took place in the North of Ireland, and blood was sometimes spilt; but the House would entertain a very false impression with regard to the province of Ulster if it received as accurate the description boldly ventured by the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Osborne), or fancied that the Roman Catholics wore so utterly helpless, and so cruelly slaughtered by the Protestants, as had been represented. The intention of the Bill might be laudable, but its tone was offensive. He suggested that its operation should he restricted to forbidding the display of flags and party emblems.


said, as a Roman Catholic, he sought no triumph in the promotion and success of this Bill, but he thought he should be deserting his duty to his coreligionists in the North of Ireland, and to those who desired to promote the peace of that part of the country, if he did not support it. The Catholic people of Ireland were tolerant; they desired to live in friendship, in peace, and in harmony, with their Protestant countrymen. But suppose the Government did not persevere in passing this measure, to whom would they give the triumph? Was it to the rational and sensible Protestants of the North? No: he ventured to say that they would give them pain and regret. Would they give a triumph to the Bishop of Derry? No, he felt they would give him pain; but they would give a triumph to those men who believed themselves a superior class to their fellow-countrymen. An hon. Member said "let the Catholics take care lest the cross be construed to be a party emblem." But almost every church built in this country, whether Protestant or Catholic, had the emblem of our common redemption upon it. It was completely absurd for Gentlemen to put forward such a miserable and flimsy pretence. The Government were told they could not remove animosity by legislation; but they could remove a cause of animosity, and a constant provocation to riot and outrage. Hon. Gentlemen rose and said, "Oh, leave it to moral influence." But was that a triumph of moral influence that there were two wretched men almost breathing their last at this moment;—that one of them was paralysed from the hips down, and that it was only by the extraordinary skill of his medical attendant that the remnant of life was still kept in him? Was it a fact that there were these insulting drummings and filings in Cookestown? Was it a fact that the Orangemen threatened to go there again, and that the Roman Catholics had determined to meet them and have a fight? Was it a fact that the stained-glass window in the chapel at Cookestown was smashed? that another chapel, ten miles off, had been burst into, and the altar smashed? These things happened throughout the month of July; and, when the month of July came round again, the same things would happen, (he same provocation would be given to outrage and bloodshed. Six weeks ago he (Mr. Maguire) had asked the Government to introduce some such measure as this, and he was not now going to degrade him; self by opposing it. Those people seemed at a particular time to go mad like the dogs. When they found such things existing in one part of Ireland, ought they not to put it down? If such things happened in Tipperary or Cork, they would have Protestant Gentleman from the North of Ireland coming down asking to have them put down. Why should those old triumphs be commemorated in this insulting manner? Let it be remembered that the Catholics had suffered enough for their loyalty to an English monarch—they fought for Charles and James, were defeated, and what had happened? They had had 100 or 150 years of penal laws. Was not that enough? It was time that the odious memory of those triumphs and persecutions should be allowed to die out. They took credit to themselves for not insulting the people of France by commemorating the triumph of Waterloo. Well, let the Orangemen imitate that example in their conduct towards their Catholic fellow-countrymen. If on the anniversary of Aughrim or the Boyne they hung out flags, must not animosity be excited among the Catholics who saw them? He asserted that the man would have the spirit of a slave or a craven if he was not ready to resent this outrage. He confessed he, for one, if a man offered him so gross an insult, would be ready to show his resentment in a manner which might make him remember it all the days of his life. He hoped the Government would strengthen their hands by this Bill.


said, it was clear, from the speech of the hon. Member for Dungarvan, that the Catholics in the north of Ireland would view the passing of this measure as a triumph. He opposed the Bill because he believed that it would not produce the results at which the Government aimed. It seemed that the memories which the flags inspired, and not the sight of the flags themselves, were offensive; but could this Bill possibly blot out such recollections as the seige of Derry, the battle of the Boyne, and Aughrim? For his own part he would rather that these flags should not be exhibited; but the attempt to impose on the Irish Protestants laws which the Government would not venture to impose in England would lead to nothing but misfortunes, irritating the people, and promoting them to resistance rather than prompting peace and good will among them. Altogether he regarded it as the most unfortunate measure for the interests of Ireland which had been introduced since he had sat in Parliament.


said, that as the hon. Member for Youghal intended to move that the Bill be extended to England, he (Mr. Malins) would persist in the Motion to introduce the word Ireland.


was at a loss to understand why the Roman Catholics should consider themselves insulted by the emblems at Derry and elsewhere, commemorative of 1688, unless they did at this day, equally with those of the same religious opinions at that period, regard those events with hostility. If so, what did the Government mean by bringing in a Bill to protect them from such so-called insults? When Guy Fawkes was exhibited in the street no Roman Catholic could reasonably regard himself as insulted, unless he sympathised with that historical personage. As to the religious views of the Roman Catholics, he entertained no hostility or apprehension. They were in every respect as much entitled to their opinions as he was to his; but to their political opinions and sympathies, as thus exposed to view in reference to 1688, he and every man who regarded that event as the settlement of our present constitution in Church and State was hound to protest; and if the Catholics of the present day so far sympathised with those of 1688 as to be insulted by allusion thereto, what further evidence was required than that they were not yet reconciled to the constitution in Church and State as then established? and what claim did this give them upon the Government to introduce a Bill nominally to consult their feelings and prevent outrage, but really to give a triumph to the principles which were repudiated by this country in 1688? This, coupled with other events daily passing around, and with the conduct of the Government in the present Session in reference to Roman Catholic questions, demanded, and he trusted would receive, the serious attention, if not of this House, of the country.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes 71; Noes 21: Majority 50.

Further Amendments to the Clause moved, and negatived.

Question put, "That Clause 1, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes 59; Noes 32: Majority 27.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 2 and 3 agreed to.


then proposed a clause limiting the operation of the Act to a period of two years.


agreed that the Act should not be made permanent, but suggested that it should remain in force for five instead of two years.


agreed to this suggestion.


thought the Bill entirely unnecessary, and objected to it on the ground that it was exceptional legislation; he therefore intended to oppose it through all its stages.


was in favour of the Attorney General's suggestion, which was agreed to.

Remaining Clauses agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.