HC Deb 23 July 1869 vol 198 cc592-651

* I owe, Mr. Speaker, the position which the Notice standing in my name occupies to the arrangements of Her Majesty's Government, because I had attached that Notice to Class III. of the Civil Service Estimates—the class in which the expenditure connected with the administration of the law in this country is proposed to be voted, and the arrangement of the business of this House connected with Supply rests with the Government. Considering the nature of this Motion, I cannot help thinking that it is somewhat appropriate that the subject of my Notice should occupy the attention of the House immediately after the House has come to an agreement with the House of Lords upon the Irish Church Bill, for the substance of my Motion portends the future of Ireland. A great measure has just passed both Houses, by which there will hereafter be no Established Protestant Church in Ireland. The Motion which I have now the honour of submitting to the House is intended for the defence of freedom of speech, particularly in the enunciation of religious opinion. I may remind the House that there is no Established Church in the United States of America. The position of the United States is in this respect, therefore, analogous to that which will be the position of Ireland. It is known, Sir, that up to the period of the late civil war in the United States there was a system of persecution—too often with the sanction of the official authority—directed against those who ventured publicly to express Protestant opinions. It was inevitable, from the nature of their religion, that these men should also be the defenders and promoters of freedom. Many of these persons were persecuted, some of them were murdered, and John Brown was executed. At whose instance were these persecutions carried on? I have ample details here, with which I shall not, however, trouble the House, but which show that it was invariably at the instance of the Roman Catholic clergy, that these persecutions were carried out by Irish Roman Catholic mobs, at the instance of the Roman Catholic clergy, with the late Archbishop Hughes at their head. I am fully alive, Sir, to the difficulty of the task I undertake, but I believe, in proposing this Motion, that I have the same right of reply as you sanctioned lately in the case of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie), when he brought before this House a Motion with respect to some abuses which he conceived to have taken place in the Coventry Election. The Motion which I now propose impugns the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department in relation to the directions which he has issued through the Law Officers of the Crown or with their advice, for the exercise of certain powers which, by Act of Parliament, comes within the province of his Office. Mine, Sir, is no light undertaking, and considering that I have been a justice of the peace for nearly thirty years in the county of Middlesex, and the City of Westminster, it is a task which I would not lightly undertake. I have lately presented a Petition to this House from a meeting that was held in St. James's Hall. At that meeting I presided, at the request of the secretaries and other persons connected with various Protestant bodies existing in this metropolis. I was present during the whole of the proceedings, but I did not attach my signature to the Petition as chairman, because that would not have been conformable with the usages of this House. Their meeting was attended by never less than 1,000 persons; when the meeting was fullest, about 1,300 or 1,400 were present. There is a very singular circumstance connected with that meeting. No full or fair account of it has appeared in any of the daily papers. I saw the reporters before me. I saw them taking notes; but in The Times there did not appear one word with reference to this meeting, whilst the notice in the Standard contained little more than a list of the principal persons present. It really seems to me to be rather extraordinary that a meeting such as this should have been ignored by the public press to the extent that it was. Hon. Member are aware, however, that a full report of the proceedings at this meeting has been published, and I believe it has been placed in their hands. That publication arose from the circumstance that I would not consent to preside at a meeting for such an object without having a competent reporter present, in order that I might be able to testify to this House that nothing occurred at this meeting of which I, as chairman, might have any reason to be ashamed. I now proceed to the subject-matter of that meeting. It has been stated that the meeting was called for one purpose, and one purpose only— namely, to defend or promote the interests of Mr. Murphy, the Protestant lecturer. Sir, if that had been the object of the meeting I should not have taken the chair, and my hon. Friend the Member for East Lancashire (Mr. Holt), and my hon. Friend the Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Joshua Fielden) would certainly not have attended; for we are not prepared to accept the title of "Murphyites" in any sense whatever. But, Sir, it is always necessary, in order to illustrate the infraction of a principle, that some individual ease of grievance should be brought forward, and it must be clear to every hon. Member, who bears in mind what has occurred with respect to this person Murphy in this House, that his case could not be ignored by anyone who believes that the right of free discussion has been violated in his person. I know very well the danger of alluding to individuals. Three or four years ago I brought under the notice of the House a Motion with respect to the conventual and monastic establishments of this country, and moved for a Committee to inquire whether there was not occasion for some inspection of these institutions. It happened that in the Session preceding I had made a Motion in a matter connected with the death, the disposition of the property, and the circumstances attendant on the burial of a Mr. Hutchinson, of whose property the late Father Faber, the head of the Oratorians, became possessed. This person, Mr. Hutchinson, died in the house belonging to the Oratorians at Brompton, and a relative of his, a Mr. Smee, petitioned this House with reference to the circumstances connected with the death of his relative and with respect to his funeral. When my Motion came on the next Session—in 1865—it happened that this Mr. Smee, who is the medical officer of the Bank of England, chose—without my knowledge—to write a letter to the Duchess of Norfolk with reference to one of her daughters, who was in a convent in France. I never heard anything about this letter until I received a printed copy of it, and found that it had been circulated. I deprecated that letter. I thought it in bad taste, and did all I could to prevent its circulation; but when my Motion for the consideration of the conventual question was before the House, up got three or four Roman Catholic Members in succession, who delivered themselves strongly against Mr. Smee and his letter, and endeavoured to connect me with it, although I had done all I could to stop its circulation. Some of my Friends were thus deluded into the belief I had something to do with it, just when they were entering the House to support my Motion; and under this they said delusion, it was a "blackguard business," and, although they had come down with the intention of voting for my Motion, they went away without voting at all. It is very probable that, in reference to the case, which I am now about to bring before the House, it will be said, that there is nothing in it but Mr. Murphy, and that I am come here for the purpose of setting Mr. Murphy up against the Secretary of State. Sir, if I thought I held a brief for any such purpose I would abandon it at once. But such is not the object of my Motion; and, in illustration of it, I think I cannot do better than read to the House a letter that was addressed to me by Mr. Roebuck, whose absence from this House I consider one of the greatest losses we have suffered during the late elections. I have been for twenty-six years in this House with Mr. Roebuck; he had been thirty-five years a Member of the House; and I know no one who, as a Member of the House—though I was opposed to him for many years, and we sat on opposite sides of the House—did more to elevate the character of this Assembly. What, then, does Mr. Roebuck say in reference to this matter? He was unable to attend the meeting in St. James's Hall, but he addressed the following letter to me as chairman of that meeting:— My dear Sir,—For the reasons I stated to you when we met, I shall not be able to attend your meeting. I am, indeed, sorry that this should be so, as I heartily concur with you in thinking that such a meeting is much needed under present circumstances, and that, if it be properly conducted, good—aye, much good—may result from it. As I understand you, the meeting has been called to express disapprobation of certain acts of the Home Secretary, which you believe to be—some of them illegal—all unjust and alarming, and forming mischievous precedents for the future, In this opinion of yours I concur; and I am the more alarmed, first, because the Home Secretary bears a high character for probity, kindness, and intelligence; and, secondly, because the arguments he uses to justify and palliate his conduct are just those plausible pretences which have always been employed to defend and excuse the beginnings of tyranny and oppression. Tyranny has not seldom begun in breaches of the law, which, though acknowledged to be breaches of the law, have been sought to be justified by necessity. Salus populi suprema lex is a favourite and convenient phrase upon such occasions. By it the first attacks on freedom are supposed to be justified, and the excuse accepted. But this is a step in the direction of illegality and despotism; another step soon follows; and by degrees, and these not slow degrees, freedom and safety are undermined, and despotism usurps the place of law and justice; certainty and security disappear; alarm, jealousy, and suspicion take possession of the public mind. Careless and confiding people will deem these fears frivolous and uncalled for. But if these consequences do not follow such proceedings as those of which we are speaking, it will be because the nation is watchful, and resents and marks with disapprobation these first hasty and unstates-manlike deviations from the frank, loyal, straightforward course of a Constitutional Minister. By what I have said here, do not suppose that I am defending the conduct of Mr. Murphy. Of his doings, indeed, I can give no opinion, not knowing what he has done. I had learned by the papers that his speeches have not seldom been followed by violence and tumult. Mr. Murphy, it appears, has undertaken the task of explaining his own opinions of the Catholic religion, and of the conduct of some of its professors. As his views are unfavourable to that which he undertakes to de-scribe, I can easily understand that his sayings are very disagreeable to Catholics generally. But though he may be rude of speech (I do not say that he is so), still there is no justification for a violent personal assault upon him—neither is it an excuse for that breach of the law by which it was attempted to silence him. For my own part, I very much dislike acrimonious religious discussion, and I frankly own I can sympathize with those who feel disgust and shame, when they hear of such scenes as are said to have taken place on the occasion of Mr. Murphy's lectures. This, however, is just the state of mind in which a powerful Minister should be most careful of his conduct and jealous of himself. I have no doubt but that Mr. Bruce thought Mr. Murphy a pestilent agitator. ["Hear."] Well, that seems to be the opinion of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Mr. Roebuck proceeds to say:— That, too, I suspect, was the state of mind of Leo X., when he thought of Luther. I know that I here am comparing small things with great, but the comparison is apt, and renders us all a very useful lesson. One observation more, and I have done. It may be said, that in the case of shutting up the lecture-rooms of Mr. Murphy and preventing his meetings no law was broken, as an old obsolete despotic law sanctioned the proceedings. This is true. But the acting upon this obsolete law was in reality a breach of the law, as it has been acted upon ever since the now obsolete law was passed: The law was passed in time of great danger and alarm, and has always by that party to which Mr. Bruce belongs been deemed a gross violation of constitutional freedom. And it must surprise and strike every thoughtful man, that in these palmy days of liberality, when we have a Prime Minister who is par excellence a Liberal, that despotic law of a Minister should be dug up from the grave, to which public prudence, shame, and indignation had assigned it, for the purpose of silencing a speaker whom you could not or would not answer.—I am, dear Sir, yours very truly, J. A. ROEBUCK. Now, Sir, it does strike me as very singular, that a Liberal Home Secretary should have availed himself of this law, the 9 & 10 Vict., c. 33, which contains the substance of the Act of 1795, though limited in its operation to such cases as the Law Officers of the Crown will undertake. Mr. Fox and every Liberal of his day denounced, the restrictions upon freedom of discussion, or rather of lecturing, which the statute of 1795 imposed; all those who inherit Mr. Fox's opinions have declared that this statute had been very properly consigned to oblivion. I believe they would have repealed this statute long since had it been remembered by these Liberals. By whom was that Act of 1795 modified? By whom was the administration of it limited to the Government? By the late Mr. Buncombe, a man of undoubted Liberal principles, an adherent of the opinions of Mr. Fox. But what has occurred! The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department has declared, that recently there has been an emergency. He seemed, indeed, to imagine that there was a parallel between some emergency which the riots that attended some of Murphy's lectures had created, and the circumstances which preceded the passing of the Act of 1795. What, Sir, were the circumstances of that period? It occurred about two years and a-half after the King of France had been beheaded; about two years after the commencement of the Reign of Terror in France; and when the principles of the French Revolution had obtained considerable hold, not only among the Roman Catholics but among the Presbyterians of Ireland. In those days there was a real rebellion brewing in Ireland; England herself was in a most unsafe position. Really dangerous opinions were propagated throughout the country in lecture-halls, and infected the minds of the people, who were subjected to a heavy pressure by the circumstances occasioned by the external war then raging, and by the seasons, which were unfavourable. Some of the English people, stimulated by foreign agents, gave way to disloyalty, and George III, when coming down to the House of Lords to open Parliament, was fired at in his carriage. Under these circumstances was it that the Act of 1795 was passed, simultaneously with an Act for the protection of the Crown and person of His Majesty. Will the right hon. Gentleman say that there is any parallel between the circumstances of last year, between the emergency which he supposes to have lately existed, and the emergency which induced Mr. Pitt to pass this law?—notwith- standing which emergency Mr. Fox and the party with whom the right hon. Gentleman is now supposed to be connected denounced the measure as an act of tyranny? But these are not the whole of the circumstances of the case. And here, Sir, permit me to observe that I speak in disparagement of the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman. with regret; for there is no Member of the Government for whom, personally, I entertain a higher respect than I do for the right hon. Gentleman; and I am convinced that some very urgent pressure must have been put on the right hon. Gentleman to induce him to act as he has done. I have reason for thinking that some influence must have been used to bias his better judgment, or he would never have recourse to this obsolete Act for the suppression of—what? Of sedition! Will any man come forward and produce in this House the record of any lecture ever delivered by Mr. Murphy in the sense of the lectures against the dissemination of which this Act was originally directed? Will any man in this House, or elsewhere, produce proof that, whatever this man's imperfections in other respects may be, he was ever guilty of sedition? And yet the Preamble of this statute, which has been used against Mr. Murphy and his lectures, declares that it is an Act to be applied only against seditious, nay, treasonable meetings. A Question was put to the right hon. Gentleman in this House by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun) this Session, inquiring whether it was true that the right hon. Gentleman, as Home Secretary, had ordered the closing of these lecture-halls, or rather had authorized the virtual closing of them against Mr. Murphy and his audiences; for it rested with him only to authorize the local authorities to threaten the infliction of a fine of £100 upon any owner of a hall who opened it, and the infliction of a fine of £10, I think, upon any person who might attend the lecture therein; and this, mind you, in some cases, without any sworn information of an apprehended riot. Well, the right hon. Gentleman, in answering this Question, spoke of Mr. Murphy as "delivering one of his inflammatory lectures at Tynemouth, and the result was much violence and some bloodshed." One might have supposed that it was one of those lectures which were delivered in 1795. But no; it was a Protestant lecture, and that was the offence! Then the right hon. Gentleman said— That being so, I did not hesitate to put in force an Act which I quite admit is one only to be used in extreme cases."—[3 Hansard, cxcv. 759.] What are we to consider an "extreme case?" It seems that the right hon. Gentleman considers it an "extreme case" when a lecture is delivered in a hall with closed doors — a lecture, the substance of which may be distasteful to some persons, who need not enter the hall, who have no business in that hall, if they do not like the announced substance of the lecture. Is that to be considered an "extreme case?" The right hon. Gentleman then went on to say— The case here was one which, in my opinion, justified its application—that of the Statute 9 & 10 Victoria, Here is a man, who, for no good purpose whatever, goes about exciting the peaceful inhabitants of these towns in such a way as to lead to acts of violence, creating dissension and disorder wherever he appears; and as long as there are means of repression known to the law"— These words have been taken as of peculiar signification, and I beg attention to them— as long as there are means of repression known to the law, I think it is the duty of those charged with the preservation of the peace to use them. It was therefore under my directions and on my responsibility that the Mayor of Tynemouth made known that all persons attending these lectures would be liable to a penalty."—[Ibid.] Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has undertaken to say that these Protestant lectures do no good; and that may be his opinion. But there is no such definition as that in law. If there were, the substance of these lectures would be actionable; but there has never yet been an attempt made to prosecute this Mr. Murphy for anything he has uttered. Then, again, when this man had been arrested in Birmingham, the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Greene), who has written to me — but I fear he will reach town too late for this Morning's Sitting—put a Question with respect to the arrest of Mr. Murphy at Birmingham to the right hon. Gentleman, who, in reply, said— Murphy was arrested, bail was taken for him, and he appeared before the magistrates, who dismissed the case. No information was laid, and consequently none could be produced."—[3 Hansard, cvcvii. 411.] I did not know, and it was not known in Birmingham, with certainty, that there was no information, until the right hon. Gentleman declared there was none. None was produced before the magistrate. There was a charge on the police sheet of an intention on the part of Mr. Murphy to disturb the town's meeting, which he desired to attend; but no attempt was made to support that charge. The stipendiary magistrate asked whether or not there was a sworn informa- tion; and the right hon. Gentleman informed us that there was none. He then proceeded to say— He had been unable to discover that the Mayor of Birmingham acted under any Act of Parliament or had legal sanction for what he did; he appeared to have acted on the basis of Salus populi suprema lex, and to have undergone some considerable personal hazard for the purpose of averting a popular danger."—[Ibid.] Why, Sir, the justice of the peace who ventures to act upon the doctrine Salus populi suprema lex, and to arrest a person against whom there is no sworn information ought to have under his personal view the danger of an insurrection or riot, and that the person he arrests is promoting that riot. I have had to act as a magistrate in very tumultuous times. During the year 1842 I was acting in the presence of mobs, amounting to 5,000 and 6,000, and many of them strangers to the locality; I knew that I could not order the arrest of any person in them, unless I myself saw and was prepared to swear that there was immediate danger of a breach of the peace, owing to the presence and action of such person. Now, there was nothing of the sort at Birmingham. The arrest of Murphy was contemplated some days before. And what happened? Before this man could enter the Town Hall—though he was a rate-payer and had a ticket for the meeting—he was arrested in the lobby by an order, which, it appears, came from the Mayor. What right had the Mayor to assume that there was danger of a breach of the peace in the meeting from the presence of this man, who had never entered the meeting? This arrest constitutes an act which I should not have supposed the right hon. Gentleman would think of justifying by quoting the maxim Salus populi suprema lex. That is a maxim which has been used to cover acts of tyranny of the blackest dye. This is a kind of language which the Home Secretary ought to be very careful in using, when he knows that his words go forth with authority to officials who are not deeply versed in the law, many of whom have had little experience in dealing with assemblies which they may mistakenly consider to be illegal. I do not deny there was a great disturbance in the Town Hall at Birmingham; but I believe that this arrest of Mr. Murphy aggravated, if it did not create, that disturbance. This arrest virtually excluded a considerable num- ber of persons from the Hall, and created in the minds of others a sense of oppression on the one side, and of undue favour and of exultation on the other. There never was such a scene in the Town Hall at Birmingham as took place on that occasion. The meeting had been called in support of the measure which the House has just passed relating to the Irish Church. At that meeting a letter was road from the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, upon which I will only say that the expressions it contained with regard to the House of Lords and their functions were not analogous to those which have to-day fallen from the Prime Minister. Sir, that letter was of itself quite sufficient to excite a breach of the peace; but Mr. Murphy was not the author of that letter. He was not even in the hall. He was only in the lobby, and the Mayor could not possibly have known what would be the effect of his presence. Mr. Murphy was not seen there, and the Mayor could have formed no judgment by personal view of his conduct on the occasion. I should not have thought that the Mayor would have been alarmed at the entrance of any person into the Town Hall of Birmingham whilst he occupied the chair. But the Mayor of Birmingham acting upon the timid policy which has been recommended by the Home Secretary, but in the sense of Salus populi suprema lex, ordered Mr. Murphy to be locked up, from the fear that he would come into a town's meeting of which his Worship was the chairman! Such conduct on the part of a municipal officer, however, is not after all so surprising as that the Home Secretary, in his place in Parliament, should quote such a maxim as this in justification of conduct, that I cannot think either wise or lawful. This person, Mr. Murphy, was I understand, at the meeting to which I have referred, and over which I presided. He sat I believe, behind me somewhere, but he took no part in the proceedings, and to this hour I do not know the man by sight. Now, that which particularly concerns this House is, what has been the conduct of other Home Secretaries in analogous cases? Have we any precedent in the action of other Home Secretaries for such an extraordinary stretch of power; any precedent for this extraordinary departure from the usual rules of constitu- tional law, which guard the right of freedom of speech, freedom of meeting, and freedom of discussion? It does happen that the case of this person has been frequently brought before the notice of this House. In the year 1867, this person, who is now a resident in Birmingham, desired to deliver some lectures there and to hold religious services; and there was a great deal of opposition, to his doing so. His friends erected a temporary building for his accommodation. But on the Sunday morning, when he and his friends were going for the first time to use this structure for Divine worship, they were attacked in the streets and assaulted by an organized Roman Catholic mob, and, in anticipation of this, some of the Roman Catholic priests, it appears, manifested their discretion by closing their chapels. Mr. Murphy was attacked. His friends, too, were wounded on that Sunday morning. When the matter came to my knowledge, I went to the President of the Board of Trade and asked him if he knew anything about it; but he said he knew nothing. A friend of mine, in whom I could place reliance, then went down to Birmingham, and reported to me by letter what was the commencement of that disturbance; I have found that his report was perfectly accurate. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) was Home Secretary; and a Question was put to him by the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonial Department (Mr. Monsell) upon the subject. It was a leading Question, leading up to some such conduct as has been unhappily pursued by the right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary of State. And what did the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) answer? He said— No legal proceedings could, however, be taken in respect of the language which had been used, because it would not of itself necessarily lead to a breach of the peace; but he could not say how much he regretted that such language had been used."—[3 Hansard, clxxxviii. 88.] This was an attempt on the part of the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies to induce the late Home Secretary to admit that there was danger to the public peace; and that was the reply he got. This took place in this House on the 19th of June, 1867. Again, on the 20th of June, 1867, being the day after the Question had been put to the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) put a Question, and the reply, which I take from Hansard, was in these terms. The right hon. Gentleman said— I do not think, that he (Mr. Murphy) is deprived—I do not think that anything I have said could justify the inference that he is to be deprived of the right of protection in a place built by him and others for the purposes of these lectures; because the words were not criminal words in themselves, or words that could be legally taken notice of."— [Ibid. 175.] We find, too, that on the 3rd of July, 1867, in answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough, the late Home Secretary said— The other question was as to any steps which might be taken with respect to the discourses delivered at Birmingham. Upon that point he said he did not think that there were any grounds for criminal proceedings."—[Ibid. 925.] Subsequently, on the 15th of May, 1868, a Question was put to the right hon. Gentleman by a person who was then a Member of this House, Mr. Rearden. We all remember Mr. Rearden—who was supposed to be a man of very advanced opinions— Mr. Rearden said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether it be his intention to introduce a Bill this Session for the purpose of preventing lectures upon the religious profession of faith of any of Her Majesty's subjects in any part of the United Kingdom, except in Churches and Chapels licensed for that purpose, and during Divine Service in such Churches and Chapels, without first submitting a copy of such lecture for the approval, revision, and consent of the Secretary of State for the Home Department? Such was the suggestion made in the form of a Question by Mr. Rearden. To this the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hardy) answered— Sir, I have no intention of introducing such a Bill; and I must protest against adding to the duties of Secretary of State for the Home Department the approval or revision of lectures upon religious subjects."—[3 Hansard, cxcii. 346.] The present Home Secretary does not appear to have undertaken the consideration or revision of Mr. Murphy's lectures. What he has done was to go beforehand and stop the mouth of a person not in the act of delivering a lecture, but who, as he has said, he feared would deliver an irritating lecture. Sir, the contrast between the conduct of the late Home Secretary and that of the right hon. Gentleman who has succeeded him with regard to this matter of freedom of discussion is very marked. But it does not stop here. What we have now to do with is the question of personal freedom. Some riots had occurred at Ashton-under-Lyne and other places. These riots were made by Roman Catholic mobs, incited, in several instances, by Roman Catholic priests. The hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire) made a speech in this House with a view of commending the subject in the most stringent form to the attention of the late Home Secretary, and this was the reply, as I find it reported in Hansard, of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gathorne Hardy). The date is the 25th of May, 1868— Now, as I understand, the mode which is adopted by Mr. Murphy when he is going to lecture at a place is either to hire a room for the purpose, or to make use of a building which belongs to him, and to which persons are admitted by ticket. There is no analogy in such proceedings to meetings held in the open air, and I am not aware that there is any law in existence by which a person can be prevented from delivering controversial lectures, either in a room which he takes or a structure which he carries about for the purpose. The hon. Member (Mr. Maguire) said he should be averse from any interference with free discussion; but I am afraid, unless you were to impose a limit with regard to the language used, which would be found intolerable, you must rely, under the present law, on the moderation of those who lecture, and on the authority of persons of influence on their side, whether in religion or politics, to make them temperate in the language they employ. I am not able to say, therefore, —and this is the point to which I would particularly call the attention of hon. Members— I am not able to say, therefore, that I contemplate any mode by which persons going to deliver controversial lectures, which in themselves are not wrong, in buildings which are their own or are hired, can be prevented from doing so."—[Ibid. 823–4.] This is a most clear and distinct declaration, and I believe it to be thoroughly sound in law. I will assign my reasons for thinking so hereafter. Again, on the 29th of May, 1868, in answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) said— Everyone, so long as he did not commit a breach of the peace, being entitled to the protection of the law. As regards controversy, no one would protect its freedom in religion and politics more thoroughly than I would do so. I think every man has a right to put forward his own creed, and to support it with such arguments as he may think proper; but I do not think it advisable to put forth inflammatory placards, containing language calculated to provoke a breach of the peace—language insulting, and no doubt, in many instances, meant to be insulting, to people professing other creeds."—[Ibid. 1094.] Now, Sir, I adduce these extracts, because I heard the answers myself, and it was in consequence of my having watched the effect of these answers upon the late House of Commons, and the approbation with which they were received by the House, which induced me to feel extreme surprise when I heard the reply of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department to the question of the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Greene). I then conceived that it would be my duty to bring the matter under the notice of the i House. I have consulted with no mean authorities on constitutional law. I have already laid before the House the opinion of Mr. Roebuck, and I might state the opinions of other lawyers; but Mr. Roebuck is a Queen's Counsel, and all whom I have consulted agree that the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, in using this Act of the 9 & 10 Vict, for the suppression of these lectures, is not only the perversion of an Act of Parliament, but is virtually, if not literally, an infraction of the law. I cannot believe, indeed, that the Colleagues of the right hon. Gentleman are not conscious in some degree of the accuracy of what I say. For it is a significant fact that when the Newspaper Bill went up to the House of Lords it was found to contain a clause for the re-peal of this very statute. I say this on the authority of Lord Cairns, the late Lord Chancellor, who expressed his surprise that this House should have seemed to countenance the exercise of arbitrary power under this Act, and that the Ministry, who had sanctioned the exercise by their officials of this arbitrary power should, within four days of doing so, have introduced a Bill for the repeal of the very statute under which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had been acting. This led to some discussion in the House of Lords, and the present Lord Chancellor endeavoured to apologize for the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman; and a very lame apology, I am sorry to say, it was. Because, whether it was right or wrong to use this statute; whether it was a law that was properly applicable to the circumstances; whether the emergency was sufficient to justify the use of such a law, and whether the lecturer, Murphy, could be considered guilty of sedition or not, this at least is clear, that if it were a law, and a useful law, it ought to have been preserved for the use of other Home Secretaries. But what did the present Government do? They used this statute, and then immediately afterwards repealed it. I have never been a Member of any Government; but if I were, and I had Colleagues who induced me to first abuse the law and then within four days proposed to repeal that very statute under the powers of which I had acted, I should not, I think, be much inclined to submit to such treatment. This one fact seems to me enough to condemn the proceedings of the Government. Why should they propose the repeal of a law which they had just enforced, if they considered it a just law? That proposal on the part of the Government was, to my mind, a confession that the invocation of that statute was an action that they cannot justify. I wish to speak without any disrespect of the authorities at Birmingham—they seem to have been incited by this strange conduct on the part of the Government. I have been told that what occurred at Birmingham is sub judice, and, as an action for false imprisonment has been threatened, I ought not to refer to it. But, Sir, I have ascertained what is the actual position of the case. The case was brought before the stipendiary magistrate of Birmingham after Mr. Murphy had been locked up all night in a cell in the principal establishment of police. He was next morning taken before the magistrate, who happens fortunately to be a very good lawyer, Mr. Kynnersley. The first question put was—"What is the charge?" The police sheet was produced. "Charged with attempting to disturb a public meeting." Why, the man had never entered it! No wonder, then, that there was nobody to support the charge. "Where is the information?" asked the magistrate. The police said they did not know. "Then," said Mr. Kynnersley, there is no charge;" and he ordered the prisoner to be immediately liberated. As I have before remarked, the meeting at Birmingham was very tumultuous, but it could not have been so on account of Mr. Murphy's presence but rather on account of his absence. ["Oh," and "Hear!"] That, at all events, is the information given to me. His arrest produced intense irritation amongst many of his friends who were in the meeting, and a corresponding degree of exultation amongst the other party, to whom it imparted the feeling that they might do just as they pleased; and the result was that they overpowered the Mayor. They listened to the Mayor from the first with impatience, they heard Mr. Thomas Lloyd, the proposer, and they heard the seconder of the Resolution in favour of disestablishing the Irish Church; but from that moment the meeting was one continued scene of uproar and disorder. Previous to the meeting Mr. Sampson Lloyd, one of the most distinguished citizens of Birmingham, eminent in position and education, and capable of speaking in a manner of which I sincerely wish this House had an opportunity of judging, had communicated with the Mayor and. arranged that he should move an Amendment to test the opinion of the town meeting. He also sent to the Mayor the names of those who were to speak in support of the Amendment. The Mayor acceded to the arrangement, but the excitement of the audience, whether increased by the unjust arrest of Murphy or not—and I have a right to say it was an unjust arrest when no information was produced, and although a charge was entered on the police sheet no attempt was made to support it—aggravated, I think, by that unjust arrest, the meeting utterly repudiated the authority of the chairman, and for two hours there was a continuous scene of hubbub and tumult. Can it be said, that such a scene of hubbub was favourable to freedom of discussion? This tumult was caused by the mob, which afterwards attacked Mr. Murphy in the street, as they had attacked him before. It was this mob which broke the windows of the house in which he lived—it was this same mob, I say, which set the Mayor of Birmingham at defiance after he had ordered the arrest of Murphy. I have here the details and a full catalogue of the attacks which have been from time to time in various localities made on this man and his friends, but I will not trouble the House with them. I find, however, in these accounts that there were Roman Catholic priests who urged their congregations to attack this person and those who were with him as well as other Protestants who attended his lectures. I have heard the details of a very questionable act committed by the stipendiary magistrate at Manchester. I have been much struck by the analogy between these attempts at the suppression of free discussion, these violent outbreaks to prevent persons from lecturing in public, and those which occurred before the civil war in the United States. The other day there was a similar occurrence in Ireland. One Sunday some Methodists met for Divine worship in a gentleman's private park, when they were attacked, outraged, wounded, and hunted from the place. In Scotland, also, there have been two cases of the like kind within the last three weeks— one at Dundee and the other at Glasgow. Judging by what has happened in Ireland, and what has happened in the United States, I have no hesitation in declaring, that if encouragement is given to this system of outrage by Roman Catholic mobs—if these matters are allowed to grow, we shall have to do just what our American cousins did—turn out and put them down ourselves. If the authorities will not stay a riot, then the inhabitants of the neighbourhood have a right to take the part of the persons assailed. I am lawyer enough to know that. If you see a man put in danger of his life, or suffering outrage, it is your duty as one of the Queen's lieges to protect him, and this is a duty which we should not neglect. I hope the House will forgive me for bringing this matter under its consideration, because, whether the right hon. Gentleman can justify the course he has pursued or not, I am sure the House will agree with me, that the conduct of the Government in these matters is unprecedented; that the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman in respect of this statute—or late statute, as I believe it to be by this time, and the conduct of the Government, of which he is a Member, in inducing or permitting him to abuse the power given by that very questionable law, ought to be held, to say the least of it, exceptional. Judging of the effects produced in my own district by the declarations made in this House and published upon the temper of the Roman Catholics, especially in Birmingham, and from what I hear of the probable action of civic authorities who believe that they will be supported as the Mayors of Tynemouth and other places have been supported by the right hon. Gentleman, I deem it to be my duty, though I am a Tory and the right hon. Gentleman is the Home Secretary of a Liberal Government, to submit my Motion to the House in terms of the Notice.


seconded the Motion.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "the right of free speech is one of the most important safeguards of good Government, and that attacks upon this right are, therefore, dangerous to the welfare of the State:—That the recent conduct of the Secretary of State for the Home Department in preventing free discussion of important topics was, in fact, an attack upon this great safeguard of freedom; and is, therefore, deserving of reprehension by this House:—That this conduct of the Secretary of State for the Home Department has proved especially mischievous, since it has led to breaches of the law on the part of official persons, more particularly by the Mayor of Birmingham, who caused the arrest of an innocent person for the purpose of preventing what to him was distasteful discussion,"—(Mr. Newdegate,) —instead thereof.

Question proposed, ''That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, he entirely approved of the course which had been taken by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department in reference to the matter introduced to the notice of the House by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate). With regard to the first declaration in the Resolution of the hon. Member, it was unnecessary with reference either to the Mayor and authorities of Birmingham or, he should hope, to any part of this country. The Resolution further stated that the Mayor of Birmingham had caused the arrest of an innocent person for the purpose of preventing, what to him, was a distasteful discussion. Now he (Mr. Dixon) was not present at the meeting to which the hon. Gentleman had referred, and he had had no communication with the Mayor of Birmingham on the subject; but he thought, from the knowledge he had acquired, that the hon. Gentleman was under an entire misconception as to the facts of the case. The sole object the Mayor of Birmingham had in the course he took was to prevent what seemed to him likely to lead to a disturbance of the peace. A more impartial and fair-deal- ing man as a politician, as well as a private individual, than the Mayor of Birmingham, he (Mr. Dixon) was not acquainted with. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the proceedings which had taken place at Birmingham in 1867 with reference to Mr. Murphy. The disturbances which had occurred were well known to the whole country. Mr. Murphy was known before he came to Birmingham to have caused breaches of the peace elsewhere, or, at all events, what he did and said was known to have preceded breaches of the peace which would not otherwise have occurred. It was apprehended, therefore, that the same breaches of the peace might happen in Birmingham, and what occurred was a justification. There was a breach of the peace and a riot of no small dimensions. He (Mr. Dixon) was Mayor at the time, and had to read the Riot Act in the presence of 100,000 persons. Mr. Murphy had built a place in which to deliver lectures which were highly objectionable to many persons, and. a number of Roman Catholics had thrown stones at a house occupied by one of the friends of Mr. Murphy, but he believed the main damage which ensued from the disturbance was caused by those who took Mr. Murphy's part. Not unnaturally, when Mr. Murphy made his appearance again in Birmingham, it was thought that such a firebrand appearing at a meeting called to consider the Irish Church Bill might lead to a breach of the peace. It was not till Mr. Sampson Lloyd got no to speak that the disturbance really commenced. The alleged disturbance of the meeting, in spite of the arrest, was simply an indisposition on the part of the meeting to listen to Mr. Sampson Lloyd, those present knowing well what his opinions were. He thought the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) was entirely misinformed as to what took place at this meeting, and he felt persuaded that there was an entire misapprehension as to the course taken by the Mayor of Birmingham.


expressed his satisfaction that this outrage had been brought under the attention of the House by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate). The House had now for the first time heard of '' Mr." Murphy. Formerly he was Murphy the firebrand, Murphy the agitator, and so on; but now he was treated with some little respect. Some two years ago Mr. Murphy appeared in Birmingham as a Protestant lecturer, and the hon. Member (Mr. Dixon), not content with protecting the Town Hall, set the police to prohibit, by all the influence and power of the Corporation, the use by Mr. Murphy of any other public building for the delivery of his lectures. A building, however, was erected by Mr. Murphy at his own cost, and afterwards riots of a disgraceful character ensued. Instead, however, of their being "Murphy riots," he was in no way responsible for them, because they began even before he had opened his mouth. They were got up by Roman Catholics, who were liberated from their chapels on that particular Sunday for the purpose of creating a riot; and after two or three days of saturnalia, the Superintendent of Police reported to the Mayor that but for the intervention of Mr. Murphy and the people over whom he possessed an influence, the town of Birmingham would probably have been sacked and set on fire. Therefore, those riots, originating with Roman Catholics, were suppressed by Protestants acting under the direction of Mr. Murphy. He (Mr. Whalley) had felt it to be his duty to stand by the side of Mr. Murphy before the magistrate at Birmingham, and to ask for the ground of complaint against him. He received no other answer except this—that he] (Mr. Whalley) would be held responsible if Mr. Murphy remained in the town. Be it recollected that though Mr. Murphy had been denied the use of the Town Hall, a fortnight previously Dr. Manning had been allowed to lecture in it, and had received no interruption, though he uttered many things which were calculated to excite the anger of Protestants. He (Mr. Whalley) did not suppose that the Secretary of State for the Home Department would justify a proceeding calculated to suppress freedom of discussion, on the ground that the principles advocated by Mr. Murphy were opposed to those of the Government. It was not true, as had been suggested by the right hon. Gentleman, that Mr. Murphy was a person who went about the country for seditious purposes. He had known Mr. Murphy for years, and he believed him to be honest and truthful. It was true that the newspapers of the metropolis tried to make him out to be a dangerous agitator, but it was now tolerably well known that the newspapers of the metropolis were all more or less under the influence of the Roman Catholic priesthood. It was the boast of the Weekly Register that every gentleman in the Reporters' Gallery, every writer in the newspapers, was completely under that influence. Why was Mr. Murphy to be branded as an agitator, when he never spoke a word which was not loyal and patriotic? The right hon. Gentleman had said that Mr. Murphy was going about for no good purpose; but who, he should like to know, constituted the right hon. Gentleman a judge as to what was or was not a good purpose? He did not think that the right hon. Gentleman had estimated the gravity of the question. It was not Mr. Murphy who ever created disturbances; he merely quoted from Roman Catholic books the doctrines which the Roman Catholics were bound to believe, and then came the row, then the riot. He called upon the Secretary of State to prove what he had stated— namely, that Mr. Murphy went about for no good purpose, and that any one who attended his meetings was liable to a penalty of £20.


said, he wished to ask the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) what were the expressions of which he complained as used by Dr. Manning, and which he said were usually applied by Roman Catholics to Protestants. He should also be glad to know what the hon. Member intended by the phrase, '' the Roman Catholics were let loose from their chapels."


said, Dr. Manning had called all Protestants "heathens;" and associated them with all the very worst attributes of heathenism. What he meant by saying that the Roman Catholics were '' let loose from their chapels "was that, as stated by the Inspector of Police in his official Report, the chapel 'service was not held at the usual time, being that which Mr. Murphy had advertised for the commencement of his lecture.


said, that any hon. Gentleman who addressed the House in behalf of the right of free speech had a very great advantage. In that sacred right all sides of the House were equally interested. He did not doubt that his hon. Friend who introduced this Motion was a vigilant guardian of the right, but at the same time he might be permitted to suggest that if the interference now complained of had occurred to a Roman Catholic lecturer, who had been going about inflaming the public mind, and leading to violence, destruction of property, and bloodshed, the House would not have the benefit of hearing his hon. Friend for a hour and a-half on the subject. He need not say that in the performance of his duty, as regarded Mr. Murphy, he could have but one motive—that of the preservation of the public peace. It was nothing to him whence the danger came; if the danger existed, and if he was armed with powers to prevent it, it was his duty to exercise them. Let them look at the facts of this particular case in order to see whether he had properly exercised the powers which the law gave him, he admitted, under very peculiar circumstances. Towards the end of March last he received from the Mayor of Tynemouth an announcement that Mr. Murphy had advertised a certain meeting to be held at South Shields, and that the Orangemen were going to have a procession on Easter Monday, which, in the opinion of the Mayor of Tynemouth would probably lead to violence and bloodshed, and he inquired how he should proceed. He gave him the advice of his predecessor in Office—that he should do his best by appealing to those who were about to join in the procession to abstain from doing so. He was happy to say that in that appeal the Mayor had succeeded. With respect to the meeting of Murphy, he informed the Mayor there was nothing in the common law to prevent him from holding it in private rooms, but inasmuch as danger was apprehended he advised the Mayor to have a force of special con-stables and put himself in communication with the military, in case of any serious riot, to have the means of suppressing it. All these means were taken very energetically. On the day when the meeting was held, as the Mayor had apprehended, large numbers of Irishmen were assembled—not only of those residing at South Shields, but others came in trains from several neighbouring towns, and then occurred a scene which was described by the Mayor; but the House must recollect it was not on this occasion that he had interposed in what was called an illegal manner. The first lecture of Murphy was given under these circumstances— As Mr. Murphy began his lecture, which was numerously attended, at eight o'clock, there was at that time a large crowd gathered, and at the east end of West Saville Street a large number of Irishmen were assembled. The magistrates, who had had information that an attack was threatened, had a large force of men in reserve at the police station, and were in telegraphic communication with all the military in case they should be needed. All passed off quietly till between half-past eight and a-quarter to nine o'clock, when the Irishmen, who had kept together at the east end of West Saville Street, suddenly disappeared, and immediately after a large body of Irish, 200 or 300 were seen coming up the Borough Road in military array, headed by two leaders. They were all armed—some with sticks, others with hammers—and proceeded shouting into Saville Street—' We'll kill Murphy; suppose we are hung for it,' and uttering other threats. The crowd about the door fled before them, and as there were only four policemen inside the passage leading to the Odd-Fellows' Hall, who believed that the rioters were about to break in upon the meeting, they shut and locked the front door to exclude them. As soon as the Irishmen got in front of the Hall they fell into line. Their two leaders gave a shout, and threw two large stones at the windows of the Odd-Fellows' Hall. Two or three volleys followed, which smashed in the windows, and caused great alarm to those in the interior, some of whom were struck by the missiles, and one man is reported to be somewhat seriously wounded, a large iron slug having hit him. From the outside the assembly in the hall could be heard pouring down stairs; and fortunately, the front door being locked, they could not be attacked by the exasperated Irish outside, who attempted to smash in the doors with sticks and hammers. There being an egress from the back, the large body of the assembly got into a back street and so escaped. The whole of the audience however, did not take flight, but not more than one-sixth remained, Murphy calling upon them to stand firm. The most of them made to the platform, which became crowded, and they broke up the chairs, and armed themselves with the legs and backs to receive the charge. More stones came into the room through the broken windows, but the policemen had effectually barred the entrance of the Irish from the outside, and Murphy and his supporters retained possession of the room in comparative safety. In the meantime a messenger had been sent to the police station for the reserve force, and, on arriving, headed by Mr. Superintendent Hewit, they charged the Irishmen who fled in all directions. There were three contingents of them—one coming by the steam ferry from South Shields and Jarrow, another by the ten minutes past eight train from Howden and Walker, the third men belonging to the town. That was the result of the first meeting. Murphy then went northwards, intending to address audiences in some of the principal towns of the north; but, on all occasions, he was refused permission to lecture in large places. He returned to Tynemouth, and gave notice that he intended to resume his meetings. It was known that wherever this man had gone, at Ashton, Staleybridge, Birmingham—outrages similar to those described —similar, but much worse — had occurred. In all cases the religious feelings of the Roman Catholics had been outraged, their outbreaks had led to retaliation, and from one cause or another, there had been great danger to life and destruction of property. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire asked what harm was there in going about to preach Protestant doctrines; and the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) said this man's motives were high and pure, and therefore he should not have been interfered with. He hoped both hon. Members were ignorant of the nature of this person's addresses. At first the subjects were simply theological—" The Scapular and the Blessed Virgin Mary coming down from Heaven to release Souls out of Purgatory;" "Transubstantiation and the Sacrifice of the Mass unscriptural;" "The Seven Sacraments of the Church of Rome unscriptural." The charge for attendance at these theological lectures was 2d. and 4d. Then there was also a series which this pure and simple-minded man delivered at North Shields upon "The Confessional Unmasked; Maynooth and its Teaching," the advertisement being accompanied with the notice that the lecture would be addressed to "gentlemen only, gentlemen under eighteen years of age not being admitted." He quite approved of the Juvenalian maxim— Maxima debetur pueris reverentia. But on Saturday, March 20, the subject announced was "The Confessional Unmasked "—to ladies only. On these occasions this Apostle of Truth appreciated the superior attractions of his subjects, and the charge was 6d. and 1s. Was it to be wondered that lectures on such subjects delivered in such circumstances, impeaching the morality of Catholic priests and people, should have led to proceedings which they must all deplore? On the threatened return of Murphy to South Shields he (Mr. Bruce) was again applied to by the Mayor, who apprehended similar scenes, the Irish threatening to attend in much greater numbers. Such was the state of alarm that the question was whether the Volunteers should be called out. He then found he had a weapon at his disposal, which the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) called obsolete, but which was one that the hon. Gentleman had himself assisted in forging, since he was a Member of the House when it passed. [Mr. NEWDEGATE: It was limited in its application.] The difference between the old Act and the one recently modified was that formerly anyone could lay an information against any person who lectured, even on Shaksperian subjects, whereas the powers conferred by the recent Act could not be exercised by any individual, but only by the Crown and the law. On the statement of facts laid before him he took the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, and asked them whether he should be justified in putting the Act in force. They advised him of the legality of so doing. The hon. Member had argued this case as if it were an attempt to prevent a meeting from being held, whereas the fact was that it was done to prevent the return of Murphy to a place where he had previously been the occasion of a disturbance. On receiving the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown he informed the Mayor of Tynemouth that he would be authorized under the Act to give notice to the owner of the lecture-hall that he would be liable to a penalty of £100 if the meeting was held in an unlicensed room, and that any person who attended it would be liable to a penalty of £20. The law was not put in force, for the threat was effectual. Mr. Murphy disappeared, but re-appeared in other places, where new disturbances arose. He was not there to justify the law—indeed, he admitted that it was altogether unsuitable to these times. The question, however, was whether, being responsible for the peace of the country, he would have been justified in abstaining from using the weapon which the Legislature had placed in his hands, and he could not admit that his judgment ought to have been influenced' by the fact that they were all of opinion that the law ought to be repealed. The hon. Gentleman had endeavoured to connect him with the proceedings of the Mayor of Birmingham. The Mayor had not, however, consulted him, and what the Mayor did was on his own responsibility. The answer he had given in the House, on a recent occasion, was derived from the letter of the Mayor himself. He knew that the Mayor had subjected himself to an action which he believed had since been commenced. He had expressed no approval of the conduct of the Mayor, nor did he say that it had been legal.


said, it was impossible that the Mayor of Birmingham, could have allowed a man to lecture in the Town Hall who had been causing riots in every town in the country. The only mistake made by the Mayor was in not seeing the necessity of having the informations filed before issuing his warrant. Murphy applied for the use of the Town Hall, which, could be granted for the purpose of a public meeting either by the Mayor, or by two magistrates, or by six members of the Town Council. They all refused, and Murphy could not get the use of the Town Hall. Some of the magistrates and members of the Town Council were Roman Catholics. Murphy then built what he called his Tabernacle on a piece of waste land, and the Mayor kept a large body of police and some dragoons in readiness for four days to protect Murphy against the assaults of those who were enraged by his obscene and disgusting language. The fact was that Murphy was a violent agitator, with whom reasonable men, of whatever creed, could have no sympathy.


said, the House must wish to get rid of these acrimonious ecclesiastical discussions. The reason why he and others supported the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) was not from any feeling of antagonism to the Roman Catholic religion, but because the right of free speech was involved in this question. He regretted that, on the afternoon when words of peace and conciliation had gone forth to their Roman Catholic brethren, the Secretary of State for the Home Department should have appealed to the religious prejudices both of the Catholics and the Protestants. Of course if a man went into a public place and used insulting language towards persons of other religious or political opinions, the State had a right to interfere, but he (Viscount Sandon) held that people should be free to hold meetings in closed rooms, whatever opinions they desired to express, and this freedom should be equally enjoyed whether by Protestants or Roman Catholics, by Tories or Radicals. He believed that the law of the country protected such meetings. With reference to the arrest of Mr. Murphy, he should have expected that the Minister of Justice in this country would have uttered some expression of his deep regret that the liberty of the subject had been interfered with, and he was sorry that no such expression had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman. He felt that in supporting his hon. Friend he was standing up for a great constitutional principle, which it was equally the interest of Gentlemen on the other side of the House to support. He should vote for the Motion simply on the ground of the enormous importance of freedom of speech; and because under a very democratic government there was an evident danger that in the future opinions distasteful to the majority might run the risk of being suppressed with the strong hand. Almost every opinion worth having had been the opinion of a minority at one time or other, and but for the law would doubtless have been crushed out by a triumphant majority.


took exception to the language which had been used by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) and the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley). It was hoped that the proceedings of that day would have been a message of peace to Ireland; but, after the imputations made in the course of the debate upon the Roman Catholic clergy, it seemed hopeless to expect any such result. He asked the hon. Member for Peterborough for the names of those Roman Catholic clergymen whom he had charged with inciting their parishioners to riot. Without knowing any of those rev. gentlemen, his confidence in the order to which they belonged was such as to justify him in using the strongest language in condemnation of the charge.

It being now ten minutes to Seven of the clock, debate adjourned till this day.

  1. TURNPIKES. 89 words
    1. cc620-33
    2. DEBATE RESUMED. 5,357 words
    3. cc633-51
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