§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
Sir, I rise to ask for leave to bring in a Bill to disable Daniel O'Sullivan, esquire, from holding, enjoying, or taking the office of Mayor or Justice of the Peace, or any office or place of magistracy in the City of Cork, or elsewhere, in Ireland. I must say, before I make any remark to the House on this Motion, that I deeply regret that an exceptional measure of this kind should be felt to be necessary: but I think that, when I have laid before the House the statement of facts which the Government have considered of such a character as to leave them no alternative but to propose this exceptional mea- 187 sure, their conduct in doing so will meet with the approval of this House. It is right, in the first instance, to call attention to the precise position which the Mayor of the City of Cork occupies, so as to explain precisely how this measure is necessary, and how the administration of law and the peace of the city are deeply involved in its passing into law. The Mayor of Cork is, by virtue of his office under the Municipal Act, a justice of the peace of the City of Cork during his year of office, and is irremovable even by the Lord Lieutenant or by the Executive Government of this country. By virtue of his office under the Charter of the City of Cork he is entitled to be named the first Commissioner of any Commission to be executed within the county of Cork, and therefore to be associated with Her Majesty's Justices in the Commission of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery under which these Justices will sit at the ensuing Assizes for the City of Cork. Prior to the passing of the Municipal Act chartered justices were as irremovable as they are now; but there was a preliminary step by which the Executive Government of the day, under the rules of the statute of Charles II., might exercise considerable control over the persons elected to be the mayors of the corporate towns of Ireland. But all those statutes and rules were put an end to by the 3 & 4 Vict., by one of the clauses of which the election of mayor—over which the Executive has no control—is authorized, and upon his election the mayor becomes justice of the peace, first magistrate, and first commissioner of the city in which he is elected. The present Mayor of Cork, Mr. Daniel O'Sullivan, entered upon his office as mayor in the beginning of the present year, and soon afterwards, in the discharge of the ex-officio office of justice of the peace, he began to sit, as he was entitled to do, in the police court of the City of Cork. From almost the first day he sat on that Bench down to the present time, it appears, from the official Reports in the possession of the Government, that his conduct was systematically devoted to lowering the administration of the law, and bringing it into contempt, and in using abusive and insulting language towards his brother magistrates. I will not weary the House by going through these reports; but I 188 will refer to one or two expressions in the official Reports of the Government, which show the conduct of the Mayor as a magistrate of the city during the period he has been in office. He said—"I am here by the will of the people." "My opinion on this Bench is as good as the biggest Orangeman in the country." "Here in this city there is no freedom for the people. The prejudices of the other magistrates are against the people." "The administration of the law in this court has been unconstitutional." "I will apply to have all the magistrates suspended." "I should like to see the City of Cork without a single policeman." Several of these observations were followed by applause from the galleries; and the scenes in the court are stated to have baffled all description, and to have been a scandal upon the administrators of justice. With this state of things, as I have already stated, in the present condition of the law, the Government and the Executive are perfectly powerless to deal. It was possible, perhaps, for the Government to have indicted the Mayor for misdemeanour for misconduct in his office; but that is a course which, having regard to the position of the Mayor, is one which I could not recommend. The delay which must necessarily have occurred in such a proceeding would have been such that no trial could possibly be heard before the month of July, and, in all probability, not until November; and, having regard to that consideration, although I most seriously considered the matter, when I saw that the evil could not be stopped or diminished by the institution of a prosecution, and that the Mayor of Cork might insist on sitting upon the Bench, and that there were no means known to the law to prevent him from sitting, it was not thought advisable to institute a prosecution in relation to his conduct. However, on the 27th of April last, another circumstance occurred. The Mayor of Cork, as chief magistrate of that city, and charged with the preservation of the peace, and with holding out to everyone an example of law and order, presided at a banquet given in that city in honour of two discharged Fenian prisoners, called Colonel Warren and Costello. On that occasion, in the course of a speech delivered by him, the Mayor of Cork made use of the following language:— 189The Mayor, in proposing the toast of 'Our exiled countrymen,' expressed his pleasure at having had so beautifully rendered a song which reminded him of many historical incidents of his country's annals, the bravery of Irish soldiers at home and abroad, their gallantry at Cremona as well as at Limerick, whose shamefully violated treaty he believed the energy and moral force of Irishmen would yet exact the fulfilment of. He believed that a spirit of concession had been aroused on the part of the dominant race. He did not say whether it was owing to Fenianism or to the barrel placed under the prison at Clerkenwell; but he believed he paid a solemn act of justice to his own countrymen—as solemn an act of justice as if he were a high priest—when he said those noble men, Allen, Barrett, Larkin, and O'Brien, who sacrificed their lives for their country, ought to be remembered and respected as good Catholics and good patriots. (Cheers.) There was at this moment in the country a young Prince of the English nation.Then a person uttered a remark which I will not read, and another voice said, "No, he is welcome." Then the Mayor continued to say that—When that noble Irishman, O'Farrell, fired at the Prince in Australia, he was imbued with as noble and patriotic feelings as Larkin, Allen, and O'Brien were. (Great cheering, and cries of 'He was.') he believed that O'Farrell would be as highly thought of as any of the men who had sacrificed their lives for Ireland. (Loud shouts of' Bravo!') They all saw how a noble Pole had fired at the Emperor of Russia, because he thought that the Emperor was trampling upon the liberties of the people. (Cheers.) Well, O'Farrell probably was actuated by the same noble impulses when he fired at the Prince. O'Farrell was as noble an Irishman as the Pole, and as true to his country, for each was impelled by the same sentiments to do what they did. (Cheers.)I do not think that any comment on that language is necessary; but it is language uttered by the Mayor of Cork, and it becomes most essential to the administration of the law that he should not be a person associated with Her Majesty's Judges in the Commission of Assize during the ensuing summer, and that he should no longer preside over the police office as a magistrate, or be held a person fitted for the administration of the law. It is right to state that the Mayor of Cork has put in print, what has been called in "another place," an explanation of his language, and it is due to him that I should read his letter. He says—
§ "To the Editor of The Cork Examiner.
§ "Sir,—I understand that the report which has appeared in your journal of the 28th instant, of what I am alleged to have said at the Victoria Hotel, has been misconstrued. To those who know me it is unnecessary to state that I would be the last man in Ireland to justify the taking of the life of either prince or peasant. I called O'Farrell noble, not because of what he did, but 190 because I considered him to be sincere in his love for Ireland. That is, in my mind, a great virtue, and one that should endear his memory to his countrymen.—I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
§ "DANIEL O'SULLIVAN."
§ It appears to me, and I would appeal to every reasonable and fair-judging man, that this is no explanation whatever. The idea that any man having the love of his country at heart, could say that the wretched criminal who fired at the young Prince could be animated by noble motives is so revolting that I will not add another word on that subject. The Government had then to consider what course they would take. They might have directed the Attorney General to file an ex officio information in the Queen's Bench for the seditious and scandalous language of that speech; but here again they were met by another obstacle—that half-measures would not remove the difficulty and cause a cessation of the public scandal arising from the Mayor continuing in the situation of chief magistrate. But, while this matter was under consideration, a step was taken by the whole magistracy of the City of Cork, who assembled in solemn meeting, on the 1st of the present month, presided over by the Lord Lieutenant of the county—Lord Fermoy. The meeting was attended by thirty-two magistrates of all opinions and religions, and who represented every class within that city. At that meeting the following Resolution was passed:—
§ "City of Cork, May 1.
§ "At a meeting of the magistrates of the City of Cork this day, specially convened, the Right Hon. Lord Fermoy in the Chair, it was resolved unanimously that the following memorial to his Excellency be adopted, and forwarded by Lord Fermoy:—
§ "'We, the undersigned, magistrates of the borough of Cork, beg respectfully to assure your Excellency that we have read, with feelings of the utmost abhorrence, sentiments lately expressed by the Mayor of Cork, at an entertainment, as reported in The Cork Examiner newspaper—namely,—"There was at this moment in the country a young Prince of the English nation. When that noble Irishman O'Farrell fired at the Prince in Australia, he was imbued with as noble and patriotic feelings as Larkin, Allen, and O'Brien were. He believed that O'Farrell would be as highly thought of as any of the men who had sacrificed their lives for Ireland,"—language which we consider deserving of the strongest reprobation under any circumstances, but especially so when another Royal Prince was in Ireland.
§ "'We also complain of the frequent introduction of religious and political allusions on the Bench by the Mayor, and of the great discourtesy shown by him to his brother magistrates in court, and of the systematic and uncalled-for remarks 191 made on the constabulary in the discharge of their duty.
§ "'We apprehend that the administration of justice will be seriously lowered in the estimation of the community by the course pursued by the Mayor in his magisterial capacity in the police court of this borough.
§ "'We, therefore, pray your Excellency Trill be pleased to take such measures as may be expedient under the circumstances.'"
§ This memorial was signed by all the thirty-two magistrates, substantially representing the whole magistracy of the city, of every opinion and every creed. If there could be am- hesitation on the part of the Government in taking this exceptional course, the Resolution passed at this meeting of the magistrates ought to have put an end to it, and the moment the memorial was brought under the notice of the Government the adoption of this exceptional step became a matter of absolute necessity. In this very deplorable state of things two steps might have been taken. It was open to the Government to bring in a general Bill to put the municipal justices under the control of the Crown; but, in considering that matter, it appeared to the Government to be improper and unreasonable to take from the municipal authorities the high privileges conferred upon them by their charters, and which, under the Municipal Act (Ireland), they had enjoyed for a considerable number of years. This being the only reason for taking such a step, the other municipalities would have thought it unreasonable that, because the Mayor of Cork had been guilty of this misconduct, they were to be deprived of what is to them a source of great pride—that their chartered justices should be free from any control on the part of the Crown. Therefore, we thought it more fair and reasonable that the Mayor of Cork should be dealt with personally for his own misconduct, than that all the other magistrates should be subject to what would be considered degradation. The proposal of the Government, strong as it is, is not without precedent. An Act of Parliament was passed in the 10th George II., which was framed with the greatest care, and received the greatest consideration. It enacted that the Lord Provost of Edinburgh should be removed from the position of Lord Provost, and disabled from enjoying or holding any office or place of magistracy either in the City of Edinburgh or elsewhere in 192 Great Britain. The circumstances were these—Captain Porteous, having been found guilty of murder, was lying in prison under sentence of death, but had been reprieved by the Crown. A turbulent mob broke open the prison and executed him; and the charge against the Lord Provost was that, though he had reason to expect that such an offence would be attempted, he had not taken proper precautions to prevent it. The evil to be remedied in the present case is far greater than existed then, because this evil is the continued sitting of the Mayor after using the language uttered by him on the 27th of April, and after having conducted himself on the magisterial Bench in the manner he has done: and. therefore, the precedent in the case of Mr. Wilson, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, is stronger than is wanted; for in that case? the evil had passed away—there was no reason to think that another riot would take place, but here the evil complained of has continued and must continue unless something is done. We. therefore, propose by this Bill to declare—after reciting that the Mayor of Cork has so misconducted himself as to bring the administration of the law into disrepute and contempt, and has used language of a seditious and scandalous character, and has held up to public approbation the conduct of O'Farrell, in firing a ta Royal Prince in Australia—that having regard to these circumstances he shall be removed from the position of i a justice of the peace and magistrate, and disabled from holding these offices either now or hereafter, and that the Corporation of Cork shall be charged with the election of another mayor. Having stated the grounds on which the Government have acted, I hope that this measure, exceptional as it is, and strong as it may be, will be considered adequate to the occasion, and not stronger than the circumstances of the case justify and require.
§ Moved, "That leave be given to bring in a Bill to disable Daniel O'Sullivan, esquire, from holding, enjoying, or taking the office of Mayor, or Justice of the Peace, or any office or place of magistracy in the City of Cork or elsewhere in Ireland."—(Mr. Attorney General for Ireland.)
§ MR. BAGWELL
rose to say that, although he did not rise to oppose the introduction of the Bill, he must be allowed to say that he did not, however, approve it. He believed that a general Bill would 193 have been much better. ["No, no!"] As to firing at the Prince, horrible as it was, he was quite certain that the Mayor of Cork never really meant what he was said to have uttered in the papers, and his subsequent explanation was far from being totally unsatisfactory. ["Oh!"] The Mayor denied that he had any wish to see anyone assassinated. He admitted that the Mayor's language was a sort of general apology for political assassination, but an assassin had been held up in all times—["Oh!"] William Tell was held up as a hero when he shot the tyrant of his country. ["Oh!"] During the progress of this Bill, however, he should certainly take the opportunity of expressing his dissent from a measure of this kind respecting an individual, when a general measure, if introduced, would have been perfectly just and lawful.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
I may be permitted, I trust, to say to the House that while I must share with every right-minded man and every Member of this House the just indignation and horror with which we have read the language attributed to the Mayor of Cork, apparently justifying and expressing approbation, in the most public; manner, of attempted assassination of the most outrageous kind—still I may be permitted, at the same time, to express my great doubts whether it is wise and right to deal in this exceptional way with any particular offender against what is supposed to be the law. The Bill is, practically, a Bill of Pains and Penalties against the Mayor of Cork, for language of the most outrageous description which he has used, or is said to have used, in the discharge of his office. I believe that since the Revolution only one or two Bills of this kind have been passed by Parliament. The precedents offered in justification of them are precedents of evil times, when the power of Parliament was used to work gross injustice; and all, who have studied the history of those times, must feel regret that the exercise of the power of Parliament was ever made upon such occasions. Such Bills have never been regarded with great favour in this House. Now the very Act put forward as a precedent—that relating to Captain Porteous—was passed in the days of the ascendancy of one of the most powerful Ministers that this House or this country ever 194 saw—Sir Robert Walpole—and yet the Bill passed by a very narrow majority—I believe it was only by the casting vote of the Chairman, that the Bill disabling the Lord Provost of Edinburgh from holding office was passed through Committee in this House. It must be borne in mind that, on that occasion, the Bill was initiated in a far graver and more solemn way than this Bill proposed by Her Majesty's Government. It was introduced in the House of Lords, after evidence heard at the Bar upon oath, justifying, primâ facie, the accusation that was made, not only against the Lord Provost, but the whole, municipal government of Edinburgh, of neglecting their duty in the preservation of the peace upon the occasion of those riots, and it was only after such a solemn investigation that the Bill was introduced, and by a narrow majority carried in this House. [See Hansard, Parl. History, vol. 10; State Trials, vol. 17.] I doubt myself whether it is ever right by an ex post facto law of this kind to deprive any man of his office or freehold contrary to the principles reverenced by our ancestors, and contrary to the spirit of what—although the document is by many now-a-days considered somewhat musty—I still must hold in reverence—I allude to Magna Charta. This officer practically has been guilty of a gross breach of his duty; and I gathered from the Attorney General for Ireland that there was an ordinary proceeding by which he could have brought this officer to judgment in the courts of law before a jury of his countrymen. It may be highly inconvenient—it may be highly detrimental to the conduct of the Executive Government—that, owing to the law's delays, this officer cannot be brought to trial in the ordinary way within a moderate time. This, however, is an argument upon inconvenience—high inconvenience if you like—State inconvenience if you like—but it is merely an argument founded upon inconvenience, and I beg again to say that I doubt very much whether it is wise or prudent for Parliament to pass any extreme measure of this kind directed against an individual officer by name, suspending him from his office, because the course of law is so slow that he cannot be brought to account within a few months by the Attorney General in the ordinary discharge of his duty. 195 I am aware that it may be unpalatable to ventilate these somewhat, perhaps, old-fashioned notions of respect for individual rights and antipathy to Bills of Pains and Penalties which our forefathers strongly entertained; but which we, perhaps, are now disposed—in the pursuit of a valuable object, no doubt—to neglect and over-ride: but I think I should not be discharging my duty to my constituents, or upholding the respect for the majesty of the law, and that hatred of ex post facto legislation where the individual rights and liberties of our fellow-subjects are concerned which have been long entertained in this House, if did not venture, with all humility, to express, as I have done, my doubts about the wisdom of such a course as is now proposed to be taken.
§ MR. G. H. MOORE
said, he thought every Member would agree that the Attorney General for Ireland had introduced this measure with the greatest consideration and discretion. Hon. Members would best imitate that consideration and discretion by withholding any comments upon the Bill, or upon the causes which had led to it, till the Mayor of Cork had enjoyed the opportunity afforded to him by Her Majesty's Government of stating his own case.
§ MR. FREDERICK W. HEYGATE
said, that while fully agreeing that the time had come when action of some kind became indispensable, he considered that the Government had brought this unfortunate business very much upon themselves. Looking back at what had occurred during the last few mouths——upon the release of so many of the Fenian convicts, some of whom had been convicted under circumstances of the utmost gravity—one could hardly feel surprise if the Mayor of Cork had really committed the lesser fault alleged on his behalf by some of his apologists. One thing struck him greatly in all the debates relating to the condition of Ireland, and that was the ungenerous treatment the noble Lord the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (the Earl of Mayo) had experienced in that House. It was well known that to many points of that noble Lord's policy he (Sir Frederick Heygate) had been strongly opposed; but it was only just to that noble Lord to re-call to mind the signal exertions which he had made during a period of two years to 196 uphold the administration of justice—exertions which had been crowned with unexampled success, and yet during the whole of that time there was hardly a single life lost. Looking upon the administration of justice and the upholding of the law of the land as matters of primary importance, he (Sir Frederick Heygate) could not but regard the course which the present Government had adopted in this matter as a great mistake—so serious. in fact, did he consider it, that he had always thought there must have existed reasons which were not disclosed—reasons growing out of some difficulty connected with International Law, or with America, which were unknown to the public—leading to the extraordinary course which had been taken of releasing these Fenian convicts—men who were undoubtedly guilty, and were only convicted after long and painful trials. He deeply regretted what the present Government had done; and he took this opportunity of declaring that the Government ought to be very much obliged to the noble Lord—now at such a distance from this country—for his long and patient efforts to defeat and terminate the Fenian conspiracy. During a large part of the time that the noble Earl held Office he had personal knowledge of the fact that the life of the noble Earl was exposed to danger; yet he had never heard from the present Government, or from the Benches opposite, one word of recognition of those services; and from the silence maintained with regard to the conspiracy itself the Mayor of Cork might possibly have supposed that the thing was not seriously disapproved. The result had been that it was now found necessary to introduce a Bill levelled against a particular individual, with the effect, of course, of making a martyr of him in the eyes of a large section of his countrymen. He regretted acts of favour shown to extreme opinions in one part of the country, because they naturally provoked retaliation in districts entertaining opposite opinions. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. Chichoster Fortescue) was not in his place that day to give an answer to the Question, of which he had given him notice, as to his reason for asserting that two mobs in Londonderry had fired upon each other, and that the city had in consequence been proclaimed. The coroner's inquests 197 which had since been held had shown that there were not two mobs, and that they did not fire upon each other; but that it was the police who fired. Nobody could regret these things more than he did. He did not justify violence coming from any quarter; but it was too true that outrageous acts permitted and condoned at one end of the country had a tendency to provoke retaliations at the other. He had merely risen to point out what he considered the deplorable consequences of letting out convicts who had been tried fairly, convicted! by juries impartially chosen, in courts presided over by upright and distinguished Judges, for crimes condemned by every man of right feeling in the country. If men so convicted were only sent upon what really were pleasurable excursions to the other side of the world—being only sent there to be brought back again—the common people would naturally believe that the law was not to be maintained; and the consequences which they now saw were the legitimate results of the action of the Government.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said. I shall best consult the feelings of the House if I abstain from any reply to the attack just made upon the Government—for the House, I believe, are not now disposed to enter into a general debate upon Irish affairs. I shall therefore confine the very few words which I have to offer simply to the question that is before us; and I rise chiefly for the purpose of setting my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie) right upon the legal question to which he has referred. My right hon. Friend said that in this case we were departing from the precedent afforded by the case of the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, inasmuch as in that case, before the Bill was introduced, an opportunity was given to the accused of being heard in his own defence.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
Will the learned Gentleman pardon me? What I did say, or meant to say, was that the Bill was introduced after evidence inculpating the Provost and magistrates had been heard at the Bar of the House of Lords.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
That is exactly what I understood him to say. I believe he is mistaken in that. He will find that the Bill was introduced before evidence upon oath was taken; 198 and that time was then given to the Provost to appear before the Bar of the House—I think a fortnight's notice was given him—he then did appear to oppose the second reading, and evidence upon oath was taken, If I am wrong in that I shall be glad to be corrected. I rise merely for the purpose of setting my right hon. Friend right in that matter. After the very prudent suggestion of the hon. Member for Mayo I do not propose to enter into the merits of the case. I shall merely observe that the case against the Provost of Edinburgh was one of nonfeasance, whereas this is a case of misfeasance, and is therefore stronger than the precedent cited by my right hon. Friend the Attorney General for Ireland. In the former instance all necessity for interference had ceased before the Bill passed, whereas here the necessity still continues. We are told that the Bill levelled at the Provost of Edinburgh belonged to an exceptional class of legislation; but it must be obvious also that it dealt with an entirely exceptional kind of offence. From the time the Act against the Provost of Edinburgh passed down to the present hour I trust that no such offence has ever been committed by any person holding public office in any part of the United Kingdom.
§ MR. VERNON HARCOURT
thought his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for England was mistaken in his reference to the Bill affecting the Provost of Edinburgh. That Bill, which came down from the House of Lords, was read a first time, he believed, on the 16th of May, and was ordered to be read a second time upon the 4th of June; but with a view to its second reading on that day, the Attorney and Solicitor General for England were ordered, on the Report of a Conference with the Lords on the 18th, to be prepared with evidence in support of the Preamble of the Bill, and it was not until two days after that Order was made—namely, on the 20th, that the Provost of Edinburgh petitioned the House to be heard against the Bill. The materiality of this distinction lay in the fact, that the Bill being one of Pains and Penalties, the promoters were bound to tender evidence in support of the Preamble, independently of whether the persons affected by its provisions appeared against the Bill or not. He wished, therefore, to ask the right hon. 199 Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland what course it was proposed to take on Tuesday next, when the Bill stood for second reading; and whether, irrespective of any action which might be taken by the Mayor of Cork, evidence would be tendered by the Government in support of the Preamble—following the precedent of the Porteous case?
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
observed that he had referred to what took place in the House of Lords. The Bill was introduced there, and he believed that evidence was taken, not upon the introduction, but on the second reading".
I do not wish to enter into a general discussion of the very important measure brought in by the Attorney General—that some such measure is requisite I think must be clear to every Gentleman in this House—but I merely wish to call attention to the precedent adverted to by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouveric), which seems to me more consistent with the general principles of the administration of justice than the course which, in this particular instance, we are invited to pursue. The Attorney General will find that at the meeting of Parliament, in February, the Porteous riots were taken notice of in the Speech from the Throne. On the 10th of February a debate arose respecting those riots, when Lord Carteret, not then a Minister of the Crown, made a suggestion in the House of Lords that a full inquiry should be instituted: and specific Resolutions were moved and adopted as to the means by which that inquiry should be conducted. That inquiry was prosecuted and witnesses were examined on the 7th, the 16th, and the 18th of March, but no Bill was brought into the House before the 4th of April. I merely mention these facts now in order that the House and the Government may have the opportunity of considering them before the second reading, and so that some greater precautions may be taken than seem to have been taken at the present moment, with a view of insuring that the Mayor of Cork, who is now put upon his trial, shall, at all events, have the fullest and fairest opportunity of bringing his case under the notice of the House.
§ SIR JOHN GRAY
said, he was sure there was no man of right feeling in that House, or outside of it, who did not 200 deprecate the language alleged to have been used by the Mayor of Cork; but the more they deprecated that alleged language the more necessary he felt it to be to have full proof before the House that the language alleged to have been spoken was really spoken by that official. The House was asked by the Attorney General to act in a quasi-judicial character, and up to this there was not a particle of evidence before them. For the sake of his own deservedly high repute—for the sake of the high character of the Government he represented—for the sake of the judicial reputation of that assembly, he would entreat the Attorney General not to rush hastily to results, but to take each step with that deliberation which the gravity of the case demanded, and not to press on the House the necessity of dealing with a man's character and future status in society without proof, without even the tender of proof, that he had used the language attributed to him. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Walpole) showed clearly that, in the Edinburgh case, the first step taken was the offering of proof, and that then, but not till then, the Bill was read a second time. There was no proof as to the charge brought against the Mayor of Cork save a newspaper report and a personal statement; and he hoped that the House would not proceed with a Bill of Pains and Penalties on the authority of a newspaper report, or even on the hearsay statement of his right hon. Friend the Attorney General. No man ought to be condemned unheard—nor even asked to defend himself, until evidence of guilt was tendered to the tribunal. The. Preamble of the intended Bill alleged that the Mayor of Cork spoke seditious words, and on that unproven Preamble they were asked to degrade him before the Empire. At such a moment as that, if the Mayor used the language palliating the attempt to assassinate the Duke of Edinburgh imputed to him, no degradation the House could inflict would be too severe a punishment, and no Irishman would seek to shield him. A Prince of the Blood has, while they were debating, been sojourning in Ireland. His manly bearing, and generous frank manner, caused him to be welcomed with enthusiasm wherever he went, and if any man, but above all a high official, were proved to have used words suggesting that an 201 attempt to assassinate that noble and confiding youth—who was then the national guest in Ireland—would be ascribed to honourable motives, public detestation would follow him, and the most public degradation from office and the most entire disability in the future which Parliament could inflict would be awarded with the approval of all good men. But before this House, acting judicially, can either punish or degrade it must have proof, and it was not proposed to offer proof, but only to ask the accused to disprove the accusations. He hoped that the Attorney General would tender proof first, and thus give the weight and authority of justice and calmness to the judicial action of the House. He objected to any other course as a matter of justice to the accused; and he objected to a precedent being set now of assuming guilt on the authority of a newspaper report, which would hereafter warrant some future Attorney General in alleging that an obnoxious political opponent had used seditious words and ought to be degraded, without proof, and perhaps contrary to the truth and to justice. He also objected to the proposed form of notice to the Mayor of Cork—the sending a copy of the Bill to him by post. That would not constitute a fair notice to a man about to be put on his trial. He may not be in Cork, and that notice by the post may not reach him for many days, Due time ought to be given him—due notice ought to be given him; and this House would, he hoped, refuse to proceed with the next stage till full proof of the words spoken was laid before it. If the Mayor of Cork used the alleged language, no punishment the House could inflict would be too great; but the House, in sustainment of its own character, must refuse to sit in judgment unless evidence be duly offered on which to act. He hoped, therefore, that there would be no precipitancy, but that a fair trial would be afforded, as much for the reputation of the House as for the sake of justice to the accused.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
thought the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock had just added another import ant service to those which he had frequently rendered to the House. The observations of the right hon. Gentleman were entitled to great weight on such a subject. This was a case of ex post facto legislation; and hav- 202 ing often warned the House that they were parting with securities which might be found necessary in troublous times, he felt it his duty to represent to the Government that they would have done better if they had presented the evidence taken before the Australian Legislative Assembly, with respect to the case of O'Farrell; for alluding to which, the Mayor of Cork, as some Members believed had been betrayed into the use of expressions unworthy of his position and his office. He could not but think that it would have been better for the Government to have pursued the course which he had recommended—a course more respectful to the Legislature of Australia, which had to deal with the offence for adverting to which the House was asked to pass an ex post facto measure against one of Her Majesty's subjects. He thought it would be much bettor to extend legislation so as to render any persons holding official positions liable to penalties for offences of such a nature. He understood that Warren and Castello had gone to another meeting, and had again used seditious language. It might have been good to remit the sentences of these men: but when the offence was repeated there ought to be some means of repeating the penalty. He rejoiced that the Government had determined upon some action. He wished that it had been more general and more in accordance with the precedent of the House and of the Legislature; but he should be happy to render his humble support to the Government to remedy an evil the extent. of which he was afraid he did not fully comprehend.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
said: Sir, I can as sure hon. Members I rise with feelings of the greatest embarrassment and pain to take any part in this most unhappy discussion; but, in a spirit of fair play, I ask the indulgence of the House while I say a few words on the prospect before it. I have been for twenty years, and I still, though through inadvertance, continue to be a member of the Corporation of Cork, and with my hon. Colleague represent that city.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
My hon. Friend was, but is not, a member of that body. What I say is he represents the City of Cork, as I do. For me 203 personally not to express horror of the meaning popularly attributed to the words alleged to have been used would be a personal disgrace to myself. But, Sir, I feel bound, as a matter of justice to the city which I represent, to say that, in the opinion of the inhabitants generally, the Mayor never intended to convey the moaning popularly attributed to his words, assuming them to have been used; and I express my conviction that, if it were believed by any class of the community that the Mayor did mean to applaud, or justify, or countenance or encourage assassination, there is no class in the community by which he would not be openly and indignantly repudiated. But neither did the Mayor ever intend to convey any such meaning, nor do the people of Cork believe he did. I am in communication not only with the Mayor, but with several gentlemen in my city; and it would be a cowardly and unworthy act on my part if I did not express, not only what the Mayor himself asserts, and what I am certain is true, but what is the general conviction of his fellow-citizens. This is the belief expressed by several influential gentlemen, as well as of the great body of the people. Of the tone and manner of the statement of the Attorney General I have no complaint to make—it was temperate and moderate; but it contained certain misstatements of facts, attributable; to a want of local information. The Attorney General, for instance, was not quite accurate in his statement that the Mayor was "constantly insulting and abusing his fellow-magistrates." No doubt the Mayor, in the early part of the mayoralty made use of one or two expressions which excited indignation on the part of certain members of the magistracy; but there was as much temper shown by them to him as he exhibited towards them. ["Oh!"] I much deplore the scenes which have taken place on the Bench; but I assert that the temper exhibited against him aggravated the squabbles which ensued, and which I deeply regret. It has been alleged against the Mayor that he went on the Bench alone, and liberated prisoners of his own authority. On this point I desire to make an explanation. The fact is, and I state from my personal knowledge, that it has been a common practice, not only of the chief magistrate of the city, but of other ma- 204 gistrates, to go, as an act of mercy and humanity, to the Bridewell on Sunday, to liberate unfortunate drunkards who had been taken up at various hours on the previous Saturday. These people had been in custody for ten or twenty hours, and they would be in custody for ten, or twenty, or twenty-four hours more, if they were not liberated on the Sunday; and as an act of mercy and humanity they were so liberated, provided there was no other charge against them, leaving it open to the police to summon them in certain cases if they thought fit. It has been the custom of the chief magistrate, and I have known the same of other magistrates, to come to the court at a somewhat earlier hour on Monday morning for the purpose, to use a technical phrase, of "clearing the dock." I have done this myself, and without having caused any indignation by so doing. The Mayor has done this. He has dealt with drunkards himself, and discharged them with a caution, or without a fine; but he did not deal with | cases requiring the presence of two magistrates. I myself found that leniency was the most beneficial course in dealing with drunkards, and I have discharged them on promise of amendment; and I have found this plan to be, in many instances at least, as efficacious as fines in addition to the imprisonment they had undergone. I say I have adopted, so far, the same course as the Mayor has done; and by so doing I have! never, to my knowledge excited the indignation of a single human being. So much for the conduct of the Mayor of Cork with respect to the discharge of prisoners; and now what is really the condition of the City of Cork, notwithstanding the language said to have been uttered by the Mayor? I venture to say there is as much peace and order in the City of Cork at this moment as there ever has been in it. [Laughter.] Really I cannot see the cause for laughter. There has been a great deal of exaggeration as to the state of Cork; all kinds of sensational announcements have been made with respect to its condition, and the public mind has been much inflamed with respect to it by those exaggerated statements. But, Sir, the normal condition of that city is one of order and tranquillity; and I assert that life and property are as secure in Cork as in any other portion of the United Kingdom. Even under 205 its present chief magistrate, against whom so much is alleged, I repeat it is as tranquil, and life in it as secure, as in any other portion of the United Kingdom. Therefore I see nothing whatever absurd in the statement I made. There was a meeting hold on Sunday, at a place known as the New Wall, and that meeting was attended by several respectable persons. At that open-air demonstration, at which, as I understand some 1,500 persons were present, it is true the magistrates were denounced for their conduct towards the Mayor. But upon what ground did they do so? Not that they approved of the language said to have, been used by the Mayor, but that they did not believe he used the words attributed to him in the sense which was alleged, and that they did not believe he ever intended, or could intend, to convey the meaning attributed to him. But were the words complained of really used? The Mayor more than once, in public as well as in private, said that, he could not say whether the words attributed to him were those which he used. Let hon. Gentlemen remember that it was late at night and after supper that the words were alleged to have been uttered. [Laughter.] I am intimating as delicately as I can to the House the period of the twenty-four hours, and the circumstances under which the words were said had been used; and the Mayor has declared that he did not know and could not say whether he ever used those words or not. Therefore there was no guilty knowledge of and no adoption of the words alleged to have been spoken; besides there is the distinct and solemn declaration of the Mayor that if they were uttered, he had no intention whatever of using them in the sense attributed to him. There was another meeting in Cork on Sunday last, and it is specially worthy of notice, for we have the Mayor's own sentiments there expressed. Had I known that there would have been any discussion on the subject to-day, I would have brought down with me the extract from the paper containing a. report of what he said. A vast number of people went to his house to express sympathy with him, and a belief in his innocence in this matter; and being compelled to speak, he expressed in the strongest manner his horror of assassination, and declared that if he saw a pistol aimed at any one he would 206 be the first to turn it aside—that not only would he protect a Prince, but even the humblest person in the community, from the attack of an assassin. Surely it is only fair that this much should be said of one who is the subject of the grossest misrepresentation at this moment. To accuse him of sympathy with assassination was to do him the greatest-wrong. ["Oh!"] As to the personal character of the Mayor of Cork, I am in a position with hon. Friends of mine, to give the strongest testimony. And now. Sir. I would mention a very remarkable instance of the feeling entertained towards him personally by those who do not sympathize with him in his strong opinions with respect to existing politics or matters of historical interest. The day previous to his election as chief magistrate a meeting of thirty-five members of the Liberal party was held with the purpose of nominating a candidate, so as to avoid disunion; and not only was he adopted unanimously by that meeting, but his proposer was a gentleman who had made himself conspicuous in the manner I am about to state. Hon. Gentlemen may remember the name of Captain Mackay, one of the Fenian prisoners, respecting whom a very general interest was felt, especially from the modest and respectful manner in which he born himself on his trial before that eminent Judge, Mr. Justice O'Hagan, now Lord Chancellor of Ireland. The prisoner was sentenced to ten years penal servitude; and for his wife—a young Cork girl whom he had married some time before—the deepest commiseration was generally entertained. A sum of money, amounting to £250, was raised by subscription to set her up in business. That I regarded as a very just and humane act on the part of the public. One gentleman, however, in order to show his disapproval of the subscription, ostentatiously contributed to that fund the sum of a single farthing; in fact he forced that amount upon the collectors, and insisted on having his name published as a contributor to it to that extent. And yet Alderman Gould, for that is the gentleman's name, was the very person in that meeting to propose Mr. O'Sullivan as Mayor of Cork. He did so, not because he sympathized with certain opinions entertained by Mr. O'Sullivan, but upon the ground of his being a worthy and honourable man, a 207 good citizen, an upright merchant, humane and kind of heart; and Alderman Gould then predicted—though in this respect he proved himself a false prophet—that Mr. O'Sullivan would be Mayor of Cork for the second year. I mention this fact as indicating the feeling entertained towards him, and the estimation in which he is held, as a private individual. I will only refer to one other point, and that is in reference to the Mayor's alleged conduct towards the police. The Mayor of Cork is charged with having attempted to bring the police into public odium and disgrace. Now, I, for one, have always endeavoured to uphold the police so far as I could justly do so; for not only do T consider them a most valuable body of men. but I believe it would be impossible to do without them. But, at the same time, while I bear my testimony to the general usefulness and good conduct of the Irish constabulary, there are members of that force who have taken advantage of particular circumstances in Ireland, and who have thought more of their own promotion than of maintaining the public peace. It has been too much the practice in my city—possibly it was the same elsewhere—indeed I have no doubt it prevailed in other parts of Ireland—when a man was charged with any offence, not to say political, but in which there was the merest suspicion of its having a political complexion, to remand the accused for a period of eight days, and to do so on the simple statement of a single policeman, hon. Gentlemen must admit that this was a direct and flagrant violation of the liberty of the subject. This constant remanding excited considerable indignation in the public mind, and was felt strongly by many respectable inhabitants of Cork; and the Mayor believed that he was fully justified in raising his voice against it and those who adopted it. Therefore, so far as the police wore concerned, there really is some allowance to be made for the language the Mayor had used with respect to them and the practice to which I refer. And now, Sir, I must express my most solemn belief that that gentleman never meant to use the words alleged to have been used by him in the sense which has been attributed to him. Unfortunately he has not the same power of expressing his meaning—by 208 that I mean the same facility of expressing it accurately—in fact with the same precision which distinguishes so many Gentlemen opposite, and more especially the right hon. Gentleman who leads the Opposition, and which prevents the person so gifted from the risk of raising false impressions as to his words or to his meaning. I shall now conclude, Sir, with again expressing my solemn conviction that Mr. O'Sullivan, if he did use the words, never did so in the sense attributed to them; and my belief that any such notion as that popularly conveyed in them is foreign to his nature and his principles. I must remind the House that the Government are not only bound to afford the fullest possible means to the Mayor of Cork proving his innocence, but that the onus probandi lies on the Government of proving his guilt in this matter. The House owes it to its own character and dignity that unless it is convinced of the guilt of this gentleman—that is of his guilty intention of the meaning attributed to him—it will not support the Government in proceeding with a Bill of this nature.
§ MR. DISRAELI
I need not advert to the important point which has been referred to by the hon. Member for the county of Derry (Sir Frederick Heygate) as to how far the conduct of the Mayor of Cork may have been encouraged by the general policy of Her Majesty's Government. I have no doubt that, in due course, it will be impossible not to bring that subject before the House; but I think that it is unnecessary to introduce it into the discussion now before us. The Mayor of Cork was dismissed from the county magistracy by the late Government for some seditious talk of which he had been guilty. Since he was dismissed a revolution has been commenced in Ireland—I use the language of Her Majesty's Government—a very considerable revolution is now occurring in that country, and, moreover, the gaols of Ireland have been opened, and assassins and traitors have been let loose over the land. I think it not improbable that those circumstances may have acted upon the temperament of the Mayor of Cork—a man who had been dismissed from the county magistracy some months before for seditious talk—and that this may account for any profligate folly that can be alleged against 209 him. But I believe I am correct in saying that, some months ago, the Mayor of Cork commenced using language from the official Bench of a seditious character; and I should wish to know why the Attorney General for Ireland did not then take steps to put a stop to such conduct? The Attorney General for Ireland comes down to this House and says he cannot resort in this case to the usual modes of defending the law and the interests of society, because those modes would occupy too much time before his object could be accomplished. But if months ago the Attorney General for Ireland had done his duty he need have had no reason to allege this circumstance in mitigation of his conduct; neither would the House of Commons have been called upon to consider to-day what, no doubt, all must admit to be a very extraordinary proposition on the part of Her Majesty's Government. We must take care not to allow ourselves to be led away in the present case by any prejudice. No prejudice against the Mayor of Cork or any other persons should influence us; or, if any such prejudice exists, it should rather induce us to be more wary as to every step we take, and to beware lest we forget that the course we may think fit to adopt in this matter concerns not so much the Mayor of Cork as the reputation of the House of Commons. Everyone will admit that we are asked to assent to the introduction into the House and, if the advice of the Government is followed, to pass a Bill of Pains and Penalties. That is a very grave proposition. I do not mean to say that there may not be occasions when it may be our duty to support the Government when it proposes that we should pass such a Bill: but what I say is that we should not do such a thing hurriedly. We should know to what we are going to commit ourselves before we assent to such a proposition. Under these circumstances I must urge the House to consider its position with the greatest deliberation before it agrees to the proposal of the Government in this matter. I speak in the presence of those who have much more knowledge of the subject, being within the range of their profession, than I can pretend to; but I am not myself aware of any Bill of Pains and Penalties having been introduced founded upon merely words spoken, and therefore I should like to hear from 210 some of the high authorities present whether such is the case or not. The learned Attorney General would, indeed, appear to found this Bill not merely upon spoken words, but upon some malfeasance on the part of the Mayor of Cork. Now, malfeasance certainly does not apply to words, and I know of no act of malfeasance on the part of that individual that has been alleged by the Attorney General. If the act alluded to was his taking the Chair at the dinner given in honour of these assassins and traitors who have been let out of prison, at all events let us clearly understand that such is the act. In that event we should, of course, have to consider the policy of the Government, who, by their conduct, have rendered such an act of malfeasance possible. I say that, the moment Her Majesty's Government remitted to these men the term of their imprisonment, it can never be alleged afterwards that, because the mayor of some town chooses to preside over a meeting held for the purpose of celebrating their release—though it might be an act of the greatest indiscretion and folly, and. socially speaking, in no way to be justified—it can be regarded as a political offence upon which a Bill of Pains and Penalties can be based. Although I am not aware that a Bill of Pains and Penalties has been introduced for merely spoken words, I do not mean to say—I give no opinion upon the sub- ject—but I do not mean to say that extraordinary circumstances might not occur that might justify such a course. We will, therefore, assume for argument's sake, that it is an advisable expedient, both as regards justice and policy, that, in consequence of words spoken, a Bill of Pains and Penalties should be introduced into Parliament. But, if you adopt that course, I say that you are bound to satisfy Parliament that your facts are accurate, that your case is grave and substantial, and you are not justified in asking Parliament to agree to a course so extraordinary and in itself so unconstitutional, unless you have taken pains to satisfy the conviction and the conscience of the nation that there can be no mistake as to the facts upon which such legislation is recommended. But what is the statement which has been made by the Attorney General for Ireland this morning? 211 I have never heard such a thing during the whole time I have sat in this House, He asks us to pass a Bill of Pains and Penalties upon the mere ipse dixit of one of the Law Officers of the Crown. He makes a certain allegation—he quotes a certain speech which he says has been made by the Mayor of Cork, and then he says that Her Majesty's Government—believing this to be a correct report of what passed—proposes that the House of Commons shall pass a Bill of Pains and Penalties upon the mere ipse dixit of an Irish Attorney General. He says that, he believes that such a thing that he has read in the newspapers, or which has been communicated to him. by some third person, is a correct statement, and we are asked to assume the correctness of those statements without the smallest proof being- offered in support of them. 'I say, we should have these points put before us in a manner that can admit of no doubt. But. instead of such a course being recommended to us, we are asked to legislate upon allegations which are not even attempted to be proved before us. Are there no modes by which this proof can be offered to Parliament? Such modes have already been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie). He has brought before the recollection of the House a precedent which may well serve as our guide in this matter. Under these circumstances the House may well hesitate to pursue the course recommended by Her Majesty's Government. The course which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock points out as the proper one to be adopted, if Parliament is to pass an exceptional Act in the form of a Bill of Pains and Penalties to meet this peculiar and individual case, is that the Bill should be introduced in that House of Parliament where evidence can be taken to substantiate the Preamble of the Bill, and to satisfy Parliament that their legislation will be based upon facts, and not merely upon the ipse dixit of the Attorney General for Ireland. When the Attorney General for England rises to split straws about evidence being taken in the case of the Provost of Edinburgh after the Bill was introduced into the other House of Parliament and not before, I ask, what has the House of Commons to do with these considerations? What the House of Commons 212 has to do with, and will insist upon, is that the facts upon which they are asked to legislate in this matter shall be proved to their satisfaction by authentic evidence; and we know that if the Bill were to be introduced into the other House, where evidence can be taken upon oath, we should obtain the authentic testimony which we require. It is no vindication or palliation, of the course that Her Majesty's Government are recommending us to adopt, that the mistake was made of introducing the Bill relating to the Provost of Edinburgh in the reign of George II. into the House of Lords before the evidence was taken, and the evidence was taken afterwards upon it. 'What we require is, that we should have authentic evidence before us before we agree to the introduction of this Bill. In the case of the Provost of Edinburgh the evidence was considerable. I recollect reading that three Judges were brought up from the City of Edinburgh to give testimony to the House of Parliament in which that Bill was introduced. I do not rise for the purpose of opposing the introduction of this Bill—there will, of course, be ample opportunity for the House to consider the propriety of passing it on a future occasion—but I hope that Her Majesty's Government will think again before they ask the House to pass a Bill of this kind upon the mere ipse dixit of the Attorney General for Ireland. Such a proceeding on the part of Her Majesty's Government is not becoming to themselves, neither is it in accordance with what is due to the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, in making his arrangements for the second reading of this Bill, said that he had calculated that if the Bill were sent by post to-night, the person chiefly interested in it—of course, meaning thereby the Mayor of Cork—would have ample opportunity of becoming acquainted with its nature.
§ MR. DISRAELI
We were under the impression that the right hon. Gentleman had said so. I do not, however, think that the Mayor of Cork is the only person interested, or that he is more interested in this Bill than are the Members of this House; we are all interested in a Bill of this kind. But, if it was the Mayor of Cork to whom the right hon. 213 Gentleman referred, I say that individual will have no opportunity of defending himself, because he cannot adduce, in this House, testimony upon oath in vindication of his conduct. What I wish to impress upon the House is this—that if the Bill had been introduced—as was the Bill respecting the Provost of Edinburgh—into the. other House of Parliament, there would, at least, have been an opportunity for us to have acted on authentic evidence; and even then we should have reserved to ourselves our legitimate right of deciding whether the courses recommended by the Government is one which we con at all authorize. No one can deny that this is an extraordinary measure—and. indeed, I may say, without using the language of exaggeration—that it is essentially an unconstitutional one. It becomes us, therefore, to act. with the utmost caution under these circumstances. But whatever course we may take—even if Parliament be pleased to meet this individual instance by this particular measure, it appears to me that the line on which the Government has introduced this Bill is an erroneous one. and will only lead—I do not say to the discomfiture of the Government in this respect, for that we do not seek—-but not to the credit, of the House of Commons, in which we all have an interest.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
I wish, in the first place, to reply to the Question put to me by the hon. Baronet the Member for the county of Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate). I fear there is some misunderstanding with regard to the answer I gave yesterday relating to the lamentable riots at Deny. I seem to have been understood to say that the loss of life which occurred in the course of those riots had been caused solely by the filing of the opposite parties upon one another. That impression is, however, inaccurate. We know by the verdict of the jury that at least one life was lost by the firing of the police. With regard to the other life which was lost, and the wounds that were inflicted, it is still uncertain whether they resulted from the firing of the police or from that of the opposite parties. It is, however, clear from the information I possess at present that the two opposing parties were armed to a considerable extent, and that they did use their arms. The noble Earl who is at the head of the Irish Go- 214 vernment (Earl Spencer) and who is consequently responsible for the peace of Deny has thought it necessary to use his powers to put down the disturbances, and in order to effect that object has proclaimed the district, in which arms are possessed to a considerable extent by both parties, and which is in a very excited state. The conduct of the police in the affair, in the opinion of the Irish Government, imperatively calls for inquiry, and, consequently, the whole circumstance will be the subject of a most searching and complete investigation by a Special Commission to be appointed for that purpose. But the hon. Baronet went on to make several further remarks, which. I confess, did not appear to me to be called for upon the present occasion, he thought it necessary to allege that I had shown some injustice and a want of generosity towards the noble Lord who filled the post I now occupy under the late Government. That is surprising, for there has never been on these Benches the slightest want of appreciation of the excellent qualities of Lord Mayo. I am glad, however, of this opportunity of stating my belief that my noble Friend Lord Mayo showed great discretion, firmness, and prudence in his administration of the affairs of Ireland, and I believe that the manner in which he discharged his duty has gained for him the approbation of the country. The most severe remarks of the hon. Baronet were, however, directed against the advice given by the Government to the Crown as to the exercise of clemency with regard to the Fenian prisoners, which he said was a slur upon the government of Lord Mayo. But the fact is Her Majesty's Government did not advise the Crown to exercise an indiscriminate clemency with regard to them: but they did advise that a careful and discriminating selection should be made among the political prisoners, and that all who were likely to be dangerous to the peace of the country should be excluded from that clemency. This course was not recommended by the Government for the purpose of reversing the policy of the late Irish Government; on the contrary, many of the prisoners who were released had been sentenced during the government of Lord Kimberley—and surely we did not desire to cast a slur upon Lord Kimberley—and, indeed, the course adopted by the Government had 215 his Lordship's entire concurrence. So far from that exercise of clemency on the part of the Crown having had an ill effect, I believe that, if the Government had stood simply upon the ground of non possumus, the result would have been much to be deplored. Such a policy would have produced a widespread movement on behalf of what is called an amnesty, in which the great mass of the Irish people would have joined, and an agitation of that character might have had most disastrous effects. By adopting a policy of mercy, however, the Government of Ireland have placed themselves in a position to insist with effect upon the adoption of measures of severity when such may become necessary. It is the opinion of Her Majesty's Government that in these matters it is desirable not to rest upon the more force of a majority in this House, but to rely in taking measures for the defence of law stud order upon the moral support of the Irish people; and I am convinced that, by the course we have adopted with regard to the political prisoners, we have obtained that moral support, and that we have thereby gained a great victory on behalf of the law and of order.
With respect to the case before us, I will not long detain the House. It is impossible not to sympathize with the reluctance that has been shown by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmamock (Mr. Bouverie), and by other lion. Members, to adopt an exceptional and unheard-of measure of this kind directed against an individual; but our answer to their objection is that, the circumstances under which the Bill is introduced are of an exceptional and an unheard-of character, and that, therefore, we are justified in asking the House to employ exceptional means. I cannot help saying that, in our arduous endeavours to vindicate the authority of the law and to preserve order in Ireland, we might have expected to, have received a support very different from that which has been given to us by the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition. What line; did the right hon. Gentleman the; Member for Buckingham-shire take? The right hon. Gentleman commenced at once by attacking the, Attorney General for Ireland for not. having taken proceedings against the Mayor of Cork some months ago. The answer to that attack is easy. There 216 were at the time no grounds for proceedings against that individual by way of prosecution or otherwise, the Law Officers of the Crown being of opinion that no words had been used at that time which would justify a prosecution; while he had then not been guilty of conduct which would have justified, us in coming down and asking this House-to pass the extraordinary measure we are now submitting to them. Since then, however, a great deal has happened. The complaint against the Mayor of Cork goes far beyond the speech he made respecting the attempted assassination of the Duke of Edinburgh, His conduct on the Bench, and as a magistrate generally, has gone to such lengths, with that effect upon the public mind which has been described by the Attorney General for Ireland, that that which it would have been impossible and culpable in us to have done some time since has now become necessary and right. With regard to the particular mode we propose to adopt in dealing with the Mayor of Cork now that the Bill is introduced, the cautions and warnings of the right hon. Gentleman are very right, but not very necessary; because we fully understand the necessity of proceeding in this matter with the greatest caution and deliberation, in order to take care that no injustice shall be done. We shall take care that nothing is done in undue haste, and to proceed in conformity with the precedents afforded by former cases of this nature, and we shall prove the Preamble and the recital of the Bill at the Bar of this House. We shall, by adopting every precaution, take care that there shall be no shadow of an excuse for suggesting that our facts are not proved or that justice to the utmost has not been done. I should wish before I sit down to read a communication I have received from the noble Lord the Lord Lieutenant of the City and County of Cork, which is as follows:—
§ "My dear Fortescue,—I this day presided at a meeting of the magistrates of the City of Cork, which was attended by, I believe, every magistrate at present residing within the district, with the exception of the Mayor. The meeting unanimously adopted a memorial expressive of their entire and undivided abhorrence of the sentiments lately expressed by the Mayor of Cork as connected with the attempted assassination of the Duke of Edinburgh, and also of their disapproval of his conduct on the bench, both towards is brother magistrates and the police.217
§ "The memorial was addressed to the Lord Lieutenant, and goes to his Excellency by this post, and I have been requested as Chairman to express to you, as representative of the Executive in Parliament and the Cabinet, the united and undivided opinion of the Bench that some steps should be taken to put a stop to the disgraceful exhibitions which are daily occurring on the Bench at Cork.
§ "If there be occasion to allude to this matter in Parliament, you can state authoritatively that no one in or out of Parliament can be more pained and disgusted at the course adopted by the Mayor than are the magistrates of Cork, one and all, without one single dissentient, and including all shades of politics and both religions.
§ "If any debate should arise in Parliament I shall feel obliged, as Lieutenant of the county and city, if you will say for the magistracy of both departments that we deplore the unfortunate scenes which are daily occurring, and greatly desire to see an end of some sort put to them, as tending to frustrate justice and disseminate disloyalty,
§ "Believe me, my dear Fortcscne. faithfully yours,
§ " FERMOT.
§ "The Right hon. C. Fortescue, M.P."
§ Well, then, how under these circumstances were the Government to act? A proceeding at law would not have put an end to these scenes which were daily occurring—move especially since a tardy proceeding would not have made Mr. O'Sullivan incapable of filling the office of mayor, in as much as they would probably have extended over the greater part of the term of office of the offender. Moreover, such a proceeding would not have done that which, by the measure, we wish to effect—namely, rendered him incapable of again filling the high office which he now holds. Under these circumstances, I ask the House to adopt the course, however exceptional it may be, proposed by the Government, being convinced it is one dictated by a paramount sense of duty and by the general sentiments of the House.
§ COLONEL WILSON-PATTEN
said, that having filled the office of Chief Secretary for Ireland he was unwilling to allow the debate to close without saying a few words upon the subject before the House. He wished that the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary for Ireland, when referring to the recent riots in Londonderry, had followed the advice offered him, and not entered so fully into that question as he had done. He should, however, pass that part of the subject by, merely observing that he thought he now saw the reason why, on Friday night last, the right hon. Gentleman, for the first time during a 218 Session which had been almost entirely occupied by the discussion of Irish affairs, had made the attack which he did upon the late Government. He would, however, enter upon this subject at another time, and would content himself now by saying that that attack of the right hon. Gentleman upon him (Colonel Wilson-Patten) was wholly unmerited. He was not willing that this debate should pass without expressing his abhorrence of the sentiments conveyed by the language of the individual whoso conduct they were now discussing. He thought that they were deeply indebted to the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie), and to the right hon. Gentleman the head of the late Government for the cautions they had given in this matter. It appeared to him that the House could not be too cautious in the steps they were taking in the present instance, seeing that there was only one case which could be brought forward as a precedent, or which was in any degree analogous to this. Whilst concurring in the advice so tendered to the Government he was free to admit that not one word had been uttered which would exculpate the Mayor of Cork, or render unnecessary the adoption of the strongest measures towards him. He had listener] with interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire), and appreciated the painful position in which he was placed in endeavouring to offer sonic palliation for the conduct of the Mayor. The hon. Gentleman had done everything for his friend that a man could do, but he had been unable to suggest anything which would be considered as a valid excuse. The hon. Gentleman had characterized this Bill as being merely an ex post facto piece of legislation. He (Colonel Wilson-Patten) entirely differed from him. He thought the Bill quite as much prospective as retro spective. He hoped, however, that witnesses would be brought forward to prove the case, lest, if they did not take that course, they should lay themselves open to the charge of injustice. When the hon. Member for Cork said that the Mayor of Cork, in using the words imputed to him. had no intention of advocating assassination he (Colonel Wilson-Patten) would contend, even admitting that to be a fact, that a man who could, even incautiously, use such language, was quite unfit for the position he now held, 219 Having been a Member of the Irish Government, although only for a short time, he did not like to let this discussion close without expressing his opinion that it was absolutely necessary that some action should be taken of a more decisive nature than usual to prevent a repetition of that conduct of the Mayor of Cork, which had already disturbed the peace and good feeling of the people of Ireland. He believed that the party who would still be: willing to support the Mayor of Cork or who would not reprobate him was very small indeed. He entertained no doubt of the loyalty of the Irish population generally. They had seen the reception they had given to the young Prince who was now visiting that country. That reception was, if possible, more warm and more, satisfactory than that given to the Prince of Wales. And they had abundant evidence to prove that there was no party in Ireland so disloyal as to countenance, in the slightest degree, the atrocious principles to which it was alleged the Mayor of Cork had given utterance.
Sir, I am sure that the speech just delivered by my right hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Wilson-Patten) requires no other testimony from me than to say that it was such as we should have expected from him under the circumstances in which we stand. But it is very desirable that the House should be placed in possession of the precise nature of the proceedings which the Government propose. I am also anxious to notice some of the comments that have been made on our proceedings, and certain doctrines which have been laid down in the course of those comments. I apprehend that the general rule which has been applicable to all these cases is that the first stage, at least, of These Bills of Pains and Penalties has been taken in both Houses on allegations, or ex parte statements—that is to say, that, though an investigation has been made, the other House has not, in the first instance, allowed the parties implicated to be heard before the House; but that when, in either House of Parliament, the Bill had reached the stage of a second reading, then a full opportunity has been given to the parties to be heard; and that likewise, in some instances at all events, the Government themselves have been called on to substantiate its accusation, and make, out a case for the Bill. In this 220 instance it is quite clear that, at the proper time, the Government ought to substantiate its case, and not seek to throw the onus on the other party, because the proceedings which we now ask the House to take we ask it to take on the faith of the Government. It will be remembered that when this matter was brought under the notice of the House last week we stated that our first duty would be to make an inquiry into the facts. We have done that; and when that inquiry has been made by the Ministers of the Crown I think we do not go too far in asking the House, not—as was stated, perhaps carelessly, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire—to pass the Bill, but to allow a Bill of Pains and Penalties, in the shape of inflicting a disability upon the Mayor of Cork to be introduced. If leave be given to introduce this Bill, and if it be read a first time, the following Motion will, in the regular course, be submitted when the Bill is ordered for a second reading. The House will be asked to resolve—That a copy of the said Bill and of the said Order for the Second Reading thereof be forthwith served upon Daniel O'Sullivan, Esquire, Mayor of the City of Cork:And also this Resolution—That Mr. Attorney General for Ireland do take care that evidence thereof is produced in support of the said Bill upon the Second Reading-This having been done, the House will, so far as its forms will permit, be in a position on the second reading, to pronounce, what may justly be called, a judicial decision. "Hut it has been said by some that we are wrong in the form of our procedure. It is said that we ought to have proposed a general measure, and not a measure to meet a particular case. If I were to discuss this point now. it would lead me into more lengthened comments than I should like to make on this occasion, when we may be said to be interlopers on the ordinary business of the day; but this much I must say, that the Government did consider the point, and that, for reasons which we shall be prepared to maintain by argument, we did arrive at the conclusion that it would be wrong, in consequence of this single, particular, and isolated case, to introduce a Bill bringing the conduct of a whole body of popularly elected civic officers under the supervision and control of the Govern- 221 ment. But besides that, the right, hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) laid down a proposition which merits examination, both as coming from him and on its own account. I do not complain—I am not entitled to complain—of any adverse comment on the introduction of the Bill, nor of any adverse comment on the conduct of the Government. I do not complain of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman—though he commenced with an announcement of his intention to abstain from any such comments, an announcement which certainly was not sustained in his subsequent observations. But I do complain that, in his zeal, so little did the right hon. Gentleman feel himself under restraint in this judicial proceeding, that he could not help referring to my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland in a manner that I am sure must have attracted the attention of the House. He said—"Is the House of Commons to be called on to pass a Bill of Pains and Penalties on the ipse dixit of the Attorney General for Ireland"—or "an Irish Attorney General" I think was the phrase. Sir, I have rarely heard a personal taunt delivered in this House that was more entirely out of place. The office of Attorney General for Ireland is a high and distinguished office. The Attorney General for Ireland is the person in whom the Constitution of the country vests the duty of both acting himself and advising the Government of the Queen to act in cases of offences against the State. The holder of such an office, by virtue of his office, does not deserve to be treated with contempt: and, Sir, if the holder of such an office, by virtue of his office, does not deserve to be treated with contempt, I say here, in the presence of this House, that the present holder of this office has sustained its dignity and its credit in a way that still less, perhaps, than any of his predecessors—worthy as they have been, and I do not question that—leaves him open to sneer or sarcasm on grounds such as those alleged by the right hon. Gentleman. But, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman censures the Government for having introduced this Bill in the House of Commons, instead of in the House of Lords, and he founds his censure on the fact that the House of Commons has not the power of taking evidence on oath. Sir, I entirely admit that for the pur- 222 poses of a Bill of Pains and Penalties it would be more satisfactory if the House of Commons were armed with that power. I do not for a moment question that an oath is an element, and a very important element, in an investigation of facts in judicial proceedings; but my answer to the right hon. Gentleman is that Bills of Pains and Penalties have repeatedly been introduced into this House and sent up to the House of Lords. There were the cases of Plunkett and Kelly, in 1723; and that of Mr. Bainbridge, the warder of one of the London prisons, in 1729; and the case of Mr. Rumboldt, all of which cases were dealt with, in the first instance, in this House. Then, if Bills of Pains and Penalties are sometimes to be introduced in this House and sometimes in the other, what are the circumstances which are to guide us in the particular case as to the choice we are to make? We say that in this case of the Mayor of Cork we are sanctioned by precedent and by principle. By principle, because, in opposition to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, I must contend our proceedings are more in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution than they would have been if we had commenced in the House of Lords. I think it is more in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution to bring the holder of an office conferred by popular suffrage to trial before his Peers—before the Commons of England—before the Estate to which he belongs. As one of them he has offended, and to them we call upon him to answer. I think that the doctrine of the right hon. Gentleman, that whenever you are going to inflict a punishment, such as that provided by the Bill, even though the offence has been committed by a person chosen by the popular voice, and whose official functions are charged with popular elements from beginning to end, proceedings such as these should only be commenced in the House of Lords—I think, Sir, it would be very unadvisable to give effect to such doctrine, because, I believe, our doing so, would form anything but a good precedent. I would first refer the House to the case of Alexander Wilson, which occurred in the time of Sir Robert Walpole. These proceedings were commenced in the Lords: and when the Bill came to this House a Member (Mr. Oglethorpe) rose in his place and opposed its reception because he was of opinion 223 that the Lords would refuse to receive from this House a Bill of Fains and Penalties affecting a Member of their House—that was, any Member of their Order. Now, the Mayor of Cork is one of our Order. There was a discussion in that case of Alexander Wilson, and the King's Advocate for Scotland, Mr. Duncan Forbes—no inconsiderable person—objected to the introduction into the House of Lords of a Bill of Pains and Penalties against Alexander Wilson, and which would also inflict a fine on the City of Edinburgh. Then, Sir W. Young advocated the reception of the Bill in grounds of a somewhat apologetic character; and Sir Robert Walpole excused the introduction of the Bill in the Lords by saying that generally there was a cessation of business in the House of Lords during the first few weeks of the Session: and on that ground he thought the House might, receive the Bill. He was followed by a no less political and constitutional authority than Sir William Windham, who said that the Bill being brought from the House of Lords was a great encroachment on the privileges of this House, and that it was best to conclude that such encroachment was intended and to refuse to receive the Bill. The opposite opinion, however, prevailed and the Bill was read a first time; but the discussion to which I have referred shows that, by sonic of the highest authorities, a scruple was entertained to receiving from the House of Lords a Bill of Pains and Penalties against a civic official, though at that time the mode of electing the Lord Provost was not based upon any very wide basis of popular election. Both in respect to precedent and in respect to principle I maintain that the course we have adopted is the right one. The fact that we cannot take evidence on oath will not prevent this House from dealing with this Bill of Pains and Penalties. I think we have established our case in point both of principle and of precedent; and that we did well not to introduce this measure in the House of Lords, but to submit the case of one of the Commons, against whom we apply for a Bill of Pains and Penalties, to the Commons in Parliament assembled.
§ DR. BALL
Sir, as a constitutional question I think the question now before us is one of extreme importance. The Government propose to introduce a 224 Bill in which is recited the reasons for its introduction. Without a Preamble, containing a recital of what the Mayor of Cork had done, you could not bring the Bill before Parliament. What does the Bill recite? It contains, not a mere general allegation of his misconduct as Mayor of Cork, but a statement that he has used seditious language; in other words, the Bill pronounces on the face of it that the Major of Cork has been guilty of a violation of the law of this country. A violation of the law of this country is dealt with in the criminal courts; and when you say that a man is guilty of such an offence, you say he is guilty of an offence against the law. But I say it is an alarming doctrine to lay down that any man in England can be found guilty of an offence against the own on testimony not sworn to. I make two objections to these proceedings, both of which are sustained by authorities. My first objection is that this House, though it may examine witnesses, cannot administer an oath; my second, that it cannot indict for perjury, before the tribunals of the country, anyone who gave false evidence at the Bar of the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government has referred to precedents. I will refer him to the Porteous case and the case of Queen Caroline. In the former case, in which there was involved a question of status, the Bill was studiously introduced in the House of Lords by Lord Carteret—there was an application to take evidence, and witnesses wore brought from Edinburgh and examined on oath. Then, I am under the impression that the case against Queen Caroline was not a mere divorce case, because the Bill was one which would have deprived her of her status as Queen Consort. In that ease also the Bill was introduced in the House of Lords. As to the rank of the person charged, it will not be contended that a Queen is to be protected to any greater extent than the humblest individual; yet in Queen Caroline's case the witnesses were examined on oath, and that she might have all the advantages afforded by a judicial tribunal the Judges were summoned, in order to guard against the reception of illegal evidence. None of these conditions have been complied with in the present case. In the first place, we cannot take evidence here on oath; secondly, no prose- 225 cution for perjury lies against a person giving false testimony here; and, thirdly, it is a new doctrine, that this House is to judge as to what is seditious. In what may sedition committed by language consist? Why, it may be found anywhere, within a range of language extending almost from words used carelessly in the heat of debate to language deliberately intended, uttered with the intention of bringing into disrepute the great institutions of this country. Sedition in language is an offence so wide in its character that it may consist of words absolutely treasonable or of words not much stronger than the common language of debate. Are you about, without the power of taking evidence on oath, to arrive at a conclusion in a matter such as that? The judicial power is one which the law of England requires to be very jealously exercised. It would be very satisfactory, I think, to have a precedent for commencing proceedings in the House of Commons in such a case as this. In works on the privileges of Parliament it is stated that such Bills as these are generally introduced in the Lords. It is true that these works lay down that "you may" introduce them in the Commons; but the word ''may" shows that it is not the usage or practice to introduce, such measures in the Lower House of Parliament; and, as you have not the power of taking evidence on oath, to say the least, it requires the greatest consideration to determine whether they should be introduced in this House rather than in the House of Lords. I do not make these remarks in a spirit of opposition to the Government, or for the purpose of creating embarrassment to them; on the contrary, I am desirous that the proceedings taken in this matter should be certain and not likely to fail for want of proper form—but I think it would be a great calamity if this Bill or some measure of the kind were to miscarry in consequence of its having been introduced in one House of Parliament rather than in the other, and it is with the object of avoiding anything of that kind we are endeavouring to show you your error at the earliest stage. I think it is more frank and more just that we should at once stale that we have the gravest doubts as to the propriety of your introducing the measure here, and to suggest to the Legal Gentlemen who advise the Government whe- 226 ther it would not be easier to introduce the Bill in the House of Lords, according to the precedent that was set in the case of Captain Portions. I have risen with this object, and not to oppose the Bill or to say anything about the administration of Ireland. Only one word more. It is an entire mistake to imagine that anyone on this side of the House meant to say anything disrespectful of my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland. If anything of that kind had been intended it would not have had my approval; because for many years I have lived on terms of close friendship with my right hon. and learned Friend, and I hope I may reckon myself among his most intimate friends. But nothing of the kind was intended by my right hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire;—[Mr. DISRAELI intimated assent.]—the remark was not applicable to my right hon. and learned Friend personally, but to any Attorney General of any Government, and to any proposition to act in such a matter as this on information received at the Irish Office. All that was intended to be said was that we ought not to proceed on private knowledge, but lake care that the facts are proved in the proper manner.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
I have no doubt the House will accept in the fullest sense; the statement which I presume, in deference to the unmistakable feeling of the whole House, the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite is instructed to make, that no reflection was intended by the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire upon my right hon. and learned Friend who now fills the office of Attorney General for Ireland. All I can say is that manner is misleading, and that, if manner ever justified an inference, the manner of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire on the present occasion justified the inference which the House has drawn from it. My principal object in rising is to deal with the question which the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Dr. Ball) has put before the House. I understand him to object to the proceeding of the Government on the ground that the Bill of Pains and Penalties is based upon the assertion that an offence has been committed, which is an offence against the law, that such an offence must be proved by means known to the law, and that 227 the only means of proving an offence known to the law is evidence upon oath.. I also understand the right hon. and learned Gentleman to say that his objection would be met if the Bill of Pains and Penalties, so to call it. had been introduced into the other House of the Legislature, where they have the power of taking evidence upon oath, where the parties could appear, and where the matter charged against the Mayor of Cork could be proved by witnesses who might be sworn at the Bar of the House. My answer to that is that the two Houses—the House of Commons and the House of Lords—are perfectly independent and co-ordinate branches of the Legislature, and that the House of Commons is no more bound to proceed upon what is proved in the other House than the House of Lords is bound to proceed upon what is proved in this House; and if the Bill were to come down from the House of Lords after evidence had been taken upon oath at the Bar of that House, it yet would be right and decent for the Commons of England to be satisfied independently, in the best way the Constitution allows, that there is foundation for the Bill of Pains and Penalties which they are invited to pass. It, therefore, would have been necessary, in any event, that evidence should be taken at the Bar of this House, and this House could only proceed upon evidence not taken upon oath. It comes then to the simple question, where it was most convenient find most proper, under all the circumstances of the case, that a Bill of this kind should be initiated. Now, the House of Commons must proceed upon its own judgment, and not. upon that of any other branch of the Legislature, and the Government intend to proceed in the only way in which the House of Commons could proceed—by evidence. The Government must be satisfied, in the first place, not by the ipse dixit of an Irish Attorney General—as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire was pleased to phrase it—but by making those inquiries which men of conscience and men of responsibility are bound to make before putting forward such a proceeding as this against any man. Before the House of Commons can be satisfied that the Government are right, they must take such course as is open to them to satisfy their own consciences 228 that the proceeding is right and proper. The Government will produce evidence to show that they are justified in proposing this Bill for the acceptance of the House of Commons; and, of course, if the Mayor of Cork should think it desirable to be heard here at the Bar, and should make a proper Petition to the House for that purpose, an opportunity would be given him for appearing, and reasonable time would be given him for preparation. No man in his senses would think of refusing such a request. Every form of justice that the House allows of would be followed; but if the Bill be justified—if it be supported by evidence in the only way in which it can be supported in the Commons House of Parliament—I trust the House will pass it, undeterred by the observations which, whatever they might have been intended to mean, were heard by most of us—and, I believe, with no distinction of party—with very great regret.
No one can suppose it to be disputed in the abstract that either House of Parliament can institute proceedings of this kind. The only question is as to which of the two modes is the more convenient—cpmmencing in this House or commencing in the other House of Parliament. We ought to consider whether in this case it would not be prudent to follow precedent. How does the case stand? Happily these cases for exceptional legislation are exceedingly rare—one instance only has been alluded to. and it is questionable whether in matters so rare it is prudent to follow a single precedent. The argument of the Prime Minister went almost to this—that because the House was dealing with a Commoner it might almost proceed by Resolution, because he said that a Commoner was to be judged by the House of Commons; I do not suppose the right hon. Gentleman really meant to go that length, but his argument did go to almost that length. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General said that the House of Commons must proceed upon evidence. Well, that evidence is to be taken at the Bar of the House, from unsworn witnesses, and I do not think even he will contend that evidence taken on word merely should, if put in conflict with testimony on oath, stand high in public opinion. Taking evidence of that inferior quality, as I may call it, shall we 229 be more likely to arrive at a sound conclusion than the House of Lords would on a superior kind of evidence? If the evidence taken on oath, in "another place" should conflict with the evidence taken here on word, shall we be in as good a position as as we should have been, if the evidence had been taken in the first instance in that mode by which the truth is most likely to be elicited? Shall we be as likely to get at the truth by first having the evidence in the inferior way and afterwards having it on oath, as if it was first taken on oath? I do not think there can be any difference of opinion on the fact that this is a case so exceptional as to require exceptional proceedings; but I think that if the Government had adhered to the precedent referred to by the right hon. Gentle-man the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie), we should have been more likely to come to a sound conclusion on the facts, which must be proved before the House can pass the Bill. I think it is possible that there may be a conflict of facts, because from statements made to-day it would seem that some of the allegations are likely to be traversed. I only hope that the mode of proceeding adopted by the Government will not result in having Parliament placed in this position—that the facts established in one House by one mode of taking evidence will present a different complexion from those proved in the other by a different mode.
§ MR. MURPHY
I have no doubt it will be readily conceded that, as one of the representatives of the City of Cork, I rise to take part in this debate under a feeling of no little embarrassment, indeed, I may add, under feelings akin to those of shame and humiliation. I feel grieved that a course of proceeding—that events should have taken place in my native city which have rendered it incumbent on the Government to come down to this House and ask its sanction to an act of exceptional legislation. It is a matter which I deplore intensely. I must, however, take leave to say I felt in a condition of considerable embarrassment when my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland gave notice of his intention to bring in this Bill; and now, having listened to his statements of the grounds on which he proposes to have this measure passed into law, I may say I rejoice exceedingly 230 at the course which this debate has taken, because it shows how the Mayor of Cork will be entitled—as he ought to be entitled—to state his case, and that full and ample opportunity will be given to the citizens of Cork, as there should be, to state what their opinion is on the matter. That, I apprehend, is a matter for congratulation, under the unhappy circumstances, on the part of a representative of the City of Cork. I should like, Sir, with reference to an observation of my hon. and learned Colleague (Mr. Maguire) as to the remarks of the Mayor of Cork at a banquet in that city—remarks which have been taken so much notice of—to state what I give to the House as my own sincere and conscientious opinion with respect to them. I beg leave to say, Sir, in the presence of this House, that, having a personal knowledge of the Mayor of Cork, having read a report of observations attributed to him, having read the letter which the Mayor of Cork has written, which was referred to in the speech of my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland, and having heard what he has said on another occasion, I say, Sir, independently of all this, I not only do not believe he had any intention of suggesting, propagating, and inculcating the horrible and detestable idea of assassination, but I do believe he had not the most remote idea of the effect the words he had used would produce when he did use them. To those who know me, possibly from personal reasons with which it is not necessary to trouble the House, this statement coming from me will give weight to any other testimony that may be adduced upon this portion of the subject. But, in thus stating my opinion of the Mayor in what I may term his individual capacity, it is quite impossible to ignore the serious effect and grave consequences of the acts and expressions attributed to him in public, and which derive? weight from his position as chief magistrate of a municipality like Cork. I accordingly think the Government are quite warranted in taking up the question, so as to afford all parties concerned, and the public at large, the most ample means of forming a judgment upon it. It is, Sir, an un-undoubted fact that I have not had the slightest communication made to me by any of my constituents relating to this matter since Tuesday last. No consti- 231 tuent of mine has corresponded with me, either by telegraph or letter, and the only way in which I have become acquainted with the matter is by reading the newspapers. And therefore, Sir. because I am removed from the local excitement that exists in the City of Cork, I am in a bettor position to speak on the subject than if I had been the receipt of ex parte statements. I have, indeed, Sir, great reason to express my heartfelt grief at what has taken place; but I have also good reason to express my profound satisfaction at the course this debate has taken—that an ample opportunity will be given to the Mayor of Cork and to the citizens of Cork of being heard at the Bar of this House prior to the passing of this Bill. And that being the case, the Bill, should the House pass it, will be more satisfactory to the citizens of Cork themselves than if it were passed upon the foundation of ex parte statements, or than if a criminal prosecution had been instituted. I do not wish to trouble the House further, except to refer, for a moment, to an observation of my hon. Colleague (Mr. Maguire). In speaking of the Corporation of Cork, he mentioned that I was a member of that corporation. I had certainly been a member of that body, but last year I resigned the position, on account of public and pressing business, and without any reference whatever to anything that had taken place in the corporation. I simply mention this. Sir, lost it might be supposed I left the corporation because of anything that may have occurred in respect of it.
COLONEL STUART KNOX
said, he wished to express his dissent and that of many other Irish Members from the doctrine put forward by the right hon. and learned Member for Dublin University (Dr. Ball). He (Colonel Knox) could not regard this subject as one on which they ought to entertain any legal quibbles. According to the statements of the Attorney General it was plain that this course ought to have been pursued months ago, and, though at the eleventh hour, he thought the House was bound to give its support to the proposal of the Government. He believed, moreover, that in the interests of the City of Cork and of Ireland, the sooner this was done the better. He regretted that the hon. Member for Clomnel (Mr. Bagwell) should have taken the line he had 232 adopted. Nobody would suppose that his hon. Friend had had any communication with the Mayor of Cork, or had anything to do with him, or agreed in his views; but if his hon. Friend desired to say anything in favour of the Mayor of Cork he should have stated that, on every occasion when he (the Mayor of Cork) spoke in public, "he always asserted that he acted under leaders." He presumed those leaders were local celebrities, but curiously enough the names he always mentioned wore Gladstone and Bright.
§ MR. DOWNING
desired to correct a mistake into which the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had fallen with respect to the Mayor of Cork. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that that gentleman was deprived of the Commission of the Peace for the use of seditious language. That was not the fact? He was removed from that position because he subscribed to what was called the Fenian fund; and when called upon by the Government to give an explanation of the object of such subscription, he refused to do so. He happened to have the pleasure of knowing the Mayor of Cork for many years, and up to a re- cent period no gentleman in the City of Cork held a higher position or was more respected. He was engaged in an extensive business as a merchant, was possessed of considerable private property, and was a gentleman by birth. Up to the time of the Fenian movement he did not believe that the Mayor of Cork had taken any part in political matters. He deeply regretted to be compelled to admit that the language attributed to that gentleman—if really used by him—was such as it was impossible for anyone to defend. As precedents were of some importance in this matter, he would refer for a moment to the case of Thomas Bainbridge, who was a warder in the prison of the Fleet, and who was accused of misbehavior in his office, with having inflicted cruel treatment upon a prisoner confined in gaol. He found that a Bill was introduced by Mr. Ogilvy in 1729, and presented to the House according to Order. The Bill was read a second time on the 3rd of April; on the 12th a Petition from Mr. Bainbridge was presented. The result of that Petition was that Mr. Bainbridge was allowed to be heard by counsel and solicitor, and a Conference 233 was subsequently held between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. He believed that the Attorney General for Ireland would find this a case in point, and one that would show that this House was a proper place for proceedings of this kind to be initiated.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
I rose. Sir. immediately after the hon. Member for Dungannon (Colonel Stuart Knox), because I think it desirable that there should be no misconception about the motives of the jealousy exhibited by several Members as to the form of procedure to be adopted on this occasion. I apprehend there is no difference of opinion whatever in any part of the House as to the demerits of the Mayor of Cork, or as to the necessity of proceeding against him. assuming that the circumstances alleged against him be true. But the point to which attention has been very properly directed is that of procedure; and for this reason—that in all these eases we are laying down precedents; and it is at moments like the present, when acts exciting strong feeling are brought under notice, that it is necessary to be careful that we lay down no precedent and admit no doctrine which may be inconvenient at future times. I would point out to my hon. and gallant Friend and to other Members that the course which is to be taken on the present occasion—upon an occasion that has actually excited a great deal of indignation in the breasts of hon. Members in all parts of the House—is a course which may possibly be followed hereafter under different circumstances, and which may prove to be very detrimental to the liberties of the subject or to the privileges of Parliament. But I do not rise for the sake of going into any general discussion on the question, but rather to challenge, if I rightly understood it, the doctrine laid down by my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General with regard to the proper separation of the functions of the two Houses of Parliament. As I understood him he laid down the doctrine that one House could not proceed upon evidence taken in the other. [The SOLICITOR GENERAL explained that what he said was that one House was not bound to proceed on evidence taken by the other.] That alters the question, and I am glad to hear my hon. and learned Friend put it 234 in that way. It was urged that it would be better to proceed in the other House, because you could by so doing in all probability obtain the best kind of evidence. My hon. and learned Friend appeared to think that the two Houses ought to proceed separately, and that evidence taken in one could not be produced in the other. If that doctrine were laid down it would have a material bearing upon this case—though I think that argument was to some extent answered by my right hon. Friend the Member for Oxford shire (Mr. Henley). But, as a matter of fact, evidence given before the House of Lords may be admitted before this House, and in certain cases it is so taken—I refer especially to the case of a Divorce; Bill. I understand that the practice is that the Bills for Divorce originate in the House of Lords, that evidence is there taken upon oath, that that evidence is communicated by the House of Lords to the House of Commons, and is anted upon here without any fresh evidence being taken. If that is the practice it seems to furnish a precedent for the proper mode of proceeding when Bills with Pains and Penalties—and Divorce Bills must be regarded as such—are concerned. The rule relating to this subject is thus laid down in a book which we are all of us accustomed frequently to consult—Bills of Attainder, and on Pains and Penalties, have generally originated in the House of Lords as partaking of a judicial character.One would have thought it, therefore, a convenient practice that Bills of this character should originate in the House of Lords. At all events it was, I thought, advisable to take some notice of the statement of my hon. and learned Friend. I am glad that he has qualified it, but I still think that it would be more in accordance with the ordinary practice of Parliament that a Bill of this kind should be introduced in the House where the evidence could be taken on oath.
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, they were dealing with a matter of the gravest character. It had come to his knowledge that, in consequence of the words attributed to the Mayor of Cork, meetings had been held of a most turbulent character in that part of the country, and threats of violence, only too frequent he was sorry to say in Ireland, bad been held out against loyal citizens. The feelings of the persons who attended had been specially 235 directed against Alderman Lyons, who had thought it his duty to call the Mayor of Cork to account for the language he had used, and to give him an opportunity of acknowledging or denying the sentiments attributed to him. For this manly mode of action Alderman Lyons had been held up to public odium; and his life had been threatened by the mob in the streets and by letter. This was a matter which the House ought not to overlook—especially in the case of a man who had demeaned him-self in all respects as a good subject of the Queen; and he wished to know whether, if the threat were carried out, this amiable and excellent citizen, the Mayor of Cork should not be held personally responsible for his murder? He said that the House could not possibly pass over such a case. With regard to the Bill before the House he thought the Members of the Opposition could have taken no other course than in prescribing that the greatest care should be taken in proceeding in a matter of so much gravity. This was not the first case in which the most violent and seditious language had been used. And it would have been well if the Executive Government had interposed earlier to prevent the use of violent and seditious language, which produced the worst and most baneful effects. This House ought to proceed with the greatest caution and gravity, and hedge itself round with every security, and show to the people of Ireland that they must not be carried away by the exciting statements of such orators.
§ COLONEL FRENCH
said, that in common with other hon. Members who disapproved of the Bill, he felt great difficulty in expressing his objections from the possibility of its being supposed that he, in the slightest degree, countenanced the acts or the speech of the Mayor of Cork. He objected to the Bill, not only on the ground stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire that it was in principle unconstitutional, but also because he objected to exceptional and ex post facto legislation. This instead of being a Bill of Pains and Penalties to the Mayor of Cork, would, in all probability, make him more popular. It was known that he had announced himself as a candidate for the City of Cork in a future Parliament, and these speeches abominable and discreditable as they were, 236 were simply delivered for the purpose of promoting that end. He probably thought that by making himself a "martyr" he should obtain popularity with the Fenians, and by their aid coerce the respectable inhabitants of Cork, and so obtain a majority of votes. If this Bill was really brought forward by the Government for the purpose of promoting peace, law, and order, it showed how little the Government really knew of the present state of feeling in Ireland. An erroneous view of what the country required was taken by the Government, and it was a mistake to suppose that the Fenians were a majority of the nation. In America, with all their bluster of 5,000,000 ready for the invasion of England, we find, from the Census lately taken in the United States, that they could not muster 5,000 men, two-thirds of whom would prefer to listen to the advice of their clergymen to embarking in hopeless and reckless enterprizes. In Ireland he felt the vast majority of the people were loyal, and would themselves put an end to the disorders and bloodshed which were so frequently occurring there, if allowed to do so. A reign of terror was established over the peasantry, owing to the inability of the Executive to vindicate the law, from want of knowledge how to go about it. If the Government would listen to advice, and for once in their lives trust the Irish people to protect and defend themselves, he felt that that confidence would not be misplaced, and that the country would speedily present a different spectacle.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
, as one of the independent Conservative Members sitting below the Gangway, believed he spoke the opinions of others besides himself when he said that, thoroughly disagreeing with the general Irish policy of the present Ministry, they considered that in this particular instance the Government had come forward in a manly and straightforward spirit to vindicate the cause of peace and order, and to provide for what was recognized on all hands as a great scandal. There was no necessity for scanning legal points and musty precedents. What they desired to do was to strengthen the hands of the natural protectors of order—the Executive Government. And they were glad to hear the ipse dixit of an Irish Attorney General raised from either side 237 of the House in favour of order and against sedition. They looked upon the chief Law Officer of the Crown as the right authority for invoking the sense of Parliament in a matter like this. The hon. and gallant Colonel who had just sat down had said that this was probably an election speech that was delivered by the Mayor of Cork. When, however, they remembered the terms which the Mayor used with reference to a man who had raised his hand against the Queen's son he could not help thinking that such an election speech required a sharp sort of election committee to sit upon it. It was not at all impossible, moreover, that such things as election speeches were occasionally delivered inside St. Stephen's as well as out of it. and that speeches were made out of a regard for seats winch, at another election, might be trembling in the balance. Those who had argued with considerable ingenuity that this speech was made rather late at night, and after supper, somehow forgot to refer to the Mayor's letter published in the Cork paper—a letter which in all probability was written after the morning cup of tea. He had risen for the purpose of stating that, while those who sat below the Gangway on that side of the table reserved for themselves the privileges of Members to form their own opinion of the details of this or of any other measure, they desired not to interrupt the course of substantial justice or the restoration of order to Ireland by any quibbles, and he trusted that similar sentiments prevailed on the front Bench on that side; for nothing would be more dangerous to law and order in Ireland than that it should be supposed that any persons holding themselves up to be the leaders of the Conservative party could, in the least degree, tamper with treason for the sake of a party victory, which, like other party victories, might at Conservative hands, result in the more complete triumph of that policy which the party crossed the House in order, as they averred, to prevent.
§ MR. GAT'HORNE HARDY
The speech we have just heard from the hon. Member for Cambridge University is one I could not have listened to without immediately rising. Those who heard me speak in the House the other night will be aware that I pointed out to the Government the very course in substance that they have now thought proper to 238 take. It is a choice of evils. You have a state of things existing for which the law provides no remedy, and, under those circumstances, any remedy which you may apply must of necessity be in some sense one out of the common course, and must be a sharp and severe one. I have before me the only remedy I am acquainted with. It is under an Irish statute of the 1st George III., and is, I presume, the one to which the Attorney General referred when he spoke of an ex officio information. That, however, would not meet the evil, because the object is not to proceed against the Mayor for the use of seditious language, but to remove him from the position in which he is doing incredible mischief, by leading the people to believe that a man in authority is entitled to hold a place giving him position and influence in the town in which he lives, when it is a place which he ought not to hold if it can be taken from him with justice and reason. I agree that it is essential that we should have evidence at the Bar of what occurred in Cork on which to proceed; but it is at the same time idle to shut our eyes and ears to the facts. The facts are before us. They have been admitted by the chief culprit himself. Let us, however, hear the evidence, and bring judicial minds to bear upon it. But I will for a moment assume that what is stated is correct. When a justice of the peace in the great City of Cork vindicates the conduct of the three men executed in Manchester, as the Mayor of Cork has done, and refers to a man executed in this country for one of the most horrible crimes ever perpetrated—a crime which inflicted suffering and death upon many harmless and innocent women and children—I refer to the Clerkenwell explosion—as of a man actuated by the most noble motives—in that way almost justifying assassination—such a person is not at longer to hold a position in the magistracy. And when he goes on to say that O'Farrell was actuated by as high motives as any patriot was ever actuated by—I say such a man is not fit to hold the place he occupies for one single moment, and that his being allowed to continue there is sufficient in itself to bring any Government into discredit. When I add to that that the person who was appointed to protect law and order in that city allowed to be made in his presence seditious speeches which 239 —though couched in ironical language—could have but one meaning, and that he himself said that if they were strong-enough they would drive the English out of the country—I say that that is not the man we ought to palter with; and though as a matter of policy and expediency, and for the purpose of steadying the witnesses, I think it would have been better that this Bill should have been begun in the House of Lords, yet I cannot admit that the House of Commons has lost its power of initiating because it has not the power of taking evidence upon oath. I wish, as a matter of prudence and policy, that evidence should have been given upon which we could have acted; but I do not think that we are precluded from acting because we cannot take sworn evidence. The effect of such a doctrine would be to deprive us of our highest privileges. I may say. in answer to the remarks of my hon. Friend below the Gangway (Mr. B. Hope), that I do not find that in the course of this discussion anything has been said which would tend in any degree—I will not say to palliate, but to modify or to take away from the language used by the Mayor of Cork; and T feel it so essential that he should be deprived of his office of justice of the peace, and the right of sitting any longer as mayor, that I. shall be prepared to assist in any exceptional course for the purpose of relieving the people of the country from so crying and outrageous a scandal.
§ MR. SYNAN
said, no one was less open to the taunt of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Beresford Hope) than his hon. Friend below him (Colonel French), for his hon. Friend had retained his seat between thirty and forty years, and was likely, if he lived as long more, to retain it for the period of his natural life. From the speeches that had been made that afternoon he feared that that House could scarcely be regarded as likely to bring a judicial mind to bear upon this ease, because what they had done had been to convict the man before he was tried; and if he were to believe the hon. Member for Donegal (Mr. Conolly) it was their duty, not only to try the Mayor of Cork for sedition, but also for murder. No one, certainly, could pretend to justify the language attributed to the Mayor of Cork, if that language had really been used by him—and no one had attempted to justify it; but if the 240 Mayor of Cork would say that he used the language in a moment of heat, and in the course of an after-dinner speech, and that he never intended to convey the meaning which had been attached to his words, such an explanation would, he believed, be agreeable to them all. But the question was as to the proper nature of the tribunal. There were precedents for proceeding first in that House as well as in the House of Lords; but if he (Mr. Synan) were to give an opinion on which side the balance of convenience lay, he should say the best place would be to try the Mayor upon sworn evidence in the other House. But, at any rate, he ought to have a fair trial; and they ought not to anticipate his guilt, or, in the meanwhile, to exasperate the feeling of the House or the public against him; they ought to deal with the matter as judicially as if they were a court.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
said, he rose as representing an important constituency in the North of Ireland, second to none in the intensity of its Protestantism, to express a strong hope that the House would proceed with all caution in this ease. Having been sent to Parliament by an enthusiastic body of Protestants, he was desirous that it should be known that they were not unnecessarily clamorous for the infliction of punishment, before evidence had been taken, in the case even of an individual who had offended so grossly against decency, order, and propriety as the Mayor of Cork. He could not forget that those who were so anxious to punish the Mayor of Cork were also those who were desirous of repressing the expression of Protestant feeling in Ireland; and he had no wish that the Mayor of Cork should be made the scapegoat to carry off into the wilderness the sins of other people. He wished to express his dissent from the course proposed to be taken by the Government, for he shared with hon. Members below the Gangway in the constitutional cautions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire.
SIR JOHN ESMONDE
said, he had had, for a period of seventeen years, the honour of sitting in that House, and during that time no ease like the present had occurred. As to the question in which House such a Bill as this should originate, several hon. Members had 241 pointed out the inconvenience attending its introduction in this, on account of the want of power in the House of Commons in such cases to examine witnesses on oath. The question suggested itself to him was there any constitutional reason why this state of things should exist? On this subject Sir Erskine May, in his Law and Practice of Parliament. said—By the laws of England the power of administering oaths has been considered essential to the discovery of truth; it has been entrusted to small debt courts, and to every justice of the peace; but is not enjoyed by the House of Commons, the grand inquest of the nation. From what anomalous cause, and at what period, this power, which must have been originally inherent in the High Court of Parliament, was retained by one branch of it and severed from the other, cannot be satisfactorily established; but, even while the Commons were contending most strenuously for their claim to be a court of record, they did not advance any pretension to the right of administering oaths. The two Houses, in the course of centuries, have appropriated to themselves different kinds of judicature, but the one has exercised the right of administering oaths without question; while the other—except during the Commonwealth—has never yet asserted it.As the inconvenience arising from this anomaly had now been so strongly felt he would venture to suggest to the Government that it was fair matter for consideration whether something should not be done to give the House of Commons that power.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
The answer to the question of the hon. Baronet is that the other House is. and that this House is not, the highest court of appeal in the land, and as such administers an oath. There are, I think, two points upon which every one in this House must agree. The first is that, in the Mayor of Cork is legally guilty of having uttered seditious language, condign punishment ought at once to be inflicted, even by means of exceptional legislation. On the other hand, I apprehend that no man in this House, however strongly his indignation may be excited by the language imputed to the Mayor of Cork, is seriously of opinion that that condign punishment should be inflicted except upon evidence received in a proper and constitutional way. Well, these two points being conceded, the real question is, how the House shall act, so as to enable these proceedings to assume a constitutional character? When my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. 242 Beresford Hope) suggests that no grave constitutional questions are raised by the question, as to which House these proceedings ought to originate in, and when he expresses a hope that the Conservative leaders will not so act as to appear to tamper with treason, I must profess myself to be totally unable to follow the course of the argument of my hon. Friend. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie), and other Gentlemen, ending with my right hon. Friend the Member for the county of Oxford (Mr. Henley), are. I think, a sufficient proof that we may join with my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge in the utmost condemnation of the language used by the Mayor of Cork, and yet. without any reference to the Mayor of Cork, may desire to proceed with gravity, if not hesitation, in the course suggested by Her Majesty's Government. I listened to the arguments for the course recommended of the right lion. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government. He appeared to me to say that it was in this House that exceptional legislation of this sort ought to commence rather than the other House; and he proceeded, as I understood him. to establish his point in the following way:—The Mayor of Cork is a Commoner; therefore he ought to be tried, in the first instance, by the House of Commons, and not by the House of Lords. Sir, I venture to say that this is a doctrine at present unsupported by any precedent in the history of this country; and I venture to think, with all deference to the right hon. Gentleman, that this is a doctrine which, in its possible application, will not be found to sub serve the true interests of the liberty of the subject. The right hon. Gentleman knows that evidence in this House cannot be taken on oath; and the result of the position of the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, will be that a man tried for a very grave offence may be proceeded against, in the first instance, in this House, upon evidence, not of the most satisfactory nature, and that he may have to rely on evidence of a more satisfactory kind, taken in another place, for the rehabilitation of his character. I think, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government failed to show, both in point of principle and in point of practice, that the course recom- 243 mended by the Government was one altogether justifiable. I believe that, in point: of principle, it is not for the real interest of the liberty of the Commons that this House should originate measures of a penal character against individuals belonging to the order of the Commons; and I am quite sure that all who have heard the right hon. Gentleman will admit that the precedent which he quoted, and on which he relied, was a precedent entirely in the opposite direction. As to the general question, I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge that there is not the shadow of a shade of distinction among Gentlemen on these Benches, or I believe on the Benches opposite, as to the necessity for inflicting condign punishment on the person who may have used this language, if it should be legally proved that this language has been made use of.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
I beg to thank the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. G. Hardy) for his straightforward and manly speech on this occasion. The views he has presented to the House are precisely those which operated on Her Majesty's Government in undertaking this grave matter, and our conviction was that there was no other remedy for the scandal that the Mayor of Cork should continue to hold his position after the de-livery of the speeches that had been imputed to him. I do not mean to enter into some of the matters that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckingham-shire has mentioned; but this I will say—that, while nothing would be further from my mind or from my nature than to do anything that would prejudice this case, I was bound, in common courtesy to the House, and it was my duty as Attorney General for Ireland, to lay before the House the outline of the case on which the Government had to rely in proposing this exceptional legislation. I hold in my hand at this moment a Resolution which I intend to move if leave be given to bring in the Bill, and a copy of that Resolution is to be served on the Mayor of Cork, apprising hint that leave was given to bring in the Bill, that a copy of the Bill is furnished to him, that it is to be read a second time on Tuesday, and that he is at liberty to appear at the Bar of the House and to be heard by counsel. 244 Of course, on that day, or whatever other day the case of the Mayor of Cork may be investigated, it will not be for him to prove that he has not used the words, but for Her Majesty's Government to show that they have evidence to sustain the course they have pursued. That is the course proposed to be taken, and I am quite sure any time the Mayor of Cork will wish to have accorded to him will be granted. I must say that I never in my life had to perform so painful a duty as in making the statement which I had to make this day in asking for leave to introduce this Bill. There are precedents after precedents in the House of Commons for Bills of this description—the Commons' Journals will show that. We have followed the precedents in this case, and as this Bill cannot pass into law unless the House of Lords shall adopt it, there cannot be the smallest chance of injustice being done, as the Mayor of Cork will have ample liberty at the Bar of this House and at the Bar of the House of Lords to defend himself—I hope that the Bill will be dealt with with the greatest caution and the extremist care.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. ATTORNEY GENERAL for IRELAND and Mr. CHICHESTER FOR-TESCUE, presented, and read the first time. [Bill 108.]
§ Ordered, That a Copy of the said Bill, and of the said Order for the Second Reading thereof, be forthwith served upon Daniel O'Sullivan, esquire, Mayor of the City of Cork.
§ Ordered, That Mr. Attorney General for Ireland do take care that evidence be produced in support of the said Bill, upon the Second Reading thereof.