§ Order for Consideration of Copy of Record of Conviction and Judgment in the case of the Queen against Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa [presented 8th February] read:—
§ Copy of the Record of the Conviction and of the Judgment in the case of the Queen against Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, tried at a Special Commission of Oyer and Terminer, held at Dublin on the 27th day of November 1865, read:—
I have now, Sir, in conformity with the Motion which has been placed on the Paper, to move— 123That Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, returned as Knight of the Shire for the County of Tipperary, having been adjudged guilty of felony, and sentenced to penal servitude for life, and being now imprisoned under such sentence, has become and continues incapable of being elected or returned as a Member of this House.Of course, I am naturally led, in conjunction with the proposition that I submit to the House, to consider the counter proposal which is to be submitted to it as an Amendment—the proposal, I mean, to refer this question to the care of a Select Committee.
§ MR. G. H. MOORE
That is not the exact Motion which I intended to make. It has been altered in the Papers of the House. What I propose is that the matter should be left to the consideration of a Committee; and the kind of Committee to whose consideration I wish to leave it is a Committee to be appointed to examine into the precedents in the case and to report to the House what steps ought to be taken in the matter.
However that may be—without any reference to the hon. Gentleman or his proposition—I will now state in a very few words the view we take of the matter. If this were a case in which, after the best investigation we can make, we thought that any just, fair, or reasonable doubt attached to the facts or the arguments of the case, or as to the course which the House ought to pursue, then I admit it might be a subject for reference to a Committee; especially if the question were one which involved the examination of a long and complicated series of precedents, such as it would be difficult to bring under the view of the House in debate. But, Sir, in our view it is neither the one nor the other. The facts of the case are the fewest as possible, and the principles applicable as clear as can be brought to bear on any question of Parliamentary discussion. And I would submit that, if that be the case, a proposal to inquire instead of a proposal to act would not be becoming the dignity of this House. In a matter of a character so remarkable as this, where a person unhappily adjudged guilty of acts that fall within the legal designation of treason-felony has been returned as a Member of this House by the officer whose duty it is to make such return, it appears to me that unless there appear to be the strongest grounds for hesitating as to the answer we should make, 124 that answer ought to be given without a moment's delay. The question then, Sir, really is whether the case, in every substantial consideration that affects it, is a clear case or not. Sir, the writ which calls upon the electors of any county to return a Knight of the Shire will, I apprehend, be admitted to speak with paramount authority; and in the language of that writ the electors are desired to choose a given number of persons, be it one or two or more, under the description of magis idoneos et discretos; and these words, the general meaning of which is sufficiently clear, have received an authoritative sense from a long course of practice as absolutely excluding various classes of persons. If, for example, we look either to the se who are below the ordinary standard, I presume there is no doubt that the return of a person labouring under the grievous disability of idiotcy, or the return of a child, would be no answer to a writ for the election of a Knight of the Shire to serve in Parliament. And if, on the other hand, I go higher, I believe I should be correct in saying that the return of a Peer sitting in the House of Lords, or the return—for the sake of illustration—of the Sovereign on the Throne, would be no answer to the writ. Therefore, our assertion is that the return of a person adjudged guilty of felony is no return to the writ—that the writ has not been obeyed, has not been answered, that the order for the return remains unfulfilled, and that we have no alternative except to declare the fact, and to call upon the electors in due course, by the issue of a new writ, to discharge that duty which from—be it inadvertence or be it ignorance of the law, or from whatever other cause—they have failed on the present occasion to do. With regard to precedents, there is but one to which it is necessary to advert, and that is one in which the procedure was of such a character as will, I think, leave no doubt on the mind of the House as to the nature of the rule which is laid down—I mean the precedent of Mr. Smith O'Brien. It is recent; and the procedure in that case—not the mere speeches which were made, which would necessarily be of inferior authority, but the original Motion made—the Amendment moved upon it, and the Motion which in its final form was carried by the House—indicate in the clearest manner 125 the basis of the proceedings which then were taken. On the 18th of May, 1849, Lord Russell, made this Motion—That it appears by the Record communicated from the House of Lords that William Smith O'Brien has been convicted of high treason."—[3 Hansard, cv. 669.]Sir Frederick Thesiger took an objection to the use of the word "convicted," and pointed out—I believe with perfect justice—that the legal incapacity consequent on the commission of certain acts did not follow upon conviction, which is the act of the jury, but upon the judgment, which is the act of the Court; and, consequently, Sir Frederick Thesiger suggested that the word "attainted" ought to be substituted for the word "convicted" of high treason. But the House declined to adopt the word "attainted," and the Attorney General (Sir John Jervis) in lieu of the word "attainted," suggested that "adjudged guilty" should be substituted for "convicted." Well, it is plain from the proceeding itself that the Attorney General of that day—who was as competent to the performance of his duty, aud to afford guidance to the House, in these matters as perhaps any Law Officer of our time—the Attorney General well knew that in certain cases of felony which imposed disability from sitting in this Mouse, attainder, notwithstanding, did not follow. The process had then commenced, which has since been extended, and to which, I believe, it is owing that the person whoso case we are now considering has not, like Mr. Smith O'Brien, been found guilty of high treason, and attainted accordingly. The act of which O'Donovan Rossa has been convicted and adjudged guilty is an act of treason-felony, and that act is not followed by attainder; and the House will perceive that the use of the word "attainted" would have set up a false light for its guidance in future cases, because it would have seemed to imply that the disabilities of felony were limited to cases in which it was followed by attainder; and therefore, the House declined to use the word "attainted," but made use advisedly of the words "adjudged guilty" of high treason, substituting that for the word proposed by Sir Frederick Thesiger. Well, Sir, the facts as they stand in legal phraseology are not precisely parallel in both cases; because the category of the crime has been altered since the time of Mr. Smith O'Brien. But if we are to 126 look to the reason of the case I own I cannot conceive anything more irrational than the proposition that the Legislature of this country, because it chose in the case of one grave class of crime to commute capital punishment into the punishment next less severe to capital, intended to accompany that change with the removal of the undoubted disability which would otherwise have followed, and to confer on the person so brought down from the highest to the second class of punishment a capacity to receive one of the highest honours that can be conferred on any individual. Sir, it is not for me to pretend to speak with any authority on this matter. I prefer rather to direct the attention of the House to the undoubted fact that, whether it be by the judgment of this House and by the law of Parliamentary privilege, or whether it be by the known and admitted sentiment of the highest text-writers upon the law of this country, the disability attaching to felony is matter of undoubted principle. If so, I think, Sir, I am justified in the statement that I make of a matter which is strictly one of argument, and from which everything but argument should be carefully excluded—the function we have to discharge is strictly a judicial function; and my statement is this—that the law and the precedent applicable to this case are on every point of substance perfectly clear. And therefore it is I shall propose to the House the two Motions of which I have given notice—the first of which declares that Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa has become and continues incapable of being elected or returned as a Member of this House. I need only in conclusion point out to the House that the negative of that proposition involves this affirmative doctrine—that a person convicted of felony, and suffering sentence within the walls of a prison in consequence of that felony, is, nevertheless, a fit and proper person—one of the magis idoneos et discretos milites—whom the writ requires the electors to return for the purpose of representing their interests in this House, and of dealing with the highest questions that can be submitted to the judgment of Parliament. Sir, I now move the first resolution which stands in my name.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, returned as Knight of the Shire for the County of Tipperary, having been adjudge guilty of felony, and
sentenced to penal servitude for life, and being now imprisoned under such sentence, has become and continues incapable of being elected or returned as a Member of this House."—(Mr. Gladstone.)
§ MR. G. H. MOORE
said, that in rising to propose the Amendment of which he had given notice, he had no expectation of inducing the House to abandon its apparently foregone conclusion of setting aside the election of the hon. Member for Tipperary. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen were pleased to laugh at his styling Mr. O'Donovan Rossa "the honourable Member for Tipperary;" but he was the Member for Tipperary, and would remain so until his election had been reversed by that House; and he was the honourable Member for Tipperary at all events by one title to which, perhaps, some Members of the House could not lay claim—by obtaining his seat without having recourse to any corrupt or dishonourable practices. He would assure hon. Gentlemen who had thus early interrupted him that he did not intend to discuss the question; but he did hope to persuade the House to proceed in their intention with care and caution, and with a due sense of its own responsibility in the course it might take. That was not a party question, or even a political question—it was a simple question of Parliamentary law, precedent, and practice. He hoped it would be discussed entirely in that sense—and not only in the form but in the spirit of a judicial inquiry. The first point they were bound to ascertain was—what were the powers and privileges of the House of Commons in this matter, and what was their jurisdiction in a case of this kind? On that point the published words of Sir Erskine May left no room for any doubt or ambiguity whatever. In his Law and Practice of Parliament he distinctly laid down that—Not withstanding their extensive jurisdiction in regard to election, the Commons hare no control over the eligibility of candidates, except in the administration of the laws that define their qualifications.And, after citing the cases of Mr. Arthur Hall, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Trelawny, and Mr. Robert Walpole—to say nothing of Mr. Wilkes—in which that rule appeared to have been more or less disregarded, Sir Erskine May told them that— 128All these cases can only be cited as examples of excess of its jurisdiction by the Commons; for one House of Parliament cannot create a disability unknown to the law.As he (Mr. Moore) trusted and believed it was not the intention of the House of Commons on that occasion to add one more to these "cases of excess of jurisdiction," they must assume, therefore, that they had "no control over the eligibility" of the Member for Tipperary, "except to administer the laws that define his qualification." But, if that were so, the first and most obvious question that presented itself to an inquiring mind was wiry and how the House of Commons was then called upon to pronounce upon that question of qualification at all. By the Election Act of 1868 the whole power and jurisdiction of the House in these cases was transferred to the Judges of Election Petitions. the se Judges, therefore, possessed—he did not say exclusively, but, at all events, they possessed—all the powers possessed by that House in the determination of the qualification of Members. Now, if the legal positions that the right hon. Gentleman opposite had just laid down were correct, it necessarily followed that if Mr. Heron had only presented a petition against the return of his opponent, and praying for the seat on the ground of disqualification, he would now be the sitting Member for the county of Tipperary. Now, be it remembered that at the Tipperary election Mr. Heron made no secret of his intention to adopt that course. He took all the legal steps and served all the legal notices that were necessary to make that course effectual. How, then, did it come to pass that immediately after his return to Dublin "a change came o'er the spirit of his dream," and that he suddenly abandoned the easy and certain course by which, according to the legal doctrines of the First Minister of the Crown, he could have at once obtained his seat by an election petition at the hands of the presiding Judge? However "permeated" with the national colour, according to the opinion of the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, Mr. Heron might have been on the hustings of Tipperary, he was by no means "green" in the Four Courts of Dublin; and it was out of all reason to suppose that he, a lawyer, shrewd, vigilant, and sly, would have preferred running the gauntlet of 129 another Tipperary election to the acquisition of an easy and certain seat, at the hands of Mr. Justice Keogh or Baron Hughes. Although the First Minister, owing to the judicious character of his Irish appointments, was at present without an Irish law adviser in the House, he might have ascertained through less direct out easily accessible channels that Mr. Heron satisfied himself—and it certainly was the opinion of the Irish Bar—that he had no chance whatever of obtaining from an Irish Judge that legal decision on the subject of qualification which the right hon. Gentleman opposite now called on the House irregularly and without inquiry to affirm. It was generally understood that Mr. Heron had satisfied himself, after due inquiry and consultation, that a conviction of judgment for felony did not constitute an absolute disqualification, unless that conviction or judgment was followed by attainder; Mr. O'Donovan Rossa in this case not being attainted, consequently no presiding Judge on an election petition would decide that he was legally disqualified. The only precedent which was really a precedent in point in modern times made it perfectly clear, in his opinion, that lawyers in England had always held the opinion which Mr. Heron in Ireland found to be the law. This precedent had not been quite correctly stated by the right hon. Gentleman. In 1849, Lord John Russell proposed two Resolutions to that House with regard to the conviction of Mr. Smith O'Brien, the first of which ran as follows:—That it appears by the record, communicated from the House of Lords, that William Smith O'Brien has been convicted of high treason."—[3 Hansard, cv. 669.]On this Sir Frederick Thesiger, as reported in Hansard, wished to state a single objection with regard to the wording of the Resolution. The words were—That William Smith O'Brien has been convicted of high treason." "Now, the noble Lord" (continued Sir Frederick Thesiger) "might be aware that attainder did not follow on conviction, but on the judgment which followed; and he would therefore beg to suggest that the words of the Resolution should be altered into 'attainted of high treason.' He thought the noble Lord could not proceed with the second Resolution, which implied that William Smith O'Brien was civilly dead, unless the word 'attainted' were introduced into the first Resolution."—[Ibid.]The Attorney-General (Sir John Jervis) 130 said that possibly a middle course might be the best to take, and he would therefore suggest that the words "adjudged guilty" should be substituted for "convicted." Lord John Russell then moved—That Mr. Speaker do issue his warrant to the clerk of the Crown to issue a new writ for the county of Limerick, in the room of William Smith O'Brien."—[Ibid.]It was scarcely necessary to remark that in the case of Mr. Smith O'Brien sentence of death had been passed, attainder had followed, and therefore, beyond doubt, disqualification had ensued. But even in this case, so anxious were the legal authorities of the House not to overstep the jurisdiction of Parliament that an alteration in the form of the Resolution was agreed to in order to show that attainder had followed in this particular case—so evident did it appear that by the law and practice of Parliament disqualification on the ground of felony could only be sustained on the fact of attainder. The right hon. Gentleman did not see and could not conceive why, because the Legislature had thought it expedient to substitute a milder punishment for the old one, the disqualification in the case of treason should be removed. But, as a matter of fact, almost all of them had been removed; and it was for the right hon. Gentleman to show why, when other disqualifications had been removed, one disqualification should be preserved. He would leave to the legally-educated Members of the House the easy task of following the right hon. Gentleman through his arguments, and of showing that the Member for Tipperary had not been attainted, and therefore not disqualified by the existing law of Parliament. Now, although he was not a lawyer, he sometimes looked into Blackstone and such simple authorities for simple men, and he there found the whole essence and consequences of attainder very distinctly and lucidly defined. Blackstone showed that—After sentence of death, the most terrible and highest judgment of the laws of England, is pronounced, the immediate inseparable consequence of the law of England is attainder. For, when it is now clear beyond dispute that the criminal is no longer fit to live upon the earth, but is to be exterminated as a monster aud as a bane to human society, the law sets a note of infamy upon him, puts him out of its protection, and takes no further care of him than barely to see him executed."This forfeiture for felony," he further remarked, "arises only on attainder." 131 There were lawyers in that House who believed, and who he had no doubt would tell them, that, by the Election Act of 1868, that House had delegated to the Judge appointed to try election petitions the whole right and prerogative of that House to decide as to the qualification of candidates. Not being a lawyer, he would not undertake to advance any such opinion; but he would put it as an argument ad verecundiam to Members of tins House as ignorant of the law as himself, that they ought not, without previous inquiry and examination, to give a decision on a difficult question of law, which might possibly be opposed to legal opinions of the Judges. Mr. Heron, with remarkable foresight and good sense, preferred to trust to the chance of a deus ex machinâ, in the person of a rash Minister and a raw House of Commons to rescue him in a cloud of words and by a random Resolution from the electoral difficulty out of which he knew he had no chance of escaping through the recognized tribunals. It was, he believed, perfectly well-known that Mr. Heron had satisfied himself, after taking competent advice and counsel, that a conviction for felony did not constitute a legal disqualification unless followed by attainder, and that as Mr. O'Donovan Rossa was not attainted he could not be declared by an Election Judge to be legally disqualified. That was his (Mr. Moore's) opinion; but that opinion was not involved in the proposition which he had made to the House, and which he thought every consideration of justice and prudence would seem to recommend. He had endeavoured to argue this question on its merits, and the proposition which he made was one by which the merits of the case might be tested. He hoped, therefore, for the favourable consideration of considerate men on both sides of the House. From the Conservative party he hoped for support, because it was their special function and prerogative not to allow any of the ancient landmarks of the Constitution to be moved without care and caution; to the Liberal party he looked for co-operation, because it was their duty to protect the electoral rights and privileges of the people; and from the members of the new party of progress he expected assistance, because they had yet to show that they cared for any class but one class, or any rights 132 but their own. The hon. Member concluded by moving his Amendment.
§ MR. MATTHEWS
said, he would endeavour to avoid entering at undue length into the consideration of the legal question they were called upon to decide. If the matter were free from doubt, whatever might be their sympathies, the House should act at once; but the question was so surrounded by difficulties, that he should second the Amendment. The speech of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore) raised two points well worthy of consideration. As he understood it, the Act of 1868, regulating the course to be taken with regard to election petitions, was intended not only to relieve the House of Commons from inquiries of that kind, but to shut it out from them altogether. But if the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) were agreed to, he did not see why any other question of a disputed election should not be brought under the notice of the House of Commons, and submitted to its judgment. The 50th section of the Act of 1868 provided, in express terms, that—After the next dissolution of Parliament no election or return shall be questioned except in accordance with the provisions of this Act.In the case of Sir Sydney Waterlow, last year, a Committee was appointed, the hon. Gentleman was declared disqualified, and a new Writ was ordered to be issued. That seemed, no doubt, to assume that the jurisdiction of the House over elections still continued. But as the Committee was appointed at the request of the hon. Gentleman himself, for the purpose of protecting himself against penalties, and the new Writ was issued sub silentio, he did not think that case could be regarded as a precedent. The House had to ask themselves the plain constitutional question—whether, after the passing of an Act of Parliament providing a new form of jurisdiction in election matters, such matters ought still to be tried by the House of Commons? But, assuming that the House would not be disposed to accede to this view of the matter, he was anxious to direct their attention to another point which appeared to him to be one of great gravity. Had it not been for the language of the right hon. Gentleman, he (Mr. Matthews) should have submitted, with great confidence, 133 that Mr. O'Donovan Rossa, the Member-elect for Tipperary—and he presumed he might be allowed to give him that title, at all events—was not subject to any disqualification known to the law. No constitutional lawyer would contend that the House, by any Resolution of its own, could create any fresh incapacity to be elected. It was the exclusive constitutional privilege of the electors to judge for themselves of the fitness of the representatives they elected, subject to any disqualification that might exist under the actual law of the land. With that single limitation the electors were at liberty to elect, as their representative in that House, any person whom they might think fit. The House, therefore must ascertain what were the disqualifications that existed under the actual law of the land. Upon this point, having searched through the authorities, he must state his belief that the only legal disqualification for election was attainder for treason or felony. Lord Coke, from whom the right hon. Gentleman had taken the words he had used, stated in direct terms that a man attainted for treason or felony was disqualified from being elected; and throughout the whole current of authorities disqualification was stated in the same terms. He had himself searched with some industry, and he had found only one authority—Roe on Elections—in which the case now in hand, of a felony which did no carry the consequence of attainder, was dealt with: the author, after first stating that a man attainted for treason or felony was disqualified for election, proceeded to observe that it did not appear that any crime of less enormity carried with it a similar disqualification, so as to bind the electors that they should not elect the guilty person. The universal current of opinion of all esteemed writers was that attainder, and attainder alone, carried disqualification with it. Addressing, as he was, an Assembly, many of the members of which were learned in the law, it was unnecessary for him to remind them that at the time of Lord Coke the great bulk of felonies were punished capitally, and therefore carried attainder with them—although they were not all capital, the greater number of them were—but still attainder only followed upon sentence of death being pronounced, and in no other case was it produced or brought about by the 134 judgment. No disqualification that he was aware of by the laws of England followed upon the conviction or sentence of a man for felony not capital, except that he was rendered incapable of giving evidence as a witness, and that he forfeited his goods and chattels—no other disqualification attached unless the felony was a capital one. But the moment a man was sentenced to capital punishment for a felony he became attainted, was looked upon as dead, lost his property, and was rendered incapable of holding any office or trust. It would greatly surprise him if any lawyer in that House were to assert that any judgment except that of death was followed by attainder, or should produce any authority to show that disqualification to sit in Parliament had been held to arise from anything but attainder. The case of Smith O'Brien had been already dealt with by his hon. Friend (Mr. Moore), who had shown that that individual had been sentenced to death, and had therefore been attainted. Lord Chelmsford laid stress upon that very fact; and therefore the term "adjudged guilty" in the Resolution of the House could only refer to the judgment of death, which in his case had been pronounced, and had been followed by all its consequences. The case of Smith O'Brien, therefore, afforded no precedent that would assist the House in arriving at a decision in the present instance. And what was the answer of the right hon. Gentleman to this view of the case? The right hon. Gentleman said that it was an absurd and irrational thing, where the guilt of the man was the same as would have been punished capitally in former days, to suppose because by the indulgence of the Legislature a lesser punishment had been inflicted, that therefore the disqualification to be elected to sit in Parliament, one of the usual consequences of attainder, should not follow. He begged the House to pause before they accepted that doctrine. The old consequences of attainder arose from the fact that the punishment was death. But if disqualification to be elected to sit in Parliament was to follow where the judgment was not capital, why should not the other consequences of attainder, the forfeiture of lands, and the inability to give evidence, also follow? If once the strict and well-defined bounds of the law were to be overstepped, he did not 135 see where the line was to be drawn. Then, the right hon. Gentleman, had asked whether this man was among the magis idoneos et discretos? The right hon. Gentleman's argument proved too much, because he presumed that even the right hon. Gentleman would scarcely contend that a conviction for misdemeanour would disqualify a man from sitting in that House; yet, a person who had been convicted of an offence coming under that head could not be said to be idoneus et discretus, any more than a man who had been convicted of a non-capital felony. Sir Robert Walpole, for instance, had been sent to the Tower for having sold contracts for money while Minister for War—an act certainly not denoting discretion and fitness—yet he had not been held disqualified from sitting in that House; and gross and shocking and revolting to all moral sense as that act was, he did not think that there was a lawyer now living who would suggest that it would have the effect of disqualifying the offender from sitting in Parliament. If they once went beyond the limits the law had traced, and embarked upon objections to the moral fitness of men, he did not know where the line could be drawn, and they would, probably, establish a number of disabilities that were unknown to the law. That it was absurd and irrational to permit a convicted felon to sit in that House he did not deny; but his short answer to that objection was, that such a person was not disqualified by law from being elected and from taking his seat. If the law was absurd and irrational, let them alter the law; but, as long as it remained in force, they were bound to abide by it. In dealing with an Irish question of this nature, above all others, the House was bound to act with the greatest caution, and to keep strictly within the letter of the law; because, if there was one lesson more than another which it was incumbent upon them to teach the people of Ireland, it was to act with strict respect to the law. With regard to the election of Mr. O'Donovan Rossa, he looked upon it as being no more than an expression of the passionate sympathy felt in Ireland for the Fenian and the political prisoners—a sympathy which had arisen in part from a sincere notion that they were patriots, and partly from the impression that they had endured great sufferings. As long as that 136 sympathy was shown in a legal manner, the House should not stretch the law in order to show their disapproval of it. He would not point to any consequences likely to occur at future elections which might render it necessary, on the part of that House, to take further action; but he warned hon. Members against overstepping the bounds of the law, lest their Resolution should be treated, not as an act of justice, but one of vengeance, and should thereby lead the Irish people to believe that impartial justice could not be expected by them from the Imperial Parliament. He did not second the Amendment with the view that the matter of the election should be shifted from that House to a Committee—because he thought that such a proceeding would be equally opposed to the law with the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman—but with the view that if the House should think that the suggestions that had been made were deserving of consideration, they should be inquired into by a Committee who might search into precedents; when the House could with more satisfaction, and perhaps he might say with a clearer conscience, adopt or reject the Resolution proposed by the right hon. Gentleman. He begged to second the Amendment.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "a Committee be appointed to examine into the precedents and the law of Parliament in this case, and report to the House on the steps that ought to be taken under such circumstances,"—(Mr. Moore,)
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
I entirety agree with the proposition of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore) that this is a question which should be debated in a calm and judicial manner, and, as far as possible, should be kept free from all party or purely political considerations. I further entirely agree that if any fair and candid mind could see that inquiry was needed the House should grant such inquiry. It certainly would be a very disastrous state of things, and a state of things which would leave us exposed to very just reproach, if it were really the law of the country that a man convicted of treason-felony, and now undergoing sentence of penal servitude in one of the prisons of the Queen, 137 should be eligible and should be deputed to represent a county in Parliament. This would be a great reproach to the law—still, if it were so, the law would have to be administered as it stood in a judicial spirit. Of course, too, I agree—as every lawyer and every man must agree—that laws affecting whole classes of Her Majesty's subjects cannot be created by Resolutions of the House of Commons. Resolutions can be of no effect except when they declare that which is either the statute law, or that which has been by a long course of judicial procedure decided to be the common law of the country. I now proceed to describe to the House my view of the question at issue. I begin, in the first instance, for the purpose of putting it out of the way, with the point which the hon. Members for Mayo and Dungarvan last referred to—I mean the argument they have derived from the words of the Election Petitions Act, and the supposed taking away thereby of the jurisdiction of this House in matters of this description, and transferring it to the Judges. No doubt that Act has been correctly stated. The 50th section of that Act, the 31 & 32 Vict. c. 125, enacts that—From and after the next Dissolution of Parliament no Election or Return to Parliament shall be questioned except in accordance with the provisions of this Act.But, in order correctly to gather the meaning of these words, it is necessary to consider what the Act was dealing with, to what state of facts it was to be applied, and what jurisdiction it was transferring. That statute was transferring to the Judges the jurisdiction which up to that time had been exercised by this House exclusively under the 11 & 12 Vict., commonly called Sir Robert Peel's Act. The later statute begins by calling itself "An Act for amending the Laws relating to Election Petitions," and it is known as the Election Petitions Act. It sets out the form in which election petitions are to be made out, it deals at considerable length with the whole course of procedure applicable to the courts it constitutes; and then, after certain miscellaneous provisions, in the 50th section it enacts that—From and after the next dissolution of Parliament no election or return to Parliament shall be questioned, except in accordance with the provisions of this Act; but, until such dissolution, elections and returns to Parliament may be questioned in manner heretofore in use.138 What does that mean? It means, of course, "questioned" by election petitions—"questioned" by persons having an interest in raising the question, by persons wishing to vindicate their own rights, by persons who under the state of the law existing before would have been referred to an Election Committee of the House, which exercised jurisdiction in a manner familiar to us all. If that were not the case, and if the Act of Parliament were not to be considered by that rule of common sense, what would happen? In the case of no elector choosing to question the return of a Member, the House of Commons would be bound by law, according to the argument of the hon. Gentleman opposite, to receive among its Members persons who by law were ineligible; because the hon. Member knows there are no means of questioning elections except before the Judges, that the Judges alone inquire into election petitions, and unless the Judges were petitioned in such a case a person confessedly ineligible could take his seat in the House unquestioned. Can that be the fair and sensible meaning of the Act? I venture to think that any one who considers the matter candidly as a man of sense will see that I am giving the reasonable interpretation I of the Act. Now, lot us consider some of the technical questions raised. As I understand the argument of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, it is somewhat in this form. The old authorities, they tell us, show that the disqualification of a felon wholly rests upon his attainder; this felon is not attainted, therefore, this felon is not disqualified. That is the argument of the hon. Member for Mayo; and, in considering it, I will begin by making admissions that I am bound to make, and which I make in the fairest and fullest sense. I admit that the old authorities—not all of them, but most of them—enough to speak of them generally as "the old authorities"—lay down that persons attainted of treason or felony are disqualified from sitting in Parliament. But the course we propose is perfectly consistent with that admission. It is also perfectly correct to say that at the date these authorities wrote almost all felonies, and the exceptions are few, were capital offences, and as capital felonies were followed by attainder; so that when the old authorities speak of a 139 person "attainted of treason or felony" they speak of ordinary felons, because there were no felons in those days except attainted felons; and this being so, it is laid down in the text books with sufficient authority that attainted felons were incapable of sitting in Parliament. But it is not correct—and nobody knows that bettor than the hon. and learned? Member (Mr. Matthews)—to say that attainder and the punishment of death, although for the most part inseparably connected, were by any means the same thing or were convertible terms; because the hon. and learned Member knows full well that a man might have been put to death for heresy without being attainted, and he knows very well that a man might be attainted by being outlawed without being put to death. The hon. and learned Member therefore misleads the House if he wishes it to understand that of necessity death and attainder, although often inseparable, were by no means convertible terms or necessarily connected in idea. Now, what follows from this? As the law altered in course of time, and as that which had been an inseparable accident of the judgment of felony ceased to be so connected with it—as persons who had been convicted of felony and adjudged guilty of felony, were not put to death, and, therefore, were not attainted—it rests with those who agree with the hon. Member for Mayo to show that thereupon, as a necessary consequence, the disqualification which followed upon the general and complex idea of an attainted felon was so connected with that part of the idea which was contained in the word "attainder," that when the word attainder ceased to be applicable to a felon the felon at once became capable of sitting in Parliament. Nothing could be a more unreasonable view of the old authorities. I therefore answer the hon. and learned Member's argument in two ways. I say, first, assuming that the technical consequences of the conviction for felony have now been altered in point of fact, the principles upon which you find these old authorities proceeded still remain; and if the principle upon which the old authorities were founded remains, although the technical consequences of the law in some respects may have been altered, it is proper to maintain the principle of the law untouched. I admit 140 that this view is capable of wide application, and that it should be cautiously applied; but the principle is a sound principle; and when the circumstances of a case bring that case within its application, as the circumstances of the matter before us do, then it is a principle upon which this House may safely act. Now, I answer the hon. Member in a second way—I say it is for him to show that the technical consequences of the law have been in any manner altered. You have to deal with the incidents of conviction, of judgment, and of attainder in the case of a felon. There is no doubt that at the time when all felonies were capital conviction by the jury, followed by the judgment of the Court, made a man what was called attainted. He must be a much wiser and better lawyer than I am to inform the House what "attainder" really means; some refer it to attinctus—that is, so deeply dyed with black that he cannot be worthy of any civil rights. "Well, Sir, the felony remains, the conviction remains, the judgment on conviction remains the same; and the felony, the conviction, and judgment on conviction remaining the same, what is there—what fragment of authority has either hon. Gentleman who has addressed the House given it for showing that the consequence I admit to have resulted from the whole various matters taken together—the felony, conviction, judgment, and attainder—is to be limited to the attainder alone? I find no authority for such a position. It is said that attainted felons were incapable at a time when there were no felons who were not attainted; but there is no earthly reason for supposing that it was the technical consequence of guilt—the attainder—that constituted the disqualification rather than the guilt itself. Have we any authority upon this subject? I say there is the highest authority; and I beg the attention of the House to the case of Mr. Smith O'Brien, which is directly in point. I am sure that everyone who looks at that case will say that it has the weight I attribute to it. Mr. Smith O'Brien was convicted of treason—if you please, attainted of treason. What does Lord John Russell do in that state of things? He moves that Mr. Smith O'Brien being convicted of treason, a now writ do issue for the city or county—I forget which— 141 he represented. Sir Frederick Thesiger, with all the consequences no doubt before him that were present to the mind of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and with that notion of the law which, he set forth with considerable ingenuity, distinctly moved that the word "convicted" should be left out of the Resolution and the word "attainted" put in. What was done on that? The Attorney General of that day was Sir John Jervis, one of the acutest and ablest men in Westminster Hall—a great authority on criminal matters. What did he do? He said, "Don't put in 'attainted;' there are many felonies on which attainder at this time of day does not follow; if you put in 'attainted' you will be yielding to the argument of Sir Frederick Thesiger, that it is upon attainder, and technical attainder alone, that a man becomes ineligible. I would do nothing of the sort. I recommend the House of Commons to say that what really makes a man ineligible is the conviction and the judgment on conviction." And what did he substitute for "convicted"?"—not "attainted," but the term "adjudged guilty," which includes conviction and judgment. Upon the conviction of the jury and the judgment of the Court, in his opinion, as in mine, the disqualification follows. To that Sir Frederick Thesiger, who had filled the responsible position of Attorney General, and who at no time of his life shrunk from maintaining what he considered to be his duty either to the public or his profession, assented. The words "adjudged guilty," as suggested by the Attorney General, were substituted, and the Resolution was adopted by the House without a division. It is vain to deny that this is a direct authority on the part of the House of Commons for the proposition which at too great length I have endeavoured to expound—that the disability follows not in consequence of the attainder, but in consequence of the conviction of the jury and the judgment of the Court. I must say, with all respect to the hon. and learned Gentleman who has argued with so much ingenuity, that it is possible for legal minds to raise an argument out of anything, and I cannot help thinking that the sense of the whole matter is in favour of the view I have endeavoured to present to the House, and that there is abundance of legal authority to sustain the course which the Government recommend.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
said, he was prepared to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Mayo, and hoped he might be allowed very briefly to travel beyond the legal bounds of the question which had been submitted to the House. In taking this course, he trusted they would acquit him of any sympathy with O'Donovan Rossa or with Fenianism in general. It was impossible for loyal Englishmen or Irishmen to support a society which had for its object, not only a dissolution of the Union, but a dismemberment of the Empire, and would carry out its projects not by reform but by revolution. Yet, while he viewed the objects of Fenianism, not only with dislike but with abhorrence, he must say he could not but sympathize to a very great degree with those men, who misguided as they were, were many of them honest in their patriotic desire for the promotion of what they believed to be the good of their country; and he trusted an honest love of country would receive consideration, fair play, and even generous treatment at the hands of a British Parliament. Fenianism was of composite origin. It was partly owing to long standing wrongs in Ireland, and partly to the spread of those republican ideas which were undoubtedly making progress, not only in America, but in Europe. Another source of Fenianism was the education which the Irish people had been for centuries receiving at the hands of the priesthood. He, for one, did not regret the Irish Church Act passed last Session. He thought that the Protestants of Ireland should have done with doleful lamentations about the downfall of the Irish Church. He believed the Church, formerly the Established Church, of Ireland, would in freedom and independence be more than compensated for her disestablishment by the State. He was glad that the Government were going to bring in a Land Bill, which he trusted would be a large and liberal measure. They had heard a good deal of the loyalty of the priesthood, but what had they done? ["Question, question!"] The priests had denounced Fenianism; but had they not, also, denounced Freemasonry? Did any one believe they denounced Fenianism because they loved England? ["Question"]
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
rose to Order. He wished to know whether, in the discussion of a dry, legal, constitu- 143 tional question, the House was to be insisted by having to listen to a defence of Fenianism within its walls? ["Chair, chair!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
I did not understand the hon. Member to argue in the manner described; but I hope the hon. Member will see the propriety, as the House is now discussing a legal question, of not diverging unnecessarily from the argument before it.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
said, he had already expressed his abhorrence of Fenianism, and therefore thought he had guarded himself from such an imputation as that conveyed by the hon. Baronet. He would now sit down, trusting that the House would not be led away by any panic from doing justice to the subject before them. For himself, he would prefer Liberty, even in her hour of license, to the tyranny of Ultramontane rule.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
I quite agree with the hon. Member who moved this Amendment that in a question of this importance the House should be very cautious as to the course which it adopts, and that no step should be taken which does not rest on the soundest foundation. If I thought that the course proposed by the Government was not guaranteed by the strongest precedents and authorities, I should not hesitate in giving my support to the Amendment. But, as I understand the question, it is one that does not admit of any argument or doubt. There is no dispute that O'Donovan Rossa was convicted of treason-felony. The precedents have been accurately followed. A copy of the record—the indictment, the conviction, and the judgment, is on the table of the House—there is no point into which a Committee could inquire which is not already known to the House—and, sitting on this (the Opposition) side of the House, I feel it right not to leave my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General unsupported by any expression of opinion proceeding from these benches. With regard to the word "attainted," I look upon that as a descriptive expression; and this view is corroborated by the terms of the passage read by the hon. and learned Member for Dungarvan, which showed that the crime and not merely its consequence was the ground for expulsion. This House has expelled men for forgery and per- 144 jury where there could be no attainder, acting on precedent throughout, and considering the crime and the nature of the crime, and not the technical consequences following it. It seems, then, to me that we should be neglecting our duty, and throwing doubt upon a question where no doubt can arise, if we refrained in this case from exercising a power in conformity with what has been done by our predecessors. With respect to the particular offence itself, it is one of so heinous a character that no person can say it does not come within the class to which this House has always attached disability for sitting in the House. Surely, no one can believe that any gentleman sitting in this House could be guilty of it without being visited by immediate expulsion? Can it be seriously maintained that, because no election petition has been presented in the present case, no proceedings can be taken in the matter? Suppose an infant twelve or fourteen years old were returned to this House, is it to be said that because there might happen to be no petition the House could not by its own authority prevent such a person taking his scat? It was never intended by the Election Petitions' Act to take from this House its proper authority; and in the present case, where there is nothing to inquire about, where the judgment is admitted by those who move the Amendment, and where the matter stands on the same footing as when the word "attainted" was used, I think the House may safely adopt the course proposed by Her Majesty's Government.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
I do not wish to detain the House long, because I agree with my right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Hardy), and in the general tenour of the able argument of the hon. and learned Solicitor General. I do not suppose my right hon. Friend proposed to take as his precedent a case of expulsion of a Member from the House, because that is a very different step from the one now proposed, for a man may be expelled from the House for certain offences, though not legally disqualified. The Motion now before the House is founded upon the assumption, that Mr. O'Donovan Rossa is legally disqualified: at the same time I do not think it wholly irrelevant to refer to instances of expulsion, as they 145 afford strong evidence that the House has always considered that the infamy which attaches to a gross crime renders the criminal incapable of properly discharging his duty in this House. This shows that the principle of disqualification also, in those cases in which convicts are disqualified, ought to be looked for in the adjudication of guilt, followed by its appropriate sentence, and not in the technical consequence, "attainder." The hon. and learned Solicitor General hardly did full justice to his own case when he said the authorities laid it down that "an attainted felon" cannot sit in the House. The expression is, a man "attaint of treason or felony" cannot sit, the reason given being drawn from the terms of the writ, which requires the return of "discreet and fit persons." Now, it is impossible that a man convicted of treason or felony, and suffering punishment for that offence, could be a fit person, on account of the infamy attaching to the crime; and the mere use of the term "attaint," which was the technical equivalent of the word "convicted" in all such cases under the former state of the law, cannot alter the fact that it is the crime which causes the disqualification and not a technicality of law. If it were otherwise, the reason given would have been, because he is civilly dead; not because he is (necessarily) wanting in fitness and discretion. Very strong indirect evidence to the same effect is to be found in the course of recent legislation, which has mitigated the punishment for felony; for till lately the sentence of death was pronounced or recorded in all serious cases of felony. It is not now proposed that a man should be disqualified to sit in Parliament for any other felonies than those which before constituted a disqualification, and for which modern legislation has substituted a milder punishment than that which our ancestors imposed. It could not be doubted that those who instituted and carried that beneficent reform of the sanguinary laws formerly in force would, have expressly provided that the effect of great crime should continue to be a disqualification for public office or great franchises, if they had not taken the same view of the law as the Government. The law, in fact, was already so, and no new provision was necessary to declare that a sentence of transportation for life or of 146 penal servitude for life—which, indeed, makes it necessarily impossible for a man to be present for a single moment in this House—disqualified the person subject to it from being a Member of Parliament. I therefore think that the House is bound to take the course recommended by the Government.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
After listening to the argument of the hon. and learned Solicitor General, I should not have had the slightest doubt on the question, if the matter had been discussed three years ago, that a person convicted of a great crime could be declared by this House "ineligible and incapable of being returned to Parliament;" but the hon. and learned Gentleman passed over with great skill the clause in the Act of Parliament of 1868. The words of the statute are to my mind very clear—"that no election or return should be questioned except in accordance with the provisions of that Act." I think more weight should be attributed to that clause than was attributed to it by the hon and learned Gentleman. The question is whether it has not the effect of taking all trials of these questions of returns out of the House. The proposal of the Government is, that O'Donovan Rossa, having been adjudged guilty of treason-felony, has become, and continues, incapable of being "returned" as a Member of this House. I put it to the common sense of the House, whether it can be contended that the adoption of such a Resolution is not questioning the return. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) said it would be absurd, if an infant or alien were returned, that we should have no means of questioning the return. I must admit that it would be absurd; and that was one of the objections to handing over the trial of these questions to a tribunal which could not deal with them in the manner in which the House had been in the habit of treating them. The precedent of Smith O'Brien, in my opinion, does not apply at all, because he was already a Member of the House when we declared him incapable of sitting in it; and there was no question as to his return, which was indisputably good. We are now asked, in the very teeth of an Act solemnly and deliberately considered and discussed to question a return which that same Act says shall not be ques- 147 tioned, except in a particular way pointed out by such Act. When we passed that Act we parted with our jurisdiction in the matter. If we now proceed in the way proposed by the Government, we shall be establishing a precedent under which many cases of alleged bad returns may be brought before the House, although no petitions may have been presented against them. The Solicitor General has argued that when there is no election petition, and the Judge under the statute has not been called into action, the House is at liberty to decide whether there has been a bad return or not. In that case we may have discussions in this House such as were raised before the passing of the Grenville Act, and all the mischiefs which it has been a constant struggle on the part of Parliament to get rid of would be renewed. Suppose there should be a petition in such a case as the present, and the Election Judge were to decide that the person objected to was eligible, and had a right to a seat in this House, while we, on the inherent authority claimed by the Solicitor General and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University, decided that he was ineligible—it is possible that a conflict might arise between this House and the courts of law; and if, on the other hand, you resolve that a person has been improperly returned, and was not eligible for election to Parliament, and a Judge decides the other way, how can you refuse to reconsider the question, and perhaps come to an opposite conclusion? I confess that the argument used this evening upon this point has not satisfied my mind. It is possible that the prejudices which exists against the person concerned in this case naturally and necessarily influence the House here, and may induce the House to assent to the Motion; but I own that I do not feel satisfied; and as I was one of those who objected to part with this jurisdiction, foreseeing that we should probably be landed in some of these difficulties, I hope the House will forgive me for having mentioned my doubts on this occasion.
§ MR. G. B. GREGORY
said, that the text writers, speaking of the effect of attainder in cases of high treason, one of which was the corruption of blood, so that no descent could be traced from a person so convicted, laid down the doc- 148 trine that such a person had violated his contract with the State, and had become an enemy of the State, and the new Act did not propose other than to proceed by the principle of the old law. Heading 11 & 12 Vict. by this light, there was no difficulty in construing it. No one could have supposed that in mitigating the penalties of treason it was intended to abrogate the incidents attached to it by the old law. The arguments of the Government on the question were irresistible; perhaps, however, the words of the Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman had been framed a little too much upon precedents which hardly applied to the particular case, and he suggested that it might be expedient to face the difficulty, and say—"Whereas 0'Donovan Rossa has boon convicted of felony under 11 & 12 Vict. c. 12, and is thereby incapable of sitting in this House"—so as to place on record the decision of the House that a person convicted under that Act was subjected to this one of the incidents of treason.
§ MR. M'MAHON
said, it was very desirable that O'Donovan Rossa, or any other person in the same position, should not be allowed to take his seat in the House, but as statutes had been passed preventing minors, bankrupts, judges, bankruptcy commissioners, clergy of the Churches of England, Scotland, and Rome, and persons guilty of bribery and corruption, and other classes of persons from sitting in the House, he thought it would be better to deal with this case in the same way, and to pass a general declaratory Act that no person under such circumstances should sit in the House. Suppose that, after they had passed this Resolution, O'Donovan Rossa, or some other Fenian convict, should be again returned for Tipperary, and on an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas in Dublin, that Court did not take exactly the same view as this House took of his ineligibility, in what an awkward position the House would be placed. They would do violence to the law by exercising their power, and turning out a man whom the Court of Common Pleas had declared to be eligible. The proposal of the Government was based upon the statement of Lord Coke, that a man attainted of treason or felony could not sit in Parliament. But Lord Coke could not have meant felony of every kind. For instance, manslaughter committed 149 by chance medley, or in self-defence, would not have rendered a man ineligible. The only kind of felony contemplated by Lord Coke was a capital felony in which a sentence of death might be passed. Now, in this case, treason-felony was a new offence unknown to the common law, and the statute of Edward III. did not apply to it; it was never capital, and the incidents of a capital crime never attached to it. Nothing whatever was to be gained by carrying this Resolution without inquiry; the only result would be continual disturbances, and the matter would never be satisfactorily settled. Let a Committee inquire into the whole question, and an Act be founded upon their Report, and all the objects of the Government would be effected. He would, moreover, remind the House—for attention had not been drawn to it—of the manner in which the Resolution was worded. As the Resolution was framed, it read as though O'Donovan Rossa had, since his return, been found guilty of this offence, and not, as the fact was, previous to his return. It should be altered in accordance with the facts, for otherwise hereafter it save an erroneous impression.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
said, it had been assumed by Members who supported the Government in this matter, that there was really no serious doubt as to the propriety of the course now proposed. But having listened with the greatest anxiety to the arguments used on the part of the Government, and to the address of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie), he must say that he, with other hon. Members, entertained doubts as to the propriety of the course proposed; and that being so, the people of Ireland would feel that the better course to have pursued would have been to adopt the suggestion of the hon. Member for Mayo. If the matter were sent to a Committee, the House would have the result of a great and solemn inquiry into which no element of passion would have entered to guide them in any subsequent action they might think proper to adopt. He had come to the conclusion that, by the late Act, they had, to a very large extent, abandoned their jurisdiction, and that they had not the power to decide on these returns. This was not a question of party, politics, or individuals, but one of grave Parliamentary law, which the House 150 should not decide on by balancing one legal speech with another; but, after due inquiry, the matter should be referred to a Committee to inquire into the authorities.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
said, if it had been competent for him to do so, he would have simply moved that Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa be expelled from this House, and if that had been the original Motion it would have got rid of a great constitutional difficulty. He was afraid the Resolutions would be misunderstood in Ireland. They had been told that a great many things had lately been misunderstood in Ireland; that the policy of the Government had been misunderstood; and that language had been used by a Cabinet Minister with reference to the landlords and the land of Ireland that had been also misunderstood; and he was afraid it might be misunderstood in Ireland if it were supposed that the House of Commons entertained the slightest doubt about O'Donovan Rossa remaining a Member of that House. As he could not propose the expulsion of O' Donovan Rossa, he should support the Resolutions, and which every loyal and honest citizen in the country ought to adopt.
MR. STAVELEY HILL
said, he should not have risen but for what had been said by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire), as to the doubts entertained upon the subject. He, however, had never any doubts about the matter. Having been consulted as to the course to be adopted by the returning officer, he advised that O'Donovan Rossa should be put in nomination. It might have been that O'Donovan Rossa was not the O'Donovan Rossa, or that, if he was, he might have received a free pardon. He had no doubt about the question of eligibility, for he was of opinion that it was the felony, and not the attainder for felony, which caused the disqualification; and he utterly denied the eligibility of a felon to sit in the House. But he thought that the Act of 1868 had entirely divested this House of any jurisdiction in these matters.
§ MR. SERJEANT SIMON
said, he was surprised that any doubt should have been expressed as to the jurisdiction of the House in matters of this kind. The Act of 1868 was passed for the purpose of more effectually preventing corrupt practices at Parliamentary elections, and 151 the inquiry conducted by the Election Judges was confined to that. It did not, therefore, deprive that House of the power it had before of dealing with cases like that under discussion—namely, with all matters relating to its Members, and which it exercised in the case of Sir Sydney Waterlow only last year. It was an absurdity to suppose that that power did not exist, as without it, lunatics, idiots, minors, and—he had no wish to class them with those he had named—females might be returned as Members of Parliament, and the House according to the argument of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie) would have no power to deal with the return. The House had only parted with so much of its judicial powers as related to inquiry into corrupt practices at elections, and such questions of disputed returns as were previously dealt with by the Election Committees. All they had to inquire was whether the person who had been returned for Tipperary was eligible. He concurred in the opinion expressed by the Solicitor General and the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer) that it was not the attainder of felony, but the judgment which constituted the ineligibility. Attainder was the consequence of the judgment and not the occasion of the inability. Indeed, persons had been expelled the House who could not in any sense be said to have been attainted of felony. A Committee could find no other precedents than those that had been quoted by the Government, or such as would go to this, that persons, such as monopolists for instance, not attainted had been declared unfit to sit in the House, and therefore he thought it would be useless to appoint one.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 301; Noes 8: Majority 293.
Main Question put, and agreed to.
Resolved, That Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, returned as Knight of the Shire for the County of Tipperary, having been adjudged guilty of felony, and sentenced to penal servitude for life, and being now imprisoned under such sentence, has become and continues incapable of being elected or returned as a Member of this House.
Ordered, That Mr. Speaker do issue his Warrant to the Clerk of the Crown, in Ireland, to make out a new Writ for the electing of a Knight of the Shire to serve in this present Parliament for the
County of Tipperary, in the room of Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, adjudged and sentenced to penal servitude for life, and being now imprisoned under such sentence.
§ QUEEN'S SPEECH,—considered;
§ Motion, "That a Supply be granted to Her Majesty:"
§ Committee thereupon To-morrow.