HC Deb 25 July 1872 vol 212 cc1759-60

asked Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the following paragraphs which appeared in The Freeman's Journal of Wednesday, July 24:— Unhappy Ireland! Ill-fated people! The serpent whom the nation warmed into vitality and power, 'the people's William,' is the first among the foremost to curl his viper tail and strike his envenomed fang into the national heart, not only prosecuting the bishops and priests for being true to their people, but seeking, by a deep-laid plot, to stifle their defence. Also— These '23' William Ewart Gladstone seeks to send to a felon's cell as he once before sent Ireland's Liberator, where he broke the heart he could not bend. How strange are the events which revolving years bring before our eyes! Mr. Gladstone prosecuted the Liberator of the altars of Ireland, and now he prosecutes the bishops and priests who minister at these altars. He wished to know, Whether his right hon. and learned Friend was prepared to take any steps to vindicate the character of the Prime Minister from the libellous reflections therein cast upon him?


In answer to the Question of my hon. and gallant Friend, I have to say that if that is all that can be said against the character of the Prime Minister the character of the Prime Minister may be left to take care of itself. It is not my intention to institute any prosecution in consequence of the publication of that article, and I am very much surprised that my hon. and gallant Friend, who, as an Irishman himself, should have known that such things are customary in his country, should have thought it necessary to put such a Question. Whenever my hon. and gallant Friend shall become a Member of an Administration—as I hope he may do, first for his own sake, and next for that of his country—he must be a little more pachydermatous than he appears to be at present.