§ DR. KENEALY
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he will give him a Government night to bring on the postponed Motion which stands in his name?
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, in attempting to conduct the Business of the House, 1217 whenever a general feeling is manifested on both sides, that any question or subject should be brought forward, it is my duty, at any inconvenience to the Government, to endeavour to meet the wishes of hon. Members. I do not, however, understand the Question which speaks of a Motion as being "a postponed Motion."
§ DR. KENEALY
There is only one Motion which stands in my name, and that is the Motion with reference to the Queen v. Castro.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, I see; it never has been postponed. I beg to state, on the part of the Government, assuming that there is an anxious desire on the part of hon Members that any Motion upon a subject which may very much interest them should be brought forward, I should be always willing to make some arrangement for its being immediately brought forward; but a condition precedent, as long as I have had the conduct of the Business of this House, has been to know what the Motion is which is to be brought forward. I am at present in total ignorance as to what that Motion is; and I am not justified in giving or securing a day for any hon. Gentleman, unless I know what the Motion he intends to propose really is. The only information, in this case, which the Journals of the House afford me is, that on the Notice Paper I find this Notice—Dr. Kenealy,—'The Queen v. Castro,'—To call attention to the Government Prosecution of The Queen v. Castro, and to the conduct of the Trial at Bar and the incidents connected therewith, and also to certain incidents of the said trial which have occurred subsequent thereto; and to move a Resolution.Now, in the first place, I do not wish to dwell upon it; but it is very remarkable to ask for a day to inquire into the incidents of a trial, and also the "incidents of the said trial which have occurred subsequent thereto." We want some explanation of what that means. What can the House of Commons do with such an imperfect Notice as this is? Who is to describe the conduct of the trial at bar or the incidents? Is it the hon. Member for Stoke, who is the Mover, and in that case who is to contradict, criticize, or cross-examine him? Is the House to take his statement as authoritative and unquestionable? These are inquiries which are deserving of con- 1218 sideration before discussing any question. Under ordinary circumstances you would have a Petition, properly drawn up, presented to the House, and every hon. Member would have the privilege of taking that Petition, and would have the right to form an opinion whether the statements in it were true or false. If he thinks them to be true, he has the right to bring the subject-matter before the House, and see whether the House agrees with his conclusion or not. So, also, in a still more legitimate manner, Papers might be moved for. You might move for the summing-up of the Lord Chief Justice, or the Minutes of Evidence, or documents of that kind, and the House would then have materials before it, and any Member who arrived at an opinion upon them might ask the House to agree with him, and the House would then have an opportunity of correcting his statements or meeting his arguments. But in the case of the Notice before us, we know nothing and we have nothing. The hon. Member for Stoke may make any statement he likes. He may make one of those wild and extravagant statements which he has frequently made throughout the country. He may repeat all those leading articles, so refined and finished, that we were favoured with the other night. But we must remember this—that he puts himself in the position of a witness without the sanction of an oath, without the correction of cross-examination, and without any definite Motion before the House. And therefore it is perfectly impossible for us to consider the proposition of fixing a day for the Motion until we know what that Motion is. If the hon. Member for Stoke will come forward and tell us what his Motion is, and if it be one consistent with the Forms of the House, and such as we are justified in receiving, then I pledge myself to do my utmost to give him the earliest day that can possibly be given.
§ DR. KENEALY
I do not know whether I am expected to answer the question of the right hon Gentleman or not?
§ MR. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member is prepared to give the House the terms of his Motion, no doubt the House will be glad to receive them.
§ DR. KENEALY
I consider that the Notice I have given is perfectly Parlia- 1219 mentary. I do not at all accede, with great deference, to the views of the right hon. Gentleman, nor has Parliament ever exercised any power of compelling a Member to be more specific in his Motion than I have been in this. I think it perfectly Parliamentary to "call attention to the Government Prosecution in 'The Queen v. Castro,' and to the conduct of the Trial at Bar." No one can deny that to be a Parliamentary inquiry. "And the incidents connected therewith." That likewise is a Parliamentary inquiry. "And also to certain incidents of that Trial which have occurred subsequent thereto." That is also perfectly Parliamentary. And then I propose to conclude with a Resolution. ["Order!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
When an hon. Member has given Notice of his intention to bring before the House a Motion, the House expects, that before that Motion is offered and submitted to the House from the Chair the terms of the Motion shall, within a reasonable time, be in its possession.
§ DR. KENEALY
In answer, Mr. Speaker, to what you have just said, I thought that when my Notice of Motion concluded with an intention to propose a Resolution I should be asked what that Resolution was, and I was perfectly prepared to inform the House or any hon. Member what it was. I shall now do so. I intend to make certain complaints in the course of my speech, and I intend at the close of that speech to move either for a Select Committee or a Royal Commission, whichever may seem most expedient to the wisdom of Parliament, to inquire into these complaints. That is all.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Speaking, Sir, on the part of the Government, I shall be perfectly ready—having heard what the Motion is, and that the hon. Member for Stoke takes the alternative either of a Select Committee or a Royal Commission, and expecting and assuming that he will adhere to his Motion—to take means immediately to meet his wish. With regard to a Government day, those days before Whitsuntide are occupied with Business to defer which, if possible, would be more than a public inconvenience—it would be a national detriment. There is the Peace Preservation (Ireland) Bill, which cannot be postponed without serious danger. We have 1220 brought it forward as early as possible, and we have afforded hon. Members connected with Ireland every opportunity of discussing it. There are also measures connected with the Budget which cannot be postponed without detriment. There is, however, a universal feeling on the part of the House that the hon. Member for Stoke, if he will place a distinct issue before the House, should have the opportunity of doing so, and therefore I feel that private Members who have days occupied with various Motions of interest and importance would assist the Government on the present occasion. I have conferred with some of my hon. Friends, and I feel sure I can make an arrangement such as the House would wish. I would wish that there should be no delay, and I should have inferred from what the hon. Member for Stoke has said, that he would be equally anxious that not a moment should be lost, and if he likes to have to-morrow, my noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Eleho), who has a Motion of the highest importance and national interest to bring forward, but not of an absolutely pressing or urgent character, would probably give way in answer to my appeal. In that case I would, of course, feel bound to make some arrangement by which my noble Friend should not suffer. Therefore, if the hon. Member for Stoke is prepared to go into this controversy at once, I will give him to-morrow.
I am rather surprised, Sir, after the speech of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, that he should have ended with a conclusion which appears rather unreasonable towards the hon. Member for Stoke and unreasonable to the House. If an arrangement had been made by which the Motion could have come on on Friday, or this day week, it would be fairer to the hon. Member for Stoke and fairer to the House, and to such hon. Members of the House as may think it right to take up any defence on the part of the Judges, or to make explanations connected with the trial. I know I am not at liberty to make a Motion on the subject; but I feel bound to say, that I think the proposition made by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government is not a reasonable one under the circumstances. If the right hon. Gentleman has been able to persuade his Friends to give up to-morrow, I cannot 1221 doubt that with the authority which he exercises in the House—not a little on this side, and omnipotent on that—he will be able to set aside Friday, which, I think, will be more satisfactory to all parties who take an interest in the subject.
§ LORD ELCHO
Sir, I have no right to address the House; but I must say I think it will be agreed by most hon. Members that the position of a private Member is a hard one. He ballots for his chance of a day, and having got it, he is then invited to give up his day. In a case of this kind, when a private Member gives up his day, it is peculiarly hard upon him, because he is invited to give up his day to a Gentleman who might have had many opportunities in Supply of bringing forward his Motion, but who has thought it more convenient for his own purposes to delay bringing it forward. I may say, with regard to myself, that I feel I cannot bring forward a more important question than one which refers to the stability and strength of the Empire, especially looking to what is going on at this moment across the Channel. I admit, however, that the matter to which I am asked to give way is one of urgency, and I think it desirable that the very earliest day should be fixed to enable the hon. Member for Stoke to bring forward his Motion, so that the public ear may not be poisoned as it has been by slurs on the purity of justice. I therefore differ from what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham has just said, for I think there should not be a single hour's delay.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I wish to point out that there is no question before the House, and any debate on the question of time will be clearly out of Order.
§ LORD ELCHO
Perhaps the House will allow me to add, that, being so clearly of opinion that there should be no delay, I have much pleasure in giving way, upon the understanding that the Government will assist me to another day, so that I may not be damaged.
§ MR. RUSSELL GURNEY
As the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Bright) suggests that it would be scarcely fair to the hon. Member for Stoke to fix to-morrow, I should like to hear from that hon. Member whether he himself objects?
§ DR. KENEALY
I object to it for the same reason. In the first place, I may say that I am labouring under a most violent attack of bronchitis. ["Oh, oh!" and "Order."] The House will remember that it was with great difficulty that I endeavoured to make myself heard by a portion of the House on Friday night. In the second place, my notes and memoranda are in the country, 10 miles beyond Brighton; and on Thursday my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) has given Notice to move for certain Papers, and I consider the production of those Papers essential to the Motion that I have to make. I am very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury for having so kindly consented to give me an immediate night; but I was guided to some extent by what I saw in this day's Paper that to-morrow week was an open day, and that it was probable that the right hon. Gentleman would have given me that day; and if he will give me that day I assure him that I will ask for no further delay, and I will endeavour to satisfy the House and country that I am justified in bringing the matter before them. I will only add that I shall try to condense my remarks into the smallest possible compass, so as not to occupy more of their time in doing so than I can possibly help.
§ MR. DISRAELI
I wish, Sir, to explain why I proposed to set apart tomorrow for the Motion. The hon. Member for Stoke mentioned on Friday last that he was as prepared then to bring forward his charge as he would be at any time, and, therefore, I put myself in communication with my noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), and the House has seen the result. Of course, when the hon. Member for Stoke says that he is suffering from bronchitis—though I carried on the whole of the business of last Session under attacks of bronchitis—I would not resist an appeal of that kind; but before I fix a day we must not be told hereafter that if certain Papers that we are told are to be moved for—of which we know nothing at present—are not on the Table, the Motion cannot be proceeded with. [Dr. KENEALY: No, no!] Until we know what the Motion of the hon. Member for Peterborough is with regard to those Papers, it is impossible 1223 for us to say whether we can consent to their production; but nothing can be taken as contingent upon that Motion. Taking all things into consideration, I shall propose that next Friday shall be the day on which the hon. Member for Stoke is to make his charges and bring forward the Motion which he has announced.
§ MR. WHALLEY
wished to ask the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) a Question of which he had given him private Notice. It was, Whether it was true that he had refused to present a Petition forwarded to him by his constituents with reference to the Tichborne Case, on the ground that such 'Petition reflected upon the conduct of the Judges who tried the Case, and that on a former occasion, when a similar Petition had been entrusted to him to present, he was told he had better not lay it before the House. He (Mr. Whalley) wished to know what was the nature of the objection made against the presentation of the Petition alluded to, and by whom it was made?
§ MR. BAILLIE COCHRANE
said, the hon. Member had been correctly informed. He did not choose to enter into a controversy on the question; but he would state that on a former occasion, when he had had a similar Petition entrusted to him, he had drawn the attention of the Speaker to it, and the right hon. Gentleman had advised him not to present it. That being so, he did not choose to present it.
§ MR. CHARLES LEWIS
said, that as the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had made the statement to which they had recently listened without having had any communication with him (Mr. Lewis)—he occupying the position of being first on the Notice Paper for Friday—he could only say that he would willingly give way to enable the question to be brought forward by the hon. Member for Stoke, which the House was so anxious to come to a decision on. He would, however, suggest that hon. Members should not ballot for the 27th of May, and thus enable those whose Motions were down for Friday next to bring them on on that day.
§ MR. DISRAELI
I wish to apologize to my hon. and learned Friend for not communicating with him. I did not an- 1224 ticipate any difficulty of this kind, or I would have given him Notice. I can assure him it was no intentional discourtesy on my part.
COLONEL LOYD LINDSAY
said, that the hon. Member for Stoke having intimated his readiness to bring forward his Motion he (Colonel Loyd Lindsay) would withdraw the Resolution of which he had given Notice with reference to expunging it from the Paper.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, Whether it would not be better that the Motion of the hon. Member for Stoke should be a direct Motion instead of being brought on on going into Committee of Supply?