HC Deb 04 May 1877 vol 234 cc321-38

in rising, according to Notice, to call attention to the conduct of Mr. William Ancketell, a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of the county Monaghan, in reference to his public conviction of having cut the throats of two dogs belonging to humble people in the village of Emyvale, on suspicion that the dogs had an hour previously barked at and frightened his horse; also to call attention to the conduct of the magistrates sitting at Emyvale Petty Sessions on the 21st September last, and to the circumstances whereby a failure of justice ensued in respect of the prosecutions instituted against Mr. Ancketell by the police, and by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; and to move— That, in the opinion of this House, the retention of Mr. Ancketell's name on the Commission of 'the Peace for the county of Monaghan is not calculated to inspire the humbler classes of the people with respect for the administration of the Law, or with confidence in the impartiality of its application to rich and poor in that locality, said, the conduct to which he wished to call the attention of the House was so lawless and brutal, that if Mr. Ancketell had been a humbler individual he would instantly have been punished by the criminal law of the country; and he contended that such a man was not a fit person to be retained upon the Petty Sessions bench to administer the law which he had so grossly violated. In bringing this matter forward, he entirely disclaimed making any imputation upon the character of the magistracy in Ulster or any other Province of Ireland, who, he believed, heartily condemned this transaction. They had often heard of what was called Justices' justice; but he was happy to say that there were few magistrates in Ulster against whom a similar complaint to that he had to refer to could be made. It was an exceptional case; but he would ask the House to say what would be thought if a humble peasant had forced his way into the magistrate's house and cut the throats of two of his dogs? That, however, was the offence which this magistrate had committed. On the night of the 13th August last Mr. Ancketell and a groom were driving through the street of the little village of Emyvale at one o'clock, and the noise of the wheels set the village dogs barking. Had they barked at a commercial traveller with his baggage they would have been safe; but they dared to bark at the gig-wheels of the local Bashaw, and they forfeited their lives for the offence. There was no doubt Mr. Ancketell had some cause for irritation, as the mare he was driving got restive and did some damage; and, in the heat of the moment, if he had shot the dog the ease would never have been brought forward. But what did he do? He drove to the police barrack, took his horse from the trap, put it in the stable, and called upon the police to go with him to search for the dogs and take their lives; but this was an hour after the occurrence. Being a magistrate, the police, who were bound to prevent such an outrage, accompanied him upon his bloody errand, and stood by while he surgically operated upon the dogs. The party went to the house of the widow Armstrong, who, with her household, was asleep. They broke into her yard, and found that there was a dog in one of the out-houses. Her son, a youth, came down to the door in his night-shirt, and in answer to their inquiries said there was a dog in the out-house, and at their bidding unsuspectingly went down the yard and brought out his pet. Mr. Ancketell immediately cut the dog's throat, and, according to the sworn evidence of the boy, the poor animal ran across the road with the blood spurting from its throat, and he followed and took it in his arms until it died. The magistrate crossed the street and found another dog, the throat of which he also cut. He then returned to the police barracks and washed his hands. Was this a gentleman who ought to sit upon the bench at Emyvale to administer the law? Supposing the dogs had even violated a statute in barking at a magistrate's car, was he justified in taking the law into his own hands? Now, he would call the attention of the Government and the House to the manner in which this conduct on the part of a magistrate had been dealt with, notwithstanding every effort that had been made to bring him to justice. If it had been the conduct of a humble individual the police would have left a summons the next morning; but here they did nothing whatever until the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took up the prosecution. To show there was nothing of political animus, he might mention that the person who invoked the action of the Society was a strong Conservative gentleman—though he was a dog-fancier it was true. No sooner did the Society take action, and open the prosecution, than the police intervened, bringing a friendly prosecution at the instance of the very policeman who had accompanied Mr. Ancketell in the butchering of the dogs. So little confidence did the people have in their magistracy that application was made that a stipendiary magistrate should be sent down from Dublin to hear the case, but this was refused. Well, the result of the friendly police prosecution was that the mode of death inflicted on the dogs had so little of cruelty in it, and so much of surgical skill, that the case did not come within the words of the statute, "torture of animals," and upon that miserable pretext the case was dismissed. Upon this the Secretary of the Society retired, declaring he would take no further part in a farce. But other gentlemen in the county, and those, too, of the same religion and political opinion as Mr. Ancketell, thought the matter should not rest, and another summons was taken out for the breaking into the premises and the merciless killing of the dogs, and Mrs. Armstrong took out a process for the recovery of the value of the dog—£20. When the second summons was called on, Mr. Ancketell's brother magistrates postponed the case, on the ground that a civil action was pending. He (Mr. Sullivan) complained not only of the conduct of Mr. Ancketell, but also of his brother magistrates, for the part they took in baffling justice, and not exercising the powers of an Act of Parliament. At length the case came before the assistant-barrister of the County Court, who in indignant terms, which ought to suggest the impropriety of Mr. Ancketell holding Her Majesty's commission, condemned his conduct, declaring it to be grossly and abominably bad, and decided against him to the fullest extent. Mr. Ancketell appealed to the going Judge of assize (Mr. Justice Barry), and carried that appeal. He (Mr. Sullivan) did not know who had the selection of foremen; but it was a singular circumstance that when the case was being called Mr. Ancketell was taking his seat as chairman of the Grand Jury upstairs. He had been fined a sum representing the value of the dog, and the amount was reduced on appeal from £10 to £5. At the same time, the Judge asked where was the policeman who stood by when the brutal act was done; and being told that he had left the Force, replied that the Force would be the better for it. Thanks to the action of the Superior Courts, widow Armstrong had received at least some satisfaction; but what satisfaction had been given to the outraged humanity of the country? Mr. Ancketell had accused him (Mr. Sullivan) of having brought this question forward from political mo- tives, arid because of his (Mr. Ancketell's) high social position and political opinions; but the fact was that when he (Mr. Sullivan) put his Question to the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary on the subject, he had not the remotest notion of what Mr. Ancketell's political opinions were, nor that he considered himself of such lofty social position. It so happened that Mrs. Armstrong, whose dog he had butchered, was of the same political opinions as himself; and it had been asserted that, although representing himself as a Constitutional Tory, this gentleman was, under the rose, a Home Ruler, having been present at a Home Rule banquet held in Dublin. The question before the House, however, was not one of Party politics, but whether the conduct complained of was of a nature that was calculated to inspire the people of Ireland with confidence in the administration of justice by the magistrates of the country. He would conclude by moving the Amendment of which he had given Notice.


said, he had great pleasure in seconding the Motion. Even if Irishmen could be accused of party bias in the matter, he as a Scotchman could not. He knew nothing otherwise of Mr. Ancketell, either of his social position, or of his political views. All he knew was that he had read all the evidence in this case carefully. He saw that Mr. Ancketell was a magistrate, a justice of the peace, and a deputy-lieutenant of the county, and he must say that he was perfectly horrified with the evidence he read. Not only were the dogs not identified as those which frightened the horse, but the act was one of utter brutality. It was the case of a man of social position, a magistrate, a gentleman, going deliberately out into a village to cut the throats of two dogs which were not in any way injuring him at the time, the only excuse being that an hour before he supposed that these dogs had annoyed him. How could the people of Ireland place any confidence in the magistracy of Ireland, or in the administration of the law, when a magistrate like that could retain his position on the Bench? The man should have been kicked off the Bench immediately by an indignant Government; and he had greatly regretted to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland endeavour to palliate the offence when it was brought on some time ago. He hoped that right hon. Gentleman, now that he had read the evidence, would no longer attempt to palliate it, but would visit it with the righteous indignation it deserved.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, the retention of Mr. Ancketell's name on the Commission of the Peace for the county of Monaghan is not calculated to inspire the humbler classes of the people with respect for the administration of the Law, or with confidence in the impartiality of its application to rich and poor in that locality,"—(Mr. Sullivan,) —instead thereof.


deprecated discussion on this matter at the present time. The Motion of the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan) was practically that Mr. Ancketell should be dismissed from the commission of the peace for his conduct. He could not reply to the Motion in so far as it merely referred to Mr. Ancketell, as proceedings in that respect were still pending. In the month of March the hon. Member for Louth brought this matter forward in the shape of a Question, to which he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) replied that he would forward such information on the subject as he possessed to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, with whom the decision of such matters rested. He accordingly handed papers to the Lord Chancellor next clay; and the Lord Chancellor required from Mr. Ancketell an explanation of his conduct. Mr. Ancketell furnished an explanation, with which the Lord Chancellor was not satisfied, and the latter deemed it necessary to advise the Irish Government to issue a Commission to inquire into the circumstances of the case. The special Commissioner appointed was a very eminent lawyer, who had, on ninny occasions, held an important position as going Judge of Assize—namely, Dr. Battersby—whose other engagements prevented him from holding the inquiry so soon as he would otherwise have done. The inquiry had been made, but the Report had only come into his hands a few days ago, and it had to be sent to the Lord Chancellor for Ireland before anything further could be done. He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) informed the hon. Member for Louth of these facts yesterday, and had suggested to him to consider whether it would not be better that the Motion should not be discussed that evening; and he was bound to say, although their conversation was private, that the hon. Member appeared to regard the matter in the same light. The House would feel that, in this state of things, he was precluded from saying one word on the merits of Mr. Ancketell's case; because the matter was one which was for the decision, not of himself, but of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and he had no doubt that his decision would be consistent with justice and with the facts of the case. He, however, wished to say that the charges which the hon. Member for Louth had brought against the magistrates on the local Bench were entirely without foundation. The circumstances were these — Summonses against Mr. Ancketell were issued at the instance of the police and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. These summonses were wrongly taken out under the Cruelty to Animals Act; and the magistrates, acting as they were bound to do, held that they were unable to convict under the provisions of that statute—that there was not in the mere killing of the dogs a statutable case of cruelty proved on which they could convict. The hon. Member for Louth had looked upon this as a mere technical objection; but he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) should be sorry to blame the magistrates for declining to go beyond the letter of the law. Those summonses were dismissed after full hearing. Subsequently, a fresh summons was issued at the instance of Mrs. Armstrong against Mr. Aneketell, under the proper statute, for malicious killing; but the hearing of that summons was adjourned in consequence of civil proceedings being commenced by both sides, Mrs. Armstrong claiming damages for the loss of her dog, and Mr. Ancketell claiming damages for the injury to his horse and carriage. These actions were tried at the quarter sessions, and from the best information he could obtain he did not believe that the Chairman made the remarks which the hon. Member for Louth had been informed that he had used. He believed further, that the decision of Judge Barry was arrived at not only without influence being brought to bear on the learned Judge, but absolutely without Mr. Ancketell giving evidence on being represented in any way at the hearing of his case. That was all that he had to state to the House upon this subject that evening, except to say that, looking at the position in which the matter stood, he regretted that the hon. Member for Louth should have brought it forward on this occasion, and that he trusted, after the statement he had made, the hon. Member would withdraw his Motion; or that, if pressed, the House would decline to assent to it.


wished to say that he had twice offered in conversation with the right hon. Gentleman to postpone the Motion, if his doing so would have been a convenience to the right hon. Gentleman; but that he had understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that there was a portion of the Motion to which his objections did not apply.


explained that the hon. Member had certainly offered to postpone his Motion as a matter of favour to himself; but, of course, he could not ask him to postpone it upon such a ground as that.


as one of the magistrates who sometimes presided at the petty sessions of Emyvale, and one of the Representatives of the county in which this affair occurred, was anxious to refute and repel the charges and the insinuations which the hon. Member for Louth had made against that Bench. When reduced to the proportions of truth the circumstances were utterly insignificant, and it must be regarded as a favourable sign of the calmness and of the happy condition of Ireland that the hon. Member for Louth could waste his time and his eloquence on a matter so utterly insignificant as that now before the House. He thought the hon. Member must be at a loss for employment—at all events, for a legitimate grievance on which to exercise his talents. Aquila non capit muscas—the eagle did not usually condescend to swoop at a fly. As far as concerned Mr. Ancketell, he was entitled to say that this Motion ought never to have been made, because the whole subject had been fully gone into by the hon. Member on the 15th of March in putting his Question to the Chief Secretary for Ireland. The Answer to that Question was, that the facts stated in the hon. Member's Question were in many parts inaccurate, and in others very much exaggerated. That he conceived to be an almost complete answer to the Motion of the hon Member. With regard to the magistrates, the hon. Member for Louth had allowed their names to remain on the Paper for five or six weeks in connection with imputations highly dishonourable to them, which had been already fully and entirely answered by the Report of Dr. Battersby, who had exonerated them from all reproach in the matter, and had expressed his opinion that they had conducted themselves throughout the whole business with the greatest possible propriety. The House would probably be curious to know how this small village scandal came into such remarkable prominence. There were three causes for it. In the first place, he attributed it to the machinations of an unprincipled attorney living in the neighbourhood; secondly, to the injudicious and intemperate conduct of the Chairman of the Quarter Sessions; and, thirdly, to the unmistakeable desire on the part of the hon. Member for Louth, as well as of other hon. Members who had equally attacked the magistrates in different counties, to bring into disrepute the Protestant magistrates of Ulster. With regard to the first cause—the machinations of the unprincipled attorney—[Laughter]—probably hon. Members did not believe that there was in existence such a thing as an unprincipled attorney; but, for his own part, he believed that that there was one. Mr. Ancketell was allowed to repose for a fortnight after committing these indiscretions. [Laughter.] Well, they were merely indiscretions. Mr. Ancketell was young, and, like others who were young, indiscreet. For his own part he (Sir John Leslie) did not defend the act, but it was an indiscretion. A fortnight after that act had been committed, Mr. Ancketell did what everybody of proper feeling would, under the circumstances, do. He expressed his great regret for what he had done in the public newspapers, and offered to compensate the owners of the dogs—an offer which the owners would have been only too happy to accept had the unprincipled attorney not appeared upon the scene. The unprincipled attorney had addressed the following letter to a friend of Mr. Ancketell— Omagh, Sept. 10, 1876. My dear——,—You have taken such an interest in this horrible case of Aneketell's, I do not hesitate to tell you all the facts, as on his father's account I don't want to bring unnecessary disgrace upon him; but he must pay handsomely for such an outrage. You say you wonder who has put the Humane Society in motion. I reply, it is done under my advice, so that we may be fully prepared with the evidence on the trial of the record in Dublin, in November. The summons and plaint are ordered in both cases by my son, and I fancy a Dublin jury will give sweeping damages in a case of the kind. You say you would wish the case hushed up. If so, let Mr. Ancketell send you down £50, and on receipt of it, I shall do all I can to withdraw all actions, and shall try and get the Society to forego further proceedings, on the ground of Mr. Ancketell having compensated the parties fully; and if they do not withdraw, I will, or my son will attend the Bench and state Mr. A. has fully compensated and made amends, and thus get a nominal fine. If Mr. Ancketell does not at once adopt this course, he need not expect any favour from the hands of yours faithfully, CECIL MOORE. So much for an unprincipled attorney. Mr. Ancketell had been prosecuted no less than five times. He had been followed about by attorneys and lawyers. Mr. Ancketell was at last brought to bay before the Chairman of the Quarter Session in a civil action for damages—the value of these wild beasts. The Chairman of the Quarter Sessions showed a decided bias against Mr. Ancketell. That the Chairman was wrong was proved by the fact that the Judge of Assize, on an appeal from the decision of the Chairman, reduced by one half the amount which the Court of Quarter Sessions ordered Mr. Ancketell to pay. Tact, temper, and discretion were qualities which were requisite in a Chairman of Quarter Sessions, and he was bound to say that the county of Monaghan was most unfortunate with regard to the qualities displayed by their Chairman of Quarter Sessions. Almost simultaneously with the bringing of this charge against Mr. Ancketell, three other charges were brought; against different magistrates. Those charges had been disposed of. They seemed to owe their origin to a desire to attack the Protestant magistrates of Ulster. Admitting that Mr. Ancketell had committed a fault, he did not see why that gentleman should be made a scapegoat of in order to bring odium upon the county magistracy in Ireland. He would ask the House to contrast the tender emotion—the more than feminine sensibility—that the hon. Member for Louth had shown for the possible physical suffering of two cur dogs, with the pain, the moral pain he was inflicting on those of his own species. Mr. Ancketell had a wife, a mother, a sister. Had they no hearts to feel, no human sympathies to be wounded when they had to witness their husband, son, brother dragged through the mire of calumny, held up to public infamy and disgrace? But it was well for Mr. Ancketell as for those he held dear, that there was a tribunal such as this, which was guided by truth, and which administered impartial justice; and, therefore, he (Sir John Leslie) appealed to the House to declare that the magistrates were free from even the slightest suspicion of reproach, and to restore Mr. Ancketell to the good opinion of all honest men, as also to the enjoyment of an unsullied reputation.


said, that the Question of his hon. Friend (Mr. Sullivan) first appeared on the Notice Paper on the 4th of March, and on the 15th of March the Chief Secretary promised to refer the matter to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland for investigation. It was extraordinary that it should take two months to discover whether or not a magistrate had acted improperly, and that the Report of that investigation had only been communicated to the Chief Secretary on the day before this Motion was made. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Louth had acted without communication with him; but in October last he (Sir Colman O'Loghlen) happened to read a report of the case, and he was so shocked at it that he immediately addressed a letter to the Lord Chancellor, stating that he knew nothing of the case, except what appeared in The Irish Times; that by a reference to the Chairman of Quarter Sessions, the Lord Chancellor could ascertain whether the strong statements were true; and that if they should be found true, Mr. Ancketell was, in his opinion, unfit to hold the commission of the peace. Mr. Ancketell had a good and earnest advocate in the hon. Member for Monaghan (Sir John Leslie); but he must complain of the observations he had used. He had spoken of a solicitor, Mr. Cecil Moore, in unjustifiable terms, seeing that he was not there personally to defend himself. The language "unprincipled attorney" was, he thought, language unfit to be used by a Gentleman in that House. He had also attacked the Chairman who had tried the case, and stigmatized his conduct as most partial and unfair. [Sir JOHN LESLIE: No, Sir; I said most injudicious.] He had understood the hon. Baronet to say "that the Chairman had shown a decided bias." If he was wrong, he apologized. Having the honour of the acquaintance of the Chairman attacked, he would appeal to everyone who knew him, and in particular to the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland, whether he was not the last person against whom such an imputation could be made. The decision was that of a jury, and the Chairman's language was not stronger than was jutified, and he believed that if Mr. Justice Barry had been aware that Mr. Ancketell had been examined before the jury and the Chairman, he would not have altered the decision of the Court of Quarter Sessions. He did not know whether his hon. Friend would divide the House on the question, but he thought it was quite proper to bring it forward. The Lord Chancellor ought to have investigated it much earlier than he did.


said, he had had the privilege of knowing the gentleman who had been spoken of as the "unprincipled attorney" for the last 12 years. Differing as he did, both in politics and in religion from Mr. Cecil Moore, the gentleman referred to, he wished to say there was not any professional gentleman in the North of Ireland who was more highly respected. As a proof of the high estimation in which he was held, he might mention that the Government had lately appointed him to the responsible office of Clerk of the Rules in the Common Pleas, and the appointment had been unanimously approved by the Profession. He therefore felt pained, and he must be allowed to tell the hon. Baronet that the expression he had used was an infringement of the privileges of the House, and he was confident that he would not use that language outside of the House. [Sir JOHN LESLIE: I read a letter in support of my statement.] He had taken down the words, and he appealed to hon. Members whether the hon. Baronet was reading from a letter at the time. Perhaps he would avail himself of the opportunity to withdraw the expression, which he (Mr. Callan) was sure the hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland had been pained to hear. In that case he (Mr. Callan) would be satisfied. When the hon. Baronet spoke of the cruelty to the ladies of Mr. Aneketell's family which this Motion would inflict, he should have thought of the pain which his own remarks were sure to inflict upon the female members of Mr. Moore's family.


said, he agreed with the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir John Leslie) that gentlemen in a judicial position ought to be possessed of tact, temper, and discretion. And the question which had now to be decided by the authorities in Ireland appeared to him to be whether in this unhappy matter Mr. Ancketell had conducted himself with such tact, temper, and discretion as that he could with advantage to the public interest any longer remain in the commission of the peace. The House was not in a position at the present moment to deal with the subject; and when the Government had had time to consider the Report that had been made by Dr. Battersby, it was not to be assumed that they would adopt any course of which the House would have reason to complain. The hon. Baronet must surely regret having in such sweeping terms brought under the very unpleasant notice of the House persons who could have had no idea that they would be thus attacked. They had had the phrase" the machinations of an unprincipled attorney" applied to Mr. Cecil Moore over and over again. Now, Mr. Cecil Moore had lately been selected by the present Government for a most responsible and important office in one of the Superior Courts of Ireland, having been promoted to it from one which he previously held in the county of Tyrone. The House, he hoped, would do the Government, as well as Mr. Moore, the justice of believing that they would not have placed Mr. Moore in that position, if he had really been a person who deserved the epithets which had been applied to him that evening. It was, too, in his (Mr. Law's) opinion, unfortunate that language had been used as to Mr. Barron, the Chairman of the County Monaghan, accusing him of showing a decided bias in dealing with this case. A Judge must, of course, form a decided opinion, or he would probably not come to a decision at all. But was not such language as had been used calculated to shake the confidence felt by the people of the county in their Chairman? Having, he (Mr. Law) presumed, arrived at the conclusion that he ought to give a decision adverse to Mr. Ancketell, Mr. Barron pronounced his judgment against him accordingly; but it must in all fairness be believed that, in so doing, he proceeded on the sworn evidence in the case, and not on any prejudice or prepossession against Mr. Ancketell. He concurred with the hon. Baronet's observation that consideration should be had for the feelings of relatives; but that principle must not be pressed very far, or it might be used to screen any official from having his conduct brought into question. He would, however, ask the hon. Baronet whether he thought that Mr. Cecil Moore or Mr. Barron had no near relatives whose feelings were entitled to consideration? There was, as it seemed to him (Mr. Law), some justice in the complaint that a stipendiary magistrate, unconnected with the district, had not been sent to preside at the Petty Sessions, having regard to the existence of so much local feeling. In conclusion, he would suggest that the hon. Member for Louth should withdraw his present Motion.


said, that he entertained the highest respect for the privilege of Members of the House to speak freely and openly their opinions. But if a gentleman was unfairly attacked, as in this case, he thought it equally right that those who knew him should testify what they knew in his favour. Now, it was the simple truth that there was no man who occupied a higher position in his Profession than Mr. Cecil Moore. He could not understand that any letter in the least degree justified the epithet of "unprincipled," which the hon. Baronet (Sir John Leslie) had applied to Mr. Cecil Moore, or the statement that the beginning of this business was the machination of an unprincipled attorney.


My words—"unprincipled attorney" had reference entirely to the proposal for the payment of £50.


said, he did not think that that proposal in any way justified the the hon. Member's expression. There was nothing discreditable to Mr. Moore in the letter, and the hon. Baronet must have known that no man in the North of Ireland stood so high in his Profession. Mr. Moore had been selected to take one of the most important offices connected with the administration of justice in the Irish Courts. He thought it was his duty to say that the expression "unprincipled attorney," as applied to Mr. Cecil Moore, would be simply looked upon as an outrage in Ireland.


believed Mr. Barron to be most careful and painstaking, both as a magistrate and an assistant barrister.


declared that in professional as well as in private life Mr. Moore, who had been a personal friend of his for many years, occupied the highest rank.


likewise bore testimony to the high character of Mr. Moore, and suggested that the hon. Member for Monaghan should withdraw the offensive expressions he had used. For his own part, he did not altogether defend the letter, but he did not think it ought to be pitted against Mr. Moore's long honourable and straightforward professional career.


concurred in the good opinion which had been expressed of Mr. Moore's professional and private character. With reference to the main question before the House, he stated that some years ago an Irish magistrate named O'Driscoll struck a boy with a whip for not telling him which way a hare had run, and that the Lord Chancellor of the day decided in consequence that Mr. O'Driscoll was unfit to hold his position on the Bench.


(Mr. GIBSON) observed that the Motion had been brought forward at a most unfortunate time, and that the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan) ought in fairness to have postponed it in accordance with the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland. [Mr. SULLIVAN: No such suggestion was made.] Well, as the hon. Member was no doubt aware that an inquiry was being made into the circumstances of the case by direction of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, his own judgment ought to have led him to take that course. He was the only Member who had directly referred to the transactions connected with the case, for nearly all the other hon. Gentlemen who had spoken had alluded to other matters, and he (Mr. Gibson) thought it would have been better if the hon. Member had waited until that decision had been announced. He believed the Lord Chancellor of Ireland could not have taken any earlier action than he did, as the matter was still sub judice until very recently. On October, when the representation was made that had been referred to by the right hon. and learned Member for Clare (Sir Colman O'Loghlen), an appeal was actually pending which could not be heard before the Judge of Assize until the recent Spring Assizes. Therefore, it would have been both unreasonable and unjust for the Lord Chancellor to have prejudiced the case. Whatever offence Mr. Ancketell might have been guilty of, it would have been unjust and unreasonable on the part of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland to have taken action in respect to it until all the facts of the case had been fully ascertained, and for that purpose, he sent down one of the most experienced and able Queen's Counsel at the Irish Bar to make a full investigation in open Court at the very scene of the occurrence. He ventured to think that his right hon. and learned Friend opposite (Mr. Law) had not rightly gathered the facts of the case. He understood the hon. Member for Louth to concede that Mr. Ancketell took no part in the decision of any of the cases at the petty sessions. [Mr. LAW said he merely alluded to the constitution of the Bench.] He came to the conclusion that it was suggested that Mr. Ancketell was sitting on the Bench and taking part in the cases; but after the explanation no more need be said on that subject. It was said to be unfortunate that, under the circumstances of the case, a resident magistrate was not present; but when the second summons was brought forward, of unlawful killing, a resident magistrate (Mr. White) of very great experience, was in attendance, and the Bench was unusually strong. On that occasion it was decided, as was not unusual, to postpone the criminal proceedings till the civil action had been tried. The matter was not in position for decision. He did not think the Papers were yet before the Lord Chancellor, but he had no doubt—and no one in that House could doubt—that the Lord Chancellor of Ireland would mete out justice to all parties, whether it might result in the vindication or punishment of Mr. Ancketell. Under these circumstances, he thought the hon. Member for Louth ought to withdraw his Motion.


said, Mr. Ancketell certainly appeared to him a most fortunate individual, for there had been a Commission sent down to inquire into the circumstances of his case; and no end of magistrates were present when the inquiry was gone into. When he (Major O'Gorman) was deprived of the commission of the peace no Commission was sent down at all to inquire into his case. But then it was not a gentleman of the name of Ball, but one of the name of O'Hagan, who was Lord Chancellor. He had since been ennobled with the title of Baron O'Hagan. He sent down no Commission; he simply wrote him (Major O'Gorman) a letter something like this—or, rather, Mr. Uppington, his secretary, wrote—"Sir, I wish to know if you wrote a letter which appeared in The Freeman's Journal on such a day, and if it was published by your authority." He took up his pen and wrote back—"Sir, I beg to acquaint you, for the information of the Lord Chancellor, that the letter in question was written by me, and published by my authority." And then he was deprived of the commission of the peace, without receiving the common rights which a convicted felon should receive. A man convicted of a capital crime was usually asked by some official whether he had anything to say why sentence of death should not be passed upon him, but he had not been asked a single question at all. Now, he thought it a very admirable thing to have such a Chancellor as Lord Chancellor Ball, who took time to consider the circumstances of every case. He was not so very rapid in his decisions, but he was principled in fact. He (Major O'Gorman) remembered that one day he was standing in Sackville Street, when he met a friend. His friend said to him—"Do you know whose carriage that is passing by?" He replied—"No, I don't." His friend said—"That is Lord Chancellor O'Hagan's carriage." "Well," said he, "what do I care?" His friend rejoined—"He is going to learn the art of equitation." Just at that minute, a third party came up, an ill-natured man, very. He (Major O'Gorman) said—"That is Lord Chancellor O'Hagan, and he is going to learn the art of equitation." "Well," the ill-natured man replied—"It would be a very fortunate thing for the miserable suitors attending his Court if, in addition to learning equitation, he would try and teach himself a little equity."


said, he would not press his Motion to a division. In deference to what he took to be the feeling of the House he would withdraw it until they had the decision of the Lord Chancellor before them. ["No, no!"]

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.

Main Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."