HC Deb 11 July 1881 vol 263 cc510-26

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is true that at Cork, on Monday 4th July, Mr. John O'Connor, of that city, was arrested under a warrant charging him with being suspected of treasonable practices; whether it is true that on Wednesday 6th July, Mr. Patrick J. Murphy, a town councillor of the borough of Cork, was arrested at Cork under a warrant charging him with being suspected of treasonable practices; whether it is true that the treasonable practices alleged against these gentlemen consisted in their having advised members of the Royal Irish Constabulary to resign their positions in that Force, and to emigrate rather than to assist in evicting from their homes their fellow-countrymen and their families; and, whether, if this be not the reason for those arrests, he will state to this House when and on what occasions the treasonable practices were committed on suspicion of being concerned in which these gentlemen were arrested?


, in reply, said, he hoped the hon. Member would not think it discourteous in him if he gave the same answer to this which he had given to similar Questions—namely, that he could not state the grounds. It would be found in the Warrant that the persons named had been arrested on reasonable suspicion.


wished to know whether the right hon. Gentleman would answer the concluding paragraph of his Question?


said, he must decline to answer it further than he had done.


said, that as the right hon. Gentleman declined to answer the Question he should feel it his duty to call attention to the subject. [Cries of "Order!"] He had no desire to obstruct Business; but any reasonable man would think him justified in raising a question which involved the liberty of two of his constituents. [Renewed cries of "Order!"] He would conclude with a Motion. During the present Assize Circuit, testimony proceeding from the Judges had been given to the great improvement which had taken place in Ireland; and the testimony of an unwilling witness as to the improved demeanour of the people was given by the Irish Correspondent of The Times in that morning's paper. The two men who were arrested were personally known to himself. Mr. O'Connor he had known for a series of years, and he knew that in honour and respectability he need yield to no man in that House. Mr. Murphy was a well known Councillor in the Corporation of which he (Mr. Daly) was an Alderman; and, therefore, he could speak not only as to his respectability, but also to the part he had taken in public affairs. He (Mr. Daly) could not but think, taking into account the improved state of things in the country, that these arrests must create in the minds of many the greatest apprehension, for they had no assurance why or when they might not be deprived of their liberty like these two gentlemen. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had been intrusted with extraordinary power; but it was intrusted to him to meet a state of things which it was acknowledged did not exist now, if the testimony of the Irish Judges was to be accepted. It was no answer for the Chief Secretary to say he could give no information. These two men would, perhaps, lose their lives from this imprisonment, and certainly would lose their social position. Their arrest in no way afforded any protection to the State, but would be fruitful in keeping up, by intention, the agitation that unfortunately did exist in Ireland. He protested against these arrests; and every Member who took any interest in Constitutional liberty was bound to see that the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant answered the questions which had been asked in a satisfactory manner. He begged to move that the House do now adjourn.


said, he rose to second the Motion as a protest against the arrest of two of the most respectable men in the City of Cork, and against whom the Government could find no cause of accusation whatever as regards their connection with the Land League. The Government, therefore, had taken refuge in a charge of this kind, which could be trumped up against anybody, and the details of which they refused to give. It was most desirable that the House should know how this matter rested. Information was not wanted when it was of a secret character, and when it was desirable to keep it secret. They recognized, to the fullest extent, the discretion of the Chief Secretary not to give information where it was likely to lead to any violence against the party who had given the information on which the arrest had taken place. But the vast majority of those imprisoned under the Coercion Act had been arrested for acts openly and publicly committed, and speeches delivered on public platforms and in presence of Government shorthand writers. Therefore, it was, in such cases, impossible that the Chief Secretary could make the excuse which he advanced during the passing of the Coercion Bill, that the information must be kept secret. It was perfectly impossible, from the nature of the case, that Mr. O'Connor or Mr. Murphy could have been arrested for any secret offence. His hon. Friend had asked whether Mr. O'Connor was arrested for the speech he had delivered in the presence of the Government shorthand writers, and which was reported in all the newspapers, in which he advised the Irish Constabulary to emigrate; and the details for which he asked were refused. It was manifest to everybody that the details asked for in that case—if the alleged allegation in the Question was correct—could not endanger anyone. In the case of all those highly respectable men who had been arrested in Ireland, the Government could give the requisite information without endangering in the slightest degree the safety of any individual, because, in most cases, the information was derived from the shorthand writers and the public newspapers. When the Coercion Act, which, they maintained, was so shamefully abused, was passed, they predicted it could be used for the purpose of putting down open combinations, and open and advised speaking in Ireland the Chief Secretary said he wanted it to put down "village ruffians;" but the result had justified their expectation that it would be used to arrest the leaders of the Land League in Ireland. Mr. O'Connor was a man who had done more than anyone else in Cork to prevent outrages, and yet he had been arrested upon a vague charge. It should be known to the world that there were now in prison over 200 respectable men, and the Government refused to give to the House the information on which they had been arrested. The Prime Minister had told them that every arrest would be open to challenge on the floor of the House; but when they impugned the conduct of the Chief Secretary they were told he was ready to meet any charge of censure they might move against him. But the fact was they could not support a Motion of Censure without the information for which they sought in vain. Of course, if the Chief Secretary was conscious that he was abusing the powers intrusted to him, those extraordinary powers were a most important protection to him; but he asked whether it was fair to those 200 respectable men—the majority of whom he would say were as respectable as any hon. Member of that House. Those men were entitled to know the offences with which they were charged, and it was useless for the Chief Secretary to shelter himself behind the allegation that the House had intrusted him with the power he possessed the power was intrusted to him to use against the "village ruffian," and he had used it against town councillors, clergymen, and Members of Parliament—against anybody but those for whom the Act was passed; and they had no hesitation in saying that, if the truth were known, it would be seen that the offences of those men who were imprisoned were offences against which the Act was not originally directed. They had taken too little notice of these outrageous arrests, and permitted the character of those gentlemen who were imprisoned to be taken away by the Chief Secretary. He protested against the information which was asked being so persistently refused by the Chief Secretary.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. Daly.)


said, he would not enter into the details asked by the hon. Gentlemen; but it must not be supposed that he admitted the correctness of their statements. He acted thus in the belief that, in the opinion of the House, he ought not to enter into details. He did not admit the interpretation the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) put upon what he (Mr. W. E. Forster) had said at the time the Coercion Act was brought in, neither did he agree in his statements with regard to the prisoners themselves. In regard to the two cases in question, he did not feel obliged to give the special grounds for the arrest of these prisoners any more than he did for the others. He should follow now the course he took on the arrest of the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Dillon)—a course which was supported by the majority of the House. On that occasion he stated that, when the adjournment of the House was moved, and when the sense of the House could not be definitely taken on the issue raised, the Government did not think they ought to enter into any defence of the action they had taken; but he was quite ready to defend that action whenever a definite charge was brought, and the Government had the opportunity of meeting it.


said, that, in all probability, for every guilty man arrested by the Government there were five or six innocent men. The Question of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Daly), or, at any rate, the first portion of it, might reasonably have been answered without any great departure from the principles hitherto maintained by the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman did not now follow the course he took on the arrest of the hon. Member for Tipperary, for he then quoted from speeches which the hon. Member had made.


I did so in reply to a definite Question.


did not know whether the present Motion of the hon. Member for the City of Cork was definite enough to enable them to get at the root of the complaints against Mr. John O'Connor and Mr. Patrick Murphy. He knew one of these men, and was sure he was innocent of anything justifying his arrest. His desire, and the desire of those who supported the Motion, was to obtain sufficient information to enable the friends of Mr. O'Connor and Mr. Murphy to prove, or at least attempt to prove, and establish their innocence; but they could not do so unless they were made aware of the grounds of suspicion on which they had been arrested. These almost indiscriminate arrests were calculated to add fuel to the flame in Ireland rather than to extinguish it.


said, Chief Secretary had declined to give in formation on a Motion for the adjournment of the House, and, only last week, when noble Lord (Viscount Sandon) moved the adjournment of the House because the Government had not furnished a translation into English of a document already issued in French, the Prime Minister said he did not complain, because the question was one of public importance, and there was no chance of finding another opportunity to bring it forward. These arrests were surely matters of as much importance as an English translation of a French document; and there was, therefore, some authority for the Chief Secretary to deviate from what he said was his course, and to give some information on the Motion for Adjournment. There was a danger of the House getting gradually accustomed to these arrests, and losing sight of what was involved in the suspension of the Constitution; and, there fore, there was good reason why the attention of Members should be emphatically called to each successive arrest when it was made. From day to day there were now being arrested in Ireland men of the highest character on no stated charge, and without any information being given to the House. They appeared to be arrested not even on the suspicion of their having committed any crime, but because they were active members of the Land League, which had been authoritatively declared to be not an illegal body. Every English Member who valued Constitutional liberty ought to join in protesting in some way against these arrests. As there was no other means of doing it, the Irish Members were driven to move the adjournment of the House.


said, that, as a Member of the Municipality of Dublin, he thanked the hon. Member who was connected with the Municipality of Cork for asking the reasons why a member of that body had been arrested. It was not worthy of the Chief Secretary to take refuge in a mere point of Order, or to speak of the absence of a definite charge. Were he the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Daly) he would not allow the right hon. Gentleman to have any such excuse. If he could actuate the Irish Party, if he could influence the Irish nation, if he could bring the Party to which he belonged to a sense of duty, he would not be content with asking Questions and making Motions in that House, but would draw the attention of Europe to the frivolous nature of the charges brought against Irishmen. [A laugh.] Hon. Gentlemen did not laugh when the attention of Europe was directed, as it was at the Congress of Berlin, to the conduct of Turkey. They did not laugh when attention was drawn to the treatment of foreign prisoners. If Ireland could only be transplanted into Bulgaria or Naples—if they could only substitute in the history of Ireland the name of Mazzini or Garibaldi for O'Connell, hon. Gentlemen would act very differently. As a member of the Corporation of Dublin, he had to say that he thanked his hon. Friend for having had the courage and the good sense to call attention to the incarceration of one of his colleagues; because, when the Government imprisoned the representatives of the people of Ireland without trial they did a dangerous, impolitic, and an unstatesmanlike thing. He wished to affirm, as he had done previously, that the police of Ireland were not preservers of civil order, but were, in every respect, military force. They were a noble body of men, whose moral character deserved the warmest support; but they were essentially a military force. He was in the country a few days ago, when he saw a man driving a horse and cart the man, as if seized with a fit, fell from the cart, and the horse moved on unattended. There were standing by three stalwart policemen, and what did they do? these guardians of civil order and peace turned upon their heels, ran into their barracks, and shut themselves up. [A laugh.] It might be a laughable matter for those who wished to take in a comic sense; but he went to the barracks and told the police authorities that he should bring the matter, necessary, before the notice of the House of Commons. Then they condescended to turn out and assist the unfortunate driver. This instance only showed that the police were schooled or more inclined to discharge their primary duties, which the people of Ireland had a right to expect from them. He had great pleasure in supporting the Motion, and trusted every subsequent arrest of the kind would be followed by a notice such as the present.


said, he was sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant was not able to be present on the occasion of the close of a debate in the House a short time back on a substantive Motion bearing on the question now under consideration, because some suggestions were made as to what might be done in order to allay the prevailing widespread suspicion that many innocent men had been arrested under the Coercion Act. Without doubt, the right hon. Gentleman was within his right in concealing from the public the evidence on which his warrants of arrest were issued; but, at any rate, he ought to permit persons so arrested to lay before him statements in exculpation of themselves. In any country subjected to coercive legislation there was always found a large number of people who were willing to suspect and to accuse people in the most deliberate manner for considerations of the most miserable kind. Anyone who had read the history of coercion in Ireland must be aware that this was a time peculiarly suitable for such persons to ply their trade, and in the case of everyone arrested under this Act the Chief Secretrary ought to give them the opportunity of meeting the accusation. Although he had felt during the present Session that the Government had a great many difficulties to contend with in the government of Ireland, he had never concealed his opinion, and never should, that a Government that could not govern Ireland without coercion was not entitled to govern Ireland at all, and the sooner that position was hammered into the English public mind the better chance there would be of laying permanently the foundation of peace and good order between the various classes of Irish people, and peace and goodwill between the people of Great Britain and Ireland. He appealed, therefore, to the Chief Secretary to give to every man arrested under this Act an opportunity of laying a statement of his case before the Viceroy, in order that it might be ascertained how far the accusations on which he was arrested were really founded on fact or not. He considered the two hon. Members for the City of Cork, in cases of this kind, had no option but to move the adjournment. They had the advantage of being acquainted with the gentlemen who were the most recent victims of the Coercion Act. They spoke from personal knowledge, and made themselves responsible for the characters of the two gentlemen. He therefore joined them in a Motion which was not obstructive, but which was made with the object of eliciting information which he thought the right hon. Gentleman might give without impairing either law or order in Ireland.


said, he wished to say a word in the interests of the Liberal Party. He was a very strong Liberal in his general opinions, and he believed he expressed the opinions of the Liberal Party generally, certainly of those below the Gangway, when he said that no news could give them more unalloyed joy than the news that the Cabinet was rid of the Chief Secretary. ["Oh!"] He challenged any Radical to deny that in the opinion of the entire Radical Party, and of all political leaders of the Liberal Party throughout the country, especially the North of England, the Chief Secretary was the ruin of the Party. ["Oh," and "Order!"] He was sorry to see that the Prime Minister at this moment was not awake. He believed the right hon. Gentleman was sincerely anxious to do his best according to his lights and opportunities for Ireland; but if the right hon. Gentleman wanted to send a real message of peace to Ireland he should insist on the resignation of his right hon. Colleague. The action of the right hon. Gentleman had been described in no very flattering terms in newspaper articles signed with the name of the junior Member for New-castle-on-Tyne (Mr. Ashton Dilke), and had also been referred to in a similar sense by deputations of Northern Miners' Associations, whose reports had met with the approval of the Prime Minister. Another comment upon the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman was to be found in the way in which certain respectable ladies—ladies quite as respectable as the wives of Members of this House, and some related by blood to a Member of that House—had been treated by Major Clifford Lloyd, one of the pets of the right hon. Gentleman, a magistrate who had dragged these ladies through the mire of a police court for no greater offence than that of standing at their own doors in their native town. Attention was called to these proceedings by a Scotchman, Dr. Boyd Kinnear, who said they would do credit to the Third Section in Russia. This Major Lloyd acted as policeman, spy, and informer, and the next day he changed his garb and sat as a judge in the cases he had himself instigated. At the trial of these respectable ladies the policeman swore they used insulting language towards him, and when asked what it was his modesty prevented him from answering. Pressed, however, for an answer, he said they called him "Major Lloyd's pet," and that they had obstructed the thoroughfare, although it was not stated who had been obstructed. This was the kind of thing that was going on in Ireland, and which the Chief Secretary liked, encouraged, and stimulated. The Chief Secretary had been warned against sending this Major Lloyd to Ireland on the ground that he was a firebrand. But it was a firebrand that the Chief Secretary wanted, in order that, having set Ireland in a blaze, he might the more easily ride rough shod over the Irish people. Things were going on in Ireland which were sufficient to make any people rise against the Ministry, and especially against the Minister who permitted them to take place. He was never afraid to express his opinion upon any subject; and he ventured to say that he sincerely believed that there was not a man in that House who was more sincerely desirous of sending a message of peace and goodwill to Ireland than the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister; but, notwithstanding that fact, he still permitted the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to persevere in the coercive course he had adopted towards the Irish people. It was most unfortunate that, side by side with the Bill now before the House, which, although it fell short of the requirements of the Irish people, would, when it became law, have a healthy, beneficial, and tranquillizing influence, this bitter memory and hate of the Chief Secretary should be allowed to grow. He appealed to the Prime Minister, by his better instincts and by his good intentions towards Ireland, not to estrange, but, if possible, to bring the two peoples closer together—to bridge over the chasm. [A laugh.] The hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) laughed; but he maintained he had done more to bring the English and Irish people together than he who misrepresented the people of Galway had ever done. If the First Lord of the Treasury even now said—"We will close the bitter chapter of Irish history, and we will send a message of consolation to the Irish people"—it might not be too late yet to bring about that result; but the first step in that direction was to do away with the Minister who was responsible for coercion—the man who led English opinion astray on the question—the man who dragged his Colleagues into the wretched mire of coercion—this must be the holocaust which must precede the conciliation of the Irish people.


said, he rose with great diffidence, because he should be sorry to fall out with the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), and because he did not desire to say a word in favour of coercion. But he did not feel justified in remaining silent after the language that had been used towards his right lion. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland. He was not surprised that the right hon. Gentleman did not satisfy Irish ideas; but he believed that the House would be of opinion that no more conscientious statesman ever sat upon the Treasury Bench. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster might be deservedly praised as the friends of Ireland; but neither of them had seen with their own eyes the misery and sufferings which had been produced in Ireland by famine and by bad laws. It was not so with the Chief Secretary. He had believed the right hon. Gentleman took Office last year not through any shuffle of the political cards, but with an honest and sincere desire to carry through remedial legislation for the Irish people. It was a remarkable fact that before any coercive legislation had been introduced into Ireland the right hon. Gentleman had been denounced in that country, and that his name had been associated with certain ammunition. He did not think that the hon. Member opposite would do the cause he advocated much good by firing off these severe and bitter shots across the floor of the House at the right hon. Gentleman.


said, he had heard in the House that night certain interesting Questions put with regard to the fate of Midhat Pasha; but when similar circumstances to those connected with Midhat Pasha occurred in Ireland, then Englishmen had no interest in the matter. He would have thought that in such cases as those which they were discussing the Government would have had more than ordinary information; but if these men were really guilty of treasonable practices, why did not the Government proceed against them in the ordinary way? The Government could easily have sought and obtained a verdict from a jury, and that, no doubt, they would have done, but that they knew the men in question were not guilty. The Irish Members had proceeded in that way simply for the purpose of calling the attention of the English people to circumstances which they would reprobate if carried out in any other country than Ireland. The arrests had been a great error on the part of the Chief Secretary, who was a most mistaken and misguided man; and he had proved to the present Ministry, as he had proved to the last Liberal Ministry, its evil genius. Probably, however, the right hon. Gentleman would not have taken that course if he had not been cheated into it by the permanent officials at Dublin Castle, who were fully as corrupt as the servants and Ministers of the Sultan, and with them no more good would be done in Ireland than would be done in Turkey with the present officialism. Until they governed Ireland as they governed England—with the consent of the people—they would never have that peace and concord which they all desired. If it was decided that this coercive policy should be abolished at the same time that the Land Bill was given to the Irish people it might do something, and create confidence in this Liberal Ministry, and produce peace and concord in Ireland; but so long as men were arrested on mere suspicion, without trial, the Government must be content to witness such scenes as these, and the continuance of the use of every method of stopping Public Business, which the Rules of the House permitted.


said, that refer once had been made by hon. Members as to the feelings of hostility that existed in regard to the Chief Secretary; but he (Mr. Macartney) wished to contradict such a statement, as far as the Party he was identified with, point blank. The opprobious epithets which had been applied to the right hon. Gentleman had never emanated from the Conservative Party in Ireland. On the contrary, they regarded the right hon. Gentleman's tenure of Office with great satisfaction. Not that they approved of absolutely everything that the right hon. Gentleman had done; that was, of course, impossible; but as a Member of the House, and as a man, they had no stone to throw at him. All he could say was that it would be impossible to expect an honourable and sensitive Gentleman to act as Chief Secretary if every occupant of the post was assailed with unmitigated hostility and the most virulent attacks.


On Motions of this kind, which most of us consider illegitimate, a Member of the Government may as well keep silent, and that is the rule that I have hitherto uniformly acted upon; but there are occasions when that is impossible, and then I think my duty takes the form of saying what is necessary and no more. I rise, therefore, to give utterance to a single sentence, which I think the House will feel cannot be dispensed with after the attacks that have been made upon my right hon. Friend. Admirably as my right hon. Friend has been vindicated by the hon. Member from the North of Ireland (Mr. Macartney), it would be impossible for the Members of the Government, and for me as their Representative, to allow these attacks to pass over without saying one word in relation to them. Sir, I cannot accept any of the compliments given me by the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), upon pretences which would be untrue and unfounded. And now, with reference to my right hon. Friend, I wish to say simply these two things—that if there is anything severe, harsh, or unwarrantable, either in the powers which have been obtained from this House or in the present administration of the laws of Ireland, he is not one whit more responsible for it than the Members of the Government to which he belongs, and no distinction whatever can be drawn between us and him. And if, on the other hand, in the Bill now before the House, there is anything kindly or beneficial to the Irish people, there is no Member of the Government to whom the credit is in any degree due more than to my right hon. Friend.


said, he must congratulate the Chief Secretary on his defender from the North of Ireland, a Gentleman who represented the most aggressive form of Conservatism, who said that, having watched his career in past years, he was delighted at the appointment of the right hon. Gentleman to the Irish Office. It was not to be wondered at that the Prime Minister should endeavour to defend his Colleague; but he (Mr. Healy) still wished to know what good the Chief Secretary had done, who wanted him, and why he was not sent somewhere away? What they complained of was, not that the man was merely unfit for his position, but that he was an absolute failure. [Cries of "Order!"] It was all very well for bon. Members to cry "Order;" but the Irish people were those who were most concerned; it was their country which was being misgoverned; it was they who felt where the shoe pinched. He begged to suggest to the Prime Minister that there were probably many places in the wide British Empire in which the services of the right lion. Gentleman would be more appreciated than they had been in Ireland. Why not send the right lion. Gentleman to Hong Kong? [Cries of "Order!"] Bulgaria, he heard, was in want of a King, and the right hon. Gentleman knew as much of Bulgaria as of Ireland. He had travelled there during the atrocities, and perhaps he had imported some of his experience into the government of Ireland. One of the meanest and shabbiest acts ever performed by a responsible Minister was the arrest of these two men on suspicion of "treasonable practices," but really for their connection with the land agitation. One of them he knew personally and well. There was not in Ireland a more loyal man than Mr. J. O'Connor; but his loyalty was to his countrymen, the Irish people. If such a man had worked as unflinchingly for the people of this country, he would not be in a prison cell at this moment. Some time or other, please God, the right hon. Gentleman's tenure of Office would run out, and then these men would issue from their cells and be received with acclamation by the Irish people when the right hon. Gentleman lay howling. ["Oh!"]


Sir, I can truly say I am not anxious to prolong this discussion. But it is hardly fit or proper for me to sit entirely silent and hear such an abuse of the Rules of the House, as I consider this to be, without saying one word by way of protest. The practice of moving the adjournment of the House at Question time has frequently been remarked upon, and well deserves the consideration of the House. But at present we have the practice established. When there is sufficient cause for discussion, no doubt it is an arrangement which hon. Members have a right to resort to. But it is an entire abuse even of that privilege which is so elastic, when it is made the occasion for the sort of personal attacks upon the Benches opposite to which we have so frequently listened. If hon. Members have cause to bring forward these questions they can do so at a proper time; and if they desire to challenge the conduct of the Government, I am not here to say upon all parts of their Irish policy, I would defend it. But this sort of personal attack is one which I think deserves the reprobation, and certainly the disfavour, of all hon. Gentlemen.


said, he wanted to know how they were to describe the Minister's policy towards Ireland if they were not to use strong language. The hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. J. N. Richardson) had said that the right hon. Gentleman was one of the most conscientious Ministers that ever came to Ireland. That also was his opinion when the right hon. Gentleman came first to Ireland; but it was not his opinion now. The right hon. Gentleman went to Ireland as the Representative of a Liberal Government. But the Orange Emergency Committee, in a pamphlet issued the other day, stated that they had induced the right hon. Gentleman to forbid assemblies of people at sales, and they issued, "a list of farms in Ireland for which Protestant tenants were required." It was that proselytizing spirit which the right hon. Gentleman was bolstering up in Ireland. The Chief Secretary, therefore, instead of representing a Liberal Ministry in Ireland, was nothing more than the instrument of petty despots and the tool in the hands of the Orange Emergency Committee. He did not believe, in the whole history of Ireland, there was an instance of any man having fallen so suddenly, swiftly, and irretrievably from popular confidence. He did not wish to make any personal attack, he would only say that the system of misgovernment in Ireland would shock hon. Members opposite if they were only aware of it. A large number of Liberal Members stated at the time of the passing of the Coercion Act that they voted for the measure with reluctance. There was, therefore, every reason that they should see that the Act was not carried out unfairly.


said, that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) had blamed his hon. Friend for moving the adjournment of the House. But it was not so many days since a noble Lord (Viscount Sandon), a Member of the right hon. Gentleman's Party, moved the adjournment of the House on a question of not so much importance. The Question of the noble Lord was only whether the Government would publish a clear statistical Paper. The Irish people were tyrannized over by an autocrat who was allowed by the House to do what he pleased without giving a reason for his conduct. The hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. J. N. Richardson) stated that the right hon. Gentleman had seen more of the misery of Ireland than any other Member of the Government. That was a reason why the right hon. Gentleman should protect the people instead of making himself the instrument of the landlords. Under these circumstances, the House would do well to agree to the adjournment, that the Government might consider whether they would keep the right hon. Gentleman as Chief Secretary. Why did not the right bon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary resign? They talked of emigration—why did the right hon. Gentleman not emigrate? He was told on Saturday that the right hon. Gentleman was going to be sent to India. He did not know whether that was so or not, but he was delighted with the news. But if he were sent to some much warmer climate on the recommendation of the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, he would be likely to receive a less retiring pension, and be less of a burden to the ratepayers.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 26; Noes 305: Majority 279.—(Div. List, No. 299.)