HC Deb 13 June 1881 vol 262 cc343-4

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to a statement published by the "Times" Dublin correspondent in the "Times" newspaper of June 9th last, in the terms following, viz.:— The Land League now appears to be practically affiliated with the two secret conspiracies (viz.: the Riband Conspiracy and the Fenian Conspiracy), and to have them working actively in its service. Hence the fallacy of the objection to the suppression of the Land League on the ground that the effect would be to drive the people into secret combinations. The fact is that the secret conspiracies already exist, and supply the irregular forces which commit the most lawless acts; and, whether Her Majesty's Government have any grounds for believing that the above statement is substantially true, and that the Land League is affiliated with the Riband Conspiracy and the Fenian Conspiracy?


Before the right hon. Gentleman answers the Question, I would wish to ask him, Whether he is aware that the person who writes these letters to the London "Times" is a Mr. Patton, editor of the Dublin "Daily Express," a Conservative organ, which has repeatedly imputed to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government a secret alliance with the Irish Land League for the purpose of enabling him to get his land proposals carried?


I also wish to ask, Whether this Mr. Patton, the Dublin correspondent of the "Times," is the same person who has denounced the First Lord of the Treasury and his Colleagues as being in league with assassins?


With regard to the last two Questions, Sir, I believe it is quite enough for me to answer what appears in the newspapers, without being required to name the writers. As to the other Question, I can only state that I have no legal proof that the Land League, as a general organization, is affiliated with the Fenian Conspiracy or the Riband Conspiracy.