HC Deb 16 June 1881 vol 262 cc639-40

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he can lay upon the Table a Return of the number of Tenants who, being able to pay, have submitted to ejectment from their farms; or if he can state a single case in which a tenant has endured expulsion from his holding with the means of payment in his possession?


in reply, said, he could not undertake to give such a Return. It involved a matter of opinion, as to which he had always been willing to give the best opinion he could. The hon. Member asked the same Question a few days ago, when he (Mr. W. E. Forster) expressed his belief that no man in the Kingdom could make such a Return. He did not know whether that would apply also to those who were actually ejected. There had been persons actually ejected who, he had every reason to believe, could pay. The hon. Member asked him if he could give names. He was reluctant to give names; but if he pressed for them and would see him privately, he thought he should be able to give names. He did not know whether his hon. Friend was a member of the Land League; he did not think he was; but he had friends who were connected with it, and he would advise the hon. Member to apply to them for the information. His reason for making the statement he had just made was that he found that last month the Secretary of the Land League publicly gave this advice— Let every man in Ireland who hereafter pays rent pay only when forced at the bayonet's point. ("Hear, hear.") Let them bring their bailiffs, their sheriffs, and their soldiers—those hired mercenaries recruited from the slums of England, and brought here to shoot down the Irish people! Let the Irish people allow rent to be collected only by putting all the machinery of the Government in force. You should do this with regard to all writs of recovery, writs of possession, as well as notices of ejectment. You should treat them all in the same way. I am not now speaking to men who have not the wherewith to pay the rent; I am speaking to men who are able to pay rent, but who will not pay rent upon principle. ("Hear, hear," and laughter.) You should allow the sheriff and the bailiff to come and put you out; you can redeem at any time within six months, and the landlord is bound to take care of your holding during that period. All this, no doubt, will require money; but we have more money than the landlords.


inquired why the person who made those statements had not been arrested under the Coercion Act?


He has been arrested. It was Mr. P. Brennan, the late Secretary to the Land League, who is now in Naas Prison.


was understood to say that the real Question was whether, in spite of the distinct and emphatic statement of the Prime Minister that incitements to breaches of contract should not be punished by the Coercion Act, persons had been arrested for advising breaches of contract?


said, he did not understand that that was the Question of the hon. Member. If a Question was to be asked on the matter, perhaps Notice would be given.