HC Deb 01 March 1881 vol 258 cc1950-1

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether it is true, as stated in the public press, that he has received a telegram from Mr. Devoy, or a telegram purporting to come from Mr. Devoy, and threatening him with assassination; and, if so, whether any and what representations have been made to the Government of the United States upon this subject?


said, that before this Question was answered perhaps the right hon. and learned Gentleman would allow him to ask who it was that supplied the Press with the statement that Mr. Devoy had sent a telegram threatening the life of the Home Secretary, whereas, according to The Times of today, Mr. Devoy did not send a telegram threatening the life of the Home Secretary or of anybody else?


Sir, I am sorry that the hon. Member who put the Question on the Paper should have thought it worthy of the notice of the House of Commons. I do not think it so myself, and I am utterly unable to tell the other hon. Member who sent the statement to the public Press, I did not. With reference to the first Question, I have to say that I did receive a telegram signed "John Devoy." It was somewhat of a menacing character. It proposed to stamp me out. [Mr. HEALY: No!] But it did not explain the exact method in which that operation was to be performed, nor whether the resources of modern science would be employed for the purpose. With reference to John Devoy, I would venture to say that as long as he and his confederates, the leaders of the Land League, think fit to remain beyond the seas, whether on the other side of the Atlantic or the Straits of Dover, the less notice we take of them the better. We may be quite content to say, as was said of a certain gentleman of old, Abiit, evasit, erupit. If John Devoy were to come within the Dominions of the Queen, no doubt it might be my official duty to pay him some personal attention. But the hon. Member asks me another Question—namely, whether I propose to make any representations to the United States. Now, I certainly do not propose to do that. If we were to enter into an international discussion on the matter I am not quite sure whether we or the United States would have most ground for complaint. We got rid of John Devoy out of a convict prison, and the United States have acquired him as an American citizen. And as we have to very much the best of the bargain think we had better leave the matter as it stands.