§ MR. SPEAKER
acquainted the House that he had received a Letter from the Right Hon. James Lawson, which letter Mr. Speaker read to the House as followeth:—
§ Green Street, Dublin,
§ 16th August, 1882.
§ In conformity with what I understand to be my duty, I have the honor to inform you that Mr. Edmond Dwyer Gray, a Member of the Souse of Commons, was this day committed to prison for three months, by an order of mine, made in open Court, for a contempt of Court in publishing certain articles calculated to prejudice the administration of Justice under the commission under which I sit.
§ I have the honor to be,
§ Your obedt. Servant,
§ J. A. Lawson.
§ The Right Honble.
§ The Speaker of the Souse of Commons.
who interposed, said: Sir, the hon. Member will, I am sure, excuse me for offering myself to your notice in preference to himself without any disrespect; but, in doing so, I am acting in conformity with what I believe to be a uniform and general precedent, and certainly with the most recent precedent of the House, according to which, I believe, it is deemed to be part of the responsibility of the person who may for the time being occupy the position of the Leader of the House, to offer some advice to the House in circumstances, on the one hand, of great importance, and, on the other hand, of very considerable difficulty and danger. I believe, Sir, there is no instance on record in which an occurrence such as 1979 that which is made known to us by the letter of Mr. Justice Lawson has happened in circumstances so peculiar as the present—at the very moment, namely, when the House of Commons, while it has not formally abandoned the transaction of Business, yet has reached a condition in which, as a matter of fact, the enormous numerical majority of its Members has disappeared and has dispersed itself all over the world. Independently of the question of the numerical majority, a large proportion of the most important Members of the House, a large number of those on the Opposition side of the House, and other Members of great experience, and knowledge, and importance on this side of the House, have disappeared from our Benches, so that we have, as I may appropriately remind the House, recognized, and that in a very marked and formal manner within the last few days—I will not say our incapacity or our inability to deal with any description of Business—but, undoubtedly, the inappropriateness of our attempting to deal with any such Business of a novel or a serious character. I will venture, Sir, to mention a single instance which is, I think, a case in point. The Government had to consider some short time ago whether they should advise the House now to make full provision for the order of Business when we meet in October, by asking the House to pass a Resolution that the Business which has been named as either the principal or the sole Business of the Autumn Sitting—so far as we are concerned, I may call it the sole Business that is to occupy the House—should be marked and insured to be the sole Business by the determination now that it should take precedence on every day when it was set down. But hon. Members felt, and the Government freely gave way to that feeling, that it was a question which might, conceivably, give rise to some difference of opinion, and involve matter of importance; and on that account, and notwithstanding the great practical convenience of its being immediately determined, we would not attempt to touch it. Therefore, Sir, practically the House is not at the present moment so manned and equipped as to be in a condition to approach and handle a subject of novelty, delicacy, and difficulty. The course usually taken when a Member of 1980 the House has been attached for contempt of a Court of Justice has been to appoint a Committee to inquire into the circumstances of the case, and generally these Committees have not been appointed with any distinct binding assertion on the part of the House of the extent of its own power to interfere; but the House left it to the Committee to examine and determine whether there was any reason for making a recommendation to the House. I think in no instance has any such recommendation been made. If I refer to cases within the memory of living men, and which are the only cases that have happened for a very long time indeed in the annals of the House—I mean the case of Mr. Long Wellesley in 1831, of Mr. Charlton in 1837, of Mr. Whalley in 1874, which last was different from the others in this particular, that a Dissolution of Parliament intervened between the attachment for contempt and the examination of the matter by the House of Commons—the old Parliament to which Mr. Whalley belonged at the moment when he was attached not having been in a condition to approach the question at all—I find that in none of these cases did the Committees make any practical recommendation to the House. These Committees, however, were Committees of great power, weight, and influence. The first two were Committees of Privilege, open to all Members of the House, and attended both by great numbers and by Gentlemen of great weight from all quarters of the House; and the last, which was a Select Committee, and which was deemed more agreeable to present usages, was constituted on the principle of being, as far as possible, representative of the knowledge, the authority, and the power that the House of Commons could bring to bear on the subject. It is evident, Sir, that were we to conform to the formal part of the precedents—that is to say, the immediate appointment of a Committee—we could not conform to the moral and more weighty portion of the precedent in appointing for immediate action a Committee such as the House would regard as an adequate representation of itself on a matter touching one of the gravest and most delicate of its Privileges. That is the difficulty we have had to confront—that, while the exterior form of the precedents points to the immediate ap- 1981 pointment of a Committee, the circumstances of the House at this moment show that we could not do justice to the House, for we could not secure the attendance of Members to make it representative or authoritative in the degree in which it is essential it should possess those characteristics. Well, Sir, that being so, we reluctantly abandon the notion of following, as on some grounds it would be desirable, what are, considered ab extra, the precedents applicable to the case, and asking the House to concur in the immediate appointment of a Committee. Besides the difficulties both of practice and principle which I have pointed out, there is another consideration, which has great weight with us. Of course, if the House does not think fit to appoint a Committee at present, the alternative is that the matter should stand over till the re-assembling of the House in the latter part of October. In considering that alternative we asked ourselves whether, bound as we are to guard over whatever touches the personal dignity and independence of our brother Members, that postponement would be attended with any injurious effect; and here, Sir, I am bound to say that, according to the best attention we have been able to give to the subject, and to the best advice we have been able to collect, we do not see clearly that it is in our power to act for the liberation of Mr. Gray, even had a Committee arrived at the conclusion, and had the House adopted that conclusion, that there was cause to desire his liberation. If, as on former occasions, the House saw no reason to take any step, then the imprisonment would continue, as a matter of course, with the assent of the whole House. But I assume, on the other hand, that a Committee did sit and did recommend that there had been no contempt such as, in their judgment, to warrant the imprisonment of Mr. Gray, and that there was cause, if we possess the power, to desire interference. I am not aware, however, and none of those that I have been able to consult are aware, that such a desire could in any case take practical effect. It might be in the power of the House to proceed penally against those who have brought about Mr. Gray's imprisonment. It might be the will of the House to issue an order to the keeper of the gaol in which Mr. Gray may be confined to release Mr. 1982 Gray; but we have not the smallest idea that such an order would be obeyed by the officer in charge of the gaol. Nor are we very distinctly aware of any legal or Constitutional principles on which it could be confidently affirmed that it was the duty of the officer to obey such an order. At any rate, however that may be—and far be it from me to enter upon an abstract proposition of that kind—we are not aware of any mode except that of long- delayed proceedings by which we could endeavour to act vindictively or penally, so to speak, against such an officer of the gaol, and even if we did so act it would be very doubtful whether the issue of those proceedings would have the effect of opening the prison doors. There is, of course, a higher personal authority, for, after all, the House will feel that to act upon the keeper of the gaol, who is a subordinate officer, and has nothing to do but to conform rigidly and faithfully to the orders received from superior authorities, would not be a worthy or satisfactory method of proceeding. But the system prevailing in this country has, for very strong and paramount reasons, surrounded the Judicial Bench with defences such as are impregnable to almost every kind of attack. One step only remains open to the House—to address the Crown for the removal of the Judge. [Mr. CALLAN: Give us the opportunity.] I will not enter into the merits of that Motion, but I will point out with considerable confidence that the carrying of such a Motion would not have the smallest effect upon the sentence delivered by the Judge while sitting upon the Bench in the execution of his judicial duties; and, therefore, that question, however important in itself, is totally and absolutely irrelevant to the consideration I have just raised for the examination of the House—namely, that the imprisonment of a Member of Parliament who has been put into gaol cannot, through the medium of an Address against the Judge, be shortened by a single hour. That imprisonment acts by operation of law, and that operation of law cannot be disturbed in the slightest degree, nor be deflected by a hair's-breadth, to one side or the other by an action, however successful, taken by this House. I have looked at the question exclusively in this light in order to determine whether postponing to consider the question by for- 1983 mal inquiry until the month of October is attended with the infliction of any avoidable hardship to Mr. Gray; and I come to the conclusion that it is not, inasmuch as it does not appear that we have any means of operating effectively upon the term of imprisonment, even on the assumption that the result of the inquiry was to establish to the satisfaction of the House that the proceedings taken were not proper in Mr. Gray's case. I have avoided, deliberately avoided, any reference to the facts of the case. I do not think the House will believe, and, undoubtedly, the Government do not believe, that we are in a position to discuss them. The practice in former cases, and notably in that of Mr. Whalley, was carefully to avoid and eschew all discussion upon the merits. We admit that the attachment of a Member of Parliament is both upon principle and by precedent a just and proper subject of Parliamentary inquiry; there is no doubt whatever about that; but no discussion upon the merits of the case can in any degree strengthen the affirmation which we yield to that principle, nor is it a principle which will be questioned from any quarter whatever. That the merits should be debated at the proper time is a matter which it is not for me either to affirm or deny. Inquiry by Committee is the usual and natural method of proceeding recommended alike by precedent and policy. The sole and exclusive question I have to address myself to is whether an inquiry by Committee should be taken in hand at the present moment. I am assuming—I am not arguing—the question that if this case had happened a month ago, the precedents of former cases would be followed. But in the condition in which we are—in the semianimated condition of the House, which we cannot by any means in our power restore to entire animation—the question is whether, considering the whole of the circumstances, we had not better wait for the time when we can have a full, competent, and satisfactory inquiry rather than attempt it at the present moment under such doubtful circumstances, when it could hardly possess any such characteristics. The other consideration—that the postponement will not lead to a prolongation of the imprisonment of Mr. Gray—should remove from our minds the only doubt we could otherwise entertain; and, under these circumstances, I 1984 will confine myself at the present moment to submitting the merely formal Motion that the letter you, Sir, have read from the Chair do lie on the Table.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Letter of Mr. Justice Lawson do lie upon the Table."—(Mr. Gladstone.)
§ MR. SEXTON
Sir, I shall not attempt to follow the Prime Minister into the niceties of the Constitutional questions which he has raised. It would be presumption in me to venture to attempt to compete with him in that department of knowledge. The speech which we have just heard convinced me—if I needed any convincing—that in the interest of the hon. Member for the County of Carlow (Mr. Gray), and in the interest of the dignity of the House, it is fit and most opportune that the House should have a brief sketch of the facts of the case. The hon. Member for the County of Carlow is at this moment suffering imprisonment, and the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman comes to this—that inquiry into the facts of the case should be suspended until the term of Mr. Gray's imprisonment has been almost wholly endured. But, Sir, apart from that, the more practical aspect of the question, I must also point out that the course of the learned Judge who imprisoned Mr. Gray imposes upon his Friends in this House the duty of immediately proceeding to lay before the great tribunal of public opinion such an account of Mr. Gray's conduct as it is in their power to offer. The learned Judge refused to hear Mr. Gray in Court, embarrassed him, interrupted him, and finally compelled him to stop. The learned Judge refused to consider favourably an application by Mr. Gray for an adjournment of the case. Mr. Gray represented that the summons in the case had only been served upon him late the night before, and that it would be impossible for him, if an adjournment were not granted, to lay before the Court such a view of the circumstances and the motive of his action as might induce the Law Officers of the Crown to take a more lenient view of his case. The Court refused, on the motion of the learned Solicitor General for Ireland, to adjourn the case, and the position of Mr. Gray is this—that he is not only 1985 suffering imprisonment on the grave charge of contempt of the High Court of Justice, but, after a fruitless application to be allowed to state to the Court by his own tongue the facts of his case in full, and after an application to adjourn the hearing until the case could be put before the Court in proper form had been refused. That being so, the House and the Prime Minister will see and acknowledge that it is most natural that we, the political Friends and Colleagues of Mr. Gray, should gladly seize this opportunity—the first, and emphatically the last—to lay before the House and the country some brief vindication of his conduct. I need say nothing of the position of Mr. Gray in Ireland, which, is familiar to the great body of Members of this House. Mr. Gray has filled the high office of Lord Mayor of Dublin. He at present fills the important Constitutional office of High Sheriff of that City, the capital of Ireland; and in these offices he is at once the elected of the people and the Representative of the Crown. Mr. Gray in this House represents the County of Carlow. Hon. Members, whatever may be their shades of political opinion, will, I think, freely admit that the part Mr. Gray has taken in the debates of this House entitles him to the character of a man of conspicuous reasonableness of mind; and hon. Members will bear in mind that, on a recent occasion in this House, we had from him a speech marked by the highest practical ability. With regard to Mr. Justice Lawson, I should pause to note one or two circumstances which show the character of the judicial attitude assumed by him in this case. In the first place, it was from Mr. Justice Lawson that the suggestion came which moved the Law Officers of the Crown. The learned Judge was not content to wait till the Law Officers of the Crown should have thought the interests of justice required action to be taken, but on Monday morning last he seized the occasion to suggest to the Law Officers of the Crown that they ought to proceed in this highly penal and arbitrary manner. The second point is that the learned Judge refused to hear Mr. Gray fully in his own behalf in Court; and the third is that notwithstanding the very brief character of the notice given—notwithstanding the position of Mr. Gray, which ought to have 1986 entitled him to every consideration at the hands of the Court of which he was the highest official, the learned Judge peremptorily and without reasons assigned refused the adjournment of the case. Now, Sir, out of what circumstances has this imprisonment of Mr. Gray immediately arisen? The House is well aware that the Attorney General for Ireland, under the Prevention of Crimes Act, possesses the power of changing the venue of trial in the case of certain offences. This power has been exercised in respect of certain cases, and Mr. Justice Lawson is at present engaged in Dublin trying those cases which the power exercised by the right hon. and learned Gentleman had removed from the counties in which formerly they had been held. A few days ago a case of Whiteboyism was tried in that Court, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman appeared there on behalf of the Crown. But it became apparent that those practices which had most excited public feeling in Ireland in the direction of distrust in the administration of the law were again to be renewed. There was certainly no excuse for resorting to such a practice. The Government of Ireland have now the most ample powers; and if they considered in any case a jury would not satisfy the justice of the case, it is in the power of the Executive, compressed and condensed in the person of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, to have that case tried before three Judges of the land; but the Government have oscillated between two powers, and they are neither content to use the law of the jury in its Constitutional spirit of allowing the citizens to freely enter the box, nor to resort to the other method courageously and allow the Judges to try the case. In this case of Whiteboyism what happened? Nineteen gentlemen of the City of Dublin, nearly all of them Catholics in creed or Liberals in politics, were ordered to stand aside, and a jury almost exclusively Protestant was empannelled to try the prisoners.
§ MR. BULWER
I rise to Order. (Cries of "Sit down!") I rise to Order, Mr. Speaker. I ask whether the hon. Member for Sligo is in Order in his remarks?
§ MR. SPEAKER
So far as the hon. Member has proceeded I have not felt it to be my duty to interfere.
§ MR. SEXTON
I was endeavouring to deal with the circumstances which immediately led to those expressions of opinion in the paper of Mr. Gray upon what I call deliberately the packing of the jury in the Whiteboy case—the packing of the jury by persons being objected to by the Crown, which is as effective a method of packing as by the direct entry into the box of persons committed to their purpose. On that proceeding The Freeman wrote in the following terms:—Yesterday, at the Commission Court, the first jury trial under the recent Crimes Act took place. John Connor and three others, all natives of Kerry, were placed in the dock charged with, on March 17 last, at Fabey, in the county of Kerry, having attacked the house of Mrs. Maybury, the widow of an officer in the Army. Under the ordinary law the men would have been tried in Kerry, where the alleged offence took place; but, availing himself of the provision of the Crimes Act, the Attorney General removed the case to Dublin, and under the same measure a special jury was empanelled from a joint county and city panel. The Crown exercised their right to challenge on such a wholesale scale that no less than 19 persons, some of them among our most respeetable citizens, were ordered to stand aside. The facts of the case will be found reported elsewhere. All the prisoners were convicted, but the jury accompanied their finding with a strong recommendation to mercy, and sentence was deferred.Such were the terms of the first of the writings, and I claim in this House that the article I have read is a bald and bare record of the facts of the case, and does not contain one word, one syllable, or one iota deserving the title of comment. The animus of the proceeding on the part of the Crown is plainly shown by the fact that a harmless and colourless piece of writing such as this, limited strictly to the bare record of the facts, has been made an item of charge against Mr. Gray; and the Solicitor General, who appeared on behalf of the Crown to move for an attachment against the High Sheriff of Dublin, spoke of the article as an improper interference by a public newspaper with the administration of justice and with the proceedings of that Court. He said—It was absolutely intolerable that such comments should be made by an individual, be he a journalist or a member of another profession or class. The exercise of the right of supervision over the proceedings of that Court was left by law with the Judge, and with the Judge alone. Every person who had the most elementary acquaintance with the rules of law was perfectly well aware that the exercise of the right of telling a juror to 'stand by' was vested in the Attorney General, and was a right that 1988 was unquestionable. He had himself been present when that right was largely exercised, and it was not even commented on by counsel for the prisoner. That right was exercised for obvious reasons, and there was no imputation cast on a juror when the Attorney General told him to stand aside. In this matter the Crown had uncontrolled discretion, and the object of the article which he had read was, it was obvious, to throw discredit on the administration of justice, and to interfere with the fair, calm, and impartial proceedings of that Court. Such comments could only lead to prejudice, so that the law could not be put into force. According to The Freeman's Journal they ought not to be there at all, and if one paper was permitted to act in this way so should other papers, and where would it end? Such a thing was intolerable, and the article referred to, if it stood alone, would warrant the censure of the Court.From a learned Gentleman occupying the position of Law Officer of the Crown there never proceeded a series of such extraordinary and grotesque assertions. Absolutely intolerable that comment should be made by any public journal! What, then, is the meaning of the boasted liberty of the Press and of that important Constitutional function to which England, as well as Ireland, owes so many things that have led to political reforms—those spirited and just comments in the interests of liberty which English journalists have never been afraid to make, and which have been the lights on the high road of legal reform and the liberty of the subject? It is extraordinary that in the end of the 19th century a Law Officer of a Liberal Government should rise up and state that it was intolerable that the public Press should comment on the proceedings in a Court of Justice, that the right of supervision over the proceedings of the Court was left by law with the Judge, and with the Judge alone. Is there no right of supervision here, for instance? Has not this House of Parliament the right to review, consider, decide, and pronounce upon the conduct of Mr. Justice Lawson? And is not this House of Parliament assured of the Constitutional right, as the right hon. Gentleman has pointed out in the course of his lucid address, to move for an Address to the Crown? I am perplexed to imagine what can have led to the condition of recklessness of mind which induced the hon. and learned Gentleman to rise up in Court and to make statements of this character. The right to challenge is vested in the Attorney 1989 General; but by what unspoken sacredness are the functions of the Attorney General to be relieved and sheltered from the right of criticism, in the public Press, and the criticism of this House, which, Sir, this House claims to exercise over every official, whatever may be his position, and over the Crown itself? ["Oh!"] Are not the acts of the Crown, as administered by the Government, subject to the decision of this House? Are not the acts of the Viceroy subject to criticism in the Press and in this Assembly? The right hon. Gentlemen the Prime Minister at the head of the Government has from day to day to deliver utterances and to do acts connected with the most difficult and delicate affairs of State imaginable. Has he ever been able to shelter himself behind a Constitutional Prerogative? Ha she ever been able to say to any writer in the Press, "You shall not criticize my conduct?" Has he not been for 50 years in the full light of critisism, often hostile, often ungenerous, often fierce, often conscientious? Has he ever been able, in the course of his long life, to shelter himself behind such a nonsensical plea as that advanced by the Solicitor General for Ireland? There is no man in this Realm, even though he be the highest, who can shelter himself behind a plea the effect of which—the tendency and purpose of which—is to render public opinion nugatory. The Solicitor General for Ireland said—"There is no imputation upon a juror that the Attorney General for Ireland asks to stand aside." Does anyone believe that fiction? Does anyone believe that Mr. James M'Gee, a respectable man, who came from Llandudno, in Wales, to be a juror, did not consider that to be an insult? That is the feeling of any man who is told to stand aside; and though the Attorney General for Ireland may wrap it up as he likes, there is only one reason for calling on a juror to stand aside, and that was the reason The Freeman's Journal pointed out, which was, the Law Officer of the Crown did not believe that Catholic jurors on their oaths deserved to be treated with confidence and respect. If the right hon. Gentleman opposite disapproves of that explanation of motive, there is an alternative. Will he say that Catholic and Liberal gentlemen were ordered to stand aside because they did not return a verdict of "guilty?" 1990 And that being the reason, if a man could not be relied upon to return a verdict of "guilty," was the Law Officer of the Crown entitled to tell such a man to stand aside? The first article in The Freeman's Journal complained of was simply in the nature of a comment, and the Solicitor General, in his passionate impeachment against Mr. Gray, said that if it stood alone it was sufficient to justify the interference of the Court. Before leaving the Whiteboy case, I will give the House some idea of the gentleman upon whose affidavit the Crown has moved in the matter. The gentleman in question is Mr. Alexander Morphy, the Crown Solicitor for Kerry and Clare. He was one of the most officious officers of the last Cork Assizes, who were engaged in flagrant and persistent jury packing. He was the Crown Solicitor who refused to pay the expenses of witnesses from Clare and Limerick who were brought to Cork, and thereby deprived many persons of the means of returning to their homes. He was the Crown Solicitor who refused to pay the expenses of traversers from County Kerry, and in consequence of this conduct on his part many of the traversers were reduced to a condition of starvation. I know the case of one woman who had suffered considerable hardship, and she was obliged to go into the Court and offer the plea of "guilty." This is the gentleman on whose affidavit, read in the Court at Green Street, the imprisonment of Mr. Gray took place. Then there was the trial of Francis Hynes for the murder of John Doloughty. The Crown, it appears, proceeded still further in this case, and the jury panel, from which the jury was selected, consisted of 49 jurors. The prisoner challenged 11, leaving 38, and of these 38 jurors the Crown challenged 26. It was obvious from the first that the Crown had selected the panel from the County and City of Dublin, upon which they thought they could rely for a vigorous and rigorous administration of justice. But the Crown went further, and they still further filtered the panel by ordering 26 jurors to stand aside. I, therefore, call upon the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland to show to this House the reason why those men have been told to stand aside, and to explain, if he can, if there was 1991 any other reason except that those gentlemen were Catholics and Liberals in politics for their being cast aside. Well, Sir, upon the hearing of the two cases at the Special Commission, The Freeman's Journal wrote the following article:—We are unwilling to credit the rumour that the Crown have resolved that juries exclusively, or almost exclusively, Protestant should determine in some cases the liberty in others the lives of the prisoners on trial at Green Street. Yet colour is lent to the report by the fact that yesterday in the capital case, just as on the previous day in the Whiteboy case, Catholic gentlemen of admitted respectability and position were ordered to stand aside when they took the book to be sworn. To the gentlemen in question no stereotyped 'trade' objection can be made, and the inference, therefore, is that they were shoved aside from their duties as jurors simply because they are Catholics. If this is true, an odious, and, it was hoped, obsolete practice has been revived, and the course taken, unnecessary as it is injudicious, must naturally cause indignation and resentment in Catholic circles. The notion that such men as Edward Lenehan, of Castle Street, William Dennehy, of John Street, and others whom we could mention, should not be trusted to find a true verdict according to evidence in county cases brought to Dublin for trial, which is the simple and only inference, is offensive in the extreme. The representatives of the Crown would not venture to publicly make such a declaration; yet the names of the gentlemen specified appear in the published list of the rejected. The matter is one that calls for inquiry and explanation. For the present we will only express our regret that the representatives of the Crown should deem it necessary and expedient to 'Boycott' Catholic jurors of the city and county of Dublin. ['Hear, hear!'] That this has been done we fear there is no doubt, and we apprehend that no other interpretation of the action of the Crown can be given than that the Catholic gentlemen are subjected to the shocking imputation that they are not unprepared to violate the solemn obligation of their oath in cases which are supposed to arise out of political agitation in the country; and would the managers of the Crown prosecutions in Green Street dare openly make such an accusation?Now, this article was, at the most, a demand for an investigation, and it was formally an expression of opinion on the practices the Crown had resorted to in forming the juries that tried two cases. I cannot understand that an article of this kind, founded on discreet and temperate language, pointing out to the Crown what course should be pursued in future, could in any way have interfered with verdicts. The right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had said that the question of religion never for a moment entered into the heads of the Law Officers of the Crown, and he ad- 1992 mitted the respectability of the men told to stand aside, and said that their being told to stand aside was not meant as the slightest reproach to them, any more than if they had been called upon to stand aside on being challenged by the prisoner. What did the order to stand aside mean? The oath of a person is that as between our Sovereign Lady the Queen and the prisoner he will give a true verdict according to the evidence; therefore, the Crown, in ordering a juror to stand by, must regard him as a person who would not do his duty; for if he was a person who would give a true verdict according to the evidence, the Crown had not a shadow of right to prevent him from entering the jury-box. Is the position of the Crown this—that Catholics are not entitled to enter the box, and that Liberal gentlemen who are not Catholics, but are adherents of the right hon. Gentleman, in the case of an agrarian movement with which they have a sympathy, however remote, ought to be suspected? It is a curious fact, certainly, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman who sat opposite, who is supposed to be on the side of Liberalism, and is expected to support it in this House, is the man who in Ireland calls upon Liberal jurors to stand aside, and there acts as their political opponent. The Solicitor General declared that the article I have just read to the House transcended in audacity, and the statements it contained were without foundation. Well, was there any doubt about the fact that 17 jurymen who were Liberals were excluded from the White-boy trial, and 16 Liberal and Catholic jurors in the murder case? On two juries there was only one Catholic; and does the right hon. and learned Gentleman venture to say that that peculiar composition of the juries was accidentally brought about, or that it was an honest and legal jury according to the spirit of law and the Constitution? The next step in the case was the letter of Mr. O'Brien. The jury that tried the Hynes' case retired from the Court to the Imperial Hotel. Mr. William O'Brien happened to be staying at the hotel. The Solicitor General for Ireland said he did not know who Mr. William O'Brien was. Well, he was very likely to succeed the Attorney General for Ireland, not in Office, but as Member for the borough of Mallow. Mr. O'Brien was much better known in 1993 Ireland than the Solicitor General himself. Mr. William O'Brien happened to be staying at the Imperial Hotel, where the jury was stopping for the night the day between the beginning and the finish of the Hynes' trial. He thought it his duty to write the following letter to The Freeman's Journal, which I will read to the House:—
§ "To the Editor of The Freeman.
§ "Imperial Hotel, Dublin,
§ "Saturday, August 12.
§ "Dear Sir,—I think the public ought to be made aware of the following facts. The jury in the murder case of the Queen v. Hynes were last night 'locked up,' as it is termed, for the night at the Imperial Hotel, where I also was staying. I was awakened from sleep shortly after midnight by the sounds of a drunken chorus, succeeded after a time by scuffling, rushing, coarse laughter, and horse-play along the corridor on which my bedroom opens. A number of men, it seemed to me, were falling about the passage in a maudlin state of drunkenness, playing ribald jokes. I listened with patience for a considerable time, when the door of my bedroom was burst open, and a man whom I can identify (for he carried a candle unsteadily in his hand) staggered in, plainly under the influence of drink, hiccuping, 'Hallo, old fellow, all alone?' My answer was of a character that induced him to bolt out of the room in as disordered a manner as he had entered. Having rung the bell, I ascertained that these disorderly persons were jurors in the case of the Queen v. Hynes, and that the servants of the hotel had been endeavouring in vain to bring them to a sense of their misconduct. I thought it right to convey to them a warning that the public would hear of their proceedings. The disturbance then ceased. It is fair to add that no more than three or four men appeared to be engaged in the roaring and in the tipsy horse-play that followed. I leave the public to judge the loathsomeness of such a scene upon the night when these men held the issues of life and death for a young man in the flower of youth—when they had already heard evidence which, if unrebutted, they must have known would send him to a felon's grave. The facts I am ready to support upon oath.
§ "WILLIAM O'BRIEN."
Now, these 12 men, of whom that letter was written, went into Court next day and found a verdict of "Guilty" against the unfortunate man Hynes. The Solicitor General had to admit that before they had time to have any effect the publication of The Freeman's Journal article and the publication of the letter of Mr. William O'Brien took place, and, according to all I have heard of the Constitutional theory of contempt of Court, the time had passed when this letter should be treated as a matter of contempt at all,
as the issue of the trial could not be affected by the publication of that communication. It could not be pretended, even by the most ingenious person, that the issue of the trial could be altered by that letter, because the jury had already done their duty; and yet its publication was treated as a contempt of Court, for which Mr. Gray is now lying in prison. What was Mr. Gray's duty as a public journalist? The Solicitor General says—
Presuming that Mr. Gray knew the letter to be genuine, that he received it in his office as a genuine communication, what was his duty? As a public journalist he ought not to have published such a communication at all. Comments in newspapers on the conduct of jurors was a matter which could not for a moment be permitted.
["Hear, hear!"] An hon. Gentleman says "Hear, hear!" Does the hon. Gentleman mean to say that jurors can get dead drunk and be guilty of riotous misconduct in the hotel when a man's life or death is in their hands, for all this misconduct on their part occurred the night before they delivered their verdict, which is to take away the life of a fellow-creature? Does the hon. Member mean that all this may occur without the facts being brought to the knowledge of anyone? But what does the Solicitor General say? He said—
This was for the Court alone, and if the jurors misconducted themselves, it was for the Court to reprove them.
Mr. William O'Brien, however, had no locus standi before the Court. The conduct of the jurors was not a matter within the purview of the trial of the Queen v. Hynes. If Mr. William O'Brien had offered evidence of what occurred in the dead of night at the hotel, he would probably have been told that it was not a question relevant to the trial. He took the readiest and surest means of bringing public opinion to bear upon the matter when he wrote that letter. The Solicitor General says—
When a case had concluded, there might be some ground of explanation; but when other cases remained to be tried, there was nothing short of scandalous audacity in such a letter, and the person who published it should be held responsible.
And then he went on to make this extraordinary declaration, that—
If there was any misconduct on the part of the jurors, Mr. Gray was the person who was
responsible for it. It was his duty as High Sheriff to have, as was in his power, prevented the publication of such a letter.
In other words, because Mr. Gray held a certain, office he was to alter the principles by which he guided the conduct of the newspaper with which he was intrusted. Anyone with a knowledge of newspapers must admit the absurdity of such an explanation. As High Sheriff, Mr. Gray could have no knowledge of the proceedings of the jurors in the hotel, because the Sub-sheriff was the official immediately responsible. Nothing can more clearly show the animus of the Solicitor General and the animus of the Court which he addressed than the declaration that Mr. Gray, who could have no knowledge of the proceedings of the jurors in the dead of the night, was, notwithstanding, held responsible. Let me now call attention to the article in The Freeman's Journal commenting upon the letter of Mr. O'Brien. These are the words—
On Saturday, Francis Hynes was found guilty of the murder of John Doloughty. The circumstances of the case were in every sense most lamentable. We cannot think that the evidence will so far satisfy the public conscience as to induce it to regard the execution of the capital sentence on Hynes with equanimity. True, the dying man, when questioned as to the murderer, repeated more than once the words 'Francy,' or 'Francy Hynes.' But then the fear of Hynes was long fixed in his mind, and his wounds were of such a character as to be calculated to unsettle his mind. The mere repetition of a dreaded name is, under such circumstances, very different from a detailed story of how the crime was committed. Nothing of this kind was given; and, on the whole, without desiring in any way to screen the guilty, we say that it would be safer for the Executive not to rush too hastily to the application of the blood penalty in a case in which there certainly is an element of doubt, and we say that the ends of justice would be better served if sentence were commuted.
Now, I ask the House if it was not open to a public journalist to make, in moderate, discreet, and respectful language, a suggestion with respect to the fact of a prisoner to the Executive in whose hands the Constitutional power is placed to uphold or reverse the decision of a jury? Nothing could be more Constitutional—indeed, it is the ordinary practice adopted in England; and it is within the most ordinary experience of every Englishman that after a capital sentence has been passed a moderate and respectful recommendation of this kind should
be made. This, I say, has been repeatedly done, and, almost as a matter of course, such a recommendation has led to a respite by the Crown. The case of Hynes was one of shooting on the public road. The man was shot in the face and eyes; he became blind, and a portion of the shot entered the brain, which, according to the evidence given, must have had an immediate effect on the condition of the man's faculties. When a priest came to him on the road a short time afterwards, the man could hardly speak distinctly when he tried to follow the words of the Act of Contrition used in the Catholic Church; and, after that, his power of speech failing, and the man falling into a state of unconsciousness, physically and mentally, the priest did not administer to him the last Sacrament of the Catholic Church. The Resident Magistrate came and put questions to the dying man, and it is upon answers given by a person in the condition described by the priest that the evidence rests by which Hynes was convicted. It must also be borne in mind that between the man that was shot and Hynes ill-feeling had existed, and that at the instance of Hynes the former had been on one occasion bound over to keep the peace. It is, therefore, not unreasonable to suppose that the feeling of dislike might still have lingered in the dying man's mind, so as to give a certain colour to his statements. This is an element in the case which any lawyer would not exclude from the consideration of the case, especially where the life of a man depends upon those statements. With regard to the letter of Mr. O'Brien, The Freeman's Journal says—
But what shall we say of the fearful tale given by Mr. William O'Brien with reference to the conduct of the jury on the night before they found a verdict which was to bring Hynes to a dishonoured grave. It is fearful; it is horrible; it makes one shudder. In what state of mind could these men have been a few hours after the proceedings described. They were called upon to decide whether a fellow-creature was to live or die. Can the Exeeutive refuse to take cognizance of Mr. O'Brien's proffered evidence? Can they refuse to act upon it if proved to he true? Knowing Mr. O'Brien as we do, we place the most absolute confidence in every word he says. But let the Executive test his veracity. If it remains unimpeached, then we say that his declarations are such as to make us blush for our common humanity. We have heard of men hanging that jurymen might dine; but what of a man hanging because jurymen have dined—not wisely, but too well.
One would have imagined that the Solicitor General and the learned Judge would be anxious to seize the slightest opportunity to invite, or to compel if necessary, the evidence of Mr. O'Brien in regard to his public statement of the shameful and shocking scenes of which he was a witness at the hotel. No, Sir; the Crown entirely shirked this evidence. The Crown stood upon the verdict of the jury, and the Solicitor General contented himself with saying that he did not admit that there was a word of truth in the letter, and that it was a matter which could not be inquired into. Consider how extraordinary is the stand taken by the Crown; although the life of a human being hung on the issue whether it was true or not, the Crown and the Court were not to inquire into it. Yet the charge made by Mr. Gray was that such conduct on the part of jurors vitiated the verdict; that men who overnight conducted themselves so riotously and indecently could not be trusted the next morning to give a verdict of life or death against a fellow-creature. Mr. Justice Lawson complimented the jury, and entirely rejected the idea that the gentlemen composing the jury could be capable of the atrocious conduct attributed to them. Therefore, the learned Judge admitted that the conduct, if it took place, was atrocious. But although he could readily have inquired into its truth, he merely said that he believed the statement to be entirely untrue. What would the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary have said if in England in any case of this kind the conduct of the jury was impugned, and the Judge refused to hear evidence? I have received from Ireland several affidavits bearing upon the statement contained in Mr. O'Brien's letter, and these I will, with the permission of the House, now read. This is the first—
I, Alfred Martin, twenty-one years of age and upwards, billiard marker at the Imperial Hotel, Sackville Street, Dublin, make oath and say that on Friday night, the 11th inst., I saw six men whom I knew to be members of the jury in the case of the Queen v. Hynes in the public billiard-room. I do not know where the rest of the jury were at the time, but they were not in the billiard-room. There were four persons in the billiard-room at the time who were not members of the jury. They were Mr. Bushe, Major Wynne, Dr. Cusack, and another stranger, a friend of Mr. Reis. I saw the jurors mixing with other persons, who were not members of the jury. Mr. Reis handicapped a game
of billiards in which persons not jurors were playing. Mr. Reis was intoxicated. I came to that conclusion from his conduct. He was keeping ringing the bell, and when the waiter came he said he did not want him, and that he never rung. He was making a noise and jumping about. Mr. Campbell, the sub-sheriff's son, seeing him smoking cigars, told him he was rather extravagant in cigars. He said that he would smoke as much as he was in the habit of smoking at home. I saw jurors call for several drinks, and Major Wynne joined them in the drink. Mr. Reis remained an hour and a-half in the billiard-room. The jurors went upstairs at about a quarter to twelve. I am perfectly convinced that Mr. Reis was under the influence of drink. ALFRED R. MARTIN.
Sworn before me this 17th day of August, 1882, at the Imperial Hotel, Lower Sackville Street, in the county of the city of Dublin, a Commissioner for taking Affidavits in the Supreme Court of Judicature in Ireland; and I know the deponent.—JOHN STONE, Commissioner.
I, Elizabeth Josephine Carberry, 21 years of age and upwards, make oath and say—I lodge at the Imperial Hotel. My bedroom is No. 24, which opens on the upper corridor. No. 17, which, I am informed, is Mr. O'Brien's room, is on the same corridor. I have read Mr. O'Brien's letter in The Freeman's Journal of Monday last containing an account of the occurrences on the corridor outside my room on Friday night last. I consider the letter gives a very moderate account of the noise and misconduct going on on the corridor on that night. Several persons were taking part in the disturbance. They came to my door several times and turned the handle. They kicked at the door again and again. I thought they would smash the fanlight over the door by knocking at it with their knuckles. Only that my door was locked I believe that they would have forced it in. From their boisterous conduct I believe that they must have been under the influence of drink. When I read Mr. O'Brien's letter I thought he described their conduct very mildly. The disturbance continued from about 12 to 12.30 o'clock. E. J. CARBERRY.
Sworn before me this 17th day of August, 1882, at the Imperial Hotel, Lower Sackville Street, in the county of the city of Dublin, a Commissioner for taking Affidavits in the Supreme Court of Judicature in Ireland, and I know the deponent.
JOHN STONE, Commissioner.
I, William O'Brien, 21 years and upwards, make oath and say—I am the writer of the letter which appeared in The Freeman of 14th August, as to the disturbance on the upper corridor of the Imperial Hotel on Friday night, when the jury in Hynes' case were staying at the hotel. I am informed by the proprietor of the hotel, and believe that the upper corridor was cleared that night for the accommodation of the jurors, and the only persons not jurors who were left to occupy rooms on that corridor that night were Miss Carberry and myself, who are permanent lodgers in the hotel. I swear that my letter gives a true representation of what occurred shortly after midnight on the corridor.
The disturbance lasted for a considerable time before my door was burst open. The man who entered my room was under the influence of drink. He was a low-sized, dark-complexioned, black-haired man, and wore glasses. After he left the room I rang, and complained to the night porter of the intolerable misconduct that was going on. The noise shortly after ceased on the corridor, and on looking at my watch I found it was twenty-five minutes to one o'clock. I had no opportunity of seeing anybody except the man who entered my room, and whom I can identify, but at least three persons must have been engaged in the shouting, rushing, and scnffing upon the corridor.
Sworn before me this 17th day of August, 1882, at St. Andrew Street, in the county of the city of Dublin, and I know deponent.—WILLIAM J. RYAN, a Commissioner to administer Oaths in the Supreme Court of Judicature in Ireland.
I, Richard O'Connor, assistant porter in the Imperial Hotel, Sackville Street, Dublin, make oath and say that shortly before twelve o'clock at night on Friday, the 11th instant, I saw Mr. Reis, and the other jurors in the case of the Queen v. Hynes, coming upstairs from the billiard-room. In passing me Mr. Reis raised his hand as if to strike me, and as a rough sort of joke. He just looked in at the door of the coffee room, and went upstairs. He was under the influence of drink. I know Mr. Reis for three years past. When going up to his bedroom I heard Reis ask where did the women sleep. The night porter said it was three stories higher up, Reis said, 'Let us go up to them.'
Sworn before me this 17th day of August, 1882, at the Imperial Hotel, Lower Sackville Street, in the county of the city of Dublin, a Commissioner for taking Affidavits in the Supreme Court of Judicature in Ireland, and I know the deponent.
JOHN STONE, Commissioner.
§ I must now ask the Government whether they agreed with the Solicitor General and Judge Lawson that this matter was one which should not be inquired into? Would they accept the dictum of Mr. Justice Lawson that the statement of misconduct on the part of the jurors must have been a pure invention? Here we have the sworn affidavits of the whole of the staff of the hotel, of Mr. O'Brien, and of the lady who resided there, who were observers of the whole conduct of the jurymen while at the hotel. In this matter we have an infinitely better case than that brought against Hynes; and I have to ask whether Mr. Gray did not discharge a sacred and public duty in taking the earliest opportunity of laying before that great tribunal, which is superior to Judges and rulers, this very important matter? In this matter it is not 2000 only the position of Mr. Gray that is involved, but also the life of a human being, and I call upon the Government to grant us such an inquiry into the charges against the jury as shall be satisfactory. If such a case were to occur in England, the Home Secretary would not hesitate for one moment to order that the most drastic and the most searching inquiry should at once be instituted into the conduct of the jurors; and the same course ought to be pursued in this case. The main point to be considered is that raised by the letter of Mr. O'Brien, and the question is whether the verdict found by the jurors who, previous to its delivery, were in the condition that has been described, will be allowed to be upheld, and the capital sentence of the law carried out. That is the question which Mr. Gray desired to raise, and it had been the Constitutional practice and the habit of Pressmen in this country to adopt such a course. We all are aware of the comments made in The Daily Telegraph respecting the Lamson case, but no one ever suggested that The Daily Telegraph should be prosecuted for those comments. The Government have now in their hands such extreme powers that they ought to be careful not to expose themselves to any imputation that the administration of the law was carried out in a harsh and oppressive manner. We call upon the Government to give us at once such a reply as they can make in this matter. As I have stated, I claim on the part of Mr. Gray that he has done nothing but what he was entitled to do, and what I contend it was his duty to do. In regard to the packing of the jurors, I ask the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland to say upon what ground he ordered 26 jurors to stand aside in the case of Hynes. It is a matter of exceeding gravity that a Member of this House and the Representative of the Queen herself in Dublin should be imprisoned because he has endeavoured to save the life of a fellow-being by publishing to the world the disgraceful conduct of the tribunal by which he had been convicted, and because he has asked that the law should be administered with decency. The long and short of the story is that the Crown enters the Court to convict by any and every means, and if they asked jurors to stand aside it was because 2001 Catholics might be considered to have more sympathy with an agrarian movement out of which a case might have arisen, and in order that Protestants who were in sympathy with the landlords might try the case. I say that the most dangerous and the most perilous and shocking and disgraceful interference with the law has taken place by the Law Officers of the Crown excluding from serving on juries one of the great classes of the country, because of their religious opinions. If such cases as these are allowed to take place, and the rights of citizens are not duly considered by the Crown, I appeal to any man of common sense to say how far the operation of the Land Act will benefit the country. In the face of such actions as these to which we now seriously object no Land Act, however good it may be, will operate to produce that tranquillity and return of order which is aimed at so long as the Government and the authorities outrage public feeling. So long as the life of the accused subject is at the mercy of personal feeling and party chicanery it will be impossible for any measures of reform, no matter how large and wise, to produce in the general mind that feeling which we all desire should exist. I solemnly implore the Government to take into their consideration both the circumstances under which this unfortunate youth has been condemned to death, and the circumstances and the honest desire for the due administration of justice which have induced Mr. Gray to use the influence of his journal in the manner he has. I ask the Attorney General for Ireland, if it be within his power, not to postpone the consideration of the sentence until October, but to consider the case fully, and not to permit this scandal to work evil and demoralizing effects upon the public mind in Ireland.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. W. M. JOHNSON)
Notwithstanding the charge made against me of showing partizan feeling and being guilty of legal chicanery—[Mr. BIGGAR: Hear, hear!]—I shall not be diverted from the plain and short statement of the facts which I rise to make to the House. The hon. Member has said the articles in The Freeman's Journal were written with the object of bringing before the Executive circumstances deserving of consideration in determining the 2002 question whether the capital sentence on the man Hynes should be carried out or not. The circumstances which the Lord Lieutenant ought to consider are wholly unconnected with the matter which he introduced to the House. With reference to the affidavits, they are matters which are now stated in the House for the first time. As I understand they were sworn yesterday, and the hon. Member has got their contents by telegraph. I would ask the House to observe that Mr. Gray was the High Sheriff of the City of Dublin when this trial took place. It was in his custody these jurors were. He was bound, in a case of life and death, to intrust to no subordinate the care of the jury. He ought to have conducted them from the Court, to have taken care that no one communicated with them, to have kept them separate, and to have seen that they were only supplied with proper refreshments. It was his duty to conduct them from the place where the bailiffs were sworn to the hotel, which it was his duty to select, and to see that they were accommodated in a portion of it so constructed that they could not communicate with the outer world. How had Mr. Gray discharged those duties? Mr. Gray complained that all was not done which might have been done; but surely it was not for him to make such a complaint. It is plain that all that Mr. Gray ought to have done as High Sheriff he did not do. I cannot imagine anything more terrible, if it be true, than the statement of what occurred in the hotel. ["Hear, hear!" from Home Rule Members.] I beg the House to bear with me, and to believe me when I state that I would not for a moment say that with the view of provoking a Party cheer, for throughout this matter I shall endeavour to do my duty honourably, and I only ask time to lay the facts before the House—not with the view on my own part or that of my hon. Colleague of preventing any investigation of the matter. The facts mentioned by the hon. Member ought to be inquired into, for I say, again, that I can imagine nothing more terrible, if the facts as stated are true. The Lord Lieutenant will consider this statement, now that it has been made by a Member of Parliament in his place. He will carefully investigate it, not with reference to the trial at all, but with reference to the carrying out of the 2003 capital sentence. As to the charge of jury packing, the hon. Member was not in the House when on Tuesday night it was made by the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Callan). I gave it then, as I give it now, the most complete and absolute denial. There is not a particle of foundation for it. I carefully abstained from inquiring into the religion or politics of any single member of the jury panel. I gave instructions to the Crown Solicitor, himself a Catholic, to take care that an impartial jury was chosen to try the Whiteboy case. I did not repeat the direction in the murder case, as it would be taken as a standing direction. The Crown Solicitor was to take care that there was an impartial jury, and, if necessary, to exercise the Crown's right to order a juror to stand by. I do not know, nor have I heard, anything as to the religion or politics of the jurors. ["Oh, oh!"] "Well, I am quite prepared for the hon. Member's (Mr. Callan's) interruption; but I do not believe there is another Member in the House who would so interrupt me. The hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) has now informed me what I did not know before—namely, that some of those ordered to stand aside were Protestants, but Liberals. [Mr. SEXTON: One or two only.] Just so; I do not know a single circumstance about the politics or religion of the jurors more than I am told. But at first we heard that the whole of those ordered to stand aside were Catholics, and now that some were Protestants. The only case in which I intervened was in the case of a Roman Catholic gentleman who asked to be excused on the ground that he had conscientious scruples against sitting on a case which might be followed by capital punishment. Then there were some gentlemen who instructed counsel to appear in Court and make technical objections to their being on the panel. I said that rather than waste public time by arguing the point, I would dispose of the matter by asking them to stand aside when their names were called. There were four or five of these. There were some cases in which someone called out, "These are gentlemen of the Press," and I ordered them to stand by. These were the only cases in which I intervened. In the White-boy case there could be no doubt of the guilt of the prisoners. They had never been lost sight of from the time of com- 2004 mitting the offence. The jury disagreed in Kerry, and I moved the venue to Dublin. What are the facts of this Whiteboy case as they appeared in Court? There was a widow lady who lived near Tralee. She was the widow of a certain major in the Army, and had with her in the house a sister-in-law, a serving maid, and two daughters. The serving maid was away at the time. At about half-past 8 o'clock in the evening four men came to the house and carried off two swords and a gun. It was only arms they wanted, and when the lady discovered this she appeared to have entertained no further fears of personal violence. These men then proceeded to the house of a farmer in the neighbourhood to take his gun. The man was in a state of drunkenness at the time, and was unable to defend himself in consequence, and his daughter was so frightened that she immediately handed over the gun, although her father, who was almost drunk, tried to prevent her. They also carried off some ammunition. It was arms alone they wanted. The police patrol, of whose courage and skill it is impossible to speak too highly, came down the road at the time. They were five in number, and three went on one side of the ditch, and two on the other. They allowed the marauders to pass them, and followed them up the road to see where they were going. They saw them go into a house, and when the police entered they found the four men there. They not only identified them, but also the sword and the guns which they had stolen. The men were arrested by the constables on the spot, and there could be no doubt whatever of the evidence of identification before an impartial jury. In the pocket of the leader were found the papers. One was a summons to attend a meeting—obviously a Fenian meeting—convened in Tralee. It was addressed to him, and contained a caution that the person receiving that summons should produce it as his credential of being a proper person to attend it. The meeting was convened for half-past 2 o'clock on the day as it appeared upon this summons, and I take it for granted that he and his comrades did attend that meeting. Probably they were not able to return home, as they lived seven miles off, but started on the road with these documents in their leader's pocket. The 2005 second contained general orders of a military character issued to the Irish Republican Brotherhood. These military orders stated the way in which this secret organization should act, and the way in which arms should be forwarded under the title of "Goods." That was accompanied by a printed political manifesto, and I am sorry that the papers are not on the Table of the House, that the House might judge of their tendency. These men were arrested on a charge of endeavouring to carry out a treasonable conspiracy, and were never out of the hands of the police from the time of their arrest until they came before the jury. I appeal to the House whether it is not a case upon which a fair and impartial jury could not do otherwise than convict. Now I come to the case of Doloughty. I would not trouble the House with all the details but for the speeches of hon. Members for Ireland. Of course, if I do not answer, it would be taken as an admission on my part of those statements. In this case a person of the name of Francis Hynes was indicted for the murder of a man named Doloughty. It appeared that Doloughty had not an enemy in the world. His sole offence was this. He was herd to the Hynes family, but for some reason or other transferred his allegiance in that capacity to another farmer in the neighbourhood. From that time he was subjected to repeated nocturnal visits. When they found it was impossible to intimidate him they endeavoured to seduce his allegiance by coaxing. They failed equally in this. I should state that the three Hynes, the man indicted for murder, and his two brothers, were brought before the magistrate a year and a-half before this for the purpose of being bound over to keep the peace towards this unfortunate man. His employer armed him with a revolver, which the police were obliged to show him how to use for his own protection. This man who was subsequently charged with murder was bound over to keep the peace for 12 months upon sureties. In this state or things, upon this Sunday morning poor Doloughty and his wife came into Mass at the Roman Catholic Chapel at Ennis, and left after the benediction—the last benediction before the murder was committed. On leaving Mass he walked on in advance of his wife; but, shortly afterwards, the wife 2006 was found sitting on the roadside with the bleeding head of her dying husband in her lap. After the murder had been committed some relief was got from the residence of the priest, and the wife was heard to exclaim—"Will no one go for the police?" The dying man mentioned the name of Hynes in such a way as to suggest that he was denouncing his murderer. Before he died he received the consolations of his religion from the priest, who, by inadvertence, was not called. Reflecting on the case overnight, I felt that this was an omission; and in the morning the jury, who were alleged to have been guilty during the night of what could not be described by the word misconduct, spontaneously expressed a desire to hear what the priest could tell them, although the case was concluded, with the exception of the reply and the summing up. The evidence of the priest was this. Those who are well acquainted with the Catholic Service well know that the Act of Contrition is very long, and is very difficult to go through.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. W. M. JOHNSON)
It takes some time.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. W. M. JOHNSON)
Well, it takes some considerable time.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENREAL FOR IERLAND (Mr. W. M. JOHNSON)
At any rate, the man's articulation was imperfect. He had received the gun charge of shot in the face, and it must have been delivered so close that it was very little spread. A great deal of shot was scattered all over the face and into his cheek-bones; some had gone through the balls of his eyes, and lodged in the skull, and one had lodged in the brain. The medical evidence distinctly showed that none could possibly say whether death was attended with previous insanity.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. W. M. JOHNSON)
"No one could say that it was, and no one could say that it was not" were the words used by the medical man. The priest stated that articulation was continued by the dying man until just before he died the following night, at about 2007 10 o'clock. He followed the priest in the Act of Contrition until his articulation could be no longer heard. No doubt, paralysis of the nerves and muscles accounted for the defective articulation, and rendered the power of speech almost impossible even with the aid of stimulants. During the time the priest was there he administered, from time to time, some whiskey and water from his own house, and this greatly revived him. Not to go through the whole of the evidence, what was proved was this. When the Resident Magistrate arrived he knelt down by the dying man, and heard from him his charge by name against the man who was arrested for the murder, a man whom he had known nearly all his life, a man about whom, therefore, if he were in possession of his senses, there could be no doubt, a man whom he must have seen, because the gun charge must have been delivered at a very short distance directly in front of him. This was corroborated by the Sub-Inspector, it was corroborated by the county magistrate, it was corroborated by the head constable, it was corroborated by the wife and by the son, who both heard the husband and the father repeat the very same statement in reference to this person. It was also corroborated by the fact that the person thus accused, when arrested, had in his pocket shot of the description that had been used, and some powder also for the purpose of the charge. The explanation he gave of the possession of this ammunition was that, two years before, his brother had put it into his pocket. The prisoner set up the usual defence—an alibi. That was disbelieved by the jury, and I do not think it was credited by anyone. It was proved that, in order that a person who had committed a murder at this time and spot might not be found until the lapse of the interval had taken place between the commission of the crime and the arrest of Hynes, he would have had to go across some marshy land. The alibi defence, that he was at the time of the murder loafing about a public-house, was disproved by the fact of his stockings and shoes being damp when he was arrested. Such was in outline the case on which the jury convicted the prisoner. Undeniable facts were before them, and they formed their opinion upon the evidence. I prosecuted in the case on be- 2008 half of the Crown. I was there the whole of the first day, and when the evidence was concluded the counsel for the prisoner asked that he might delay his reply till next morning. The Judge said—"What do you say, Mr. Attorney?" I said—"My Lord, I consider it a most reasonable request." And the reply was postponed to next morning accordingly. Having other public business, I did not go to the Court until after the trial had recommenced, and then I was informed of what had taken place with regard to the calling the clergyman. It is obvious that the jury must have been considering with some deliberation the grave issues before them. I have only again to state to the House—and I believe the House will admit my statement—that I did not know the religion or politics of a single person on the panel, that I gave no directions whatever, nor would I for a moment have tolerated the exclusion of a person for his religion, and that I did not, until I heard it here, know what were the politics or religion of a single person who was ordered to stand aside. There is only one other technical matter. The Crown, in point of fact, does not challenge a jury at all. The whole panel in this case consisted of 200 names—100 of the county and 100 of the city. These names are called, and those who do not answer become subject to a fine of £20 each. About 150 or 160 answered, and the names of these were put on cards in a ballot-box. The cards which corresponded in number with the number of the jurymen on the panel were then drawn, and thus, by looking at a number, persons in court could at once see who was the juror drawn.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I have observed that the hon. Member for Louth has repeatedly interrupted the discussion. If he continues to do so, I shall feel it my duty to take notice of the matter.
§ MR. CALLAN
I only wished to correct the Attorney General for Ireland to the effect that when the names of the jurors are called they are put down, and until the whole panel answer that there is no objection made.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. W. M. JOHNSON)
The hon. Member is entirely mistaken. [Mr. CALLAN: I am not.] I ought to know 2009 what happened. I am speaking of what took place before my own eyes. I did not interfere to say that a certain number of jurors were sufficient. I allowed the Clerk to the Crown to take the names of those who had answered without any interference, and it was only when the Judge asked if the prisoner's counsel and I did not consider there were sufficient, that the jury was completed. I think 70 was the number from which the jurors were taken. The hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) was not right when he said 49.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. W. M. JOHNSON)
I beg pardon; I did not understand. We had then to obtain from the list of names in the ballot-box a jury, and as the names were drawn they were challenged by the prisoner's counsel, and the fact that he did not exhaust his right to challenge is pretty conclusive evidence that he was not dissatisfied with the nature of the jury, nor was there any suggestion of any attempt to pack the jury until it was made in the newspapers. The Crown has no right to challenge; but the prisoner's counsel can challenge 20 names without showing any cause whatever, and if his challenges are exhausted he can appeal to the Crown to show reason why men are ordered to stand aside. What the Crown can do is, that when they consider a person ought not to serve on the jury—no reason is assigned in the first instance—but the Crown Solicitor says—"You cannot leave the Court, but you will not be sworn at present." Then, if the jury is not made up with that number, they go round again, and the Crown have to prove the cause and assert the reason why certain persons should not serve on the jury. These reasons are then tried and decided upon by two triers in Court. Of course, for practical purposes, that almost always amounts to an exclusion of the jurors who are ordered to stand aside, because all that is necessary is to make up the jury to 12; but in this case the prisoner's counsel did not think it necessary to push it to that extent, because he did not by any means exhaust his right to challenge; he availed himself of only 11 peremptory challenges out of a possible 20. I have only to add that I did not know, nor did I inquire into, whether 2010 the jurors happened to be Protestants or Catholics. I took it for granted that the challenges which were made on behalf of the Crown were for good cause, and I did not interfere with them. The instructions I gave were simply that an impartial jury should be empanelled, and if I had thought it could have been suggested that religion or politics could have anything to do with it I should have stated there was nothing of the sort. With regard to Mr. Morphy, he is a competent, fearless, and perfectly fair official, and relying on those qualities I gave him my directions, which were simply to empanel an impartial jury.
§ MR. PLUNKET
Sir, I do not intend at this period of the Session to enter at any great length into this discussion; but I would not be doing justice to myself or to my constituents if I did not say that I can give no countenance to the attacks which have been made upon the Judge, Jury, Crown Solicitor, and the other Law Officers in the dangerous and difficult circumstances in which they were placed with regard to the administration of justice in Ireland. It is impossible that this discussion can lead to any good result. The Motion of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) that the communication made to the Speaker should lie on the Table is not, so far as I can know, challenged. The hon. Member for Sligo, who followed the Prime Minister, did not conclude his speech with any Motion; therefore, we have no other, issue before us. I do not intend to follow my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland in his defence of the conduct of himself or of the Crown Solicitor for the counties of Kerry and Cork. I entirely concur in all that he has said in defence of himself and his colleagues. I can also bear testimony to the high and blameless character and ability of Mr. Morphy. But as regards the attacks made on Judge Lawson, I should like to add a word or two. No doubt, it is a very strong step to take; it is a very important circumstance when a Judge presiding in one of Her Majesty's Courts thinks it necessary to impose a serious penalty upon an individual holding the position enjoyed by the hon. Member for Carlow as High Sheriff of the City of Dublin; but the very nature of that position required that the Judge should be more fearless in deal- 2011 ing with Mr. Gray, if he were an offender, and that the punishment, if inflicted at all, should be of a character adequate to the gravity of the offence committed. So far as I know, there has been no criticism by the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) against the kind or amount of sentence imposed by Judge Lawson on Mr. Gray, the contention of the hon. Member being that there should have been no sentence at all. The hon. Member for Sligo divided his attack on that eminent Judge into three heads. He said, in the first place, that the Judge of his own accord set in motion the Law Officers of the Crown to begin proceedings which they would otherwise not have instituted. He also asserted that the Judge prevented Mr. Gray from stating his case; and, thirdly, that the Judge would not allow Mr. Gray to be heard by counsel in his defence. As to the charge that it was the Judge who first put this matter in motion, no one would imagine that a Judge would allow such facts to go unpunished when his attention had been called to them if justice was to be administered in Ireland. The charges made by Mr. O'Brien against the jury were scandalous and intolerable; but the Judge's attention was called to them in open Court by the foreman of the jury—a man of the highest respectability—who denied everything in the statement of Mr. O'Brien, and gave reasons that showed it was impossible that his allegations should be correct without their coming to his knowledge. The Judge had no alternative, and when the foreman had made his complaint, it was then that the Solicitor General stated that as the matter had been mentioned, he would do what he had otherwise intended to do later in the day—namely, state to his Lordship that it was his intention, as the representative of the Crown, to call the attention of the Court to the matter in a more formal manner, and to the articles which had appeared in The Freeman's Journal. The Solicitor General added that he hoped it might not be inconvenient to the Court to entertain the matter on the Wednesday following. He stated that he believed that the publication of such articles were calculated to interfere, in a most serious degree, with the administration of justice in Ireland. There was, therefore, nothing to defend, nothing to 2012 apologize for, in the action of Judge Lawson in this respect. I confidently say, when an attempt is made to separate the action of Judge Lawson from that of the others, and to fix upon him that he was the first to start, what otherwise would not have been started, that there is nothing to justify it. It was the plain duty of the Law Officers of the Crown, in the discharge of their office, to notice the attack made upon the jury, and theirs it was to take the initiative. As to the other charges, I will read only a single passage from the report of the proceedings. It was said that the Judge interrupted Mr. Gray, gave him no lair hearing, and refused him time to have his case prepared. But so far back as last Monday, two days before the matter was brought forward, Mr. Gray was fully informed in Court of what was intended, and he had it published in his paper. Notice of the motion made by the Solicitor General on Wednesday was served on Mr. Gray the evening before. Mr. Gray stated his case, and, instead of apologizing for what he had done and retracting, stuck to the charge. What did the Solicitor General say? He said—If Mr. Gray had made his application for an adjournment in the first instance he would have been inclined not to oppose it, but now the Crown could not consent to it.That was after Mr. Gray had made a very full statement. Now, I am not going to say anything about the trial of Hynes. That is over, and we cannot try it here again. The Attorney General for Ireland has given reasons, which I think ought to satisfy any reasonable man, that the verdict was in accordance with the evidence. Nor shall I say one word in defence of the jury, notwithstanding the curious documents read by the hon. Member for Sligo. I am content for the present to rest the case of the jury upon this—that the whole story was emphatically denied by the foreman, who challenged investigation. The Solicitor General, and those who acted with him, did not believe there was any charge against the jury, and the Judge himself not only said these charges were utterly unworthy of belief, but that he had the highest and best reasons for knowing that throughout the case they conducted themselves with the greatest propriety and attention. As to Justice Lawson himself, I deem it a high honour 2013 to stand here to-day and say that he is an old and well-known personal friend of my own, and he is one of the ablest, most learned, and most fearless Judges on the Bench. It has been that learned Judge's lot, again and again, in the course of his life, to confront lawlessness—I may say insurrection—in Ireland, and he has dealt with it in a manner that has made his name honoured by every fair and loyal man in the country. It is not to be supposed that in the course he has thought it his duty to pursue he has not incurred the ill-will of others; but, conscious of right and fearless of reproach, he views that ill-will with indifference. The hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) concluded his speech by an eloquent appeal to the Prime Minister that he should not allow these things to happen to in-interrupt the policy which he has carried out in Ireland, and lead it to failure; and that policy he also took occasion to praise. It has been my misfortune again and again to condemn that policy. As time goes on I see no reason to retract; but, on the contrary, I do more deeply and more bitterly condemn much of the vacillation and much of the weakness of that policy. I shall again, I hope, have an opportunity of expressing my opinion further on these subjects; but, whether the policy be good or bad, if any benefit is to come from all the time which has been spent by Parliament on Irish questions, it is impossible to allow Judges and juries to be attacked in the Press and denounced for endeavouring, in the face of great danger, to do that which is necessary and right for the welfare and safety of the country. If you are to give fair play to that new policy, which now, with new-found zeal, you are ready to praise on this particular occasion, take care that the course of that policy is not interrupted by such attacks upon the procedure of justice as would be impossible in any other free country in the world. The issue before us is a very small one. It was thus described by Judge Lawson himself—I see perfectly well the design of these articles. It is to endeavour to destroy in the public mind the moral effect of these convictions, and to interfere with the trial of prisoners yet to be tried, and to prevent jurors from bringing to the discharge of their duties that free and unfettered judgment, that judgment free from alarm and trepidation, which every man ought to have when he comes to discharge his duty.2014 The simple issue, then, to be decided is whether the action of juries in the future is or is not to be free and serviceable to their country. That being so, however much I may differ from the Government on their past policy, I cannot (hesitate for a moment to support them on this occasion, when they are again threatened with disorder and lawlessness.
§ MR. MACFARLANE
The hon. Member for Sligo has plainly exhausted the facts of this case, and there is, therefore, no necessity for me to refer to them again. He has established a case which the Government admits is one worthy of inquiry. That is a substantial gain. All I desire to do on the present occasion is to say a word on behalf of my Friend and Colleague who suffered yesterday, at the hands of Mr. Justice Lawson, what I believe to be a gross injustice. I believe that Mr. Gray did no more than the duty of a humane, public-spirited man when he called attention to the cases that had been tried before this Judge. The right hon. and learned Member who has just sat down spoke very warmly of his friend, the Judge, and I have no objection to that; but I am aware there is a widespread feeling in Ireland that there is no public confidence in the administration of justice when presided over by such men as Mr. Justice Lawson. [Cries of "Order!"] I am not in the habit of using strong language in this House, and sometimes, when I have heard hon. Colleagues behind me condemn the Judges, I have thought they were going beyond what was necessary; but I think the action of Mr. Justice Lawson yesterday to a very large extent justifies the language of hon. Members, because this is not a case of a sentence of a Judge against an outrage on justice, but it is the malevolent sentence of private malignity. ["Order, order!"] I say that deliberately, and for this reason, that I know The Freeman's Journal, the property of my hon. Colleague, has been the means of exposing and holding up—I do not say rightly or wrongly—to public condemnation the conduct of Mr. Justice Lawson upon the Bench. It is not a pleasure to me—in fact, it is a pain—to discuss the character of any of the Judges upon the Bench; but I am bound to say of this case, that of all the devious paths that have led to the Irish Bench, that followed by Mr. Justice Lawson was the most devious, 2015 ["Order, order!"] I happen to know the way by which he obtained his seat on the Bench, and I say, without fear of contradiction, that a more gross and shocking case of wholesale corruption than was practised by that Judge in a Southern borough never was known.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member, when he speaks of the Judges of the land, must use temperate and moderate language. If he has any censure to pass upon a Judge, the Law and the Constitution point out the course to be followed. If he does not adopt that course, he is bound to speak of the learned Judge in temperate language.
§ MR. MACFARLANE
I would be sorry to hold any intemperate or improper language; but in criticizing the career of this Judge I have thought it right to state what I know as respectfully as the circumstances will admit. Passing, however, to another matter, I would make an appeal to the Prime Minister. I understand him to express regret that the circumstances of the case would not allow him to release Mr. Gray pending the consideration of his case by a Committee. But this Committee could not do anything until October, and by that time two out of three months would have expired. What I would suggest to the Prime Minister is this—that there is a power which could release Mr. Gray, and that is the power of the Lord Lieutenant. If the Lord Lieutenant ordered the release, there would be no difficulty in opening the prison doors. Mr. Gray ought to be released in the meantime pending the appointment of a Committee, and the consideration of its decision by the House. Is it really the case that in this country, upon the irresponsible action of a Judge, any citizen may be imprisoned for any length of time that a Judge may name without there being any redress? If that is the case, the sooner the law is changed the better. It is a most grievous hardship, because a Judge acting in this irresponsible manner is acting as a jury in his own case. If the Prime Minister puts his mind to it, I am sure he will find some way to order the release of Mr. Gray. I am one of those who have been longing for the restoration of peace and order in Ireland, and if the Prime Minister has been disappointed, still I have not despaired of it. It is because I still have that hope that I deplore these things, 2016 because they will lead to a prolongation of that deep-rooted belief in the minds of the Irish people that justice cannot be obtained. Nothing will satisfy the Irish people that justice has been done in this case. And looking upon this as one of the false steps which have landed the Government in their present position, I regret exceedingly that such a man as Justice Lawson should have been selected to preside at these trials, because there are other Judges on the Irish Bench whose decisions would have given more confidence, and which would have been received with feelings of greater confidence by the whole of Ireland. I understood that the Attorney General for Ireland would make some statement, and I ask him will he endorse the view which has been taken upon this matter—that no matter what the Judge may do, nothing less than his impeachment or removal will suffice to reverse his action, and that the law is all powerful in the infliction of a heavy fine, serious imprisonment, and heavy sureties upon whomsoever a Judge likes, without it being possible to have such proceedings considered and reversed? If there is no redress in this matter, I hope he will advise the Government as to the means of preventing any person suffering such injustice and such punishments in the future.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
Sir, being absent when the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) made his attack upon a friend and connection of my own—Mr. Alexander Morphy, the Solicitor to the Crown—I have been only able to obtain a very general idea as to what he stated. I deny entirely that I contributed in any degree to the appointment of Mr. Morphy, but I should be wanting in a proper feeling were I not to rise and defend a friend who has been most outrageously attacked in this House. The hon. Member attributes to him, a Roman Catholic and a Liberal like myself, an attempt to throw discredit upon the people of his religion and politics. Those who know Mr. Morphy, and they are the multitude in Ireland, will need no justification of him; but for the many in this House it is necessary that I should state that the observations of the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) are as unfounded as many others delivered in the same highfalutin, distorted language have proved to be. He has attacked him for his pro- 2017 ceedings at the Cork Winter Assizes. But will the hon. Member assert before this House, and in the face of the people of Ireland, that his proceedings were unjustifiable? The "Moonlight" outrages have been suppressed in the county of Cork—a result which, I believe, the majority of this House and the country rejoice at. To turn to the case now before the House. Mr. Gray has been an intimate friend of mine, as his father, Sir John Gray, was before him, for very many years; and if I was asked here—supporting, as I do, the Administration of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone)—whether I thought that he has got fair play in this matter, I should say unhesitatingly that I do not think he has. I have known Judge Lawson for many years. I knew him at the Bar, and in the University; he was a distinguished member of the Circuit which for some years I went in my early life. I never knew an abler or fairer man than this learned Judge was during a long period of his acquaintance. But I care not what may have been his previous character; I have to deal with the circumstances which appeared in the columns of the Press this morning, and especially in the paper which I have read myself—The Times. According to my humble lights, the learned Judge had no right to refuse the hon. Member for Carlo w (Mr. Gray) the opportunity of justifying himself, thereby subjecting him to the injury and suffering which might follow in his position as a representative of the people and a journalist. I believe that the Judge did not rightly perform his functions in not allowing him the fullest opportunity of being represented and of making a further statement in his defence. As regards the unfortunate man Hynes, who is connected with an ancient and respectable family in the county of Clare, I regret that the hon. Member for Sligo has, perhaps, in some degree, weakened the efforts which I trust will be made to remove the stigma of a public execution from that family. I believe there is no Member in this House who can seriously impugn the verdict; and in my opinion it would have been better if, instead of attacking the Judge and jury who tried Hynes, the hon. Member for Sligo had joined in efforts with others in making an. appeal on his behalf.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
Sir, I trust the House will excuse me entering with any degree of detail into the speech we have just listened to, and I shall content myself by saying that the hon. Member's remarks have, by the language he has used, been greatly weakened in their effect. In addressing myself to the speech of the Attorney General for Ireland, I must say there is a very considerable difference between that speech and that of the right hon. and learned Gentleman who preceded him in the Office; and if I fairly interpret the speech, I think I am right in saying that he has thrown over the Judge, and he admits our case. [The ATTORNEY GENERAL for IRELAND: No.] Well, that is my interpretation of the speech, and I will proceed to prove to the House that that is the correct and only interpretation of his language. What is the case as brought before the House by my hon. Friend the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton), and answered by him? My hon. Friend laid down this—that a statement was made with regard to the conduct of the jury who were trying the case of "The Queen v. Hynes." He asks that this statement with regard to a most momentous inquiry shall be carefully inquired into and investigated. The Judge who presided over the trial declared that the statement was a calumny and unworthy of investigation. But, said the Attorney General for Ireland, the statement requires investigation, and will be investigated. That is to say, Mr. Justice Lawson says this calumny will not be investigated, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman says it is so important that it ought to be investigated. My interpretation of that is a throwing over of the Judge by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. The right hon. and learned Gentleman on the first point admits our case. On the second point he admits our case too. Mr. Gray in his newspaper stated that the juries which were empannelled to try these cases were, by the action of the Crown, made to consist exclusively of Protestants of Conservative politics. The right hon. and learned Gentleman does not challenge any part of that statement at all. As I understand the right hon. and learned Gentleman's language, while the official responsibility of the selection of the jury remains to him, the practical carrying out this responsibility, 2019 the instrument of the right hon. and learned Gentleman was Mr. Morphy, the Crown Solicitor. Then, I say, the right hon. and learned Gentleman is not in a position to deny the truth of what we say, because the acts we complain of were acts not done by him, but by somebody else. It was no answer for him to say that "I did not exclude any person from the jury on account of his politics or religion." What the right hon. and learned Gentleman should have been able to say as a satisfactory answer to our charge was that neither he, nor Mr. Morphy, nor anybody else, excluded any person from the jury on account of his politics or religion; but that he did not say, for the very good reason that he could not say it. I put disclaimers on one side, and admitted facts on the other. Suppose Mr. Speaker, in the course of a long debate upon a great Party question, in the exercise of his discretion, selected the speakers exclusively from the Tory side of the House, would any person say that his selection was entirely made by accident, and altogether unconnected with political partizanship? The inevitable conclusion would be that the Speaker was acting from partizan and Party purposes. And in the same way if we find, as we did find, that these jurors had exclusively belonged to people of one faith and political creed, I say the inevitable conclusion is that this selection was a deliberate selection by the person who had the power of making the choice. The inevitable conclusion is that the jury was a packed jury, and a packed jury it was in spite of the sophistry and disclaimers of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. We now come to Mr. O'Brien's letter. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has not ventured to deny the truth of Mr. O'Brien's letter. Were these "horrible and indecent proceedings" ordered to be investigated into by the Judge? Not at all. "I reject the idea," says Mr. Justice Lawson, "that such a thing could take place. I dismiss it as a calumny." I have received, since my hon. Friend the Member for Sligo spoke, another sheet of affidavits with regard to this case. I will not trespass on the attention of the House by reading all these affidavits; but there is one affidavit which I think I would not be justified in abstaining from bringing before the attention of the House, to show the 2020 character of these gentlemen on the night before they found a verdict putting a fellow-being to a violent death. The affidavit is as follows:—I, Margaret Walsh, assistant at the oar of the Imperial Hotel, Sackville Street, Dublin, 17 years of age and upwards, make oath, and say that on the night of Friday last, the 11th instant, I remember closing the bar at 20 minutes past 12 o'clock. The bar is usually closed at 12 o'clock; but it was later that night. After closing the bar I went up stairs to the upper corridor, where I met one of the jury. As I was entering at one end of the corridor in which the stairs to my bedroom was situated, three or four persons were jumping about at the other end of the corridor. When I was going up the corridor with a candle in my hand, one said—'Look at the young female going to bed at this hour of the night.' I said nothing, but put out the candle that I might not be seen, because from their conduct I was afraid of them. They were jumping across each other, and ran towards the end at which I was coming up. I judged from their appearance they might assault me. I ran up stairs—another flight of stairs—to my own room. When I was in it about five minutes I thought I heard them coming upstairs, and I put my head out when someone dashed up against me. I drew in my head and locked the door. They made no attempt to enter the room further; but I could hear them rattling at the baths all the time and shouting.MARGARET WALSH.Sworn before me this 17th day of August, 1882, at the Imperial Hotel, Lower Sackville Street, in the county of the city of Dublin, a Commissioner for taking Affidavits in the Supreme Court of Judicature in Ireland, and I know the deponent.JOHN STONE, Commissioner.Sir, I want to ask the Government if they really lay down the doctrine that a journalist, if he finds these facts become known, is not at liberty, or rather not bound by his duty to the public, to bring these facts before the public? Was there a single fact stated in these articles that was not more than corroborated? The packing of the jury is undeniable, the jury consisting exclusively of Protestants, and every person being excluded who was either a Catholic or a Liberal in politics. The drunkenness and indecency of these jurors is not denied, it having been brought before the House on affidavit; and then as to the serious statement that these facts, some of which are admitted, most of which cannot be denied, should not be brought before the public, why, is it not a notorious fact that many of the capital sentences that have been passed in this country have been afterwards commuted by the agency of the Press, which drew atten- 2021 tion to the conduct of the Judge and jury? In my own time, I think I remember two or three cases in which men had been sentenced to death, and the strong force of public opinion, which could only express itself through newspapers, succeeded in overthrowing the verdict of the jury and the sentence of the Judge. I remember that in the case of two women and three men who were convicted for the Penge murder, one woman was discharged, and the sentence of the others was commuted to penal servitude for life. In this country the privilege of reviewing the acts of a jury in Court and of the sentence of a Judge in the case of criminals condemned to death is one of the highest and most valued privileges of the Press. In Ireland I think there is a very well-known case which occurred at Limerick, where the exposure of the conduct of the jury led to the commutation, if not the reversal, of the sentence of the Judge. It was proved that the jurors mixed with other people, and the result was that the verdict was overturned or the sentence was commuted. I am not familiar with the facts of the case; and my hon. Friend the proprietor of The Freeman's Journal was only endeavouring to bring the force of public opinion to bear upon what he considered was a verdict improperly obtained—taking away the life of a fellow-being. An hon. Gentleman who preceded me made some appeal to the Government, which, to my mind, looked like an appeal to the mercy of the Government. I think I know my hon. Friend sufficiently well to say that no man could more indignantly repudiate anything like an appeal for mercy to the Prime Minister, or the Law Officers, or the Executive. My hon. Friend the Member for Carlo w is distinguished among Irish politicians for his moderation and sagacity. I think that every man must entertain a strong feeling of admiration for the courage and consistency of a Gentleman, the owner of the largest and most widely-circulated newspaper in Ireland, who, in spite of that position and of the fact that he represents a popular constituency, always dared to recommend a moderate policy. And this is the man whom the Government, of all others, desire to make the object of a persecution like this! Are the Government mad? Are the Government taking leave of their senses? Have 2022 they not already enough of the various classes in Ireland hostile to their rule without adding men of the class of Mr. Gray to their number? I tell the Government that the unjust imprisonment and arrest of a man like Mr. Gray—a man of high position, of well-known moderation in his political views—will be felt with regret by a class of men who would not have been startled even by the wholesale arrest of men in less humbler circumstances. Every man connected with municipal bodies, and every man holding an official or a quasi-popular position in Ireland, will regard himself assailed and affronted by this attack upon Mr. Gray, and that, in consequence, the bitter and vehement enemies of the Government will be increased in that country. I have only a word or two to say in conclusion. Is it likely that just legislation will gradually remove enemies to British rule? And I myself think that no amount of legislation will satisfy, or ought to satisfy, the Irish people so long as it is accompanied by coercion; but all hopes for the decline of disaffection in Ireland are blighted by such proceedings as this. It is a terrible thing that legislation in Ireland—that the legislation of change—should proceed in the paths of outrage and crime. I feel that nothing can be worse than this, except that it be assassination. Assassination under any circumstances was deplorable; but assassination by legal tribunal was worse than assassination from behind a hedge, because if the people once lose confidence in the administration of the law, a blow is struck at all peace and order. How can the people be impressed with a due regard for justice when they see the juries packed by men belonging to the religious creed and political Party that have always been hostile to the majority in Ireland?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. W. M. JOHNSON)
I wish to make an explanation with regard to something the hon. Member has said, to the effect that I have thrown over the learned Judge who sentenced Mr. Gray—
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
What I said was that you had regarded the statements made in the course of the debate as grave, though Mr. Justice Lawson stated that they were not worthy of consideration.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. W. M. JOHNSON)
The statements are not the same. I stated that the reason I did not allude to the judgment of the learned Judge in the case was because it would be prejudicing the issue. I said that this matter now demanded inquiry in consequence of the statements made by hon. Members and the affidavits brought forward by them. I considered that the evidence that had now been adduced should be brought under the notice of the Lord Lieutenant. I also said that I had nothing to do with the exclusion of certain gentlemen from the jury-box, and I further stated that if such a thing had been done it was done in opposition to any instructions given by me.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
I wish, Sir, to make some observations with reference to the extraordinary sentence passed by Mr. Justice Lawson upon Mr. E. D. Gray. The general question has been ably dealt with by the hon. Member for the City of Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), and therefore I shall say very little on that head. The whole question turns upon this one point. Was The Freeman's Journal justified in making comments on the progress of the trials taking place in Dublin? The editor of that paper had certain facts placed before him by a letter received in the ordinary way, and the question is—Was The Freeman's Journal justified in publishing that letter? That letter was from Mr. William O'Brien, who is probably well known to many Members of this House, and he is likely to succeed the Attorney General for Ireland as Member for Mallow in this House. That being so, Mr. O'Brien was a gentleman who was likely to weigh and consider well the importance of everything that he sent to The Freeman's Journal for publication. In my opinion, I think that The Freeman's Journal was justified in publishing a letter of that kind, because the evidence it contained was supplied by a gentleman known to the members of the staff of the paper. This was one of the reasons why the extraordinarily heavy sentence was passed upon Mr. Gray. The Freeman's Journal is a powerful newspaper representing the Catholic interest of Ireland; and it is certainly a very curious thing that, in a population two-thirds of which are Catholics, only a single Catholic was to be found on the two juries em- 2024 pannelled. This, certainly, is a strong case in favour of inquiry, and it looks as if the juries were constituted as they were with an object. I think that if the Judge had administered a caution to the hon. Member for the County of Carlow, or imposed a slight penalty, it would have been sufficient. The imprisonment was severe, and the penalty was enormous. The hon. Member would have to find sureties, himself in £5,000, at the end of three months' imprisonment, and two other sureties of £2,500 each. If he refused to find this guarantee, he would be liable to several additional months of imprisonment. This is a system of crushing persons that, although frequent in past times, is most dangerous in modern days. I happen to know something of Mr. Justice Lawson. He was one of the Commissioners of the Irish Church after it was disestablished; and, on the authority of the Protestant Daily Express, it was stated that Judge Lawson had, by taking a liberal view, given £1,000,000 more money to the Protestants of Ireland than they would otherwise have received. This, therefore, is evidence that Mr. Justice Lawson is the friend of the Protestants of Ireland. This I do not give upon my own authority, but upon the statement of the Protestant Daily Express. The Judges in England never do anything outside a Judge's work. They sedulously keep themselves out of all public affairs. It is totally different in Ireland. Judges in Ireland are very often promoted and selected, as in the case of Mr. Justice Lawson, for their support of their Party. They have considerable sums of money in addition to their Judgeship. They are members of the Privy Council, and are intimately associated with the Government. In England you have Judges who are nothing else but Judges. In Ireland every one of your Judges is tempted to be a political partizan, and to do things to gain favour with their Party, or gain the praise of gentlemen like the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket), who spoke to-day. This House must remember what they are doing in Ireland, and they must not encourage parties to establish what they call Whiteboyism, and strike down all Catholics and Catholic organs. I think this really is a case which calls for the 2025 interference of the Crown. This extravagantly heavy sentence ought to be reconsidered by the Attorney General for Ireland. I have no objection whatever to say that the Judges should be enabled to protect themselves and impose some penalties; but in the present case, I am glad to see, from several of the London newspapers, that a large section of the public have been shocked by the enormity of this sentence. The hon. Member for Carlow, it has been said, occupies an important position and wields so much power that it was necessary to strike hard. It is a very dangerous doctrine to preach that a person in high office should be punished more than ordinary people. The present case evidently requires the careful attention of the Government. They might remit the enormous £500 penalty and imprisonment. I do not mean to override the Judge; but it is a case in which the Crown have the power. Justice Lawson may be said to be a Liberal; but I believe him to be a very strong Conservative from an Irish point of view.
§ MR. DALY
The communication to you to-day, Sir, of the arrest of Mr. Gray is important, not so much because the person arrested is a Member of this House and a distinguished politician, as it is evidence of an attempt, I believe, on the part of Justice Lawson to crush fair expression of public opinion in Ireland. A great many statements have been made from time to time about the first question, and the question was the construction of juries by reason of the exercise by the Crown of their power to order jurors to stand aside. I noticed that the Attorney General for Ireland denied that the Crown had power to challenge except under very extreme circumstances; but really to anyone connected with the mechanism of jury construction under the present administration, it is apparent that the power of the Crown to order men to stand by allows them to put into the jury-box men who have prejudices inimical to the prisoner at the bar. Mr. Gray, in the exercise of his profession as a journalist, adverted to that fact in the most courteous terms—in language that was extremely moderate. Now, that constituted, so to speak, the primary reason why Mr. Gray was brought before Mr. Justice Lawson on the occasion that has been referred 2026 to. The second was the appearance in Mr. Gray's journal of a letter bearing the name of a man who was well known to the City of Dublin, and, indeed, to Ireland, and of whom, had the Crown condescended to make the slighest inquiry, they could have established the fact that he was a man of established reputation, and one not likely to commit himself to a false statement of the facts if signed by his own name. Now, what were the facts? Any person who listened to the sheaf of affidavits which were to-day read by the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) must admit the fact that on that occasion some of the jury locked up to consider the case of this unfortunate man Hynes were guilty of most discreditable practices. Now, it is not material to the issue whether Hynes was found guilty or not; it is not material to the issue as regards the construction of the juries whether the prisoners were innocent or guilty. What I complain of is this—that there is an arbitrary attempt by a Judge to suppress a legitimate expression of discontent. The Attorney General for Ireland avoided what I consider the point underlying this, and he confined himself entirely to statements of those two cases which were the subject of the observations of The Freeman's Journal. Now, I do not consider that at all material—what I do consider is that Mr. Justice Lawson, with what I plainly believe to be a desire to terrorize and intimidate the expression of public opinion in Ireland, causes Mr. Gray to be summoned before him, and refuses to allow him time to prepare his defence. Anyone reading the proceedings of Mr. Justice Lawson in The Times cannot approach the subject in a fair or candid manner if he does not admit that on that occasion Mr. Gray did not get proper time to prepare for his defence. It was idle for the Solicitor General for Ireland to say that because Mr. Gray had been heard he should have no opportunity for preparing for his defence. The majesty of the law, if Mr. Gray were a criminal, would have been as well vindicated 24 hours after as then. There was Mr. O'Brien in Court, who offered to substantiate, on his oath, the statements in his letter, to which his name had been appended. There was Mr. Justice Lawson on the Bench, without any reason whatever for the statement, 2027 credited with, a statement in The Times referring to the charges against the jury—"I believe the statement to be totally devoid of truth." I say, Sir, that that showed the animus of Mr. Justice Lawson, and was, to all intents and purposes, an extra-judicial expression. Now, Mr. Justice Lawson is an old and trained politician, and he should remember well that an incident of the kind that has happened will create a great deal of indignation and excite a great deal of sympathy in Ireland; and I, for my part, look on the consequences of this great, and I hope not fatal, mistake of Justice Lawson as likely to postpone for a long time peace and tranquillity in Ireland, and to create a fervour and indignation that will not soon be suppressed. I do not care for the position of Mr. Gray, whether it be High Sheriff of the City of Dublin or a Member of this House. I look on the real importance of this question to be that any Judge can summon to the bar a man for no other reason than that on a public subject he expressed himself fairly and legitimately in censure of what he believed to be wrong; and I own that I am rather puzzled at the power of the British Coustitution when I hear from the Premier that the alternative they propose is that after two months of what I believe a wrong imprisonment, the case of Mr. Edmond Dwyer Gray should be considered on the 21th of October. Now, Sir, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) spoke for a long time to-day in defence of his "old and valued friend" Mr. Justice Lawson. I have no knowledge of Mr. Justice Lawson. He may possess a great many qualities that may endear him to the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin; but I say in this case in question, and the more it comes to be examined the more it will be conceded, that Mr. Justice Lawson, in the exercise of his judicial functions, has done a most serious and lamentable action. When the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland says that he does not recognize any political or religious distinction in jurors, I would point to coincidences that have occurred not only in Cork, but elsewhere. In some cases 40, 30, and 20 jurors have been asked to stand aside by the Crown, and the co- 2028 incidence was extremely curious—they were all Catholics. I believe myself that Mr. Justice Lawson, in his desire to intimidate and repress public opinion in Ireland, has given this Government the greatest stab that it has yet received. I believe myself that the most curious corollary to the moral denunciation of our distinguished Premier for his enthusiastic devotion to liberty is the fact that in Ireland—and it is only in Ireland that it would be attempted—a journalist making a comment in moderate and respectful terms on a grievance that was widely known through the land is summoned to a bar by a summons issued only the night before, and when he asks for legal assistance to enable him to defend himself he is told he is to be sentenced there and then. Mr. Gray said—"You are sentencing me first and trying me afterwards." Join one of those articles with another which expressed a firm hope, and, indeed, a conviction, that with a good harvest at the hands of Almighty God and the beneficent legislation to a qualified extent that had been given to Ireland, next winter would see us past our troubles, and that we would get forward in a career of peace and prosperity; but, Sir, with such Judges as Mr. Justice Lawson, it is impossible for the Government to keep clear of pitfalls.
§ MR. LEWIS
Sir, as an Irish Member, I think it would be cowardly on my part if I were not to say that I do not consider that this is a question as between Catholic or Protestant, Liberal or Conservative, Englishman or Irishman. It is perfectly clear to those who are acquainted with legal proceedings in England that if what has been done in Ireland had been done in England the English Courts would have taken pretty much the same course. ["Hear, hear!" and "No, no!"] Do the House and those Members who cry "No, no!" recall the case of Mr. Whalley or of the Lancashire squire, Mr. Skipton, who, for a much lighter offence, was brought before the Court and summarily sentenced to heavy penalties. If ever there was a case in which it was the duty of those who represented the Crown in the Court, and of the Judge who presided in the Court to interfere, it surely must be a case of this sort, where the person who had the important duties to discharge of High Sheriff of the City of 2029 Dublin, and had in charge the jury whose conduct was the basis of one of the articles complained of, was the one to call in question, by his own act, as he himself admitted, the very fount of justice in some of its most tender and delicate duties. It is rather curious to notice how some of my Colleagues representing Irish constituencies deal with this matter. The hon. and gallant Member for the County Galway (Colonel Nolan) fell into grievous mistakes. He tried to make out that the Judges in Ireland were promoted, and those in England were not, for political services. In so speaking the hon. and gallant Member showed lamentable ignorance of the facts of the case. I do not say I admire the practice; but there is no difference between the two countries. When the Government is appealed to in this case to arrest the sentence passed by Mr. Justice Lawson, they forget—at least, it is my belief—that the Crown has no power to interfere, this being a sentence for contempt of Court. It is in the power of the Judge alone to interfere, and the Government can no more interpose than they can in the case of Mr. Green. If that be the law, as I think it is, no responsibility can rest upon the Government to deal with this sentence. It is not an offence against the general law of the country, but against the administration of that law in the highest Courts, and nobody but the Judge who has passed the sentence can interfere to the extent of a single day or a single hour. Mr. Justice Lawson is one of the best-abused men that could possibly be found. He is invariably put forward to receive the attacks of hon. Members from Ireland; but why is that? It is because he is a manly and an intrepid Judge. I do not say that some things he has done may not be subject to criticism; but he has been a fearless Judge. The hon. Member for Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) said that he read in a newspaper three years ago something about Mr. Justice Lawson not being liberal to the Protestant clergy; but that, surely, did not prove that he was not entitled, to or justified in interfering with Mr. Gray. The amiable, gentlemanly manners of the hon. Member for Carlow, and his uniform courtesy, make me sorry that he has got into this trouble, which is not creditable to his discretion. I leave out of sight the question as to 2030 challenging the jury. The other matter is more serious. He claims to have the right to put into his paper the uninvestigated statement of a man who said that the jurors were in a drunken state during the time that the evidence was being given, and before the judgment. That was an offence which should be brought to justice; but there was a public question behind this. There can be no doubt as to the propriety of the action of Mr. Justice Lawson; but I must confess that I am affected by the argument that this exercise of power by Judges for contempt of Court should be closely watched. Judges are too much inclined to act in a hasty and peremptory way; and in this case it would have been more advantageous to the administration of justice, considering the trial was over, had the Judge not acted in such a hasty manner. There was obviously no advantage in acting hastily. To-morrow or the day after would have been equally effective. But the question does not end there. I contend that Justice Lawson was perfectly justified in pronouncing this sentence; but is it not a grave evil that Judges should have the power, without anyone sitting with them, in a case in which their own temper, their own prestige, their own bias may be involved—that a Judge sitting alone, without colleague to temper his decision, should have the power to heavily fine and commit to prison without any appeal, not even to the clemency of the Crown? Is that not a great public evil that ought to be put right? I recollect perfectly a case happening seven or eight years ago in which a Judge on the Bench acted hastily and sent a man to prison for contempt of Court; but he was released very shortly afterwards by the pressure which was brought to bear upon the Judge and by a Question put by myself in Parliament. Now, when you are dealing with a man of great public standing, you ought not to give this power to a single Judge to inflict a heavy fine and deprive a man of his liberty. Undoubtedly, it was a grave and serious offence that was committed by the hon. Member for Carlow, which, in his inmost heart, he could not attempt to justify. Is it a light thing to say that a man has been sent to his grave by the verdict of a drunken jury? Is that true? [Mr. BIGGAR: Yes.] The hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Gray) made 2031 this charge without inquiry, and put it forth with the imprimatur of his own authority, and in order to destroy the authority of the law in Ireland. While it is necessary in the public interest that there should be a power to deal with such contempt, the power of single Judges should be put under control. At the same time, we are justified in saying, with the greatest possible regret and sorrow, that the grave offence of the hon. Member for Carlow was properly punished by the sentence passed upon him.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
Sir, the hon. Member who has just sat down has stated that the offence of the hon. Member for Carlow was that he put forward this statement as absolutely true, and so forth. Now, that is not the case, although he might well have done so, seeing that it was made upon the faith of the word of Mr. O'Brien, who is a gentleman of perfectly stainless honour. Mr. Gray only asked for an inquiry into the grave accusations made in Mr. O'Brien's letter. There have been placed in my hands a number of telegrams addressed to the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton), stating that previous to the occurrence of yesterday the Catholic jurors were going to hold, meetings to protest against their being summoned to attend under heavy penalties, only to be set aside. I have another telegram in these terms—We, the undersigned Catholic jurors of the City of Dublin, summoned to attend the Commission Court now sitting in Green Street, and ordered to stand aside by the Crown on Thursday and Friday last, hereby declare our belief that we were so ordered to stand aside solely on the ground that we were Catholics; and we further declare we came to the conclusion at the time when so set aside, and prior to and quite independent of any comments in The Freeman's Journal on the subject.This document was signed by Mr. Hugh Vaughan and a large number of other Catholic jurymen. The hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Lewis) has attempted to justify the practice of Mr. Justice Lawson by stating that the procedure of an English Court in such a case would be substantially identical with that pursued in the case of Mr. Gray. I maintain that there is no foundation whatever for the statement, although it was cheered by the lawyers on both sides of the House; and I further inform the hon. Member that there is not a single 2032 case reported in the law books in which any man in England has been punished for observations on a case which had been concluded. The great distinction which at once strikes the eye in the case of Mr. Gray from every other case is this—that the comments were made in reference to trials which had already been completed. Therefore, as I say, there is no foundation to justify the statement that Mr. Justice Lawson proceeded according to the practice of the English Courts. The hon. Member for Londonderry has very properly censured the extreme haste in which Mr. Justice Lawson acted in this matter. What advantage, it is asked, was there in doing so? What advantage was there in this political partizan acting as he did? There was this permanent advantage—to insult before the whole country such an eminent politician as Mr. O'Brien. But the Judge does not proceed to punish Mr. O'Brien, but the gentleman who published the letter, which Mr. Justice Lawson denounced as a calumny. In this way Mr. Justice Lawson inflicted as gross an insult on Mr. O'Brien as it was in the power of one in his position to inflict. Anyone who knew the manner in which nine out of ten Representatives of the Government bear themselves towards the Representatives of the Irish National Party will have very little doubt that a desire to give pain and inflict insult was not absent from the great indifference with which Mr. Justice Lawson treated charges which the Attorney General for Ireland now admitted, if substantiated, exhibited a most atrocious state of things. I desire, however, myself to state that I can by no means dissociate Mr. Justice Lawson from others. I cannot attack him alone for his total absence of examination and the entirely contemptuous manner in which he treated these charges—such grave charges of maladministration of justice in Ireland. Before Mr. Justice Lawson delivered the judgment in Green Street yesterday morning, long before a Question was asked in this House of the Law Officers of the Crown whether attention had been drawn to the serious charges contained in the letter of Mr. O'Brien, and published in The Freeman's Journal, the Attorney General for Ireland replied that his attention had been drawn to it, and that the Government intended to take very decisive steps in regard to it 2033 Consequently, the position of the Attorney General for Ireland to-day in admitting the atrocious character of the charges, and the necessity for serious investigation, was a marked contrast with his conduct when he replied to that Question. Had this been done before Mr. Justice Lawson had been called upon to utter any opinion on the subject, had the Law Officers of the Crown made the representations they have now that charges of so grave and so deliberate a description, and made on so respectable an authority, were such as should be inquired into, it is only a fair conclusion to say that Justice Lawson would not have committed the grave—and worse than grave—blunder he has. Consequently, I cannot separate the responsibility of Mr. Justice Lawson from the responsibility of the Attorney General for Ireland; but I go further. The House must remember that this very question of jury-packing, for calling attention to which Mr. Gray has been sentenced to six months' imprisonment and a heavy fine, for the imprisonment amounts to six months, the Irish Members in this House attempted to bring forward, and that upon the spur of serious telegrams from Dublin and serious information which had reached them. For attempting to do this with the seriousness and with the urgency which such charges demand, we were accused by no less a personage than the Home Secretary that we were only endeavouring to secure and to procure for crime in Ireland perfect immunity. I therefore cannot separate the atrocious charge made by the English Home Secretary from the action of Mr. Justice Lawson; and, for my part, I can only warmly congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Carlow (Mr. Gray)—a man of high integrity, of known moderation and sagacity, and deservedly of distinguished position in Irish politics—that he should have been selected a victim for showing to the people of Ireland that the rule of the British Government is incompatible with an honest distribution of justice and honest law. I feel satisfied, too, that no distinction will be drawn between Mr. Justice Lawson and the more important part of the Cabinet in this country. I feel that this action, also, has the entire and enthusiastic approval of the Home Secretary for England; and so long as the right hon. and 2034 learned Member remains in the Liberal Cabinet, so long will Ireland have a bitter and determined enemy in the Administration of the Empire. We learn from the careful statement of the Prime Minister that there is no practical redress to be expected. I know that Mr. Gray's state of health will not fit him for prolonged confinement; but this I know likewise—that Mr. Gray will bear that confinement, or ten times that confinement, rather than yield an inch in the slightest to make the least entreaty. He has defended public rights in the manner demanded by their importance. It is beside the question to talk of Mr. Gray being technically responsible as High Sheriff for the conduct of the jury. It was not for this technical responsibility with regard to the jury that Mr. Gray was sent to gaol for six months. It is as an Irish journalist, an Irish politician, an Irish patriot, that he has been condemned. For my part, I congratulate him upon the honour which has been done him by Her Majesty's Government.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
Sir, as one of the Members of the House, representing that long-suffering part of Her Majesty's Dominions called England, I have been watching the course of this debate and asking myself whether there is really any need to transfer the site of Parliament to College Green, Dublin; for the Irish Party in the House have, during the present and recent Sessions, been in such exclusive possession of the House, however small a minority they may form, that it would be impossible, even in Dublin, that a discussion could be more exclusively Irish than that to which we have been for some hours listening. If anyone turned to the pages of Hansard for the last three or four Sessions, he would, in absence of other information, come to the conclusion that, instead of Ireland forming only one-third of the United Kingdom, she must, in space and population, form at least two-thirds, and that the Members for Ireland hold a position more important in the eyes of the Speaker and of Her Majesty's Ministers than the Representatives of the other third, including England and Scotland. I give hon. Members of the extreme Irish section credit for this feat—I have never known such a case of imposition on the time and patience of the House as they have accomplished by the 2035 course they have pursued. The legitimate occasion of this debate was that the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Gray), High Sheriff for the City of Dublin, and in charge of the jury, was, as his friends have testified, grossly culpable for permitting the most licentious conduct on the part of the jury while under his charge. The hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) has produced telegrams, containing declarations, he says, made on oath—the truth of which the House has no opportunity of testing—and every one of those declarations seems to prove that the conduct of the jurors, when nominally locked up for the night under the charge of the High Sheriff, the Member for Carlow, has been most disgraceful. Hon. Members from Ireland seem to be proud of that, because they affirm that the jury was exclusively Protestant, and they are full of complaints that no Roman Catholics had been permitted to participate in the orgies which the hon. Member for Carlow, the High Sheriff for Dublin, had provided. They had also said that the hon. Member for Carlow is one of the most high-minded and gifted models of those who occupy the Irish Bench in this House, and that he has been most unjustly treated, because, having published the disgrace of the jury of which he had charge in his newspaper the next day, Mr. Justice Lawson, whom they describe as a tyrannical Judge, was so impressed by the quasi-evidence which the hon. Member for Carlow provided for his information that he committed him for contempt of Court. The hon. Member for Sligo has led his client into a trap; because, whatever may have been the misconduct of the jury, when nominally locked up, for that misconduct the Member for Carlow—this distinguished Member of the Irish section, which dominates the House of Commons—was distinctly responsible. I have supported Her Majesty's Government in passing the Prevention of Crime (Ireland) Bill, and I feel most painfully the necessity for dispensing with juries in Ireland. Some hon. Members of the extreme Irish Party were eloquent against that measure. I have felt most keenly the severe necessity for committing to two Judges, or to a single Judge without a jury, the liberties and the lives of the people; but it was because of the misconduct of Irish juries during the last three years 2036 that I felt compelled to vote for this part of the Prevention of Crime Act. I wish to call the attention of the House to the fact that Her Majesty's Ministers will be betraying the honest support, which I and other Members of the Opposition have given them, if they continue to allow the conduct of the Irish Judges to be attacked as it has been in the House this day, for these attacks tend to invalidate the position, authority, and efficiency of the Judges, especially when unsupported by juries.
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
I presume, Sir, the usual course will be followed with regard to this matter, and that a division will be taken upon it. ["No, no!"] Well, whether there is a division or not, I desire to say a few words upon the subject. The Prime Minister has suggested that the question should be postponed until October, so that an hon. Member of this House (Mr. Gray) is to remain in prison a considerable length of time. I cannot understand that view of the matter, or support that doctrine. I do not see why the House should delay discharging one of its most cherished and important duties, simply upon the plea that a large number of Members are not within call. Such a doctrine I think most dangerous. It is one of the first duties, and I appeal to the great Constitutional authority in this House—the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate)—if I am not correct when I assert it is one of the most sacred privileges of this House to inquire by a Committee whenever the question of the imprisonment of a Member is brought before it. In this particular instance the hon. Member imprisoned has been imprisoned under most peculiar circumstances, and I cannot imagine circumstances more necessary to be inquired into by a Committee of this House. If ever these circumstances ought to be inquired into it is now; and if ever this House inquired into the imprisonment of any of its Members it ought to inquire into this case. That inquiry should be immediate. If the Government are desirous of putting upon the Committee hon. Members who are not now present, they should have a Call of the House, and have the hon. Members present. Under the circumstances, I, for one, cannot agree with the Motion of the Prime Minister that the Letter should simply 2037 lie on the Table, believing, as I do, that such a course would be quite unworthy. It is not my intention to use strong language, but this I believe—that what will be done this afternoon will not redound to the credit of the House, nor will it tend to consolidate the liberties of the people. ["Oh, oh!"] I do not suppose that some hon. Members calling themselves Liberals will agree to this; but those Liberals are remarkable for sinking their principles whenever it is convenient to do so. No one will be able to turn to this discussion without feelings of the greatest pain; and I do hope that henceforth we may not be troubled with the details of criminal trials at the length to which the Attorney General for Ireland has thought it necessary to adduce facts this afternoon. Everyone must be shocked at the allegations with respect to the jury; but I stand here to positively assert my belief that such a thing as jury-packing did not take place. ["Oh, oh!"] Well, that is my belief; and the fact that the jury were composed to a large extent of one particular class of religionists—[Mr. SEXTON: Of one religion entirely.] Whilst it may be a matter to be inquired into, it is easily to be explained. You must recollect that in Ireland Roman Catholics prevail largely in excess of Protestants; and those ordered to stand aside would naturally be in a larger proportion Roman Catholics. Now, in several cases, as we have heard, jurors themselves asked to be excused, and the prisoner did not exhaust his challenges. There were numerous matters in connection with this question much more serious requiring investigation, and they are the conduct of those who had the custody of the jury, as appeared upon the affidavit which has been read. It was said these allegations were not true. They might be true or they might not; and if they were not true there was all the greater necessity for an immediate investigation. The Attorney General for Ireland, in the honesty of his spirit, has been shocked by what he has heard; so much so, that he at once gave up the case, and said that inquiry was absolutely necessary. That a jury in a most solemn case of murder should, if the telegrams we heard are true, be allowed to frequent the public billiard-room of an hotel and mix with other persons, is most 2038 extraordinary. This was a circumstance which required instant investigation; and if that investigation is necessary now, it was surely required before the whole proceeding was so summarily dismissed by the Judge and the Solicitor General for Ireland. Surely if the people were to be impressed with the majesty of the law and justice, the first step would have been to show that justice herself desired to walk with her eyes open, and not shut. But not only did the Judge and the Solicitor General not desire that the statements should be investigated, but they summarily dismissed them as untrue; and now we shall have to wait several months before we shall know whether, officially, they are true or not. If a Committee is appointed, this question would be decided within a very few days. The investigation should take place at the present time, in order to satisfy the public mind; but to defer the investigation to next October, when a great many hon. Members, as is well known, will not be present, is a highly inconvenient and an improper course. Upon all these grounds, I cannot vote for allowing the Judge's letter to lie on the Table as if it were a matter of no moment. I deeply regret the comments that have been made on the proceedings of the Special Commission. I have felt humiliated at the failure of justice in Ireland for months past, and I was gratified that trial by jury was again vindicated, for I did not believe that even the Irish Members opposite doubted the justice of the verdicts that have been given in Dublin. It is lamentable, in the interests of Ireland, that it is possible for Irish Members to attack first the Judge and then the jury—in fact, the whole administration of justice—and to insure a reply and a vindication from a Law Officer of the Crown in this House, which can only be partial and imperfect, because the facts are not fully ascertained. The right hon. and learned Gentleman and the Government must bear this in mind—that the foundations of social order cannot be strengthened unless the people believe in the absolute purity of justice and the impartial administration of the law.
§ MR. BIGGAR
The discussion that has taken place to-day is extremely valuable from two points of view. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire 2039 (Mr. Newdegate) and the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland have both confessed that the conduct of the jury in Hynes's case was perfectly disgraceful.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
I said, if the statements which had been made were true; but that we have no power to investigate them.
§ MR. BIGGAR
Exactly, if the evidence of Mr. William O'Brien's letter, with his name signed, and the evidence of a number of independent witnesses, is true. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland also made another admission. The right hon. and learned Gentleman entirely gave up the case with regard to the packing of the jury. He declared most positively, and I suppose truly, that he did not direct the Crown Solicitor, Mr. Morphy, to pack the jury, and that he only directed him to have a good jury.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. W. M. JOHNSON)
What I did say was that my directions were to have an impartial jury.
§ MR. BIGGAR
Mr. Morphy was a gentleman who would interpret that to mean that he should get a jury that would find a verdict on the most slender evidence. In point of fact, the evidence was most conclusive that the jury was packed by Mr. Morphy, because every Catholic upon the panel whose name was called was struck out as a matter of course, and very few of supposed popular tendency left upon the jury. More than one-half of the names called were struck out by the Crown. If that was not jury-packing, I should like to know what jury-packing is. With regard to the case of Hynes, the evidence was of the slenderest character, and would not justify any jury in finding a verdict of guilty. It was outrageous that a man should be condemned to death on the verdict of men who held a carousal in a public hotel on the night before the verdict was given, and while the trial was pending. The case depended entirely upon the evidence of the person who was shot. It was proved by the priest who called to see the murdered man before Mr. M'Ternan came, and who continued in the company of the 2040 murdered man till Mr. M'Ternan arrived, that during the time he was there the man was perfectly incompetent to form or give any decided opinion upon any question. In point of fact, when the priest came he was perfectly unconscious. Then, also, the two doctors who were called in to see the murdered man were both of the opinion that the man was not competent to give evidence in the case. More than that, I am informed that Mr. M'Ternan and the family of the prisoner had a quarrel about shooting at game, and that made him prejudiced against the prisoner. Taking all the facts into consideration—first, that the jury was packed, next that the jury had a carousal during the night when the trial was pending, and next that the evidence was of the very slightest nature—I do contend that The Freeman's Journal was thoroughly justified in drawing attention to the case. More than that, the arguments of The Freeman's Journal were of a perfectly temperate nature. There was no high-flown language. There was no use of any extra number of adjectives in the arguments that appeared. The Freeman's Journal articles simply gave a description of what took place. In point of fact, it came to this—that if a newspaper, after a trial had ended, was not to draw attention to the facts of the case, then journalism, and, in point of fact, a description of what took place on the trial, would seem to compel the owner of a newspaper to run the very greatest risk. There was another point raised in this case which really proved the contemptible nature of the case made out by the Government—namely, that Mr. Gray was technically the party whose duty it was to have custody of these jurors. Anyone who knows anything about this matter must know that it was perfectly impossible that Mr. Gray could personally superintend the housing of these jurors. The Sub-Sheriff performed the part of the High Sheriff with regard to the custody of jurors, and he always delegated the duty to his subordinates. It, therefore, seems to me that there is no case against Mr. Gray, and that the Government would do well to use their influence in whatever way it can be used to allow Mr. Gray his liberty, and that his punishment should be taken away. It was suggested by some of my friends that, after all, Mr. Justice Lawson was 2041 not the guilty party, but that he was merely the instrument, and that the Government must take the responsibility. I think my friends are more or less right. The Government can always find useful tools, and I do not think it is the tools that should be reprobated, but the Government that used them.
§ MR. CALLAN
I do not wish, Sir, to prolong the debate upon this question; but I would really wish that the Attorney General for Ireland, or some competent Representative of the Treasury Bench, would reply to the charges that have been made. With regard to the question of packing juries in Ireland, it is a very serious matter, and I had no idea when I last spoke on this question that it would assume such a serious aspect. I have no wish to make any serious personal charge against the Attorney or Solicitor General; but they are responsible for the acts of their subordinates. On Thursday last, in Dublin, in the presence of the Attorney General for Ireland, 19 Catholics were ordered to stand aside. The next day, upon a case involving the capital offence, 20 Catholics were ordered to stand aside, the Attorney General for Ireland being present on the occasion. Amongst those ordered to stand aside were men of the highest character, and, as capitalists, they were worth the whole lock, stock, and barrel of the Treasury Bench. The Freeman's Journal, on Friday and Saturday, drew attention to the exclusion of Roman Catholics from the jury panel, and what was the result? On Monday six men, who had been told to stand aside, were permitted to come forward and act as jurors, and a few minutes after leaving the box they found a verdict of guilty, showing in the most unmistakable manner that the decision that they should be ordered to stand aside on Saturday was wholly wrong and indefensible, because if they were unfit to sit as jurors on Saturday, they were equally unfit on Monday. With reference to Mr. Justice Lawson, Mr. Justice Lawson made, I will say, an unfortunate and unhappy allusion in the course of his judgment as to his conduct in reference to Belfast.
§ And it being ten minutes before Seven of the clock, the Debate stood adjourned till this day.