HC Deb 14 February 1882 vol 266 cc647-80


Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [7th February]—[See page 133.]

And which Amendment was, At the end thereof, to add the words:—"Humbly to assure Your Majesty that this House regards with grave concern the action of the Executive in Ireland, whereby the liberties of Members of this House have been outraged, and the performance of their constitutional duties rendered impossible; whereby hundreds of Your Majesty's subjects in Ireland are detained in prison without trial or the right of Habeas Corpus, many of them on the alleged suspicion of offences for which, even if duly tried and found guilty, they could not have been subjected to punishment as severe as that which they have already undergone; whereby the lawful organisation of the Irish tenantry has been arbitrarily suppressed at a most critical moment, when its maintenance was essential to the due protection of their legal rights, while the organisation of the Irish landlords against those rights has been encouraged and supported; whereby ladies engaged in the work of public charity have been threatened, harassed, and imprisoned under obsolete statutes and on nominal pretexts; whereby the liberty of the Press has been illegally interfered with, the right of free speech, of public meeting, and of lawful consti- tutional agitation has been abrogated; whereby innocent persons have been killed and wounded by the armed forces of the Crown; whereby the verdicts of coroners' juries, incriminating the agents of the Executive, have been disregarded; whereby large districts of the Country have been placed under a system of quasi-martial Law; whereby rewards have been offered by the Government for secret information as to crimes to be committed, tending to the demoralisation of the people and the creation of perjured evidence against innocent persons; which action generally has caused in the minds of the people of Ireland a profound distrust of the execution of the Law; and humbly to assure Your Majesty that an immediate abandonment of all coercive measures, and the establishment of constitutional government in Ireland, with full recognition of the rights and liberties of the Irish people, are essentially necessary for the peace and prosperity of that realm and of the United Kingdom."—(Mr. Justin M'Carthy.)

Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."

Debate resumed.


said, he rose to support the Amendment which his hon. Friend the Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) had brought before the House. That Amendment had been described as a long indictment against the Government; it was a long indictment, but it did not contain a single superfluous word. Every clause in it expressed a crime against public right, and every crime stood verified, not by reasonable suspicion, but by absolute and widespread public knowledge. That debate, while it was ostensibly occupied with large questions of public policy, had resolved itself into a deliberate, sustained, and venomous attack on his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork—an absent man. They had heard a pathetic account of the struggle between the infant Hercules and the serpent; but, so far, the conflict of that debate had lain between the Treasury Bench and the Member for the City of Cork; it had lain between a dozen free men and one man, whom, before the conflict began, they had carefully manacled and gagged. There had been two classes of speeches in that debate to which he would invite brief attention. In one of those classes those who were concerned with the Land League were accused of complicity in and moral responsibility for the most serious and the most odious crimes. He had experienced on this occasion what he had before observed, that the most solemn and the most exalted references to public morality came from those Gen- tlemen who were reading out of their briefs. The hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland, fresh from the breezy and moral atmosphere of the Four Courts and fresh from the elevating experience of the Deny Election, had taken upon himself to lecture the House upon public morality. He spoke of the height of soul and the elevation of idea; but he (Mr. Sexton) would not delay the House to inquire how far height of soul and elevation of idea were evidenced at the Derry Election, nor would he delay to inquire how far they ought to be lectured upon the ethics of rent by a Gentleman who, if he might borrow a metaphor from an humble but a useful class of trade, had consented to appear at the Derry Election as the Cheap Jack of the Liberal Party. He would turn to another class—to the speeches of those who were the advocates and spokesmen of the landlord party in that House. The position of the landlord party upon this discussion was one extremely simple. They resented any attempts, the slightest, the most partial interference with their historic right and privilege of arbitrarily plundering their tenants. That was precisely the state of the case. Their class found an adequate spokesman in the person of the hon. and gallant Member for Leitrim County (Mr. Tottenham). That hon. and gallant Member proceeded to interest the House in the beautiful spectacle afforded by 3,000 landlords in Dublin who were quite unanimous in the question to dip their hands into somebody else's pockets. [Cries of "No!"] Well, yes, either the pockets of the tenants or of the State. It mattered nothing to landlords so long as it was a pocket and so long as it had something in it. The hon. and gallant Gentleman was horrified by the theory that a "live and thrive" policy was to prevail in reference to the Irish tenants. They could well understand the opposition of the hon. and gallant Gentleman to such a Motion, because they had good reason to believe that upon his property in the County Leitrim every form of ingenious despotism and every kind of mean exaction prevailed. He happened to know that the charitably disposed in other parts of Ireland were sending clothes to cover the naked bodies of his evicted tenants. The present debate, instead of dealing with grave matters of policy, had re- solved itself into an attack upon his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork, and he might say that attacks upon that hon. Gentleman were synonymous with attacks upon the Land League. They had been told that the objects of the Land League were plunder and confiscation, and its instruments outrage and intimidation, and some right hon. and hon. Gentlemen had even said murder. It was difficult for a man of any sensibility, or of any moral sense, to rise in that House and undertake the task of defending an organization on behalf of which the fiercest prejudices of a people ignorant of Ireland had been excited by the most ingenious statesmen and the greatest masters of oratorical art. He undertook to say he could speedily prove to the House that their description of the Land League had been violently and wantonly removed from truth. What, as a general rule, was the description of the class of Irish landlords? It was a familiar fact that they were planted upon the soil of Ireland by confiscation; and it was a fact equally familiar that in the centuries which had since elapsed they had never in any sense allied themselves to the people; that they had never ceased to be an alien class, never interested themselves in the welfare of their tenants, and had merely performed the functions of rent-warners, and stood today as a class as alien to the interests of Ireland as they were the first day that confiscation planted them there. They were as a body an embarrassed, a deeply-involved body of men; and even in the ease of some of them who might have been unwilling to act harshly, they had been, by a compulsion derived from the evil days of their forefathers, forced to be so. He had recently become acquainted with some facts that would explain his meaning to the House. For the eight years succeeding the passing of the Encumbered Estates Court Act, the area of Irish land sold in the Courts was 3,500,000 acres, the rental of these lands was £1,250,000, while the scheduled encumbrances upon them amounted to £36,000,000. Thus it would be seen that the landlords of these estates, with a rental of £1,250,000, were liable for the interest on encumbrances which amounted to £2,000,000 per annum. Any thoughtful man would see that the existence of the tenants of these men must have been a life-long agony. One of the advantages which was expected from the Landed Estates Court was that it would do away with the rollicking spendthrift landlord, and replace him by a man of more commercial principles; but, instead of that, it had added a new curse, for he was succeeded by the Ebenezer Scrooge, who had made his money over the counter, and who went into the business of landlord with a gaming spirit as a commercial speculation, and determined to extort the last penny the soil could afford. Now, how did the Land League take its rise? The House was aware that in the three years previous to the year 1879 the harvest had been bad beyond the memory of man. The bulk of the tenants were driven to the village moneylender—to the gombeen man; they were unable to pay their rents, or any debts; they were unable to procure the barest necessaries of life, and were forced to pawn even their clothes and the poor and miserable furniture of their families in order to live. In this extreme crisis the landlords showed no disposition to give mercy to the people. He challenged contradiction of this statement. Evictions and notices to quit flew about like snowflakes, and tenants were cast out in such numbers that nothing could be expected or looked for but national revolution. The landlords not only abstained from any work of mercy, but scorned to take advantage of the loans offered by the State; and those who did get loans in many instances had the cynicism and heartlessness to spend those loans for purposes other than those for which they were borrowed. It was then that the Land League came into existence, and but for the Land League there would have been something like guerilla war in the country. What were the objects of that League, for, although proclaimed as an illegal assembly, it had not morally ceased to exist, and had not practically ceased to exist, and would one day resume its active existence? Its objects were two, and were plainly stated upon its card of membership. Its first object was to put an end to rack-renting and eviction and landlord oppression. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister professed to have attained that object by his Land Act; but he was one of those who thought he had not been successful. The second object of the League was to enable the tenants to become, on fair terms, the owners of the soil. This had been called rapine, plunder, revolution; but he must confess that he was not only amused but bewildered when he heard statesmen of experience, who must be aware of the exact causes and progress of agrarian reform in every country, express themselves in these terms concerning propositions which were not only feasible, but had recently actually been carried out in practice in that country in Europe—Prussia—which was the most peaceful, the most successful, and the most powerful on the Continent. He had said that the right hon. Gentleman had succeeded in carrying out the first object of the Land League; and he could tell the right hon. Gentleman that the time would come, and it was not far distant, when he or some other statesman in his place would recognize the necessity for carrying out the second object of the Land League. If a statesman could not be found to do so on the Government side of the House, one would be found on the Conservative side to do so; because the landlords of Ireland, who were not as dull as they were obstinate, had discovered that the "no rent" manifesto meant a great deal—namely, that the principle that it embodied rested not in the fixing or the reduction of rents as much as on the severing the landlords from the soil by fair and equitable terms of purchase. In the document which was originally put forth by the Land League in 1879 this latter object was clearly stated, it being announced that the purchasing out of the landlords should be effected on the basis of a 20 years' valuation. He was not so certain that that offer would be repeated now; but at that time, at all events, it formed one of the planks of the platform of the Land League. He must, therefore, confess that there was some reason in the arguments put forward by hon. Members on his side of the House to show that the right hon. Gentleman, if he moved in the matter at all, should have taken action against the Land League much sooner than he did. On the part of Her Majesty's Government spasmodic and hysterical efforts had been made to prove that the Land League was now something very different from what it had been when it was first originated. He, however, denied that any change whatever had taken place in either the policy, the principles, or the mode of action of the Land League. An attempt had been made to identify the Land League with the outrages that had occurred in certain parts of Ireland; but it did not require much knowledge of history to know that whenever any men in any country became troublesome to a strong Government, whenever they set themselves to abolish abuses in which vested interests were concerned, they must expect to be calumniated, traduced, and to have their every action misconstrued. When the Government attributed to the Land League complicity with outrages, let them remember of whom that body consisted. It consisted of a number of the Members of that House, of the principal agriculturists, and of the professional men in Ireland. Anybody looking over the roll of members of the Land League must recognize at once that the accusation which coupled these names with outrage and crime was farcical and wanton in the extreme. How were the local branches constituted generally? At the head of these branches would be found the parish priest, supported by the assistant clergy; while the managing committees consisted in the towns of the most successful merchants, and in the rural parishes of the most respectable farmers. He had personal knowledge of the members of the Land League in nearly every town in Ireland, and he assured the House, upon his honour, that what he stated was the exact truth. How could it be conceived that such men would identify themselves with outrages? And yet these were the men whom the Government, acting under the powers of an Act directed against miscreants and midnight assassins, had thrown into prison. A good deal had been said about "Boycotting." The system of "Boycotting" had not been the invention of the Land League; on the contrary, it had existed in Ireland long before the Land League was established, as it had existed in other countries. It was not confined to any social grade. They understood it in Pall Mall quite as well as in Mayo. There was an irresistible instinct in the human mind which drove men suffering under a sense of wrong to resort to that method of expressing their feelings. Among the rules of the Land League were two, upon which it mainly depended for its success. One was that no tenant should act singly on the question of rent; but that as the despotic power of the landlord had always sprung out of the fact that he took the tenants one by one and isolated them, the tenants, to paralyze this power, should band themselves together, and offer him what the needy times in which they lived enabled them to afford; and the other rule was that no tenant should take a farm from which another tenant had been evicted. The pivot upon which the old system of tyranny turned, and on which the landlord power in Ireland rested, arose from the fierce and hungry competition for land which existed in the country. Whenever a farm fell vacant, no matter through what injustice, no matter what was the rent asked for it, some miserable creature, driven to his wits' ends for the moans of living, was willing to come forward, and, in competition with others of his class, to offer, or least to promise, whatever rent the landlord asked. So long as that system was allowed to continue, the landlords had the matter entirely in their own hands; while upon the other side of the question there was a body of tenants hard-worked, without requital for their labour, miserable, oppressed, anxious, and discontented. The Land League established a rule based upon voluntary action. The tenants should not isolate themselves on the question of rent, but should act together, and that no tenant should take a farm from which another had been unjustly evicted. It was in reference to the last part of the rule that the device of "Boycotting" came into force, because there were still men who could persist in acting against the interests of the tenants, and the tenants concurred in using it, and he conceived, and should always assert it, that they were perfectly justified. ["No, no!"] When any man acted against their interest, and preferred his own selfish ends to the public good, they were, he repeated, justified in socially discountenancing such a man; they were justified in refusing to hold intercourse with him, and, he would add, they were justified in refusing to work for him, because, in obedience to his own selfish interest, he had proclaimed himself a public enemy. If the people of Ireland had any rational method of expressing their wishes and preserving and guarding their interests by laws made by themselves, he should be very slow to say that any individual man in such a community should be sub- jected to anything which might be called persecution; but when the Irish people had no such right, when they were represented simply by a few men in that House who could be voted down at any moment; that when they had practically no effective existence within the bounds of the Constitution, what were they to do? Were they to suffer sneaks and traitors of that kind to do what they pleased, and to perpetuate a bad and tyrannical system, which made every tenant the slave and serf of the landlord? No; the "Boycotting" system, so long as it was confined to social discountenancing and to negative action, was a rule not only necessary for the success of the movement, but thoroughly justified on grounds of expediency and even morals. He claimed that on the authority of the Land League, and by the sanction of its prominent members, "Boycotting" could never be advanced an inch beyond the sphere of negative action; and the Land League had as little to do with "Boycotting" which included outrage and crime as it had to do with the transit of Venus. The Land League never required for the success of its movement the universal obedience of Ireland. There was plenty of room for dissensions. They desired that there should be complete liberty of action; and if the hon. Member for Galway looked through his speeches—[Mr. MITCHELL HENRY: I have done so.] The hon. Member knew the truth of what he (Mr. Sexton) said. If he looked through his speeches, he would find strewn through them broadcast adjurations to the people to confine themselves to the wise and sufficient rules of the Land League. He did that because he desired to keep the movement within the recognized bounds of morals. They had been told by the right hon. Gentleman, who was a great interpreter of hidden meanings, which nobody but himself could discover, that the Land League had desired that these outrages should take place in order to enforce their decrees. That was far from being the fact, because these outrages had endangered their whole movement, and had given the Government an excuse for coercion. He asked hon. Members to consider what would have happened in Ireland if there had been no Land League. Evidently, if there had been no Land League there would have been no Land Act. Could anyone doubt that fact? [Mr. MITCHELL HENRY: I do.] The hon. Member for Galway seemed to be alone in his opinion; but the truth of the matter was that when the Prime Minister, two years ago, outlined a great number of subjects of legislation, the Irish Land Question was certainly not included in the list. In the first Session of the present Parliament the Irish Members had introduced a small Bill, a Bill of respite, intended to save certain Irish. tenants from the ruin of eviction. The right hon. Gentleman had passed it through the House, so to speak, at the point of the bayonet; but neither he nor the other Members of the Government had shown any desire to deal with the question when the Bill was summarily thrown out by the House of Lords. On the contrary, they contemplated the situation with the utmost meekness, and, but for the Land League, would not have moved further in the matter. The position now was this—that, whereas up to October last the Government had. looked on with complacency, if not with pleasure, at the agitation sustained by the Land League—an agitation necessary for the furtherance and completion of their legislative designs—the moment their infant Hercules found his way into the world the natural parental fondness asserted itself, and the League, which had hitherto been regarded as a useful ally, was treated as an enemy. Why? They had been told that it sometimes happened that the leading advocates of reform became the enemies of reform when it was granted. They were not the enemies of reform. They were willing and anxious to take out of the Land Act whatever benefit it contained; but their crime, in the eyes of the Government, was that they did not choose to bend the knee before Cæsar. They did not accept the fruit of the Prime Minister's intellect as a final settlement of the Irish Land Question; they rather strove for that second object declared in 1879—the abolition of landlordism in Ireland. It was for that object they had been proclaimed, denounced, imprisoned, and maligned in that House and in every part of the country. One entertaining feature in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland was his references to America. America was a very favourite topic with the right hon. Gentlemen on the front of the Treasury Benches when speaking about the Land League. They seemed to think it a strange and melancholy dispensation of fate that there should be another Ireland in America. Why was there another Ireland in America? Because the Governments which in succession had sat upon the Treasury Benches had been participators in the criminal and wicked course by which the Irish landlords denied the Irish people a home in their own land. For many a year and many a generation the Irish people had seen the rooftree overturned by the crowbar; had been driven out on the roadside and away in the emigrant ship; had been driven penniless, wretched, and desperate, to find a living at the end of the earth. They had gone forth with two feelings strong in their hearts—despairing love of their country that they never again would see, and fierce eternal hate of the Government of England. And the right hon. Gentleman wondered that these men should have gone forth cursing the Irish landlords and the English Government, and that they, when a movement was on foot in Ireland to emancipate those whom they left behind to suffer from the system which exiled them, should now send their contributions to Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman said he must count upon the contributions of those exiles as a factor in the Irish movement. "He must digest the venom of this gall, though it should split him." The right hon. Gentleman held them responsible for the writings of The Irish World. Well, The Irish World had undoubtedly sent some portions of the funds which had maintained the Irish Land League; but The Irish World was not the sole contributor to the funds. Contributions had poured in from various parts of America, and through various channels; and if the right hon. Gentleman took sufficient interest in the Land League to observe the subscriptions for the past month, he might have seen that they amounted to over £20,000, the largest amount ever yet subscribed in a single month, and he would have seen that by far the largest portion of that amount came from other sources than The Irish World. He was not responsible, neither was the hon. Member for Cork City, nor even the Land League responsible, for anything written by The Irish World, or by any other American newspaper. They were responsible for the written and avowed principles of the Land League, and for nothing else. The right hon. Gentleman said that Government was driven into the course which they had adopted against the Land League. They believed that otherwise the law would have become powerless, that industry would be impossible in Ireland, and that liberty could not have existed. But, in a later part of his speech, the right hon. Gentleman answered himself, because he said that the state of the relations between landlord and tenant in Ireland and the system of land tenure was such that quiet was impossible, that industry could not thrive, and that reform could not be attained. It was rather too soon for the right hon. Gentleman to presume upon the adequacy of the infant Hercules to cope with the evils of such a system, especially as there was every reason to believe that this infant was in a galloping consumption. Some hon. Members and the House were, perhaps, aware that on the arrest of his hon. Friend, Mr. Dillon, in the month of April, he assumed the direction of the Land League; and as he was one of those who had been charged by the right hon. Gentleman with moral responsibility for crime of various degrees of enormity, up even to the highest crime, he thought it might be well if he asked the House to attend for a few moments while he exhibited a few brief extracts from his published speeches to show the spirit in which the Land League was conducted during the final months of its career. Addressing the meeting of the League on the 17th of May—and he desired to remark that he was at the time responsible to the Executive of the Land League for the direction of its public policy—he said— Our marvellous success is strong from the fact that our principles have been sound, our statements accurate, our objects laudable and necessary for the public good, and that the means which we have put forward for the attainment of those objects were such as neither in morality nor in justice can be questioned. Again, on the the 31st May, addressing the League, he said— The Government know that this organization sprang into existence because of an imperative necessity. They know it asks nothing but what public necessity demands, and they know it proposes no means for the furtherance of its objects but the means that religion and conscience and morality approve of. Then, referring to the arrest of his friend, John O'Connor, he said— I will say there was no man in the community who by nature and by training, by conviction and by the habit of his life, was so truly the friend of public peace, or a more sincere champion of public order. And then he went on to urge the people to be prudent, and to express his confident reliance on the constitutional character of the League, which they were determined to maintain to the end. On the 7th June, the Rev. Mortimer O'Connor, parish priest of Ballybunion, in the County Kerry, occupied the chair at the meeting of the League, and said— I established a branch of the Land League in my parish and became its president. Every householder in the parish, farmer, labourer, and tradesman, joined it, with the result that the most perfect tranquillity prevails and serious crime is altogether unknown. The restraining influence of the League was clearly visible. The same is the tone of the surrounding parishes. It also applies in a greater or less extent to Munster. Should the Government suppress this organization, which walks openly in the light of day, and hides nothing, the population will be brought face to face with the armed forces of the realm. Perhaps that was what the right hon. Gentleman desired. Without restraining or controlling influences in their struggle for existence our suffering fellow-countrymen will be driven into a course which reason and religion alike condemns. On the same day he (Mr. Sexton), addressing the Land League, said— There was a duty now upon every man who had any influence with the people to advise them to self-control, and that every man should feel it his sacred duty to act as if the safety and welfare of the people depended upon his labour. And yet he was told that the League was an organization which depended upon intimidation and outrage. On the 14th June, Mr. John Ferguson, of Glasgow, occupied the chair at the meeting of the League, and he said— They intended to work this movement out on the lines of constitutional agitation—by brain and tongue, and, what had never been tried in Ireland before, the powers which the trades union organization gave them. It might be interesting to the House to know that at the end of July the League, on his motion, so strongly did he feel an interest in the preservation of social order in Ireland, passed a resolution adjuring the Catholics of Ulster not to interfere with the Orangemen on the occasion of the Orange anniversary, the result being that the celebration passed off as quietly as possible. The Catholics of Ulster obeyed that request, and, for the first time for many years, there was no breach of the peace in the province of Ulster at that Orange anniversary. He had not heard that the economy of public finance thus procured by the Land League had been acknowledged by the Government. On the 28th of June he said at a meeting of the League— We will use every power within the boundary of admitted right, and we will use it firmly in the assertion of our rights to live in our own native land. On the 5th July he said— I am proud to be able to claim for the Land League that, for the first time in the history of Ireland, it has effectually interfered between those two sections of the people in the North of Ireland who had been kept apart by class prejudice and hate. On the same day he further said, alluding to an arrest that had been made— He was not only a leader of the people in the South, but applies a thoughtful nature and powerful intellect to the repression of the passions of the people, which might lead to violence and crime. The Government knew this well, and knew also that in his speeches he conveyed that the peaceful objects of the League were sufficient. The Government, feeling it was not within the scope of possibility to accuse my friend of inciting to violence, availed themselves of a clause, the cowardly purpose of which was apparent to the Irish Members while the Bill was passing through the House, and arrested him for treasonable practices. The Government, he would now add, exercised that clause in a far more conspicuous cause. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had, immediately before this date, made a speech in which he had endeavoured, as he endeavoured now by hints and shrugs and anonymous placards and bits cut out of newspapers, to associate the Land League with outrage; and this was his (Mr. Sexton's) reply— Sir William Harcourt has condemned the Land League. He has endeavoured to give it a character which might prove most suitable for any purpose of repression which might be entertained by the Government. But how had he arrived at this conclusion? Had he judged the Land League by its articles and associations, or by its published rules? Had he judged it by the modes of action it had urged upon the people? Had he judged it by the speeches of its responsible members, or by the course of the movement, carried on as it had been in the face of heaven and the world? No. But he had gone about—as the right hon. and learned Gentleman had since gone about—like a political scavenger, even to the ends of the earth, sweeping up here a sentence from some speech, and there a sentence from some newspaper. The most inconsiderable trifle was welcome if it could only contribute to increase the heap of rubbish. At the last meeting of the League which he attended, immediately before his illness, he defined, in a few words, what he conceived to be the foundation of those test cases, which had come into violent denunciation so much of late. He said— The object of the League was to select those test cases which, upon a view of the condition of the country and the state of the various classes of tenants, will put the question before the Court in the form best calculated to serve the country, and to make known the real point and meaning of the Act. At the last meeting of the League ever held—the meeting at which the manifesto was read—that was the 19th of October—the chair was taken by an ecclesiastic as eminent, as able, and as virtuous as any of whom Ireland could boast—the Rev. James Cantwell, the administrator of the archdiocese of Cashel; and here they had the last words ever spoken on the platform of the League. He said— I appeal and exhort each one of you, in conclusion, that you yourselves, and, so far as your influence goes over others, will abstain from using violence of any sort in the country. Our position is passive resistance. We are an unarmed people, and every man of sense who loves his country, who wishes to do nothing to bring disgrace and injury upon it, will do all he can to prevent violent action. With these words the legal existence of the League terminated; and these words were spoken by an eminent and virtuous clergymen from the chair of the association, who had been denounced as the aider and abettor of outrages and intimidation. These words, he said, the last ever spoken in connection with the League, would remain upon its records to the latest day in defiance of calumny and in repulse of falsehood. The right hon. Gentleman told them that he should not have arrested the hon. Member for the City of Cork and the other Members of Parliament if they had confined themselves to giving advice; but in the face of all that had been said, in the face of the published proceedings of the League, in the face of its known, uncontradicted, and uncontradictable, peaceful, passive policy, he had discovered in some mysterious manner that the hon. Member for the City of Cork and the other Members were responsible not only for advice, but for threats—not merely for threats, but for outrages. He confessed he was utterly unable to follow the course of reasoning by which the right hon. Gentleman arrived at his conclusion. He arrived at it, as he had just said, by the method of the political scavenger. Mr. Parnell said at the Tyrone Election, and the right hon. Gentleman thought he had made a great discovery, that the end and object of the Land League was the abolition of all rent, and the making of the people the owners of the land. He asked what was there novel in that? He might have found precisely the same thing in any speech of Mr. Parnell's delivered three years ago—and what was the impropriety of such a statement, provided it was accompanied, as it was on the Land League platform, with the statement that the landlords should be severed from the soil by purchase on fair and equitable terms? Mr. Parnell said in order to carry out the policy of the League it would be necessary to keep evicted farms vacant. The right hon. Gentleman professed to believe that this involved some violence, some threats, illegal and secret action. Certainly not. The League from the beginning relied, and had reason to rely, upon the sufficiency of social opinion, and the negative system of "Boycotting," to keep those farms vacant. The right hon. Gentleman contested indignantly the notion that Mr. Parnell was arrested because of his reply to the Prime Minister. He (Mr. Sexton) could assure him that a widespread suspicion to that effect existed amongst the Irish people. Mr. Parnell replied to the Premier upon the 9th of October, and upon the 13th of October Mr. Parnell was arrested. There was just sufficient time for communication between the two right hon. Gentlemen who sat side by side upon the Treasury Bench; and the prevailing opinion was that if Mr. Parnell had not denounced the Prime Minister as a coercionist and a slanderer of the Irish people, he might have enjoyed a somewhat longer term of liberty. If Mr. Parnell was not arrested upon the ground of his reply to the Prime Minister, why was it that they had no explanation of the arrest of Mr. Dillon? It was a curious coincidence that only four days elapsed between Mr. Parnell's reply and the Prime Minister's Leeds speech and his arrest, and four days between Mr. Dillon's speech spurning the praises of the Prime Minister and his arrest. He would now say a few words about the warrants for treasonable practices. Treasonable practice was an exceedingly useful bogey. If the average British mind was not sufficiently frightened by the state of affairs in Ireland to swallow anything the Government might propose, the issue of two or three warrants for treasonable practice made everything easy and plain. The warrant was not served upon Mr. Parnell until he had been three days in gaol. There were 17 days between the 26th of September, when the alleged treasonable speech was delivered, and the 13th of October, when Mr. Parnell was arrested, and he maintained that the idea of serving a warrant for treasonable practice was an afterthought. When it became necessary to persuade the British mind of the terrible condition of affairs in Ireland the idea of making the charge of treasonable practice occurred to the Government. Upon what was that charge founded? Upon two or three lines in a speech delivered in a moment of great excitement at a torchlight meeting in the City of Dublin. The hon. Member for the City of Cork said—"The spirit which had been raised in Ireland could never die." For his own part he hoped and believed that it never would die. He was glad to say that in the House of Commons, and he should be ready to say it as soon as he returned to Ireland. The spirit which had been raised in Ireland was a spirit which for the full development and furtherance of the object it sought needed no concern with treason or treasonable practices. For the satisfaction of that spirit there was ample scope within the bounds of our Constitution. Mr. Parnell urged his hearers not to cease in their agitation till the detestable alien rule of the "buckshot" Government, which had kept the country impoverished, had been got rid of. Well, he most earnestly shared that hope. He trusted the speech of the Prime Minister a few days ago foreshadowed the time when all politicians in this country and the bulk of the British people would perceive that, for the harmony of public life and the safety of their interests, it was desirable and necessary that what the hon. Member for the City of Cork denounced as alien rule should be got rid of in Ireland, and that the affairs of Ireland should be managed and directed by native rule alone. Mr. Parnell concluded his speech in these terms— We shall not permit ourselves to be tempted for one instant beyond our strength. We are warned by the history of the past that we must fight within the lines of the Constitution. Was it ever heard of before that a warrant for treasonable practice should be served on a man for a speech in which he openly declared that he intended to fight the movement by means recognized by law and within the bounds of the Constitution? Out of the mouth of the hon. Member for the City of Cork he convicted the Chief Secretary of a false and malicious arrest. He himself enjoyed the honour of a brace of warrants. The first proclaimed that he had incited some people to intimidate some other people not to do something which the other people had a right to do. The second said that he had been guilty of treasonable practices. He awaited the opening of the Session with considerable curiosity, expecting to be favoured with some intelligible account of the reason for so formidable a charge. The right hon. Gentleman, of course, endeavoured to eke out a miserable ease by saying it was a treasonable practice to make an organized attempt to replace the Queen's Courts by other Courts. Such an idea never for a moment entered into the conception of the Land League. Indeed, he should show that the Land League and the hon. Member for the City of Cork actually intended to use the Queen's Courts in the most judicious, the most rapid, and the most inexpensive manner. They wished to know as soon as possible how much the Land Act meant as a measure of reform and relief for the different classes of tenants in Ireland. He now came to the charge of treasonable practices against himself. Between May and October he delivered about 100 speeches in Dublin and other parts of Ireland; but he was arrested because of one line in a speech delivered in the open air at a moment of great excitement to an immense torchlight meeting. What he said was that Dublin had broken loose from the lion and the unicorn, and had arrayed itself that evening under the banner of the sham-rook and the harp. He did not suppose at the time that those animals, the lion and the unicorn, were so sacred in the theory of the British Constitution. He might say with perfect accuracy that at the moment of making that allusion he was not thinking of the Parliamentary or other relations between Great Britain and Ireland. Indeed, he was not thinking of Ireland at all. He was thinking of certain social aspects of life in the City of Dublin, where the lion and the unicorn were seen over the shops of the Castle tradesmen, and thus appeared to be the types of a certain slavishness and toadyism; for the Castle balls, where all the slavish elements of the community congregated, were held out as inducements to those who could be tempted from the popular side. He jocularly described the torchlight meeting as a happy departure from the old meetings in Dublin and as a great and patriotic gathering of the people. If it were a jocular remark it was rather a serious joke for him, because the right hon. Gentleman smelt treason in it. He was consequently taken out of bed, taken to Kilmainham, put into bed there, and kept there for 18 days in bed, so that he had ample opportunity of experiencing that philanthropy which, they were told, so distinguished the character of the Chief Secretary, which had been celebrated by the Leader of the Government in language which was likely to earn for the right hon. Gentleman an enduring fame. The right hon. Gentleman would have a more enduring monument than brass or marble, and not only his name but his memory would hereafter be held in unchangeable execration. He would add one sentence. Although the condition of his health when he was taken to Kilmainham might have earned the consideration of even a sterner gaoler, the right hon. Gentleman took advantage of it to deny him the ordinary privilege of visits from his friends. They came and were allowed to stand from 11 to 5 waiting, and because he could not go into the visiting cell they were not allowed to see him. He was, he was proud to say, one of those who signed the "no rent" manifesto, and in consequence the right hon. Gentleman imposed another penalty, and condemned him to seven days' solitary confinement, by not allowing any fellow-prisoners to visit him. Thus, under the régime of the right hon. Gentleman—the Philanthropist who spent his youth in the hovels and the cabins, but whose age was spent in reversing the conduct of his youth—he suffered seven days' solitary imprisonment, and suffered indignities and pains which he should hesitate to describe to the House. He would mention, however, that on one occasion the hon. Member for the City of Cork was obliged to leave his cell because the hon. Member for Roscommon had left immediately before, and for nameless reasons it was against the rule to allow his friend to remain. Those were the rules which, under the Philanthropist's régime, were applied to prisoners who had been arrested on false and fraudulent pretences. He thought the right hon. Gentleman, who so signalized and so unhappily distinguished himself, would hereafter be remembered by the Irish peasantry and people as a sort of clumsy Cromwell—a sort of commonplace Cromwell—a man who had all the spirit and all the will to tyrannize without Cromwell's capacity or genius. He would next refer to the charges against the hon. Member for the City of Cork. The main charge was his policy in respect of the Land Act, and he (Mr. Sexton) proposed to make it clear to the House what the hon. Gentleman's policy really was, and how little it deserved the denunciations that had been levelled against it. Mr. Parnell explained his policy in a speech delivered on the 15th of September, at the Convention in Dublin, not only with regard to the Land Act, but also to the National Question. When ulterior objects were imputed to Mr. Parnell, he would say that every Irishman worthy of the name had "ulterior objects" in view. Mr. Parnell himself and other associates of the Land League regarded the land movement as only a stepping-stone to that union of classes which would lead to the restoration of the rights of Ireland; but they denied that those ulterior objects involved any reproach. They consisted in the performance and consummation of a patriotic duty, and within the lines which had been laid down for them by the most eminent authorities they would fight for these ulterior objects to the end. Mr. Parnell expressed his belief that as long as the question of how much rent the tenant should pay remained in dispute, it would prove a source of discontent and enmity between the classes of the country. Michael Davitt, he further declared, truly saw that the first step to be taken towards the recovery of their legislative independence was the abolition of landlordism. It was not, said Mr. Parnell, a question of novel or condemnable revolution; it was a question of regaining the rights of the Irish people, and recovering their legislative independence. Mr. Parnell had been subject to fierce attacks, because it was said that he proposed to reduce the rental of Ireland from £17,000,000 to £2,000,000 or £3,000,000. But he only used the figures £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 to point out what the tenant had done, and he intimated that some intermediate point between £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 and £17,000,000 might be fixed upon by way of compromise, and as "a just and fitting medium." Then he went on to speak of the necessity of securing to the tenant all his improvements, even beyond 30 years' past, and of presuming that unless the landlord could prove that he had executed them they were the tenant's. He proceeded to quote the language of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, used during the passage of the recent Act through Parliament, to the effect that nine-tenths of the land of Ireland would be as bare of houses and gardens and cultivation, but for the labour of the tenants, as an American prairie; that nine-tenths of the houses, land, gardens, fences, whatever was called cultivation, was put there by the labours and at the expense of the tenants, and not at the expense of the landlords. Then Mr. Parnell, after thus quoting the right hon. Gentleman, went on to say that the Land Act just passed gave one-tenth of his improvements to the tenant, and it would be their duty to struggle to obtain from the Legislature of Great Britain the remaining nine-tenths, to which, according to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, they were entitled. The estimate of £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 might be considered extravagant, but unquestionably the extravagance and the responsibility of the statement lay with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. If the declaration of that right hon. Gentleman was carried into effect the result would be something like a reduction of the rent roll of Ireland from £17,000,000 to £2,000,000 or £3,000,000. To illustrate the manner in which rents had been raised upon the tenants' improvements, he would give the evidence as to the history of one estate of a well-known land agent, Mr. Townshend Trench. Mr. Trench represented the case as a typical and by no means unusual one. In 1606 the estate in question was leased by the Earl of Essex at a rent of £250. In 1692 it was divided into moieties, each producing £ 1,300 a year. In 1769 the rental had risen to £8,000, and in 1843, 74 years later, to £40,000. What made that five-fold increase in value during those years? It was the labour of the tenant, and nothing that the landlord had done. Taking the Healy Clause in conjunction with the declaration of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, he confessed he was amazed and bewildered to account not merely for the imprisonment of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, but for the charges of public immorality which had been made against him. The Healy Clause, which received the assent of both Houses of Parliament, declared that no rent should be made payable for improvements executed by the tenant or his predecessors in title unless they had been compensated for them by the landlord. According to the reading of the lawyers, who were guided by the Act of 1870, that should not extend farther back than 30 years. Why should it not? Why should it not apply to improvements made 100 years ago, as well as improvements made yesterday? But the hon. Member for the City of Cork did not see in the reduction of the rental of Ireland to £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 the final solution of the Land Question. The final solution, he believed, would be the abolition of landlordism by purchase; and he mentioned £2,000,000 or £3,000,000, as the sum to which the rental might be reduced, for the purpose of making more clear the untenable position of the landlords of Ireland. If the rights of the landlords of Ireland were represented by such a small figure, it was to the interest of every one of them to put an end to the landlords' interest in the soil of Ireland. With reference to the test cases, Mr. Parnell, in one of his speeches, said that they were necessary in order to show the landlords and the farmers what scale would be fixed if any application were made to the Court. He also had said that now the Act had become law it must be dealt with to the best advantage. Notwithstanding that statement, the hon. Member for the City of Cork had been thrown into prison for endeavouring to thwart the operation of the Act. Mr. Parnell had also said that his object in bringing these test cases was in order to get the Court to fix the rent as low as possible. A further object that the hon. Member for the City of Cork had in view was, by selecting average cases, to ascertain at the earliest moment what would be the amount of benefit afforded by the Act to the general body of the tenantry of Ireland. They had felt that if cases of rack-renting were first introduced to the Court, and first dealt with, such large reductions would be made that the Court would acquire a false reputation, the effect of which would be to induce the tenants in large numbers to rush into the Court and be miserably deceived. That had, in fact, happened, and 70,000 suitors had already appeared because the Government, instead of listening to the wisely and carefully considered policy of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, and permitting the Court first to deal with the average rental of the country, silenced Mr. Parnell, extinguished the Land League, and left the Court to deal with cases of rack-rent, and had thus generated false hopes among the general body of the tenants. The tenants were thus induced to rush in tens of thousands into Court and to involve themselves in legal costs which already had terribly aggravated their position. It had been said that the issue of the manifesto was due to the arrest of the hon. Member for the City of Cork. That was a complete fabrication. It was due to the practical suppression of the Land League. He had been amused to hear the controversy the other night between the two front Benches upon the question whether the Land League was suppressed when the Land Act came into operation. The Land League was not suppressed by Lord Cowper's proclamation. That proclamation added nothing in effect to the arrests that had already taken place. Those arrests drove the Land League practically out of effective existence. Not only were the Members for the City of Cork, Tipperary, and Roscommon, and himself, put under restraint, but the junior Member for Queen's County became the subject of a warrant, which, however, was not executed. Warrants were also issued for the Members for Wexford and Cavan. The Member for the borough of Wexford (Mr. Healy) was then engaged in selecting those very cases which the Land League had proposed to put before the Court. Not only were the political Members of the League arrested, but the secretary and the clerks in the office, and the secretary's agents and managers who had been sent over all parts of the country for the purpose of selecting cases, were arrested and dragged into various prisons. The Government, with all the truculence of the Russian system of police, but without any of the Russian frankness, deprived the League of the means for carrying out the ordinary routine transactions. It therefore became plain to the Leaders of the League, before the issue of the manifesto, that the directing of a letter or an envelope or the sending of a telegram would lead to the arrest of any man. At the moment when they had prepared hundreds of test cases, and using the legal skill at the service of the League to put those cases before the Court in the most effective form—at that moment the Government, by a hypocritical and fatally effective policy, arrested the political, clerical, and business staff of the League; and it was a miserable fiction to say that the suppression of the League was re-reserved for the proclamation of the Lord Lieutenant. The Leaders of the League wanted in the first place to get the rents adjudicated upon, and secondly to secure the tenants against the expenditure of money in legal costs. The plan now in force was that every case in the Land Courts spoke for itself, and for nothing else. The plan of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, infinitely more economical and statesmanlike, was this—that test cases should be selected in every district, sometimes it might be the case of an estate on which the rents had been raised to confiscation of improvements, sometimes of a mountainous region on which the improvements were slight—at all events, their determination was to include examples of various descriptions of tenants in every part of Ireland. Their conviction was that when the test eases had been adjudicated upon, say to the number of 1,000 or 2,000, there would then be on record decisions of the Court which would enable the other landlords and tenants to see what would be the result of their own cases when they went into Court. In that way it was hoped that 2,000 or 3,000 cases would do the work of 200,000 or.300,000. Upon the day succeeding his arrest Mr. Parnell was interviewed by a reporter of The Freeman's Journal, who asked the hon. Member if his arrest would not have an effect on the policy which the League would then pursue. Let the House hearken to Mr. Parnell's answer, which was that he should expect the League to make no change in the policy which had been declared at the Convention, and that if the country would faithfully carry out that policy the whole of their requirements would be fulfilled. But when in the course of the succeeding days Mr. Parnell saw the deliberate character of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman, and his unmistakable determination to strike the League out of effective existence, and that the Leaders of the League could no longer raise hand or foot to help the tenants to bring their cases into Court, then, and only then, did the hon. Member for the City of Cork perceive the necessity for the manifesto described as "no rent." He (Mr. Sexton) was free to confess that he was one of those who had frequently urged the issue of that manifesto, and who must take the credit or blame, or responsibility, as the case might be, of having offered to the hon. Member some of those arguments which induced him to perceive the necessity of that manifesto. Now, he would charge the Chief Secretary with having taken from that manifesto and using them against Mr. Parnell words which it did not contain. It would be worth while for the House to listen to what the manifesto really said. The manifesto declared that this course—no rent—had been deliberately forced on the country while the Land Act was as yet untested, in order to strike down the only power which had extracted any solid benefit for the tenant farmers of Ireland from the Land Act. It also said that cases of an essential character which had been prepared with great labour—which he (Mr. Sexton) could well confirm—had been put down for adjudication in the Land Courts. He was aware that for many days preceding his arrest, Mr. Parnell sat far into the night elaborating the details of these cases, selecting with all the force of his intellect those which might most fairly and fully raise the cases of the tenants generally before Court. The manifesto continued in some such words as the following:—" We are obliged to announce to our countrymen that we no longer possess the machinery necessary for the adequate presentation of the test cases to the Court." The fact was that the Government had stopped the machinery, so that nothing was left to those who issued the document but to continue the war in the spirit in which it had been begun, and to strike their hardest blow in answer to the blow that had been struck by Her Majesty's Ministers. The manifesto went on to say that the Executive of the National Land League, being forced to abandon the policy of testing the Land Act, felt bound to advise the tenant-farmers of Ireland to pay no rent until the Government should relinquish a system of terrorism, and restore the constitutional rights of the people. At that moment the Prime Minister was petting the landlords, and aiding an association which had been established to defeat the claims of the tenants. The Lord Mayor of London, with a degree of enterprize not often noticeable among civic dignitaries, was establishing an association to help the Irish landlords to fight against and plunder their tenants. Every influence of the Government and of society was being brought in favour of the landlord, yet at that moment the League was suppressed, and insult was added to injury by the cowardly action taken towards it. What were the Leaders of the League to do? Were the tenants to submit to eviction or to rush into the Land Courts? No. They—the Leaders—perceived that the only hope of encountering that action among the landlords so graphically described last night was to cut off their supplies. Bitter experience had taught the people that the payment of rent to the landlords in any degree was in effect the formation and establishment of a fund for the eviction and extinction of the tenants. He hoped he had now made it plain that the "no rent" manifesto strictly limited the advice which it gave to the people, and that the period during which the advice was to be followed was a period limited by the discretion of the Government. Those who issued it placed themselves entirely in the hand of the Government, saying in effect,—"You have taken away from the unlettered ignorant peasantry the only defensive organization which they possessed. Force is all on your side, and you have thrown us into prison. All that we ask is that the contest may be equalized. Let your opponents take part in the struggle. Whenever you do this the manifesto will become a dead letter." Since the 20th of October last, it was within the power of the Government to have trusted to the merits of the Act in which they had believed so much, and the "no rent" policy—which was not intended to last until the last trumpet should sound—would have disappeared. The necessity for the issue of the manifesto had been abundantly proved by what had since occurred. Already, in the fourth month of its operation, the Land Act had proved a dismal failure. Even in the North of Ireland, in the Province of Ulster, where the farmers had never been affected by the Land League, great meetings had been held, uninfluenced by any revolutionary spirit, and guided only by a calm consideration of their interests; and declarations had been made that the Sub-Commissioners, in fixing and reducing rents, had not paid sufficient attention to the proper value of land in the different districts, or to the improvements of the tenants. The Land Act, he repeated, was a failure. It had failed having regard to the interests of the State, and it had also failed having regard to its effect upon the tenants. Up to last Christmas the cost of its operation was £90,000, and yet the Land Commission only dealt with £1,800 worth of rent in that time. How would the House receive the almost incredible fact that for every pound dealt with by the Land Commission before Christmas an expense of £50 was incurred by the State? If he were one of the economists on the Ministerialist side of the House he should shudder to think that there had been a reduction of only £400 in rents at a cost of £90,000 to the State. The game, then, was hardly worth the candle. Already only a few hundred cases had been dealt with by the Sub-Com- missioners, and nearly one-half of their decisions had been appealed against in the Superior Courts; and the miserable tenants who were not in a position to pay arrears of rent, how were they to pass from the lower to the higher Courts? If the Government had but been willing to tolerate a statesman outside the Cabinet, and if the plan of the hon. Member for Cork had been allowed to come into operation, all this would have been rendered unnecessary. One case only under the Land Act had reached the final Court of Appeal; and he believed that the landlords would be encouraged by the Lord Mayor of London, the Prime Minister, and the First Commissioner of Works, to pursue every decision to the final Court of Appeal before the practical effects of the Act would be allowed to be felt at all. In the vast majority of cases that would be the result. There was already in the Land Courts a glut of 70,000 or 80,000 cases, and there were fully 100,000 tenants who were in arrears of rent; and the First Commissioner of Works on the previous night thought that the landlords had the right to evict those tenants, although the Land Courts of the Government had decided that the rents being paid in Ireland were unjust and oppressive, and yet the Government provided no remedy for this state of things. What was now happening? The landlords were at that moment—[Sir HERVEY BRUCE: Instigated by the Government.]—yes; and supported by the First Commissioner of Works, and the infant Hercules, with its body guard of 60,000 troops, determined to evict those 100,000 poor tenants now in arrear. A more shameful thing never took place under any Government in Ireland. What, however, was happening? The landlords were evading the Land Act in this way:—Against a tenant who owed arrears the landlord had the right to issue a writ from one of the Superior Courts for the recovery of the arrears, the new Land Court not affording the tenant any redress. Well, the landlords were going to the tenants and threatening them by saying that if they should dare to apply to the Land Court they would surely be evicted from their holdings for the non-payment of their arrears. As for the clause relating to arrears in the Act, it was nothing more than a dead letter; for instead of being compulsory it was only optional, and the landlord might accept or refuse its provisions just as he pleased. He believed that not one single landlord had elected to be bound by it. In consequence of this choice being permitted, 100,000 tenants were left naked and defenceless in the hands of the landlords. The landlords were threatening that those poor tenants would be evicted for the old arrears, and the effect of this was that the tenants were obliged to accept whatever terms were offered to them by the landlords. He assured the Head of the Government that the Land Act was being evaded by the landlords all over the country; and because the Government had refused to provide in the Act protection for the tenants in arrear, the landlords were placing their arrears as an insurmountable barrier between their tenants and the Land Courts. Hon. Members might imagine that the Land Act applied to the whole of Ireland. It applied only to about half of Ireland. About 4,000,000 acres of superior land was held by leaseholders, who did not come at all within the Act; 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 acres of land were held by landlords who let it to graziers by agreement, for terms of 6 or 12 years. Therefore, between 7,000,000 and 8,000,000 acres of land in Ireland did not come under the operation of the Act at all. The Act was applicable to only about 7,000,000 acres of inferior land, which was held by the poorer classes of tenants. The value of this land was about £7,000,000 sterling, and no more; and if the Land Act could be applied to these 7,000,000 acres, based upon the decisions of the Sub-Commissioners—and their decisions had not been based upon any principle that he could discover—the result would be far from satisfactory. The decisions of the Commissioners, by some strange fortuitous circumstance, had come to what he might call a fluctuating level, like a Will-o'-the-Wisp over a bog, never on the surface exactly, but still visible at a certain line, and they appeared to have accepted Griffith's valuation as their basis—that which had been recommended by the Land League. But that was a decision which might have been acceptable some years ago, but which would not be acceptable now. What, for instance, would be the effect of a reduction on that basis on the 7,000,000 acres of land? Why, a gross reduction of about £1,500,000 sterling on the whole rent of Ireland. Did the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister believe that the great agrarian movement in Ireland could be satisfied with a reduction of £1,500,000 sterling in the rents of the country, or a reduction of 2s in the pound in the rental of Ireland? The idea would be absurd. Even if this reduction came into operation tomorrow, it could not satisfy and could not abate the agrarian demands of the people. But, far from this being possible, it was now stated on authority that the reductions to be made in rent would henceforth be at a lower figure than 25 per cent. Then another point to be considered was this—that, no matter how closely the Land Commissioners applied themselves to their duties, between 20 and 30 years must elapse before the cases in the Land Court could be dealt with. But the Irish people were not prepared to wait until the 20th century, nor even until next year, to have the agrarian question settled. Seeing that the tenants of Ireland were unprotected, seeing that they had no organization to counsel them, seeing that they were liable to eviction and ruin, their friends recommended the only remedy—that there should be "no rent" paid until their defensive organization was restored to them. Considering how the landlords were evading the Land Act, considering how they were threatening to increase the costs of those who went into those Courts to have removed a rent that was unjust and tyrannical, he expressed the sincere and fervent hope that the tenants of Ireland would have the courage as well as the wisdom to stand upon the lines of the "no rent'' manifesto. He should not delay the House by proceeding to examine, as he had intended to examine, the grounds for considering the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary's claim to be called a philanthropist. Those claims were written broadly on the history of Ireland for the last few months. He had imprisoned and subjected to indignity and needless pain some of his fellow-Members of that House. He had arrested hundreds of the most respectable men in Ireland; and, while he spoke of the Land League as practising terrorism and intimidation on the people, he could not have failed to observe that anyone who was honoured by the right hon. Gentleman's warrant became immediately the object of vene- ration and love to the Irish people. A man was arrested, and instantly a whole countryside assembled and reaped his crops, or ploughed his land, or cut and supplied his family with sufficient turf for the winter. A man was sent to Kilmainham, and he became a Poor Law Guardian before his release, or found himself elected as Chairman of the Board. A common burgess was imprisoned, and he was released to find himself a Mayor, or rather he did not come out, because the right hon. Gentleman kept him imprisoned, and only by a stretch of his philanthropy allowed the right worshipful "suspect" to sign the official declaration. All this showed that the Land League meant the Irish people, and that it was only nonsense and malignity to speak of it as terrorism. The proceeding of the right hon. Gentleman's Irish policy reached its climax of absurdity with regard to United Ireland, the Ladies' Land League, and the Political Prisoners' Aid Society. The hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy) on one occasion amused the House by describing the right hon. Gentleman as "a lady-killer." He thought the description scarcely applied now, for the present situation in Ireland was this—the right hon. Gentleman had not succeeded in beating the men, and the women had beaten the right hon. Gentleman. Despite all his endeavours to suppress the Ladies' Land League by means of a Police Circular and by throwing the responsibility upon the magistrates he had failed in this purpose, and the ladies of Ireland had proved that they possessed spirit and patriotism, and ingenuity in conducting their organization, notwithstanding all the acts of the right hon. Gentleman and all the devices of his agents. The meanest act of his policy was this—that not being satisfied with having arrested a number of gentlemen, and with having weighed, measured, and searched them, not satisfied with having first arrested licensed vintners, and then broken their licences on the ground that they were bad characters, not satisfied with having tortured men's minds, and deprived them of their means of living, he instructed the police to suppress the organization whose object was the collection of funds to save the "suspects" from living on prison fare. With regard to United Ireland, it was no uncommon sight in the streets of Dublin to find a burly detective rushing about in pursuit of a barefooted little boy, with a group of awe-stricken citizens surveying the chase, and the big policeman marching off in triumph with one copy of United Ireland, which he had discovered beneath the boy's ragged shirt. Such was the liberality and the decency of this Liberal Government that the detective invariably refused to give the little beggar a penny for the paper. There wore several other points to which the Amendment referred; but the Government and the managers of that paper had for some time past been playing "hide and seek" throughout the United Kingdom, eyeing every suspicious parcel, and running away with some of them before they could be aware of the nature of the contents. Everybody was at a loss to understand the legal justification of this conduct. A parcel, because labelled United Ireland, was seized by the police before they could ascertain its contents. They had no legal power to seize unless they were aware the papers contained seditious matter. It had all been so ably dealt with the previous night by his hon. Friend the Member for County Carlow, the High Sheriff of Dublin (Mr. Gray), that he would not further delay the House, inasmuch as it would be like flogging a dead horse. He believed that in the coming March fewer rents would be paid than at the last gale; that next September fewer rents would be paid than in March; and that in the following March fewer still would be paid. He believed that that process would be continued by tenants courageously, and in open defiance of the plan suggested by Members of the Government to landlords to be evictors. He believed that the logical effect of that process would be to prove that there was no means of settling this Land Question except by adopting the policy of the Land League—by extinguishing the interest of the landlords in the soil of Ireland, by following the example of Russia, and, by a purchase of the landlords' interest, putting an end to the contest between the two classes in Ireland. Unless the interest of one of those classes were terminated the contest would go on for ever. Hon. Members on those Benches and the Government looked at the condition of Ireland from different points of view. The right hon. Gentleman said that murders and out- rages were fewer; but his method of dealing with outrages was very zigzag. Last Session, wishing to pass the Coercion Act, he enumerated threatening letters with outrages, because he said they always led to them. But now, desiring to make the condition of the country appear better, he did not include threatening letters among outrages. The Land League was nominally suppressed; but the rules of the Land League were in the memory of the people, and its doctrine in their hearts. The moral force of that organization continued for two years extended all over Ireland, and it was to the completion of that moral force that he looked for the emancipation of the Irish people. The imprisonment of Irish Members was not a new thing in connection with the memory of this House, and that imprisonment in past times had seemed to be followed by the decay of the cause for which it was suffered. In the last generation Daniel O'Connell was imprisoned, but he was not arrested till his influence had declined and old age was heavy upon him; death soon removed him from the scene. To-day, in the height of his popularity, in the height of his influence, and in the vigour of his manhood, the Government had arrested the hon. Member for the City of Cork. The effect of his imprisonment would be that he would come forth one day or another with his patriotism deepened, his influence strengthened, and, having suffered the penalty which every Irishman must suffer who conspicuously and courageously defended the cause of the Irish people, he would come forth a stronger man than ever to advocate the cause not only of the Irish tenants, but of the Irish people. For his part, he fondly cherished the hope that the political force and the moral force of that illustrious prisoner might be successfully used to lead to victory a people who had been taught by bitter adversity to suffer and to struggle in dark, evil days, without ever losing hope. He confessed he could not resume his seat without referring to the eloquent and touching words addressed to the House last night at the close of his speech by the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket). One of the saddest circumstances of an Irishman holding a seat in that House was the necessity he was under of constantly listening to some of the ablest, the most intellectual, and best known of their countrymen leading the cause of the alien, and attacking the people from whom he had sprung. Last night, when he listened to the senior Member for the University of Dublin, in those able words of which he was master, declaring himself a lover of his country, and avowing himself an Irishman to the backbone, he was pained, and the thought occurred to him that it might not surpass the genius of the right hon. Gentleman now at the head of affairs, in the possibilities of future years, to devise and execute some method which might save Irishmen from the shame and the agony of being divided into hostile camps in that House, and might enable them at last to find common ground for patriotic effort and honourable emulation on the soil of their native country.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 30; Noes 98: Majority 68.—(Div. List, No. 8.)

Main Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 87; Noes 22: Majority 65.—(Div. List, No. 9.)

Committee appointed, to draw up an Address to be presented to Her Majesty upon the said Resolution:—Mr. MARJORIBANKS, Mr. FIRTH, Mr. GLADSTONE, The Marquess of HARTINGTON, Mr. Secretary CHILDERS, Mr. BRIGHT, Mr. WILLIAM EDWARD FORSTER, Mr. DODSON, Mr. MUNDELLA, Mr. ATTORNEY GENERAL, Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL, Mr. ATTORNEY GENERAL for IRELAND, Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL for IRELAND, Mr. SHAW LEFEVRE, Lord FREDERICK CAVENDISH, and Lord RICHARD GROSVENOR, or any Three of them:—To withdraw immediately:—Queen's Speech referred,

Forward to