§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. W. M. JOHNSON) moved, in lieu of Clause 19, to insert the following Clause:—
§ (Summary procedure for offences under Act.—14 and 15 Vic. c. 93.)
§ "(1.) Any offence against this Act shall be punishable on summary conviction, and may be prosecuted—
- (a.) Within the police district of Dublin Metropolis in manner provided by the Acts regulating the powers and duties of justices of the peace of such district or of the police of such district; and
- (b.) Elsewhere in manner provided by 'The Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851,' and the Acts amending the same, subject nevertheless to the provisions of this section.
§ (2.) The proceedings for enforcing the appearance of the person charged shall be the same, and the evidence for both the prosecution and defence shall be taken as depositions in the same manner as if the offence were an indictable offence; but, save as aforesaid, the procedure shall be the same as in the case of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
§ (3.) A charge for an offence against this Act shall be heard and determined—
- (a.) Within the police district of Dublin Metropolis before a divisional justice of that district; and
- (b.) Elsewhere before two resident magistrates in petty sessions;
§ (4.) The petty sessions held by two resident magistrates may be held at any place fixed by law for the holding of petty sessions, and on such days as may be from time to time determined in the prescribed manner.
§ (5.) Where a person is convicted summarily of an offence against this Act and sentenced to any term of imprisonment exceeding one month such, person may appeal against such conviction 1326 to a court of general sessions held in pursuance of this section, but the proceedings before a divisional justice or two resident magistrates, on a charge for an offence against this Act, shall not be renewed in any other manner, whether by means of a writ of certiorari or otherwise, and such appeal shall, save as hereinafter otherwise provided,—
- (a.) Be subject, except in the police district of Dublin Metropolis, to the provisions to which an appeal under 'The Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851,' is by section twenty-four of that Act, and any enactments amending that section, made subject; and
- (b.) Be subject in the police district of Dublin Metropolis to the said provisions, with such modifications therein as may be prescribed for the purpose of adapting the same to the circumstances of that district.
§ (6.) For the purpose of hearing and determining appeals under this section general sessions of the peace shall be held at the prescribed times and places, and at such general sessions the chairman of the county shall sit as sole judge of the court, and shall hear and determine any such appeals which are brought before him, and shall have the jurisdiction and powers of a court of quarter sessions, and the decision of such chairman, whether as to the jurisdiction of the justice or magistrates or otherwise, shall be final and conclusive.
§ (7.) Any depositions taken at the hearing of a case before the divisional justice or two resident magistrates may be admitted in evidence on an appeal in that case.
§ (8.) The expression 'chairman of the county' in this section means a county court judge and chairman of the quarter sessions of a county, and includes a recorder."
§ New Clause (Summary procedure for offences under Act 14 and 15 Vic. c. 93,)—brought up, and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Richard Power.)
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, he thought that the Government had treated the Committee, and especially the Members who sat upon those Benches, with great unfairness. They had come down there on the distinct understanding that it was intended to proceed with two Resolutions in reference to the Urgency of Public Business, one of them declaring that the state of Public Business was urgent. Nevertheless, Her Majesty's Government had paid so little attention to the matter that they had not a sufficient number of Members in attendance to 1327 carry a Motion of Urgency. Under these circumstances, he thought the Government were treating the Committee with contempt. The Irish Members had come down there under the natural impression that the two Resolutions upon the Paper would have occupied the entire Sitting. In view of that fact, they had not had time to put Amendments on the Paper in reference to the important clause now under consideration; and he thought it was not an unfair demand to make that the Committee should not be asked to proceed further with the consideration of the Bill that night.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, he would remind the hon. Member that if the second Motion had been put it would have been put without debate, and that certainly not more than a quarter of an hour would have been occupied in disposing of it. Therefore, all the complaint he had to make was that they would have been a quarter of an hour later than they were in occupying exactly the same position they occupied now. Consequently, the statement of the hon. Member that the Irish Members had been in any way injured by what had taken place was not borne out by the facts of the case. With regard to the clause, it had been on the Paper sufficiently long for Amendments to be put down. Some observations had been made upon the number of Amendments which had been put down in his name. Certainly, a considerable number of Amendments had been put down originally in his name, but he had since thought that it was better they should be put down in the name of the Attorney General for Ireland; and he did not see why hon. Members below the Gangway should complain of the length of those Amendments, because in almost every case they were Amendments which had been put down at the request of the Irish Members, and in order, as far as possible, to meet their views.
§ MR. MACFARLANE
said, he wished to ask a question upon a point of Order in reference to this clause. The clause itself related to summary procedure for offences under the Act, and it also gave a right of appeal under the Petty Sessions Act. He had moved on the old clause two Amendments in reference to the right of appeal and to the appointment of a shorthand-writer, so that the 1328 grounds of the appeal might be clearly conveyed to the Court; but he had found when he went to the Bill Office that all the Amendments which had been put down in regard to the Bill, and which stood upon the Paper last week, had been summarily wiped out, and therefore the Amendments of which he had given Notice had disappeared. He wished to know whether it was not proper that the Amendments, of which Notice had been given, to the old 19th clause should be placed upon the Paper applicable to the new 19th clause?
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, he could only repeat his former remark that the new 19th clause had been on the Paper now for many days. Hon. Members, therefore, had had an opportunity of seeing what the Government proposed to substitute in lieu of the old 19th clause, and could have put down their Amendments to this clause; in point of fact, several Amendments had been placed upon the Paper in regard to the present clause. The hon. Member ought to have seen that the old clause never would be put, but that it would be struck out; and it would be extremely inconvenient to put down all the Amendments to the old 19th clause, when that clause was intended to be struck out of the Bill. Hon. Members who desired to propose Amendments could not possibly be at any disadvantage, because they had had an opportunity of putting down Amendments to the present clause.
§ COLONEL MAKINS
said, he had no objection to raise to the proceedings that were being taken with regard to this clause; but he would suggest to the Prime Minister that, as there had been, a little difficulty in carrying the question of Urgency that night, it would be better to meet on Tuesday at 4 o'clock instead of at 2. It was quite evident that a considerable number of Members belonging to the Liberal Party were absent.
§ THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Sir FARRER HERSCHELL)
said, the hon. Member was not addressing himself to the Question before the Committee.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, the Irish Members found themselves quite unable to go into this clause, for the simple reason that they had not been able to get their Amendments inserted upon the Paper. 1329 No doubt it was generally understood that the old clause would not be persevered with, but it was not generally expected that the new clause would have been reached as soon as it had been. So far, the Irish Members had not been able to study the nature of the clause, and they had not put any Amendments upon the Paper at all. It was therefore unfair to ask them to go on moving Amendments which were not upon the Paper, and which it would be difficult at that hour of the night for the Committee, and for the Government, to understand. He did not think there was any practical advantage in the Government going on with the Bill that evening. They evidently had not intended to do so when they came down to the House that night, and the only reason why they had reached the Prevention of Crime Bill at all was the accident of their not being able to muster a sufficient number of Members to pass their Urgency Resolution. To-morrow, at 2 o'clock, it would be possible to go on with the Bill under the new system; but he did not see the reason why the Government should wish to force the Committee to go on with the Bill at that moment. Under all the circumstances, there was practically nothing to be gained by going on; and after the late hours the House had been keeping last week, an early adjournment would be appreciated. He would therefore advise the Government to consent to reporting Progress now, and to-morrow they might be able to obtain the requisite number of Members to enable them to carry their Urgency Resolution.
§ SIR JOHN HAY
said, he would suggest to the Government that it would be convenient to close the Committee and move the new clause under the Urgency Resolutions upon the Report. In that way they would expedite Business, and he believed that all the clauses that now stood upon the Paper could be just as advantageously moved upon the Report as they could be in Committee.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, that the Irish Members were placed in a disadvantageous position, because, although the new clause had been on the Paper for several days, the Government had not until quite recently made the alterations which they had promised in them. It had been made evident that the Committee would not accept the clause as it 1330 originally stood, and therefore it became necessary for the Government to place new clauses upon the Paper. He did not see that the Government would suffer any injury if they consented to report Progress now; on the contrary, they would obtain one of those interstices which they had expressed their desire to obtain between the various stages of the Prevention of Crime Bill, so that they might proceed with that further question they professed to be so anxious to promote, and upon which they set so much store—namely, the Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Bill, or if not, although that stood upon the Paper as the second Order of the Day, they might proceed with the third, which was the Business Resolutions. It did not appear at all likely that very much progress would be made upon the 19th clause that night, however much the Government might persist in forcing it on. There might be some more unseemly scenes produced, but he thought there would be more real progress in regard to Public Business made if the Government consented to report Progress.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, that. Clause 19, although technically a new clause, was not really a new clause at all, but the old clause with Amendments suggested by hon. Members below the Gangway themselves. It went practically over all the old ground covered by Clause 19, and its only new aspect was to be found in the Amendments which the Government had adopted for providing a machinery for appeal. Under these circumstances, he thought the Committee might consent to make progress by passing the clause.
§ MR. SHEIL
said, the Attorney General for England had, in the course of the proceedings of the Committee, stated that ample opportunity would be afforded for placing Amendments to this clause upon the Paper, so that the questions raised by the clause might be fully discussed upon a future occasion. That being so, it was unfair to press the clause now, seeing that it had been really morally impossible, owing to circumstances which had recently occurred, to plane Amendments on the Paper at all. No doubt the old clause was virtually the same as the new clause, except in one or two respects, and therefore the Amendments which had been originally on the Paper in regard to the 1331 19th clause ought now to be put in a position in which they might he discussed.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, he rose to a point of Order. He thought he was right in saying that the name of the Chairman (Sir Farrer Herschell) was upon the back of the Bill. The hon. and learned Gentleman was now presiding as Chairman of the Committee, and he wished to know whether it was in Order for a Member whose name was upon the back of a Bill to act as Chairman of the Committee engaged in the consideration of it?
§ THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Sir FARRER HERSCHELL)
said, he was not aware of any Rule of the House that would prevent him from presiding.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, that the name of the Chairman of "Ways and Means was always on the back of all Money Bills.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir HENRY JAMES)
wished to contradict the statement of the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Sheil), that the Government had promised ample time in the future for the discussion of this clause. The Prime Minister had promised that the clause should be postponed until the next Sitting, and that promise had been kept. The Amendment of the hon. Member was upon the Paper, and it had been there for some time, and there was no reason why they should not discuss it.
§ MR. SHEIL
said, his Amendment had been on the Paper for the last two weeks; but he did not see what that had to do with other Amendments which were not upon the Paper. The hon. and learned Gentleman evidently did not understand the argument. The argument had nothing to do with his (Mr. Sheil's) Amendment at all; but it applied to the Amendments which were not on the Paper, but which would have been on the Paper if it had not been for the extraordinary action recently taken by Her Majesty's Government.
§ MR. LEAMY
said, he would support the Motion for reporting Progress. It was quite true that at half-past 12 o'clock on Saturday morning they passed over the opportunity of discussing the old 19th clause, and since then it had been perfectly impossible for hon. Members to put down Amendments to the new clause. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Uni- 1332 versity of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) had more than once urged that it was impracticable to discuss Amendments in manuscript. The only Amendment which he (Mr. Leamy) had to move was submitted to the Committee on Friday morning, and the moment he moved it the Home Secretary said it was quite evident that it was moved for the purpose of Obstruction, because it had not teen put down on the Paper, but had been moved in manuscript. How were Irish Members to know that the same objection would not be raised now?
§ MR. HEALY
said, he could not perceive any advantage the Government would obtain by insisting on the Bill being proceeded with that night. No doubt they would have passed their Rules of Urgency if they had had their men at hand; but the Home Secretary, not having his men in hand, had dealt with the House as gently as a sucking dove. The Government to-morrow would have their Rules of Urgency, and they could, at any moment, order the debate to be stopped at 12, or 2, or 3 o'clock, or any hour they chose. Then, what was the advantage of going into this new fight? As far as the Irish Members were concerned they were ready to meet the Government. If the Government wanted another all-night Sitting they were ready to let them have it. They did not regard themselves as beaten. If they had been beaten at all they had been beaten by brute force. They thought the men who had been beaten were those who had had to resort to an all-night Sitting. Like a man who played a game of chess, and because he could not win the game, beat his opponent upon the head, the Government had been engaged in hitting the Irish Members on the head. They were again quite ready for the Government. If the Government wanted another all-night Sitting the Irish Members were ready and prepared to meet them.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 26; Noes 269: Majority 243.—(Div. List, No. 236.)
§ Question again proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ MR. HEALY
said, the Government must perceive that Irish Members had not had an opportunity of putting down 1333 Amendments. With regard to Clause 19, they had placed several Amendments on the Paper, and, of course, the postponed Amendments could only hold good upon that clause. It was rather unfair on the part of the Government, after kicking Irish Members out of the House on Saturday, to expect that they should have been able to put down the Amendments which they intended to move to this clause. He thought that Irish Members had been extremely moderate in their proposals. They had done their best with this wretched Bill, and, as far as he was concerned, he did not wish to have anything more to do with it. Irish Members could not fight in irons. He had himself fought the Bill as long as he was able, and he should have continued to do so had it not been for the course which the Government had pursued. The Government were in error in supposing that he and his Friends were willing to continue the discussion to suit the convenience of the Government during the day and night. Such a proposal was something which Irish Members were not prepared to submit to. Under the circumstances, he would move, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair."
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair."—(Mr. Mealy.)
§ MR. PARNELL
said, it was desirable that the Committee should be informed how long the Government wished to continue the discussion on that occasion. What progress did they desire to make? Did they want to have another all-night Sitting? For his own part, he did not wish to proceed at all that afternoon with the second reading of this clause. The Government had moved for Urgency in this matter, but they had not yet obtained it, so they must not be surprised if Irish Members did not care very much about facilitating the progress of the Bill on that occasion. Under the circumstances, he did not think they should be asked to go on. He confessed that he had not had an opportunity of studying the clause in such a way as to enable him to go on with the discussion at that moment. They had been informed that an opportunity would be afforded to them of putting down Amendments to the clause; but the right hon. and learned Gentleman must see that no 1334 such opportunity had been afforded, because they had been suspended from the service of the House on Saturday, and, under those circumstances, it was quite impossible that the Amendments could be placed on the Paper. That evening was the first opportunity they had had, since the great progress which was made with the Bill on Saturday last, of considering the new clause. He hoped they should receive some explanation from Her Majesty's Government with regard to the course they intended to pursue.
said, hon. Gentlemen opposite appeared to think that the Government had the design of pressing through this clause by means of numerical strength, and without any regard to the convenience of hon. Members; but the Government had no such intention. At 10 minutes past 11 the House was in a position to resume the consideration of the clause without reference to the Rules of Urgency. And what the Government desired was that two or three hours should be taken to continue the discussion. But hon. Gentlemen seemed to think that there had been a violation of the engagement given on Saturday, although he was bound to observe that the engagement then given had been strictly fulfilled both in letter and in spirit. A complaint had been made on Saturday that it was the intention of the Government to press the whole of the clauses, both new and old, through Committee at that Sitting, and it was stated in reply that it was only the old clauses that would be pressed, and that Monday would be given to the new clauses. The hon. Member said there was no time to discuss the new clauses on Monday, but there he entirely differed from him. It appeared to him that there was no need to have expended three hours in the discussion of the first question which had occupied the House that evening; and with regard to the second question, it was only owing to the rising of an hon. Member not connected with the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) that it had not come on much earlier than it did. But, surely, that was no reason, in the present pressing state of public affairs, for the waste of fresh time. He hoped he had made it clear to hon. Members opposite that there was no ground for the misapprehension that the Government intended to take another all-night 1335 Sitting, and press through the new clauses, regardless of the convenience of hon. Members. Therefore, he hoped the hon. Member for Cork City would discourage his Friends from taking the course which had been indicated.
§ MR. LEAMY
said, with reference to this new clause, no one but a man acquainted with the practice of the law in Ireland could understand it. There had been already 27 Amendments put down with reference to the clause, and if any Member of the Committee cast his eye over the wording, he would see that it was absolutely absurd to expect that a lay Member of the Committee could deal with it on so short a Notice. It therefore appeared to him desirable that the consideration of the clause should be postponed. He had no doubt that when the Committee resumed its labours the remainder of the clauses could be got through in a few hours, and that the Report stage could be concluded in one day. There was really no need, under those circumstances, for carrying on the discussion. One of the Amendments to the clause stood in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny (Mr. Marum), who had been of great assistance during the progress of the Bill in Committee, and who, he believed, had supported some of the Amendments of the Home Secretary, against the views of hon. Members on that side of the House; but the Committee would remember that he had been suspended from the service of the House during his absence, and while he was actually in bed. The clause, as he had already pointed out, was altogether of a technical character, dealing as it did with the procedure of the Law Courts in Ireland, and could only be dealt with efficiently by men acquainted with the law. Under the circumstances, he asked the learned Attorney General for Ireland to postpone the clause until to-morrow for the purpose of securing the attendance of the hon. Member for Kilkenny.
MR. STAVELEY HILL
said, that the whole of these Amendments could be discussed on Report, and, that being so, he put it to the Government whether it would not be better to make a golden bridge for the use of Irish Members and allow the discussion to take place at the stage he had suggested?
§ MR. PARNELL
asked, whether in that case the Report would be taken on 1336 that day week? Would the right hon. Gentleman allow that interval to elapse for the purpose of considering the Amendments to be put down on the Report of the Bill? If the right hon. Gentleman acceded to the proposal, he believed it would effect a considerable saving of time, and the Government could, in the meantime, make some progress with the Arrears Bill. They would, upon the plan indicated, probably be able to carry the Prevention of Crime Bill on Monday or Tuesday, next week. The Bill would probably leave the House on Tuesday week, and then the remainder of the week could be given to the discussion of the Arrears Bill. He did not think the Government would get the Bill through the House any sooner by hurrying Irish Members on to the Report, because the result of that would be that they would not be able to frame the Amendments, which were necessary, in their opinion, to this clause, and fresh delay might, in consequence, arise. If the Government could see their way to postponing the Report till Tuesday week, he believed that the Bill would in the end be sooner disposed of.
§ MR. GRAY
said, on Saturday the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister gave an assurance which he now said had been fulfilled. On Saturday he did not think the right hon. Gentleman at all contemplated taking the new clause on that day, and he (Mr. Gray) had asked him whether he would place those hon. Members who had been suspended from the service of the House, and had not been able to place their Amendments in the hands of the Clerk at the Table, in the same position with regard to the new clause as they then occupied in relation to the old clause? The right hon. Gentleman gave a reply of so full and ample a character, that he confessed to a difficulty in fixing in his mind the precise meaning attached to it; but he had taken it to be an assurance that those Members would be placed in the position which he had referred to. However, from what the right hon. Gentleman now said, it appeared that he had not intended to convey that impression.
§ SIR R. ASSHETON CROSS
said, that when that appeal was made to the Prime Minister he immediately rose in the expectation that there might be some misapprehension, and asked if this clause would be taken on Monday, an 1337 arrangement which would give Members ample time for putting down their Amendments. That point was distinctly raised by him in order that when Monday came there might be no misunderstanding; and the right hon. Gentleman replied that the new clauses would be discussed on Monday. That was clearly understood. With regard to the other point raised, as the House had now voted that the Rule for Urgency should come into operation, it would be absolutely inconsistent with the position taken up by the Government in this matter were they to listen to the story that the Bill ought to be put off for a couple of days, because the Committee would be aware that Urgency was only voted for the express purpose of going on with this Bill from day to day.
§ MR. DILLON
said, that, after he had been suspended on Saturday, he sent Notices of Amendments to this clause by a messenger to the Clerk at the Table, who refused to receive them.
§ MR. J. N. RICHARDSON
said, he rose to make a suggestion to the Government and to English Members with reference to the present discussion. The proposal he had to make might not be a very popular one, still he thought that moment most favourable for laying it before the Committee. Some Irish Members had brought in a Sunday Closing Bill for Ireland, but they had been obliged to wait for several months without getting an opportunity of bringing it forward before half-past 12 o'clock in consequence of Notices of Opposition appearing on the Paper. The suggestion he had to make was that the Committee should suspend its labours at that hour (12. 15) in order to allow the Bill to which he had referred to be proceeded with.
§ THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Sir FARRER HERSCHELL)
said, he must point out to the hon. Member that the question he was raising was out of Order on this Bill.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
said, it would be for the convenience of the Committee that there should be an understanding as to the progress to be made with this Bill. The Government had thought fit to ask Urgency to be applied to it, and he believed that the almost unanimous feeling was that Urgency should be granted. But having regard to the precedent of last year, it must be remem- 1338 bered that the Committee stage was followed by the stage of Report on the succeeding day, and he thought it desirable that the House should be given to understand whether the precedent of last year would be followed in the present instance. The House felt generally that this was a measure which required the minutest attention, and that, although nothing should be done with regard to it in a precipitate manner, no delay should be allowed to intervene between the present stage and the passing of the Bill. Urgency having been applied for, it was most desirable that there should be a distinct understanding that the further stages of the Bill should be prosecuted from day to day, due regard being had, of course, to the deliberation which certainly ought to be accorded to it.
said, it was not in his power at that moment either to affirm or to dispute the statement of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to what happened last year. It might possibly be, although it surprised him very much to learn it, that the Report of the Bill referred to by the right hon. Gentleman was taken on the day succeeding that on which the Committee closed. If that was so, it was a thing almost unexampled. The intention of the Government was to proceed with the Bill as rapidly as they could, but with due deference to the proprieties of discussion. It must not be forgotten, however, that many Amendments would probably be proposed, and that a very important clause had recently been added to the measure. The Bill, moreover, had to be reprinted. For his own part, he should be most glad to proceed with the Report on the day after Committee; but it was impossible at that moment to speak with absolute certainty as to the day on which the Report would be taken, because that must depend upon the day when the Committee could be closed. He did not think the plan suggested by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), for postponing the Report until that day week, could be acceded to without virtually departing from the understanding established all along with the object of expediting the Bill.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, he should like to be quite clear in his own mind as to the meaning of the Prime Minister. He assumed that this Bill, like all other Bills of equal magnitude and importance, 1339 would undergo the process of reprinting. No doubt the Bill could be redistributed to-morrow afternoon. The Land Act of last year, which was longer and more complicated than the present measure, was kept going de die in diem and reprinted as the Committee thought fit, and he had little doubt that the same arrangement could be made with regard to this Bill. Suppose the Committee were to close that evening, would the Report be taken to-morrow? He thought the Committee should not be left in a state of uncertainty, and be merely told that the matter would have to be considered when it arose. Of course, they knew that everything when it arose had to be considered; but he would point out that they were then within a measurable distance of the end of the Bill, and were therefore entitled to something like a definite and clear statement as to when the Report would be taken.
said, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) had spoke with more absolute confidence of the progress of the Bill than his (Mr. Gladstone's) experience of the House accorded with. He should wish that the Report stage should be taken after an interval of one clear day from the reprinting of the Bill, because it would be unreasonable to ask Members to go on with the Report until they had had an opportunity of putting down their Amendments. If the Bill could be reprinted and circulated on the day after the labours of the Committee came to an end, then he thought the Report could be taken the next day.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
said, that the Peace Preservation Bill was committed on the 9th of March, and ordered, as amended in Committee, to be taken into consideration on the 10th.
MR. O'CONNOR POWER
said, that the raising of this question as to the time between the conclusion of Committee and Report was irregular, and had nothing to do with the question of leaving the Chair. He objected to having a matter arranged between the Front Benches in tones that the rest of the Committee could know nothing about it. The Leaders of the Conservative Party had suggested that the Government were not free to enter into engagements upon that subject on the present occasion, because the Govern- 1340 ment were fettered by pledges which they had voluntarily given with regard to the time to elapse between the conclusion of Committee and Report. He recollected distinctly that some weeks ago the Prime Minister stated he would avail himself of any interval that should present itself between the different stages in the progress of the Bill, and mentioned that he looked forward to an interval between Committee and Report. Now the matter was being debated as if no such pledge had been formally given by the Government. That expectation was, at least, expressed by the Prime Minister, and the pledge ought to be borne in mind before the Committee entered into an irregular discussion upon that point. With regard to the question as to whether the Chairman should leave the Chair, the answer which the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Dillon) gave to the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Assheton Cross) was conclusive, for he pointed out that it was utterly impossible for Members of the House who were suspended on Saturday to have placed Amendments on the Paper already, if they desired to alter any portion of the Bill; and he added that, being unable to enter the House himself, he sent his Amendments to the Clerk at the Table, who, however, refused to receive them. Could it be said that that hon. Gentleman, or other hon. Gentlemen similarly circumstanced, were free to enter upon the discussion of this clause as if nothing had happened? He hoped the suggestion of his hon. Friend would be accepted by the Government. It was not exactly the number of hours that had been spent to-night in discussing public matters, but the point was the deep interest which all Members of the Committee felt in the subject under discussion; and he ventured to say that the Committee was more excited by what it had gone through from 4 o'clock than if it had been sitting twice as long on any ordinary occasion. Under those circumstances, he was free to make an appeal, not at all founded on his own convenience, because he could not claim to have given that close attention to the Bill which some of his Colleagues had given, but because it would be wise and prudent to allow the Motion to be carried, in order to come back to the work at 2 o'clock the next day with something like a readiness to discuss it.
§ MR. MACFARLANE
said, that hon. Members were not in a position at this time of night to proceed with this matter, and he thought the Government ought to give way, especially as they would, at 2 o'clock, have any amount of pressure available to enable them to force the Bill through in a few hours.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, he would like very much to know whether hon. Members opposite entertained the idea of practically closing the Committee and bringing up new clauses on Report? He gathered from the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) that that was intended. If that was made clear, time might be saved, and they might avoid going twice through the same thing—first in Committee, and then on Report. In that way they could get to Report as early as if they went on with these clauses in Committee; and it would be a gain to all parties, because then they would reach that point, and, at the same time, save a great deal of time. Having Urgency to-morrow, they could go on with these clauses in Committee, and get through Committee during the day; and in the interval for reprinting the Bill they might consider these points and get Report on Thursday or Friday, taking the third reading within the week. If any inconvenient labour could be avoided by taking Report and postponing all these clauses to Report, and fixing Thursday, or even to-morrow night, for Report, they could ultimately get the Bill through this week in the same way as if they went on with these clauses in Committee. If that met the view of hon. Members, there would be no difficulty, and they would have no ground for saying that they had not ample time before Report on Thursday. The House would hardly be in a position to discuss these clauses to-morrow; and, therefore, he would propose that they should be postponed until Report, and that Report should be taken on Thursday.
§ MR. LEAMY
said, that the new clauses, which the right hon. Gentleman was too ready to dispose of, were clauses of a very serious character. For instance, there was a new clause relating to special juries in special cases. The Committee would bear in mind that a very lengthened discussion took place on the abolition of trial by jury, and the substitution of a new tribunal. When they had got rid of the first part of the Bill, 1342 they knew what the tribunal was which the Government proposed to substitute; but now they found, by the new clause, a proposition to have special juries in criminal cases. If that proposal had been in the original Bill, it would have led to a considerable discussion. He believed the clause had been proposed with a view to meet the suggestion of hon. Members from Ireland; but now the Home Secretary proposed that all these clauses should be thrown over until Report, and disposed of, he presumed, on Thursday. But these clauses were of so much importance that it would be utterly impossible to dispose of them, with adequate discussion, in one Sitting. Then there were several other clauses; and there was an advantage in taking these clauses in Committee, rather than on Report. The Committee would have a double opportunity of considering the working of the clauses; and for this reason it was most desirable, even if those clauses had to be considered subject to the Rules of Urgency, that they should be taken in Committee and again on Report. If they were taken in Committee, Irish Members might hope for the assistance of a great number of the supporters of the Government; and if the Government found that to be the case, they might be influenced to adopt the view of Irish Members, and reject or modify the clauses. It would be a mistake to agree to the suggestion of the Home Secretary.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he was disposed to consider the suggestion made by the Home Secretary, and to dispense with the discussion of this clause in Committee, taking it on Report, if the right hon. and learned Gentleman would postpone Report until Friday. That would be a fair arrangement, which would meet the views of most of his hon. Colleagues.
§ MR. METGE
said, that on Saturday the Government met the Irish Members by a mechanical majority, and forced them outside the House, and he felt that he should stultify the trust reposed in him by his constituents if he accepted any compromise. The Irish Members were there to oppose coercion, and he should oppose it by every means in his power. He was not going to put off these clauses to Report. He opposed coercion now, and he would vote against it whenever he had an opportunity of doing so. He 1343 would put no trust in pledges controverted over and over again; and for this reason, if he had to go into the Lobby by himself, he should oppose the suggestion.
§ MR. STOREY
said, the suggestion made by the hon. Member opposite would have the effect of giving an additional day for the consideration of the Arrears Bill. Although that might not be quite agreeable to Conservative Members, he thought it would be agreeable to a large number of the supporters of the Government below the Gangway, and to a large section of opinion in the country. He did not speak for himself, for he was sure that the consideration of that Bill would not be agreeable to him; but he would say what he had to say about it hereafter, having gathered the opinions of hon. Members and of people in the country. He believed it would be a great relief to the multitudes of Liberals in the country if two or three days could be obtained to make substantial progress with the Arrears Bill, instead of being troubled with this everlasting coercion.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, he could not understand, if the Government agreed to postpone Report till Friday, how they could justify asking the House for Urgency to-morrow. He had made inquiries as to the printing of the Bill, and he was informed that it was practically reprinted, with the exception of a new clause, and that it could be circulated within a few hours of the termination of the Committee stage.
§ COLONEL KINGSCOTE
said, he hoped the Committee would not listen to the suggestion of the hon. Member (Mr. Storey). The discussion during the last half hour had shown that the more the Government held out the olive branch the more was demanded of them. He believed that not only this House, but the Liberals of the country, would call upon the Government and require the Government to go on with this Bill, and try to put a stop to what was taking place not only in this House but in Ireland. He hoped the Government would go on with the measure without any delay, and not listen to hon. Members below the Gangway on either side, who held out the promise that if Report was taken on Friday they would agree to this or that proposal. He was sorry to have to say he could not believe them.
§ MR. DILLON
said, he entirely agreed with what had been said by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). He hoped that Friday might be fixed for Report. He must protest against the tone imported into the discussion by the hon. and gallant Gentleman who had just sat down. The original idea of the Government was that certain progress was to be made tonight, and that the Committee was to be resumed to-morrow. He and his hon. Friends were willing to accept an arrangement by which an entire day would be saved for the business. If the Committee were proceeded with further tonight, no one would contend for a moment that the Amendments could be got through. They would have to resume Committee to-morrow, and, according to the Government's contention, they could not take the Report till Friday. He would conclude by making an earnest appeal to the Government to withdraw the new clauses in reference to the change of venue. Surely the Government had power enough in their hands when they had abolished trial by jury. The withdrawal of these clauses would be a reasonable concession, and one calculated to remove a great deal of bitter and angry feeling.
§ MR. SHEIL
said, the past experience of the Irish Members taught them to look with considerable suspicion on any suggestion made by the Home Secretary. That being so, they ought to pause before they accepted the proposition which the right hon. and learned Gentleman now made, and which he had made so often during the progress of the Bill in Committee—namely, to defer the further consideration of the matter until they reached the stage of Report. Before a Bill reached the stage of Report it was presumed it had been thoroughly threshed out in Committee. If these new clauses were only brought up on Report, hon. Members would only be allowed to speak once upon them. He hoped the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) would pause before he adopted any such suggestion as that now made by the Home Secretary.
§ MR. MAGNIAC
said, the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Dillon) had said words had been used on the Liberal side of the House which were not calculated to promote harmony in the Committee, 1345 or facilitate the progress of the Bill. He appealed to the Committee whether the conduct of Irish Members to-night was calculated to promote harmony. The Committee had been discussing since 10 minutes past 11—now very nearly two hours—whether they should proceed with the Business or not. Every day the country was asking the question why the House of Commons allowed the present state of things to continue. His hon. Friend and Colleague (Mr. Whitbread) a few days ago addressed a very earnest appeal to the Irish Members opposite, an appeal which ought, on account of the hon. Gentleman's experience and well-known kindliness of disposition and sense of justice, to carry great weight. [A laugh.] Hon. Members sitting on the Irish Benches opposite might laugh, but this was no laughing matter to those Members who represented English and Scotch constituencies. The reason why his hon. Friend made that appeal was that he (Mr. Whitbread), as well as himself (Mr. Magniac), had been asked by their constituents why an effort was not made to transact the Business of the country in a straightforward and business-like way. He hoped the Government would stand firm, and insist upon the proper transaction of the Business of the country. When hon. Members opposite talked about the conduct and words of the Liberal Members not being such as to promote harmony, he would like to know how harmony was going to be promoted if the Committee was to do its Business in the present contemptible manner. [Cheers from the Irish Members.] The hon. Members who cheered that remark seemed to forget that the whole weight of the responsibility rested upon themselves; they alone were responsible that the Business of the House of Commons was being conducted in a manner that any Vestry would be ashamed of. The Business of the House ought to be conducted orderly and regularly; and hon. Members ought not to be interrupted by the unseemly remarks which were only too prevalent. He, and many who sat around him, were getting tired of the present mode of proceeding, and they were determined, as far as independent Members could be determined, that it should not continue any longer. He spoke, perhaps, with greater weight, because he was an insignificant 1346 Member of the House. ["Hear!"] Well, it must be remembered that the majority of the House was made up of insignificant Members—Members who were content to cast in their lot with the rank and file of the House, and who did not think it necessary on every occasion to put forward their own private and small views on the great questions which came before the country; they were content to transact their Business on the great traditions which had governed the procedure of the House. He sincerely hoped the Leaders of the House would see that the time had now come when a firm stand must be made against the present attempt to undermine the practice of the House, and that they would show themselves determined that the Business of the country should be conducted in a proper, respectful, and dignified manner.
§ MR. R. POWER
said, it was all very well for the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bedford (Mr. Magniac) to say they ought to be harmonious in their proceedings. What would the hon. Gentleman think if he was turned out of the House by a tyrannical and cowardly majority?
§ THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Sir FARRER HERSCHELL)
I must call upon the hon. Member to withdraw that expression. He has applied the term cowardly to the majority of the Members of this House, and I must call upon him to withdraw it.
§ MR. R. POWER
said, that, of course, he would immediately withdraw the word cowardly, and he would say tyrannical, and not very courageous majority. The Committee had done all they could to exasperate the Irish Members. ["Oh!"] Yes; there was a deliberate attempt on Friday night to exasperate the Irish Party; and when the hon. Gentleman talked about this country thinking this and thinking that, he would remind the hon. Gentleman that he (Mr. R. Power) and his hon. Friends had a country to think of; and he would remind the hon. Gentleman that hundreds of thousands of people were looking forward anxiously to this struggle of the Irish Members with the House of Commons. The Irish Members would betray the trust reposed in them if they did not make every effort, and use every Form of the House, to defeat the measure now under consideration.
§ MR. T. T. PAGET
said, that, as one of the rank and file of the House, he begged to endorse every word that had fallen from the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Magniac). The Irish Members talked of their country; but the English Members had a country, and every day the feeling of indignation was increasing at the manner in which the Business of the House of Commons was conducted. As a unit in the House, he sincerely joined with his hon. Friend (Mr. Magniac) in the hope that the Government would now stand firmly.
§ SIR JOHN HAY
said, he thought that if the present Motion were withdrawn, and the Chairman were to report the Bill, as amended, to the House, they might take a division which would satisfy hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, and bring up the new clauses on Report.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, although he had been suspended, he found, on careful investigation, that he spoke upon only a few of the clauses, and upon those which in a peculiar manner affected the financial position of his constituents. In reference to the new clauses which had been placed on the Paper, he noticed there were eight pages of them, and two of them related to special jurors and change of venue. These particular clauses opened up a very large subject, which could not be properly considered in the short time remaining to the Committee to-night. They could be much better discussed in Committee than on Report, and it would greatly facilitate the Business if they adjourned now, and took the new clauses in hand to-morrow. The Government would pass their Urgency Resolution to-morrow, and they would find that they would have everything just as they desired. Certain observations had been made as to the feeling of the country. He knew it was the intention of some hon. Members to stir up the feeling of this country as much as they could against Ireland; but the Irish Members had their constituents to study, and as long as their constituents stood by them they would stand by their constituents. Liberal Members talked about holding out the olive branch. The olive branch was held out to the Irish Members on Friday night. He hoped the Irish Party and the Irish people, whether they were in England, Ireland, or Scotland, would repay the offer of the 1348 olive branch by giving the Liberal Party a right good thrashing at the next Election.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 22; Noes 184: Majority 162.—(Div. List, No. 237.)
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Metge.)
§ MR. PARNELL
said, it would, perhaps, be well if his hon. Friend (Mr. Metge) would withdraw his Motion, and allow the Committee to proceed until they came to some contested point.
said, the Committee must deplore the waste of time that had taken place, and the absolute barrier that was being presented to the transaction of Business. Notwithstanding the great provocation that was offered to the majority of the Committe, he felt that they would do wisely in acceding to the Motion: The Bill would be taken to-morrow at 2 o'clock.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ COLONEL MAKINS
said, he would now repeat the suggestion which he made earlier in the evening—namely, that the House should meet at 4 o'clock to-morrow, instead of 2 o'clock. The Government intended to take a vote with reference to Urgency, and there was a greater chance of the requisite number being present if the House assembled at the later hour.
said, he had no doubt the suggestion was made in perfect good faith; but there had been a distinct understanding that the House would meet at 2 o'clock to-morrow, and he was really too late now to alter the arrangements.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow, at Two of the clock.