§ Clause 4 (Intimidation).
§ MR. HEALY
proposed, in page 3, line 13, before "every," to insert—An agreement or combination by two or more persons to do, or procure to be done, any act or thing in contemplation or furtherance of any dispute between landlord and tenant of the character commonly known as agrarian, shall not be indictable as a conspiracy of such act or thing, when committed by one person, would not be punishable as a crime.
I do not think that this Amendment comes within the scope of the clause under consideration. As, however, it is within the title of the Bill, it can be brought up as a separate clause.
§ MR. HEALY
asked if the Chairman was aware that the Amendment of which he had given Notice was taken almost word for word from the Conspiracy Act of 1875, and that he proposed to insert the words in a precisely similar place to the place they occupied in the Act he had mentioned? He really was at a loss to know what they were to do if they were not to follow precedent. The only alteration he had made in the words was to substitute for "master and servant" "landlord and tenant;" and he submitted that, having followed the line which Mr. Playfair's Predecessor had permitted in regard to the English Conspiracy Act, if Irish Members were unable to insert the same words in the present Bill?
I told the hon. Member the words came within the title of the Bill, but that they could not be properly entertained at this stage of the Bill. As a separate clause the words would be quite in Order.
§ MR. HEALY
said, he presumed that, without being disrespectful to the Chairman, he might venture to offer his opinion. ["Oh!"] Hon. Members seemed to imagine that the Chairman was beyond the region of argument. Now, he thought the Chairman was a very com- 298 petent person to argue with; and, therefore, he ventured to submit a point to him for his decision. The clause dealt with intimidation, and he proposed this Amendment because, if something of the kind were not adopted, it would be quite possible for a magistrate to hold that such a thing as combination between landlord and tenant amounted to conspiracy. What he wanted to do was to make it clear to the mind of the magistrate who had to administer the Act that such a combination would not be conspiracy.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, the hon. Gentleman did not seem to understand what the point of Order was. In the Conspiracy Bill this paragraph did appear; and, subject to the Chairman's ruling, he (Sir William Harcourt) would venture to submit that in an Amendment to a clause they could not sweep away everything in the clause, and then interpose at the commencement something altogether new, in the shape of a new Amendment. According to their Rules, it was necessary that something should remain, even if it be only the word "that." The Amendment of the hon. Member, as he would see, left nothing of the clause.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, that the hon. Gentleman proposed to bring in a whole paragraph before the first word of the clause, so as to make it a new clause in itself.
I have no doubt whatever about the ruling I have given. The hon. Member drew attention to a previous Act, and seemed to indicate that in the Intimidation Clause of that Act the words which he has placed on the Paper were put in as a preface to that clause. That is not so. The words are not in that clause at all, but in another clause. These words must, if they are moved at all, be moved as a new clause.
§ MR. HEALY
said, he bowed to the ruling of the Chairman. He had taken the words from the 1st clause of the English Act; and he would like to ask the Chairman if he was not entitled to move the words at the beginning of Clause 4; whether he might not move their insertion at the end of the clause? At the end of the Bill the words would be absurd.
I have already explained that the cases are not at all similar. These words are in the 3rd clause of the Act of 1875, and the Intimidation Clause is the 7th. The Amendment would not be suitable at this stage, and I rule it can only be brought up as a separate clause.
§ MR. HEALY
said, he would now move, in page 3, line 13, after "who," to insert—Shall be proved, on the complaint of the person or persons alleged to have been aggrieved, to have.This Amendment, if carried, would necessitate a slight change in a subsequent part of the Bill. For instance, the word "uses," in line 14, would have to be altered to "used," and the word "incites" would have to be changed to "incited." The point was most important, for in Ireland it was generally the police who instituted prosecutions for intimidation. He made a speech in the South of Ireland, and the police chose to consider he had incited somebody. They went to the person alleged to be incited, and that person swore an affidavit at the request and under the compulsion of the stipendiary magistrate. The affidavit was made owing to the intimidation of the stipendiary magistrate, and under the pressure, as they believed, of the agent of the property. What he wanted to lay particular stress upon was, that the stipendiary magistrate who got up the case against him was the very man who afterwards returned him for trial. The whole thing was absurd. The idea of a man acting as policeman and then as Judge and jury was one which could only be met with in a comic drama. He presumed that the Government did not mean to act upon the advice of police and police magistrates; he presumed they would wait until somebody said he had been intimidated, and then proceed upon the alleged act of intimidation. As the clause now stood, any insignificant policeman in Ireland who heard a man had made a speech in denunciation of land-grabbing or landlordism as an abstract thing; and any sub-constable and sub-inspector, or Resident Magistrate, could indict him, and say he had been guilty of intimidation. He wondered if the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary was acquainted with the case of Miss Reynolds? She 300 was down in Queen's County, and when a car had been seized by the constabulary she said —"Well, never mind, you can't compel anybody to drive it!" The constable said—"This looks very like intimidation;" and he had her up before Mr. Blake, who gave her six months in gaol. They wanted to avoid subjective intimidation on the part of Mr. Blake and Inspector Smith, and all the tag-rag and bob-tail of the Irish police; and they wanted to have the men who had just complaints coming forward. The argument of the Government, no doubt, would be that an individual would be too much intimidated to come forward; they would say there was a double intimidation—the intimidation of the man who was guilty, and the intimidation of the populace. [Mr. GIBSON: Hear, hear!] He was glad to hear so excellent an authority on Irish matters as the right hon. and learned Gentleman offer an opinion on the subject. It would be said, in the first place, that the aggrieved person would be intimidated by the accused; and, in the second place, it would be contended that no one would come forward, because he would be intimidated by the people. He intended, as soon as his Parliamentary duties would permit, to go down to Wexford and make a speech to his constituents. He would tell them that in future they could not say a word against land-grabbing and landlordism; but they must regard the land-grabber as the saviour of Ireland, as a person upon whom all the future—["Question!"] Hon. Gentlemen had better understand the Question before they cried it. He would remind hon. Gentlemen that the Question was that of intimidation, and it was to that Question that he was addressing himself. He was venturing to tell the Committee what kind of speech would only be permissible if the clause were passed in its present shape. When he next met his constituents he promised to eulogize the land-grabber, the bad landlord, and, indeed, everything that was bad in the Irish Government, and then allow the people to draw their own conclusion. Would he be entitled to praise land-grabbing under the Bill? He believed there was once a celebrated case in which it was laid down that gestures and accents could be brought under the cognizance of the law. Was it intended by this Bill to deal with nods 301 and words, and gestures and accents? If so, he should be glad to have the thing laid down, and he would also be pleased to hear whether the Government intended to rest their machinery upon the police? He would like to know what sort of intimidation would be permitted under the Bill? For instance, Mr. Clifford Lloyd came down to County Clare, a few days ago, and said to a certain trader—"Unless you serve out goods to a certain person I shall put you into gaol under the Coercion Act;" and the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. W. E. Forster) backed up Mr. Clifford Lloyd by sending the man to prison for six months. For his (Mr. Healy's) part, he thought a clause was very badly needed in the Bill, laying down that intimidation by policemen, or by Sub-Inspectors or Resident Magistrates, should amount to a misdemeanour. In his own case, the wife of the man who was alleged to have been intimidated stated that her husband was compelled to swear the affidavit upon which he (Mr. Healy) was arrested. Was this Bill going to rest upon the action of the police, or was it not? Was it going to rest on the action of men who would simply say that every word spoken or every act done by political opponents was a just cause of complaint; or were the Government going to accept, as he trusted they would, his reasonable Amendment, which provided that no person should be prosecuted unless the person aggrieved made the complaint?
In page 3, line 13, after "who," to insert the words, "shall be proved, on the complaint of the person or persons alleged to have been aggrieved, to have."—(Mr. Healy.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, that everybody knew that in the cases of intimidation they desired to put down the people intimidated dare not complain. He had read of a dreadful case in which a man was horribly wounded by a shot, and nothing would induce him to give information for fear that even worse things might happen. To make the clause dependent upon the complaint of the person indicated would be to provide complete immunity from intimidation. If it could only be made 302 sufficiently apparent that the man who made a complaint would suffer for it, they would have intimidation carried out with complete success. That was the reason why the Government could not assent to the Amendment.
§ MR. HEALY
said, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had dealt with the Amendment in a very summary manner, and he had not touched upon the most important part of it. Who were to be the judges of intimidation? Were the police to decide what was intimidation, or was the right hon. and learned Gentleman to do it? [An hon. MEM-BEE: The tribunal.] What tribunal? Was Mr. Clifford Lloyd to decide what was intimidation? Was Mr. Henry Blake, who sent Miss Reynolds to gaol for six months because she said no one could be compelled to drive a horse and cart, to be the judge of intimidation? The Home Secretary did not see the importance of the point. If the Government would provide a Judge of intimidation, who should decide upon the merits of a case before it was sent forward, it would be all very well. They, however, did nothing of the sort; they left it with the sub-constable to say what intimidation was. The Home Secretary had given them a very dreadful instance in which a man did not dare to give information. He (Mr. Healy) would give them a case of hardship. He personally was put to great expense, he was kept in terror and panic, so far as his nature would permit, for two months before being brought to trial. Who, he should like to ask, were to decide what was intimidation in such cases as his own? He supposed they would in future have to make speeches in favour of the land-grabber; that they would have to tell the people that the land-grabber, instead of being an enemy, was really a friend of the country; that he had run up the price of land, and, therefore, was a benefactor to the agricultural interest. He presumed they would have to praise bad landlords, and show the advisability of emigration. Might he ask who were to initiate proceedings? Whoever had drawn the Bill in this respect had exhibited great skill. With the exception of one or two points later on in the Bill—which was evidently not drawn by an Irishman or by anybody who knew anything about Irish affairs—the clause was drawn with great skill, because it was carefully ex- 303 cluded from the mind of the Committee who was to he the party to take the initiative. Whether it was to be the local police or the local magistrate there was no indication. The clause simply said—Every person who wrongfully or without legal authority uses intimidation,…shall he guilty of an offence against this Act.Who was the person to form an opinion as to intimidation? Let the Home Secretary get up and answer that question.
§ MR. DILLON
said, a case occurred a short time ago in the county of Clare bearing on the question involved in the Amendment before the Committee—that was to say, an answer was given to a Question in that House, on the authority of two magistrates—Mr. Clifford Lloyd and another. It was said that certain tenants on a well-known estate had remained out of their houses because they were intimidated from re-entering. Shortly afterwards a document was placed in the hands of hon. Members of that House, signed by every one of the tenants, and not only so, but the document was accompanied by a letter from the parish priest, stating that no intimidation had been exercised on the tenants; that the signatures were obtained in the Presbytery of the chapel without the slightest pressure being put upon the tenants. This was a very serious case, because the statement was made in the House, on the authority of Mr. Clifford Lloyd and another magistrate, that intimidation of the grossest character had been exercised, and was being exercised, towards the tenants. Numbers of men had been sent to gaol for six months, with hard labour, for the intimidation alleged to have been exercised; whereas they had the testimony of the tenants themselves, backed up by the evidence of the parish priest, that no intimidation had been practised towards them, and that the intimidation was alleged simply for political purposes. As the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy) put it, they should know, before the clause passed, who was to institute proceedings for intimidation. He must say that men—and he was not the first to say it, for he believed the late Chief Secretary had said it, and he was certain Mr. Justice Fitzgerald had said it — were such cowards that they were afraid to complain that this House was very badly employed in de- 304 fending them. He did not believe, moreover, that the House of Commons would be able to protect them. Any man who was coward enough to be intimidated, and was afraid to bring his case before a tribunal, was not worthy of the attention of that House, or of any other assembly of men; any woman would be ashamed to display the cowardice which was exhibited by some men in Ireland. It was now a question whether they were to allow a combination and conspiracy of Resident Magistrates and landlords to trump up charges of intimidation against obnoxious men, and cast them into prison. There were two kinds of intimidation. Intimidation might be used for political purposes. They knew that in several instances it had been alleged that intimidation had been practised upon a whole body of people, and that afterwards the people had come forward and sworn that they had not been intimidated. They knew that intimidation had been exercised upon witnesses to prevent them coming forward against the popular side. They knew that landlords and agents did exercise intimidation, and would, if this clause passed in its present shape, exercise it. They knew that tenants who wanted to go to Court to give evidence in favour of an accused person would be told to stop at home, and that if they did not keep quiet they themselves would be charged with crime. He considered the Amendment an exceedingly important one, and he intended to vote for it.
MR. JOSEPH COWEN
asked the Home Secretary how it was possible to get at the fact of intimidation unless the man intimidated came forward and lodged a complaint? There must be someone to set the law in motion, and the proper person to do so was the person aggrieved. [Sir WILLIAM HAR-COURT dissented.] The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary shook his head. That was the law of this country. It constantly happened, in case of strike, that the blackleg went and lodged his charge with the police or magistrate, and thus the law was set in motion by himself. That was what the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy) wanted to provide for in the case of intimidation in Ireland; all the hon. Gentleman wanted to do was to provide that the man intimidated should himself set the law in motion. He (Mr. Joseph 305 Cowen) had often heard the Home Secretary denounce grand-motherly Government; but it seemed to him that this was the best specimen of it they could very well have.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, he must differ from the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Joseph Cowen) as to the principle of English law. The hon. Member said it was only the person injured who took proceedings; and he said, moreover, that that was the principle of the law of this country. Why, it was the general principle of the Criminal Law that the State should prosecute in cases of injuries sustained. The hon. Member for Newcastle had entirely misapprehended the principle of the law of England. It happened, over and over again, that where a person did not wish to proceed with a case, the Public Prosecutor stepped in and compelled a prosecution in the interest of society.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, the right hon. and learned Gentleman had stated that the Public Prosecutor, in cases of injury, was the person upon whom the duty devolved to initiate proceedings. [Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT: Or the police.] He (Mr. Parnell) ventured to say it was nothing of the sort in either England or Ireland. He did not pretend to know very much of the law; but, at least, he knew that where a person was assaulted and desired to obtain his remedy before a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, he laid the complaint himself, and not the Public Prosecutor. In Ireland, the only cases in which the police took the initiative were those in which the public generally were injured. For instance, if a donkey was found straying on the road, the police would summon the owner. In a case where an individual was affected, it was left to that individual to apply to the magistrate for a summons to protect himself, or to obtain the punishment of the person injuring him. That was the practice in Ireland in cases of summary jurisdiction, and he believed it to be the practice in England. They knew that, over and over again, there were many cases where the police had actually desired that prosecutions should be instituted, and where the parties had not. In eases where the parties injured felt there had been no intention to intimidate, or where there had been no absolute vindictiveness, they had not desired to proceed further, and the police 306 had not felt themselves justified or able to initiate proceedings. What were the facts? In a clause of 20 lines, the Government had attempted, in this extraordinary Bill, and in this most extraordinary part of this extraordinary Bill, to set up in Ireland a new Law of Conspiracy and Intimidation. Open combinations among Irish tenant farmers had not been usual in times past. There had been combinations of a secret character. According to the statement of a former Chief Secretary for Ireland, in 1849, no bargain with regard to the letting of land in a large district— in a whole province in Ireland — could be made without the consent of the Secret Ribbon Lodges. Open combinations of tenant farmers in Ireland were attempted for the first time after the institution of the Irish National Land League. He said upon the second reading of this Bill that he had no objection in the world to the passing of a Statute dealing with combinations of Irish tenant farmers, and dealing with the Law of Conspiracy as regarded combinations of Irish farmers, on the same principle as the combinations of English workmen were dealt with in the Conspiracy Act of 1875; an Act which, by the way, was introduced and passed by a Conservative Government. They were asked to deal, in a clause of 20 lines, with a subject which was dealt with in the English Act relating to working men in a Bill of 10 pages. Now, was that reasonable? Was it reasonable to compress their regard for the right of combination amongst Irish tenant farmers into 20 lines, and to take away, at the same time, the right of trial by jury which they gave in the English Act? He did not believe the House of Commons would submit to the attempt this Liberal Government was making to so alter the Law of Conspiracy and Intimidation as to make it practically impossible, after the passing of this Act, for any Irish farmers or Irish working men to combine to any legitimate purpose. He saw the master hand of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) in these clauses. He was quite sure this clause was designed by the right hon. Gentleman, and that it was the result of the careful study he had made of Irish questions during the 24 months of his official existence. He knew something of the practical results of the working 307 of the mind of the right hon. Gentleman. He knew that the right hon. Gentleman had arrested hundreds of men in Ireland on the charge of intimidation, simply because they refused to pay their rents or asked that their rent might be reduced. He could give the names of many most respectable tenants who were arrested by the right hon. Gentleman and sent to Kilmainham, and who were in Kilmainham Gaol still, simply because they presented a petition, adopted by the tenants of an estate at an open and public meeting, to their landlord praying for a reduction of rent. He would give one name, that of Mr. Crosbie, a tenant on the estate of Colonel Boyce, in the county of Wexford. Mr. Crosbie was the occupier of two farms of considerable extent; he was also a trader, with a large business in his village; he was a man of an unassuming and retiring disposition, and he was asked to take the chair at a meeting of the tenants of Colonel Boyce held last October, and at that meeting a resolution was passed in favour of paying no rent until they got a reduction of rent. Mr. Crosbie, a gentleman of about 60 years of age, of portly and respectable appearance, was selected as the leading tenant on the estate, and the leading man in the neighbourhood, to present a petition to the landlord. He did so, and Colonel Boyce replied—"I will go up to Dublin tomorrow, and I will see Buckshot Foreter, and get you arrested." The right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary for Ireland was in his place, and if he was able to contradict the facts he had stated—namely, that he arrested Mr. Crosbie last October, that Mr. Crosbie was still in Kilmainham prison on a charge of intimidation, that Mr. Crosbie committed no other intimidation than that alleged to be contained in presenting a petition to his landlord, and that a day or two subsequently the right hon. Gentleman was visited by Colonel Boyce, and compelled to arrest Mr. Crosbie on a charge of intimidation, he (Mr. Parnell) would very cheerfully withdraw the statement he had made. He mentioned these facts to show the Committee the way in which these things were done in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford stated, when the Coercion Bill was being carried last year, that he would act as if he were a sworn juror, and that he would refuse 308 to arrest any man whom he did not conscientiously believe to be guilty of the offence with which he was charged. Was there any outrage committed last October on the estate of Colonel Boyce, or in the neighbourhood of it? Was there the slightest intimidation exercised there? He might extend the area from the estate of Bannon to the whole of the county of Wexford, from which county there had been, he supposed, fully 20 persons arrested under the Coercion Act—
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he did not wish to go any further away from the Amendment than the Chairman thought right; but he desired to point out that he was surprised the hon. and learned Member for Stockport, by whose side he had fought in that House to abolish the infamous practice of flogging in the Army, and to secure for English working men the right of combination, should be so zealous in interfering to limit his (Mr. Parnell's) illustrations in support of his argument in favour of the right of combination for Irish farmers. They wanted to know —and the question had been asked several times, and had not been answered by the Government—they wanted to know who was going to initiate the prosecutions for intimidation? They were told that Mr. Clifford Lloyd was not to be trusted to administer this law; he was not to be allowed to initiate prosecutions against individuals. If the prosecutions were not to be instituted upon the complaint of the persons injured, upon whose complaint were they to be instituted? They were told the other day by the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant that in certain cases of alleged intimidation— in such cases as the erection of wooden huts for the purpose of sheltering evicted tenants—the Lord Lieutenant would be the judge as to whether it would be right that prosecutions should be instituted. He would be perfectly willing that the Lord Lieutenant should be the judge in such cases; because, just as they had left the initiation of the prosecutions of trials without jury to the Lord Lieutenant, so they should also leave the initiation of the trials before the 309 special tribunal and Resident Magistrates to the Lord Lieutenant. He was not willing to leave the initiation of these prosecutions to the stray Resident Magistrates throughout the country. The people were entitled to know what the law was in the first place; and, in the second place, they were entitled to know what they could do, so as to keep within the law. Under the clause as it now stood it was perfectly impossible that anybody could know what the law was, and what they could do to keep within the scope of the law. In asking for information as to who were to initiate prosecutions, they were asking for uniformity in the administration of the law throughout Ireland. If the initiation of the prosecution was to be left to the Resident Magistrates in Ireland, they would find offences differing in every county and district in the country; and it would be impossible for anyone to know what the law really was. The law would depend, in that case, for its interpretation and its administration upon the whims of 40 or 50 different stipendiary magistrates. He, therefore, thought that, upon the threshold of the clause, they were entitled to know who was to initiate the prosecutions for intimidation. Was it to be the police-constable, was it to be the Resident Magistrate, or was it to be the Lord Lieutenant? The Government ought to give them some information, some light as to what men must do to obey the law. They wanted to obey the law, they were willing to obey the law; but under an Act of this kind it would be quite impossible for them to obey the law, because they would be left completely in the dark as to its nature and extent.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he wished to make a few remarks, in consequence of the observations of the hon. Member for the City of Cork. He understood the hon. Gentleman to say that he (Mr. W. E. Forster) had arrested, or caused men to be arrested, simply because they had paid their rents. He absolutely and entirely denied the statement.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, that the hon. Member, without giving him the slightest Notice, questioned him with regard to a particular arrest. Though he had had no Notice, if the hon. Gentleman was prepared to raise a discussion 310 on the subject, he would be prepared to meet him. Mr. Crosbie was arrested because he (Mr. W. E. Forster) believed he had been guilty of intimidation. Mr. Crosbie was not arrested because he refused to pay his rent, but on the charge of intimidation.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, the hon. Member was perfectly aware that the Protection of Person and Property Act was obtained upon the ground that it was impossible to give the reasons for arrests. If they had given the reasons for arrests—
§ MR. HOPWOOD
rose to Order. He could quite understand the right hon. Gentleman's desire to answer on the spot anything the hon. Member for the City of Cork might have said; but he asked whether they were to enter into an interminable debate upon matters which had nothing to do with the Amendment?
Allowance is always made by the Committee for a personal explanation. I must state, however, it would be quite out of Order to continue the discussion on this subject.
§ MR W. E. FORSTER
said, he must repeat, although he did not wish to dwell upon the point, that it was a very well known fact that the reasons for arrest could not be given without endangering the personal safety of the people who gave the information. ["Oh, oh!"] Really, hon. Gentlemen seemed to think there was no such thing as intimidation in Ireland. He should have thought that any person who had paid the slightest attention to what had happened in Ireland during the last six months would have been aware that there was such intimidation in the country that, if the names of the persons who had given information upon which any man had been arrested had been published, the lives of those persons, and their property, and their comfort and peace, would have been seriously endangered, and they would have had very little chance of carrying on their daily occupation.
§ MR. O'KELLY
I rise to a point of Order. The right hon. Gentleman rose to make an explanation with reference to the case of Mr. Crosbie; and he repeats now, for the twentieth time, his infernal speech.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
I move, Sir, that the words of the hon. Member be taken down. He has said, in my hearing, "the right hon. Member's infernal speech." I move that those words be taken down.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the words 'the right hon. Member's infernal speech' be taken down."—(Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson.)
Order! Is it the desire of the Committee that the words of the hon. Member be taken down?
§ MR. PARNELL
said, it was a well-known precedent in that House that words could only be taken down if they had been heard by the Clerk at the Table, and immediately upon utterance. [Cries of "Name, name!"] No; there was another method of procedure open. A Motion had been made that the hon. Member's words be taken down; but his words had not been heard.
§ MR. PARNELL
I confess, Sir, that although I was sitting very close to the hon. Member, I did not hear him make use of the words mentioned.
§ SIR R, ASSHETON CROSS
I rise to Order, Sir. I believe on these matters there can be no debate. The Chairman heard the words; therefore he can direct that they be taken down.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, that in the last Parliament, as he distinctly remembered, there was a debate which lasted, not only for a few minutes, but for the whole evening—a debate in which the right hon. and learned Gentleman the present Home Secretary took a very distinguished part—upon the Motion of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote), that some words uttered by an hon. Member sitting on that (the Opposition) side of the House—he thought the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr.O'Donnell) —should be taken down. A debate arose, and the present Home Secretary, then in Opposition, entered very strongly in to the debate, and proposed the taking down of the words; but finally the Motion to take down the words was withdrawn. On the present occasion, ho submitted, the situation was precisely the same. Words were uttered by his hon. Friend as to the precise nature of which there seemed to 312 be some difference of opinion. He (Mr, Parnell) confessed that though he sat very near the hon. Member for Roscommon—
The hon. Member cannot debate the question as to whether the words are to be taken down or not. The Rule is that if a Motion is made that the words of an hon. Member be taken down, andIt does appear to the Speaker, or the Chairman of Committees, that it is the evident sense of the House that they shall be taken down, he will then direct that the words ho taken down, and will then put as the question that the words be reported to the House.The words having been taken down by the Clerk—
The Question I now put is, that the words taken down —namely, "the right hon. Member's infernal speech," be reported to the House.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, he wished to ask the Chairman, as a matter of Order, whether it was a Rule of the House that this Motion should be put to the House or the Committee, and decided without debate, and whether there were not precedents for a debate, and a very lengthened debate, taking place on such a question?
MR. JOSEPH COWEN
said, he might suggest, with a view to the general harmony of the Committee, that as this was a matter calculated to create bitterness of feeling on the part of some hon. Members, and as the debate had been, so far, conducted in good temper, the way out of the difficulty would be for the hon. Member for Roscommon to withdraw the expression he had used.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he certainly did not catch the exact adjective used by his hon. Friend; but some hon. Members said that a certain adjective, which he would not repeat, had been used. He was sitting behind his hon. Friend when the objectionable word was used, and sound did not travel backwards as well as it did forward. That was the reason, perhaps, that the exact phrase had not reached him, there having been considerable noise in the House at the time of the occurrence. Since he had last spoken, however, he had consulted his hon. Friend, who had told him that he did use the objectionable adjective. His hon. Friend, he was sure, would see, if the Motion that the words be reported 313 to the House were withdrawn, that it was desirable that he should withdraw the expression he had made use of. The hon. Gentleman would, no doubt, be glad to withdraw it, and to express regret for having made use of it.
I think the matter may be settled without carrying it further; but I am bound to say that I do not think, with regard to the Order of the House, that a mere withdrawal would be sufficient. The House is certainly entitled to an expression of regret from the hon. Member.
I must explain to the hon. Member, who, I have no doubt, will do so, that a mere withdrawal is not sufficient, but that he must express regret for having used the words.
§ MR. O'KELLY
I confess at once that I did use the adjective, and I must say that it escaped me in the heat of debate, and quite without my intending to use that particular adjective. I withdraw it, and express to the Committee my regret for having used it.
§ Question again proposed, "That the words 'shall be proved, on the complaint of the person or persons alleged to have been aggrieved, to have.'"
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again,"—(Mr. Healy,) —put, and negatived.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
, continuing, said, he did not wish to make any further remark in regard to the facts alluded to by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). He should not have spoken at all had it not been for words the hon. Member had used. With regard to the Amendment, it would make the clause of no use. If the clause was required at all, it was required to prevent extensive and constructive intimidation. He believed it was necessary for that purpose; but, whatever had rendered it necessary, the person intimidated would be very easily prevented by fresh intimidation from initiating a prosecution. The hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Dillon) had said he understood he (Mr. W. E. Forster) had alluded to people being cowards in this matter. He did not know what remark he might have made; but he might state that he considered that it would require great courage—more, indeed, than they 314 had any right to expect from the average of individuals—to initiate prosecutions with the system of intimidation known as "Boycotting" existing.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir HENRY JAMES)
said, he wished to say a few words in reply to that small portion of the speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) which was relevant to the matter before the Committee. This 4th clause dealt with offences that would include breaches of the peace and acts of violence towards the person intimidated by the person intimidating, and the Amendment was to the effect that no person should make complaint of these acts of intimidation, except the person intimidated. Apart from the question of policy, if this Amendment were accepted, it would be another innovation in the law of the country. The general law was that, whenever a breach of the peace was committed, any person could make complaint of that breach of the peace; but it was proposed to make exception to that law, and require that the person who had been the victim of a breach of the peace alone should complain. How often did they not hear of persons assaulting women or children? In these cases, who made the charges? Not the persons assaulted, but some other person who was aware that a breach of the peace had been committed. Any person would make the charge; and the Amendment, which, it was said, would carry the general law into effect would, if applied, limit the right of complaint to the person assaulted, who might be afraid to make complaint. Let him give an instance that closely approached the condition of things sought to be dealt with by the clause. Reference had been made to the Act of 1878, which was an Act to prevent intimidation and persons being interfered with when doing that which they had a perfect legal right to do. Who could make complaint under this Act? Not only the persons intimidated. They had had constant complaints under the Workman's Act of 1875, not only from masters—who declared that their workmen were intimidated—but from persons who stood by and witnessed the acts of intimidation. The workman would be the last person to make complaint, and those by whom complaint would be made would be, in most cases, 315 persons who represented society, and their complaints would be heard. They had been asked to make an exception, as against the general principle to which he referred, where breaches of the peace occurred. The whole purpose of the Act was to protect people who could not protect themselves. It was by the shield of the present legislation that they were endeavouring to protect those who were in a state of terror, and were unable to protect themselves. They had had to deal with a very paralysis of action in which, in Ireland, persons could not protect themselves, and especially in this case, where terrorism of two kinds existed—namely, that which was immediate and worked on the people directly, preventing them from doing lawful acts; and then, when the people were intimidated, that secondary intimidation that prevented them from making complaint of the primary intimidation. If they accepted this Amendment, people would intimidate with this knowledge —that no consequences could possibly ensue if they only intimidated still further, and prevented their victims from making complaint.
§ MR. BULWER
said, he wished merely to say one word as to the extreme inapplicability of the Amendment to the clause under discussion. The clause was one for the definition of offence, and it said—Every person who wrongfully and without legal authority uses intimidation, or incites any other person to use intimidation, with a view to cause any person or persons, either to do any act which such person or persons has or have a legal right to abstain from doing, or to abstain from doing any act which such person or persons has or have a legal right to do, or towards any person or persons in consequence, either of his or their having done any act which he or they had a legal right to do, or of his or their having abstained from doing any act which he or they had a legal right to abstain from doing, shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.Then it was proposed, in the definition of the offence, to introduce words pointing out how intimidation was to be proved. Why, the absurdity of the thing was self-evident to introduce into a clause which dealt with the definition of an offence words referring to proof of that offence. The words of the Amendment were—Shall be proved, on the complaint of the person or persons alleged to have been aggrieved,316 But the clause dealt not with proof, but with the definition of the crime. He submitted to the hon. Member who had brought forward the Amendment that this was not the proper time to do so. If the Amendment was appropriate to the Bill at all, the right time to propose it would be when they were dealing with the proof by which the offence was to be established.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, the Amendment of his hon. Friend was really a very important one, because at the very threshold of the clause they were met by the question—"Who is to initiate these prosecutions?" The Chief Secretary for Ireland informed them the other day that complaints, as regarded intimidation in connection with the erection of wooden cabins for evicted tenants, should only be brought before the magistrates for decision after they had been first investigated by the Lord Lieutenant. If, however, this clause was passed, it would practically override the announcement which the Chief Secretary made. Did the Chief Secretary make the announcement in ignorance of the effect of this clause, or did he only intend it to be taken as referring to the present law in force until this Act should have been passed? The matter was of great importance, whatever reply wore given to this question. Under the present law, charges of intimidation could only be dealt with in two ways, and the punishments to be inflicted for such offences were much less in magnitude than the punishments to be inflicted under the operation of this clause. At present, a person who was charged with intimidation could be required by the magistrates, under a section of the Statute of Edward III., to give bail, and in default of giving that they could be sent to prison for a period not exceeding six months. They were treated as untried prisoners, were allowed to supply themselves with food, and there was, in fact, the clearest distinction drawn between them and prisoners convicted of crime. The other remedy against intimidation, under the present law, was that magistrates could send a person to prison for three months, with or without hard labour, with the option of a fine, and from that decision of the magistrates there was an appeal to the Quarter Sessions. If it was necessary to reserve to the Lord Lieutenant the 317 right of putting into action a charge of intimidation under the present law, it became much more necessary to reserve such a right to the Lord Lieutenant, under the very stringent provisions of this clause. Now, the Irish Members wished to know did the Government intend that this Intimidation Clause was to be put in force by every policeman in Ireland—was every policeman in Ireland to have the right to drag any man, woman, or child, at any moment, before the nearest stipendiary magistrate? There was no limitation in their Intimidation Clause. It was not necessary to summon a person offending under it—he could be taken at once, at any hour of the day or night, before the stipendiary magistrate, and charged with intimidation. Did the Government intend that the provisions of this clause were to be exercised in this way, doing away with the right of trial by jury, doing away with the right of appeal, doing away with the option of a fine, and increasing the punishment from three months to six months? Did they intend that these provisions should be exercised in the spirit of the statement made the other day by the Chief Secretary for Ireland, with regard to the erection of the huts for evicted tenants, or did they intend that they should be exercised in the spirit of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) and his pet, Mr. Clifford Lloyd?
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, he could answer the hon. Member in a single sentence. It was intended that the clause should be exercised in exactly the same manner, and the informations given by exactly the same people, as was the case under the English Act of 1875. The two cases were precisely similar. There was no limitation in the Act of 1875 as to the persons who were to lay the informations for offences under that Act; no more would there be under this Act. The hon. Member for the City of Cork, on the second reading, he thought, or two or three nights ago, made a fair statement as to this Intimidation Clause—namely, that he wished it to be a clause resembling the English law on the subject, with such modifications of that law as the condition of Ireland rendered necessary. That, he (Sir William Harcourt) thought, was as fair a statement of the case as could 318 possibly be made. Well, that was the intention of the Government with reference to this clause; and everything which tended to show that it did not resemble the principle of the English law, with such modifications as the peculiar circumstances of Ireland rendered necessary, were matters which, he thought, would properly command the attention of the Committee, and also its assent to any Amendment which might be requisite to carry out the intention of the Government. But if the Amendment were accepted it would make the clause differ altogether from the English law; and he, therefore, claimed the support of the hon. Member for the City of Cork on his own principle in opposing this Amendment.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, he, on the other hand, claimed the support of the Home Secretary for the Amendment of his hon. Friend, on account of the principles the right hon. and learned Gentleman had defended, and the measures he had introduced into the House, at an earlier and more independent stage of his career. The right hon. and learned Gentleman would not forget that golden youth of his, when he was prominent in the House in demanding the largest right of combination for the working men of this country, and when he brought forward Motions for the adjournment of the House, for doing which now the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar) brought on himself the thunders of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. There was no analogy with regard to the initiation of prosecutions for intimidation between the cases of England and Ireland. As far as he was concerned as to the other part of the proposition, he was ready to accept it. If the intimidation was clear and defined, as in England, he would be content; but the initiation of proceedings was quite a different matter. In England they had not a whole class of magistrates who were officials of the Crown. The magistrates in England, and those in Ireland, were men of an entirely different order. The police, likewise, were different. Here they were the servants of the people, there they were their masters, licensed to stare at, accost, search, and offend every person they met. The Irish magistrates were men who did the things referred to by the exploded politician he was sorry his hon. Friend the Member 319 for the City of Cork had brought into notice again this evening.
§ MR. BULWER
said, he rose to Order. The Question before the Committee was the definition of an offence. ["No, no!"] Yea. Whoever did a certain thing would be guilty of an offence. The Amendment, as to how the offence was to be proved, was out of Order, and out of place. It was not for them on this occasion to discuss the mode in which the proceedings were to be initiated, in order to determine whether or not an offence had been committed.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, it was very inconvenient that the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Bulwer) should attempt to take part in the discussion without having taken the trouble to read the Amendment on which the Committee was engaged. If the hon. and learned Gentleman would allow him, he would read the Amendment which the hon. and learned Gentleman should have read for himself. It was to insert the words—Shall he proved, on the complaint of the person or persons alleged to have been aggrieved, to have.Plainly the question was as to the initiation. The hon. and learned Member had told them the other night they were rather asleep on questions affecting Ireland; but the hon. and learned Member himself did not seem to be very wide awake with regard to these Amendments. He would ask the Home Secretary how he could reconcile the fact that all prosecutions under this Bill were to have the sanction of the Attorney General, or the Solicitor General for Ireland, for the time being, with his position now, which left to the lowest and meanest policeman the right of initiating proceedings? [A laugh.] The right hon. Gentleman laughed. He was like Job in one respect —he laughed at the vows he had made, he (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) would not say in love, but in politics. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had no more solemn expression than a smile for the Bill he had brought in. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman would make the prosecution dependent on the initiation of the Lord Lieutenant, as the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had consented to do in the case of the huts, it would meet the objections of the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy).
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
would put it to hon. Members opposite whether 320 it was worth while to press on the Amendment, which would have the effect of stultifying the clause? He would suggest to the Home Secretary that in the matter of the initiative he could adopt a much better model than the English model—namely, the Scotch model. They had a much more complete system of jurisprudence in Scotland than they had in England. In Scotland the Lord Advocate and his subordinates controlled prosecutions, for though they might be initiated by private individuals, they could not be initiated without the sanction of the Lord Lieutenant or the heads of the Criminal Department.
§ MR. T. D. SULLIVAN
said, he wished to know whether, in working this Act, the Government would take account of intimidation practised on the Irish people by the police and the landlords? These had been the real terrorists they had had in Ireland for many a long year. They had heard a great deal to-night about intimidation; but only one view of the case was taken; only one side of the question was looked at. Could any hon. Member in the House deny that intimidation of a most cruel and serious kind had been practised, and was being practised with impunity, against the Irish tenants by the Irish landlords, the bailiffs, the agents, and the police? Why, the fact was that in many towns and villages in Ireland no young men dared to walk abroad two or three together without being followed by policemen and intimidated or cautioned. Policemen listened at their windows at night. [A laugh.] Yes; he had good reason to say this. [Renewed laughter.] He had very good, sufficient, reliable authority for saying that policemen went and watched and listened outside the windows of law-abiding people at all hours of the night, and that they intimidated people in every way they could morning, noon, and night. As to the Irish landlords, had they not been intimidating the Irish tenants, preventing them from doing what they had a legal right to do? Had they not intimidated the Irish tenants, compelling them to do that which they had a legal right to refuse to do if they chose? It was because the landlords had been intimidating the Irish tenants that they had in Ireland and in America to-day thousands, yes, and millions of Irish- 321 men, sworn enemies to Irish landlordism.
The hon. Member is not within his right in referring to such intimidation, which is not in the Amendment before the Committee. The Amendment is to insert the words—Shall be proved, on the complaint of the person or persons alleged to have been aggrieved, to have.It does not in any way define intimidation.
§ MR. T. D. SULLIVAN
said, he hoped the tenants of Ireland would take care that this Act should not be a one-edged, but a two-edged sword, and that they would avail themselves of the so-called protection of this law against the intimidation practised on them by their landlords. If they did that, hon. Gentlemen in this House and their friends outside it would, perhaps, be sorry they had taken such pains to forge this weapon in the House of Commons.
§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY
said, he looked with grave apprehension upon the probability of what this new and stringent law might bring about. He should like to see some provision adopted that would save the people from the arbitrary action of policemen and magistrates. It had been suggested that the operation of this new law should be placed under the control of the Lord Lieutenant and the Chief Secretary for Ireland; and with great respect to the late and the present Chief Secretaries, and with perfect confidence in their personal justice, he would say that then-control would only be a nominal one, and that the Act would be open to very serious abuse, because he knew, as a matter of fact, that the ultimate decision as to prosecutions would be left to the Resident Magistrates, not the ordinary magistrates, but those special magistrates who had been appointed to meet the present emergency in Ireland. He knew the feeling of the country was that this would lead to a great deal of abuse. There was another authority which should be placed in control of the operation of the Act, and that was something analogous to the authority suggested by the hon. Member who had spoken last but one (Sir George Campbell). Some control should be left with the Attorney General for Ireland, and an Amendment to effect that object 322 would, he thought, meet the emergency. The punishment for this—he would not call it a new crime, but, at least, a crime which was to be tried under very new circumstances—would be very heavy, and the jurisdiction would be very summary. Ho trusted that the prosecutions would not be numerous; and he did not think it was too much to ask that before this machinery was put in motion, the authority of the Law Officer of the Crown should be obtained.
MR. HINDE PALMER
said, they were discussing matters which were really not germane to the Amendment. The object of the clause was to define the nature of the offence—to point out what the offence of intimidation was to be; and the Act by no means left it indefinite as to who was to put it in motion. There was a clause which expressly provided how the Act was to be set in motion, and who was to be the prosecutor; and yet they had been discussing the measure all the evening on the assumption that there was nothing whatever in it to provide for putting it in operation. He agreed that wherever the intimidation came from, whether from the landlord or tenant, it was equally reprehensible, and ought to be equally punished under the provisions of this Act; but the question was, who was to put it in motion? They were discussing all this on the definition of what the offence was to be; and if they looked at page 9, Part IV., they would see who was to put it in motion, and that the prosecution was to be in a certain definite way. It seemed to him that when they came to page 9, would be the time for them to consider this subject. He did not say whether it was right or wrong; but if it was right that the Motion of the hon. Member for Wexford should be adopted, the time to bring it forward, in some shape or other, would be when they came to Part IV., which dealt with the machinery for working the Act and the punishment for intimidation. He agreed with the hon. and learned Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Bulwer) that they were now discussing what the definition of intimidation was to be.
said, the hon. Member who had just sat down seemed to forget that the proposal made by the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy) was to substitute for words in the Bill, the words— 323Shall be proved, on the complaint of the person or persons alleged to have been aggrieved, to have.If these words were introduced now, they could not discuss, at a later stage, who were to be the persons to make the complaint, because the matter would have been settled; and it was, therefore, clear that what they were now discussing was not the definition of the crime, but the person who was to put the Act in motion. He, however, had only risen for the purpose of saying this—that that much - abused body, the Irish magistrates, found it necessary very often, when severe assaults had been committed in their neighbourhoods, and when the injured persons would not bring forward complaints, to get the police to go to those persons and ascertain why they did not prosecute. The answer generally given was, "I am afraid;" or "I dare not do it." The magistrates then gave instructions to the policeman to go to the Sub-Inspector, and he instituted a prosecution in the name of the Crown, and summoned witnesses who were present at the assault. This was an excellent system allowed by Common Law. In this way cases were very often brought before the magistrates, with the result that not only one side, but both sides, were punished. Sometimes these assaults were of such a character that the person assaulted was brought to the brink of the grave. As the Sub-Inspector, then, was allowed to initiate prosecutions under the existing law, it seemed to him that it would not be such an anomalous thing to introduce it into the present Act.
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, the hon. Member had given good reason why they should go on with the discussion. He had explained that the Irish magistrate was not a person under intimidation, and that he could set the law in motion—that was to say, he could suggest to a constable to go round and see, when an assault had taken place, who had been intimidated, and whether he could not persuade someone that he was the victim of intimidation. There could not be a better argument for showing that when they defined a new offence they should say who was to work it. A new offence must depend on the mechanism by which it could be made to operate and bring persons within the reach of those who were to inflict the punishment. 324 His contention was, that it was perfectly legitimate, and even essential, when they were creating an offence, to define distinctly by what process it was to be brought under the control of the law. The right hon. and learned Home Secretary had told them that in this clause he had followed the lines of the English Act of 1875. Let him remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman of the conditions under which that measure was prepared. The Act was passed, he might say, roughly speaking, altogether in favour of the working class. It was an Act passed to relieve the working man from legal responsibility for doing certain things which, up to that time, had been held to be illegal. By that Act these things were declared to be legitimate. A great variety of combination which the working man had entered into, and which the law previously held to be illegal, was held to be legal, and he was relieved from punishment for doing certain things for which, before that time, he was liable to be punished. But the present Bill was one which was altogether against the class who, in Ireland, represented the class in England in whose interests the Workmen's Act of 1875 was passed. This was to be an Act against, and not in favour of, the Irish tenants. It imposed now penalties upon that class, and invented new crimes of which they could be guilty. In the former case it was easy enough to see why there was no occasion to distinguish, first of all, by what means the Act was to be brought into operation. The class who were suffering a grievance were relieved from that grievance, so that they would not be likely again to employ those weapons of so-called intimidation, by which they had compelled Parliament to attend to their claims and relieve them of their grievance. But, by the present legislation, they were inflicting new grievances upon a class aggrieved already; and it was only fair and just, even from the example of the English legislation, that they should define the machinery by which the new penalties were to be brought to bear on the people.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, he quite admitted that there was more in the opposition of the Home Secretary to this Amendment than there had been in his opposition to some of the previous Amendments; but, at the same time, he thought hon. Gentlemen opposite had 325 made out a strong case, if not in favour of this Amendment, at any rate in favour of an Amendment of a similar kind. Ireland, it must be remembered, was peculiarly situated. It was not England. In Ireland the landlords had long confederated together against the tenants, and they had a Resident Magistracy in the country, who had to decide on these cases, who were in many ways allied to the landlord class. What hon. Gentlemen feared was that there would be some species of unholy alliance between the landlords and Resident Magistrates; that persons would be brought up for intimidating; that the landlords would give evidence against them, and that the magistrates would condemn on that evidence. They knew perfectly well that many of the people who were put in prison by the late Chief Secretary for Ireland—though, no doubt, the right hon. Gentleman believed they had been guilty of intimidation—were held by the present Heads of the Irish Executive and the Government not to have been guilty of the offences for which they had been put into gaol on suspicion. Fully one-third of those the late Chief Secretary for Ireland thought ought to remain in prison had been let out by the present Chief Secretary for Ireland; and amongst the number, he took it, were a good many who had been put in on a charge of intimidation. As he had said, he admitted there was some point in what had fallen from the Home Secretary. It was rather an absurdity to suppose that if A intimidated B, C should come forward and complain; still there might be some wretched, timid creatures in Ireland who were absolutely afraid to complain of intimidation practised upon them. ["No! no!"] Hon. Members said "No!" but he (Mr. Labouchere) was repeating what had been said by the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Dillon). He had no sympathy with these people; still, if the person was one of so timid a nature, it was necessary that the law should step in. But he was anxious to ask—and many on the Ministerial side of the House were anxious to ask—were they to understand that a person was to be condemned by a Resident Magistrate, on the complaint of a third person, for intimidation, without the person who had been intimidated coming forward as a witness, and the person who was said to have intimi- 326 dated having an opportunity of cross-examining the man he was accused of having injured? That was what he wanted to arrive at; and if the Home Secretary did not intend to accept this proposal, if he did not intend to take the view that he (Mr. Labouchere) had stated, he might accept the Amendment before the Committee—that was to say, provide in the Bill that in every case where there should have been a conviction, the person supposed to have been intimidated should have been called as a witness, to give the prisoner or his legal adviser an opportunity of examining him.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, he was not surprised that a good deal of attention had been directed to this clause, because, unquestionably, it might be one of the most important clauses in the Bill, and it dealt with one of the most important incidents to be found in the present condition of Ireland. He supposed that no one, at this time of day, was ignorant of what the offence of "Boycotting" was, or the terrible weapon that it had been found in keeping Ireland in a state of demoralization for a considerable number of months. It was a great deal better that this clause should be discussed with a full knowledge of what it was it purported to deal with. It purported to deal with the most insidious forms of terrorism that had ever been applied to any country, the forms of terrorism that, in many cases, had almost eluded definition, and that must be grappled with, and that must be overcome, if Ireland was to be restored to a state of quiet and peace; and if any attempt were made to cut down the efficiency of the clause, no matter on what specious pretext it might be put, it was really an attempt to leave Ireland in its present state of disturbance, and, he ventured to believe, it would not deceive any sane person in the community. The Committee would not have forgotten what had occurred within the past few days. The hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Dillon) had pointed out that he would not condemn "Boycotting;" and even the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell)— who tried, it seemed, without direct authority, to explain that remarkable speech of the hon. Member for Tipperary—in cautious and measured language had said he would only condemn "Boycot- 327 ting" when it was not applied to cases of unjust eviction. So that it would be seen they were dealing with the most dangerous and difficult forms of terrorism. which had had such a hold upon the minds of the people, and upon the minds of those who led the people, that it was difficult to get from them a clear, distinct, and open definition of them. Now, this Amendment was the first attempt that had been made to fritter away the clause, and to hamper it with conditions that would make it difficult, if not impossible, to work it; and that was the reason he felt it to be his duty, at this stage of the proceedings, at once to point out the meaning which he placed on the Amendment, and to express the hope that in this and the other Amendments, which were sometimes more insidious and sometimes less, the Committee would not lend themselves to hon. Members who—to use a common expression— sought to "drive a coach and four" through the salient provisions of this Bill. The Amendment before the Committee was one which proposed that no prosecution for intimidation should be initiated unless the person who was intimidated came forward. The mere statement of it showed that it was intended to kill the clause. Well, the person who came forward to defend it was the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Dillon), who spoke the other night in such a remarkable manner, not only in support of "Boycotting," but in denunciation of hon. Members who had previously expressed some disapproval of "Boycotting." The hon. Member for Tipperary had said that a person who was afraid to come forward and complain of intimidation was unworthy to be protected, or some such thing as that. In plain English, what was the meaning of that? That a person who had been treated in society as a leper, who had been ostracized and shunned in every way, and did not shake off his terrorism—which, he ventured to say, even a courageous man would feel a little of if he were resident in Ireland under the present conditions —if such a person did not shake off his terrorism, go into Court and give evidence against the accused, and then go back to the same atmosphere of terrorism, there was to be no prosecution. Surely it was obvious that an Amendment of this kind, if it were intended or not, would have the effect of thoroughly and entirely de- 328 stroying the clause; therefore, he hoped that in this, as in the other Amendments that might be proposed to this particular clause, the Committee would take care that this terrorism, coupled with the "Boycotting" with which they were all familiar, would receive a blow from which it would never recover.
§ DR. COMMINS
said, that, unless the Committee exercised great care in amending it, this clause would be made an instrument of most grievous oppression. The section created no new offence and defined no new offence, and hon. Members who, in the course of the discussion on it, had said so had been wide of the mark, and had not had a proper appreciation of it. The offence that it proposed to deal with existed already, and against it a number of Statutes had been passed in this country. In the Act of 1871 considerable pains were taken to define the offence, and the opinion the country had of its provisions and of the almost revolting operations of the whole Statute were such that it was repealed in four years. In 1875 another attempt was made, and the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, which also defined the offence of intimidation, was passed, and pointed out what the prosecutions were to be. He must say he thought the Home Secretary had failed to refresh his memory by referring to that Act, or he would not have compared its provisions with those of the present Bill. The Act of 1875 provided that, whenever a charge of this kind was made against a person, and where the result of the charge might be a fine of £20, or one month's imprisonment, then the person accused might elect to be tried by a jury, and might refuse to submit himself to the jurisdiction of even the very excellent, impartial, and exemplary stipendiary magistrates, who mostly had to try offences of this sort in England. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary was very wide of the mark in assuming that this Bill did nothing more in the case of Ireland than the Conspiracy Act of 1875 did for England. But there was this difference between the Act of 1875 and the present proposal of the Government. The Act of 1875 was only put in motion in the large municipal towns of the country, such as Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds. Now, in every case where the attempt was made to apply 329 the Act to one of these large towns, the matter had to be submitted to a Watch Committee, before whom all charges were brought by the police before a summons was applied for, the evidence being in all cases thoroughly examined by the Watch Committee. But there was no such thing as a Watch Committee in Ireland, and the police could put this Act in operation by themselves. And, again, he thought the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) might have given a different description of the state of affairs in Scotland in matters of this kind. In all towns in Scotland there was a Procurator Fiscal, and every complaint, before a summons was issued, passed under the hand of that official, when, if it was found that the charge was a credible one, and rested upon respectable testimony, application was made to the Court because it was supposed that a conviction might reasonably be expected. But in Ireland there was no protection of this kind. The parties there would simply be worried to death by the manner in which this Bill would be worked. There had been many instances in Ireland tending to show how Acts of this kind might be used for the purposes of the most atrocious oppression. As an instance of this, he reminded the Committee of the manner in which a charge of intimidation had been brought against persons who were subsequently imprisoned for collecting money on behalf of the Land League. In the case to which he referred, the party supposed to be intimidated swore that no intimidation had been practised upon them, and that they had subscribed their money willingly. Now, unless some means were taken to prevent charges being made by the police, in spite of the evidence of the party supposed to be intimidated that no such offence had been committed at all, the people would be simply at the mercy of informers and busy bodies. There was no check whatever proposed in this Bill upon any of the prosecutions which might be instituted under its operations; there was nothing to prevent the Act being made an instrument of oppression, and, in the default of some such measures in the Act, he felt it his duty to vote for the Amendment of his hon. Friend, notwithstanding that the Amendment made some slight inno- 330 vation upon the existing law of the country. Undoubtedly the law of the country was, as the Attorney General had stated, that any person might be imprisoned for breach of the peace; but this Act was altogether an innovation on the law of the country. It was, moreover, an innovation in the wrong direction, which could not but result to the people of Ireland in further trouble and vexation.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. O'Shaughnessy) suggested that the best course to pursue would be that the directory and management of this Bill should be left to the Attorney General for Ireland. An exemplification of the absolute necessity for the Proviso which was before the Committee had occurred in his own county not long ago. A person went to a spot to take a photograph of a Land League hut constructed for an evicted tenant; a policeman came up to the place, probably hoping to be included in the group standing around. He approached too near the photographic apparatus, and was told that he had better take care, as there might be dynamite about. The policeman was not alarmed, or in any way intimidated; but on the 26th May the gentleman in charge of the photographic apparatus was arrested, during the sitting of the Petty Sessions at Dundalk, and brought before the magistrates; and the stipendary magistrate, on hearing the evidence, directed that he should be sent to prison without bail. He presumed the case had come before the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, because the Crown Prosecutor was sent down to prosecute this unfortunate photographer for alluding even to dynamite. He had a report of the case in his hand, from which it appeared that the policeman swore he was not afraid; he was asked why he had not made a complaint, and he said he had no complaint to make. The complaint here was not the complaint of the policeman, it was the complaint of a Sub-Inspector; the same man who, the other day at the sessions, called a certain farmer a blackguard, and added, afterwards, that if a man had called him one, he would have put him into the mill-pond. This Sub-Inspector brought up the gentleman to whom he had referred, 331 and charged him with having used language calculated to intimidate. Hon. Members would understand from this the way in which the Bill would be used in Ireland. As he had said before, the policeman was not frightened; he made no complaint; but on the 26th May his superior officer complained, and a State prosecution followed for using intimidating language. But ho (Mr. Callan) pointed out that the only intimidation which had been used in this case had been exercised over the magistrates by the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland, who sent down his Crown Prosecutor. He hoped that his hon. Friend would proceed to a division on his Amendment, in which case ho should feel it his duty to support him.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, that this Amendment had been opposed on the ground that it constituted a very serious innovation and an entire departure from the ordinary law. But he replied that the whole Bill was a serious innovation and departure in this sense— inasmuch as it created a number of new offences, and made things which were formerly not offences at all, crimes, to which penalties of the most serious kinds were attached. As he repeated, it was a most complete departure from the law of the country. For instance, it was no actual crime in this country to make use of any verbal threat to kill or murder, and it was not an actual crime to write a threat of killing; but by this Bill it was made a crime to threaten by looks, acts, or words. The remedy in this country for intimidation, by means of verbal threats to murder, was merely the binding over of the person to good behaviour and the keeping of the peace. But, then, when that took place, it was necessary that the person who had been intimidated should himself come forward and swear the information on which the recognizances were required. What was done in England, he and his hon. Colleagues asked might be done in Ireland. They could not conceive a more serious innovation of the law than that which was proposed by the present Bill; and the Amendment of his hon. Friend simply went to the extent of providing that the Government should at least preserve so much of the law in Ireland as existed at the present time in England, in respect of proceedings of the 332 kind. The hon. Member for Tyrone (Mr. T. A. Dickson) had pointed out, with great truth, that it was no uncommon thing in Ireland, that a man who, unhappily for his country, occupied a seat on the Judicial Bench, should both instigate proceedings and sentence the individual afterwards. That was done in Ireland at the present time; and Irish Members therefore asked that the person alleged to be intimidated should come forward in open Court and state the facts. It was not enough in this country that the person should say he was intimidated, because it was for the Court to judge whether the alleged intimidation was sufficient in that particular instance to affect a person of ordinary firmness and strength of mind. If it was not shown that the alleged intimidation was insufficient to disturb the peace of an individual of ordinary strength of character, the Court would then decide in favour of the complainant. But here, in this Act, the police were to be allowed to come forward and say that a man had looked or spoken a word which, in the terms of the Act, would amount to intimidation. Now, it was very difficult to say in what intimidation consisted, because that which appeared to one person to be intimidation might, in reality, be nothing more than salutary advice. It was almost impossible for anyone except the persons threatened in these cases to state, with anything like certainty, whether intimidation was intended or advice. Therefore, it appeared to him that nothing could be more moderate than the proposal of his hon. Friend the Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy), that the person alleged to be intimidated should come forward. The reply of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General showed not only how these matters would be settled in Ireland, but also how oblivious he was to the law as it at present existed in this country.
§ MR. HEALY
said, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had made an extraordinary admission in saying that the Government would be quite ready to apply to Ireland the same law which existed in England. Now, if that were the case, Irish Members were quite willing to meet the right hon. and learned Gentleman. Under the Workmen's 333 Act, anyone who was desirous was entitled to be tried by jury. In that sense the right hon. and learned Gentleman might be well assured that they would be ready to agree with him in applying the same law to the two countries. It was said, "You could not have complaint made on the prosecutor's application, because the prosecutor himself washable to intimidation." But, he asked, would there not be as much intimidation against the man who came forward and gave evidence as the man who prosecuted? But the Government must have evidence in some way or other; and unless the policeman was going to swear that he himself had been intimidated, he did not see that evidence could go before the Court. According to the theory of the Government, a man could not prosecute because he was going to be intimidated —ergo, a man could not give evidence because he would be intimidated. A witness who was intimidated might not come forward, and if he came forward he could not be said to be intimidated. He trusted the Government would give some further information on this point, and be induced to abandon for a time their masterly policy of silence. Unless some information was forthcoming, he might feel it his duty to take another step.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, it was one of the characteristics of intimidation that the person intimidated was unwilling to come forward and state the fact. He had in his hand a considerable budget of cases of intimidation, from which he would make one or two selections. The first was a case of intimidation of a gentleman, which began in August, 1881, and constituted a typical case of intimidation by means of "Boycotting." In his case, no person, save two or three permanent labourers, could be got to work for him; persons were warned not to work for him; he had great difficulty in getting his stacks in, and patrols had to be kept constantly about the place. In this case a notice was put up on the 7th of August at the chapel gates, calling on every person to "Boycott" him, and warning persons not to deal with him or work for him. Now if the police, or any private person, saw this notice being posted, and identified the persons who posted it, that, of course, could be used as evidence, without resorting to the evidence of the person intimidated. In 334 the next case of "Boycotting," a manuscript notice was posted up in the town and in the vicinity; in some cases there was a manifesto issued; and in another a bellman was sent round to say that a man was not to be dealt with, or his goods bought. Here, also, if you could get the bellman to come forward, you would have clear evidence without resorting to the person intimidated.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he thought it was quite clear that the notices the right hon. Gentleman had described would come under the category of illegal notices, and could be dealt with fairly by the ordinary law of Ireland. He did not object to special cases of intimidation being forbidden and punishable by law; but he wanted to know what such acts were. It was all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say such and such acts were what the Government objected to; but they were not in the clause. Certainly it was a common thing, and an act of intimidation, to send a bellman into a town or village to call upon the people to Boycott" certain person; and he did not desire, but should reprobate, that practice. If such things had happened during the last six months, it was because Constitutional agitation had been put an end to, and people had been driven to put up illegal notices, and to resort to other practices that were illegal. He did not defend those practices, for they were clearly illegal, and he should be perfectly willing to give the Government power to punish men for such acts; but this clause went much further than that. A short time ago two tradesmen in Mil-town Malbay refused to supply a certain man with goods, and Mr. Clifford Lloyd, regarding that as intimidation, gave them so many days within which to supply that man, on penalty of being arrested under the Coercion Act. It was in reference to constructive intimidation of this kind, which was not defined in the Bill, that he objected to give the Government powers. He and his hon. Friends were quite willing to see the Government exercise their ingenuity to define the kinds of intimidation against which they wished to guard; but those acts should be put in the Bill, as in the case of the Conspiracy Act, and then much of their preliminary objection would be removed, and it would not be necessary to insist on the insertion of safeguards such as that moved by the hon. Member. In- 335 timidation was defined in the Act of 1875, but not in this Bill, where it was left entirely vague and open.
said, he did not think the question discussed by the hon. Member quite arose upon this Amendment; but with respect to this Amendment, he thought, in three-fourths of the cases that occurred, the complaint of the person aggrieved ought to be given. That would not, however, be necessary in the remaining fourth.
§ MR. O'SHEA
said, he did not think a more outrageous exercise of despotic power had recently occurred in Ireland than that referred to by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) at Miltown Malbay. The shopkeepers in that town were called together by Mr. Clifford Lloyd, and told that unless they sold goods to a certain person in the neighbourhood, within three days they would be sent to gaol; and they were not licensed victuallers, who, under their licences, might have been brought under the operation of the law by Mr. Clifford Lloyd or any other magistrate, but ordinary tradesmen, several of whom sold bread and flour, and provisions generally. They were unable to sell to the person in question, because they would, by so doing, have lost all their other custom; and they were accordingly sent, to Limerick Gaol. He (Mr. O'Shea) had done his best at Miltown Malbay—and, he believed, not unsuccessfully—to abolish "Boycotting;" and all the people asked for was that it should be clearly laid down what intimidation was. If that was defined, he was sure the people would keep within the law; but it was impossible to keep peace in a neighbourhood where such illegal action was carried on by Mr. Clifford Lloyd.
§ MR. O'SULLIVAN
said, he would ask his hon. Friend to withdraw the Amendment, if he thought coercion would be exercised on both sides alike. He had heard of a case in which a policeman had met a respectable lady, named M'Cormack, walking with two other ladies through a town in Limerick, and, without assigning any reason, had ordered her to leave the town at once. He was not aware of any Statute which empowered a policeman to act in that way, and such an act was intimidation of the strongest kind. Would the Government prosecute that constable, or any other constable who acted in such 336 a way? He feared the prosecutions would be one-sided, and, therefore, he should support the Amendment.
§ MR. HEALY
said, he thought the point made by the Chief Secretary for Ireland was a reasonable one; but his Amendment did not deal with that. As the hon. and learned Member for Chelsea (Mr. Firth) had said, that Amendment dealt with a three-fourths majority; and if the Government would bring up an Amendment in that direction, he would be quite willing to make a concession, and withdraw this Amendment. It, was not desirable to allude to oneself; but he was arrested by a magistrate, who had got up a case against him, and sent for trial on a charge of intimidation. Yet the man who swore the information against him had also stated that he did it at the request of the Resident Magistrate, but said he was not intimidated. He wished to prevent "fishing" cases being got up; and he would like to know whether the Government would meet him upon that point? The Government might have power to deal with threatening letters; but that was a different thing from the powers to be given under this clause. In one town, a year and a-half ago, the magistrates summoned certain people for collecting money for the "Parnell Defence Fund." Those people were arrested, and charged with intimidating the shopkeepers. The shopkeepers swore they were not intimidated; but the magistrates fined the accused £10 or £20 a-piece. When that decision, however, came before the Quarter Sessions it was quashed on appeal; but that was very poor satisfaction for the shopkeepers, many of whom could not provide the fine. Such cases it was that the Irish Members wished to prevent. As they were willing to meet the Home Secretary as to the cases he brought forward, they hoped he would meet them upon their cases.
§ Question put, "That the words 'shall be proved, on the complaint of the person or persons alleged to have aggrieved, to have,' be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: —Ayes 27; Noes 219: Majority 192.—(Div. List, No. 114.)
§ MR. DILLON
, in moving to insert, in page 3, line 13, after "uses," the words 337 "in a proclaimed district, and after such district has been proclaimed," said, that Clause 20 of this Bill provided that—The Lord Lieutenant, by and with the advice of the Privy Council in Ireland, may from time to time, when it appears to him necessary for the prevention of crime and outrage, by proclamation declare the provisions of this Act which relate to proclaimed districts or any of those provisions to he in force within any specified part of Ireland.But there was very great vagueness in the Act as to what were the provisions of the Act, and whether those now being discussed would apply to the whole of Ireland or only to portions; and he proposed to insert these words, so that those portions of the Bill creating new offences should not apply to any part of Ireland where the crime was not of such a character as to require proclaiming. He did not suppose any hon. Member would pretend that every portion of Ireland was in such a state of disorder as to require exceptional legislation; and he thought even the Chief Secretary would admit that the vastly greater part of Ireland had been as peaceable and free from outrage as any part in England. Those districts in which disorder prevailed were the districts heard of; but there were enormous districts where there had been no outrages. It would be monstrous to say that large districts where no outrages had been committed, and no organized intimidation had been carried on or even alleged, should be brought within this Act; and he saw no reason why the question of proclaiming districts should not be left to the discretion of the Lord Lieutenant. There was one other point. The present Coercion Act contained an obnoxious provision— which was largely used and created bitter feelings among the people—and that was the retrospective provision, under which men could be proceeded against for things done before the proclamation was issued. That was a new feature in Acts of this kind; and it was very invidious and improper to make a man subject to a law when he could not know what was an offence. With these views, he moved this Amendment to provide that an offence must have been committed after the district had been proclaimed.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, that under the Amendment it would be necessary to proclaim the whole of Ireland. If Ireland were proclaimed, a number of other and severer clauses would be called into general operation; whereas now they were confined to the proclaimed districts. He did not see what hardship there was in making a general law that people should not intimidate others. Intimidation which existed in the manufacturing districts of England had made it necessary to pass a law for its suppression, and that law had been made general to the whole country.
§ MR. HEALY
said, it was proposed to appoint special magistrates to administer this Act. If it was the intention of the Government to appoint special magistrates all over Ireland, was not that exactly the thing which the right hon. and learned Gentleman deprecated? The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had said, in answer to a question put to him, that it was intended to appoint special magistrates all over Ireland, including Ulster.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, the promise which he gave was that technically so-called special magistrates would be appointed to sit in the Summary Jurisdiction Courts; and then he went on to say, alluding to a passage in Lord Spencer's letter, in which His Excellency promised that a magistrate who had acted in getting up the case should not sit in judgment on it in the Summary Jurisdiction Court, that it was believed by the authorities that the present staff of Resident Magistrates would be adequate to deal with all the cases under the Act.
§ MR. DILLON
said, he would not proceed with the question then. He, how ever, considered it of such consequence, on account of the declaration made by the Home Secretary, that he would bring it up again on Report. He hoped the Government would, between this and Report, consider seriously whether they could not make a concession in the direction of the Amendment. The Home Secretary had declared that the whole of Ireland was in such a condition that this law against organized intimidation was 339 absolutely necessary. The point raised by the Amendment could not be adequately discussed in the short time at their disposal now. Therefore, he asked leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdratvn,
§ MR. CHARLES RUSSELL
, in moving, in page 3, to leave out lines 14 and 15, and insert—By acts or throats of violence, or injury to person or property, uses intimidation, or incites any other person to use intimidation,said, he considered this Amendment of great importance. He had no desire to conceal the real meaning of the Amendment from the Committee; ho desired to have it clearly and openly understood what the effect of the Amendment would be, and he equally desired to have it plainly defined what was to be considered intimidation within the clause. He wanted the intention of the Committee to be clearly expressed in language, so that it should not be left to the arbitrament and decision of a particular magistrate as to what should and what should not, merely according to his view, be intimidation. His Amendment was addressed to two objects. Those objects were to limit the extent and application of the new crime of intimidation, as he ventured to call it, and also to have in the clause itself as exhaustive a statement as possible of what intimidation was meant to be in the clause. He could not avoid saying, at the outset, that the clause in its initiatory words was a very extraordinary one. The opening words of the clause were—"Every person who wrongfully, and without legal authority, uses intimidation," and so on. He hoped the framer of the clause, if he were in the House, would inform the Committee what were the cases in which a man could "rightfully, and with legal authority, use intimidation." He hoped to have some explanation given of what this wrongful and illegal use of intimidation was. Passing by the intention, or "view," as it was called, of the person—To cause any person or persons, either to do any act which such person or persons has or have a legal right to abstain from doing, or to abstain from doing any act which such person or persons has or have a legal right to do," &c.The clause went on—"In this Act the expression 'intimidation'"— and he particularly called the attention of the 340 Committee to the next words —"the expression 'intimidation' includes any word spoken or act done," &c.; "includes" thereby implying that this was not an exhaustive explanation; "includes" all the things which followed that word. It was left, therefore, practically to the imagination of the particular magistrate who was to administer the law to say what should and what should not be considered intimidation. Recollecting that intimidation was to be made a new crime, it surely could not be the wish of the Committee that the Bill should be drawn in this imperfect way. Then the Bill went on—Includes any word spoken or act done calculated to put any person in fear of any injury or danger to himself, or to any member of his family, or to any person in his employment, or in fear of any injury to or loss of his property, business, or means of living.That was not considered sufficient; but beyond and outside those things were to be certain other things such as in the opinion of the magistrate might mean intimidation. It seemed to him important, in discussing the clause, to inquire what was this crime of intimidation, and what was its history, as we had it in our law. Speaking subject to correction, it was only in recent times —he believed it was the Act of 1873 or 1875—[An hon. MEMBER: 1871.] He thanked the hon. Gentleman for the correction. It was the Act of 1871 which first formulated this crime. Up to that time threats were not strictly so called a crime. They came within the purview of the law in this sense, and in this sense only—that if they were uttered under circumstances likely to provoke a breach of the peace, the person against whom they were uttered had the right, for the sake of preserving the peace, to go before a magistrate and have the offending party bound over to keep the peace towards him. Beyond that, until the Statute of 1871 was passed, intimidation was not considered a distinct offence. The Act of 1871 was followed by the Conspiracy Act of 1875, under which particular acts of intimidation could be dealt with. Both of those Acts applied to Ireland as well as to England; and he would like to know what part of this new enactment was required by the case of Ireland that was not covered by the general law of the two countries found in the Statute of 1875? The Amendment 341 that he proposed would, perhaps, bring out more clearly and more particularly what he desired to convey to the Committee. He proposed that there should be omitted altogether lines 14 and 15; that was to say, the words—Wrongfully and without legal authority uses intimidation, or incites any other person to use intimidation.And he also proposed to omit the whole of the last paragraph of the clause— namely,In this Act the expression 'intimidation' includes any word spoken or act done calculated to put any person in fear of any injury or danger to himself, or to any member of his family, or to any person in his employment, or in fear of any injury to or loss of his property, business, or means of living.The clause would then run thus—Every person who by acts or threats of violence, or injury to person or property—which, of course, would include a threat of injury to a man's wife and family—Uses intimidation, or incites any other person to use intimidation.He maintained that those words were clear, intelligible, not contrary to any existing law, and they were adequate to the case. It would be said they were not; and his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson), who had taken the offence of "Boycotting" under his special protection, would say it would not meet the case of "Boycotting." [Mr. GIBSON: Hear, hear!] He expected the right hon. and learned Gentleman to say so, and he (Mr. Charles Russell) would speak with candour too. What were the cases of "Boycotting" that the Government meant to deal with under this clause? Were they cases of individual "Boycotting, "or were they cases of "Boycotting" carried on in concert by several persons and amounting to a conspiracy at Common Law? If the Government had in their mind, in framing this clause, "Boycotting" carried on in concert to injure a particular individual, which would amount, at Common Law, to a conspiracy, they would find the clause would not touch such cases; and if the clause was directed at individual cases of "Boycotting," it would create an offence unknown to the law at the present moment. It was to that point he wished to direct the attention of the Committee; and he hoped that the Committee, whether they agreed with him 342 or not, would at least understand that he did not desire to blink the question. Did the Committee desire that there should be created the new offence of "Boycotting" by individuals, and that that new offence should be made a crime under this Bill? [Mr. NEWDEGATE: Yes.] The hon. Member for North Warwickshire gave an emphatic assent to the proposition that individual "Boycotting" should be a crime under the Bill.
§ MR. CHARLES RUSSELL
, continuing, asked what was "Boycotting, "as it was generally described? There were two kinds of "Boycotting," as one might easily see. There might be individual "Boycotting." For instance, a man might say to another—"If you do or do not do a particular thing, I will not deal with you; I will not speak to you; I will not recognize you." That was what might be rightly and fairly described as individual "Boycotting." Was that to be made a crime? If so, it would certainly be, of all the novel things that this Act proposed to introduce, the most novel. On what principle, when dealing with the acts of individuals—and he hoped the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) would recollect he was speaking of the acts of individuals—could they, by Statute, declare it to be an offence for one man to say to another—"If you do or do not do a certain thing, I will not deal with you; I will not consort with you; I will not be on terms with you; I will not employ you or any of your family?" There was no trace of any such offence in any of the Law Books; there was no such moral offence existing in the purview of the law. But then it was said there were other kinds of "Boycotting." He was not defending "Boycotting" in detail or in general. He was arguing the question as a lawyer, desiring to see crime put down. Individual "Boycotting" ought not to be included within the purview of the Bill. Those acts of "Boycotting" which received their sanction in threats of violence against any person, or any member of his family, or anyone in his employ, he admitted, should be covered by the Bill; and he submitted they would be covered by the Amendment he now proposed. How about other kinds of "Boycotting"— 343 "Boycotting" by individuals combining together for that purpose? That stood in an entirely different category. It was a somewhat curious anomaly in our law that there were certain things that individuals might do by themselves, but not in concert. If a number of persons joined together, and conspired for the purpose of not dealing with a man and of injuring his business, it would be—and ought to be—considered an offence against the Common Law, because their action would amount to conspiracy. But the present clause would not touch such a case. He challenged the Home Secretary or the Attorney General to say whether the clause would touch a case of "Boycotting" by conspiracy, or by concerted action on the part of a number of people. He would not now enter upon the question of the Law of Conspiracy, because he feared it would provoke a somewhat lengthy discussion. All he desired at this stage was to convey to the Committee what were the objects of the Amendment he now proposed. The first object was to exclude from the clause what he thought was now intended to come within its purview — namely, individual acts of "Boycotting," not having illegal and criminal means to give them sanction; to exclude, as not being offences at all under the Bill, what the Prime Minister called exclusive dealing. The second object was, by the terms he had used, to define precisely and accurately, and not leave it to the varying judgment of the magistrates to define, what should be and what should not be intimidation.
In page 3, to leave out lines 14 and 15, and insert "by acts or threats of violence, or injury to person or property, uses intimidation, or incites any other person to use intimidation."— (Mr. Charles Russell.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, the Amendment which had just been moved by the hon. and learned Gentleman was certainly one of the most important Amendments that had yet been proposed. His hon. and learned Friend took exception to the wording of this most important clause. He took exception, to begin with, to the words "wrongfully and without legal authority." The precedent 344 upon which the Government rested was a very strong one indeed, and that was that the words were in the Act of 1875. He would have imagined that the reason why such words were inserted would have struck everyone. Undoubtedly, acts of intimidation might be used with perfect legal authority, and quite rightfully, under certain circumstances. An hon. Member, earlier in the discussion, took exception to the clause because it would strike too far, He had said that a tradesman might, under the clause, bring an influential customer before the Court, because the customer had written him a letter complaining of his having supplied a bad suit of clothes or a bad sack of flour. He (Mr. Trevelyan) need hardly point out that the very words "wrongfully and without legal authority," would guard against any such case. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Charles Russell) had said the clause would create a new offence. The crime was not a new one; it was a crime already known to the law; it was a crime under the 7th clause of the Conspiracy Act, in which clause it was stated that any person who, with the view to compel any other person to abstain from doing any act which such other person had a legal right to do, used violence, should be guilty of the offence of intimidation. This was an old crime; but the conditions of the crime were extended in a most important manner by this Act, because in this Act intimidation not only referred to its effect upon the future action of the person intimidated, but it went back, by Sub-section b of the clause, and made it a crime to intimidate—Any person or persons, in consequence cither of his or their having done any act which he or they had a legal right to do.The English Act did not meet the case of a man who had paid his rent, and who, in consequence, was subjected to intimidation. The gist of the Amendment laid in the omission of the words "business, or means of living." The hon. and learned Gentleman asked what were the acts of "Boycotting" which the Government intended to deal with? And he said it was necessary to define those acts, so that magistrates might be perfectly aware what the crimes were they had to deal with. The Government had defined those acts as they best knew how, and he was inclined to think 345 that the words "business, and means of living," were all-important, and could not be omitted from the clause without upsetting the main purpose for which the clause was intended. His hon. and learned Friend asked if the "Boycotting" the Government meant to strike against was an individual act, or an act of conspiracy? If it was an individual act, he contended that they would create an offence unknown to the law. The Government were not so careful to deny that; but they said it was recognized as an offence which was almost universal in large parts of Ireland. He was very glad to think there were large districts of Ireland—he believed that at this moment there were 10 counties—where "Boycotting" might be said to be an almost unknown offence. Where, however, it did exist, it was aimed at a man's "business, or means of living," words which the hon. and learned Gentleman wished to exempt from the scope of the clause. What was "Boycotting," and how was it carried on? He would give them a description by a friend of the system. A rev. gentleman, speaking at a public meeting, used these words — [Mr. HEALY: Name?] It was the Rev. Mr. Rowan. He said—He wished to remind them that to meet this array of mighty warriors, great generals, and English gold and influence, they had hut one weapon—that weapon the substitute of the old pike that did such good service in 1798 (applause), and that was the all-powerful weapon, the power of 'Boycotting,' the power of crushing by social ban, as by a Nasmyth steam-hammer of a thousand tons, every traitor to the country (cheers). Use that weapon with discretion, use it wisely, but, when needed, use it without mercy (renewed cheers).Now this was the systematic nature of this offence, this system of resistance to law.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, the speech was delivered on the 27th September, 1881, and the extract was taken from The Freeman's Journal.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, he did not know the place. The worst of all was, that this systematic resistance of the law was carried out at the expense of the personal suffering of individuals. Now, that was a description of a friend of the system. He would give them a description of it by a very determined 346 foe. Mr. Justice Barry, speaking at the Winter Assizes of 1882, said—I am one of those who do not attach the same importance to them as others do, for I think they never represent any intention to commit the injury threatened; but I think the posting extensively through the country of threatening notices promoting a system of intimidation stands upon an entirely different footing, especially if they are used for the promotion of that terrible system of intimidation recently introduced into this country, and now known by the name of 'Boycotting;' and more especially when the injuries that are threatened are daily and hourly inflicted on persons and property in various parts of the country. In this county (Waterford) we find threatening notices on all sorts of subjects. 'Not to use a mowing-machine,' is one. 'Not to deal with a certain shopkeeper.' 'Not to work for a particular man.' And to a shopkeeper—'Not to supply goods to a particular man.' Such notices as these spread terror and intimidation."Boycotting" notices were directed also against magistrates for doing their duty on the Bench; in consequence of which, in one case—and here he could give the gentleman's name; it was the case of Mr. Stopford—provisions were refused to be served to the magistrate of the village by those with whom he had been in the habit of dealing, and who were deterred against their will from serving him. He had given this gentleman's name; but in these cases, for obvious reasons, he should be by no means ready to give names. A baker in a neighbouring town had also received a threatening letter, warning him not to supply this magistrate of whom he spoke with bread. This was an instance of interference with a magistrate for performing his duty as a magistrate. In another instance, the absolutely necessary police system for the preservation of law and order had been interfered with. The Resident Magistrate wrote that, referring to the Government Minute, he begged to state that a certain man who was a pawnbroker, and who carried on other trades, had been "Boycotted" in the various branches of his business, because he had given the use of his cars to the police. The letter went on to say that the system of "sending to Coventry "and persecution of every possible kind—this more than petty persecution—was regulated and conducted by notices, which were posted in all parts of the town and frequently renewed.
said, the date was September 27th, 1881. Then, another most necessary condition of "Boycotting" to bear in mind was its close connection with terrorism. It was impossible to separate the system of "Boycotting," properly so called, from terrorism. In one case, a bailiff and under agent was "Boycotted," because he was supposed to have recommended the eviction of a man who owed several years' rent and would not pay. The Boycotting" was commenced in August, 1881, and, in order to effect it, a well-known ruffian in the vicinity went about actively engaged in intimidating the persons who had been working for that man.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, he would read three or four instances to the Committee from the Government Return, which would show how inextricably this system of "Boycotting" was mixed up with the grosser forms of terrorism, and how impossible it was to separate them. Shots were fired into a house, and the inmates were warned not to deal with a shopkeeper who had been "Boycotted" because he had paid his rent. A threatening notice was posted on a man's door for having taken conacre on the landlord's farm. In the county of Clare shots were fired into the house of a farmer, who had in his employment a workman whose mother acted as laundress to a "Boycotted" smith. He could give various other instances from the Papers before the House, in which outrages had been committed to support the system of "Boycotting," and where that system had been directed against men's businesses and means of living. The extreme cruelty inflicted by the system could be illustrated from every class of life. A blacksmith became thoroughly "Boycotted;" although doing a very good business before, and earning 30s. a-week, he was soon reduced to penury and sickness, and even the medical officer who attended him incurred great unpopularity for doing so. That cruel system was pursued very far indeed. He would mention a case, which had often been referred to as one of hardship inflicted by the authorities—the case of Mrs. Maroney, of Miltown Malbay. She was "Boycotted," she was intimi- 348 dated by threatening letters, her servants were similarly intimidated and compelled to leave her; while a manservant, an old man named Simmonds, 77 years of age, was shot dead by his own fireside because he refused to leave her. He would not occupy any more of the time of the Committee by reading cases which proved how inextricably "Boycotting" was connected with loss of business and means of living. "Boycotting," which was, in his opinion, so marked in every respect by the result attending every other class of outrage and intimidation, was mixed up with those grosser forms of outrage that everyone recollected, and that the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Mr. Charles Russell) had not lost sight of. With regard to the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member, he looked upon it with great suspicion, because ho could not but think that it laid itself open to the same difficulty that they experienced in connection with the Amendment of the hon. Member for Wexford. He did not think it was easy to bring home cases of intimidation without assistance from the intimidated person, which that person was so often unwilling to give. He would give an instance, which might have been adduced against the Amendment of the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy), which would show to hon. Members the conclusion which attended so many of these eases of "Boycotting," and the reason why considerable power should be put into the hands of the magistrates, to draw conclusions from the facts before them as to whether intimidation was practised or not. Some years ago, a man named Geelan was evicted from Lord Leitrim's property in the County Leitrim. About a year ago a man named Bernard Beirne took the farm formerly occupied by Geelan, and had since been unpopular. On the 8th November, Bernard Rutledgo, a farm-servant of Beirne's, was met on the farm by a party of four men, disguised by having their faces blackened, was knocked down, and a spear held to his chest, one of the men threatening him and a fellow-servant of his—not present—and saying that if Beirne did not give up his farm he would be killed. Police protection had since been afforded to Beirne. On the 11th November, the people at the fair of Mohill refused to have any dealings 349 with, either Beirne or his son, in the way of buying or selling. On the 25th November, a letter, signed "Bernard Beirne," appeared in The Leitrim Advertiser newspaper, saying that, as he was unable any longer to stand the "Boycotting" to which he had been subjected, he pledged himself to surrender the farm. Beirne had since given up possession of this farm, and the police protection afforded him had been withdrawn. That was an instance of the combination of violent outrage and "Boycotting," or interfering with a man's business or means of living, by which thousands of people had been brought to ruin. In this case and so many others that system was triumphant. The Government were determined that they would only endeavour to administer Ireland on condition that that system should triumph no longer. They were glad to think that the system was only local, and that there were some counties—he might say many counties —which were free from it; but where it existed they were quite determined that they would not put up with it; and, in order that that end might be accomplished, they considered it necessary for the House of Commons to give them power to deal with the subtler and, generally speaking, with the earlier stages of this dreadful malady.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again,"—(Mr. Dillon,) — put, and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.