said, in the absence of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), he wished to call the attention of the House to the serious outrages which had been committed at Thurles, in Tipperary, in consequence of the withdrawal of the protection of the police from caretakers placed upon that farm by the Property Defence Association in Ireland. In the earlier part of the Session, on the 17th of February, his hon. Friend had put a question to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant respecting the intention which the Government were supposed to have of removing police protection from the caretakers of farms. On that occasion the right hon. Gentleman, in his reply, not only assured the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire that there was no such intention, but boasted that the measures which the Government were about to take would be more likely to conduce to the peace of the country than the measures which had previously obtained. The right hon. Gentleman said they 668 had organized a system of police patrolling that would afford a much more effectual means of carrying out the object they had in view—namely, the preservation of law and order. He also said the Government must trust, to some extent, to the ability of persons attacked to protect themselves. But that was not all. On the 21st of February this matter again became the subject of a conversation in the House, in which several hon. Members took part, and in the course of which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant again assured the House that there was no reason for alarm, and that the new mode of having the police patrol whenever it was wanted would very much conduce to the safety of the caretakers. That being the position of affairs, he would ask the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to what had since taken place. It appeared that on the 7th of March an attack had been made upon a dwelling-house on a "Boycotted" farm within four miles of Thurles. The house was in the care of some men employed by the Emergency Committee. A correspondent of The Times stated that a short time ago Mr. W. Biron was obliged to evict the tenants from seven farms for non-payment of rent; he appealed to the Emergency Committee for caretakers, and four men were promptly sent down. Police protection was applied for owing to the disturbed state of the country; but as the new regulations had come into force it was refused. The caretakers then found it necessary for their own protection to live together in one of the farm buildings. On Monday morning they observed a crowd of about 700 men approaching one of the farm-houses of which they had charge, and in a few minutes the house was in a blaze. The four caretakers sallied forth, and the head caretaker had great difficulty in restraining his men from firing on the crowd. No police, it appeared, were in the vicinity, and the incendiaries, having effected their object, departed. The caretakers stated that during the week they had been stationed at Kilrush they had only once seen a policeman, and that was when he came to bring them their arms' licences. So much, it was said, for the efficiency of the system of police patrols upon which so much was 669 staked. There were only 10 constables stationed at Thurles, a number quite insufficient for the duties they had to perform. Now, if that account was correct or accurate, it was quite obvious that the plan which the right hon. Gentleman assured the House would be so much more effective than the former system of police protection had, in the first instance in which it had been tried, completely broken down. He thought the House was entitled to some assurance from the Government with reference to the system of police patrols beyond that which the right hon. Gentleman had given on the previous occasions referred to; and also some explanation as to why the police patrol appeared in this particular case to have been so lamentably insufficient for the purpose which it was intended to perform. He would also like to call the attention of the House and of the right hon. Gentleman to another rather serious matter connected with the position of affairs in Ireland. A great many English Members had been re-assured at the commencement of the Session, when they heard from Her Majesty's Government that after all, notwithstanding the disturbed condition of some parts of the country, the state of Ireland generally had to some extent improved. Although, of course, they knew that the Government had strong motives for making the best of the state of things which existed, and although they anticipated that a couleur de rose view of matters was likely to be laid before the House, yet the assurances of the right hon. Gentleman were so positive and so continually reiterated that some hon. Members were brought to believe that an improvement had, to a certain extent, taken place with regard to the state of affairs in Ireland. Many people, and he confessed he was one of them, thought they had a right to distrust assurances given by the Government, and when such assurances were given they were in the habit—acquired in the course of Parliamentary experience—of looking to some independent testimony by which they could be corroborated, and they never felt quite comfortable until the official statement was confirmed. As a consequence of this, he looked to some authority which was sure to be impartial for information as to the position of affairs in Ireland. He referred to the Charges of the Judges who went on 670 Circuit in Ireland, and a most sad and lamentable picture they presented, some parts of which he would offer to the consideration of the House. He found that in North Tipperary Lord Justice Fitzgibbon said that the duties of the Grand Jury on the occasion would be confined to the investigation of four distinct cases. If the business to be disposed of could be regarded as a sufficient indication of the condition of the country, it would appear to be one of almost unknown peace—one of unparalleled social security; but, unfortunately, the Returns which the County Inspector had laid before him presented a very different picture. He had no means, he said, of estimating the state of the country; but he found in the County Inspector's Return that there were 159 offences at these Assizes, as against 75 for the same period last year, and he concluded by saying that the Return contained a variety of offences, all of which indicated the bad state of the country. So that, although the Calendar at North Tipperary was so low that the country appeared in a state of unparalleled social security, as a matter of fact there were more than double the number of bad and serious crimes committed in the district than had been committed during the same period of last year, at a time when, it should be remembered, there was no Coercion Act and no "remedial measure." But that was not the principal case, because when he looked at the state of Limerick, where Judge Barry, last Tuesday, opened the Commission for the County of Clare, he found the learned Judge regretting the spirit of lawlessness and crime which was manifesting itself, and saying that the number of offences had been more than doubled during the past few months, as compared with the same period last year, and that the offenders were not made amenable. With the exception of two or three, all the crimes were of an agrarian character; and the murder of the farmer, Moroney, he denounced as a crime disgracing any country professing civilization. But this was not all. There was another part of Ireland—the county of Louth—which the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Callan) praised some days ago on account of its freedom from anything in the nature of agrarian crime. But Mr. Justice Lawson, in addressing 671 the Grand Jury there, said he found, on looking over the Report, that there was a considerable increase, as might naturally be expected, in the number of a certain class of offences committed with a view to prevent people paying their rents. He did not quite understand why an increase in the number of offences was naturally to be expected; on the contrary, he should have thought that after the passing of the Land Act the number would naturally be expected to decrease. But, however that might be, there was the same story from Louth as from the other places referred to. No persons, said the learned Judge, had been made amenable for those offences; and, therefore, the business to go before the Grand Jury would be disposed of in a very short time. But he (Mr. Gorst) thought the Charge of Mr. Justice Fitzgerald, in Westmeath, even more remarkable. He told the Grand Jury that their duties on the occasion would be very light indeed. There were but two small cases to go before them. But it would be a mistake to allow it to go abroad that the existence of two small cases gave any index whatever to the state of the country. It was a remarkable feature, however, in considering what was the state of the country. The Report of the County Inspector gave a perfect view of the county since the last Summer Assizes; and the list was by no means a gratifying one. As contrasted with the corresponding period of 1881, it was exactly double—or, rather, not exactly, because the total number of cases reported for the corresponding period of last year was 44, and they were dealing with 86, so that they were nearly double in number, and they were certainly not at all of a less character. The list commenced with the crime of murder. It was a case they all knew well—the murder of a young woman, the daughter of Mrs. Crohan, of Crohanmonan. He could only characterize it as one of the most audacious murders ever carried out. Next on the list they had no less than 25 cases of threatening to murder; and, on looking into those, it was found that they were no sham offences, but real threatening notices—threatening to murder. Then there were three cases of firing at the person, and 16 of assembling with arms, seizure of arms, and so forth; and in addition to the 25 notices threatening 672 to murder there were 28 cases of the ordinary threatening letters. Then there were three cases, well established, of firing into dwelling-houses, and carrying out of the previous threatening notices that had been served upon the parties. The learned Judge went on to say that, without dealing with the case of murder, all those cases, so far as he could judge from the Report, had one tendency and one direction—that was, to try to prevent parties by intimidation from meeting their engagements to pay their rents. The enumeration of these cases was in itself enough to show that the condition of Westmeath was not satisfactory—nay, more, in the period with which they were dealing, it had been and was in a most unsatisfactory condition. He thought it would be wrong to let it go to the public, without calling attention to these facts, that there were but two cases to be disposed of by the Grand Jury. That, the learned Judge believed, was one of the most remarkable features of the case—it was a feature that led him almost to despair of the future of the country. When he mentioned that there were 86 defined indictable offences, against 44 in the corresponding period of last year, reported to the Constabulary and capable of being proved, it was remarkable that in only two small cases—one of cattle stealing, and another for a petty larceny—had anyone been made amenable; in other words, there was no evidence available by the authorities to establish the guilt of any of those parties. When they looked from the Charges of the learned Judges to the cases which were heard before them, they found that in almost every instance there was an acquittal. He would call the attention of the House to one or two of these cases. At the Assizes at Carrick-on-Shannon, a man named Arthur Donnelly was put on trial as being one of a party of ruffians who, some time ago, broke at night into the house in which an aged herdsman and his grandson lived, and, dragging the old man, Michael Keegan, out of bed, put the muzzle of a rifle into his mouth, made him swear he would cease from herding a "Boycotted" farm, and then struck him on the head with the butt of a gun, and dragged him over some live coals which they scattered from the hearth upon the floor, setting fire to his shirt. Both Keegan and his grandson 673 identified the prisoner Donnelly as one of the party. At the same Assizes John Feely was indicted for stabbing and maliciously injuring a horse, the property of Michael M'Cafferty, on the 22nd of last September. The prosecutor swore he kept post horses for hire, and that the prisoner had been in his service as post-boy on the 21st of September. On that day the prisoner was drunk, and witness refused to allow him to drive. The prisoner said he would be revenged, and on that night the stable of the prosecutor was entered, and a long gash inflicted on the horse's quarter. The police immediately searched the prisoner's house, and found a knife stained with blood beside his bed, and found footprints corresponding to the boots of the prisoner near the stable. The prosecutor was unpopular in the neighbourhood and had quarrels. The jury acquitted the prisoner. James M'Tiernan and Edward Stewart were indicted for posting on a telegraph post at Blackrock, in this country, the following notice:—Take notice, that any person who pays one penny rent to Mrs. O'Burne will get the death of Lord Leitrim, and no further notice shall be given; and £ 10 reward will be given to any person who gives information of those who pays one shilling rent to Mrs. O'Burne.The prisoners were seen by a police patrol passing the telegraph pole, on which there were no notices. The police turning back shortly afterwards found the notice up, and the prisoners in the neighbourhood, who were arrested. The prisoners were acquitted and discharged. Thomas Reynolds and Patrick Reynolds were indicted for an assault on Robert Hyland, on the 19th of January last. On that day the prosecutor was seen at the house of the rent-warner on Sir Morgan Crofton's estate, and afterwards paying his rent to the agent in Mohill. On his return home that night he was beaten by three men. Two of whom he identified. The defence was that the identification was a mistake as the night was dark. The jury acquitted the prisoners. But here was, perhaps, the most remarkable case. It occurred at the Longford Assizes, and was the trial of Andrew M'Cormack for the attempted murder of William Lawler, a postman, on October the 12th, 1881. Lawler was returning from Ardagh to Edgeworths-town on the day named, when he met the prisoner in company with another 674 man. They threw him down, and, after a struggle, the prisoner fired several shots at him. They left him for dead on the roadside; but he crawled to two houses, and sought admission, but in vain. He then crept into a stable. Hearing a car go past he called for help, but was either unheard or unheeded. He then tried to make his way to Edge-worthstown, when he was met by some constables who had come in search of him. Twenty-two bullet marks were found on his body. His recovery was despaired of. Six bullets were extracted from his body, and three still remained in it. He positively identified M'Cormack, whom he had known for four or five years. At 9.30 P.M. the jury came into Court, and, having stated the improbability of their being able to agree to a verdict, were discharged. The prisoner remained in custody. These were real pictures of the state of Ireland drawn, not by any interested person, not by a political opponent of the right hon. Gentleman, but from the Charges of learned Judges and from the published accounts of the trials. Twice as many crimes were committed now as were committed before the remedial legislation of the Government. The country was in such a condition that, according to a learned Judge, it was a disgrace to civilization. The attempts to administer the law were breaking down in almost every case. Although prisoners were known to have committed most atrocious crimes, and the most convincing testimony had been given against them, they were acquitted or juries failed to agree. That was the state of the country, not as depicted by the assurances they received from the Treasury Bench, but as depicted by a source on which, he thought, they were entitled to place every reliance. The right hon. Gentleman and the Government must not be surprised if, shortly, some of the Members of the House who represented English constituencies, and who had hitherto taken no part in the discussion which had gone on in the House about the state of Ireland, thought it their duty to intervene. Last Session Parliament passed three measures which were extremely distasteful to almost everyone, both in the House and the country—namely, two Coercion Bills, by which personal liberty in Ireland was suspended, and the Land Act, which 675 reversed all one's preconceived ideas of political economy and of sound principle with regard to the rights of property. These measures were accepted on the assurance of the Government that they would restore Ireland to a state of, at all events, comparative tranquillity, and to a condition in which it would not be a disgrace to civilization. It appeared that the sacrifices then made were made entirely in vain, and as if, notwithstanding the suspension of personal liberty and the enacting of remedial measures, the state of Ireland now was worse than it was a year ago. If the evidence of the further progress of the Assizes and of the list of outrages which would be placed on the Table should show that the assurances given by the right hon. Gentleman at the beginning of the Session were not borne out, and that Ireland was not improving, but was growing worse, then it would be the duty of the Members of that House to call to account Her Majesty's Government, and to express the opinion—at all events, a section of the House—that the time had come when the House and the country could no longer have any confidence in the management of Ireland by Her Majesty's Government.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
I will first reply to a Question put by the hon. and learned Member as to a recently reported outrage. Notice has been given of Questions for Monday, and I have written to ask for information beyond what I have to-day received by telegram. From the telegrams I have received the published accounts seem to be full of exaggerations and inaccuracies. I am told that there was not a mob of 700 persons present, and that no house in charge of caretakers was destroyed. The system of patrolling in the district was sufficient and efficient. The hon. and learned Member has quoted from the Charges of the Judges. No doubt it is distressing to read these Charges; but they only show to the hon. and learned Member that the country is in the state I knew it to be in. He seems to suppose that I had given the House to understand that the state of the country was very different from what he now discovers it to be. Well, I am in the recollection of the House, and I think I can challenge contradiction, when I say that in no debate have I ever said that the state of Ireland is such as we can look on with pleasure, 676 or anything but great anxiety. I have said that there were signs of improvement. I still maintain that there are signs of improvement; but that there is great cause for anxiety. There is not a single fact which has been stated by the hon. and learned Gentleman which has not occupied my attention day and night for weeks. I am perfectly aware of what is going on in Ireland; but the question is—what can best be done to put a stop to it? There are, as I have said, signs of improvement; I repeat what I said on the Address. There were fewer outrages reported in December and January, especially in January, than there were in the corresponding period 12 months ago; but the chief sign of improvement is this—there has been a strike against rent, and certain persons have instigated the non-payment of rent, and, willingly or unwillingly, by doing so, have instigated the commission of outrages, one of the chief causes of outrage being that instigation. The landlords for a long time took no steps to recover their rents; they have, however, been taking steps to recover them within the last few weeks. We expected—everyone expected—that there would have been a considerable increase of outrage; but the step the landlords have taken has not been followed by such an increase as was feared. From the Reports which have reached me through my Office, and from what I myself heard when recently in Ireland, the actual state of things, I may say, without taking any couleur-de-rose estimate of it, is to this extent encouraging—that in most of the districts all over Ireland we find that rents are beginning to be paid much more than they were. There appears to be some abatement of the lawless and desperate resistance to the payment of rent. No doubt we have a desperate contest still to carry on. The hon. and learned Member says he and his hon. Friends will call the Government to account, and will suggest their own method of bringing about a satisfactory state of affairs in Ireland. He says they will be obliged to move a Vote of Censure on the Government for their action. I am quite ready to meet such, a Vote; and if the hon. and learned Member could, out of the resources of his knowledge and ability, suggest a better method of governing Ireland than that pursued by the Government, T should be glad to yield to 677 him, and leave him to deal with the situation. There is one remark I should like to make, and it is this. I warned the House, in the debate on the Address, against being too much encouraged by the results of the trials at the Winter Assizes. These trials were conducted under rather favourable conditions, with less exposure to intimidation, so far as jurors were concerned, than was usually the case at the Spring Assizes, and I am afraid that my warning may turn out to be justified. But it is too soon yet to form any real judgment on the matter, as the Spring Assizes have only just begun. The hon. and learned Gentleman alluded to one most terrible case of outrage—the case of the postman who was almost riddled to pieces by bullets in County Longford, and who has survived his fearful wounds in a manner truly wonderful. I can only say that one of the local officials connected with the inquiry stated that he very much feared that if 500 men could give evidence of having seen the man shot the jury would not have convicted. They have not convicted; they have disagreed. The prisoner will have to be tried again. I do not think I can say anything more about that case. If the hon. and learned Member has any charge to bring against the Government, let him bring it specifically—for not using every effort that can be used for putting a stop to lawlessness in Ireland, for instance. It is not for me to lecture him, or suggest to him his duty; but if he really thinks he can help the cause of law and order in Ireland, let him consult with those who are interested in the preservation of law and order, or bring a specific charge against the Government, and not make such speeches as that to which we have just listened.
§ SIR R. ASSHETON CROSS
I must take exception to the last expression that fell from the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Forster). I do not understand what right the right hon. Gentleman has to lecture my hon. and learned Friend for the speech he has made. My hon. and learned Friend has given to the House what seemed to me a very dry, but, at the same time, a very faithful statement of facts, so far as he could learn them, and they met with a, suitable appreciation. Why the right hon. Gentleman supposes that the hon. and learned Member laid himself open to a lecture I 678 cannot tell. I should have thought he had done good service in making this statement to the House, because the House wants to know, as far as possible, the exact truth with regard to these matters. I will not say a word about the assault on the caretakers, because the right hon. Gentleman has stated that he will be prepared with further information on Monday, when a Question is to be put to him on that subject, and I do not think it would be right to press that matter any further at the present moment. But with regard to the outrages and the Charges of the Judges at the Spring Assizes, there are one or two observations that ought to be made. I quite feel that the Government are, and always must be, anxious to cling to any sign of improvement they can possibly see in the state of Ireland; but I am afraid that more than once they have clung to straws, which have sunk under their hands. Everyone must remember the speech of the Prime Minister during the Recess, in which he mentioned two circumstances, which he then held forth to the country as signs of improvement. He dilated upon them at great length, and one of those signs of improvement was that the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Dillon) had taken a perfectly different line of action from that of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). The speech was hardly out of his mouth, and had hardly reached the ears of the hon. Member for Tipperary, when he entirely repudiated what the Prime Minister had attributed to him; and within a short time he was in gaol. That was one sign of improvement. In the same speech there was another sign of improvement, which was also dilated upon at great length. That was that the Corporation of the City of Dublin, although only by the casting vote of the Lord Mayor, had rejected a proposal to confer the freedom of the city upon the hon. Members for Cork and Tipperary. The Prime Minister dwelt upon that at great length as a sign of improvement; but only a short time passed before the Corporation of the City of Dublin, by a considerable majority, passed this very vote, conferring the freedom of the city upon those two Members of this House. That sign of improvement also passed away; and, therefore, although always very anxious to hear of good signs of improvement, 679 we a little bit distrust signs held out from time to time, because such signs as these show that they have not always a solid foundation. In the Queen's Speech we also have signs of improvement mentioned, and the Prime Minister spoke at considerable length upon them in the debate upon the Address. One sign of improvement was the payment of rent, which was supposed to be increasing. I say nothing about that now, because no facts have been brought forward, although I have no doubt we shall hear more on the subject when facts are brought forward. But the one point upon which the Prime Minister rested his case very strongly was that justice was going to be administered again. That was a point he repeated over and over again, and laid much stress upon. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) pointed out, with great care and caution, that too much value must not be attached to the Winter Assizes, because they were held under peculiar circumstances. I quite admit that the right hon. Gentleman admitted that that was so; but, still, that was one of the signs of improvement upon which so much stress was laid, and I shall be anxious to see the results of the Spring Assizes, to learn if there was any sound ground for that sign of improvement. As far as these Assizes have gone—I do not say it is far, for they have only just begun—I am afraid that sign of improvement has no solid foundation. If so, it is one of the most lamentable things this House could have to contemplate, that the administration of justice in Ireland, in spite of all that has been done, is rendered absolutely impossible. Now, I want to say that I hope my right hon. Friend will not refuse to lay on the Table the Charges of the learned Judges at these Assizes.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
I should be glad to do so, if it was in my power; but the right hon. Gentleman must be aware that the Charges are not given in such a form that they can be presented.
§ SIR R. ASSHRTON CROSS
I think these Charges might be laid on the Table, and I hope before long an order may be made for reports of them to be produced. I have no doubt the Charges were formal documents, or that they were taken down; and that there will not be much difficulty in getting them. Then I hope that as soon as possible 680 after the Assizes we may have laid on the Table a Return of all these crimes which are reported by the police, showing the cases that are prosecuted, and the acquittals. When the right hon. Gentleman states that these Charges of the Judges are not a surprise to him, I think that statement must be a surprise to the House, because it is very startling to hear that in Westmeath you have 86 serious agrarian crimes against 44 last year, and that in the county of Louth, and also, I think, in the county of Clare, there have been very nearly, if not quite, double the number of crimes in the previous year. But if the right hon. Gentleman was aware of that, it is difficult to conceive how he can hold out as a sign of improvement the fact that, with the help of the Government in collecting them, there has been some increased payment of rents. However. I do not want to say more on that at the present moment. I think my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Gorst) has done good service in laying these facts before the House, and I only regret that he was not able to do so when there were more Members present. We shall have the Judges' Charges laid on the Table in some form, I hope, together with the Returns of the crimes, and then the House will judge for itself whether my hon. and learned Friend is right or not.
§ SIR JOHN HAY
said, the increasing disorder and abominal outrages in Ireland must make everybody's blood run cold; and it was quite evident that the plans adopted by the Government to remedy this desperate state of things had done no good whatever. It was quite evident that Ireland was going from bad to worse, and that the process by which it was at present governed was not to the credit of this country. The process which he thought would be most advisable would be to recall the Lord Lieutenant, and do away with the method of government at Dublin Castle, and place Ireland in the hands of Sir Thomas Steele, who was Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, and was quite capable of governing Ireland and reducing it to order. He would contrast the condition of Ireland with the condition of another island, very much nearer than Ireland. What was the process by which the Isle of Man was governed? [Several IRISH MEMBERS: Homo Rule."] The Government of the Isle of Man was a credit to this country. The Im- 681 perial Government was supreme in that Island, all matters being conducted by the Home Office in this country; and so good government was produced; but until good government was effected in Ireland—under the superintendence of the Commander-in-Chief, instead of the Lord Lieutenant and the Chief Secretary, the condition of that country would still be a discredit. He did not know what system of local government could be adopted in Ireland; but the present system was detestable and abominable, and the sooner it was swept away the better. That was the feeling of a great many people in Scotland, that the condition of Ireland was discreditable to this country, and that until order was restored by handing Ireland over to the military authorities, there would be no peace or prosperity in the country.
§ MR. CALLAN
observed, that the Chief Secretary had some difficulty as to laying the Judges' Charges on the Table; but he knew that the former practice on Circuit was that the Crown Solicitor obtained special shorthand reports of the Judges' Charges, which were written out and forwarded to Dublin Castle, and placed on record. Had that practice been done away with for economical reasons? The cost was only a guinea, and he thought the present Government might indulge in the expense of a guinea or two to obtain shorthand reports of the Judges' Charges at the Assizes. But he believed that, as a matter of fact, every Judge's Charge in Ireland was at present specially reported and sent to Dublin Castle within 24 hours of its delivery. It would be easy for the Chief Secretary to obtain copies of these Charges; and he was quite certain that Mr. Justice Fitzgerald would be most happy to correct his Charge and forward it to the Chief Secretary, so that it might be laid on the Table. The right hon. and gallant Baronet (Sir John Hay) had spoken of Louth and Clare as having double the previous number of crimes. He (Mr. Callan) entirely repudiated that connection between Louth and Clare. The county of Clare had become celebrated by acts of violence and outrages; but, according to the authority of a Resident Magistrate, Louth was one of the quietest spots in Europe. That gentleman had been 10 years in Louth, and during that time there had not been a 682 single outrage on persons. Nevertheless, Louth had been proclaimed under the Coercion and Arms Acts by the Chief Secretary—perhaps as an incentive to outrage; certainly not to put down outrage where no outrages took place. | With regard to the Judges' Charges, j he would ask the Chief Secretary to inquire at Dublin Castle whether there was not a report of Mr. Justice Fitzgerald's Charge. If not, could not a copy of the report in The Freeman's Journal be sent to Mr. Justice Fitzgerald, and, after corrections, be laid on the Table within a week?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. W. M. JOHNSON)
said, he had gone on the largest Circuit in Ireland for 26 3'ears. and he had never heard of the Judges' Charges being specially reported. He had been a Law Adviser to the Crown for a good many years, and he had not heard of the practice; and his sanction, as Attorney General, would be required for a short hand report of any Charge, and that sanction had not been asked for. With respect to the question of obtaining these Judges' Charges, the Government had no control over the Judges, and, therefore, could not get their Charges as a matter of practice. Of course, they would try to obtain the Charges, and the Judges would, no doubt, do their best to help the Government; but they could only be obtained in that way.
§ MR. T. D. SULLIVAN
said, it seemed to him that English Gentlemen never tired of quoting instances of Irish atrocities; but he was amazed that they did not say something about, or appear to be moved in the slightest degree by, English atrocities. He would undertake to say that every day in the week they could, if they chose, pick up from the English papers as long and serious a list of crimes and outrages as was supplied to them every day by the industrious gentlemen who made it their business to collect these stories of crime and outrage in Ireland. It was said that people's blood must run cold on reading of the cruelties and atrocities in Ireland; but what blood would not run cold at the horrors and cruelties and atrocities in England every day, committed on women and children, the most helpless members of the community, and on dumb animals? The House had heard of the mutilations committed in Ireland; but all over London at this moment 683 there was placarded a list of cruelties in London in one month, amounting to several hundreds. But these were allowed to pass unheeded, and the eyes of these great moralists were turned to the crimes in Ireland. What did they expect? Did they want to make saints of all the Irish people? If they did, they were going the wrong way about it. Their rule never had tended in that direction, and never would. With regard to the outrages now occurring in Ireland, he declared his belief that they were very largely due to the Coercion Act. He believed that the half-informed men who performed those disgraceful deeds felt, in their unenlightened minds, some sort of justification for their acts in the fact that hundreds of their countrymen were arrested and thrown into gaol without right or reason. He believed that the arrest of Mr. Rorke, of which they hoard to-day, was a vindictive and most reprehensible proceeding; and he was inclined to believe that the effect of this act of the Government, when the act was reported through the length and breadth of Ireland, would be to intensify the feelings in many minds out of which sprung a good deal of the crime now being committed in that country. Such acts exasperated the minds of the people; they exasperated the minds of educated men; they exasperated the minds of intelligent men; they exasperated the minds of virtuous men. What effect must they have upon the minds of men who were not well disposed, upon men who were, as he had already 3aid, half-informed and unenlightened, and who had a natural tendency to crime and cruelty? He repeated that he believed, sincerely and honestly, that those unjustifiable and cruel arrests were the cause of a good deal of the cruelty and outrage now prevailing; and he believed it would have a wholesome effect towards the pacification of Ireland, and towards a diminution of crime in that country, if the prison doors were thrown open, and the men who were incarcerated upon so-called reasonable suspicion were allowed at large to advise their countrymen. They would advise and direct the people to engage in an open and fearless agitation; but, at the same time, they would advise their countrymen to abstain from those disreputable and criminal acts which disgraced the country; they would advise them to abstain from crime and out- 684 rage, which did not servo the Land League movement, which did not serve any good purpose, which did not serve the cause the poor Irish people had at heart, but which only afforded occasion for sham moralists to orate against the crimes of a country which upon the whole score of morality compared most favourably with England.
§ Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.