§ MR. REDMOND
, who had the following Resolution on the Paper:—That this House regrets the action of the Irish Executive in enforcing a rule whereby the suspects detained in various prisons in Ireland under the Coercion Act are locked in solitary confinement within their cells for eighteen out of every twenty-four hours, and is of opinion that, such a rule constitutes a violation of the pledges of Ministers last Session, that no hardship which was not necessary for their safe custody would he entailed upon the suspects,rose to address the House——
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, that the hon. and learned Member for Bridport could not now proceed with his Motion as he had not risen in time.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, the hon. Member for New Ross (Mr. Redmond) was the only Member that rose when he put the Motion "That the Speaker do now leave the Chair." He was, therefore, entitled to proceed.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ MR. REDMOND
said, he regretted that the Forms of the House did not permit him to move the Resolution which he had upon the Paper. In calling attention to the subject to which that Resolution had reference, he did not propose to discuss the policy or impolicy of the Coercion Act, but the manner in which it had been carried out, and the undue hardships inflicted on men arrested under its provisions. The object of the Coercion Act, as stated by the Chief Secretary for Ireland, was to reach men engaged in the perpetration of outrage; but he did not think any defender of the Government would contend that that was the object the Chief Secretary for Ireland had in view in the recent administration of the Act. Under the Coercion Act hundreds of men, without any form of trial whatever, had been imprisoned, and had actually undergone longer imprisonment than they would have been sentenced to if they had been tried and found guilty. He was sure that all the Members of the House would agree with him that in administering such an Act great care should be taken not to inflict unnecessary hardships. There were many causes of complaint of the present treatment of prisoners in Ireland. But he proposed to call the attention of the House and the Government to one cause only, and that was that out of every 24 hours the men who had been arrested under the Coercion Act were locked in solitary confinement, were in their cells, 18 hours. Last Session Ministers frequently stated that the object of the Goercion Act was not to punish men, and that it would be used solely for the purposes of prevention. If that was the spirit in which this Act was to be administered, then it was the duty of the Government to take care that no undue hardship should be inflicted on the men in prison. The Chief Secretary for Ireland on many occasions last Session, when the Bill was in Committee, assured Members 787 that no hardship would be inflicted which was not absolutely essential to safe custody. He (Mr. Redmond) ventured to appeal to the House, whether it was necessary for the safe custody of the "suspects" that they should be locked in solitary confinement in their cells 18 out of every 24 hours? He contended that the present regulations in this case should be so modified that, without the slightest danger to the safe custody of the prisoners, very much of the hardships which they at present suffered might be mitigated or done away with altogether. In considering the effect upon men of 18 hours' solitary confinement out of every 24, we must remember first the character of the men imprisoned, and next the sort of cells in which they were imprisoned. He was convinced that there were many men, even in England, who would be horrified to hear that for 18 hours out of every 24 the "suspects" were locked up in solitary confinement in cells, without either fireplace or windows, having only wretched little gratings the size of a man's hand. They had none of the cheerfulness or comfort which might be given to them by the presence and companionship of a fire; and as early as half-past 5 in the evening the "suspects" were locked up within these cells, whore they were secured until a late hour the following morning. What must be the feelings of these men when they were locked up for the night on a spring day, when the days were lengthening? No words could exaggerate the hardship of such a punishment; and all he asked was that the prison regulations might be so modified that the prisoners might be allowed an extra hour or two of association with one another after half-past 5 in the evening. Surely this might be done without in any way endangering the safe custody of the "suspects," or causing any inconvenience or trouble to the prison officials or the Government. This was his only request, and he was convinced that if it went forth to Ireland tomorrow that it had been scouted by the Government and refused, if it were possible to do so, that fact would further embitter the feelings of the Irish people against the coercive government of the right hon. Gentleman, and prove to them that the Chief Secretary's words last Session were spoken in vain and in insincerity, when he assured the House 788 that his object was not to inflict punishment upon the "suspects," but simply to prevent the perpetration of outrages. He challenged the right hon. Gentleman to show how he could consistently refuse this moderate demand. It would be no consolation to him to be told that the "suspects" were treated like untried prisoners, for while untried prisoners could only be kept waiting trial for a limited time, those who were incarcerated in Kilmainham were in the clutches of the Government, and might be kept in durance vile for an indefinite period. He might, in passing, allude to the manner in which men usually convicted of crimes in this country were treated. Mr. Valentine Baker was convicted of a crime, and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment to prevent his doing harm in the future; but as punishment for the heinous character of the offence which he committed was he treated as the "suspects" were to-day? He understood that Mr. Baker had his suite of rooms, and a constant flow of visitors from morning till night to pass away the tedious hours of imprisonment. He had every luxury that could be given him. Yet these men in Ireland, unconvicted and unaccused of any crime, and who enjoyed the confidence of the Irish people, were treated infinitely more harshly than those who had been convicted of heinous crimes. Did the Chief Secretary believe that it was necessary to confine them in their cells for 18 out of 24 hours? Such a regulation was not necessary for their safe custody, and would not be tolerated by a Government possessing the ordinary feelings of humanity. The regulations of the Act of 1877 for untried prisoners had been modified by the Lord Lieutenant in favour of the "suspects," who were allowed to associate for six hours in the day. He asked for an extension of this time for association, wishing that the prisoners might be given one or two additional hours for the same purpose after the evening meal and before bedtime. Many of those imprisoned under the Protection of Person and Property Act were not literate men, and in their case the long, solitary evening could not fail to be very wearisome. He did not ask the Government to assent to his request as a favour. He proffered his demand as a right, being of opinion that, in enforcing the regulations under 789 which, the "suspects" were now suffering, the Government were breaking the pledges which they made last year.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
Sir, I have only two remarks to make to the hon. Member for New Ross. In the first place, I cannot admit that any of the "suspects," excepting those imprisoned for treasonable practices, have been arrested without being, in my opinion, at least connected with outrages—that is, if intimidation be outrage, as I think it is. [Mr. REDMOND: Father Sheehy.] Well, I consider Father Sheehy was connected with outrage, and I think that the man who instigates to outrage is very often quite as guilty, and sometimes more guilty, than the man who perpetrates it. When the hon. Member says that many of them are imprisoned much longer than they would have been under the Common Law, I will repeat what I have said before this Session, that they might have been prosecuted under the Whiteboy Act. I suppose no one at the present time would think of resorting to some of the punishments of the White-boy Act, such as flogging; but they certainly would resort to imprisoning, which, under the Whiteboy Act, is very long. It amounts to penal servitude; and therefore the statement of the hon. Member that they are imprisoned for a longer time than they could have been under the Common Law is not a correct one. Now, with regard to this rule, the hon. Member says we have broken the pledges which we gave last Session. I think it is impossible that the hon. Member can recollect what happened last year when he makes such a statement. It is not as if this rule had not been thoroughly debated. There were debates for hours, almost for days, on the length of time which prisoners should be allowed exercise. The hon. Member says we are taking the punishment for untried prisoners. That was the basis of the rule; but it was objected that the rule for untried prisoners would give 22 hours' confinement out of the 24—a very strong objection. Well, I felt the force of that objection, and stated that we would modify the rules and put them on the Table of the House. Hon. Member after hon. Member went on to the supposition that there was only to be two hours' exercise. The rules were put on the Table of the House, and they contained what has been the case in the West- 790 meath Act, which has worked, I suppose, as well as any prison rules can work—namely, six hours. I had a question asked me by the noble Lord the Member for North Northumberland (Earl Percy), who thought that too much indulgence was given. At the time I stated there would be 18 hours of confinement out of the 24; therefore, when the hon. Member speaks of breaking pledges, nothing can be more contrary to the fact. The understanding of every person connected with the Act was that the rule would allow six hours' exercise out of the 24, and no Member objected to that. That is my simple answer. I may remind the hon. Member that six hours out of 24 is a great deal longer than is given to untried prisoners; and I may state that proper arrangements have to be made for the due management of prisons, and for the safe keeping of the prisoners, as well as for the prevention of what, I am sorry to say, we do find to be the case—namely, the prisoners making use of their liberty for communication outside, and for carrying on some of the very projects for the furtherance of which they were imprisoned. We cannot be blind to that fact while it exists. The hon. Member speaks of the advantage that would be enjoyed by giving the "suspects" time after half-past 5. I can only say that I will communicate with the prison authorities and see whether these hours cannot be spread over such parts of the day as would be more acceptable to the prisoners themselves, though I may state that the complaint comes simply from the hon. Member, and that I have heard of no complaint from the prisoners themselves. Therefore, I should, first of all, wish to know what they really thought about it with regard to variation of time before I could make a regulation. I am afraid that is all I can say on the subject.
§ MR. MOLLOY
said, there was not one word uttered by the Chief Secretary for Ireland against conceding what his hon. Friend had asked which might not also have been employed against giving the "suspects" any recreation whatever. It seemed that the Prime Minister, and indeed the entire Liberal Government, felt more for political prisoners undergoing incarceration in foreign countries than they did for the 600 of Her Majesty's subjects who in a portion of the United 791 Kingdom had been thrust into prison on suspicion. If it were necessary, he might quote from the humane writings of the Prime Minister with regard to the imprisonments in Naples. But what good would it be to do so, since the Government had disappeared? He considered it was almost waste of time to appeal to the Chief Secretary for Ireland; and if any proof were required he would only point to the short and "pert" answer just given to his hon. Friend. The right hon. Gentleman having replied to a question which so much concerned his administration, immediately walked out of the House, leaving the Irish Members to discuss the subject amongst themselves. He, for one, was not prepared to put up with such treatment as that. He believed that the imprisonment of these "suspects" was one of the most gigantic mistakes the Government had ever made—nay, it was worse than a mistake, it was an absolute crime against the peace of Ireland. He wished to draw the attention of his countrymen to the fact that while this important question was being debated the entire Government had walked out of the House. He could conceive nothing more disgraceful or discreditable to the Irish administration of Her Majesty's Government—the Ministerial Benches empty, the whole of the Liberal Benches deserted; not one of those Radical Members present who had made such splendid promises when they wanted to catch the votes of the Irish electors. They had all gone, and the question then before the House was being discussed by a dozen Irish Members and three or four Conservatives. Under these circumstances, he would say no more; and he thought the most dignified course for the Irish Members to adopt would be to leave the subject where it then stood, and to let the country see how far the Government took charge of matters they professed to have in hand, and the treatment the Government was prepared to offer those who simply went to that House to perform their duty.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he was sorry to be obliged to agree with his hon. Friend who had just sat down, that it was futile to discuss that or any Irish question in that House. The brief and curt reply given by the right hon. Gentleman to the moderate speech of the hon. Member for New Ross (Mr. Redmond), was 792 sufficient proof of the folly of Irish Members making objections to anything with the hope of receiving consideration or attention from the Government. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had assured the House that during the passage of the Coercion Act no objection was made to the limitation of six hours for association and exercise. He had a right to reply that the six hours' rule had not then been tested by experience. He, at least, had tested it in his own person, and the relatives of others were testing it now, and they all could assure the House that the six hours' rule amounted to nothing short of positive daily torture. It had been contended that many of the "suspects" were undergoing, on suspicion, longer terms of imprisonment than they could receive at Common Law after conviction. The right hon. Gentleman, driven behind the only Statute which a Constitutional Minister could acknowledge, was forced in reply to fall back upon that hateful compendium of tyrannical practice which was called the Whiteboy Act, That Act provided that persons found guilty after trial before a Judge of certain grave offences might be sentenced to be flogged three times and transported beyond the seas for seven years. The mere mention of this sentence was enough to prove that a Statute which provided so barbarous a sentence after trial and conviction ought not, in the latter part of the 19th century, to be applied to untried prisoners arrested on suspicion. He had intended to express regret that the Forms of the House prevented his hon. Friend taking a Division; but when he remembered the observations of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and the curt, unsympathetic, and inhuman manner in which he had treated his hon. Friend's appeal, and when he saw the Benches which, on a common Party question would be crowded to repletion, completely empty to-night because it was only a question of humanity that was before them, he could not say the words he had intended. He could not regret that his hon. Friend was not permitted to take the sense of the House, because he could not feel that from the sense of the House there was any hope for Ireland upon this question. The 11th rule of the regulations made by the Lord Lieutenant under the powers conferred upon him by the Coercion Act was— 793Prisoners may be in association during exercise, and for any further period not exceeding six hours each day, subject to such regulations as the General Prisons Board, with the approval of the Lord Lieutenant, may from time to time make.It was with the hope that the Government might be moved to modify this rule that the hon. Member for New Ross gave Notice of his Motion. If they wished to realize the daily torture inflicted on 600 untried prisoners under that rule, they had to reflect upon the classes of persons imprisoned. He supposed no person would say that the persons called "suspects" in the hateful jargon of the Government belonged to the ordinary criminal classes. They were men upon whom prolonged imprisonment would produce serious effects as regarded both health and intellect. They belonged either to a class which could, when they wished, enjoy fresh air and healthful exercise, or they were farmers who lived mostly in the fields at work. To those men confinement for 18 hours in small and narrow cells—damp by day and dismal after dark—was positive torture. Since he had the honour of being a prisoner in Kilmainham he had received many letters from men of sensibility and refinement still in prison, and he could see from those letters that the writers hesitated to confide even to him the sufferings they had to endure. One person said that the confinement from an early hour in the afternoon till an advanced hour in the succeeding morning amounted to this, that many men were obliged for the greater part of that interval to live in a poisonous atmosphere. He supposed he need not go into any explanation. This was not the only indignity. They were weighed and searched like common criminals, and restrictions were placed upon visits from their friends which were galling to any man of natural affection. His personal experience might serve to throw some light upon the treatment of the prisoners. Though he was not in a condition to leave his bed his cell door was kept locked night and day. The ordinary cells were only locked during the night. His personal experience would illustrate the effect of the regulation upon men of even good health. He remembered having had on two occasions either to cry for assistance or to leave his cell. On the day of his arrival at Kilmainham the warders told him 794 they would place in his cell a bell or some other means of communicating with the prison authorities. But during 18 days a bell was not placed there. He was thus left without any means of communicating with the prison staff, and on two occasions when it was necessary for him to call assistance he was obliged to leave his bed and crawl to the cell door and knock his fingers against the iron until he attracted the attention of a warder. He had to remain there shivering on each occasion for an hour, and one time almost fainted. When he had to undergo that ordeal a second time, it occurred to him that the Chief Secretary for Ireland—the Philanthropist he wished to be called—had an idea in his head that he might get rid of him (Mr. Sexton) by a more summary process than by a charge of high treason. He was compelled to suffer the annoyance of having another person—his nurse—confined in his cell with him. The prison officials had promised to procure him a separate cell, but forgot to keep their promise, and he (Mr. Sexton) was, in consequence, subjected to irritation and sleeplessness. He was not aware that the man had been guilty of any other crime except that of having nursed him; but he was allowed only one hour's exercise in a small yard filled with a poisonous atmosphere. The remaining 23 hours he was locked up in his (Mr. Sexton's) cell. One evening the nurse was taken ill, and he (Mr. Sexton) was compelled to suffer the additional discomfort that fact entailed. The door of the cell was locked, and as no communication existed the poor fellow was compelled to crawl to the door, as he (Mr. Sexton) had done, and to knock with his fingers against the iron door for a time that certainly seemed interminable. At length a warder came, and the man's request to be allowed out was replied to with unnecessary insolence. But the keys of the cell were not procurable, and he then learned for the first time that all the keys of the various cells were carried off to the Governor's house at 5 o'clock every evening; and the unfortunate man and 70 or 80 others had to exist under those conditions until 9 o'clock next morning without any opportunity of leaving their cells. Such conduct was barbarous. He could find no other word to apply to it. That was the treatment he had received, 795 and it was probable that the prison officials were more careful not to exceed the regulations in his case than they were with other prisoners. Other men had not the opportunity of lifting up their voices in that House, and therefore he was compelled to refer to his own experiences, though he exposed himself to risk of receiving all sorts of anonymous and insulting letters, presumably from, prison officials, for so doing. He could go at greater length into the matter; but he would only express a hope that if not from some Members of the Government Bench, at least from some Members on the other side of the House, they would hear something to show that they did not all postpone the claims of humanity to the claims of Liberalism, or, rather, mock Liberalism. He hoped they would hear from someone condemnation of such a system of cowardly and barbarous outrage. He asked the Government to put an end to tyranny and barbarism, which was contrary to their assured policy, and to the explicit letter of the Chief Secretary for Ireland last summer. The Chief Secretary for Ireland was using the Act, not for the purposes of repression, but of punishment. Why else were the prisoners—men accustomed all their life to live in the open air—not permitted more freedom, not allowed more intercourse with one another at least till 7 or 8 o'clock, instead of being shut up at half-past 5? There could be no danger in allowing them to talk with one another with the large number of warders present. They had been told that any inquiry into an Act of Parliament would be injurious to the prosperity and good government of Ireland; but more danger was to be feared from the exercise of this arbitrary power, which was opposed to the instincts of civilization, and repugnant to the common interests of humanity.
§ MR. CAINE
said, there was a strong desire on the part of many of the supporters of Her Majesty's Government in that House, as well as out of it, that every leniency should be shown to the "suspects" now in prison in Ireland. During the passage of the Coercion Bill he voted for every Amendment which he thought would safely ease the pressure which was being put on the "suspects;" and he sincerely trusted the Government would take into their earliest con- 796 sideration whether they could not ameliorate the condition of the misguided and unfortunate men—whom they felt themselves bound to imprison—in the direction in which they had heard so eloquently described that night.
§ SIR JOHN HAY
confessed he had heard with great regret the account given by the hon. Member for Sligo of his sufferings, and he never imagined when he voted for the Coercion Act that any such results would have occurred. He understood the Government to say that a few persons would be imprisoned, and that every case would be properly inquired into. He certainly did not imagine that the result of the measure would be that Ireland would go from bad to worse, that 4,000 outrages would be committed, and 600 men who had not committed them thrown into prison, while the 4,000 men who were guilty of them remained at large undetected. He did not think the hon. Member for Scarborough (Mr. Caine) went half far enough in his remarks. Had he been a Liberal of the old type he would have voted for a searching inquiry into the whole question. As a Scotch Member, he felt bound to lift his voice against the injustice that was taking place in Ireland. On another occasion he would express his conviction that another mode of policy was the only one by which Ireland could be made a country habitable by civilized men; but meanwhile he maintained that Irish Members had just cause for complaint that a certain number of men were in prison on suspicion, while the men who had committed the 4,000 outrages were still at large. Men were being called out of their beds to be shot at and maimed for fulfilling their just obligations, while the Government were helpless to put an end to such things. The Government made no sort of suggestion that the persons who were in prison were the same ones who committed the outrages, and yet they went on issuing lettres de cachet for their Irish bastiles.
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
thanked the right hon. Baronet who had just sat down for his warm-hearted support. He did not regret the absence of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, nor did he desire to appeal to the sympathy of the House, but rather to that of the people outside. He would ask those who had heard the speeches 797 made by his two hon. Friends, whether they would not come to the conclusion that the Government were using their powers in a manner which was not calculated to keep order, but merely intended to punish individual men? The statement made by the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) was as impressive as it was simple and straightforward. Liberals must think they lived in strange times when punishment of that kind could be inflicted on men who admittedly did not belong to the criminal classes. The Chief Secretary for Ireland spoke of the fact that the Government, if they chose, could have prosecuted the "suspects" under the Whiteboy Act; but he forgot to mention that before punishment could be awarded under that Act the man must be tried and convicted, and that was not the case with the "suspects." A humble countryman in his own county had been arrested on a warrant charging him with beingReasonably suspected of having instigated other persons unlawfully to intimidate other persons with a view to prevent their buying or selling to some other persons.Did the House understand the crime for which that man was sent to gaol? How could the Whiteboy Act affect him? That was a very fair representation of a large number of men imprisoned under the Act. All the prison rules were harsh, and especially that which gave each prisoner 18 hours of solitary confinement every day in a stifling atmosphere. The House might imagine the ill effects of such a regulation on a man accustomed to plenty of fresh air and exercise. For himself, as a man of literary pursuits and more sedentary habits, he could only say that he had rather be tried by some more severe Act than be condemned to such a punishment. Whatever might be said in favour of such severity, it was idle to allege that it was necessary in the interests of order and good government, or to prevent communication with the outer world. He supposed the men, if they were so disposed, could send in six hours enough communications out of doors to create rebellion all over the Kingdom. They were the enemies of government and good order in Ireland who maintained such a system by force, and they were to some extent enemies of good government and order in Ireland who, knowing that system to be going 798 on, did not boldly raise up their voices against it.
§ MR. T. D. SULLIVAN
was aware that there must be a good deal of iteration in a discussion of this sort, but the question was one that pressed itself upon the attention of the House. Besides, the arrests themselves furnished an instance of iteration, and justified a tolerably frequent renewal of protests from the Irish Members. When complaints were made of the treatment to which the prisoners were subject, the Chief Secretary for Ireland said it was all in the bond—all in the Act of Parliament. That was true, no doubt; but the House, when it passed the Coercion Bill, was unquestionably given to understand that the measure was aimed at criminals and perpetrators of midnight outrages, and not men of quite another character. Certainly, the declarations of the Government were that such was the object of the Act, and yet the persons arrested under it, or, at any rate, the majority of them, were men of reputation and respectability. There was a "Captain Moonlight" in Dublin Castle who was doing worse work than any of the others, whether he worked by moonlight or by gaslight. He worked in secret, and the trials he conducted and the sentences he passed were the work of himself and his gang of political conspirators. He did not see how the Government could denounce Ribbon trials or sentences in Ireland in view of their own secret tribunals. The Government talked of outrages, but committed outrages every day; for what greater outrage could there be than to deprive a man of his liberty on suspicion and, by imprisoning him, to impoverish his unoffending family? Outrage produced outrage, as surely as one blow led to another; and he therefore held the Government primarily responsible for the crimes that were now of too frequent occurrence in many parts of Ireland. A few days ago this country was startled by the perpetration of a very shocking crime. The country was startled by the crime of a madman or a miscreant, as the case might be, who had shot at Her Most Gracious Majesty. If it had happened, as it might have happened, that the perpetrator of the wicked crime had been an Irishman and not an Englishman, born in Oxford Street, London, what would not have been suffered in Ireland? 799 Would not hon. Gentlemen opposite have pretended to find between the lines of some of the speeches made in Ireland an incitement to the outrage? He was perfectly certain that it would have been so, and that hundreds of arrests would have been made under that pretence. The whole system was unfair and unjust, and when the law itself was iniquitous evil begat evil, and all chance of peace was thrown away. Could the Government assert that the Act had had a good effect in any single particular? If not, they clearly ought to admit the logic of events and abandon coercion. Until this was done there would be no peace or tranquillity in Ireland.
§ MR. LEAMY
said, that although he did not now, and never did, expect very much good from the Government, he certainly was disappointed at the reply given by the Chief Secretary for Ireland to the hon. Member for New Ross (Mr. Redmond). He did not think he would have lost the opportunity of making at least some slight concession. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that when these rules were under discussion in Committee they were debated for a considerable time. That was so, and one of the results of the discussion was that under the 3rd section of the Coercion Act power was given to the right hon. Member to modify and mitigate these harsh rules if he thought fit. He wished also to refer to the great difficulties which had to be encountered in visiting the prisoners confined under the Coercion Act in various prisons in Ireland. Under the existing arrangements at Kilmainham no more than half-a-dozen visitors could see the prisoners on any day. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had stated that the prisoners were allowed six hours a-day for communication with each other; but a Return forwarded to him (Mr. Leamy) by a "suspect," confined in Dundalk Gaol, showed that in the 21 days from 14th February to the 8th March the "suspects" in the gaol had been cheated out of nine hours and 31 minutes, or nearly half-an-hour a-day. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had promised that every facility would be given for visiting the prisoners; but, as a matter of fact, those facilities were not given. He had himself gone to visit his hon. Friend the Member for Sligo in prison on two consecutive days, when the warder told him, in an insolent tone, that he could not see 800 his hon. Friend, and shut the grating in his face. On the third day he went again and saw the Governor, or the Deputy-Governor, who told him that his hon. Friend was ill and unable to come to the visiting cage, and that he should not be allowed to see him. He ventured to say to the Governor that that was solitary confinement, and he appeared to be very indignant. For 21 days the hon. Member was thus confined in that prison and not permitted to receive a visit from a friend, when such a visit would have been about the best consolation he could obtain. The prison rule was that every prisoner should be allowed to be visited by one person, or, if circumstances permitted, by two persons at the same time, for a quarter of an hour on any week day during such hours as might be appointed. That rule had been deliberately broken to his knowledge over and over again. The 18 hours per diem of solitary confinement were also often exceeded, although, in the case of poor, illiterate men, who were unable to read, a far shorter period of solitary confinement in a miserable, cramped, and ill-lighted cell, more like a vault than anything else, must amount to absolute torture, and be enough to drive a man mad. He knew there were several in durance at present who were suffering seriously from the effects of this barbarous treatment. What could the Government gain by persisting in such a course of severity as that? The Irish people saw the men whom they trusted and elected as their Leaders and Representatives put into the gaols of the country and treated with needless cruelty. The House had been told that the mere introduction of the Coercion Act would drive away the men who were committing outrages. Well, the Coercion Act was passed, and 700 or 800 men were flung into prison, and yet outrages were still going on and increasing. Liberal Members who had supported the Coercion Act, as they alleged with reluctance, ought now to show their sincerity by insisting that the Act should not be administered with unjust harshness. He was inclined to believe that if they could only see the miserable little cells these men were confined in, even their loyalty to the Liberal Administration would not be sufficient to prevent them from joining with the Irish Members in any protest they might make against the action of the Govern- 801 ment in this matter. In conclusion, he trusted that the hon. Member for New Ross would on the first opportunity take the sense of the House on the manner in which their present exceptional powers had been exercised by the Irish Executive.
§ MR. MACFARLANE
said, he joined most cordially in the appeal made to Her Majesty's Government for some mitigation of the severity of the Act. The appeal was a most reasonable one. He understood that the object of the Act was the prevention of intimidation, and not the punishment of the individuals arrested. He would have a much lower opinion of Irish Members than he had if they sat down contented with their own personal liberty without raising their voices on behalf of the men who were in prison. The power of detention had been given to Her Majesty's Government; but it was not intended that the power of torture should be given at the same time. The shutting up of men for 18 hours in a cell, which, as had been said, was little better than a stone coffin, was more than was necessary for detention. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had stated that one of the reasons why their hours of liberty had been restricted was because they made use of them to communicate with their friends outside. But if the prisoners must not communicate with their friends at all they had better be kept in solitary confinement the whole 24 hours. The exasperation of these men, nearly 600 in number, and the feeling of disloyalty engendered in the breasts of themselves and their friends, must be a far greater evil than any which would result from occasional communication with persons outside. He was quite willing to say, although he knew his hon. Friends behind him would not agree with him, the evil that had been done had been done with a good motive. [Mr. BIGGAR: Oh!] Indeed, it had been said that all evil was done with good motives. He did not impute a bad motive to any hon. or right hon. Gentleman sitting upon the Treasury Bench, especially the right hon. Gentleman representing the Irish Government; but he believed they were perfectly and hopelessly deluded upon the subject of the working of this Act. He believed that the action of Her Majesty's Government in its treatment of the prisoners tended to perpetuate outrages, 802 and he said so deliberately. He believed it, because the feeling of exasperation in the country in the minds of the people was so great, not only by reason of the seclusion of their friends, but on account of the unnecessary sufferings inflicted upon them. He was glad to see the Chief Secretary for Ireland now in his place. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman would not imagine he had the slightest sympathy with outrage or disloyalty of any kind; and he would appeal to him to mitigate as far as possible the sufferings of the prisoners, who, if tried and found guilty, would not be punished more severely than they were now. He had appealed to the Government when the Land Act was passed to open the prison doors; but they did not do so, and what was the result? The feeling of disloyalty was growing every day, and if Her Majesty's Government saw the end of it all it was more than he did. Things were going from bad to worse. It appeared as if Her Majesty's Government had committed themselves to a war from which they could not withdraw. He regretted this with all his soul, because he was elected as a friend of Her Majesty's Government; but the action of the Government had compelled him to go against them, because his duty to his constituents was much higher than any claim any Party could have upon him.
§ MR. GILL
said, he agreed with his hon. Friends that the punishment felt most by the prisoners was their solitary confinement. On Sunday, if they went to their devotions, the time so spent was counted among the six hours. If such things were done by a foreign Government they would be called acts of petty tyranny. He believed that on Sunday the time spent by the prisoners at their evening meal was also deducted from the six hours. When the Coercion Act was being passed the Government were warned that the effect of it would be to drive the people into secret societies, and it was in that way that the enormous increase of outrages was to be accounted for. Was not the "Moonlight" Society a secret one? The Land League was an open association that spoke in the face of Heaven, with newspaper reporters present, and the Government reporters on the platform. But since the Land League had been put down the outrages had enormously increased. 803 It was said that the "suspects" were different from untried prisoners; but he believed the bulk of the "suspects," conscious of their own innocence, would be glad to be put upon their trial before any jury that could be empanelled. Mr. Rorke, who was arrested the other day—his hon. Friends around him said because he was Mr. Egan's business partner—wrote a letter, in which he stated that he would be willing to be tried even by a jury of landlords. He was convinced that had the severity with which the Government administered the Coercion Act been foreseen they would not have obtained the support of many hon. Gentlemen who had followed them into the Lobby when the Bill was before the House.
§ MR. ONSLOW
said, that, as a Conservative, he had supported Her Majesty's Government in their coercion policy; and although in general a strong opponent of the Government, he could not, as an Englishman, listen without protest to the remarks which hon. Members from Ireland sitting on that side made against the Chief Secretary for Ireland. He was sure that no one felt more bitterly than the right hon. Gentleman the cruel necessity of what he had to do; and when he was told that the right hon. Gentleman was acting under bad advice he was bound to say that if he did not believe that the right hon. Gentleman carefully examined every ease, as he had constantly assured the House he has done, he, for one, would no longer support the policy of the Government. If the Chief Secretary for Ireland had not been outvoted in the Cabinet in the autumn of last year, as they all knew was the case, Ireland would never have required so strict a Coercion Act. It was not the duty of Members on the Conservative side to sit in silence and hear abusive remarks concerning the Chief Secretary for Ireland, because he carried out the provisions of an Act which they themselves had been a party to. He wished to say this as a matter of fair play, for he believed the right hon. Gentleman was doing his very best to carry out the Coercion Act, hateful as it must be to him, and to every Member who sat on this side of the House also, and he did not like to hear these constant charges of inhumanity.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
I have no right to speak again; but I understand 804 the hon. Gentleman the Member for Westmeath (Mr. Gill) to say that the hour for worship was taken out of the hours of association.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
I was not aware it was so, and if it is the case in any prison it shall cease to be the case.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
That is another matter; but as regards the attendance at worship, that ought not to be considered part of the hours of association, and if it be the case I will take care that it shall cease.
§ MR. BYRNE
said, he must congratulate the hon. Member for New Ross (Mr. Redmond) on the ability and moderation of his speech. Having visited Kilmainham more than once, he was quite able to endorse the description given by the hon. Gentleman. The cells in which the "suspects" were confined were small, badly ventilated, and badly lighted, with, in many cases, no fireplace. It was his firm belief that prolonged confinement, under such circumstances, must prove exceedingly injurious to the physical and mental health of the unfortunate prisoners, many of whom had been as gently reared as any hon. Member in that House. He appealed to the Government to reconsider the matter, and grant to the prisoners every reasonable indulgence.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he differed entirely from the view taken by the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow), when he said the Chief Secretary for Ireland felt bitterly the task of having to administer the Coercion Acts. His own opinion was that the right hon. Gentleman felt the most intense delight in having to administer those Acts. ["Oh!"] If he could guess from the demeanour of the right hon. Gentleman, whenever he replied to any question connected with the Coercion Act, it seemed to him that the Chief Secretary for Ireland always rose with the most profound pleasure and satisfaction from the thought of the sufferings which it was in his power to inflict upon the Irish people under his charge. [Cries of "Oh, oh!" and "Order!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member for Cavan is again imputing unworthy 805 motives to the right hon. Gentleman. I must caution the hon. Member that, if he proceeds in that course, I shall have to bring his name before the House.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he had not wilfully infringed the rule. He should be very sorry to impute unworthy motives to the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Still, he felt bound to say that the hon. Member for Guildford had expressed opinions very different from his. With regard to the question more immediately before the House—namely, to what extent the prisoners should have solitary confinement, he felt bound to say that the right hon. Gentleman, in the very few remarks which he deigned to offer in reply to the hon. Member for New Ross, seemed to regard the matter from a very mean point of view. The excuse which the right hon. Gentleman made for not extending the recreation hours seemed to him to be very mean. He might have said—"I have now got these prisoners in my power, and I mean to do what I like with them;" or he might have said, which would have been more respectable—"Nothing can be suffered by anyone if I extend the recreation time of these poor people by two hours." Instead of that he quibbled. ["Oh, oh!"] He quibbled with regard to the part of the day when this recreation should take place, and gave a most ungenerous reply to the appeal of his hon. Friend. He contended that the Coercion Act was not being administered in any respect in the way in which the House was led to believe would be the case. They had proved by many cases that it was being used for purposes of punishment. They had a further proof of it that afternoon when the Chief Secretary for Ireland refused to release certain prisoners, although he admitted the district in which they lived was now quite peaceable. If the Government could not rule Ireland except by the total absence of Constitutional government, they had better let it alone.
§ MR. GRAY
said, that sufferings endured by those who were subjected to the long periods of solitary confinement inflicted upon them very grievous hardships. He could not see on what grounds that Government inflicted this terrible punishment. The more intellectual the character of the prisoner, the more he was accustomed to society and the occupations of society, the greater the suf- 806 fering from being locked up for long periods in the prison cells. The punishment of political prisoners in some civilized countries was not greater than that inflicted on those unconvicted and untried men. He could not conceive why the relaxation of rules which had been asked for should not be granted. It could not be refused on the ground of expense, for the Government had been saved expenditure by the voluntary contributions made by the Irish people for the purpose of mitigating the severity of the prisoners' incarceration. The Government could, therefore, well afford a small extra sum for the warders, who would have to perform some additional work if the prisoners were given more time in which to associate together. Did the Prime Minister appreciate what 18 hours' solitary confinement in a cell 12 feet by 8 feet meant? Surely the slight concession now asked he might make to Irish public opinion without any danger.
§ MR. HEALY
said, he agreed in the remark of the hon. Member for Car-low (Mr. Gray), when he said that the only hope of Irish Members lay in exposing the acts committed in Ireland, so far as they could, before the world. He believed there was no use appealing to the majority in that House, for the majority would rejoice if, as The, Times once expressed it, "Ireland were sunk under water for twenty-four hours." The Irish Members could, therefore, only hope to expose the Government to the small extent to which their complaints were reported in the English papers. The Prime Minister, upon a memorable occasion, appealed to the world regarding the prisoners confined under King Bomba. The right hon. Gentleman was not then in Office, and was enabled to exercise his ripe English sensitiveness in writing about the penalties inflicted upon people in Neapolitan dungeons. He invited the right hon. Gentleman to subtract a little time from the duties of his Office to visit a few of the prisons in which Irishmen were now confined for offences less heinous than those for which the Italian prisoners were confined. During the imprisonment of the Fenians, when asked to remit some portion of their sentences, the right hon. Gentleman said the difference between the Italian and the Irish prisoners was that the Italians were confined by men 807 who had broken their oaths to the people, and that they had been imprisoned without trial or the hope of trial. He submitted that the present condition of affairs with regard to the Irish prisoners was exactly similar. The Irish prisoners had been arrested and imprisoned by the action of men who had broken their oaths to the people. Mr. Justice Fitzgerald, for whom Irishmen spilt their blood that they might put him into Parliament, did little less than break his oath, and was one of the principal members of the Privy Council in carrying out a policy under which men, much honester and more respectable than he, were enduring 18 hours' solitary confinement of every 24 they were imprisoned, without trial or the smallest hope of trial. Yet the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister permitted that state of things which he condemned in Italy to go on in Ireland. Much as he disliked the Prime Minister's public action in Ireland, there was no man he, if he were an Englishman, would have a higher respect for; but he bated, abhorred, and detested the way in which the right hon. Gentleman permitted his Colleagues to rule Ireland. When the right hon. Gentleman stated that he had grown grey in the public service, and that he might not continue to administer public affairs much longer, although he (Mr. Healy) hoped he might, the right hon. Gentleman ought to remember that many of his Colleagues would have to deal with Ireland for a very long time. The tide of affairs might turn some time, so that, under a Home Rule Government, the despised Irish Members sitting below the Gangway might have the upper hand. Therefore, he invited the right hon. Gentleman to consider the possibility of some of his Colleagues being suspected of treasonable practices against the régime then existing in Ireland. With the large Liberal majority that now seemed impossible; but things might change in Europe, and England might be compelled to grant to Ireland some vestige of local government, and then Gentlemen sitting on his side of the House and Gentlemen now in gaol might become the chief Legal Advisers of Her Majesty. How would the Solicitor General then like to be reasonably suspected and placed in solitary confinement for 18 hours out of every 24? His 808 hon. Friend the Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar) had been reproved from the Chair for stating that the Chief Secretary for Ireland delighted in personal suffering. He (Mr. Healy) should be sorry to say so; but Professor Huxley had remarked that there must be a working hypothesis for everything; and upon what working hypothesis could they explain the fact that the Chief Secretary—humane and benevolent as they were compelled by the Forms of the House to believe him—kept men in solitary confinement for 18 hours out of every 24? This was a conundrum which the right hon. Gentleman would find it difficult to answer. The Bible-loving Chief Secretary for Ireland should remember that a certain city was not to be destroyed if it contained 10 good men. Perhaps there were a few innocent men among the "suspects." Therefore, he asked the right hon. Gentleman to act upon the Book he was so fond of quoting. He invited him to listen to a description of what some of the "suspects" had to undergo. He held in his hand a letter from one of the "suspects," who had experience of two gaols, and the description he gave of the cells was perfectly horrifying. The furniture was of the coarsest character, their beds were narrow and thin, and made of oakum, supported on canvas a few inches from the ground; and they had to use the combs they had inherited from the criminals who had been lodged in those cells before them. Those who were not inclined to pay a penny a-day for attendance had to sweep out the cells for themselves. Such a regulation as that was hardly fair for men who had committed no crime whatever. ["Hear, hear!"] He was glad to see that some of their remarks were appreciated by Gentlemen on both sides whose consciences were not controlled by Caucuses. The gentleman whose letter he had referred to also said that in the yard where the "suspects" took their exercise there were closets, the offensive effluvia of which were distinctly perceptible in the yard. That was philanthropy.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, the hon. Member spoke of a complaint made by one of the "suspects." He had received no complaint. In what gaol did this state of things exist?
§ MR. HEALY
said, he was reading from a letter from a gentleman who was first in Kilmainham and then in Naas. This letter was marked "Per underground." If it had been sent in the ordinary way it would never have reached him. He did not know what "underground" meant; but the letter would never have reached him in a legitimate way. He was not surprised the right hon. Gentleman had received no complaints. Complaints were not allowed to come out of the prison, and no one dared to complain. If the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had the heart of a man he would get up at that Table——
§ MR. SPEAKER
The language of the hon. Member is really not to be tolerated. He addressed himself to the Prime Minister, and asked him if he had the honour of a man. [Cries of "No, no!" and "Heart of a man!"]
§ MR. HEALY
said, that Mr. Speaker had misunderstood. That right hon. Gentleman had said that his language was not to be tolerated. He (Mr. Healy) would venture to say, in reply, that the system he was denouncing was not to be tolerated. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, if the words were Parliamentary—he must leave Mr. Speaker to judge if they were or not—if he had the heart of a man in him, to come to this Table and—[An hon. MEMBER: "Name!"] Would the hon. Member allow him to conclude his observation—to defend the atrocities described in the letter just read? And yet they, whose friends were suffering under conditions such as these, were supposed to be able to keep their hearts so tame that they should not be provoked into any heated expression. That was too much to expect in such circumstances. Visitors, too, came to gloat over the sufferings of the prisoners. Some ladies had sent chess and balls and marbles for the amusement of the prisoners; but they were not permitted. Would the British Constitution tremble if political prisoners were allowed such a solace? Letters, too, were stopped on the most trivial grounds. One was stopped, for instance, because the writer said he wanted some new clothes; another because mention was made of one of the 810 prisoners having been released. In one letter which he had received the writer said he must stop because the light was failing, as the room was surrounded by walls 30 feet or 40 feet high. Even at night the prisoners were not left quiet, as they were disturbed by the sentries calling every half-hour. How would the right hon. Gentleman relish being disturbed like that in his slumbers? The food, too, was described as objectionable in the extreme. The coffee and cocoa were thick, and the bread of the coarsest description. One meal was supplied by the self-denial of the Irish tenants, or the prisoners would, indeed, fair badly. The beef was so tough that one of the "suspects" said that it must have come from a cow that had lived in the days of Cromwell. It got its happiest description from the term "corduroy beef." When freshly cut it looked red, but before a portion could be masticated each part on your plate assumed a uniform darkness of colour. It seemed to have every characteristic of rottenness except tenderness. The meal was laid at the door of the cell, and the order was called out by a warder—"Come forward and take your victuals." This did not take place at Naples under King Bomba, or the House would have resounded with the complaints of hon. Members on the other side. It was sickening for Irish Members to address that House. They knew that their action there was abhorred by Liberal Members, and that they were looked upon as their enemies. They were their enemies. They were the enemies of the English Government in Ireland in every shape and form, and they did not bring forward these complaints because they expected justice. They did not expect justice. They knew that, as far as Ireland was concerned, the hearts of hon. Members were as hard as the nether millstone. Still, in spite of the prejudice of the English Press, which tortured and distorted the observations of Irish Members whenever it suited its purpose, they hoped that some faint glimmer of the exposé of the sufferings of these men would reach America and foreign countries, which would thus have a chance of knowing the horrors and iniquities of the men who had formerly denounced the iniquities of King Bomba in Naples.
Sir, I am very sorry to be compelled to say a very few 811 words after the speech of the hon. Gentleman, as we are extremely anxious if we can to economize a portion of the time that may still remain to us for an important part of the Business of the evening. I do not, however, like to pass by—I do not feel able to pass by—in absolute silence the speech which the hon. Gentleman has delivered. But I do not mean to make any complaint of the language that he has used—as far as I am myself concerned especially, I do not mean to make any complaint of it. So far as regards the Members of this House in general, I own I think he is intemperate and unjust when he says that in respect to Ireland their hearts are as hard as the nether millstone. Many hon. Members have laboured much and striven much, and even suffered something in the cause of Ireland. I am very sorry the hon. Gentleman weakens his position by the vehemence of his language, which at the same time arises from the action of his own sympathies, which in this case are naturally strong. But my main purpose in rising is a practical purpose; I hope he will supply to my right hon. Friend a copy of the letter which he has read to the House. I do not say with the name of the writer—that is a matter entirely for his own discretion—but specifying days and date and place, so far as to enable my right hon. Friend to make an examination of the statements made therein. My right hon. Friend has let me have the advantage of his observations on the various points noticed in the letter, and with regard to one that he mentioned—namely, the means of recreation—a chess-board, I think, in particular—my right hon. Friend is in a condition to say that he did hear of a case of that kind where there had been some difficulty, and that he gave immediate orders. [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: No; I heard there was a wish——] Ah! my right hon. Friend heard a wish had been entertained, and upon hearing of that wish—not opposition to the wish—he gave immediate directions to have the wish gratified. Now, Sir, two things only I wish to say, in the first place, do not let the hon. Member rest himself under the delusion, and therefore propagate the delusion, which I am sure he would not do unless he rested under it himself—let him not rest under the delusion of believing that in this country and in this Parliament he ever will be 812 regarded as an enemy of the State for making known to the public of this country and of the world any real hardship—real injustice suffered by those who are unhappily detained in prison. On the contrary, the British nation, whatever the hon. Gentleman may think of it, the British nation and the House of Commons, which still represents the British nation, will feel themselves the debtors of the hon. Gentleman for bringing before them accurate and well-sifted statements of that nature. That is one thing I wished to say; but I wish to say another thing on account of the repeated and not unnatural reference which the hon. Gentleman has made to the case of Naples. He appeals to me in regard to the course which I pursued many years ago in connection with that case. I must venture to point out to him that the course pursued by me was different in the most essential respects from the course pursued by him, because every statement I made against the conduct of the Government of Naples, and every account I gave of the sufferings of the persons imprisoned there, was carefully by me, through sure channels, submitted to the eye of the Government of Naples many months before one word was spoken by me on the subject, so that the fullest opportunity was given to the Government of Naples either to contradict what was wrong, or to amend what was truly alleged; and I make this observation, that both in the interests of justice and in the interests of those for whom the hon. Gentleman feels a natural and a laudable sympathy, it would be well if, when he hears allegations of this kind, he would give to my right hon. Friend and us precisely the same measure of justice as I endeavoured to secure for the Government of the King of Naples—namely, that they might have an opportunity of challenging my statements whore they were incorrect, or investigating proceedings of their agents, and setting them right where they were cruel or where they were wrong. I do not think those are unreasonable demands, and I must say I live in the hope that if the hon. Member would only give that opportunity, he would find that the effect would be very materially to restrict the circle of his complaints, and that, upon the whole, the result would be much more favourable to the establishment of a unity of sentiment and of affection between our re- 813 spective countries, which we must, after all, all of us, desire to bind together in unity of sentiment if we can—than the production of unsifted statements in which, without any fault of the hon. Gentleman, there may be a very large proportion of error combined with, after all, but a moderate proportion of what is true.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, in his opinion the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy) was following exactly the course taken by the Prime Minister in the case of the prisoners of Naples. The right hon. Gentleman said he brought the case of the Naples prisoners before the Naples Government. The hon. Member for Wexford was bringing the case of the prisoners under the Coercion Act before the Irish Government. The silence of hon. Members opposite fully corroborated the statement of the hon. Member for Wexford as to their hard-heartedness in regard to the sufferings of the Irish prisoners. With only one exception, the false Liberals below the Gangway remained silent—not one of them had the courage to rise in his place to express his disapproval of the treatment of the Irish prisoners. He challenged the Chief Secretary for Ireland to show that there remained some sincerity yet in the Government by getting up and informing the House that they intended to make some modification in the rule which compelled the "suspects'' to spend 18 hours out of 24 in solitary confinement. He believed if the matter was clearly put before the Prime Minister, and if he had an hour to think on the condition of these prisoners, that he would, as far as in his power lay, ameliorate their condition. But it was hopeless to expect any concession or any friendly act at the hands of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. The manner in which he had, for the past two months, treated every representation with respect to these prisoners forbade the idea that he would in the smallest degree improve their condition. He had deliberately violated the pledges given during the debate on the Coercion Act. He stated last Session that the prisoners would be, consistently with their safe custody, allowed to transact their daily business—had he done that? In the case of a gentleman from Co. Louth, imprisoned in Dundalk Gaol, a representation was made to the Chief Secretary for Ireland 814 in favour of his release. Guarantees were given that he would not interfere in politics after his liberation; but in what way did the Chief Secretary for Ireland treat the representations? Within two days after they were made the man was actually sent to Naas, 200 miles away, and to aggravate the hardships of his removal it occurred on Christmas Day. If that was not done for the deliberate purpose of ruining the man and his family, he challenged the Chief Secretary for Ireland to get up and deny it. He charged the Irish Executive with a total disregard of their pledges, disregard of the commonest feelings of humanity in their administration of the Coercion Act. But St. Patrick's Day was just coming, and he trusted that on that day, in every Irish centre throughout England, the conduct of the Chief Secretary for Ireland would be shown up to Irish audiences, and that a vow would be registered that when the time came no supporter of the Chief Secretary for Ireland would receive a single Irish vote.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, he did not intend to pursue the discussion of this very painful subject. He hoped that the declarations of the Prime Minister that evening, made as they had been with every mark of interest, and even of emotion, would lead to the better treatment of the prisoners under the Coercion Act. Numerous endeavours had already been made to call the attention of the Chief Secretary for Ireland to the discomforts inflicted on the Irish political prisoners. As far back as December last detailed statements were published in The Freeman's Journal of the uneatable character of the food in Kilmainham, and of the unhealthy and gloomy nature of the cells; but no attention was paid to that complaint. He himself, in a communication to The Freeman's Journal, ventured to suggest that as a modification of the darkness, from which the prisoners suffered so much, reflectors might be introduced with advantage into the cells, so that the small amount of air that filtered down from high roofs might not be diminished in the process. Not one of these recommendations had been attended to, although published in the Irish papers so far back as December. The Chief Secretary for Ireland was surrounded by influences of so peculiar a character that he was unable to gauge 815 the true facts of the state of Ireland. Why, judging from the communications which appeared in that day's Freeman's Journal, the Chief Secretary for Ireland seemed to be wholly unaware that half the audience which he addressed at Tullamore consisted of policemen in plain clothes, and that a large number of soldiers were drawn up in the neighbourhood. Of course, those who took these elaborate precautions wished to obtain for the Chief Secretary for Ireland the luxury of courage coupled with the comfort of safety. The right hon. Gentleman had moved in an enchanted atmosphere; but nothing that was favourable could be said of the spell which surrounded him.