HC Deb 16 March 1882 vol 267 cc1030-52

rose to call attention to the appointment of Major Bond as a stipendiary magistrate in Ireland, and the conduct of the Chief Secretary for Ireland in relation thereto; and. to move— That this House regrets that the Chief Secretary did not exercise more care and better discretion in appointing this gentleman to such a responsible office. The hon. Gentleman said, that the first intimation the Irish Members had as to the antecedents of Major Bond was the Question put to the Chief Secretary in that House on the 10th of February by the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Jesse Collings). The facts, as disclosed in that Question, and not denied in the answer of the right hon. Gentleman, were startling in themselves; but the reply of the Chief Secretary was of a much more startling and surprising character than any of the statements in the Question. The question was one vitally affecting the character of a gentleman appointed to a most responsible office in Ireland. It was a question whether he had been guilty of swearing recklessly in open Court; and whether he had been dismissed from office by an English Corporation. What was the answer given by the Chief Secretary? The House would bear in mind that, at the present time, in Ireland, the ordinary safeguards of personal liberty were suspended, and that everything, so far as regarded the maintenance of order, depended upon the accuracy of the evidence and of the care and discretion of the stipendiary magistrates. Here they had a gentleman appointed to a responsible office who had been dismissed, not more than a month previously, from the office of Chief Superintendent of Police in Birmingham. In reply to the Question put to him by the hon. Member for Ipswich, the Chief Secretary said it was not his duty to enter into the question. He asked the House what was more incumbent upon the Chief Secretary than to inquire into the antecedents of Major Bond? The right hon. Gentleman stated that he hoped his hon. Friend would believe that the Government had good reasons for the appointment of Major Bond, and that it was not his duty to go into the charge to which his hon. Friend had referred. He would now content himself with reading a true statement of the facts of the case as copied from the English Press. He would read a report of the proceedings at the Warwickshire Quarter Sessions. It was a report, the accuracy of which had not been impugned, and it appeared in The Birmingham Daily Post—a journal that supported the right hon. Gentleman, and was also in favour of the Caucus. Among the applicants for the renewal of licences was one Stevens, and it appeared that on his case being called on, the Justices, without hearing evidence, said they should refuse to renew his licence, although it was a rule that an applicant was always entitled to a renewal, unless he had done something disentitling him to a licence at all; and, in fact, Stevens' counsel informed the Justices that their refusal to renew was entirely at variance with the Act of Parliament. At the meeting of the Justices Major Bond was examined, and said he had received a report from some of his subordinates in reference to the case. Prior to the annual meeting of the Justices on August 25, he had made no communication to the Justices with reference to the case; but at the last meeting he made a verbal report to them in their private room; but Mr. Dugdale, one of the Justices, asked Major Bond whether the report was in the nature of an objection, to which a reply was given in the affirmative, and continuing said that after considering the report the Justices went into Court, and said the application would be postponed until next meeting. At the adjourned meeting Major Bond stated that he "believed" he saw the record of Stevens' conviction before the Justices. After hearing several cases he continued that the Justices renewed several licences, but refused that of Stevens. Ultimately, the magistrates before whom the appeal was heard stated their belief that Major Bond's case had broken down. The question to be decided was, in their opinion, one of fact, and they were clear in their view that it would not be right to grant a case for an appeal. The result of the appeal was reported to the next meeting of the magistrates, an immediate opportunity being thus afforded Major Bond of denying the accuracy of the report of the case, or of explaining his evidence; and his explanation was considered by the magistrates at four meetings, and their opinion thereon was communicated to the Watch Committee, at a meeting of the Watch Committee on November the 29th. The Chief Secretary must have read it, unless he was either badly served or neglectful of his duty. If he did not ask for the magistrates' Report, he showed great negligence; if, on the other hand, he did ask for it and read it, it was an extraordinary statement for him to make that it was not his duty to go into the question. A communication was received from the borough magistrates which recited the facts of the case, and then stated further— At the meeting of the Justices on the 25th of October, 1881, as the evidence of Major Bond was contrary to the facts of the case, he was called in, and an opportunity given him of explaining it, when he replied that he was not even present in Court at the adjourned Licensing Sessions on the l5th of September; and on being asked why he had not, therefore, refused to answer the questions as to what had taken place at that meeting, he answered that he understood he was only answering supposititious questions. The result of these remarkable proceedings appear to be (1) that a grave miscarriage of justice has taken place in consequence of the magistrate at Warwick being seriously misled by erroneous evidence as to facts; (2) that the principal witness in giving this erroneous evidence was Major Bond, the Chief Superintendent of Police, who stated that judgment was given in the matter by the Birmingham Justices without a public hearing of the case, and when called before the Justices for the purpose of explanation, stated that he was not even present in Court at the hearing of the case upon which he was then giving evidence; (3) that the interests of the public are compromised by the decision of the Justices of Birmingham being overruled, and a licence granted by the Warwickshire Justices, in consequence of such evidence, to a person who, in the opinion of the Birmingham Justices, is most unfit and improper to hold such licence. (Signed),

  • "THOMAS ARCY, Mayor.
  • J. C. SNEYD KYNNERSLEY, Stipendiary.
  • J. D. GOODMAN.
At a subsequent meeting of the Committee they passed a Resolution in which they concurred in the Resolution of the Justices in ceasing to regard Major Bond with confidence. The matter, however, was further adjourned, and Major Bond was again heard in his own defence; and, after denying statements which he had previously made, he again returned to them. The only member of the Committee who dissented from the Resolution was Alderman Manton; but he afterwards disclaimed all attempt to justify Major Bond. Finally, at a meeting of the Watch Committee, the following Resolution was adopted:— That the Council be informed that the magistrates, having passed a Resolution to the effect that they could not continue to regard Major Bond with confidence, and this Committee, after full and fair inquiry, have passed this Eesolution—' That having regard to the difficulties that have arisen on previous occasions between this Committee and Major Bond, and the want of confidence now expressed in him by the magistrates of the borough, in which this Committee has concurred, it is, in the judgment of this Committee, necessary to the interests of the public service that he be called upon to resign.' This was the comment of The Birmingham Daily Post upon the matter— Unless Major Bond has some much more satisfactory explanation of his conduct to offer," The Post said, "than those which were forthcoming at this interview with the magistrates, we fear he must not look for a favourable verdict. A fortnight having elapsed, he (Mr. Callan) found forthwith a report in The Post that, at a meeting of the Watch Committee to consider the matter. Major Bond admitted, according to his own statement, that there could be no graver subject than the object for which the meeting was convened. His conduct, the Major went on to say, must either be more than "eminently unsatisfactory," or else the charges amounted to nothing. The Chairman of the Committee (Mr. William Hart), however, put it succinctly enough, and in language which he (Mr. Callan) would adopt. Addressing Major Bond, he said that they further had relied upon his statement as a matter of fact, as the head of the police had led them to believe that he was present—when, as a matter of fact, he was not—at the proceedings, which constituted an important element in the decision of the Justices. The charge against Major Bond was that he had been guilty of making a statement that virtually amounted to false swearing. The question was, did Major Bond, when he applied to the Chief Secretary, state that he had been obliged to retire from the office of Chief Superintendent of Police at Birmingham? No doubt he had given the Chief Secretary glowing accounts as to how he had preserved the peace in Birmingham. On leaving the Police Force of Birmingham Major Bond addressed to the men—he" (Mr. Callan) was going to say a pastoral—but a declaration somewhat Napoleonic in its tone. It ran— Major Bond, in resigning the position of Chief Superintendent of the Birmingham Police Force, wishes to express to the officers and men his high appreciation of their conduct, discipline, and energy, as a consequence of which this once turbulent town, over which he had been placed as a guardian of life, property, and public morality, has settled down into a most satisfactory state of quiet and good order. [A RADICAL MEMBER: Hear, hear!] But, nevertheless, he had been dismissed by the Borough Justices, dismissed by the Watch Committee, and dismissed by the Town Council of Birmingham by a majority of 48 to 10—that was to say, that if he had not resigned when he did he would have been dismissed 48 hours afterwards. What was the next event that happened to Major Bond? They next found him installed by the Chief Secretary as a stipendiary magistrate in Ireland. The Chief Secretary's defence was that it was not his duty to investigate a charge like that—a charge amounting substantially to one of false swearing. He wished, then, to know whether Major Bond had concealed from him the fact that he had been obliged to retire from his post in Birmingham? Had the case been one of emergency there might have been some excuse for the appointment; but it was well known that there were numbers of deserving retired officers in Her Majesty's Service who had applied for, and would gladly have accepted, the post. He would like to know what was the private influence that was brought to bear upon the Chief Secretary; for surely no public influence could be brought to bear with such a declaration, not a snatched vote of the Dublin Corporation, but the reiterated vote of the guardians of the peace and order in Birmingham, expressing their disapproval of Major Bond's conduct, and their want of confidence in him. Anything in the way of comment that he could offer on the facts he had stated would be so superfluous that it would be absolutely thrown away. He (Mr. Callan) appealed to English Members opposite, however anxious they might be to follow the lead of the Government, to say if Major Bond was the sort of person to be sent to Ireland in the responsible position of a resident magistrate? He would endorse as his own the words of The Birmingham Daily Post, which were that— The real point was this. Major Bond had given evidence of a matter as having occurred in his presence, when he afterwards admitted that he was not present, and which he did not witness himself. But having been removed from his office by the Corporation of Birmingham, the Chief Secretary had absolutely promoted him, either recklessly or without due inquiry, in defiance and in spite of the vote and decision of the Town Council of Birmingham. He charged the Chief Secretary with recklessness. When even a servant was engaged the first thing an employer inquired into was his character. But in this case, where it was of the highest importance that the selected candidate should be trustworthy and faithful, the Chief Secretary selected a man who had been dismissed for false swearing. If the liberty of the people of Birmingham was likely to be endangered by the retention of Major Bond as Chief Superintendent of Police, surely the liberty of the people of Ireland at the present juncture was more likely to be endangered by his presence there in the capacity of a resident magistrate. The hon. Member concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given Notice.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House regrets that the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland did not exercise more care and better discretion in appointing Major Bond to the responsible office of a stipendiary magistrate in Ireland,"—(Mr. Callan,) —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, the Motion of the hon. Gentleman was a Vote of Censure upon himself for not having exercised more care and discretion. In appointing Major Bond to such a responsible office there were really two questions to be considered—one, whether he (Mr. W. E. Forster) was justified in making the appointment; and the other, whether, having made that appointment, he ought to have cancelled it. The hon. Member for Louth seemed to suppose that he knew all the circumstances of the case before he made the appointment.


No, I beg pardon; I said distinctly that either you were wrong in making it without due inquiry, or else you made the appointment with a reckless disregard of the circumstances.


Well, those were the words with which the hon. Member had concluded; and he (Mr. W. E. Forster) would have to reply to the two charges, the real point being—was he justified in making the appointment? He trusted that he might be allowed to give some of the grounds on which he made the appointment. The hon. Member seemed to suppose that the post of temporary resident magistrate was a promotion for a man who had held the office of Chief Constable at Birmingham; but his own opinion was that the position was certainly an inferior one—at any rate, so far as the emoluments were concerned. Owing to the state of Ireland it was necessary to appoint several temporary resident magistrates, and Major Bond was one of those last appointed for a period of three months, their continuance in office after that time depending upon the state of the country and the manner in which they discharged their duties. Major Bond made his application for an appointment in the usual way, and private influence was not brought to bear in the matter. He heard that Major Bond had been an efficient officer at Cardiff and at Birmingham. He had never seen stronger testimonials than those of Major Bond. Mr. Kynnersley, the stipendiary magistrate at Birmingham, wrote that he should at all times have pleasure in bearing testimony to the admirable manner in which Major Bond had managed the police force, and spoke of his judicious dealing with crowds in the streets, and of his good humour, courage, and firmness. There was also a testimonial from the Recorder of Birmingham, who stated that Major Bond had raised the police force of the town to a very high state of efficiency, and wished him every success in the application he was making. The hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Jesse Collings) had also given him a testimonial, in which he stated that Major Bond had discharged his duties in a most efficient manner, especially with regard to the great public meetings which had been held in Birmingham. The brother of the right hon. Gentleman who was President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) likewise testified to Major Bond's efficiency, and it was on the strength of the various testimonials he received that the appointment was made. The hon. Gentleman, in making his statement that night, said that he (Mr. W. E. Forster) had declared that it was not his business to investigate the charge against Major Bond; but what he had said—or, at any rate, what he had meant to say—was that he did not consider it his business to try the matter in the same manner as it was the business of the magistrates of Birmingham to try it. He had thought it, however, his duty to look into the charge, and he lost no time in doing so. At the time he was speaking of Major Bond had been appointed; but he sent for him, and said it had become necessary for him to inquire into the charges that had been made against him, and to consider whether he would have to cancel the appointment. Cancelling the engagement after Major Bond had been appointed was a very serious thing, and it would have been a gross act of injustice if he had not, at any rate, waited three months. When he came to examine into the matter, however, he confessed it did not appear that he should be justified in doing so. Major Bond had made a mistake; but that was all. He stated— I also was examined as a witness, but only to prove a formal notice of objection, and up to the moment of entering the witness box, I had no idea I was called upon to make any other statement. I was about to leave the box when the Bench addressed me, asking about the procedure of the magistrates already spoken of. If it had been clear that it had been perjury he would not have hesitated a moment about dismissing Major Bond; but he did feel a great doubt whether he ought to dismiss him without being sure it was not merely an accidental circumstance. Upon that matter he went on with the examination; and, in the first place, it appeared to him quite clear that what Major Bond had done had had nothing to do with the decision of the magistrates in the case. This was fully shown in a letter written by the Recorder to the Mayor of Birmingham in reference to the subject. He personally was inclined to believe that this was a pure mistake on Major Bond's part; and he believed this was the general opinion at Birmingham, so far as he could make it out. The stipendiary magistrate had written a letter, in which he expressed his belief that Major Bond was taken quite by surprise, and had confounded two altogether different transactions, and added— I can only state that there was hardly a magistrate on the Bench who did not rejoice at his appointment and believe he was well fitted for the post. What was the opinion of the Town Council after having had the whole matter before them? It was this—An instruction was given to the Town Clerk to inform Major Bond, in answer to his letter, that the magistrates had no intention of imputing to him, nor did they impute in their Report to the Watch Committee, the wilful misstatement of facts. The Town Council, on the motion of the Mayor, also passed a Resolutions to the effect that the resignation of Major Bond be accepted, and that it regretted the circumstances that led to it. They also allowed him six months' salary. The Mayor, in proposing this Resolution, said he entirely acquitted Major Bond of all intentional misrepresentation, and believed that he might say the same of every member of the Council, and every member of the Watch Committee, and he completely exonerated Major Bond from any intentional wrong-doing. In the face of such a statement, in the face of the testimony of the Recorder, and of the Resolution of the magistrates, would he have been justified in inflicting upon Major Bond a stigma which never could have been removed, and which would have appeared as if the Government entirely believed in the charge? He would at once acknowledge that had he known that there was this dispute about Major Bond he would not have appointed him. ["Hear, hear!" from Irish Members.] In saying that he was not giving an opinion against Major Bond; but he had difficulties enough in Ireland, without raising a Major Bond difficulty, and he should have looked about for somebody against whom nothing could be said. He, however, entirely acquitted Major Bond of any misrepresentation to himself. If he himself had been to blame at all—although he thought that anybody else would have done the same as he did with the strong testimonials that he had before him—it was in not doing in this case what he had done in almost every case—namely, to write and make personal inquiry. He thought, however, he was justified in taking the course he did under the circumstances, for the Government were under considerable pressure to find good men, and he had reason to suppose that Major Bond was well fitted for the post. He was appointed only for three months, and his continuance in his appointment must depend on two things—whether they wanted those temporary magistrates any further, and whether he. was a person who ought to be so continued. Although he had subjected himself to much trouble in that matter, which he might, perhaps, have avoided by taking a different course, he yet felt that he should have acted in a cruel and harsh manner towards Major Bond if he had cancelled the appointment. Nothing had been brought before him which led him to suppose that Major Bond would make a bad magistrate in Ireland, although that gentleman had made a mistake which certainly ought not to have been made, but which was not likely to occur again, and one which he honestly thought almost any Member of the House might have fallen into.


said, he did not think the right hon. Gentleman had been very successful in the defence he had made in that case. The right hon. Gentleman himself admitted he had been careless in making the appointment. If the position of temporary resident magistrate in Ireland was inferior to the position of Chief Superintendent of Police in Birmingham, ought it not to have struck the Chief Secretary that there was something peculiar in a man resigning his position for one of lower emolument and less honour? Ought it not, at least, to have produced in the mind of the Chief Secretary sufficient suspicion to cause him to institute some inquiries in Birmingham, or to learn from Major Bond himself the circumstances of his resignation? Major Bond did not give him the slightest information on the subject, merely stating he had resigned. Major Bond, at least, seemed to have been very unlucky and somewhat careless in his way of stating important matters, both to the Chief Secretary and the magistrates for Birmingham—unlucky as regarded what he did state and what he did not state. He could well understand the magistrates acquitting Major Bond of wilful misrepresentation, and no Member of that House wished to charge him with it. But he was guilty on both occasions of carelessness and indifference about the truth, or lack of presence of mind regarding the truth, or he was, at least, very loose in his way of putting very important facts. The House had to consider whether such a man was suitable for holding an important position in Ireland, where the liberties of the people depended on truthfulness and scrupulous care in representing words and acts. Might there not be the same lapse of memory about the truth, the same indifference or carelessness on the part of Major Bond in his dealings with Ireland? Nothing could be more fatal to a man in his present position than that he should be liable to make such mistakes. If the Chief Secretary had seriously considered the interests and the feelings of the Irish people he might, on learning the facts of the case, have risen to the height of the occasion and have cut short Major Bond's career. Since the days of Cornwallis the standing complaint in Ireland had been that discarded men who could not, or would not, be trusted in England were sent to fill important positions in Ireland. He begged to support the Resolution.


, as a magistrate of Birmingham, testified to the accuracy of the account given by the Chief Secretary of the proceedings relating to Major Bond. He knew nothing of Major Bond's judicial capabilities; but, having been chief magistrate of Birmingham, and being long connected with that borough, he could state that that gentleman had succeeded in organizing there one of the most efficient police forces in the Kingdom; that he had improved the condition of the town, and put down rowdyism for which it had been notorious a few years ago; and under his regime the town enjoyed greater peace and tranquillity than under any of his predecessors. Major Bond undoubtedly made a great mistake in the evidence he gave at Warwick; but, at the same time, Major Bond had the sympathy of the great proportion of the people of Birmingham, and there was rejoicing when it was found that he had got another appointment, and great regret expressed when the question was raised in Parliament by the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Jesse Collings). The Chief Secretary for Ireland could not have acted otherwise than he had done in the circumstances. It would have been a harsh and cruel course for him to have dismissed Major Bond.


said, he thought the Chief Secretary had virtually conceded the whole case. He said if he had known that this question would have been raised about Major Bond he would never have appointed him; but now, notwithstanding that this question had been raised, the Chief Secretary said he had testimonials in his possession which would justify him in retaining him in his appointment. The Chief Secretary had stated that no miscarriage of justice had resulted from the evidence of Major Bond; but the very first sentence of the magistrates' Report stated that a great miscarriage of justice had taken place in consequence of his evidence. The result of a most exhaustive examination by three different bodies was that he was called upon to resign. They were told that Major Bond brought the police of Birmingham to a high state of efficiency. Well, then, why did not the magistrates of Birmingham retain him? But now, when the liberty of the subject no longer existed in Ireland, a man who had lost the confidence of all his employers in Birmingham was appointed a magistrate in Ireland. He would ask hon. Members whether that was an appointment which ought to be maintained? He could understand the Chief Secretary saying that, having appointed Major Bond for three months, he did not wish to get rid of him before the time was out. But now that the three months were about to expire, Irish Members had a right to ask the Chief Secretary not to continue Major Bond in an office to which the right hon. Gentleman said he never would have appointed him had he known of the charges which were brought against him.


said, he was glad the hon. Member for Longford disclaimed imputing any intention to deceive on the part of Major Bond. The Motion before the House was a censure upon the Chief Secretary for Ireland for appointing as magistrate in Ireland a man who, by his efficiency and energy, had won the confidence of the community of Birmingham.' The facts of the case were these—At a licensing sessions a man applied for a renewal of his licence. On the original occasion the magistrates refused the application without hearing any sworn evidence—an irregularity which caused the subsequent proceedings to be set aside. Major Bond was examined, and, having proved certain formal matters which he was called upon to prove, he was asked some question, and in reply spoke of matters of common knowledge and not in dispute at all. He did not intend what he said to be taken as if he spoke on oath; and the statement which he did make was really in the nature of an admission. It was an act of indiscretion on the part of Major Bond; but anyone acquainted with Courts of Law must know that such things were done frequently, when a witness in reply to questions forgot that he was speaking not from his own knowledge but from hearsay. The magistrates, whose decision had been reversed, were indignant at the slur cast upon their proceedings, and there was a disposition on their part to censure Major Bond. When the Resolution calling for Major Bond's resignation was carried into effect the Mayor, on the part of the Bench of Magistrates, said that one and all heartily wished him a great measure of success in his future career; he was presented with, a half-year's salary; a sum of £450, being contributions towards a superannuation fund, which they could have retained, was returned to him by the Corporation; and a testimonial was got up in a few hours signed by 4,000 inhabitants of Birmingham, wishing that he should be retained in his position. The question, so far as concerned his right hon. Friend, was whether he was in any degree censurable for having engaged Major Bond. It was conceded that he was not. ["No, no!"] He certainly understood that the hon. Member who last spoke—an particular the hon. Member for Wexford—said Major Bond's testimonials were admirable.


said, that what he stated was that assuming that the right hon. Gentleman was not to be blamed in making the appointment, yet when it was said that had the Chief Secretary for Ireland known that charges could be brought against Major Bond he never would have made the appointment, the question then was whether the Chief Secretary for Ireland should continue the appointment after having had an opportunity for inquiry?


said, the testimonials which came before the Chief Secretary for Ireland being exceptionally high, he did not think any fair man would blame the Chief Secretary for Ireland making the appointment originally. He did not understand his right hon. Friend to say that if he had known everything he would have considered Major Bond an unfit person; but only that, rather than raise any question, he would not have made the appointment. Then, was the House to pass a censure on Major Bond because he had made a very natural mistake? Such a proceeding would be foreign to the practice of the House of Commons. Major Bond had been guilty of no misconduct in any other position of life. What he had said upon the occasion referred to constituted a serious mistake. Who had not made great and serious mistakes in the course of his life? Major Bond had been appointed to the position in Ireland, which he was eminently qualified to fulfil, by previous training and previous conduct; and, therefore, he considered the foundation for this Motion had entirely failed.


said, that, as a Warwickshire magistrate, he was well acquainted with Mr. Kynnersley—the stipendiary magistrate of Birmingham—and Mr. Dugdale—the Recorder—and he believed that a fair representation of their views had been made. They had no wish to justify any inaccuracy into which Major Bond had been betrayed; but they set against the inaccuracy—which he (Mr. Newdegate) thought was very severely dealt with—the conduct of Major Bond in a most responsible position for many years. He thought he gathered from what had been quoted by the right hon. Gentleman, and from his own knowledge of these two eminent magistrates for the county, that they thought the right hon. Gentleman had done well—whether he had done so by accident or intentionally—to overlook a trifling mistake on the part of a most efficient officer, against whose character, before this unhappy occurrence, he (Mr. Newdegate) had never heard a whisper. He knew something of Birmingham, and something of the police. He believed it was perfectly true that Major Bond had brought the Birmingham Police Force into a state of efficiency which it never before attained. If the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland was somewhat careless and did not consult the two right hon. Gentlemen the Members for Birmingham, he might be excused. He believed the right hon. Gentleman would have found, if he consulted his right hon. Friends, that their opinions were quite in accordance with those of the Mayor. He should not think it was likely they would have differed from the Mayor; and he protested against that which he considered to be a harsh proceeding on the part of the Corporation of Birmingham towards this efficient officer being used in the House of Commons for his further condemnation. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had acted with a sense—which did him honour—of what was due to his own decision and courage in refusing to remove Major Bond from his present position. He felt that they might well entertain much jealousy of the working of the Coercion Act, at present so unpopular in Ireland. He had never voted so unwillingly for any measure in his life. He would much, rather have seen Ireland placed under military law, because that would have formed no precedent for future legislation, as he feared this Coercion Act would. He was compelled to deprecate much of what had happened in Ireland; but, while lamenting the state of Ireland, and confessing that he would have voted for even more stringent measures, he could assure the House that, in his opinion, as an old Warwickshire magistrate, Her Majesty's Government had in Major Bond a person who would act with good temper and with courage in the position to which he had been appointed.


said, it had been forgotten that the gentleman who gave Major Bond a testimonial was the very man who had signed the declaration that a gross miscarriage of justice had occurred in consequence of Major Bond's conduct. In reference to the friendly expression of the magistrates and people of Birmingham, he had never known any man who had passed a long time in a public office that something good had not been said, especially so as in the case of Major Bond, who appeared for the 30 years to have acted efficiently with regard to a turbulent population. He was not surprised, and was very glad that a solatium had been given; but that was not the point. The point was, that they had got a Coercion Act in Ireland, and that any magistrate in the position of Major Bond could send any man he liked to prison as a "suspect" whatever his position.


I cannot permit that statement to go forth un-contradicted even for a single moment. No magistrate has the power to send any person to prison under the Protection Act. He has to report to me, and I have differed in opinion from the magistrate in many cases.


, continuing, contended that the Chief Secretary for Ireland must rely for his information on the stipendiary magistrates, such as Major Bond. They claimed that such an appointment would not be so grave were the condition of Ireland normal. Now, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland stated that Major Bond had committed an indiscretion; and the Chief Secretary for Ireland stated there was no intentional misrepresentation, that there was no paltering, and that he made a mistake. Were not these extraordinary euphemisms for what was some- thing else—blank perjury? ["Oh, oh!"] He maintained the expression. It was to be borne in mind that Major Bond was on his oath. It was to be borne in mind that he was a practised witness—not a witness brought up for the first time, and in a state of hesitancy and in confusion as to what was going on in the Court. He was an old expert, he was a trained and hardened witness, and he was a man who was accustomed to taking the oath. He was there in the witness-box, an accustomed, trained witness; and were they to be told that this statement, made upon his oath, was not that which was untrue, but simply an indiscretion? He had never known anything so absolutely ludicrous as the Chief Secretary for Ireland's description of perjury. He said that if Major Bond had not remained so long in the box he would not have committed perjury. That was just like saying that when a warrant was presented to the Chief Secretary for Ireland for his signature it would not have been a warrant if he had not put his name to it. Many other hypotheses might be suggested as well as that. If Major Bond had never been born he would not have committed perjury. Major Bond got a number of excellent testimonials 10 days after the occurrence of this scandal; and in presenting them to the Chief Secretary, with the statement that he resigned his position, did it not appear to the right hon. Gentleman that he was, at least, guilty of disingenuousness? Did it not occur to him as a remarkable thing that Major Bond resigned a position of £900 a-year in Birmingham, and solicited one of £500 a-year in a remote district of Ireland? Were all the right hon. Gentleman's appointments made in this way? How was it that upon charges of a much lighter description than that of perjury men without a stain upon their characters had been obliged to resign by the Chief Secretary for Ireland? But Major Bond filled the office of reasonable suspector, and he supposed the Chief Secretary for Ireland thought any character good enough for a position of that kind in Ireland. Major Bond's evidence led to a grave miscarriage in connection with a licensing case in Birmingham. One of the chief matters he would have to deal with in Ireland was the giving of licences. That was a matter into which political feeling largely entered, and already a number of men had been deprived of their licences because they were arrested upon the warrant of the Chief Secretary for Ireland as "suspects." Major Bond would have to decide in cases of that kind; and what were they to think of his action when, in a case into which no political feeling entered, and in which there was no object involved, he gave evidence which led to a gross miscarriage of justice? The Chief Secretary for Ireland, with unusual frankness, confessed that had he known the facts he would not have appointed Major Bond; but, considering that he had only appointed him for three months, he ought to be in a position now to state whether he would continue him in his office. He knew nothing about Major Bond; but the Chief Secretary for Ireland told them, and the people of Ireland, that they were to be obliged to respect law and order. Before they could get the people of Ireland to do this, however, they must have gentlemen carrying out law and order whom the people were able to respect. Nobody would be able to respect Major Bond, because he had committed an indiscretion, which, according to the Statute Book, merited seven years' penal servitude. If a man committed perjury——


I do not admit that in the slightest degree; and I do not admit that the statement which Major Bond made was untrue. The witness gave second-hand information, which I believe was correct, and which he ought to have given out of the witness-box.


said, that no such statement as that then made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland appeared in the report of the case.


, resuming, said, the Chief Secretary for Ireland had put a very strange gloss on this conduct; but he would accept the theory. Major Bond was now in charge of an important district in Ireland, and when he sent up information about "suspects" he would not be upon his oath. There would also be no counter statement, so that the Chief Secretary for Ireland would have to deal with the information simply upon the Major's ipse dixit. What, then, were they to think of a man who, when he was in the witness-box, would make a statement which was admitted, on the authority of Mr. Kynnersley, to have led to a gross miscarriage of justice? What was the view which would be taken of Major Bond's character in Ireland? The people of Ireland would say—" We have to live under the régime of this man, who will have almost the power of life and death in his hands. If the English are so nice in their sense of justice, is a man to be sent over with these extraordinary powers—with his sword of tyranny hanging over our heads—who has been discharged by the Town Council of Birmingham by 48 votes to 10." He would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, and ask if the ordinary just feelings of the people of Ireland were not to be weighed in this matter? Major Bond might be an angel in disguise; but, unfortunately, there was a stain upon his character. His point was—ought the Government, who had said they were so careful as to their dealings with Ireland, to allow this man to remain in office? He agreed with the Chief Secretary for Ireland that it might have been unkind to have appointed Major Bond and immediately to have sent him adrift; but now the three months were up, his appointment had expired, and the Government ought to say they could not give him further employment. The right hon. Gentleman, however, would not do that. This man would be appointed again; and in time to come Major Bond would step higher up the round of the official ladder, and they would have him on the car case of the country for all time to come.


said, he could not allow the speech of the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy) to pass unnoticed. The charges the hon. Member had brought against Major Bond were preferred absolutely without any evidence. Major Bond had not committed perjury, and, in his opinion, had not been guilty of any act even deserving censure, or which could constitute a stain upon his character. The only mistake he made was in not specifying the source from which he derived the information he communicated; but, in a person of his position, having the superintendence of a large body of police, that could hardly be called an error, for it was quite usual for a Superintendent of Police to state as facts not only those things which were within his personal knowledge, but also those which were communicated to him by his men. The hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy) was the first person to charge him with intentional misrepresentation. It was now admitted that every statement made by Major Bond was perfectly true; and those who conducted the investigation into the matter had absolutely acquitted him of any intentional misrepresentation. He did not think that the Birmingham magistrates were justified in the course which they had adopted. He protested strongly against the injury which had been done to Major Bond by the utterance of these unfounded statements; and he thought the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland was perfectly right in not cancelling the appointment.


said, he thought that not only had the people over whom Major Bond was appointed reason to complain, but the resident magistrates of the country had strong ground of complaint in the appointment, as one of their number, of this dismissed police-constable. It seemed to him that the issue before the House was whether or not, seeing that Major Bond had notoriously given evidence which was contrary to the truth, the Chief Secretary for Ireland used proper precaution and care in regard to his appointment, and whether Major Bond was a person of a character which justified his holding the position, which ought to be one of very great honour, and which gave very great power to the person filling it? He did not think the Chief Secretary for Ireland was justified in appointing a gentleman who had given evidence which led to a miscarriage of justice. They all knew that testimonials, while saying everything in a person's favour, said nothing against him; and when the Chief Secretary for Ireland had before him the fact that Major Bond resigned a lucrative position in Birmingham for an inferior one in Ireland, he should not have trusted to testimonials merely as to his character. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had referred to the very hard case it would be for Major Bond if the appointment were cancelled, saying that it would be a slur upon him for the remainder of his life. He should look at the logic of the other side. There were other parties whose interests should be consulted as well. There were the unfor- tunate people who were placed under his jurisdiction—the jurisdiction of this gentleman who had sworn in rather a careless manner. He did not see with the Chief Secretary for Ireland that Ireland should spare the feelings of Major Bond, seeing that the Town Council of Birmingham, who knew him for many years, did not spare him. There was, he thought, very great negligence shown in this appointment; and the right hon. Gentleman had shown a want of consideration for the feelings of the Irish people in not making the three months the full limit of Major Bond's stay in Ireland as an official of the Government. If he was such a very valuable officer as his friends represented, why did not they keep him in Birmingham, instead of relegating him to a remote district in Ireland at a much lower salary?


said, that, as an old Warwickshire magistrate, he took very great interest in this case. Having listened to the reasons which had been urged against the appointment of Major Bond, he entirely acquitted the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of anything approaching misconduct in this matter. He was pleased to be able to make this statement, because there were many things with which he disagreed in respect to the Irish policy of the Government. His right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Forster) had received testimonials of the very highest character of Major Bond from gentlemen with whom he (Sir Eardley Wilmot) was well acquainted. One of these was Mr. Kynnersley, Deputy Chairman of the Sessions; and the other (Mr. Dugdale) held the high and honourable position of Recorder of Birmingham. His right hon. Friend said that if he had known the whole of the circumstances, perhaps he would not have appointed Major Bond; but the question now was, having appointed him, should Major Bond, with those high testimonials in his favour, be dismissed? The hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy) had introduced the word "perjury" many times in the course of this discussion; but he (Sir Eardley Wilmot) had yet to learn that anything in Major Bond's conduct in any way amounted to perjury. Was it likely that two gentlemen like the Recorder of Birmingham and the Deputy Chairman of Quarter Sessions would write those testimonials if Major Bond had been guilty of perjury—a crime for which he was liable to seven years' penal servitude? What were the facts of the case? Major Bond, after giving in evidence facts which he knew, went on to give hearsay evidence of what had transpired in his absence. No doubt, that was a very wrong act to do; but still they knew that those who had the largest experience of Criminal Law were often themselves betrayed into stating as facts things which they had learnt on hearsay. The question was whether those facts, having come to the knowledge of his right hon. Friend, he had done right or wrong in not cancelling Major Bond's appointment? So far as he (Sir Eardley Wilmot) thought, the right hon. Gentleman did perfectly right. He thought his right hon. Friend had done right, not by accident, as had been stated by his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire, but with honesty of purpose, uprightness, and with excellent intentions, and that he would have done wrong, after having made the appointment, to cancel it. He had much pleasure in recording his opinion respecting the appointment made by the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who had done what he thought was best in the circumstances of the case; and he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would not now be induced, from any expression of opinion on the part of Irish Members, either in that House or out of it, to cancel the appointment of Major Bond, who had been known for many years as an excellent police officer.


could not help thinking that this question was a very unfortunate one. The plain fact was that Major Bond was practically dismissed by the Birmingham magistrates, and after that he was thought good enough to be sent to Ireland to administer the law there. They had heard a good deal of the character of Major Bond; but would it not be possible to find a place for him in all England, without sending him to Ireland, where it was surely desirable that men should not be appointed who had the slightest stain on their character? If Major Bond was a man of such excellent merit as he was represented to be in that House, why should not Birmingham have him back again? He would strongly advise the Chief Secretary, for the sake of law and order in Ireland, to undo the mistake which he made in appointing Major Bond to administer the law in Ireland.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 78; Noes 14: Majority 64.—(Div. List, No. 49.)

Main Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."