HC Deb 23 March 1882 vol 267 cc1658-9

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to a series of articles recently published in the "National Reformer," of which the Junior Member for Northampton and Mrs. Besant are the editors, under the heading of "The Christ of Dr. Ave-ling," and over the signature of W. J. Birch, and in particular to a passage in the "National Reformer" of March 5th 1882; and, whether he will refer to the Public Prosecutor the question of preferring an indictment for blasphemy against the editors of the "National Reformer?" He had intended to give extracts with the Question; but the Speaker, in the exercise of, no doubt, a wise discretion, had ordered them to be struck out. That being so, he had sent to the Home Secretary complete copies of the journal referred to, in order that the right hon. and learned Gentleman might judge as to whether those pernicious publications should not in some way be suppressed.


Sir, I have answered more than once Questions of a similar character. In my opinion, a Government prosecution of this character will do more harm than good. If the hon. Member will take the trouble to read the celebrated case of the prosecution of Hone, I think he will come to the same conclusion.


asked why the paper was not seized in the same manner as the United Ireland had been?


gave Notice that he would ask a further Question of the right hon. and learned Gentleman on Monday, and hand to the right hon. and learned Gentleman some further Papers of the same nature, which he (Sir Henry Tyler) thought would convince him that it was very desirable that some steps should be taken in the matter.