HC Deb 30 March 1882 vol 268 cc309-10

asked the permission of the House to say a few words of personal explanation. The day before yesterday the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. T. D. Sullivan), in his speech, attempted to justify the practice of "Boycotting," which, he thought, was a very cruel and wicked practice, and he took exception to it, saying that it should not be encouraged, and ought to be noticed by the House. He was reported by one of the Irish journals having a seat in the Gallery as having stated it was a matter the Government should take notice of. This was said to be followed by Ministerial cheers. Such a statement, which pointed to the arrest of the hon. Member, would be of no consequence in an English journal; but in an Irish paper, during the existence of the present intimidation, it was of consequence. He now wished to give the statement a flat contradiction.


said, he rose to make a personal explanation. In the course of the debate last Monday week he had stated that the Prime Minister had, in opposing the Divorce Bill of 1857, spoken at such a length that the report of his speech filled 15 columns of The Times. He merely related what he had heard mentioned in conversation scores of times; but, the right hon. Gentleman having taken exception to his statement, he had looked into the newspapers, and had found that, as a matter of fact, the current notion was without foundation, and he thereupon wrote to the right hon. Gentleman unreservedly withdrawing his statement, and expressing his regret that he had made it. He should not have considered the matter sufficiently important to warrant him in obtruding it upon the House; but as he understood that the right hon. Gentleman felt somewhat aggrieved by the statement, he felt it due to him to say this now. He hoped, however, that what he said now would not tend to diminish the credit of the right hon. Gentleman for the vigorous and pertinacious opposition which he offered to the Divorce Bill, which he had always regarded as the most praiseworthy part of the right hon. Gentleman's Parliamentary career.