HC Deb 04 May 1882 vol 269 cc88-9

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he has received information of the failure of the magistrates and police of Camborne to punish the rioters who sacked the Catholic Church, as well as a number of houses of Irish people in that town and the neighbouring villages, and brutally assaulted and hunted Irishmen in the streets; whether his attention has been called to the following statements in the "Pall Mall Gazette" of April the 28th, with regard to the rioting at Camborne:— The main facts are undisputed. A furious mob led by a man brandishing a red flag marched to attack their Irish fellow-citizens with sticks and stones. Violent assaults were committed, a place of worship was wrecked, and the town was taken possession of by the mob. After a time the police arrested the ringleader, and he was duly brought up before the magistrates for punishment. The presiding magistrate declared that 'if the Irishmen had been met with and killed, he would have been held guilty.' Evidence which would have sufficed to convict of murder was held to be insufficient to justify committing the prisoner for trial on the charge of riotous behaviour, and the ringleader of one of the most disgraceful riots of recent times was acquitted amid the enthusiastic applause of the mob. Not one single individual has been punished in any way for the savage outburst of last week; and, what steps the Government intend to take for the better protection of life and property, and the vindication of law and order at Camborne, and in the neighbouring districts?


Sir, I cannot accept the statement in this Question or in the newspaper extract as accurate. They seem greatly exaggerated. The facts, as far as I am informed, are that there was a disgraceful riot and disturbances, extending over several days. The measures taken to repress them were successful, and I have urged on the magistrates the propriety and necessity of punishing the offenders. That is all the information I have it in my power to give, and all that I can do in the matter. With regard to the existing state of things, I have no reason to believe that any person is in peril, or that the public peace is endangered.