§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ MR. CALLAN
said, he felt it his duty on this Bill to place on the Paper, so that the Attorney General for Ireland should have full Notice of it, a Motion dealing with jury-packing in Ireland. The Motion was—That the exclusion of Catholics from the juries in the Commission Court in Dublin in August and September, 1882, gave just cause of grave dissatisfaction to the Catholics of Ireland.The House would also remember that he gave the Attorney General for Ireland special Notice as to Walsh's case. Any person conversant with the state of Ireland 1775 for the past few years—indeed, he might say the state of Ireland for the past 40 years, for it was 40 years since O'Connell was tried—must be aware that no subject has enlisted such warm feeling, or excited more dissatisfaction amongst the Catholics of Ireland, than the persistent, unblushing, and in many cases audacious exclusion of their co-religionists from the jury panels; and if ever there was a time when their exclusion gave rise to more dissatisfaction, or during which the Officers of the Crown ought to have respected the rights and privileges of Catholics, it was during the last 12 months. It was 13 months ago since the Prevention of Crime Act, after a discussion in the House calculated to engender the most acrimonious feelings, was entrusted to the Executive in Ireland. That Act gave the Crown power to call together jurors in a manner unprecedented in the chequered history of Ireland; and the first occasion on which jurors under that Act were called together was at a Commission held in Dublin unfortunately before Mr. Justice Lawson. On the jury panel there were 193 jurors, of whom 112 were Protestants or non-Catholics, and 81 Catholics. At the first trial, at which he should say, in justice to him, the Attorney General for Ireland was not present, 20 jurors were set aside, of whom 18 were Catholics, and an exclusively Protestant jury was sworn. That was the case known as "The Kerry Outrage," not a capital case, nor was it one which excited any interest in the City of Dublin. Now, who were the Catholics set aside? They were men amongst the most respectable of the City, leading merchants and others; men like Mr. Vaughan, a retired merchant; Mr. Ennis, a young sporting gentleman; Mr. Lenehan, one of the principal leather merchants in Dublin; and Mr. Dennehy, a most extensive merchant. The Freeman's Journal next day, in a most moderate article, called attention to the matter; and what did the Attorney General for Ireland say of that article? He said it was intolerable that it should be permitted that any journalist or any man belonging to any profession or class in the community should exercise a right of supervision over his Lordship's Court, which right belonged to his Lordship alone. Well, he supposed the Attorney General 1776 for Ireland meant, in referring to any other profession or class, to refer to that House. Well, they would see whether he was right in that assumption. O'Connor's case was tried on Thursday, and on Friday a young man named Hynes was tried, and in his case 23 Catholic jurors were ordered to stand aside, and an exclusively Protestant jury was sworn. In reference to that case, another article appeared in The Freeman's Journal, in which it was stated that the belief was gaining ground that Catholic jurors were being set aside simply and solely because they were Catholics; and in that belief he might now say The Freeman's Journal was supported by every Catholic in Ireland, from Episcopal authority down to the poorest peasant. Three days after that article was written, the Attorney General for Ireland, commenting on it, asked—"What is the obvious and necessary consequence of the publication of such an article? "Well, he would say—" By the fruits you will know them." And what, he would ask the House, was the immediate and obvious result of that article? The first trial that took place after it was published was that of Laurence Kelly, and on the jury in that case there were six Catholics and six Protestants. That was the immediate and obvious consequence of the article. But a most extraordinary circumstance connected with the case was that five of the Catholics sworn were actually ordered to stand aside in the O'Connor and Hynes' cases, or in Hynes' case alone. Did these men do their duty faithfully? Why, almost without leaving the box they found the man guilty. [The ATTORNEY GENERAL for IRELAND: Two hours.] He (Mr. Callan) expected that insinuation, and that was the reason he said almost without leaving the box. He would regard the two hours as showing the impartiality of the jury. The statement of The Freeman's Journal was borne out by those who best knew it, for the Catholic jurors themselves signed a protest declaring that they were set aside because they were Catholics. And who was one of the signatories to that protest? Not a Home Ruler, not a Land Leaguer, but Mr. Laurence Egan, a gentleman who resigned his seat in the Dublin Corporation because he could not coincide with the views of his constituents in their desire that the freedom of the 1777 City should be conferred on the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). How happy it would be if hon. Members in that House would follow a like honourable course when they found their views did not coincide with the views of their constituents. For the article in The freeman's Journal the hon. Member for Carlow County (Mr. Cray) was imprisoned for six months and fined £500; and he might say that the imprisonment of the hon. Member and the conduct of his newspaper in the matter placed The Freeman's Journal, pre-eminently before the public of Ireland as a strong, determined, and fearless advocate of Catholic and Irish rights, and had placed the hon. Member himself in the foremost place in Irish polities as one of the most trusted Representatives of the Irish cause. When they had fined and imprisoned the hon. Member for Carlow County, the Crown, of course, found they were safe again; and in the very next case—the first trial of Patrick Walsh—the Crown Officers adopted the extraordinary course of suppressing the names of the jurors, so that they could not see who was told to stand aside. They knew, however, the men who were on the jury, and they were 12 true blues, and not a single Catholic. On the second trial of Patrick Walsh a little incident occurred which, he thought, would prove to the House the truth of his contention that jurors were set aside because they were Catholics, and for that reason alone. Mr. Thomas Phillips, partner of Mr. Charles Healy, was called. Mr. George Bolton, the chaste and virtuous friend of the Attorney General for Ireland, was in charge of the case, and he challenged Mr. Phillips. Mr. Samuel Anderson would have made no such mistake, for he knew the religion and politics of every juror in Dublin; but Mr. Bolton, trying his 'prentice hand at the work, challenged Mr. Phillips because he happened to be a partner of a Catholic. Immediately that he did so, the gentleman who did the registration work for the Constitutional Club and the marking of the jury lists for the Crown rushed across to Mr. Bolton, and it was apparent to everyone in Court that a mistake had been made, and that a true blue had been sot aside. In this very trial, although the Crown allowed Mr. E. Johnson, restaurant keeper and retailer, to be on the 1778 jury, he being a Protestant, yet five Catholics who held retail licences were objected to. He (Mr. Callan) was very glad to see the Attorney General for Ireland following him so closely, because the right hon. and learned Gentleman was present in Court while the whole of this packing of juries was going on at the hands of Mr. George Bolton, with whom the right hon. and learned Gentleman was in constant communication. At the first trial, as he had said, 11 Catholics were struck off, five of them being holders of retail licences. The next trial he would refer to was that of the man Walsh for the murder of Constable Kavanagh, which was begun on the 27th September. The present Attorney General for Ireland, then Solicitor General for Ireland, was present at this trial. Mr. Thomas Phillips was again called; but the chaste and virtuous George Bolton, having found by this time that Mr. Phillips was a Protestant, allowed him to be sworn in. Mr. Edward Johnson, although he hold a retail licence, yet had done good service at the previous trial, and he also was not objected to. Mr. W. J. Halliday, a grocer, holding a retail licence and a Protestant, was ordered to be sworn, although Mr. James Carroll, a gentleman holding precisely the same position, together with eight other Catholics, was ordered to stand by. Another gentleman who was struck off was Mr. Abraham Shackleton, a magistrate and a Quaker. In these two trials 26 Catholics were struck off in the presence of the Attorney General for Ireland. Prom beginning to end not one Catholic was allowed to appear. He would lot these facts speak for themselves. He was convinced that not even the ferocious Coercion Act—not even the vindictive Prevention of Crime Act—had envenomed the population of Ireland so much against the present Government as their course of conduct with regard to juries. He was sorry the Prime Minister was not in his place, for he believed him to be a man of justice, and he would have asked him to intervene. The Prime Minister was the only surviving Member of the Cabinet by whose conduct O'Connell was done to death, and the only surviving Member of the Cabinet whose Attorney General convicted O'Connell by a manipulation of the jury panel, which in the House of Lords Lord Denman said had produced a jury which was a delusion, a 1779 mockery, and a snare. Men had been ordered during the recent trial to stand aside whose fathers were more respectable than the Attorney General for Ireland's father, and whose own position was fully equal to that of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. This conduct on the part of the Government had encouraged the contemptible pettifoggers who were the Crown prosecutors throughout the country. He was present last March at Dundalk, the first town on the Circuit to which the Attorney General for Ireland belonged, the Crown prosecutor being Mr. Parkinson, a staunch Conservative. There was only one small case of larceny, and the prosecutor declined to challenge; but, to the surprise of everybody, the Crown Prosecutor said he was bound to act up to his instructions, and 18 jurors were accordingly called. The first was a Catholic, a wealthy and independent man, and he was ordered to stand aside. Two jurors were sworn, and the fourth person who came up was also sworn, although he held a retail licence, and was so described in the panel. He, however, was a Protestant. That showed that Catholic jurors were ordered to stand aside whilst Protestants were sworn in. He would ask whether in the Phœnix Park trials the Government did not find that Catholics returned verdicts according to the evidence? The presiding Judge, Mr. Justice O'Brien, on that occasion knew the tendency of the Crown officials to pack juries; and when he was Crown Prosecutor at Green Street had repeatedly told him (Mr. Callan) that the tendency was to exclude Catholics and to pack juries. For himself, he placed the most entire confidence in the impartiality, the high character, and the fairness of the learned Judge, who had said that by a jury of half Catholics and half Protestants they were more likely to get a verdict according to the evidence than by any other means. He (Mr. Callan) held the Attorney General for Ireland responsible for this packing of juries, and for the exclusion of Catholics when it took place in his presence, and when the party by whom the packing was done was one of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's subordinates. What could Catholics feel with respect to the Executive Government when they saw their brother Catholics, worthy and independent men, 1780 treated in this way. Unfortunately, many of them hitherto had been pure unadulterated Whigs; but he trusted after this they would ever be found on the side of determined opposition to the Government. He knew that the feeling of the North of Ireland Unitarians against the Catholics was very strong, and the Attorney General for Ireland was one of the most cherished Representatives of that feeling. What he wished to impress upon the House was that the conduct of the Attorney General for Ireland in permitting such audacious and scandalous proceedings as this capricious and insulting exclusion of Catholic jurors was conduct that merited the condemnation of every Irish Catholic, and conduct which he hoped would, at the next Election, bring down dire vengeance upon the Representatives of the Government in Ireland.
said, this jury-packing was so open and unblushing that he wondered why even such a grave Gentleman as the Attorney General for Ireland did not burst out laughing when he attempted to defend it. In the case of his (Mr. O'Brien's) own trial—though, as far as the learned Judge who tried the case, and the personal demeanour of the Law Officers of the Crown went, he had nothing to complain of—and although he himself declined to challenge any juror—yet the jury was shamelessly packed under his own eyes. Catholic after Catholic—some of them men of the very highest position in Dublin—were made to stand aside, and Protestants took their places. Just two Catholics were allowed on that jury, and they were admitted simply because on the previous day they happened to be on a jury, and had found a verdict without leaving the box that had sent a man to penal servitude for life. If there was anything more distrusted in Ireland than the system of jury-packing, it was the hypocrisy with which officials were found to stand up in that House to explain it away. He would now call attention to another matter—namely, the conduct of the Resident Magistrate (Captain Plunkett) in the case of a so-called "Boycotted" blacksmith, named Hallissey, at Aughabullogue. This magistrate wrote a letter promising to relieve the parish of a police tax of £200 a-year or so if the people would subscribe £50, and present Hallissey with it, to enable 1781 him to leave the country. Never such a letter had ever been written by a bandit, not to say official. This was as plain a case of levying blackmail on the district as any since the days of Rob Roy Macgregor—" Collect the money, and I will have the police removed; fail to do so, and they shall remain; "and this on behalf of a man that had been fleecing the parish, and keeping it in hot water by getting up a bogus story of being fired at. When he (Mr. O'Brien) brought this matter before the Chief Secretary for Ireland, the right hon. Gentleman replied that the offer came quite spontaneously from the parishioners, and that it was out of his mere bounty that Captain Plunkett had agreed to the terms. On that reply appearing next morning, the parishioners held a meeting under the presidency of their priest, in which they stated that "nothing could be further from the truth than the version given by the Chief Secretary for Ireland." But, as a matter of fact, the parishioners were placed "between the devil and the deep sea," and had either to pay these policemen or pay Hallissey off. But to represent them as consenting parties to this transaction was but repeating the old story of representing the tenant farmers as consenting parties to their own rack-renting, when, to use the simile of the Prime Minister, landlordism stood over them like a ruffian with a knuckle duster. He wanted to know if there was not a law which Captain Plunkett was distinctly and flagrantly violating when he wrote this letter to Father Ahearn? There was the Intimidation Clause of the Prevention of Crime Act, which made it illegal to compel a man to do that which he had a legal right to abstain from doing. Captain Plunkett could not have more clearly violated that law unless he were to go about enforcing his will with a revolver. He wanted the same law enforced in the South against a magistrate which had been enforced in Loughrea against young men who were collecting funds to defend untried prisoners. Suppose the people subscribed the £50 that was required to emigrate Hallissey, was there anything to prevent him raising the figure to £100? He understood his hon. Friend the Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy) was going to refer to the Crossmaglen cases; and he would help him by mentioning some 1782 facts which came to his own knowledge as to the practices by which the police endeavoured to obtain convictions. The man Bannican, of Tullyard, made an affidavit that the police arrested him and carried him to the police barrack without a warrant. In the barrack the police told him some persons had sworn against him, and reminded him that he had a wife and large family. Bannican replied that he had no evidence to give; and at 3 o'clock in the morning he was released, without having been brought before a magistrate. The Chief Secretary for Ireland at first, in reply to a Question, totally denied these circumstances. That was rather puzzling; and he (Mr. O'Brien) investigated the matter, and ascertained that Bannican, his wife, and mother-in-law were ready to swear that the police did invade his house at midnight, did make threats and statements to him, and did carry him four miles to the barrack without a warrant. What was the Chief Secretary's reply? He said that in the interests of public justice he could not answer any more Questions on this subject. Was it safe for the Chief Secretary now to explain the meaning of his mysterious answer? He was afraid this was only a small part of the system by which these unfortunate Crossmaglen men were handed over to the tender mercies of Mr. Duffy, the informer, and a jury of Belfast Orangemen. He would only add that so long as Her Majesty's Government endeavoured to extort evidence by means of terrorism and the holding out of unworthy inducements, they would succeed in nothing but the establishment of a permanent hatred and contempt of the law.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien) had stated some facts of Hallissey's case accurately; but there were other facts which put the matter in a different light.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ MR. TREVELYAN,
resuming, said, the case of Hallissey's unpopularity was that in the position of a blacksmith he worked for persons who had earned 1783 the displeasure of the political combinations in the neighbourhood. If he had done otherwise he would have been guilty of what no good citizen should be guilty of—namely, refusing to give the accommodation which his trade was intended to afford to persons who called upon him in the ordinary way of business. That was his crime. Let thorn see what was his punishment. Prom a report made in 1882 he learned that Hallissey was "Boycotted" by his former customers. He had been earning 35s. a-week; but he was reduced to penury with all its consequences. His health suffered from anxiety and absolute poverty; and two of his neighbours who showed him some little kindness had their ploughshares broken during one night, as a warning that "Captain Moonlight" had his eye upon them, and that they had, therefore, better not follow the dictates of their own consciences any longer. The poor man then applied to the Government, and stated that even his doctor was afraid to visit him. He was then visited by the dispensary doctor, and received some little help from the Government to keep him going. When his cruel neighbours failed to get rid of him by the milder methods of "Boycotting" they resorted to rougher means; and in October, as he was standing at his door, he was struck by a stone, which rendered him senseless for some time. "Boycotting" was subsequently continued, and the case was one in which the Government was clearly bound to apply the power which was put into their hands by Parliament. He could not conceive a stronger case. It became absolutely the duty of the Government to show that in Ireland, as in England and Scotland, a citizen who did his duty by the community had a right to live. Under such circumstances the police tax was imposed, and it was found very irksome indeed by the community. There was a general desire to get rid of the burden, and negotiations began between the police officers and the parish priest. Captain Plunkett telegraphed to him that the parish priest originated a collection of money for the purpose of emigrating Hallissey. So far from Captain Plunkett having originated the proposal, it was evident that at the time he sent the telegram he was under the impression that the Rev. Mr. Ahearn had got up the subscription. 1784 That, however, was not the case. The proposal originated in a conversation between Mr. Langan and the parish priest, and it came, in the first place, from the former. The parish priest informed Mr. Langan that he saw no prospect of the "Boycotting" ceasing, and the Resident Magistrate stated the police could not be moved as long as Hallissey's life was in danger. Under these circumstances, the parish priest, who had the confidence of the parishioners at large on the one hand, and the magistrates representing the Government on the other, came together and had a talk. The parish priest said he allowed Hallissey was in danger, and that the danger would not cease so long as he was in the country. The magistrate assured him that the Government had not imposed the police tax for vindictive purposes, but for the very practical purpose of protecting a man's life, and that if that man left the country the tax would be removed. The hon. Member for Mallow might call it blackmail, and he might compare Captain Plunkett to a ruffian standing over them with a knuckle-duster; but he (Mr. Trevelyan) thought the negotiations were honourable both to Mr. Ahearn and to Captain Plunkett. The hon. Member for Mallow said he might be disposed to look favourably upon the Government's emigration scheme, if they would use it for the purpose of ridding the country of citizens like Hallissey. What a really terrible sentiment that was. What was Hallissey's fault? Why, that he had done his duty as an honest tradesman and as a fearless citizen. The consequence was that his heart had been broken and his business had been ruined. The hon. Gentleman had nothing to say against the man except that he was unpopular among the people. He, however, thought that Hallissey was the sort of man whom they wanted to rid the country of; but he (Mr. Trevelyan) was of opinion that citizens like Hallissey were exactly the sort of citizens who were wanted in Ireland as well as in any other country. It was only because the district had got into an extremely unhealthy state that emigration had been resorted to, and that a citizen who ought to have remained at work in his village had been compelled to leave the country. The poor man, he took it, would not stick out in order to make a good 1785 bargain for himself. His life was as undeservedly miserable as it could be; but he hoped the affair would end amicably, and in a manner that would be popular with the respectable part of the community. He regretted that transactions which appeared to prove that things were mending in Ireland should have been characterized by epithets so very severe as those used by the hon. Member for Mallow. The case of Hallissey was interesting for its typical character, and he was not sorry that it had been brought before the House; but he earnestly hoped that hon. Members who might follow would not adopt the same tone of speech. He would leave the Crossmaglen case to be dealt with by the Attorney General for Ireland. The hon. Member had asked for an explanation in that case, and if he could have given any explanation he would have given it at first. He had said, four months ago, that it was impossible to answer that question in the interests of justice, and it was now impossible to answer the question in the interests of justice.
§ MR. MOLLOY,
recurring to the case of Mrs. Graham, who confessed while in prison for theft that she had written threatening letters in the neighbourhood of Castle Jordan, and stated that she had been instigated to do so by a blacksmith named Denny Glynn, observed, that the answer of the Chief Secretary to a question put by the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen) absolutely and entirely confirmed the statement which he made with regard to the matter on Saturday last. The threatening letters were followed by the crimes which they said would be committed, and in consequence of which the district was proclaimed; and yet, by a farce of justice, no action was taken against the woman, nor against the instigator of the threatening letters. In her confession, she said—" Denny Glynn, the blacksmith, was the man who put all this misfortune upon me; "and she then alluded to a threatening letter sent to a man named M'Namara, a farmer, whose house was burned to the ground, himself and his family having had a narrow escape from being burned to death. In that case the threat contained in the letter was followed by the crime itself. And so it was in two other cases. What he complained of was, that the district was proclaimed 1786 while the person guilty of the crimes was allowed to escape. For six long months he had been endeavouring to obtain an investigation; and to-day he was told that his statement that the woman was not prosecuted, and that the Government refused to prosecute, was incorrect, because, according to the right hon. Gentleman, she pleaded guilty, and was allowed to depart in peace. He maintained that his statement was correct, and that his case remained unrefuted, uncontradicted, and unanswered. He would say no more than that he again challenged investigation in the interests of peace, order, and justice. One of the sufferers by the outrages, Mr. Carew, on whose gates the threatening letters were posted, had been selected to bear nearly the whole penalty. Mr. Carew was a man of position who took no part in politics, and yet the extra police tax had been thrown upon the whole of his property, while the property all round was left untouched.
§ MR. HEALY
said, he had no hope of influencing the House, or of getting anything but a series of denials from the right hon. Gentlemen who were paid in the House to give the answers desired by the police; but he desired to put forward certain cases, so that public attention might be called to them. He simply regarded the Attorney General for Ireland as the humble servant of the police. Whatever the police did in Ireland they were backed up by the Government on all hands. With regard to the statement made by the hon. Member for King's County (Mr. Molloy), it remained entirely unrefuted; but what notice had been taken of it by the House? The House had done nothing more than what honest Liberals should do, and merely cheered the Government. It would not affect the English newspapers, which did not quote facts, and only abused the Irish Members for what they called their scandalous conduct; and so the game went on. He would draw the attention of the House to the case of the Crossmaglen prisoners, and to the conduct of a person of the" blacksmith species," named Duffy, who had sought, by means of fraudulent books, to connect hundreds of young men with the Patriotic Brotherhood. One man, Patrick Finnigan, whom he had said had been sworn to shoot Brooke, of Castleblayney, had been afterwards 1787 found to have been in Glasgow at the time; and Donnelly, of Carnally, who was stated to have burned down a mill, had gone to America two months before the mill was burnt down. After these two facts, what now did they think of Mr. Duffy, the firm and gentle Mr. Duffy, the versatile, the candid Mr. Duffy, the Governmental Mr. Duffy?—for no adjectives would be complete without capping the climax. At Belfast the Government produced two books—the Mullabawn book and the Crossmaglen book. Doubt, much similar to that cast on the Shapira manuscripts, was thrown on the Mullabawn book and the Crossmaglen book. To a person of true investigating spirit, the manner of the discovery of those books put forward by the Government Sub-Inspector was extremely interesting. This Sub-Inspector swore—and this was the only corroboration the Government had—that the books were found in a wall of a house belonging to one Nugent, and that Patrick Waters stated that the Crossmaglen book was a genuine document, and had written him a letter to that effect. The inquisitive public asked what became of that letter. Wonderful, was it not, the obstacles thrown in the way of law and order in Ireland? The public ought to be more gentle and more lenient in its inquiries in the matter of Irish criminal trials. They, however, were there representing the public; and they, in the interests of the public, demanded to be told what became of Patrick Waters' letter? What was the story of the Sub-Inspector? The Sub-Inspector could not find the letter. Perhaps it might be that the Attorney General for Ireland had got the letter now in his despatch-box, and would produce it triumphantly to refute the libels upon justice coming from men who dared challenge the word of a real live Sub-Inspector. Let him do it if he was able. Would the Attorney General for Ireland go the length of saying that Mr. Duffy was inspired; because, otherwise, how could they account for the fact that in the Mullabawn book he gave full-length speeches of all these dark conspirators? Was he an adept at stenography, this literary blacksmith? Even from Mr. Hallissey, the Mallow blacksmith, for whose comfort the Government did so much, it would be too much to expect that he would be able to take down long 1788 speeches verbatim. That being so, the Government was in great difficulty to make things square, and so they never allowed the prisoners or their counsel to get a glimpse at these books. They went about, however, amongst the prisoners showing them these books, and telling them that if they only pleaded guilty they would be allowed out on their own recognizances. The minions of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland—who professed to be so eager in the interests of justice, and who was so anxious that no innocent man should be found guilty—would not allow the unfortunate prisoners, or one representing them, a minute to scrutinize these volumes until the day of the trial, when they were flung for a few minutes to the prisoners' counsel to be snatched back again and handed over to The Northern Whig, the chief literary supporter of the Attorney General. But when The Northern Whig circulated in Crossmaglen another batch of the unfortunate prisoners had been convicted; and so the hundreds of men who could have come forward and shattered to atoms the statements in that infamous production were too late, and when some of them did arrive in Belfast all was over. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was very anxious for the interests of justice—very anxious. They wished his interest in these men—innocent men—would have allowed him to let them know what the charges were that he had brought against them. It was no part of his business, he would say, to get up the evidence for defence. But for what else did he draw his salary, except to give innocent men a chance? He was not paid by the taxpayers of this country only to find them guilty, though between him and his Colleagues he got £9,000 a-year in fees for doing it. He was not paid to find unfortunate peasants guilty on such evidence as this—in these two books—infernal machines he (Mr. Healy) would prefer to call them—fabricated by the police system in Ireland. Men were locked up in Ireland without any means of knowing what charges were made against them until the informer came on the table and swore. Had they the right hon. and learned Gentleman in their clutches, and had they all the powers of the great police machinery in Ireland, through which they might hear throbbing all the force 1789 of British might behind it; they had him for six months, with all the torture of solitary confinement, deprived of his friends, deprived of everything, with informers fabricating charges against him, and could they try him then by a Catholic jury—he would not say Catholics, it would be an insult—could they try him by a jury of 12 Invincibles—12 sworn members of a secret society, what chance would there be for his neck? Why, he could by this patent plan find any man in that House guilty of any conceivable offence, from the Prime Minister downwards—very much downwards. Give him an informer, give him a dozen policemen, give him an Invincible jury, give him solitary confinement, give him the reverse of Judge Lawson, and where was the one he would not convict? Why, he would have the 500 or 600 Members of that House in penal servitude in the twinkling of an eye. No evidence whatever was forthcoming against these 12 men except the evidence of the informer Duffy, and the Crossmaglen book, and the Mullabawn book. It was for nothing Michael Bannican was dragged out of his bed at night by Constable Gartland, threatened that he had better tell all or it would be worse for him; but, unfortunate man, like the needy knife-grinder's story, he had none to tell, and he preferred solitary confinement from Constable Gartland to inventing stories against his fellow-men. But they got Mr. O'Hanlon, who swore that he belonged to the so called conspiracy, and saw one of the prisoners write in the Mullabawn book. What happened to Mr. O'Hanlon? He was so smitten at the idea of sending 12 innocent men to the gallows or penal servitude, and freed from the terrorism of the police, that he said he would prefer to go to penal servitude himself than swear falsely against the men. The County Armagh, where this conspiracy was alleged to have existed, was a county where there were as many Protestants as Catholics; but although a county where both were evenly balanced, not a man, Catholic or Protestant, believed a word of Mr. Duffy's story about the Orossmaglen book and the Mullabawn book. There everybody pretty well knew what Duffy's character was; but the Protestant county of Armagh was not good enough for the Irish police 1790 machinery, and so they took the unfortunate men to Belfast. Blackstone it was, he believed, who spoke of the desirability of men being tried in. the locality in which they lived, and where everything was known about them; but in this 19th century they had got a long way ahead of Blackstone. They had got, in fact, to Porter, and he doubted not that succeeding generations would be greatly bettered by the experience of this enlightened age. But the men were removed from the Protestant county of Armagh to Belfast; and the other night the Attorney General for Ireland made great capital out of the fact that they were tried there by a common jury. Mavrone! There was very little necessity to try in Belfast "the good old rule, the simple plan," of Crown challenge. That was a region well known to the Attorney General for Ireland. [The ATTORNEY GENEBAL for IRELAND: Hear, hear!] He was glad to have the approving cheer of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, for well he knew the juries of the County Antrim. Twelve peasants from the hills of Armagh tried before a jury on which there was not one member of the old faith—a faith that would live in Ireland when Unitarianism would have sunk into the infinite azure of the past. There, before Judge Lawson, they were tried and found guilty, as a matter of course; and what was the verdict of Ireland on the trials? He would give that in the words of the editor of The Daily Express, the gentleman who was Dublin Correspondent of The Times, the editor of the Orange organ of Ireland; and what did he say—We would not find fault with the jury if they were unable to come to a conclusion that the men were guilty.Bernard Smyth had been released because he was spitting blood. Why not also release Michael Waters, who was dying of consumption? The boy was not 19 when arrested. He was kept over 12 months in gaol without trial; and the unfortunate lad would not last much longer in Mountjoy Prison unless he was speedily released. Why was he detained, when Smyth, a much haler man, was liberated? If that was the way the British Government proposed to strike terror, they would only strike shame and hatred into the people. Who was afraid of the British Government? The 1791 people of Ireland only despised them. Strike terror! The whole population of Armagh, even the landlord and Protestant class before whom they dared not try the Crossmaglen prisoners, believed them innocent. Did the Government hope to strike terror into the guilty by imprisoning and hanging innocent men? It was only the British Government that were capable of such an attempt to maintain law and order. The people of Ireland loved justice; no people could be found more anxious for the carrying out of a just law than they were. Irish Attorney Generals since the days of Davis had only changed by becoming blacker. Where was the innocent man who, after being confined in a miserable cell, fed with miserable food, allowed to speak to nobody, kept 12 months awaiting trial, and then tortured by informers, might not be induced to plead guilty in the hope of being let out on his own recognizances? Yet these Crossmaglen men refused all proffers of the kind made to them, strong in the belief that innocence must triumph. It was by this system of police, of terrorism, and ruffianism, which was upheld by officials getting large salaries in Ireland, that justice was defeated. Irish Members were accused of using strong language. One would imagine, from what had been said, that they should only be engaged on those Benches with a thurifer incensing the Treasury Bench. Understand the present position in Ireland. Nine-tenths of the people hated and the other one-tenth despised the English, for they knew—the hon. and gallant Member for the County of Dublin (Colonel King-Harman), and the hon. Member for the County of Leitrim (Mr. Tottenham) knew—as well as they did what the whole game was. They knew that they were simply an engine for the extraction of rent and for the extraction of taxes. From the day the English first landed on their shores, 700 years ago, down to this 23rd of August, 1883, they did nothing for the people that they could possibly abstain from doing. They rack-rented, tortured, and oppressed the country in the interests of a miserable clique. The right hon. and learned Gentleman would get up and read out to them his Mullabawn book and his Crossmaglen book; but let him read them to his supporters. He would produce no conviction upon the minds of Irish 1792 Members, and they could not hope to produce conviction on his mind—his £9,000 a-year was against it. The Government had all the weight of interest, of money, of position in their favour. They had the seven deadly sins on their side—they had everything that the oppressor and the tyrant had; but let them not hope to influence the minds of his hon. Friends. Let them make their speeches, make their statements, produce their police documents, talk to the English public; but the Irish public would neither believe them nor respect them.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PORTER)
said, he deeply regretted the tone of the speech of the last speaker. In this closing day of the Session it was obviously the intention of the hon. Member who had delivered the speech, avowedly to the outside public, to do everything he could to prevent the re-union of the discordant element, and to hinder that return to law and peace-fulness which alone would result in the happiness of those whom the hon. Member professed to represent. So long as crime stalked through the land, so long as life was insecure, so long would it be impossible to hope for that which ought to be the wish of everyone who was influenced by a spark of real patriotism. The hon. Member had again, upon this occasion, endeavoured to bring discredit upon everything connected with the administration of law and justice; and he had laboured to extend sympathy not only to everyone who was accused of crime, but everyone who had been convicted of crime. He had never laid claim to the merits of his Predecessor, to nothing except a conscientious endeavour to do his duty in the disagreeable position in which he was placed, and he should endeavour to do so in future, undaunted by the threats of hon. Members. The hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Callan) had gone over ground that had already been traversed several times this Session. He had nothing to add, in answer to him, to what he had already stated. He had to say, as he had said before, that the directions which were given by his respected Predecessor always were that there should be no difference in matters of religion in reference to jury panelling. Those instructions had been his. [Cries of "Oh!"] They had been his, he repeated, and hon. Gentlemen opposite 1793 had expressly admitted that during the time he had been responsible for the conduct of affairs they had had no fault to find. ["Oh!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, the hon. Member must allow the right hon. and learned Gentleman to proceed with his statement.
§ MR. CALLAN
I say I never admitted anything of the kind. [Cries of "Order!"] On the contrary, I deny it.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PORTER)
said, he did not separate himself from anything that had been done by his hon, and learned Colleague. But the hon. Gentleman was inaccurate in stating that he was personally responsible for these juries, as he was not Chief Law Officer of the Crown.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PORTER)
said, he would not, however, put forward that plea, as he was prepared to share all responsibility with his late Colleague. With regard to the case of Michael Walsh, the hon. Member for Louth, who praised the conduct of his Predecessor, had stated again and again that he (the Attorney General for Ireland) was in command of the case, and was responsible for it. His right hon. and learned Colleague was with him during the whole of the case, conducted it, and stated it, and the instructions he gave were approved by him most cordially, and they were that a distinction should never be made between a Protestant and a Catholic. In reference to one of those trials which had been animadverted upon, 20 persons were told to stand aside, 11 of them being Catholics and 9 Protestants. The prisoner had 20 challenges if he chose to use them; but he did, as a matter of fact, challenge only 12. Thus there were of persons directed to stand aside 21 Protestants, both for the prosecution and for the defence, as against 11 Catholics; and it was not to be wondered at when the prisoner did not exhaust his right of challenge that there should be a preponderance of Protestants, bearing in mind that the panel was very much more Protestant than Catholic. There was a rule which had been 1794 handed down by his Predecessors, that in each and every case persons who carried on the business of spirit retail dealers should be directed to stand aside. He did not accuse that class of persons of being corrupt or unintelligent; but it was necessary in their own interest, and also in the interest of justice, and it was more satisfactory to the public, that they should not try criminal cases. The particular charges in those instances were agrarian crimes and a conspiracy which had extended over a large part of the country; and it was necessary that the men who tried them should not only be intelligent and respectable, but should be men of firmness and fearlessness. It was on one of those juries that two gentlemen were serving when they incurred the hatred of those who conspired to take away their lives, and who almost succeeded in their purpose. It therefore required no ordinary independence and firmness of mind to fit men to be jurors; and when it was found that those who had charge of the defence had a right to set aside a large number more than they did set aside, he appealed to that fact as showing that there was no feeling on the part of the prisoner or his counsel that there was likely to be any unfairness. The hon. Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy) had told them that he did not appeal to the House, and that he was prepared to believe nothing that was said on that side. [Mr. HEALY dissented.] He did not profess to quote the hon. Member's words; but he had understood him to say that he would not believe any statement made from that quarter, and did not expect any of his own statements to be believed by him. Now, he could not reciprocate that sentiment of the hon. Member. For himself, he should be heartily glad to believe any statement of hon. Members opposite if it bore on the face of it that it was made with care and circumspection, with a regard to facts, and also to the feelings of persons who were absent from the House. But statements that were made recklessly without authority, and with an absolute indifference as to the pain and injury they would inflict on absent persons, would not, he was sure, commend themselves to the judgment of the House. The hon. Member for Monaghan had dwelt at some length on the conduct of the trial of the Crossmaglen conspiracy; but his 1795 statements were incapable of verification, and were only calculated to encourage people out-of-doors to resist law and order. They were statements which, as many others made in that House, were idle tittle-tattle which had been furnished to the hon. Gentleman—for he had no opportunity of knowing anything of these matters personally—and which could not be vouched for, had never been proved, and were totally incapable of proof. Now, the information which the authorities had in regard to the Crossmaglen conspiracy was not wrung from a reluctant informer; it was not obtained by threats or by inducements; but it was obtained from two or three different quarters, and, at the same time, from persons none of whom knew that either of the others was communicating information at all. It had been stated that the man Hanlon was brought as a prisoner and compelled to give evidence from which he afterwards receded. The man went voluntarily to the magistrate at Armagh and communicated his evidence to him; he swore to it, and repeated on information from time to time, in page after page of the most minute detail, transactions which no man could possibly have invented. [An hon. MEMBER: What about Duffy?] Of Duffy the hon. Member was at liberty to say what he pleased. Duffy's evidence was undoubtedly that of an informer, which needed corroboration, and it received corroboration. The books which had been so much jeered at showed on the face of them that they were written by different hands, at different times, and in different ink; that they were not concocted; that they were kept for a purpose, although they contained some curious entries. Moreover, the handwriting of portions of those books was proved to be identical with a number of threatening letters which were produced, and were proved to have been received. That was the kind of statement made in the House of Commons to discredit the result of a trial, which in all its circumstances was as just and as fair a trial as ever took place. With regard to the statement that the police went round the town and told the people to go away, there was not a shadow of truth in it. These men were not tried in Monaghan or Armagh, but in the county of Antrim, and he thought the House would agree 1796 that it was right for the Crown to change the venue in such a case. He had known the body of the jurors in the county of Antrim ever since he first began to practise his profession, and he could assert that on the whole a fairer, a more impartial, and a more intelligent jury panel was not to be found in any portion of the Three Kingdoms. [Mr. CALLAN: Oh, oh!] He (the Attorney General for Ireland) knew that their standard of honesty, intelligence, or impartiality did not come up to the standard of the hon. Member for Louth. The hon. Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy) had said that a jury in the county of Antrim consisting of persons who were not Catholics were not to be trusted to do justice to a Roman Catholic. He (the Attorney General for Ireland) was deeply conscious of the differences that existed in Ireland, and of numerous things in its society that ought to be amended; but he had no hesitation in saying that a grosser or a fouler calumny upon the great bulk of the population of the North of Ireland it was impossible to conceive. It was perfectly true that Bernard Smith had received a remission of part of his sentence; and yet even this was made a ground of charge against Her Majesty's Government—that the Prerogative of Mercy had been extended to a man whose life was proved to have been in danger in consequence of his suffering from heart disease and spitting of blood. Any hon. Member who made this a ground of charge in Parliament incurred a grave responsibility as regarded the remaining prisoners. Was he aware that by making an attack of that kind he was doing all he could to render it difficult, if not impossible, to extend that Prerogative of Mercy in the future to prisoners who were in ill-health? It appeared, however, that any argument was good enough provided that for one moment it tended to excite prejudice, passion, and animosity against Her Majesty's Government. In the case of Bernard Smith, the circumstances differed from those associated with the rest of the prisoners.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PORTER)
said, there was an absence in the case of Smith of 1797 that direct corroboration 'which was brought home to others.
§ MR. PARNELL
This is rather an important point. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether there was such corroboration in the case of Coleman?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PORTER)
said, he could not undertake to say from recollection whether there was such corroboration in the case of Coleman, because he was not present at the trial, and only knew what took place from reading the reports and the informations. He would say that in nearly all the other cases there was positive and clear corroboration. It was true that Smith's name appeared in the book; but when he petitioned the Lord Lieutenant, he pointed out that there were live others of the same name in the same district, and that he might have been mistaken, and the upright and learned Judge who tried the case rocommended, when the memorial was submitted to him, that its prayer should be agreed to. But the name of the learned Judge had been upon this occasion, as upon every other, foully bespattered. ["No, no!"]
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PORTER)
As to the second batch of prisoners, it was possible that they might have received a lighter sentence if they had not been persuaded by mischievous advisers to take their chance of a trial. This was a case in which it was idle to expect the House to review the decision of a jury; but he maintained that no single circumstance, founded on fact, had been mentioned by the hon. Members who had impugned the trial, which cast the slightest doubt upon the propriety or justice of the proceedings. The hon. Member for Monaghan also referred to the case of Hallissey, calling him a man of no business, although his right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland had shown him to be a prosperous man, earning 35s. a-week.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PORTER)
said, he should believe that that was after the "Boycotting" until something was proved to the contrary. Mrs. Green was prosecuted and returned for trial, and she was prosecuted; but the Crown could not prevent her pleading guilty. The Judge gave her a lenient sentence, because it was quite plain she had been acting under the influence of her husband, a working mason. The reason why the man she named was not prosecuted was that the Crown did not believe he had anything to do with the offences, while he was a man who had been "Boycotted" on account of his interest in the trade dispute then existing. The statement of the woman was utterly uncorroborated, and if it had been acted upon it would have been complained that the Crown were using the evidence of informers. He cared not for personal attacks upon himself, nor for the menaces made against himself. He admitted his inferiority to the men who had gone be-fore him. He admitted that his right hon. and learned Predecessor, who had not long left the House, was a man in every way his superior, except in his determination to do his duty fearlessly, perfectly undismayed by anything that went on either inside or outside of that House, content to leave his conduct to be judged by those who, in the long run, would give credit to a man of honesty of purpose, and for steadfastness of determination in duty.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, this case of the peasants convicted at the Belfast Assizes of conspiracy to murder had excited a very great amount of attention, not only in the North of Ireland, but throughout the rest of the country, and he thought he was safe in saying that it was the universal conviction in Ireland, and that that conviction would still remain despite the eloquence and special pleading of the Attorney General for Ireland, that 1799 in the case in question a number of innocent persons were now enduring penal servitude; the belief was universal that these people were unjustly convicted and sentenced for offences which they had not committed. How far had they now got in this case? To a virtual admission by the Government that one of the persons was unjustly convicted, and that there was not sufficient evidence to maintain the sentence inflicted upon him, for they found that Bernard Smith was released unconditionally by the Lord Lieutenant from the sentence of penal servitude. He did not believe, and it was useless to tell them, that mere spitting of blood by a prisoner sentenced to penal servitude in Ireland on a grave offence of this kind would secure his release. Such a statement was preposterous. He confessed he had formed, previous to this discussion, a very strong opinion as to the innocence of those men, and he had hoped to hear from the Attorney General for Ireland some attempt, at all events, to inquire dispassionately into this case, as if he were a seeker after truth, and not a person endeavouring, by pleading quibbles and technicalities, to uphold the administration of what was called law and order in Ireland. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman evaded the force and point of the attack of his hon. Friend, and turned aside to miserable quibbles and special pleading which might have done credit to some Petty Sessions attorney, but which were not creditable in a case of this grave character, and which he did not expect to hear from the lips of the Attorney General for Ireland. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said these prisoners were tried before a common jury. Yes, a jury of common Orange rowdies taken from such localities as the Pound, and a class from which those ship carpenters came who annually assembled, armed with bludgeons and weapons, for the purpose of attempting to take the lives or of inflicting injury upon their Catholic fellow-countrymen. A special jury in Belfast would be infinitely less unfair in a trial of this kind than a common jury taken from that class. Their contention simply was that a jury of Northern Protestants taken from the class to which this common jury belonged could not possibly be a fair one under the circumstances. Would any hon. Member like to be tried in any 1800 case, however slight, by a jury of illiterate men consisting of his political enemies? He ventured to think no hon. Member would feel himself safe in such a condition. Yet these proceedings were of daily occurrence in Ireland, and had occurred in reference to the lives and liberties, not of people of importance in the country, but of the humblest classes of mountain peasant such as had been described by his hon. Friend, who were now suffering terrible sentences in Mount-joy Prison. Ordinarily, prisoners were allowed the right of 20 challenges; but the prisoners were put on trial on a charge which amounted to misdemeanour, and they were in that way limited collectively to six challenges, while the Crown had an unlimited right to order jurors to stand aside. The wonderful books which were produced on the trial, and which were supposed to contain internal evidence of genuineness, were persistently withheld from the legal gentlemen defending the prisoners, and they got only such a glance at them as rendered it impossible they could adequately defend the prisoners in respect of their contents. The right hon. and learned Gentleman accused his hon. Friend of endeavouring to bring law and order into discredit. That discredit was brought by themselves. It was brought by such trials as this, and the issue of such trials. He was informed that the case against Coleman, who was still in penal servitude, was precisely the same as that against Bernard Smith, who had been released, and in reference to whom the Judge—the notorious Judge Lawson—in putting the case to the jury pointed out that there was comparatively little evidence, and that all probability of law and justice in Ireland would not suffer if they were acquitted. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland had said that a change of venue was justified on the ground of intimidation. It was rather too late for the Government to plead that change of venue was necessary when there had been the successful prosecutions in the case of the Dublin assassinations and the attempt on the life of Mr. Field conducted to a successful issue in the City where the offences had been committed. The change of venue from Armagh to Antrim had been necessary in order that the unfortunate people might be prevented from 1801 proving their innocence. He trusted the result of the debate would induce the Government to investigate the case of Coleman, and that if they found the evidence as slight as that against Smith they would not wait till blood spitting or some more fatal malady had set in before they opened the prison doors to him. It was not the first time that there had been an amnesty movement in Ireland, out of which great benefits had come to the Irish people; and the Crown Officials in Ireland might depend upon it that no exertions, no expenditure, no risk, no odium would be shrunk from in order to procure the release by the Irish people, and their Representatives, from the horrible penalty of penal servitude of those whom public opinion in Ireland doomed to be innocent.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
said, he heard with great surprise the statement of the Attorney General for Ireland that he had given directions that in no case was the religion of a juror to be made the cause of his rejection. The Attorney General for Ireland might wish his Colleagues to believe that he had no desire to pack juries; but the trials in Dublin, where there were large numbers of Roman Catholics upon the panel, and only Protestants were selected, pointed to the contrary. The right hon. and learned Gentleman did not when he conducted a certain trial in Dublin deny that the jury was packed. In that case he distinctly heard him say that it was necessary to pack the jury. The case he referred to was that of his hon. Friend the Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien), who was tried for writing an article attacking the system of jury packing. He was surprised that when the fact was patent to every peasant in Ireland, the right hon. and learned Gentleman should stand up and deny its existence. He did not think the right hon. and learned Gentleman would be contented to be tried by others than those of his own religion, or who were opposed to his political friends.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir HENRY JAMES)
said, he had sat night after night, and heard his right hon. and learned Colleague (the Attorney General for Ireland) attacked and abused, and there were few Members of the House who, perhaps, knew more clearly than he how entirely unfounded those attacks and censures were. His right hon. and 1802 learned Colleague needed no defender, since be had proved to-night how ably, eloquently, and completely he could defend himself; and, although it was said that his right hon. and learned Friend had used the quibbles of a Petty Sessions practitioner, those who heard that criticism would probably come to the conclusion that if the charges against him were equally well-founded, he need care very little for the attacks made against him. He (the Attorney General) know something of the responsibility of a Law Officer of the Crown; but his right hon. and learned Friend had had to perform those duties in a situation of peculiar difficulty, and in a country where crime was popular. [Cries of "No!"] Well, where crime was rendered popular. He had had to discharge his duties under circumstances that would appal most men, in a country where the Judges stood in danger of their lives, and where jurymen who fulfilled the obligation of their oaths were attempted to be murdered. The hon. Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy) had said nine-tenths of the people of Ireland hated the Government of Ireland. What had the hon. Member done to lesson that number? [Cheers.] From these cheers he gathered that the hon. Member had sought to add to their number, and that he had sought to add to the number of jurymen who hated the Government and hated the administration of the law, and who would do nothing if they could to bring guilty men to justice. Against the men who had helped to produce this condition of things his right hon. and learned Friend in Ireland had had to contend, and night by night he had had to stand by and hear his Colleague accused. He knew how careful and jealous the Attorney General for Ireland had always been to see that nothing should be done to the prejudice of any accused person, and how he had endeavoured to give to everyone the opportunity of proving his innocence. He therefore hoped it would be thought not unnatural, when he heard all this abuse, that he should find it impossible to remain silent. It was not for him to speak in general terms of what might be done if a different tone were adopted by hon. Members; but when the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) said there had often been a period of great 1803 amnesty in Ireland, was he not aware there was not one of those who had spoken in the spirit of the hon. Member for Monaghan who did not know that he was preventing the recurrence of those periods? When they were attacking the administration of the law, however pure, however fair, however just, must they not know that they were incurring a responsibility beyond the mere responsibility of personal attack in the language that had been heard? They must know that, beyond that, they were bringing upon themselves the responsibility, which the people of Ireland ought to cast upon them, of making it necessary to administer the law sternly, untempered with that mercy, which, the moment it was shown, was used only for the purpose of attacking his right hon. and learned Friend while endeavouring to do his duty as faithfully as any just Minister of the Crown had ever performed it.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, a more vicious principle had never been expounded than that just expounded by the Attorney General for England. The hon. and learned Gentleman argued that they must not protest against injustice, or else they must not hope for mercy. If the hon. and learned Gentleman thought that he could terrorize the Irish Party in the House of Commons into silence when justice demanded speech he was very mistaken, for they would treat him and his mercy with contempt. The Attorney General for Ireland had practically admitted the whole case which had been brought against the House with regard to jury packing. He had argued that a Catholic ought to be satisfied to be tried by a jury of Protestants. Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman like to be tried by a jury of Catholics when political and religious feeling was running high? In countries where the circumstances tended to moderate the rancours and hatreds of creed, it was unconstitutional or unjust to place the life and liberty of any man in the hands of a jury of a different creed. In Ireland, where political distrust and hatred existed in its acutest form, it was nothing more than moral murder to throw a man into the hands of jurors of an opposite creed. If they told the Protestants of Ireland that they looked to them to find verdicts, he could conceive no tactics more calculated to 1804 create exasperation among one set of people and arrogance in another class. There was no more disgraceful record in the modern judicial life of Ireland than the convictions in the Crossmaglen case. If the Government continued to pursue the system now in force, if they took their informers from the lowest class, if they coaxed, nursed, and bribed them, and made it a more brilliant career to be an informer than to be an honest man, if they persisted in the system of obtaining sham evidence by means of solitary imprisonment, and if when the skin of the British Lion fell short they pieced it out with the skin of the fox, it would be impossible for any honest man in Ireland to think his life or his property was safe. He wished now to refer to a case of police violence which came under his own observation during the recent Sligo Election. While he and some other gentlemen were proceeding peacefully to a place of meeting a number of policemen disposed themselves artistically across the highway. They refused to leave the road, and when one gentleman, Mr. Brennan, raised his hand as a signal to be allowed to pass, and said "keep back," two of the constables sprang upon him with a ferocity that could not have been surpassed had he been a criminal seized in the act of murder. They twisted his arms and dragged him to the police barracks, and in the evening at a late hour he was conveyed before a magistrate. He (Mr. Sexton), speaking as an eye-witness, was in a position to say that Mr. Brennan only put up his hand, and though several witnesses deposed to the same effect, and there was only the evidence of two policemen to the contrary, this respectable gentleman had since been find £2. He would not disgust the ears of the House by detailing the language used towards himself and other popular Representatives by the police; but speaking of this particular case, with the facts of which he was himself acquainted by observation, as well as his hon. Colleague (Mr. Lynch), he was entitled to claim a public sworn inquiry. He would content himself with saying that such was the feeling engendered in the mind of every official in Ireland, from the lowest to the highest, by the feeling of protection by the Government, that no meanness or enormity was impossible. He supposed 1805 this was what was called a Constitutional Government. Nothing could be more absurd than the speeches they had heard from the Treasury Bench. Of what avail were the platitudes, the empty phrases, and the windy, unmeaning declamations of right hon. Gentlemen for the purposes of conciliation, while among the Officials of Ireland, from the Viceroy on his throne to the meanest constable in a village police barracks, the surest way to promotion was a course of insult and discourtesy to the people?
§ MR. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
asked the indulgence of the House for a few moments while he referred to a Question which he had put to the President of the Board of Trade on the subject of the maladministration of the Suez Canal by its local officials—he did not say its Directors. He rested his case upon a very serious indictment which had been published by the Agent of the Peninsula and Oriental Company at Suez, and not, as the right hon. Gentleman had said, upon "vague gossip." Further, there was the testimony of the Alexandria correspondent of a public journal, who stated that "the incapacity of the administration of the Company, its utter disregard of justice, and arbitrary proceedings, had rendered the Company thoroughly detested throughout Egypt." That was all the evidence he would trouble the House with at this period of the Session; but he might add that he had received a number of private communications to the same effect, and that a Member of the House largely interested in commerce, and a supporter of the Government, whose name he was not at liberty to mention, had told him that he was perfectly right in his charges and the President of the Board of Trade perfectly wrong. He felt called upon to make this statement because he had been accused, not only by the President of the Board of Trade, but also by the Home Secretary, of bringing charges for which there was no foundation. On this point he had only to add that if the charges were not substantiated by him next Session he would withdraw them. Another matter to which he would briefly refer was the answer given by the Secretary to the Admiralty to some perfectly fair Questions respecting the number of Her 1806 Majesty's ships at Madagascar and the Mauritius. He was at a loss to understand why, under some vague fear of offending the French Government, that information was refused, There was nothing of an offensive character in the request. It was a matter in which the country had a deep interest, and the refusal of the Government to furnish the information was one of the most extraordinary, he might say pusillanimous, proceedings ever known in that House. Parliament was kept entirely in the dark as to the facts of those grave and painful incidents, while the Prime Minister made loose and partizan statements out-of-doors. Before the right of moving the adjournment of the House at Question time had been taken away from private Members, no Minister would have ventured to give such an answer.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read the third time, and passed.