HC Deb 21 February 1883 vol 276 cc504-64

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment [20th February] proposed to Main Question [15th February.]—[See page 98.]

And which Amendment was, In paragraph 10, line 4, to leave out from the word "upheld," to the end of the paragraph, in order to insert the words "and we venture to express our earnest hope that the change of policy which has produced these results will be maintained, and that no further attempts will be made to purchase the support of persons disaffected to Her Majesty's Rule, by concessions to lawless agitation; and that the existence of dangerous secret societies in Dublin and other parts of the Country will continue to be met by unremitting energy and vigilance on the part of the Executive,"—(Mr. Gorst,) —instead thereof.

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

Debate resumed.


said, he confessed that he had some difficulty in picking up, with becoming vivacity, the threads of arguments which were abandoned a few hours ago. Nevertheless, however inadequate his comprehension of the grave questions before them, and however halting the sentences in which he would express it, he would not shrink from calling attention to some aspects of the case to which he thought sufficient attention had not been given; and, in doing so, he assured the noble Marquess that he would endeavour to merit the encomium he had passed on him last night, when he said he was not in the habit of addressing the House at undue length. He had yesterday put on the Paper a Question relative to one of the approvers who had been placed in the box during the recent examination at Kilmainham. He had put it from no private motives, and as certainly he had put it from no Party motives. He believed that in putting that Question on the Paper he was the mouthpiece—the humble instrument—of the entire intelligence and sense of the country. He believed the question was one on the lips of everyone that morning, however the responsible Ministers of the Crown allowed themselves to be led into an unworthy trafficking with such doubtful and discreditable instruments. The information which he asked for was politely refused by the Chief Secretary, who referred him to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) and to the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) for the information he desired. He did not go to these sources, because he looked to this debate to elicit the information which was so urgently required and so widely a asked for. When he looked at the nature of the defence put forward on behalf of the Government last night, he could not help being struck with the entire absence of any sound and valid argument against the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst). The Home Secretary had challenged the Amendment as involving an indirect Vote of Want of Confidence in the Government; but if the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not see in the feeble and etiolated applause with which his somewhat windy periods and affected peroration were received by the supporters of the Government an indirect Vote of Want of Confidence, he could not congratulate him upon the keenness of his perception. The gist of the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, if they threw off the flowers of oratory by which it was ornamented, was—let bygones be bygones. Surely that exhortation was a very strange one, coming from one whose disquisitions upon political subjects most of them in former days had read under the pseudonym of "Historicus;" be- cause if bygones were to be bygones, if the past was to be made a blank, the only history they would have to deal with would be the history which the Irish "Invincibles" created. It was said that it would be very inconvenient to the Government to discuss this question at present. He was very unwilling to be a party to anything that would embarrass the Government, although he apprehended it was no part of the duty of an Opposition to select the mode and moment most convenient to the Government in which to pass their criticisms; but he had hoped that, however earnest might be the refusal of the Government to enter into this question at the present time, they would, at least, have availed themselves of the opportunity so earnestly hoped for and looked for on the part of the country, of making a declaration—First, with regard to their future policy, that no concessions would be made to violent agitation; and, secondly, with regard to the past, that they should have had a non tali auxilio—that, in other words, there was no intention to employ, or to contemplate employing, the assistance of men like T. P. Sheridan. How did they seize that opportunity? How did the Home Secretary seize it? Why, he avoided it. He avoided it in three ways. He avoided it, first of all, by what he could only characterize—and he did not mean anything offensive in saying so—as a legal quibble. He taunted the hon. and learned Member for Chatham with having accepted the evidence of the witness examined at Kilmainham Court as having been proved. But that evidence was of a very remarkable character; it was not evidence in the common acceptation of the term; it was the confession of one of the participators in the crime. Now, he had not had the advantage, of which the Home Secretary had so largely availed himself, of a legal education; but he was thankful rather than otherwise that his mind had been penetrated by no sophistries that would prevent his accepting that which commended itself to his common sense, and to the common sense of the great majority of the country—namely, that however that evidence might be shaken in detail hereafter, in the main, on the face of it, it was true.


And the Government believe it.


said, the second means of evasion sought by the Home Secretary was by imputation so singularly disingenuous, so wanting in that manly tone which they were accustomed to expect from Mm, and so singularly unworthy of the chief Representative of the civil power in this country, that he had to look at the newspaper that morning, in order to be sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had really said what he understood him to say. The right hon. and learned Gentleman cast an imputation on a body of men who, he believed, all who were acquainted with them would admit had in times and circumstances of singular difficulty and danger conducted themselves to the admiration of the whole of this country; he meant the police of Ireland. Throwing that blame on the class who maintained order in Ireland was all of a piece with what the Prime Minister did at Leeds when, he taunted the loyal people of Ireland with not having got up a counter agitation to that which was desolating that part of the Kingdom. He was glad that in reply to the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) the Homo Secretary did enter a sort of disclaimer of any intention to cast an imputation on the courage and fidelity of the police. His explanation was that it was the fault of their organization. What did that mean? Why, surely very much the same as what used to be said of the Turkish Army in the late war—that the men were gallant fellows, but that the officers were no better than they should be. If the Homo Secretary did not take an early opportunity of making more full amends to that gallant body of men—without whose assistance Ireland would at the present moment be an independent Republic—then he feared the consequences would be grave indeed. The third excuse was hardly worth alluding to; it was the threadbare one of the difficulty and the disorganization of the police being a legacy from the former Government. That recalled to his mind the somewhat vulgar anecdote of the cook who was allowed no followers, and whose mistress on going down into the kitchen found the legs of a tall life-guardsman sticking out of the cupboard; whereupon the cook excused herself by saying that the soldier was no follower of hers, but a legacy from the last cook. Even the Home Secretary gave an account which it was difficult to reconcile with the facts of the differences he had had with the late Chief Secretary for Ireland; but as that had been fully dealt with last night he would not go into it. The right hon. and learned Gentleman called the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham an indirect Vote of Censure. There might be a certain implied censure, as was pointed out by the hon. and learned Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power) in the use of the word "further." He was not authorized to speak on behalf of the Mover of the Amendment; but he believed the hon. and learned Gentleman would be willing to eliminate the word "further," and so far let bygones be bygones, if he could only induce the Government to give him such an assurance as was wanted. What they wanted was that there should be no more government by concession. They had had a taste of that already this Session. They had had the Affirmation Bill brought in, in response not to legitimate agitation, but to the threat by the junior Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) that he would come down in his thousands and storm the House of Commons. Her Majesty's Ministers had not the effrontery to yield to that threat in the Speech from the Throne; but they had so far given way to it that they had introduced the Affirmation Bill at the earliest possible moment, and he supposed to at they were prepared to carry it forward with all possible despatch. It was not until they had that specimen of the Imperial policy of Her Majesty's Ministers, that the hon. and learned Member for Chatham put his Amendment on the Paper. The Amendment was not entirely limited in its scope to Ireland. Already things were beginning to take place in Scotland—a country whose people for more than a county had been singularly orderly and law-abiding—which caused them to demand from Her Majesty's Government an assurance that they would abide by their recent change of policy. On the West Coast of Scotland and among the Islands there was a population similar in many respects to the Irish cottiers. Their circumstances were not much more attractive. They were engaged in the hopeless task of trying to live on soil that would not support them—an attempt that had always ended, and would always end, in the recurrence of bad seasons, and, in consequence, misery and starvation. But the movement of which they had lately heard was never dreamed of until after what had occurred in Ireland. He knew a good deal of what had lately been going on in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland; and if that were a suitable occasion he could tell hon. Members some things which might surprise them. Meanwhile, he simply wanted to say that if there was any prospect of future concessions to agitation in Ireland, then they might depend on it they would soon have nearer home, and among people—he spoke for himself, and for many around him—infinitely dearer to them than the Irish peasantry, an agitation which could only bring disaster and misery in its train. He could not forget the crowning reason which the Prime Minister gave for introducing the Land Bill of 1881. That right hon. Gentleman said—if he (Sir Herbert Maxwell) recollected his words aright—that but for the iron necessity of public affairs the Government had not a shred of a title to interfere between landlord and tenant in Ireland. Well, how was that iron necessity created—that iron necessity which could have had no existence in the Prime Minister's knowledge during the autumn of 1879 and the spring of 1880, when he entered into his voluminous disquisitions on public affairs in Mid Lothian? It had grown up in the interval since then, being welded by leaden bullets and steel knives. First the chapel bell was rung, and then the knives were sharpened. That was how the "iron necessities" were got up. What assurance had the House that an iron necessity would not be again set on foot this year, next year, or any year, if the policy of concession was not strenuously and emphatically repudiated on the present occasion? The other main defence set up by the Government last night was in the person of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Mr. Goschen), whose manly, though somewhat spasmodic independence they were accustomed to find expressed in eloquent and telling words. He had listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman with interest; but had sought in vain for a shed, for a single molecule, of an argument against the adoption of the Amendment. Whereas the Home Secretary said—"Why do you bring forward this Motion now? why did you not do so 10 months ago?" the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon said—"Why do you bring it forward now, why not in 10 months hence?" The right hon. Gentleman said this was a moment of great embarrassment to the Government; how did that agree with what the Chief Secretary said at Hawick? The Chief Secretary spoke in tones of hopefulness, almost of satisfaction, in regard to the state of things in Ireland. [Mr. TREVELYAN dissented."] The right hon. Gentleman shook his head; he did not wish to misrepresent him; but he, at all events, had drawn from that speech a certain amount of hope for the future, and of something like satisfaction with the present. He was sorry to learn now from the Chief Secretary that he was not justified in doing so. But in any case he could not look at this particular moment as one of great embarrassment. Why should it be? The Government were armed with greater power than any previous Government ever had in dealing with Ireland. Agitation—the criminal agitation—if it was not killed was surely scotched; and the other day they had a cartoon in Punch representing the Prime Minister on a heroic scale, and scantily clad, as was becoming a man in a warm climate, struggling with a very under-sized Hydra labelled "Treason, anarchy, and murder." That was, at all events, an encouraging view of the situation, and one which he certainly hoped was not a misleading one. When, he would ask, were they to bring forward this Motion? If the Home Secretary thought 10 months ago, and the right hon. Member for Ripon thought 10 months hence, surely they could not err between these two pieces of advice if they took a middle course and brought it forward now. He had expressed regret that the Government had not accepted the invitation that had been extended to them. But almost a graver source of regret remained. If they looked for a disclaimer in regard to the past, and for encouragement in regard to the future, was there not a third Party in the House from whom they might reasonably expect some expression of opinion? The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) was intimately connected with the subject of this debate. His name had arisen frequently; he did not wish to make or to imply any imputation upon the conduct of the hon. Member; but when they bad his accredited instrument, Mr. Sheridan, unveiled before them in the way that he had been, surely it was not too much to expect that an hon. Member sitting in the British House of Commons would rise in his place to say that he knew nothing about the matter. Nay, more; if be was not mistaken, the bon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien) was the Gentleman who nominated James Carey as Town Councillor. Had be nothing to say with regard to this self-condemned murderer? Had be no expressions of regret for having ever taken this man under his œgis? That was a fair question to ask, and he should be much disappointed if this debate continued without eliciting some explanation of these most mysterious circumstances. He was absent last night during the greater part of the debate; but when he took up the paper in the morning he looked to see if any Irish Member bad not been brave enough to get up and express, in manly and unmistakable tones, his opinion on these matters; but, on the contrary, he found the hon. Member for Westmeath, so far from condemning this conspiracy, actually offered a palliation and an excuse for James Carey. [Mr. T. D. SULLIVAN: What was it I said?] He would read the words of the hon. Member, as reported in The Times of that morning— He asked the House and the people of this country to give ear to the weighty words spoken by James Carey in Kilmainham Court House when he said that he joined the Assassination Committee when the country was in a had state, when coercion was in full force, when the popular loaders were in prison, and anyone might he put into prison, at a moment when he despaired of obtaining redress by constitutional means; and, he added, but for that the committee would, not have had so many recruits. These words bore the stamp of truth, and proved that it was misrule which had driven men into those confederacies. This was the passage on which he based his statement that the hon. Member had offered palliation and excuse. The Home Rule Party in that House had been discredited before; let them be careful they did not bring infamy upon themselves in the future. In endeavouring to form some estimation of the course which the Government intended to pursue with regard to Ireland, they must bear in mind the words—almost the parting words— with which the Prime Minister startled the House at the end of the Autumn Session—when be said that the wish nearest his heart was to establish popularly-elected bodies in every county in Ireland. Surely a scheme of that sort, undertaken at the present moment, was fraught with danger, not only to Ireland, but to the whole United Kingdom. They wanted to have some encouragement from the Government, to look to the grave and measured utterances of the noble Marquess at the head of the War Office, rather than to the prefilgate promises of the President of the Board of Trade or the somewhat academical utterances of the bon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone). He would remind the Government that the ephemeral Jingo popularity which they had gained by their appeal to arms last autumn, and by the brilliancy of the exploits of our troops in that campaign, was passing away; and he urged them to gain for themselves a more lasting confidence by the adoption of the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend. He believed that nothing short of this would suffice to give a sense of returning confidence and security to the law-abiding classes, not only of Ireland, but also of England and Scotland; and be believed it was impossible to exaggerate the gratitude with which it would be received by the entire nation.


I regret to begin what I have to say with some words personal to myself with reference to a remark which fell from the hon. Baronet. The National Party contested and won a great number of wards at the last municipal elections in Dublin. Amongst others, I received an invitation from the burgesses of Trinity Ward in Dublin, asking me to attend a meeting in favour of the candidature of Mr. James Carey. Up to that time, as it happened, I bad never laid my eyes on Mr. Carey; but I had heard of him as an old Nationalist and a working-man's candidate, who had displayed a very active and intelligent interest in municipal affairs. I wrote a letter stating that I bad not a vote for Trinity Ward, and that I, therefore, had no right to intrude my opinion on the burgesses; but if I had any influence with them I would be very glad, indeed, from all I bad beard of Mr. Carey, to exert myself in his favour. That was the full extent of my interfer- ence with the election to which the hon. Baronet has referred. It was only three weeks after the election that I first met Mr. Carey, when he came and introduced himself, and thanked me for what I had done. All I can say is this—that looking back now upon all the circumstances of the time, I wish it to be thoroughly understood that I make this explanation in no apologetic sense, for I have no doubt if the same state of things mutato nomine were to arise in the morning, that I would take the same course of action; and my only regret would be that I had not a vote to give. With regard to some topics that have been introduced in the course of the debate, it seems to be now pretty generally agreed that while men's lives are trembling in the balance this House should not make an attempt to condemn and sentence men here before they are tried in Dublin, and for one I will be no party to it. As to the larger question which is involved—the question of whether the crimes in Dublin justified the administration of the Crimes Act, or whether the administration of the Crimes Act has produced the crimes in Dublin, I would like to offer some remarks to the House. The noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) fixed the 6th of May as the date of the change of policy which is referred to in the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst). I think it can be shown that, though, no doubt, the events of the 6th of May are the events which determined the Government to secure a cruel Coercion Act, that it was a subsequent and more sinister influence in Dublin Castle which determined the Government to make the cruel use they have made of it. The Chief Secretary for Ireland, in the speech which has earned for him, and fairly earned for him, the ill-omened praises of the Front Opposition Bench last night, told us that agrarian offences in Ireland had dropped from 1,010 for the first six months in 1882—the six months of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster)—to 365 for the six months after "we came over to Ireland;" and he would have us to infer that all that came about from a wave of his enchanter's wand. At all events, that we owe it, if not to him, to Judge Lawson's juries, the hangman's rope, the Press prosecutions, and the rest of it. What is the fact? The month of June was the month following the retirement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford. Judge Lawson's juries were never dreamed of at the time. This Legislature had not even settled the machinery by which they were to be manufactured; the gallows was not yet set up as the form of government in Ireland. On the contrary, the right hon. Gentleman had only just come over with sugared words of conciliation, and although this House was engaged in passing the Crimes Act, Ministers were almost fulsome in assurances that the measure was never to be put to any desperate uses. What do we find? In June the number of agrarian offences fell to 283, of which 155 were of the nature of threatening letters, as contrasted with 462 in April, when the policy of the right hon. Gentleman was in its heyday. In July, the month before Judge Lawson's juries began their work, the number of agrarian offences had dwindled down to 231, showing plainly that the reign of violence, begun by the right hon. Gentleman, was fairly abandoned by both sides. The Arrears Act offered, both to tenants and landlords, a welcome escape from the frightful struggle of the previous winter. The country was settling down honestly and heartily, not, indeed, into political inanition—not into the ways of English Whiggery, and that is the rub—but they were settling down to a leisurely re-organization of their lawful forces for further and perfectly lawful political reforms in the future. Take the county of Clare, for instance. That is a county in which, perhaps, as desperate things were done, both on the landlords' side and on the tenants' side, as in any county in Ireland. In Clare, in January, 1882, there were, unhappily, the highest number of outrages for any county in Ireland—41. Again, in February, Clare headed the unhappy list with 42 outrages. Contemporaneously with this state of disturbance, and as we say the cause and explanation of it, 52 families, of 299 souls, were evicted during that quarter, and only seven families were re-admitted. In July, in Clare, under the more benignant influence which began then to operate when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford was gone, and when Mr. Clifford Lloyd paid a good deal of attention to that quarter, being clipped of a good many of his terrors, the number of families evicted had fallen to seven, and the number of agrarian offences gone down to nine, three of them cases of writing threatening letters. What was happening in Clare was happening all over the country. The one terrible exception—the Phoenix Park assassinations—only emphasized the fact that men of all parties were embracing the prospect of ending the reign of violence and bloodshed of which the assassinations were the last terrible outcome. Take the way in which the intelligence of these assassinations was received through the country. The very men whose votes at the Poor Law elections in March had sealed the fate of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford—for it was that revolution at the Poor Law Boards which made the right hon. Gentleman realize that he was warring with a nation and not with assassins—but I say these very men whose votes hurled the right hon. Gentleman from power, hailed those assasinations with a chorus of execration, which went from the leader of the Irish people through every popular Boardroom in the country. It was an opportunity that may not soon return to statesmen. How did the right hon. Gentleman opposite use that opportunity? Was the spirit displayed by the Irish people loyally reciprocated? What is it that has changed the Ireland of June and July last, then settling down in a spirit of amnesty and kindly human sympathy? What is it that has transformed her into the outraged, sullen, and exasperated Ireland that to-day and for many a day to come will trouble the peace of England? I do not care what was the motive. I do not care whether it was to give the people of England vengeance for the butchery of an unhappy English Nobleman. I do not know whether it was the mere ignorance of political doctrinaires, or whether it was the mephitic air of Dublin Castle, which, like the underground palace in the Arabian Nights' stories, seems to turn into stone the heart of every English statesman who enters it. I do not know whether it was that the greatest of all Irish crimes in the eyes of English Ministers was that the Irish people should still believe in, and still follow, my hon. Friend and Leader the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). I do not know what it was that transformed the right hon. Gentleman from the gentleness of July last to the fury and desperation of Hawick. But this I do know—that every act of his administration since July has been to wreck and dissipate every hope of peace and conciliation in Ireland, to destroy the seeds of confidence in, and sympathy with, the law, and to plant deep in the hearts of the Irish people a sense of anger and resentment and of burning wrong which it will take many a day of wiser statesmanship to eradicate. What has been the history of the last six months in Ireland? A history of vengeance for the officials of Dublin Castle, a history of license and domination and revenge for the class whom the Land League, aye, and whom this House found it necessary for the public good to disarm of a portion of its power. And what is all the noble indignation of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) against the Land League but a plea to have that class kept a little longer in the pay of England? What lesson has been taught the Irish people during the last six months? What, except the old and bitter lesson that public justice is a mere weapon in the hands of a class, and that whatever can be accomplished for Ireland must be accomplished by secrecy and stealth? What sort of outrage was over perpetrated upon a free people, which ever drove a free people to madness, that has been left unperpetrated in Ireland? Free speech? Where is it? Public speakers, as the County Court Judge for Cork put it the other day, would require a law adviser at their elbows to consult with them about every sentence they utter, so much so that the only remedy which the learned Judge could suggest was that in mercy to them public speakers should not be allowed to open their lips at all. A Member of this House cannot address his constituents in Ireland without knowing that he will have a police spy beside him, if he has not a file of bayonets before him, to cut short the debate. The landlord Press is permitted to pour out everyday torrents of calumnies and abuse upon the Irish people; they are free to do it. But when an Irish popular journalist ventures even to print the report of a local branch meeting of the Land League, he has to wear the handcuffs and the convict's dress—unless, indeed, the Crown officials are indiscreet enough to submit him to a jury of his fellow-countrymen—even to a packed jury in Green Street. There is but one other topic left upon which I shall speak, and that is the ghastly mockery of justice that was set up in Ireland last winter. I have already mentioned elsewhere in plain English what I thought of that in Ireland. I repeat here that the jury panels prescribed by the Crimes Act, and, God knows, they were select and exclusive enough if they were fairly and indifferently taken; those jury panels were ransacked for men of one creed and of one class, whose prejudices and whose interests were worked upon to take vengeance for the privileges and the powers and the money they had lost. It is notorious that officials and leaders of the Landlord League were sworn upon those juries, that the trials at two Commissions were conducted by Judges whose ferocious partizanship disgusted and revolted public feeling. I repeat that these proceedings ended on gallows after gallows with dying cries of innocence; and I say that the only answer Her Majesty's present Advisers in Ireland have attempted to give to those charges, plainly made and openly repeated, is the answer of silence, and suppression, and evasion, and persecution. You can study the results in the evidence of James Carey. If, as history and as the Irish debates of last Session ought to have warned you, outrages and wrongs of that kind have produced deplorable and awful crimes in Dublin at the hands of desperate men, then I call upon this House, and, whatever this House may do, I call upon the Irish people, to lay at the doors of the administrators of the Crimes Act, not the credit of having detected the perpetrators of those crimes, but the folly, the wickedness, and the guilt of having caused them.


said, the House must have been deeply pained as it listened to the extraordinary speech of the hon. Member who had just spoken. There was, however, a view of that speech which he would commend to hon. Members on the Front Opposition Bench. It was to recollect that it came from a Member whose Party—the Home Rulers—had pro- mised to support the Conservative candidate now contesting the borough of Newcastle-on-Tyne. While so much had been said of the Kilmainham Treaty, what was to be said of the little Treaty just concluded on the banks of the Tyne by which the Irish vote was to be given to the Conservative candidate? ["No!"] Hon. Members on the other side might cry "No!" but the fact he had stated was notorious, and he should like to hear what the bid had been which was to secure for the Conservatives this strange support? He mentioned it in no offensive spirit to Irishmen, who had a right to choose their friends; but it showed that the Tories, while they deprecated such an alliance by the Liberals, were ready enough to adopt it when it suited their own purposes. There were, he said, two reasons why the Opposition Members should be grateful for the present state of affairs in Ireland, instead of blaming the Government for it. One was that it would enable them to prolong the threadbare subject of the so-called Kilmainham Treaty, of which they had made so much at their meetings all over the country. The second reason, taken in another sense, was one which would enable them to rejoice in the success which had attended the efforts to track and punish crime in Ireland. Did the Opposition regret this success, or did they really lend to it their approval and sanction? The hon. Baronet the Member for Wigton (Sir Herbert Maxwell) had called upon the Government for a definite statement of its future policy in Ireland. No such statement was required. The Government was no more responsible for the "suspect" Sheridan than the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst), whose Amendment was now under discussion. He challenged Members on the other side to show that the Irish Executive ever had the least connection with this man. Instead of indulging in carping criticism upon its past policy, it was the duty of all Parties to support the Government in its efforts to put down crime in Ireland, and to restore peace and prosperity to that unhappy country.


said, the Home Secretary last night, had called attention to a Notice of his, last Session, in terms so imperfect that he ventured to express his dissent at the time; but the ordinary channels of information did not give his interpolation correctly, and, therefore, he desired to express again his dissent from the statement that he had at any time, with or without the consent of his right hon. Friend (Sir Stafford North-cote), desired the Irish "suspects" should be released, purely and simply. The Home Secretary referred to him as the person who put down the Motion for the release of the "suspects," and he (Sir John Hay), according to the report in the newspapers, was reported to have said "and the suspension of trial by jury." The insertion of the copulative "and" made it appear that he assented to the proposition that he had ever suggested the release of the "suspects" without trial. The terms of his Motion were as follows:— That the detention of large numbers of Her Majesty's subjects in solitary confinement, without cause assigned, and without trial, is repugnant to the spirit of the Constitution; and that, to enable them to be brought to trial, jury trials should, for a limited time in Ireland and in regard to crimes of a well-defined character, be replaced by some form of trial less liable to abuse. Thus, by his Notice, he did not propose that the 800 "suspects" then in prison without charge assigned should be unconditionally released. The wisdom of his Motion was shown by what happened. The Notice which he had given stood for consideration at 9 o'clock; and though it was not right, in the absence of the Prime Minister, that he should report a private conversation, yet he might state, what the House knew perfectly well, that the Prime Minister invited him to a conference behind the Speaker's Chair, and the result was that he did not go on with the Motion at 9 o'clock, and the next day or the day after the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) resigned. Further, he was justified in wishing to advise the House to take the course he indicated because Lord Lansdowne, who had been a Member of the Government, but afterwards left them, was appointed, as representing the Government, Chairman of a Commission, which recommended the very course he would have himself proposed in his Notice of Motion. He thought it right to explain to the House and to his Friends that the intention attributed to him by the Home Secretary was entirely inaccurate; and whatever might have been the wisdom or otherwise of the Notice of Motion which he had intimated, and which he had delayed to introduce by the suggestion of the Prime Minister, it had certainly not contained any of the suggestions which the Home Secretary had yesterday endeavoured to attribute to him. He was prepared to support, either with or without the word "further," the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst). But though he most heartily congratulated the right hon. Member for Bradford upon his providential escape from a most abominable crime—they had heard from the new Member (Mr. O'Brien) who had lately spoken that it was the condition of society in Ireland which led to such crimes—he could not recognize that continuity which the Home Secretary had suggested in the policy pursued by the late Lord Lieutenant and the right hon. Member for Bradford and the bold and manly policy of the present Lord Lieutenant and his right hon. Friend the Member for Hawick (Mr. Trevelyan). His sympathy for the right hon. Member for Bradford, and the respect which he always felt for the right hon. Gentleman, did not blind him to the fact that, though he went to Ireland warned of the state of things by Lord Beaconsfield and the Duke of Marlborough, who had been the late Lord Lieutenant, he neglected to renew the Peace Preservation Act, and having by an unreasoning confidence allowed Ireland to go from bad to worse, the Protection of Life and Property Act was introduced, a measure far too mild for the state of Ireland. He knew nothing of the secrets of the Cabinet; but this he did know—that until the Crime and Outrage Act was passed, in consequence of those terrible disasters in the Phoenix Park, and until the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hawick went to Ireland, the condition of that country was going from bad to worse. Since his right hon. Friend had gone there as Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, he had been happy to recognize in the manly and brave conduct of Earl Spencer and himself, with which they had dared all the terrible disasters which were impending over them, and of which they must have been aware, that they had done their duty like Englishmen, and repressed, and kept down, and at last mitigated the evils from which Ireland was suffering. But after the speech to which they had listened a very short time ago, they were not to suppose that their task was ended. They knew that here in this House—and in the right place, too, for it to be said—they had heard speeches, he would not say of disloyalty, but which showed a desire to separate the Government of Ireland from that of the United Kingdom. They had heard threats that unless a different course was pursued, this terrible condition of affairs would be perpetuated. They had heard that stated; and he trusted the House would hear from his right hon. Friend the Member for Hawick that he was determined, and that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who was one of the Members of the Cabinet, who, at least, he supposed, was not spoken for by the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone), that he at least differed from those Colleagues of his in the Cabinet, who, as in the speech at Leeds, had views for the amelioration of Ireland which really were old wives' fables. Though the Crime and Outrage Bill, with various Amendments, might have been prepared before the right hon. Member for Bradford left Office, the right hon. Gentleman was unable to obtain by Judge or jury the conviction of a single offender in prison. But since the Crime and Outrage Bill became law, and the more able policy of the right hon. Member for Hawick had been adopted, they had seen crimes punished, and he trusted they should see still more. His hon. Friend the Member for Wigton (Sir Herbert Maxwell) had made a most excellent speech, and had referred to the condition of the Western Highlands. He would say that the same remedy which was necessary there, was the remedy which was necessary in Ireland; and he was glad to see, although without much enthusiasm, that that change of policy had been adopted by the present Irish Government—that policy of assisting emigration, and of reducing the numbers of the starving population, from whom crime was always to be expected. He thanked the House for permitting him to say these few words. He thought it due to the House, and to himself, to explain truly the nature of the Notice of Motion which he had given last May.


said, it was high time that an answer should have been given by the Irish Party to the policy of deliberate defamation with which the organs of English opinion were pursuing that Party, apparently owing to some superior inspiration; and he was glad that explanation came from his hon. Friend the Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien), who had recently driven a Representative of the promoters and abettors of coercion and defamation with ignominy from that old borough. It would be well to deal with the defamation spirit in a calm and dignified manner. Demands had been made for explanations from the Irish Party. He did not know what course, in his tried wisdom, his hon. Friend and Leader the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) might choose to adopt in answer to those demands; but, as far as his humble opinion would go, he would say that if any honest and kindly Englishman—and, thank God, there were yet plenty of the breed, notwithstanding so much evidence to the contrary just at present—wished to know from any Irish Member his opinion of the foul deed done in the Phoenix Park, then, certainly, his advice and his opinion were this—that that honest and kindly Englishman should be treated with that candour and that consideration that their good feelings deserved. But if the demand for explanation came from men—he did not care who they were, or in what condition they carried on their miserable policy—who asked for it only for the purpose of conveying a despicable insult; if the demand was made only for the purpose of conveying a cowardly and infamous calumny; if it was meant to cover a mean attack, not only upon the Irish Party, but upon the Leaders opposite, by some people who would like to be in Office instead of the present occupants; if this hideous and terrible event was to be made the stalking-horse for the miserable political ambition of miserable English politicians, then his advice and opinion were that the demand for explanation, coming from such quarters and animated by such designs, should be treated with indifference and contempt. He did not happen to be enumerated usually among the admirers of the policy of Her Majesty's present Government; but he could say honestly that the proceedings of the last couple of days had revealed to his eyes, at any rate, that whatever might be the depths into which the policy of Her Majesty's Government had fallen, there was a deeper depth still. When he saw English Noblemen and Gentlemen, for the purposes of their political convictions, endeavouring to bespatter the present occupants of the Treasury Bench with the blood that was shed in the Phoenix Park, he said "thank God"—or at least he would be made to say it if these represented the class—"thank God I am not an English Nobleman nor an English Gentleman!" However, he repudiated the idea that these trading politicians represented the feeling of England. He had heard plain men in railway carriages and in omnibuses give plain appreciation of the sort of policy which had been pursued in the course of that debate by hon. Gentlemen who sat upon the Front Opposition Bench. His appreciation of the policy of the Opposition on the present occasion need, not be interpreted to signify any admiration on his part for the policy of Her Majesty's present Government in Ireland. However, the Government might derive a useful lesson from the treatment they were receiving from the English Opposition Benches. They could now perceive what thanks and what reward were in store for them when they became the dupes of the Coercionist Party. There was a demand for explanation, and if he did not answer some of the persons who had been apparently inspired to forward that demand, he addressed himself to representative honest men, whether on the Liberal or Conservative side. It was asked that there should be an explanation of how the Land League's funds were expended. Would the most careful audit, conducted by the most eminent accountants in the City of London, satisfy the promoters of the policy of defamation? There had been a sum of £200,000 or £250,000 received by the Land League for the purpose of supporting the agrarian policy of the Irish nation. Suppose a balance sheet, passed by the most skilful auditors, and accounting for every imaginable item of money to the full amount of £250,000—aye, or even £300,000—was presented before the professors of defamation, would that sheet shut their mouth? Would it not be said—"Yes, it does not require £100,000 to purchase the knives that did the Phoenix Park business; it does not require £100,000 to pay the travelling expenses, whatever they might have been, of 'No. 1' and Mr. James Carey. Probably all the expenses of the machinery of murder do not amount to more than £200 or £300. Who could detect the absence of £200 or £300 in such an amount? How easily could £200 or £300 be accounted for in such a sum under some innocent head, although it had really been applied for the promotion of assassination in Ireland? Would not that be the answer given by English defamers and their Irish allies to the most perfect audit of Land League accounts which it would be possible to make? The demand for the production of the accounts of the Land League was made by Members of that House from, he was bound to assume, the purest and the loftiest motives; but the language in which that demand was couched corresponded very closely with that used by a class of persons who could not be suspected of honestly making it—the literary Thugs of the Coercion Press. But there was an explanation which the Irish Party might well demand, and it was high time that reference should be made to it in the course of these debates. Where now were the references to those organizations which were so continually in the mouths of hon. Members a couple of years ago—aye, and even a year ago? They were then told that there was a Skirmishing Fund collected for special criminal purposes. They were told, till on both sides of the House they were sick of the repetitions, of the appeals of desperadoes in newspapers across the. Atlantic for the supply of money and the supply of men to carry out a policy which certainly appeared to be a policy of the knife and of dynamite. Where now were the references to these band's of desperadoes that worked, not only outside of, but also against, the Constitutional movement of the Irish people? Why were all references to the Skirmishing Fund, to Assassination Leagues, omitted from the speeches of those English Members who had addressed the House, and of those Irishmen who were always ready to attack their country—such Irishmen, for instance, as the right hon. and learned Member who represented the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson)? An explanation on that point was due to the Irish National Leaders. When the present defamers wanted to create the impression that there were movements outside the Constitutional movement in Ireland, their mouths rose full of skirmishing funds and assissination leagues; but to-day when they affected to recognize the profitableness of convincing the English public that there was only one National movement in Ireland, and that that was represented by James Carey, they dropped all reference to what would be a complete explanation of the deplorable state of affairs in Ireland. The Irish Members were asked to repudiate the policy of assassination. Well, as a Catholic, he was opposed to political assassination in the case of British officials in Ireland or Continental Sovereigns, and he should be very glad to believe that there were no longer any politicians in England who were prepared to palliate assassination, in the latter case at any rate. He should be glad to hear that there were no longer any politicians in England who feasted and honoured the companions and founders of the policy of the dagger in Italy, and the founders of the policy of dynamite in Russia. It was not long since that a darling of English politicians was a companion and a friend of the Italian Mazzini, and of the Muscovite Herzen; and these men had left disciples and followers behind them. Supposing the Irish Members were to make the strongest repudiation of assassination, would that satisfy the leaders and the agents of the policy of deliberate defamation with whom they had to contend? Would not they in their speeches, and their allies in their leading articles, point out how admirably the thing was done—how the sound and terms of a genuine repudiation were mimicked by the Land League Leaders? Would that satisfy them? No; it would only give them cause for further insult. The representative organs of the defamation party plainly declared what their darling wish and design were. On the very morning following the revelations of the chief organizer of the assassination plot in Dublin, whom the Government had received into their mercy in consideration of political services promised or expected, the Dublin Daily Express—which might be called the Irish edition of the London Times, because its editor was the Times correspondent in Dublin—openly expressed in its columns that policy of deliberate defamation which was more insidiously insinuated in The Times correspondence from Dublin day after day. The Daily Express, the day after the revelations, adjured the Crown counsel above all things they should not lose sight of the main object they should have in view—namely, to use every effort to connect the Land League with the assassination plot. "If counsel for the Crown," continued The Daily Express, can succeed in this, it will strike a mortal blow at Irish National agitation. This was an open declaration of the policy of the defamation party. On Monday, The Evening Standard of London expressly stated that Mr. James Carey, notwithstanding his horrible and detestable criminality, was received into the good graces of the Government, because it was "hoped" that his revelations would implicate certain leading political personages. Putting together the revelations of The Daily Express and of the London paper, if there was one atom of truth in the statements of these apparently well accredited organs, they were in the presence of an assassination conspiracy and a conspiracy of moral assassins, in no iota yielding in infamy to Mr. James Carey and his select confederates themselves. They had heard a good many taunts from the Front Opposition Bench as to the alleged alliance between the Government and Mr. Sheridan. The Government had been accused by the Leading Members of the Conservative Party of making Mr. Sheridan their instrument; but it seemed to him that the virtuous abhorrence of these Conservatives at this fact in no way indisposed them from taking Mr. James Carey to their arms as their valued ally and their trusted, infallible authority. This double-dyed villain, swearing against his associates to save his own neck'—such was the ally for their political campaign against their political opponents—he said it before all England—of the English Conservative Party. Notwithstanding the absurdity of the demand for the production of an item by item statement of the Land League funds, he, for his part, would certainly be delighted to see such a statement given to the public if they got in return an item by item explanation of the manner in which the Crown officials in Dublin had employed the secret service money for the last two years. He felt certain that it would be impossible for certain officials to keep their position if such a statement were given to the public. They had nothing to be ashamed of in the application of the Land League funds; and they should have no objection to showing how they were applied if Her Majesty's Government and Her Majesty's Opposition agreed to give them a look at the application of the Secret Service Fund. The hon. Member for Mallow justly attributed the desperate crimes which had shocked all men, except, apparently, the party of deliberate defamation, to the operation of the policy of coercion. He ventured to say that if Ireland was any other country in the world there would be no hesitation whatever in connecting tyranny with assassination, and despotic government with popular crime. From the speeches during this debate it might be fancied that Ireland was the only country whose soil had been stained by political assassination. The commission of crime elsewhere was no palliation of crime in Ireland; but this hypocrisy must not be pushed too for. No one had declared that, on account of the murder of the Czar, Russia should be deprived of its nationality, or that Spain should be similarly punished for the murder of Prim, or that the bloodshed which had occurred in France should disentitle the present Government to the deference and occasional adulation of the British Government. The United States had been stained with political assassination. Even in England horrible tyranny had produced horrible crime. [The hon. Member then referred to the forcible dispersion of the meeting held at St. Peter's Field, near Manchester, in 1819, and to the fact that, although Coercion Laws of the most stringent character were passed by the Government, a formidable conspiracy grew up in a few months afterwards.] At the time of the Peterloo Massacre there had been promises for the more speedy execution of justice, for stamping out seditious meetings, and for seizing arms. On February 22, 1820, only a few months after the culmination of the Government by tyranny, the Cato Street conspiracy, in every particular as infamous as the Phœnix Park assassination plot, had come to a head in the midst of advanced and civilized England. The object of the Cato Street conspiracy was the murder of all the Members of the Cabinet, which even exceeded the modest enter-prize of the Government witness, Mr. James Carey; and further, to seize the Bank and set fire to several places in London. Mr. James Carey seemed to be an outcast beside the devisers of those crimes. For that crime Thistle-wood and four of his associates were found guilty and executed. The Government of that day would, he thought, probably be puzzled to account for the immunity which was to be extended to Mr. James Carey. In the periodical literature of the day there was to be found the very same class of charges brought by the party of English coercion against the party of English reform, trying to smirch the reformers with the crime of Thistlewood, as were to be seen, to their shame and disgrace, a certain sort of organs of public opinion in England trying to smirch the leaders of the National movement in Ireland with the crime of the Phoenix Park conspiracy. Would hon. and right hon. Members declare or suggest that an outrage of that description in Ireland should be punished by the permanent reduction of the Irish nation to political helotry? They should commence with the application of their principles in their own English home, for if it were even possible that Ireland must bear the shame of the plot of James Carey and his confederates, England had been stained with a vaster and more comprehensive crime. He could quote scores and scores of cases of the most horrible popular crimes in England, following upon a policy of mere coercion on the part of the Government; and if he had been an Englishman he would not have been accused of palliating assassinations if he were to say with regard to those crimes that mere coercion was more calculated to breed crime than to disseminate loyalty. He did not intend to go into even such details as the history of the Ludditen risings, and the wholesale massacre and murders in England. He wanted to deal directly with the statement that the policy of the Government, hounded on and stimulated by the party of coercion, which only thanked the Government by seeking to smirch it in turn with every odious crime—he wished to say he was entirely of opinion that crime in Ireland had been fostered, stimulated, encouraged, and developed through the operation of the unhealthy influence bred by the régime of brutal coercion. When the Assassination Conspiracy had been founded, according to the statements of the Government Crown witness, Mr. James Carey, popular agitation in Ireland had been suppressed by the strong hand of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford. In the sweeping of his net all over the country amongst the hundreds and hundreds of innocent and honourable men whom he had gathered into his gaols, doubtless by a sort of chance, he had brought in a few dozen of disreputable characters and probable criminals. But for the one possible or probable criminal whom he had incarcerated he had incarcerated 50 law-abiding and crime-condemning leaders of the people. It was in the absence of the popular leaders, who had been cast into prison as "suspects," that the assassination plot of Mr. Carey had taken its origin, and had come to a head. Perhaps the party of defamation would suggest that, owing to the liberality of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford, every opportunity had been given to those popular leaders, even within their gaols, to conduct and guide the popular agitation. Would any hon. Member move for a Return of the number of Letters dealing with political or agrarian subjects which the right hon. Member for Bradford had allowed to enter the prison walls of Ireland during all that time? No one could make the slightest suggestion in any letter to the hon. Member for the City of Cork, or any of his Colleagues, touching in the slightest degree on politics or agrarian reform, without the letter being confiscated or the passage rubbed out by a process known to the censorship of Continental tyrants. It had been while the popular leaders were imprisoned, and while every possible exertion of their influence over the people had been sedulously prevented by the right hon. Member for Bradford, that the conspiracy had been organized; but had the incarceration of the popular leaders been the only step taken to prepare the ground for the planting of criminal organizations? Would any hon. Member move for a Return of the number of peaceable and well-conducted men, women, and children, whose wounds, received from the batons of the right hon. Member for Bradford's policemen, were attended to in the Dublin hospitals during the three or four days following the arrest of the "suspects?" He himself, while standing at the door of his hotel in Sackville Street, saw a constable, 264 C, kicking and beating two children—a boy and a girl. He said to the sergeant—"What is the number of that scoundrel?" "I will show you what his number is," was the reply; and thereupon the sergeant made a charge with 20 or 30 of his comrades at the crowded hotel entrance, intending, no doubt, to charge him (Mr. O'Donnell) with taking part in the riot. A number of people standing there were beaten, and the proprietor of the hotel was struck down bleeding in his own house. When the Corporation of Dublin waited on the right hon. Member for Bradford and complained of those scenes of violence, they only received the retort, which was worthy of Warsaw—"Clearing the streets can be no milk-and-water business." The right hon. Member for Bradford, by his administration of the Coercion Act, effectually prevented milk-and-water agitation in Ireland. He gave a watchword to discontent; he gave a stimulus and incentive to all those classes whom he was bludgeoning and brutalizing throughout Ireland. The right hon. Member for Bradford was leading the police into frequent collisions with the people; and not only men, but women and children, fell beneath the buckshot cartridges and the stabbing bayonets of the right hon. Member for Bradford's police. This was the thing which went home to the popular heart and sensibility; this was the thing which, beyond a doubt, aided the incendiary and the murderous counsels of the promoters of desperate crimes. The Government refused even a legal inquiry into the murders perpetrated by the police—at the expense of the people. In case after case Coroner's Juries returned verdicts of murder, and in not one case would the right hon. Member for Bradford allow the murderers to be placed on trial before the country. Not even when Ellen Macdonough was stabbed through the breast by a constable at Belmullet was there a trial for murder. He believed that even the murder of the children at Ballina, which preceded by a few hours the murders in the Phoenix Park, was never brought to the cognizance of any jury. Would the Government, even now, undertake to make up for the past? They had the Crimes Act and the power of selecting juries. Would they, even now, bring the policemen against whom stood the verdicts of Coroner's Juries for murder to trial before any jury that could be selected or packed? That miserable creature Carey had too ready and too plausible an excuse for his horrible desperation, for he himself said— When I joined the Assassination Committee the popular leaders were in prison; the country was in a fearful state; there was no hope of justice; and there was no longer any scope for Constitutional agitation. Could the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford say that the defence which the miserable Carey impudently arrogated to himself was not the honest conviction of millions of the people of Ireland? Under that right hon. Gentleman's rule the people had lost all faith in redress by justice, and all faith in the efficacy of Constitutional agitation. On scores of occasions he himself, when addressing public meetings and telling the people to hold fast to the principles of the hon. Member for the City of Cork and his Colleagues, he heard voices among the audience saying something like this—"Oh yes; much good will it do us! There is no use in Constitutional agitation; ask Forster!" That was the manner in which the right hon. Member for Bradford carried out the law. It was made a reproach of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, that among these Land League societies were a few Fenians. Yes, there where men who had been Fenians, not a few, but thousands, brought by the hon. Member for the City of Cork into the ranks of Constitutional agitation. He himself knew many men in Ireland who were Fenians from the origination of the Fenian Association; men who scorned all relations with the Home Rule Party, and scorned the very idea of Constitutional agitation until they saw a determined Party arise which strove to make use of the Constitution for the good of Ireland. The hon. Member for the City of Cork led hundreds and thousands of these Fenians into the ranks of the Land League; but when the right hon. Member for Bradford had been for some months at work the labour of the hon. Member for the City of Cork was largely undone, and, not units, but thousands of men whom the hon. Member for the City of Cork had rescued from Fenianism, were driven back into Fenianism and something infinitely worse, by the horrible policy of coercion, which would be for ever associated with the name of the right hon. Member for Bradford. Certain critics might pretend to believe that there was proof of complicity with crime on the part of the Land League in the fact that men who had been Fenians were latterly members of the Land League. They imagined that this was a condemnation of the Irish National movement; but that was a most telling reproach to the English Government. All the good which the Land League endeavoured to do, coercion had undone. There were in the ranks of Fenianism thousands of men as shapely as ever marched under the flag of England, or any other nation; and the hon. Member for the City of Cork succeeded in enlisting thousands of these in Constitutional agitation, in the hope that by showing resolution, and by appealing to the manly instincts of freedom-loving Englishmen, they could at length do something for Ireland. It was not on an occasion like this that he was going to lay stress upon the minor differences which separated him from the Leaders of the Land League—on the main and essential points he was still at one with the Leaders of the Irish people. From being Revolutionists, they had brought these men to become advocates of Reform; but the right hon. Member for Bradford and his adherents and eggers-on sitting upon the Front Opposition Bench had driven hundreds of these men back again into the ranks of banded insurrection. The right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) would probably follow him in this debate. That right hon. and learned Gentleman, who did not distinguish himself in any attack upon the foreign policy of the Government, was always equal to the task of leading a charge against the liberties of his native land. He did not think the right hon. and learned Gentleman would disown this intrepretation of the Amendment—that it was a declaration against admitting Ireland to the ordinary privileges of English freeman. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) had declared that until there was an improvement in the condition of Ireland there would be no improvement in the English rule of Ireland. That was an argument worthy of a noble Lord who had acquired his present exalted position so completely unaided by accidental circumstances of birth or favouritism. In reply to the noble Marquess's declaration, that until Ireland became contented there would be nothing done to remove her discontent—by the way, what a crushing argument that was for the superior capacities of British Legislators—the Irish Members might tell the House that most assuredly Ireland would grow more and more discontented, and more and more resolved to get rid of the interference in Irish internal affairs of such Legislators as the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) and the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War. So far from regarding addresses like that of the noble Marquess as calculated to intimidate Irish Nationalists, they hailed them and rejoiced over them as being powerful stimulants. They would brace up those persons who might be tempted to fall away into any form of Whiggery. So far from the Irish nation having exhausted one-fiftieth part of the Constitutional agencies already at its disposal, they were only at the beginning of the formation and the organization of the resources and power of the Irish race. The right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) last evening thought to make capital out of some extracts which he read from what purported to be a speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, delivered in America, in which that hon. Member was alleged to have said that the promoters of the Irish National movement would never rest satisfied as long as a single connecting link remained between the Government of this country and that of Ireland. He himself had been accused by some warm Irish Nationalists of being too Imperial in his views; and he confessed that he would willingly make that House of Commons an Imperial Chamber, and the representative of not only England, Scotland, and Ireland, but of Australia, of Canada, of misgoverned India, and of every one of the Dependencies of the British Empire. But as regarded local, internal, and national matters, he would re-echo the declarations of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, that Irishmen would never be satisfied until the last shred of English interference in the national affairs of Ireland had been put a stop to, and until the last link in the chain of slavery had been broken. Irishmen would be content that England should be Ireland's sister, but they would not permit Ireland to be England's slave. The Irish people were content to unite with the English people, against whom they were anxious to bear no grudge, on all questions of Imperial interest. They did not desire to interfere in English national legislation, and they refused the right to anyone beyond the elected Representatives of the Irish people to legislate on the internal and national affairs of Ireland. Let the right hon. and learned Members for the University of Dublin say what they pleased of the declaration. By that declaration the Irish race would stand. Let, however, England give Ireland three years of her coercion, or 30 years, for that matter, Irishmen would withstand it, as they had withstood it for the last 300 years, although the foundation of the British and Colonial Empire was not more than 150 years old.


said, that he should like to hear from the Chief Secretary for Ireland an answer to one of the charges made by the hon. and learned Member for Chatham. That charge was one made against the Liberal Party as a whole, that in the first place the history of Liberal administration in Ireland showed that outrages were more prevalent under Liberal than under Conservative rule; and, secondly, that the history of Liberal administration invariably followed one uniform course—namely, that the powers of the ordinary law were first unduly relaxed, to be followed at a short interval by severe repression. The Home Secretary had taken up the ground that the language of the hon. and learned Member was of an offensive kind, and he had evaded giving any answer to the case made out. He trusted that the Chief Secretary would give a definite answer to the charges raised. They might be told that the present decrease of crime in Ireland was due not to the operation of the Peace Preservation Act or the Crimes Act, but to the good working of remedial legislation in the shape of the Land Act and the Arrears Act. That the Conservative Party entirely denied, and they founded their denial on the past experience of the Liberal Party, which proved that it was not the destruction of the Irish Church and the remedial legislation of 1869 and 1870 which diminished the crop of outrages, but the Westmeath Act for the protection of life and property which alone produced tranquillity. They also said that at the present time the improvement in the state of Ireland was not owing to the alleged beneficial working of the Arrears Act or the Land Act, but solely to the vigorous enforcement of the Crimes Act. As he read the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentlemen, it did not in any way imply a sanction to the course of policy adopted by the Government towards Ireland when they first came into Office, and carried out by the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster). The Amendment only dealt with the state of affairs after the resignation of the right hon. Gentleman. There was much to criticize in the right hon. Gentleman's early administration of Irish affairs; but he ceased to be responsible for them in April last. At that time the position was that the right hon. Gentleman would consent to remain at his post on three conditions, and the third condition was that the Government should obtain further powers for maintaining law and order in Ireland. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary said that the existing Crimes Bill was actually drafted when the right hon. Member for Bradford left the Cabinet. It seemed to him there was but one inference to be drawn from that—namely, that the Government had no intention of pressing on the Bill, had it not been for the Phoenix Park murders, or surely the right hon. Member for Bradford would have remained, his third condition being thus complied with. That was a point which ought to be cleared up. Then the Home Secretary said that the Government were not alone to blame if their legislation failed, for no one proposed anything better. To that he answered that the Opposition did propose, by their protest against the Government relaxing the mild existing Peace Preservation Act, something better; and, secondly, that the Government were in a different position, as regards initiating legislation, from irresponsible private Members. It could not be denied that practically the retirement of the right hon. Member for Bradford was considered throughout the country as a triumph of concession over coercion principles, the more so because the right hon. Gentleman avowedly, resigned Office rather than adopt to their full extent the concessions Her Majesty's Government were ready to make to men who were actually under lock and key for treasonable practices. The right hon. Gentleman himself and the Viceroy—the two special Irish Members of the Government—resigned rather than accept this new departure, and carry out this new policy. And when the Government charged the Opposition with having attacked them because their policy failed, they must remember that only one thing justified that policy, and that was complete success. That policy had, however, failed, and therefore the Government deserved and must expect severe censure. The Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) was intended to prevent the Government from repeating the mistaken policy of trafficking with agitation, which led them to enter into negotiations with the hon. Member for the City of Cork, rather than to accept and follow the advice of their own Viceroy and the Chief Secretary. This was the sole object of the Amendment, and therefore it was an Amendment which the Opposition were free to support. He did not wish to be merely critical; but the Home Secretary had admitted that the Irish policy of the Government had not been a success both on legislative and administrative grounds. The Government would admit that much of the failure of their policy and much of the terrible crime in Ireland resulted from the wretched physical condition of the population—that crime grew out of poverty and ignorance. Some means should be provided to enable and to encourage the poor tenants of Ireland to better their condition by emigration. He believed that that was the only possible remedy. So long as the country was in such an unsettled condition it could not be expected that capital for developing manufacture would be attracted to it. He believed it was possible to devise a reasonable scheme which would have the effect of encouraging emigration, and he hoped the Government would be able to give the House some assurance upon the subject. This seemed the only mode of providing a remedy for the present state of things; and he believed that if it were adopted the standard of living among those who remained in the country would be raised so high and bring such contentment that the country would never again fall under the influence of dangerous agitators to whose influence crime was so largely due.


said, he had to complain of the want of reality which had characterized the discussion of the Amendment by hon. Members opposite. He could not help feeling that, under all the apparent difference of opinion, there had been from first to last a very substantial agreement between hon. Members on both sides of the House who had addressed themselves to the question of the present administration of the Government in Ireland. Hon. Members were in the main highly satisfied with the dexterity and firmness evinced by Lord Spencer and the Chief Secretary in their arduous duties in Ireland, and he was quite ready to trust to those officials absolutely the powers that they thought necessary for the discharge of their duty. He thought they deserved the fullest confidence as a reward for the readiness with which they had undertaken those duties under circumstances of imminent peril to themselves. They would see in a short time whether the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) would persevere with the condemnatory Motion of which he had given Notice, and he fully acknowledged the difficulties of the position in which that hon. Member found himself with respect to that Motion. It was quite possible that the exigencies of his position would compel the hon. Member to move it, for if ever there was a man situated between the Devil and the deep sea the hon. Member for the City of Cork was now in that unenviable position. By moving his Amendment he ran the risk—which he (Mr. George Russell) was sure was abhorrent to his nature—of seeming to identify himself with the dreadful crimes that had been committed in Ireland; while, on the other hand, if he abandoned it he would incur the hardly less hateful risk of losing his influence with the lawless classes in Ireland, and lay himself open to the charge of having disconnected himself from the policy with which his name was identified. At all events, what he wished to say was that a great part of the discussion which had taken place would have been more appropriate on the Amendment of the hon. Member for the City of Cork; but he would not anticipate the disclosures that might take place to-morrow, or during the remaining nights of the debate. They were all agreed in being thankful that they had at last done with the old Coercion Act. He did not think that the Home Secretary intended by his speech last night to convey that the responsibility of the old Coercion Act rested on the whole House merely because it gave its consent to it. If the Government on its own responsibility introduced a measure of that kind, asserting that the measure was necessary for the maintenance of law and order, the Government was surely more responsible for the effect of that legislation than hon. Members on that side of the House who voted in its favour at their bidding. Though the old Coercion Act might have been a necessity for the moment, he doubted the wisdom of it. It had been rumoured that the Prime Minister, if his counsels had prevailed, would have introduced in January, 1881, a Bill framed on other lines than those of arbitrary arrest. It was found impossible to put in force the law of arbitrary arrest, and it was not long before the administration of the old Coercion Bill passed into a phase characterized by the hon. Member for Galway as "a huge joke." It lost its terrors, and secured the maximum of popular irritation with the minimum of deterrent effect. It became palpable that under it murder and crimes similar to murder advanced with alarming strides. The increase of crime in Ireland had required the introduction of some further measure; and they all remembered what had been called the Kilmainham arrangement. It had been made clear in that discussion that it was not from the principle of an arrangement for the release of the "suspects" that the right hon. Member for Bradford had dissented, but from the terms of that arrangement. The right hon. Member for Bradford stated three conditions, the obtainment of any one of which would have induced him to remain in Office and consent to the release of the "suspects." And the very mention of conditions involved a willingness to negotiate. The first condition was that they should not be released until Ireland was quiet; the second was that they should not be released until they gave a pledge that they would abandon their former action; and the third that they should not be released until some measure was brought in to strengthen the law against crime and outrage. The first of those conditions—that of keeping them in prison until Ireland was restored to peace and order—was much the same as to keep them there until the Greek Kalends, or until, as the old saying went, a man might go to Rome and back in three days. Again, the demand from them of a pledge for their good behaviour argued great ignorance of human nature. It was idle to expect a body of men—most of them young men—who had been, as they conceived, to a great extent successful in their agitation, to abandon, for the sake of regaining their liberty, that agitation when it seemed to them to be within a measurable distance of attaining its ends, and when, in many cases, as he understood, its cessation would have deprived them of the means of subsistence. The third condition was, he thought, a more reasonable one—namely, that they should not be released until some such measure as the Crimes Act was introduced. He was disposed to think that the Government would have done wisely if they had complied with that last condition of the right hon. Member for Bradford, and so have retained his services.


That last condition was the important point.


said, he was glad to hear that it was not any truckling to persons suspected of crime; but it was rather his conviction that an unwise decision was arrived at when it was decided to liberate the "suspects" which had influenced the right hon. Member for Bradford.


It was not stated at the time.


Yes, it was.


said, he was glad that he had drawn that admission from the right hon. Gentleman. It was important to emphasize the fact that the determination to bring in a measure for dealing more effectually with the murders which had, up till that time, gone on increasing was arrived at by the Government before the assassinations in Phoenix Park. The Bill, in nearly the exact shape in which it was eventually proposed, had been announced on the very day that Mr. Forster left the Cabinet. Therefore, the horrible charge against the Liberal Party, that they had been actuated by passion and revenge, fell to the ground. All the Members on that side of the House, and on the Conservative Benches, seemed to agree that Lord Spencer and the present Chief Secretary for Ireland had administered with firmness, ability, and courage the great powers confided to them in May. The new policy pursued had been, in some respects, a marked success. They were asked in the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) to express a hope that no further concessions would be made to lawless agitation. That seemed to imply a doctrine to which none of those sitting on his side would ever subscribe—namely, that the Land Act and the Arrears Act, to which they had rendered as hearty and a more pleasurable support than they had given to the Crimes Act, were extorted from Parliament by lawless agitation. As far as Irish agitation was directed solely to the attainment of the ends conceded in the Land Act and the Arrears Act, it was a Constitutional and reasonable agitation. He made no apology for threatening language. He had in view merely that demand for reform which did not desire to be stereotyped as lawless agitation. He thought that the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) and others had shown rather less than justice to the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone) in the way they had called him so sharply to account for his language in regard to local self-government in Ireland. It might be that the hon. Member for Leeds had no right to lend the authority of his place in the Government to his utterance on that subject; but he thought they might apply the Old Testament extenuation, and, speaking of his Office, say in the words used by Lot, in reference to Zoar, "Is it not a little one?" and consider that the speech was made rather in the character of an independent Member than as one of the Government. He thought that, as a private individual, the hon. Member was right in expressing a desire that institutions of local self-government might be developed and strengthened in Ireland. The time, however, for that kind of reform, in his opinion, was not yet. What had been lately seen in connection with certain local bodies in Ireland did not afford a very good augury for the extension of local self-government in that country. But he looked forward to the time when a new generation should have grown up in Ireland under the wholesome influences of the Land Act. When they had had 30years of the operation of that Act, they might then apply themselves to the development in Ireland of exactly the same institutions of local self-government as existed in England. To the Chief Secretary for Ireland and his Colleagues, his humble words of counsel would be that they should continue as they had begun; and they might depend upon it that in the fulness of time, not by closing their ears to the cry of acknowledged grievances, but by dealing out mercy where it was needed, and justice without sparing where that was required, the Irish difficulty would pass away, and the prophecies of to-day become the history of to-morrow.


said, he desired only for a short time to occupy the attention of the House in support of the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst). He could assure his hon. Friend who had just sat down (Mr. George Russell), that he was not at all disposed to quarrel with some of his statements with reference to those dangerous and mischievous expectations which were being entertained by a certain number of people in this House and in Ireland. The hon. Member had referred to the remarks of the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone), and had disposed of them in what appeared to him (Mr. Plunket) to be rather a patronizing manner. But although it might be true, as was suggested by his hon. Friend, that the individual who made the observations was himself a very small personage, he must remember that even Parvus Julus derived some importance from his relations with pius Æneas;and he would like to impress upon the House that words like those of the hon. Member for Leeds and others had an effect in Ireland of which the utterers were often little conscious. He would like to call the attention of the House to what appeared in The Nationon February 5, a paper very well written, and by no means one of the most extreme. It was as follows:— Another class of testimony to the advance of the Home Rule idea has become pretty plentiful of late. It has been furnished chiefly by English politicians who from one cause or another have obtained prominent positions in the eye of the British public. We hare the son of the Prime Minister denouncing the Castle and declaring it the worst Government in the world. We have Mr. Chamberlain pronouncing against 'separation,' but cautiously avoiding all mention of a less pronounced form of national self-government. We have Mr. Goschen admitting that he sees strange signs in many quarters of a growing belief that Home Rule must he granted, and making frantic appeals to the English constituencies to cry out that it shall never be. And, again, we have Mr. Leonard Courtney, Secretary to the Treasury, sharing Mr. Goschen's feeling about those signs, while declaring that at present he refuses to accept the possibility of granting the concession. He merely wished to point out the sort of commentary that was made upon the speeches which had been uttered in this country by hon. Members, who, he believed, had used those expressions without the least intention of encouraging such expectations as they had engendered in the so-called National Party in Ireland. Indeed, one of the reasons why he thought that that Amendment had been well brought forward by his hon. and learned Friend was that it gave him, and gave the House, an opportunity of putting on record their views with regard to this very class of politicians. Although he did believe they were not a large section of the Liberal Party, yet they were still a well-defined class, and knew their own minds. Many of them had reasons of their own, owing to the fact of there being Irish constituents amongst those whom they represented. But, for some time past, they had been pressing forward this Home Rule movement in a manner which was doing more harm in Ireland than they could imagine. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant in Ireland (Mr. Trevelyan) had made a protest in his speech the other day, at Hawick, against this very thing, which, he said, was leading on the people of Ireland to ruin. He said— The Government will not permit Ireland to be organized, and drilled, and excited for the purpose of effecting objects which would be Ireland's ruin if obtained, and which could only be obtained by civil war. That is the plain fact. As to the peril to which this policy exposes us, we have no illusion whatever. I do not speak of the personal danger. That is a consideration which has never influenced the public conduct of men of our nation. But there is a danger much more formidable in my eyes—that of being charged with deserting the principles of our Party. The persistent and implacable hostility of speakers and writers in Ireland, who give us no quarter on principle, because we are the representative of the Central Government, has begun to communicate itself to some Liberal newspapers in this island; and we are told that no Liberal ought to govern Ireland as we are governing it now. He, therefore wished, as far as he was concerned, to make a very short but serious appeal to hon. Members who, perhaps, did not agree with him in other respects, and to ask them to take care lest, when making those speeches, they might be causing a mischief, and incurring a danger in Ireland, the gravity of which they could not estimate. He would ask the House also, whether, after the speeches they had listened to that day from the Irish Members below the Gangway, were they prepared to in trust the Government of Ireland—the most delicate and difficult task that he supposed existed in the control of any country—to politicians whose views of serious affairs of State were such as they had heard then? He did not intend to accept the not very courteous challenge thrown down by the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell); but he wished to say one word as to the speech of the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien), whose coming into that House was certainly a very important event, because they all knew the circumstances connected with the contest between him and one of the Law Officers of the Crown, and he would fain hope that the words that the hon. Gentleman had spoken had been used inadvertently and unadvisedly. He trusted they were due to the fact that he was speaking for the first time in that House, and that they were not the deliberate expressions of his opinion. He did not know whether the hon. Member was in the House; but if he was, he should be glad that he should have an opportunity of withdrawing or modifying the words which he (Mr. Plunket) had taken down. He had understood the hon. Member to say, with regard to the candidature of James Carey for the post of Town Councillor of Dublin, that he did not know him personally, but that he had known him by reputation and character as an old Nationalist and a hardworking man; and the hon. Member then went on to say that, knowing all the circumstances, his only regret was that he had not a vote to give him.


What I did say I think was that if a similar state of things, mutato nomine,were to arise tomorrow—that is if a man who from all I saw and heard of him was a staunch Nationalist and a working-man were to be a candidate, I should be very glad indeed to repeat my support of him, and should regret very much if I had not a vote.


said, he was sorry that the hon. Member had not thought fit to qualify that statement by any further expression of opinion in the way of regret; but he would say no more on the subject. As regarded the charges that had been made against not only the Press of both countries, but against both Parties in the House, and against the English and the Scotch people, they wore wild charges; but when it came to the attack upon the responsible authorities in Ireland—upon Dublin Castle, because it was the representative of law and order in Ireland—he said it must require a stern heart to bring them forward now in the light of the revelations that had been lately made. He therefore entreated hon. Members opposite, who plunged into the subject of local government in Ireland with a light heart, to pause before they in trusted it to the so-called Irish Party. In that respect, at least, he thought the debate which had been raised by the Motion of his hon. and learned Friend would have done much good. There was another point on which he asked for the support of hon. Members to the Amendment. That portion of the Queen's Speech which alluded to the diminution of outrage and the continued and increasing social improvement in the state of Ireland he was thankful to see, but that sentence should not stand alone. If it did, it might perhaps lead to over sanguine expecta- tions, for in his opinion, notwithstanding the decrease of agrarian crime, the country was in a more critical condition than he had ever before known it within his own experience; and, therefore, he thought it was not untimely, but right, that they should put on record their protest against the course of policy which for two years and a-half had done more harm to the best interests of Ireland than had been done in any 20 or 30 years preceding. He wished to give full credit to those who were now responsible for the conduct of affairs in Ireland. No task could be more disagreeable than that which had fallen to their lot, and he must say of Lord Spencer and the present Chief Secretary for Ireland that they had laboured strenuously, and that they had acted not only with firmness, but with patience and clemency, to restore peace and order to Ireland. But, knowing as he did the danger which there always was of a relapse into the previous policy, because the same causes that existed before were there still, he thought they were justified in supporting the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham. He would recall to the House the words addressed by the Chief Secretary for Ireland the other day to his constituents at Hawick in vindicating the character of Judge Lawson. That was all very well; but the House must remember what had happened on a previous occasion, in last August in this House, when the same Judge was bitterly and furiously assailed, and not a word had been uttered in his behalf from the Treasury Bench. Who could say whether the conduct of the Government then might not, however indirectly, have had some effect upon the attempt made on that gentleman's life? However that might be, the course at the time taken by the Prime Minister had, at least, left the impression on many minds that the Law of Contempt of Court in this country was to be altered on account of the conduct of that learned Judge, though he (Mr. Plunket) had good reason to believe that such a proposed change was suggested to the Government by the circumstances of a wholly different case, which had occurred some time previously in England. The effect had been that a gold medal had actually been struck to commemorate the fact that a Member of that House had triumphed over the Judge; and the medal was, in obedience to a vote of a majority of the Dublin Corporation, to be added to the Sheriff's chain to commemorate that event. Public feeling at present ran high, by reason of the recent revelations, against the terrible state of things which was shown to exist in Ireland. They must not, however, be too confident that the old evil influences might not be brought to work again, that they might not see a fresh change of policy, and further surrenders on the part of the Government. When Her Majesty's Government came into Office, they found Ireland, as they all knew, in a state of comparative tranquillity and prosperity. ["Oh, oh!"] On the surface, at all events, things were smooth. The Government were warned by the outgoing Ministers of the dangers beneath the surface, and of the necessity for firm action; but they chose to adopt the optimist theories of that disastrous Mid Lothian campaign, and to cling to them for months, despite the protest of their old and tried Irish officials, and of the Judges in Ireland who were brought every day face to face with agrarian offences and the dangers existing in connection with them; in spite of all that, the Government had left the country without any of those preventive measures which had, unfortunately, at all former times, been found absolutely necessary for the efficient conduct of the government of Ireland. And when the tide of outrage, of violence, and of bloodshed had swelled to such a fearful extent that it was impossible that it should be tolerated any longer, and when the Government had had to admit by the mouth of their Home Secretary that their reckless experiment had failed, then, when at last they got the Protection of Person and Property Act, they found that it had come too late, because the conspiracy and organization for crime and murder had grown so strong that it was possible for it to be carried on with vigour and success even after some of the prominent members of it had been tardily arrested. He was sorry that he felt it necessary to add that the management of the Protection of Person and Property Act, when it was obtained, was of a fluctuating and uncertain type—of a type calculated to produce a great amount of irritation in comparison with the good that it did. He firmly believed that if that Act had been obtained in the autumn of 1881, instead of the spring of 1882, and if it had been vigorously enforced at once against the leaders of the agitation, it would have been effectual for the purpose for which it was intended. But now it was admitted by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department that a time came when it was absolutely necessary that a change of policy should take place. There had been nothing but failure in the government of Ireland for two years and a-half, and the state of affairs was intolerable. Now, what they wanted to put on record by that Amendment was, that the policy proposed to be adopted at that time by the Government, and from which they were only saved by an accident, would have proved a fatal mistake. What was the policy? To release the imprisoned Members and others, and to abandon the Protection of Person and Property Act. And here came a point which he was glad they had now clearly on record. The contest between the right bon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) and the Government at the time when he left Office was, that he could not consent to the postponement of the introduction of the necessary Bill which was to take the place of the old Protection of Person and Property Act until such time as the Rules of the House had been passed and the Financial Business of the country got through. Everybody knew what that meant. The Government were saved on that occasion from this terrible state of affairs, when the people of Ireland would have seen the powerlessness of the Government to carry out the law without the assistance of the law-breakers. That was the policy against which they protested and which they trusted might never again be resumed. It was a curious irony of fate that the sad end of that gallant and chivalrous Gentleman—who freely laid down his life, as many another Englishman had done before him for his country (Lord Frederick Cavendish), on the day of that terrible assassination—it was a curious irony of fate that that should be the very circumstance which led to the reversal of the policy of the Government. The right bon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford had left the Cabinet, and those who drove him out had enjoyed their victory; but the principles for which he sacrificed himself had triumphed and survived. The Crimes Bill was re-introduced at once, and that was the justification of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford. The Queen's Speech congratulated the country upon the steady improvement in the social condition of Ireland. As he had already said, he hailed with satisfaction, and he gave full credit to those to whom it was due, the diminution of agrarian crime; but there were other matters to be considered. Just let them realize what was the present state of that country, and let them remember that three years ago it was in a condition tolerably satisfactory. At that moment the Government was engaged in a desperate struggle with lawlessness and disaffection; and how was that struggle regarded by large numbers of the Irish people? He was not now referring to the cheers which greeted the prisoners at Kilmainham, but to the election at Mallow. The Government bad sent their Solicitor General to contest the borough, and he was defeated. He referred, also, to the action of those representative institutions in Ireland, such as Corporations, Municipal Councils, and Poor Law Guardians, who vied with each other in doing honour to the men whom the Government had been obliged to send to gaol. He said those were grave and serious matters when they considered the social condition in which they found Ireland. But there was more than that. During the last three years a most remarkable change had come over the public Press of the country. He was not speaking now of the extreme newspapers; but there were influential journals in Ireland, ably managed, and having a large circulation, which at first tried to arrest the agitation, and even refused to publish its proceedings at all, but who were compelled, as the movement grew in strength and was permitted to overbear all other forces, to throw in their lots with it. The Roman Catholic Church, too, in Ireland, had, of course, always possessed an enormous influence with the people; and when these men began their agitation many excellent clergymen and many high ecclesiastics of that Church came forward and opposed them as much as they could; but now their attitude had in many places been altered. In consequence of the success of the agitation they had become identified with it, so that it was impossible for these clergymen and these ecclesiastics to help the Government to control lawlessness. He did not know whether the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) intended to speak in this debate or not. His right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Gibson) had asked the hon. Member where the money had come from which had subsidized the perpetrators of the crimes which had disgraced Ireland. He (Mr. Plunket) joined with his right hon. and learned Friend in making that request, for it was not sufficient to disclaim the imputation in the high and mighty manner in which it had been done by hon. Members who had already spoken; and he trusted the hon. Member for the City of Cork would soon address the House. He would now further call that hon. Member's attention to an extract from a speech delivered by the hon. Member in April, 1880, soon after his return from America, at a meeting held in the Rotunda; and, for fear of any mistake, he might say that the speech was reported in The Freeman's Journalon April the 30th. After alluding to the determination of America to support Ireland in the struggle with landlordism, the hon. Member said— I have worked hard to do my duty for this country, and I shall endeavour to work for it as long as I live; and now, before I go, I will tell you a little incident that happened at one of our meetings in America. A gentleman came on to the platform and handed me 25 dollars, and said, ' Here are five dollars for bread and 20 for lead. The proceedings terminated there. After that, on May 30, Mr. Boyton, who was the paid organizer of the Land League, used the following words at Dunman-way— There was a little story told by Sir. Parnell, at a meeting in the Rotunda, at the conclusion of his address, to the effect that a certain American gentleman came upon the platform and said, 'Parnell, there is 25 dollars—five for bread and 20 for lead.' Now, that simple little bit of humour has put your hereditary enemy in a great flutter. Therefore, I am not authorized by the president of the Irish National Land League to tell you that was a bonâ fide transaction, that the man gave him 25 dollars. I am authorized to tell you here—and I came all the way down to Dunmanway—that those 20 dollars are perfectly safe, and that as Mr. Forster, in the House of Commons on Friday night, refused to tell your Representatives what he was going to do with the £30,000 of secret service money, and that he has displayed admirable reticence in doing so, we, in like manner, are not going to tell Mr. Forster what we are going to do with the 20 dollars that has since swelled into 20,000. The money gives 4 or 5 per cent interest on it, and we are turning it into good round sovereigns, with the imprint of Her Most Gracious Majesty upon them. Therefore, I ask you in the name of God, in the name of every honest Irishman, in the name of your long-suffering country, to stick together like brothers, one and all. Thus $20,000 were accumlating for the purpose of procuring, not "bread," but ''lead." There was yet another matter to which he (Mr. Plunket) should like to call the attention of the House. He wanted to know, and he thought the House and the country would also like to know, what were the relations of the hon. Members below the Gangway, most of whom belonged to the National League, the successor of the Irish Land League, with the prompters of the Irish Press agency which was thus mentioned in The Irish Nation—an American newspaper owned by John Devoy (Fenian)— The promoters of the Irish Press Agency will primarily attempt to counteract this evil (the want of accurate information about Ireland). For the present they will send a cablegram weekly. The cablegram will be intended as a summary of the chief events that make up the Irish history of the week. The Agency will be in direct and constant communication with the leaders of the Irish movement, and any statements it may make with regard to their policy may be accepted as authoritative. He should be glad to know from the hon. Member for the City of Cork whether that was correct or not, especially as the name of Mr. John Devoy was coupled with the announcement in The Irish Nation. The leaders of the Irish Party in this country were in communication with the Party in America, and how were the Dublin revelations dealt with in this paper? Here were some of the headings that appeared in a recent number:—"Mockery of Justice;" "Dublin Citizens Undergoing the Tortures of a Sham Trial;" "The Old, Old Story;" "Hired Informers Swearing Away the Lives of Innocent Men;" "Manufactured Evidence;" "The Most Glaring Inventions Accepted as Genuine Evidence;" "Medical Approvers;" "Knives Secreted by a Police Spy and Found when Wanted;" "Star Chamber Terrors;" "Bribery and Intimidation at Work in Dublin Castle." He (Mr. Plunket) should like to know whether it was true that that Agency was sup- plied with news from the leaders of the Irish National League in this country? In conclusion, he would say, it had been his unfortunate task that day, as it had often been of late years, to draw a rather gloomy picture of the state of Ireland. At the same time, he did not altogether despair, any more than the right hon. and learned Gentleman his Colleague (Mr. Gibson) did, of the future of that country. His hopes were founded on very simple matters, one of which was the immense material improvement which had occurred in the condition of the country within his own recollection. Except in that unhappy and desolate portion of the land which was washed by the Atlantic, the progress of Ireland in prosperity, in education, and in other respects had been very rapid of late years. But now he asserted there were agencies at work which were undoing all that had been done to improve the condition of the people. Numbers of men whom he knew before the exercise upon them of the influence of the Land League to be honest, contented, and unwitting of disloyalty, had been worked upon for two years and a-half by the tremendous influences of bribery and terror alternately applied. They had yielded more quickly, perhaps, than men of other countries would have done; but, on the other hand, few people would more quickly recognize the existence of a Government bent on administering the law with firmness. Therefore, it was all the more necessary now that the Government should let them understand that they meant to be firm. He would tell hon. Members opposite, who formed the extreme section of the Liberal Party—men who fancied they sympathized with the Irish people—that they could do no more cruel thing than to subject them alternately to the influence of a great relaxation of discipline and then to the rigour of severe Coercion Acts. That was the shortest and surest way to evoke their worst passions, and to cause hatred of England. It would be far kinder, if hon. Members opposite did not intend that Ireland should remain an integral portion of the United Kingdom, to say so at once and act up to that declaration. But the cruellest course of all which could be pursued would be to profess an intention of governing Ireland under the laws of the Queen, and to lack the courage and the capacity to enforce those laws.


said, the speeches from the Conservative side seemed to contain a negative and a positive proposition. The negative proposition was that all remedial measures for Ireland should be postponed for an indefinite period. The positive proposition was to continuo the policy of force alone. As regarded the question of extending local government in Ireland, he maintained that almost all the constituencies in the Kingdom—certainly those which contained a large number of voters of the industrial class—were slowly, but surely, coming to the conclusion that extensive powers of local government, always within the limit of sustaining the unity of the Empire, must be, as soon as possible, if not immediately, given to the people of Ireland.!: He regretted that the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. George Russell)'should have described the advocacy by the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone) of the institution of a system of extensive local government in Ireland as an offence. The speech of the hon. Member for Leeds, to which the hon. Member for Aylesbury had referred, had been much misrepresented; but he (Mr. Collings) contended that there was more loyalty, or at least as much, and far more statesmanship, in that speech than in almost any that had come from the other side of the House. The present debate had made plain the fact that the absolute failure of the Coercion Act had been acknowledged on all sides of the House. It had been admitted by the Opposition, by many on that (the Ministerial) side who had supported it, and, he believed, by the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) himself. Yet, in the face of that acknowledgment, they had heard little more than speeches in favour of more coercion. When the first Coercion Act of the present Administration was proposed, some hon. Members on the Liberal Benches were against it, not only because they considered it would be useless, but because of the mischief they thought it would lead to. For his part, if he (Mr. Collings) thought that Act would have been merely useless, he should not have opposed it so strongly as he did; but all history told them that, while there were wrongs to be remedied, Coercion Acts were worse than useless—they were full of mischief, and produced results which, too late, they all deprecated. Still they continued to hear the same line of argument pursued in favour of other and severer Coercion Acts. The recent revelations at the Kilmainham Court House enabled them to conclude that the fruit of the Coercion Act had been realized. It had been the direct cause of the formation of secret societies. ["Oh, oh!"] The evidence that had been paraded in that House showed that it needed no great power of argument to show that if they closed every means of legitimate agitation secret societies would assuredly be formed. Carey himself had declared at Kilmainham that the "inner circle" was formed because the country was under coercion, and its leaders were in prison, all constitutional action being denied, and that, therefore, recruits for the infamous work were easily obtained. That point should be accentuated, because it would dispose of the suggestion of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Mover of the Amendment (Mr. Gorst). That Amendment, and that suggestion, read by the light of the speeches of other hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House, was designed to fasten on the Government complicity with assassination, and fellowship with those who were charged with crime. But that was a dangerous suggestion to send down to the unthinking portion of the constituencies. It was also attempted to connect the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), and other Irish Members, with the recent outrages; but a comparison of dates would show that they were under lock and key at Kilmainham when the conspiracy was concocted. It had been admitted that Ireland was in a bad state before May last, and that it had improved since. Did hon. Gentlemen regret that the assassins had been unearthed? He asked the question because he had not heard a single word of commendation from the other side for what the Government had succeeded in doing. It was not at all too soon in May last to change the policy up to that time pursued, and to set free the Members of Parliament who were in prison. The Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, on the 4th of August, three months after their liberation, said that the Go- vernment had been firmly convinced that there would be no disadvantage in releasing the Members of Parliament, and that their decision had been justified by the result; that there were 255 "suspects" in prison when Lord Spencer went over, and in the course of three months 200 of them were released, while crime had diminished as rapidly as could have been hoped, and was still diminishing. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) let out yesterday the real meaning of the Amendment, which was, if possible, to create a panic in the minds of the people of England and of the Government, so as to make any further remedial legislation for Ireland impossible. But the unfairness of bringing forward such an Amendment for such a purpose at that moment had been pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Mr. Goschen). The right hon. and learned Gentleman showed what was in his mind when he said that he trusted that legislation of an experimental character should be postponed, and when he only discussed the relative value of different kinds and qualities of force and coercive measures, and went on to explain the original cause of the prevailing discontent in Ireland. But that cause was getting more and more understood in England—it was clearly a land system which had destroyed all sense of security on the part of the tenant, and had made many of the people of Ireland, through the poverty it inflicted, despair of improvement, thereby engendering in their hearts a hatred of England. The result of that was the state of things they had seen. The history of the last 50 years showed that nearly all remedial measures for Ireland had, in that House or in "another place," been either kicked out or so mutilated by Amendments as to be rendered useless. When the present Government came in, their first remedial measure—the Disturbance Bill—was thrown out by the House of Lords, and a feeling of despair took possession of Ireland. Then came the Coercion Act, which, operating on the minds of a people convulsed with passion, produced bad effects, which were intensified when it was perceived that that Act was a mere rent-collecting measure, or one to super- intend evictions. At first the people of Ireland regarded the Liberal Government with hope, but they failed to understand that the Government might not be able to carry out their wishes. It would be folly—folly almost amounting to crime—to presume to be surprised at the dreadful state of affairs recently existing in Ireland. The reasons for their discontent were well known, and had led to a state of things in which he was now glad to acknowledge an improvement, from whatever cause. If the situation in Ireland had really improved, as he believed it had, it was important to discover the cause of the change and keep it in operation. Many hon. Members thought the change due to the careful enforcement of the Crimes Act; but that he entirely denied. The condition of Ireland had lately been better, not by reason of, but in spite of, the Crimes Act, and it was a fatal thing for the present Government that they never brought in a remedial measure but they accompanied it with an irritating and repressive measure which destroyed all the grace, and very often the effect, of the intended remedy. In his opinion, the credit of the improvement belonged to the remedial legislation of the Prime Minister, to the general reduction of rent by about 20 per cent, and to the granting of fixity of tenure. Their effect had been to turn many suffering tenants from the ranks of active discontent. The noble Lord the Member for "Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) had said that the Amendment related to the future; and the question no doubt was, what was to be the future of Ireland? The Irish Members themselves proposed Home Rule, the Opposition wished to keep the country in order by bayonets and police; but neither of these remedies would suit a Liberal Government; for on that side of the House the problem was so perplexing as actually to undermine, in the cases of a few hon. Members, the principles of Liberalism itself. Repression could be no cure for the evils of Ireland; and, if he might give advice to the Liberal Government, it was to seize a time of peace, when Ireland was better, when outrage had ceased, when there was nothing but a Constitutional demand, without any of those terrible doings, to bring in measures of reform for Ireland, and bring them in quickly. Otherwise there would be too much foundation for the charge that was abroad that the English Government gave nothing to the sense of justice, but only to agitation. Ask her only peacefully for reform, and the reply was, "There is no demand for it, and we shall not grant it." Agitate, and the reply was, "We cannot give in to tumult." So that, unfortunately, if these two doctrines were to obtain, there were too many who would pay no attention to peaceful demands and who afterwards would say they could not give in to violence, so that between the two they would never yield anything at all, and there would be no chance of men getting their rights. He confessed himself an advocate of the widest self-government in Ireland that was consistent with the unity of the Empire. The taunt that he was advocating this concession to win Irish support did not apply, because he had not one Irishman, he thought, in his constituency. Suppose they sent a message to the Mayor and Corporation of some Irish city that from the 1st January, 1884, they should have the full management of their own affaire and be responsible for the peace of the city, he considered they would, in doing so, be making an advance towards the maintenance of law and order in Ireland which they could never make by Coercion Acts. If Birmingham or Manchester had to submit to a military man sent from Paris to govern them there would soon be riots and uproar. The only hope for the future of Ireland was that they should continue on the lines of remedial legislation. He had risen to speak, because he feared the terrific speeches which had been delivered from the Opposition might frighten the Government into abandoning further remedial legislation. They should not, as Englishmen, grudge two or three, or more, Sessions to legislate for Ireland; because they had to repair the terrible wrongdoings, not merely of generations, but of almost of centuries of English Governments. That would be a difficult task, inasmuch as there were two Irelands to be legislated for, though not in the sense in which one hon. Member had spoken of two Ire-lands. There was the greater Ireland of the masses of the people, which it was not judicious to rule by coercion. The Conservative Party might adopt that policy; for it was one which they alone could consistently carry out. No Government could govern by coercion unless it resolved to carry it out as in Poland. The Irish people had "kept along," although there had been sufficient coercion to have extirpated them long ago, and he supposed they would still "keep along." They must legislate remedially, until every man in Ireland should feel that he was a self-governing man. They had another Ireland, represented by the territorial classes. They formed a small Party, which was steady in its demands for coercion to sustain laws which they themselves made. It was for the Government to decide which Ireland they would choose. If they went on the lines of remedial legislation they would have the opposition of the territorial Party in England and Ireland—a Party with such ramifications throughout society as gave them immense power, and having ample means of making that power felt. That was the problem before the English Government. The present Government could perhaps hardly solve it, but the time could not be far distant. Irishmen had spread through the English constituencies. At no distant date they would hear at the polling booths English candidates questioned as to remedial measures for Ireland. Then they would have to struggle with the territorial classes, fighting for dear life; but if they proceeded on the lines of self-government, they would have Ireland as peaceful a part of the British Empire as Devon shire.


said, he had waited partly in expectation that the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) would have had something to say upon this Amendment, seeing that other Irish Members had addressed the House upon matters that were germane to the Amendment of the hon. Member, and more particularly did he expect that would be the case after the appeal made to him by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson); but, as he had not done so, it must be assumed that he was reserving his remarks until his own Amendment came before the House. He must say his expectation was not mainly founded on the appeal made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dub- lin University (Mr. Gibson), because, although the appeal appeared to have the sympathy of the House, it was quite within the discretion of the hon. Member to yield to, or disregard it. It was a matter which concerned the hon. Member, his associates, and his Party, with which he (the Attorney General for Ireland) could not suppose the conscience of the House or of the country was immediately concerned. He did not intend to enter into matters which had been dealt with by his right hon. and learned Friend, as it would be especially unbecoming in him to enter into the discussion of matters in reference to which the public mind, however excited, could not have been thoroughly informed. It was entirely a matter for the consideration of hon. Members opposite whether they should observe a different rule, and he presumed that they took their own time and opportunity. He had listened to a considerable portion of the debate that day with some anxiety to endeavour to ascertain what was the precise object with which those who supported the Amendment had brought it before the House, and he thought it was idle to suppose it was anything but a Vote of Censure upon the Government. The hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst), who introduced it, had passed a high eulogium upon the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) and his Administration in Ireland, as well as upon Lord Spencer and the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary. But there appeared, according to the hon. and learned Gentleman's statement, to be an interregnum between those two Administrations, during which a change had taken place in the Government policy. He (the Attorney General for Ireland) could only speak of a portion of the régimeof his right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford; but, so far as he had had an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the motives and objects which had regulated the conduct of both right hon. Gentlemen, there had been no change whatever. The policy of both had been regulated by an anxious desire to do two things—to remove abuses and causes of complaint, and at the same time, by firm determination, to assert as far as possible the authority of the law. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford had not at his disposal those weapons which had since been placed in the hands of the Irish Government. However unsatisfactory and incomplete might have been the working of the Act which he was then administering, it should be borne in mind that the Government, at the time, had no other means of grappling with the state of affairs which unhappily existed. If the present Amendment were intended merely to point out the insufficiency and incompleteness of the machinery at the disposal of the Government to grapple with crime, prior to the passing of the Crimes Act, the discussion merely resolved itself into one upon the merits of two different Acts of Parliament, one of which was passed in 1881, and the other last year, though he hardly thought that could have been the intention of the hon. and learned Member, and he declined to enter into such a discussion. The charge which had been made by the hon. and learned Member was one solely in reference to the conduct of the Government in not having introduced the Crimes Act at an earlier date, and in having ordered the release from prison of certain hon. Members of the House. This latter had been discussed over and over again in the course of the present debate; but he had not heard one single statement, fact, or argument which had not been addressed to the House in the course of last Session. No new materials had been produced, because none existed; therefore the discussion in the Session of 1883, so far as the Amendment to the Address was concerned, was merely a repetition of the discussions of 1881 and 1882. The release of the "suspects" was a mere question of public order, and was regulated solely by considerations of public safety. It should be remembered that in any case those prisoners would have been released in September; and no one could contend that it was not the duty of the Government to release, not only the Members of Parliament, but any "suspects," if there were reasonable grounds for thinking that it could be done with safety. No evidence had been forthcoming that any evil had accrued from the release of the imprisoned Members; and, so far as he was aware, no fact or argument had been adduced to show that the Government were in error in taking the course they had taken, or that any mischievous consequences had resulted from their action. It had been stated that the outrage in the Phoenix Park was to some extent a consequence of the release of the suspects; but anyone who had read the evidence recently given in Dublin could not fail to have come to the conclusion that secret societies were in existence, and that there was, long prior to the outrage, a state of affairs which would not unnaturally lead to the commission of crime. But it had also been said that there was a change of policy on the part of the Government, because, after the 6th of May, a Bill was introduced which was of the utmost value to the Executive of Ireland. He could inform the House that such a measure was not only in contemplation, but in course of actual preparation, prior to the 6th of May; and although it was quite true that the introduction of that Bill would not have taken place at so early a period as it did but for the fatal events of that day, it must be borne in mind that its introduction was dependent only on the passing of the Procedure Rules. Had those Rules been passed they would have considerably facilitated the passing of the Crimes Act, which would have come into force at the conclusion of the Session; and although the assassinations in the Phoenix Park had doubtless accelerated the passing of the measure, the policy which dictated it was identical with that previously pursued. The right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gibson) had advanced an argument that the change of policy was a change from the remedial land legislation to a policy of non-intervention in such matters. That was entirely a different line of argument, but the right hon. and learned Gentleman had also gone further. He blamed the Government for not having, in 1880, renewed legislation which would have had the effect of altering the state of things in Ireland. In order to be logical, and if they were to go back to that period, would the right hon. and learned Gentleman be good enough to inform the House what the course of the last Government was in 1879–80, in reference to the agitation which he condemned? Because he (the Attorney General for Ireland) assorted—and anyone acquainted with the facts would admit—that the agitation which he so much condemned was one which, under the Conservative Government, was allowed to attain dangerous and un- manageable proportions. It was not grappled with by the late Government. There was, to be sure, a sham prosecution, which was never intended to be gone on with, and which was allowed to drop. Even the ordinary powers of the law were not put into force until the powers of the Land League had been developed—until the organization had been completed, until the country had been excited, and the mischief had been done. Government, he admitted, were bound, when they found the powers conferred upon them inadequate for the maintenance of the law, to apply to Parliament for further powers. That they had done, and it seemed to him idle, in the face of the absolute unanimity as to the conduct of the Government in Ireland, to bring forward such an Amendment as that they were discussing. He regretted the tone of the remarks made by his hon. Friend who had just spoken (Mr. Collings). Such remarks might be very well fitted for the study, and little objection might be taken to them on philosophical grounds; but it was a dangerous thing to say that the crimes and outrages which had disgraced Ireland were the natural outcome of the state of things which had so long existed in that country. Such observations would appear to some persons to be a justification of crime and outrage. He did not impute to his hon. Friend for one moment that he ever contemplated such a result of his remarks; and he was sure that his hon. Friend would agree with himself and with the Government that the first duty of a Government was to protect the sanctity of human life—to protect persons and to keep property in safety. When that task was accomplished, then the other wants of the community might be attended to. His hon. Friend had referred to the Crimes Act as an irritating measure. No doubt it had proved irritating, and more than irritating, to the criminal classes; but, as administered by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Trevelyan), it had not been a source of irritation to anyone else. The hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien) had said that the Crimes Act had produced the crimes in Dublin about which so much had been heard; but when it was remembered that the crimes in Dublin occurred on the 6th of May, and that the Crimes Act was not passed until the 12th of July, the House could hardly agree with the deductions of the hon. Member, who, he supposed, referred not to the Crimes Act, but to the Protection of Person and Property Act.


I referred to the crimes that have occurred since the Crimes Act was passed.


said, there was no doubt that it was the Crimes Act that was referred to, for the charges brought against the Administration in Ireland were charges against the Administration by Judge and jury in Green Street. [An hon. MEMBER: Packed juries.] He absolutely and emphatically denied it, for every person knew exactly that the contrary had been the case. Until the power was obtained of trying persons at a distance from the scene and the surroundings of their crime—until the power was obtained of having them tried by a jury unconnected with them, there was no possibility of getting convictions. But the moment those powers were given and vigorously applied, the result was that the law was vindicated in many cases that otherwise must have gone unpunished; and, as a necessary consequence, that which was foreseen and told to this House followed, and with the punishment of crime the occurrence of crime itself had almost ceased. He believed he could say that since the Maamtrasna outrage, which occurred in August, and could have had no connection with the Crimes Act, the country had been almost free from the crime of murder. He believed one murder had occurred in that time. Let them compare that with the three preceding years, during which upwards of 60 undetected murders were committed. They had heard that freedom of speech and freedom of writing had been interfered with in Ireland. That he admitted to be the truth; but of what kind of writing and speaking was that spoken? There were such speeches and such writing as, owing to the circumstances of the people and the neighbourhood, actually led to the commission of crime, and those he trusted would always be prevented when necessary to the public service. It was not true that freedom of any other kind in speaking and writing was interfered with. The hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) had congratulated the House on the acquisition it had gained by the arrival of the hon. Member for Mallow, and had said that from the Irish everywhere—from the Islands of the Pacific to the man on the omnibus—would come the cry—"Well done, Mallow!" He had also drawn a picture of the state of Ireland both before and after the régimeof his right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford; and he had the courage, standing in that House and among persons who knew the facts, to describe the agitation of the Land League as a Constitutional agitation. No doubt it resembled a Constitutional agitation in this—that it was carried on ostensibly on public platforms; but it was an agitation illegal in itself, illegal in its objects, working by illegal means; the effect of which, wherever it was applied, even in those modes which were thought to be least illegal, aimed at effecting its ends by depriving everyone opposed to it of the smallest shred of personal liberty. They heard a great deal of the liberty of Constitutional agitation and personal freedom. Would any person picture to himself the position of the Irish peasant, of the Irish merchant, of the Irish agent, or of the Irish landlord, who came under the ban of the Laud League at the time when it was in a position and power? He had no liberty to contract; he had no liberty to act. His liberty was to be at the mercy of the community, which had been drilled and taught, and in many cases coerced, to deprive him of every civil right. But it was known that it did not stop there; and whether it was intended or not, wherever it went, as had been demonstrated in that House over and over again, its steps had been traced by crime and outrage. The Land League was suppressed in the days of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford, and that without exceptional powers. The organization was put down, and the Land League was driven out of existence by powers which were the ordinary powers of the Common Law of the land. He knew from personal association with his right hon. Friend the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. W. E. Forster), with whom it was a source of pride to him to have been associated, that the right hon. Gentleman's desire was to act, in every case, in the spirit of the law, and never to interfere where it was possible to avoid interference with personal liberty. There was a very remarkable fact that these recent revelations had brought to light. He did not allude to recent matters in Dublin, but to what had been brought to light in the course of many trials which had taken place since August last. These revelations had shown how just and how true and precise were the knowledge and the information on which his right hon. Friend had acted, because there had been very few cases in which the principal agents in proved crime had not been among the persons who had been arrested during the right hon. Gentleman's régimeunder the Protection of Person and Property Act. With reference to the last speech to which the House had just listened, while he would allow that it had been delivered in a philosophic and calm manner, yet he greatly questioned its prudence. It was a dangerous thing to tell the inhabitants of a country convulsed with a spasm of crime that that state of things was just what, under the circumstances, was to be expected. That a philosopher in his study might understand; but to say that crime was only what was to be expected might very possibly be construed into this—that, under the circumstances, it might not be so very reprehensible after all. The present Government had shown that while they could be firm in repressive measures, it could also have sympathy, it could also have a regard to the social wants of the community it was called upon to govern. He, for one, looked not to so remote a future as that figured out by his hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr. George Pus-sell). He looked forward to the effect of the Land Act and other measures of the present Government operating in a very much shorter time; and he hoped in a very few years to find peace, order, loyalty, and happiness restored to Ireland. He had only to submit, in conclusion, that the Amendment before the House could be productive of nothing but mischief.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Mr. J. Lowther.)

Motion agreed to.

Debate further adjourned till Tomorrow.

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