§ 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 he 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,)
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. PARNELL
Sir, I wish to intervene for a very short while, and to a very limited extent, in this debate. In doing so, I can assure the House—and I may venture to make the assurance with the greatest possible respect, although some people may think it not a very respectful assurance to make, but still I make it with the greatest possible respect—I can assure the House that it is not from any belief that anything I can say, or wish to say at this time, will have the slightest effect on the public opinion of the House, or upon the public opinion of this country. I have been accustomed, during my political life, to rely upon the public opinion of those whom I have desired to help, and with whose aid I have worked for the cause of prosperity and freedom in Ireland; and the utmost that I desire to do, in the very few words which I shall address to this House, is to make my position clear, to the Irish people at home and abroad, from the unjust aspersions which have been cast upon me by a man who ought to be ashamed to have devoted—["Oh, oh!"]—who ought to be ashamed, I say, to have devoted his high ability to the task of traducing me. I do 717 not intend to reply to the questions of the right hon. Gentleman. ["Oh, oh!"] I consider that he has no right to question me, standing, as he does, in a position very little better than that of an informer with regard to the secrets' of the men with whom he was associated; and he has not even the pretext of that remarkable informer whose proceedings we have lately heard of—he has not even the pretext of that miserable man, that he was attempting to save his own life. No, Sir; some other motives, of less importance, seem to have weighed with the right hon. Gentleman, in the extraordinary course which he has adopted on the present occasion, of going out of his way to collect together a series of extracts, perhaps nine or ten in number, out of a number of speeches—many hundreds and, perhaps, thousands—delivered during the land movement by other people, and not by me, upon which to found an accusation against me for what has been said and done by others. If the right hon. Gentleman had even been accurate in his statements of fact there might have been some excuse for it; but, unfortunately, upon this occasion also, he has displayed the same remarkable ignorance as to matters of fact in connection with Irish affairs as he displayed during his tenure of Office as Chief Secretary for Ireland. He has charged me with the responsibility for writings in The Irish World. Sir, I suppose, if there is one newspaper that I differ with more than another, that I have had to do with and have read less of, that I have studied less, it is The Irish World. The right hon. Gentleman appears to have been studying The Irish World very closely during the progress of this land movement; and if he considered that the articles in that newspaper incited, or were likely to produce crime in Ireland, why did he not exercise the powers, the Common Law powers, which he subsequently exercised, and refuse to allow that newspaper to circulate in Ireland? What is the difference between the responsibility of the right hon. Gentleman who read these articles, and who, from that perusal, derived what their tenour and result would be, and who refused to take the responsibility of preventing their circulation amongst the peasantry, and the responsibility of myself, who never read the articles which are now brought 718 up as an accusation against me, because, indeed, Mr. Patrick Ford, in his office in Brooklyn or in New York, chooses to direct his newspaper for the purpose of destroying, or attempting to destroy, the movement which we have been so carefully building up in Ireland? Mr. Patrick Ford's aims, and objects, and programme are not my aims, and objects, and programme, although they may be much nearer the aims and objects which the late Chief Secretary for Ireland appeared desirous to bring about. I have had very little time to look into the speech of the right hon. Gentleman and to arrange the different accusations which he has made against me in order; but I think another of his great points was that which he made, not against my hon. Friend the Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien), the editor of United Ireland, but against me, for some paragraphs which appeared in that journal. He asked me—" Does the hon. Member for the City of Cork approve of the articles in United Ireland?" and I nodded my head. I suppose that the right hon. Gentleman alluded to the articles that appeared in United Ireland either before, or since my imprisonment; but what was my surprise to find, after he had gone further, that he was alluding to some paragraphs in that newspaper at the time when my hon. Friend the Member for Mallow, the responsible editor—and, recollect, the editor responsible in the eyes of the law—when he and myself, together with the majority of the staff, were in prison; when we were denied the privilege of seeing a single copy of that newspaper; when it was utterly impossible, so close was the watch kept by the gaolers of the right hon. Gentleman, who fulfilled their trust well and faithfully, as I know—so close was the watch of the gaolers of the right hon. Gentleman that it was perfectly impossible to obtain a single copy of that newspaper; and yet the right hon. Gentleman does not scruple to take advantage—and, recollect, this is what makes such conduct guilty; it is the conduct which has marked his career ever since he became Chief Secretary—to take advantage of the ignorance of the Members of this House on Irish questions, to take advantage of the prejudices which prevail in this country in reference to Ireland—and, of course, there are reasons for these prejudices, for 719 there always must be prejudices and ignorance when one nation attempts the impossible task of governing another—to take advantage of the trials in Dublin, where 20 men will have to face a tribunal constituted under the Crimes Act, which is to say whether they are to live or not—to take advantage of all those unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances which surround us at the present time in order to attack us—the right hon. Gentleman selects, in this way, writings, and passages, and incidents such as these for the purpose of founding an accusation against me, and making me responsible for the words of others. And, furthermore, he is not only guilty of sins of commission, he is guilty of suppression of the truth also. Not only is the suggestio falsi, but the suppressio veri is applicable to his speech. The heading of these paragraphs was, I believe, "Incidents of the Campaign;" but the very moment my hon. Friend the Member for Mallow was released from prison, and resumed control of his paper, that very moment the heading disappeared. It is, I say, infamous and shocking that we should have such accusations made against us in this House for acts and things over which we could not by any possibility have the slightest control, or knowledge of. Now, I do not propose to accept the rather indecent invitation which has been held out to me to discuss, at the present time, the recent proceedings in Dublin. I have been asked to give an explanation with regard to matters which have been put in evidence at the preliminary investigation now taking place at Kilmainham. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who is a lawyer of great eminence and ability, rebuked the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) for asking him to go into these matters, and expressly declined to go into them. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, however, shortly afterwards, loudly applauded the subsequent speech of an hon. Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench, in which he invited me to go into these matters, and not only loudly applauded, but rolled on his seat in ecstacy. I do not wish—for I do not know whether I ought even to do so—to refer to the evidence which is now being given 720 before the Courts at Dublin; but, as that evidence has been, by the Dublin correspondence of the London papers, garbled in the most extraordinary way. I will just refer to it so far as to state what the evidence actually was—I mean the evidence which is supposed to throw suspicion on some members of the Land League—as having connected them with these terrible assassinations in the Phœnix Park. Now, Sir, the statements that were made in that direction were made by the approver Carey. There is no need to comment upon that fact, beyond saying that they were statements not of fact, but of belief, of the belief of others. They are three in number. Firstly, Carey swore that he had met a person in the garb of a priest, that he was introduced to him as Father Murphy, and that this man informed him (Carey) that he was going down into the country to form a branch of the "Invincible" organization. Carey then said that he was afterwards informed—but he did not say by whom—that this Father Murphy was Mr. Sheridan of Tubbercurry. Secondly, Carey swore that some amongst his comrades believed the money came from America, but others believed it came from the Land League. This, again, the House would bear in mind, was only a statement of belief, and the House will acquit me of any desire to comment on this evidence I simply quote it to show what the evidence really was, and I am perfectly satisfied to allow the Hous9 to draw its own conclusions. Thirdly, Carey swore that a woman, whom he was informed was Mrs. Frank Byrne, wife of the Secretary to the English Land Confederation, had brought him weapons. That, too, is hearsay evidence. I wish to point out again that all these statements of Carey's would not have been admissable in an ordinary case, and would not have been admitted here were it not that this was a case of conspiracy, and were it not that he had sworn that he heard these statements made by some amongst the prisoners who were charged with being participators in the conspiracy. That evidence, I say again, was only hearsay evidence; and, so far as we have gone, the third statement—that the woman who brought the weapons was Mrs. Frank Byrne—has been abundantly disproved, for when Mrs. Byrne was 721 brought over to Dublin for identification, Carey failed to identify her, and she was discharged by the Detective Department with abundant and profuse apologies. The second of the other statements—namely, with regard to the source from which the money came, seems to rest—that is to say, so far as their opinions go—on what was said by some of his comrades, and which I am perfectly willing to admit, and which I believe to be true—that some of these men got cheques for the support of their families from the Sustentation Fund while in prison. Those cheques, it is right to tell the House, were sent to hundreds upon hundreds of the families of prisoners throughout the country. It was the ordinary custom of the managers of the Sustentation Fund to give money to the families of all prisoners; and very often it was given to the prisoners themselves, as in the present case; and it was given because the families of the prisoners were very often deprived of the ordinary means of support by the imprisonment of the bread-winner; and I believe evidence will be produced to show that Edward M'Caffrey, one of the prisoners, actually sent back his cheque to the Ladies' Land League, and told them that he did not belong to the Land League, that he did not sympathize with their objects, and that he was not entitled to support out of the Sustentation Fund. And yet the fact that the Ladies' Land League sent this man a cheque, in common with hundreds and hundreds of other "suspects" throughout Ireland, has been put forward as implicating us in a grave suspicion of having found money for the purpose of committing the Phoenix Park murders. Now, Sir, with regard to Mr. Sheridan. A statement has been made, and very extensively circulated in the English newspapers, that I offered the services of Mr. Sheridan to the English Government for the purpose of putting down outrages in the West of Ireland, and considered him a fit person for the work, because he knew all the details of these outrages. This statement is based upon a celebrated Cabinet Memorandum, which the right hon. Gentleman states he furnished to his Colleagues, and which they were in full possession of at the time when they decided upon our release. But it is right to point out, for the information of the English public, that the 722 right hon. Gentleman is directly contradicted with regard to that Cabinet Memorandum, and the statements upon which it is based by my hon. Friend the Member for Clare (Mr. O'Shea). My hon. Friend the Member for Clare wrote as follows to all the London newspapers on the 18th of May—that was, I think, the day following the publication of the Cabinet secret by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford—The following are the facts. I myself know nothing about the organization of the Land League; but I told Mr. Forster that I had been informed by Mr. Parnell the day before that if the Arrears Question were settled, that organization would explain the boon to the people, and tell them that they ought to assist the operation of the remedial measure in the tranquillizing of the country. I added that Mr. Parnell had expressed his belief that Messrs. Davitt, Egan, Sheridan, and Boyton would use all their exertions, if placed in a position to do so, to advance the pacification of the country, and that Mr. Sheridan's influence was of special importance in the West, owing to the fact that he had been the chief Land League organizer in Connaught, while Mr. Boyton had held a similar appointment in Leinster. Upon these points," the hon. Member concluded, "I heard no more, I knew no more, and I said no more.So that the House will see it comes at at once to this—that a question of grave dispute with regard to a matter of fact has arisen between the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford and the hon. Member for Clare. Now, Sir, it is a very remarkable thing that the right hon. Gentleman should not have mentioned those other names in his Cabinet Memorandum.
§ MR. PARNELL
Mr. Davitt was released immediately afterwards, owing to the representations which were made by me to the hon. Member for Clare. Why was Mr. Davitt's name not included in this Cabinet Memorandum? Why was Mr. Boyton's name not included in this Cabinet Memorandum; who had left Ireland immediately after his release, and who, it was known could not return to Ireland without being arrested? Why was Mr. Egan's name not included in the Cabinet Memoranda? Why was it that only Mr. Sheridan's name was selected, for the purpose of attempting to make out that I was privy to—["Hear, hear!"]—that I was privy to, and knew of some supposed connection of Mr. Sheridan's with outrage or attempted 723 outrage? Sir, I leave these questions to be answered by hon. Members who may have a better knowledge with regard to what actually passed than I have. I hope, however, their significance will be considered and pondered on by the House. The right hon. Gentleman has asked me to defend myself. Sir, I have nothing to defend myself from. The right hon. Gentleman has confessed that he attempted to obtain a declaration or public promise from me, which would have had the effect, if given, of discrediting me with the Irish people. He has admitted that he failed in that attempt, and failing in that attempt he lost his own position. He boasted last night that he had deposed me from some imaginary position which he was pleased to assign to me; but, at least, I have this consolation—that I am in pretty good company, for he has also deposed himself. We both fell into the ditch, and I do not think that in the process of pulling the right hon. Gentleman and myself out of the ditch I have suffered quite so much in the opinion of my countrymen as the right hon. Gentleman has suffered in the opinion of his countrymen. If the right hon. Gentleman has deposed me from my position as a prominent Irish politician, I admit that he has been very successful in that. I have taken very little part in Irish politics since my release from Kilmainham. I expressed my reason for that upon the passing of the Crimes Act. I said that, in my judgment, the Crimes Act would result in such a state of affairs that, between the Government and the secret societies, it would be impossible for Constitutional agitation to exist in Ireland. I believe so still. And what is the item of news which was published in the journals of yesterday cabled from America? That Mr. Patrick Ford, of The Irish World,who used to collect money for the purpose of sending it to us, is now collecting it for a very different purpose. The right hon. Gentleman may proudly claim it as a part of his work. I regret that it should be so. I look with the utmost apprehension to the future relations between England and Ireland. I see that it is impossible to stem the torrent of prejudice which has arisen during the last few days. I regret that the officials charged with the administration of this Act are unfitted for their post. I am 724 sure the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant must admit that to the fullest extent; and, looking round upon the right hon. Member for Bradford, he must say to himself—"Why am I hero while he is there? Why was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford, who had acquired experience in the Administration of Ireland, who, according to his account, knew everything, although he was invariably wrong'—why was he deposed from his position and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Trevelyan)—a 'prentice, although a very willing hand—placed in his stead? I think that the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant must say to himself, in the words of Scripture—"I am not worthy to unloose his shoe latchet." It would have been far better, if you were going to pass an Act of this kind, and to administer it as you are going to administer it, and as you have administered it—up to the hilt—to have had it administered by the seasoned politician who is now in disgrace. Call him back to his post. Send him to help Lord Spencer in the congenial work of the gallows in Ireland. Send him to look after the secret inquisitions of Dublin Castle. Send him to levy the payment of blood money. Send him to raise the taxes which an unfortunate and starving peasantry have to pay for crimes not committed by them. All that would be congenial work for him. We invite you to fill up your ranks, and send your ablest and best men to push forward the task of misgoverning and oppressing Ireland. For my part, I am confident as to the future of Ireland. Although her horizon may appear at this moment cloudy, I believe that our people will survive the present oppression, as they have survived many and worse ones. And although our progress may be slow, it will be sure; and the time will come when this House and the people of this country will admit once again that they have been mistaken—that they have been deceived by those who ought to be ashamed of deceiving them—that they have been led astray as to the right method of governing a noble, a generous, a brave, and impulsive people; and that they will reject their present Leaders, who are conducting them into the terrible course which, I am sorry to say, the Government appears to be determined to enter 725 —that they will reject those guides and Leaders with just as much determination as they rejected the services of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford.
§ MR. O'SHEA
Sir, in his speech the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) said, that no other name was mentioned in my conversation with him on Sunday, the 1st of May, except that of Mr. Sheridan. On the 16th of May—I am reading from Hansard—what I said in this House is reported thus—Mr. O'SHEA wished to say, for the information of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson), that he did mention Davitt to the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary for Ireland on the Sunday in question, and the fact that the right hon. Gentleman had not entered the name in his memorandum was only another proof of his inaccuracy."—(3 Hansard, 880.)The right hon. Gentleman then rose and said—"I did not give a note of the whole conversation." Mark the contradiction. I would also ask, why did he not keep a note of the whole conversation? Did he wish to hoodwink his Colleagues?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
Sir, I deeply regret the side channel into which this debate has turned. It is about as deplorable a course as it could have taken in the interests of Ireland. I hold to the full that no allusion, direct or indirect, should have been made, and no argument based upon what should be done with the evidence in Dublin—that no illustration should be drawn from it, no argument should be based upon it, and I shall have plenty myself to say without it. I will go further—though I daresay I shall not carry the whole House with me—and say I think it a pity that my right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) should have given the appearance of taking these Dublin revelations as the opportunity of a general attack with regard to the relation to agrarian crime in which the lion. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) stood—an attack which certainly was very powerfully conducted. But since he did take that opportunity—since he made use of it in a manner that will not be forgotten in the annals of Parliament—I believe I am expressing the feelings of the House when I say that the hon. Member for 726 the City of Cork would have done very well to make his position clearer than it is at present. I must say that, since I have been in Ireland, the fact that the hon. Gentleman acted with men who made speeches which showed sympathy with outrage, and, to say the least, a very deplorable levity with regard to murder, and with men who actually and openly recommended violent rebellion, is a consideration which is ever present to the minds of the Rulers who are trying to do their duty by Ireland. I would have given much if the hon. Gentleman had satisfied our minds with a reasonable explanation—an explanation to which I myself should have listened in a spirit of indulgence, for I want to be fair, which is sometimes wanting to the remarks of my right hon. Friend. Even if he (Mr. Parnell) had tried to give such explanation I should have regarded this effort with satisfaction, because, at any rate, it would have shown that, if future contingencies brought about the same temptation to consort with the same men, that temptation might probably be resisted. But he has chosen another course, and it is for himself to judge what the effect will be. And he has done more than that. In a passage of remarkable bitterness, he has dried up those hopes of conciliation which, with evidence or against evidence, are always present to those who are endeavouring to carry on the Administration of Ireland. That passage was very short, very powerful, very bitter. In the report in the newspapers it will be packed, I dare say, into some five or six lines; but connected with other speeches which have been made in the course of this debate, and connected with this Amendment, which may be withdrawn and may not, but which has stood on the Notice Paper long enough to blast the fame of Lord Spencer and myself, and those who act with us—if only it is true and well founded—I shall find it necessary to make some remarks in the course of my speech, when I have addressed myself for a few minutes to the position in which the Irish Government stands with regard to the Amendment actually before the House. And on this point I cannot help hoping that I may really produce some slight impression on hon. Members. I assure you, Sir, that when the noble Lord who sits in a prominent place below the Gangway opposite (Lord 727 Randolph Churchill) rose to give Notice of that Amendment, I could see that there was in the minds of a good many-Members a sense of some surprise; but that surprise was tempered by the idea that they were going to have a good deal of amusement, because it was thought that if the noble Lord gave Notice of the Amendment he was pretty sure to speak to it, though it did not stand in his name, and if he spoke to it the House would be glad to hear him. But to the Irish Government—and this I know is the case with everyone that can be said to belong to the Irish Government—that Amendment has been a most unwelcome surprise; for, during the past Recess, the Irish Government has been engaged in a task that was not amusing at all, but was a very stern reality, a task with regard to which I feel myself already quite incapable of responding in the same spirit to those brilliant displays of rhetoric by which this debate has been so conspicuously marked. It is impossible to proceed further without recognizing the manner in which Lord Spencer and myself have been treated in this debate—the courtesy and the large, abundant generosity with which our political opponents have always mentioned our names. But, none the less, the debate has not been satisfactory to us, and that for two reasons. First, because we should be most ungrateful and disloyal if we were not deeply concerned at a Parliamentary attack intended to disparage our Colleagues; for we have received from those Colleagues a generous approval of our policy, and we have received from them something more. Whenever it was most needed, all through those trying months, we have received the most hearty, friendly, cordial sympathy and co-operation in things great and small from every individual Member of the Cabinet. Well, Sir, there is another respect in which we have been very much disappointed. We have been engaged in a most complicated and delicate work in Ireland—a work which men could not pretend to carry through without making certain mistakes and errors. Well, the number of different and difficult problems and questions of all sorts, not in questions of crime alone, but in questions of economy and social order that have occurred and have had to be solved during the last six months, was so great that we looked forward to the 728 debates in Parliament in order to see what view Parliament would take of those questions. We looked forward eagerly to know what Gentlemen, with such experience in the administration of Irish affairs as right hon. Gentlemen whom I see opposite, would say with regard to those matters in which we have been engaged. We looked to be corrected, we looked to be reproved, or approved, as the case might be, but, above all, we looked for criticism. Well, instead of that, we have had a debate which turns on the question whether, 10 months ago, the hon. Member for the City of Cork, in a letter, promised that support to a Liberal Administration, which support we have never, or, at all events, seldom else-where seen, except on the pages of that letter. I daresay this debate has had its value; but we cannot help looking at it from another, our own standpoint. The present state of Ireland, and not the past, fills our whole mind. If it were not so, we should not be worth our salt; and, as far as the present state of Ireland is concerned, this debate, all must allow, has hitherto appeared to me to go for little or nothing at all. Now, I do not know what happened in the Cabinet 10 months ago, or to a great extent in the House of Commons since, as during the hottest and most interesting debates I was in Ireland; but what I do think is this—that the only practical point in the matter that is worth considering now is, whether the enlargement from prison of the hon. Member for the City of Cork and his Colleagues did harm or did good to Ireland. Now, on that point the Chief Secretary for Ireland is bound to know something, and to say something; and I think I know, and have already several times stated in the House, that the release of those Gentlemen had produced no evil consequences, and to that no exception was taken by hon. Gentlemen. But it was said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford yesterday that though outrages after the release of these hon. Gentlemen diminished, murders increased pretty largely in number, and had increased very decidedly in the significance of the atrocious details. Now, Sir, the cause of the increase of murder is about the most serious matter which the Government could look into. The Government has satisfied itself as to the cause of the 729 increase and decrease of these murders, and it believes that the enlargement of the hon. Members had absolutely nothing to do with them. Murders occurred during the time they were confined; murders followed and increased with ever-increasing velocity, and they increased more rapidly as time went on. When murderers were apprehended, however, and began to be capitally punished, murders began to decrease. That is the opinion the Irish Government holds on the increase and the decrease of murders in Ireland. Now, I do not attach too much importance to the remarks of my right hon. Friend; but, Sir, besides being disappointed with the debate, we are still more disappointed and even discouraged by the Amendment itself. When we read the paragraph in the Queen's Speech which refers to Ireland, I am sure that we all feel that we were rewarded, and a great deal over-rewarded, for any public service we have tried to do. But it is a very different matter when an Amendment is brought forward and supported by one of the two great Parties in the State, the only meaning of which is that Lord Spencer and his Colleagues cannot be relied upon. ["No, no!"] The Amendment states that—It is hoped that no further attempts will be made to purchase the support of persons disaffected to Her Majesty's rule.Read that Amendment as you will, it cannot have a pleasant interpretation for us. It means either that the Irish Government, of their own free will and judgment, will recommend the Cabinet to purchase support in that manner; or else it means that, against their judgment, they will be blown about by certain English and Irish newspapers, which, either from too great or too little a knowledge of Ireland, have sometimes lately been writing about these matters in what I think is a very unfortunate way. A third, and the only other interpretation that can be given to it is, that our Colleagues at home' are disloyal and will throw us over if we will not lend ourselves to that policy; and I may observe that I cannot say which of these three interpretations is the more distasteful to Lord Spencer and myself. Though none of these interpretations may be taken, yet, at any rate, it cannot be denied that the success of the Amendment would be to change the 730 Government of Ireland. You must forgive us if we cannot view the situation otherwise than this. I have now done with the personal part of the subject. We have endeavoured, under fearful difficulties, to serve, not only ourselves and our Party, but our Queen and our country; and our reward is that an Amendment has been brought forward in a spirit personal to us of the greatest unkindness. ["No, no!"] If it is carried, it will turn us out. But it will be said that the main object of this Amendment is to instruct the country—to put on record the opinion that the Irish Government should be carried forward in a spirit of firmness and loyalty. I admit that it is quite necessary that this instruction should be given. I quite admit that it is seriously wanted, when in the face, I will not say of those recent revelations in Dublin, but of what is admitted, I know, of the state of Dublin, the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Collings) has said that we should do more to promote peace and order by making the corporations of boroughs responsible for order in Ireland; but I must say that no pains should be spared to correct an opinion which, in my view, would be fatal to Ireland. Sir, the evils of Ireland are not to be cured by rhetoric; but there is a sort of rhetoric which is so weighty and so just, that it has all the value of well-considered action, and when they got off the Kilmainham business, the speeches of the right hon. and learned Gentlemen the Members for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket and Mr. Gibson) were such that I was very glad to see them intently listened to by the hon. Members who, in most cases, sit round the hon. Member for Ipswich. It is by speeches of that sort, so full of thought and experience, that you will bring home these truths to hon. Members who may not see them quite sufficiently; but you will not do so by interposing an Amendment the effect and the success of which would be to turn out the Cabinet. I shall now address myself to this debate; and I may say that this is the first opportunity, before the House of Commons, which we have had of justifying ourselves against charges most important in their nature. These charges have been powerfully reiterated in the course of the debate, and especially in the speech of the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien). I 731 think, Sir, it would be out of order for me to make any reference to the Amendment of the hon. Member for the City of Cork; but there is no necessity for me to do so, because he has put his charges in a much shorter and still more formidable form in his speech to-day; and those charges were also brought forward at considerable length by the hon. Member for Mallow. These charges are of a nature that have been made before in the House; but, on all occasions when previously made, they have been brought forward by some crotchety, or irresponsible, or isolated Member who had nobody to back him. Now, however, they are made by the Leader of a very powerful Party; they are cheered by a considerable number of hon. Members who sit around him; and, what is almost worse, they have been made over and over again in newspapers, both English and Irish, whose proprietors and editors are at this moment Members of this House. What are those charges? I will take the speech of the hon. Member for Mallow. That hon. Member said—After the Phoenix Park murders the Government have had a fine opportunity which would not soon recur—the first time, perhaps, when the sympathies of the policeman and the peasant were one. How did the right hon. Gentleman use that opportunity? What was it that changed Ireland, which in June and July last was settling down in a spirit of amnesty? What was it that transformed it into a state of outrage that to-day and for many a day to come would trouble the peace of England?
What I said was that Ireland had been outraged, and not that it was put in a state of outrage.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
Well, I will ask the hon. Member whether the general effect of it was not to say that Ireland was improving during the period the Coercion Bill was passing, but that when the Bill was put into operation the country was alienated and estranged. [Mr. O'BRIEN assented.] That charge was made also in terms of great ferocity by many newspapers and on many platforms. What is my answer to it? It is this—The present Crown officials—I borrow that phrase from the Amendment Paper—went to Ireland at the beginning of May last. They were sent there with a commission from the Crown and from Parliament; and unless they sincerely and cordially accepted that commission they had no right to go at all. That commission was that the 732 Crown officials should do their best to maintain the union of the two countries, and to diminish—and, if possible, to extinguish—organized political and agrarian crime in Ireland. The duties were absolute. What, then, was the condition of organized crime when we were first appointed to our post in Ireland? It is hardly too much to say that it was as bad as bad could be. In the previous March outrages reached the frightful total of 542. It is quite true that a slight diminution had set in, which diminution continued—I quite allow that to the hon. Member—during the summer months, at a time when our only weapon was the Protection of Person and Property Act, and on this the hon. Member has founded his argument. But the hon. Member loses sight of two most important considerations, which I think entirely destroy his argument. In the first place, agrarian crimes always, in bad times especially, tend to fall off in the summer months. In the month of July, 1881, the outrages were only one-third of those of December previous, and yet when winter came the dreadful work went on faster than ever. The average of the six winter months was actually over 500 a-month. In the second place, during the summer months—the halcyon months of the hon. Member—the most awful of all crimes, murder, was increasing, the number of agrarian murders in the first eight months of 1882 being 24, or an average of three in every month—double the proportion for 1881—and in these I do not count six of what, to avoid dispute, I will call political homicides in the streets and parks of Dublin. The Irish World, in its last issue, accused Lord Spencer of being—The cold-blooded murderer of at least five innocent Irishmen within the last few months, one of whom he knew, beyond any manner of doubt, to be innocent of the crime for which he died—a nobleman whose very fingers dripped with the blood of innocent Irishmen.I prefer to quote this statement from an American print, but I am sorry to say such passages occur by dozens and scores in papers published in Ireland. When the editor of The Irish World talks of those five innocent Irishmen, who, I suppose, are the same men as are in the mind of the hon. Member for Mallow, is he aware, as the hon. Member for the 733 City of Cork is aware, that 10 times as many really and undoubtedly innocent Irishmen were murdered in succession, without one of their murderers being brought to the punishment the law ordains. If The Irish World did not know that, Lord Spencer's Government did; and the first task they set themselves was to take care that during the winter months of 1882–3 outrages should not increase as they had increased during the winter months of preceding years. Now, what happened with reference to the outrages and to the extent to which Ireland has been made a place in which the peaceable and industrious may live according to their own fashion? The actual figures that relate to that are in everybody's hands; but, as regards the prevention of murder, it is enough to state that, as a matter of fact, since the 3rd of October last, for four months and a-half, there has been only one agrarian murder in the whole of Ireland. In order to attain that result, the Government relied upon two processes—the better re-organization of the personnel employed in the detection and repression of crime, and the Prevention of Crime Act placed in their hands by Parliament last year. As regards the former, the words spoken by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department were undoubtedly misunderstood, and in consequence of being misunderstood were misrepresented in a way that is extremely unfortunate, considering the condition of things in Ireland. The men and officers of the Constabulary and of the Dublin Police are, in the opinion of the Government, public servants who have done their duty most efficiently and most zealously in the trying circumstances in which they were placed. The Government have done nothing with regard to the men and officers except to recognize their conduct during these periods, by special gratuity, and either to improve their permanent position, or to make inquiry as to the method by which their permanent position may be improved. But in the machinery by which crime is detected, and the law upheld in Ireland, very important changes have been made. To begin with, the Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant—the Office which was held by the lamented Mr. Burke, and now held by Mr. Hamilton—that Office was 734 terribly overwhelmed with general work, and, in the opinion of the Government, the Under Secretary was unable to give all the professional attention which the work of keeping peace and order and detecting crime in Ireland demanded. The Government accordingly appointed an Assistant Under Secretary of Police and Crime, which released Mr. Hamilton of a certain amount of labour, and enabled him to devote his great energy and public spirit to the general task of the financial and administrative work of Ireland; and that Under Secretary was instructed to take into his hands the whole Detective Department of the country, which had previously been divided into two branches—the Detective Department of the Dublin Police, and the Detective Department of the Royal Irish Constabulary—and the want of unity of action has been, wherever it could be, avoided, and which was a very serious evil and difficulty indeed when you come to detective work. How those results have been worked by the hands of Mr. Jenkinson everyone knows and will appreciate. There is one other subject to which I am bound to refer, though I am not very willing to do so; and that is that the Government, knowing that at a critical time everything depends on the personal qualities and vigour of the men in responsible positions, did not shrink from removing men whose age and personal qualities did not render them fit for those positions, and replacing them by others. There have been some criticisms in this House upon those removals and changes. No less than 17 of the resident magistrates were removed, and it has been very painful to resist the pressure of the House and the private friends and relatives of those gentlemen; but we have carried out that work, and feel, in carrying it out, we have been doing what we wished, having the country well served. In addition to this re-organization of personnel, Lord Spencer's Government had the enormous advantage of being possessed of a stringent Crimes Act, more effective in its operation than the power of merely locking up men on suspicion—a course which, however irksome to educated men, was, I am told, little less than pleasant to the regular criminal. The operation of the Crimes Act has this about it—that its effect is progressive, and that if it is 735 vigorously applied at first, there is afterwards less and less occasion to have recourse to it. During the first week of the present month only five cases came under this Act; while in the corresponding week of February, 1882, there must have been 100 outrages, and I ask hon. Members whether the exemption from that amount of suffering was not moderately purchased with five convictions, with an average of something under 14 days' imprisonment? Hon. Members feel very keenly on this subject. The hon. Member for Mallow has charged us, with extraordinary vehemence of language, with having interfered with free writing, with free speech, and allusion has been frequently made to some words I uttered at Belfast—namely, "that the Government made war against crime, but did not intend to interfere with politics." These words were commented upon as encouraging turbulence and agitation; but they were uttered in the presence of the Town Council of Belfast, who would undoubtedly be pretty severe critics of anything tending to disorder. I do not regret those words. I said that very deliberately, because the only good and effective policy in Ireland is to say exactly what you mean, and to do it. As for the free writing we have interfered with, and which I think the House will agree with me is very free writing indeed, it is not political writing—it is a sort of writing which I venture to describe as a part of the machinery of murder as much as the sword-cane or the pistol. I hope I have proved that to the satisfaction of the House; but I am going to prove it from the newspaper United Ireland. I am going to make two statements before I begin. One is that some of these articles were undoubtedly written while the present editor of United Ireland was unable to supervise the paper; and the second statement, which is more serious, is that it would be the very greatest injustice to prejudice a case which had to come on; but the Government do not intend to press that case. The point I wish to make out is that, consciously or unconsciously, there is a class of articles that absolutely produces crime. Here is an article which was written in May, 1881, and which is headed A Bas la Bastilles. One passage is—The men who level them will go further—to a palace at Versailles, or to a castle at Cork 736 Hill, and the hired Swiss, he they primed with ball cartridge or clad in plush, will not long-stand in their way, depend upon it.I leave a large hiatus here, and go on to this passage—There are 50,000 men ready to take up the fight, where Tyrone, where Owen Roe, whore Sarsfield, where Tone, where Emmett, where O'Connell, where Mitchel, where Allen Larkin and O'Brien left it off.We know very well where Larkin and O'Brien left it off. And here I may say that nothing has pained me so much in Ireland as the tribute that has been paid to Emmett, because it has always appeared to me that the result of his insurrection, though made by a man of great and high aspirations, resulted in an assassination which in effect resembled very greatly the assassination in the Phœnix Park.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
Before I read the next article, I wish to express my firm belief—it would be a breach of Order to say more—that the man who wrote the article, at the very worst, was reckless as to the effect it would produce. On the 6th of May, 1882, there was nominally published, but on the 4th of May was really published, an article entitled, "Disestablishing the Castle." It said—But the money it (that was the Castle) spends and the favours it distributes, and the foul toads who use it as a cistern to knot and gender in it, are just the things which make the harmless travesty of Vice-Royalty an offence and scorn to Irishmen.…The toads are the gang of alien officials who nestle in the snuggeries of the Castle like as many asps in the bosom of the country. Down with the whole bundle of rottenness and imposture.That was published, I presume, on the 4th of May, and we know what happened on the 6th of May. Then I pass on with a large jump of time to the case of Francis Hynes. As the question has not been started in this discussion, I am disinclined to enter upon an argument as to the founded or unfounded nature of the charge that was made against the jury; but the charge was made, and I have no doubt I shall have another opportunity of arguing that. Well, an article was written with regard to it from which I take this passage—Silence and veneration is demanded by the English rulers, and we how before its revered and sacred symbol, the gallows. Not often, 737 even in the blood stained records of Ireland, has there been a tragedy more pitiful, more horrible than that of which Francis Hynes was the victim. Need we recapitulate the grotesque mockery of the trial … … The jury, pre sided over by the Judge, who did not even attempt to conceal his indecent longing for a conviction. It was not enough that his charge should be a speech for the prosecution, but by nod and smile throughout the trial he emphasized each scrap of evidence that seemed to tell against the prisoner; by shrugs and deprecatory gestures he made light of the defence. … Need we speak of the 'terrible' exposure that followed? Judge Lawson, in a tempest of virtuous indignation, decided that jury-packing and jury orgies were subjects too sacred for public comment.It is not the argumentative part of that passage that I object to; there is not an argument in it which might not be said in proper language, in a proper place; but said in that language, and in a newspaper which had the audience and the reputation that United Ireland had, it could, the Government imagines, only have the effect it did have. I will not read any more articles with reference to Judge Lawson. The next article I will read from is headed The Bloody Assize. One passage in it is—The jury was as carefully selected, its partizanship was as indecent, and the evidence was evidence upon which an English jury would not hang a dog.…Once the word is passed to 'convict murderers' a metropolitan Protestant and a loyal jury, under the eye of Mr. Norris Goddard, may be trusted to know a murderer when they see him, without splitting hairs about particulars.…What is even more aggravating than this patent murder machine, as a system of government, is the Pharisaism which shelters the achievements of Mr. Goddard'spals, under the venerable title of trial by jury, and decries as a foe to public justice whoever cries out on the imposture.Now, who are "Mr. Goddard's pals" to whom that allusion is made, and to what extent are they sheltered? On the 7th of October, in the same impression, reference was made to "the incident of Mr. Field passing down an affectionate billet-doux from the jury box to Mr. Norris Goddard." It was hinted that Mr. Field was on very friendly terms indeed with the chief organizer of the landlord faction. Well, Sir, we know that Judge Lawson's life was only saved by the courage of a man who came after him; and that out of the whole jury who acted on that trial, which was the trial of Michael Walsh, I believe Mr. Field was the person who was next selected for assassination. I do not wish the House to think that I am going contrary 738 to what I premised, for I repeat that I do not impute any malevolence to the editor. I only show how dangerous it is to name people at such a time.
said, he was very reluctant to interrupt; but he should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether in any of the passages referred to, Mr. Field's name was mentioned?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
I have mentioned that the article began—The incident of Mr. Field passing down an affectionate billet-doux from the jury box to Mr. Norris Goddard.I was going on to say, that it so happened that Mr. Barrett's name was brought before the public, owing to some confusion between him and some person of the same name, or some relative; and it is now pretty evident that in order, as it were, to save time the Dublin assassins picked out three people connected with the trial for assassination, and they were the three whose names had been most prominently brought before the public. That shows that the mention of names in this way places the persons indicated in very great danger. My own personality has been spared up to this time; but after the speech I made at Hawick three leading articles appeared in United Ireland, from the third of which I will read you a passage. On the 10th of February, 1883, it said—The Land Code of Ireland up to quite recently invited crime. It was an English institution, and it is notorious that the English Land system excites crime wherever it is established. Again, it is notorious that the English system of government invites crime. The English Government has no business here. The negation of the natural right—the Divine right of even any people to be the shapers of their own destinies is the prolific parent of crime, and it has ever been so. It has been said—'A patriot is a rebel who succeeds,A rebel is a patriot who fails.'The principle is applicable to this country at the present time. That is crime for the present in Irishmen which will be quite other when Ireland is mistress of her own fortunes.My opinions of newspapers which write in that manner are such that, while the attacks are against myself, I shall most certainly take good care that there shall be no such thing as a prosecution; but if, in the future, any public servant or any private individual is pointed out, in such a manner as to convince the Government that his life will be endan- 739 gered in consequence, the person who wrote it, little as he may like it, may rest assured that the Government will take steps to prevent it occurring again. So much with regard to free writing, as to which I have stated the principle on which the Government act; and now I will go for one moment to free speech. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Lincolnshire (Mr. J. Lowther) says that we are always urging that Ireland is in a constant state of improvement, that we are always saying we have touched the bottom. We are not so hopeful of the condition of Ireland as he has described us; but, at the same time, we are not so desponding as the right hon. Gentleman. He says that the Government has to realize that it is governing a country against the wishes and opinion of the great mass of the population of that country. Well, the Government may or may not realize that, and they admit that there is a large amount of political disaffection; but when you come to the question of sympathy with crime, we believe that that sympathy is, to a great extent, partial, temporary, and evanescent. We believe that there is a great mass of people in the country who want to go about their business in peace and quietness; we believe that the farmers of Ireland, if loft alone, are beginning slowly to settle down and to appreciate the great advantages which—whether justly or unjustly we are not now arguing—have been conferred upon them by the Land Act. But they were not allowed to settle down. There was an agitation set on foot, the objects of which, although not the avowed objects, yet the practical and political objects, were, in the opinion of the Government, absolutely inadmissible, to judge by the earlier speeches made in the presence of some of the most eminent members of the National League, or, in some cases, by those eminent members themselves. In our opinion, the object of the National League, as propounded in the districts where the meetings were held, was to excite the people in favour of separation, to excite the people to what was impossible, the abolition of what was called "landlordism;" and, in some places, to have the effect of terrifying farmers into allowing their farms to be broken up in compliance with the demands of the League. 740 There was another matter which I have referred to outside the House, so must refer to it inside; and it was, that we believe, on the authorities on whom we relied in regard to anything which concerned the peace and order of the country, that these meetings were, in many cases, promoted by small local agitators, who lived on the money which they collected by terror. The tone that was set at the earlier meetings we thought a very serious and dangerous one; and, at last, very reluctantly but very determinedly, we came to the conclusion to stop the thing at the outset. Some people said we ought to have proclaimed the National League. That was not our opinion. We contented ourselves with forbidding the meetings of the National League in places where we were told that outrage would probably ensue, and where, if outrage did not ensue, that sort of terrorism which collects money from people who are unwilling to give it would be one of the consequences. It is astonishing how few meetings we prohibited. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) confined himself to so many generalities that I have not brought my statistics out of my box; but my impression is that 10 or so at the outside were prohibited. We might certainly have made one or two mistakes in those. If I had known, for instance, that Mr. Sexton was to speak at that meeting to which reference has been made, I would not have prohibited it; for this reason—that I consider where you have a Member of Parliament of great eloquence, and, as I must say, a man who knows how to keep that eloquence within permissible bounds, you may run some risk, because the risk will be very slight and very different from the sort of risk that is run when meetings are got up at places like those surrounding Loughrea, by people like those we know the "suspects" of Loughrea to be. But if we have here and there made a mistake, and, of course, we have made a mistake, here and there, still, on, the whole, I must say that the general result of the action of the Government has satisfied, and more than satisfied, their most sanguine expectations. The hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien) and the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), the former especially, at great length, argued in favour of what I suppose is to be a return to 741 ordinary law. Well, let us go back to our last experience of the ordinary law in Ireland. I am making a clean breast of it. In August, 1880, when Ireland was at the same time under the ordinary law and under the influence of a grave agitation, outrages were 103; in September, they wore 168; in October, they were 269; in November, they were 561; and in December, they were 866. In January, 1881, Parliament met, and the Protection Act was passed. Now, I do not wish to criticize my Predecessor. My feeling towards my Predecessor is the feeling, I presume, which an officer who serves in a very responsible position during a war, a war against crime—I am not talking hero of a political warfare—has towards a general who conducted the first two years of it, when the thing was at its height, and when it was extremely difficult to say where the difficulties arose from the intrinsic difficulties and arduous nature of the situation, or where there might have been some mistake; and I honour my Predecessor, as I suppose an officer in that position would honour a man who had borne the brunt of the day. The Protection Act, very certainly, had not the effect under those circumstances: perhaps, no Act would have the effect, under those circumstances, of checking crime the effect, however, which it had was to prevent things going from very bad to very much worse, which they were rapidly doing. I will not read the figures; but during the year 1881, outrages fell and rose again till in December, 1881, there wore 574. Now we come to January, 1882. What was the state of things then? I had in tended to read to the House a short extract from an article in The Irish Times, describing the crimes which were perpetrated in January, 1882, in detail; but, in the first place, it would take longer than I should like to detain the House; and, in the next place, the enumeration of these details is positively sickening. It is sufficient to say that there wore 495 outrages, of which 281 only were threatening letters; and that of the murderous crimes—that is to say, murder, firing into dwellings, and firing at persons—there were no fewer than 34. That was the total of January, 1882. What is the total of January, 1883? Have the crimes risen in the winter months as they did in last winter, 742 or have they not? On the contrary, the outrages in all were 90; but 58 were threatening letters, so there were only 22 genuine outrages as against 214. And as for murderous crimes, as against 34 in January, 1882, there was only one. The improvement which had been checked for a month or two is now begun again. On two days running this month the return of outrages was nil, a thing that has been unknown for many months except in single days; and in the first 20 days, there were only 32 outrages, of which 20 were threatening letters. But there is another very interesting portion of the restoration of law and order in Ireland. The most noticeable sign of the feebleness of the law in troubled days, was the number of persons employed in trying to enforce it in order to recover debts. Where these debts were due to landlords, merchants, or shopkeepers, you had to employ quite a little army. Prom the 17th to the 23rd January, 1882, 1,081 soldiers and 672 police were employed for protecting Sheriffs' officers and process-servers. In the corresponding week of this month there were 218 police and no soldiers at all employed. The largest party sent out last year was 200; the largest party that has been sent out since is 15. It may be said, with almost arithmetical precision, that the Queen's Warrant runs at least eight times as easily in Ireland now as it did a year ago. And you must likewise remember that these figures imply an immense amount of uncollected debts and unenforced claims—debts which were uncollected and claims which were not enforced; sometimes on account of the creditor dreading unpopularity, and sometimes from genuine patriotism, the creditor not liking to create a riot.
§ MR. PARNELL
Will the right hon. Gentleman, before he sits down, give us some information with regard to the number of evictions during the last year? That would be interesting.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
The number of evictions, I would only say generally, up to quite recently has been increasing; but my general impression of the Returns of the winter is, that they were not high, certainly incomparably less high than they would appear. I know that Mr. Hamilton, who with very great practical knowledge joins a most extra- 743 ordinary love of statistics, always anticipated very bad months for evictions in November and December; and he "was agreeably disappointed, in November, that the evictions were at a very low figure indeed; but the last Return was undoubtedly high.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
I would prefer not to name the number, but it was disappointing. I have not put forward this contrast in any spirit of vainglory. What honour there is is due not to me, but to people on the spot in Ireland, both below me and above me in Office status, who have been carrying out these very arduous duties. But the result of this work I have described, and I cannot but think that the men who have done it have, on the whole, received, and deserve to receive, the approval of their countrymen. Now, of what has this work consisted? It consisted in an enormous number of decisions, an immense number of decisions, each very often involving several other decisions which had to be made on the spur of the moment, and, sometimes, after a good deal of deliberation; but whether they were made on the spur of the moment or with deliberation, we gave all the time we could to see what would be in our opinion, honestly, the best for Ireland; and if, among these decisions, there are one or two, or 12 or 20, which ought to have been given otherwise, I hope hon. Gentlemen will make the allowance for us which we always have to make for people who are engaged in very arduous work. The noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) said the only thing the Government had done, the only feather in their cap, was that they had hung up a few miserable wretches. Sir, the execution of human beings is certainly not a subject for glorification, and I do not think it ought to be a subject for Parliamentary taunt. In the course of two years there were 50 murders committed with absolute impunity. It is no wonder that the moral sense of many of the Irish people was destroyed, and it is no wonder that some among the poorer classes began to think evil good and good evil. It is from that condition of things we have been trying to rescue the country—["Oh, oh!"]—that we have been trying to rescue the country 744 —and I do not agree with the hon. Members for Cork and Mallow; and I fear that it is to that condition that the country would return if their course of policy was carried out. My answer to that is, that the only chance for order in Ireland is for the Government, consistently and unhesitatingly, to go on punishing crime, until the people have been educated to see that crime is criminal. The danger, in my opinion, lies more on this side of the water than on that. It lies in this, that people here may be in too great a hurry to see things right in Ireland, and when they get desponding about it, should be willing to resort to desperate measures. Our belief, on the contrary, is that the great thing wanted in Ireland for many years to come is patience; patient firmness in repressing crime, patient diligence in redressing grievances. I quite allow that the hon. Member for Mallow was duly elected without intimidation. He was elected against us because we do not neglect and abandon the elementary duty of a civilized Government, that duty rather than abandon or neglect which we would at once throw up our Offices. But this violent invective against us, because we do not neglect that duty, only serves to divert the attention of the House and of the Ministry from those measures of which Notice has boon given, and which I hope shortly to be able to lay upon the Table of the House—measures which, if we only set our hands to work, may be productive of practical and lasting advantage to the country.
§ SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
said, he did not think the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland justly apprehended the scope of the Amendment proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst). He did not see how he could gather from it any expression of censure on the acts of Lord Spencer or himself; and had that censure been intended, he (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) was certain that the speeches of his right hon. and learned Friends the Members for the University of Dublin would have corrected any misapprehension of that kind. The object of the Amendment was to emphasize and expedite the triumph of the party of law and order in the Cabinet—the triumph of the party of law and order, as represented by the noble Mar- 745 quess (the Marquess of Hartington), the deputy Leader of the Government, and perhaps the Home Secretary, over the party of lawlessness and disorder, as represented by the President of the Board of Trade. The noble Marquess had inflicted a most signal defeat on the President of the Board of Trade. For a long time there had been two currents in the Cabinet—one, which wished to exercise all the powers of the law for the repression of crime in Ireland, and the other which looked to the agencies of outrage as useful allies in passing Liberal measures through the House. In January, 1881, the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government spoke of the steps of the Land League being dogged by crime, and in March of the same year the Home Secretary described the doctrine of the Land League as the "doctrine of treason and assassination," also denouncing its "vile conspiracies." Why, then, were adequate measures not taken in time to deal with that terrible organization? Because, according to the confession of the President of the Board of Trade, it was necessary to encourage those outrages in order to carry Liberal legislation.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Gentleman, I am sure, would not willingly misrepresent me. But I defy him to quote any language of mine, ever used by me anywhere, in which I said that the Government thought it necessary to encourage outrage in order to pass Liberal measures.
§ SIR. H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
said, he had up to the present moment only quoted the remarks of the Colleagues of the right hon. Gentleman. As regards the acts of the Land League, those acts took place in the beginning of 1881. No attempt was made to stop them. And why? These were the words used at Liverpool on October 25, 1881, by the President of the Board of Trade—The original objects of the Land League, as I have said, were legal, were even praiseworthy; and to stifle agitation at such a time would have been to have prevented reform.At what time? In March, 1881?
§ SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF
Were the Land League's objects legal and praiseworthy at the end of 1880 and the beginning of 1881, when, as 746 the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) had informed them, outrages were countenanced by its leaders? The President of the Board of Trade in the same speech declared that—There was another reason which weighed with the Government. If the Land League had been suppressed in 1881 the tenants would have had no organization to fall back upon. I have spoken of the avowed object of the Land League. It is, of course, no secret that there have been in the minds of the leaders of the agitation other objects of a different character.It had been no secret the right hon. Gentleman said, and though it was no secret that they had other objects they were not to be suppressed. The right hon. Gentleman would not interfere with outrages, or, at any rate, with the organization which countenanced those outrages, because he feared the effect of their suppression on the passing of the Land Act; and he would not take steps to put down the Land League until its leaders proclaimed the "no rent" principle. Hitherto they had been given to understand that the right, hon. Member for Bradford was reproached for want of vigour in his administration; but what they found out now was this, that he was not vigorous in his administration because the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues did not consider it necessary to give him those powers which had now been conferred upon Lord Spencer and his right hon. Friend (Mr. Trevelyan). On the contrary, instead of in any way giving him the assistance that he asked for, they went and negotiated with the very leaders of this organization, which, they now said, was connected with outrages, against the opinion of their Colleague in Ireland, against whom they were writing, and intriguing, and caballing in this country. They refused either to give him the powers he urgently sought from them, or to exact from the prisoners in Kilmainham the guarantees which he held to be absolutely necessary; and while murders and "Boycotting" were rampant they decided to postpone all legislation until they had passed those Rules of Procedure which the Caucus had dictated to their Radical supporters. Was there not still a chance of a fresh coercion of the House of Commons by the threat of disorder in Ireland? The House had heard the speech of the hon. 747 Member for Ipswich (Mr. Jesse Collings) the other day. They knew that hon. Member's connection with the President of the Board of Trade. [Mr. CHAMBERLAIN: What is it?] Why, he was the right hon. Gentleman's travelling companion—his alter ego: and he was known in Birmingham as "Chamberlain's barometer." The Attorney General for Ireland had stigmatized the speech of the hon. Member in rather strong language, and he had been followed by the Chief Secretary. But what guarantee had they, unless the House expressed itself strongly, that, notwithstanding all the exertions of Lord Spencer and the present Chief Secretary, the Government might not be adopting the views and advice of the hon. Member for Ipswich, or that they might not be again trafficking with and taking into partnership those whom they had denounced as countenancing outrage, in order to stab a Colleague in the back or to carry some measure of Reform? After the deplorable tragedy in the Phoenix Park, the Government were forced to take a new departure; and it was with a view of supporting that new policy that the present Amendment had been moved. How signal had been the defeat of the party of lawlessness and disorder in the Cabinet might be seen from the fact that in all the recent Ministerial changes the Radical element had been relegated to the inferior places, all the chief posts being now held by Earls and landlords. The fact was, the great Radical Party was in a position of exile. The President of the Board of Trade and the right hon. Member for Chelsea held positions in the Government which in the last Ministry were occupied by men who did not sit in the Cabinet. The right hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) looked after our railways, while the right hon. Baronet (Sir Charles W. Dilke), after a long and successful career at the Foreign Office, was relegated to the superintendence of drainage. It was the determination of the Whigs to be supreme in the Cabinet, and Heaven knew what would be said by Mr. Schnadhorst when he returned from Australia. The Caucus was crushed now as much as the Land League; and it was because of the triumph of the Secretary for War and the Home Secretary over the Radicals that his hon. and learned Friend wished to place on 748 record the fact that the policy of his right hon. Friend opposite had prevailed.
§ MR. WILLIS
said, he thought it was unfair on the part of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill), the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Lincolnshire (Mr. J. Lowther), and others to cheer the accusation that had been made against the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary. It should not be forgotton that the difficulties that the Government had to deal with were mainly due to the neglect and apathy of the late Government. Had the late Government brought in additional powers when they were in Office, he ventured to say that much of the trouble that had since arisen would not have occurred. Since the present Government came into Office he considered that they had not received the support and assistance from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) and his Colleagues which they had a right to expect. He complained of the action of the Conservative Party, and particularly that of the hon. and gallant Member for Wigtown (Sir John Hay) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith). The former had brought forward a Motion for the release of the "suspects" whilst the right hon. Member for Bradford was still in Office; the latter endeavoured to embarrass the Government, and, at the same time, to aid the landlords by encouraging a scheme of purchase before the rents could be reduced by the application of the Land Act, and a re-sale to the tenants on easy terms at the expense of the Public Exchequer. Disappointed at the rupture of their own alliance with the Irish Party, the Opposition had invented a Treaty. He did not believe there was any foundation for the statement made respecting that transaction; but, even if there was, he should rejoice if it had been the means of giving peace to Ireland. He believed that nothing short of the total extinction of the Land League organization could have relieved Ireland from the curse which had come upon it through that organization. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) had always had his support. He never saw a man treated in such a manner by hon. Members. At one mo- 749 ment he was superior to his Colleagues in having refused to tamper with crime, and at another he had connived at the operations of the Land League in order to pass the Land Act. There was not a part of the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman which was not assailed on one side of the House or the other because, forsooth, he had separated from his Colleagues. He recollected that even those who were now so anxious to laud their right hon. Friend, as they were pleased to call him, were the very men who, just before he retired from. Office and took away with him "the conscience of the Government," accused him of having held a private conference with the Sub-Commissioners under the Land Act to instruct them how they were to carry out that enactment. He had risen for the purpose of protesting against the accusation made against the right hon. Gentleman that he had allowed the Land League to exist on purpose that crime might multiply and some Land Act be obtained. It was an accusation altogether unfounded, but had been cheered by the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock. It had been asked why, if the right hon. Gentleman knew all he did about the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), he had not prosecuted him? The answer was simple. He knew that whatever charge he might prefer against that Gentleman, an Irish jury would not convict him. He had expected from the hon. Member for the City of Cork, instead of the vague phrases he had addressed to them, an expression of his determination to teach his country that no good could come out of crimes such as they had seen; and he felt that the calamities of the Irish people would rather increase and multiply than diminish if they possessed the independence which the hon. Member for the City of Cork sought to procure for them. He would say, in conclusion, he did hope the result would be that hon. Members would not talk as the hon. Member for the City of Cork had done that night of a brave and noble nation. What hope could there be for any people who permitted in their midst and allowed to pass unpunished such atrocious crimes as had been committed in that country?
§ MR. METGE
said, he would not attempt to follow the hon. and learned Member for Colchester (Mr. Willis) in 750 his, what he would call, post-mortem examination of the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), only so far as it had reference to his statement that the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) had charged the right hon. Gentleman with conniving at crime and agitation in Ireland in order to gain his own ends. He would say that the right hon. Gentleman was convicted out of his own mouth, for on Thursday night, when making his violent philippic, he had told them that he had allowed the agitation to grow upon the people and the elements of discord to arise in the country. He had done that because he had known that an appeal to the country would have been detrimental to his Government. That was the moral line which he would have them follow. With regard to the foul aspersions which had been cast on Members of the Party to which he personally belonged, he would say that it was with feelings of heartfelt pleasure that he had listened to the speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). He (Mr. Metge) and the other Members had felt anxious that the hon. Member should make that statement, and they felt he had answered completely the charges which had been brought against him. He believed that those foul aspersions could not have been justified in any way by the circumstances of the case, and he looked upon them as having been brought forward not so much as being directed against the policy which they had inaugurated in Ireland, but for Party purposes, and to shape the policy of the Government, and to shape the lines of the policy of the Government upon coercion rather than conciliation. He (Mr. Medge) was proud to have been a very humble member of the Land League. He had joined that League from its first inception, and, with the Tenants' Defence Association, he had believed it to be legal in its constitution and objects, and that it aimed at carrying out those objects by legal means. The Attorney General for Ireland on Wednesday had stated in the House that from the first the League had been unconstitutional in all the points which he (Mr. Metge) had named, unconstitutional in its objects, and unconstitutional in the actions by which it had enforced them. If that were the case, he thought it was the strongest condemnation of the 751 Government which had been brought against them by any Member of the House. What excuse could the Government have, after the statement that the League had been unconstitutional from the first, to allow him and the unfortunate people of Ireland to join in the agitation, believing they were furthering agitation by Constitutional methods? The charge which had been brought against the Land League in the case now sub judice in Dublin had certainly given colourable strength to the arguments brought forward against the League, and he did not want to enter into them for that reason, or under cover of the statement that the evidence might be false. He did not wish to screen or palliate in any way the action of criminals. No man more than himself would wish to see those criminals brought to justice; but they must remember, after all, that the statements of Carey were those of an infamous informer. But, taking the words of that man to be true, he would ask the House to consider the circumstances and constitution of the Land League. They must remember that it extended its ramifications through all parts of the country, from the east to the west, and had included on the roll of its members persons of all classes, including members of the landlord class, who had been originally greatly opposed to its objects. In joining the Land League, Fenians could only have one of two objects in view—either they desired to affiliate the organization to their own movement, which would most likely carry out their own designs, or they wished to break it up altogether as a Constitutional movement. He believed that if the Fenians did join the movement, they only did so for the purpose of breaking it up, as from first to last one object of the Land League had been to obtain their ends by legitimate influences and thoroughly Constitutional means. This was most certainly the object which the branch with which he happened to be connected had. From it they had never departed. Their desire was to benefit their unhappy country. They had to benefit the tenant farmer, and whilst doing so they endeavoured to remove the evils which caused crime. They never failed to raise their voices at the same time against crime, and in this followed the teachings of O'Connell and others who believed that the greatest 752 enemies of their cause were those who committed crime. Their Chief, the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), himself had very forcibly laid down the lines upon which the Land League acted in a speech in reply to accusations of the connection between it and the Fenian movement, when he denied most emphatically that any such connection existed, and he added that he did not believe the physical force policy was possible in Ireland. He also denied that there was any connection, either secret or open, between the two organizations, the Land League and Fenianism. This course he himself and all the members of the League had followed and acted upon. He had a sincere respect for a man who, believing that physical force might secure the regeneration of his country, acted on those sentiments; but he never believed that such a policy was justifiable in the cause of Ireland. He did not think even the possibility of success could justify it, nor did he believe that the state of affairs in Ireland at present was sufficiently bad to justify it. Too much was thrown upon the hazard of the die. Their lines of action were not those of the Land League, and, in fact, the one organization was directly in antagonism to the other. The senior Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) had thrown down a challenge upon two points. Said he—"If these things be not so, show us by what means you have endeavoured to put down crime;" and then—"Show us by what means or methods you propose to put down crime in the future." He (the right hon. and learned Gentleman) accentuated the challenge by reference to the refusal of Mr. Egan, as treasurer of the Land League Fund, to offer £1,000 reward for the apprehension of the Phœnix Park murderers. He happened to know the facts of this matter, for it was a member of his own branch of the Land League who suggested it. It dropped through for the reason that on the very day that the matter appeared in the public prints the late Attorney General for Ireland stated in the House that such help was not required, and that there was in offering too much as blood-money the danger of holding out inducements to informers to come forward, looking only to the reward without any reference to the consequences. Such a thing had oc- 753 curred before, and innocent men had thereby lost their lives. Then, as to the method the Land League proposed to prevent crime in the future, no man desired less than himself to attack the Government, because he was willing to concede every Government the support necessary to carry out their function, and to admit that they were justified in using any means in their power—every influence to put down crime. Their method, however, for the redemption of Ireland was first to take away the fruitful causes of so much evil. Let all those be swept away, and they should be so in the interests of all classes, and not of the landlord class—and he belonged to it—quite as much as any other, the accursed system of agrarian crimes for which the present landlord system was as but a drop in a bucket compared with the enormities for which the system itself was responsible. It was undoubtedly true that owing to it, family after family, nay, we might say whole peoples, had been driven out, homeless and penniless into the world, to meet death, or, still worse, degradation in its lowest and worst forms in this country or in America. If, then, the Government really wished to put down crime in Ireland they ought at once take away this very great evil which everyone admitted promoted crime. Then they should introduce electoral reform and place Ireland on an equality with England both as to electoral and Constitutional rights. Let them not tamper with the people—let them have some confidence in the administration of justice. Of this at present there was none. It was no use their appealing to justice—the law was, as administered, utterly odious to them, for they saw their arguments turned aside, and they had no faith whatever in the administrators of the law, and instead of looking to the law to help them they looked upon it as their unscrupulous foe. This it was which had brought about the state of things which the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) referred to when he said that Ireland with 5,000,000 presented a problem of greater difficulty than that which was connected with the 35,000,000 comprising the rest of the British Empire. To obviate this they must throw some sense of responsibility into the hands of the people. It was all very well to say that crime was de- 754 creasing, and a measure of peace had been attained under the present vigorous administration of coercion; but he was sorry to say that he did not think that to be the case. He believed the peace that now prevailed in Ireland was only apparent. Undoubtedly crime to a great extent had disappeared; but the spirit of crime was there still, and coercion would only succeed in driving the disease more deeply into the hearts of the people. To eradicate the disease they must take away the cause. Such a state of things as existed in Ireland would not for a moment be tolerated in England. By the virtual extinction of county magistrates the last semblance of local self-government was swept from the land. The military state which the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) inaugurated was still continued, and the men who carried out these functions were, as the late Attorney General had told them, under no control. These military men ruled the country, north and south, having no feelings of sympathy with the people, and carried out their duty with a vindictiveness which could not be justified. But one remedy only had been offered in the House, and it was this. The noble Viscount (Viscount Lymington) had suggested emigration; but to see the effects of their system they must wait 30 years. He would create a solitude and call it peace; but, apart from the sentimental view, there was another aspect from which it might be viewed. From a statesmanlike point was it desirable to extirpate the criminals from Ireland, when they might be made subject to the law, to countries beyond the British Empire, where they might be a fruitful source of discord and rebellion? Then, how had they succeeded with the past from an economic point of view? During the 10 years between 1870 and 1880 over 250,000 people had emigrated from the Irish shores. No doubt, hon. Members would say, "So much to the good," and "there are less people to fear and so much less discontent;" but what were the facts? During the eight years between 1874 and 1882, land to the extent of 500,000 acres had been thrown out of cultivation. Thus, for every person driven from their shores, two acres of land had been thrown out of cultivation. They were, therefore, in a worse position than they were before. The noble Viscount's system 755 could only succeed in the complete extermination of the Irish, people. He also wished them to look at the question from a scientific point of view. There was one other point to which he would desire to refer. The Government was most enthusiastic in carrying out its coercive laws. What had it done for the distress that had again visited the northern and western parts of the country? They hold that on philosophic principles it would be demoralizing to give the people relief. But if it was supposed to be demoralizing in Ireland to give a man holding a certain amount of land, outdoor relief, why was it not demoralizing in England also?
§ MR. SPEAKER
I wish to point out to the hon. Gentleman that the question of outdoor relief has nothing to do with the Amendment on the Address.
§ MR. METGE
said, that the object he had in view was to reply to the challenge of the senior Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) as to what the Irish Party had to propose; and after the Land Question there was no more important subject to which to call the attention of the House than the administration of the Poor Law in Ireland and the assimilation of the law relating to outdoor relief with that of England; but he would not pursue the matter further, beyond asking what could begained in a Christian land by offering to a starving people empty officialism instead of granting that relief which humanity would dictate?
§ COLONEL O'BEIRNE
said, he wished to make a few remarks upon the Irish policy of Her Majesty's Government. Although, as everbody knew, the administration of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) had been a failure, it was only just to admit that he went to Ireland animated with the best intentions, and still entertained the best intentions towards the country. With regard to the present policy of the Government, it was a matter of regret, he thought, that no mention was made in the Address of the distress that at present prevailed in Ireland. It was nonsense to ignore the fact that there were hundreds of families in every county of two Provinces suffering sore distress, amounting almost to starvation. He regretted that the Government had not intimated their intention to devote 756 a certain amount of public money for the promotion of public works. Offering the poorhouse to starving families was pure mockery, because the poor-house was an intolerable place. He did not think the Crimes Act had been worked unjustly in any part of Ireland. They could not say it had been vindictively used, having regard to the fact that although there had been about 20 murders, only eight or nine men had paid the penalty of their crimes, and justly paid that penalty, on the scaffold. He had never heard a single complaint about the Crimes Act being misused, and believed it had not caused any public inconvenience. It had given liberty of action to every man to do what he had a right to do. As an Irish Member, he thought that thanks were due to Earl Spencer for his energetic but moderate administration of that Act. Nor could it fairly be said that convictions had been obtained by means of packed juries. There might have been a large proportion of Protestants on the juries, but he did not think they entertained any religious animosity against Catholics, and he believed they would always give a true verdict according to the evidence. The Government was the best judge of whether certain public meetings would lead to outrage, and in regard to public meetings they had not exercised their powers unfairly. For his own part he held that the country, so far from denouncing the Act, ought to be grateful for its existence, if only because it rendered possible the punishment of outrage-mongers. He confessed that, now that the Land League was dead and gone, he had little curiosity as to the objects on which its funds had been spent, though its balance-sheet, if published, would not be without interest. It was more important just now to learn whether the new National League, the successor of the Land League, was not an illegal body—a point on which, as it seemed to him, the statements of the Chief Secretary were contradictory. He had his mind made up to vote against the Amendment.
§ MR. ECROYD
said, with regard to the remarkable speech delivered at the commencement of the evening by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), he was sure they must all feel that it would have been very much more satisfactory to the House 757 and to the country, if his exposition of the relations between the Land League and those, whoever they might be, who engaged in outrages and murders had been more full and more explicit. He would only make one other observation with regard to that speech. The hon. Member for the City of Cork had accused the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford of something like suppressio veri. If he was correctly informed, he could not free the hon. Member for the City of Cork from liability to a like charge. With regard to the newspaper United Ireland, he had said that the objectionable headings which appeared to certain articles during the imprisonment of the editor—the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien)—ceased to appear immediately on the liberation of the hon. Member from imprisonment. But he was told that the change simply amounted to this. One of the objectionable headings was "Incidents of the Campaign," and when the editor was released from prison it was altered to "The Campaign." He could not believe that any Member would conceive that there was much credit in such an alteration as that. He wished briefly to express his views on the Amendment before the House. He was sure that he spoke the sentiments of those amongst whom he sat, and with whom he was accustomed to act, when he said that their expressions of approval and admiration of the recent administration of affairs in Ireland by Lord Spencer and the Chief Secretary were sincere and hearty. They did not wish to take any course or to say a single word which might have the effect of weakening that administration, or of embarrassing the conduct of affairs in Ireland now when strenuous endeavours wore being made to restore that country to peace and order. Neither were they of opinion that the only course to be taken with Ireland was a course of constant repression and denial of reforms. But, whilst approving the present course of administration, they could not shut their eyes to the fact that there had been many incidents in this Government's past management of Ireland which led to a continual state of watchfulness and fear lest anything approaching the same character should again occur. They were bound to keep in mind the whole history of the Irish 758 administration of the present Government since it came into power. They could not believe that their neglect to carry out precautionary measures during the first nine months of their tenure of Office could ever be justified. During that period it was well known to the Government that great danger was arising from seeds of mischief already existing, and which they said had existed during a portion of the Administration of Lord Beaconsfield. If that was so, it was cause for very strong condemnation of the course persistently taken by the Government during that critical period. He could not refrain from alluding to a speech made during that very period by the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain), at Birmingham, at the opening of a new Liberal Club on the 16th November, 1880. The right hon. Gentleman was reported to have said that, although there was wide-spread discontent arising with regard to existing laws, it was not the first duty of the Government to maintain peace and order, but that whilst the forces opposed to peace and order were proceeding to organize themselves, it was their duty, before taking any steps of repression, to examine into and try to remedy the grievances complained of, and which were made the excuses for disorder. A principle more entirely subversive of all law and order than the one contained in that speech, he thought it would be absolutely impossible to formulate. They were perfectly conscious that there had been all along two forces at work in the Administration—one, he was happy to believe, a most influential and powerful force, at all times ready, in the first place, to assert the majesty of the law, and then willing to lend an ear to all real grievances; and the other holding and endeavouring to carry into action the pernicious principles set forth in the speech of the President of the Board of Trade. The object of Members who supported the Amendment was not to weaken the hands of Lord Spencer. They wished to strengthen the hands of the wiser and firmer section of the Administration; but, whilst those still remained in Office who, in the opinion, had been mainly responsible for the miseries and disasters that has followed each other so quickly during the last few years, and who had para- 759 lyzed the firmer elements of the Government when they ought to have most diligently asserted the majesty of the law, Members of the Opposition found it necessary to raise an indignant protest against the advocates of a policy which had produced such evils before and might do the like again. Those who had been the cause of weakness still remained in the Administration. Her Majesty's Government had got rid of the man who was supremely right in the spring of 1882, and who then stood forth as the resolute defender of law and order, and Members of the Opposition wished that Her Majesty's Government would as promptly get rid of those who, as they fully believed, had weakened the administration of the law. If the Government would purge themselves of that element, Members opposite would be able to give to the present Administration of Ireland a more unqualified support. From a desire that the mind of the country should be set at rest on this point, and not be subject to future surprises of like nature to the Kilmainham negotiations, he should give a hearty support to the Amendment before the House.
said, that, as an independent Member sitting above the Gangway, he desired to support the Government. He believed the debate was one that was calculated to intensify disaffection in Ireland. The Amendment, if carried, must put an end to the administration of Lord Spencer. When it was said that was not its object, the question was raised whether it was strictly in accordance with the traditions of the House to put forward an Amendment for the purpose of damaging the Government with the expectation that it would not be carried. It was difficult to reconcile the terms of the Amendment with the passages of the Address which would be left untouched by the Amendment, and by the adoption of which satisfaction would be expressed at the improvement in the social condition of Ireland. The Conservatives were in high glee because they thought they saw a little division of opinion on the Liberal Benches, which promised to be of use to them. He did not believe, however, that there was the slightest ground for their joy, inasmuch as the slight difference of opinion that formerly existed between the late Chief Secretary and 760 Her Majesty's Government was of very small moment. It simply concerned the policy of the Government for about 10 days, and they all on that side of the House now united in approving the present policy. This evening, the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had disclaimed all knowledge of certain statements published in United Ireland, on the plea that when they appeared he was actually in Kilmainham Gaol; but, surely, after his release he might have read what had been printed in the paper during his incarceration. But on the 2nd of June in last year the hon. Gentleman was not in prison; and when he (Mr. Buxton) called attention to the report of a speech in which the hon. Member had spoken of the ultimate aim and object of the Land League as the separation of England from Ireland, the hon. Gentleman rose in his place to ask where the report appeared. The authority was given to him, but he never disavowed the statement. This was a serious time, and they ought to show a united front. He thought it would be more dignified if Members on the other side of the House would assist Her Majesty's Government. They were dealing with no light matter; and, with the view of strengthening the hands of the Government, he should give his strenuous opposition to the Amendment.
§ LORD CLAUD HAMILTON
Sir, it has been said by the hon. Member who has just sat down that hon. Members of the Opposition should either cease their opposition to the Address or cease to support the Amendments that are put down if they do not intend to carry them. Well, I have no doubt I have seen Members on his side of the House voting on Amendments which, at least, were not intended to strengthen the hands of the Government.
Perhaps I may be allowed to rise to Order. I did not say it was a peculiar thing that Amendments should be moved by a Party that had no hope of carrying them. I said they should only move an Amendment which they wished to have carried, and which, if carried, would advance the objects they had in view.
§ LORD CLAUD HAMILTON
I am sorry I misunderstood the hon. Gentleman; but I can assure him that I quite understand the object of this Amendment. The object of this Amendment, 761 so far as I know it—I was no party to it—was to procure a discussion on the question of Her Majesty's Government, and was intended to strengthen the hands of the Government. Not for the first time in our experience of the Government, the Leaders believe that unless they receive at this moment strong expressions of opinion from the House and the country in favour of the later policy which they have been pursuing in Ireland, they might in a moment of weakness be urged—by those in the Cabinet and those below the Gangway on the side of the House hostile to the policy—once more to abandon their policy in favour of some such arrangement as that which is called the Kilmainham Treaty. It was solely with that object that this Amendment was put forward. Sir, I think we have succeeded in eliciting from this House an expression of opinion most valuable; and, after the remarkable speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford, I, for one, should not be in the least sorry if this Amendment were withdrawn. Its object has been served, and I think the hands of Her Majesty's Government have already been immensely strengthened. I should like to allude to one or two remarks which have fallen in the course of the debate from the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary, the noble Marquess, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford and the Home Secretary, both in the course of their speeches, charged the Opposition with not having suppressed the Land League in its earlier stages. They stated, as a fact, that the Land League existed in the time of the late Government, and that it should have been dealt with and coped with at that time. And I was much struck with an observation of the noble Marquess, that what first gave the Land League power in Ireland was the encouragement which the hon. Member for the City of Cork got in this House, which enabled him to cope with the Government and the constituted authorities of the House. Now, Sir, the Members returned in the last Parliament were fully conversant with the power which the hon. Member for the City of Cork had obtained. I think the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade was some- 762 what cognizant of those facts. We, who sat then on that side of the House, with all the responsibilities of government on our shoulders, knew how the Irish Party below the Gangway received assistance and advice from the President of the Board of Trade, the President of the Local Government Board, and occasionally of the late Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; and we knew full well if, at that time, we had attempted to deal with the Land League, which had just commenced, a large part of the Liberal Party would not have joined with us in our endeavour to suppress what they called "Constitutional agitation," for I know it was in my own constituency the President of the Board of Trade stated that at its commencement the objects of the Land League were praiseworthy. Well, Sir, now to charge us with not putting down what has since turned out to be a conspiracy, but which from Members of their own Cabinet they say was praiseworthy at the time, is a charge I am surprised the noble Marquess should have brought against us. Now, the noble Marquess also said—and it was a statement which greatly surprised me also—that we did not give assistance to the Government, when they brought in the Arrears Act and the Land Act. I entirely dispute that statement. At the time the Arrears Act was passed, it is quite possible many Conservatives admitted the necessity for such a measure, but the necessity for the passage of such a measure came about by the mal-administration of Her Majesty's Government. We have it on the authority of the Duke of Argyll, that when they came into Office they never thought of introducing a Land Bill; and it was only the commencement of the Land League, with whom the President of the Board had acted, that gave the necessity for the introduction of the measure. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) denies that he had ever received assistance at the hands of his Colleagues. We all know that the right hon. Gentleman, though he is of a rugged exterior, is of a large and a kind heart, and I am quite sure he would be the last one to give bad treatment to his Colleagues. The noble Marquess last night endeavoured to dispute the statement of the right hon. Member for North Lincolnshire (Mr. J. Lowther), that certain Colleagues of the 763 right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford used clandestine negotiations behind his back; but at the same time, Sir, the noble Marquess stated that the right hon. Gentleman was so often in Ireland at that time that he must have been in ignorance of what was going on in the Committee of the Cabinet dealing in the Crimes Bill. If he was, I think he ought to have seen that it was possible, and even probable, that there were clandestine negotiations going on behind his back. Now, we were not oblivious to the fact that early last spring the President of the Board of Trade was seen in constant communication with the authorities of the House in the Lobby of thi3 House, and with Members of the Irish Party. I believe there were negotiations prior to the time the right hon. Gentleman proposed the Kilmainham Treaty. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has always from his earliest history been given to intrigue—I do not impute to him anything improper—in Birmingham, the centre of that great Caucus of which he was originator, and of which, I believe, he was one of the principal agitators. The right hon. Gentleman makes us think that he must be the person which the late Charles Dickens had in his eye when he drew the character of the Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist. I feel that my right hon. Friend the Member for North Lincolnshire was quite right when he said clandestine negotiations were going on behind the back of the late Chief Secretary, which at last culminated in his leaving Office. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford proved one of two things in this House about which there was formerly a doubt. He proved conclusively that the Arrears Bill formed part of the compact called the Kilmainham Treaty. That was a matter which had never been denied, but about which many of us had considerable doubts. It was not denied by the noble Marquess, and it may now be taken as an accepted fact. The Home Secretary began his speech by saying that the improvement of Ireland was due to mainly two causes. One of those, he said, was the organization of the policy that was disputed by the right hon. Member for Bradford, but re-asserted by the noble Marquess. It may be correct or not correct; but I would ask this question of Her Majesty's 764 Government. They have stated that they were enabled to cope with the disorder and crime in Ireland. What powers did they require to amend the police system? Did they require an Act of Parliament? They knew that by a stroke of the pen—an Order in Council—they would have been able to have effected any re-organization of the police they desired, such as they have now, and therefore for the right hon. Gentleman to say that this was due to the organization of the police is the strongest condemnation of their own government. It shows that the Government for two years and a-half neglected that organization. The Chief Secretary said tonight that the release of the "suspects" was one of the acts we challenged at the time of the Kilmainham Treaty, and that it did no harm. He did not say it did any good, or that it had answered the expectations of Her Majesty's Government, but he said it did no harm. I would like to ask Her Majesty's Government, as Michael Davitt is now in prison why was he re-arrested? All we know is, it was part of the Kilmainham Treaty that his release followed. Michael Davitt went immediately afterwards to Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool, and delivered incendiary speeches against the Government which had shown him such clemency. He has all the winter tried to get up an agitation, and once more they have been compelled to put him in prison; and when they say that the Kilmainham Treaty has done no harm, I say, either a gross injustice has been done to Davitt or the statement of the Chief Secretary for Ireland is wrong. The Amendment has been condemned not only by the right hon. Gentleman, but by many Members of Her Majesty's Government, and I have only to state, as I said before, that this Amendment would strengthen their hands. We should be the last people to act disloyally to our constituents or to the Queen's Government, and when we are questioned we can appeal to our conduct for the last two years and a-half, and I think the charge which is now made that we are endeavouring by every possible means to hamper or in any way embarrass Her Majesty's Government in their Irish administration, it falls to the ground. What we want is the past experience of the Government to teach them wisdom 765 in the work. We want them to continue firm in the administration of the law; not again to tamper or negotiate with persons suspected of treason and sedition. The Chief Secretary says—"Have patience in dealing with crime; have patience in dealing with remedial measures." I agree with the right hon. Gentleman; but there is one thing more than patience for Ireland, and we hope for the people of Ireland, and that is, a bold and firm Government. If the Chief Secretary will go and inquire, he will find it is not legislation that they require. All they ask is to be left alone. [Home Rule cheers.] If the hon. Gentlemen cheer that remark—I mean "to be left alone"—I suppose they allude to the Crimes Act; but there is another thing—they cannot follow their avocations of peace. It rests with the Party opposite to carry out Her Majesty's programme. I think those who live there and have the great interest of the country at heart, know full well that there is little to be hoped for in the future of that country; but still, though the social and political spirits of the country are enough to make many men shudder, we who live in Ireland know that from a material point of view there has been in the last 10 or 15 years a great and vast improvement. Those improvements will increase if the Government—whether they consist of Members on that side of the House or Members on this side of the House—would but lend a deaf ear to agitators and would keep on the onward path—before they listen to agitators, before they attempt to bring force or remedial legislation, before they attempt to pass any further measures of any sort or kind for Ireland, they will first of all uphold the law, and to the best of their powers see that the administration of the law is firm, just, and impartial.
§ MR. T. A. DICKSON
regretted the debate which had taken place during the past few days as disastrous to the peace and welfare of Ireland, as, in his opinion, it would arouse again the passions of the people, which had almost subsided. The Mover of the Amendment (Mr. Gorst) knew very little by experience of Ireland; and, while he pretended to strengthen the hands of the Government, he (Mr. Dickson) could say, as an Irish Member, that its tendency would be to weaken the hands of the Irish Executive, and to play into 766 the hands of the party of discontent and disaffection in Ireland. In connection with the Protection of Person, and Property Act, both in and out of the House he had given that Act all the opposition in his power. He had always maintained that the locking up of untried men would not grapple with crime, but would tend to its increase. He had been confirmed in that impression by paying a visit to an Irish prison, where he had an opportunity of seeing 40 or 50 "suspects" gathered together. When he saw and conversed with those men, and noticed that they had come from different parts of Ireland, some implicated in murder and others in crimes of a lighter degree—and noticed that they were conversing together, and laying their plans for the future, he had said to himself that the imprisonment of the 900 men as "suspects" was laying the foundation of unhappy events which would bring suffering to Ireland for many a day to come. He had, however, the satisfaction of hearing the Home Secretary on Tuesday last admit that the Act had been a failure, and that the imprisonment of the "suspects" without trial had also resulted in failure. Although he had opposed that Act he had voted for and supported the Crimes Act, because he believed that it was an Act directed against secret societies and against assassination conspiracies, and thereby going to the very root of the Irish difficulty. In the administration of the Act, Lord Spencer and the Chief Secretary for Irelanddeserved—and he believed received—the support of every right-minded man in Ireland. After nine months of patient investigation and anxious hard work, such as had fallen to the lot of few Irish Administrators, they had succeeded at last in tracing crime to its source, and laid bare to the country and the world one of the foulest and most hideous conspiracies against life ever formed in any country, and the Irish officials, especially Mr. Jenkinson, deserved the greatest credit for having unmasked the secret societies which had been established in the country. He believed that the present was not the time to weaken or embarrass the hands of the Executive, when every patriotic Irishman, Liberal and Conservative, should rally round and sustain the Lord Lieutenant and the Chief Secretary in the arduous and dangerous positions 767 in which they were placed, and do their best to enable them to administer the law with firmness. He must confess, however, that he had been disappointed at the announcement that had been made in "another place" by a noble Lord, a Member of the Government, and at the hints which had been dropped in the course of this debate, to the effect that there was to be no legislation of importance relating to Ireland introduced by the Government during the present Session, and this in the face of the admitted defects which existed in the Land Act. He would appeal to the Government and the House not to allow a year to pass and the moderate demands from Ireland and Ulster to be put aside. He would ask them not to commit the fatal blunder that was made after the Land Act of 1870 was passed, when, although its defects were made manifest, 11 years had been allowed to lapse before they were remedied. During that 11 years discontent and disaffection ripened into revolt, from the effects of which Ireland was suffering to-day. He would ask the House to try and act differently in the future. Ireland had never gained anything, unhappily, in the past, except by agitation; but he would say, for Heaven's sake, "Make a new departure." The reform of Grand Juries and County Boards was urgently required; and, as an Irish Member, he would say to the Government, "Do not delay too long in giving us these necessary reforms."
§ MR. BLAKE
considered that in the present condition of Ireland it was not creditable to one of the great Parties of the State to bring forward an Amendment of the kind moved by the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst). Both Parties were responsible for the grievances under which Ireland still suffered, and it should be as much the duty of the Tory Party to redress those grievances, instead of trying to embarras the Government in the efforts they were making to that end. The Amendment spoke of concession to lawless agitation; but, although he knew nothing about the so-called Kilmainham Treaty, as he was neither in the confidence of the hon. Member for Clare or the Leader of the Irish Party, he believed that whatever concession the Government had made on that occasion had been made with the view, not of coming to 768 terms with lawlessness, but of restoring peace and order by the promise of introducing remedial measures. Believing that, he would certainly take no other course than vote against the Amendment. The speeches which had been delivered during that debate showed that were the Tory Party in, no concessions would be made to Ireland. It was only just to Her Majesty's Government to declare that the measures relating to the land system of Ireland which they had introduced had gone a long way to remedy the defects in that system, and to contribute to the future peace and prosperity of the country.
§ SIR. DONALD CURRIE
said, he quite agreed with the hon. Member who had just sat down, that the prolongation of this debate was in every respect most prejudicial to the interests of the Empire. What was the meaning of the Amendment? It meant crippling the action of the Queen's Government in a crisis such as they were now in. It meant, if that House passed the Amendment, a Vote of Condemnation on the Government of Ireland as carried on by the Queen's Ministry; it meant disorder; and he would, if he had any influence, in the interests of Ireland and of his own Party, urge that the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Gorst) should not press it to a division. What did the Amendment impugn? It impugned good order and government in Ireland, and it was most dangerous to call that in question at this crisis. As a Member for a Scottish constituency, he ventured to assert that they ought not to prolong this discussion, or continue it in the spirit in which it had been carried on, but pass as swiftly as possible to the practical purposes of legislation. His hon. Friend beside him (Mr. T. A. Dickson) had advanced a suggestion of practical importance. He wanted something really practical. But this Amendment was merely a condemnation by a side wind of the Government action in the past by reference to what might be their action in the future, and that was not a practical course. They had discussed the Land League in the House. He had no great regard for the purposes of the Land League. They had not been, in his humble judgment, for the national interest. They had not tended to the advantage of Ireland. It meant disorder 769 —it meant Socialism, Communism, and, indeed, an utter subversion of authority. Whatever the object of the Land League, it was not his office to condemn it; it would be judged by the country after the speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). What they had to consider was the interest of the Empire; and in the interest of Ireland itself, and the interest of the Government as a Government in Ireland, and of the Queen's Government as the Government of the day, he hoped that the House would proceed to the practical purposes of legislation, and leave alone those Party objects which might be served by the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham.
§ MR. SCHREIBER
I am sure, Sir, we all heard with sincere pleasure the announcement made earlier in the evening by the Secretary of State for War that the Prime Minister's health is reestablished, and that in less than a week we may hope to see him once more occupying the seat which during his absence the Home Secretary has been keeping warm; and I do not think, Sir, that the right hon. Gentleman will return a day too soon. For, although the Session is only one week old, he will not find his Government where he left it. It has been suffering heavy blows from the sledge-hammer of a former Colleague; he will not find his New Rules where he loft them, only last night they were first strained, then broken, by a Member of his Cabinet; and last, not least, he will find that a change has come over the spirit of Her Majesty's Opposition. Now, Sir, it was quite impossible to road the speeches of Ministers in the late Recess without being struck by their nervous anxiety to huddle out of sight the events of the last three years; to divert public attention from them; and to direct it to the legislation of the coming Session, and, in one notable instance, of the Session after next. Their constant language was this—"We have got our New Rules; we have cleared the ground; we have upon the stocks a magnificent Bill for the Prevention of Corrupt Practices; by another we shall recast the Municipal Government of London and create a now and a glorified Lord Mayor; if we have a strong point, that point is Bankruptcy. In a word, next Session we mean business; for Heaven's sake, then, 770 let us hear no more of Egypt, and, as to Ireland, let it not once be so much as named among you." But in all this, Sir, Her Majesty's Ministers reckoned without their Opposition; for the fact is, that recent events have thrown on us a duty which we must either discharge or cease to be an Opposition. Now, the Home Secretary has long been anxious to define that duty for us. He says that nine months since we ought to have brought in a Vote of Censure on the Government. But why has he tendered that advice? Because he knows that Votes of Censure depend for their success on time and opportunity, and that Votes of Censure which miscarry from neglect of those considerations are thereby converted into Votes of condonation and acquittal. But, Sir, I will tell the Home Secretary a trick worth two of that. First, let a Government be thoroughly discredited, and you may choose your own time to destroy it. And, indeed, whatever the time chosen, the Government is sure to take objection to the choice. Last night, for example, the Homo Secretary alleged the great gravity there is in Irish affairs at the present moment. But on turning to the gracious Speech from the Throne I am struck by a paragraph which altogether re-assures me; for there I read—My Lords and Gentlemen,—I am happy to state that the improvement in the social condition of Ireland, to which I referred in December, continues. Agrarian crime has sensibly diminished, and the law has been everywhere upheld.But this Amendment, Sir, is not a Vote of Censure; so to regard it is thoroughly to misconceive the function and uses of "the Fourth Party." It is not, Sir, for the Picador in a bull fight to despatch the bull, that is the business of the Matador. On that Bench sit our Picadors, and well they do their duty. There sits our Matador (pointing to Sir Stafford Northcote), who has just stepped into the ring, ready to make proof of his skill and of the temper of his blade. What, Sir, we really desire to do by this Amendment is, to extract from Her Majesty's Ministers a definite statement of their policy, which may do something to allay the anxiety of the English public, due to the fact that the Cabinet is now speaking with two voices on the subject of the Government of Ireland. It would seem, Sir, as if there were 771 some Members of the Cabinet quite unable to understand that English liberties are good whenever they are preceded or accompanied by English ideas, but that, given English liberties on the one hand and Irish ideas upon the other, there inevitably results that which is the present bane of Ireland, the abuse of free institutions. In a word, then, is the Secretary of State for War, or is the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) the real mouthpiece of the Cabinet upon this question? If the latter, then let the Home Secretary be of good cheer, for the day will not be distant upon which he will be eased of those responsibilities which he now finds so crushing, but which three years ago he was so extremely anxious to assume, and in a private station he and his Colleagues will have time to moralize upon the "Decline and Fall-off" of those who "wade through dirt to dignities." We have it, Sir, from the Chief Secretary for Ireland, than whom there can be no higher authority upon the subject, that Ireland is now divided into two camps, never, in my opinion, more bitterly hostile to cash other than at the present moment, and of which one was never more weak, the other never more strong. That, Sir, is the condemnation of Her Majesty's Government in their past policy to Ireland. For the future, we claim to be told, and to be told plainly, whether the policy of the Government will give aid and comfort to the camp of loyal or disloyal Ireland the task, Sir, of governing Ireland will not be an easy one for many a year to come, and it can only be made more difficult by shutting our eyes to the real nature of the task which lies before us. We have in Ireland to reckon with, first, hatred, wide and deep, for England—the pent-up hatred of seven centuries. Next, with that fatal passion of the Irish peasant for the soil he tills, which makes him the ready dupe of every agitator who promises him that he shall have it for his own; and, last, we have to reckon with the native turbulence of a Celtic population. These three facts, Sir, are the very rudiments of the Irish Question; and if we would know with how little wisdom this world is governed, we have only to turn to the proposal of Her Majesty's Government to pacify Ireland by the help of a man, the hon. Member for Cork City (Mr. 772 Parnell), who, neither in this House or out of it, has over concealed his hatred of England; who was at the head of an agitation for transferring to the tenant the property of his landlord, and who well understood how to play with turbulence until it passed the border line of crime. I hardly know, Sir, where to look for a parallel to such amazing folly, which, as it comes to be better understood, will destroy what remains of public confidence in a Government that, on the point of making the insane experiment, was only stopped by the dark tragedy, in which Lord Frederick Cavendish lost his life and, by his death, saved Ireland.
§ MR. GRANTHAM
said, he thought the House was much indebted to the Home Secretary for his speech, for had it not been for that speech the debate would have closed, and the House would not have had the advantage of hearing the admirable speech of the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster), or his grave charge against the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell)—a charge which the hon. Member had never answered; and his position in the House must now be regarded as very different from what it had been before. The Government had complained that the Conservative Party had made an unfair attack upon their Irish policy; but the history of Ireland during the last three years was in itself a censure of the Government, for, as they had themselves admitted, prior to the autumn of 1882 there had been 60 unavenged murders in that country the Home Secretary's inaccuracies, which had been exposed by the right hon. Member for Braford, were alone enough to condemn any Government. The remarks of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, moreover, exposed the weakness of the Government in that they were afraid of exercising their powers because they thought they would be disapproved of by the people. Such weakness on the part of a Government would inevitably lead to the degradation of the country. If they could only appeal from that House to the country he had little doubt as to the result. The country, he was sure, would speak with no uncertain sound, and its verdict would not be favourable to Her Majesty's Government. The Chief Secretary had told them that the main difficulty of governing Ireland arose in 773 England; or, in other words, from the weak and vacillating policy of the Radical Party, who preferred pandering to the foibles of human nature, rather than to win the gratitude of their country by establishing and maintaining law and order in the country. He might fairly ask how much longer was political history to repeat itself in the Sister Country? In 1798 Mr. Fitzgibbon declared that concession and conciliation produced a fresh crop of grievances, and the discontent of Ireland kept pace with its increased prosperity; and in the same year the Duke of Portland wrote to Lord Cornwallis that, although he was sorry to say it, his opinion was that the only way in which crime could be stopped in Ireland would be by showing that the Government was possessed of an overwhelming power, which was able to punish impartially all offenders against the law. The same thing might be said to-day. Hon. Members opposite were found always tampering with the affairs of Ireland, often, it might be, with pure motives; but sometimes, he was afraid, as was the case in 1880, with the object of getting back into power. He could not forget that in Southwark and other places pledges were given with the intention of securing the Irish vote. The hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Jesse Ceilings), and also the junior Member for-Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone), had shown a disposition to yield still further to the demands of turbulent agitators. The son of the Prime Minister might be supposed to have spoken the views entertained by a much more responsible person who, without any assigned reason or excuse—for according to the papers he was perfectly well—had not thought fit to be in his place at the commencement of the Session. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, although away from the House, had, it appeared, not deemed it unbecoming in him to make certain statements in reference to his policy, in which he avowed himself to be "in favour of localization in Ireland"—an expression which, if it meant anything, must bear the sense of the speeches either of the hon. Member for Leeds or of the hon. Member for Ipswich. Why was it that all the remedial legislation of the Government had produced so little good and left Ireland in a worse state than it was before? Because it was not the 774 Land Act that was wanted in Ireland, but the destruction of the landlords, who were the link that bound that country to this. It was, therefore, all the more necessary that all those who were for maintaining law and order in Ireland should assert their convictions in some such form as that assumed in the Amendment before the House.
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
The fate of the Amendment now before the House gives me very little concern. Neither its fate, nor its purport, nor its wording is of much account to me, or to those with whom I have the honour to act. One thing is clear, that the Amendment is directed not against the Irish Members, but against Her Majesty's Ministers. [Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: Hear, hear!] I care not whether it is rejected or passed, and I do not propose to make my business either the arraignment or defence of the Government as regards its general policy. I shall confine myself to two speeches delivered in the course of this debate—that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster), and that of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Now, the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford was undoubtedly what writers in the newspapers sometimes call a "great effort" It was a tremendous effort. I always thought the right hon. Gentleman had a good deal of theatrical talent, which he had not up to the present fully developed. Those who heard his remarkable speech will agree with me that it was mimetic as well as historic. It gave us that entertainment which is often described in the play-bills of theatres and music halls as "imitations of popular performers." I wish I saw him in his place in the House at present. I am hardly mistaken in thinking that he favoured the House with what he believed to be imitations of the voices and manners of some hon. Members of the Irish Party. I am content that he shall have all the favour which his familiar attacks upon some Members of that Party and his erudition in American newspapers can win him for a time from this House and the public. I know, too, that his motive was not merely, although it was mainly, to discredit the Irish Members. He had his mind fixed also upon discrediting and damaging the Government from which 775 he has been discarded; and I am convinced that there are Members of that Government—aye, Members who are at this moment sitting on the Treasury Bench—whom he had in his mind with a wish to discredit and damage them as much as he wished to discredit my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork. Whatever his speech was made up from—from American newspapers, from reports of meetings in the country, from hints, and more than hints, in the passionate Press of London—there was one quality of that speech which was all the right hon. Gentleman's own, and that was its envenomed malignity. I never heard in this House a speech more entirely inspired with the purpose of deliberate defamation. I believe it was the right hon. Gentleman's intention to do all the damage he could to the characters of some Members of the House by a process of systematic calumny. He accused some of my hon. Friends, and with them of course myself, of conniving at outrage and assassination, he talked of offering us an alternative; but he gave none. He made it clear that his charge was nothing short of deliberate connivance with outrage and assassination. Here is the sort of alternative the right hon. Gentleman offered us—I give the hon. Member an alternative, that either he connived at outrages, or when, warned by facts and statements, he determined to remain in ignorance; that he took no trouble to test the truth of whether outrages had been committed or not, but that he was willing to gain the advantage of them.[Ministerial cheers.] Let those cheer the right hon. Gentleman who like; I point out that this is no alternative; that men who are informed that outrage and assassination are going on, and who determine to remain in ignorance, and are willing to gain the benefit of outrage and assassination, are distinctly conniving at those crimes. Therefore, I tell the right hon. Gentleman that when he pretended to give us an alternative he did nothing of the kind; and that as he had made up his mind to charge us by implication with conniving at murder, he ought to have stood boldly up and said so. He ought to have said so in those plain words he sometimes is able to use, and ought not to have shielded himself behind the pretence of an alternative. I should have thought that the right hon. Gentleman would 776 be the Member of this House least inclined, owing to certain memories he must have, to fling accusations of sympathy with murder recklessly at other men. When charging us with these crimes, he must have recalled a time when a newspaper, then far more influential than it now is—The Times—charged him with sympathy with secret assassination. I do not charge the right hon. Gentleman with having sympathy with crime; but for the reason I have stated he ought to have felt a sentiment which would have prevented him from recklessly hurling similar charges in the faces of men as honourable as himself, and who feel as little thirst for blood as he does. On the 14th of March, 1864, one who was then a Member of this House, and is now high in Her Majesty's Colonial Service—Sir John Pope Hennessy—brought forward certain statements in this House with regard to a right hon. Friend of mine, for whom I have the highest respect, the Member for Halifax (Mr. Stansfeld), and who was accused by certain newspapers of sympathy with assassination because he had harboured Mazzini and some of his friends. This became the subject of debate in this House, and led to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Halifax resigning his position in the Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) stood up for his Friend. I do not blame him for that—he believed him to be innocent. But what were the evidences given, and the assassination theory held, by the man for whom the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford stood up in this House? Extracts were then read from Mazzini's letter, "The Theory of the Dagger." Such passages as these were read—Blessed be the knife of Palafox; blessed be in your hands every weapon that can destroy the enemy and set you free. The weapon that slow Mincovich in the Arsenal initiated the insurrection in Venice. It was a weapon of irregular warfare like that which, three months before the Republic, destroyed the Minister Rossi in Rome…Sacred be the stiletto that began the Sicilian Vespers.The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford rose and said—The hon. and learned Gentleman had brought forward a charge against an absent man—Signor Mazzini, who, whatever his faults, was a man of high character.—(3 Hansard,  935.)777 Whatever his faults! What though he blessed the knife of one man and the dagger of another, and the system of "irregular warfare" which removed Count Rossi, the Minister of the late Pope Pius IX., who was murdered on the steps of the Capitol, he was "a man of high character!" The right hon. Gentleman's Leader of the present day did not agree with his estimate of Signor Mazzini. The present Prime Minister had written in a preface to a translation of Signor Farini's Roman States—"The satellites of Mazzini make common cause with assassins." After those extracts had been read and four days had passed, during which the right hon. Member for Bradford had time for reflection, the subject was again raised, and the right hon. Gentleman said—I should not be ashamed of being the friend of Mazzini."—[Irish cheers and a cry of "the Dagger."] "I am not ashamed of being his acquaintance."—(Ibid,  326.)Well, I think that that incident is not without its interest and moral. The Irish Members who brought forward that question at that time did not charge the right hon. Gentleman, or think of charging him, with sympathy with assassination. The charge was that he and his companions showed a levity which disregarded what a man might do, or what his satellites might be, so long as that man was a foreign patriot. The Times of March 15, 1864, had a leading article on the subject, which is not without its application to the present circumstances. The right hon. Gentleman was not then in the flush and heyday of youth. He was able to judge whether Mazzini and his associates and satellites were what they were represented to be. The Times said—Who, then, is this M. Mazzini, to whose innocence this Gentleman (Mr. Stansfeld) and Mr. W. E. Forster pledge themselves? Let anyone read the passages quoted by Mr. Hennessy last night, and say whether the friends of M. Mazzini have any right to indulge in high-flown indignation when it is alleged that he might possibly be engaged in a conspiracy against a Potentate's life.I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford was justified in seizing at the chance of high-flown indignation because the newspaper that accused him then of sympathy with assassination accuses some of us now of the same thing. I wonder that the memory of that episode in his career 778 has not made him more generous—yes, I will say more honest—towards men whom, in his heart, he no more believes to be guilty of that charge than honourable men then believed him to be. I pass from that not un-instructive incident to the right hon. Gentleman's attack on Irish Members, and the grounds on which that attack was made. He had something to say about myself in connection with United Ireland, a paper published in Dublin. He said much the same thing about a year ago. He then went over the story of some articles that he said appeared in that paper. I believe they were not articles, but headings of paragraphs; and he appealed to me, though I was not in my place at the time, to know whether I approved of all these various paragraphs and headings. Now, the right hon. Gentleman must have known—at all events he might have known—that I could not have seen that newspaper then. He knew that I had been out of England the whole of that Recess, from the end of one Session to the beginning of another. [An IRISH MEMBER: He did.] He did, and he said so himself in this House, for he indulged in some more or less graceful satire at my expense, and complained that, instead, of helping to keep order in Ireland, I had been enjoying myself among the monuments of ancient Greece. But since I was so culpable as to be enjoying myself among the monuments of ancient Greece, and in countries much farther off, he might have known it was not likely that a Dublin paper followed me in all my wanderings. He knew that at the time he was speaking—at the time he was so playfully chiding me for the amusement of the House—he must have known that that paper was prevented from coming into this country; and though I made strenuous efforts shortly after to get copies of it, and see if it contained the terrible things it was said to contain, I was unable to obtain a copy. However, I allow that to pass. It would not much matter if the right hon. Gentleman could have sustained his charge. If he had not returned to it I should not have cared to raise it. But I am quite willing to tell him, if it affords him the slightest interest, the history of my connection with that paper. It was started to get fid of a notorious print, which appears lately to have lived by the levying of black mail 779 in Dublin. It was founded by a committee of gentlemen in whom I have the greatest trust; and the editorship was given to a man whom I regard and respect, and whom I know to be incapable of conducting a journal on the principles the right hon. Gentleman described. Under those conditions I felt content, having no control over the paper, to go abroad among the monuments of ancient Greece, and to leave the paper in the hands of the able editor who has already shown his ability in this House. I did not inquire in my absence how he conducted it. I know he conducted it honourably and well; and we have learned that the only things the right hon. Gentleman objects to are the paragraphs and headings which got into the paper while he had the responsible editor under lock and key in one of his prisons. I have said enough on that point. I do not believe that any investigation would convict that editor of publishing any articles which men of honour would be ashamed to sanction. The right hon. Gentleman went over many points with the object of associating me and others with plots and assassination. For example, he spoke of a telegram sent by Mr. Brennan, who was the correspondent of The Irish World, to that paper. The telegram is given variously in the different journals; but I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, is this which I am about to read the right version?All sorts of theories are afloat concerning this explosion,"—that is, the Salford dynamite explosion—"but the truly loyal one is that Fenianism did it.What is the plain and evident meaning of that? Is it not that the fashionable and loyal theory, as a matter of course, is that the Fenians did it? I ask the right hon. Gentleman, is not that the manifest meaning?
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
I quote the whole of the printed version I have. The right hon. Gentleman charged me with deliberate avoidance of reading articles in order that I might be able to say I did not know of the incitement to assassination they contained. Then he said—I expect, or suspect"—prohably suspect, it is more in his line—" I suspect the hon. Member 780 (meaning myself) has been careful not to read the articles to which I refer.The charge is, perhaps, hardly Parliamentary. There was a rude interruption last night, which we all regret, to an imputation which ought not to have been made; but the right hon. Gentleman is allowed to say—I suspect the hon. Member has been careful not to read the articles to which I refer.The whole theory and purpose of his declamation and defamation was to make Members of this House responsible for every violent act done, and every violent word said, by any supposed follower of his in this country or America. I should like to know how that theory would apply to the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman has not forgotten the riots which occurred in the Reform years, nor the men who got up those riots, no has not forgotten the riot which led to the breakdown of the Hyde Park railings, and the maiming and wounding of many of the mob and some policemen. The right hon. Gentleman and his Friends came back to power on that smash of the Hyde Park railings. The right hon. Gentleman was well acquainted with the leader of the Democratic movement—the late Mr. Beales. [Mr. W. E. FOESTEK: I did not know him personally.] Neither do I know personally those who have uttered these violent words and done these violent acts in Ireland for which I am sought to be made responsible. Mr. Beales is dead. Mr. Beales was a man of honour and courage. I knew him, and I respected him. But he certainly got around him, and could not help getting around him, men of very odd character and very odd pretensions. Does the right hon. Gentleman remember a certain Mr. Joseph Leicester, a famous glass blower? [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: I do not remember him.] He does not remember him? As a famous actress said on one occasion, "What a candour; but what a memory!" At the time Mr. Leicester's name used to appear in every London newspaper every morning. This distinguished supporter of the right hon. Gentleman's Party went to a great meeting one day—a great trades' demonstration, held, I think, in Trafalgar Square—and this was part of the speech of Joseph Leicester. There was then, as there has been more lately, much talk of 781 a kind of rush and raid on the House of Commons to force them to pass a certain Bill, and this was what this demagogic hero said—The question is, were they to suffer those little-minded, decrepid, hump-backed, one-eyed scoundrels, who call themselves the House of Commons, to defraud them any longer of their rights?I was not a Member of the House of Commons then, and did not come in for any part of that lively personal description; but I ask the right hon. Gentleman if someone as nearly connected with the hon. Member for the City of Cork as Mr. Leicester was with the right hon. Gentleman had used words of that description to a meeting of Irishmen, what would he have said? The riots in Hyde Park took place, and people were wounded. ["Question!"] There was no cry of "Question" when the right hon. Gentleman was defaming me and others, and went over land and sea and over years to find charges against us. It is quite to the Question. I want to say to him and the House that it is impossible in any movement to hold the leaders responsible for every idle word and act said and done by their followers. Of this movement Mr. Beales was the leader; and when the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends came into power did they repudiate Mr. Beales? They made him a County Court Judge. Did they at any time while these proceedings were going on repudiate the language of any man? No. There was a newspaper in London at the time of which the right hon. Gentleman and the right hon. Gentleman sitting near him (Mr. John Bright) knew something, in which a writer, not now living, had once called on the people, if a certain thing were not done, to destroy the House of Lords, and to strew the Thames with the wreck of their painted Chamber. I ask the right hon. Gentleman who took in that paper whether he read it or not? [Cries of "Morning Star."] Yes; The Morning Star. [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: I was not a shareholder.] The matter was brought to the notice of this House by an hon. Member; and I am not aware that the right hon. Gentleman said one single word in condemnation of that language. And remember, Mr. Speaker, that the time of the Hyde Park riots was not at me of peace. We have heard again and again that things may be allowed in times of 782 peace; but that was not a time of peace. Those were dangerous times. Troops were kept in readiness—the air was full of danger. During the whole of that time the right hon. Gentleman never said, as far as I know, one word to dissociate himself or any of his Friends from those acts or words. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman another question. Did he never hear at that time that a famous Continental leader of revolution was over in London, and was in negotiation with some of the men concerned in these affairs with the hope of assisting them in a Democratic revolution? [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: No.] He never heard of it? He never read any of the papers published at that time? He never read histories published since that time? Over and over again—in newspapers, magazines, and books—has the story of the foreign incendiary been told, and the right hon. Gentleman never heard of it or read of it; and yet he supposes I read every copy of The Irish World. I think I have sufficiently shown that the right hon. Gentleman ought to be cautious how he makes charges against us of sympathy with assassination, or of having assisted or connived at crimes, and how he lays down the theory that a man is bound to know what is done by everybody else who is concerned with him in any popular movement. I will tell the right hon. Gentleman and the House how outrages grew up in Ireland of late. The Land League was formed with the full and deliberate intent of drawing agitation above the surface. That was its motive. Its purpose was to maintain public platforms on which agitation might go on openly and in the face of day, by which men would be withdrawn from that terrible system of conspiracy which has been the bane and curse of Ireland for so many years. That was the motive of the Land League. I saw that was its distinct purpose, and it was succeeding so manifestly in the purpose that I joined the League. The right hon. Gentleman expects that everyone has read every letter written by everyone else. I should ask him if he did me the favour of reading a letter of mine which was published in all the papers in England in reference to my joining the Land League? [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: No.] He did not. He only reads The Irish World, and I did not write to The Irish World to explain 783 my intentions. In that letter I stated concisely and clearly my reasons for believing the land League would do good, and why I thought it was the duty of every patriotic Irishman to join it. I believed it was doing good by helping to close the era of conspiracy. But there came upon Ireland one autumn and one winter three influences of evil together—famine, the House of Lords, and the right hon. Gentleman. The country was miserably pinched with hunger. The House of Lords rejected the poor little Compensation for Disturbance Bill, which might have stopped for a while the sufferings of the people; and then, to improve the situation, the right hon. Gentleman got his law for the arrest of suspicious men, under which he flung the leaders of the people into prison. Then it was that outrages began to increase. After the arrest of the hon. Member for the City of Cork the movement drifted leaderless and hopeless, dropped from the high point to which it had risen in publicity and on the platform, into the seething ferment of the sea of conspiracy. The leaders of the land movement had nearly succeeded in raising Ireland out of conspiracy'. ["No, no!"] That is what I fully and firmly believe, and thus history hereafter will, I am certain, write it out. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Forster) referred to a gentleman named Redpath. The right hon. gentleman accuses us of complicity in assassination because Mr. Redpath attended a meeting somewhere. I only saw Mr. Redpath once, and then but for a few minutes. But I am told that the right hon. Gentleman himself has had more to do with Mr. Redpath than I have. Mr. Redpath was an honorary member of the Cobden Club. He is, I believe, an Englishman, and even a Yorkshireman.
§ MR. POTTER
It is quite true Mr. Redpath was elected a member of the Cobden Club in 1869, and was recommended by friends in America. He is no longer a member of the Club, and has not been for about two years.
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
Mr. Redpath was a member of the Cobden Club, recommended by friends in America, and I dare say he would be a member still had it not been for certain debates in this House. I should, however, never think of holding my hon. 784 Friend the Member for Rochdale (Mr. Potter) responsible for any of Mr. Redpath's words or acts. The Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant made a serious mistake when he appealed to us to-night to justify all manner of executions simply on the ground that so many murders had been committed. It is not the theory of this country that for so many murders there shall be so many executions. That is the theory of certain Eastern States; but that is happily not yet the theory in even Ireland. Were the murdors ten times more in number than the men put on trial for them, I should be at liberty still, if I thought I had reason, to examine into the justice of each trial and the way in which it had been conducted; and if it could be shown there was anything like systematic jury packing in even one trial, no matter how many murders had been committed, I should denounce it. The right hon. Gentleman seemed a little hopeful towards the end of his speech when he spoke of the great decrease of outrages, and when there was drawn from him the statement that there was also a decrease of evictions. In searching for the causes which had led to this decrease of outrages, the fact of the decrease of evictions must not be overlooked. The right hon. Gentleman then became a little more ominous in saying that he feared that lately evictions had been on the increase. Was it not possible that with the increase of evictions might come an increase of outrages? It must be remembered that there is now no such thing as the right of public meeting or free speech in Ireland. A man may make a speech if he likes at his own risk; but the right hon. Gentleman tells us that if he thinks there is anything in the speech which might tend to inflame the feelings of anyone, he will prevent or punish the making of such speeches, although he knows the speaker had no evil intention whatever. There is no free platform in Ireland; no free Press—no right to hold a public meeting. There is no way in which the sentiments and grievances of the people can be freely expressed. You are labouring in the dark. You are driving disaffection beneath the surface. You alone will be responsible for the consequences of the terrible and stringent measures you have adopted. As the hon. Member for the City of Cork said, 785 there is no longer any probability of the Irish Leaders or the Irish Members of Parliament standing between you and the elements of conspiracy. I do not blame the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary so much for the change that has come about. The responsibility for that change I lay, as I have already said, on the shoulders of another man. I may say of him, as was said of another famous politician, that it has seldom been within the power of any human creature to do so much good as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford has prevented.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
Sir, in the first place, let me acknowledge that the debate, which has now extended over several days, has travelled rather wide. At the same time, I think there has been much more connection between some of the subjects that have been discussed and some of the speeches that have been made than would appear at first sight. I am bound to say it seems to me that the additions which have been made to the knowledge which the House already possessed as to the condition of Ireland have been contributions of very considerable value in teaching us the course which the Government ought to pursue with regard to it. But I wish to adhere as closely as I possibly can to the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst); and I may say that it appears to me that it has been found much easier on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite to rebuke my hon. and learned Friend, and to taunt those sitting on this side of the House, than to meet his argument or to answer it. The argument of my hon. and learned Friend was somewhat of this nature. He said—"You take credit, in Her Majesty's Speech from the Throne, for an improvement in the civil condition of Ireland, and for the power and success of the Government in putting down crime." No doubt that is, so far, satisfactory; but my hon. and learned Friend says that that partly satisfactory state of things has been brought about by a policy materially different from that you formerly pursued; and he desires, in inviting the House to express its opinion upon the words he has placed before us, to give utterance to the hope that the new policy will be maintained, and not weakened or destroyed by 786 counter actions of a different kind. We are told that this is weakening the authority of the Government, and that it is occasioning embarrassment to them. We are sorry, I am sure, to weaken or embarrass the Government; but there is something more to be considered than the possibility of weakening or embarrassing the Government. We have asked—How are we embarrassing the Government? I have heard no answer except this—that if the Amendment is carried the Government will feel it impossible to carry on their duties. That would, of course, be extremely embarrassing to the hon. Gentlemen and the noble Lord sitting on that side of the House; but, in the cause of good government in Ireland, it is far better that the truth should be spoken, and that the real facts should be known, even if such consequences were to ensue, rather than that hon. Gentlemen opposite should go back to those false principles upon which, as we say, they have so long acted. There wore expressions in a few of the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite—even in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. Trevelyan)—which show that it is not unnecessary nor inopportune for the House to go into the matter and endeavour to obtain a distinct assurance from the Government that they do adhere to the views they have now adopted. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, when speaking to-night of the position of affairs in Ireland, said the danger lay rather on this side of the water than on that. I could not help connecting the expression of the right hon. Gentleman with another expression that was used by the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), when, in speaking of the difference between his late Colleagues and himself, he said he explained it in this way—"They have not been in Ireland, and I have." We cannot help seeing this—that, throughout the dealings of Her Majesty's Government with the great Irish Question, there has been a great desire to make it appear that while, on the one hand, measures of repression to maintain the law have been put forward, it was not upon those measures that they rested—that it was not upon them they intended to rely for the maintenance of peace in Ireland, but that it was upon something else. 787 And what was that something else? It was put before us in much fine and eloquent language, but it became too evident that they were still inclined to the policy of coaxing and bribing those you want to keep in order. And if we are rather reproached for having allowed the discussion to turn too much on a particular incident—namely, the question of the release of certain Members who were in prison in the early part of last year, and when we are reproached for allowing debate to turn too much on that particular transaction, we say that that particular transaction was of importance, because it illustrated unmistakably what the principles of the transaction of one portion of Her Majesty's Government wore; and it is because those are principles which appear to be in a manner dangerous to the State, and it is because we fear that there is only too much reason to think that the same leaven which was working then may be working in certain portions of the Government now, that we think it necessary to call for a clear and definite understanding upon the matter. The story that was told by the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster") yesterday, in his most remarkable and powerful speech, was a story which, in many of its details, to anyone who has attended to the recent course of Irish history was hardly novel. It contained within a short space, and in a powerfully condensed form, a very large number of cases illustrating in a very remarkable manner the condition of the country; yet the particular incidents and character of the agitation with which the Government have had to deal have been really known all through these proceedings, and they were known of course—necessarily known—to the Government at the time when they had to choose between the policy which they adopted at the end of April, 1882, and the requisitions which were made by their Colleagues then specially charged with the government of Ireland. And what was the net result? Why, the right hon. Gentleman tells us in a sentence what the real difficulty and difference was. He tells us in one sentence—"I was asked to rely upon assurances which I never expected to get;" and he complains, which is a far more serious matter, that he could not get the powers which he considered necessary. Well, 788 then, Sir, we come to the state of things which the right hon. Gentleman described yesterday, and that state of things which is now so vividly before our minds was known to him at the time he was asking for further powers. Are we to suppose that he communicated that state of things to his Colleagues or not? If he did not, no language can be too strong to express our astonishment at, and our reprobation of, such negligence as he would have been guilty of. But it is impossible to suppose that that could have been the case. It is impossible not to suppose that those facts, and that description of the state of Ireland, must have been, not only once, but upon many occasions, and on renewed opportunities, brought by the right hon. Gentleman to the notice of his Colleagues. And what was the result? Why, that Her Majesty's Ministers, in the face of all that was told them, after all preferred the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) to their own Colleague. I am aware that I shall be told that I am speaking of an isolated transaction and alluding to a piece of ancient history. But it is not ancient history. If it were ancient history it would not be without its value; for history, we are told, is philosophy—teaching by examples—and this is a striking example. But it is not ancient history, nor an isolated transaction. It is a part of the history of the administration of Ireland by the present Government—by men who are still responsible—and it is illustrative of the spirit in which they acted then. It may possibly be that some of the same spirit remains among some of those Ministers now. We are anxious to have a clear assurance, and I am much deceived if the country does not desire also to have an assurance, that those old fallacies have been laid aside, and that the Ministry are not in the position of that family of whom it was said that they had learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. We hope that they have really turned over a new leaf, and that it is in the spirit of the new Irish Government of Lord Spencer as he is, not of Lord Spencer as he was, and in the spirit of the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary that the law is to be administered, and that the Irish Government is to be supported, not only by commendations, but by the 789 supply of whatever material assistance they may require, and also in this way that they are not to be hampered by any counter legislation or counter irritation. They have a most difficult and a most arduous task before them, in fulfilling which they deserve, and ought to receive, the support of every class in this country. If the work which they are doing were to be countermined or injured—I do not assume that it is—but if it were to be injured or countermined by work done, or by expressions used, or by speeches made, or by expectations encouraged in an opposite sense, their very difficult and responsible task would be a desperate instead of a possible one. But I may be told that it is foolish to talk in this way. Who can suppose that there can be any such danger? I do not intend now, at this time of the debate, and after all that has been said, to go in detail into all those utterances and mysterious hints which have come at different times from Ministers and persons supposed to be in the confidence of Ministers. But I would wish to say a word with regard to the most important of those utterances. Unfortunately, we are in a position when we cannot have among us him who is the real guiding and presiding spirit in these matters—I mean the Prime Minister. We are carrying on this debate at a very great disadvantage in consequence, because it is quite certain that whatever may be the measures that may be approved by the Ministry, a very few significant words from the Prime Minister may at any moment have the effect of destroying the efficacy of them. Therefore it is that we are most desirous to have some assurance—and on the part of the House of Commons I think that we may not unfairly express our desire by words such as those which have been suggested—that the policy which has been adopted in Ireland, and which, on the whole, seems to have been supported by Her Majesty's Government, has the thorough and complete approval of the Prime Minister. We cannot but remember that last year we heard in this House very significant words, words it was not altogether easy to measure the effect of, but words which evidently possessed a grave significance. They were the words spoken by the Prime Minister in the debate on the Address, and they indicated no unfriendly dispo- 790 sition of that demand which is put forward by some of the Irish Party—namely, the demand for Home Rule. We never clearly got what the meaning of those expressions were; but we were ominously reminded of them by some of the utterances made by one who might be supposed to be in the confidence of the Prime Minister. At all events, it is of great importance that we should express our opinion that that is not the way in which Ireland is to be governed. We are ready, and always have been ready, to consider any reasonable proposals that may be made for the benefit of Ireland in any way in which it is desired that her wants should be met, but not as the bribe and the sop which is to produce quiet and peace. Peace and quiet and order must be maintained by proper and legitimate methods, and not by the offer of bribes and sops to those who are disorderly. That being our principle, we complained of the policy adopted at the time when the three Members were released from confinement, and against a continuance of that policy we should have probably had to contend last Session if it had not been for the tragic events which occurred at that critical moment. We have heard in the course of this debate of certain contradictions between the right hon. member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) and his Colleagues, in regard to what was done exactly at the time when he left the Government about the Bill afterwards introduced and known as the Crimes Bill. I will not enter into the difficult region of the secrets of the Cabinet. But I would call the attention of the House to a very remarkable circumstance that occurred just after the resignation of the right hon. Gentleman, and just before the atrocious crime which led to an entire alteration in the policy of the Government. On the 5th of May, the day before that event took place, a Question was put to the Prime Minister by the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry). The hon. Member said—He wished to address a Question to the Premier, arising out of the hostile Notice of Motion that had proceeded from the Front Opposition Bench; he wished to ask whether, considering the measures the Government contemplated in regard to Ireland were of two kinds, one remedial, and the other coercive, the Premier would consider, bearing in mind the two Notices of Motion which were given on 791 the Liberal side of the House previous to the Notice of the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), the desirability of dealing with these two subjects separately, in the hope that the remedial measures, if announced early and carried quickly into execution, might prevent the necessity for further coercive measures?"—(3 Hansard,  241.)That is to say, he proposed, after the "suspects" had been released, and when the Government were preparing1 their measures, "the coercive measures"—that is to say, the measures for strengthening the law should be put off, and not considered, and not dealt with, in the hope that no coercive measures would be necessary at all. What was the answer of the Prime Minister? His answer was this:—I can hardly suppose, Sir, that my hon. Friend the Member for Gal way (Mr. Mitchell Henry) has put this Question to mo in the expectation of receiving an immediate answer. I can only say now that it involves a matter of very great consequence, and that we are sensible of its importance and do not make light of it. Probably either in the course of the debate on Monday or at a very early period it will be right for the Government to give the information asked for."—(Ibid, 242.)Now, Sir, we see by that answer the turning point of the whole affair. Up to the moment when the "suspects" were released the feeling of the Government was against giving to the Irish Secretary the powers which the right hon. Gentleman their Colleague thought necessary; and even when they determined to proceed without him with measures which they considered necessary, they were quite ready to take into consideration whether there need be any coercive measures at all. And in that direction they were going, relying upon what they called their remedial measures—that is, the further extension of the Land Act, the Arrears Bill, and so forth, and putting off measures for maintaining law and order. At that critical moment came the terrible event which occurred on the 6th of May, and which entirely reversed the feeling of the House and of the Government itself, and led to the adoption of more energetic steps, and to that immediate pressing forward of that very measure which the right hon. Gentleman desired to have and thought essential, and which, as far as we can judge, with proper zeal and application, has worked beneficially for Ireland. We have a right, therefore, to know whether the Government remain still of the opinion 792 to which they were brought at the time when they took that more energetic course. But when we begin to ask questions of that sort, we receive answers of a perplexing character. The Home Secretary the other day, when speaking of this matter, stated—"Oh, with regard to the release of the 'suspects' see how wrong you were." It was said that the release of the "suspects" would weaken the hands of the Government. They were released, and have the hands of the Government been weakened? No. But what helped you? It was not the release of the "suspects," but the passing of the measure which you refused to your former Colleague, but which you have now granted. We are told that we ought not now to be going into these old matters, that our interest ought to be for the present and future, and not with the past. It is with regard to the future that we are anxious. It is quite natural that many Members should have said that they desired that the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) should speak out and tell us what his feelings and views are, and what his answer is with respect to those matters of which we have heard so much in this debate. We were anxious and desirous to hear what the hon. Member for the City of Cork might have to say. But, after all, we must consider that that is not a matter of so much importance to us by any means as what the Government have to say. We are not to be governed according to the views, more or less criminal—we may say, more or less subversive of order and peace—that may be held by the hon. Member for the City of Cork. We do not lie at the mercy of the hon. Member for the City of Cork. We consider that we are looking to the Government to protect us, and we are anxious to have a clear and distinct expression of opinion from them as to what their views are and what is the policy under which we are to be governed. We have no doubt that they will proceed upon the principle of endeavouring to repress outrage, and maintain the law as they have been doing, as they have found themselves able to do, and as they are bound to provide efficient instruments to enable them to do. But then that is not enough. We do not fear that they will keep doing that. If I may venture upon an illustration, I would remind the right hon. Gentleman of an illustration in the 793 Pilgrim's Progress. The pilgrim is shown a great fire burning against a wall, and while some were engaged in throwing water upon it to put it out, the fire was still burning fiercely, because someone else behind the wall was throwing oil upon it. We have no doubt that they will throw water on any incendiarism that may exist in Ireland; but what we want to be assured is whether they will not be stirring up the mischief behind, and undoing with one hand the good that they are doing with the other. I cannot but remember that the two points which were so frequently put forward by the Prime Minister that we may consider them as the cardinal points of the policy of the Government were, on the one hand, that force was no remedy—that is, force must remain in the hands of the authorities of the country for the purpose of putting down mischief—while, at the same time, force in the hands of the Revolutionary Party was the remedy they ought to apply if they wanted to draw attention to their grievances. We trust that that is no longer to be considered the policy of the Government. We trust that there will be much greater firmness and much greater vigour in the future. I will not say more than that, because I believe that at the present time the Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary are administering the law in a manner which is satisfactory, and which is of advantage to the country. But it was easy to see from the right hon. Gentleman's speech to-night that those for whom he speaks cannot but feel anxiety and apprehension lest they should be impeded and embarrassed in their good work by a want of sympathy on the part of those who possess great influence in stirring and guiding the Councils of the Cabinet. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the speech of the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Collings), a speech powerful in itself, good, no doubt, from the hon. Member's own point of view, and significant, because I believe it represents the feelings of others of the same political association as the hon. Gentleman himself; and whether there are any such Gentlemen to be found, even in the ranks of the Cabinet, I am unable to say. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Ipswich, as a Radical of Radicals, is raising this cry of municipalities, which are to deal 794 with questions of local government, and are to be the better way of settling these difficulties than meeting the real wants of the country; but if this is to be the policy pursued by the Government, if this is the line recommended to them, if, unfortunately, it should turn out that the leading spirits in the Government adopt that line, I venture to say we should be doing that than which nothing could be more injurious and more fatal to the cause of peace and order and tranquillity in Ireland. I do not like to speak much of these matters in the absence of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government—I would far rather speak directly in his presence; but it is impossible that I should altogether abstain from making the remarks which I have ventured very briefly to make on this subject. I fear, indeed, that in this as in other measures we are running a risk of having something like divided counsels in the Government, and therefore weakened action. It was said the other day, in reference to another Department of policy, that the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had succeeded in establishing nothing but instability. I earnestly hope that may not be the verdict which posterity will pass on the Irish policy of the Government.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
Sir, I do not think it is necessary, and I am quite sure that it would not be agreeable to the House, that at this hour I should prolong, to any considerable length, a debate that has already been somewhat unexpectedly protracted, especially as my noble Friend the Secretary of State for War made last night so full and complete a statement that I am not presumptuous enough to think that I can add to it anything of interest or importance. I do not know that I should have troubled the House at all, but for the fact that throughout the whole of the discussion continual allusions have been made to myself, personal allusions of a style and taste to which I think the House is not altogether accustomed. But challenges have been thrown out to me which make me fear that, if I were entirely silent, my silence might be misinterpreted and attributed to a division of opinion between myself and my Colleagues. To many of these allusions I will not refer, but I ask the House to bear with me for a few moments while I refer to a few of the accusations which have 795 been made against me in the course of the debate. The first accusation of which I will take notice was formulated by the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) at the outset of the discussion, and it has been adopted to some extent by implication, although not in the same personal tone, by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Sir Stafford Northcote). It appears to be the opinion both of the right hon. Gentleman and of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) that the Government, in the course of this Irish business, have had three separate policies; that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) up to the beginning of April, 1882, when they were led astray by the insidious persuasions of the President of the Board of Trade and adopted a policy which lasted till the terrible events in the Phoenix Park; and a third policy, which consisted of a reversal of the policy of the President of the Board of Trade, and reverting, after those terrible events, to the original policy of my right hon. Friend. In the view of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst), the Government, like the soul in the old myth, were constantly vacillating between the good and the evil spirit, the good spirit being that of my right hon. Friend, and the evil spirit that of my humble self. Well, in all this there is a modicum of truth; how small a modicum I hope to be able to satisfy the House. It is true, undoubtedly, that there was a change of policy on the part of the Government in the beginning of April, 1882—that is to say, the Government became themselves convinced that the first Coercion Act had not been entirely and completely successful. They came to the conclusion that it would not be their duty to ask the House to renew that Act, and they decided to substitute for it a measure which they hoped would do much to remove agrarian discontent in Ireland, which they thought was largely duo to the evictions that were then going on in large numbers. Throughout these evictions the question of arrears had been uppermost, and they believed that by settling the question of arrears they would do much to remove the causes of agrarian discontent; but they knew that they had also to deal with secret societies, and they thought that when the agrarian discon- 796 tent was removed the machinations of these secret political societies would become more dangerous than ever. They were therefore, of opinion that it was necessary the Executive authorities should be armed with greater powers to meet this contingency. That was the opinion, not of a part of the Government, but of the whole Government, and of every Member of the Cabinet. Every Member of the Cabinet was at the time in favour of some measure of the kind afterwards introduced, as the Prevention of Crime Bill. Every Member of the Government was in favour of dealing with arrears. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) was also prepared to deal with the question of arrears. Yet the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, in spite of contradictions previously given to a similar statement, repeated again to-night the assertion that we—the Members of the existing Administration—had refused my right hon. Friend a measure similar to the Prevention of Crime Act.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman should misunderstand me; I distinctly stated last night that there had been no refusal.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
the words the right hon. Gentleman used were—"I could not get the powers which I wanted."
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
What I did say was that I could not get the Cabinet to agree with me that a Bill conferring fresh powers should be passed before the imprisoned Members were released; but I also stated that it was not the case that there had been any refusal to pass such a measure.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
All that is necessary for me to do now is to confirm in every particular the statement which has been made by my right hon. Friend. [Cries of "Which?"] The statement which has just been made. The Cabinet did not at any time refuse the right hon. Gentleman the powers he asked for; on the contrary, the Cabinet were prepared to give those powers, or their equivalent; and the only question between us was as to the exact time in the Session in which the Bill for giving 797 those powers should be introduced. That is really very much a question of Parliamentary procedure, which does not appear to me to involve any very large question of principle. At all events, be that as it may, it was clear to the mind of every Member of the Cabinet at the time I am speaking of that some Bill in the nature of a Crimes Prevention Bill must be introduced and carried in that Session of Parliament. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has been good enough to tell us that he is satisfied with our present conduct; and if he could be assured that we have really turned over a new leaf, and have entirely abandoned the old fallacies of our previous administration, he will be disposed to tender us the support and assistance of the Conservative Party. Well, Sir, we have had a proof to-night of the nature of the support and assistance which the Conservative Party is prepared to tender to their opponents when it agrees with them. All I have to say is, that I am not prepared, Sir, to accept the support of the right hon. Gentleman under false pretences. We have not turned over any new leaf. We have not abandoned any old fallacies, nor has our policy altered from what it was in April, 1882. On the contrary, we have never swerved from it; it is the same now as it was in the beginning of April; and the terrible events which took place in the Phoenix Park, although they altered to some extent the order of our Parliamentary proceedings, and the order only, did not cause the slightest change in our policy. Then the next accusation is that at the period I have referred to—that is, from the middle of April—we availed ourselves of criminal organization and of the services of criminals, with the view of securing the respect for the law and the peace of the country, or, as it has been put by another hon. Member, we employed those who got up outrages to help to put them down. Whom did we employ? Whom did we employ who had got up outrages to help to put them down? All of those accusations rest upon the connection of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) with a certain Mr. Sheridan, who was supposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) to have been engaged in the commission of outrages, and who the 798 hon. Member for the City of Cork declared would use his endeavours to put down outrage and secure respect for the law in the West of Ireland. Mr. Sheridan's name was a name I, for one, never heard of until it was mentioned in connection with the Memorandum which my right hon. Friend circulated among the Members of the Cabinet. In the conversations which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Clare (Mr. O'Shea) had with me, he never mentioned Sheridan at all, and I confess I have always felt a difficulty in accepting the impression produced upon the mind of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) by his conversation with the hon. Member, because it has always appeared to me so improbable as to be almost impossible that the hon. Member for the City of Cork would have sent a message to the Government to say that the Land League was a conspiracy for getting up outrages, and that it would be in future employed in putting outrages down. It really is to my mind too absurd to suppose that if the hon. Member for the City of Cork were in possession of his senses, he would have admitted that the Land League was a conspiracy in order to get up outrages; and therefore I have always believed, that there must have been some misapprehension either in the mind of the hon. Member for Clare (Mr. O'Shea), or in the mind of the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster). But passing over that—I think myself there is something in the argument, but I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt—I will grant, for the sake of argument, that the services of Mr. Sheridan were offered to the Government in order to assist the Government, and I grant also what at present you may please to observe has not been proved, that Mr. Sheridan was an outrage-monger. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite laugh, but I myself do not think it is either honourable or honest to condemn a man on hearsay who has not been tried. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that both these things were true, what I have next to point out is that the offer was not accepted, and I have further to say that the offer was not entertained or considered for one moment. There was only one thing which was in the view of the Government at the time of these 799 transactions, and that was the evidence that was offered by the hem. Member for Clare (Mr. O'Shea) of the state of mind of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell).
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
It is impossible for me to notice all these interruptions, as I am afraid they would have the effect of compelling mo to detain the House longer than may be agreeable. I say that at this time we had nothing before us but evidence as to the state of mind of the hon. Member for the City of Cork; and we had to consider whether, with the evidence which was afforded to us of the state of his mind and of his intention not to break the law, but to assist the law, we had any right any longer to keep him in detention as a "suspect" without trial. We came to the conclusion that we had not, but that it was our duty to release him: and, as a matter of fact, we did release him, three mouths before he must have been released by my right hon. Friend.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
That was the sole effect of the so-called transactions. The hon. Member was released three months before be must have been released in consequence of the expiration of the Act. Of course, I include with him Mr. Davitt and the other gentlemen who were released at the same time. Just consider for a moment what was the alternative proposed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford. He told the House again last night, as he told us on a previous occasion, that he would have been perfectly well satisfied to release these gentlemen if he could have obtained one of three things—either that Ireland should have boon quiet and pacified, and, of course, that was not obtainable at that moment, though I think the release of the "suspects" materially contributed to the subsequent pacification of the country; the second condition with which he would have been satisfied was that the Crimes Bill, or some similar measure, should have been first passed; but the third condition was that we should have got from the hon. Member for the City of Cork a public assurance that it was not his intention to break the law. The Prime Minister explained 800 at the time that we did not think that we had a right to subject the hon. Member to a demand which was practically a demand for his self-humiliation. If we had followed, I will not say the advice, but the opinion of my right hon. Friend, we should have done the thing for which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite are now blaming us—we should have entered into negotiations. If we had succeeded in obtaining from the hon. Member for the City of Cork such an assurance we should have made a treaty; and in that case you would have been justified in speaking of the negotiations as the Kilmainham Treaty. I want to consider for one or two moments the object of the Amendment before the House, or rather what will be the effect of the Amendment, because it is always invidious to impute motives. One effect, of course, will be to discredit the Government, and that is, perhaps, not an altogether improper object for an Opposition. Another effect will be to delay the progress of Business, and to prevent the passing, during this Session, of those practical measures which the Government have put in their programme and which the country have set their hearts upon. These are the evident and immediate effects of such an Amendment as this, and of the protracted discussion which has taken place upon it. But there will be also less direct results. We are told by the hon. Member for the borough of Eye (Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett) that the object of this Amendment is to strengthen the Party of order against the Party of disorder in the Cabinet. ["Hear, hear!"] The cheer of the hon. Member for Portsmouth (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) reminds me that he adopted that theory. [Sir H. Drummond Wolff: I said it.] The hon. Member claims to have originated the cry. I cannot admit the hon. Member's claim to originality, but I admit that he adopted it and made it his own, and that he bettered it by the extraordinary language with which he accompanied it. The hon. Member for Portsmouth made charges which are so wild that I really do not think I am called upon to reply to them. He charged me with countenancing outrage in order to pass Liberal measures. That is a charge which, whether made by the hon. Member for Portsmouth or anybody else, I treat with entire contempt. I 801 have been called upon to-night to answer for the opinions expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Collings). I have also been called to account for articles which have appeared in The Pall Mall Gazette. I have a great respect, I have a great regard for my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Collings), as I have also for the editor of The Pall Mall Gazette—Mr. John Morley. But I do think it is rather too hard that I am to be made accountable for all the opinions of two gentlemen who are among the most independent men in the Kingdom. I am no more responsible for what they may think than the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill), who has invited me to clear myself, is responsible for everything that appears in Vanity Fair, or some other of the Society journals to which he is believed to be an occasional contributor. Well, then, Sir, it has been asserted again and again that I have been a party to intrigues within the Cabinet, having for their object the expulsion of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster). It seems to me that such a charge pays a poor compliment to my Colleagues in the Cabinet and the right hon. Member for Bradford, who is not a man to be expelled by unworthy intrigues. For my part, I am content with the statement of my right hon. Friend himself that while he was in the Cabinet he was loyally supported by all his Colleagues; and I have only to add that any communication addressed to me with reference to the transaction known as the Kilmainham transaction was communicated by me instantly to my right hon. Friend, who was as much a party to all that took place during the time that he was a Member of the Cabinet as I was myself. If ever I had any difference from him I never hesitated to tell him so fairly to his face. I should have been ashamed to have been a party to anything like backstairs intrigues. The fact was that, in a Cabinet of 13 persons, 12 out of 13 were in favour of the prisoners being released, and one was against it. That was the sole difference of opinion. My right hon. Friend says—"I knew Ireland, and they did not." But my right hon. Friend was not the only man who knew Ireland. The release of the "suspects" was supported by Lord Spencer, whose 802 administration you are satisfied with now; by Lord Kimberley, who had also been the authority of the English Government in Ireland; by my noble Friend the Secretary of State for War, who had conducted the administration in Ireland during a time, perhaps, as much troubled as the present; and also by Lord. Carlingford, a previous Chief Secretary. I say that we were entitled to set the opinions of four Members of the Cabinet, who knew Ireland at least as well as he did, against his judgment. Well, now, Sir, there is one other object which has been perfectly evident throughout the whole course of this debate. That is the desire on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite to discredit the policy of conciliation to Ireland—to take advantage of the excitement, of the natural indignation which is caused by the discovery in Dublin of the assassination conspiracy in Ireland, and they try to divert that indignation so as to cause the whole people of Ireland to suffer for it. It seems to me that there can be nothing more unstatesmanlike than to refuse justice to Ireland because a horde of assassins have been unmasked in Dublin. We are told by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the junior Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) that we are to rely entirely on the Crimes Act. [Mr. GIBSON: I made no such statement.] I say the whole effect of the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman—and I will be judged by those who heard it—was to show that at this time it was only by firm administration of that Act, and not by remedial measures, that the difficulty in Ireland could properly be dealt with. Well, Sir, I say that the Crimes Act is for assassins; it is not for the people of Ireland. When the conspirators have been crushed out, what are we to do for the Irish people? How are we to meet the discontent which it is admitted still prevails there? Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman really think it is possible we can go on governing Ireland permanently by a system of absolute repression and nothing else? How long will such a policy bear the test of experience? How long is England's danger to be Ireland's opportunity? How long do you suppose the people of this country would tolerate a policy which involves, as I have suggested in another 803 place, the existence of a Poland within four hours of our shores? I say that a policy of that kind will break down in practice, as it deserves to break down; and thus you will be once more face to face with what has been truly called the greatest problem of our time. If your only remedy for Irish discontent is repression, then, I say, you have a right to be dissatisfied with the policy of Her Majesty's Government. But the policy of Her Majesty's Government remains what it always has been, a two-fold policy—a two-fold policy of firm repression of crime and outrage, and, at the same time, a persistent search for the causes of crime and outrage, together with a patient endeavour to remove them. If you are dissatisfied with that policy, you are right to do your best to turn us out of Office. No other policy will we remain to carry out. We believe that any other policy would be impracticable, and, if it were possible, that it would be immoral, unjust, and altogether unworthy of the Government of a free people.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, he did not wish to stand for more than a few moments between the House and a Division. [Interruptions.]
§ MR. SPEAKER
I must remind hon. Members that the right hon. Gentleman is in possession of the House, and is entitled to be heard.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, he thought the speech they had just listened to required one or two words of protest from that side of the House. He considered they were indebted to the right hon. Gentleman for having put the question in a form which it would be in the power of anyone to answer in a very few words, by saying that the issue had been misplaced. They had been anxious throughout the whole of the discussion to reach the right hon. Gentleman, because it was the desire of the whole House to ascertain which had been the master mind of the Cabinet during these difficult and tortuous negotiations. The right hon. Gentleman had at last disclosed himself, and shown himself to the country to be the apologist of that policy which, by this Amendment, it was sought to impugn. He would only cite from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman two or three sentences, in order to indicate where the line was to be drawn between the policy which he understood was supported on that side of 804 the House, and the policy which was recommended by the President of the Board of Trade. The right hon. Gentleman said he did not consider it honourable or honest to believe a man to be an outrage-monger until it was proved; and that remark seemed to afford a key to the whole question. The right hon. Gentleman was not prepared to accept the statement of his own Colleague, who was familiar with all the circumstances, and who had had the whole of this case before him day and night for two anxious years, unless that statement were made the subject of judicial investigation. He (Mr. Raikes) said that to bring to the government of a great country a mind like that was characteristic of such a man as had never sat in a Cabinet before. There was another remark made use of by the right hon. Gentleman which did much more credit to his humanity than to his discretion. The right hon. Gentleman was pleased to tell the House that he was desirous of seeing that the hon. Member for the City of Cork was not exposed to any humiliation; and so, in order to save the hon. Member anything in the nature of self-humiliation, the country was to be exposed to the danger which attended his release, under the circumstances with which they were acquainted. Another point which, the right hon. Gentleman made was this—that if the hon. Member for the City of Cork had carried out the demands of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford, if he had made any public declaration of his willingness to submit himself to the law and order, it would have constituted a treaty. He (Mr. Raikes) wished the House to note that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade shrank from anything like a public treaty. What he preferred was a secret treaty. The House had been accustomed to hear a great deal in the days of the late Government of secret diplomacy; and he was happy to find that the right hon. Gentleman had studied sufficiently in the school of politics to know that he must negotiate in a secret manner anything which he believed to be desirable for his country's government. The right hon. Gentleman said he treated with contempt the charges of countenancing outrages, and it was an easy thing for him to do that. But that night they had seen others besides 805 the right hon. Gentleman treating those charges with contempt—namely, the hon. Member for the City of Cork, and the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy). The right hon. Gentleman was entirely at one with his former negotiators in that respect; and that led him (Mr. Raikes) to the point which he wished the House and the country to understand—that was to say, that the question as between the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for the City of Cork was only one of degree. The House regarded the hon. Member for the City of Cork as a man who had not fully explained his relations with the outrage-mongers of the West; and they must regard the President of the Board of Trade as a man who preferred rather to treat with contempt than to explain his relations with the hon. Member. Even if they had not heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford, and that of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, the supporters of the present Amendment would find sufficient justification for the course they had pursued in the statement of the President of the Board of Trade, that he also declined to offer any explanation of conduct which the whole country had condemned. It was enough for his object to have fixed that upon the right hon. Gentleman. The President of the Board of Trade went on to state that Gentlemen on those Benches desired to discredit a policy of conciliation towards Ireland; but he said that their desire was to discredit a policy of concession—two very different things. He asked whether there had ever been a Government drawn from Parties on either side of the House that had not shown a spirit of conciliation to Ireland; but it had been reserved for the present Government to pursue towards that country a policy which it was to be hoped would remain unique in the annals of the country—namely, that of making concession to outrage. The right hon. Gentleman had divided the Irish policy of the Government into two parts, and identified it, first, with the policy of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford, and, secondly, with that of the present Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant; but he had forgotten that there was one week between the retirement of the former and the ap- 806 pointment of the latter right hon. Gentleman, during which time neither of them were responsible, and in which the responsibility of governing Ireland must be divided between the Cabinet and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Clare (Mr. O'Shea). The House had not lost sight of that fact, and they also took note that at the time at which the hon. Member was sent on his mission there were three distinguished prisoners within the walls of Kilmainham. They also noted the fact that there was, at the present time, when the hon. Member for the City of Cork had ceased to exercise his influence over the people of Ireland, another Member of the House within the walls of an Irish prison, and it might be that in a few weeks or months they would hear of some further negotiations carried on with the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy), now in confinement. [Interruptions.] He regretted that, owing to the uproar occasioned by hon. Members below the Gangway, it was impossible for him to do otherwise than take a course which he should not have taken under other circumstances—namely, to move the adjournment of the debate.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Raikes.)
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
I trust the right hon. Gentleman will not think it necessary to persevere with his Motion for Adjournment, considering the hour (12.40), and the period over which the debate has extended. Although the House has shown some signs of impatience while the right hon. Gentleman was making his observations, yet I believe he has been able to place before the House with tolerable clearness some of the views he desired to express with reference to the speech of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade; and having regard to the inconvenience which would result from the adoption of his proposal, I venture to hope that it will not be pressed.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
I quite sympathize with my right hon. Friend, but I think it would be very inconvenient to the House to press this Motion. My right hon. Friend had a perfect right to a fair hearing, and it would not have been for a very long 807 time; but the interruptions, of course, made him speak all the slower. I would ask him however, not to press this Motion.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, that, having had opportunity of ascertaining that hon. Members opposite were able, under certain circumstances, to abstain from interrupting a speaker, he should be happy to withdraw his Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
Before you, Sir, put the Question from the Chair, perhaps the House will allow me to make a very short statement by way of personal explanation in reference to a matter upon which there was some difference of opinion between my right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) and myself last night. I do this because I think it extremely desirable that in relation to matters of the character of the difference between my right hon. Friend and myself, although they may not be of first importance, the greatest possible accuracy should be observed. I have had an opportunity to-day of making inquiry of my Colleagues, and of referring to dates; and I find that my right hon. Friend was perfectly accurate in stating that the Committee for the consideration of the proposals he had submitted to the Government on the subject of a Bill for the better repression of crime in Ireland was not appointed until the day of his resignation. But I have also been confirmed in my recollection that the introduction and passing of a measure for that purpose had been accepted by the Cabinet. I find that Lord Spencer, who had accepted the Office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland some days before the resignation of my right hon. Friend, had, as was natural, asked for some explicit assurances upon certain points. Among these was the subject under discussion, and he had been definitely informed of the intentions of the Government in regard to the passing of this measure. I also find that the intentions of the Government with regard to that matter were announced in this House on the 2nd of May by the Prime Minister simultaneously with the announcement of my right hon. Friend's resignation. The words of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, were these— 808So soon as the necessary Business of the House of Commons will permit, we shall ask leave to introduce a Bill to strengthen the ordinary law.… No part of the Business announced in the Queen's Speech will be allowed to interfere with the purpose I have just described—namely, to satisfy what we conceive to be the demands of the necessity with regard to future legal provision for peace and tranquillity and the enforcement of the law in Ireland. I may add that we are now engaged in considering the details of this measure."—(3 Hansard,  1968–9.)This statement was made by the Prime Minister, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford explained the cause of his resignation two days before the 4th of May, and four days before the assassinations in Phoenix Park.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 259; Noes 176: Majority 83.811
|Acland, C. T. D.||Carington, hon. R.|
|Agnew, W.||Cartwright, W. C.|
|Ainsworth, D.||Causton, R. K.|
|Allen, H. G.||Cavendish, Lord E.|
|Anderson, G.||Chamberlain, rt. hn. J.|
|Arnold, A.||Cheetham, J. F.|
|Asher, A.||Childers, rt. hn. H.C.E.|
|Ashley, hon. E. M.||Clarke, J. C.|
|Balfour, Sir G.||Cohen, A.|
|Balfour, J. B.||Colebrooke, Sir T. E.|
|Balfour, J. S.||Collings, J.|
|Barclay, J. W.||Collins, E.|
|Baring, Viscount||Colthurst, Col. D. La T.|
|Barnes, A.||Corbett, J.|
|Barran, J.||Cotes, C. C.|
|Bass, Sir A.||Courtauld, G.|
|Bass, H.||Courtney, L. H.|
|Baxter, rt. hon. W. E.||Cowen, J.|
|Biddulph, M.||Cowper, hon. H. F.|
|Blake, J. A.||Cropper, J.|
|Blennerhassett, Sir R.||Cross, J. K.|
|Bolton, J. C.||Crum, A.|
|Borlase, W. C.||Cunliffe, Sir R. A.|
|Brand, H. R.||Currie, Sir D.|
|Brassey, Sir T.||Davey, H.|
|Brett, R. B.||Davies, R.|
|Briggs, W. E.||Dickson, T. A.|
|Bright, rt. hon. J.||Dilke, rt. hn. Sir C. W.|
|Bright, J. (Manchester)||Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.|
|Broadhurst, H.||Duff, R. W.|
|Brogden, A.||Ebrington, Viscount|
|Bruce, rt. hon. Lord C.||Edwards, H.|
|Bruce, hon. R. P.||Edwards, P.|
|Bryce, J.||Egerton, Adm. hon. F.|
|Buchanan, T. R.||Elliot, hon. A. R. D.|
|Buszard, M. C.||Fairbairn, Sir A.|
|Butt, C. P.||Farquharson, Dr. R.|
|Caine, W. S.||Fay, C. J.|
|Cameron, C.||Ffolkes, Sir W. H. B.|
|Campbell, Sir G.||Findlater, W.|
|Campbell, R. F. F.||Firth, J. F. B.|
|Campbell Bannerman, H.||Fitzmaurice, Lord E.|
|Fitzwilliam, hon. W.J.|
|Carbutt, E. H.||Flower, C.|
|Foljambe, C. G. S.||M'Laren, C. B. B.|
|Foljambe, F. J. S.||Macliver, P. S.|
|Forster, rt. hon. W. E.||M'Minnies, J. G.|
|Forster, Sir C.||Maitland, W. F.|
|Fort, R.||Mappin, F. T.|
|Fowler, H. H.||Marjoribanks, E.|
|Fowler, W.||Marriott, W. T.|
|Fry, L.||Martin, P.|
|Fry, T.||Martin, R. B.|
|Givan, J.||Maskelyne, M. H. Story-|
|Gladstone, H. J.||Meldon, C. H.|
|Gladstone, W. H.||Mellor, J. W.|
|Gordon, Sir A.||Monk, C. J.|
|Gordon, Lord D.||Moreton, Lord|
|Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.||Morgan, rt. hon. G. O.|
|Gourley, E. T.||Morley, A.|
|Gower, hon. E. F. L.||Morley, S.|
|Grafton, F. W.||Mundella, rt. hon. A.J.|
|Grant, A.||Nicholson, W.|
|Grant, D.||Noel, E.|
|Grant, Sir G. M.||Nolan, Colonel J. P.|
|Grey, A. H. G.||O'Beirne, Colonel F.|
|Guest, M. J.||O'Shaughnessy, R.|
|Gurdon, R. T.||O'Shea, W. H.|
|Hamilton, J. G. C.||Otway, Sir A.|
|Harcourt, rt. hon. Sir W. G. V. V.||Paget, T. T.|
|Palmer, C. M.|
|Hardcastle, J. A.||Palmer, G.|
|Hartington, Marq. of||Palmer, J. H.|
|Hastings, G. W.||Parker, C. S.|
|Hayter, Sir A. D.||Pease, A.|
|Henderson, F.||Pease, Sir J. W.|
|Herschell, Sir F.||Peel, A. W.|
|Hibbert, J. T.||Pender, J.|
|Hill, T. R.||Pennington, F.|
|Holden, I.||Playfair, rt. hon. L.|
|Holland, S.||Porter, A. M.|
|Hollond, J. R.||Portman, hn. W. H. B.|
|Holms, J.||Potter, T. B.|
|Hopwood, C. H.||Powell, W. R. H.|
|Howard, E. S.||Pulley, J.|
|Howard, J.||Ralli, P.|
|Illingworth, A.||Ramsden, Sir J.|
|Inderwick, F. A.||Rathbone, W.|
|James, C.||Reed, Sir E. J.|
|James, Sir H.||Reid, R. T.|
|James, W. H.||Richard, H.|
|Jenkins, D. J.||Richardson, J. N.|
|Johnson, E.||Richardson, T.|
|Jones-Parry, L.||Roberts, J.|
|Labouchere, H.||Robertson, H.|
|Laing, S.||Rogers, J. E. T.|
|Lambton, hon. F. W.||Rothschild, Sir N. M. de|
|Lawrence, Sir J. C.||Roundell, C. S.|
|Lawrence, W.||Russell, Lord A.|
|Lea, T.||Russell, C.|
|Leake, R.||Russell, G. W. E.|
|Leatham, W. H.||Rylands, P.|
|Lee, H.||Samuelson, B.|
|Lefevre, rt. hn. G. J. S.||Samuelson, H.|
|Lloyd, M.||Seely, C. (Lincoln)|
|Lubbock, Sir J.||Seely, C. (Nottingham)|
|Lusk, Sir A.||Sellar, A. C.|
|Lymington, Viscount||Shaw, T.|
|M'Arthur, A.||Sheridan, H. B.|
|M'Arthur, Sir W.||Shield, H.|
|M'Clure, Sir T.||Simon, Serjeant J.|
|M'Coan, J. C.||Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.|
|M'Intyre, Æneas J.||Smith, E.|
|M'Kenna, Sir J. N.||Smith, S.|
|Mackie, R. B.||Stanley, hon. E. L.|
|Mackintosh, C. F.||Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.|
|M'Lagan, P.||Stanton, W. J.|
|Stevenson, J. C.||Walter, J.|
|Stewart, J.||Waterlow, Sir S. H.|
|Summers, W.||Whalley, G. H.|
|Talbot, C. R. M.||Whitbread, S.|
|Tavistock, Marquess of||Whitworth, B.|
|Taylor, P. A.||Wiggin, H.|
|Tennant, C.||Williams, S. C. E.|
|Thompson, T. C.||Williamson, S.|
|Tillett, J. H.||Willis, W.|
|Tracy, hon. F. S. A. Hanbury-||Wilson, C. H.|
|Trevelyan, rt. hn. G. O.||Woolf, S.|
|Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Vivian, A. P.||TELLERS.|
|Vivian, Sir H. H.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Waddy, S. D.||Kensington, Lord|
|Alexander, Colonel||Douglas, A. Akers-|
|Allsopp, C.||Dyke, rt. hn. Sir W. H.|
|Amherst, W. A. T.||Eaton, H. W.|
|Archdale, W. H.||Ecroyd, W. F.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Egerton, hon. A. F.|
|Aylmer, J. E. F.||Elcho, Lord|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Emlyn, Viscount|
|Balfour, A. J.||Ewing, A. O.|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Feilden, Major-General R.J.|
|Bateson, Sir T.|
|Beach, rt. hon. Sir M.H.||Fellowes, W. H.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Fenwick-Bisset, M.|
|Bective, Earl of||Fletcher, Sir H.|
|Bentinck, rt. hon. G. C.||Floyer, J.|
|Beresford, G. De la P.||Forester, C. T. W.|
|Birkbeck, E.||Freshfield, C. K.|
|Blackburne, Col. J. I.||Garnier, J. C.|
|Boord, T. W.||Gibson, rt. hon. E.|
|Bourke, rt. hon. R.||Giffard, Sir H. S.|
|Brise, Colonel R.||Goldney, Sir G.|
|Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.||Gorst, J. E.|
|Brooke, Lord||Greene, E.|
|Brymer, W. E.||Greer, T.|
|Bulwer, J. R.||Gregory, G. B.|
|Burghley, Lord||Halsey, T. F.|
|Burnaby, General E. S.||Hamilton, Lord C. J.|
|Buxton, Sir R. J.||Hamilton, right hon. Lord G.|
|Campbell, J. A.|
|Carden, Sir R. W.||Harcourt, E. W.|
|Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.||Hay, rt. hon. Admiral Sir J. C. D.|
|Chaplin, H.||Herbert, hon. S.|
|Christie, W. L.||Hicks, E.|
|Churchill, Lord R.||Hill, Lord A. W.|
|Clarke, E.||Hill, A. S.|
|Clive, Col. hon. G. W.||Holland, Sir H. T.|
|Cobbold, T. C.||Home, Lt.-Col. D. M.|
|Coddington, W.||Hope, rt. hn. A. J. B. B.|
|Compton, F.||Jackson, W. L.|
|Coope, O. E.||Kennaway, Sir J. H.|
|Corry, J. P.||Knight, F. W.|
|Cotton, W. J. R.||Lacon, Sir E. H. K.|
|Cross, rt. hon. Sir R. A.||Lawrance, J. C.|
|Cubitt, rt. hon. G.||Lawrence, Sir T.|
|Dalrymple, C.||Leighton, Sir B.|
|Davenport, H. T.||Leighton, S.|
|Davenport, W. B.||Lennox, Lord H. G.|
|Dawnay, Col. hn. L. P.||Lever, J. O.|
|Dawnay, hon. G. C.||Levett, T. J.|
|De Worms, Baron H.||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Digby, Col. hon. E.||Lindsay, Sir R. L.|
|Dixon-Hartland, F. D.||Long, W. H.|
|Donaldson-Hudson, C.||Lopes, Sir M.|
|Lowther, rt. hon. J.||Ritchie, C. T.|
|Lowther, hon. W.||Rolls, J. A.|
|Mac Iver, D.||Ross, A. H.|
|Macnaghten, E.||Ross, C. C.|
|M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.||Round, J.|
|Makins, Colonel W.T.||St. Aubyn, W. M.|
|Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.||Salt, T.|
|March, Earl of||Schreiber, C.|
|Master, T. W. C.||Scott, Lord H.|
|Maxwell, Sir H. E.||Scott, M. D.|
|Miles, C. W.||Severne, J. E.|
|Miles, Sir P. J. W.||Smith, A.|
|Mills, Sir C. H.||Smith, rt. hon. W. H.|
|Monckton, F.||Stanhope, hon. E.|
|Moss, R.||Stanley, rt. hn. Col. F.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R.||Stanley, E. J.|
|Mulholland, J.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Murray, C. J.||Thomson, H.|
|Newport, Viscount||Thornhill, T.|
|North, Colonel J. S.||Tollemache, hon. W. F.|
|Northcote, H. S.||Tomlinson, W. E. M.|
|Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.||Tottenham, A. L.|
|Wallace, Sir R.|
|Onslow, D.||Walrond, Col. W. H.|
|Peek, Sir H.||Warburton, P. E.|
|Pell, A.||Warton, C. N.|
|Pemberton, E. L.||Welby-Gregory, Sir W.|
|Percy, Earl||Whitley, E.|
|Percy, Lord A.||Wilmot, Sir H.|
|Phipps, C. N. P.||Wilmot, Sir J. E.|
|Phipps, P.||Wolff, Sir H. D.|
|Plunket, rt. hon. D. R.||Wortley, C. B. Stuart-|
|Puleston, J. H.||Wroughton, P.|
|Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.||Yorke, J. R.|
|Repton, G. W.||Crichton, Viscount|
|Ridley, Sir M. W.||Winn, R.|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Debate arising.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Biggar.)
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
I do not propose, Sir, to oppose the Motion for Adjournment; but, at the same time, as I understand that it is the intention of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) to move one or both of his Resolutions on Monday, I think it would be as well that I should make an appeal to hon. Members to endeavour to restrict the remainder of this debate within reasonable limits. We have now been discussing Irish subjects discursively for four nights, and though we have not come to the Amendment of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, it is obvious that a great deal that might have been said upon it has already been stated; and I would point out, further, that on account of the extremely short period that will elapse before Easter, and the amount of work there is to do, 812 it is extremely desirable that the Business of Supply should be taken not later than on Thursday in next week. I would, for these reasons, therefore, urge hon. Members to condense their observations, so as to bring the debate on the Address to a close during the early part of next week.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. CHILDERS)
said, that perhaps he might be allowed to answer the question. Under the old Rules the Estimates could not have been presented before Supply was set up; but in consequence of the extremely short time they would have this year for dealing with Supply before Easter, they had, to save time, already presented part of the ordinary Supplementary Estimates. They had presented to-night special Supplementary Estimates, which would be circulated on Monday, explaining the expenditure on the Egyptian War, so that there would be no delay in going on with Supply on Thursday if the debate on the Address was finished.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Debate adjournedtill Monday next.