§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [15th February]—[See page 98.]
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. PARNELL
Sir, in rising to move the Amendment which stands in my name, I wish to express the opinion that the Irish Government, and the Government generally, lost a very great opportunity, after the assassinations in the Phoenix Park, of restoring peace and order in Ireland by the only means by which it will ever be possible to restore peace permanently in that country, and that is, by the aid and sympathy of the people in that work. I think, Sir, that never, during all the centuries of English rule in Ireland, has any Government had such an opportunity, as was then presented, of rallying to the side of law and order the sympathy of the masses of the people in Ireland; and I regret exceedingly to find that the impression in that direction which, during the discussions on the Crimes Bill, seemed to hold to a certain extent the mind of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant (Mr. Trevelyan) has since his contact with the evil influences of Dublin Castle been removed, and that he has expressed his opinion that, without the Crimes Act, it would be impossible for the Government to maintain order in Ireland. I wonder whether the Chief Secretary, and those who are 855 responsible with him for the government of Ireland, have ever considered what they are going to do when the Crimes Act expires; whether they will propose to renew that Act, or, perhaps, to replace it with something of a still more drastic character; or whether they will propose to do without it. If they contemplate being able to do without it at the end of the three years during which the Act has to last, I think it would be much better if they had not tried it at all, because their chances of enlisting the Irish people on the side of law and order on the expiration of that Act, in view of the irritation which its daily administration is exciting throughout the country, will be infinitesimally small as compared with what they would have been had the Government trusted to the honour of the people, and had the right hon. Gentleman gone to Ireland without the Crimes Act to aid him in governing that country. It seems to be supposed, on account of what are known as the "Kilmainham Revelations," that we are not to be entitled to discuss the Administration of the Irish Government. If that be the view of Her Majesty's Government, I can only say that they would most fittingly carry it out by disfranchising the Irish constituencies. But so long as the Constitution allows Ireland to send Members to this House, so long will Members sent by Ireland assert their right to criticize and condemn the conduct of the Government in Ireland. The House generally, and public opinion also, seem to forget what sort of an Act it is that is being administered—they seem to forget that it is an Act of the most drastic severity that has ever been passed against that country. [Mr. TREVELYAN: No, no.] The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland says "No, no;" but if you compare the provisions of the Crimes Act with the provisions of the other Coercion Acts, you will find that these repressive provisions are more numerous and more sweeping than those contained in any other Act which has ever been passed. You have powers granted under that Act to establish a special Commission of Judges for the trial, without juries, of certain offences; you have provisions for trials by special juries, selected from the county and city panels, with unlimited right to the Crown to order jurors to stand by, and limited 856 right of challenge to the prisoners, a power which has resulted in the selection of juries, for the trial of the gravest offences, for the purpose of condemning men to death, from the very classes who are smarting in pocket, in prestige, and in reputation, from the results of the Land League agittion, and of the legislation of the Government, and for whom it is perfectly impossible to approach the consideration of these grave political and agarian cases, which are brought before them, with that judicial frame of mind which it is so imperatively necessary for jurors to possess. The right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), said that if he had allowed the verdicts of coroners' juries in Ireland to be followed up, judicial murders would have taken place. With regard to that, I would point out that the class from whom coroners' juries are chosen represent the majority of the people; and the right hon. Gentleman, of course, meant that if to this class were given the right of deciding matters of life and death, they could not be expected to approach to questions involved in the proceedings brought before coroners' juries with any judicial impartiality of mind. I do not pronounce any opinion upon this point; but, if it be so, it is an argument which tells with ten-fold force against the course which the Government are pursuing, of empanelling juries to try issues of life and death solely from the other class, constituting, as they do, the minority of the people of Ireland, and the garrison, or the descendants of the garrison, which was planted in the country three centuries ago. You have a provision in this Crimes Act for the appointment of tribunals of summary jurisdiction to try offences against the Act. The following acts are constituted offences:—Intimidation, specially defined in such a way as to render it impossible for any speaker, in the words of the County Court Judge of Cork, "to address any meeting without breaking the law, unless he has a lawyer at his elbow to advise him." You have what are called "unlawful associations"—comprising any association which the Lord Lieutenant may consider to be unlawful, however lawful it may be according to the ordinary law; you have power of 857 suppressing meetings which may be held by the Lord Lieutenant to be illegal, and of punishing people who may not disperse from those meetings. You give power to tribunals of summary jurisdiction to try these offences. You give power to any policeman to arrest persons out after sunset. That power has, I shall show, been very extensively used; and in hardly one of the hundreds of cases where the police have arrested people out after sunset and kept them in the lock-up for that night, or for several nights, have the magistrates considered it necessary to convict the prisoners. You have power given to any policeman to arrest strangers, and we have had an example of the way they have occasionally used that power in the arrest of Mr. Joynes and Mr. Henry George. You have power also to seize newspapers and to make searches by day or night. It is a remarkable fact that although the Lord Lieutenant desired he should not be given this power of searching by night, it was thrust upon him by the House of Commons, and has actually been extensively used. Again, you have the application of the Alien Act to aliens—I believe that is one of the few provisions of the Act which have not been used and abused, although the Secretary of State for the Home Department stated he knew several dangerous characters who were in the country whom lie wished to have removed. You gave power to the justices to summon witnesses, to examine them privately, and to commit them to prison for an indefinite term. You have power to send additional constabulary into a district and to charge the cost on any area, no matter what its size. You have power to levy blood money on a district. Nearly all these powers have been used; and, as I think I shall be able to show, they have also been abused. I submit that, under these circumstances, we are entitled to criticize the working of the Act, especially in view of the fact that this is the first opportunity we have had of reviewing the administration of an Act conferring such enormous powers upon the Irish Executive, which practically has so very little responsibility. We are entitled to put our case before the House, and to take its opinion thereon, and we ought not to permit ourselves to be deterred or intimidated, by any outside influences 858 whatever, from exercising our right and performing our duty in this respect. Now, Sir, I said, a while ago, that I regretted exceedingly the Irish Government had not taken the tide which commenced to flow in their favour for the first time after the Phœnix Park assassinations. It is an indisputable fact, known to everybody who has studied Irish politics, that, during the last eight or nine months, a feeling did arise in the country after the terrible event in the Phœnix Park, such as had never appeared there before, a feeling of active sympathy in favour of the law and against crime; but by stupid bungling, which I can scarcely call less than criminal, and which this Government will have to atone for, in the loss of confidence by the country in its administration, that tide was not taken advantage of. The Coercion Act was brought in instead, and, in consequence, the feeling to which I have referred was turned back to such an extent, that I believe there was never greater hostility to English rule in Ireland than exists at present; there was never greater disinclination on the part of the people to aid law and order; and although there may be a reduction in the number of agrarian offences, that reduction is only due to the fact that you are keeping down the people by a brutal and terrible Coercion Act, which you are administering in a brutal and terrible way. To show you how matters were going on subsequent to the assassinations—there were in April 738 outrages of all kinds, in May 702, in Juno 547, July 474, August 376, September 280; but in October, by which time the Crimes Act had got fully to work, they rose to 310; and although there has been some diminution recently, yet we find that the outrages for the last month, the agrarian especially, show a slight increase upon those of the month before, so that instead of the diminution going on, as it had been during the months succeeding the Phœnix Park assassinations, and before the Crimes Act had got into operation, by leaps and bounds, that diminution has ceased, and the monthly Returns show a slight increase of outrages. Sir, I said that almost every power given by the Crimes Act had been used and abused; that is remarkably exemplified by the power which was given to arrest under the Curfew Clause. I find that, on the 20th 859 July, a respectable shoemaker named John Maher was ordered off the streets by the police, and told to go home. He refused. He was arrested, and the head constable detained him in the barracks that night. Next morning he was allowed out on bail, and on July 24th, at Roscrea Petty Sessions, Mr. Vaughan, R.M., discharged him. At Carrick-on-Shannon, on July 30th, Patrick Mahon was arrested in Drumshambo as a stranger. He was then six miles from home. The Resident Magistrate discharged him. In nearly all the cases where men were arrested and detained under the Curfew Clause, no conviction followed, which shows that the police are not fitted to exercise the powers with which the Act has entrusted them. There were numerous other cases in which persons, well-known inhabitants of the counties of Mayo and Galway, had been arrested under the Curfew Clause, or as suspicious strangers, or on suspicion of intending criminal offence, but who, subsequently, were discharged, because they had been able to give a satisfactory account of themselves, though, in many instances, they had been kept in prison, sometimes all night, and sometimes for a week or a fortnight, being remanded without the option of bail. One case, in which conviction followed arrest, was that of Maurice Fitzgerald, arrested on suspicion, and Captain Massey, the Resident Magistrate, deemed the man's explanation unsatisfactory, and sent him to gaol for 14 days. The police were most reckless in their action, for in most cases, on examination, it turned out that no ground whatever of suspicion existed against the person charged. In one case a house was visited from which the tenant had been evicted. The man himself was absent; but his wife and children were in bed, and they wore turned out on to the roadside in the middle of the night. On the 4th of August two men were charged with being on the roadside in circumstances which were said to constitute a case of reasonable suspicion against them. No evidence was forthcoming, and the magistrate observed that it was not the object of the Act to terrorize the people of Ireland. The case of Mr. Joynes, the companion of Mr. Henry George, had been made familiar to everbody in the newspapers, and it was unnecessary to detail the circumstances of that case. 860 The case of Stephen John Meany, the newspaper correspondent, was equally well known to the House. Meany was removed to the county gaol, and suffered one month's imprisonment with hard labour. At Loughrea, one Barratt, who had long been a resident in the neighbourhood, was ordered to leave the town, and bound over in his own recognizances in £20, or in default to go to prison for three months. Subsequently, however, it was discovered that there was no evidence against him, and the case was dismissed. On the 8th of October a man was charged by the police with being in the road after hours on the 29th of September; the case was dismissed. Then came the extraordinary attempt at intimidation by constables against Mr. Harrington, the recently elected Member for Westmeath. He was walking in the road three or four miles from his residence, when he was accosted by a constable, who asked him what was his business there. Mr. Harrington declined to give him any information, whereupon the constable said to another constable who was with him—"We must do our duty." But the constables did not perform their duty, for Mr. Harrington was allowed to return home. Then there was another case of a man who, being being about to leave for America, was out late at night on his way to visit his friends. He was arrested and lodged in a police barracks all night, but was discharged on the following day, on the condition of his leaving at once for America. On the 13th of November, two farmers were arrested, but were discharged on the following day. On the 17th of November a respectable farmer was arrested under the Curfew Clause, and had to spend the night in a police barrack. On the 17th of December two young men were charged with being out of doors at half-past 9 the previous evening; the case was dismissed. On another occasion three young men were charged under the Crimes Act with being out at 10 o'clock; the case was dismissed. At a special Court, held on the 12th of January, Sub-Inspector King prosecuted three men for being absent from their abodes after hours. It was proved that they were men of exemplary character, and they were discharged. On the 14th of January nine respectable farmers were arrested under the Curfew Clause; the magistrate dismissed the charge 861 against all of them. On the 11th of January the Castle island police arrested persons who were going to a dance. They were discharged the next day, after having spent the night in the lock-up. But the magistrate told them that, if they were brought up again, he would give them three months. On the 11th of January three men were arrested, of whom one was sentenced to one month's hard labour, and the other two to two months' imprisonment. Out of all I have read, up to the present, there are only two in which convictions were obtained in the case of persons arrested under the provisions of the Curfew Clause. On the 5th of January, four young lads were charged with being out of their homes a little after 9, &c. After a quarter of an hour's consultation, the magistrates announced that considering the character of the night on which they were out—it was St. Stephen's night—considering also that the brother of the prisoners was with them, and that they were but a short distance from their homes, they had a doubt whether they were out for any unlawful purpose. They gave them the benefit of the doubt and discharged them. I think I have given proof of how the Curfew Clause has been used and abused; because it is evident they have not arrested men who were out for the purpose of committing crime, but men who were out for legitimate purposes, against whom no harm could be proved when the cases came subsequently to be investigated before the magistrates. We next come to the powers given to prosecute editors of newspapers under the intimidation section of the Act. The first prosecution which took place under this section against a Pressman was that against Mr. Richard Kelly, proprietor of The Tuam Herald. He published a letter in his paper which had been written by somebody else. Mr. Burke, the defendant's solicitor, said he thought the officer of the Crown had made a great mistake in prosecuting Mr. Kelly. The defendant, he understood, was sorry for having inserted the letter, repudiated the contents, and said it had been inserted in his absence and without his knowledge. The bench retired and the chairman announced that they were unanimously in favour of sending the case for trial before the Judge of the Assizes. This action seems to have been 862 really taken by the Resident Magistrates and not by the local unpaid justices, because we find that they drew up the following memorial:—We, the undersigned justices of the peace assembled at Tuam, having heard the case of the Queen v. Kelly, although there was no other course open hut to send the case forward, yet desire to state strongly our opinion that the defendant's statement is true.That statement being that a letter bearing the name of James Redpath had been printed in The Tuam Herald while Mr. Kelly was from home. The memorialists added that they had known Mr. Kelly for many years as a most respectable man; that The Tuam Herald had always been a supporter of law and order, and they respectfully requested his acquittal. I believe that the recommendation of the local unpaid magistrates subsequently prevailed, and the proceedings against Mr. Kelly were dropped. Then I come to the celebrated case against the proprietor of United Ireland, which I will not go into, because the Chief Secretary for Ireland has announced that the proceedings will be dropped. We now come to the case of the Mayor of Wexford, proprietor and editor of a newspaper, who was prosecuted for publishing a report of a meeting of the Ladies' Land League, and in which the Crown Solicitor, Mr. M'Mahon, said—"We have nothing to do with the effect of the article; it was the intention to intimidate." But the Chief Secretary for Ireland gave a different construction of the law. He said that where the effect was intimidation, the person should be proceeded against, even if the intention was not such. So that the effect of the Act is to make intimidation penal, whether there was an actual intention to intimidate or not. Then we have the case of a number of reporters, and Mr. M'Philpin, an editor of a newspaper, who were prosecuted for attending a proclaimed meeting, and The Freeman, in its report, stated that not only were the gentlemen convicted and sentenced to cumulative terms of imprisonment, but they were marched through the town of Mullingar in prison garb and handcuffed together. We now come to the suppression of meetings, including the suppression of the meetings of their constituents, which my hon. Friends the Members for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) and Roscommon (Dr. Commins) 863 intended to address. The Chief Secretary for Ireland made a very remarkable statement in connection with this matter, in which he said that if he knew that the hon. Member for Sligo intended to address the meeting, it would not have been proclaimed. But I think that statement carries with it the condemnation of having proclaimed the meeting at all. My hon. Friend the Member for Sligo would have only been one of the speakers at the meeting in question, and we may reasonably suppose that the same speakers would have addressed the meeting in his presence as would have addressed it in his absence. In what way could this matter, then, be affected by the presence of the Member for Sligo? How could he take away by his presence from the mischief that might have been done, in the opinion of the chief Secretary for Ireland, by the other speakers. It seems to me, then, to be absurd to gay that, if one speaker was to attend a meeting it would not be proclaimable, but if he did not attend, all the other probable speakers being the same, that therefore the mooting ought to be proclaimed. The only meeting called to hear an address from my hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon was also suppressed, and he too was prevented, like the hon. Member for Sligo, from fulfilling his Constitutional duty. Why was not the same consideration shown to him r There are some who say that the reason why the meeting called to hear the hon. Member for Roscommon was suppressed was because he voted against the Liberal candidate at Liverpool, or took some action against him, and that accordingly this piece of vengeance was taken on my hon. Friend, for I am sure from his character for sobriety and Constitutional attributes, quite equal to those which have been given to my hon. Friend the Member for Sligo, and the fact that he is a lawyer of considerable ability and lengthened experience, he would know what might be said, and what should be loft unsaid, and be very well able to say what he had to say even within such a stringent Act as the Crimes Act. The case, however, is, that meetings have been proclaimed without apparently the slightest discrimination, or the slightest necessity—in fact, to such an extent are these proclamations being carried that the people have given up all idea of 864 holding meetings at all, except when there happens to be an election of a Member of Parliament. The Government have not yet gone to the extent of proclaiming election meetings; but I have no doubt that they will arrive at that happy condition of things. There is no freedom of speech under this Administration in Ireland; and I think that any public speaker will agree with Mr. Ferguson, the County Court Judge of Cork, that he would be a fool who would attempt to speak in Ireland under the clauses of this Act, and would deserve the plank bed for his foolishness. I now come to one of the most important clauses of the Act. I allude to the powers given to the Crown in empannelling special juries taken from the special jury panel of the county and city where the case is tried. Those powers were first enforced in the trial of Francis Hynes; and I believe that their effect in this and a number of the succeeding murder trials was that the juries in these murders were composed exclusively, or almost exclusively, of Protestants, drawn from the class known as Castle tradesmen, or persons who are dependent on the aristocracy, who are, of course, the landlord class in Ireland, for their means of living, from persons who are on terms of friendly intimacy, social companionship, with Lord Spencer and the Castle officials, or with persons connected in some way or other with the admistration of the present system of government in Dublin; of persons drawn from a class who, by the very nature of the case, cannot be expected to approach the decision of a case of such a character with any sort of judicial impartiality of mind. Now, I wish to be perfectly understood. I do not suppose that the great majority of jurors in the cases tried deliberately brought in verdicts against innocent men. I believe, however, some of them did. You talk about "Boycotting." The Secretary of State for the Home Department, in introducing the Crimes Act, said that he would try and prevent "Boycotting." Well, I was talking to a juror some weeks since, and this juror left me strongly under the impression that if he had returned a verdict of a different character he would have been "Boycotted" in his business, the business he was carrying on being dependent mostly upon the support of the landlord and official classes 865 in Ireland. Well, I can assure the House that any prisoner, when he is being tried, cannot feel the slightest confidence in the impartiality of juries so composed. Nobody can believe, in the face of the constitution of the tribunals which have been empannelled to try murder cases in Ireland, that the prisoner has the chance of the benefit of the doubt which every prisoner is entitled to have. It is not only, however, of the actual constitution of the juries that I have to speak. I have to complain, also, of the conduct of the Judges. The conduct of many of the Irish Judges, and particularly of what I shall call the "Castle," the political Judges, has not been judicial. There are exceptions, and noble exceptions, however, on the Irish Bench; but, unhappily, it is too true that a great number of the Irish Judges are chosen from political partizans of one Government or the other. The reasons for this are not difficult to see. In England you never appoint Judges for political services—you appoint them on account of their legal ability. In England you do not give salaries to Judges that exceed the average emoluments of the Profession to which they belong, and you can get the best men for a salary the amount of which is very much below what the person appointed was in the habit of making from his Profession at the Bar. In Ireland, however, the case is entirely different. Your Judges are appointed by reason of the person successfully contesting some seat like Mallow, and receiving as a reward the Office of Solicitor General or Attorney General. In saying that, I speak without wishing, in the slightest degree, to make any offensive or personal allusion to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the present Attorney General for Ireland, because I recognize in him a man to whom the words do not apply, who has won his position as Member of Parliament for Londonderry fairly, and after a hard contest, and who undoubtedly represents the voice and feelings of the majority of the electors of that portion of Ireland from which he comes, and who has also, I believe, fairly won his position as Attorney General by his great ability as a lawyer. What I say has, however, I think, a general application, and it holds good with reference to the majority of the Law Officers of the Crown in Ireland. The Judges are men 866 who have obtained their positions for some political reason, and not from the fact that they are the best men; and when they leave their Profession and become Judges, they are given larger salaries than they were able to earn as private lawyers. Consequently, a direct inducement is held out to the Bar in Ireland to use their profession for the Political service of some Government or the other, for the purpose thereby of obtaining a seat on the Bench; and the conduct of the Judges in trying political cases, or cases of an agrarian character, has been such as to persuade the Irish people that they are not fit to be entrusted with the trial of such cases. I say there are noble exceptions. For instance, Mr. Justice Harrison. He is a fair Judge. He tried grave cases the other day, and he obtained convictions. He tried murder cases and other important cases, and nobody found fault with his conduct on these trials. Contrast the attitude of Mr. Justice Lawson or Mr. Justice O'Brien, both of them political Judges, or the late Judge Keogh or Chief Justice May, who had to retire from the Bench during the State Trials of 1879, owing to the fact that he had disgracefully prejudged the case, and who, I see, is to be entrusted with the trial of murder cases to be shortly proceeded with in Ireland. Contrast, I say, the conduct of those Judges with the conduct of Sir James Stephen, who tried Walsh, who was tried for supplying arms to persons in Ireland, and was convicted of treason. Contrast the way in which Judge Harrison and Sir James Stephen summed up, with the way in which Mr. Justice O'Brien and Mr. Justice Lawson were in the habit of summing up. I can tell the House that these things make a deep impression on the Irish people. They have an earnest longing for fair play—they desire nothing but fair play; but when they see juries packed in the way described, and Judges jumping about on the Bench and delivering their judgments, making themselves practically Crown prosecutors—when they see these things done while prisoners are on trial for their lives, then, I say, the inevitable result is to destroy all sympathy of the people for law and order, and make the people endeavour to shield criminals. It can have no other effect. The worst traditions of 867 English rule in Ireland are associated with this question of jury packing and of the conduct of Judges, and I regret to say that during the administration of this Crimes Act there have been more scandals within that short space of time than have ever occurred in the same time before. Sir, I have said that the juries in all these murder cases have been chiefly composed of Protestants. I have here a table showing the constitutions of the juries who tried a number of murder and other cases in Dublin recently. It represents seven of the principal trials which have taken place under the Crimes Act—namely, two trials for arson, four trials arising out of the Lough Mask murders, and the trial of Patrick Delaney for the attempt on the life of Judge Lawson. The number of jurors who took part in those seven trials, out of a panel of 200, was 56—that is to say, that the Crown, not content with the enormous power they possess of selecting entirely Protestant juries, and juries from a particular class, have made a further selection from amongst that class, and they selected 56 out of 200 to try all these seven cases. Out of those 56, 47 were Protestants, and nine were Catholics. Now, the proportion of Catholics to Protestants on that jury panel of 200 is just the other way. The just proportion on this particular panel is represented by four and a-half Catholics to one Protestant. The proportion of four and a-half to one would have represented 45 Catholics to 10 Protestants, instead of 47 Protestants to 9 Catholics. In fact, the proper order of things was reversed. In one trial the Crown Solicitor ordered 13 Catholics in succession to stand aside, and eventually there were on the jury 3 Catholics and 9 Protestants. The jury disagreed; and, on the second trial, the jury which convicted the prisoner consisted of 11 Protestants and I Catholic, the one Catholic being James Talbot Power, distiller. For the trial of Patrick Higgins 106 jurors answered. Twenty Protestants were challenged for the prisoner, and 2t> Catholics were ordered to stand aside by the Crown. The jury disagreed; and the second jury which tried Higgins consisted of 11 Protestants and I Whig Catholic, the same Mr. James Talbot Power whoso services were called into requisition on the second trial. Thomas (Tom) Higgins was convicted by a jury consisting of 10 Pro- 868 testants and 2 Catholics. Michael Flynn was tried by 10 Protestants and 2 Catholics, the Crown having ordered to stand aside 53 jurors, of whom 41 were Catholics. Patrick Delaney, for the attempt on Judge Lawson, was convicted by 11 Protestants and I Catholic. Now, Sir, when O'Connell was tried, the Crown empannelled a jury consisting exclusively of Protestants. A great commotion was excited by this, and the Government of the day was held up to execration for the course which it took. But the proceedings against O'Connell did not involve his life; at the outside they only involved a sentence of two years' imprisonment as a first-class misdemeanant. But nothing could exceed the severity of the strictures which were passed by Liberal and Radical public opinion in England upon the conduct of the Crown in empannelling an exclusively Protestant jury in his case; and the proceedings were subsequently set aside by the House of Lords, on the ground that the High Sheriff, in packing the jury in this fashion, had been guilty of illegal conduct. By the Crimes Act it is no longer necessary for the Sheriff to pack the jury; the Crown do it themselves. They are, however, obliged to do it now in an open manner, so that it can be seen by everybody. They select their juries in open Court, and certainly they have selected their juries in the most unblushing fashion in the recent trials. But if O'Connell was entitled to commiseration for having to go before an exclusively Protestant jury, so, I say, men on trial for their lives are entitled to greater commiseration for having to go before exclusively Protestant juries. I think it would have been far better, and would have given rise to far less criticism and distrust in Ireland, if you had, instead of resorting to the old system of jury packing, or jury selection, as I suppose the Government will call it—if you had constituted your tribunal of Judges at once, and have brought before it the persons whom you desire to try under this exceptional system of justice, or what you call justice. The farce, for it is a farce, of saying that you desire to preserve the right of trial by jury does not deceive anybody. There is no such thing in Ireland now as trial by jury. You have trials by tribunals of partizans, just as much partizans as the juries alluded to by the 869 right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), because they are, every one of them, smarting under a sense of injury sustained during the land movement. They feel that their incomes have been reduced, as undoubtedly they have been reduced, by the land agitation. It is impossible for these tribunals to give any prisoner a fair trial; and I believe that public opinion in Ireland is practically unanimous in saying that it would have been far better, far more honest and straightforward, if, instead of pretending that you are attempting to preserve the sacred right of trial by jury, you had gone straight to work and established your Commission of Judges, as provided by the 1st section of the Crimes Act. I think, Sir, in what I have said, I have made out my case that this Act has been administered in such a way as to cause profound irritation and distrust of the law in Ireland. There does not appear to be any particle of right of a political character left to any individual in the country. Everything is at the mercy of Lord Spencer, who is just as much an autocrat in Ireland as the Czar of Russia is in his own Imperial Dominions. I can see no distinction whatever between the picture presented by Lord Spencer, riding at the head of his dragoons through the streets of Dublin, and that presented by the Czar, when he goes about accompanied by his military escort. The only difference is that it may be that the Emperor of Russia has a very much larger proportion—perhaps a majority—of the people of the country in his favour. Certainly, the administration of the Irish Government in Ireland at present is universally detested by everybody. It is driving many who formerly deprecated crime to feel that they, at least, will not sympathize with the attempts of the Government in future to bring criminals to trial. I defy you to continue the government of Ireland unless you do obtain the sympathy of the majority of the people. I know well that there was a desire amongst all sections last summer, before this Crimes Act came into force, to discourage outrage and resistance to the law, and to conduct whatever further agitation for other reforms might be necessary in Ireland upon strictly Constitutional and moderate lines. I believe that this feel- 870 ing had permeated amongst every class of the community, even the lowest. [A right hon. MEMBER: Except the Assassination Society.] The right hon. Gentleman says the Assassination Society excepted; but it will be noticed that the Assassination Society—if there be an Assassination Society—and upon that subject we are not entitled to give any opinion until the result of the judicial proceedings in Dublin has been ascertained—it will be observed that no further attempted outrage was made in Dublin by these men during all the months between May and, I think it was, November or December, when the attempt on Mr. Justice Lawson took place. During those six months there was not the slightest sign of what the right hon. Gentleman designates as an Assassination Society; and it was not until the extraordinary conduct of Mr. Justice Lawson in imprisoning my hon. Friend the High Sheriff of the City of Dublin (Mr. Gray), and the extraordinary way in which he conducted the trials in Dublin for murder—it was not until then that there was an unhappy and lamentable recurrence of the attempts which have been alluded to as having been made by the so-called Assassination Society. I believe, Sir, that, as I have before remarked, all classes in the country were, at the passing of the Crimes Act, desirous of restoring peace and order in Ireland, and that it would have been possible for the right hon. Gentleman and for Lord Spencer to have governed without a Coercion Act. I feel convinced, however, that by the passing of the Crimes Act, by the way in which the Irish Government has administered it, conciliation has been postponed for many a long day and year. You may, perhaps, keep the country quiet; but anybody can govern during a state of siege; and the problem will again come up—"What are we to do to reconcile Ireland to England? What are we to do enable the ordinary process of the law to be effected without resistance? What are we to do to restore peace—permanent peace and order in that country?" You will have to consider this question between now and the expiration of the time to which the present Coercion or Crimes Act is limited. You will have to find some answer to the question. Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to find an answer? Has 871 he any recommendation to make to the Government as a satisfactory answer to that question, but this—that, by a firm administration of the law, and by prompt punishment of evil-doers who offend against the law, and of a great many people who have not offended, it will be possible to work out the problem of the government of Ireland? But such proceedings are simply a repetition of those which abound in the history of your connection with Ireland during the 700 years in which your rule has existed, and you admit yourselves that you are not any nearer the end than you were at the beginning. Why, then, do you insist upon persevering in a course which has been amply discredited by the result? We are told we are to have no more remedial legislation for Ireland because of the alleged discovery of an Assassination Society in Dublin—that is practically the effect of the speech of the noble Marquess the present Leader of the Government (the Marquess of Hartington); that is practically the effect of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant; it is not, however, the practical effect of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain). It is not the effect of the speech of the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone), but it is the effect of what has been said by the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, who may be assumed to be speaking the sentiments of Lord Spencer. If I were asked to say why it is that Ireland is to obtain no more remedial legislation at present, I should say it was not because the Government thought that they were contending with any grave crime in Ireland at present, because I do not believe they are contending with any grave crime; but it is because they believe that they have succeeded in putting down crime and agitation in Ireland, and that, having succeeded in putting down crime and agitation in Ireland, it is no longer necessary for England to pay any attention to the Constitutional wants of Ireland. This is the lesson you have taught Ireland, by the history of century after century and generation after generation—that whenever we are orderly, whenever we obey the law, whenever a strong Coersion Act compels that appearance only of respect and obedience to the law which the 872 people do not feel, we receive no attention to our wants and necessities; but that when a great agitation arises which shakes the foundations of society, threatens revolution or civil war, we may expect that the undivided attention 'of the House of Commons may be given to the affairs of Ireland. Well, Sir, Ireland is quiet now. It will be many a long day before she is quieter. If you are going to wait until you have more peace and order in Ireland than at present, I fear the youngest amongst us will not see the resumption of remedial legislation for Ireland. I would urge this House—while there is yet time, while they are able to say that Ireland is orderly—even though the efforts by which that order has been produced are infamous—I would urge them to show that they still do think of justice for Ireland—that the requirements of that country are still in their minds. Nobody can pretend, for instance, that there is any question, Imperial or English, more worthy the attention of the House at this moment than the Irish Question. No one can say, for a moment, that the defects of the Land Act—large and far-reaching as we hold them to be—small and trifling as you hold them to be—are not worthy of the attention of this House. Let us not lose the ship for the want of a half-pennyworth of tar. Perhaps, for want of amendment to the Land Act, you may lose the opportunity of permanently settling the Irish Land Question. I should regret extremely if that should be the case. I believe it would be possible for this House, if they allowed their minds to be drawn away from the contemplation—the exclusive contemplation—of whatever is evil in the state of affairs in Ireland at the present moment, and to take up once more the question of Irish reform, to work out a permanent settlement of the Land Question. I believe this House, if it did this, would feel, in the satisfaction which would come to its conscience, an infinite reward for any trouble and any loss of time which might be entailed. But I do not, I cannot, hold out any hope that it would be rewarded by any quenching of the spirit of Irish nationality. But I believe that a way might be found of settling this question which would be an advantage to both countries, and which would bring about a restoration of good feeling between 873 both countries—a way which would not injure your Empire, or the integrity of that Empire, in the slightest degree. I trust that the House may pause before it blindly believes the reports which are brought from Ireland by the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. It is natural that the right hon. Gentleman, who, I suppose, imagines that he had been in daily and hourly danger of his life for some months past, should find himself unable to take a just view of the situation. I believe that his impressions and his attitude are not of a vindictive character; that he went over to Ireland desirous of doing his duty, but that the situation has proved too much for him, and that, like other well-intentioned English officials, he has had his mind perverted by the associates and officials by whom he has been surrounded. I feel sure that if we could get through this time of prejudice, of difficulty, of danger, the House would see that it is for the interest of England, as well as of Ireland, that the course which the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister inaugurated two years ago, of remedying the grievances of Ireland, should be continued and persevered with to the end. I should have wished that we had heard from some English Member of Radical proclivities some sentiments like those expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade. I believe him to be one of the few Englishmen in this House who correctly appreciate the Irish Question; and I think it is a great pity that his advice and his opinion are not more sought for than they apparently are. Nobody can deny that the situation and position of Ireland in the English Constitutional system is one of the greatest importance, and that it will be impossible for the great Liberal Party to continue its course of usefulness to England, the Empire, and, I trust, to the world at large, without the support and the assistance—the cordial assistance—of Ireland. You never can have that assistance so long as you trample upon and oppress her people. I am not now speaking of the Irish vote in the English constituencies. I do not wish to suppose that any Member of this House would be influenced by considerations such as those to undertake any course which he considered wrong and contrary to his duty. But it is a fact that Ireland occupies to-day a more 874 important position in your Constitutional system—a position fraught with greater danger to yourselves, unless you satisfy her, than she has ever occupied before. You may talk about the fewness of her numbers, about the loyalty of Ulster, but I tell you that the people of Ulster are no more loyal than the people of Munster. You may say that we are only 5,000,000 in number, but we have many millions of our countrymen scattered over the world, who sympathize with Ireland, who are as willing to make as great a sacrifice as any of those at home, and who have ability and means superior to those in Ireland itself. We have a greater Ireland beyond the seas; and I say this without any desire to disparage our people at home; but there is no doubt that in the sympathy, and attention, and interest which are now being paid by the Irish millions of America to the progress of affairs in Ireland, we have a certain guarantee of ultimate success. That force was never enlisted in favour of Ireland before. It rested with the Land League movement of 1879 to obtain for us the cultivated and trained ability of the Irish citizens of the West. We have that force now, and I believe it will be utilized in such a way, constitutionally and moderately in favour of Ireland, as will be of enormous advantage to our country; and, therefore, I would entreat this House not to put this problem lightly on one side. It is the very greatest and gravest problem that they can be called upon to solve. Do not despair of attempts to satisfy the Irish people if you desire to do justice to them, and I believe no time would be better spent than in amending the Land Act, because I am satisfied that if you renew your course of remedial legislation good and happy results will ensue. If you think we are not to be trusted with the terrible powers of local self-government, which are so appalling to the mind of the noble Marquess the Leader of the House (the Marquess of Hartington), there are many other local questions you might take up; but so long as this House asserts its right to legislate for Ireland, you are bound to legislate on those points which require your attention. You may say that English affairs require attention—I admit that; but they are not of so grave and pressing importance as are the wants of Ireland at the present moment.
§ I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name.
To insert, at the end of the 10th paragraph, after the word "Executive," the words:—"And humbly to assure Her Majesty that the manner in which the exceptional legislation known as the Crimes Act has been and is exercised by the officials of the Crown in Ireland is tyrannical and unjust. That gross licence of oppression is granted to persons and classes bitterly hostile to the mass of the Irish people. That Constitutional agitation is despotically impeded and persecuted. That justice is administered in a most partial and prejudiced spirit, and that the confidence of the people in the application of the Law is destroyed by a system of jury packing which has already, in the opinion of the vast majority of the Irish people, led to many iniquitous sentences and the execution of innocent persons, while it is practically impossible to obtain justice or protection for the masses of the people from the present administrators of the Law. And that, unless the Irish Executive abandon unconstitutional and tyrannical courses, and depend upon the Constitutional administration of the ordinary Law, the result may be prejudicial in an extreme degree to the cause of peace and order in Ireland."—(Mr. Parnell.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PORTER)
said, he was not surprised that the hon. Member for the City of Cork should have concluded his observations without referring to the terms of the Amendment. In the course of his speech the hon. Member had made an attack on the principle of the Crimes Act, and he had advanced a number of instances of hardship arising out of its administration, as to which he had furnished the House with no evidence whatever. He would, at the outset, refer the House to the words of the Amendment which the hon. Member had brought before the House; and with reference to the charge which was embodied in that Amendment, he would ask the House whether the hon. Member had been justified in putting such a charge, without strong proof, before the House and the country. The Amendment eaid—That justice is administered in a most partial and prejudiced spirit, and the confidence of the people in the application of the Law is destroyed by a system of jury packing, which has already led to many iniquitous sentences and the execution of innocent persons, while it is practically impossible to obtain justice or protection for the masses of the people from the present administrators of the Law.Now, that was a very grave charge—a 876 charge that there had been iniquitous sentences, many innocent persons executed, and that it was impossible for the vast majority of the people of the country to obtain protection from the administrators of the law. In reference to these matters, they were charges of a very grave character, which, unless supported by the very strongest evidence, ought not to have been preferred. But the hon. Member had concluded without even expressing as much as an opinion on the subject, much less had he referred to one single case upon which he could adduce any evidence. He (the Attorney General for Ireland) did not propose to debate the policy of the Crimes Act, because that had been discussed fully during last Session. It was quite true that that Act contained stringent clauses, which were as many and as stringent as any that had ever passed the Legislature in reference to Ireland. In reference to that Statute, however, it had been forced upon the country and the House by the obvious and admitted necessity of the case, for they had come to a state of things in which crime experienced an almost complete immunity. As regarded its provisions, he did not now propose to discuss them. It had not, for instance, been necessary to use that tribunal of Judges which there was power in the Act to substitute for the jury. That power he hoped it would not be necessary to use. The hon. Member had referred to the portion of the Act which re-enacted the Alien Act. Although that provision had never been used, and could not, therefore, have been a very powerful agent of tyranny on the part of the Executive, he did not think it had been an unnecessary provision, and had undoubtedly relieved the country of many persons who would have been dangerous to it. The hon. Member had referred at considerable length to a number of instances, which he was apparently reading from some document. He was not complaining of that, for it was physically impossible for an hon. Member to carry in his head the names, dates, and places referred to; but the hon. Member had given about a score of instances of cases in which the provision of the 11th section of the Act had been put into requisition and persons brought before the magistrates. He (the Attorney General for Ireland) was not in a posi- 877 tion, having never heard of these illustrations, to discuss each particular case; but he could only say that the hon. Member had not adduced a single fact of positive hardship or injustice. He would admit that there might have been mistakes committed by policemen entrusted with the Administration of that section of the Act; but it did not follow that mistakes had generally been made by the police, which was a force consisting of men of whom the marvellously great majority were persons of very great intelligence and humanity. It had been the custom in many quarters to sneer at the want of detective power among the Irish police; but in the matter of the better detection of crime the police displayed a more than ordinary intelligence, which would add credit to any detective force in the world. With regard to the exercise of the discretionary power entrusted to them under that Act, they had necessarily, in cases of suspicion, acted upon their own discretion. In cases where persons refused any name or explanation it could not be wondered at that the policemen regarded the circumstances as suspicious, and brought those persons before the magistrates. Another class of complaint which had been made by the hon. Member had been with reference to cases of intimidation by newspapers, and particular that of the case of Mr. Kelly, an editor, who had been sent for trial by a magistrate before a Judge of Assize. After all the time which had elapsed that case had been brought forward as a charge against the administration of the Crimes Act. If it had been a charge under the Crimes Act it could not have been sent before a Judge of Assize at all. As a matter of fact, the prosecution had been under the ordinary law, and after Mr. Kelly had been returned for trial by a magistrate the prosecution dropped and an apology tendered by Mr. Kelly was accepted. What had been the reason of making that charge as one of hardship against the Irish Executive? It had had nothing whatever to do with the Crimes Act, and in the case of United Ireland he had to remind the hon. Member that that case was not under the Crimes Act at all.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PORTER)
said, he had 878 understood the hon. Member to refer to the prosecution of Mr. O'Brien, editor of United Ireland, as under the Crimes Act. That prosecution had not been taken under the Crimes Act, and the seizure of the paper had taken place long before the Crimes Act was passed.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PORTER)
said, the jury had been a special jury; but, except in that particular, the case had not been tried under the Crimes Act. With regard to the case of the Mayor of Wexford, that had certainly been taken under the Crimes Act; but the Mayor of Wexford was not different in the eye of the law from any other individual. It was said that he suffered hardship because, though there was undoubtedly intimidation, it was not his own, but the work of the Ladies' Land League. But he himself was, in the eye of the law, responsible for it. The next case referred to was that of the three reporters, and there were circumstances in connection with this matter which his right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary would possibly bring before the House in the course of the debate. The hon. Member mentioned two other cases—meetings which were held in Roscommon and Sligo. As regarded those meetings which were to have been addressed by two hon. Members of the House, the hon. Member for the City of Cork had been astonished at the statement of the Chief Secretary, that if it had been known that the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) was going to address his constituents a point would have been strained and the meeting not stopped. He (the Attorney General for Ireland) thought the case was easily understood. In the first place, the presence of hon. Members would be some guarantee that the proceedings would be conducted in an orderly manner; and, in the next place, there was naturally a disinclination on the part of the Executive to interfere with the intercourse of Members of that House with their constituents. But in the cases in question the Government had not been able to act in accordance with that view. These were the illustrations which had been given as tyrannous conduct of the Irish Executive. He 879 would, however, confidently appeal to the House whether the cases brought forward by the hon. Member were the slightest justification for the most atrocious charge he had made. He could characterize the charge as nothing less than atrocious, brought as it was against men who tried to do their duty honestly and fearlessly, in times of great difficulty, and under much responsibility and some danger. The illustrations amounted to nothing more than a "grumble" on the part of the hon. Member against the policy of the Act of Parliament. He would now pass to that which the hon. Member made the real gravamen of his charge—the accusation of packing special juries. He did not know whether the hon. Member had a clear conception of what jury-packing meant, for he certainly did not give the House a clear explanation. What he (the Attorney General for Ireland) understood by it was, putting upon a jury persons who were improper to try a case; and he could not think that the mere fact that a particular person who might have tried a case with perfect fairness was not on the jury would amount to the charge of jury-packing, nor was there jury-packing in placing on any particular case men who would be fair and impartial. There was no portion of the Crimes Act which he regarded as of more importance than that which referred to special juries, and he believed it could be advantageously introduced into the jurisprudence of this country as well as Ireland. The provision, however, was a positive enactment of the Crimes Act for the purpose of securing juries who were not only, superior in intelligence, but in independence, and free from intimidation. They had seen how the law broke down in many counties from the intimidation which was practised upon men of humble station and limited means; and with a view to provide men who were intelligent, independent, and fearless, and who would return impartial verdicts, the House passed an Act imposing a further property qualification upon jurors. He desired this to be borne in mind—that no change was really introduced by the Crimes Act in reference to the selection of juries, to their being sworn and empannelled. It simply substituted a higher rating qualification; and in this respect, therefore, there had been no change in the law. The 880 powers given to Crown solicitors under this Act to direct persons attending to serve on a jury to stand by were of great value, especially when intimidation was to be feared. But these powers were merely those under which they had acted from time immemorial, and no alteration whatever had been made by the Crimes Act. It was not regarded as a slur when a juryman was ordered to "stand by," as the hon. Member had stated. He could refer to eases in which jurors themselves had asked to be so ordered, so that they might be relieved of the difficult and peculiar position in which they were placed. With respect to a case mentioned by the hon. Member in which a person who had served upon a special jury had told him that he was threatened with "Boycotting" by his fellow jurors if he returned a verdict according to his conscience, he could hardly believe that any special juror would have been guilty of returning a verdict against his conscience because of any such threat; but if this case struck the hon. Member as being an illustration worthy of being brought before the House, he would ask him what he thought of the number of cases in which jurors of lower social position and less independence—men who were much more open to be thus acted upon—had been practised upon. And it was a notorious fact that this class of men were intimidated, until it became necessary for the Government to take care that only persons who were superior to such intimidation should be called on to serve. He might refer to the murder of Mr. Herbert and the attempted murder of Mr. Field to show the dangers incurred by serving in the jury-box. The Government were bound to take care that persons who were called on to serve in the trial of cases were protected from outrage at the same time that they were fearless and independent. The charge of the hon. Member that the juries were intentionally filled with Protestants to the exclusion of Catholics was also without foundation. The hon. Member said the percentage of Catholics and Protestants upon the special jury panel was about 4¼ to 1; but his recollection was that of the panel of 200–100 of whom were from the county and 100 from the City of Dublin—the proportion in the City was two Protestants to one Catholic, and in the county nearly one to one—the figures being in the one case 881 61 to 35, and in the other 51 to 48, some deaths having taken place in each. He believed that the Crown solicitors exercised their discretion under the rule absolutely without regard to religion. They were exercising a power which they had been directed to exercise, and were guided solely by a desire to prevent persons from serving on juries who were influenced by fear, favour, or affection. The directions to Crown Solicitors were in print, and required them to set aside all persons likely to be influenced by fear or favour, and all persons engaged in the retail spirit trade. It was the anxious desire of all representing the Crown in the recent trials that there should be no distinction of religion, and there had been none whatever. With respect to Roman Catholics of good position and well known to be independent men, the Crown would be most anxious that they should serve on juries; but in many cases they were challenged by the prisoners. He would take the case of Hynes's jury. This was taken as a case of extraordinary clearness as against the prosecution. In that case 26 persons were told to stand by under the ordinary law. Of these, four were Protestants; eight or nine were grocers or vintners, most of whom held retail Excise licences; three were farmers from remote districts, who could not be expected to give an independent judgment; of the remainder, two were graziers, one a pawnbroker, and another a butcher. Thus there only seven persons for whose rejection no specific reason could be assigned; but in those cases the Crown solicitors, though knowing nothing against their moral character, believed that they were not removed from influence or intimidation. That was the entire jury-packing on the part of the Crown. As to the allegation of the Crown putting people on juries, it should be remembered that the prisoners had the right of challenge. There were organizations which placed their information at the service of prisoners to guide them in challenging jurors. Each prisoner had a right to challenge 20, without giving any reason, and any number if he gave a satisfactory reason. Hynes did exercise his right to the extent of 11, but challenged no more. It was clear, therefore, that his advisers, who might have challenged nine of the jury who tried the case, but did 882 not do so, were satisfied with the jury.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PORTER)
said, that the country solicitor was advised by a town solicitor. In the case of Patrick Walsh only four of those challenged by the Crown were to be accounted for, and in that case the prisoner only challenged 11. In Michael Walsh's case 17 were directed to stand by; two were Protestants, leaving 15 Roman Catholics; of the Catholics, eight were vintners and grocers, five were farmers, and one was a butcher, leaving only one unaccounted for. The right of challenge was exercised in eight cases by Michael Walsh. He regretted very much that the hon. Member for the City of Cork had thought it right to refer by name to one Catholic gentleman who had served upon several of these juries. Having regard to recent events, and what happened to Mr. Field in consequence of his being named, and in regard to the state of society in Dublin, the hon. Member might have spared the allusion to the name. The hon. Member had observed that, having regard to the conduct of the juries, there was no chance of prisoners being given the benefit of the doubt. On the contrary, a special jury acquitted a man against whom there was a strong case. He did not complain of that, but it was a fact that they acquitted him. In another case, although the jury felt themselves constrained to convict, they brought in a recommendation to mercy, and the Lord Lieutenant was enabled to exercise his clemency; and in other cases the juries had disagreed. So far from being men blinded by political partizanship, as was alleged, the jurors were men who were brought from their homes to discharge a most difficult and a most onerous duty, entirely unremunerated, and had done their duty carefully, impartially, and without shrinking; and it really was that they had done their duty unterrorized that was the extent of their offending. Not content with attacking the jury panels, the hon. Member attacked the conduct of the Judges, who, if his account were true, had been guilty of conduct, through political partizanship, amount- 883 ing to wilful murder. Preference had particularly been made to Mr. Justice Lawson and Mr. Justice O'Brien. The hon. Member had paid him (the Attorney General for Ireland) a compliment, but he accepted no compliment at the cost either of his Colleagues or his Predecessors. His Predecessors were men of infinitely greater ability than himself, and equal honesty. With respect to Mr. Justice Lawson, he was a scholar and a gentleman, a man of large heart and the largest charity, a man known favourably throughout the United Kingdom as a man of culture and training; and why was he to be dragged before the public? Who was his accuser? Mr. Justice Lawson was trained from his youth in the study of the law; he was a man of judicial experience and great strength of mind. Why should he be a party to convict innocence? What had he to hope for? He was never a political partizan in any extreme sense. He was only a partizan in the sense of being a Member of one of the great Parties in the State; and when he had gone upon the Bench, why should there be any distinction made between him and the Judges of England, who had invariably been credited with fairness and impartiality, whatever their previous political action might have been? As regarded Judge O'Brien, he had never been one of the Law Officers of the Crown, and he was unable to imagine how any reasonable being could suppose for a moment that he would ever be guilty of judicial murder. The hon. Member stated that Chief Justice May had admitted that he was incapable of trying a case in consequence of misconduct. He (the Attorney General for Ireland) absolutely denied that. Some words which the Chief Justice used had been misinterpreted, and had been held to convey a meaning which he did not intend. Under these circumstances, as there might have been a suspicion of prejudice, he retired from the Bench upon the occasion referred to. The hon. Member had also referred to the conduct of the English Judge who recently tried a man called Walsh for treason-felony in London, and had contrasted his fairness with the unfairness of the Irish Judges. Now, it so happened that that English Judge—who was Mr. Justice Stephen—had sat upon the Bench at some of the Dublin trials, and he (the Attorney General for Ireland) 884 was willing to abide by his estimate of the fairness of those trials. The proceedings in the Courts wore conducted by officials in Court absolutely independent of the Executive, Lord Spencer having no more to do with the conduct of a case in Dublin than in London. The hon. Member had tried to make much of the fact that there were no outrages in Dublin between last May and November. But in November came the attack on Mr. Field and on Mr. Justice Lawson, and those who committed the assassinations in May would have continued their work with less intermission if it had not been for the terror inspired by the Crimes Act. After describing the outrages committed in Dublin as unhappy, wretched, and lamentable, the hon. Member asked what was to be done to reconcile Ireland to England. He would reply to the hon. Member's question in these words—"Cease to abuse every person connected with authority and the law; cease from agitation; cease from encouraging, or, at any rate, from not discouraging, a state of society which must necessarily lead to crime, and let the Land Act and other remedial measures have time to produce the results anticipated from them; let the people's minds have some rest, and let us settle down in peace and freedom from agitation." If that advice were followed, although he agreed that there was an amount of discontent at present, he believed that discontent would vanish much sooner than the hon. Member expected, and then the people of Ireland would realize how anxious the House was to legislate for the substantial good of their country as an integral part of the United Kingdom.
§ MR. KENNY
said, that, judging from the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, there could be very little expected from him in the direction of leniency. The right hon. and learned Gentleman found fault with his (Mr. Kenny's) hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork for advancing certain objections to the administration of the Crimes Act; but, having listened to the speech of the Attorney General, the House would come to the conclusion that his effort to justify the administration of that Act was a great and thorough failure. He wished, at this early stage of the discussion, to join in the protest against this ini- 885 quitous Act, which was thrust upon Ireland during a wave of English anger. It was the last link of the bloodstained chain of coercion, and was, perhaps, the foullest and most objectionable link, which merited their condemnation and censure. The system of intrusting to the Executive absolute and despotic powers was highly censurable and dangerous. The conduct of the Government had been that of highwaymen, who held down their victims while they plundered them. Some doubts had been expressed as to whether the hon. Member for the City of Cork would propose this Amendment; but he (Mr. Kenny) was at a loss to conceive how for a moment the idea could enter the minds of hon. Members. The supposition, he supposed, was prompted by the fact that certain disclosures had been made in Dublin, and that certain ferocious attacks were made on the Party with which he (Mr. Kenny) was associated and the Land League; but, so far, nothing of the slightest moment had been brought home. The disclosures in Dublin, moreover, did not affect the administration of the Crimes Act elsewhere in Ireland; and they had an accusation to bring against the Government for the administration of the Act. In the country districts in Ireland every vestige of liberty had been taken away. The powers of the Act were not placed merely in the hands of special magistrates appointed by Dublin Castle, who were not popular with the people, but in the hands of every Irish constable. Matters had come to this—that the humblest Irish policeman considered himself an important influence in the Government of Ireland. This Act gave the Government almost unlimited power over life and property in Ireland, and, as an instance which he could quote would show, had been administered in a tyrannical, unjust, and unfair manner. Amongst the other powers, the Government could send into districts extra police when they considered that the police already there were not sufficient. Extra police had been sent into his own district of Tulla; and the Board of Guardians, which now wore really the only existing elected Boards in the counties, had passed a resolution in which they set out that not only had there been no outrage or crime in the locality since the removal of Inspector Crane 886 and Constable Grady, but that the last disturbance was caused by the policemen themselves. Why, then, should the parish be taxed with an extra police rate amounting to 6s. in the pound? Various instances of arbitrary arrest might be cited. There was the case of Mr. Stephen J. Meany, who was taken up in Ennis, his native place, though it must have been known to the authorities that Mr. Meany was the editorial correspondent of The New York Daily Star, and bad come over to Ireland merely to give an account of the state of the country. He would next call the attention of the House to the suppression of the right of public meeting; but as his hon. Friend (Mr. Parnell) had fully treated upon this portion of the Act, he would simply express his amazement that such an apology as was made should have been made by the Chief Secretary. If the right hon. Gentleman did not know that his hon. Friend the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) was to have addressed his constituents at the suppressed meeting at Sligo, he must have perfectly well known that the hon. Member for Roscommon proposed to speak at his suppressed meeting. Why did he suppress him and deny him the Constitutional right of addressing his constituents? He was afraid that the defence pleaded by the right hon. Gentleman was not a valid one, and it certainly was not a very good one. He then came to the Intimidation Clause of the Act, and would again refer to the Irish newspaper reports which had gone unchallenged, and which he had reason to believe were absolutely correct.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I would remind the hon. Member that it is against the Rules of Debate for the hon. Member to read his speech.
§ MR. KENNY
said, that he was simply referring to reports for the purpose of bearing out what he intended to state in his speech. These reports, he maintained, amply showed that the persons having charge of the administration of the Act in Ireland had grossly and most unfairly abused their powers. No doubt hon. Members who sat below the Gangway opposite would join with him in condemning the imprisonment for what was called intimidation of the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. Timothy Harrington). The Chief Secretary the other 887 day had the candour to admit that they imprisoned him not for intimidating those farmers who had just elected him of their own free will to represent them in Parliament, but because it was necessary, by hook or by crook, to do something to silence the leaders of the popular movement in Ireland. In considering the administration of the Change of Venue Clause in the Act, there is the case of Francis Hynes, with respect to which the Attorney General for Ireland had laboured to show that the jury had not been packed; whereas the true object of the right hon. and learned Gentleman should have been to prove that they were not drunk during the trial, that they did not separate at the hotel, and that they had no communication there with other persons while the case was being tried. The right hon. and learned Gentleman combated an allegation which no one had made, and ignored the sworn affidavits of those who noticed and made public the misconduct of the jury and their inebriate condition. These affidavits alone should have been sufficient to have quashed the indictment; but the case did not rest there. Instead of condemning it, however, that very virtuous Judge, who was defended with such pains by the Attorney General for Ireland, ordered the imprisonment of the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Gray), in whose paper the comments appeared. The fine of £500 which was inflicted in addition to the sentence was promptly subscribed by the people, and the Government remitted the greater part of the sentence. Mr. Gray, for comments on the behaviour of the jury, had been imprisoned and fined; Mr. O'Brien, for similar criticism, had been put upon his trial, so that both these Gentlemen had suffered severely from the unfair, he might almost say the savage, administration of the Act. As for Hynes himself, he was hanged; but such was the popular feeling aroused in Ireland by the evidently unfair trial, that Petitions were sent from all parts for a reprieve, and if the heart of the Lord Lieutenant was hardened on every other point, it was anticipated that he would have yielded to the impulse of mercy and generosity if he would not give way to justice. The indifference of the Executive to the manifestation of public feeling in this case reminded him of one 888 which occurred a hundred years ago, in which, after the execution, some of the jury confessed that they had been drunk during the trial. This case of Francis Hynes had given fair grounds to the people of Ireland for concluding that they must expect no fair play, no mercy, and no justice from the administrators of this atrocious Crimes Act. The Maamtrasna murders were so atrocious that they affected all the people of Ireland, and moved them deeply, and witnesses came forward voluntarily to help in the conviction of the murderers. Of the three who were executed, Myles Joyce protested his innocence to the end, and the other two, while not denying their own guilt, united in declaring that Joyce was innocent, and was not on the scene of the murder at the time. Sooner than bring discredit on a Dublin jury, the Executive preferred that this man should be executed, in spite of the doubt thrown on the justice of his conviction. The two men, named Poff and Barrett, convicted of the murder of a man named Brown, made the most formal and solemn declarations of their innocence; and, although they were convicted on the evidence of a woman who contradicted herself in giving it, they wore executed, and the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien), for mentioning their declarations, was exposed to a State prosecution, and was only saved from imprisonment with hard labour by the disagreement of the jury. The Prime Minister's denunciations of imprisonment without legal process, trial by exceptional tribunals, and sentences by dependent Judges, provoked by despotism in Italy, might be applied to Ireland, where these proceedings terrified not the criminal classes so much as well-conducted citizens. There was no such thing as sympathy with crime in Ireland. There was, however, a feeling among the vast majority of the people that when a man was accused of crime it was 10 to 1 that he would not be fairly tried. There was a want of confidence in the Government and a feeling of misgiving; and it was no wonder, therefore, that the people, who had such grave and serious reasons for mistrusting the present Government, should at times unite in concealing for a certain time those who were supposed to be guilty of certain offences. If criminal prosecutions were conducted in Ireland as they were in England, and if 889 the people were taught to have confidence in the laws, witnesses in Ireland would be as ready to offer their evidence as they were in England; but while the pure fountain of justice was polluted, as it had been, by successive repression Acts, it must be expected that the people would mistrust the Government, and that crime would go undetected. It had been alleged that crime followed in the trail of the Land League. In point of fact, crime had always followed the trail, not of the Land League, but of the landlords; and when they indulged in heartless evictions, which, according to the Prime Minister, were equivalent to sentences of death, it was no wonder that men who were denied the protection of the law should resort to certain means that were unlawful. It required long years of repression and injustice to make men indulge in crimes like the assassinations in the Phœnix Park.
§ MR. KENNY
went on to remark that it was with the sincerest desire to assist and not to harass the Government that he pointed out to them the fact that their administration had been most mischievous, and calculated to make it still more difficult, and perhaps eventually impossible, to reconcile the Irish with the English people. Throughout the agitation at least four-fifths of the people of Ireland had been on the side of the Land League; and, but for that circumstance, it would have been impossible for that body to force an unwilling Government to grant concessions which would otherwise have been denied. He would only add, in conclusion, that the courses open to the Government were either to indulge to the full in coercion, or, abandoning this Crimes Act, and jury packing, and every other repulsive form of government which was antagonistic to the principles of English liberty, to deal with the Irish people honestly and justly. Then they might expect the people of Ireland to become as tranquil and law-abiding as the people of England, for the Irish people would readily extend the hand of friendship to any Minister or Government which showed a sincere desire to throw aside the bloodstained traditions of coercion, and enter upon that path of true reform and just concession which was so necessary for 890 the welfare of Ireland, and which the people of that country were determined to obtain.
said, he thought that the Amendment of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) scarcely required the very powerful and convincing arguments put forward by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Porter) to demolish it, for, in his (Colonel Dawnay's) opinion, it answered itself; for, considering that it had been proved to the satisfaction of the overwhelming majority of the House that the operation of the Crimes Act was strengthening the cause of law and order in Ireland, it was hardly advisable or proper to ask, or possible that they would be persuaded, to repeal that Act in the so-called interests of law and order, which it was now so successfully promoting. The course of the debate, however, had strongly shown one fact, and that was how little the Government had failed, tip to a recent period, to comprehend the real state of affairs in Ireland, and how little they understood the sort of people with whom they had to deal. They had been dealing with men who had two objects in view—one of which was to get the land of Ireland without paying for it, and the other to separate Ireland from England; and they sought to attain those ends by murdering, mutilating, and ruining everybody who stood in their way. And how did the Government meet those lawless men? Why, at first, by offering to purchase their obedience at the price of security of tenure, a large reduction of rents, and the passing of the Arrears Act. And the virtual answer made by the disaffected to that offer was—"Since we have gained so much from a system of murderous agitation, we shall continue that system until there is nothing left to agitate for." The result was that although Ireland, as the present Prime Minister had admitted, under the late Government was in a state of remarkable tranquillity and prosperity, she again relapsed into the most deplorable condition of misery and crime. With regard to the Irish vote at Newcastle, he denied that it had been given to the Conservative candidate; but, if it had been, the House might rely upon it, it was more out of hatred to the present Government than from any other motive 891 —that they preferred open enemies to doubtful friends. But it should not be forgotten that Government had themselves come into power on the strength of the Irish vote, and that they did not repudiate it on the occasion of the last Liverpool Election. He therefore hoped the House would hear no more insinuations of that kind. In the course of the debate the speeches of the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone) and the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Collings) had undergone much criticism. The opinions of the hon. Member for Leeds had elicited universal reprobation from all except those whose praise, especially after recent disclosures, was hardly to be desired by any loyal Englishman. The hon. Member for Ipswich was in a different position. He was a Gentleman whose age ought to have endowed him with judgment and experience, if not with wisdom. Therefore his speech was received with a good deal of hostile criticism, but it could be very easily explained. The hon. Member belonged to that very small section of the Liberal Party whom he (Colonel Dawnay) had heard defined as "the un-teachable Radicals," who were for ever repeating the well-worn phrases that "force is no remedy," that "crime is the result of coercion," and that "the present condition of Ireland is due to an unjust land system," until they have come to believe that there is a sort of charm or talisman about these remarks, and whose speeches were only not mischievous, because they were so utterly unpractical. They had learned in the most convincing manner that the real cause of the present lamentable condition of Ireland was due to the evil influence of agitators over an ignorant and excitable people, and the want of the controlling power of a strong and just Government. He was glad to find that such a controlling power was being exercised by the present Lord Lieutenant and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland; but although there was now some improvement in the state of that country, that improvement was not owing to any gratitude for past concessions on the part of the Government, but to the fear of punishment on the part of evildoers, and the belief that the law was being firmly administered. How long, however, was that state of things likely 892 to continue? The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) on Friday was not very re-assuring on that point. At any moment that right hon. Gentleman's sympathy for the Land League might become too strong to be repressed. The right hon. Gentleman still adhered to the speech at Liverpool, in which he declared that the original objects of the Land League were "legal and even praiseworthy," and that to stifle its agitation would be to prevent reform. It was difficult, however, to understand how the objects of any association which depended upon murder and outrage for its success could be "legal and praiseworthy." There appeared, therefore, to be influences in the Cabinet which at any moment might lead to disastrous results; but he hoped that the Government would take warning from the sad experience of the past, and would steadfastly reject the counsels of those who, like the right hon. Gentleman, might again tempt there to try to govern Ireland through such infamous agencies as the Land League.
MR. OSBORNE MORGAN
said, he should not have intruded himself into that debate, but for the fact that, by a pure accident, he was able to give, from his own personal experience, the most complete contradiction to one of the assertions made by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). The hon. Member had said that, since the Crimes Act was passed, juries in Ireland could not be trusted to exercise judicial impartiality—that trial by jury ill Ireland did not exist; by which he (Mr. Osborne Morgan) supposed was meant that juries empannelled under the Crimes Act could not be trusted to do their duty. Now, he happened himself to be in Dublin when one of the trials for murder—which had been several times alluded to in the course of that debate, and which had been pointedly referred to in an extract in United Ireland, quoted by his right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland—was going on, and he had heard the most important part of the trial. That was the trial of Michael Walsh, at which the presiding Judge was Mr. Justice Lawson, and the foreman of the jury was Mr. Field, both of whose lives had, as was currently reported, been attempted in consequence of the part they had taken 893 in that trial. It would be impertinent in him to say anything in commendation of the admirable way in which Mr. Justice Lawson had discharged his duties on that occasion. But he did wish to say a word about the jury. He went into Court as an entirely unprejudiced spectator. He did not know what proportion of the jury was Protestant and what was Catholic; but he desired to say, having had some experience, both favourable and unfavourable, of juries in this country, that never in the whole course of his life had he beheld a more intelligent, a more patient, or a more impartial jury, and, he thought he might add, a jury more indulgent to the prisoner. Every single question they put was directly to the point, and, as far as he could judge, most of their questions were directed to elicit some point in favour of the prisoner. He could say, emphatically, that no man could have had a fairer trial; and, at the conclusion of it, he could not help saying that if that was the way they "packed" juries in Ireland, he only wished they would pack English juries in the same way. The jury was compelled, by evidence as clear as the noonday sun in Heaven, to convict the prisoner; but they added a strong recommendation to mercy, which was acted upon; and for doing that Mr. Field, the foreman of the jury, was all but murdered. As far as that jury was concerned, he asserted deliberately that a more wanton and unfounded charge—he was afraid he could not use a stronger expression without transgressing the Rules of Parliamentary debate—was never made against any jury in the world than that made by the hon. Member for the City of Cork. He did not wish to say more; but he could not, after what had been said in that debate, sit still in his place and refrain from bearing his personal testimony to the conduct of men who, at the peril of their lives, had done their duty fearlessly and faithfully to their Queen and their country.
§ MR. O'SULLIVAN
said, that though he did not agree with the whole of the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), still he thought, among other things that required amendment, there was one portion of the Crimes Act to which he should call attention, and that was the taxation clause. He knew, from personal experience of different parts of 894 the county of Limerick, that the taxation for extra police was most unjust and unfair. He did not object to the Government placing as many police as they desired in a district, as long as they paid for them themselves; but the strange part of the story was that some time ago they reduced the force in certain places, and then charged the people for the rest. He could not understand why there were extra police in the Kilmallock district, when there was not a single outrage committed there for the past 12 months. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland said there was one outrage there in that time; but he (Mr. O'Sullivan) had made inquiries, and beyond the fact of a boy getting a month for telling an old woman not to sell a pennyworth of apples to the servant boy of a person who was "Boycotted," there was no so-called outrage in the district for 12 months. That was the only outrage he could discover. The real reason, he believed, for keeping the police there was this. It was conveyed to the people that if they asked Mr. Clifford Lloyd to have the extra police removed it would be done; but he was sure the people would be content to pay for three times the force of Constabulary rather than go to Mr. Clifford Lloyd to ask him to relieve them from an unjust charge. It was quite evident that Dublin Castle had nothing to do with the district—it was quite clear that Mr. Lloyd was the sole and only government. The same thing applied to the taxation for extra police in Bulgadden and other districts of the county of Limerick. He might also complain that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Porter) had entirely failed to show how it was that so many Catholics and so very few Protestants had been ordered to stand aside in making up the juries in the recent trials. There was, he could tell the House, a strong feeling in Ireland about the direction, "Catholics aside."
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
regretted very much that the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) should have proposed this Amendment. It was reported that he would defer to the opinion of many of his Colleagues from Ireland, and would abandon the proposal. He was bound, however, to admit that a section of the British Press had done all in its power to render such prudence most difficult, and to afford the hon. 895 Member no way of retreat from a position which the Government might safely have left in the hands of hon. Members from Ireland. But the hon. Member for the City of Cork insisted upon their expression of opinion as to the administration of the Crimes Act. There could be no doubt that, with regard to the vast majority on both sides of the House, that opinion must be formed upon their reading of the newspapers. These who affirmed last year that the suspension of trial by jury was not a necessary provision of the Crimes Act must have seen with deep satisfaction that the Government concurred in their opinion; and from those Members—he thought there were nearly 80—who formed that opinion, the most cordial acknowledgment was due to the courage and the patriotism of those Irishmen who had encountered the dangers of a manly performance of their duty, nor had they failed to observe that Lord Spencer had been sensible of the imperative claims which those men had to protection in the discharge of one of the severest obligations which civil life had ever imposed. He had felt it his duty to read with care and fidelity the proceedings of the trials—he spoke, of course, only of those which had been concluded—and he was bound to say that the perusal had left on his mind no other feeling with regard to those jurymen, but that they had earned the high credit which was due to men who had preserved one of the most cherished institutions of the country from a suspension which he deeply regretted had received the sanction of Parliament. He often wished, when he read the comments of Irish papers upon the Lord Lieutenant and the Chief Secretary, that Irishmen possessed even as much acquaintance as he had with those distinguished men. He wished to see Ireland governed solely and wholly by Irishmen; but if they had the whole of the Kingdom to choose from, no two men could be selected upon whose freedom from prejudice, upon whose warm-hearted love of justice, and whose hatred of oppression they could rely more safely than on theirs. He confessed that when he first read the Amendment there was one sentence which struck him as containing matter for careful consideration by the Government, and it was that which referred to the impediments that so hindered Constitutional agitation. He had intended to express his concurrence, in part at 896 least, with this allegation, and his regret that the Government should have afforded the slightest ground for such a charge. But his right hon. Friend, with that frankness which was his peculiar charm, had anticipated nearly all that could be said, and had expressed his regret that the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) was not permitted to address a meeting of his constituents. He hoped he would find means to communicate his own honourable feelings of regret to all those who, misusing his authority, might be ill-advisedly led to interfere with legitimate and Constitutional agitation; and if he acted in the spirit of his own confession there would be little to complain of. He did not wonder that those few Irishmen who were anarchists desired the return of a Conservative Government. That was a condition which would bring them within a measurable distance of civil war. It was because the policy of the Government was twofold that they were able to hope for a brighter future, to demand from Irishmen a peaceful and orderly conduct. They were anxious to reform the government of Ireland. The late Lord Beacons-field, when Mr. Disraeli, described the great ills of Ireland in the words—?A starving people, an absentee aristocracy, and the weakest Executive in the world;and upon no better model could the desired reform proceed than that suggested by the same eminent statesman, when he said—We ought so to reform the Government that it will bear a nearer relation to the leading classes and characters of the country than it has done.Forty years ago Mr. Disraeli said that the present system of governing Ireland was doomed; it had survived even to the present time. But it would, it must, be changed. Nothing would stay the progress of reform except the increase of crime in Ireland. He grieved to seethe ill weeds of exasperation growing apace in that House. The responsibility lay, and would rest heavily, upon those who had fostered that noxious development.
§ DR. COMMINS
said, there were some parts of the Amendment which he should have been inclined to draft differently; but there were some parts which deserved the attention of the House, and particularly of those who at present governed Ireland under what, he would admit, was very grievous difficulty. The 897 Amendment affirmed, amongst other things, that Constitutional agitation in Ireland had been practically suppressed; and one instance of suppression had been given which he thought would have received some explanation either from the Attorney General for Ireland or the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. It had been said that he (Dr. Commins) was prohibited from addressing his constituents in the County Roscommon. He had never been extreme in his language when advancing his views either in that House or outside; but he had always used the strongest language that he was capable of commanding in denunciation of outrage and every violation of the law, and he was at a loss to know why, when he desired to give an account of his stewardship to his constituents, he should have been prevented. He could not understand why the Attorney General for Ireland had passed over that incident without in any way accounting for the action of the Government in the matter. Why was the meeting suppressed? In the absence of any reason being assigned he could not help thinking it was suppressed capriciously. He could not help believing that if such action continued in Ireland things would become very much worse than they were at present. If discontent could not express itself in public meeting, agitation would be driven beneath the surface only to rise, as it had already done, not in the shape of Constitutional action, but in that of murder and assassination. If Constitutional agitation was despotically impeded the result could only be the promotion of un-Constitutional agitation and the designs of men who did not desire peace, union, and goodwill between this country and Ireland—designs which, if carried out, could only bring grief and despair to those who were responsible for the government of the country. The Attorney General for Ireland denied that there had been any jury-packing or jury-selection. It was, however, a most strange fact that Catholics should have been carefully eliminated from the sworn juries. It had been said it was the result of chance. The Attorney General for Ireland had positively made no answer to the charge with reference to the jury which had tried Francis Hynes. No explanation had been given. It was all very well to say that certain men had been left ou 898 to suit their convenience; but that reason applied equally to Catholics and Protestants. In the case of Patrick Walsh, tried at the same Commission, all the jurymen were Protestants. Walsh had been twice tried, and in both cases the jury had been exclusively composed of Protestants. In the case of Michael Walsh, every single juror had been a Protestant; and it had been the same in the case of Ryan, Kinsella, and others, although the panel had been nearly equally divided. He had made a calculation, taking a panel of 78, equally divided as to religion, as to what the odds would be, that the jury should be composed of 11 Protestants and one Catholic. The odds wore 28,000 to 1, and against a jury being composed of 12 Protestants 336,000. The attempted explanation amounted to no explanation at all. If the composition of these juries were not fortuitous, as in human probability it could not have been, it must have been so composed designedly. He would ask who the party was that was responsible for it? The Attorney General for Ireland had given no answer to the question, and it was certain that the result had been designed. If the law was ever to be respected in Ireland, and the administration of the Act was to avoid deserving the bitterest hatred of the people, the system should be brought to an end. He had been glad to hear the Attorney General for Ireland pay a tribute to the independence of the jurors and the manner in which they had returned verdicts, irrespective of any apprehension for then-personal safety; but in passing that eulogium on the jurors the Attorney General for Ireland had condemned the Crimes Act in the strongest possible way. If jurors could be found in Ireland who would do their duty despite any risk, why had the condemnation of the jury system which was implied in the Crimes Act ever been passed? He would advise the Government to try back, and trust to jurors more. He would not condemn the administration of the Crimes Act if it were used only against criminals and persons meditating crime. But war could not be made with rose-water, and the effect of Acts like the Crimes Act could not but be oppressive upon many people who were entirely innocent. Whatever the effect of the Act upon criminals, there was no doubt that it oppressed and intimidated men 899 who were neither criminals nor who meditated crime. The Act had had the effect that everybody had thought it would have, and had laid a burden upon the necks of those who were neither criminals nor sympathizers with crime. He admitted that there was a desire on the part of the Executive to administer it fairly. He looked forward to a reunion between the two countries of good feeling and of good work, a union which would not be forced, or the result of mere arbitrary power entrusted to the Executive. But as one means of helping to bring about that result, he appealed to the Government to do away with the system of jury-packing.
§ MR. PLUNKET
said, he had no intention of making any detailed criticism of the vague and wandering accusations which had been brought with such excessive detail against the Government, many of which were founded, he believed, on the bare statement or bare suspicion of hon. Members; but before the debate closed he wished to express the opinion of those who sat round him with respect to the Amendment now before the House. He desired to condemn, in the strongest way he could, the policy which had prompted the hon. Member for the City of Cork to put the Amendment on the Paper, the terms in which it was couched, and the total failure which he had exhibited in his attempt to support it by argument or facts. What was the position of the hon. Member? He had long led the Land League agitation, and was proud to be the leader of an agitation which had brought about the necessity for the stringent—the severe, as he (Mr. Plunket) deemed it to be—Coercion Act—not a bit, however, more strong, or stringent, or severe, than had been absolutely required by the necessities of the case. It had been his agitation which had given rise to the fearful development of crime and outrage which at last had made it necessary to carry the Act, and which now made it necessary to enforce it strictly. When the Crimes Bill was passing through that House, the hon. Member and his Friends did all they could to oppose it. The House would remember with what difficulty it had been carried against the opposition of the Irish Party. They prophesied its failure for the purposes for which it was intended. As soon as 900 it was passed they and their friends in Ireland on the platform and in the Press did everything in their power to discredit its administration, to mark its failure, to defeat the object for which it was passed; and now when its success was such as could not be denied, when those abominable outrages which had disgraced the land for months and years were fading away, when the tale of crime was day by day, week by week, and month by month, diminishing—what did the hon. Member and his Friends do? The hon. Member put upon the Paper an Amendment for which he could find no guarantee or warrant in the arguments or facts, and which could have no other effect, if it had any, but to stimulate the people of Ireland to carry on this hopeless and fatal struggle, and to bring more victims to the gaol and the scaffold. It was, of course, most painful and melancholy that it should be necessary that such laws as these should be enacted at all; but he, for one, felt bound in duty to support Her Majesty's Government in their vigorous and just administration of them. He was glad to see the success that had attended their efforts; and he wished on his own behalf, and on behalf of those who sat about him, to express sympathy with them. The words of the Amendment would be very important if they were true; if they were founded on fact they would be well calculated to stir up the feelings of the Irish people. The Amendment first said—That the manner in which the exceptional legislation known as the Crimes Act has been and is exercised by the officials of the Crown in Ireland is tyrannical and unjust.What warrant did the hon. Member for Cork City give for that accusation? In what instance had he shown that those entrusted with the most dangerous business of Crown officials in Ireland had been tyrannical or unjust in such instances as he had brought forward? the Amendment also said—That gross licence of oppression is granted to persons and classes bitterly hostile to the mass of the Irish people.The hon. Member had argued that the class of men who had not taken part in the agitation were now hostile because they had been deprived of their property by legislation. No doubt, that class had been severely tried; but he would tell the hon. Member, in spite of 901 all he had said, that whatever might have been the effect upon the people who were being perpetually stimulated in the fanatic hatred of every other class, that no such feeling existed in the minds of those to whom the hon. Member had alluded, and he would defy him to bring forward any proof of what he had stated. Well, then, what was the next accusation?—That Constitutional agitation is despotically impeded and persecuted.He would leave the Chief Secretary to add anything he might think necessary to what had seemed to him (Mr. Plunket) to be the conclusive argument of the Attorney General for Ireland in respect to that charge. There had been the prosecution of one or two editors, and there had been, an interference with one or two meetings. Nearly all the meetings held during the Land League agitation had been attended by crime and violence; and that the Chief Secretary should not have exercised the powers entrusted to him by Parliament to prevent a recurrence of such outrages was, to his mind, an absurd supposition. Then, again—That justice is administered in a most partial and prejudiced spirit, and that the confidence of the people in the application of the Law is destroyed by a system of jury packing which has already, in the opinion of the vast majority of the Irish people, led to many iniquitous sentences and the execution of innocent persons, while it is practically impossible to obtain justice or protection for the masses of the people from the present administrators of the Law.Well, he would not travel over again the arguments of his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland; he thought they showed as plainly as possible that there had been no systematic exclusion of jurymen on account of their religion; all the persons who had been ordered to stand aside had been ordered to do so for good and sufficient reasons—such reasons as in a similar state of things in this country jurymen here would be passed by and it was clear that the juries so selected were fairly and justly selected from the fact that the prisoners had not exhausted their right of challenge. Then there were the attacks upon the Irish Judges. When everything else failed, the Irish Members below the Gangway could always attack the Irish Judges; he need not add anything to the tribute of well-deserved praise pronounced on the 902 Judges assailed there that evening by his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland—Mr. Justice Lawson, Mr. Justice O'Brien, and Lord Chief Justice May. They were told that the Judges in Ireland were put upon the Bench merely for political reasons, and had been persons of no practice at the Irish Bar. He ventured to say that in the case of those assailed that evening, though it was easy to make general charges, there were no three men who had at the time they were appointed Judges a better practice or a higher reputation at the Irish Bar. Mr. Justice Lawson had a large practice on both sides, both at Equity and at Common Law, and there were very few men who were making so large a professional income. As for Mr. Justice O'Brien, nothing could be more absurd than to fix such a charge upon him. He had been all his life an advanced Liberal in politics; and as for his character at the Bar, he supposed there never was a man more entirely above suspicion. And the same might be said of the Lord Chief Justice also. And yet these three high Judges on the Bench of Ireland were brought by name into the debates in that House, and denounced as persons wholly unfit to occupy the positions which their great abilities and professional reputation so well fitted them for. But it was easy to know why that was done. There was a speech made by the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy) at a banquet at the Mansion House, in Dublin, from which he would quote a passage. It was as follows:—Justice Lawson was paid a handsome salary, and for his part he liked to see a man earning his wages, and he knew not how better an English placeman could earn his wages than in sending an Irish patriot to a prison cell. It ill became Irishmen, in whatever difficulties they might encounter, or might befall them, to find fault with the acts of the enemy. There was an old proverb that those who played at bowls must expect rubbers, and Mr. Justice Lawson was one of those. When dealing with the enemy they must expect to be dealt with as enemies. The mistake the Irish people make was in being surprised; and he considered it better that the men who represented enemies—the garrison in this country—should stand forth naked in their true guise. They had in the ermine—they had shadowed forth to them the actions simply of an English salaried official, and that being so, he could make no complaint of what had been doneHe asked the House to listen to the argument created from this very fair 903 statement by the hon. Member for Wexford! Then, again—This country either had to be ruled by England or it had not. England had got to maintain her hold on this country or to drop it. 'To this complexion things must come at last.' The people of this country must he prepared to face all and everything that stands before the patriot which was set before them in past days, or else be prepared to let England come in and govern them, and rule their country. England maintained in this country a very large garrison. Some were uniformed as policemen, some as soldiers, some as Militia, some wore the ermine; but whatever shape or form these men might take, he looked upon them all, every one of thorn, from the bailiff to the Judge, as their enemy, and he was glad to say they made the people feel it.This was plain language. These Judges who did their duty honestly, and were loyal to the connection between the two countries, were denounced as aliens and enemies. They were personally insulted, and false charges were raked up and brought against them. Then, as to the Amendment, he had one or two words to say as to the manner in which the hon. Member for the City of Cork had undertaken to support those grave charges. Let the House consider whether it was possible for the perverse ingenuity of any man to frame words, calculated to rankle more in the minds of the Irish people, or to more inflame their passions and drive them to despair. They were told in it—That justice is administered in a most partial and prejudiced spirit, and that the confidence of the people in the application of the Law is destroyed by a system of jury packing which has already, in the opinion of the vast majority of the Irish people, led to many iniquitous sentences and the execution of innocent persons.He wanted to know on what evidence the hon. Member founded that charge. The only case which he did mention was the case of the Huddys—one of the foulest murders ever perpetrated. He knew those persons; the one a harmless, tottering old man, who had committed no other crime than that of acting as bailiff, and the other his grandson. Such was the frenzy created in the minds of the people, so far were they demoralized, that these two harmless and inoffensive men were murdered in the most brutal manner in the open day, and their bodies thrown into the lake. No one ever doubted or questioned for a moment the justice of the verdict, the sentence, or the penalty; but, notwitanding this, the hon. 904 Member came forward and told not only the Irish people, but the English people, that the system had "led to many iniquitous sentences and the execution of innocent persons," bringing forward only this one case to support the charge. But the hon. Member had thrown a touch of sarcasm into the whole matter when he said—And that unless the Irish Executive abandon unconstitutional and tyrannical courses, and depend upon the Constitutional administration of the ordinary Law, the result may be prejudicial in the extreme degree to the cause of peace and order in Ireland.He thought the Government had made an experiment in depending upon the Constitutional administration of the ordinary law; for when they came into power one of their first acts was to fall back upon the ordinary law—a rash and reckless proceeding, which had been attended with most disastrous consequences, and, as the results had shown, an experiment which they had to come and tell the House had failed. But why did it fail? That experiment of itself had the seeds of great danger in it; but it failed because the hon. Member for Cork City and his Friends set themselves, from the very day of their election to this Parliament, by every means in their power to stir up the passions of the Irish people and to set on foot an agitation, which, as he (Mr. Plunket) said at the time, could lead to nothing but a bloody resistance. It had led to nothing else; but now that organisation had been broken down by a strong Act of repression firmly administered. Then the hon. Member actually came to the House and told them that they had better have recourse to a Constitutional administration of the ordinary law. He thought that the present time was the most injudicious I time possible to raise this question.; They had seen lately in Ireland the policy which he advocated illustrated and illumined by fierce and terrible lights. They had seen how agitation was followed by outrages. The progress of the agitation seemed to walk and talk in the persons of men high in the confidence of the hon. Member, and yet the hon. Member asked the Government to to say what they would do when the Crimes Act expired? He should say that the information he asked of the House and the country would depend very much upon the state in which Ire- 905 land might be found when that time arrived. They could easily judge of the state in which it would be found if the teaching of the hon. Member and his Friends were to be taken and acted upon. He would read a few words of a speech made by the hon. Member for Wexford, who was speaking of the operation of the Crimes Act. Having admitted that it had had a very depressing effect on the cause in which he was interested, he went on to say that—He asked his friends not to display impatience of result, but to continue as they had been going on, and to say to themselves, that although there might be a pause and a lull at present in consequence of coercion, yet that the movement and its leaders were only, to use an Irish expression, 'backing for a leap;'and having explained that their movement had started for the purpose of clearing out the English garrison from Ireland, he added—Therefore men of Ireland lift up your hearts! The Crimes Act lasts only for three years, and when that Act expires we will once more sally forth upon the enemy with renewed courage and greater experience.Now, it would depend on the people of this country whether the disastrous history of the past few years in Ireland was to be continued or not. It would depend on that House whether it was to go on, stage by stage, from unwise concession to unwise concession, until they landed themselves on the brink of a precipice, over which they would topple and bring to an end all the greatness and all the glory of their country. It was no use for the people of England to say, "It must come; it is inevitable." It need not come, and it would not come unless they chose. He would also refer to the remarkable observations of the hon. Member for the City of Cork that evening. When he called attention to the differences which he detected between the expressed views and the declared policy of the various sections of the present Government, he denounced the action and condemned the policy of the Lord Lieutenant, and the Chief Secretary, and others in the Government, and said that all his confidence was in a certain section of politicians, and his greatest faith in the President of the Board of Trade. He (Mr. Plunket), ventured to submit to the House and the country that here was the real danger. If they once persuaded the Irish people that 906 England and the English people, as a whole, were resolved that, whatever other matters they would discuss in the way of conciliation and concession, there was one matter which they would not entertain, which they would not admit into the field of discussion at all—namely, the question of the disseverance of the Union between the two countries—they would understand perfectly well that they would have no hope of obtaining such a thing; they would apply themselves, as Englishmen did, to seek reform and improvement by fair discussion and legitimate political agitation; they would return to the ways of peace, capital would come back to the country, and that course of prosperity which was proceeding steadily until a few years ago would be resumed and carried successfully forward. In his opinion there was one view which must be taken of the action of the hon. Member for the City of Cork in bringing forward the Amendment and pressing it to a division. Of course, it would go all over the country that the hon. Member had pressed the Amendment containing the passages which he had quoted. It was all very well to talk with pathos and passion of oppression and of suffering in Ireland, of the gallows and the gaol; but the Amendment, pressed as it had been, by hon. Members below the Gangway, was as much calculated as anything could possibly be to rouse the Irish people, and to rouse them in what must be an ineffectual struggle. It was urged that the Crimes Act was passed because of the assassination of high officials, and that it was being applied in Ireland with increased severity because of the attempt to assassinate Judges and jurymen. Could anything be more calculated to agitate an excitable people to commit again such crimes, or attempt to commit them, than appeals to the passions which were embodied in such an Amendment as this? It was all very well for the hon. Member to charge the Government with exciting and exasperating the people by such legislation as the Crimes Act; but he threw back the charge on the hon. Member and his Friends; and if it should appear after the debate of that evening, and after the Amendment was brought forward, that fresh outrages occurred, then upon him (Mr. Parnell) and those who acted with him would the responsibility rest; on 907 him and them would rest the great responsibility if more murdered men were thrown upon the heap that already lay there, not only of those who met sudden and untimely deaths at the bands of the assassin in pursuance of the dictates and the policy of this agitation, but also of those other unhappy men who—criminals though they were, one could not help regretting their fate—were the instruments and the misguided victims of their machinations.
Sir, I had not the advantage of hearing the whole of the speech of the right hon. and learned the Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Porter); but the position, so far as I can make it out, taken by Her Majesty's present Advisers in Ireland is that, because there have been crimes springing from the attempt to repress agitation, all agitation in Ireland is a crime, and must be put down. Notwithstanding all the jocosity and the disinterested indignation of the right hon. and learned Gentleman who is just after addressing the House (Mr. Plunket), I venture to assert that no serious attempt has been made to answer or dispute the facts that were enumerated by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). The argument appears to be that, even admitting all the matters which he enumerated to be uncontested, as they are incontestable, if they can show a decrease in the statistics of crime, no matter how produced—whether naturally, as I and my Friends say, by the release of the "suspects" and the operations of the Land and Arrears Acts; or violently and unnaturally, as our opponents say, by the hangman—they need give no further justification for any and every assault upon public freedom in Ireland. The field of complaint against the Irish Government is so wide that I shall confine my observations to two of the subjects that have been dealt with in the speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork; and, with the leave of the right hon. and learned Gentleman who last addressed you, I venture to say that they alone would justify, and amply justify, the terms of this Amendment. The two subjects I speak of are the attacks upon the Press and the so-called administration of justice in Green Street. The kind of circular argument by which these two sets of Governmental outrages are made to justify one another is worthy 908 of the ingenious Gentlemen who are the present Advisers of the Crown in Dublin Castle. As far as I can see, it is necessary to the case of the Government to prove, in the first place, that crimes have disappeared, because of the hangings; and it is necessary for them to defend their attacks on the freedom of the Press, by arguing that very desperate crimes in Dublin did follow in the wake of the hangman. Now, I will go at once straight to the grounds upon which these trials in Dublin were impeached in Ireland, and upon which they are also impeached in this Amendment. As to the charge of misconduct against the jury in the Hynes' case—a charge which alleged that three jurors were engaged in riotous and indecent conduct the night before they sent that unfortunate youth to the gallows—I only press the matter to this extent. The Irish public have before them, on the one side, the oaths of 11 independent witnesses, not one of whom I spoke to upon the subject, until I went with a solicitor to take their affidavits, and one of whom was the sister of an eminent ecclesiastic, who happened to be staying in the hotel, and with whom I never had the honour of exchanging a word, until, in the interests of truth, she came forward to give her testimony. Upon the other side, there are loose declarations by the incriminated jurors and officials, admitting that there was noise and disorder. Then there is the evidence of the hotel bill, showing a consumption of liquor which would account for more than all I ever alleged. If that charge were unfounded, it was due to the jurors themselves that its falsehood should have been fully and publicly established and punished; but when, in Ireland, anything like free or public inquiry was shirked, when the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Gray), merely because he called for an inquiry, was punished in a manner and a temper which has since brought down the silent censure of a Bill in this House to limit the power of Judges, what were the Irish people to conclude, except what they have concluded—that the sting and scandal of that charge was that it was true? These charges might have been small in themselves; but they must be taken in connection with the conduct of the Judge; in connection with the fact that one of these jurors—their champion in the newspapers—was the Secretary of 909 the Property Defence Association, whose name was signed at that time to an appeal for funds to be used against the Irish tenantry. Above all, who denies that during that whole Commission, in a city in which the Catholics are five to one, the jury sworn in each of the four capital cases was composed exclusively of Protestants, and the Catholics were bidden to stand by to a man. That extraordinary state of facts was debated here during the Autumn Session. I think I do not go too far in saying it created a feeling of profound uncomfortableness among the English people. If rumour goes for anything, even the highest quarters are credited with a determination that the practices in Green Street were unfortunate for the ends of justice, and ought to be amended. At the next following Commission, at all events, before Mr. Justice Barry, a very remarkable change was manifested. On the jury that tried Patrick Joyce for the Maamtrasna massacre, there were at least five Catholics sworn, where previously every man of their creed had been banned. These gentlemen did their duty like fearless citizens, their verdict was acquiesced in by public opinion, and there was an universal feeling of relief and satisfaction in Ireland that, to a great extent, trial by jury had been rehabilitated so as to be a fair tribunal for the trial of what all believed to be revolting crimes. Therefore, the Government had arrived at a time when juries which, if not fairly, were at least decently constituted, found verdicts that gained respect and confidence. What followed? The December Commission came, at which Mr. Justice O'Brien presided. Upon one trial, that of Patrick Higgins (Long), upon more doubtful evidence, a jury dared to have a doubt, and disagreed. A particular juror (a Catholic) was held up to public obloquy by The Daily Express, as unmistakeably as if he had been singled out by name as the cause of the disagreement. Did the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, who previously laid down, in the case of the hon. Member for Carlow, that newspapers had no right to review judicial proceedings—did the right hon. and learned Gentleman institute a prosecution for wilful and malicious libel against The Daily Express? Did he uphold the right of honest juries to acquit as well 910 as to convict according to the evidence? On the contrary, from that moment the system of merciless exclusion of Catholics, which had been dropped as a scandal, was resorted to more persistently than before. In the first trials, only 26 jurors had been set aside in the Hynes' case, only 20 in the case of Patrick Walsh, and 17 in the case of Michael Walsh. In the last trials, after one jury had been guilty of a disagreement, 41 jurors, 36 of whom were Catholics, were set aside on the trial of Patrick Higgins; 50 jurors, of whom 44 were Catholics, were set aside on the trial of Thomas Higgins (Long), and 53 jurors, 41 of them Catholics, were ordered to stand aside on the trial of Michael Flynn. The fact that one Whig Catholic was retained on each jury only made the exclusion of his co-religionists more galling, and brought out the fact that juries, instead of being indifferently chosen from the panels prescribed by the Act, were so concocted that those who would have heard the evidence free from vengefulness or panic were excluded, while those who were bidden to indulge their prejudice as a sacred duty to society were sworn. Was the constitution of these juries corrected by the conduct of the Judge? I do not intend to answer the eulogiums of the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Plunket) with denunciations. I will just give the House one example—I could give hundreds just as easily. Patrick Higgins (Long) was the first of three persons tried before Mr. Justice O'Brien, for the murders referred to by the right hon. and learned Gentleman—the murders of the Huddys. He was convicted, beyond doubt, on the testimony of the informer Kerrigan. The informer stated that Higgins' part in the murder was striking the elder Huddy on the head with a stone, while he described the two other prisoners yet to be tried as the persons who fired the shots that caused the deaths, and the ringleaders in the disposal of the bodies. Such being the state of the evidence, the Judge came to pass sentence in the case of the first prisoner, Thomas Higgins (Long). The learned Judge evidently had present to his mind that his simple duty then was to have pronounced that sentence, for he commenced by saying—As the prisoner does not understand the English language, and as there are other persons to be tried on the same charge, I forbear 911 at present, for obvious and necessary reasons, from any observations in passing sentence.Nothing could have been more consonant with fair play and good sense. Yet, fresh from this resolve not to prejudice the other men whom next day he had to try for life or death, the learned Judge in the very next sentence bursts out into this astounding statement—Agreeing as I do, entirely and confidently, in the justice and necessity of the verdict of 'Guilty' that has been found by the jury, I consider it my duty at the same time to state that, in my opinion, the prisoner is the least guilty of the persons concerned in the murder the evidence has produced in my mind the firm belief that the murder did not originate with him.Here we have the Judge laying down two excellent reasons for silence and forbearance—one, that the prisoner whom he was supposed to be addressing did not understand a word he said; the other, that two prisoners remained to be tried on the same charge, and with precisely the same evidence. But here, in the very next breath, he breaks violently through his own prudent rule, and declares the man whom he considers to be guilty, to be yet the least guilty of the persons concerned in that murder, the only other persons with whom he or the jury had to do, the only other persons whom they had reason to suspect of greater or any guilt, being the two men who yet remained to be tried, and whom the informer Kerrigan declared to be the principals. These observations of the Judge's were not meant for the prisoner whom he was sentencing. He knew that he did not understand the language. They were not meant by way of intercession, for he knew where to address any appeal of that kind. He knew that he had said, in justice to the other men, that he was bound to guard himself. The jury evidently received a shock from the Judge's speech. The gentleman who stood up at the foreman's request, in agreeing with the Judge, conveyed to him unintentionally a very heavy rebuke. He said—The jury did not wish to express any opinion as regards the amount of the guilt of the present prisoner, as there were two others to be tried; but his Lordship, in passing sentence, having mentioned that Patrick Higgins (Long) was the least guilty of the three, they fully endorsed that opinion.Something extraordinary—something 912 that, according to the newspaper reports, made them almost speechless with emotion had occurred; but as it was a Judge who had said it, they said the same, probably feeling that, if they erred at all, they erred in good company. A still more extraordinary thing happened in the second case, when the second prisoner was arraigned and the jury came up to be sworn. Two of the very jurors whose expression of belief that the man they had just convicted was the least guilty of the three, had barely left their lips, were re-sworn to try one of the only two other persons upon earth whom they had reason to suspect of greater guilt. In any other language than that of legal fiction, they were pledged up to the hilt to convict. Was any answer given to that? Has any answer to-night been given to facts like these? Did the Crown officials, in the case of the hon. Member for Carlow, or my own, attempt to disprove the allegations that the juries were packed, that the Judges were prejudiced, and that the whole proceedings were shameful enough to give some point to the remark of one of the men in the dock?—"This place is no better than a slaughterhouse." That is only a small part of what has been happening in Ireland. We hear a great deal of the sufferings of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government in Ireland and of the officials. I do not undervalue the risk that the right hon. Gentleman and others may have had up to a short time ago, for, unhappily, in the condition in which Ireland has been governed, both for the governors and the governed, risk, and sacrifice, and suffering is the badge of all our tribe. I do not doubt that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland finds his work thoroughly disagreeable, apart from the personal risk. I hope the work of dragooning and breaking the spirit of the Irish people will always be found disagreeable, and will always end, as it always has ended, in political broken-heartedness and failure. But if the right hon. Gentleman and others go about invoking sympathy for a knot of Castle officials, who are keeping Ireland in hot water, and, perhaps, burning their own fingers sometimes, I ask this House not to forget that these Gentlemen, who enjoy escorts of police and marines, have not a monopoly of the suffering which is 913 going on in Ireland. Men, perhaps as disinterested as they, are in Irish prisons to-day—degraded to the dress, and the food, and the company, they cannot be degraded to the level of common thieves—because they happened to be formidable to the right hon. Gentleman. We ought to be grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for the assurance given that the hon. Members for Sligo and Roscommon can, for the future, call a meeting of their constituents, without the leave of the local police officers; but there are men in every town and village in Ireland to-day who, every time they open their lips, know that some bungling police reporter is taking down their words, or perhaps mangling them, so that, as in the case of the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. Harrington), a pretext may be found for putting formidable men on a plank bed for months. There are numbers of men who, every time their newspaper is published, do not know what minute paragraphs of local news, or obscure advertisements, may bring down fine and imprisonment on their heads. There are men just as sensitive as the right hon. Gentleman who are every other day the object of murderous accusations, incendiary writings, and speeches at Hawick and elsewhere. If the right hon. Gentleman and others point to their sufferings, we point to whole districts—Castle-island, in Kerry, is one of them—where the starving people are called upon to pay 3s. in the pound for extra police, and where there would be either a general fiscal revolt or universal bankruptcy if the right hon. Gentleman dared to enforce payment of the blood-tax which he holds suspended over the heads of the people. If the right hon. Gentleman lamented his hard fate in his Secretary's lodge, I am forced to remind him that Irishmen who have been hustled to the scaffold by packed juries and by ferocious Judges are crying out from their graves that if the law has been vindicated in Ireland it has been vindicated at the expense of justice and decency and of innocent life. It has been amply shown that, instead of justly claiming credit because crime in Ireland has subsided, Lord Spencer's Administration is responsible for whatever crime has survived the departure of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford. I submit that not only has Lord Spen- 914 cer's Administration been the cause of crime in others, but Lord Spencer has used against the public liberty the power with which he has been intrusted by the House to operate against crime and outrage, and used it in such a manner as before now in this House, when it was tried in England, has been the signal for armed revolution, and for a more humble Address to the Throne.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said, that there were some portions of the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. Parnell) which all, on whatever side of the House they sat, must have heard with deep regret. The hon. Member had drawn a picture of parts of the country and portions of the population that was deplorable in the extreme. How far it might be exaggerated he, for one, did not know; but even assuming the picture to be true, who was responsible, and to whom, in the first instance, was it owing? The hon. Gentleman must know, as well as any hon. Member in the House, that it was to the organization of which he was one of the most prominent leaders that the desperate state of things to which he had pointed was entirely due. He was not the least surprised at the Amendment placed on the Paper by the hon. Member, and still less so at the hon. Member's total failure to adduce a single argument in its support. Prom some of the antecedents of the hon. Member, which they had lately witnessed, it was precisely what he should have expected. He was not there to vindicate the Government from the long string of aspersions which the Amendment contained. The Chief Secretary was more than equal to the task, if he thought fit to undertake it; but he might observe, in passing, that he was totally unaware of any practice or precedent in Parliament which required a Member of the Government or any Member of the House to take up the gauntlet of any other Member who had left the gravest accusations against himself unanswered and unrefuted—accusations which to all appearance he could not, or dared not, meet. His object in rising, however, was to call attention to, and to emphasize, the present situation, which, as far as he knew, was without precedent in the annals of the House. He would not dwell on the very remarkable incident which occurred early in the evening, when a demand from the responsible 915 Leader of the Opposition for a day to move a Vote of Censure was deliberately refused by the noble Marquess who was now the Leader of the House. That appeared to him to afford an admirable illustration of the courage and candour of the present Administration. To the best of his recollection it was a proceeding without precedent in that House. Of this he was certain—that never when a Vote was challenged, not once but twice, first by the Prime Minister, and next by the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War, was a day refused. A day or two ago they saw the hon. Member for the City of Cork in the character of defendant in the House against accusations distinctly and deliberately brought against him by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster)—accusations of a character, it should be remembered, which, if true, covered the hon. Member for the City of Cork and his associates with shame, and which, if not true, must entail the severest condemnation and even the censure of the House of Commons upon the man who made them. There was no escape from that position. Consequently, when the hon. Member for the City of Cork rose the other night, those who heard him in that House, and that infinitely larger audience beyond those walls, waited with bated breath to hear what explanations were possible on the part of the hon. Member. Those explanations had not hitherto been forthcoming, and yet to-day the hon. Member, with brazen front and demeanour unabashed, almost came forward, in the terms of an Amendment which he was totally unable to support, in the character of an accuser of the Government of crimes and misdemeanours of every shade and hue. He took leave to tell the hon. Member that it did not lie with him, or with any Member of that House who was himself the subject of the gravest possible accusation, which had been left unrefuted and unanswered, to bring forward accusations against others. He would remind the hon. Member of the scorn which awaited every Member of the House who, when challenged and charged with accusations which, if true, were disgraceful and scandalous in the opinion of them all, was yet slow and backward in defending his honour and his good name, or who could not, or 916 who dared not, meet them. It was idle to appeal from England to the public opinion of Ireland. Surely the hon. Member could not suppose that the people of Ireland, a people quick to resent injuries and to hurl back accusations, would be satisfied with his defence? It was a pitiable sight for them the other night, it was not a pleasant one for any Member of the House of Commons, to see the hon. Member cowering beneath the charges and the contumely of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford, and being all the time either afraid or unable to answer him. He (Mr. Chaplin) never would believe that his speech on that occasion was satisfactory to the people of Ireland, craven as it was; and he apprehended that as soon as it was widely known, that evil influence which he had wielded so long in Ireland would be weakened among Irish men and Irish women, and wherever the Irish tongue was spoken in every country of the world. The hon. Member's excuses would not do, and would not serve to hide the fact that he was totally unable to meet the charges of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford; and it would remain on record that the right hon. Gentleman, through the silence of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, had established the charges made by him on that occasion, and his assertions that the hon. Member either connived at outrages or was willing to gain advantage by them. In the face of an unanswered charge like that, it did not lie with the hon. Member to asperse the Government or any Member of the House, and he had no claim or right or title to any answer whatever, He wished that the matter might end here; but if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford had so established his charges as to do much to crush the leaders of the Land League, he had also done something to crush and expose his late Colleagues in the Cabinet, and especially the President of the Board of Trade, who had always been notorious for the patronage, support, and sympathy for the Association which now stood convicted by the right hon. Member for Bradford of having systematically incited to outrage and murders since 1880. He was not the least surprised at the terms in which he hon. Member for the City of Cork had spoken of his old and faithful ally—the Presi- 917 dent of the Board of Trade—as one of the few Englishmen in the House who correctly appreciated the merits of the Irish Question. Interpreting those merits from the point of view of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, it was sincerely to be hoped that he stood alone in that appreciation. The President of the Board of Trade, when charged with countenancing outrages to pass Liberal measures, said he would treat such charges with contempt. Without endorsing or repeating any charges of that nature, he would submit to the House one or two facts which not even the right hon. Gentleman could treat with contempt, unless he wished to be classed in the same category as the hon. Member for the City of Cork. It was abundantly proved by the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary that the Land League had, by its agents and employés, systematically incited to outrage and murder as far back as the year 1880. That knowledge must, of course, have been communicated to the right hon. Gentleman's Colleagues in the Cabinet, it being far too important to be withheld from them. Yet, with all this knowledge and information on his mind, the President of the Board of Trade went down to Liverpool in October, 1881, and there deliberately made a speech than which nothing was more calculated to encourage and strengthen the Land League to continue in its hateful course. The right hon. Gentleman said that the avowed objects of the League were legal; and he coolly limited these avowed objects to the examination of a system and the reform of an unjust law. The right hon. Gentleman knew that the Leader of the Land League, who was the true exponent of its objects, would not endorse that statement; he would not acknowledge that the avowed objects were limited in any way as the right hon Gentleman had suggested that they were; indeed, he had publicly declared the contrary. A year and a-half before the right hon. Gentleman made his speech at Liverpool, the hon. Member for the City of Cork had said—None of us in Ireland or America, wherever we may be, will be satisfied until we have destroyed the last link which connects Ireland with England.This was the original object of the Land League, and always had been from the first; and yet, in spite of this distinct 918 and deliberate expression of opinion on the part of the Leader of the Land League—as the exponent of its objects and its views—the President of the Board of Trade did not scruple to declare, at Liverpool, that—The original objects of the Land League were legal, and even praiseworthy; and that to have stifled agitation at that time would have been to have prevented reform.It came to this, that to have stifled agitation—and, remember, that in stifling agitation they would have in great degree stifled the outrages and the murders which were the outcome of it—would have been to have stifled reform, by which, he supposed, was meant the passing of some Liberal measures. The right hon. Gentleman, therefore, persistently neglected to take the steps that were necessary and which would have been effectual. In what respect, he asked, did the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman differ from that of the hon. Member for the City of Cork in this, that both were contented to profit and to gain advantage from the state of things—the agitation and outrages—which then existed in Ireland? He awaited an explanation from the right hon. Gentleman with as much anxiety as he had awaited that of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, and he trusted it would be with a more satisfactory result. The Conservatives had been taunted throughout these debates that what they desired was to discredit the policy of conciliation. They desired nothing of the kind. They were sick, and they believed the country to be sick of weak and unworthy concession to agitation and outrage; but they had no desire, and never had a desire, to discredit the policy of wise conciliation and reform. They had been taunted with this—that the Tory Party had no policy whatever except coercion. There never was a statement more exactly the opposite of truth. They had advocated for years measures for Ireland which would have tended to the permanent benefit and the permanent amelioration of the people of that country. [Cries of "Name!"] They had advocated emigration from the congested districts of the country, and migration; the introduction and encouragement, wherever it was possible, of manufactures; the opening of public works; they had advocated anything and everything by which the at- 919 tention of the people could be diverted in some degree from the cultivation of the soil as the only means of their existence wherever it was inadequate for their sustenance and support, whilst the policy of hon. Gentlemen opposite, who ridiculed all Tory propositions of reform, had always been the same—namely, to link them and bind them to the soil more inseparably than ever. The charges which had been brought against the Tory Party in that respect he considered totally unjustified, and totally unworthy of those who made them. They were asked another question, and it was this—"When this conspiracy of assassination is destroyed, what message are you going to send to Ireland? What are you going to do then for the mass of Irish people?" He ventured to reply to that question in this way. Ever since he had been in Parliament, which was some time longer than the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain), the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party had been sending messages of peace to Ireland, and these messages of peace had always been of the same character and description, and had invariably ended in the same results. To take away property from one class and give it to another class as a sop to agitation had been their only and their sole resource. Confiscation on the one hand, and concession to outrage on the other hand, were apparently the highest flights of statemanship at which they had ever aimed. Between them the Liberal Party had rung the changes, till it came to this that, except Home Rule, they had little more to give, and as far as property in Ireland was concerned, they had literally left nothing more to take, and they had so demoralized the country by measures of this nature, repeated over and over again, that the last state of the country was infinitely worse than it was at first. Then, what were they to do now? He would tell them in a sentence. They must first make the law respected, and then, since they spurned all the Tory propositions for the amelioration of Ireland, and would have nothing to do with them, let them for a considerable period, at all events, leave Ireland alone. Try it, at all events, for a time, and it would be a new policy with them. "No," said the right hon. Gentleman the President of 920 the Board of Trade, "it would be impossible for any Liberal Government to entertain such a policy for a moment. Why, it would involve the creation of a new Poland within four hours of this country!" He (Mr. Chaplin) did not wonder at the looks of blank dismay on the Treasury Bench among some of his Colleagues when the right hon. Gentleman gave utterance to that remarkable, very foolish, and, he feared, painful statement. Some of them, at all events, appeared at last to recognize how desperate was the condition of Ireland at the present moment; and he (Mr. Chaplin) put it to hon. Members on both sides of the House, if it was possible to conceive on the part of a responsible Minister of the Crown, with all the information they had before them of Ireland, and of the circumstances of Ireland, at the present moment, if it was possible to conceive a statement more calculated to render the government of Ireland impossible by his Colleagues? The right hon. Gentleman had been freely charged, in the course of these debates, with intriguing behind the backs of his Colleagues. He (Mr. Chaplin) should not repeat, nor did he desire to, for a single moment, endorse any charge of that character against the right hon. Gentleman. But he did unhesitatingly say, that if the right hon. Gentleman had been guilty of the worst and most unworthy of all the unworthy motives which had been imputed to him, he could not have devised a course more likely to embarrass or to thwart the action of Lord Spencer and his Colleagues at that moment than by the language he had used that night, or one more calculated to retard the hope of lasting peace or permanent prosperity for unfortunate and unhappy Ireland.
§ MR. T. D. SULLIVAN
said, the House had just been favoured with a somewhat lively contribution towards the strange and singular sort of triangular duel which had been progressing for some time within the walls of the House. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the Government side of the House attacked the Opposition, and there was a vigorous exchange of fire from the other side; then right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House opened fire upon the Irish Benches, and united in assailing his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Par- 921 nell). Well, let them fire away. The Irish Members could reply to them and to any attack which might be made upon them from any side of the House. They were animated by no contentions for situations in the Administration; they had no desire to obtain power and pay. They stood there to defend their country, and they had no interest in all these matters, except the wish to sustain the cause of right and justice, and of an oppressed Nationality. The administration of the Crimes Act in Ireland was really what had been brought under discussion by the Amendment now before the House, and they had heard such a defence for it as could be made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Porter). They had certainly been immensely edified by the innocence of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and of the Party he represented, who were now located in Dublin Castle. As to jury-packing, why, such a thing had never been heard of. No jury had ever been packed in Ireland. It was only some innocent and mild process of eliminating one set of men from the jury panel, and allowing another set of men to remain. The thing was a popular delusion; but how did it happen that this delusion was so prevalent in Ireland? There was no use in trying to hoodwink the Irish people. He did not believe the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland could hoodwink the House of Commons; but he was satisfied the people of Ireland could not be deceived. Did they suppose that no innocent man had ever been convicted in Ireland and hanged? Not only had innocent men been convicted and hanged in Ireland, but it was a matter of history that such had been the case in England also. In England, however, they had trial by jury in its full development, and the Judges upon the Bench were not seething over with political hatred against the men who were put upon their trial. In Ireland there was no such security, and no such safety; at any rate, they did not exist at the present day. Did they not all know how men of the highest position and influence felt towards the people of Ireland at the present moment? They were, in point of fact, in a state of exasperation against any man who was alleged to have taken any part whatever in the organization of the 922 Land League. Then, could it be supposed that men charged before those special juries for alleged offences arising out of the organization of the Land League could possibly obtain a fair trial? There was not the most remote chance of it. It was in vain that the Attorney General for Ireland tried to smooth over this burning question. It was in vain that the right hon. and learned Gentleman represented that this process of elimination in which the Roman Catholic jurors of the country were made to disappear from the jury panel was in harmony with justice. The feeling in Ireland was this—that a case which came before these special juries, and these very remarkable Judges, especially the case of men charged with offences arising out of the recent agitation, had no chance. The verdict was as good as returned against the prisoner the moment he was put upon his trial, and the utmost that could be expected was that, in some cases, there might be a disagreement among the jury. He would ask the House to consider for a moment the petty persecution which was going on all over the length and breadth of the land, and then to say whether the moment a case was ordered to be tried before a special jury, it was not just the same as a conviction. All over the land special magistrates had been appointed to work this Crimes Act; and they were exercising their powers in a manner that rendered the idea of a fair trial an absolute farce. He would take the case of Mr. Timothy Harrington, who was recently tried in Westmeath for having made a so-called intimidatory speech. He (Mr. Sullivan) would assert there, in the presence of the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland, that the prosecution of Mr. Harrington turned entirely upon a single sentence in that speech; in point of fact, upon a single word in a single sentence, and that word was the word "agitation." Mr. Harrington was addressing a meeting at Mullingar, composed largely of farmers, and he asked the farmers of Westmeath to deal considerately with their labourers. He said to the farmers—The labouring classes assisted you in working out the agitation which has obtained for you considerable advantages, and I ask you in this, their day of trial, to remember that in their favour; to give them a fair day's wage 923 for a fair day's work, and to open out as much employment for them as you possibly can. Some time ago a labourers' agitation was started in Ireland. I did not join in that agitation, because I do not like class movements at all; but I wish the farmers and labourers to stand together, and I say to you, the farmers of Westmeath, if you do not give them help in their distress, the force of the agitation which has been carried on will be turned against you.Now this was the head and front of that Gentleman's offending. The Government chose to attach to that word "agitation" a particular meaning—a meaning which was never in the mind of the speaker, or attached to it by anybody, except by the policeman who took a note of it. It was said that by "agitation," Mr. Harrington meant "intimidation," crime, outrage, arson, and heaven knows what besides. That was a forced meaning attached to the word, and a meaning never intended to be conveyed to the mind of anybody. But on that single word, and the Castle interpretation of that single word, Mr. Harrington had been sent to Mullingar Gaol, to undergo two months' imprisonment. He was compelled to wear prison clothes, to feed on convict fare, and to lie on a plank bed. Was that justice? He (Mr. Sullivan) called it an outrage upon justice. There was an official in Dublin Castle called the Law Adviser. To this Law Adviser the magistrates applied, if they wanted to know the law; and when the Law Adviser directed the prosecution of anybody before two special magistrates, was it to be presumed that they would differ from the law placed before them by the Law Adviser of the Castle? There was no chance of it. The Special Resident Magistrates, therefore, were simply Government clerks. They took their reading of the law from the prosecutor, who was the Law Adviser of the Castle, and they found whatever decision, and acted in whatever manner, he directed. Now, the farmers of Westmeath were said to have been intimidated, or likely to be intimidated by the speech of Mr. Harrington. What reply had the farmers of Westmeath themselves made to that allegation? Westmeath was an agricultural constituency, and Mr. Harrington, while an inmate of Mullingar Gaol, had been returned unopposed to represent that agricultural constituency upon the Benches he (Mr. Sullivan) was now addressing. The Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant (Mr. Trevellyan), in 924 answering a Question upon that very subject a few nights ago, said he desired to protect the large farmers. Now, it so happened that four nomination papers were handed in for Mr. Harrington, three of which were signed by some of the largest farmers in the county of Westmeath. The farmers, large and small, all co-operated in electing him for their Representative, and not one of that class came forward to say that he had been intimidated, or was likely to be intimidated, by this speech of Mr. Harrington. And yet the Government had the indecency, he would not use any other term, on the wretched pretence of an intimidatory speech, to send Mr. Harrington to two months' imprisonment. The result of the election was announced to Mr. Harrington by a signal on Saturday night, when it was not allowed to be announced to him by any of his friends, and Mr. Harrington replied by another signal from the window of his gaol. That was the way the Government were developing respect for law and order in Ireland. They wore at their old work, making the very words "law" and "order" hateful and detestable to the Irish people. Those words were invariably associated in that country with unfair and! oppressive measures, persecution, and injustice. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Trevelyan) had told them, with regard to the suppressed meeting in Ireland, a meeting about to be addressed by hon. Members of that House, that the police officers committed a mistake, and they were told that it was not to be expected that the police in Ireland should be infallible. A similar apology had been made for a speech delivered by a distinguished young Gentleman who was a Member of that House. It was said that some of the observations made by the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone) did not meet with the approbation of the Government. It was further said that the Government did not hold themselves responsible for every utterance of every one of its Members, and that, although, in this instance, the speaker was a son of a distinguished politician, and the Leader of the Liberal Party, the Members of Her Majesty's Government were not to be held responsible for any statement which he might have made. That was all right; but the Land League was held responsible for the utterances of 925 every man, however obscure or unknown in any part of the country. They were called to account for the utterances of every man young or old, educated or uneducated, in the country, and for words in regard to which it was impossible for the Land League to exercise any control whatever. Where was the justice of that? He objected, further, to the way in which indictments were framed against members of the Land League. A one-sided set of quotations was picked carefully out, and put together, and then launched at their heads. He could only say, in answer to such treatment, that the Irish Members would stand to their principles, and trust to the knowledge and opinion of the country, and the action of the constituencies to justifying them by-and-bye. Only recently, the Hon. Mr. Forbes, a Special Resident Magistrate, in a certain town in the county of Sligo, where the hon Member (Mr. Sexton) was to address a meeting, said that he considered it necessary to have the meeting proclaimed, as the district had been in a very disturbed state, and several persons had been "Boycotted" in it. Further, it was not long since that an ex-"suspect" had been sent to gaol for six months for assaulting somebody or other. The consequence was that his hon. Friend (Mr. Sexton) was not allowed to address the meeting. The same course was taken in the case of the hon. Member for Roscommon (Dr. Commins). In that case it was also stated that the district had been disturbed, and that someone had been sent to gaol, and, therefore, the ordinary right of holding a public meeting, and the right of a Member of Parliament to address his constituents, were trampled down at the bidding of a police officer, under the threat of imprisonment and a plank bed. In the town of Bantry, three men had been sent to gaol for two months each, and one for three months, and the magistrate, in sentencing them, explained that they were imprisoned because they had been promoting an agitation, which agitation, however, was perfectly legal and perfectly legitimate. Those were the words of the magistrate himself—"that the agitation was perfectly legal and legitimate." Nevertheless, the men were convicted, and upon appealing against the sentence, it was confirmed 926 by the Chairman of the Quarter Sessions, who stated at the time, that it would really be a mercy not to allow any public meetings to be held in these critical times, as it was impossible for men to speak upon the Land Question, or any other question of that character, with safety. Where, then, was the right of public speaking? They had been told that crime only was to be dealt with, and that political rights and political liberty were to remain untouched. He asked the House if that promise had been carried out? He knew that some special pleading might be heard in that House, and they might be told that speeches were part of the machinery of murder. Speeches might, or might not, partake of that character; but the speeches in question did not partake of that character, and the whole case was not to be covered up by a well-rounded period of that kind. On the other hand, where intimidation was so strongly forbidden and so severely punished, in the case of men who were alleged to be acting on the part of the Land League interest, how was it that other men, clearly guilty of intimidation, were not punished at all? It would be admitted, he presumed, that it was a legal right, even in Ireland, to hold meetings for legal and Constitutional purposes. Why, then, were men intimidated from doing what they had a legal right to do? Men were not allowed to assemble in public meetings without a policemen at their elbow, with a book in his hand, asking every man as he entered the door his name. Of course, men were intimidated by that act. Policemen did not even content themselves with standing at the door; frequently they went into the room, sat down, scrutinized every man who went in, interfered with the business of the meeting, and asked to see the books. Even more than that. He had a report in his hand of a case where a police constable went upon a railway platform, and, accosting one of the persons he met there, called him a "liar" and a "blackguard." The matter was brought before the magistrates; but Mr. Caffey, the complainant, got no redress. The constable did not deny the use of the words attributed to him; but he asked loftily that the case might be scouted out of Court. Why? Because the police constable was a high and mighty official, and the 927 complainant was merely a civilian. The magistrate, Mr. Breddan, after I hearing the case, retired with a Sub-Inspector into another room. After being absent for some time, he returned into Court, and said that, after carefully considering the case, he thought that the constable had used language that he ought not to have used, and which was very improper for him to have used. However, as he was a peace officer, the Court could not bind him over to keep the peace; and so there was no satisfaction and no justice for the man who had been thus outraged and insulted on a public platform. Mr. Breddan dismissed the case, and said that, in his opinion, it was bettor to let the matter drop; he had no doubt that language of an improper character had been used by the constable, but it was better to let the matter drop. Of course, it was necessary to preserve law and order; but that was the sort of law and order dealt out to the Irish people. The Land League had been assailed over and over again in that House, and the flotsam and jetsam of former debates spread out before them night after night. Now, he did contend, and he should continue to contend, that the Land League was organized for a good and patriotic purpose; that the Land League could not be held responsible for the words and acts of other men, many of whom had no connection, with it. He was satisfied that, in future history, the Land League would be mentioned, not as it had been mentioned that night, with terms of opprobium and shame, but with honour and credit; and it would not be denied that it had done a great work for the Irish people. It had obtained from the Government a Land Act, which, while falling short of a full measure of Irish right and Irish justice, conferred, and would afterwards confer, incalculable benefits upon the Irish people. They would be prepared to meet all the allegations, and charges, and insinuations made against the Land League, and would produce all its papers, and books, and accounts, if it were only possible to submit the case to an impartial tribunal. But that House was nothing of the sort. Talk of packed juries, there never was a better packed jury against Ireland than the packed jury which was in that House. He, for one, refused to plead before it; but if it 928 were possible to form an European Commission to try the whole case between England and Ireland, he would not be afraid to submit the case of Ireland, either in recent or former years, to the verdict of such a tribunal. But he said to the House of Commons, that, considering the way in which they were asked to submit their case, they refused and declined to plead. He could, himself, collect from the speeches of Land Leaguers volumes of denunciations against crime and outrage; but if he were to produce them there, and to read them fully to the House, he should feel that he was doing a mean and unworthy act. He declined to do anything of the sort; but he would leave the flood and storm of bitterness against Ireland to flow on. He believed that the people of this country were not too well affected towards his country. The mischievous incendiary speeches of hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House had not been appraised at their true value. He had listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), who had garnered up in his heart for 12 months the hatred and anger of a beaten and disgraced man.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, the expression used by the hon. Member was un-Parliamentary, and he was not entitled to make use of it.
§ MR. T. D. SULLIVAN
said, he begged leave to withdraw the word "disgraced." He wished to explain, however, that he had used it only in a political sense, and, if it was un-Parliamentary, he would readily withdraw it. All he would say was that they had a fallen politician, a beaten man, and a man whose name would be for ever associated with something very much worse than failure. He was a man who had done, not only to Ireland, but to England, incalculable injury. They had heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman against the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) and the Irish Members generally, and they had seen the artifices to which the right hon. Gentleman had condescended in his speech. They had noticed the pantomimic action of the right hon. Gentleman, which ought to recommend him to the consideration of Mr. J. L. Toole. Th espeech of the right hon. Gentleman was regarded as a triumphant performance, and it was 929 stated that it had received no adequate answer. The right answer and the right defence was that the Irish Members stood there conscious of their own integrity, and they refused to demean themselves by pleading as criminals at the Bar of the House, or elsewhere. They had been acquitted in Ireland, where they were known. In England every calumny directed against an Irish politician found a ready acceptance. Notwithstanding all that, they looked with confidence to the safety of their reputation in Ireland; and they believed that even in England justice would yet be done to the way in which they had fought this battle, and were fighting it, against the terrible odds that were arrayed against them.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, that with much of the Amendment he could not agree, and in regard to other portions of it, absence from Ireland prevented him from arriving at the knowledge which would enable him to form an impartial judgment. He could only say that if the recent verdicts had been given by a fair and just, and an impartial jury, no sentence could be framed too severe upon the savage perpetrators of these disgraceful murders. But there was one sentence which commended itself to him, and in regard to which he had a perfect knowledge. It was that a system of jury-packing had been practised in Ireland, and by no one more than by the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland, whom he (Mr. Callan) now saw in his place. He would not quote from a newspaper, but from official documents. On the first day of the first Special Commission instituted under the Crimes Act there was a jury, called the O'Connell jury, empannelled to try the case of the Kerry outrage. It was not a capital case; but, nevertheless, 20 men were set aside, of whom 18 were Roman Catholics. On the next day, The Freeman's Journal, commenting upon this fact, stated that the Crown had exercised its right of challenge upon a wholesale scale, and had dismissed 20 men, of whom at least 19 were among the most respectable citizens of Dublin. On the next day the still more celebrated case of Francis Hynes came on for trial, and in that case the jury consisted of 11 persons, one of whom was a Jew, and no Catholic. The case made out by the right hon. and learned Attorney General 930 was that the prisoner did not exercise all his right of challenge. It was evident, however, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman exercised his right. Of 22 Catholics summoned upon the jury panel, the entire 22 were set aside. On the next day The Freeman's Journal drew attention to the matter, and said the inference was that certain persons were set aside from the jury simply because they were Roman Catholics. If that were true, it was a revival of an old and often condemned practice, and he was of opinion that the course which had been taken by the Crown was altogether unnecessary. It had been received with much indignation in Catholic circles. On the following day there were four juries empannelled, and the verdict in one case was guilty, the prisoner being sentenced to penal servitude for life. He wished to call attention to the fact that upon that jury the same wholesale system of excluding Catholics was carried on. In the case of Hynes and the case of O'Connell the Crown refused to allow a Roman Catholic to serve, and so on with the remaining cases. Then came the trial of Patrick Walsh; and in that case the Crown Solicitor adopted an unusual course of only calling out a number, instead of a name, which prevented the reporters from ascertaining who the particular person was who was challenged. He now came to a case of which he had some personal knowledge. At the second trial of Patrick Walsh, the learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland opened the case; and he, therefore, presumed that the learned Gentleman was present when the jury was sworn. Now, whenever the Attorney General or Solicitor General for Ireland were in Court they were the persons who were responsible, and not the Crown Solicitor, for the proceedings. The Crown Solicitor acted under the instructions of these Legal Officers; and, in the particular case to which he alluded, no less than 20 jurors were set aside. More than that, the right hon. and learned Attorney General, in the course of the proceedings, stated that one of the instructions given to the Crown Solicitor was to set aside and strike off all the licensed victuallers, including in that term licensed grocers. When the case was being taken on the 21st August, the usual Crown Prosecutor, who manipulated the whole of the 931 panels in Dublin, Mr. Samuel B. Anderson, well-known since the Fenian trials of 1867, and who was an officer in the Castle, and knew every juror in Dublin, happened to be away from Court, and Mr. Bolton was doing duty in his absence. A gentleman of the name of Thomas Phillips, of 4, Adam Street, Dublin, was ordered to stand by; before that he was sitting next Mr. Michael O'Loughlin, of 21, South Bridge Street, butcher, who, although not amongst the class of men usually ordered to stand by, was, nevertheless, ordered to do so. Mr. Phillips said—"You are a fortunate fellow; I shall not be ordered to stand aside; I shall be sworn;" but, to his surprise, he was ordered to stand by also. It was evident that Mr. Bolton had made a great mistake, Mr. Phillips being a reputed Orangeman, but in partnership with a leading Catholic named O'Callan. The next case brought forward was that of Michael West; and Mr. Bolton having, in the meantime, ascertained that Mr. Thomas Phillips was a good sound Orangeman, allowed him to be sworn, although, as had been pointed out, he objected to Mr. O'Loughlin, butcher. These facts could not be denied, and he could prove them by the evidence of persons who were present in Court at the time in question. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that the Crown Solicitor had to order all suspected persons to stand aside; but the action he (Mr. Callan) was complaining of related not to "suspects," but to Catholic gentlemen. In another case he found that the ninth juror called was a grocer and a Protestant, who, with a Mr. William Belt, a wine merchant, was allowed to be sworn, while Mr. Cornelius Denny and another Catholic were ordered to stand aside. The feeling in Ireland among many of the most eminent ecclesiastics was that both the present and late Attorneys General were parties to a direct insult to the most respectable Catholics in the City of Dublin. He had been asked not to be too hostile to the Government because of the improper conduct of officials such as Mr. Bolton and Mr. Anderson; but he was compelled to hold the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland responsible in this matter. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said they were men of high character, and were only exercising their right as Advisers 932 for the Crown to secure a fair trial; to have men sworn on the jury who would be uninfluenced by fear, favour, or affection. But the gentleman who struck off the Catholic jurors was a man who, had it not been for false and fraudulent representations to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, would have been struck off the Poll of Attorneys. Such was Mr. Bolton, Solicitor to the High Court of Chancery, Solicitor for the County of Tipperary, and Solicitor to the Valuation Office, and who, for the last two years, had held the title of Prosecutor to the Crown in two or three Irish counties. This gentleman, in cross-examination, was compelled to admit that, in the pleadings against him in the High Court of Chancery in this country, he was charged not only with unprofessional, but fraudulent conduct; that he directed a letter to Sir Hardinge Giffard, saying that the decree in the case was ruin to him if he imposed it; that his ruin was inevitable; and that if he had a line from him to state that it was a compromise and not a judgment, he would go, at once to the Under Secretary of State, who, he had no doubt, would receive it as a sufficient explanation and allow him to hold on. The Judge who heard the case said that, quite apart from the question of fraud, the settlement was one calculated to cause grave suspicion against the character of the man, and he added, that he found it his duty to report the case to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Now, that was the character of Mr. Bolton, who had the right to order Catholics to stand by. This question of the packing of juries had not been brought forward by the Amendment before the House; but he should, at the proper moment, challenge an inquiry into the conduct of the Law Officers of the Crown in Ireland. In no period during the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland had anything more scandalous taken place than the ordering to stand aside of Catholics during the recent trials. He could understand such action on the part of the Orange Party in Ireland; but it was difficult to understand it in the case of enlightened Liberals. One of the most eminent ecclesiastics in Ireland, who had probably covered himself with obloquy by the support he had given to the present Government, had said to him (Mr. Callan) that "the ordering of those men to stand aside 933 was an outrage on every Catholic in Dublin." He believed that the officials in Dublin were as prone now to secure verdicts by the manipulation of juries as was ever the case during the worst régime of Orange government. They had listened to a Member of the Government, who had risen to bear testimony to the fairness of the Dublin trials—the right hon. and learned Judge Advocate General (Mr. Osborne Morgan)—who, probably, when in the Court, had attracted the attention of the fair sex, which would otherwise have been directed to the dock, and was himself the "admired of all admirers." But was he present at the time when the Catholics he (Mr. Callan) had named, and whom he knew to be qualified, as well as amongst the most independent and respectable gentlemen in Dublin, were ordered to stand by? The right hon. and learned Gentleman, however, was present only on the second day of the trial, when the action on the part of the Crown Solicitors complained of had already taken place. Turning to the reverse of the picture, he (Mr. Callan) found that the men allowed to stand were drawn from amongst coal merchants, builders, and tailors, and, indeed, every class; but against their names there was always to be seen the magic word "Protestant." The right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland had stated that persons were not excluded from serving on the juries because they were Catholics; but, although he (Mr. Callan) could swallow a great deal, he was unable to accept this statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. He would ask the attention of the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant to the facts he had pointed out. The right hon. Gentleman had, he believed, taken the very best steps when in Ireland to detect crime and do justice. He (Mr. Callan) had never joined in any attack upon the Chief Secretary for Ireland, although, if he thought he deserved to be held up to obloquy for his conduct, and a fair case sufficient to convince him were made out against the right hon. Gentleman, he would certainly not hold back from doing so. The present charge of jury-packing was one which could only be denied by the exercise of great effrontery; and he asked the right hon. Gentleman to turn his mind to some of 934 the circumstances which occurred in the month of May last, before he went to Ireland, and to pay attention to the conduct of understrappers at the Castle—to Mr. Bolton, whom he was obliged to defend, and with whom he was sorry the right hon. Gentleman was connected by his official duties, and to Mr. Anderson. He trusted he would prevent these gentlemen from improperly exercising their powers in a manner which seriously interfered with the cause of justice. He had heard one of the most trusted officials state that the greatest difficulty he had in carrying on a Crown prosecution in Ireland was to restrain the Crown Solicitors from ordering Catholics to stand by. He believed that if the Irish Bench were composed of such men as Mr. Justice O'Brien, a Catholic and a fearless and honest Judge, the great mass of the people of Ireland would be satisfied with the administration of the law; but, having said that, he must express his surprise at the manner in which the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland had taken upon himself to defend Mr. Justice Lawson. Why, Lord Bacon was a man of great legal ability, but he was a corrupt and bad Judge; and he (Mr. Callan) believed that prejudice and partizanship had made Mr. Justice Lawson far more corrupt.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is not entitled to speak in language of that kind of one of the Judges of the land.
§ MR. CALLAN
I withdraw it, and beg to substitute the words "blinded by partizanship and political feeling."
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 15; Noes 133: Majority 118.935
|Callan, P.||O'Connor, T. P.|
|Commins, A.||O'Donnell, F. H.|
|Corbet, W. J.||O'Gorman Mahon, Col. The|
|Kenny, M. J.|
|Lalor, R.||Parnell, C. S.|
|Leamy, E.||Sullivan, T. D.|
|Marum, E. M.||TELLERS.|
|Metge, R. H.||O'Connor, A.|
|O'Brien, W.||Power, R.|
|Alexander, Colonel C.||Hayter, Sir A. D.|
|Allen, H. G.||Henderson, F.|
|Archdale, W. H.||Herschell, Sir F.|
|Armitstead, G.||Hibbert, J. T.|
|Ashley, hon. E. M.||Holland, Sir H. T.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Holms, J.|
|Balfour, J. B.||James, Sir H.|
|Balfour, J. S.||James, W. H.|
|Baring, Viscount||Jenkins, D. J.|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Jones-Parry, L.|
|Beresford, G. De la P.||Lawson, Sir W.|
|Biddell, W.||Leatham, W. H.|
|Blennerhassett, Sir R.||Lee, H.|
|Brand, H. R.||Lefevre, right hon. G. J. S.|
|Brassey, Sir T.|
|Bright, rt. hon. J.||Lennox, Lord H. G.|
|Brown, A. H.||Macnaghten, E.|
|Bruce, rt. hon. Lord C.||M'Arthur, Sir W.|
|Bruce, hon. R. P.||M'Lagan, P.|
|Buchanan, T. R.||M'Minnies, J. G.|
|Bulwer, J. R.||Martin, R. B.|
|Burt, T.||Monk, C. J.|
|Cameron; C.||Moreton, Lord|
|Campbell, J. A.||Morgan, rt. hn. G. O.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, H.||Mundella, rt. hn. A. J.|
|Northcote, H. S.|
|Carington, hon. R.||Onslow, D.|
|Causton, R. K.||O'Shaughnessy, R.|
|Cavendish, Lord E.||Otway, Sir A.|
|Chamberlain, rt. hn. J.||Paget, T. T.|
|Chaplin, H.||Parker, C. S.|
|Childers, rt. hn. H. C. E.||Pease, A.|
|Clarke, E.||Pease, Sir J. W.|
|Coddington, W.||Plunket, rt. hon. D. R.|
|Colthurst, Col. D. La T.||Porter, A. M.|
|Corry, J. P.||Powell, W. R. H.|
|Cotes, C. C.||Reed, Sir E. J.|
|Courtney, L. H.||Richardson, J. N.|
|Cross, J. K.||Rogers, J. E. T.|
|Crum, A.||Rylands, P.|
|Currie, Sir D.||Salt, T,|
|Davey, H.||Schreiber, C.|
|Dawnay, Col. hon. L. P.||Scott, M. D.|
|Dawnay, hon. G. C.||Shaw, T.|
|De Ferrieres, Baron||Shield, H.|
|Dickson, T. A.||Stanton, W. J.|
|Dilke, rt. hn. Sir C. W.||Stevenson, J. C.|
|Dillwyn, L. L.||Stewart, J.|
|Dodds, J.||Summers, W.|
|Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.||Thomson, H.|
|Duff, R. W.||Thornhill, T.|
|Egerton, Adm. hon. F.||Tomlinson, W. E. M.|
|Fairbairn, Sir A.||Tottenham, A. L.|
|Farquharson, Dr. R.||Trevelyan, rt. hn. G. O.|
|Findlater, W.||Waddy, S. D.|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord E.||Walter, J.|
|Forster, rt. hon. W. E.||Warton, C. N.|
|Fort, R.||Whitbread, S.|
|Fowler, R. N.||Whitley, E.|
|Fry, L.||Whitworth, B.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. E.||Williams, S. C. E.|
|Giffard, Sir H. S.||Williamson, S.|
|Gladstone, H. J.||Woodall, W.|
|Glyn, hon. S. C.||Woolf, S.|
|Goldney, Sir G.||Wortley, C. B. Stuart-|
|Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.|
|Grantham, W.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Greer, T.||Kensington, Lord|
|Hartington, Marq. of|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Debate arising.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Justin M'Carthy.)
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
I should like to make an appeal to hon. Members opposite, in the interest of the convenience of the House and the progress of Public Business. This is the eighth day of the debate on the Address, and during a very considerable part of the time Irish affairs have been under discussion. I do not ask the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) to abandon the Amendment of which he has given Notice; but I do think it would be a great convenience if we might be permitted to dispose of the first stage of the Address to Her Majesty to-night. If the Address is agreed to, the hon. Member would have his opportunity on the Report; and we should be able to make certain, or nearly certain, of being able to dispose of the Business of the Address tomorrow, which would enable us to proceed with Supply on Thursday. The House will be put to great inconvenience, and Public Business will be seriously delayed, if we are prevented from going on with Supply on Thursday.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he did not see why, if the debate were adjourned that night, the Report on the Address could not be taken on Wednesday. In all probability, there would not be a long discussion on the next Amendment, and the inconvenience the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) anticipated would not arise, for it would be possible to set up Supply on Thursday and proceed with it in the order the noble Marquess desired. It was true the debate on the Address had gone on for a long time; but the House would recollect that they had only had one night on the Amendment they had been discussing, and the Irish Members thought the question of the relief of distress one of such urgent importance, and one on which they had been treated so badly by the Government, that they would not be justified in postponing its discussion. It would produce a very bad impression in Ireland if anything they did should lead to its being postponed to any later period than they could help. He had no doubt his hon. 937 Friend the Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) would be very unwilling to do anything to prevent Supply from coming on at its proper time; but he (Mr. Parnell) failed to see exactly how the adoption of the ordinary course—namely, the moving of the Amendment of his hon. Friend on the present stage of the Address—could retard Supply. The Government might take the Report of the Address as soon as his hon. Friend's Amendment was disposed of—as they did in the Session of 1881. The Standing Orders were suspended and the Report was agreed to. He was not sure that it required the suspension of the Standing Orders for the purpose of taking such a stage. At any rate, he could not see what objection there could be to allowing them to go on in the usual order, and take the judgment of the House on the Amendment of his hon. Friend. If the Irish Members were to consent to the postponement of that Amendment to the Report, it would look as though they were giving this very important matter the second place—as though they were treating the whole question as a matter of form, and were only bringing it before the House to keep themselves in favour with their constituents. The Irish Members would be most unwilling to give the House for one moment to suppose that they looked upon this as a matter of small importance. They regarded it as a question of the greatest emergency and urgency, and wished to bring it before the House in the gravest manner possible.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. CHILDERS)
There is one question on which we all agree, and that is the necessity of bringing on Supply as early as possible. I would point out to the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Parnell) the reasons why it would be more convenient to pass the Address to-night, and go on with the Report tomorrow, than adopt the course he points out. If I understood the hon. Member aright, he suggested one of two things, either that we should take the Address and the Report to-morrow, or the Address to-morrow, and the Report on Wednesday; and so, in either case, arrive at Supply on Thursday. There are two difficulties in the way of taking the Address and the Report to-morrow. One is that such a course is very unusual. It has been done I know; but 938 it is a great exception, which I am sure none of us would like to see made a general rule. Then there is another thing we have to consider. After we have disposed of the Address, we shall have to take all the other Motions in their order. As to taking the Report on Wednesday, it must be remembered that neither the Government nor anyone else can control Wednesday, so that if the discussion on the Report went on to a quarter to 6 the day would be lost. I hope the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) will agree to take his Amendment on the Report, which will insure our getting through the Business in proper time, and being able to take Supply on Thursday.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, that, looking at the observations which had just fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and those which had fallen from the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) before, he thought there ought to be no mistake about the Report. There was no reason to believe that it was intended to bring about a prolonged debate on the Report; but he was confident there were some matters hon. Members who sat near him desired to mention and express their views about upon Report. It was not reasonable to suppose that Irish Members, having occupied several days in the discussion of Irish matters, other hon. Members would not wish to say something on Report on questions in which they were interested. He desired that every progress should be made with Public Business, but did not think it was right to assume that the Report might not take up a substantial part of the day, whenever it was brought on.
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, it would be hardly reasonable, after what the right hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Gibson) had said, to expect him (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) to postpone his Amendment to the Report. He was unable to recede from his position.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
I would point out to the hon. Member (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) that by giving Notice at once he will obtain the first place, and his Amendment will be taken before any others. He, in that way, can obtain priority for the Amendment He has to the Address on Report.
§ MR. GIBSON
Does the noble Marquess intend to move that the Report take precedence of the Address on Wednesday?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
Yes. Until the Address to Her Majesty is concluded, I propose to move that it take precedence of Notices of Motion and Orders of the Day.
§ MR. R. POWER
said, there was one difficulty which the noble Marquess did not see at the moment. Any Amendment might be put down to an earlier part of the Address, which might take precedence of that of the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) and throw him out of his opportunity.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. CHILDERS)
That can only be done by somebody who is now present, and we have no reason to believe that anyone will take such a course.
§ MR. ONSLOW
said, he was sorry the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition (Sir Stafford Northcote) was not in his place. After the answer the noble Marquess had given to the right hon. Gentleman that afternoon, he (Mr. Onslow) was not at all sure that something might not be proposed on Report; and, therefore, he thought it hardly fair for the noble Marquess now, he would not say to spring this mine upon the House, but to make the remarks they had just listened to. He (Mr. Onslow) was justified in saying that. It was a serious answer the noble Marquess gave the right hon. Gentleman that afternoon, and it was the right hon. Gentleman's duty—and he believed he was speaking the mind of hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House, when he said that the right hon. Gentleman ought to take some notice of that answer on Report. The right hon. Gentleman not being present, the noble Marquess was not quite justified in asking the hon. Member for Longford to defer the discussion on his Amendment until the Report. If his right hon. Friend differed from him (Mr. Onslow), of course his remarks on the present occasion went for nothing. In the absence of the right hon. Gentleman, however, the noble Marquess should afford him time for considering what course he ought to take after what occurred in the afternoon.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the course he suggested would not 940 in the least prevent the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition (Sir Stafford Northcote) moving any Amendment he chose, because he would have an opportunity of doing so upon Report. Upon that stage of the Report the right hon. Gentleman might make general observations, or move an Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 20; Noes 89: Majority 69.—(Div. List, No. 11.)
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, that when first the appeal was made by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) to the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) he was disposed to advise his hon. Friend to agree to the course suggested; but the action of Her Majesty's Government since, and the considerations which had been adduced by his hon. Friends, prompted him to think that they really could not yield in this matter. Whatever might be said to the contrary, he and his hon. Friends had very good ground for thinking that hon. Members on the Benches above the Gangway did intend to move an Amendment on the Report of the Address, which would interfere with the Amendment which stood in the name of the hon. Member for Longford. An immense importance was attached to the Amendment of his hon. Friend. It was an Amendment which demanded full and ample discussion; and the Party with whom he acted were not disposed to sacrifice their right to discuss the question. If his hon. Friend dispensed with his Amendment, a Notice by him would not secure that priority of discussion on Report which the noble Marquess seemed to suggest; for, as he (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) understood, any hon. Member could, by putting down an earlier Notice, shut out the Amendment of his hon. Friend. As had been pointed out, the Amendment dealt with the distress in Ireland, which was a matter of the most serious and grave importance to them and the Irish people, 941 the latter of whom would have just cause of complaint, if their Representatives forfeited, in any degree, their right to bring the grievances of the country before Parliament, and if they failed to put the demand for relief forward in an earnest manner. The Government ought to remember that the Amendment proposed that night was not pressed at anything like undue length upon the attention of the House, and that the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Longford was one of the greatest importance. Under the circumstances, he felt compelled to move that the House do now adjourn.
§ MR. LEAMY,
in seconding the Motion, pointed out that the time which had been occupied by the debate on the Address had certainly not been occupied by hon. Members sitting on the Irish Benches. On the contrary, the greater part of the time had been occupied by hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway; and if the Irish Members were to accede to the suggestion of the noble Marquees, the Report stage, or, at least, the lion's share of it, would be also occupied by the hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. T. P. O'Connor.)
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he did not propose to enter into a contest upon this subject; but he regretted the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) had not seen his way to accede to the proposal of the Government. The only consideration he wished now to advance was one which would probably prompt the hon. Gentleman to acquiesce in the course the Government suggested. The hon. Gentleman must know that, as the Motion which he made for the adjournment of the debate had been negatived, he had lost his right to speak in the debate, and it would be impossible for him to bring forward the Amendment of which he had given Notice. He (the Marquess of Hartington) did not intend to enter into any contest with hon. Gentlemen opposite; and if the Motion now before the House were withdrawn, he would consent to the adjournment of the debate.
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, the noble Marquess was very right, when 942 he said he (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) had been cut off from moving his Amendment. He, however, thought the Government had acted in a manner anything but creditable. He would not merely say that the Government had, in order to defeat him, resorted to a strategem; he would go so far as to say that they had had recourse to a sudden trick. The reasons which were given for the adjournment of the debate were perfectly good. Had he consented to bring the matter forward on Report, it did not at all follow that he would have secured priority of discussion. Any hon. Member on the Benches above the Gangway who chose on Report to bring forward any Amendment relative to foreign affairs would, as a matter of course, come before him. As he had been, by the result of the last Division, prevented from moving his Amendment, he admitted there was no other course for him to take than to bring the Amendment forward on Report in the best way he could.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, he would have no objection to move the Amendment which stood in the name of the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy); and in that case his hon. Friend would have the opportunity, in seconding the Amendment, of speaking upon it. Such a manœuvre must commend itself to the feeling of the House just as much as that adopted a few minutes ago by the Treasury Bench. The hon. Member for Longford had been, by a trick, deprived of his opportunity of moving his Amendment. It would be just tit-for-tat to prevent the Government carrying their point; and, therefore, he would ask the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) to persist in his Motion. The Government wished to deprive them of a fair and legitimate advantage of discussing the question of distress in Ireland. If the question were relegated to Report, it would be put out of place by a discussion on foreign policy. The hon. Member for Longford would be perfectly within his right, and would commend himself to the good opinion of the people of Ireland, if he persisted in the course his Friends advised—that was, not to accede to the course suggested by the noble Marquess.
§ MR. WARTON
said, the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) had expressed his 'willingness to give way. Hon. Gentlemen should not forget that there was another hon. Member, who was now absent, but who had placed an Amendment dealing with the distress in Ireland on the Paper. He believed he was correct in saying that it was the intention of the hon. and gallant Member for the County of Cork (Colonel Colthurst) to bring forward his Amendment in regard to Irish distress, in the event of the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) not bringing forward his Amendment. In the interest, there fore, of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, quite apart from questions of jury packing or aspersions on Judges—
§ MR. SPEAKER
I must remind the hon. and learned Member that the Question before the House is that of adjournment.
§ MR. WARTON
said, he had no wish to incur the Speaker's displeasure. He only interposed for the purpose of stating, as one reason for adjourning the debate, that there was another Amendment besides that of the hon. Member for Longford on the Paper.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, that, as he understood the Amendment could be moved by any of his hon. Friends, he would ask leave to withdraw his Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Debate further adjourned till To-morrow.