Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question,
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to improve the administration of the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police; and for other purposes connected with the said forces."—(Mr. Trevelyan)
§ Question again proposed.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, it would, perhaps, be courteous to the House if he made a short explanation as to the effect of this Bill. It was a Bill of considerable importance, but happily not a very large Bill. The scheme of the Bill had been very carefully considered and frequently revised; it expressed the matured decision of the Irish Government, and embodied the experience during many 1056 years of a system into which it now proposed to introduce certain changes and innovations. The present machinery for maintaining law and order in Ireland might be said to date from the Act of 1836, which gave birth to the Resident Magistrates and the Royal Irish Constabulary. It was, he thought, no small thing to say that the authors of that Act had done their work so well, that after half a century the Act did not require any very serious amendment. There had been full time to ascertain all the weak points of the system, and, although those weak points were not many, it was high time they were corrected. This Bill related to administration, and he could not conceive any more cogent or urgent argument in favour of the proposed changes, than the argument that the Government had been forced to introduce, by its own inherent power as a Government, and outside any legislative power, certain temporary changes which it was now proposed to make thorough and complete and permanent by law, if Parliament would give its sanction. That was exactly the case with regard to the machinery for the administration of the Criminal Law in Ireland. Some years ago it was ascertained that that machinery was not adequate to the wants of an exceptional period, and even that it might very well be amended for quiet times. The centralization of the criminal administration of Ireland had become a crying evil. The 90 Resident Magistrates had to report to the Under Secretary at the Castle; and all the 270 officers of the Constabulary, commanding 14,000 men throughout the length and breadth of Ireland, were obliged to report to the Inspector General at Dublin. The right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) came to the conclusion that the time had arrived when the administration ought to be decentralized; and the time when he came to that conclusion was a time when he had no opportunity of calling upon Parliament for legislation. He did what it was in his power to do. [An IRISH MEMBER: Buckshot! and ironical cheers.] If those cheers were otherwise than ironical, and if they came from other quarters of the House, they would express the gratitude of the nation to the right hon. Gentleman for the course he then took to preserve law and order. He did what it was in his power to do. 1057 He appointed six Special Resident Magistrates, to whom he allotted six districts. He made those officers responsible for the administration of those districts, and charged them with the duty of preserving order, reporting to the Central Government, and tracking out crime, and gave them considerable authority over the constabulary in their districts. This arrangement was the best he could then make, and it turned out to be an administrative achievement of a very considerable character. As a permanent arrangement, however, it had certain defects, and this Bill proposed to remove them. In the first place, in the opinion of the Government, the time had come for drawing a deep and clear line between judicial and executive functions. A magistrate who had to sit on the Bench and adjudicate should not have his attention absorbed and his judgment warped, as in certain cases it might be, by the duties of administration, and still more by the duties of a detector and investigator. It was wonderful how impartial the Resident Magistrates had shown themselves; but the Government considered that that impartiality would be more established in the eyes of the public, if those officers were confined entirely to judicial duties. While it was very satisfactory to observe how little friction there had been between the Special Resident Magistrates and the police, still all likelihood of such friction would be removed when the police were entirely under the charge of their own officers. It was of no avail in itself that one part of the country should be under one system, and another part of the country under another. At the time when the Special Resident Magistrates were appointed, the duties to be performed were so great in one district, that, although there were six Special Resident Magistrates, they did not cover the whole of Ireland. The present Bill proposed to make five Divisions in Ireland, which were to cover the whole country, and to place each under a Police Commissioner, who would be responsible for the police in that district, and would naturally relieve the Resident Magistrates of the duty of detecting crime, and relegate them to their functions as Judges. Under the present arrangement, there was a Criminal Investigation Department and a 1058 Detective Department, and the duties were exercised at present under two distinct Departments—namely, the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Detective Police. It was considered necessary that there should be rapid and instant communication between the Detective Police and the Royal Irish Constabulary. At one time crime was increasing at such a rate that there were 50 undiscovered murders within a comparatively short period, and it had become necessary to place the Detective Force in Ireland in a position in which it could act promptly, and for that purpose it was found desirable to place the whole of the Police under one Head. As it was impossible, at the time, to apply to Parliament, the office of Assistant Secretary for the Detection of Crime was created. Seeing what had since occurred, in connection with the detection of the Dublin murders, he hoped that all sections of Parliament would allow that this new Department had been an entire success. The arrangement, however, was only a temporary one; but it was now proposed to affirm it by sanctioning the appointment of a permanent Head to the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Detective Police combined. He had given several reasons why it was most important the Bill should be pressed forward in the present Session; but he would now give one which he thought, in the eyes of many Members, would add weight to those reasons. The present temporary system was very expensive indeed. The cost of the Police and the Criminal Department was, at the present moment, £38,464 a-year. The present Bill would reduce that cost to £22,858, a very sensible reduction indeed, and one which, in the present state of administration in Ireland, would, he hoped, show that the time was come when the Government really believed that some attention might be turned towards economy. This, however, was not the only economy, because it confined the Resident Magistrates to their judicial functions. They hoped, at a period so short that he did not like to name it, lest he might be somewhat too sanguine, to reduce the number of Resident Magistrates from 89 to 72, which was their legally authorized number. With that additional reduction, it might be said that the economy pro- 1059 duced by the Bill would come to £22,000 or £23,000 a-year. He wished it clearly to be understood that the Bill would make no difference at all with the great bulk of the officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and none at all to the men, except that they would be under the command of police officers instead of the Special Resident Magistrate—a change which, he had every reason to believe, they would regard with satisfaction. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Well, he thought they would. In fact, he felt so strongly they would that it was one very urgent reason why he asked Parliament to pass the Bill this year. Two, at least, of the first five Provincial Police Commissioners must, by Statute, if the Bill passed, be officers actually serving in the Royal Irish Constabulary; and, after that, the Government proposed a provision, which many Members of the House might think a wrong one, but which they disputed. He thought he should be able to produce arguments in support of—arguments which had often been urged in the House—the provision he referred to, which was one enacting that any vacancies occurring hereafter should, by Statute, be filled up out of the Constabulary. As the Royal Irish Constabulary became trained in administrative and effective duties, he felt certain they would be able to find the right men for the posts, responsible and important as those posts were. In the long run, all the good things of the Service ought to be filled out of the Service itself; and, from the very first, the Royal Irish Constabulary would lose nothing, but would gain something. There would still be the same number of County Inspectors, promotion would not be, in any respect, slower on account of the Bill; and, in the higher Departments of the Service, the immediate effect would be to give at least one more valuable appointment than now existed to the Royal Irish Constabulary, the ultimate effect being to give an addition of four valuable appointments. The general result of the Bill would be to separate the judicial from the administrative duties of these functionaries, and to make the maintenance of order in Ireland more thorough, more equable, and, he sincerely hoped and believed, less costly than it was at present. He begged now to renew the Motion for 1060 leave to bring in the Bill, and he earnestly hoped the House would give leave for its introduction that night.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant had adopted a very unusual course in asking the House to read for the first time a Bill of this contentious character on the last day of the expiring month before the commencement of the month of August, when the House would be entitled to conclude that the labours of the Government and of the House were about to draw to an end. Certainly he thought, in view of the fact that the Irish measures promised in Her Majesty's Gracious Speech from the Throne had not yet approached a second reading, that the Government might have fulfilled, or made some attempt to fulfil, the promises they had held out to the House of Commons and the people of Ireland before introducing, in the expiring days of the Session, a Bill of this contentious nature, and a Bill which, he thought, he should be able to show before he had done with it would be of an extremely mischievous character. The right hon. Gentleman must congratulate his Predecessor in Office upon the magnificent result of his labours, and it was a somewhat singular fact that the first speech which the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary had made on any really Irish question was a speech in which he took up the measures of repression, or, as the right hon. Gentleman called them, the measures of criminal decentralization, which had been adopted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. E. Forster), his unfortunate Predecessor. He should have hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would have made his maiden speech upon constructive Irish legislation, and that he would have been able to find a more congenial topic than was afforded him by the present Bill—a measure which he was sure, if he could examine the innermost recesses of the (right hon. Gentleman's heart, he must regard with extreme disgust and disapproval. The Bill was bound to work mischief among the members of the Constabulary Force in Ireland; but it also perpetuated a vicious principle and a vicious system, respecting the abolition of which they 1061 had the promise of the Irish Government from the mouth of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford, who, in the Session of 1880, said that he, for one, hoped to be able to put an end to them before long. That statement was made by the right hon. Gentleman in the debate upon the constitution of the Royal Irish Constabulary in the Session of 1880, and the right hon. Gentleman then informed the House that he trusted before long to be able to dispense with the services of the Royal Irish Constabulary. It was, therefore, not to be anticipated that in so short a time the Successor of the right hon. Gentleman would come down to the House to introduce a measure for the perpetuation of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and the retention of certain high places which would involve a permanent expenditure of some £26,000 a-year. The right hon. Gentleman told them that these high places were to be filled up for the present by two officers chosen from the Royal Irish Constabulary, and by three others not chosen from the ranks of the Constabulary; but upon the death of those gentlemen, or as vacancies were created by retirement, the posts would be permanently filled up by officers selected from the Royal Irish Constabulary. Such a declaration meant that the Government intended to keep up the Royal Irish Constabulary as a perpetual necessity. Now, they all knew what this Force of the Royal Irish Constabulary was; they all knew that it was a palpable and unblushing invasion of the Mutiny Act, a system under which the Crown in Ireland was able to maintain a force of soldiers in that country in excess of the nominal Force in the Mutiny Act—a system which would not be tolerated for a moment in Scotland or in this country, but which they were able to maintain in Ireland simply on account of the misinformation which existed in regard to every Irish question that was brought before the House. He thought it was the duty of the Irish Members to protest most strongly against the conduct of the Government in introducing a Bill of this contentious character practically speaking in the mouth of August, when in another three weeks, or a month at the outside, it might have been hoped that the Session would have been brought to 1062 a close. In point of fact, the Bill was a job. It was a job, and an unblushing job, for the purpose of providing places for Mr. Clifford Lloyd, Mr. Blake, Mr. Jenkinson, and one or two other geniuses who had been discovered by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), but whose value nobody during the right hon. Gentleman's ill-omened term of Office had ever been able to discover. But the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary said the Bill was justified by the success of Mr. Jenkinson in discovering the existence of the Invincibles in Dublin. Now, it was perfectly well known that neither Mr. Jenkinson nor any other member of the Executive Government had anything in the world to do with the discovery of the Invincibles; but that, in fact, the proceedings of that Organization were brought to light by a detective officer named Mallow, an Irish police officer, whose name was studiously kept in the background in order that that of Mr. Jenkinson might be put in the front. Mr. Jenkinson, Lord Spencer, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary himself, were pushed to the front, and got all the credit for an, achievement with which they had nothing whatever to do. He denied that Mr. Jenkinson ever knew anything about the matter, or that he was fit for his post of Assistant Secretary, or what the right hon. Gentleman called Secretary for Crimes in Ireland—an extraordinary appellation, but very suitable for an Irish Under Secretary. This Bill was a job for the purpose of providing places for the gentlemen he had named, all of whom, with two exceptions—namely, Mr. Blake and one other person —were not officers of the Police in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman said the Bill made a provision that in future the Police Force of Ireland should be controlled by officers of that Force; but they would only be made officers of the Police by the Bill which it was now proposed to read a first time. They were not officers of the Police at present, or of the Constabulary in Ireland, and there were many officers of the Constabulary who felt much annoyed that their claims, and the claims of their superior officers, were passed over in favour of persons who had been brought from the four quarters of the 1063 globe on account of their supposed capacity, but whose capacity nobody, except the right hon. Gentleman and the Irish Government, had been able to discover. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of a reduction of expenditure which would be secured; but he did not point out that this expenditure was an expiring expenditure. It was an expenditure which was entailed by the creation of offices for temporary purposes by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford; and if those offices were now allowed to drop, instead of the Exchequer being burdened with an expenditure of £25,000 a-year, there would not be any expenditure at all. He submitted that, under these circumstances, the House might very fairly refuse to read the Bill a first time, and he was satisfied that he should be able to show a very strong case indeed against the Bill when it came on for second reading, if, indeed, it ever did come on for a second reading. He thought it was monstrous to waste the time of hon. Members by keeping them up at this late hour (1.40 A.M.) to do that which, obviously from the nature of the case and from the period of the Session, must be futile work and work of no utility whatever.
§ MR HEALY
said, he could not say he viewed the introduction of this Bill with much regret. He had been absent from the House of Commons for six months; but during the whole of that time there had been no Irish Business done worth calling Irish Business, and it was time that some should be done. It was true there had been one piece of Irish legislation this Session, just as, last Session, there was another Bill passed besides the Crimes Bill. It was a singular thing that both these additional Bills had been Police Bills. They had a right to think now that the Government would not be happy if they had not two or three Police Bills each Session. He rejoiced—with a sardonic rejoicement, no doubt—at this Bill, because it would be opposed by most of the Irish Members. Those hon. Gentlemen were away at present; but they had been enjoying relaxation and gaining fresh energy and strength, and they would be coming back directly like giants refreshed. He had expected to hear some apology for the introduction of the Bill, and had gone over in his mind those measures for the non-passing of which 1064 it was possible the right hon. Gentleman would have apologized. The Irish Members had been promised a Registration Bill, but it had not yet been introduced. They had been promised a measure for Local Self-government, but that had not been introduced; they had been promised a Bill for Parliamentary Reform, but they had not got it; they had been promised a measure for Municipal Reform, but they had not got that; they had been promised some kind of support for the Labourers' Bill, but they had not got that; they had been disappointed also in regard to the Poor Law Guardians' Bill; and now, at the end of the Session, they were told that they must content themselves with the last bad egg out of the Pandora's box of the Government. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he really thought this treatment of the Irish Party and the Irish Nation reasonable? Did the right hon. Gentleman think the Irish Members would submit tamely to this kind of thing—did he think they would allow him to dandle his police baby on his knee at the end of the Session, and not only that, but that they would be delighted with the performance? The Government had Bills enough to pass; and if he had been in the place of the Chief Secretary he should have thought that hard lines enough, without endeavouring to carry through this extraordinary abertion. There was, he believed, a large measure of Bankruptcy for Ireland awaiting discussion; a few stages yet remained of a Bill they were all interested in—namely, the English Agricultural Holdings Bill—and it was likely that they would become more interested in it—and did the Government imagine that, at this period of the Session, the Irish Members were in a frame of mind to sit down and have this Bill flung in their faces? He could tell the right hon. Gentleman this was a very unfortunate undertaking for him, unless he wished to have a prolonged discussion of the police system of Ireland, and unless he wished to sit here until Christmas—and probably he would not care to do that for Mr. Clifford Lloyd, or even for Mr. Blake, who came over from Ireland yesterday, no doubt, to assist at the incubation of this egg, but who would have to wait a long time before the egg was completely hatched. He (Mr. Healy) had expected a much more 1065 definite statement from the right hon. Gentleman than that they had received. The right hon. Gentleman informed them there was to be but one Commissioner. But he did not tell them, as had been the case in the Irish Land Bill, who that Commissioner was to be. The right hon. Gentleman did not tell them that they would have an opportunity of expressing their opinion and voting on the name of this Commissioner. The right hon. Gentleman kept the names up his sleeve, as the Chinaman kept his 24 packs of cards, whilst playing the "game he did not understand." Would the right hon. Gentleman have any objection to giving them the names of these Seven Champions of Christendom? He invited the right hon. Gentleman to let them see his marionettes—let them see the names of the gentlemen which were to be so attractive to this House at this period of the Session, in the sweltering atmosphere of August, that they were to jump at the prospect of considering their merits. The right hon. Gentleman said that not only were the Royal Irish Constabulary to be under the Commissioner or Commissioners, but that—and it would be the first time in the history of Ireland—the purely Municipal Police of Dublin were to come under the control of the central authority, the Municipal Police for which the working men of Dublin paid £60,000 a-year. Had not a Cabinet been turned out of Office on the question of who was to have control of the Metropolitan Police in London? Would the Dublin Corporation get any value for their £60,000 a-year. Would the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone) join them in their attempt to pass a clause to relieve Dublin from this burden—if the Bill ever got into Committee? Would the Prime Minister support them? No; he would do nothing of the kind, for the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, who took admirable care to consult the wishes of the Prime Minister, had told them that it would be useless to make such a proposal. He did not charge the Chief Secretary with the suppression of the truth; but there was a certain artistic official way of putting facts, and the right hon. Gentleman was an adept at the art. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether this £60,000 which the Dublin Corporation had been paying hitherto was to be remitted or not, and, if not, why not? 1066 Why was Dublin to be singled out of all the cities of the Empire to pay for a thing which they had no voice or control over, and which to them would he bad value for their money? He would ask English Gentlemen, who now and then had occasion to go over to Dublin, whether they had not been struck with the style of the policemen? If ever it was necessary to summon a cab-driver or a person of that kind who might happen to leave horse-feed on the pavement, or if ever one was wanted to bring before the magistrates people guilty of breaking the municipal bye-laws by leaving vegetable or other refuse in the streets, the haughty policeman would stride nobly by, disdaining to look upon rotten cabbage. He would not allow it to come between the wind and his nobility. He would go to Dublin Castle to consult with the Lord Lieutenant and the Chief Secretary about the state of the country, but could not stoop to such small matters as the condition of the streets. Well, this Chief Commissioner and his assistants would go on sniffing out conspiracy, leaving foul smells to generate and pollute the air, to poison the inhabitants, to breed fevers, cholera, and all manner of diseases, and to fill the hospitals with patients. The Irish Members arraigned this system of looking after the affairs of Ireland. They denied the competence of the right hon. Gentleman to legislate for Ireland in matters of this kind. If he insisted on having his Chief Commissioner, let him pay for that official himself out of the Imperial Funds. If he thought a Chief Commissioner was such a valuable thing to have, let him pay for that Chief Commissioner as he would for any other article he might want. The right hon. Gentleman told them there was no friction between any of the parties concerned in this matter—that this Bill was designed to alleviate the condition of the constables —but that there was no friction between them and the Special Resident Magistrates who were to emerge from their present grub and chrysalis condition into the full-blown Chief Commissioner state. He (Mr. Healy) presumed the right hon. Gentleman was not in Ireland during what was called the famous "Police Strike"—he might have been, but, if so, he appeared to have forgotten it. Did the right hon. Gentleman imagine, when he told them to give such undiluted 1067 attention to the condition of the Constabulary this autumn, that Mr. Clifford Lloyd, who, when he was a police magistrate, produced nothing but mutiny, would produce peace and comfort when he became a Commissioner? Did the right hon. Gentleman think that by changing the name of Mr. Clifford Lloyd's office they would change that Gentleman's qualities—did he think that, like a leopard, Mr. Clifford Lloyd could change his spots? Whatever the right hon. Gentleman thought, the thing would be impossible. So long as Mr. Clifford Lloyd had to do with the police the men would feel the thong of his Burmah whip. Nothing could alter the status quo of Mr. Clifford Lloyd; he would just go on as he had done before. Therefore, he (Mr. Healy) would put it to the right hon. Gentleman whether he thought the Royal Irish Constabulary would be worse or better under the new system? The contention of the Irish Members was that the grievances of the Royal Irish Constabulary were the fault of the Government, because they arraigned and disputed the competency of the Chief Secretary to propose such arrangements as these. He would put this to the House—What was this Body on which so much time was spent, and which was being mollycoddled at the rate of three Bills a Session? So far as he had been able to see, it was a Body for the purpose of creating tumult, riots, and brawls in the lower ranks, and for making nice jobs for landlords' agents and landlords' sons in the upper ranks. He was glad that Irish Members would have an opportunity of speaking about the position of the police and the people on this Bill. What was the character of the Sub-Inspectors and of the proposed Royal Commissioners? Why, they attained their position, as he understood it, either by a system of examination or by a system of competition, subject to approval. As to examination, no one had a chance of obtaining a post by that means unless he were the son of a landlord, some petty agent, some ex-English official, or some broken-down public servant from Bombay, Burmah, Canada, Jerusalem, Madagascar, or anywhere but Ireland. That was the examination system; and then, as to the system of competition, to begin with, the right hon. Gentleman and his Government shut out from competition 1068 nearly everybody by preventing them from getting that University education which was enjoyed in England. The great mass of the people of Ireland were shut out by reason of religious disabilities from learning those things which were learnt in Universities, and which were necessary before a man could pass an examination for Sub-Inspector. The great mass of the Catholic people of Ireland, or all those who could not conscientiously attend the godless Colleges, or who could not afford to go to grinders to cram in special subjects, were shut out from competition. Who were those who were able to compete? Why, as a general rule, they were the younger sons of landlords, of the agents, and of the parsons. These were the gentlemen who officered the Force, and upon whom the whole peace of Ireland depended. And what did they get? Why, some underdone shoneen as a Sub-Inspector, and they sent him down to a place in the country to officer 12 or 14 men. What happened? Did he endeavour to sympathize with the people; did he mix amongst them in order to become an agent for the detection of crime? No; but he set himself out for getting as many invitations as he could to stretch his legs under the landlord's mahogany. Should a landlord have a case of trespass, a case about a bog rent, a case under the Crimes Act, or a case where a cow had strayed on to his land from the farm of a man to whom he owed a grudge, the tip would be given to the Sub-Inspector at the dinner-table, and the next day the "intelligent head constable" would be informed of the facts and would state the case before a magistrate. A summons would be issued, and the magistrate would come down, take his seat on the Bench with a grave face, and poor Paddy would be fined so much and costs. These Sub-Inspectors were thorns in the side of the Irish people, festering and annoying them from year's end to year's end; and it was to advance the interests of this class that the right hon. Gentleman asked thorn to sit through the month of August, and probably until Christmas, to pass the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman must have a very hopeful mind; and to him (Mr. Healy) it was a reproach to find that, after two or three years' experience of the Irish Party, the right hon. 1069 Gentleman should be sanguine enough to bring forward such a Bill as this. It almost brought the virginal blush to his (Mr. Healy's) face to think that the right hon. Gentleman had such confidence in the soft-heartedness and soft-mindedness of the Irish Members that he could ask them, in the month of August, after he had failed in all his pledges to them in every other respect, to pass a Bill of this kind. Did the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that the Labourers' Bill was of less importance than this Bill? Could he say so? Could he have the well-being of the people of Ireland at heart while he neglected that Bill? Could he venture to ask for time for the promotion of a Bill of this vicious and irritating character? The right hon. Gentleman was very apt to take credit to himself because of his Bills; but he had never aided the Irish Members to get the Guardians' Bill of last year or the Labourers' Bill of this Session to a third reading. And yet he expected them to accept this as an instalment of his good intentions. In his relations with the right hon. Gentleman he had never experienced anything but courtesy—leaving the incident of Richmond out of sight—but he thoroughly believed that the right hon. Gentleman had less idea of the moral and material wants of Ireland than the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forstor) had. There was, perhaps, no one who disliked the right hon. Member for Bradford more than he did; but he was bound to say that he believed that right hon. Gentleman had the prosperity of Ireland, so far as he understood it, at heart. He came into Office at the wrong time, and was not the man for the situation; but had he come into Office in quiet times, it would have given him pleasure to assist such a measure as the Labourers' Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary had come in in halcyon days—he must say hanging days. The Government had nothing to do but to hang people; and yet, in these piping times of peace, the right hon. Gentleman did not venture, while hanging people on the one hand, to do anything for the poor people on the other. There were still some people left in Ireland; they were not all hanged and transported; and although he seemed to think it was only police they wanted, judging by the 1070 number of police he had introduced, there were other people and interests besides the Constabulary; and he would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman on behalf of those considerations which ought to be at the heart of a good administrator. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman to drop this Bill, and to forget, for a moment, the existence of Mr. Blake and Mr. Clifford Lloyd; to think of the unfortunate Irish labourers in rags in their miserable cabins, or thrown out upon the roadside, and to forget that his only duty was to hang people or to put them into gaol. Why should the history of Ireland always be connected with the police? Were they never to have any Bills unless they bere the endorsement of some connection with the police? He would ask the right hon. Gentleman, once for all, to drop this system of nibbling at Constabulary Bills, and to try to help on other measures to promote the peace of the country. If he did so, he could promise him that, although his name might not be a fragrant memory among the Clifford Lloyds and in Phœnix Park, it would be remembered with gratitude by the masses of the Irish people.
said, he was glad that the right hon. Gentleman had been so frank as to the purpose of this Bill, for, despite the thin veil and disguise as to economy, it was plain that the object of the Bill was to keep up the present police system in Ireland on its present war footing, and to make a partition of the country between Mr. Clifford Lloyd and Mr. Jenkinson. What was there in the present state of Ireland to justify this police system? If the object of the Bill was repression, the present system was doing that pretty well already. The Bill simply sought to perpetuate, under another name, one of the most disastrous blunders of the right hon. Member for Bradford—the parcelling out of the country under the Clifford Lloyds. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had mentioned that it was very likely that the diminution of crime had deluded the people of England as to the character of these men and their system; but so far from having any pacifying effect on the country, any effect they had had been to excite the people and encourage them to crime. The only power they had was under the Crimes Act, and he did not suppose the Government 1071 meant to preserve that Act. Mr. Clifford Lloyd was supposed to be a terrible detector of crime; but the period during which he had County Clare under his control, and was terrorizing the people right, left, and centre, was the very time when the greater number of crimes in that county took place. Neither there nor in County Galway, to which he had been removed, had he tracked the perpetrator of a single agrarian murder. When he was in Limerick what were his achievements? He succeeded in insulting the Mayor and Corporation, and in shooting down and bayonetting the people without cause. Another of his achievements was the organization of the police strike in Limerick; for it was notorious that it was their detestation of Clifford Lloyd and his ridiculous system of patrolling that created that strike. Then there was another gentleman, Mr. Jenkinson, of India, who had been kept in the background, but who was known to be in the forefront. He appeared to be playing the part of an Irish Fouché; but he had had a small share, compared with the man referred to by the hon. Member for the City of Cork, in tracing the Phœnix Park murderers. So far as the public knew, his only part in that matter was the offering of tempting rewards to informers. He discovered three independent witnesses in connection with the Phœnix Park murders—Dr. Cameron, Hand, the chairmaker, and his wife; but when the trial came on he found it judicious not to produce them in Court. This Mr. Jenkinson had such a passion for getting himself spoken and written abeut, that he actually allowed himself to be interviewed in Dublin Castle by the man M'Dermott, whom the police were looking for a few days afterwards, as a probable dynamiter. His only other achievement in Ireland was having assembled the newspaper reporters and delivered to them a speech, in which he libelled one of the most eminent physicians in Dublin, for which he had to apologize. These gentlemen might have been serviceable instruments for the work the Government wanted done; but if the Government wished to govern Ireland, the sooner they dropped these gentlemen the better. The right hon. Gentleman had very carefully kept these gentlemen in the background. He had not stated who the heroes of the Bill were to be; but they were perfectly 1072 well known. It was well known that it was for the benefit of these adventurers that the Irish Police was to be organized, or rather disorganized, in this way. This was a temporary crisis; and one of the best proofs of that was that the Government had been getting rid of the small fry—the unfortunate policemen and the marines—who had been dismissed without the slightest ceremony; and he did not see why these gentlemen, who only differed from them in the amount of their salaries, should not be treated with just as little ceremony. At all events, if the Government valued the interests of English government in Ireland, they would soon find that it would be cheaper to pay these gentleman sumptuous salaries to get out of the country altogether, and to drop this Bill, without putting the Irish Members to the trouble of killing it.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, he thought the House might well ask the meaning of the recommendation which the Chief Secretary had put in the forefront of the Bill—namely, that for the future the magistrates in Ireland would be dissevered from the detection of crime. He thought it was the experience of England that nothing could be better for the detection of crime than an active, sensible, kindly Magistracy, acting in co-operation with the responsible Police Force, for the detection of crime. Under this Bill the magistrates of the future in Ireland were simply to be reserved for judicial work; but that was a euphemism for condemning persons whose cases would be made up for them by this special 3rd section, which the right hon. Gentleman seemed to have borrowed from Russo-Poland for permanent application in Ireland. The hon. Member for Cork had correctly stated that the Police Force in Ireland was simply a Military Force. By this Bill this Military Force was to be extended and perpetuated; the local Force of Dublin was to be thrown into the general mass; and there were to be Cossack Police permanently settled in Ireland—responsible to a Central Authority, and having no connection with the magistrates, except in getting up cases upon which they would be expected to adjudicate according to the temper and disposition of the English Government of the day. In fact, this Bill contained the clearest indication to the magistrates of the future 1073 as to how they were to behave. At present they were 90 in number; and the Chief Secretary, while holding out a promise of increasing this number of valuable appointments in this absurd Police Force, said he intended to reduce the number to 72; and, of course, he would remove from the Magistracy, on one pretext or another, all those magistrates who had not succeeded in making themselves sufficiently agreeable to the Government of the day. So that the Bill was a measure, in the first place, to destroy the efficiency of the magistrates and to reduce them to the mere rôle of sentencing people who were brought before them by irresponsible police; and, again, it partly terrorized and partly bribed the magistrates, by warning them that their number would be reduced from 89 or 90 to 72—and, of course, all those men would be men who had least deserved the good opinion of the dispensers of patronage in Dublin Castle. He could not conceive any Bill more admirably suited to bring the Administration in Ireland into still greater contempt than the Bill now brought in by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. It was very possible the Bill had been inspired by Mr. Jenkinson; but he (Mr. O'Donnell) could most heartily confirm the exposure which had been made with regard to this Act. Everyone knew that Mr. Mallon, an Irish policeman, deserved 99 per cent of any credit earned in the recent conspiracy trials in Dublin. Mr. Jenkinson had distinguished himself in Ireland by nothing but offensive displays; he had got into muddles which would certainly have insured his dismissal had he belonged to an English Force. In India Mr. Jenkinson was nothing but a swashbuckler and a complete failure. In this House he (Mr. O'Donnell) had heard every credit given to Mr. Jenkinson as a beld and courageous man; but there were plenty of such men in the English nation—[An hon. MEMBER: Every nation.]—and, as his hon. Friend said, there were bold and courageous men in every nation. But, in Ireland, they wanted a little more than simple bulldog courage. Mr. Jenkinson in India was nothing more than a leader of a band of Auxiliary troops, which were very efficient in cutting down the mutineers which the Regular troops had dispersed. As to his civil capacity, Mr. 1074 Jenkinson was one of the confiscating settlers in the district of Jhansi; and the three or four gentlemen who worked with him had brought about a most unhappy state of affairs in that unfortunate place. Mr. Jenkinson had got no career behind him except that of being a bold, determined rough-rider; and the introduction of such a man into Ireland was certainly not calculated to bring about peace in that country. But he (Mr. O'Donnell) was disposed to look at the Bill as a whole, and not in detail. He should regard the Bill, if it were accepted by the House, as a formal declaration of permanent hostility to national self-government in Ireland. Let the House understand the full responsibility which it must take upon its shoulders if it passed this Bill. All pretence of placing the Police Force of Ireland upon the basis of the Police Force in England would be given up. All pretence of raising the Magistracy in Ireland to the level of the Magistracy in England would be given up. The Magistracy in Ireland would be placed under the foot of the Police Cossacks who would be instituted by this Bill — the magistrates would be absolutely degraded into the mere executive officers of the Police. It was intended to make this Force of 15,000 men a permanent Force in Ireland; and it was proposed to do that in terms and in a manner which showed that they were resolved to keep in the hands of the present authorities all that over-centralization which was the abiding cause of the between Great Britain and Ireland. The Bill was, as he had said, a formal declaration of permanent hostility against national self-government in Ireland, because there was no pretence of meeting an exceptional crisis—there was no pretence of having to take exceptional measures against a state of affairs which it was hoped might pass away in a year or two. If a severe Coercion Bill were brought in, he (Mr. O'Donnell) and his hon. Friends might feel it their duty to oppose it; but, at any rate, there would be some excuse for such a Bill in the fact that it was brought in to meet an exceptional state of affairs. This Bill, however, was to create, as a permanent institution, this Military Police Garrison in Ireland; and all the existing evils were intensified by the fact that the con- 1075 trol of the Police was to be more than ever centralized, and that whatever restraining or moderating influence an independent Resident Magistracy might be able to exercise over the zeal of this sort of Military and Detective Police—whatever sort of control and direction a wise Magistracy might be able to exercise upon the Police Force would be entirely done away with under this Bill, for, as the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had explained, the magistrates were simply to exercise—to use the right hon. Gentleman's euphemism—judicial functions. They were to know nothing of the previous history of cases; they were to know nothing of the points, either weak or strong, in the preparation of cases; but they were actually to be dependent entirely upon the view which the police would place before them, and, in that way, even supposing the magistrates wished to be independent, they would not have the means of being independent. A magistrate would be entirely cut off from all knowledge of the state of the country, entirely cut off from all knowledge of the crimes brought before him; and he was simply to be content with the direction he would receive from tho now Centralized Police. He (Mr. O'Donnell) hoped the Bill would pass. He was glad it was brought in, because it gave the Irish Representatives an admirable opportunity of discussing several very interesting matters. He hoped the Bill would pass after a considerable and exhaustive discussion—after as exhaustive a discussion as its merits demanded. He was sure the Bill would only stimulate the resolution in Ireland for self-government, so that the people might get rid of the English Government and their Cossacks. It would stimulate the resolution of the Irish race all over the world, which was neither dead nor sleeping, to assist their brethren at home to get rid of the Jenkinson stamp of officials, who were the curse of the country.
§ SIR JOSEPH M'KENNA
said, he regretted that the Government had brought in a Bill of such a formidable character as this at this stage of the Session. It was a serious matter, after so many years of conjoint action between the Constabulary and the Magistracy, that the two should now be separated. The Irish Government ought to have hesitated before seeking to bring 1076 in a Bill of this kind so late in the Session. Personally, he should give the Bill every consideration, without the least prejudice, because he knew great things could be done to improve the position of the Magistracy and Constabulary in Ireland, and to improve their relations one with the other, and to the country. He could not help thinking, however, that such radical changes as were now proposed ought not to have been sprung upon the House just on the eve of August.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, the manner in which this Bill was treated by the Government was characteristic of their system of governing Ireland. Was it respectful, was it decent, was it precedented in the history of legislation in this House that a number of Members should get up from one portion of the House, offer criticisms to a measure which had been introduced, and that no attempt at reply should be made from the Treasury Bench? Among the slumbering figures upon the Treasury Bench he noticed one distinguished Minister—the Chief Law Officer for Ireland—and the acting Leader of the House; but no attempt was made to reply to the damaging criticism of the Bill. He (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), however, did not believe that anyone on the Treasury Bench, save the Chief Secretary for Ireland and the Attorney General for Ireland, had the least idea of the contents of the Bill. Did the Secretary to the Treasury, for instance, know anything about the Bill? Was there a single Member on the Treasury Bench, with the two exceptions he had named, who had the least conception of the importance of the provisions of the Bill? One of the present misfortunes in the system of government in Ireland was that the Chief Representative of the Irish Government had no place in the House of Commons, and, accordingly, he could not be brought to task for what he did. If they brought the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to task, they must remember, at the same time, that he was merely the mouthpiece—if it were not disrespctful he should say, the mere tool—of the Lord Lieutenant. The House was asked to pass this measure, without any attempt being made to justify its provisions, or to defend those provisions against attacks. He was sorry the right hon. Gentleman the 1077 Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) was not in his place, because he (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) had on several occasions been under the unhappy and unfortunate necessity of indulging in criticisms of the right hon. Gentleman which were considered harsh; and now he desired to say that he much preferred the administration, bad as it was, of the right hon. Gentleman, to the administration of the present Chief Secretary. While the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford brought in measures of coercion—measures which were responsible for all the crime and trouble of the last two or three years—while he brought in measures of coercion with the one hand, with the other hand he was always endeavouring, so far as his rights allowed him, to amelioriate the condition of the people. ["No, no!"] That was his opinion. His hon. Friend who interrupted him could express his opinion when he rose to his feet. What was the history of the present Government? What was the history of the present Chief Secretary? Courteousness of manner and geniality of temper might be very nice things in their way; but what was the Legislative and Parliamentary history of the right hon. Gentleman since he took Office? Why, two Police Bills, now followed by a third. Had the right hon. Gentleman done one thing to advance a single measure of reform in Ireland? Had he helped forward any single measure of relief for Ireland, with the exception of the Fisheries Bill and the Reproductive Loan Fund Bill, one of which measures was carried in spite of the Government? What was the history of Lord Spencer and the present Chief Secretary? These two distinguished politicians were now rising to the eminence of statesmen, owing to the detection of crime by a Superintendent of Irish Police. Mr. Mallon deserved all the credit for having detected and brought to justice the persons engaged in the Invincible Conspiracy. What was the history of the present Administration in Ireland? He asked them to show him a single measure they had brought in for the amelioration of the condition of Ireland. There was a Land Law (Ireland) Amendment Bill introduced by his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), and the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had, over 1078 and over again, declared the tenants of Ireland had a fair right to claim emendation of the Land Bill; but that Bill received no support from the Government. The Borough Franchise Bill was shelved; the Municipal Franchise Bill was shelved; the Labourers' Bill was floated, but not advanced; the Registration of Voters Bill was dangled before their eyes. The introduction of this Bill might be characterized as a piece of monstrous audacity. It was quite characteristic of the present Rulers of Ireland; for, having watched their course for a considerable time, he was bound to declare Lord Spencer as by far the best Orangeman, and the Chief Secretary as the most efficient member of the Emergency Association, whom Ireland had ever seen. Two hundred and twelve Public Bills had been introduced in Parliament during the present Session, and now on the 1st of August they were to add another Bill to that already swollen list. Let the House reflect what was the state of Business. The present Session was to be a remarkable Session; it was to be a Session in which all the long-neglected wants of the people of this country were to be attended to. Was there ever a more extraordinary muddle, or a more unfathomable morass, than that in which the Government had now got into? Here they were in the month of August, and the only legislation the Government were able to beast of was an Explosives Act; that was practically the only measure that the Government, composed of such able men as it was, had been able to introduce and carry. The Bankruptcy Bill had yet to pass through an important stage; the Corrupt Practices and the two Agricultural Holdings Bills were not yet fully disposed of.
§ MR. JONES PARRY
rose to Order. He wished to know if the hon. Gentleman was now speaking to the Question before the House?
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
, continuing, said, that the two Agricultural Bills were still in a critical position; and yet, in the face of this almost hopeless muddle, the Government came down on the 1st of August to introduce a new Bill. Already a large number of Bills had been withdrawn. The Criminal Law Amendment Bill had been dropped, and that was a 1079 Bill which the Prime Minister himself had said was necessary for the protection of the young girls of this country from the infamous and appalling crimes to which they were exposed. That Bill was not considered fitting to pass the House of Commons while Mr. Jenkinson and a few other pets of the Irish Government were awaiting their acknowledgment. There was a Bill which was under the charge of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War—a Bill which two or three of the right hon. Gentleman's Colleagues had declared to be absolutely necessary for the protection of the health of the troops; yet that Bill had been dropped. Then there was the Medical Acts Amendment Bill, a Bill which was intended to save the country from unlicensed and quack practitioners. That Bill was not to be proceeded with. And yet, in the face of all this absence of legislation, the right hon. Gentleman had the coolness to come down to the House with a Bill to give places to those whose only claim to recognition on the part of the Government was that in serving the Executive they had altogether disregarded the feelings and wishes of the Irish people. He told the right hon. Gentleman that the patience of the people of Ireland was well nigh exhausted, and that they would no longer bear with tranquillity the treatment to which they were subjected, and the total absence of Irish reforms or of legislation for the good of Ireland. The Irish Members made up their minds that they would meet this Bill with the most determined opposition, until they succeeded in forcing the Government to pass those remedial measures which, if the Government had so wished, they could long ago have passed. He strongly objected to the conduct of the Law Officers and of Lord Spencer in forcing such a Bill as this upon the House in the absence of any attempt to grapple with Irish Reform. The conduct of the Executive was nothing more nor less than shameful, and the non possimus attitude of the Government would never be maintained by the present so-called Liberal Rulers of Ireland, if it were not the result of a deliberate purpose. Their desire was to give to the people of Ireland police laws, hanging-gaols, and depopulation, in the hope that by this means they would exhaust the strength of the Irish people. He was afraid that 1080 the only result would be, as the Government would by-and-bye find to their cost, that the present Liberal Lord Lieutenant and the present Liberal Chief Secretary would be able to say that they had done more to kill Liberalism in Ireland than any measures which their Conservative opponents could possibly have devised.
§ MR. O'KELLY
said, he had had no intention of taking part in the debate; but he wished to submit that if the Government persisted in thrusting these five new officers upon Ireland, their appointment and selection should be left to the Irish people. He contended that the laws under which Ireland was now governed were opposed to the wishes of the majority of the Irish people; and if the present so-called Liberal-Radical Government desired to act in the interests of the Irish people, then let them accept his proposition, and submit the five Magistrates, to whom they intended to give the administration of the Irish Criminal Laws, to the election of the people of Ireland. Upon that condition, and upon that condition only, he thought the Bill would be an acceptable one. But he understood from the statement of the Chief Secretary that these five gentlemen were to be appointed by the Crown; and, unfortunately, they knew in Ireland what appointment by the Crown meant. It meant placing over the people of Ireland men who were opposed to the well-being of the people, and whose main object would be to suppress the views and wishes of the people. He was satisfied that so long as English government in Ireland rested on appointments of this description there would be constant necessity for applications to Parliament for additional strength to carry out the law, whatever that law might be. No matter what measures might be passed in that House, it would be necessary for the Government to bring in new laws year after year, each more stringent than the other, to enable them to enforce in one year the laws which they had passed the year before. That would he the work of the English Government if they presisted in their endeavours to rule Ireland by the system they were now enforcing. If they wanted to rule Ireland well, they would have to govern her, as all other free nations were governed, in accordance with the wishes of the people. 1081 That was the only system by which they would be able to succeed; and any other system they might endeavour to put in force, no matter what their material power might be for the moment, would only end in failure, and it might be that it would ultimately end in disaster. [Cries of "Order!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
I must remind the hon. Member that there is a Standing Order of the House against tedious repetitions, and that that Standing Order may be applied against the hon. Member.
§ MR. O'KELLY
I am endeavouring to address myself to the House in accordance with my own views. Those views may not be in accordance with your views. [Cries of "Order!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member has already been cautioned that he must not tediously repeat his observations; and now I must call upon him to discontinue his speech, and to resume his seat.
[Mr. O'KELLY thereupon resumed his seat.]
§ MR. KENNY
said, he regretted that he was compelled to continue the discussion at so late an hour (3 a.m.). He had been of opinion that Police Bills for Ireland had pretty nearly come to an end. He had thought that the Government had completed, as far as possible, the present system of Police Organization in Ireland. He had thought that when they had resolved upon introducing Indians and Clifford Lloyds into the Police Service of the country, there was very little more left for them to do. But he found that Her Majesty's Government were still determined to press their policy of repression and oppression still further in Ireland. The position of Mr. Clifford Lloyd, when he was first appointed in Ireland, was arbitrary enough; but he had not long commenced the discharge of his duties before his services were duly appreciated by the Government, and he was transferred to another district with an increased salary. At the present moment, although he had only been seven years in the employment of the Government, Mr. Clifford Lloyd had 1082 been promoted to the position of a first-class Resident Magistrate, with salaries amounting altogether to something like £2,000 a-year — a most monstrous remuneration to give to a man for discharging the functions intrusted to Mr. Clifford Lloyd. But there was another man in Ireland even worse than Mr. Clifford Lloyd. There was one Special Resident Magistrate whose conduct recently in a particular district in the South of Ireland had been so unjust that his own fellow-magistrates would not sit upon the same Bench with him. Not long ago, the magistrate to whom he referred passed such an infamous sentence that gentlemen associated with him in the Commission of the Peace refused to occupy their seats on the same Bench with him, notwithstanding the fact that he was a Special Resident Magistrate sent down from Dublin Castle, and that he would probably be promoted now to the office of Police Commissioner for the purpose of detecting crime and punishing innocent people. The only reason the Chief Secretary had assigned for bringing in the Bill was that it would reduce the expenditure from something like £46,000 or £48,000 a-year to £22,000 a-year. It was quite true that the Bill would reduce the expenditure this year from what it was last year; but if this measure had not been introduced at all, the expenditure would have been cut down all the same. Certainly, the claim of the Government, in regard to the reduction of expenditure, was only on a par with all their other assertions. The Bill was introduced at an unusual time—at a time when, under ordinary circumstances, it would have been impossible to expect that it could become law this Session. His own opinion was, that it was introduced, not so much for the purpose of being passed into law, as for the purpose of preventing other measures of a beneficial character from making any further progress. At the present moment there were other measures which were looked forward to with interest by the people of Ireland, such as the Labourers' Bill, a measure that was calculated to elevate the position of the Irish labourers, to improve their dwellings and surroundings, and to make them a better people. The present Bill, on the contrary, was introduced for the purpose of strengthening, if possible, the system of iron- 1083 handed tyranny which existed in Ireland. It was introduced, furthermore, for finding nice and easy places for the sons of broken-down landlords. It would interfere in more ways than one with the welfare of the people of Ireland, and no man knew that better than the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman, although ignorant enough, could not be so ignorant of Irish affairs as not to know that the Bill was calculated to inflict damage and injury to the people of Ireland, and that the measure would be recorded against him and against his Government when the day of reckoning, which was looked forward to by the people of Ireland, came.
§ MR. BARRY
said, that, like several of his hon. Friends, he had had no intention of taking part in the present discussion; but he felt bound to say that when he saw the enormous arrears of legislation in regard to Ireland, it would require some strong and powerful reasons to justify a Bill of this kind, introduced on the last day of July being passed into law. He did not believe the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary would venture to say that there was the least urgency for this particular Bill. Nobody in Ireland wanted the Bill, except, perhaps, some half-dozen gentlemen whose names had been most skilfully concealed by the Chief Secretary. Nobody else wanted the Bill, and it was monstrous, at this period of the Session, knowing the vast amount of work still to be got through within the next two or three weeks, to try and force so obnoxious a measure through the House. He had a clear recollection of the number of unhappy conflicts which within the last few years had taken place in Ireland between the people and the police, and he remembered most distinctly that whenever any conflict of evidence arose the Government took no steps to secure independent testimony. Their practice was to communicate with the Sub-Inspector of Police, who was, probably, the very person charged with some great offence against the liberties of the people. They received a telegram from that Sub-Inspector, and they were perfectly satisfied. Quite recently there had been a collision between the people and the police at an Irish election, in which a number of persons were injured. The question arose, who was 1084 to blame for the occurrence? And the only satisfaction the Irish Members could get from the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary was that he would communicate with the Superintendent of Police, who was the very person charged with creating the disturbance, although it was quite possible for the right hon. Gentleman to have communicated with the Mayor of the town, who was present with the aldermen of the town, or with some of the most respectable citizens, and with two or three Members of Parliament who might also have been present. [Cries of "Oh!"] But the right hon. Gentleman never thought for a moment of securing independent testimony. [Cries of "Oh!"] He knew very well that hon. Members on the other side of the House were quite ready to sneer within those walls at the idea of independent testimony being given by Members of Parliament; but they would be very careful not to sneer elsewhere. All he could say was, that he should like very much to hear that sneer repeated elsewhere. What he had to complain of was, that if any conflict arose between the police and the people of Ireland, it was the Bashi-Bazouks of the Clifford Lloyd character whose testimony was taken, and that the Government took no means whatever to secure independent testimony. It was something monstrous to find, as they did find, by the introduction of this Bill, that there was a deliberate intention on the part of the Government to render this system permanent. There was neither pleasure nor profit at that hour of the morning in bandying words with the right hon. Gentleman; but he took up this position, that if the right hon. Gentleman persisted in forcing the Bill upon the House, the Irish Members would consider it their duty to oppose it at every stage, and they would feel it strictly within their right to exhaust every means the Rules of the House provided to defeat this most perfidious, unnecessary, and obnoxious measure.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, he regarded the Bill of the Chief Secretary as a measure of the most objectionable character. He could easily imagine that it was a Bill introduced at the request of a number of Gentlemen who sat on the other side of the House to provide places for their nephews and cousins, and, in some 1085 instances, for their brothers. It was a Bill, altogether unnecessary, for improving the discipline of the Constabulary Force of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman himself admitted, at the commencement of his speech, that it was laid on wrong lines; and if it was necessary for the efficient conduct and organization of the Irish Constabulary, why not appoint some of the existing highly-trained and experienced County Inspectors to be the Superintendents or Head District Inspectors contemplated by the Bill? Two of the five were to be taken from the Constabulary Force, and the other three were not. The House had a right to know the names of the Commissioners—was Mr. Clifford Lloyd to be one? He (Mr. Callan) thought he could name one himself who had come to London last night in the train with the squad which attended, in obedience to the Government Whip, to swell the majority to-night. This "Terence M'Grath" was a brother-in-law of the Duke of St. Alban's, known as "Mr. Blake," though he (Mr. Callan) did not know that he had more claim to that name than he had to the name of "Terence M'Grath." ["Question!"] This was the Question—the class of men the Chief Secretary proposed to appoint. The office of Criminal Detective had been referred to, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had said that, looking at the details of the detection of the Dublin assassins, that office must be looked on as a success. Did the right hon. Gentleman mean that the operations of Mr. Jenkinson had been a success?
§ MR. CALLAN
said, that, through Mr. Speaker, he would ask whether the right hon. Gentleman meant that the officer whose action had proved the Criminal Detection Department to have been a success, was Mr. Jenkinson? No doubt he did; and he (Mr. Callan) was not at all surprised, though he very much regretted that the Chief Secretary had not had the candour and manliness to give credit where credit was due. Mr. Jenkinson was not in Ireland on the 6th May.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, it was his first visit, unless he had been over pre- 1086 viously to play lawn tennis or some other game. But the names of the Dublin assassins were handed in to the Lord Lieutenant within 48 hours of the murder, and with that detection Mr. Jenkinson had had nothing whatever to do. In spite of this, Mr. Jenkinson was to be elevated—and this reminded him of the statement of the Englishman, a Member of the House, who went over to Ireland and said to the people—"Helevate me and I will helevate you." The right hon. Gentleman wished to give credit for the detection of the Phœnix Park assassins to an Englishman to whom the credit was not due, and suppressed the name of the Irishman who was entitled to the merit. The right hon. Gentleman would not give the names of the five men who were to be the Chief Inspectors. He (Mr. Callan) was not in favour of centralization; but he did not believe, in this matter, it would be advisable to divide the country into five districts. The proper way would be to keep the management in Dublin. There had been no reason alleged for the introduction of this Bill, and he only knew of one, and that was a reason which had not been avowed. To his mind, the only object of the Bill was to provide places for three of the Special Magistrates, and pitch-fork them into the position of Heads of Police, as there was no other employment to give them. Looking at the Order Paper, he would not say he should give this Bill the determined opposition which was suggested by some hon. Members; but he should have his share to contribute to the discussion of the Bill when it was hereafter laid on the Table. He hoped the Chief Secretary would give precedence to the Parliamentary Registration (Ireland) Bill, because, by so doing, he would withdraw from the consideration of the hon. and gallant Member for the county of Dublin (Colonel King-Harman) one of his chief inducements for the support of this Bill. When he (Mr. Callan) heard the hearty cheers with which the hon. and gallant Member greeted this Bill, and the threatened opposition to it, it was plain that the hon. and gallant Member's prospective view was that the Parliamentary Registration Bill would be included amongst the innocents at the end of the Session. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give them an assurance that he would not destroy 1087 this Parliamentary Registration Bill; so that if they were to have a long Session to provide for Mr. Clifford Lloyd and "Terence M'Grath," they would, at all events, have the benefit of one useful measure this Session.
§ MR. SMALL
said, that until within the last few minutes he had had no intention of taking part in the debate; and he was sure when, a few weeks ago, he first became a Member of the House he little thought that his first claim on its attention would be at such an hour as this (3.5 A.M.). But the hour was not of their choosing; it had been chosen by the Government. However, he felt sure that at whatever hour such a Bill was brought on, no man who belonged to the Irish Party would ever be found wanting. He, for one, heartily rejoiced that the Government had brought in this measure. He was proud to stand there and say that he was one of those men in Ireland who had never believed in the good intentions of the Liberal Party towards that country; and he was glad to think now that if there were any of his race, either in England or Ireland, who did believe in the so-called sincerity of the Liberal Party, this Bill would undeceive them. Ireland had passed through a great crisis of late. The Government were fond of telling the people that the crisis was now passed; and if that were so, it was when the country was returning to peace the moment was selected for bringing forward a Police Bill of this character. It struck him that a great many Members who sat in the House knew nothing about the administration of the police in Ireland. A great many of them had not even been in the country. Yet they did not hesitate to sit here, night after night, taking away the liberties of the Irish people. Members were content to sit here night after night, hearing speeches and ex parte statements, and reading Blue Books, and imagining that they knew Ireland as well as the Irish Members, who lived in it. Hon. Members, as a matter of fact, knew very little about Ireland, and knew very little about the way in which the government was carried on. Those who had the good fortune—or ill fortune—to live in Ireland knew something about it. He had never been in England until a few years ago. He had spent his whole life in Ireland, and, therefore, could speak 1088 with some authority as to the manner in which the police system was carried on there. The police system was one which would not be tolerated in a free country like England for a moment. When he came to England the first thing which struck him was the difference in the attitude assumed here by the police towards the people to that assumed by the police in Ireland. In England the police were evidently the servants of the people; but in Ireland, on the contrary, they were the masters. In Ireland, especially in the South, the lowest policeman was a tyrant amongst those with whom he came in contact. He did not know very much about the people of the South, but he had been there, and had acquired some knowledge of the condition of affairs by personal observation; and what had struck him most painfully was the down-trodden appearance of the people, and the tyrannical attitude of the police. He could not help particularly remarking one thing in connection with this Bill—namely, the way in which it proposed to deal with the Province of Ulster. He had always heard it said that one part of Ireland was well-affected towards this country—that the South and West might go wrong, but that Ulster was always to be depended on. But what did the right hon. Gentleman now propose? As he (Mr. Small) understood it, the right hon. Gentleman proposed to divide all Ireland into five districts, for five Pashas to rule over. Was this the reward of Ulster's loyalty and peace? Was this a fair return for her adherence to the English Government? He saw some of the Representatives from that Province here to-night, and he would avail himself of the opportunity of urging them to take this lesson to heart. Ulster had acted well towards Her Majesty's Government; and her people had lately supported the Liberals — and now they were getting their reward. Some of the constituencies of Ulster would, no doubt, remember this at the next General Election. When that Election came, he trusted that the introduction of this Bill would not be forgotten in any part of Ireland.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he did not feel disposed to speak at any length upon the Bill, as he should be prepared to do so with more deliberation at future stages—when the printed document was 1089 itself placed upon the Table of the House. So far as he could make out, the object of the Bill was to administer outdoor relief to a few needy hangers-on of the Government. He knew, with regard to one of the Resident Magistrates in Ireland, that he made the greater part of his income by horse dealing, and entirely neglected those duties for which the Government paid him. That respectable Resident Magistrate was married to a daughter of a former Member of that House, and the unfortunate father-in-law had had once or twice or three times to pay his debts. Possibly it was right to make a liberal and permanent provision for gentlemen of this kind; but the experience of the Irish Party of the Government of Ireland was that the more disreputable the magistrate was the more in favour was he with the Government. Let them take the case of Mr. Jenkinson, who came from India with an exceedingly bad record, or those who came from British Burmah, or take the case of this horse-dealing magistrate, or of the Police Inspector who was dismissed from Birmingham, and was sent over to interfere with the liberties of the people of the West of Ireland. It was for this class of men that this Bill was to be brought in and proceeded with, at a period of the Session when it was too late to proceed with the important measures promised in the Queen's Speech. The Government had many men on their hands whom it was difficult to know what to do with. They had got rid of one of their difficulties—he meant Carey. [A laugh, and cries of "Oh!"] Well, he thought the person he had referred to had been quite as respectable a man as many of those the Government were taking such care of. James Carey was a disreputable character, no doubt; but he had become so for the purpose of saving his own neck; whilst these people, who supplied the Chief Secretary with false information as to what occurred in their districts, had not the excuse for their evil courses that Carey had. They acted altogether from malicious motives, or to gain some miserable favour or other from the Government. The Bill might be passed this Session; but if the Government succeeded in forcing it through, it would only be at the cost of the loss of other Bills which were introduced for the purpose of giving satisfaction, 1090 more or less, to the people of England. The passage of this Police Bill would cost a great deal more, from the point of view of the interest of the Government Party, than it would bring in from the point of view of benefit to the persons whose positions it was intended to improve. He was at a loss to imagine why such a Bill should have been brought in at such a period of the Session. A glance at the Notice Paper would convince anyone who knew anything about the course of Business in that House that a large proportion of the Bills introduced, some of them months ago, the Government would never be able to pass through this Session; and the question would be, within the next two or three weeks, which of the Bills would have to be sacrificed? That was one of the things on which the changes would be rung on many platforms in this country. It appeared to him that the Government always selected the very worst way of doing a thing. For the purpose of passing certain clauses of a Bill into law which were strongly opposed, they would sacrifice what they would be able to get the House to agree to with very little delay. They waited until the end of the Session, and then introduced a Bill which would be bound to lead to endless discussion, with the practical result of sacrificing other and more beneficial measures. He did not care much for the present Government—in point of fact, he would like to see them disgrace themselves as much as possible; and with that view he should be glad to see them persist in forcing this Bill upon the attention of the House.
The House divided:—Ayes 84; Noes 12: Majority 72.—(Div. List, No. 215.)Ordered, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to improve the administration of the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police; and for other purposes connected with the said forces: —And that Mr. TRETELYAN do prepare and bring it in.