§ MR. PARNELL
wished to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether he could give any information to the House as to the suppression by the police of Mr. Harrington's newspaper, the "Kerry Sentinel," and the seizure of the printing press and other plant connected with the establishment?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
Sir, this being the case of a judicial inquiry still pending, it is not possible to say very much with regard to it; but I think I can say enough to answer the natural inquiry of the hon. Member. On Sunday, the 20th of May, certain notices were posted about Tralee of a nature which I do not think it necessary for me to bring before the House; but they were notices of a most serious and improper nature—I might really apply to them much stronger epithets—and, if I read only a sentence or two from them, they would, I am sure, excite a feeling in the House of something like horror. [Cries of "Read!"] I do not wish to raise a debate on any judicial question—at all events, on any points upon which hon. Members who raised this question are aggrieved; but the notice was treasonable, 966 and something very like murderous in its nature. This notice was, as the authorities believed, printed in the office which published The Kerry Sentinel. That office was searched, and the press and types which, in the opinion of the Government, were the instruments by which this notice was printed, were seized under the 14th section of the Prevention of Crime Act. That section ordains that arms, ammunition, papers, documents, instruments, or articles suspected to be used, or to be intended to be used, for the purpose of, or in connection with, any secret association existing for criminal purposes when seized shall be forfeited to Her Majesty. The Government Advisers were clearly of opinion that under this section the press and type with which they believed the notice to have been printed might be seized. It must be remembered I am not speaking now of this notice, as re-printed in The Kerry Sentinel, in common with a great many other newspapers; but as to the notice itself, with regard to its being afterwards posted in the neighbourhood of Tralee, having been printed by this press, an operation which, in the opinion of the Government, constituted nothing less than a crime. For this crime they intend to proceed against individuals; and if these individuals are convicted of having printed and posted this notice, I believe it is undoubted they will be guilty of a very serious crime in the eyes of the law. The district is one which is in a very critical condition. A very serious attempt at murder was perpetrated in the county within less than 48 hours before; and a document of the nature of that which was posted about Tralee constitutes a crime of a very serious description indeed. I wish it clearly to be understood that it is on suspicion of having printed this document for the purpose of being posted about, and not because The Kerry Sentinel re-printed it as several other papers had done, that this seizure has taken place.
§ MR. PARNELL
The right hon. Gentleman has explained very clearly, and at considerable length, the way in which the Government have thought themselves justified in using a particular section of the Crimes Act, the use of which, I venture to think, was not at all contemplated at the time the Act was passed. I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman 967 whether, in the event of guilt not being-brought home to any person in the employment of Mr. Harrington, his printing press will be restored, and compensation rendered to him by the Government for this destruction of his means of livelihood?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
The Government will undoubtedly feel it their duty, in that contingency, to give the matter their grave consideration.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the warrant was not issued so far back as the 9th of April, although he now pretends it was issued on the day of the seizure?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
Sir, the warrant was issued on the day to which the hon. Member refers. It was a perfectly regular warrant used for a perfectly regular purpose.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
In consequence of the nature of the answer, and of the extraordinary charge which has been made against me as proprietor of the paper, The Kerry Sentinel, perhaps the House will listen to a few words of personal explanation from me. I recognize, Sir, as well as the right hon. Gentleman, the gravity of the notice which has been posted about the town of Tralee, and I agree fully with him in condemning it as monstrous. [Cries of "Order!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
I must point out to the hon. Member that if he enters into debatable matter he will be doing that which is irregular.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
I admit fully, Sir, that the position of the right hon. Gentleman so far has been right; and I have no desire whatever to contest the description which he has given of the notice in question. I will go a little further, and say the notice was not only of a scandalous character, but that it was in itself perfectly absurd, and contained evidence that it could not have been printed at my office. [Cries of "Order!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is not in Order in these remarks. If the hon. Member desires to bring forward the matter, he can do so in the form of a substantive Motion with Notice.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
I think there is sufficient sense of fair play in the House to allow me to make my explanation. I desire to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of drawing attention to the seizure of The Kerry 968 Sentinel, which I claim to be a matter of public importance.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member should bring up in writing, the definite matter of urgent public importance which he desires to bring under the notice of the House.
§ MR. HARRINGTON,
accordingly, having stated the matter in writing, asked leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a matter of urgent public importance—namely, the seizure of The Kerry Sentinel newsnaper at Tralee.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Is it the pleasure of the House that the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. Harrington) be now heard?
§ Some negative voices having been, raised—
§ And less than 40 Members having risen—
§ MR. CALLAN
I beg to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether those hon. Members who wish to hear the hon. Member for Westmeath cannot now divide the House on the Motion?
§ MR. SPEAKER
In answer to the hon. Member for Louth, I have to say that the Standing Order upon this matter terminates with these words—Unless, if fewer than forty Members and not less than ten shall thereupon rise in their places, the House shall, on a Division, upon Question put forthwith, determine whether such Motion shall he made.Therefore, if ten Members think proper to rise in their places, the matter may be determined upon Question put forthwith by a Vote of the House.
§ A Division being claimed, and 10 Members having risen—
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That such Motion for Adjournment be now made."—(Mr. Harrington.)
§ The House divided:—Ayes 137; Noes 135: Majority 2.—(Div. List, No. 100.)
§ MR. HARRINGTON
Sir, I am deeply grateful for being afforded this opportunity of making the explanation which, if the House had permitted me, I should have made earlier, so that it might now have been at its ordinary 969 Business. In the most emphatic manner I wish to agree in the condemnation which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland made of the threatening notice posted up on the pillars in the town of Tralee; and I wish furthermore to state that, were I in my place as editor and proprietor of The Kerry Sentinel, and if the right hon. Gentleman, or any representative of his, believing that that document emanated from my office, applied to me for the necessary facilities to find out its author, I should, in the fullest possible manner, have placed every facility in his way, and would have been deeply grateful to the authorities if, having found the guilty persons in my office, they weeded them out. But the course which the authorities have taken is a very unusual, and, towards me, a very harsh and unprecedented course. Without any communication whatever with me, or with my brother, who conducts my business, or my foreman, 50 policemen entered my office, acting under a warrant signed six weeks before this threatening notice was issued. They seized not only the printed copies of my newspaper, but the type. They arrested the foreman, they turned out of the office every employé I had, and sent throughout the Three Kingdoms, if not over the world, the statement that I was responsible for this scandalous document. I think in no civilized country in the world except Ireland could such things occur. I do not believe that any person who knows me would concur in the infamous allegation that I or any person belonging to me could be responsible for the issue of this infamous document. I will not offend the House by reading it; but I might be permitted to read two sentences which will show that the document was a decoy, issued for the purpose of injuring me, or some other equally innocent individual, by an enemy, and not by one who agreed in the so-called sentiments expressed therein. The notice in question states that a meeting of "Invincibles" would be held in a particular street in the town, naming the street and the part of the street, and it says—"Secret drillings are going on there." Does the right hon. Gentleman affect to believe, or do the police, who moved, I presume, under his instructions, believe, that any sane man, however criminal, and desirous of attacking the Government in Ireland, 970 would issue a bonâ fide notice calling a meeting of "Invincibles" at a particular place, post it on the pillars of a public building, and thus reveal the place of meeting to the police? On the face of it this notice is absurd. The police, when they originally moved under the warrant, saw the document in type in the newspaper, in which they must have seen, too, that the editor wrote condemning it. It has been said that the notice must have been printed in Tralee, because its size corresponded with the width of the columns of the local newspapers. But anyone acquainted with the technicalities of a printing office knows that type can be set up to any width. The Government, I believe, seized my paper because they saw this document in the news columns; and when they perceived their mistake, although they returned the type first, yet, true to that instinct by which they persecuted every man in Ireland on whom they lay hands, they determined not to retrace their steps, and so they again seized and carried off everything there. Perhaps I am speaking more strongly than I ought; but I must say that these proceedings by the police are not to the credit of the right hon. Gentleman. It would have been wiser and more creditable to the right hon. Gentleman, and it would have better tended to advance good government in Ireland, had the right hon. Gentleman investigated the facts, and visited on the police who acted in this manner what censure they deserved. This seizure took place on Tuesday last. On Wednesday the police surrendered to my representative in the office the type they had seized; but they went to my writing office and took away all my letters, account books, and library. For what? Simply because someone has been wicked enough, and foolish enough—criminal enough, if you will—to issue such a notice. Even if the contention of the right hon. Gentleman were correct, and that without my cognizance, or that of my representative, the document was printed in my office, as might have been done by the merest boy in the office, is it because I had an unfaithful person in my employment that the representatives of Her Majesty's Government should come into my office and seize everything absolutely which belonged to me, carry away my property, and blacken my character, which is 971 dearer to me than anything else? I beg to move the Adjournment of the House.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. Harrington.)
§ MR. TREVELYAN
I am bound to state that the observations of the hon. Member have, to a considerable extent, disappointed the expectations which I personally, and those who had supported the hon. Member's Motion, had formed of the hon. Member's intention in rising to address the House. The suspicions of the authorities may have been erroneous—that I do not deny—but, at all events, the case is a very doubtful one, and I had thought that it had been the intention of the hon. Member to make a personal explanation in reference to this subject. It was in that belief that I and others had supported the hon. Member's Motion. The hon. Member, however, has certainly gone very much further than that in entering into a matter which is still before the Courts of Justice. I expected from the hon. Member nothing more than an assurance that he, as a Member of Parliament, disapproved strongly of this Notice, and that he knew nothing of the matter. Had the hon. Member stopped there it was an explanation which he might fairly have been permitted to make, and I should not have regretted the vote I had given in favour of his Motion.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
I can assure the House that I did not intend to do more than the right hon. Gentleman has indicated. And I may say that if there is to be a judicial investigation of the matter, I shall willingly place myself at the right hon. Gentleman's disposal at any moment.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
As the hon. Gentleman's intention coincided with our expectation of what he would have said when he stood up, I hope he and his Friends will now allow this debate to close, and the Business of the House to be proceeded with. The hon. Member has been permitted to say what as a Member of Parliament he might be fairly expected to say; and any prolongation of the discussion would be quite unnecessary and uncalled for.
§ MR. PARNELL
I think my hon. Friend could not have done anything less than he has done as regards the 972 nature and extent of the remarks which he made to the House. It was right that he should have expressed his abhorrence of the notice in question, his belief that nobody connected with his office had had anything to do with its publication, and his entire want of any knowledge as regards the publication of the criminal document. But it was also right that my hon. Friend—and I cannot help thinking that the House, in allowing him permission, acted to some extent from this point of view—should have an opportunity which is afforded by the Rules of the House of protesting against an act of the Executive which is entirely unprecedented even in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman has informed us that a prosecution is going to follow; but if we are to go by precedents in cases of this kind in Ireland, the only prosecution which can purge the Government from the consequences of their action will be a successful prosecution of my hon. Friend himself. No newspaper has ever up till now been seized in Ireland without its seizure being followed by a successful prosecution of the owner to test the legality of that seizure. We have not been told whether any person is to be prosecuted at all; we have not heard from the Irish Executive if there is any person charged by the local police authorities with being implicated in the publication of this most objectionable notice. The right hon. Gentleman only informed the House that a judicial inquiry was going on. Is my hon. Friend to lose his means of livelihood because the Government desires to make a judicial inquiry? Cannot the Government make a judicial inquiry without seizing the printing presses, the types, and the library of my hon. Friend—without practically suppressing his newspaper, without practically destroying his property—property that it has taken years of his life, in his humble position as a country journalist, to acquire? Cannot the Government do everything necessary to find out the authors of this infamous document without destroying the means of livelihood of my hon. Friend, and without doing that which renders freedom of the Press in Ireland a perfect farce? Now, the Government, in passing the Prevention of Crime Act, gave a material concession with regard to the Press Clauses. The 973 Press Clauses, as they originally stood, gave the Lord Lieutenant power to suppress any newspaper he pleased by putting the editor of such newspaper under rule of bail. Subsequently it was conceded that the Lord Lieutenant should issue a warrant, and give upon that warrant some detail of the offensive passages. This Press Clause was not considered sufficient in the present case. If the action of the Government was legal, and, no doubt, so extraordinary are the clauses of the Crimes Act that they can be used in most extraordinary directions; but if the action of the Government was legal, it is possible for them to seize the printing press and destroy the machinery of any newspaper they please without going to the trouble of observing the provisions of the Statute enacted by Parliament for the purpose of curbing newspapers. Now, I wish to point out the section of the Act under which the Government acted in this case; and I think it must have astonished the right hon. Gentleman himself to hear that the police authorities had availed of this particular section. It is Section 14, and states that from time to time, and so forth—The Lord Lieutenant should have power to seize in any proclaimed district any arms, ammunition, papers, documents, instruments, or articles suspected to be used or intended to he used for the purposes of or in connection with secret societies or secret associations.Now, would anybody in his senses have supposed that these powers were to be used for the suppression of newspapers? Seizing type and destroying the means of livelihood of members of the community. When this Bill—the Crimes Bill—was introduced into this House, the Home Secretary said this provision was to be used for the purpose of discovering the machinery of murder—the crape masks, the pistols, the daggers, and the other weapons of crime. We were told nothing then about printing presses or about public newspapers. Now, I would ask the Chief Secretary, I would ask any Member of the Irish Government in the exercise of common sense, in the exercise of ordinary judgment, which, indeed, I must say seems to be conspicuously absent from the Government of Ireland at the present time, to examine this document and say whether he thinks the members of any criminal secret organization would have 974 printed and published such a notice as this? Why, Sir, the place in which the conspirators were to meet was published for the information of the police by these "Invincible" conspirators. The locality indicated for the meeting was the very one in which the foreman printer of the newspaper lived; and is it likely, if the paper was implicated in the publication, that they would throw suspicion on the foreman printer by assigning the locality in which he lived as the one in which these alleged illegal drills were to take place? The whole case is thoroughly preposterous. But since it is to be the subject of a judicial inquiry, I will not discuss it—I would prefer to base my contention upon the unprecedented action of the Executive, under a section of the Crimes Act, for a purpose for which it was never intended to be used when the Act was being passed. In conclusion, I submit that my hon. Friend has fairly made out his case against the Irish Executive, and that the Irish authorities have grossly abused in this instance the powers intrusted to them by Parliament for a very different purpose.
§ MR. BRODRICK
asked the House to take note of the purpose for which this Motion had been made, and the language which had been made use of, and of the action which the Government had thought right to take in supporting the Motion for Adjournment. They had had assurances from time to time that under the New Rules the Adjournment of the House would not be moved except upon a matter of urgent public importance. Under that name they had had dragged before the House a private explanation—an explanation which was said to be legitimate by the Government; they had had an attack on various clauses of the Crimes Act—["No!"]—a distinct attack on the police in Ireland, and one of the most malicious papers in the South of Ireland advertised throughout the length and breadth of the country. ["Oh!"] It seemed to him——
§ MR. HARRINGTON
rose to Order, and wished to know if the hon. Gentleman was in Order in speaking of a newspaper which he had never read as a most malicious newspaper?
§ MR. BRODRICK,
proceeding accordingly, declared that it was an abuse of 975 the Forms and Privileges of the House that they should be called upon to discuss at length and prejudge a judicial matter such as this was to be. If the regular Opposition had taken such a course upon so trivial a matter—for the hon. Gentleman would have had an opportunity of vindicating himself in the ordinary course—they would have been charged with being guilty of the grossest Obstruction? He submitted whether it was desirable that this precedent should be set almost at the beginning of the New Rules——
§ SIR JOSEPH M'KENNA
asked whether it was in Order for the hon. Gentleman to put such questions to the House, and virtually to ask the House to reverse the decision which it had come to?
§ MR. BRODRICK
only wished further to say that the Government had assisted the House to stultify itself by proceeding to pass, upon a Division, a Motion which less than 40 Members in the House had risen to support being brought forward.
said, he did not agree with the concluding words of the hon. Member who had just sat down, because it was quite plain that the House did intend, by the closing words of the Standing Order, to reserve to itself such power of deciding whether, upon a particular occasion, although 40 Members might not rise in support of the Motion, it might not still be proper to give to an hon. Member the power of speaking upon the Adjournment. But, speaking generally of the speech of the hon. Gentleman, he rose for the purpose of saying that he did not at all complain of the criticism of the hon. Gentleman upon the action of the Government in this matter. His right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary and himself had formed the best judgment they could in a case arising suddenly, one which at the moment they thought doubtful, but a case in which they thought they were best upholding the general spirit and feeling of the House by removing that doubt as far as they could. That was the whole motive that actuated his right hon. Friend and himself. Undoubtedly, when the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. Harrington) rose in his place to speak, he, for one, distinctly understood him to say that he did not rise for any contro- 976 versial purpose, and that he did not intend to make a charge against the Executive Government, or against anyone. They inferred, whether rightly or wrongly, that his purpose was to disclaim, on his own part, imputations which might have grown up out of certain recent circumstances, and which he deemed injurious to his character. The exact nature of the language which the hon. Member used did not allow the Speaker to recognize the matter as within the limits of personal explanation, and the hon. Member thereupon pleaded that he ought to be allowed to speak on the Adjournment of the House. He must admit, with the hon. Gentleman opposite, that he had been somewhat disappointed in the result of the course they took; and he would go so far to meet the hon. Gentleman who had just animadverted upon their proceedings as to say that perhaps they should be very cautious indeed upon a future occasion. For, undoubtedly, he thought the speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), although he had nothing to complain of at all in his finding fault with the Government, contained nothing which justified or warranted a Motion for Adjournment. With regard to what had been stated by the hon. Member for the City of Cork, he might appeal to those who thought with him, and expressed the hope that they, considering the position by which the power of making such a speech was required, would not, if he might use the expression without any disrespect, abuse the power which they had obtained. As to the hon. Member for Westmeath, he made no animadversions upon him, because his intention was to limit himself to an explanation. He (Mr. Gladstone) admitted that they had acted injudiciously on this point, whether rightly or wrongly he knew not; but they had acted in conformity with the very general course which the House was always inclined to pursue in a personal matter, and even to strain a point on behalf of individual Members to enable them to place before the House any matter that affected their personal character. It was only in the interests of general equity that he, like his right hon. Friend, asked that the debate should not be continued.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
said, that if the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had thought that the 977 explanation of the hon. Member for Westmeath was to be a personal explanation he might have made a personal appeal to the House, and it would have been at once regarded, because the House never rejected an appeal of that land, but was always most anxious and willing to listen to a personal explanation. But this case was entirely different. No one was louder in his cries of "No!" than the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
said, that if he was wrong he was exceedingly sorry; but that was his full belief. At any rate, the right hon. Gentleman did not rise in his place as he should have done. It was an afterthought—after the Speaker had stated that the Question would be put—which induced the right hon. Gentleman to change his mind and his opinion. But he wanted to go further than that; and he appealed to the Speaker, and also to the right hon. Gentleman himself whether, when the New Rules were under discussion, it was stated that there might be some particular case at some particular time when 10 Members standing up should have the opportunity of dividing the House—not to be heard, but simply to divide, to place on record what their views and opinions were with regard to those particular circumstances. That, he believed, was the understanding of the House at the time, and not that after 40 Members had not been found, 10 Members standing up should have the full opportunity of getting as many Members as they could to support them, and reversing the decision which the House had originally come to. If the Leader of the House led them into the position they were then in, he did not know where such a course might end.
MR. JOSEPH COWEN
said, he would admit the justice and wisdom of the request that the question should not be further debated. It should be clearly recollected, however, that the hon. Member for Westmeath, was a new Member, and that he was not familiar with the Forms of the House. He (Mr. Joseph Cowen) thought, in justice to his hon. Friend the Member for Westmeath, it should be stated that he had not at first any intention of entering into the dis- 978 cussion of a question that was under judicial investigation. All he wished to do was to make a personal explanation. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had stated the Executive believed that from the office of The Kerry Sentinel had been issued a publication inciting, not merely to treasonable offences, but to murder. This was a terrible suspicion for any Member of Parliament to labour under; and his hon. Friend desired to state that he was the proprietor of the newspaper at whose office it was supposed these bills had been printed, but that he knew nothing of their publication; that he wag in London when they appeared; that he had no sympathy with the announcement; and that, as far as he was able, he would assist the Government in detecting those who had been instrumental in giving publicity to the incriminated placard. This was a fair and candid statement; and if the House had permitted the hon. Member to make it, he would have done so in a few minutes, and the matter would have ended there. But the House, in a very unusual way, refuse to accord him the privilege it accorded on all other occasions to Members who, when their personal honour was at stake, asked for an opportunity for explanation. It was from the refusal of this privilege that the Adjournment was moved; and during the discussion his hon. Friend had entered at more length than he originally intended into the case which so nearly concerned his interest and reputation. But it should be remembered that he was a new Member of the House, and not versed in its Forms as older Members were; and some allowance should be made if he had gone beyond the limits that custom assigned for such remarks. All must admit the frankness and candour with which he had denied all knowledge of, and repudiated all sympathy with, the offending publication. It should be recollected, also, that in this controversy he had everything at stake. The Government suspected that an objectionable publication had issued from his office. They had not commenced proceedings in the ordinary way against him for such publication. They would have done that in this country, and it was a fair way. If the Messrs. Harrington had broken the law, by all means let them suffer for it; but to punish them before they were convicted was a strange description of 979 justice. And that was what the Government had done. On suspicion that the circular had come from The Kerry Sentinel office, everything in the office had been seized by the police—presses, paper, type, books, furniture—and most of them conveyed to Dublin. And all this was done before it was proved that the hon. Member or his relatives had been guilty of the offence that the Executive suspected them of. The savings of a lifetime were at issue. It might be a matter of amusement to some hon. Members, but it was ruin to his hon. Friend. He and his brothers had honourably built up a prosperous business, and they now saw, by the action of the Irish Executive, their property scattered and the savings of years destroyed. The circular itself, apart from being criminal, was absurd; and it was unreasonable to suppose that any sensible and responsible man would sanction its publication. It was quite possible to suppose that it might have been done by an enemy of his hon. Friend. He had rivals in Tralee, and someone might have got into his office surreptitiously and used his type for the purpose of printing such a document. But it would be unfair to hold him responsible for that. Not long ago a very offensive item of intelligence was published in The Times. It was grossly indecent, and there was little doubt it was done maliciously. No one would hold the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter) responsible for the publication of such matter. Someone with an evil design had availed himself of the facilities of The Times office to annoy the proprietors. It was quite as likely in Ireland, where Party passions ran so high, that some political rival had entered the office of The Kerry Sentined and used the type there with similar designs and for like ends. They could not accuse his hon. Friend of it, as he was in London, and they had his repudiation of the act. There were numerous newspaper proprietors in the House of Commons; and was it reasonable to hold them criminally responsible for the action of persons in their office who might seek to damage them by publishing illegal or offensive matter? Everyone knew that in England such a course would not be pursued. Yet in Ireland they did it, and did it without question. As far as his knowledge went, there was no case in this century in the United 980 Kingdom where a newspaper proprietor had been used so harshly and unjustly as his hon. Friend had been; and it was natural that he should avail himself of the opportunity the Motion for Adjournment afforded to put his case before the House and the country.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, he would not have spoken on the subject but for a remark made by the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen). If the question had simply been whether the newspaper belonging to the hon. Member for Westmeath had printed a certain notice in regard to the "Invisibles," he should have left the matter alone; but when this newspaper was held up as one that was being conducted on principles of extreme peace and order, and when it was implied that on this solitary occasion some enemy found his way into the office and printed a few objectionable passages, he felt compelled to say that he could go much further, and could produce to the House a column and-a-half published in the paper on the 8th of May, which would fully justify any Government in seizing it.
MR. STAVELEY HILL
desired, as the only Member present on that side of the House who rose to support the hon. Member for Westmeath, to say that he thought the hon. Member was entitled, under the circumstances, to make an explanation, and he was very glad the Government supported him.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
wished to ask a question of the Attorney General for Ireland, as he understood it was supposed in this case that a placard which appeared on the walls had been printed in the office of The Kerry Sentined. It was customary among proprietors of country newspapers that they also carried on a general printing business in their offices. Well, in this particular case, not only was the type seized because it was supposed that this type might also have printed The Kerry Sentinel, but a further step took place—the actual issue of the newspaper itself was seized. What he wished to ask the Attorney General for Ireland then—because it was very important that they should understand what the law was in those matters—was whether, if the printer who printed a placard or any other document happened to be a newspaper proprietor, not only the presses 981 and type might be seized in accordance with the law as it now stood in Ireland, but also the actual issues of the newspaper itself.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. PORTER)
said, the question the hon. Member had put to him was one in respect to an alleged matter of fact about which he had not the information the hon. Member appeared to possess. He was not aware whether the issue of the paper referred to had been seized or not. If the issue of a paper containing those atrocious publications was seized, he thought that seizure perfectly justified, whether the printing presses were used for printing other things or not.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.