§ LORD RICHARD GROSVENOR moved that the House, at its rising, should adjourn until Saturday.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That this House, at the rising of the House this day, do adjourn till Saturday."—(Lord Richard Grosvenor.)
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he should offer to this proposal the most strenuous opposition. He regarded it, in the first place, as a positive breach of faith. Scarcely an hour had elapsed since it had been agreed that on this day—Friday—the House should resume, on the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, the adjourned debate on the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill. The pledge was distinctly conveyed in the course then taken that the House would meet on Friday; and now the Government proposed to prevent the Irish Members from discussing the Bill, by adjourning the House, at its rising, until Saturday. If that course were taken the Irish Members would be deprived of every opportunity of discussing a subject which they considered of the first importance for at least three months to come. He maintained that the Irish Members could not, in the interests of the National School teachers of Ireland, in common honesty and good faith, and in their public duty to their constituents, consent to such a postponement. The people who were interested in the Bill were 16,000 in number; they were performing very important public duties, and yet they were required to live upon salaries which were scarcely sufficient to keep them from starvation. The life of a school teacher in Ireland was impoverished to such an extent as to be disgraceful to the Government of the country, and in point of health this unfortunate class of persons were below the condition of the poorest Irish labourer. He objected to the Motion on that account first, and next because the faith of the Speaker had been pledged from the Chair.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman is not justified in making that observation. No word of mine has been pledged in the matter. I simply act upon the order of the House. It is a common thing for the Committee of Supply and Committee of Ways and 799 Means to be postponed until "this day;" but that fact does not prevent the House from postponing the consideration of those Orders for a longer period. The hon. Member is not in Order in saying that the Speaker, when acting under an order of the House, has committed a breach of faith. The House is fully competent to give what order it pleases.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, that undoubtedly the Speaker acted upon the order of the House; but when the right hon. Gentleman had notified the order of the House, the House was entitled to expect that that order would be carried out. In this case the order was that the adjourned debate on the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill should be taken upon this day; and this day was Friday, and not Saturday. In his four or five years' experience of the House he had never known an order of the House, after having been ratified by the voice of the Speaker, endeavoured to be defeated by the Government. He had never known such an attempt to be hitherto made. There were several questions down upon the Paper for consideration on Friday, the first of which was a proposal, on going into Committee of Supply, by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock)—To call attention to the state of Forestry in this country; and to move for a Committee to consider whether, by the establishment of a Forest School or otherwise, our Woodlands could be rendered more remunerative.He should have supposed that that was a question of very great interest in Soot-land, and in every district where people had so little to fall back upon, except the pursuits of agriculture. It was most undesirable that the question should be shelved, owing simply to a desire on the part of the Government to adjourn until Saturday. In the second place, there was a Notice by his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Galway (Colonel Nolan)—To call attention to the necessity of providing sites for certain public purposes in Ireland; and to move, 'That increased facilities should be afforded for acquiring sites for schools and churches, and also for the residences of teachers and clergymen.'As the House had that night refused to give a second reading to a Bill for improving the position of the National 800 School teachers of Ireland, the least they could do was to devote a couple of hours to-morrow to an endeavour to provide improved sites for their schools. Unless the Government were prepared to drive home to the minds of the persons concerned, the male and female teachers of Ireland, the conviction that their interests were of no moment to the British Parliament, they would do well to recall the Motion of the noble Lord (Lord Richard Grosvenor), and sit to-morrow (Friday). Before the adjournment for the Recess he had intended to call attention to the action of the Government in connection with some of his constituents. Secret inquiries had been held; the endeavour had been made to get perjured and suborned evidence against them; but at the end of seven months the Tubbercurry prisoners were liberated, the Crown being obliged to confess that they had no case against them. He had hoped to be enabled to lay before the House Rome faint idea of the course pursued by certain officials of the Crown in the subornation of evidence, and to show the necessity of compensating the Tubbercurry prisoners and their families for the loss they had sustained. Perhaps he might have an opportunity on Saturday of calling attention to the subject. With regard to the particular Motion now before the House, he appealed to the Government to withdraw the Motion made by the noble Lord, and allow the House to meet as usual at 4 o'clock to-morrow (Friday), when the second reading of the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill could be taken.
MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, that nothing could have been more distinct than that to-morrow (Friday) was fixed for the second reading of the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill. There was at first some misunderstanding as to what day was fixed; bat he maintained that the Question that the Bill be fixed for Friday, and not for Saturday, was distinctly put from the Chair, and agreed to. Under those circumstances, he held that to be as formal a decision of the House as could have been arrived at. He should like it to be understood by the Irish people that the House of Commons refused to sit two or three hours to-morrow (Friday) to consider the grievances of a very useful class of public servants in Ireland.
was astonished that the noble Lord (Lord Richard Grosvenor) did not, when he made this proposal, offer to the House any substantial reason why they should adjourn over to-morrow (Friday). As long as hon. Members bad to be in attendance on Saturday, he could not see what inconvenience they would be put to by attending to-morrow (Friday) to discuss a matter of great importance. The National School teachers had in their hands the education of the minds of the young generation of Ireland; and he hoped they would take to heart the conduct of the Government that night. He trusted that the school teachers of Ireland would bear in mind that the Government had that night deliberately destroyed the chances of having a Bill passed this Session for the amelioration of their condition. He had no doubt the Irish school teachers would contrast their treatment by the Government with the treatment which the claims of the Royal Irish Constabulary received at the hands of the same Government. It was nothing short of a disgrace to this English Government that its policemen were better paid than its school teachers. No doubt, such was the character of English rule in Ireland. The English had a substantial reason for the difference in their treatment of the two classes of persons; they could do without teachers—they were not afraid of the teachers—but they could not do without policemen, and, therefore, they treated policemen with consideration. But the policemen of Ireland, when they bad grievances, went about the right way to get them redressed—they struck all through the country; and, within a very few days, they had ample assurance that their claims would be considered. Their claims were considered, and very promptly settled. The teachers, on the other band, had to adopt a humbler tone. They had had to submit year after year. Their claims, admittedly just, were, upon one pretext or another, thrown aside, and the promises of the Government came to nought. The House of Commons had already, by legislation, admitted the justice of the claims of the teachers; it had made a bungling attempt to satisfy those claims. That attempt had manifestly broken down. The Bill which had been under consideration that night would cure the defects in the legislation already 802 adopted by the House of Commons on the subject; but it was met with the miserable technical objection that though it was only 30 or 40 lines in length, it had been but a short time in the hands of Members. That objection would be amply met if the House were to meet to-morrow (Friday). By 4 o'clock to morrow the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland would have every opportunity of pondering over the Bill, and would, he (Mr. O'Brien) hoped, be in a position to tell the teachers of Ireland honestly whether the Government meant business. His hon. Friend the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) had mentioned another topic of very great interest to Ireland, to which he intended to call attention if the House sat to morrow (Friday). He (Mr. O'Brien) had a good deal to say on that subject too. He and his hon. Friends had had no opportunity of pointing out to the House that the verdict of a special jury in Dublin, the crême de la crême of jurors in Dublin, had stamped the conduct of the Crown in the case of Mr. Fitzgerald and the other Tubbercurry prisoners as a disgrace to public justice. Mr. Fitzgerald was seized in the streets of Lon don without a warrant, thrust into a cab, dragged over to Ireland, taken from his own part of the country— namely, Cork, to Sligo in the extreme West, examined there at least half-a-dozen times at secret inquiries, and it was now admitted at the end of seven months——
§ An hon. MEMBER wished to know whether the Question before the House was not the adjournment of the House; and, if so, whether the hon. Member was addressing himself to that Question?
said, he could readily understand the hon. Member's difficulty in appreciating the situation. Mr. Fitzgerald was again and again examined at secret inquiries in the depth of the prison itself, no reporters being admitted. Again and again Crown officials visited men detained in that prison upon the same charge, and held out inducements of all sorts to them to turn approvers and to invent evidence. They succeeded in the case of one wretched man named Moran. They went then to the convict prison in Dub- 803 lin, and they fished out of that establishment one of the Phœnix Park murderers—a man who was, on his own confession, a murderer of the blackest dye—and they got this man to prop up their case against Fitzgerald. The Crown refused to try Fitzgerald at two Commissions; they postponed his trial to the very last moment; and then, when the matter came for trial, the whole evidence against this man, who was ruined in his business, whose health had been destroyed by incarceration, and whose character had been laid under the most fearful imputation—the whole evidence the Crown produced against Fitzgerald was that of this murderer and of the scoundrel Moran, who, it turned out, was actually in the pay of the police when he pretended to be a conspirator. This was only a small example of the system of administering justice which had been completely unmasked in Ireland during the last year. It must be remembered that it was not he and his hon. Friends who were accusing Earl Spencer's administration of foul play; it was their own jurors in Dublin; it was the men who, of all others, they had most reason to trust, men selected from the class who, of all others, ought to take the most favourable view of the conduct of Crown prosecutions in Ireland. Two verdicts of special juries had recently been given which directly impeached the manner in which Crown prosecutions were conducted in Ireland. There was the double charge against the Government — there was the charge against certain Crown officials that they had fabricated or suborned evidence against political opponents like Mr. Fitzgerald; and there was the charge that they had suppressed evidence against persons of their own class, the governing class in Dublin. These accusations were now upon record in the verdicts of two special juries in Dublin. What more was there to be charged against the Government? They had never had the slightest explanation of the allusion in Detective French's letter from prison to his friend. On the contrary, evidence was accumulating that the man McDermott, to whom French referred in that letter as a police spy, was a police spy. That man, at the time he was in the employment of Detective French and paid out of the Secret Service money, was going about 804 Cork inveigling people into conspiracy. He succeeded in doing so. He got some wretched young men to engage in a dynamite conspiracy. Two of his victims were tried in Liverpool and sentenced to penal servitude. [An hon. MBMBER: Hear, hear!] One of the two had since died. An hon. Member cried "Hear, hear!" No doubt the men who joined a dynamite conspiracy deserved penal servitude; but the man who got up the conspiracy deserved it also. More than that, the Crown officials who employed this police spy deserved it also; and, if justice were done, some of the persons who had lately been restored with honour to high places and great emoluments in Dublin Castle would be sent to join their victims in Chatham or Portsmouth. Then, again, there was the case of the man Noonan. There was evidence that he was deliberately paid to make an attack upon Judge Barry. That was not the first case of the kind that had happened. The man Delany, who afterwards turned out to be a murderer, first became notorious because he attacked Judge Lawson in the street. Judge Lawson's life, however, was not endangered at all, for Delany pulled a detective by the sleeve before attempting to make the attack. Now, it was perfectly plain, by the light of all that had been discovered in Ireland since, that the attack was an attack very much of the same character as Noonan was engaged to make in Cork upon Judge Barry. The whole system was, from beginning to end, a system of crime, manufactured and organized, no doubt, by inferior instruments of public justice in Ireland. Now, they would have had an opportunity to-day (Friday), if the House had sat, of going into these matters in more detail than was possible at that hour of the morning; and he thought that sooner or later the Government would find there was not much to be gained by attempting to smother these matters. Sooner or later Earl Spencer would have to take some better means of defending himself than supplying to The Times long columns from Irish Nationalist newspapers. The noble Earl might, sooner or later have to face honestly the public judgment on his administration in Ireland, and the conduct of the officials he had screened and, in some instances, promoted. To the 805 Irish Members it was perfectly—or it was almost—a matter of indifference whether he faced them honestly, or whether he shirked them and allowed judgment to go by default. In either case the action of the Irish Members towards him would have been perfectly justified. But to English Members it was another thing whether they were content that 19–20ths of the Irish people should believe, as they did in their hearts at that moment, that the whole system of government in Ireland, from beginning to end, was a system of injustice and foul play, and that the very Detective Department itself was used, for suborning false witnesses, in organizing crime, and in going about the convict prisons getting convicts to swear away the liberties of their political opponents. He would not go farther into the matter at that hour of the morning; but he hoped that even now the Government might see the advisability of accepting the proposal of his hon. Friend the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton), and give them an opportunity to-day (Friday) of discussing these two matters of vital importance—namely, the condition of the teachers in Ireland, and the administration of justice in that country.
§ MR. LEAMY
wished to suggest this—would the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) consent to keep a House on Saturday to allow the Irish Members to discuss the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill? Hon. Members must have heard Mr. Speaker fixing the adjourned debate for "this day," and it was perfectly open for them at the time to propose some other day. If other days had been proposed, the Government, with their followers at their back, could have carried any day they most approved of. The Irish Members had been under the impression that the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill would come on to-day. They took very deep interest in the measure, and its discussion might be left entirely to them—that was to say, if it were put off until to-morrow, and the English Members felt it was no concern of theirs, they might stop away from the House. Let them leave it to the Irish Members whom it did concern. When they considered, first of all, the action of the Chief Secretary, who had not even allowed the Bill to be seconded or to be adequately explained, or allowed 806 the Irish Members to express their views upon it, but had moved the adjournment of the debate at once, and when they considered that the Motion now made was one which would deprive them of the possibility of considering the matter to-day, they had a right to ask the noble Marquess that he would keep a House on Saturday to enable them to discuss the Bill.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
The hon. Gentleman has asked if the Government can undertake to keep a House on Saturday. I am afraid I can give no such pledge, as it would be an undertaking beyond our power. Hon. Members are aware that at such a season as this, when there is no Government Business on the Paper, it is absolutely impossible for the Government to secure the attendance of a sufficient number of Members to go on with other Business. I altogether deny that anything in the shape of an understanding was arrived at that the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill should be taken to-day by the fact of the hon. Member in charge of it deferring it until to-day. The fixing of the day is always left to the discretion of the hon. Member in charge of a Bill, and neither the House nor the Government have anything to do with it. The hon. Member (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) fixed "this day," knowing that the Prime Minister had given Notice, at an earlier period of the evening, of the intention of the Government of moving at the end of this Sitting the adjournment of the House until Saturday. There are Orders of the Day fixed for Monday and Tuesday; but there is nothing to prevent us, if we think fit, from adjourning over the days for which Orders are put down. Further, I must observe that my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant will not be in a position, either to-morrow or on Saturday, to enter into a discussion of the Bill the second reading of which was moved this evening. My right hon. Friend did not allege as the only ground why it should not be discussed to-night that it was only printed this morning. He stated very frankly that this was a Bill to which the Irish Government could not possibly give its assent, or on which it could express a final opinion, until it had had an opportunity of consulting the Treasury and the Board of Edu- 807 cation in Ireland. It must be evident to Members of the House that a Bill which proposes a large expenditure of public money cannot possibly be assented to by the Government off-hand with only a day's consideration—and this Bill does affect the taxation and expenditure of the country. It is said there is other Business of importance to be discussed to-morrow, or that other Motions of great interest and importance can be brought forward. But it is well known that, at this period of the year, it is not possible to secure the attendance of Members in sufficient numbers to continue discussions when the Business which has brought the House together in extraordinary Session is disposed of. "When we meet to-morrow, therefore, the House will not be disposed to discuss ordinary Business. Hon. Members would have had some reason to complain if the Motion now made had been brought forward at this period of the morning without Notice. But they are perfectly well aware that Notice of the Motion was given early in the Sitting when the House was quite full. Every Member was fully aware of the intentions of the Government; and I cannot help thinking, therefore, that we must accede to the proposal.
§ MR. P. J. POWER
said, he thought the National School teachers of Ireland had a great deal to complain of as regarded the action of the Government. The manner in which the Government had met two most reasonable propositions which had been made from the Irish Benches showed, he thought, that they were perfectly indifferent to the condition of the Irish National teachers. They wished the Irish Members to believe, no doubt, that they did not feel this indifference, but were very anxious to improve the condition of these people. Any traveller in Ireland, however casual an observer he might be, must have noticed that the state of the teachers, on whom the condition of the country so largely depended, was, to a great extent, a miserable one. Their salaries were—? as had been shown by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien)—considerably below those enjoyed by ordinary sub-constables; and the houses they occupied, in the vast majority of cases, were nothing better than hovels. In his own neighbourhood a man teaching an important school had 808 to travel three and a-half miles to his school every day throughout the year, and three and a-half miles back, which it was unnecessary to tell hon. Members was a considerable labour. But the Government, no doubt, wished to persuade the National teachers that they were favourably disposed towards them, and admittedly they were up to a comparatively recent date. Some of his friends who knew the feeling of the Irish National teachers, and the feeling in general of the people of Ireland, said that the apathy which the Government now displayed had arisen within the last year or so, owing to the fact that at a certain banquet the Irish National teachers refused to drink the health of Earl Spencer. That appeared a very ridiculous proposition; but the facts, he thought, had borne out the truth of the assertion. The very fact of the National School teachers refusing to drink the health of His Excellency had prejudiced the Government. He knew that in the Union to which he had the honour to belong one gentleman, who at one time occupied a seat in that House, and was a very distinguished Member of the House, and who was in the habit of making himself annually very busy in regard to these teachers, stated publicly at the Board that, owing to the conduct of the teachers in not drinking the health of this nobleman who had shown such impartiality in the disposition of the destinies of the Irish people, he doubted very much whether he would continue to take the least interest in their case. This gentleman said he doubted very much whether he should, as he was in the habit of doing, move that the Union be contributors. However, he was steeped to the lips in pledges, and he did move that the Union should be contributors; but he did it with no heart, and the Motion he was able to carry in other years fell to the ground. Well, under those circumstances—which might account for the apathy and indifference of the Government to the claims of the National teachers — they were told that it was their own fault that these teachers were not in a better position than they were, and that they had it in their power to pay them result fees. Without going into the matter deeply, there appeared to be a certain amount of good argument in that statement; but hon. Gen- 809 tlemen who told the Irish Members that it was their own fault that the National teachers were in the condition they were in should remember that the Guardians of Ireland would be stultifying themselves if they became contributories to a system they disliked. The system was called the "Irish National System;" but anyone acquainted with its curriculum and the mode of proceeding would acknowledge that instead of its being called the "Irish National System" it ought to be called the "Anti-Irish National System." It would be hard for it to be otherwise, looking at the composition of the Board which ruled the Education Question in Ireland. The most candid man would admit that there were very few on the Board who, in the slightest degree, enjoyed the confidence of the Irish people. He would admit there were many on the Board who enjoyed the confidence of what was called by some, and what they might call themselves, the garrison in Ireland. But we were not supposed to be educating the garrison. The garrison had means of its own. We were supposed to be educating the people; but he imagined that the Board of National Education was packed and filled with men selected from their anti-Irish spirit. Under these circumstances, it would be apparent to hon. Members that the Unions had a great many reasons for not becoming contributory, and that there was a necessity for fresh legislation on the subject. Certainly, it did not appear, from the conduct of the House that night in rejecting the moderate proposals of the Irish Members, that they had any idea of changing the system of Irish National teachers; and he could only repeat what he had said at an earlier period of the evening—namely, that he hoped those teachers would have learnt, from the course adopted by the Government, the lesson that the only way of bettering their position was by resorting to pressure. Certainly, from the Government point of view, he believed that no more injurious lesson could be taught to any people. The Irish people had been taught by the past that they would not obtain justice — that their demands would not be listened to — that they would not get justice to remedy their grievances until they had been driven to the eve of revolution. An influential elector of the county of Waterford, a 810 gentleman who was somewhat an opponent of his (Mr. P. J. Power's), and a great believer in the Prime Minister, had said to him the other day that he was almost coming round to the way of thinking of the Parnellites, that he had watched Her Majesty's Government for a considerable time, and was forced to admit that nothing could be got out of them for Ireland unless the country was kept on the eve of revolution. From the Government point of view, what more foolish lesson could be taught to men? Nothing that he could conceive could be more dangerous to the well-being of a State than that the people should have this conviction; and he certainly thought that the manner in which their most moderate proposals were received and put down, and the indifference with which their claims were treated, justified the Irish Members and the Irish people in coming to that conclusion. The Irish people had learnt and were daily learning the lesson more and more; and the following of the Prime Minister in Ireland, he was glad to say, was daily becoming beautifully less. It would be in the recollection of the House that they had had reforms from time to time, connected probably with the Prime Minister's name, some of the facts in connection with which had been most peculiar. The Irish Church Act, no doubt, was a step in the right direction; and he thought history recorded that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) used some rather ominous expression in regard to that Act in reference to Clerkenwell. Then, again, it must be in the recollection of most hon. Members of the present Parliament that the year before the Irish Land Act was introduced the Prime Minister put down his foot in the most positive way and declared that the Irish Land Question was settled, and that the agrarian question would never again be re-opened. Yet the year after that most positive statement the right hon. Gentleman came down with a measure dealing with that very subject. This, and other events which had occurred, and were occurring daily, had impressed on many people, as he was sure they would continue to impress upon them, that there was not much to be had from this Parliament by argument, seeing that, as a rule, the arguments put forward by the Irish Members were not listened to. He 811 might remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that they had expressed their surprise just now that in speaking of the extension of the hours of polling which was proposed in the Bill introduced by an hon. and learned Member opposite (Mr. A. R. D. Elliot), some of the Members sitting on those Benches should have taken exception to such a measure. Personally, he had thought, at first sight, that there could be no doubt as to the usefulness of the measure; but he felt that, with the franchise as it now existed in Ireland, it would be of very little use. Of course, with an increased franchise, and with a great number of working men upon the roll of electors, he had no doubt that the provisions of the Bill would be of advantage. But in connection with that matter his hon. Friend the Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) had pointed out that the Prevention of Crime Act might be used, and, in all probability, would be used, as a means of intimidating the National electors, and of preventing them from recording their votes. Hon. Members opposite, who were not averse to any measure which proceeded from Dublin Castle, looked upon that assertion as an extravagant one; but those who lived in Ireland felt no surprise at any step which the officials of Dublin Castle took in order to carry out the views of the Executive. Even upon that very subject of the "Curfew" Clauses of the Prevention of Crime Act, to which his hon. Friend had alluded, they might, undoubtedly, be made an engine for preventing the free exercise of the electoral franchise by the National electors. He might mention that not many months ago two respectable electors of the county he (Mr. P. J. Power) had the honour to represent (Waterford) were found out at 11 o'clock at night by some busy sub-constable, who handcuffed them forthwith, and dragged them some miles to a neighbouring village, where they were thrust into a filthy cell. They were men of position, character, and of the highest respectability; but they were retained in custody for some hours, and brought before the Justice of the Peace in the morning, when they were discharged, the magistrate remarking that, as far as he was concerned, he saw no necessity for arresting these men, and added that if the police thought they had a case for prosecu- 812 tion they should proceed by summons. That fact only snowed the extraordinary length to which some portions of the Executive in Ireland would condescend to proceed under the monstrous laws which now prevailed in that country, and which would not be tolerated in England for one moment. It was much to be regretted that the Government and the House of Commons would not listen to the statements which were put before them by the Representatives of the Irish people. So long as that state of things prevailed they must expect to meet with determined opposition from the Irish Members. He hoped, however, that the Government would take a lesson from the past, and endeavour to display a more conciliatory spirit in the future.
§ MR. KENNY
said, he saw the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant in his place; and he wished to put a question to him on a matter which he had already brought to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman, and in regard to which he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be in a position to offer some explanation. The subject he desired to call attention to was the composition of the magistracy in Ireland—a question which was last year under discussion in that House. Attention was drawn to it not only by Members sitting on that side of the House, but also by Members from Ireland who happened to sit on the other side. A Return had been supplied to the House setting forth the names of the gentlemen who, at the present moment, held the position of magistrates—that was to say, gentlemen who were Justices of the Peace, and not stipendiary magistrates. One fact was clearly proved by that Return, and it was that the number of persons professing the Roman Catholic religion who were Justices of the Peace in Ireland were remarkably small. Indeed, while the Catholics in Ireland were four-fifths of the population, four-fifths of the magistrates were Protestants. He was sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary did not appear to take much interest in the matter; but if the right hon. Gentleman would spare a moment in order that he might listen to the case that he (Mr. Kenny) was about to place before him he should feel obliged. He had asked the right hon. Gentleman to-day, in regard to the re- 813 commendations which were made to the Lord Chancellor by Local Bodies, what action the Lord Chancellor had taken in certain special cases? As he had expected, the Chief Secretary stated, in reply, that the Lord Chancellor had refused to appoint certain gentlemen of position to the Commission of the Peace, because the Lord Lieutenant of the county had refused to recommend the appointment of the gentlemen named. Now, if there was one point made more clear than another by the Predecessor of the present Chief Secretary last year it was this—that whenever a case could be established for the appointment of Catholics to the Commission of the Peace in Ireland the Lord Chancellor would exercise his inherent right to appoint without regard to the opinion of the Lord Lieutenant of the county. What were the facts? One of the cases he had submitted to the right hon. Gentleman was a case in which two gentlemen who happened to be Catholics were recommended by the Board of Guardians to the Lord Chancellor as suitable for appointment to the Commission of the Peace. He understood that by law the question of property qualification had a good deal to do with appointments to the Commission of the Peace in Ireland, especially when Catholics were recommended. In this case, however, no objection could be taken to the gentlemen proposed on the score of the property they were possessed of, for it was well known and distinctly stated that the rateable value of the property held by one of these gentlemen was about £500 a-year, while the rating qualification of the other gentleman was about half that sum. There were in the county of Clare many Protestant magistrates whose rating qualification was absolutely nothing; but they were recommended for appointment by the Lord Lieutenant on account of their connection with certain families in the county. Now these men, whose case he had brought under the notice of the Chief Secretary, were men of intelligence, of considerable education—men of good circumstances and position in society, and neither of them had ever attached himself, in any way, to what might be termed the Nationalist section of the community in Ireland. He put forward their case as a typical case, because, although they were recommended to the Lord Chancellor by 814 the only local representative Body in the district, although their claims and qualifications were unquestionable, yet, because the Lord Lieutenant declined to back up the recommendation of the Board of Guardians, the Lord Chancellor refused to give his sanction to the appointment in direct contradiction to the engagement given by the Government last year—that the Lord Chancellor would, exercise his inherent right to appoint to the Commission of the Peace in Ireland whenever a claim was made out that there were Catholics duly qualified to fill that position. In regard to the particular district for which these gentlemen were recommended, it extended for 20 miles in every direction—North, South, East, and West; and throughout the whole district there was only one regular Justice of the Peace. There was another who had a mansion in the locality, but he seldom resided there; and, in addition, he was a County Court Judge for the next county—the county of Galway. The result was that there was only one resident Justice of the Peace in the district, which extended, as he had pointed out, in every direction, for 20 miles. In addition to that fact, it was the duty of the Resident Magistrate to attend the Petty Sessions Court held in a particular place once every fortnight; and the inconvenience of the arrangement was made manifest by a recent circumstance that took place. Four men were arrested on separate charges. Two of them were arrested on a charge of firing into a house, or something of that nature; at any rate, it was a very serious charge. Those two men were taken to a village in the centre of the district; but no magistrate could be found to return them for trial. The result was that they had to be taken a distance of 20 miles to the nearest magistrate, in order that they might be remanded. Two other men were arrested on a trivial charge, under one of the provisions of the Prevention of Crime Act. No distinct crime was alleged against them, but they were simply charged with a trivial violation of an exceptional law; and in the face of the fact that the charge was of a trivial and trumpery character these men had also to be taken a distance of 20 miles, to be taken before the only magistrate that could be found, and although in this district the scarcity of magistrates 815 would be admitted, even by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary himself, the Lord Chancellor had refused to appoint gentlemen who had been recommended to him by the only representative authority in the district. He had also refused, in the face of the pledge given by the Irish Government, through the late Chief Secretary (Mr. Trevelyan)—that they would appoint wherever a good case could be made out—nevertheless, they had refused to appoint these gentlemen simply because the Lord Lieutenant of the county declined to give his sanction to the appointment. And what was the reason? He thought they were fairly entitled to inquire into the reason why the Lord Lieutenant of the county had refused to sanction the appointment of these gentlemen. The Lord Lieutenant of the county was a gentleman who held extreme Tory and Orange views; and he had repeatedly, not only privately but publicly, stated, until it had become notorious throughout the whole district, that he would not sanction the appointment of any person to the magistracy who was not a thick and thin supporter of himself and his Party. He would only say this—that if the Lord Chancellor departed from the pledge given to the House by the Irish Government, which he himself, as a Member of the Irish Government, was a party to, and if he refused to appoint to the magistracy any gentleman recommended to him, whenever the Lord Lieutenant chose to interpose his veto, the pledge made to the Irish Members last Session was a mere sham and humbug. He might instance another case which occurred in the county of Lietrim. In that county a number of gentlemen were recommended to the Lord Chancellor under some similar circumstances. He would take the case of two of them. There were five recommended altogether; but he would not press the claims in the other three cases, because, from information he had received, he believed there might be objections to three of the gentlemen recommended. There could, however, be no objection to the other two, and if the Lord Chancellor had been allowed to be guided by his own discretion he would have appointed them to the position they were recommended to discharge. But in this case, again, the Lord Chancellor had departed from the pro- 816 mise given by the Irish Government, and instead of making the appointment he consulted the Lord Lieutenant of the county. Again, the Lord Lieutenant, being a violent Orange partizan, of course refused to sanction the appointment of these gentlemen to the Commission of the Peace. The result was that the Lord Chancellor yielded to the views of the Lord Lieutenant of the county, and refused to sanction the appointment of these gentlemen. If he were to cite all the instances which had been brought under his notice, he would be compelled to detain the House for an inordinate length. The cases he had mentioned were only specimens of what had taken place in Ireland within the last six months; and he would ask the present Chief Secretary, who was responsible for the due observance of the pledge given to the House by his Predecessor, and who was responsible to the House for the action of the Irish authorities, whether he concurred in the policy now being pursued, which was, undoubtedly, a distinct violation of the guarantees and pledges by the Irish Government during last Session? This was a question which was regarded with a great deal of interest and anxiety in Ireland. The composition of the magistracy, though it might seem to the English people a matter of trivial importance, was to the people of Ireland a matter of the most vital concern. In Ireland the administration of the law was almost invariably used as an engine by which to strike terror and to create fear. It was, therefore, of the utmost consequence to the people that there should be persons engaged in the administration of the law who would be above the suspicion of being the creatures of any section of the ruling authorities. While the composition of the Irish magistracy was allowed to remain, as at present, practically the monopoly of one clique, and that clique opposed in every respect to the traditions and feelings, both religious and political, of the vast body of the Irish people, there could never be anything like confidence or trust in the administration of the law. He impressed upon the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary the importance of this question, and he asked of him some expression of opinion with regard to the course of procedure which now seemed to be adopted by the Lord 817 Chancellor. He asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he was now prepared to make an announcement in direct conflict with the pledges which the Government had given within the last three or four months? He knew that this was an inconvenient time to press forward so important a matter; indeed, it was only the serious and grave character of the question which had prompted him to rise on the present occasion. If the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary was not willing at the present time to enter into any lengthened defence of the action which had been pursued by the Lord Chancellor, perhaps he would give such an indication of his views on the subject as would enable the people of Ireland to come to a conclusion as to whether the pledges and guarantees which were given by the Irish Government last Session were to be adhered to.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
said, he was glad to be able to remove from the mind of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Kenny) the misapprehension under which he appeared to labour. He was sorry, however, the hon. Gentleman had felt it his duty to elaborate at considerable length an accusation against the Government, because, as a matter of fact, there was no foundation whatever for that accusation. The hon. Gentleman referred to two answers he (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) made at Question time to-day; but, as it was not always easy to hear what was said in the House, probably the hon. Gentleman did not catch what he said. What he said was that, in the case of the two counties to which the hon. Gentleman had alluded, the names of gentlemen had been submitted by the Boards of Guardians for appointment to the Magisterial Bench; but they had been objected to by the Lord Lieutenant of the county, and the Lord Chancellor thought that the objections taken by the Lord Lieutenant of the county were reasonable. The Lord Chancellor inspected the cases himself most carefully, as he inspected all such cases; and as to the claims and qualifications of the gentlemen proposed, he came to the same conclusion as the Lord Lieutenant arrived at. It was quite true that the Lord Chancellor had it in his power—and he did occasionally exercise the power—of overriding the objection made by the Lord Lieutenant of a 818 county. No one had ever set up the idea that the veto of the Lord Lieutenant of a county was final. He (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) also stated earlier in the day that in these cases the names had first of all been submitted to the Lord Lieutenant; that the Lord Lieutenant objected to them on certain grounds; and then the Lord Chancellor confirmed the opinion of the Lord Lieutenant. The Lord Chancellor had taken great pains, in cases where the composition of the magistracy was unsatisfactory, to find proper persons for appointment, and if the names of any gentlemen were submitted to him he would himself investigate their qualifications. There had been no intention on the part of the Government to depart from the terms of the understanding which was arrived at last Session.
§ MR. KENNY
asked the right hon. Gentleman to state whether any means could be devised by which the objections of the Lord Lieutenants of the counties to gentlemen who had been recommended for appointment by Local Bodies or otherwise could be notified to the gentlemen recommended, in order that the objections could be met, if it was right and proper they should be met, or, in other words, that the gentlemen recommended should be in a position to state their case to the Lord Chancellor directly?
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
said, he did not think anything of that kind could be allowed. The investigations were of a confidential and somewhat delicate nature. The Lord Chancellor judged each case himself, and did his best to find properly qualified Justices.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said, the speech which had just been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, and the speech which was previously made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Ennis (Mr. Kenny), contained a good deal of matter which was highly interesting to Irish Members, and no doubt to other hon. Members of the House; but both the speeches were somewhat beside the mark. The question which had come to the front was—Would the Government give to-morrow (Friday) for the discussion of the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill, or would they keep a House on Saturday for the discussion of that measure? It was 819 with extreme reluctance that he and very many of his hon. Colleagues were compelled, in the performance of that which they considered to be their duty, to trespass upon the attention of the House at that late hour (4.30). They had, however, felt it incumbent upon them to press upon the attention of the Government and of the House the claims of the National School teachers in Ireland. The question asked in this country and in Ireland to-morrow would be—Why did the Irish Members persist in prolonging this Sitting to such an extent? When the news of this discussion reached the people of Ireland and of England, what reason would be assigned for the present action of the Irish Members? The reason assigned would be that Her Majesty's Government refused the most reasonable demand of the Irish Members to have the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill discussed tomorrow (Friday), or, failing to-morrow, upon Saturday. Two hours ago he left that Chamber under the impression that to-night's Business was over; and he was led to that conclusion because of the very distinct statement he heard from the Chair that the second reading of the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill was set down for to-morrow (Friday). He was leaving the premises when he was called back and told that the noble Lord (Lord Richard Grosvenor) had moved the adjournment of the House until Saturday. He did not know how Her Majesty's Government explained the inconsistency which prompted them to allow the second reading of a Bill to be fixed for to-morrow (Friday), and then prompted the noble Lord to move the adjournment of the House until Saturday. Well, in the face of the apparent inconsistency on the part of the Government, what was the action of the Irish Representatives? They were willing to come to a compromise. His hon. Friend the Member for Waterford City (Mr. Leamy) made a speech which had for its object the effecting of a compromise in the matter. What did the hon. Gentleman suggest? He suggested that if they consented now to the adjournment of the House until Saturday, in accordance with the Motion of the noble Lord (Lord Richard Grosvenor), the Government should undertake to keep a House on Saturday for the second reading of the National School Teachers 820 (Ireland) Bill. He did not think that ever before had a more reasonable demand been made upon Her Majesty's Government by any section of Members; but what was the reply given by the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War (the Marquess of Hartington)? He told them that Her Majesty's Government could not keep a House for the second reading of the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill, because, forsooth, the Session being nearly at a close, hon. Members would be leaving town, and could not, for one reason or another, be expected to attend on Saturday. That was no answer to the demand for justice which the National School teachers made upon the House. He asked the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland what would be thought by the National School teachers of Ireland and their friends when the news reached them to-morrow that, in reply to the very reasonable request made on their behalf that Saturday should be set apart by the Government for the discussion of the second reading of this Bill, a responsible and leading Member of Her Majesty's Government told them that because Members of the House wanted to get to their homes in the country for the Christmas holidays a House could not be kept? Of course, it was within the power of the Government to treat any class of the people of Ireland in the same way. He was very much mistaken if the Chief Secretary did not find out that the National School teachers did not harbour feelings of great resentment to the Government for the action they had pursued that night. He never heard in the House of Commons any dearer argument in favour of Irish National Self-Government than the reply of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington). Here were a class of people in Ireland who were suffering very great grievances, and a Bill, the principle of which did not meet with any opposition from the Government, was introduced for the amelioration of their condition. They asked that the Bill should be discussed in the Imperial Parliament, which arrogated to itself the right to rule Ireland; and what was the answer the Government gave? Why, that the Imperial Parliament could not, so to speak, make it convenient to keep a House on Saturday for the consideration of the Bill. A 821 better argument for Irish Home Rule could not be advanced. It proved that though this class were suffering great grievances, the Government and the bulk of the Members of the House cared so very little for those grievances that they could not cut short by one day their Christmas holidays to remove those grievances. He emphasized that, and asked the National School teachers of Ireland to remember that when the Irish Members endeavoured to induce the Government to give facilities for the discussion of the second reading of a Bill calculated to improve their condition, the Government absolutely declined, upon the ground that it was not convenient to the House. He hoped that the National School teachers would in future find it convenient to band themselves together, and to agitate in a manner which would effectually prevent, in days to come, any action upon the part of the Government such as had been experienced that night. But he might say it was not only with reference to the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill that Irish Members were anxious to keep a House on Saturday. It was quite true that if they had been able to keep a House to-morrow (Friday) or on Saturday, the first measure which would have occupied their attention would have been the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill; but there were other matters of the gravest importance and interest to the people of Ireland which it was intended to proceed with on either of those days. After the National School Teachers (Ireland) Bill had been disposed of, attention would have been called by his hon. Friend the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) to the case of the Tubbercurry prisoners. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary was laughing. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was laughing at what he (Mr. William Redmond) was saying or not; but he assured the right hon. Gentleman that the majority of the people of Ireland, and the majority of the Irish Members, did not look upon the wrongful imprisonment of any man as a matter for laughter, especially on the part of a right hon. Gentleman who was directly responsible to Her Majesty's Government for the maintenance of law and order in Ireland.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
Allow me to say I was not laughing at 822 anything the hon. Gentleman was saying.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said, if the right hon. Gentleman was not laughing at his remarks, it was quite evident he was not paying any attention at all to what he was saying. If by any strange accident—and it would, indeed, be a very strange accident—he (Mr. William Redmond) ever succeeded to the position of the right hon. Gentleman, and desired to keep the confidence of the people of Ireland, he would, at least, listen to what the Representatives of the country had to say in the House. The case of Mr. Fitzgerald had never been thoroughly discussed in the House of Commons. Since the Tubbercurry prisoners, after their long imprisonment, were discharged by a picked jury, or, if he might not use the word "picked," he would say by a jury composed of the especial favourites of Dublin Castle, no proper opportunity had been afforded to the House to go fully into the case. The case of Mr. Fitzgerald had been ably and very clearly stated that night by his hon. Friend the Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien). The hon. Gentleman had shown the House how Mr. Fitzgerald was arrested in London without a warrant, and no time allowed him to appeal or to give an explanation; how he was put into prison and kept there for seven months, without a single tittle of evidence against him which could have secured a conviction by any jury, however biassed; the hon. Gentleman had shown that, at the end of seven months, in spite of the efforts made by Crown officials to send him to penal servitude, this unfortunate man, together with the other Tubbercurry prisoners, were released. Now, the principal point which would be raised in the case of the Tubbercurry prisoners would be, what compensation did the Government propose to give to Mr. Fitzgerald and his fellow-prisoners for their continued and unjust incarceration? Mr. Fitzgerald was a gentleman of high principle and much honour, and it was doubtful whether he would, under any circumstances, consent to take any compensation; but it was well it should be known whether Her Majesty's Government intended to offer if not pecuniary compensation, at least some compensation in the shape of a statement which should go forth to the world proving the innocence of Mr. Fitz- 823 gerald, and proving also the truth of the statements made by Irish Members in the House regarding Mr. Fitzgerald while that gentleman was in gaol awaiting trial. It was all very well for English Members in the House to consider the imprisonment of a mere Irishman for seven months a light matter, and a matter which should not occupy the time of Parliament. He could assure hon. Gentlemen that if an Englishman had been treated in any part of the British Empire with one quarter of the heartlessness and injustice which had been meted out to Mr. Fitzgerald that gentleman's case would ring out through the whole Empire, and any Motion in the House condemning his treatment would meet with the support of the vast majority of Members. Probably those Gentlemen who were now opposed to granting Mr. Fitzgerald full justification were so opposed simply because he was an Irishman. He (Mr. Redmond) had no doubt whatever that if an Englishman had been taken off the streets of the City of London, without a warrant, and without evidence, and kept in prison for seven months, and at the end of that time it had been found that there was no evidence to justify his imprisonment, there would have been many Englishmen to take up the case, and urge it with far greater warmth than he (Mr. Redmond) and his Colleagues urged that of Mr. Fitzgerald. He did not doubt that the Radical and liberty-loving inclinations of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), whom he saw sitting opposite to-night—sitting there, in defiance of his Radical principles, for the purpose of voting down a measure which was to give relief to the unfortunate school teachers of Ireland—would induce him, as well as other Members of his section of the House, to take up the case of any Englishman in the position of Mr. Fitzgerald. No doubt, if such an Englishman there were, the hon. Baronet would make the rafters of that House ring with his wrongs. He (Mr. Redmond) would, however, pass from that case. There was great interest attached by many Members to the decision of the Government not to allow the House to sit that day. There were many Members of the Irish Party who had on the Paper for that day (Friday) Questions of considerable importance, and of considerable interest to their constituents 824 and to the people of Ireland. He, himself, had intended to ask a Question and to make an explanation in regard to some queries which he had addressed to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland the other day as to a gentleman of the name of Haughton, who had been a Court Valuer, and who was dismissed by the Land Commission from that position without the slightest reason being assigned. What was the case of Mr. Haughton? Why, he was not apprehended in London and imprisoned for seven months—he was not summarily arrested—but his case was, nevertheless, one of very great hardship. He was a Court Valuer because of his high character, and because of his great experience—his great practical experience—in connection with agricultural matters. This gentleman filled the office of Court Valuer with satisfaction, so far as it could be ascertained, to everybody with whom he came in contact, including those whose land he was called upon to inspect and value. Well, this gentleman had been dismissed from his position. He (Mr. Redmond) had asked in that House why he had been dismissed, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had replied that Mr. Haughton had been sent away because the Land Commission had thought fit to dispense with his services—that he had been dismissed, although his integrity had never been called in question. If Mr. Haughton was not dismissed because of anything wanting in himself—if he was not dismissed because it was necessary to call his integrity in question—if there was nothing to be charged against him, why was he dismissed? If he had not transgressed in any way there was only one reason for his dismissal, and that was that the Land Commissioners found that they had a sufficient number of Court Valuers and could dispense with the services of one. Was that why Mr. Haughton was dismissed? No, it was not; because Mr. Haughton was not, by two or three, the last of the Court Valuers appointed; and if the Land Commissioners found that they could do without one Court Valuer they were bound, in common fairness and honesty, to dispense with the services of the gentleman last appointed. Instead of doing that, they went back over the heads of two or three of the more recent appointments, and dismissed 825 Mr. Haughton from their service. He (Mr. Redmond) had asked in that House the reason of that dismissal—what the man had done that his appointment should be taken from him—and he was answered, in a flippant tone, that there was no reason to be given. "The Land Commission wished it, and no one must question the Land Commission." He maintained that the Government had a duty to perform towards the man. What was the effect of a summary dismissal from a position such as that of Court Valuer in Ireland? It might seem a light decision on the part of the Land Commissioners and to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland; but to the man who was dismissed what did it mean? It meant that a whisper would go round the country side, and would reach his home where he was well known—a whisper to the effect that he had been guilty of some evil doing. His neighbours would ask, "Why is he dismissed?" and the answer would very naturally occur to their minds—"He would not have been dismissed if he had not done something wrong—if he had not overstepped the bounds of his duty." Mr. Haughton, being dismissed without reason assigned, was left to suffer all the inconvenience of having his neighbours and the country side believe that he had done something contrary to the duties of the position which he held. He (Mr. Redmond) maintained that the Government had a right to press on the Land Commissioners to give a fair and solid reason for Mr. Haughton's dismissal. If the Government would say—"This gentleman was sent away because he did so and so or so and so;" if they would give a fair reason for the dismissal he (Mr. Redmond) should be perfectly satisfied. The Government had no right to support the Land Commissioners—they had no right to be satisfied with such a thing as the dismissal of a gentleman of high character and eminently qualified for his position, without the assignment of the slightest reason. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland would pursue this matter, and urge on the Land Commission the necessity, in common fairness, of assigning some reason for the dismissal of Mr. Haughton; but he could assure the right hon. Gentleman of one thing—namely, that he (Mr. Redmond) should spare no trouble 826 or pains to make this case as inconvenient as he possibly could to Her Majesty's Government until he obtained a full and fair answer. On the Motion for Adjournment he had already stated why the Irish Members wanted a Sitting that day, or, failing that day, why they asked the Government to keep a House for them to-morrow. A great and deplorable delay had taken place in dealing with the grievances of the Irish National School teachers, and the Irish Members were extremely anxious to make some progress with the Bill dealing with that subject. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland might say it was a matter of indifference whether the second reading of the National School Teachers' Bill took place to-day or in March—that it would make no difference, so far as the objects of the Bill were concerned. But it made this difference—it would give the National School teachers great satisfaction, and some confidence in the intentions of the Government, if they could to-morrow read that the Bill had been read a second time. Such news coming to them might induce them to refrain from perpetrating acts which he sincerely and truly feared they might allow themselves to be led into if Parliament and the Government turned a deaf ear to their appeals, cared nothing for their grievances, and persisted in their refusal to allow the Bill to be read a second time. There had never been at any time in Ireland a more exemplary class of people than the National School teachers. They had been hard working, they had been long suffering, and they had at no time been led by any considerations into transgressing the laws of the country. The tenant farmers of Ireland had had a grievance which they could not get redressed until they stirred up an agitation which shook the British Empire to its foundations. The farmers could not get their grievances remedied until the agrarian cry was rampant. He wished to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they would give the teachers in Ireland some promise or some guarantee that their grievances would be attended to before they were compelled to resort to criminal acts? He had no doubt in the world that if these people, who were living on the verge of starvation, and occupying miserable hovels, were excluded much longer from the consideration they de- 827 served they would be induced to break the law of the country, and resort to measures which would more earnestly attract the attention of Parliament than could the merits of the men sent to Parliament to represent the Irish people. He would earnestly ask the Government to allow the Irish Members to take the discussion of the Irish National School Teachers Bill on Saturday. He warned the Government that if they persisted in their refusal to allow the Irish Members to have a full and fair discussion of the merits of the Bill on Saturday the consequences would be not altogether satisfactory to the prospect the Chief Secretary for Ireland had before him in regard to the administration of law and order in Ireland. ["Oh, oh!"] He was sorry that his remarks were unpleasant to some hon. Gentleman opposite. He was exceedingly sorry, because he felt that it was his duty to say these things. He felt that the course that the Irish Members wore adopting was somewhat extreme; but bitter experience had taught them in Ireland that only extreme courses were ever likely to win anything from England. It was the duty of the Irish Members—and it must be for ever their duty so long as it was their misfortune to remain in that House—to show English Members and Her Majesty's Government that they would continue doggedly and sullenly to press the redress of the grievances of the people of Ireland on the people of England until sufficient remedies were applied. He did not think that a more reasonable compromise was ever suggested than that which was proposed by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Waterford. Surely the Government, exercising that great influence which the Government of Her Majesty was always known to exercise over the Whig and Radical Party, might, as the House was to meet on Saturday, either by coercion, wheedling, or entreaties, get 40 of their followers, who were always so ready to muster whenever there was a Coercion Bill before the House, to make some little self-sacrifice, and come down and sit here for a few hours to allow the grievances of numerous classes in Ireland to be fully and fairly discussed. If the Government objected to the Irish National School Teachers Bill, why did they not manfully say so? They were afraid to do so. The Chief 828 Secretary for Ireland was afraid to stand up and say that Her Majesty's Government could not accept the Bill. What did the right hon. Gentleman do? Why, in a sort of silent way, he killed the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman did not want it to be said, in Ireland that Her Majesty's Government refused to consider the Bill; and yet he did not want to have it considered. At any rate, the result of that night's proceedings would be to convince the people of Ireland that the Irish Members had done everything in their power to press the urgency of the demands of the National School teachers on the Government, and would also convince the people of Ireland that Her Majesty's Government were absolutely neglectful of the representations of the Irish Members and of the grievances which had led to them.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, that although, perhaps, no Member of the House had suffered more through his stay that night in the House than he had done, yet it was one of the first few nights he had remained so long unwillingly. He yet anticipated that much good would result from these discussions. If the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland had that night been as dull as usual—had he been less lively, had he restrained himself in the absence of the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. Gladstone), whom he (Mr. Callan) was sorry to find was not in his place, but to whom he hoped the conduct of his subordinate the Chief Secretary for Ireland would be reported—if the Chief Secretary for Ireland had displayed a little of the dullness which was so characteristic of him when the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) moved the second reading of the Irish National School Teachers Bill, and if he had in his condescension permitted the discussion, and had not rushed at the Bill at once with all the fury of a M'Gregor, this prolonged Sitting would not have taken place. Had the right hon. Gentleman remained in his place until the Bill had been some time under discussion, had he heard the opinions of the Irish Members, and had he been guided by circumstances, and been actuated as the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been, all this unseemly wrangle would have been prevented. Why could he not have 829 contented himself with pointing out that the fact of permitting the discussion would not advance the Bill—that they would be no nearer passing it into law by carrying the second reading before the adjournment than if they allowed the stage to stand over?
§ Notice taken that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ MR. CALLAN,
resuming, said, that he was about to remark, when the attention of the Speaker was drawn to the fact that 40 Members were not present, in ignorance on the other side of the House of what the result might have been, that he hoped, to-morrow, the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister would be called to the circumstances which had occurred that evening, and to the nature of that prolonged Sitting. If the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had not assumed such a magniloquent air towards the Irish Members, but if he had allowed them, and given them his own gracious permission, to discuss a Bill in which the Irish people were deeply interested, and from the discussion of which the Government might have learned something more than he fancied the right hon. Gentleman at present knew in reference to the wishes of the Irish people with regard to the National School teachers of Ireland, and had then, after the discussion had continued for a short time, pointed out that it was being improperly or inconveniently gone into, it was highly probable that all this unseemly and prolonged harangue would have been saved. There was an old saying in the country that it would take a very considerable amount of force to knock a joke into a Scotchman's head; but he thought the five hours' debate which had now taken place ought to teach the Chief Secretary for Ireland—Scotchman though he was—that whenever an Irish question was brought, before the House, so long as representative institutions existed in Ireland, it was the duty of the right hon. Gentleman to pay deference to the opinions and wishes of the Irish Members. If the right hon. Gentleman would take that lesson to heart—and he was sure that when the attention of the Prime Minister was called to the facts of the case he would be ordered to take it to heart 830 —it would teach him something which might save him from many unnecessary hours of prolonged discussion in the coming year. With regard to the adjournment of the House until Saturday, he (Mr. Callan) objected to it for this reason. That evening he had prepared a Notice to place on the Table of the House for the discussion of a most important question which he was anxious to bring forward on Friday. If necessary, he would raise the question as a matter of Privilege for the ruling of the Speaker at the first Sitting of the House. On the 23rd of August, 1883, on his Motion, the House ordered that a Return should be forthwith made of the Grand Jury Panels in Ireland for the years 1882 and 1883, specifying the amount of property for which each Grand Juror was rated, and stating whether he was usually resident or non-resident, and also the names of cesspayers which did not appear on the Grand Jury Panels, together with the names of all persons on the Grand Jury Panels, distinguishing those who were in the Commission of the Peace. It appeared that during the régime—the unfortunate régime he might call it—of the late Chief Secretary for Ireland, now Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Trevelyan), a good many things ordered by the House were not attended to by the Irish Executive. Unfortunately for the right hon. Gentleman, he (Mr. Callan) obtained that Return, and, having obtained it, he wanted to utilize it, and to see it placed in the Library of the House. Upon making inquiry, however, he found that the Order of the House had been deliberately disregarded. He, therefore, went to the present Chief Secretary for Ireland to make inquiries, and what did the right hon. Gentleman say about the Return? He absolutely said that he knew nothing whatever about it.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
The hon. Gentleman says it was a Return obtained in August, 1883, when I had no connection with the Irish Office.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, that was so, no doubt; but he had gone to the Irish Office to obtain information, and, being unable to get any, he had intimated that he would call attention to the matter at Question time. At a subsequent period he was told by the right hon. Gentleman that the Return was in the Library. He 831 accordingly went to the Library; but found that there was no such Return, so that an Order of the House, made on the 23rd of August, 1883, and which he knew had been furnished by the Clerks of Unions in Ireland 12 months ago to the Chief Secretary's Office, had been, despite the distinct Order of the House, deliberately suppressed by the Irish Office. As he had already stated when he informed the Chief Secretary for Ireland that it was his intention to bring the matter forward in the House, he was told by the right hon. Gentleman that he had the Return already at his disposal; but, on inquiry, he found that no such Return was in existence, and that the Order of the House had been quietly set aside. For a period of 15 months the Chief Secretary's Office had set at defiance the Order of the House; and the question he (Mr. Callan) desired to raise was, whether the Irish Executive was entitled, with impunity, to set at defiance the Order of the House? That was one among other matters which he desired to bring forward on Saturday. He had certainly not felt it incumbent on him to give the right hon. Gentleman Notice of his intention to bring forward the question, because he considered that it was the duty of the right hon. Gentleman to see that the Orders of the House were not disregarded. With regard to another matter—a question which had already occupied the attention of the House in the course of the evening—he had not supposed that any Member of the Irish Party, or any Member of the House, would have been treated with greater consideration than his hon. Friend the Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy). The hon. Member was the respected Vice Leader of the Party, who entertained for him the highest respect, and reposed the greatest confidence in him. Indeed, every Irish Member on that side of the House would resent, as a personal insult, to himself any slight attempted to be passed by Her Majesty's Government upon his hon. Friend. Nevertheless, the Chief Secretary for Ireland had refused to allow a Bill which had been introduced by his hon. Friend, and in which the Irish people took a deep interest, to be discussed. If the House had sat that day he had intended to call upon the Chief Secretary for Ireland for an explanation of the reasons why the Irish Office had suppressed a document 832 which had been ordered by the House to be laid upon the Table, and which had already been furnished to the Irish Executive by the Clerks of Unions in Ireland. He was afraid that these were circumstances which did not afford a happy omen in connection with the inauguration of the right hon. Gentleman as the new Chief Secretary for Ireland. He feared that the right hon. Gentleman was inclined to follow the old lines of officialism hitherto practised with such disastrous results by the officials of Dublin Castle. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman was not prepared to follow the excellent example of the Chief Secretary for Ireland who, for a long series of years, had given the most satisfaction to the Irish Members and the Irish people—he referred to a Conservative Chief Secretary—the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach). If the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary for Ireland would consent to follow the course of conciliation pursued by that right hon. Gentleman towards the Irish Representatives, he would find that the more attention he paid to the representations made to him, and the more courtesy he displayed towards the Irish Members, the smoother would be his career in Office.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
said, he hoped the House would allow him to say one word in the way of personal explanation—not in regard to any matter which had been brought forward by the hon. Member who had just addressed the House (Mr. Callan), because the hon. Member promised to bring his complaints fully before the House on the first opportunity, but simply a word to explain that, in the course he had taken, he had intended to throw no slight upon the hon. Member who had introduced the National School Teachers Bill. His object in rising now, as soon as the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Callan) had sat down, was to prevent any misapprehension from existing. He must honestly say that he had not anticipated that there was any desire or intention to proceed with the Bill of the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) in the little time which was at the disposal of the House at the time the second reading was moved. He might have been mistaken; but he had thought it courteous, under 833 the circumstances, to take that course at once. Having had the opportunity of making this personal explanation, he had nothing further to say.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 43; Noes 9: Majority 34.—(Div. List, No. 23.)