§ MR. PARNELL
Mr. Speaker, the Amendment which I propose to move complains of the conduct of the Irish Executive in two respects. It complains of the wholesale suppression of the public meetings in Ireland, meetings having been actually prohibited during the Recess throughout three, at least, of the Provinces of which Ireland is composed, and it further complains that the Irish Government have tacitly extended a licence to the Irish magistrates to violate the law. The magistrates of no fewer than 11 counties have signed declarations sympathizing with the conduct of Lord Rossmore, and identifying themselves with his action. It complains that the Irish Executive has taken no fit or sufficient notice—in fact, taken no notice whatever—of the conduct of the magistrates' action in 12 of the most important counties in Ireland. Now, the proclamation or suppression of public meetings in Ireland on the part of the Government has developed two distinct 322 lines of action. They have suppressed meetings in the South and West on the ground, as they allege, of the fear that agrarian crime might result from the holding of such meetings in particular districts where the suppression took place; and they have, furthermore, suppressed meetings in the Province of Ulster, where there has never been any agrarian crime, not, as they allege, because they feared agrarian crime would follow the holding of such meetings, but because a section of landowners and magistrates in the North, in the interest of their own pockets, have gathered together armed bodies of men, and by threats, intimidation, and violence endeavoured to prevent the holding of those Constitutional meetings. In other words, the Irish Executive, by its action in Ulster, practically whitewashed the conduct of that section—for it is only a section—of the Orangemen of the North who have so disgraced themselves. [Mr. ARCHDALE: All of them.] The Orangemen of the North are a large body; but the number of Orangemen who attended these meetings, or could be induced to attend them, was so small that at no meeting in the North, notwithstanding large expenditure on the part of the noblemen and gentlemen of Ireland, notwithstanding the immense exertions that were made, and the special trains that were chartered to convey them to distant parts of the Province—at no meeting, I say, were they able to get together, despite their utmost exertions, more than 7,000 persons. It will be necessary for me to recall to the attention of the House certain events which happened at the close of the last Session, and which led to the initiation of these meetings on the part of the National Party in Ulster. The House will remember that the Government introduced late last Session, and passed through this House, a Bill for the registration of voters in Ireland. The Bill passed through this House by large majorities, and with but little opposition. It was, however, unfortunately thrown out in "another place," without any consideration or discussion whatever. It was admitted that the difficulties in the way of the registration of Irish voters were so extensive that it was practically impossible for very large numbers of persons entitled even to the present limited franchise in Ireland, which the 323 House will remember is muck more limited than in England—it was, I say, practically impossible for a very largo number of persons to obtain their Constitutional right of voting at the elections of Members of this House in many cases under the system of registration as it exists; for any person by serving notice of objection through the post can compel the attendance of the person so objected to before the registering authority, in order to prove his claim; and it so happens that in the majority of the Irish counties the registering stations are very distant from each other, perhaps 10 or 12 miles in many cases; and it comes to this—that in order that a person who is objected to should obtain his vote he is frequently obliged to travel this long distance on foot if he is in an humble position, and should attend day after day waiting for his case to be called upon, and finally perhaps lose his claim, owing to the accident that he might be outside the Court House at the moment his name is reached. I think I could not in a word give a better example of the state of the registry in Ireland, even with the present restricted franchise, than by saying that in the city which I have the honour to represent (Cork), containing within its Parliamentary area a population of 120,000 souls, there are only 3,500 electors on the register. Now, Sir, it be-came necessary for us, in view of the rejection of this Registration Bill by the House of Lords, to hold meetings in certain constituencies in the North, where we have a clear majority of persons sufficiently highly rated to enable us to carry the seats in question if we could get them on the register. The county of Tyrone is one of these, and a series of meetings was arranged in that county. The first of these meetings was to be held at Strabane, and the next at Dungannon. It was at the meeting held in Dungannon that the Orangemen first attempted, by a counter demonstration, to interrupt the lawful right of the vast majority of the inhabitants of Tyrone, who are Catholics, to meet together to express their wish to obtain the very limited franchise which the Constitution at present allows them. A meeting was accordingly announced to be held in Dungannon, and shortly afterwards a placard was issued by the Orangemen for the purpose of preventing this 324 and other meetings in the North. I will read to the House the placard in question; and in what I shall show and prove, and in the examples of speeches and Orange literature which I shall cite to the House, it will be perfectly evident, I think, that I shall be able to prove to the mind of every impartial Member of this House that the counter movement for the purpose of preventing the Nationalists from holding their meetings was, in reality, not a movement for the purpose of making legal and Constitutional demonstrations, such as any section of the community have a right to make with regard to meetings called by their political opponents, but was, in reality, and evidently and admittedly by themselves, a movement of a violent, illegal, and intimidatory character, for the purpose of intimidating both the Nationalists and the Government in Ireland. I have said that these meetings were not spontaneous. They were not promoted by the people of the district in which they were held. They were attended by hirelings from a distance, whose railway fares and salary were paid for the day by the subscriptions of Irish landlords. [Colonel KING-HARMAN: No, no!] Here is an example of how these meetings were promoted. This is a Circular signed by a number of Grand Masters and Deputy Grand Masters of Orange Lodges, and it is to this effect—DEAR SIR,—At a meeting of the County-Grand Lodge a committee was appointed, and a resolution was proposed and adopted, to collect contributions to defray the expenses of securing the attendance of loyal men to counteract the invasion of the rebels, or so-called Nationalists, in any part of the country.
|Signed||ROBERT S. HAMILTON, D.C.|
|G. M. HUNT.|
|C. CHAMBRE, C.G.S.|
|CHARLES ALEXANDER, W.M., L.O.L. No. 1.|
|THOMAS AUCHINLECK, W.M., L.O.L. No. 850."|
§ I suppose these gentlemen hold the Commission of the Peace, and we have not heard that any of them have been removed from their position. Well, Sir, the Nationalist meeting went on, and here is one of the Dungannon counter placards issued by the Orangemen—
Invasion of Tyrone by the Members of the Fenian or Harder League Conspiracy.
On Thursday, 21st September, Parnell, the leader of the United Irish Murder League, the
advocate of the principle—Ireland for the Irish, meaning Ireland for the Romanists—intends to hold a meeting in Market Square, and subsequently a series of meetings throughout the country, assisted by several satellites of this murderous agitation. Are you prepared to allow this? Are you prepared to accept the doctrines of English Radicals that the Protestants of Ireland are aliens in the land, and should he swept out by fair means or foul? Protestants of Tyrone, appear on Windmill Hill, Dungannon, on Thursday, September 25th.
J. MATHEWS, Secretary.
Mr. Mathews, who was the originator of those notable meetings in Ireland, had a very curious subsequent history. It may not be uninteresting to the House to hear a little of Mr. Mathews's subsequent career, so far as it has proceeded up to the present. Mr. Mathews, who signed the placard, and is editor of The Tyrone Courier, a Tory organ, is now in Omagh Gaol for attempting to burn a house over the heads of its inhabitants. The result of the investigation of his case before the magistrates was that he and two others of his companions were committed for trial without bail. Subsequently an application was made to the Court of Queen's Bench to admit them to bail, but the application was refused. The Daily Express correspondent, commenting on the case before it came on for trial, on the 30th November, 1883, wrote—
The parties charged with the offence were mere hoys, and it may have been no more than a practical joke.
The venue of the prisoners' trial has since been changed to Dublin; and as the special jurors who will try the case are readers of The Daily Express, it is not very likely that the result will be different from that which The Daily Express hopes for and expects. I now finish with Mr. Mathews; and I shall proceed with other examples of the inflammatory nature of the placards issued by the Orangemen, and the unconcealed—for there was no attempt at concealing—the unconcealed means used to bring about their ends—the means of revolvers and of bludgeons. Here is another of the placards—
Let the rebels and murder league hear the roll of your drums to the tune of the 'Protestant Boys.' Let the cry of 'No surrender' be answered to the challenge of Rome, and with no uncertain sound compel the rebels to return to their haunts in the South and West under a guard of military and police.
Why were the conspirators to return to their homes under a guard of military and police, and what sort of means were used in order that they should be so compelled? I shall have to refer to some speeches made by the right hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) in his campaign in the North of Ireland. In referring to anything he may have said, I wish to state at the commencement that I am quite sure that his motives, and his views, and his ideas as to the means that were to be used in this Orange movement were not the motives and ideas of some of the hon. Gentlemen from Ireland who sit near him. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman had only in his mind Constitutional and legitimate agitation; and if, unfortunately, he used expressions which were capable of being interpreted by ignorant persons as incitements to violence, and which were ultimately so interpreted, and which, unhappily, led to loss of life, to assaults on the police, to maiming and injuring officers of Constabulary in Ireland, and to attacks upon peaceable citizens in Belfast, I am sure that no other crime than that of ignorance can be imputed to him. I can only censure him for having gone upon a business which did not really concern him, to a country whose people never did him any harm, and who never thought any harm or injury to the right hon. Gentleman. But I think the result of the movement which was originated and stirred up chiefly by the right hon. Gentleman will probably injure his own Party, far more than it is likely to injure Ireland or the Irish people, or even the Liberal Party on the Benches opposite; and it is only another melancholy example of the evil to the great Conservative Party of allowing themselves to be dragged at the tail of such a discredited and degraded faction as the battered Representatives of Irish landlordism. His language was certainly of the most unguarded character. On the 3rd of October he used language which, undoubtedly, I venture to think, if he had the experience, the sorrowful and melancholy experience, he has had since, he would never have used. He said—
Do we moan business or do we not? It is all very well to be attending demonstrations, and listening to speeches, and passing resolutions, and so forth. That is very useful and
healthful, but it is not the way to do business. Do not trust too much on other people. You must trust yourselves and nobody else. Do not put your trust in the Government.
I wonder the right hon. Gentleman did not say—" Do not put your trust in Parliament." Then, again, the right hon. Gentleman advised the Orange-men as follows:—" Do not be firing off your rifles in the gaiety of your hearts." In fact, all the images used by the right hon. Gentleman were military ones; and one of the results of his speeches had been to prevent and make it absolutely impossible for his hon. Friend the Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy) to address a meeting of his constituents without the risk of being murdered. He is reported to have said at Belfast, on the 6th of October—
But turn your especial confidence to the county which has been most lately the scene of an encounter, which I think has stirred the minds of the Irish and Ulster Protestants, Monaghan. Monaghan and Mr. Healy. Let these words he your talisman. Let these words be the charmed words you should use.
What was the result of the right hon. Gentleman's arrival and speeches in Belfast—not the results following in weeks or months after, but results coining on the very day on which this speech was delivered? On Saturday evening, the 6th of October, when this speech with regard to his hon. Friend (Mr. Healy) was delivered, a very serious riot took place. The Orangemen, when returning from the Botanic Gardens, in which the meeting was held, passed by Carrick Hill, the Catholic district, and conducted themselves in a manner most disorderly and highly offensive to the residents.
They groaned for Carrick Hill, cursed the Pope, and cheered for Sir Stafford Northcote and King William.
I suppose it was this incident that encouraged the right hon. Gentleman to go through the ordeal of landing on the very stone on which King William first set foot in Ireland. The account of the riot that ensued when the Orangemen passed by Carrick Hill continued to say—
The conduct of the Orangemen attracted a crowd behind the policemen. When the Orangemen saw the people they hurled stones and broken bottles at them across the heads of the policemen. The Carrick Hill people, acting on the advice of Town Inspector Cullen, who was
in command of the police, retreated, and the Orangemen made an effort to follow them. The police resisted, and a mêlée between the Orangemen and Constabulary ensued. The police were stoned by the Orangemen, and they in return used their batons. The horse of Constable Lynch was stabbed by one of the pikes which the Orangemen carried in the procession. So determined was the onslaught that the Riot Act was read. Several police were injured, and one man, Constable Browley, received a severe contused wound over the temple, on account of which the authorities have relieved him from duty for a week.
§ That, I say, was one of the results of the right hon. Gentleman's address.
§ MR. PARNELL
The Freeman's Journal. I may inform the right hon. Gentleman that I will give him some quotations from The Daily Express by-and-bye. This, however, was not the only or the most lamentable incident attending the proceedings of the right hon. Gentleman. During an Orange torchlight procession an attack was made on a convent, which accelerated the death of the reverend mother, who expired a few hours after the attack took place. But it is only fair to the right hon. Gentleman to say that as soon as he became aware of these disgraceful proceedings, and the proceedings of others of his friends in the North of Ireland, he publicly expressed his regret at what had occurred; and I do not I doubt in the least that if these things were to happen over again, the right hon. Gentleman would remain safely in North Devon rather than venture on the stormy sea of Irish politics. Here are a couple of the Orange placards by which these counter demonstrations were called together—Think of those that lie in the bloody shrouds at Smithfield, Oxford, Derry, the Boyne, and Aughrim, Enniskillen, and Newtownbutler.
§ MR. PARNELL
I am told it is an anonymous placard. But I have yet to learn that it was ever repudiated in Ireland by Orangemen. And in a letter to The Daily Express, the Orange organ in Ireland, it is adopted and commented on. I told the right hon. Gentleman that I would refer to The Daily Express. Following that placard, an Orange meeting took place at Rosslea, and The Daily Express account of it was as follows:— 329Viscount Crichton was unanimously nominated their chairman. During the progress of the proceedings an adventurous party proceeded into the village, and expeditiously removed two green arches. They conveyed back the remains of them to the place of meeting, and the arrival was signalized by a tremendous burst of cheering. Some pistol shots were fired into the air in the outskirts of the crowd, and immediately the fire was taken up by several hundred persons. Pistols and revolvers were produced on all sides, and a continuous fusillade was maintained for nearly 15 minutes. Two unpleasant incidents occurred during the day, resulting in serious injury to Mr. William Copeland Trimble, proprietor of The Fermanagh Reporter, and Mr. Charles M'Aleese, son of the owner of The People's Advocate. The former was taken for Mr. Healy, M.P., and received a blow on the head with a stick, which caused a severe wound.I think it will now be admitted that I did not exaggerate the result of the incitements of the Leader of the Opposition to the Belfast Orangemen, who were the people who attended these meetings, when I said that in consequence of them my hon. Friend the Member for Monaghan could not address his own constituents without risk to his life. We have dealt with Mr. Mathews—we will now come to the most celebrated mover of these Orange demonstrations, who has been suspended, not dismissed, from the Commission of the Peace.
§ MR. PARNELL
Dismissed. Well, I am very glad to hear that. He was not dismissed for what he said in the speech I will now quote, but for another matter—The Government had sent down a handful of soldiers, whom the Orangemen could eat up in a second if they liked.And then there were shouts and revolver firing, and that was only very natural. After that followed the incident with Captain M'Ternan, where Lord Ross-more said he would not be stopped by a Resident Magistrate or anyone else; but it was for this he was dismissed from the magistracy, not for the language inciting the people to attack a rival meeting a short distance away, and murder and assassinate them. The noble Viscount (Viscount Crichton), who was present at another gathering, said the Nationalists complained that the ancestors of the Orangemen dispossessed them 200 years ago of their property. Perhaps they did, said the noble Vis- 330 count, but now they meant to keep it, and he told his friends to drive these threadbare politicians home. [Colonel KING-HARMAN: Hear, hear!] Now, I would say that epithet would apply more aptly to some Representatives of Irish landlordism whom we have in our midst, who are obliged to go begging to Government to advance out of the hard earnings of the taxpayers funds to enable them to pay the interest on their mortgages. Captain Barton, the report says, seconded the resolution. This man of war was to have no Government but himself, for he said—He hoped that the Orangemen of Ireland would not depend on any Government that might be in power. The Orangemen, if they liked, could he the Government themselves, and they could rule themselves. He felt that he was a subject of the greatest Protestant Empire in the world, and he could assure the Protestants of Ireland that they would not be forgotten in England. They were true to Queen Victoria.And mark the reason given by these loyal men—Because Queen Victoria was a descendant of King William.Mark the loyalty of those so-called Loyalists. So long as Ireland is left at their mercy and at their discretion to be put under their feet they are loyal; but if any attempt is made to give the people fair play.—if any attempt is made to sanction the public opinion of the vast majority of the people of Ireland—they are ready, in the words used by the celebrated clergyman at the passing of the Church Act, "to kick the Queen's Crown into the Boyne." The secret of the whole situation is contained in these words of Major Saunderson at the same meeting—If they had allowed the other meetings to take place unmolested, Parnell, and Biggar, and Healy and the others, would go back to Parliament and say the North of Ireland was in favour of them.Aye, and we will come back to Parliament one of these days with the North of Ireland at our back, despite all the revolvers and bludgeons of the Orange Leaders. Major Saunderson went on to observe thatHe wondered why those rebels abused the police and soldiers—only for them where would they have been in Dungannon? They would have been in the nearest river (cheers), and at Omagh and Aughnacloy they would have been in the same place. (Cheers, and revolver firing.)331 Then we have the speech of the Rev. Mr. Jago, and he is reported to have said—The loyal men of the North were determined to have no Home Rulers nor no Joe Biggars. (Cheers, firing of revolvers, and cries of 'Shoot them.') Biggar was the man who said there would he no peace in this country until a Hartmann was found. (Cries of 'Shoot Biggar.')Then this veracious clergyman was not ashamed to tell a lie of an absent foe. He said heWould conclude by telling them what John Dillon, another rebel, said in a speech in the House of Commons, and which he took from a report in The Freeman's Journal, and which he had in his pocket:—' That he would advise the people to shoot down every Protestant in Ireland.' (Groans, and cries of 'We will shoot them.')That was a lie, of course. It will be in the recollection of the House if the hon. Member ever uttered such a sentiment here. The noble Viscount (Viscount Crichton) a few minutes ago asked me was a certain placard signed, and I said no; but it was adopted in a letter to The Daily Express, and it bears the imprint of The Fermanagh Times, the local Orange organ.
§ MR. PARNELL
That placard, as I say, was adopted in a letter to The Daily Express. I would ask the attention of the noble Viscount, who is one of the "Whips" of the Conservative Party, to that letter. After adopting those anonymous placards, the writer says—The one all-absorbing and over-mastering idea was to disperse the Nationalist meeting. Nothing else seemed worthy of a thought. The one regret is that it was not done. Ulster feeling is now stirred to its lowest depth, and the determination is to waste no more time, but to take sure measures, if a disloyal meeting is again attempted, that it will he the last. Lord Rossmore's warning to the Government is timely, but not a moment too soon. Our controlling influence over the Orangemen is now stretched to the extreme tension.But not only was the letter published in The Daily Express, but here is an extract from a leader on it—The alarm is sounded, and the determination of the Loyalists of the country expressed in the notice which appears in another column. It is a warning which they will do well to respect. Let them call it a threat if they choose. There it is to he read and pondered. It is no time to quibble about words. The meaning is 332 clear and plain, and the men to whom it is addressed do not shrink from the avowal of their fixed determination.And all this is written and passed unnoticed in a country where a Crimes Act is in force, and with that Act containing special provisions with regard to intimidation. The House will, perhaps, be surprised to learn that in the North of Ireland and the Orange Society they have a very peculiar description of "sweethearts." These "sweethearts" are made of iron and steel, with iron and steel chambers, which, when charged with gunpowder, discharge bullets with deadly effect. On the 5th of November a most enthusiastic meeting was held in Pettige to pass a vote of thanks to Lord Rossmore, Sir John Leslie, and Major Saunderson. Captain Barton, who occupied the chair, calledAttention to the fact that the Land League intended to hold a meeting at Garrison on the 15th or 25th, and he knew all were ready with their sweethearts and plenty of stuff. Lord Rossmore had telegraphed:—'Monaghan is ready, with lots of material wanted. He would be most happy to meet their friends, the rebels, at Garrison, and they knew how to do their duty.Mr. Murray Kerr, Deputy Lieutenant, at Lord Rossmore's reception at Monaghan on the 7th of December, said:—They would conduct themselves as loyal men and good Protestants. Let there be no revolver practice. His advice to them about revolvers was—never use a revolver except they were firing at someone.And yet, after that statement, Mr. Kerr still remained a magistrate and a Deputy Lieutenant. Then there was a letter addressed to the Chief Secretary by Colonel Stuart Knox, who proclaimed thatThe so-called Nationalists, having announced their intention of holding a rebel meeting at Dromore on the 1st of January, the loyal Protestants and Orangemen of the county have been called upon by me, and will attend in thousands to oppose, by a loyal demonstration, those whose object is the subversion of the Throne and the destruction of the Empire.In his reply, His Excellency said heCannot concur in the terms in which you characterize the meeting, and unless considerations affecting the public peace arise, he does not consider that it ought to be stopped.Accordingly, he refused to suppress the meeting; but His Excellency subsequently suppressed five other meetings announced to be held in the North of 333 Ireland in precisely analogous circumstances, at the bidding of the Orange Leaders, who insisted that it should be done, or else they would take the government of the country into their own hands, which they had most effectually done. Another ingenious method of the Irish Executive was to proclaim, under the Arms Act, the counties in which their meetings were held, and so deprive the Nationalists of their arms, while, at the same time, they left un-proclaimed places like Belfast and Portadown, from which the greater number of the Orangemen came. I think I have now proved my case that the Orange movement in the North was an un-Constitutional movement—that it was a movement to prevent the Nationalists, who formed the majority of the people of Ulster, and who formed two-thirds or four-fifths of the population of the districts in which the meetings were held, from exercising their Constitutional rights; that it was an attempt to prevent the Nationalists of Ulster from meeting to express their Constitutional opinions in a Constitutional way with regard to changes in the law. It was never pretended that the meetings proposed to be held were not Constitutional; and it was never protended that it would be necessary to proclaim them except for the purpose of preventing the Orangemen from murdering those who attended them. I think it is unnecessary to state, after the incidents that I have narrated and the extracts that I have read, that I have proved that this Orange movement was violent, seditious, and intimidatory, and that every man who took part in it—from the leaders, like Lord Rossmore, down to the humblest member of an Orange Lodge—was open to prosecution under the Intimidation Clauses of the Prevention of Crime Act. I have now something to say with regard to the action of the Government. We who have been close observers of what took place plainly saw that the Irish Executive secretly rejoiced at these proceedings. Of these thousands of men brought together from long distances by train, and equipped with murderous weapons for the purpose of interrupting the Constitutional meetings of the Nationalists, not a single prosecution took place during the whole of the Recess. The power which the Government abundantly 334 possessed under the Prevention of Crime Act for stopping these men at the port of embarkation were not used. It was evident that from the moment the Orangeman, with his sash around him, bought his ticket to come and harry and intimidate the peaceful Nationalist of Ulster, he laid himself open to prosecution under the Prevention of Crime Act. Would any of my hon. Friends have been allowed to act so? Compare the language used by my hon. Friend the Member for Westmeath (Mr. Harrington), for which he was sentenced to two months' imprisonment, with the plank bed, with the language of any of those Orange speakers. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who cannot be absolved from any portion of the blame which attaches to the Irish Executive, not content with looking on and doing nothing, not content with refraining from using the provisions of the Act which he is always so ready to use unsparingly against any of us, actually goes over to his constituents in Scotland and attempts to misrepresent the matter; just, in fact, as Lord Rossmore endeavoured to misrepresent the matter in his letter to the Privy Council in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman, following the example of Lord Rossmore, said there would be civil war if these meetings were not suppressed. But that was the whole contention with which the Orangemen embarked in those proceedings; and by submitting to their orders, by proclaiming those meetings according to their demands, the Government practically ranged themselves on the side of the disturbers of the peace. I do not think that the Government will be able to set up the defence that they have been compelled to take the action they have done by reason of the power possessed by the Orangemen and their capacity for mischief, when it is clear that the Orangemen throughout the whole of Ireland only numbered some 20,000. The largest number they were able to bring together to any meeting, with the connivance of the Government, who permitted them to travel through the country on special trains—never taking down the name of a single individual—the greatest number at any meeting was, according to their own account, 7,000. With the exception of Dungannon, where they undoubtedly out- 335 numbered the Nationalists owing to want of preparation, at every single meeting the Nationalists, although only drawn from the immediate district, without any special exertion whatever being made for their attendance, the people coining on foot to the meetings, as they always come to their meetings in Ireland—the Nationalists, I say, largely outnumbered the Orangemen. There is a prevalent delusion in England—and perhaps in this House—that the Protestants largely outnumber the Catholics in Ulster; but, as I have already said, the Catholics in Ulster are 47 per cent of the population, practically speaking one-half; and outside of Belfast in every constituency, with perhaps the exception of Antrim and Down, they considerably outnumber all the other denominations. But who are these other denominations? They are Episcopalians, from whom the Orangemen are almost entirely drawn; they are Presbyterians, containing amongst them very few Orangemen, chiefly the followers of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister and the hon. Member for Tyrone (Mr. T. A. Dickson), although we have been able to seduce even some of the Presbyterians. There are the Methodists and the people, happily few in number in Ireland, who have no religion; there are also Quakers and other sections, such as exist in every civilized country; but if you take the respective proportion of population as being equally divided, you must recollect that of the Protestant population the Orangemen form a very small number indeed. They are chiefly taken from the manufacturing towns. As a general rule, Orangemen, since the land movement commenced, have entirely died out amongst the agricultural population. ["No!"] Perhaps a few of the farmers' sons who do not see the real meaning of the movement of the hon. Members from the North of Ireland, and some of the labourers, may join the Lodges; but the real backbone of the Orange movement is in the ship carpenters of Belfast, and the artizans of towns such as Portadown. These are the men from whom right hon. Gentlemen had to draw for their forces when they came to suppress these meetings; and if it had not been for the action of the Lord Lieutenant in suppressing the meeting at Garrison, I am firmly convinced that the resources of 336 the Orange minority in the North would have been exhausted. They would not have been able to have brought any appreciable body of men to cause any danger at the meeting. The Lord Lieutenant struck the blow for them which they so badly wanted; and he used the provisions of the Prevention of Crime Act, not against these disturbers of the peace, whom I have clearly proved to have been engaged in an illegal and criminal and violent movement, but against the people who admittedly were desirous of holding a Constitutional meeting, and only a Constitutional meeting. We say that this House did not entrust the powers conferred by the Prevention of Crime Act to the Executive for them to use them against those who were observing the law, and not against those who were breaking it. But no English Government has ever been strong enough to stand by the rights of the people of Ireland, whether it be that public opinion in this country is so prejudiced against the rights of the people, and that our opponents have at their command the sources of information to such an extent as to poison the wells of knowledge in England; whether it be the secret sympathy of any high official in the Irish Executive with the class of which he himself is a member, it is the case that the present Irish Executive has imitated the example of every other Irish Executive. Instead of keeping the even keel, of which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) so boasted, they have inclined the scales of justice against the majority, and in favour of the minority; and, in my opinion, so long as Ireland is governed by a Parliament outside of herself, elected, not by her own people, but by the people of England, so long will injustice continue to be inflicted on Ireland, and so long will it be impossible for any Irish Executive to act even with common decency, much less with justice, in the administration of justice. I have said there was no single prosecution under the Prevention of Crime Act against our opponents; that the only use the Government made of it was against the National Constitutional movement; and that the Orange movement was on the point of collapsing for want of funds, when Lord Spencer came to its rescue. The conduct of the Irish Executive, in dealing with this 337 movement in the North, has convinced everybody that the day cannot be very far distant when the claims and struggles of Ireland will be recognized by giving legislative authority to her own people on her own soil. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Amendment.
In line 62, after the word "us," to insert the words "but humbly to assure Her Majesty that the recent policy and conduct of the Executive in Ireland have not tended to the interests of tranquillity or contentment among the Irish people, and particularly to deplore the wanton prohibition of legal and constitutional public meetings throughout Ireland, whereby the exercise of the right of free speech has been practically extinguished in that Country; also, to condemn the Irish Executive for having permitted bodies of magistrates to make with impunity public declarations applauding the conduct of Lord Rossmore (an ex-magistrate superseded for disturbing order, and for provoking ill-will and strife between different classes of Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland), which public declarations have directly incited Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland to illegal acts, disorder, and violence."—(Mr. Parnell.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ VISCOUNT CRICHTON
said, that the speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) appeared to him to be a réchauffé of the pamphlet issued to Members that morning entitled Loyalty plus Murder, which bore the signature "T. M. Healy." Under cover of an Amendment to the Address the hon. Member had taken the opportunity of making an attack upon the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, and upon the Orangemen of the North of Ireland in general. The right hon. Gentleman was very well able to take care of himself; and, therefore, he should confine his remarks to that portion of the Amendment which referred to the dismissal of Lord Rossmore, and the action of the magistracy throughout Ireland in reference to it. He presumed he would be fairly in Order in doing so, although the hon. Member for the City of Cork had not said a single word upon that part of the Amendment, and he thought he would be able to show the House that the dismissal of Lord Rossmore was unjustifiable and uncalled for, that his conduct on the occasion in dispute was calculated to preserve the peace and not to break it; and, also, that he and those who acted with him in holding those counter 338 demonstrations had acted by the advice, he would almost say, of one of the highest authorities in that House and in the Kingdom. It would probably be in their recollection that in October, 1881, the Prime Minister delivered a speech, in answer to the toast of his health, at a banquet at Leeds, which had reference exclusively to the then state of Ireland. In that speech there was a passage which was quite uncalled for, seeing that some Acts of Parliament passed by the right hon. Gentleman, whatever their merits in other respects, had inflicted great loss and suffering upon a very considerable body of those to whom he referred. The right hon. Gentleman was reported in The Times of the 8th of October, 1881, to have used those words—There is another misfortune to Ireland, besides the fact that for the first time in our history these degrading and immoral doctrines—taught by men of education and men of respectable station to their social inferiors—and the other unhappy fact is the traditional sluggishness and incapability of the healthier portion of society in Ireland to do anything whatever for themselves. Why, gentlemen, what would happen in this country if sentiments of this kind were to go forth and become in any degree dangerous to the public peace—supposing agrarian offences were committed and sometimes augmented by horrible and disgraceful cruelty, and even with loss of life, and that the crime could not be put down by the exertions of the ordinary authorities? Why, what would happen would be this. The vast multitudes of loyal citizens would exert themselves in support and in aid of the office of the law. But no such thing is heard of as that in Ireland. I hope there will be a change in that respect. I am sure it is necessary. I will give you yet one more brief quotation from one who writes thus upon the condition of Ireland.—'What is amazing and discouraging is that, during the past 18 months, no Irishman in Ireland has lifted up his voice to warn his countrymen or to condemn the statement made by Parnell. There has been no meeting of any importance, no movement of any importance, and no expression of opinion in support of public law and public order. The upper class, the landowners, are silent or are refugees, and their power is gone. There is no middle class there, as there is in England, to step forward to sustain the Government and to denounce the evil. A general cowardice seems to prevail among all the classes who possess property, and the Government is expected to preserve the peace with no moral force behind it.' That is the secondary evil of Ireland, and until that evil also is removed the condition of Ireland will not be thoroughly sound.He thought the statements contained in the speech from which he had quoted were hardly correct. He himself had attended more than one meeting in the 339 North of Ireland at which the evil practices alluded to were denounced, and he believed many other such meetings were held; but he was not prepared to admit that there might not be a slight justification for the taunt that, in some instances, the loyal classes in Ireland had not been sufficiently outspoken in their opposition to the doctrine to which reference had been made.
§ VISCOUNT CRICHTON
However that might be, the statement was deeply felt by those against whom it was levelled, and they determined to show that it should no longer be applicable to them. That opportunity came in September of last year, when the National League, the successor of the Land League, commenced a campaign in Ulster; and he must say that he could not understand the Government which had suppressed the Land League allowing the other to carry on almost the same operations, only there was this difference—that while the Land League had for its sole plank the spoliation of the landlords, the National League advocated, in addition, the dismemberment of the Empire. In September last the National League called a series of meetings in Tyrone with the object of ousting the junior Member for that county (Mr. Dickson) from his seat. At three of those meetings—at Aughnacloy, Omagh, and Dungannon—the Orangemen and Loyalists assembled in greatly superior numbers. Under the guidance of the senior Member for Tyrone (Mr. Macartney), and on one occasion aided by the hon. and gallant Member for County Dublin (Colonel King-Harman), they held counter demonstrations and expressed their loyalty to the Queen, their determination to maintain the integrity of the Empire, and their abhorrence of the doctrines of the hon. Member for the City of Cork. Then followed the visit of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition to Belfast, and the remarkable series of visits he made to other parts of the North of Ireland. Those visits had no inconsiderable effect in evoking a fresh spirit of loyalty to the Throne and devotion to the Constitution. Then came the Rosslea meeting, to the incidents of which he wished to call attention. Rosslea was a village on the 340 borders of the counties of Fermanagh and Monaghan, on the verge of a thickly-populated, and, at the same time, mountainous and almost inaccessible district, inhabited principally by Roman Catholics. The Nationalists, no doubt, thought that, if they could get up a demonstration unopposed in the Conservative and Orange county of Fermanagh, they would be able to claim the sympathy of the inhabitants of that county on their side. But they reckoned without their host. The Communistic and Separatist programme which the Nationalists put forward in the columns of their organ evoked bitter feelings in the minds of the Orangemen and the Loyalists, and counter-demonstrations were organized, under his own superintendence as far as Fermanagh was concerned, and under the superintendence of Lord Rossmore in the adjoining county of Monaghan. The placard calling the Nationalist meeting made the following appeal:—Men of Fermanagh and Monaghan—Prove, by your presence at the meeting, your unalterable devotion to the Cause that your fathers fought and bled and died for—the Cause of Irish Nationality; prove to the hydra-headed monster of landlordism and your English taskmasters, that you will never rest contented until the Land of Ireland is the property of the whole people of Ireland; to be administered by a Government existing for the good and by the will of the Irish Nation.On the morning of the 16th of October a procession of Loyalists, estimated variously at from 5,000 to 7,000 strong, was formed at Clones, a town about five miles from Rosslea. He himself joined the procession about half-way on the road to Rosslea. While he was waiting for the main body of the procession a car drove up with Sub-Inspector Trescott, who handed him a letter from Captain M'Ternan, E.M., in charge of the arrangements for the preservation of the peace. The note reminded him of a conversation which he had had the previous clay with Captain M'Ternan in which he said he would do everything in his power to assist the Resident Magistrate in the preservation of the peace, and went on to say that he apprehended that if the Orange procession passed a field where the Nationalist meeting was being held a breach of the peace might occur; and requested him to lead the procession by a devious route to the town of Rosslea. Of course, the request having been made by the magistrate in 341 charge of the arrangements for the preservation of the peace, he (Viscount Crichton) had not the slightest hesitation in complying; and he told the Sub-Inspector that he would do so. He had no means, however, of communicating Captain M'Ternan's letter to Lord Rossmore, and any blame that was to be attached to anyone on the occasion should be attached to him (Viscount Crichton) for not doing so; but, as a matter of fact, he could not communicate with Lord Rossmore in time. When his part of the procession arrived at what was termed in the Correspondence the critical point—namely, where the road to Rosslea turned off from the main road—he expected to have found Captain M'Ternan, with a sufficient body of men to enforce his directions; but instead of that, there was only the Sub-Inspector and a small body of policemen, who were not drawn up across the road, but on the side of it. He turned off the road with his part of the procession, and proceeded through the demense of Mr. Madden; but he had not gone far before he became aware of considerable dissatisfaction among those who followed him. They did not appear to relish the extra mile-and-a-half or two miles' tramp that was being imposed upon them for the sake of pleasing "rebels," as they termed them, and the consequence was that about two-thirds of the party turned back, and went the direct road to Rosslea, while he went on with the remainder on the road he was pursuing. He was accused the next day in the Nationalist Press of a breach of faith, for they said he had broken his promise to Captain M'Ternan; and when they failed to make him out a liar they called him a coward. There was as much foundation for the one charge as for the other. When Lord Rossmore, who was in ignorance of what had passed between Captain M'Ternan and him (Viscount Crichton), arrived at the turn, the Sub-Inspector held up his hands, and, pointing to the right, said—" Lord Crichton has gone that way." Lord Rossmore said—" Have you any authority to stop me going the direct route? "The Sub-Inspector said he had not any. Lord Rossmore then said he would go the direct road. In the course of half-a-mile he met Captain M'Ternan. There was some conflict of memory between Captain M'Ternan and 342 Lord Rossmore as to what actually passed between them. According to Lord Rossmore's recollection of what took place, Captain M'Ternan allowed the procession to pass on Lord Rossmore's promise to observe the peace. Captain M'Ternan did not quite corroborate Lord Rossmore; but it was clear that his words left that impression, for he (Viscount Crichton) met Lord Rossmore half-an-hour later, and was told by him that Captain M'Ternan had given him leave, and that in consequence of that permission he had promised to lead his men back to Clones by the road which he (Viscount Crichton) had pursued. Lord Rossmore might, no doubt, have turned back, but he would have had to go back by himself, and allow the men to go on without his controlling influence. They would not turn back. The two opposition meetings were held. The loyal meeting passed resolutions expressing their loyalty to the Queen, their determination to maintain the Union, their hostility to the National League, and their detestation of all its works. He might incidentally mention that he had received a communication from Captain C. E. Barton, with reference to a meeting subsequently held at Dromore, in which that gentleman said—There were two roads from the station to the town, one of which led directly past the field of our Loyalist meeting, in which we were assembled, and in some places not even a hedge separated us from the road, so I was much surprised after what has passed between Government and Lord Rossmore to see a largo body of Nationalists permitted by the Authorities to pass along this road in preference to the other road by which all contact with Orangemen could have been avoided.Only for the influence I had over my men, a serious breach of the peace might have been committed, as even the police were so arranged that the Nationalists had to pass between them and us in close and 'dangerous proximity' to our men who were assembled along the side of the field next the road.Captain Barton further stated—The Authorities here did exactly the same thing Lord Rossmore was blamed for doing at Rosslea, with this difference—that they passed the Nationalists by the field where Orangemen were assembled, and at Rosslea Lord Rossmore passed his men by the field the Nationalists were in.Three weeks had elapsed after the occurrences at Rosslea, the incidents were beginning to die out of the 343 people's mind, when, on the 6th of November, Lord Rossmore received the following letter from the Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal:—Secretary's Office, Four Courts,Dublin, November 6,1883.My Lord—I am directed by the Lords Commissioners for the Custody of the Great Seal of Ireland to state for your Lordship's information that papers, including copies of official reports of Sub-Inspector Trescott and Captain M'Ternan, R. M., have been laid before them by direction of his Excellency Earl Spencer, with a view of their considering your Lordship's action on the occasion of the meeting at Rosslea on the 16th October last. These papers disclose the following state of things as having occurred on that occasion: that a meeting of considerable numbers of persons was assembled at Rosslea on the 16th of October last, called together as a National demonstration of a body calling itself the Irish National League; that a counter demonstration, under placards previously circulated, was announced to take place at Rosslea on the same day, assembling in opposition to the first-mentioned meeting; that during the time that the first-mentioned meeting was assembled, and while considerable excitement prevailed, your Lordship, heading a procession of a large number of men moving towards the second or counter meeting, led the procession into such close proximity to the place of the first-mentioned meeting as to seriously endanger the public peace; that your Lordship was remonstrated with in the first instance by Sub-Inspector Trescott, one of the constabulary officers then charged with the preservation of the public peace, and was requested by that officer to adopt another route, which, as he stated, had immediately before been pursued by other persons on their way to the meeting to which your Lordship's procession was moving, and which route he would seem to have intimated to you had been adopted by those persons at the request of the authorities as a means of preserving the public peace; that soon afterwards your Lordship, pursuing the route you insisted on following, and by which you were leading your procession, was again remonstrated with and warned by Captain M'Ternan, Resident Magistrate, also then charged with the preservation of the public peace, to alter that route, so as to avoid the risk of collision between the men forming your Lordship's procession and those assembled at the first-mentioned meeting, and that your Lordship refused so to do, persevering in the route you had selected; that that course was taken by your Lordship, although at the time of the Resident Magistrate's interview with yon expressions of a violent and threatening character were used by several of the persons composing your Lordship's procession.I am further directed to state that it appears to the Lords Commissioners that the line of action adopted by your Lordship on the occasion, holding as you do Her Majesty's Commission of the 344 Peace, calls for explanation, which you will he good enough at your earliest convenience to furnish to their Lordships.I have the honour to be, &c,J. N. LENTAIGNE,Secretary to the Lords Commissioners for the custody of the Great Seal of Ireland.To the Right Hon. Lord Rossmore,Rossmore Park, Monaghan.Lord Rossmore replied as follows:—3, Motcombe Street,London, 19th Nov.Sir—Having been detained in England longer than I anticipated upon acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 6th instant, I consider it better not to delay my formal reply to your communication until my return to Ireland. In it you say that the Lords Commissioners for the custody of the Great Seal of Ireland directed you to call my attention to certain official reports laid before them regarding my action at Rosslea on the 16th of October. You will be good enough to inform their Lordships that the report referred to, so far as the facts are given in your letter, seems to be substantially correct, but that I dispute entirely the conclusions arrived at, founded as they are on an imperfect knowledge of what occurred. You say that the papers referred to disclose the following state of things, viz.:—That a meeting of considerable numbers of persons was assembled at Rosslea on the 16th of October last, called together as a National demonstration, under the auspices of a body calling itself the Irish National League. This is quite correct, but their Lordships seem to have been kept in ignorance of the real purport of that meeting, as disclosed previously in a paragraph in The People's Advocate, the organ of the Party in this district of Ulster. It is as follows:—" The people of Enniskillen have resolved to send a large deputation of their fellow-citizens to represent them at this National display, and participate in the declaration that no real content can be enjoyed in Ireland until the land has been restored to the people and the Irish Parliament re-erected in College Green." And again:—'Rosslea will make known to those who undertake to rule that success in their efforts can only come of ample justice, and that ample justice above and beyond all things consists in the establishment of an Irish National Parliament in Dublin.' I need hardly say that such a declaration of a Separatist and Communistic programme, to be adopted at the so-called "National meeting," stirred up a very bitter feeling amongst all Loyalists; and it was a matter of much surprise to them that the Government, who, in the South and West (where there was no possibility of collision) proclaimed such meetings, declined to interfere in the only loyal Province of Ireland. Under these circumstances, at the request and solicitation of the Orangemen of the County Monaghan and the County Fermanagh, a counter demonstration was organized; and, I am happy to say, proved a complete success, 345 unattended by bloodshed or rioting of any kind.It was stated in your letter, 'avowedly in opposition to the first-mentioned meeting.' And I trust the day will never come when Loyalists will fail to organize meeting's in opposition to seditious demonstrations, set up for the dismemberment of the Empire, and where Royalty and all they hold dear is made the subject of ribaldry and abuse. If the Government consider it part of their duty to allow meetings to be held in the North of Ireland by an organization which, in the words of the Prime Minister, 'is endeavouring to march through rapine to the dismemberment of the Empire,' the Loyalists of Ulster must oppose by counter demonstration the dissemination of such views, which, in other parts of Ireland, have led to crime, outrage, and murder. But it is further stated that I insisted on going the direct road to Rosslea instead of taking a circuitous route of about two miles, as suggested by Sub-Inspector Trescott. The facts are these: The men under my charge were thoroughly conversant with the locality, and through some means had learned that it was intended to march them the circuitous route; and during their progress from Clones I received reliable information that they would not be dictated to in this matter, and were determined to inarch by no other than the direct road to the Loyalist place of meeting: and it is perfectly true, as stated in your letter, that Captain M'Ternan heard expressions of determined opposition and of a violent nature from those in close proximity to me when he proposed a deviation from the direct road; but it is also true that Captain M'Ternan granted permission to the procession, headed by himself, to pursue the route we desired on my personally pledging myself to assist him with all my influence to preserve the peace. This, I am happy to say, I succeeded in doing. The Orangemen who did as directed were the first of the procession, and were men from distant parts of the County Fermanagh, who had no knowledge of the locality. My men absolutely refused to follow, and I had but a moment to decide whether I should lead them and keep them under control, or allow them to proceed alone without any controlling influence to prevent a collision. I did not hesitate as to the course it was my duty to follow, and I am most thankful that I decided to accompany the procession, as already stated in a letter of October 20th, published in most newspapers throughout the Kingdom. I, with other officers of the Society, had the greatest possible difficulty in controlling the men, and preventing them from retaliating on the stone-throwing and insulting mob assembled at the disloyal meeting Had we not been present I firmly believe that a collision would have taken place, resulting, in all probability, in a fearful loss of life. In conclusion, I may remind their Lordships that on more than one occasion the Prime Minister, the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, had gone so far as to allude to the increased difficulty thrown upon the Irish Government in consequence of the 'cowardice' and traditional sluggishness and incapability of the wealthier portion of society in Ireland to protect themselves (October 7th, 1881). I believed, and still believe, that the course of action adopted on the occasion referred to was the 346 most practical manner in which I could respond to the Prime Minister's urgent appeal.I am, Sir, your obedient servant,ROSSMORE.To J. N. Lentaigne, Esq.,Four Courts, Dublin.Secretary's Office, Four Courts, Dublin,Nov. 24, 1883.My Lord,—I am directed by the Lords Commissioners for the custody of the Great Seal of Ireland to acknowledge your Lordship's letter of the 19th instant, and to state that it raises issues entirely outside the communication made to you by them, more particularly as to the course taken by the Executive in not proclaiming certain meetings in the Province of Ulster. In reference to those issues, the Lords Commissioners cannot have any discussion with your Lordship. They, as holding, by their office, control over Her Majesty's Commissioners of the Peace, addressed your Lordship as one named in that Commission in relation to your action at Rosslea on the 16th ultimo. Your Lordship admits the facts mentioned in their letter as substantially correct, and those facts plainly show that your Lordship on the day in question took a leading and active part in a proceeding which was fraught with peril to the public peace. This, on your Lordship's letter, stands conceded. Nay, further, it appears from that letter that, with the fullest knowledge of an almost certain danger and risk to the public peace, you deliberately beaded and led a determined and excited procession into the immediate vicinity of the meeting to which you and your procession were opposed. Your Lordship, however, mentions as an incident of your interview with Captain M'Ternan, R.M., that you had his permission to go along the route you were pursuing. The Lords Commissioners have thought it right to obtain Captain M'Ternan's additional report as to your Lordship's statement on this point. That report unfortunately cannot be easily reconciled with your Lordship's statement, but their Lordships do not think it necessary to pursue this conflict of recollection any further. They are willing to believe that some expressions used at the moment may have led your Lordship to think that no opposition would be offered to your persevering in the route you had insisted on following. But your Lordship must have been then aware that you had brought your procession of excited followers into such close proximity to the meeting you were opposed to that it might have been a more prudent course to allow you to go on than to attempt to repel your advance by force, even if Captain M'Ternan had the means of doing so, which, as a matter of fact, he had not. Permission of that description, even if actually accorded, could by no means excuse the deliberate action theretofore taken by your Lordship, which, as is fully manifested by your letter of the 19th instant, as well as your published letter therein referred to, had at the very moment brought about a very dangerous and almost fatal crisis, and which, in your Lordship's letter, you seem quite ready to repeat upon any similar occasion. If your Lordship had, indeed, been able to say that up to the time of the interview with Captain M'Ternan you had not realized 347 the dangerous consequences likely to ensue from the situation in which you had placed yourself, and that your then going forward was entirely based upon a permission at that moment given, the Lords Commissioners would have been too ready to accept an excuse on your part resting upon that state of facts. The Lords Commissioners cannot but regard your action on the 16th ultimo as one utterly subversive of the maintenance of the public peace, and they have most distinctly to convey to your Lordship that the position asserted by your Lordship's letter to them is altogether indefensible coming from a magistrate. It must be obvious to your Lordship that you were not called upon to give any explanation of the holding of a counter demonstration on the day in question. Loyal subjects of the Crown can, if they so think fit, hold their meetings to protest against what they may deem to be sedition and disloyalty, or to assert their views in a legitimate manner upon any public question, but in doing so they must not either assail a meeting of those whose views they may think objectionable, or hold their counter meeting in such close proximity thereto as to provoke or render imminent the risk of a collision. They who act otherwise incur the gravest responsibility, and it cannot be allowed that magistrates should give the smallest sanction to such a course of conduct. Upon the most anxious and careful consideration of the entire circumstances of the case, and having regard to your Lordship's letter of the 15th instant, which their Lordships can only construe as intended by you as a justification of your conduct and an announcement of your readiness to repeat it, the Lords Commissioners are of opinion that you ought not to be allowed longer to remain in Her Majesty's Commission of the Peace, and they have accordingly given the necessary directions to have you suspended from further acting therein.—I have the honour to be, my Lord, your most obedient servant,J. NUGENT LENTAIGNE,Secretary to the Lords Commissioners.He wanted to ask the Government why Lord Rossmore was treated in this offhanded, Star Chamber manner? Why was he dismissed on the ex parte—he did not use the word in any offensive sense, for a statement of that kind must of necessity be ex parte—the ex parte statements of the Sub-Inspector of Constabulary and the Resident Magistrate? Why was not Lord Rossmore furnished with a Report of these two gentlemen? Why was it withheld from him; and, further, why was he dismissed without any inquiry being instituted? He ventured to think that he had produced a few facts to-night which threw a somewhat different light upon this transaction. Why was he (Viscount Crichton) not examined? Then there were other gentlemen whose evidence would have been of far more importance. There was Sir John Leslie, a gentleman who 348 was formerly a Member of the House, and there were other magistrates who accompanied Lord Rossmore on that occasion, and whose testimony, if it had been brought forward, would have differed in many material respects from the Reports of the Resident Magistrate and Sub-Inspector of Constabulary. There was, he believed, an exact precedent in favour of the course of granting an inquiry. Some Members of the House might have heard of an affair known as the "Dolly's Brae" battle, which happened many years ago in the County of Down, in which there was a collision between a party of Orangemen and a party of Roman Catholics, where, unfortunately, life was lost. Lord Roden and two other gentlemen, Messrs. Beers, were dismissed from the Commission of the Peace for their participation in that matter. He read the report of the debate the other day in Hansard. The matter was brought forward by the late Lord Derby, and he must say that bad as he considered the treatment of Lord Rossmore the treatment of Lord Roden struck him as being more iniquitous still. Lord Roden was charged, not with having taken part in the demonstration and subsequent disturbance, but with having entertained a body of Orangemen in his demesne—entertained them to luncheon, he believed, and having addressed them on that occasion, and having neglected to give thorn the advice, as suggested by the magistrate, that they should return by a different way from that by which they came; and for refusing, as Chairman of the Bench of Magistrates at Castlewellan, to receive informations against the Orangemen for taking part in the procession. But Lord Roden was not dismissed without an inquiry. A Commissioner was sent down; he held a protracted and lengthened investigation; he examined several witnesses, including the incriminated magistrates, and he finally issued a Report, upon which Lord Roden was dismissed from the Commission of the Peace. He would like to know why a similar course was not pursued in the case of Lord Rossmore? Lord Rossmore replied to the letter of the Commissioners as follows:—3 Motcombe Street, London,28th November, 1883.Sir—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt, on the 26th instant, of your letter of 349 the 24th instant, written by the direction of the Lords Commissioners for the custody of the Great Seal of Ireland; and, in doing so, I feel bound to protest emphatically against the decision at which their Lordships have arrived, as being entirely opposed to the fair meaning of your original letter of November 6th, and the legitimate construction of my reply of November 19th. I was, in substance, asked, in your letter of November 6th, to explain my persistence in the route of the procession which I accompanied to Rosslea, after having been remonstrated with and warned by Captain M'Ternan.Although I deemed it my duty, in replying to this communication, to state the circumstances which led to the holding of the second meeting, and which would seem not to have been disclosed in the papers laid before their Lordships by direction of the Lord Lieutenant, I did not conceive that it formed any part of the charge against me, that I had taken part in organizing and attending this counter demonstration on the grounds that such a proceeding would endanger the public peace. Your letter contained no such intimation. The fact that the Executive did not exercise its power of prohibiting the meetings was a sufficient assurance that those who had the best means of knowledge were not apprehensive of danger, and the circumstance that other magistrates, who took as active a part as I did, had not been called on for an explanation of their conduct confirmed me in my view of your communication.I respectfully insist that my letter of the 19th instant contains a complete answer to the only charge that had been brought against me. My admission of facts must not be wrested from its obvious meaning, and must be taken in connection with my distinct denial of the conclusions arrived at, my supplemental statement of what actually occurred, and my explanation of the motives by which I was actuated. I stated—and, if the fact be controverted, I am prepared to prove—that Captain M'Ternan, the Resident Magistrate, who, in the terms of your letter of the 6th instant, 'was then charged with the preservation of the peace,' granted permission to the procession headed by myself to pursue the route we went, upon my personally pledging myself to assist him with all my influence to preserve the peace. I pointed out that the question of route arose for the first time while the men were on their way to Ross-lea, that they had absolutely refused to follow the Fermanagh men, and that I had but a moment to decide whether I should continue to lead and keep them under control or allow them to proceed alone without my controlling influence. Had Captain M'Ternan persisted in his remonstrances, I would have been placed in the embarrassing position of deciding whether it would be my duty to leave the procession, or to take the course which my own knowledge and conviction as a magistrate familiar with the country indicated as calculated to preserve the peace; but I was relieved from this difficulty by his giving the permission to which I have already referred.Your letter of the 24th instant states that the Lords Commissioners have 'thought it right' to obtain Captain M'Ternan's additional report as to this permission, and intimate that, 350 although that report cannot be easily reconciled with my statement, their Lordships do not think it necessary to pursue the conflict of recollection any further. I am wholly at a loss to understand what is here intended to be conveyed by the Lords Commissioners. The subject of the original charge was that I had acted against the warning of Captain M'Ternan in taking a particular route. I met this by the clear and unqualified statement that I so acted with the express permission of Captain M'Ternan, and with a view to prevent a collision. If this statement be accurate, my explanation would be complete; and accordingly their Lordships thought it right to obtain Captain M'Ternan's additional report on this very point. I assume that the Lords Commissioners, who bring to the discharge of their present political functions the experience acquired from the exercise of judicial office, would not have applied to Captain M'Ternan for further information unless they conceived that my statement, if unanswered, was sufficient justification of my action. They furnish me with no copy of the additional report; they give me no opportunity of proving my allegation, if they thought it needed corroboration; but they are good enough to admit that Captain M'Ternan 'may have used expressions that may have led me to think that no opposition would be offered to my persevering in the route.' Even this qualified admission materially alters the character of the charge contained in your letter of the 6th instant; but I respectfully deny their Lordships' right, in the absence of further investigation, to qualify in the smallest degree the statement contained in my letter of the 19th November—a statement which, as I have already said, I am prepared to prove by the clearest and most undoubted evidence.Their Lordships, however, say 'that a permission of that character could by no means excuse the deliberate action theretofore taken by me, which was manifested in my letter of the 19th, as well as by my published letter.' This would seem to introduce a perfectly new charge. I respectfully assert that neither my letter of the 19th nor my published letter manifests any deliberate action on my part as to the route to be taken by the procession. If their Lordships, bearing this in mind, will strike out of their letter of the 6th November that I acted against the remonstrance and warning of Captain M'Ternan, and insert instead that I acted with his permission, they will readily see that nothing contained in that document or in my admissions can be relied on to support the extraordinary conclusion at which they have now arrived.The only deliberate action manifested in either my published letter or that of the 19th instant was my taking part in the counter demonstration. I have made no concealment of my motives and actions. I attended at Rosslea as a loyal citizen, and for the reasons which I have set forth in my former letter to you. This much deliberation, and this alone, I have admitted; and, therefore, I am obliged to come to the conclusion that this is the ground upon which their Lordships have thought it right to deprive me of the Commission of the Peace. It is, no doubt, difficult to reconcile this view with their statement that it must have been obvious 351 to me that I was not called upon to give any explanation of the holding of a counter demonstration on the day in question. But it is the only logical conclusion that can he drawn from the correspondence. I must conclude that this is one of the inconsistencies which cannot he avoided in justifying the action of an Executive which, having the power to prohibit the holding of meetings, if it he deemed that the public peace would be endangered, first permits them to proceed, and then selecting, for some reason unknown to me, as a single victim one of the many magistrates who attended, removes him from the Commission of the Peace, on the ground that his action in so doing had a tendency to imperil the public safety.In conclusion, I would add that, although the decision of their Lordships is a matter of but small importance to myself individually. I cannot help feeling that it will he considered by many of the loyal inhabitants of the country as another slight directed against those who are anxious to protest against the doctrines of rapine and revolution. The action of the Lords Commissioners, who are admittedly set in motion by the head of the Irish Government, will he attributed, not to the ordinary control which, by virtue of their office, they exercise over Her Majesty's Commission of the Peace, but to the position which they now hold, in the absence of a Lord Chancellor, as political advisers to the Executive. It will be regarded as part of the same policy that rewards men who choose to convene a seditious meeting in a hitherto peaceful district by disarming an orderly and law-abiding population; and a contrast will, no doubt, be drawn between the zeal exhibited by the Government in the present instance, and the tolerance which it has often shown towards language and conduct which have afforded the most direct stimulant to violence and outrage.—I am, Sir, your obedient servant,ROSSMORE.To the above letter the Lords Commissioners sent the following reply, which closes the Correspondence:—29th November, 1883.My Lord,—I am directed by the Lords Commissioners, &c., to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's letter of 28th instant, and to state that their Lordships find nothing in it which can induce them to doubt the propriety of the decision which they felt coerced to make upon fullest consideration of the uncontroverted facts of the case. They must, therefore, decline to discuss further the matter with your Lordship.—I am, &c.,J. N. LENTAIGNE,Secretary to Lords Commissioners.If the House had been kind enough to follow him in what he had been stating he thought they would see that the point really was a very narrow one. The Commissioners practically abandoned their charge against Lord Rossmore of disobeying Captain M'Ternan. They admitted that the expressions used by Captain M'Ternan might have induced 352 Lord Rossmore to think that no opposition would be offered him in pursuing the course which he was then following, so that the point really was this—was he justified in disregarding or disobeying, or whatever they might call it, the remonstrances or instructions of Sub-Inspector Trescott? He maintained that he was. He had tried to show—first, Lord Rossmore's ignorance that he (Viscount Crichton) had received any communication from Captain M'Ternan; and, secondly, that Sub-Inspector Trescott distinctly told him he had no authority to prevent him going on in the way he was pursuing; and he thought he had also shown that Lord Rossmore was better acquainted with the feelings of those under him than he (Lord Crichton) was. But, suppose Lord Rossmore was guilty of an error of judgment, which he thought the outside of what could be alleged against him, was that a matter which called for the severe treatment to which he had been subjected? He asked—Did not this Correspondence, from which he had read, suggest the suspicion, amounting almost to a certainty, that Lord Rossmore was not dismissed for anything done during the course of the counter-demonstration, but for having been one of the principal organizers of the counter-demonstration itself? This would be a small matter if it affected Lord Rossmore alone. To one in his position it mattered very little whether he continued to have the right to put the magic letters "J.P." after his name or not. Indeed, after the way in which successive Liberal Lord Chancellors had degraded the status of the magistracy the possession of the Commission of the Peace was a very questionable distinction in Ireland. What had been the effect of the Government's action? What was the effect they must have known it would have had on the loyal portion of the community in Ireland. He ventured to say that outside the circle of placemen and place-hunters, 99 out of every 100 loyal men regarded the treatment of the Government as a blow struck at themselves. What could the Loyalists do? They did nothing, or they were supposed to do nothing. He would not say they were taunted, but they were told by the Prime Minister that they were cowardly, and that they were traditionally incapable of doing anything to help 353 themselves. They tried to remove the reproach. Their leaders were dismissed in disgrace, and they fell under the censure of the President of the Board of Trade, who told them that they were worse than the men who had been described by their own leaders as "steeped to the lips in treason." Was this the time—he would not say to alienate, for theirs was no conditional loyalty dependent upon the smiles and frowns of the Government of the day—but to throw a damper on the zeal of those to whom alone, as they well knew, they could look to aid them in maintaining the Union between the two countries? He did not ask for the restitution of Lord Rossmore to the Commission of the Peace. He would not accept it at the hands of Her Majesty's present Advisers, but he did ask that this policy of discouraging and degrading the Loyalists might cease, and it was in the hope that some assurance might be given that night that he had ventured to bring the matter before the House. There were one or two observations which fell from the hon. Member for the City of Cork which he ought to notice, as there were matters of fact which came under his own knowledge. He taunted the Orangemen who attended the counter-demonstration by speaking of them as having been paid their day's wages. He was one of the principal organizers of the Rosslea meeting, and he had something to say to the Dromore meeting, and he could confidently affirm that not a single man who attended these meetings received a single penny for doing so. The hon. Member talked of there not being 20,000 sworn Orangemen in Ireland. Well, he could go further and say that there was not one sworn Orangeman in Ireland, for Orangemen took no oaths, but the real number of Orangemen in Ireland was vastly in excess of that at which the hon. Member put it. Then the hon. Member for the City of Cork said that as regarded the Nationalist meetings, the attendance there exceeded that of the counter-demonstration by two to one. The authorities who he supposed were competent to give an opinion on the subject——
§ MR. PARNELL
I said exceeded. I did not say by two to one. I said the Catholic population of the Rosslea district exceeded very largely the other, and that the numbers at the Nationalist 354 meeting exceeded the numbers at the Orange meeting, but I did not say by two to one.
§ VISCOUNT CRICHTON
said, he believed the Loyalists were two to one over that of Nationalists. The hon. Member also talked of their being no Orangemen among the farmers, and said that they belonged to the manufacturing towns of the North. He represented a county (Fermanagh) where there was not a single manufacturing town, or a town of any kind except Enniskillen; and relatively the Orangemen were stronger in that county than in any other, and they belonged almost entirely to the farming class. He also said that, except in two counties, the Roman Catholic voters exceeded the Protestants.
He had misunderstood the hon. Member on that point. He did not think it was necessary to say anything further. He had brought the matter forward on this occasion because he had felt it right that a matter which had created so much excitement and feeling in Ireland should be discussed in the House at the earliest opportunity. He believed the Government had acted precipitately in the matter, and that if such an occurrence took place again they would adopt a very different course.
§ MR. T. D. SULLIVAN
contended that the Nationalist meetings in the North of Ireland were legal and Constitutional meetings called for a legal and Constitutional purpose. That being so, he also claimed that any interference with those meetings by way of violence was illegal, and that those who indulged in such interference ought to have been dealt with by the Government. No sooner had the National League proclaimed their intention of holding a meeting in any part of Ulster than it was circulated in that Province that they were coming as invaders and murderers. Volumes of abuse had been thrown upon the Nationalists by gentlemen in Ulster, and had been published by them in their Party journals for the purpose, he believed, of misleading English public opinion. The Nationalists' entry into Ulster had been described as an invasion of the Province by hordes of invaders, and even as a crusade. But 355 these Nationalist meetings in the North were composed almost exclusively of natives of Ulster and of people living in the immediate neighbourhood where the meetings were held, and within a small area, and there were not more than three of those who attended who were not Ulster men by birth. The people who attended the Nationalist meetings in Tyrone and Fermanagh were Tyrone and Fermanagh men, the strangers from Dublin numbering only two or three. The Orangemen acted on the pretence that there were no Nationalists in Ulster; that the Province was theirs; that the Nationalists were invaders. The thing was false, utterly untrue, and in keeping with the audacity of these gentlemen in their endeavours to mislead the public all over the world. The presence of these two or three Members of the Irish Parliamentary Party at these meetings was quite sufficient to strike terror into the hearts of the Northern landlords. They pressed upon the Government the necessity of sending troops and police to these meetings. Their guilty consciences were at the bottom of their fears. He was at two or three of these meetings, and he could testify that until the hired followers of the landlord party were brought by train to the meetings, there was no opposition and no counter-demonstrations. At Dromore there was no riot when he and his friends reached the town and were escorted to their hotel. The riot occurred the next day after the Orangemen had been brought in and their train-fare paid by I O U. He thought it was a very confiding thing of the station-master to accept the I O U of some of these gentlemen. He and his friends made speeches there which were taken down by the Government note-takers, and he challenged the Government to produce those speeches and show that there was a word of treasonable matter in any of them. It was the Orangemen made the disturbance, and on their heads rested the guilt. At Drumquin a number of Orangemen attended their meeting, but did not interfere, so that the meeting passed over in peace. That proved that the opposition that they had to encounter in the North of Ireland was an organized thing. They were not opposed by the people of the districts in which the meetings were held, but by an organized body who were brought in by train and excited and impassioned by 356 the harangues of landlords. They had heard something of the bravery of the Orangemen who attended the Rosslea meeting. He was present at it, and knew something of that bravery. The bravery of these Rosslea Orangemen consisted in beating a young lad and tearing down a frail triumphal arch that was left undefended. It was the intention of the Catholics to hold their meeting in the Market Square, but it was represented to them by the authorities that it would be dangerous to the public peace to hold the meeting in the town; so in deference to that opinion they went and held their meeting a little way outside. In their absence a number of these Orange heroes came into the deserted town and tore down an arch that had been erected, cruelly beating a young lad on the head and nearly killing him. That was a fact they afterwards boasted of as if it had been one of the greatest wars in our history. At the meeting the Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy) did his best to keep the crowd at the Nationalist meeting quiet when they heard the shots at the Orange gathering, and it was largely owing to his exertions that worse things did not happen. Yet Lord Rossmore claimed to be a preserver of the peace on that occasion, and to have prevented bloodshed. At Dromore also it was the Orangemen who were brought by train that composed the great body of the Orange meeting. He had a full view of the Orange meeting from the platform where he was standing, and he would undertake to say that there were not more than 100 people around it until the train came in bringing the Orangemen from a distance. The men who made the Orange meeting were not natives of the district, but were brought a distance of 50, 60, 70, and even 100 miles, and the unfortunate boy who met his death was brought from Portadown. He maintained that the Orangemen were only a handful of men in Ulster, and that their absurd statements as to their numbers were calculated to mislead public opinion in this country. All through the meeting at Dromore the business went on for a certain length of time peacefully. After the Orangemen had heard the incendiary speeches addressed to them, however, they were in a different mood. They became eager for action, and on several occasions the 357 police and the military had to keep them from making aggressions on the Nationalists who were wending their way home. After hearing the oratory of the noble Lord (Lord Claud Hamilton) the demeanour of the Orange meeting was different. He (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) had the testimony of a high military officer who was present on that occasion at Dromore, and he said, in reference to the noble Lord, that he had little difficulty in keeping order until Lord Claud Hamilton called upon some of his supporters to put down the rebels, but to do it in a legal manner. This, the military gentleman said, was very like the story which he had heard of a certain person who said—" There is a duck gun; but for God's sake don't kill a duck with it." The meaning of this advice was simply this—" Don't duck him in the horse pond, or don't nail his ears to the pump." He asked the noble Lord to justify before the House his conduct in threatening that his party "would take the law into their own hands if the Government did not interfere." At all events, he (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) asked the Government for their guidance in Ireland to tell Irish Members what they thought of language of that kind. Again, the noble Lord said—I speak advisedly in the position of a Member of Parliament when I say the time has come when we can no longer trifle with this matter.The people who met in Derry were stated by the noble Lord to be "all ruffians." Well, he (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) would tell him that they were as worthy, as well-conducted, and of as high character as he was himself, or any member of his family. The next statement of the noble Lord was that there were to be "hordes of ruffians invading the place." Well, there was no one except the ex-Lord Mayor of Dublin, and his secretary, who went down, and he supposed that each was a "horde" in himself. It was little wonder that there should be anger and murder in the hearts of men whom he addressed and excited on that occasion in the North of Ireland. He would remind the noble Lord that he belonged to an organization which was born in troubled times. Its history had been a history of crime, disloyalty, and bloodshed—aye, and of treason. He (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) would 358 read another extract from this noble Lord's addresses. At Dromore he was not satisfied with attacking humble individuals like him (Mr. T. D. Sullivan). He flew at higher game, and assailed the Prime Minister, and put him in the same category. He said—Mr. Gladstone is the direct author, and, to a certain extent, the instigator of a great portion of the plague of agitation, crime, and outrage by which Ireland has been torn asunder during the past.He asked the noble Lord to stand up, before that debate had finished, and to try, if he could, to justify to the House and to the English people the extracts he had read from his incendiary harangues. He claimed that the meetings which were held in the North of Ireland were for a legal and Constitutional purpose. Threats, however, of the vilest character were published day after day and week after week. Placards and other documents in the Orange newspapers called upon the Orangemen to "assemble in their thousands" to stop Nationalist meetings. He asked why the Crimes Act had not been enforced in this matter? The pretence of these men that they were defending the Empire and preserving law and order was simply sham and humbug. They were only endeavouring to deceive English public opinion, because they knew well that they could not impose upon the public mind in Ireland. The documents to which he had referred contained the language of menace and intimidation, spoken to armed and excited men. He asked the Government whether the use of such language as he had quoted was likely to forward the ends of justice or the principles of loyalty in Ireland? He said it was not. The hon. Member then referred to the meeting held at Rathmines, at which, he said, Major Sanderson, addressing the Orangemen, declared that there had been assembled at Rosslea and Dromore men gathered not only to cheer and to speak, but for the purpose of showing that there was a great party in the country ready for action. Even in the churches the same spirit was displayed, and the Rev. F. G. Stokes exhorted the Orangemen to stand shoulder to shoulder to resist the revolutionary wave, also appealing to them to look unflinchingly for help to the "God of battles." The Nationalist meetings, he (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) contended, were 359 legal and Constitutional meetings, held in the face of all these incitements to violence, riot, and murder; and he maintained that it was the duty of the Government to have suppressed the counter-meetings, which were illegal, and not those of the Nationalists, which were perfectly lawful and orderly. Instead of doing that the Government had suppressed both sets of meetings, thereby gravely falling short of their duty and taking a course which would do them no service in Ireland. He might remind the House that the evidence given at the inquiry held with reference to the disturbances at Rosslea, proved the Orange party to have been the attacking party. The doctor (Dr. Thompson) who attended the wounded boy—the poor boy who would have been minding his business and receiving no harm but for the incitements of those men who brought him there to do no good, and at the risk of his life—testified that the Orange party broke the palings, and that 2,000 of them attacked the National party several times, although the latter had given no cause of offence. Dr. Thompson was an Orange sympathizer, but when asked by the solicitor whether any attack was made upon the Orange party by the Nationalists, he unhesitatingly answered "No." Notwithstanding all this it was said that the Orange party was the loyal party. He (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) called them disloyal, and disloyalty marked the whole of the Orange agitation in the North of Ireland. The conduct of the Orange magistrates in backing up Lord Rossmore after he had been for good reasons dismissed from the Commission of the Peace was disloyal. They might shout, "God save the Queen!" and say that they were for the integrity of the Empire; but in their mouths these were but party cries. Loyalty meant obedience to the law, and respect for the constituted authorities; and those gentlemen failed to show either of those qualities. He told that to the loyal Gentlemen from the North of Ireland, who seemed to know nothing about it. The hon. Member then quoted from a charge delivered on August 5, 1815, by Judge Fletcher to the Grand Jury of Wexford, in order to prove that the Orange societies had produced most mischievous effects, particularly in the North of Ireland. That Judge declared that they poisoned the very fountains of 360 justice; that even magistrates under their influence had in too many instances violated their duty and their oaths; and that until those associations were effectually put down and arms were taken from their hands, it was vain to expect tranquillity or peace in the country, and particularly in the North of Ireland. It had been said that no Orangeman had been sent to the gallows; but this was not because they did not deserve it, but because they had friends on the jury box and on the Magisterial Bench. The learned Judge to whom he referred had laid clown that the only truly loyal people were those who, if there were disturbances in the country, endeavoured to appease them; but the self-styled Loyalists of the North of Ireland tried to get up disturbances. From the earliest times of the Orange Institution its course had been marked by crime and outrage. At a meeting of magistrates and gentlemen, convened by Lord Gosford, Governor of the county of Armagh, in 1795, his Lordship alluded to this society as a "lawless banditti," in whose breasts the profession of the Roman Catholic faith was sufficient to excite rage and a desire to shed blood; and asked in what history of human cruelty had they heard of the people of an entire county being deprived of the fruits of their labour, and driven out of their homos in inclement weather to die? The same spirit had characterized the Association from that day to this; and though they boasted of being the friends of peace and law and order, yet it was in evidence that in very recent times they had in Derry resorted to the bomb and the infernal machines. They were bold in language when they had their pockets full of revolvers; but if there was revolver for revolver he thought they would keep the peace. There was no man whose character would not be assailed and vilified if he did not play into the hands of these gentlemen. A Member of that House—a Deputy Lieutenant—had said that the Prime Minister's management of Ireland had deluged that country with blood, and that the Government was a disloyal and pettifogging Government. So it appeared that there were other people who were disloyal besides the Nationalists. In view of such statements the Orange charges upon the National League sat very lightly upon their shoulders. But 361 he charged the Government with having acted unequally and unfairly, with having favoured the men who brought the public peace into peril, and with having suppressed meetings which were legal and Constitutional, and which it was the duty of the Government to uphold at any cost. The right hon. Gentleman who went to the North of Ireland the other day and stirred up the Orangemen, had not offered one word of apology for the violence which he aroused, except a few words about a nun, who had been frightened to death. These Orangemen were not really loyal; on the contrary, they were obstacles to the spread of loyalty in the North of Ireland. The Irish people had been loyal to English Kings, and had suffered severely for it; they had been loyal to Charles I., and had got Cromwell; loyal to James IL, and had got William III. and the penal laws. Loyalty was a weakness of the Irish Catholics; now they were taunted with their poverty after they had been robbed and plundered. He again charged the magistrates with disloyalty who had protested against the dismissal of Lord Rossmore. Until the power was taken out of the hands of those men there could not be confidence in the administration of justice in Ireland, nor peace, loyalty, or contentment amongst the people. If necessary, let the qualification for the magistracy be reduced, so that men of character and intelligence might administer the law, and not only those who belonged to the class which had confiscated the property of the Catholics of Ireland. In conclusion, he called upon the Government to interfere and to put an end to such conduct, and to take them from beneath the heels of these men who had so long tortured and crucified the Irish people.
§ SIR HERVEY BRUCE
said, that his entire sympathy was with Lord Rossmore in his dismissal. There was no doubt that Lord Rossmore went out with a desire to preserve law and order, and if any error was committed by so young a man it was only an error of judgment, and should not have been visited with so severe a penalty. With regard to those meetings, if it had been only the people of the Province of Ulster who had come together to talk over their grievances, the loyalists of Ulster would have listened to them with respect; but when it was announced that at each 362 of the Nationalist meetings emissaries of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), some of whom it had been found necessary to lodge in Kilmainham for weeks for doctrines they had taught in other parts of Ireland, were to be sent to Ulster to indoctrinate the people of the Province with their pernicious principles, was it not natural that the Loyalists should meet to prevent it? Gentlemen below the Gangway seemed to have forgotten that the celebrations of Derry—celebrations not connected with Orange-ism or Protestantism, but with civil and religious liberty, and which had been held for 200 years without let or hindrance—he was proud to say that Roman Catholic Prelates had in former years joined in them—were suppressed, because people outside the city said that they would stop them. But what were the meetings which the Loyalists of Ulster desired to prevent? They were meetings of persons whom the Prime Minister had described as "steeped to the lips in treason."
§ SIR HERVEY BRUCE
said, that if the Prime Minister had not made use of those exact words, he had applied expressions equally strong to the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway on the Opposition side of the House. The hon. Member for the City of Cork had to-night taunted the Leader of the Opposition for what he had said in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman needed no defence from him. The right hon. Gentleman's position in the House and in the country as a man of the most extreme moderation, of the highest honour, and the purest integrity, could well stand any assault coming from such a quarter. The late Lord Mayor of Dublin (Mr. Dawson) posed last night in an attitude of injured innocence as a man coming down to Derry to talk to the people about how they might increase their voting power, and he said that he was nearly murdered by the Orangemen, who almost pulled him out of his carriage. He also said that a band went by his windows playing offensive airs. The tune played beneath the hon. Gentleman's windows might have been offensive to him. It was the National Anthem, and it was played as 363 a sort of response to the treasonable expressions which had appeared on the banners carried in procession by the Nationalists. He had thought it necessary to say these few words to vindicate the historic fame of a city of which he was so proud. It was to be regretted that the Government had not yet seen fit to place in the hands of Members the Report of the Special Commissioners sent to Derry to inquire into the conduct of the people on the visit of the late Lord Mayor of Dublin. He affirmed most positively that the evidence would show that the shot which injured the man came from the people who went to meet the Lord Mayor, and not from the window of the Town Hall. And yet bail was on several occasions refused for the man charged with firing the shot from the Hall, and he was kept in gaol—he himself, as Chairman of the Visiting Justices, saw the man lying helplessly ill—until his life was almost gone. He was proud to say that thousands of his Catholic fellow-countrymen were as loyal as any Orangemen; but the people were excitable, and when with one hand they were offered bribes, they found it almost impossible to refuse. But if bribes were offered to the Orangemen by the right hon. Gentleman, they would be as nothing to them when it came to be a case of loyalty to their Sovereign, to the Constitution under which they lived, and to the Empire endangered by Home Rule. They had no wish to separate themselves from the Crown of England. They had, however, some reason to fear. When they heard the strong expressions used by the junior Member for Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone), and considered his relationship to the Prime Minister, they must entertain some degree of suspicion as to what was coming upon them. They had had their Church disestablished. He could tell hon. Members fearlessly that the bulk of their co-religionists did not wish it. Then they had what was called bringing the landlords upon their marrow-bones. He should like to say a word or two with reference to the franchise. It was hard to say that the franchise should not be extended to Ireland as well as to England and Scotland, where the cases were parallel. He did not think they were parallel, for while the Government had not found it necessary to pass Coercion Bills for England and 364 Scotland, they had felt bound to do so in the case of Ireland. "Was it wise, he asked, to give an extension of the franchise to a people whom the authorities had been obliged to restrain from committing acts of violence? The time, however, might come, and that before long, when the influence of the hon. Member for the City of Cork would have passed away, and the people would then be able to use the franchise carefully and well, and would be as much entitled to it as the English and the Scotch. Mention had been made of the number of shots that were fired out of the Orange processions, and it had been stated that shooting was going on in every direction. He might remark that the firing of shots was a sort of habit in the country on all joyous occasions. No harm was meant, for he did not believe that the pistols, on such occasions, were loaded with anything but blank cartridge. The people of Derry went to hear the late Lord Mayor of Dublin out of curiosity, and he was perfectly sure that the bulk of them had no sympathy with the object which the hon. Member for Carlow had in view.
said, he wished that the Orangemen's pistols had been as harmless as the hon. Gentleman's (Sir Hervey Brace's) attack upon the Nationalists. He did not, however, so much blame the wretched Orangemen as the Government, who, at their dictation, suppressed the liberties of the people. The Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) covered, not only the conduct of the Government in the North of Ireland, but also their action in other parts of the country. They had exercised a miserable tyranny all over the country during the past winter. Their whole policy might be summed up in one sentence. They had been hectoring over peaceable people in the South of Ireland, and cringing and truckling to law-breakers in the North. A magistrate in Cork, named Plunkett, bragged that he would not permit a National meeting to be held anywhere in that county, and with one or two exceptions he had kept his words, dispersing peaceable and legal meetings with brutal violence. But in the North they had an armed and secret society. [An hon. MEMBER: No.] No doubt the members 365 of those societies came out in the light to commit murder; but, as a general rule, their proceedings were conducted in secrecy. The Government permitted them to carry on their proceedings, although they had openly proclaimed their intention of committing murder and outrage to save the landlords' rack-rents and a few borough seats. If he (Mr. O'Brien) or any of his Colleagues engaged in such a course the Government would order the plank bed. The fact was the rights of five-fifths of the people of Ulster were trampled under foot at the dictation of these Orangemen, and the latter were enabled to boast that the majority of the people of Ulster were of the Tory way of thinking, simply because the Government had gagged the voice of the people. The Orange rowdy had no more right to deprive him of the opportunity of speaking to his constituents than to take his purse or his watch. He had never heard a shadow of excuse for the action of the Government in this matter, except that sort of apology suggested by the Chief Secretary at Galashiels, that if they did not yield to the Orangemen and suppress meetings admittedly convened for a lawful purpose, there would be civil war in the country. But there never was a more ridiculous bogey than the threat of civil war; and it did not impose on anyone in Ireland. The reason Orangemen were bold in defying the law was that they knew they could defy it with impunity, because they were armed and their opponents were disarmed, and the police did not treat them as they did the Nationalists. If they were caught red-handed they knew that their "brother" magistrates would shield them and let them out on bail, and that a packed jury of Orangemen would acquit them. There was scarcely a town in which someone did not boast of having shot down Catholics in the streets. The only time, at Dromore, at which the police did their duty against Orangemen, the latter ran away like sheep the moment they saw the flash of a bayonet. The man who was killed made a dying declaration that his friends were running away, and he was making the best of his way after them, when he was stabbed from behind, his aristocratic leaders not having even that distinction. The men who took part in these demonstrations were chiefly the grooms and 366 the cow boys of the landlords, officered by the landlords' agents; and as to the numbers, in the case of Derry it was settled by the evidence of two Resident Magistrates and a district Inspector of Police that it was only a wretched little mob of apprentice boys, numbering 200 or 300 in a population of 30,000, under the leadership of the Duke of Abercorn's son, who attempted to assassinate the late Lord Mayor of Dublin. ["No, no!"] Well, a miss was as good as a mile; but it was not comfortable to have persons shot within three yards of you. His hon. Friends and himself had passed through the most dangerous districts of Ireland alone and unarmed without molestation, except twice or thrice, when the landlords had a fortnight or so to organize and to manufacture public opinion. The natural impulse of the people was to welcome them heartily, and they had Protectant tenant farmers in the chair at their meetings, which was more than could be said of the Orange meetings. The authors of the Queen's Speech had talked of the substantial improvement of Ireland. Was it a sign of "substantial improvement" that land was going out of cultivation, that the population was falling off at the rate of 100,000 a-year, and that the Chief Secretary had plans for further diminishing that population? [Mr. TREVELYAN asked for evidence of that.] He would be happy to have the right hon. Gentleman's denial, as past experience made it not unlikely. In administration there had been no "improvement." There might have been fewer hangings; but that was because the consciences of Lord Spencer and the Chief Secretary were haunted by the knowledge that at least half-a-dozen men had been convicted and sent to the gallows by the verdict of Orange packed juries, and because the levées at Dublin had been "Boycotted," and because Judge Johnson had protested publicly. The Crimes Act was being administered more sparingly, because the Executive had burnt their fingers, had found that political opponents were not silenced by plank beds, and had found that united Irish people was more formidable than an army. At the present moment the feeling in Ireland might be less showy or less noisy than before; but Earl Spencer had created in the Irish people a spirit which the Nationalists ought, perhaps, to be re- 367 joiced at. Men like the Lord Lieutenant, and, in a more obscure degree, the Chief Secretary, had done all they could to make the English rule more and more detested in Ireland. It had been reserved, however, for the present Chief Secretary to render the Irish administration much less feared and much more hated than that even of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), and to pursue a policy in which were copied the worst features of Russian despotism.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
said, there was a remark in the very interesting speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down with which he entirely agreed, and that was when he asked the Advisers of the Crown what, in Heaven's name, they could have been thinking of when they composed the paragraph in the Queen's Speech with which the Amendment of the hon. Member for the City of Cork dealt. That paragraph stated—The condition of Ireland continues to exhibit those features of substantial improvement which I described on the two occasions when I last addressed you.Those who had listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Mallow, although it might be described, even by his most enthusiastic admirers, as somewhat highly coloured, would come to the conclusion that the spirit of love, generosity, and amiability towards his fellow-countrymen which that speech exhibited confirmed in a most remarkable degree the features of substantial improvement which the Government alone of all people had been able to discern. Was the Chief Secretary aware—and Chief Secretaries, as a rule, were more ignorant of the condition of Ireland than ordinary mortals—that the hon. Member who had just sat down had displayed sentiments so entirely in accordance with the so-called National Party that there was not a constituency outside of Ulster, with, perhaps, the single exception of Dublin University, where that hon. Gentleman could not make that speech, and one 50,000 times worse, and be returned to this House by an overwhelming majority? [Colonel KING-HARMAN: Dublin County.] He particularly excepted Dublin. ["Oh!"] Well, he would return to a well-known old Saxon expression, and say "outside the pale," where the hon. Member would not be 368 returned, not, perhaps, on account of any personal merits of his own, but on account of the sentiments which he had expressed. [Mr. WHITWORTH: Let him go to Drogheda.] The hon. Member who interrupted him seemed to have no knowledge of Irish geography; fortunately for himself, he was always discreetly silent about Irish subjects. Was the Chief Secretary in a position to contradict the statement he had made, that the sentiments to which they had just listened undoubtedly commanded the unanimous assent of at least two-thirds of the Irish constituencies? He was anxious to hear how he could reconcile that fact with the paragraph in the Queen's Speech. He fancied it would tax not only the ingenuity but the historical memory of the right hon. Gentleman. The House must have been extremely edified with the speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). Many Members of that House could hardly have realized that they were sitting in the same House of Commons in which the scenes of last Session and the Session before were enacted. The hon. Member for the City of Cork seemed to have disclaimed his old character altogether. He was appearing for the first time as the defender of law and order. The speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork reminded him of the marvellous speeches which the Home Secretary used to make when denouncing the Irish Party. The only thing that occurred to him was that, considering that the Member for the City of Cork was adopting the part of a defender of law and order for the first time that night, and that the Home Secretary had been trained, he might say from his birth, to the denunciation of every kind of disturbance which he did not himself originate, he was bound to say that he preferred the style of the hon. Member for the City of Cork. It was extremely creditable as a first performance. The hon. Member had this gratification, which never occurred before, that he was loudly cheered by Members opposite, and was cheered even by the Government, when he denounced the Orange Party, and the applause seemed genuine He did not know whether the hon. Member recollected that, whilst his rival (Sir William Harcourt) used to make similar denunciations which almost shook the House, 369 they were always received with chilling silence by his own Party. The hon. Member for the City of Cork had made use of one expression which ought to be noticed, and which, for the advantage of Parties in that House, could not be noticed too soon. He alluded to a visit to Ulster which was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. He commented somewhat severely on that visit. So far as he could make out, he took the right hon. Gentleman to task for the violence of his language, which, he stated, was the original cause of most of the disturbances in Ulster. Against that accusation of the hon. Member for the City of Cork he was reminded of the statement of a responsible Minister of the Crown made at Birmingham, by no less a person than the President of the Board of Trade. The right hon. Gentleman, in speaking of the violence of Tory speeches, exculpated the Leader of the Opposition, whom he commended for his careful and moderate tone. The right hon. Gentleman could not then have been unaware of the visit to Ulster, and he preferred the statement of the President of the Board of Trade to the denunciations of the hon. Member for the City of Cork. The hon. Member for the City of Cork said that the visit of the right hon. Gentleman to Ulster would injure his own Party and would benefit the Liberal Party. [Mr. PARNELL attempted to rise.] He could quite understand that the hon. Member for the City of Cork did not quite accept that interpretation; he did not profess to quote the exact words. But he heard a sentence made use of which left that impression—that by the visit which the right hon. Gentleman paid to Ulster he had alienated the Irish vote, and that the Liberal Party had secured it. [Mr. PARNELL: No.] There was no need to beat about the bush. They knew that the Irish vote was in the market, and that there had been threats in the newspapers and statements made by the Party opposite that, at any rate, the visit to Ulster was a tactical mistake, and that the Tory Party had lost by it. Of course the Irish vote was a great factor in English politics; but by no means so great as those who had to dispose of it supposed. And if the Leader of the Opposition had lost that vote, the right hon. Gentleman had no doubt lost something; but the question 370 arose whether he had not gained something that was worth a great deal more. The hon. Member for the City of Cork was far too clever and experienced not to be aware that the Irish vote did not in English boroughs invariably bring success to the Party to which it was given. At the present time it appeared to be extremely likely that the candidate in an English constituency, even if he were the Junior Lord of the Treasury, would not by gaining the Irish vote be certain to obtain entrance to that House. He would remind Members below the Gangway that for every Irish vote gained they might lose a Liberal vote. That statement was illustrated by what had taken place at Manchester. There there was a candidate—a Mr. Pankhurst—who undoubtedly secured the entire Irish vote—he secured it with the assent of the Government—["No!"]—more than that, with the assent of the leading Members of the Party who supported the Government. The result was that Mr. Pankhurst was left in a minority of nearly three to one. The bulk of the Liberal Party refused to have anything to do with the gentleman who secured the Irish vote, although the person who secured that vote had recommended himself to the Prime Minister. It was quite natural, however, that the Liberal Party should secure the Irish vote. What was all that about the dismissal of Lord Rossmore? It was a mere bait thrown out by the Prime Minister, who was one of the ablest and most experienced electioneerers, to catch the Irish vote. The right hon. Gentleman, with all his great and glittering abilities, had one defect; he always seemed to confuse loyalty to the Crown with loyalty to himself, and always suspected those who were disloyal to himself of disloyalty to the Crown. The House would remember that when the Irish Roman Catholic Party deserted the Prime Minister on the University Education question, he at once wrote a pamphlet to prove that Irish Catholics were disloyal to the Crown. No doubt, Lord Rossmore belonged to a Party which had never forgiven the Prime Minister for the destruction of the Irish Church, and his Lordship delivered speeches which showed that he was opposed to the politics of the right hon. Gentleman. This was quite enough to make the 371 Prime Minister suspect him of disloyalty to the Crown to such an extent as to render him incapable of remaining in the Commission of the Peace. Add to this the chances that the suspension of Lord Rossmore might conciliate the Irish Party and the many thousands of Irish voters in English boroughs, and it was no wondor that his Lordship was sacrificed and a bait thrown out for the Irish vote. When the hon. Member for the City of Cork was attacking the Orange Party he spoke with all the eloquence which was natural to him, but when he was attacking Her Majesty's Government he was singularly feeble and ineffective. No doubt was left on his (Lord Randolph Churchill's) mind that in spite of the tremendous speech of the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien) it would be found that the Kilmainham arrangement was still in force, that there was a complete agreement between the hon. Member for the City of Cork and the Prime Minister with regard to the harmonious conduct of Public Business in the House; and if a General Election took place the Irish voters would support with more or less enthusiasm the policy of the First Minister of the Crown. The hon. Member for the City of Cork had attacked the Leader of the Opposition for the violence of his speeches. He had himself read those speeches—every one of them. If the hon. Member for the City of Cork accused the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition of having excited public feeling in Ireland, what comment had he got to pass, or what condemnation had he got to make, of the speeches delivered by the Prime Minister, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham, and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, before the present Government came into Office, when we had every incitement to murder of the most picturesque and the most grotesque kind gratuitously poured out on every possible occasion, and when every bait which could be devised was held out to the Irish people in the most oratorical language? If the Irish people were excited after the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, they must have been ready for a lunatic asylum after the speeches of the First Minister of the Crown. The hon. Member for the City of Cork 372 did not occupy a very dignified position to-night. The hon. Gentleman complained of the violence of the Orangemen; but he was afraid the hon. Gentlemen was going to fall into the error which distinguished the Radical Party, of claiming a monopoly of violence and bad language. He had always observed that that had been the distinguishing feature of the Radical Party, and he had always hoped that the Irish Party would not fall into that error, but that they would be sensible of the proverb that "fair play is a jewel," and that if one Party fought with gloves the other should follow the example; but if fists were to be used, both should use them alike. He did not admit that the Orange Party were open to the charge brought against them by the hon. Member for the City of Cork. They merely adopted the attitude now generally assumed by the Tory Party in this country of offering vigorous resistance to Radical and subversive doctrines, and describing those doctrines in extremely plain terms of speech. If language of that kind produced riots in Ireland so much the worse. It was much to be regretted; but, no doubt, political agitation in Ireland had been generally attended by riots. The Party to which the hon. Member for the City of Cork belonged had been singularly successful in getting up riots—[Cries of "Never!" from the Home Hitlers.]—and in rousing the populace beyond the bounds of self-restraint. [Cries of "No, no!"] He should be ignoring the eloquence of the Irish Party if he did not make that admission. Undoubtedly, the same sort of thing would happen in the North of Ireland if the hon. Member for the City of Cork persisted in attempting to annex that Province to his Empire. The hon. Member complained that the Orange Party was not Constitutional in its agitation. That was a very extraordinary complaint for him to make when we remembered the efforts of the Irish Party during the three Sessions of this Parliament to prove that the most unparalleled proceedings, acts and speeches even in the history of Ireland were Constitutional, and that the late Chief Secretary for Ireland, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), was a tyrant of the worst order for interfering with the agitation. [Mr. 373 BIGGAR: Hear, hear!] If the Orangemen had gone beyond the bounds of political agitation, the excuse which might be made for them was that they were following in a mild and restrained degree the example set by the hon. Gentleman who made the complaint. After all, what was the object of the invasion of Ulster which was resisted so strenuously by a portion of the people of Ulster? The object was repeal; nothing but repeal; pure and simple repeal of the Union. And how did the prospect of repeal appear in the eyes of Ulster Orangemen? He believed that the memories of the massacre of 1641 had not altogether died away from the minds of the Orangemen. He believed that those memories had been perpetuated even by family records; and, after the amiable sentiments towards the Orangemen expressed by the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien), he could not feel the least surprised that Ulstermen should strenuously resist an invasion of Ulster which had for its object the repeal of the Union. The hon. Member for the City of Cork certainly had no cause of complaint against the Government. [" Oh, oh!" from the Irish Members.] Speaking from a perfectly impartial standpoint, and as one not belonging to the Orange Party, the National Party, or to Her Majesty's Government—[Mr. HARRINGTON: Nor to the Opposition.]—he would say that the hon. Member for the City of Cork, in his invasion of Ulster, had received the most magnanimous assistance from Her Majesty's Government. Individuals who took part in the resistance had been shown in every way which the ingenuity of Dublin Castle, misdirected by a Liberal Chief Secretary, could devise that they had incurred the displeasure of the authorities. The hon. Member for the City of Cork could not in his heart complain of Her Majesty's Government. He already possessed three-fourths of Ireland. Over three-fourths he was the uncrowned King. His writs ran rapidly and without opposition. He received revenue and levied taxation. Over three-fourths of Ireland there was hardly a constituency where the hon. Gentleman could not nominate his Member. The hon. Member might even nominate his footman or his "boots," who would be returned at once by a devoted constituency. But there was one Province and one people 374 and one race and one religion which had resisted the hon. Gentleman. He would ask the hon. Member for the City of Cork whether he could not be content with the possessions he now held, although, no doubt, he held them by a somewhat precarious title, because he held them by the favour of a Prime Minister who might cease to be Prime Minister to-morrow; and under another Government the title of the hon. Member for the City of Cork to his possessions might be questioned and his rule over those possessions upset? He did not think that at the present moment the hon. Member for the City of Cork was occupying a very dignified attitude or one which would commend itself to the House of Commons or to the people of this country when he came whining and whimpering to the House of Commons because the 800,000 Roman Catholics of Ulster had received a little rough treatment and some bad language at the hands of the 800,000 Protestants of that Province. He thought that the hon. Member would do well to make hay in the fields of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught while the sun of the Prime Minister's favour shone, and to leave those of Ulster in peace and evacuate them with his Party.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, that one remark which the noble Lord opposite (Lord Randolph Churchill) had made had not a very intimate relation to the Amendment of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) to the august document which he proposed to amend. The noble Lord, in reference to a passage which he quoted from the Queen's Speech, had asked to be shown any feature of improvement Ireland was at present exhibiting. Of course, general statements as to the improved state of Ireland might very easily be contradicted; but, without laying himself open to a charge of generalization, he would mention one point upon which there could be no doubt whatever. Outrages, both agrarian and political, had of late fallen to a point which would not be discreditable to any country in the world. The hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien) had accounted for that fact, by asserting that Lord Spencer and his coadjutors had become tired of hanging and of sending men to penal servitude. [Mr. BIGGAR: Hear, hear!] 375 That was one of those extraordinary statements which were heard so frequently in that House, and which immensely enlarged a person's ideas of the stretching powers of human imagination. The truth was, that if Lord Spencer and the gentlemen who acted with him were as cruel and bloodthirsty as the hon. Member would make them out, there would still be a very great falling-off in the number of the objects upon which he could exercise his cruelty. Another point of improvement in Ireland, with regard to which all the usual channels of information were agreed and upon which all the country gentlemen also spoke with one voice, was that, except perhaps at this moment in the extremely poor districts in the West of Ireland—he did not say that rents were worse paid even there than in the old days—but in the rest of Ireland rents were better paid, more regularly paid, and more cheerfully paid than in the centre and East of England. As to popular feeling, it might or might not be the case that the hon. Member for Mallow might become Member for 60 or 70 constituencies, although he made a speech 50 times as bitter as that which he had just made. That was a serious consideration; but it was, after all, a matter of opinion. It was also an actual fact, and not a mere matter of opinion, that, in the public meetings which had been held in Ireland this last year, in very many districts where incitement to "Boycotting" and violence were formerly received enthusiastically, these same incitements when made—and they had only been made in the most partial degree by any Gentleman who sat in that House—wore neither received with enthusiasm nor largely obeyed. That was a distinct improvement. In fact, if it had not been for the events in Ulster, the present winter would have been a quiet one in Ireland, both for the inhabitants, and for the Administration of the country. He should not follow at length the noble Lord into the question as to how the Government were fishing for the Irish vote. The noble Lord had said that for every Irish vote which they gained, they would lose a Liberal vote. Let him remind the noble Lord, however, that as it was possible to win the Irish vote honourably, no doubt it was possible to win it dishonourably, and it was also possible to alienate it honour- 376 ably; and if the Government had, by their conduct, in the course of their administration in Ireland, and which the hon. Member for the City of Cork impugned, alienated the Irish vote, they had not done so dishonourably, while they had done something, at all events, to prove to the Irish people that they were actuated by a desire to be fair and just. On the other hand, if they had won one vote or 1,000 votes in the country, he claimed that they had won them in an honourable manner. The noble Lord had stated that Lord Rossmore had been struck off the roll of magistrates by the special influence of the Prime Minister, with the view of conciliating the Irish Party; but that was the wildest opinion ever heard from a Parliamentary man, and stood in the same list as the announcement of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, that the Government had been actuated throughout the winter with a desire to act into the hands of the Orangemen. Having said thus much in reply to the noble Lord, he preferred—leaving aside the noble Lord's most amusing observations with regard to his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department and Dr. Pankhurst—to turn to the Amendment of the hon. Member for the City of Cork. That Amendment had not occasioned him surprise, nor any feeling more disagreeable than surprise. The Amendment referred only to what had happened since the Prorogation of Parliament. Since that time a period of six months had elapsed, and that six months had been marked by a state of things which bore a sort of superficial resemblance to what had gone before, but which really was quite novel. Prom the first day of the Recess to the last the Government had been continually beset with difficulties of a most extraordinary and most unexampled nature. In dealing with those difficulties they had been forced to make a series of most momentous decisions sometimes upon the very shortest notice. Those decisions, from their multifarious nature, ought to commend themselves to all parties in that embittered but time-honoured and ancient controversy which was continually being waged between the Conservatives and the followers of the hon. Member for the City of Cork; but it was the more impossible, especially because they were founded upon 377 numerous matters and considerations which were known to the Government alone. That was the first opportunity which the Irish Executive had for giving their reasons for the policy which they had pursued during the Recess. He did not wonder that the conduct of the Executive had been called in question by hon. Members sitting either above or below the Gangway; but he hoped that, when he had put the case as plainly as he could, the House would see that, in extraordinary difficult circumstances, the Government had acted as faithfully and as successfully as the public could reasonably expect their servants to do. As soon as the Recess had commenced the Government were called upon to make up their mind as to the course they would take at a period when the meetings of the National League were certain to be very numerous, and the policy which commended itself to them was that which, in fact, had been pursued up to the present time—namely, each announcement of a proposed meeting was carefully considered, the state of the district was carefully gone into, and only in those districts where it was considered likely that crime and outrage would follow an excited public meeting, the meeting was proclaimed and stopped, but in all other cases it was permitted to be held. That, perhaps, was not the way in which the hon. Gentleman the framer of the Amendment would have desired them to act. But there could be no doubt whatever that Parliament, which inserted in the Crimes Prevention Act a clause giving the Lord Lieutenant power to proclaim a meeting, meant that that power should be used for the object for which the Act was passed, whenever necessary, and for that only. Exercising that power, they had stopped the following meetings:—In September, one; in October, five; in November, one; in December, two; and in January, one—making 10 in all. For stopping all these meetings the Government had very good reasons. He would not go through all the meetings proclaimed on account of outrages, but would give some specimens from the month of October, with the reasons for stopping them in each case, and would ask hon. Members to believe that they were only fair specimens of the meetings so prohibited. One was a meeting at Ennis, in the County Glare, and the Govern- 378 ment regretted having to prevent it, because it was to have been addressed by the Member for the borough (Mr. Kenny). The reason for so stopping it was because of the long list of crimes which had been recently committed in the neighbourhood. The meeting was to have been held on the 7th of October, and on the 4th of July a farmer was fired at in his own house; on July 10 a head constable and a constable received threatening letters; on the 29th of July a turf stack was burnt, the property of a man who had supplied provisions to the police who were protecting caretakers; on the 16th of August a "Boycotting" notice was posted; on the 22nd of the same month some tools were injured; on August 30 intimidation was exercised, cutting the shape of a grave in a field near the house of a farmer; on the 30th of August a house was fired into; and similar offences were committed on the 18th and 30th of September. ["Names, names!"] He had the names; but did not wish to weary the House by giving them at length. He was, however, prepared to stake his administrative reputation on the accuracy of the Return, as furnished by the officers of the Government. ["Oh, oh!"]
§ MR. TREVELYAN
, continuing—Then, a meeting to have been held at Cloughroe, in the county of Cork, on the 21st of October, was prohibited, because a man who had taken the farm of an evicted tenant was considered to be especially in danger, and because a most terrible murder connected with agrarian-ism had been committed in the district by a large crowd of people. Then, on the 28th of October a meeting was prohibited at Castlelyons, in the county of Cork, because a parish priest, who had recently been evicted there, had made one of the most extraordinarily violent speeches he had ever read, and had by so doing incited a mob to enter the house from which the rev. gentleman had been evicted, and to do damage to the amount of £400. Since the eviction there had been an incendiary fire in the same neighbourhood. Another meeting was prohibited, because it was proposed to be held near the scene of an agrarian murder; and yet another was proclaimed because it was intended to hold it in 379 the neighbourhood of Loughrea, where, within a very short time, eight murders had been committed, most of which remained undiscovered at the present time. The Government might have gone further, and, indeed, there were some persons who thought that they ought to prohibit all meetings of the National League throughout Ireland; and they were remonstrated with accordingly for not having done it. These remonstrances were given in good faith; but the Government could not listen to them favourably. They went to Ireland on two conditions. In the first place, they were commissioned to keep down crime and outrage to the best of their ability, and therefore they had to forbid the holding of certain meetings; but they also went to Ireland to administer the country as one which was to be governed by and under Parliamentary institutions. They felt that it was not possible, therefore, permanently and universally to suppress the right of public meeting throughout Ireland, and at the same time call such a state of things compatible with Parliamentary government. The advice and remonstrance to which he referred was given to the Government in two ways. In the first place, one set of persons, resident in a particular district in which it was proposed to hold a meeting, wrote to the Castle to say that things had settled down there, that the country was tired of the more violent and dangerous forms of agitation, that there was no crime, that there was a very good feeling among all classes, and that they hoped that this satisfactory state of things would not be broken up by allowing the holding of meetings of the League. But the Government, with its wider experience, knew that where this satisfactory state of things existed it was not likely to be disturbed by a meeting being held, but that, on the contrary, the fact of such a meeting being held would be to prove to an incendiary speaker that the material was not there for him with which to incite people to crime and outrage. Their experience in this respect turned out to be correct. It was no exaggeration to say that no meeting of the National League had ever been announced in Ireland; that the Government had not been urged by somebody to stop on this account: and it was, further, no exaggeration 380 to say that they had never refrained from stopping a meeting of the National League without being glad that they had done so. But, besides these local remonstrances against individual meetings, there was another class of remonstrances which was constantly pressed upon them with great clearness. They came from a very unexpected quarter; and, in his view, they came at a time when they ought not to have been made. The policy of the Irish Government was obtaining a steady and not very slow success. In the first place, the system and policy of the Government as regarded the suppression of meetings was not what the hon. Member for the City of Cork described in his Amendment as being "wanton," because it was done on principle, whether the principle was a correct one or not. Nor did the system extinguish "the right of exercise of free speech," because five meetings of the League, at the very least, had been hold for everyone which was prohibited; and, furthermore, the system had been successful in that it had resulted in, or been accompanied by, a very great diminution of outrage. In the whole of the year 1883 there were fewer agrarian outrages than in a single month of 1880. Such outrages fell from 17 in 1881, and 26 in 1882, to two in the year 1883; and, therefore, it was that when they were told they ought to stop all the meetings of the League because they led to crime and outrage and murder, they thought the warning came at a very unexpected time and from a very unexpected quarter. Mr. Holmes, who was Solicitor General in the late Government, speaking at the great Loyalist demonstration in Dublin on the 24th of January, said that—When the Nationalists commenced their campaign in Ulster, there was one course open to the Lord Lieutenant which possessed the merit of being at once simple, logical, and consistent. He could have used the power entrusted to him by the Legislature to stop all meetings. He had again and again exercised that power in other parts of the country. The National League, under whose auspices the meetings were convened, was only another name for the Land League which had been declared illegal long before. Its leaders' speeches and principles were the same, and therefore all the meetings of the League ought to have been suppressed throughout the whole of Ulster.Now, this Gentleman, and the Government he served, had had an opportunity of showing how he and they thought 381 public meetings ought to Le dealt with in connection with crime. Her Majesty's present Government were to deal with the National League in the manner suggested by Mr. Holmes because it was the successor of the Land League; but he and his Government had to deal with the Land League itself, and it might be well to compare the state of crime when the Conservatives were in power with its state now. In September last there were 76 outrages, in October 53, in November 55, in December 46, and last month there were 63. Now for the Conservative Administration, and the state of crime under it. In July, 1879, there were 45 outrages, in August 45, in September 65, in October 110, in November 167, in December 135, in January, 1880, 114, and in February of the same year 97. This was a list of outrages at least twice as numerous as the outrages at the present time, and an increasing instead of a diminishing list. That being so, why did not Mr. Holmes advise the Conservative Government to stop the meetings of the Land League? That Government had precisely the same power that Lord Cowper had for preventing meetings, and they could, in addition, have brought in a Bill to enable them to prohibit meetings by statute, if they felt they required further power. But if Mr. Holmes thought that that was not good advice to give his Government when outrages were increasing, why did he give it to the present Government, now that outrages were few and diminishing? Perhaps Mr. Holmes would say that it was to Ulster in particular that this advice of his applied. But there was a curious proof that this advice of Mr. Holmes and his friends was only an afterthought. In 1881 the Gentlemen who were then the leading figures of the Land League and the present League went into Ulster to some purpose; and in 1881 the danger of crime following an invasion of Ulster was much greater than now, for the outrages committed then were five times more in number than those committed last year. Well, in the September of that year there was a contested election at Tyrone. His hon. Friend the present Member (Mr. T. A. Dickson) had the best chance, but was very hard run by Colonel Stuart Knox, a gentleman who was now a strong opponent of the invasion of Ulster, and who had said that 382 if certain parties came to Dungannon again they ought to be ducked. The hon. Member for the City of Cork also favoured a candidate, and both camps believed that the effect of his candidate being run would be to take votes from the present Member for Tyrone and to increase the chances of Colonel Stuart Knox. The hon. Member for the City of Cork and his friends spoke all over the place, yet he could not learn that one single remonstrance was made by Mr. Holmes or Colonel Stuart Knox or any of the gentlemen who were now blaming Lord Spencer for not prohibiting Nationalist meetings. The noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Lord Claud Hamilton) said on the previous evening, when referring to the Derry incident—That whenever the National League should attempt to gain a footing in any part of Ulster, the Loyalists of that Province would repulse the invaders. Whenever members of the League should indulge in Ulster in disloyal speeches and in phrases inciting men to endeavour to obtain the separation of Ireland from England, the Loyalists of Ulster would take care of themselves, in the event of the Government not interfering to prevent meetings and speeches which must ultimately lead to civil war.Well, in 1881, in the county of Londonderry, when the late Attorney General for Ireland—the present Master of the Polls (Mr. Porter)—had a hard election contest with a Conservative, the third candidate was a Home Ruler, and six leading Nationalists addressed meetings without remonstrance from a single Loyalist—not even from so distinguished a Loyalist as the noble Lord. At a time when there were 300 or 400 outrages a-month, no protest was made against the speeches of the Nationalists; but now, when the outrages numbered only 30 or 40 a-month, it was contended that the hon. Gentleman the ex-Lord Mayor of Dublin (Mr. Dawson) must not even be allowed to deliver a lecture in Derry on the franchise. But he (Mr. Trevelyan) thought otherwise. Now, without any regard to the possible embarrassment which their conduct might cause to those who were intrusted with the preservation of order, the Orange League organized counter-demonstrations to the recent Nationalist meetings. With respect to that course of proceeding, a counter-demonstration might be a very excellent and laudable thing; but its effect for good or for evil depended greatly on the 383 circumstances under which it took place. Ten days ago, a Nationalist demonstration was to be held near Dublin, and he (Mr. Trevelyan) was strongly urged to prohibit it. To two Orange gentlemen who came to him proposing that a counter-demonstration should be held, he said—"Why do not you hold your meeting on the day after the Nationalists have held theirs? You will then have heard the arguments that will have been advanced, and you will therefore be in a position to refute them." That a plan of that kind should be adopted was, he apprehended, what the Prime Minister meant, when he said that he should like the moral support of gentlemen of a certain way of thinking. The Prime Minister said that he should be glad if Irishmen would lift up their voice in the cause of order. [Mr. GIBSON: And show courage.] But he did not say that one Irishman should stifle the utterances of another. But if the Orange leaders did not wish to hold their meetings on days on which Nationalists meetings were not held; if they wish to hold their meetings on the same days, in order to show the contrast between their meetings and those of their opponents, these meetings ought to have been unarmed, harmless, and carefully-conducted gatherings. Unfortunately, however, the counter-demonstrations of the Orangemen were, to a great extent, demonstrations of bodies of armed men. At their last meeting at Dromore, sackfuls of revolvers were left behind, close to the place of meeting. The reason that they were so left, was that a shrewd and energetic officer, who was present, was seen to search the Orangemen as they came along. The Orange meetings, therefore, were bodies of armed men, many of whom came prepared to use their arms; some of them prepared to make a murderous attack upon the Nationalists. ["No, no!"] So far as the Government knew, it was not the custom of the Nationalists to go armed to their meetings until the bad example was set by the Orangemen. In these circumstances, when one party desired to hold meetings, and a largo section of another party desired to make those meetings impossible, by causing a danger of a wholesale breach of the peace, it became necessary for the Government to consider very carefully what course they should pursue. They considered it their duty, on the one hand, 384 to make great exertions to enable meetings to be held, which, in their opinion, would not lead to agrarian crime and outrage; and, on the other hand, in the last resort, not to allow meetings to take place if there was any danger of a bloody collision, which would be a terrible evil in itself, and would stir up the passions of civil war in Ireland. The Government considered it to be their duty to leave nothing to chance. Resident Magistrates were appointed to take charge of meetings, arrangements were made for the presence of overwhelming forces of military, and the localities were carefully examined. When the risk was too great, when 800, 1,000, or 1,200 armed men were not sufficient to insure the preservation of the peace, then the Government thought it their duty to stop the meeting. The hon. Member for the City of Cork said that in their policy the Government inclined to the side of the minority. They certainly did not do so with intention. [Mr. BIGGAR: Oh, oh!] He said the Government had not inclined to one side or the other; their aim and intention was to preserve the public peace. When meetings would have necessitated the presence of an enormous number of soldiers in distant districts, in which there were no proper quarters, and consequently involved an immense expense to the public, the Government had not thought it right to permit them. The course followed by the Government, he maintained, had been crowned with reasonable success. In spite of the facts that Ulster was full of armed men, who were excited to an extreme degree by the violent speeches of their leaders; that every hand brandished a cudgel; that tens of thousands of revolvers were being carried about; and that the leaders of the men were telling them to take a firm grip of their sticks, and not to fire their pistols, except when they were certain of hitting somebody, the winter had so far passed with but one great or striking disaster. A man belonging to one party lost his life, and two belonging to another were wounded at Derry. He deeply deplored both those events; but when they considered what might have happened, what, in less turbulent and trying times, sometimes had happened in Ireland, he thought that hon. Members would think that Lord Spencer had shown due diligence, due energy, due 385 ability, due firmness, and due fairness, and that if they passed Votes of Censure upon men who had tried to serve them under extreme difficulties, they would do something which was not consistent with the traditions of this House. He would go through the details of the cases extremely cursorily. He would deal with the two critical occasions. On the 26th of September, at the meeting held at Dungannon, there were 300 police present, and a troop of Cavalry. At the meeting at Omagh things got so rapidly worse that there were 350 police, with 160 Infantry, and 25 Cavalry, and two Resident Magistrates present. This meeting was held on the 29th September, and was not proclaimed. At Rosslea, in Fermanagh, a Nationalist meeting was announced for October 16, and a counter-demonstration was announced to be held by the Orangemen. After grave consideration on the principles which he had already explained, the Government came to the conclusion that they could keep the peace at these meetings. They therefore allowed the meetings to be held, and sent to them 550 military and constabulary to preserve order, Under the charge of the Resident Magistrate of the district, Captain M'Ternan. It was at that meeting that Lord Rossmore behaved in the manner which induced the Government to lay his conduct as a magistrate before the Commissioners of the Great Seal. The House must not be misled by the unintentional partiality with which the noble Viscount the Member for Fermanagh (Viscount Crichton) pleaded his friend's cause. The noble Viscount realized the position in which he had been placed, and felt a sympathy for Lord Rossmore, which induced the noble Viscount to think that Lord Rossmore's conduct was bound up with his own. Lord Rossmore himself, in a letter to The Times three days after the event, said—The throwing of a few stones in the rear of our procession made it most difficult to prevent the storming of the hill on which the Parnellites were. But for strenuous efforts it would have been carried at a run, in spite of the military and police, and the consequences would have been most fatal.Yet Lord Rossmore had disregarded the request of the Resident Magistrate, conveyed to him by the Sub-Inspector of Police, that he should not lead his procession of Orangemen past the Na- 386 tionalist meeting. The officer in whoso charge the men were went within a stone's throw of the spot where the Nationalists were posted. Lord Rossmore had described the danger in The Times, and the officer knew that danger to be exactly what Lord Rossmore had described it. The Nationalist meeting, it should be stated, was to be held in a field within a very short distance of which a road, along which the Orangemen could pass to the place of their meeting, ran. Captain M'Ternan, E.M., who was in charge, for the purpose of preserving the peace, seeing that the two parties might come into contact at this point, had an interview over-night with the noble Viscount the Member for Fermanagh, and arranged with him that the Orangemen should not pass along this particular road, but should take another route to their destination, thereby avoiding going near the field in which the Nationalists were to meet.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, if no such arrangement was made, something passed between the noble Viscount and Captain M'Ternan, sufficient to make known to the noble Viscount that officer's wish in the matter. Accordingly, to make sure that the Orangemen should not pass along the road nearest to the field, Captain M'Ternan posted a Sub-Inspector of police, with 12 men, at the spot where the two roads met, about a mile or a mile and a-half from the scene of the Nationalist meeting-place, with instructions to direct the Orangemen to take the higher road. English Members must not be misled by the words "Sub-Inspector of police," because a Sub-Inspector was a commissioned officer as much as a captain of the Line was. When the noble Viscount the Member for Fermanagh, with the body of Orangemen under his command, came to this point, he turned into the road to which Captain M'Ternan had directed his attention. When, however, subsequently, Lord Rossmore came to the same spot, and the Sub-Inspector informed him of the road which the noble Viscount had taken, and tried to persuade him to follow the same route, telling him that though he was not there to stop him the noble Viscount had wished that he should do so, his 387 Lordship declined to do BO, but directed his men to go straight on. The Sub-Inspector (Mr. Trescott) said that he had no force to attempt to stop the men, but appealed to Lord Rossmore to do so, and to direct them down the other road. That, however, was not done; but, passing on, Lord Rossmore took the road which led right up to the Nationalist place of meeting, shouting—"He is not here to stop us, and we will go on." What did the noble Viscount the Member for Fermanagh say to that? He said that Captain M'Ternan ought to have been at the cross-roads himself, with a large body of troops, and that he ought not to have sent only a Sub-Inspector, who had no authority, nor sufficient power to stop Lord Rossmore. But why should Lord Rossmore have required a large body of troops to oblige him to take that course which would have avoided a riot? He (Mr. Trevelyan) appealed to any Gentleman in that House, ought not one word from the person who had charge of the public safety—one expression of desire, one suggestion—have been enough for Lord Rossmore? There was no question whether the Sub-Inspector had authority to stop Lord Rossmore. It was whether or not Lord Rossmore understood from him that the suggestion of the people charged with preserving the public peace, that he should follow one road and not another, was sufficient. In any case, however that might be, Lord Rossmore went along the other road, and found himself pretty soon in presence of the officer in charge of the troops and constabulary. Then passed the conversation which had been referred to, and which was absolutely irrelevant, although hon. Members would be able to judge of that when the Papers were laid on the Table. As to the officer himself, he did but deal with the situation as well as he could which Lord Rossmore had created. The argument used by the noble Viscount the Member for Fermanagh, and which Lord Rossmore used himself, and the argument which held water best, was to the effect that it was important that Lord Rossmore should stay with his men, because he was likely to exercise a controlling influence over them. Lord Rossmore came to the meeting, which was an excited meeting, at which a large number of shots were fired, and at which 388 every magistrate or simple lover of his country ought to have weighed well his words and not used violent language. Yet this Gentleman, who was to have a controlling influence over his men, had not said one single word or made one effort to prevent or avert a breach of the public peace; but, on the contrary, was reported as the first to have made a violent speech, in which he said—That was undoubtedly the most glorious meeting of Orangemen he had ever attended. The rebels on the hill only numbered a few hundreds, and he thought it was a great pity that the so-called Government of England had sent down a handful of soldiers whom that meeting of Orangemen could cat up in a moment or two, if they thought fit, but it was not their business to do so.That was the man whose duty it was to control those people, and he told them that they could eat up the handful of soldiers who were between them and a few hundred rebels on the hill.
said, it was part of Lord Rossmore's conduct on that day. He had already told the House the particular conduct for which Lord Rossmore had been dismissed; but he had manifestly a right to the arguments that had been used on the other side. It had been said that it was important that Lord Rossmore should stay with his men to control them, and he (Mr. Trevelyan) was showing the kind of control that Lord Rossmore was likely to exercise. The question for the Government was, whether, after taking the course he had, Lord Rossmore was a Gentleman who deserved to be selected, out of a great number of other deserving men, to have the great honour of holding the judicial office of a magistrate, one of the duties of which was to aid in the preservation of the public peace and the suppression of riots. Accordingly, the matter was laid before the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal. The Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Baron, and the Lord Chief Justice had all considered the subject carefully, and they were resolved to call Lord Rossmore to account; and when he could give no adequate defence of his conduct, but, at the same time, maintained that he was justified in what he had done, then they announced their intention to remove him from the bench of magistrates. They did so, and the Correspondence 389 on the subject was before the public, and in that decision he believed that the great majority of moderate-minded men in the country had acquiesced. But the noble Viscount the Member for Fermanagh had said that 99 out of every 100 loyal men in Ireland regarded the blow against Lord Ross-more as a blow against themselves. Well, he (Mr. Trevelyan) was not fond of referring to the result of elections as a test; but he could not help saying that, if 99 out of every 100 loyal men in Ireland looked at the matter in this light, was it possible that without even a contest his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General for Ireland (Mr. Walker) would have been returned for Londonderry? [An hon. MEMBER: Place hunters.] But he thought they were not place hunters at that city. The past winter had been an extraordinarily trying one for those who had the conduct of the Administration in Ireland. Things had been said about them, and they had been attacked very severely, in a manner of which he did not complain, by men with a very intimate knowledge of the matters on which they spoke, and unless these accusations were answered in Parliament, they would be believed everywhere. He should therefore devote a few moments to a case of first-class importance. A meeting was announced to be hold at Dromore—a quiet, respectable place, with a large majority of Catholics in the neighbourhood. Up to the time of the announcement the Government had given a certain weight to the belief that the Orange demonstrations were spontaneous, and were more or less got up in the locality. But now the Government had reason to change their minds. Respecting this meeting, it was stated in a letter, which had never received contradiction, that the County Grand Lodge were collecting subscriptions for the purpose of defraying the attendance of loyal men at it. The Government from this came to the conclusion that the Orangemen had been brought in to other meetings from a great distance; and that in a quiet place like Dromore, if people wished to hold a meeting there, it was worth while to make a great effort, if possible, to secure that that meeting should be held in quiet. The noble Viscount the Member for Fermanagh, speaking at the meeting at Rosslea, said that Rosslea was chosen 390 by the Nationalists because it was inaccessible; and he (Mr. Trevelyan) thought by that the noble Viscount meant that it was a place where it was not very easy to bring a considerable number of people who did not hold the opinions of the majority. Whether or not that was the case at Rosslea, it certainly was the case at Dromore. The Government, therefore, determined to take great precautions in enabling the Dromore people to hold their meeting. He said the Dromore people, because, in the case of the Nationalists attending the meeting, by far the greatest portion walked there, those who did not do so being very few; whereas an enormous body of the Orangemen—he was told as many as 3,500—came by train from a great distance. Among these was the poor lad Giffen, who had been brought, someone said, 40 or 50 miles, at the expense of people who did a very cruel thing when they did not allow him quietly to pursue his work at home. Into the details of that affair he would not enter. While the meetings passed off very quietly, the day did not end quietly. A party of Nationalists were being escorted to the station. Most determined attempts were made by a party of Orangemen to get at these people from different sides of the route. They kept constantly heading them and breaking in upon them, and if they had succeeded in their purpose, it was the opinion of all the experienced officers present that the consequences would really have been awful. Of this there were no two opinions held by anyone in charge at the time. It was possible he might give offence to a certain part of the House when he said that the attitude of these Nationalists was that of people who came for a very different purpose. They were not picked men, or fighting men; they were not physically powerful; and they evinced a great desire to get safely away. At length the attacks became very serious; and when the House had had an opportunity of reading the Papers, they would find that the account of the proceedings would read like the account of a serious action. There being an imminent danger of bloodshed, there was a charge of cavalry and infantry police, and it was the prevalent opinion that something very like slaughter was prevented. It was at that stage of the affair that the young man Giffen got his death. An 391 inquest was held, and the jury returned an open verdict—the verdict being that he was killed by being stabbed by a policeman with his bayonet. The Government was asked to hold an inquiry into the circumstances, and to take proceedings against the policeman who had inflicted the wound. The Government had been very much blamed for not doing so; but they were satisfied that the officers who were in charge behaved with discretion and humanity as well as vigour; that the orders given were absolutely necessary to avert a great disaster; and that the holding of an inquisition into the conduct of the men who obeyed that order was a proceeding which no Government in the circumstances did, and certainly which no Government ought to do. The policy of the Irish Government always had been that, where the officers seemed in a great crisis to have acted judiciously and competently, to submit the conduct of officers and men to no inquiry, the prospect of which would render the position of the men who were told off for the arduous duty of keeping the peace in a great riot a position that would be absolutely intolerable. That course the Government would pursue on this occasion, although it would be remembered that there was one very memorable case in which a coroner's jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against special officers. Lord Spencer had been told by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General of the late Government (Mr. Holmes) that the blood of this young lad rested on the head of the Lord Lieutenant. He (Mr. Trevelyan) protested against that observation as a most unjust and most outrageous statement. It was from criticisms of this sort in speech and writing—criticisms the severity of which it was impossible for those to believe who only heard the, he must own, very choice Representatives the Irish Conservatives had in that House, and who could not believe the ferocity that frequently marred the speeches and writings of some others of the Party in Ireland, that the Government appealed to the cooler judgment of Parliament. He believed that from the Benches opposite there were not wanting those who would acknowledge, considering their difficulties and the heated and excited atmosphere in which they had been working 392 for the last six months, that the Irish Government had not been altogether un-; successful in their endeavour to carry out the fulfilment of their duty.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, that it had become an almost inevitable incident that no Address should he voted without a substantial Irish discussion. Of course, on such an occasion as this, it was not only desirable, but perfectly legitimate, that those who were charged with the grave and difficult duty of representing the Government in Ireland should be heard fairly and fully in explanation of their conduct. So, equally, he thought that those who represented different opinions in relation to Ireland should frankly and fearlessly state what their views were in reference to the matter. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. Trevelyan) commenced his observations by taking a most roseate view of the present condition of Ireland. He would be glad, as an Irishman, to take a most favourable and most encouraging view of that country if it could be taken. He had never striven to do otherwise. On the contrary, at all times, and at the worst periods in the history of the country during the last few years, he had always raised his voice in favour of taking hopeful views. But when the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland prefaced his remarks by pointing out that he was entitled—as he certainly was entitled—to point with significance and force to the fact of the diminution of outrage, he more or less presented to the minds of those in the House the question of what was the cause of the diminution of outrage. It was impossible not to be largely and strikingly reminded of this—that the operation of the Crimes Act must, largely account for that state of facts. There were other matters connected with the present condition of Ireland which deserved notice, and which he proposed to point out before he concluded his speech, in order to induce hon. Members to pause before they arrived at a rash or rapid conclusion in regard to the present state of the country. It was always desirable to bear in mind what the population of Ireland was. The population of the country, which was 5,170,000 at the last Census, in 1881, had been diminished by the action of voluntary emigration to less than 5,000,000. That was an im- 393 portant circumstance, because it showed that, whether there was State emigration or not, the people of Ireland were so enamoured of emigration, and had so many ties binding them to America, and, in a lesser degree, to Australia, that, whether they liked it or not, that emigration would go on. He saw that the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had amended his Amendment. The last clause in it, as it originally stood on the Paper, raised a challenge upon the question of emigration. That clause was now, however, omitted from the Amendment, probably because the hon. Member was not prepared to explain to the House the scheme of migration which he had pressed upon the public five months ago. Now, it was his (Mr. Gibson's) opinion, and the opinion of every Member who tried to look at the question with any real breadth of view, and with a desire to arrive at a sound conclusion, that the first and most essential want of Ireland at present, and he believed for many years to come, as it had been for many years past, was to have repose and security, and to be allowed to settle down. As this was the time for the frank interchange of independent thought, he would ask if the Government had, by their language, done their best to achieve the accomplishment of this first and most essential requirement for the good government of Ireland? He wished, with all his heart, that he could answer "Yes" all round. He could, however, to a certain extent, say "Yes." Last year, when a Land Bill was brought in, which threatened to re-open the whole old agrarian question on its broadest lines, the Prime Minister himself, in a speech of singular power, pointed out that it was in the last degree undesirable and not his intention to re-open the essential parts of that question. Before the Session closed the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General (Sir Farrer Herschell) also indicated that it would be inexpedient to disturb the Government Bill of 88 Both the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister and the hon. and learned Solicitor General argued, with great and persuasive force, to show that, except in respect to some details that were of a minor character, that Act should be regarded, and in the interests of the country must be regarded, 394 as a measure essentially final. He was sorry, however, to say that language so calculated to lead to the repose and security of Ireland was not uniformly followed and persevered in by Members of the Government. He did not intend, at that moment, to give anything like an account of all the speeches that went wholly in the other direction; but, as he had the privilege of seeing the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) present, he would take that right hon. Gentleman as the Representative of the unsettling element, and without presuming to quote him, which would be a labour of love, but also a labour of time, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman, when he went home to the seclusion of his closet, to think the matter over, and reflect and put it to himself whether he had ever, during the past year, said one solitary word in public which was calculated to bring about the state of settlement so indespensable for the welfare of all classes in Ireland. On the contrary, the language used by the right hon. Gentleman tended to bring about a feeling of insecurity. Those who had capital and who might be induced to invest it in land, or in manufacturing or other industrial pursuits, were deterred from doing so by a feeling of intense insecurity. The tenants themselves were kept in an agony of unsettlement, imagining that some great millennium was before them, when they could get everything for nothing and be paid the arrears. This state of things had been brought about by these unsettling speeches. An absolute dead lock had been brought about in the Land Court, and in land sales. Speaking in the presence of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, and his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General for Ireland (Mr. Walker), whom he was glad to see occupying his present distinguished position, he should fearlessly assert, feeling sure that he would not be contradicted, that at present, however it had been produced, land was practically unsaleable in Ireland. That was a grave and serious state of facts in a country where Land Acts had been passed, and where the agrarian question "had been a great question for many a long day. He would ask this—had the Government, by their acts, by their administration, or by the way in which they had moulded and 395 carried out their policy, substantially assisted in carrying forward that settlement of Ireland? The present debate had turned largely upon the operations of the National League and its meetings—how those meetings were held and how they were to be put down. What was the National League? Because it had not been described that night, but its description rather assumed. From the speech which the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had made, it might be assumed that the National League was an innocent and harmless institution, the primary object of which was to encourage the registration of voters, and to assist in matters of that kind. In point of fact, the first sentences of the hon. Member's speech were taken up in describing what the duties of the League were in connection with the registration of voters. That was all very well; but they were not going to forget—and those who knew anything whatever of the history of Ireland and its Administration never could forget—that the National League was the Land League very slightly changed in name, and very considerably extended in its operations. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, speaking last year, when dealing with this matter in February, exactly a year ago, in one of the boroughs he represented, pointed out clearly, in describing the position of the National League and what its objects were, that one of its most distinct and prominent objects was to bring about a separation between Ireland and the United Kingdom. In describing the National League, which stood in the place of the Land League, the right hon. Gentleman said that the Governmentwould not permit Ireland to be organized, drilled, and excited for the purpose of obtaining objects which would be Ireland's ruin if obtained, and could only be obtained by civil war.That was the position of the National League, and the way in which it was described last year by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Then let them not for a moment think that they were dealing with an innocent registration society wandering about the country in discharge of its harmless and innocent duties. It was no registration society, but was fairly described in the clear, vigorous, and graphic words of the right 396 hon. Gentleman opposite. In dealing with Ulster, which had been threatened with repeated invasion by the National League, if they wanted to decide the case fairly, let them put themselves in the place of the counties of Ulster, which had never previously been privileged with the holding of these meetings. That was the fair way to judge and decide the case. Let it be remembered that Ulstermen were Irishmen. They knew very well the history of the National League and the Land League, and they knew its objects; because it had, in the past, led to many terrible incidents and transactions. Therefore, they could not rightly put themselves in the position of the Ulstermen, whether Catholic or Protestant, unless they realized to themselves how they had a right to regard these meetings of the National Land League, which, in the language of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, was trying to effect objects which would be the ruin of Ireland if obtained. Let them imagine the feelings, under these circumstances, of the Ulster Loyalists. In the powerful speech the Prime Minister delivered at Leeds, they considered that they had been taunted and almost reviled for their inaction, apathy, and cowardice. Because in the past they had been quiet and orderly, it was assumed that they might be left out of the account. They were induced to believe that everything was to be given to those who belonged to the National Land League, and that those who did not belong to the National Land League were to be left out in the cold. They should remember the tribute that came from the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland last year, when alluding to the great crisis which had then occurred to the Conservatives of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman said—I never came across men more ready at a crisis, cheerfully and unostentatiously, to place patriotism before Party than the Conservatives of Ireland.When they, therefore, found these men in a great crisis coming forward to hold counter demonstrations, at all events they should give them fair credit. They might be misguided, from a Ministerial point of view; but they ought to have credit given to them for acting with the same patriotism which was recognized when acting for the Government in their 397 crisis. Then, when these meetings began to be held in Ulster, let them imagine the feelings of the Ulstermen. They knew the history of the Land League; they knew what the commencement of the Land League was; they knew the crime which had dogged its steps; they knew, from the late Attorney General for Ireland, that the leaders of the Land League were steeped to the lips in treason. Under these circumstances, knowing that this was the history of the Association holding these meetings, was it not natural that every solitary instinct of reasoning which could guide men to act for their self-preservation should induce these men to act vigorously and strongly, and with all that energy and courage which the Prime Minister had credited them with? The right way to consider the question was to put this in the case of the men they were asked to condemn. Suppose no meeting of a counter character had been held in Ulster—suppose that the apathy denounced by the Prime Minister had elicited that cowardice which had been suggested in their staying at home, what would now have been the state of public opinion both in England and in Ireland in reference to the power of the National League, not only among those they represented, but in Ulster also? Would it not have been used over and over again, he would not say as a term of triumph, but as a testimony to the credit of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), that he could hold meetings, with the avowed and entire consent of the population, in Ulster and every other part of Ireland; and would it not be said of others that they deserved not to be taken into account, because they had not the pluck to come forward and help themselves? The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had said—he (Mr. Gibson) did not think the right hon. Gentleman dwelt much on the word, but he had said—that it was not fair or reasonable now to taunt Lord Spencer with the suggestion of having permitted certain counter meetings to be held. He (Mr. Gibson), at all events, was not open to that criticism. He had always striven, according to his lights—and he was as good a Party man as any in the House—to do the best he could honestly to assist the Administration of the time being, in the interests and for 398 the welfare of Ireland. He had given a loyal support to the Government when he thought that the best interests of the country required it. He was prepared to incur even unpopularity for doing so; but there was a point when it became desirable to use plain strong criticism, when he did not concur with the action of the Government. He was entitled to ask, in reference to these meetings, if the Government had any settled policy? Had they any deliberate purpose with regard to these meetings? Sometimes they had promoted them; sometimes they had forgotten them; sometimes they had allowed them; sometimes they had proclaimed them; and, not unfrequently, they had allowed their Proclamations to be defied. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Trevelyan) had said that night that they had acted on a settled principle. The right hon. Gentleman stated that they were guided by the settled principle of considering whether law and order would be violated, and whether crime would be incurred, and that nothing was left to chance. He (Mr. Gibson) was dealing with Ulster, and not with the rest of Ireland; and, certainly, he was unable to see any indication of that settled principle in reference to Ulster. He found that some of the meetings were proclaimed and forbidden, and that some were protected and permitted; but he was unable to see any golden rule of settled principle running through the action of the Government. Judged by the hard logic of facts, he could not find any vestige of a settled principle. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of his (Mr. Gibson's) learned Friend (Mr. Holmes), who was some time Solicitor General to the last Government of Ireland, and as able and capable a lawyer as it was possible to find at the Irish Bar. Mr. Holmes had been blamed for his conduct with regard to the earlier Land League meetings; but he (Mr. Gibson) did not think his learned Friend was open to any of the charges which had been made against him. In the first place, when the late Government were in Office, the Land League was at its commencement. It was at its inception and beginning, and the House must remember that they must allow institutions to run a certain length before they applied drastic powers to them. In the second place, the machinery now at the 399 disposal of the Lord Lieutenant was not at the disposal of the Lord Lieutenant whom he (Mr. Gibson) had the privilege of serving under. Neither was it open to any Member of the present Government to make these charges in the face of the declaration made by the Prime Minister in the Queen's Speech of April, 1880, in which he pointed out that the state of Ireland was encouraging and satisfactory—so much so, indeed, that the mild and limited Crimes Act was allowed to run out. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had dealt with the case of Lord Rossmore. He (Mr. Gibson) would deal with that case very shortly. He did not blame the right hon. Gentleman for saying that the conduct of Lord Rossmore had been condemned by all moderate men. That was a small point of view; but those moderate men must be a very curious people. He thought he had a better chance, in his own quiet way, of obtaining the real opinions of moderate men than the right hon. Gentleman. He (Mr. Gibson) was known to many Orangemen and many Ulstermen. He had many friends who differed with him in opinion among the Roman Catholics, and he could safely say that, looking at the matter fairly, there was a tremendous mass of moderate men in Ireland who, regardless of creed and Party, considered, most reluctantly, that, in the case of Lord Rossmore, the Irish Government had made a very grave mistake. He thought that that would be found to be the average opinion in Ireland. There was much sympathy, in many particulars, felt for Lord Spencer, who had administered the affairs of Ireland in a difficult and troublesome time, and there was much sympathy felt also for the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant; but there was a feeling of regret at what had happened in this particular case. Lord Spencer had, in their, and in his (Mr. Gibson's) opinion, committed an unquestionable mistake, and he would like, whichever of Lord Spencer's friends was most in his confidence, to point out to the noble Lord what the real feeling of the country was. With regard to the Amendment of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), he desired to point out to the hon. Member that the paragraphs of the Amendment, or such of them as survived, were distinctly 400 contradictory and inconsistent. The hon. Member blamed the Government for having stifled free discussion, and then he blamed them for not having stifled it still more in the case of Lord Rossmore. Now, what was the Rossmore case? His noble Friend the Member for Fermanagh (Viscount Crichton) had stated it clearly. If the Lord Lieutenant had desired, he could have proclaimed both meetings—both the National meeting and the counter demonstration of Orangemen—and by that means all chance of a collision would have been avoided, and he would have saved all this danger and all this controversy. The Lord Lieutenant was armed with full powers, and the way in which the meetings were to be dealt with was entirely within his own discretion. If he did not choose to put those powers in force, it was entirely a matter for himself. As a matter of fact, he allowed the meetings to take place, and Captain M'Ternan directed those in charge of one part of the Orange procession to make a detour of two miles. His noble Friend the Member for Fermanagh was the leader on that occasion, and he got a letter from Captain M'Ternan directing him to follow this particular road, which was a much longer route; but Lord Rossmore got no such letter. There was one point, in particular, which he desired to allude to—namely, the ground on which the Commissioners of the Great Seal for Ireland decided to deprive Lord Rossmore of his commission. The reason assigned for that deprivation was that Lord Rossmore had refused to obey the orders of the Resident Magistrate, and had proceeded on his own road at the head of his men in spite of those orders. Now, it must be borne in mind that although the noble Viscount the Member for Fermanagh received a letter from Captain M'Ternan, Lord Rossmore did not; and he led a contingent, an altogether different one, and which came from a different county. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes; the meeting of Nationalists was a meeting of two counties, and therefore the Orange meeting represented both counties. Lord Rossmore got no message before he arrived at the point where Captain M'Ternan had desired the noble Viscount to turn off. He was allowed to arrive at that crucial point before any communication was made to him, and at that point a decision had to be taken 401 immediately, without Captain M'Ternan having sent any letter to him. That was a very unfortunate point in reference to this case, because Lord Rossmore was a young man, and did not possess the experience of many of the magistrates who had been 30 or 40 years in the Commission of the Peace; Lord Rossmore was called upon to decide upon the action of himself and those under his charge in about a minute, without the warning which had been given twice over to his noble Friend the Member for Fermanagh. There could be no controversy upon that point. Then, what took place between Captain M'Ternan and Lord Rossmore? He had read the whole of the Correspondence. It was not necessary to read it again, because he could put the case to the House in two sentences. He asked anyone accustomed to consider matters from a reasonable standpoint to consider what it was that Lord Rossmore was called upon to meet by the Commissioners of the Great Seal. They made their case known to Lord Rossmore in a letter, and the substance of the case was, that as he had persisted in going a particular route to Rosslea, notwithstanding the warning and direction of the Resident Magistrate, he must be deprived of his commission. That was the substance of the charge against Lord Rossmore. The point upon which the whole thing turned was the permission or non-permission to proceed by that route. Lord Rossmore said, in substance, and broadly—I had no warning; I had received no letter. I had to decide everything in a second; but when I did meet the Resident Magistrate, instead of going against his permission, I went with it, because I told him that if I made a divergence the men would proceed without me, whereas if I went with them they would be under my control. I therefore considered that it would be better for me to go with them, and Captain M'Ternan said—'I am satisfied with that explanation. Go.'Now, he (Mr. Gibson) would ask any Member of that House if that was a case upon which any magistrate, even if he were a man of 30, or even 60 years' experience, ought to be deprived of his commission? Nevertheless, that was the whole case against Lord Rossmore. He saw hon. and learned Gentlemen opposite, who belonged to the great profession he was himself proud to be connected with; and he would ask them what they would say if any one of them, 402 with all the advantage of his legal training, or if any Judge in England were asked to decide whether the documents which had been produced offered a justification for the action of the Lords Commissioners? He ventured to say that there was not one of them who would not have acted in the same way if he had been placed in the same position. Then, what was the statement made by the Lords Commissioners in their letter removing Lord Rossmore? When he read the letter of the Lords Commissioners, he must honestly state that he was surprised. He did not think that it was possible—and he was expressing what was passing in his own mind—for any man to be more astounded than he was, when he came to the passage directing Lord Rossmore to be superseded. What was the case of the Lords Commissioners? Their original case was that Lord Rossmore persisted in going on with the procession against the permission of the Resident Magistrate. Lord Rossmore replied—"No; I went with his permission." They then said—We considered it right, in face of your denial of Captain M'Ternan's statement about his permission, to ask him for a further report. That further report does not bear out your statement as to the permission; but we are not prepared to deny that Captain M'Ternan used words which may have led you to believe that you had his permission.Then he would ask the House if that passage in the letter of the Lords Commissioners did not fully exculpate Lord Rossmore from the charge of proceeding against the wish of those who were entrusted with the preservation of the peace of the district? Lord Rossmore had never been shown a single Report upon which he was superseded. He had never been shown the first Report of Captain M'Ternan, or the second Report. He had never been shown the Report of the Sub-Inspector of Police, and for the first time that night, after the whole thing was done, these Reports were quoted and promised to be laid on the Table. He (Mr. Gibson) contended that that was not fair dealing towards Lord Rossmore. He said that the documents were not confidential ones. If they were documents intended to be laid on the Table of the House, and submitted to the judgment of the country, it was a monstrous thing to keep this young man in ignorance of them, and to deprive him of the Commission of the 403 Peace, and to condemn him without affording him an opportunity of explanation, keeping these documents all the time in a pigeon - hole. Such a course, he contended, was against the first principles of justice. What was the rejoinder of Lord Rossmore to the letter of the Lords Commissioners removing him from the Commission of the Peace? In that rejoinder Lord Rossmore practically put the argument he (Mr. Gibson) had presented to the House. In fact, he said this—If your first letter had stated that I was proceeding not without the consent of the Resident Magistrate, but that I was proceeding with his consent, would not your own conduct, even in your own eyes, have been ridiculous? What was the charge? The charge was that I proceeded a particular way against the advice of the Resident Magistrate. My answer is—' No; I had his sanction.'The reply of the Lords Commissioners to that statement was to this effect—We have applied to the Resident Magistrate to consider your denial. He does not quite carry it out, but he says he may have used words which may have induced you to think that you had his permission. Then you say that you proceeded to the Rosslea meeting by a way which was at first disapproved, but afterwards sanctioned, by the Resident Magistrate.If that were the state of the case, surely the Lords Commissioners, even in their own eyes, had not sufficient justification for the action they took. Passing, however, from that subject, he wished to point out that Lord Spencer and the Irish Executive were in a double dilemma. If they had thought the meetings were dangerous, why did they not proclaim them? If they had considered them dangerous, they might even have proclaimed them by telegraph. Lord Rossmore was probably the youngest magistrate present; but there were other and older magistrates with him, and if they thought that Lord Rossmore was wrong—so wrong as to justify the Government in depriving him of the Commission of the Peace—why had he been picked out, and the other and older magistrates passed by? Those older magistrates had more courage than the Executive, because they wrote to the Lord Lieutenant, stating that they were beside Lord Rossmore, and that they agreed with his action and motives. Nevertheless, the Lords Commissioners had not the courage to write to them and dismiss them. He (Mr. Gibson) would have preferred not to 404 make this criticism on the action of the noble Lord whose administration of Irish affairs he had supported wherever he had considered it necessary to support it. There could be no doubt that this was a political act. The Lords Commissioners were put in motion by the Irish Executive, acting in a political capacity. In that he believed their conduct, judged by the official Correspondence, seemed rash, and as a question of policy he was satisfied that it was a blunder. He had now a word to say in reference to the uncertain and irregular action of the Government as to these meetings in Ulster. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had twice stated that the Government acted on a settled principle; but their uncertain and irregular action appeared to have culminated on the 1st of January. On that day there were two meetings—one at Cootehill, at which the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar) was to speak, and the other at Dromore. The meeting at Cootehill was forbidden, whereas the other meeting at Dromore was allowed to be held. Why was that difference made?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, he had omitted to say that the meeting at which the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar) was to speak was proclaimed because of outrages that had been committed.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, he might take it that two meetings were intended to be held on the 1st of January, and that one of them—the Cootehill—was prohibited under a settled principle. But surely the other of them—the meeting at Dromore—from the way in which the right hon. Gentleman spoke of it, was in precisely the same position. The Lord Lieutenant could have proclaimed it by a scratch of his pen, or by a short telegram. At that meeting there were 1,400 soldiers and police, and the fact that they were required there, at great expense to the country, showed obviously that danger was anticipated. He believed that there were present at that meeting 900 soldiers and 500 police—a regular little army; and that fact certainly showed the gravity of the position, and gave evidence of the vastness of the danger. With regard to the case of the young Orangeman—Giffen—who 405 was stabbed by one of the police and had since died, it was one which was painful to a degree. It had excited a feeling of deep regret and much bitterness in the North of Ireland. He thought the Government should do everything they could to mitigate that feeling of bitterness, and satisfy the parents and relatives of that young man. They should also give every publicity to the facts, in order to show that justice was done. He had heard the case stated by those who took an interest in that young gentleman, and he had looked into the facts. He found that Giffen was stabbed by a policeman who was standing by; that he was outside the meeting altogether, standing by himself in the field; that, in point of fact, he was about to go away at a time when there was no riot, and no danger or possibility of a riot. It was further asserted that the young man was stabbed by a policeman who was not acting under orders. These were grave and serious charges, and he could only express his great regret that the Government, in the face of the circumstances which had occurred, had not thought it necessary or desirable to hold any inquiry that could be regarded as satisfactory by the relatives and friends of the young man. As the Lord Lieutenant had the power to proclaim the meeting, the whole responsibility for its being held must rest with him and the Irish Executive. In permitting it to be held, the Lord Lieutenant and the Irish Executive were practically gambling with human life. He could not use any other words to describe adequately the painful responsibility which the Executive had assumed. The Lord Lieutenant knew that it was necessary for 1,400 armed men to be there in order to preserve life. He must have known that if any catastrophe happened death would result. Death did result, and unquestionably that young man would be now alive if, instead of sending those 1,400 men there to keep the peace, a simple Proclamation had been issued, and the meeting forbidden. Painful and grave results happened to the young man himself, and the greatest wretchedness had been brought home to his family. It was painful to contrast the action of the Government in this case with the elaborate series of inquiries which had been carried on in Londonderry, the like of 406 which had never been known before. In the first place, there was an inquiry by the Resident Magistrates. Those gentlemen having inquired for some time, it certainly appeared to be something like arraigning their decision to institute another inquiry by barristers of position. Two gentlemen were sent down, and he presumed that, in due time, their Report would be laid on the Table of the House; but it was very extraordinary that they should have been sent down at all, bearing in mind that the man who was charged with having fired the shots in this case had been at the time returned for trial, and therefore the evidence adduced before the inquiry might have a serious effect upon the trial of that man. He thought that much of the language which had been used about these counter meetings had been very unfortunate. He had never hesitated to repeat in the presence of his antagonists any words that he might have uttered upon a public platform. He had said that the expression used by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade in speaking of the Orangemen, and accusing them of having acted with "unreasoning ferocity," was monstrous. It was not his (Mr. Gibson's) fault that the right hon. Gentleman was not at that moment present. If he had been, he (Mr. Gibson) would add a great deal stronger epithets. He could not imagine words more calculated to keep up the bitterness and foment the differences which had already existed in Ireland than language of that kind. Was loyalty so common in Ireland that it was wise to use such language as that which he had quoted about those who professed it? Certainly, the use of it was eminently to be regretted in a person occupying the position of the right hon. Gentleman. Anyone who read the language of the right hon. Gentleman in reference to Ireland could not help feeling that it looked very much as if it was his desire to discourage the loyal, rather than to discourage those who could not be described in that way. When loyalty was required two years ago to counteract the movements of the Land League, that of the men of Ulster was appealed to. The same course now might, in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, be a little inconvenient for his Franchise Bill, and therefore it was deemed wise to speak of the Loyalists of 407 Ireland as having been guilty of "unreasoning ferocity." At such a time as this, every man should desire to rise above the wretchedness of Party. It required, no doubt, an effort from everybody to do that; but was it not almost criminal lunacy, at a moment like the present, to use language that might have the effect of discouraging a class at present not too numerous in Ireland. The worst that could be said of the Orangemen of Ireland was that they were too vigorous and enthusiastic in their loyalty. He did not say what could be urged against the National League. It had been remarked that night that when the Prime Minister was invited to criticize a passage which appeared yesterday in United Ireland, the avowed organ of the National Party, he spoke in a way which he (Mr. Gibson) ventured to think disappointed almost every man in the House. What was the present condition of Ireland? One had only to visit Dublin in order to see what it was. The Lord Lieutenant was guarded in proceeding through the streets by a troop of dragoons; persons occupying official positions also required protection. What, then, could be thought in reference to the safety or criminality of the country? Unfortunately, capital could not be attracted to it as long as the elements of insecurity and doubt prevailed, as at present. The unsaleability of land was, of course, an enormous difficulty and a great problem. The hon. Member for Tyrone (Mr. T. A. Dickson) and other hon. Members were bringing forward schemes to endeavour to make land saleable again. He (Mr. Gibson) trusted that those schemes would be fairly considered by the Government, and that they would ultimately have some success. It was only by the firm and steady action of the Government that crime and agitation could be prevented in Ireland, and any language that tended to encourage Socialism or separation was almost as bad as actual Socialism or separation itself. If the Government would push forward that belief, he believed that much good would be done, and he should have some hope for the future of Ireland. Ireland itself had always been a difficult problem, and any man in the world who wished to understand the Irish Question must recognize the fact that, after he had passed away, he would still leave something of a 408 problem behind him. Ireland, of course, in its government, required great qualities in the Executive, and unquestionably those who were charged with its administration were entitled to full and fair consideration. Their task was one of extreme difficulty; their responsibility was great; and they were entitled to fair play. Ireland itself was entitled to justice and sympathy; but, in addition to justice and sympathy, it also required that its Administration should be guarded and sustained by consistency and uniformity of action, and by courage and unfaltering steadfastness.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Mr. Sexton,)—put, and agreed to.
§ Debate adjourned till Monday next.