§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [5th February].—[See Page 52.]
And which Amendment was,
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of magistrates to make with impunity public declarations applauding the conduct of Lord Rossmore (an ex-magistrate superseded for disturbing order, and for provoking ill-will and strife between different classes of Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland), which public declarations have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 again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. SEXTON
said, the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) was much more comprehensive than seemed to have been apparent to the minds of some hon. Gentlemen who had taken part in the debate. The Amendment raised two specific indictments against the Irish 499 Executive, but beyond these two it contained a general charge against the policy and conduct of the Executive in Ireland. He thought that general charge had not received, in the course of the debate, as much attention as it deserved. It was expressed in these terms—That the recent conduct and policy of the Executive in Ireland have not tended to the interests of tranquillity or contentment among the Irish people.It would have been strange indeed if this occasion had been allowed to pass without a general attack on the policy and conduct of the Government in Ireland, because, he made bold to say, there was no point in the public life of Ireland at which the hand of the Executive touched the interests of the people where the touch did not leave behind it feelings of irritation, resentment, and discontent. Need he refer to the condition of the magistracy of Ireland? Need he remind the House how often Irish Members complained of the partizan condition of that magistracy, and had exposed how the great function of the guardianship of the peace was confined, roughly speaking, to men of one creed, one condition, one class, one interest—to men who were at deadly issue with the people of Ireland, and at deadly issue with the people of Ireland upon the great social questions of the day? Despite all the complaints of hon. Members, the condition of the magistracy of Ireland remained as evil and unpopular as over it had been, and if confirmation were needed of the charge it could be found in the notorious circumstance that hundreds of magistrates, deputy lieutenants, and other dignitaries, charged with the guardianship of the peace in Ireland, had not been ashamed to appear in the position of revolters against the action of the Government and the constituted authorities in Ireland. Although the Chief Secretary had testified in his speech that serious crime in Ireland had fallen to a level which would not be discreditable to any country in the world, yet the detestable system of jury-packing was still daily being had recourse to by the Executive in Ireland; and to such a wantonness of licence had the pursuit of this invidious system of the corruption of the conscience of the juror driven the officials of the Crown that they had seen a Crown prosecutor 500 in Green Street insult the counsel defending a prisoner in open Court by calling him a coward, with an adjective prefixed, which he should be sorry to repeat before the Members of that House. They had seen the same prosecutor in the Court House of Cork insult the learned Judge (Mr. Justice Johnson), who was in the memory of the House, addressing him with an adjective and a noun, neither of which he (Mr. Sexton) could permit himself to quote. Another element of misgovernment in Ireland at the present moment was to be found in the continued imposing of the blood tax. If crime had fallen to so low a level as that described by the Chief Secretary for Ireland, if rents were paid more readily and more cheerfully than in parts of England, if the state of the community of Ireland was generally as tranquil as in Yorkshire or Kent, what reason could there be for oppressing the country with the rude, mediæval, barbarous expedient of a blood tax, which placed a cruel burden and an intolerable impost on the shoulders of the poorest and most industrious class in the country, to pay for crimes of which they were as ignorant and innocent as any Member of the House? Why, again, was the system of extra policemen continued? If grave crime had almost totally disappeared, and society had returned to its tranquil and normal position, why were those iron huts, or those extra forces, maintained in the peaceful districts of Ireland; and why were starving cottiers and hard - working farmers compelled to maintain a group of well-fed constables, who strolled about the district keeping perpetual holiday? Again, it had never been asserted by the Executive that the National League was not a Constitutional Association; and he wished to know why, then, the meetings of the National League were intruded upon by members of the police force—why a policy, useless to the Executive and irritating to the people, was thus obstinately pursued? Moreover, he would inquire why the Government so obstinately adhered to their policy of stimulated emigration? Why did they, by the use of the public funds, bribe Poor Law officials in Ireland, who ought to find the people relief at home—why did they bribe them to induce the people to expatriate themselves, and to subject 501 themselves to that poverty, that misery, and that horrible suffering which, according to the latest and most authentic reports from Canada and other places on the other side of the Atlantic, were now being endured by the victims of the emigration policy? Again, he would call attention to the policy of the Government in screening officials in every grade in Ireland. He had the satisfaction that afternoon of hearing from the Chief Secretary that one official in Ireland, who had distinguished himself as a partizan, bad been obliged to resign his post in the Public Service. He wished that that courageous course were more often pursued by the Government, and he could assure the House that no course would more directly tend to the purification of Irish public life, and the raising up of confidence in the good intentions of the Government, than a disposition on their part, manifested by such acts, to compel public officials, who were supported from the Public Revenues, to maintain an even and impartial position. He supposed, however, that the sin of Mr. Eyre Preston was that he had the audacity to question an act of the Government itself. Passing from that, there was nothing more clear than that the Government, in spite of their plausible professions, were really encouraging the gang of incendiary landlords who had provoked disturbances in Ulster. If the Government chose to reduce those gentlemen to obedience, there was nothing more easily in their power. But when he saw the Government one day offering a faint rebuke, and the next day holding out the most practical encouragement, he could only conclude that they were glad of impediments in the path of public progress in Ireland, which enabled them, by the old policy of division, to make misrule the more easy. In speaking of the disturbances in Ulster, he wished to distinguish between the incendiary landlords, who provoked the disturbances, and the great mass of his Protestant fellow-countrymen. He knew there were Protestants in Ireland as devoted to the National cause as any Catholics. He knew there were Protestants by the help of whose votes his hon. Friend (Mr. Healy) was returned for Monaghan. The true origin of the late disturbances in Ireland was the Monaghan Election. If there was any doubt that that was the origin of these 502 factitious and artificially-created disturbances, he could find it in one of the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) at Belfast, where he told his audience "to remember Monaghan and Mr. Healy. Let these words be your talisman and your watchword." He was not surprised the Monaghan Election filled the landlords of Ulster with alarm. It was the event which first brought clearly home to their minds the political decay of their Party, and the fact that the Parliamentary force of Ireland was passing from the hands of the Tories and the Whigs into those of the Independent Party which, in that House, represented the Irish cause. The Monaghan Election also proved that the time was past when Irishmen devoted to the cause of country could be sundered by the barrier of creed. Encouraged and cheered by the campaign in Monaghan, the Nationalists determined to increase their Parliamentary power in Ulster, in pursuance of the policy of the National League, by influencing public opinion, and, through public opinion, the action of that House. It had been said that the National League was the successor of the Land League, and should, therefore, be suppressed. The effect of that argument was that because there was once a Land League which was suppressed, Ireland should never again have a National organization; but the Land League itself had never been proved to be an illegal Association. Whatever opinion might be held about the Land League, it was certain of the National League that its constitution lay open before the judgment of the world; that its proceedings took place in the searching light of day; that its resolutions and actions were all before the criticism of the country; and yet, strange to say, in the whole course of this debate in which the National League had been assailed in a tissue of abuse, there had not been quoted one article of its constitution, one speech made by any of its principal men, or one resolution adopted at any of its meetings, which could be shown to be contrary either to the spirit or the letter of the law. It might not be known to the other hon. Members of the House, as well as it was to the Irish Members, that the Tory Party in Ireland had for many years maintained 503 their Parliamentary position by a system of chicanery and fraud in connection with the Parliamentary revision. The condition of the Law of Revision in Ireland was such that any agent could make an objection to any person either upon the register, or any person having a claim to the right to be there. And he was aware that the course adopted by the Tory Party in many constituencies in Ireland had been this. These agents served their notices of objection whole-Bale upon every voter placed upon the register, or who claimed to be placed upon it; and such was the injustice and oppression of the law in Ireland, that if from pressure by work, or from any circumstances, a voter was not able to attend the Court, the objector to him was not called upon to prove his objection. The mere fact that notice of the objection had been served on him was enough to disfranchise him, and deprive him of his right to a vote. The Tory Party had taken advantage of this, and. they had sympathizers among the Revising Officers in Ireland. He might instance the case of a farmer from the Howth district, who was obliged to attend two or three days at Kilmainham to endeavour to prove his right to a vote, and who lost that right through a necessary absence of five minutes from the Court. It was through this system that the National Land League resolved to concern itself with the work of registration. They saw that in order to save the people from the tricks of these unscrupulous and, sometimes, perjured agents—to save to thorn their Parliamentary franchise—it needed the best help they could give them, and the utmost diligence they could employ. They were told by the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Gibson) that the National League was not a registration society. They proved their good faith by the exertions which they made last summer and last autumn in connection with the revision of the City and County of Dublin, when the offices and staff of the National League were given up for weeks and months together to enable the people to have their names put upon the Parliamentary register; and it was in pursuit of the honest design of giving as many Irishmen as possible a voice in the election of Members of that House that the National League directed its attention to Ulster. They had no doubt 504 that if the franchise were fully exercised—if the tricks and the frauds of the Tory agents were defeated—if the people who were entitled to vote were put fully on the register, other counties in Ulster would be glad to follow the example of Cavan and Monaghan. The landlords of whom he had spoken proceeded to warn the people of Ulster against plunder, robbery, outrage—against burning, and murder, and slaughter. A "rash" of inflammatory placards broke out all over the Province. The Representatives of the people, elected Members of that House, who were announced to address the Ulster meetings, were described in these threatening and murderous placards as hirelings, as rapparees, as miscreants, as slums, as sons of the devil, as assassins, and murderers, and butchers. The resources of etymology were exhausted. What were the agencies relied upon by the landlords of Ulster to resist the encroachments of the National League—a body that desired to proceed by National methods towards Constitutional ends? They wished to improve the condition of the farmers, they wished to better the condition of the labourers, they wished, in regard to these two classes of men, to proceed in the direction indicated and sanctioned by the Legislature in that House. They wished to take away from country gentlemen the power of spending money which they did not pay, and which they were not elected to control. They wished to break down class privileges; they wished, before all and above all—what was the ultimate object of every Irishman—to secure for the Irish people the control of their own affairs. They were not aware, and he was not now aware, that there was in any of these objects anything deserving to be called seditious and disorderly; and in regard in particular to the claim of the Irish people to manage their own affairs, he was at a loss to understand how such a claim as that on the part of Ireland, a part of the Empire so near to its very heart, could be very seditious or treasonable when it had been already freely conceded to the people of Canada, of the Cape, of Australia, and of New Zealand—to every community of the subjects of the Crown in the most distant extremities of the Empire. Such were their objects and motives; and now let him ask how were 505 they encountered? Was it by an attempt to prove that the balance of public opinion was against them? Was it by any attempt to refute their arguments? Was it by an attempt to establish a case for the landlords within the bounds defined by the Constitution? No; the agencies relied upon were the bludgeon, the rifle, the revolver, and the river. The noble Lord the Member for Fermanagh (Viscount Crichton) stood alone among the leaders in his preference for the bludgeon, as he said to his followers—"Keep a firm grip on your sticks." The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) and the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the County of Dublin (Colonel King-Harman) appeared to have a preference for the rifle. Major Saunderson and Mr. Murray Ker, in the choice of weapons, thought the revolver suitable, and Captain Barton and Mr. Fitzmaurice Bloomfield, J.P., thought it more wise and proper that the visitors should be ducked in the river. These were the Constitutional methods by which the loyal and patriotic landlords of Ulster endeavoured to encounter the reasonable, peaceable, and Constitutional movement of the National League. The fact that they raised the cry of sedition against them was a proof of their audacity, because in all the speeches delivered in Ulster on the side of the National League there could not be found a word of disrespect to the Sovereign nor of defiance to the Constitution, while upon their side the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Lord Claud Hamilton) declared that he and his friends would take the law into their own hands. Lord Rossmore—that hero beside whom Lord Napier was only an obscure raider—desired to eat up the Queen's soldiers, while Captain Barton—a hero hitherto unknown to fame—frankly declared that the Orangemen could be the Government if they liked. The Orange landlords had been mouthing loudly about loyalty. In a country despotically governed loyalty might be attacked and the person or the personal will of the Sovereign; but in a country Constitutionally ruled, where the will of the Sovereign practically meant the ratification of the will of the people, loyalty was not at all in the same degree an attachment to the person of the Sovereign as it was a respect for the constituted authorities 506 and a readiness to obey the law. But he was extremely astonished that the landlords of Ulster, who had broken through the law and violated the public rights, should not be ashamed to endeavour to cover up their delinquencies by the cry of "God save the Queen." It was a superfluous act of devotion on their part. Her Majesty's salvation was not likely to be advanced by any invocation of that character, and he was obliged to add that he wondered that the heads of the Orange Society were not ashamed to mention the name of the Sovereign, because it was notoriously a matter of history in the knowledge of the last generation that if the heads of the Orange Society had had their way the Princess Victoria would never have reached the Throne. The records of the Orange Society of Ireland would show that it had nothing to boast of on the score of loyalty. Between 1822 and 1829 Orange Lodges in the Army were officially reprobated. In 1835 a Select Committee of the House inquired into their nature and tendencies, and on the Motion of Mr. Hume the House adopted 11 condemnatory Resolutions. It was determined to take proceedings against the King's brother, the Duke of Cumberland, as a grand officer; the proceedings were averted by the absconding of one witness and the death of another from excitement; otherwise the Grand Lodge of Ireland would probably have been implicated in the attempt to corrupt the Military and Naval Forces of the Crown with a view to defeat the claims of the Princess Victoria. This was the Society that prated to intelligent subjects of the Queen about loyalty. The prosecution having in this manner fallen through, in the following February Mr. Hume in that House moved a Resolution, every word of which was applicable to the circumstances and nature of the Orange Society at the present day. The Resolution declared that the existence of the Orange Society was "highly detrimental to the peace of the country by exciting discord amongst Her Majesty's subjects;" that it was contrary to the due administration of justice that any Judge, sheriff, magistrate, juryman, or any other person employed in maintaining the peace of the country should be bound by any secret obligation to, or be in any combination with, any society unknown to the laws and united 507 upon principles of religious exclusion; that even if justice were impartially administered under such circumstances, which was in itself impossible, yet communication with such societies would create suspicion and jealousy detrimental to the peace and good government of the country, and that the Orange Societies and all other societies which had secret forms of initiation and secret signs were particularly deserving of the severest condemnation of the House, and the Resolution furthermore called for the removal from the Public Service of every Judge, Privy Councillor, Lord Lieutenant, Magistrate, &c, and in Ireland of every functionary and Justice of the Peace who would not, being an Orangeman, leave the Society after one month's notice. That Resolution was not carried, but on the Motion of the Prime Minister, Lord John Russell, a Resolution similar in effect was adopted. It was resolved to address the King, praying His Majesty to take measures for the effectual discouragement of Orange Lodges. Two days afterwards the King sent a Message willingly assenting in these terms—"It is my firm intention to discourage all such societies in my dominions." In the following month a Treasury Minute was issued calling upon all persons in the Government Service to withdraw from the Society on pain of dismissal. Nothing further was done by the authorities for 20 years. In 1857, troubles having broken out in the North of Ireland with tumults and loss of life, Lord Chancellor Brady addressed instructions to Lord Londonderry, Lord Lieutenant of the County Down, which stated—The Orange Society is mainly instrumental in keeping up this excitement in the North. It is manifest that the existence of this Society, and the conduct of those who belong to it, tend to keep up through large districts of the North a spirit of hitter and factious hostility among all classes of Her Majesty's subjects, and to provoke violent animosity and aggression. It is impossible to regard any such association as one which should receive countenance from any person in authority in the State. It does appear that the interests of the public peace require that no such encouragement should be given to this Society by the appointment of any gentleman to the commission of the peace who is, or intends to be, a member of it.So little had matters mended since 1857 in Ireland, that at the present moment every prominent man in the Orange Society who was connected with the disturbances in Ulster, except Lord 508 Rossmore, was a guardian of the peace appointed in the name of Her Majesty in Ireland. In 1855, Lord Palmerston, being then Prime Minister, received a deputation, which protested against the instructions of Lord Chancellor Brady. It was curious to note that the number of magistrates who signed the Memorial to Lord Palmerston was about the same as the number which signed the insubordinate declaration against the Government in regard to Lord Rossmore. But the decay of the Parliamentary force of the Orange faction was very noticeable, for whereas 36 Members signed the Petition to Lord Palmerston, he found, after carefully searching the declarations from 12 counties, that amongst the 600 magistrates who signed the protest against the supersession of Lord Rossmore, only five were Members of Parliament. He invited every rational Englishman to pay close attention to the words of Lord Palmerston. The deputation desired him to withdraw the instructions of the Lord Chancellor, and to allow the Orange faction to have free way in Ireland. Lord Palmerston replied—What, let mo ask, is the object, and what are the prospective advantages, of the Orange Association? Is it an organization which belongs to the age in which we live? Is not it rather one that is suited to the Middle Ages? Not being an Orangeman myself "——[Colonel KING-HARMAN: Hear, hear!] Those were the words of Lord Palmerston, and not of himself.Not being an Orangeman myself, I confess I am at a loss to understand the use of the Association in the present day.The Earl of Enniskillen, who was the fugleman of the deputation, being Imperial Grand Master of the Irish Orangemen, broke in with this explanation of its use—"Self-defence, my Lord." Lord Palmerston's common sense was not to be deceived, and he inquired—"Self-defence against what?" Exactly; that was the question they asked again to-day. Was it self-defence against an unarmed people? Was it self-defence against a people disarmed by law? Was it self-defence against people who were, in a peaceful and orderly manner, pursuing legal ends? Lord Palmerston added—I must really say that I think it is offensive, as regards the Government and institutions of this country, to say that the general Govern- 509 ment of this country is not adequate to protect individuals from violence.No; it must be left to the hon. and gallant Member for the County of Dublin (Colonel King-Harman) and his friends with the cartridges in their rifles, and to the noble Lord the Member for Fermanagh (Viscount Crichton) and his friends with the firm grip of their sticks, and not to the general Government of the nation, to protect themselves. Lord Palmerston added—I must be allowed to say that the very foundation on which the Orange Society rests casts a reflection upon the Government of the Empire. Nothing could be more desirable for the interests of Ireland than a complete abandonment of the organization.Notwithstanding that declaration, so timid and vacillating were the English Executive of every Party in dealing with the territorial and privileged class in Ireland, that they found the Society which Lord Palmerston condemned still flourishing. That confirmed his suspicions that this Government, like every other, was glad at anything that happened in Ireland to impede the progress of the people, and to prevent them from discussing their grievances and increasing their Parliamentary force. Ever since 1810 the Orange Society had been strictly and absolutely illegal. He invited the hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland, who would probably make his maiden speech during this discussion, to say whether there was not an Act passed in 1810 which was still in force, and which enacted that—Any person who shall administer, or cause to be administered, or even shall be present at the administering of any oath or engagement importing to bind a person to be of any Association or Society whatsoever formed or to be formed for (firstly) seditious purposes, (secondly) to disturb the public peace, (thirdly) to compel any person to do or omit or refuse to do any act whatsoever, and (fourthly) to obey the orders of any committee or district master or commander, shall be adjudged guilty of felony, and be transported for seven years.Notwithstanding the denial of the noble Lord the Member for Fermanagh, he believed Orangemen still entered their Lodges under religious sanction, taking the Bible in their hands. Was it not notorious that by the speeches of the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Lord Claud Hamilton), Lord Rossmore, Captain Barton, and others, the Orange Society had proved itself seditious, and 510 had acted otherwise in violation of that Statute? In 1823 a further Act was passed, and he held that so long as these two Acts remained on the Statute Book it was cowardly, and disgraceful, and partial of this Government of the "even keel" to allow this faction to remain in Ireland flourishing, to the disturbance of the rights of the inhabitants of that country. Coming to the second part of his hon. Friend's Amendment, which called attention to the impunity allowed to magistrates who had supported Lord Rossmore's course of conduct, he might observe that the only defence made for Lord Rossmore in that House which was worthy of a moment's notice was merely a plea for mercy. They were told he was young; but, as was said in Ireland, he was "old enough to have sense." The details of his action at the meeting had little to do with the case. He believed that Lord Rossmore violated his duty as a magistrate the moment he placed himself at the head of a body of armed men with the intention of proceeding to the vicinity of a peaceful meeting to overawe and disturb it, and he had received only what he merited if he was prosecuted before a Crimes Prevention Court, and sent for six months to prison. The Lords Commissioners, in dismissing him, said it could not be allowed that magistrates could give the slightest sanction to such a course of conduct as that which he pursued. Now, he should have thought, firstly, that such a warning, coming from such a source, would have been sufficient to deter bodies of magistrates in Ireland from such an act of insubordination and political indecency as that involved in approval and applause of the course of conduct adopted by Lord Rossmore. And he would have thought, in the second place, that after the declarations of the Lords Commissioners and of the Lord Chancellor, and after the declarations of the magistrates, the Government would have shown a sense of fair play by applying the words of the Lord Chancellor, in their natural and ordinary meaning, to the conduct of the magistrates. He supposed there would be meetings again in Ireland, that public life in that country did not end at Dromore on New Year's Day, and he would like to know with what confidence the Government could face the future, leaving in the Commission of the Peace 511 the 600 magistrates who signed those declarations, some of them declaring that under similar circumstances they would imitate Lord Rossmore? Hoar what the magistrates of Westmeath declared—gentlemen whom, he was bound to say, had concealed their names.
§ MR. SEXTON
The hon. and gallant Member no doubt signed his name; but I can state that when the resolutions were published in The Daily Express the names were omitted. What said they?We, one and all, declare that, under similar circumstances, we should feel bound to act as he did.Asregarded the hon. Member for Armagh, he (Mr. Sexton) did not know whether the hon. Member was a magistrate.
§ MR. SEXTON
A double reason for your suspension. A series of meetings might, however, be held in the county of Westmeath, and how would the Government act if these gentlemen carried out their threat and endeavoured to prevent the people from exercising their legal right? The magistrates for Car-low, Cork, Down, Monaghan, and other counties made declarations to the same effect, and what logical argument the Government could advance for retaining these gentlemen in the Commission of the Peace he could not conceive. He had put before the House the position of these magistrates in regard to Lord Rossmore, and if the Government had carried out their convictions, or wished to prove the honesty of their professions, they would not hesitate a moment in what to do with them. If they were, as it was said, a Government of the "even keel," and not a Government that careened very much to the one side, they would have suspended by this time every one of these 600 magistrates who represented one class and one interest, and have appointed instead, not young men like Lord Rossmore, or mere boys like others that he knew, but respectable and independent men representing various classes and interests in society, whose administration of the law would bring strength to the Government and induce amongst the people a respect for the administration of the law. The noble Lord the Member for Fermanagh (Vis- 512 count Crichton) said that, considering the way in which the office was degraded, the Commission of the Peace was not an enviable position now in Ireland—[Viscount CRICHTON: Hear, hear!]—and, therefore, the Chief Secretary need not be apprehensive of the tenderness with which he would have to inflict the blow, for the noble Lord and the hon. and gallant Member for the County of Dublin (Colonel King-Harman) would be only too delighted to be relieved from the office, while the people of Ireland would be only very glad to have for them more impartial substitutes. But if the Chief Secretary did not suspend the magistrates, what would he do with the High Sheriffs? The High Sheriffs of Tyrone, King's County, Waterford, Wicklow, and Eos-common bad signed these declarations. These functionaries had important public duties to perform with regard to the empanelling of juries; and he would like to know what course the Chief Secretary proposed to take with regard to them after the distinctly partizan stand they had taken in this matter? He would like to know, also, what the right hon. Gentleman meant when he said that in order to hold a magistrate responsible for sanctioning a certain course of conduct the magistrate must take part in that course of conduct? Now, he thought sanction was an act of the mind, and did not require any corresponding act of the body—that it meant confirmation and approval. Indeed, he thought it would be admitted that the Chief Secretary was warping the meaning of the word to suit the exigencies of the case; and if this now and irrational meaning was to be given to the word, the right hon. Gentleman had better set about preparing a dictionary of political terms for the use of the Members of the House. He had observed that the speeches made by the Tory Party in defence of Lord Rossmore, and the strange proceedings in the North, became more feeble as the speakers became more important. For instance, the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Lord Claud Hamilton), who had brought to the service of the Orangemen the military skill of the two war-worn Services, Her Majesty's Militia and the Grenadier Guards, and who never succeeded in obtaining his re-election for any constituency in Great Britain or Ireland—the 513 only point worthy of notice made by him was that if he were in Derry he would be very glad to head the mob who seized the town hall and made a murderous attack on the people beneath. He was glad the noble Lord made that statement, for it showed what manner of men these Orange leaders were. The hon. Member for Coleraine (Sir Hervey Bruce) contributed an amusing feature to the debate. He said that the firing of shots was a sort of habit in Ireland on all joyous occasions. He asked was it blank cartridge which the Orangemen were supposed to have in their rifles at the meeting called by the hon. Gentleman who claimed clanship with Robert Bruce? He should like to know if the hon. Member for Coleraine, when he told his Orangemen "to keep the cartridge in the rifle," intended that it should be blank cartridge; or Captain Barton, when he told them "to bring their sweethearts and plenty of stuff?" Could anyone suppose that the warlike Lord Rossmore, or Grand Master M'Clintock, who told his hearers each to bring a copy of Sankey's hymns, would have had anything of that sort? He had heard the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) defend the Orangemen; but he (Mr. Sexton) felt bound to admit that he did not seem to have his heart in the thing at all; and he would venture to assert that if when he first went to the Bar he had so bad a case, he (Mr. Sexton) feared that he (Mr. Gibson) would never have reached his present eminence. As, however, he really expected to meet him one day or other in the Irish House of Commons, he did not wish in advance to prejudice the cordiality of the situation. He (Mr. Gibson) had opened his speech by declaring that the Irish population had diminished; but was he aware of the fact that the population of Ulster had decreased 25,000 more than Munster, 35,000 more than Leinster, and three times as much as Connaught within the last decade? If the Irish people were going away, there were more of them going from amongst those in the North than in Munster or other parts of Ireland. His right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Gibson) had said that the people wanted "repose and security to be allowed to settle down." Well, he (Mr. Sexton) quite agreed with him. Ireland wanted repose 514 from the disturbances of Irish landlord factions; Ireland wanted security of the public rights of citizens, and not to settle down in apathy and despair, but in the hope of obtaining a progressive course of social and political reconstruction. He did not like to quarrel with the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin for having a high opinion of the Irish Conservatives, but would merely observe that the same opinion was not held by their recognized organs of opinion in Ireland. The Dublin livening Mail had, some time since, declared that the "loyal Irish Conservatives" had played but a poor part in Ulster, as they were the laziest, the most unprofitable, and the least reliable of the Members; and, with the exception of one or two, that there was not a single Conservative Member of the North of Ireland who deserved to be re-elected. He hoped that the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin would be one of the two Conservative Members who would be returned in the next Parliament. The whole campaign in Ulster had been a game of brag and unmeaning bluster on the part of the Orangemen, and of utter cowardice on the part of the Executive. What could be imagined more cowardly than for the Government not to have stopped at the beginning that course of violence, by means of the Crimes Prevention Act. Why, when one of these murderous placards was posted, was not a summons issued against every man who put his name to it? Why were such persons not brought before the Resident Magistrate, and kept for a couple of months on the plank bed in gaol? He could assure the Government that such a course, moderate though it might be, would cool the ardour of the most redoubtable of them. The Government could easily have said—"This Nationalist popular meeting is legal, peaceful, and orderly, and we have no fault to find with the objects of it," and then accord the Orangemen permission to hold a meeting anywhere else in Ireland that they desired, or even upon the same spot upon any other day of the year. He contended that the Chief Secretary for Ireland, in his speech on behalf of the Government, had entirely proved the case for the Nationalists. In one sentence of his speech he made it plain to him (Mr. 515 Sexton) that the principle upon which the Government proceeded in prohibiting meetings in Ulster was unsound. He said that, when the risk was so great that it required 800 or 1,000 soldiers to keep the peace, the Government stopped the meeting in order to save the country from expense. That was a strange reason for the stoppage of a legal and Constitutional meeting, held in pursuance of a public right, just because a body of disorderly men chose to threaten them with armed violence. The Government had 12,000 police and between 20,000 and 30,000 soldiers, who had little to do; and the matter of mere expense should not enter into the question of the protection of persons discussing questions of public importance. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had said that at Dromore sackfuls of revolvers were picked up which had been thrown away by Orangemen, who had seen a shrewd, energetic officer search one of their number. [Mr. MACARTNEY: The Nationalists.] The right hon. Gentleman would not have fallen into so absurd a mistake as to have said that of the Nationalists. Considering that these Orangemen threw away their arms for fear of being searched by a single police officer, would any reasonable man believe that they were a class of men to require 800 or 1,200 soldiers to disperse their meeting? He assured the Government that if 50 police, duly armed, and half a troop of Lancers—the same force as induced Lord Ross-more, after all his mock heroic harangue, to keep quiet—were sent to any peaceful meeting, there would be no danger; for the only time that any casualty had occurred amongst range-men was when they were running away. This was in the case of the poor dupe who was brought from his loom in the mill at Portadown to engage in a cause the merits of which he knew nothing of. During the greatest meetings of the Land League movement the right hon. Gentleman and his Predecessors were satisfied to send 50 police; and he asked him to send the same guard to any meeting in the North of Ireland, and he was ready to stake his reputation that the Orangemen of Ireland would soon prove that their game was a game of bluster and brag. The parties of men who took part in 516 these demonstrations were purely ornamental, and they were called together merely in the hope of forcing the Executive through fear to prohibit the meetings. The Chief Secretary in his own speech proved their delusive character, and this was borne out by the circular issued by the Tyrone Orange Lodge appealing for funds to pay for the transport and expenses of loyal men, which simply meant the cost of their railway tickets and their maintenance and remuneration. These gentlemen of the County Grand Lodge Circular of Tyrone had appealed publicly for funds for what was styled "the transport and expenses of loyal men," which was probably a euphemism for "payment." The Nationalists who attended the meeting were the people of the district. They walked unarmed to the meeting, while the Orangemen carried revolvers, and were carted from all parts of the country. The Chief Secretary had said that in one case as many as 3,500 Orangemen were met together. Men might as well be brought from Switzerland to attack a peaceful meeting as from Portadown.
§ MR. SEXTON
Yes; that might be so, but the difference was that the Nationalists who went by train paid their own fares, which none of the Orangemen did. In conclusion, he left the Government to consider this great question cautiously, gravely, and impartially. The right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) said the other night that the Irish Question had been a problem before they were born, and would remain so after they had passed away. It certainly would continue to be a problem if men refused to see the right way to solve it. But he hoped that the Government would see that the people of Ireland were prepared to maintain the welfare and the honour of their own country, irrespective of any society or faction whatsoever. If they disarmed the people of Ireland, but left arms in the hands of a violent faction, the people of Ireland would contrive to arm themselves. They would insist upon fair play. If the Government disarmed one party, let them disarm all. Unless the Orangemen were disarmed the people would arm themselves. [Mr. MACARTNEY: They are 517 armed.] The Crimes Act imposed six months' imprisonment for carrying a revolver, but it was much better to run the chance of imprisonment for six months for carrying a revolver than to incur certain death for the want of one. Let the Government then determine what course they would take; of this he could assure them, that the people of Ireland encouraged by the possession of a free vote, encouraged by having broken down the ascendancy of a class, encouraged by having an independent Party to speak their minds, and to watch their interests in Parliament, would not be deterred from the path upon which they had entered by any faction, no matter how gross its purposes or how vile its threats. Public life in Ireland must have free way. Violent factions must not interfere with the rights of citizens. An open arena must be preserved where every man could speak his mind without fear or favour, and the Irish people would then prove, without incurring an unjust reputation for arousing sedition or disorder, that they could put an end to what was called the Irish problem by protecting their own interests, asserting their own rights, and regenerating their own country.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, that in a speech of nearly two hours, to which the House had just listened with so much attention, the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton), although he had made many allusions to the Government, had not even in a remote way touched upon the Amendment upon which he was supposed to speak. The latter part of the hon. Member's speech was confined to denunciations of the Orange body and all loyal men in general, and of individuals in particular, but in no way did it deal with the subject of the Amendment. The same might be said of the speech which had been delivered by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). In fact, the two speeches suggested the same idea, that the Amendment, while ostensibly aimed at the Government, was really directed at a body of men—the Orangemen—whom the National League hated because it feared them, and because they had proved to be a match for the League. The only point the hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House had made was that the Government had disarmed a disloyal portion of the population, 518 while they had left arms in the hands of the Orange Party. But what was the fact? No sooner had the so-called Nationalists attempted their invasion of Ulster than the Government issued a proclamation disarming the whole of the peaceable and loyal county of Fermanagh, in which no outrage had taken place. No sooner had Mr. Parnell's lieutenants proclaimed their intention of holding meetings in Tyrone, than the whole of the law-abiding inhabitants of that county were deprived of their arms by a Government order. It was too late an hour to go into the speech of the hon. Gentleman; but there were points in it which he (Colonel King-Harman) believed it was necessary to touch upon. The hon. Member had referred lightly to the action of the Government towards the close of his speech—namely, when he made some slight allusion to the consequences of their action; and he had asked why this odious blood-tax was imposed on the country, if the country was loyal and peaceable? It was imposed because as long as it was not imposed the country was suffering from the scourge of murder, and it would be a crying shame and a wanton sin to remove it so long as there was a possibility of crime and outrage being renewed. The hon. Member stated that the National League was a loyal body, and that it had nothing to do with the Land League. He (Colonel King-Harman) thought that out of the hon. Gentleman's own mouth he could prove that his words were not exactly accurate. Speaking in Glasgow, on the 6th of November, 1883, the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) used these words—Yes; Mr. Forster's Police Act has certainly passed away, but the Irish people remain; the spirit of the Land League survives, and the ex-suspects are the leaders of the people.[Irish MEMBERS: Hear, hear!] Hon. Gentlemen were quite welcome to say "Hear, hear!" He (Colonel King-Harman) quoted these words as the hon. Member's own testimony that the National League was the same body, headed by the same leaders, and animated by the same spirit as the Land League, which was suppressed by the Government. It passed his comprehension to understand how the Members of Her Majesty's Government could sit still and hear the National League de- 519 fended and spoken of as a loyal body, seeing they were the same Members of the Government who—especially the Home Secretary—in scathing terms, had denounced the Land League as an institution fraught with misery, and whose footsteps had been dogged with blood, murder, and rapine. The hon. Member for Sligo had launched forth upon the representation of the Irish people. He had told them that, at present, a voter had to travel a long distance in order to register his vote, and that not unfrequently he was unable to get his vote registered at all. If the hon. Member's remarks were true, then all he (Colonel King-Harman) could say was that the hon. Member and his Colleagues worked remarkably well in the county of Dublin last year, because they succeeded in sowing frivolous objections broadcast to the annoyance of many honest men in the county of Dublin, and to a greater extent than ever had been even hinted at before. That was the course taken by the National League last year. [Mr. HARRINGTON: We have not done with you yet.] An hon. Member said they had not done with him yet. No; they had not done with him yet, and he could assure them that it would be a long time before they had done with him. In Parliament or out, in England or in Ireland, in the North or in the South, he could assure them that they had not done with him yet, much as they might desire that consummation. The hon. Genleman said that when the National League went to Ulster, he defied any man to show that there were any meetings or speeches in connection with it that could be considered disloyal. He (Colonel King-Harman) agreed with the hon. Member. He had read all the speeches delivered in Ulster, and there was nothing disloyal to be found in them. They took very good care not to say anything disloyal. But he had read speeches delivered by the same persons in other parts of Ireland, and he had not read one that was not teeming, from beginning to end. with disloyalty. The hon. Member for Sligo talked of respect for constituted authority. Had the hon. Member ever read a speech delivered by a member of the National League, in which the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was compared to a hangman? Had he ever read a speech in which Lord Spencer was compared 520 to a drunken horsebreaker, and in which the antecedents of that noble Lord and of other members of his family were spoken of in a most foul and disgraceful manner? The loyalty of the leaders had been talked about, and he thought he might dismiss that matter without much further comment. On the other hand, the loyalty of the Orangemen had stood the test of centuries. Loyal they were formed; loyal they had remained; and loyal they were still. It was very easy to rake up the old story of 1835, when a charge was brought against them which from its very enormity was difficult to disprove, but which fell to the ground upon investigation. He would allow that in 1857, when charges were made against the Orange body, religious feeling ran painfully and distressingly high at the time, and there was imported into the Orange body a religious and sectarian animosity which was deplorable at the time, and which all of them could not but deplore now. He maintained, however, that at the present moment there was but little of that religious bigotry existing among the Orange body; and he further maintained that they were at the present moment a staunch bulwark of loyalty in Ireland. But he said deliberately that the Orangemen were not the only-loyal men in the country. There were hundreds of thousands of loyal men in Ireland who were Protestants and not Orangemen, and other Irishmen who were not Protestants or Orangemen, but who were glad of the ægis of Orangemen behind which they were able to rally themselves. Orangemen would not now be attacked with the malignity with which they were being attacked by the National League, unless the National League knew well that it was the first bulwark they had attacked which they had been unable to surmount. The present debate was opened by a speech of a most extraordinary description, delivered by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). When the hon. Member rose to move the Amendment which stood in his name, everybody expected a tremendous denunciation of the Government, and the most scathing observations directed against the Orangemen; but, on the contrary, they had a speech of extraordinary mildness—a speech very different indeed from other speeches de- 521 livered by the hon. Member himself and his followers over in Dublin. The hon. Member for Cork showed that he could roar as gently as any sucking-dove. It was a most extraordinary thing for an Irishman to come over from Dublin to that House and to find how little Englishmen had read of the speeches delivered by the Irish Members of that House elsewhere. If those Irish speeches had been studied by hon. Members on the other side of the House, they would give a little less credence to the speeches delivered in Parliament, which generally contained the same thing they had had that night—namely, absolute bosh—such as what they heard that night about the extension of the franchise. According to their own story, these innocent and harmless emissaries of the National League never dreamt of blood until they went to Ulster and saw the Orangemen there. Their object had been simply to instruct the peaceful citizens of the North how to exercise the franchise. That was the reason why they went to Garrison, Blaeklion, Rosslea, and other places where there were very few voters. The hon. Member for the City of Cork attacked the Government for allowing the meetings in the North which the Orangemen wished to hold, while they suppressed the Nationalist meetings in the South and West of Ireland. Now, his (Colonel King-Harman's) charge against the Government was that they did not suppress the meetings in the South and West of Ireland, but that they had allowed them to be held all over the South and West, notwithstanding the fact that no word was spoken at them about the franchise, but that every second word held up the Government to execration, or some particular individual to public odium. They always found the old cries of "No rent!" and "Down with the landlords! "with the view eventually of bringing about the separation of the two countries. With questionable taste the hon. Member for the City of Cork had said that the landlords of Ulster had called these meetings in order to protect their own pockets. He (Colonel King-Harman) would tell the House one thing they did not call them for. They did not call those meetings in order to fill their own pockets. Nor—though, by the tenantry having followed evil counsels, and by the action of the Government in first passing an 522 Act which contained much injustice, and afterwards carrying out that Act in a most unjust manner, some of them might be reduced to the condition which the hon. Member for the City of Cork described as threadbare—did they go to Parliament to ask for assistance to clear off their mortgages; nor did they go to a starving and down-trodden peasantry to extract from them a tribute of £38,000. It was the old, old Nationalist story; the old begging plea; the inexhaustible bottle of the conjuror. [Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen did not appear to relish his remarks. Then, forsooth, the Orangemen and the Leader of the Opposition were accused of stirring up sectarian strife and disunion in Ulster. It was said that they had employed a body of hirelings. Now, the persons he had seen in Dungannon, and who were described as hirelings, were honest farmers who had left their farms on the day after the great storm, when their crops were scattered through the fields, and their work was sorely needed at home, in order to make a protest against the views of people they detested. They were no hirelings, but true men and as good men as any in Her Majesty's Dominions. As he had said, the Orangemen and loyal men of Ireland were accused, together with the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, of having gone into Ulster and stirred up sectarian disunion. That came with a very bad grace from such men as the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar), who said, in a speech at Bermondsey, that he would not count any man as an Irishman who was not a Roman Catholic. The hon. Member then went off into rabid abuse of other people, and spoke of a man named Matthews who was lying in gaol at the time untried. In such a case the hon. Member might just as well have held his tongue; but he said that Matthews was about to be tried on a charge which could only be described as a practical joke. He (Colonel King-Harman) had heard of practical jokes before, especially in reference to the use of dynamite; and perhaps the hon. Member knew more of these practical jokes than Mr. Matthews. It was quite evident to Englishmen why the loyal men of Ulster objected to these meetings being held by the so-called National Party, and they blamed the Government for permitting them to be held. In the first place, they considered 523 themselves loyal and true men; they protested against the idea of separation; and they were loyal and true to their Queen and country. Besides that, they knew the effect of these meetings. They knew the result of having their friends and themselves held up to public execration and the life and property of every man made insecure wherever these abominable meetings were held. They knew what had been the painful result of similar meetings in the South and West—how they had been attended by fatal consequences; and yet these mild lambs of the National League professed to complain of the dreadful violence used at the Orange demonstrations, in connection with which one unfortunate boy was done to death by Her Majesty's police, but not a single Nationalist's head was broken. There was one occurrence of which the hon. Member for the City of Cork drew a sad picture, and it was an occurrence which he (Colonel King-Harman) deplored with all his heart. He referred to the unhappy death of a revered lady in Belfast. But how had it been turned to account by the Nationalists? No doubt, as on most similar occasions, there followed the torch-light procession at Belfast a certain number of wild harum-scarum boys who, on passing the convent, threw a few stones and broke some panes of glass. Such a thing was scandalous; but a body of Orangemen in the procession when they heard that stones were being thrown turned back and chased away those who threw them. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, whether he had not received a report to that effect from the police? With regard to the Amendment of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, as far as the main body of it went, he might say that he should have been prepared to support it to the extent of the first five lines. He would have been prepared—Humbly to assure hon. Members that the recent policy and conduct of the Executive in Ireland had not tended to the interests of tranquillity or contentment among the Irish people, and that he particularly deplored the wanton prohibition of legal and constitutional public meetings throughout Ireland.But the question was, what were legal and Constitutional meetings in Ireland? What he contended was, that Her Ma- 524 jesty's Government had protected illegal and unconstitutional meetings in Ireland, and had prohibited the legal and loyal meetings. Disloyal meetings had been allowed to take place, while loyal meetings had been stopped where there was some chance of showing that there was a strong body of men in Ireland who were loyal, and of enabling Englishmen and Scotchmen to see that there were men in Ireland who were totally opposed to separation and who were in favour of the maintenance of law and order. At Rosslea, Lord Rossmore, for what could be described at the most as an error of judgment, was suspended without trial. At Loughrea, a meeting was proclaimed, magistrates went down, and proclamations were posted everywhere; but in spite of the Government and the police the meeting was held. Had Her Majesty's Government punished or prosecuted a single one of the men who thus deliberately broke the law? Had they prosecuted any of the men who deliberately held a meeting at Castlewellan after it had been prohibited? It appeared that a Nationalist, as he was called, or, as he (Colonel King-Harman) preferred to call him, a Land Leaguer, might defy the law with impunity; but let an Orangeman make a mistake, and he was punished with the utmost rigour. It was the old story, that one man might steal a horse, and another might not look over a hedge. [Cries of "Derry!"] They were told by the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Dawson) that the Town Hall of Derry was taken possession of by what he described as a miserable body of 300 men. Nevertheless, those miserable 300 men appeared to have terrified the great Lord Mayor of Dublin, and put him to flight. In reply to what the House had heard about Derry, and the long statement which had been made as to the conduct of the magistrates, there and elsewhere, and especially in reference to the charge that the Conservative Party were the supporters and friends of James Carey in Dublin, he desired to say a few words. He hoped that he would be excused for going back to that point, because he wished to show how much credit was to be attached to the speeches which came from hon. Members below the Gangway. He proposed to quote an article which ap- 525 peared in The United Ireland—a newspaper, edited by the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien)—on the 2nd of December, and written immediately after the election of James Carey to represent Trinity Ward in the Town Council of Dublin. That article said—We will not disguise our exultation over the results of the Dublin Municipal contests. Those with which we are mainly concerned are the defeat of Mr. George O'Neil in the North City Ward, and the extraordinary triumph of Mr. James Carey in the Trinity Ward. These were the two objects on which we had set our hearts Mr. Carey had no strength but in the deep heart of the people; no advocates who were not working men; no newspaper except our own to even notice his candidature—unless, indeed, The Mail which remembered that he was a Kilmainham suspect, and a formidable one. Mr. Carey's phenomenal majority over all comers, in one of the genteelest sections of Duhlin, under a jealously-restricted franchise, is the highest water-mark of democracy yet touched in Ireland.And yet the hon. Member dared to say that James Carey was nominated by the Conservatives, and his Colleagues applauded and endorsed his statement.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
rose to make a statement, but was received by loud cries of "Order!" and resumed his seat.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, the conduct of the Government was most reprehensible for having checked the loyal meetings in Ireland, and allowing the disloyal ones. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, if he had acted up to the belief he had expressed in one of his speeches to his constituents in Scotland as to the conduct of the Loyalists in Ireland, would not have treated them as he had done. The Chief Secretary knew perfectly well that the people of Ireland wanted rest. He knew that the people were heartily sick and tired of this agitation; he knew that the agitators were men who got their living out of these meetings; and, in spite of that, Her Majesty's Government, in order to gain a Party vote, allowed these meetings to be held, and Ireland was kept in a state of turmoil, and her soil drenched in blood, because the right hon. Gentleman did not choose to put his foot down firmly and repress them. The story was no new one; and he feared that as long as the Government opposite remained in power the same state of circumstances 526 would prevail. Her Majesty's Government had deliberately trampled upon the loyal men of Ireland, and thrown cold water upon those who wished to support the Administration and to stand by the Union. They had discouraged the loyal Irishmen who wished to put down bloodshed and murder. They had issued proclamations which could only terrorize the loyal Roman Catholics and loyal Protestants, and they had pandered to the votes of a discredited section of the Irish people. In regard to the action of the magistrates, which had been touched upon by the last speaker, he thought it right that he should say a few words. They had been accused of not having respected the authority of the Lord Chancellor, who was their head. He would remind the House that the Lord Chancellor was an official that went out of Office with every change of Government. When he (Colonel King-Harman) took an oath on becoming a magistrate, he took an oath to serve Her Majesty, and to do his duty wherever he was placed, and his duty as a magistrate and as the lieutenant of a county was, instead of allowing Land League meetings to be held, to put them down by every means in his power as illegal and seditious. Her Majesty's Government had thrown their protecting ægis over these disloyal meetings; and in Ulster they had drawn a cordon of bayonets around seditious agitators, thus preventing the loyal citizens of Ulster from doing more than show what their opinion was. He said that the magistrates of Ireland, as a body, had done their duty, and that they deserved well of their country. In an anxious and trying time they had done their duty without fear, favour, impartiality, or affection. [Cries of "Oh!"] They had gone through difficulties and dangers which many hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway who cried "Oh!" would have shrunk from. He regretted that such a body of men should have been abandoned by Her Majesty's Government, and held up to obloquy wherever Her Majesty's Government had the opportunity of sacrificing a Loyalist, so that they might secure applause from the disaffected. He would abstain from voting on the Division, because he could not vote with the hon. Member for Cork City. In conclusion, he would content 527 himself with saying that he could not approve of the conduct of the Government in Ireland during the past year, and by protesting against the way in which they had treated loyal men, and against the way in which they had encouraged disloyalty and sedition.
§ MR. BERESFORD
said, that after the speech they had just heard from his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the County of Dublin (Colonel King-Harman), he would not detain the House at any length at that late hour of the night; but he wished to say a few words, because he was one of those who had done his best to keep the North of Ireland free from these so-called National meetings. He would, therefore, venture to give his opinion as briefly as possible as to the motives by which he had been actuated. From almost the very first the leaders of the Land League had endeavoured to prove to the people of this country that the people in the North of Ireland had been gained over to their views. They had done their best to get hold of the Loyalists of the North in order to show to the House that the feeling of the North was with them, and to secure this object they had resorted to every kind of proceeding, and had held out every sort of inducement. But the people of the North of Ireland had watched the progress of the Land League, and had observed that wherever it came, its footsteps were marked with blood. Crime and bloodshed followed it wherever it took its stand; and the men of Ulster, therefore, had done their best to keep it out of their peaceful Province. It had been said by several members of the Nationalist Party that the Orange Society was composed of the people of the towns—the ship carpenters and others of Belfast. He begged to give a most emphatic denial to that statement. He knew the Orange Society well, and he knew that it was composed of the sons of farmers, of the most influential middle-class portion of Ulster, and men of position throughout the whole country, who detested the doctrines preached by the Land League. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had referred to this matter in the speech he delivered the other day; but he thought the hon. Member could not be aware that three of the strongest Orange lodges in the County of Armagh were 528 situated on the property of his own brother, Mr. John Parnell. He (Mr. Beresford) had known what Orangemen were for many a long day; he had attended many meetings in the North of Ireland, and he had never in his life seen ship-carpenters at them; but he had seen thousands and tens of thousands of the leading men of the Province. They all knew what had occurred since 1879, and that the soil of the Island in three of its Provinces had been bedewed with blood. The first terrible murder that took place was that of Lord Mountmorres. The night before that noble Lord was murdered, he (Mr. Beresford) had been talking to him, and he was horrified to hear on the following day of the dreadful manner in which he had met his death. From the time of that murder down to the last dreadful crime which was committed in the Phoenix Park, in Dublin, the best part of the country seemed to have been given up to anarchy and confusion. Was it, therefore, surprising that the Loyalists in the North of Ireland should try to keep out these National meetings and the gentlemen who were the leaders of the National Association, or, in other words, the Land League? He was quite sure that any gentlemen placed in their position would have done the same. The hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) said, the other day, that he was at the Dromore meeting. Now, he (Mr. Beresford) happened to be at Dromore also. The hon. Member described the Orangemen there as "the most truculent set of ruffians he had ever seen," and accused them of having tried to murder him and his party. The Orangemen certainly were excited; but, on the other hand, it must be borne in mind that the only men injured were three of the Orangemen, who were all of them stabbed by the police. In the next place, it must be remembered that these young men were not stabbed for resisting the police, because two of them were injured in the back of the thigh and the third in the small of the back. It was, therefore, evident that at the time they received their injuries they were endeavouring to get away, and that they were not in any way engaged in an assault or attack on the police. Lord Rossmore had been taken to task and superseded for what his 529 hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the County of Dublin (Colonel King-Harman) called "an error of judgment." He thought his hon. Friend perfectly right in that statement, and the unfortunate proceedings at Dromore were brought on by the very same thing—namely, an error of judgment committed by the officer in command of the troops. Two roads diverging out of a field converged upon a particular point. The Orangemen were allowed to get too near the other party, and the unfortunate result was that, becoming excited, there was a collision. But the men who were stabbed were in a road altogether out of the route by which the Nationalists were proceeding. The unfortunate young man Griffin was stabbed in the field through which the noble Lord the Member for Fermanagh (Viscount Crichton) led his part of the procession. He (Mr. Beresford) was sure there was no English Member, if he resided in the North of Ireland, who would not have done exactly the same thing as the Orangemen of Ulster did on that occasion. The only wish of the Protestants of the North of Ireland was to be allowed to remain in peace and quietness with their neighbours, and not to be assailed by gentlemen who invaded their peaceful Province, and who professed such sentiments as those which had been quoted the other day by the hon. Member for Wicklow (Mr. M'Coan). What the people of Ulster wanted was to be left in peace and quietness, to cultivate their farms, and to live in amity with their brethren, no matter whether they were Roman Catholics or otherwise, and to avoid everything calculated to lead to quarrelling and strife. What business had the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) to go into a country he was never in in his life before and preach such doctrines as the Land League were promulgating all through Ireland, not alone with regard to the land, but with regard also to the separation and disintegration of the Empire? That was what he (Mr. Beresford) objected to, and so did all of his friends. It was not so much the doctrines which the Land League professed, so far as the abatement of rent was concerned; but what they felt was, that the time of the peaceful population would be short, if, what the Land League wished to bring about—namely, 530 the disunion of the Empire, were accomplished. He had said before, and he said it again, in that House that the people of the North of Ireland were determined, no matter what the sacrifice might be, to preserve the union and the integrity of the Empire.
MR. O'CONNOR POWER
said, he understood it was quite impossible to conclude the debate that evening, and, therefore, he would move that it be now adjourned.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Mr. O' Connor Power,)—put, and agreed to.
§ Debate adjourned till To-morrow.