HC Deb 18 July 1884 vol 290 cc1650-90

, who had the following Notice upon the Paper:—To call attention to the quartering during the past three years of an extra Police Force in the City of Limerick; to the attempt of the Government to impose an oppressive tax upon the citizens of Limerick for the maintenance of such extra Force; and to the proclamation of the City by the Lord Lieutenant under the authority of the Crime Prevention Act; and to move— That, in the opinion of this House, it is expedient, considering the peaceful and Law-abiding condition of the city as proved by Judicial and other official evidence, that the police force quartered there be immediately reduced to the strength of the ordinary free force; that the claim of the Government against the Corporation for the maintenance of the extra force being a claim for expenses illegally incurred, and persisted in against the will and in defiance of the protests of the Corporation, duly acting within its legal powers, should be abandoned; and that, as there is nothing questionable or exceptional in the condition of the city, it is for the public interest that the Lord Lieutenant's proclamation be revoked, said: I have placed a Resolution on the Paper of the House with reference to the quartering of an extra Police Force in the City of Limerick, and the imposition of a very heavy tax upon the people. Now, a sum of £2,200 has been imposed on the citizens to defray the charge of the force; but under the Rules of the House, a Division having been taken upon one of the previous Amendments, I shall not be able to have a Division upon the question. I therefore propose to call attention to the matter, with the hope that the ventilation and light thrown upon it by the discussion may induce the House to relieve the unfortunate people of Limerick from the payment of this very heavy, cruel, and uncalled-for exaction. For a long series of years, the ordinary free force of 80 men had been found amply sufficient to preserve the peace in the City of Limerick; and this was during a period when considerable disturbances had taken place in other parts of Ireland, and extra police were quartered in those parts, and excused upon the ground of the unusually disturbed state of these localities. Even during all this time, it was not found necessary to increase the police force of Limerick; and the free force of 80 men was found to be amply sufficient, when the population was actually larger than it is at the present moment. This state of affairs lasted up till the midsummer of 1881; but, perhaps, before I go any further, I had better give an example of the extremely peaceable condition of the City and the great freedom from crime which the City enjoys. The statistics for the years 1880 and 1881, the two years immediately preceding the sending of these extra police, and also the two years when the Land League agitation was at its height, and when it might be expected that any reflex action would have shown itself and rendered necessary an increased force of extra police, are as follows:—On the first Quarter Sessions in the month of January there was only one criminal case; and the Chairman said that there was only one case to go before the Grand Jury, a state of affairs highly creditable to the City. At the next Quarter Sessions, the Chairman again commented on the character of the cases, and said that the labours of the Grand Jury would be extremely light, there being only two bills to go before them. At the Midsummer Quarter Sessions, the Chairman said that there were only eight bills to go before the Grand Jury, none of which required any observations from him. The calendar was much below the average, and only a few unimportant cases were to go for trial. I have now dealt with the Sessions. Now with regard to the Assizes. At the Spring Assizes of 1880, Mr. Justice Fitzgerald said that, only for some trivial cases, he would be entitled to a pair of white gloves for a maiden Assize. At the Summer Assizes Mr. Justice Lawson stated that the City was in its normal condition, and that there were only three cases to go for trial. Again, in the Quarter Sessions, 1881, there were only five criminal cases for trial; in the April Sessions there were only two cases; at the June Sessions there were only six trivial cases; and at the October Sessions there were only six similar cases. Mr. Justice Fitzgerald also commented on the lightness of the calendar as regarded the Assizes. At the Summer Assizes Mr. Justice Lawson said that there were only five cases to go before the Grand Jury of the ordinary petty kind. At the previous Assizes in 1880 and 1881 the cases were usually of a very trivial kind, and it was a matter of frequent occurrence that there should be no prisoners at all. Now, Sir, I have quoted these statistics to show that, in these two years 1880 and 1881, when there was considerable excitement and a good deal of agrarian crime throughout many parts of Ireland, which period has been always quoted by Ministers as one in which agrarian and political excitement had been more prevalent than for a very long interval before in that country, in the City of Limerick, according to the testimony of Judges Lawson and Fitzgerald, who presided at the Assizes, there was an almost entire absence of any crime whatever. It was only upon one occasion, when some soldiers entered the town and grossly insulted the faith and nationality of the citizens, that there was a disturbance, and several persons were assaulted upon the railway platform. This occurrence would not have had any serious result were it no for the reckless and unnecessary measures adopted for quelling the disturbances. Alter that had passed over, the city resumed its normal state of quietness until 1882, when Limerick experienced the misfortune of having that notorious and zealous gentleman, Mr. Clifford Lloyd, imported into their district as District Resident Magistrate. Then followed what I may and will fitly describe as a reign of white terror, under the régime of Mr. Clifford Lloyd and those persons by whom he was surrounded, and it continued all the while he was there. His residence was surrounded by police, his office was guarded by police, and he was accompanied everywhere by constables; and even that estimable and popular stipendiary magistrate, Mr. Felix M'Carthy, was forced, very much against his will and constant protest, to have a guard of police following him about day and night. The police were doubled in number in all the streets and at all the corners. Mr. Clifford Lloyd had police at his garden parties, and even the lady members of his family were escorted by Constabulary. No possible excuse was lost, in fact, for the presence of additional constables in the City. When the Crimes Act of 1882 was passed, Mr. Clifford Lloyd induced the Lord Lieutenant to proclaim the City under the provisions of that Act. I believe it was for the first time, after the passage of this Act, that the municipal authorities could legally impose the cost of the extra police. I believe it was under the Act of William IV. that the City was proclaimed, two months anterior to the passage of the Crimes Act. Now, I wish to point out to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Trevelyan) that it is a strange coincidence that the period when it was alleged that a necessity had arisen for the proclamation of the City, and when the maintenance of these extra police was forced upon the people, arose at a period which coincided exactly with the coming of Mr. Clifford Lloyd into the City. Rightly or wrongly, Mr. Clifford Lloyd may have believed his life was in danger, and he may have thought it really necessary to be constantly attended by 30 or 40 armed policemen; but I submit that the justification for that attendance of armed policemen does not also justify the imposition of the tax upon the citizens of Limerick, for they had nothing to do with the agrarian disturbances of the other counties of Cork, Clare, Kerry, Tipperary, or Galway, over which Mr. Clifford Lloyd's jurisdiction extended. In my opinion, the Act of William IV. was used for a purpose which it was never intended, as it was never alleged that Mr. Clifford Lloyd feared any danger to his life, or the property of the citizens of Limerick; but he, in fact, protected himself from the enmity of persons in the surrounding counties. Extra police were not required to preserve the peace of the City of Limerick, but for the purpose of preserving Mr. Clifford Lloyd, when he made it his headquarters for the sake of enjoying society, &c. I will not say that Mr. Clifford Lloyd had designedly any hand in keeping alive this excitement in the year 1882; but it is a remarkable fact that, after his departure, all the feverishness and excitement and reports of outrages and attempts upon lives disappeared also, especially from the English newspapers. The citizens of Limerick, therefore, believed that they were justly entitled to be relieved from the burden of taxation which they were paying for police not required. It is true that, in towns in England, the charge for police is much higher that in Ireland; but in both England and Scotland the municipal authorities provide, as well as pay, for their local police, and they control that force. In Ireland, however, the local authorities have no control whatever over their police. I am anxious to hear what reasons the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland will assign for this charge upon a City which is wholly unnecessary, and shall not therefore farther occupy the attention of the House. I hope, however, Parliament will remove, if possible, so unfair a burden from this peaceable and industrious City.


said, that if his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had been able to have moved the Resolution of which he had given Notice, he (Mr. Dawson) would have had great pleasure in seconding it, for he looked upon the imposition of the tax referred to in it as most iniquitous and unjust. According to law, the protection of an extra police force could not be obtained until the City was proclaimed, or unless such protection was asked for by the magistrates. Now, of the total amount claimed, £600 odd was levied for a period prior to the proclamation of the City, and when the magistrates had not asked for extra police. For that sum, at all events, the demand was clearly illegal. Again, how could they assess for 1884 the tax struck for 1882, the ratepayers not being the same? He contended that if the Corporation failed within the first six months to levy the first assessment, the Government was bound to take any action that might be necessary to levy it; and that when they did not do so in 1882 or 1883, they could not enforce it at all. In 1882, the peace and order of Limerick were testified to by the Chairman of Quarter Sessions and the Judge of Assize. He (Mr. Dawson) himself was in Limerick, and found it at every corner studded with police. When one walked into the peaceful City, one was really amazed to know what was the reason of its being under arms. When he was there a horse fell, and the driver was thrown out of the vehicle. The guardians of the peace turned their backs on the accident, and went inside the barracks, leaving horse and man to be attended to by civilians. He (Mr. Dawson) went to the barracks and inquired of the police if they understood their duties; but he got short courtesy, till he told them he would bring their conduct under the notice of the authorities. They seemed to think their duty was to protect Mr. Clifford Lloyd and make a demonstration of a terrorizing character in his favour, not in any way to assist in maintaining the civil peace and order. Then, in 1883, they had again the testimony of the Judges of Assize and Chairman of Quarter Sessions as to the peace of the City. In this year, at the January Quarter Sessions, there were only three small cases for trial; and the March calendar included only five trifling cases. At the April Sessions there was only a single case, in which a police constable pleaded guilty to larceny; and in July the Chairman was presented with a pair of white gloves. Would it be believed by the Prime Minister that, notwithstanding these facts, extra police were still imposed on the City, and that it was still burthened with extra taxation? Though Mr. Clifford Lloyd had carried his irritating policy to another atmosphere, still an extra tax was imposed on this peaceful City. He would ask the House to put the statements of the highest judicial officers against any trifling reason that might be given for the retention of this cruel tax. He thought that unless they beard something startlingly new there was a strong case for the intended Resolution of his hon. Friend.


said, that, being more or less personally connected with the City of Limerick, within a few miles of which he lived, he could bear testimony to the truth of what his hon. Friend (Mr. Parnell) had said as to the peaceable condition of the City during the periods to which he had referred. There were three periods to which his hon. Friend had called particular attention—one was the military riot in 1881; another was the visit of Mr. Clifford Lloyd in 1882; and the third was the period since the City returned to its normal condition in 1883 and 1884. The House could scarcely believe that, at that moment, extra police were kept in Limerick; and that, at the Assizes, which expired a few days ago, a compulsory presentment of £400 was levied on the City, besides a compulsory presentment of £400 made at the Spring Assizes. Why should that be, when the City was in its normal condition, and when every citizen, and all those living within a few miles distance, could give personal testimony to that fact? He asked the House and the country why should the military riot of 1881 be the cause of levying a compulsory contribution upon the citizens? A few weeks ago there was a military riot in Lichfield, in England. Was there any allegation there that there should be an extra police or military force imposed upon the citizens of Lichfield? On the occasion of the military riot at Limerick in 1881, the citizens asked for an inquiry from the Government; and if that inquiry had been given, it would have been proved conclusively that there was no necessity whatever for an extra police force. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland would remember that, besides this extra police force, the City of Limerick was now paying £1,500 a-year for a night watch to keep order in its streets. Those extra contributions came like the last straw on the camel's back, to break and to reduce to bankruptcy a great portion of the citizens. Barring the military riot of 1881, the judicial statistics of 1880 and 1881 conclusively proved that the City was in a normal state of tranquillity. When Mr. Clifford Lloyd came the state of the City was normal. Mr. Clifford Lloyd made the City his head-quarters for four counties, and he had his police force organized in Limerick for the purposes of the whole district. Why the citizens of Limerick should bear the expense of that force he (Mr. Synan) was totally at a loss to comprehend. The people of Limerick, who did not want any protection—and, in fact, protested against it—were compelled by Mr. Clifford Lloyd to accept protection. The citizens of Limerick were very badly able to pay this extraordinary levy of £2,200. If the Chief Secretary for Ireland knew as much about the matter as he (Mr. Synan) did, the right hon. Gentleman would press upon the Prime Minister the necessity of conciliating the goodwill of the citizens of Limerick by relieving them of this burden altogether, or at least from a great portion of it. Of this sum of £2,200, £291 was levied by compulsory presentment before 1881, and £481 from 30th March to 30th May, 1882, when the City was proclaimed under the Crimes Act. The sum levied by compulsory presentment since the proclamation of the City was £689, a compulsory presentment of £400 was made at last Spring Assizes, and another of a like amount at the present Assizes. Would the Chief Secretary show any justification for these levies whatsoever? The Lord Lieutenant went to Limerick last year for the agricultural show, and surely he could bear testimony to the tranquillity of the City. When he was there, there was no necessity whatsoever for an extraordinary police force; but Mr. Clifford Lloyd filled the City with police, and lined the railway with police for a distance of 12 miles. Mr. Clifford Lloyd made the Lord Lieutenant believe that that force was necessary; and he was afraid the Lord Lieutenant was abused by Mr. Clifford Lloyd, who made use of his position for the purpose of raising himself in the opinion of the Government, and enabling him to take a higher position in Egypt, which he was not able long to retain. Would the evidence of Mr. Clifford Lloyd be relied on as against the evidence of those who lived in Limerick or its vicinity? The citizens were hardly able to pay their ordinary rates, and it was cruelty to make this extraordinary levy of £2,200. How were the Government to levy this sum? The Corporation refused to make the levy. It had no physical body; and they could not attach the Corporation; and surely the Government did not mean to attach the members of the Corporation or the citizens, for not paying a tax which they said they had no right to pay. He appealed to the Government to consider this case upon its equitable grounds, and win the goodwill of the 40,000 citizens of Limerick by giving up, if necessary, the whole of their demand. He would wish to see the Limerick Corporation compromise with the Government by giving up their own force, and allowing the special force to be put in its place under the control of the Corporation. The Corporation would not lose anything by this arrangement, and the peace of their City would be better kept at night than under the present antiquated system. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland to hold out the olive branch to these 40,000 citizens. Let him tell the House that he had determined to abandon a portion, if not the whole, of this unjust exaction. At any rate, he hoped the Government would not make the people of Limerick pay for Mr. Clifford Lloyd's despotism.


said, the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), in the historical account he gave of the transaction he took so much exception to, was quite accurate as to his dates, so far as he (Mr. Trevelyan) could follow them, and had been as brief as, under the circumstances, was possible. He would endeavour to follow the hon. Member in that respect, though he might, perhaps, put a different complexion upon the same transactions. The matter was divided by few steps. The hon. Member for the City of Cork stated that long before—certainly for 12 years before—1882 the peace of Limerick was safeguarded by a free force of 80 men. Where, however, he wished to join issue with the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) was with regard to the more recent part of his historical narrative. He could not agree with the hon. Member in thinking that that movement, which he described as "a formidable movement, accompanied by a considerable amount of turbulence and crime," did not extend to the City of Limerick. The City of Limerick was in a very serious state during the height of that agitation in Ireland—in a state which he was glad to say was very different from what it was in at the present moment. On the 30th May, 1882—the hon. Member was quite correct in saying so—the force of 80 men was increased by 50 extra men, not under the Crimes Act, as was supposed, but under the 13th section of the 6 Will. IV. c. 13, which permitted the Lord Lieutenant to proclaim a city in a state of disturbance, and to introduce extra police, a moiety of the cost of which should be paid by the community. What was the state of Limerick before the introduction of these men? There was a series of riots, very serious several of them; but all of them sufficiently serious as showing that there was a bad spirit among the rough portion of the population, specially directed against the police, and of a character and extent and bitterness which rendered the force of 80 men not sufficient to preserve the peace of the City, and, above all, not sufficient to preserve their own safety and the safety of those who were concerned in the maintenance of order. There were several occurrences in Limerick which showed that there was a sympathy there with the violent state of feeling in agricultural matters, which was the great cause of the disordered state of Ireland at that period. On the 23rd of June, 1881, as the police were escorting sheriffs and bailiffs they were attacked and stoned by a large mob, and with great difficulty reached their destination. That showed, as he had said, that there was a great deal of sympathy in a certain part of the population of that town with that violent state of feeling on agrarian matters then prevalent. On the 2nd of July a sub-constable was attacked and stoned by the mob while arresting a man. On the 3rd of July two policemen in Nelson Street were attacked with stones. On the 4th of September there was a very serious riot indeed, which undoubtedly ended in an attack upon the police of a most dangerous and ominous nature, ending in the police being attacked and stoned from all sides and brought into a situation of very great danger. On the 16th of October there was another very serious riot, not unconnected with recent political events; on the 6th of November there was stone-throwing; and on the 13th of January the police were attacked while escorting Land League prisoners, the stone-throwing being so severe that nothing but the rapid movement of the cars prevented a serious calamity. In the same month there was a case of larceny of an immense quantity of dynamite, and an attempt to blow up the police quarters. On the 10th and 23rd of April serious riots had taken place; and on the 20th of May three policemen had been attacked by a furious mob. In consequence of these occurrences, in May, 1882, 50 extra police were introduced into the City, and there they stayed for a year and a fortnight. All this time negotiations, the nature of which it was unnecessary to describe minutely, were going on between the magistrates and the Town Council on the one hand, and the Irish Government on the other, the object of the local authorities being to represent the police force as unnecessary, and asking it to be removed, and the Irish Government maintaining the opposite opinion. On the 12th of June, 1883, the first modification of the situation had taken place, and the extra police had been reduced to 20 men. Things had still further improved, and on the 22nd of August the Government came to the conclusion to reduce the extra force to 10 men, at which it stood at present, the cost of these 10 men being to the City £344 a-year, or about ¾ d. in the pound on the valuation of Limerick. That was an extremely small sum for so considerable a city to pay. The hon. Member for the City of Cork was unwilling that he (Mr. Trevelyan) should quote the case of English cities; but one of the first he had before him was Northampton, where the local rates paid £2,846 every year for police —that was to say, a sum exceeding by £500 the total of those arrears that were now owed by Limerick. The state of things in Limerick, at present, was that there was a debt of £2,376, or thereabouts; that the town paid £344 a-year by way of extra police; and that it likewise paid £1,500 a-year for a force of 23 or 24 night watchmen, who preserved the peace of the streets, the situation being, he must say in passing, that the opinion of the Irish Government was that this force, which the citizens of Limerick paid £1,500 a-year for, did not contribute in any material degree to the peace of the City. ["Oh, oh!"] That it did so was only the opinion of the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Synan). It might be that its construction was more agreeable to the civic authorities of Limerick; but as efficient guardians of the peace, he did not think these watchmen stood very high, and one of the propositions which had been made by the Irish Government to the local authorities of Limerick included the reduction and gradual extinction of this force. Whatever might be the final arrangement between the Irish Government and the Limerick civic authorities, everything he had read in the matter lead him to think that there was no surer way of relieving the citizens of Limerick from their burden than the extinction of this antiquated and very useless force. He now came to the arrears, of which a sum of over £2,300 still remained to be paid. Into the legality or illegality of that charge he could not enter in that House. The question had been tried before the Queen's Bench, and the Queen's Bench had found that the Government had a right to this money. On an application to the Judge of Assize, the Judge had held that there was no course but a fiat to compel the Town Council to levy the money. It had then become the legal duty of the Town Council to strike a rate for the purpose, and a mandamus had finally been granted to compel them to do so. If there was any sum of money that, according to the laws of this country, was justly due—he was not speaking of any question of moral or administrative right or wrong—it was this sum that was justly due by the City of Limerick for extra police. Not only was it due, but the Government had it not in their power to excuse it. There was no method by which it could be paid, except the statutory method—payment by the citizens of Limerick. This £2,300 was the arrears of several years, and he had said that, if divided over those years, it would have come to only £800 or £900 a-year. It was not, he would repeat, in the power of the Government to excuse the payment of it. If the Government were to excuse this sum, because the local authorities objected to pay it, there would then be an end to all regular government in Ireland. ["No, no!"] Why, it was a clear case of refusing to pay taxes, legally imposed, after as fair an appeal to the Courts of Law as was possible. It was impossible that the Government could remit the sum. But there was one thing which the Government were prepared to do, now that things had returned to their normal state in Ireland. The Government were extremely anxious to act in accordance with the opinions of responsible Corporations and responsible Representative Bodies, where those Bodies existed. If the Corporation of Limerick were seriously of opinion that 80 men of the old free force were sufficient to do the duty of their City, the Government would try to make arrangements to make these 80 men do the duty. But it must be understood, and to this he requested the attention of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, that if it should be proved that these men, who did the duty of the City up to the troubled times, were not sufficient now, not only by the existence of crimes of a very grave description, but by serious riots, and especially by riots directed against the authority of the police, then the Lord Lieutenant would be perfectly justified in resorting, not necessarily to the Crimes Act, but to Section 13 of the Act of William IV., and of proclaiming the City as being in a state of disturbance. But if, however, the local authorities were prepared to say that the City was not now in a state of disturbance, and that—they caring, as they were presumed to care, for the peace and honour of the City—the duty could be henceforth done by the force which did it formerly, the Lord Lieutenant would seriously consider whether he should not revert to the old state of things. As to the arrears of the past, he was sorry to say he could hold out no hope whatever. The hon. Member for Limerick had asked him how they were to be exacted. Well, he would say, in reply, that was their business. They certainly intended to get in the just debts of the Government, and not to give a terrible example to the rest of Ireland; but, at the same time, in the matter of keeping the peace of a City like Limerick, they were anxious to act with and not against the local authorities, who, he firmly believed, were as anxious as men could be for the peace of a great City.


said, that the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Trevelyan) had argued the question in a narrow, dry, and unsympathetic spirit, and more in the spirit of a lawyer than of a statesman. He had evaded the essential point of difference between English and Irish cities in regard of the police force. The night watch of the City of Limerick, which the right hon. Gentleman had ridiculed, had, in recent years, been greatly improved in efficiency by the care of the Corporation; the peace of the City did not surfer by their guardianship; and if the Corporation of Limerick were given what the people of Northampton had—the charge of their own police—poor as they were, they would be found not unwilling to defray its cost, rather than submit to the humiliation and outrage of being governed by a police force over which they had no control. But, as it was, Limerick was the city selected by the Government for the Pasha, who had disgraced himself in Egypt, to play his pranks. The Government wished to impose a tax of 1s. in the pound on a struggling community, which already paid annually for local taxes more than 10s. in the pound. The line which separated the artizan, the labourer, and even the small shopkeeper from the condition of the pauper, was very thin in the City of Limerick; and what the Government desired to do was to drive those people over that line. By their experiments during the last three years, the Government had increased and intensified the poverty of those struggling citizens. They had obtained the fiat of the Judge of Assize and the mandamus of the Court of Queen's Bench to enable them to enforce that unjust tax for extra police, not only against the feeling of every respectable man of every creed and Party in Limerick, but against every local authority; for in this matter the Government had not a respectable man in Limerick on their side. The Corporation, the Grand Jury, and the City Magistrates were against them. He maintained, however, that the charge was illegal, for various formalities required by law to give it validity had not been complied with; and he would challenge the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland to answer his criticisms in that respect. Passing to the merits of the question, he said it had not been denied that, even in most troublous times, a force of 80 police was ordinarily sufficient to maintain the peace of Limerick. He complained that there had been a suppression of material facts in the narratives given to the House by the Chief Secretary for Ireland as to what had led up to the excited state of affairs which originally prevailed. An excursion train went from Waterford to Limerick, bringing on it a number of Cavalry soldiers, who spent the day in Limerick, got drunk, and acted in the most rowdy manner, hustling the citizens they met, insulting them by offensive allusions to their country and creed, and attacking them on the railway platform. A conflict with the military resulted; and very soon afterwards, when the crowd were excited by the outrage on their country and their faith, they came into contact with a body of police, who were ordered by the Chief Constable left in charge of them to fire on the people. That was the first of a series of weapon firings which excited the temper of the people of Limerick. He asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would deny that the Government themselves were so convinced of the misconduct of the police that they had to pay compensation from the public purse? If kindness had been used towards the people, and if there had been in Dublin Castle a conscientious Government, who had sent down a person of a calm and judicious temperament, quietness and peace would have been restored in 24 hours. But instead of that, they sent down Mr. Clifford Lloyd, a man of personal arrogance, and intoxicated with the lust of power, and for his train and retinue the citizens of Limerick were now called upon to pay 1s. in the pound. He (Mr. Sexton) had stayed in Mallow a short time while Mr. Clifford Lloyd was there, and the town had more the appearance of a place in a state of siege than an ordinary town inhabited by peaceful citizens. He wished to know why the supposed military necessities of Mr. Clifford Lloyd had to be paid for by the City of Limerick as a financial area? Mr. Clifford Lloyd was sent to Ireland as the Pasha of a Province; and, whatever the right hon. Gentleman might say with regard to the identity between the citizens of Limerick and the rural population in the course of the recent movement, he (Mr. Sexton) would say to him that it was the condition of the rural population and the passions excited by the landlords that sustained the movement; and the relation of the City of Limerick at the most was not a relation of interest, but a relation of sympathy with the bulk of their fellow-countrymen. He asked, therefore, why the burden should have been thrown upon the City, and not extended over the Province? He would tell the Chief Secretary for Ireland that the Corporation of Limerick had no power to levy these rates at all; nor did the Acts of Parliament, under which they operated, entitle them to collect this money. The rates fell due, and should have been collected under the spring and summer levies of 1882 and the spring levy of 1883. The right hon. Gentleman had graciously said that Limerick had returned to its normal state, and the 10 extra men should be removed. They asked that those 10 men should be sent away immediately; that the Proclamation, which was always unjust, and was now absurd, should be removed; and that the money demand upon the City of Limerick should be abandoned. Nothing could be more unwise than to persist in a demand of that kind. The Government would find that the game was not worth the candle; and he (Mr. Sexton) advised them to abandon, with as good a grace as they could assume, a demand which, with all their strength, and with all their skill, they might not find it so easy to enforce.


said, he thought that the discussion that evening had been of a character to throw a good deal of light upon the past method adopted by the Government for maintaining order in Ireland. Having listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, he was free to confess that he was not altogether without sym pathy with the position which had been taken up by the hon. Members from Ireland. He wished the House to recollect, in considering this subject, who were the parties primarily responsible for the state of disorder in Limerick, and in regard to which this extra police force was necessary. Her Majesty's Government were the parties primarily responsible; because he (Lord Randolph Churchill) recollected perfectly well that, in the spring of 1880, when the late Government left Office, the City of Limerick was as calm and peaceful as the House was at the moment he was speaking. It was not until the Government abandoned all the precautions and all the extra powers which the Irish Government up to that time had been armed with for preserving peace and order—it was not until the Government, for the sake of gaining popularity among the Irish electors of this country, gave a signal to all the elements of disorder in Ireland that they might work their will and let themselves loose—it was not until then that disorder began to appear in Limerick. He was not blaming the present Chief Secretary for Ireland for this; his Predecessor the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) was primarily responsible. But had the present Government been content to follow the example of their Predecessors, and taken reasonable precaution for the preservation of order in Ireland, they would not have been discussing, at that moment, the question whether Limerick should pay this large debt to the Government or not. He therefore thought the House ought to place the blame upon the right shoulders, and should remember that the primary responsibility for all those disorders rested upon the Government. He was amused at the attitude taken up by the Chief Secretary for Ireland in regard to this sum of money, when he remembered the loose and immoral way in which the Government dealt with arrears of rent to Irish landlords. He said it was a just debt owing to the Government; that those were arrears, and must be enforced; and that the Government must collect the debts legally due. He should like to know why the Government were to possess rights denied to Irish landlords—why was this rigid economical view to be taken in their case? There was another reason why he should be inclined to make some excuse for the citizens of Limerick, and that was because he was not at all tempted to disagree greatly with the criticisms passed on Mr. Clifford Lloyd. He had always held one opinion about that gentleman. Although Mr. Lloyd might be, and he had no doubt was, a well-intentioned servant of the Crown in Ireland, his acts towards the people were certainly not equal to the excellence of his intentions. Wherever that gentleman went, whether in Ireland or in Egypt, he somehow managed to be the source of disaster and disturbance. He thought it was not unfair, therefore, with regard to those disturbances and disorders in Limerick, to lay the blame not only first of all on Her Majesty's Government, but, secondly, on the agent whom they employed. But the practical point was this—how were the Government going to get this money? The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland evaded that point, and said that that was a matter for him. But it was a matter for the House of Commons also. It appeared to be involved in considerable legal doubt whether the Government were entitled to levy this tax; and whether the Corporation had not the legal technicalities on their side. Was the Chief Secretary for Ireland going to create disturbances in Limerick for the purpose of recovering this £2,300? It was eminently a matter for compromise. The citizens of Limerick would smart under a sense of an intolerable grievance if this £2,300 was extorted from them, and the right hon. Gentleman would thereby be creating great mischief and trouble. That would be exceedingly ill-judged, especially since the right hon. Gentleman now stated that, in accordance with the desires of the Corporation, the Government were going to do away with the extra police.


said, he thought the House was to be congratulated on the statesmanlike speech of the noble Lord, who was probably better acquainted with Ireland than nine-tenths of the Gentlemen who sat on the Treasury Bench. He held in his hand a book called The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay, by his nephew, George Otto Trevelyan, a gentleman who, he believed, was at the present moment on the Treasury Bench. Although the rights of the work were reserved, he trusted that the Privileges of the House would protect him if he read a short extract from it. At page 252 there was a statement of a remarkable character, which bore directly upon the subject upon which the House was now engaged. It was a statement which dealt with the Reform Bill of 1832, and of the agitation connected therewith, and the writer said— But those very men were now binding themselves by a declaration that, unless the Bill passed, they would pay no taxes, nor purchase property distrained by the tax gatherer. In thus renouncing the first obligation of a citizen they did, in fact, draw the sword, and they would have been cravens if they had left it in the scabbard. But the most remarkable part of the statement was to come. The writer went on to say— Lord Wilton did something to enhance the claim of his historic house upon the national gratitude by giving practical effect to this audacious resolve, and, after the lapse of two centuries, another great rebellion, more effectual than its predecessors, and so brief and bloodless that history does not recognize it as a rebellion at all, was inaugurated by the essentially English proceeding of a quiet country gentleman telling the collector to call again. If that passage were read to the Limerick Corporation at a penny reading, it would bring down the house, for they had it under the hand of the right hon. Gentleman, litera scripta manet, that to resist the imposition of taxes—not exceptional taxes under the Prevention of Crime Act, but the Queen's Taxes—was an "essentially English proceeding." He would ask the right hon. Gentleman why what, in the case of 1832, became "an essentially English proceeding" should be absolutely wrong in the case of the Corporation of Limerick when it became an essentially Irish proceeding? He wanted to know if the Corporation and citizens of Limerick were not entitled to tell the right hon. Gentleman and his policemen to "call again?" Was the phrase to be confined to The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay? The right hon. Gentleman must not be offended—indeed, he should be honoured—when he found the citizens of Limerick making quotations from his work, and acting upon them. He asked the right hon. Gentleman what were histories written for? Knowing the great weight attached to the words of the right hon. Gentleman, he could assure him that the Corporation of Limerick had made this work their daily study; and he could assure the House, as a matter of fact, that the Mayor of Limerick, a gentleman of no mean research in the historical world, himself went to bed at night with The Life and, Letters of Lord Macaulay under his pillow; and that he meant to follow the right hon. Gentleman's advice, and refuse to pay what he considered to be an unjust tax. The right hon. Gentleman stated that the collection of this tax was entirely a matter for the Government; but he begged leave to assure the right hon. Gentleman that it was a matter which also concerned the people of Limerick; and he must say that the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) took up an exceedingly statesmanlike position when he said that, for the sake of this beggarly sum of £2,300, the Government proposed to apply the torch of civil discord, and light up anew the fires of 1881. They must remember the Corporation of Limerick, who had this matter in their hands, were a number of gentlemen chosen from the citizens by vote. The Corporation of Limerick took a legal view of the question. How could they avail themselves of retrospective taxes in point of law when they would be at the mercy of any man from whom they collected a single 6d.? The Corporation of Limerick, who were not without legal advice, regarded their position as being quite as impregnable as that of the right hon. Gentleman. That being so, he thought the suggestion of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock was an extremely wise and prudent one—namely, that the matter was eminently one for a compromise. He hoped the noble Lord would not forget that when he occupied a prominent position on the opposite Bench. The cost of the extra police—one-half of the Chief Secretary's salary—was a paltry sum for the Government to exact from the people of Limerick at the cost of the irritation which the injustice produced. Besides, the townspeople were entitled to protection during the watches of the night from the Irish Constabulary, and ought not to be called upon to pay specially for their protection during the night. If the Corporation refused to pay the extra tax, would the Chief Secretary put the members in prison? What means did he propose to put in force to enforce the payment of the tax? He might put the Mayor and Corporation of Limerick in gaol; but some of them were used to that experience. From his own prison experience he was entitled to advise the Corporation that if they went to gaol for contempt of Court they would be first-class misdemeanants; and he would himself prefer to go to gaol for three months, even with a plank bed, than pay this £2,300, no matter how rich he might be in worldly wealth. The Corporation regarded themselves as the custodians of the honour of the rest of the citizens, and it was now a point of honour with them to prevent this inroad upon the pockets of the citizens. Each man in the Corporation represented not himself, but 2,000 or 3,000 citizens; and they would indeed be cravens at heart if they allowed the veiled threats of the author of The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay, after having drawn the sword, to induce them to return it to the scabbard, and terrify them into paying this £2,300. It was exceedingly unpleasant to go into matters of this kind. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman did not wish to send anyone to gaol. The right hon. Gentleman never did that; but of course they went notwithstanding. The Chief Secretary should remember that this was not a quarrel with his opponents in that House. They only spoke the sentiments of all classes in Limerick. It was a question of cash, and when they touched any man in his pocket they found it was an exceedingly soft place. The Corporation of Limerick, in refusing to pay this tax, would have behind them the sympathies and good wishes of the entire population. The example they would give would spread to other parts of Ireland; and he would ask the Government, in the interests of order and good government, whether it was worth their while to enter into this quarrel, more especially when it was a quarrel which had been, to a large extent, commenced through the instrumentality of the unfortunate Mr. Clifford Lloyd? He had read a letter published the other day from an Egyptian gentleman, the editor of an Arab journal, in regard to Mr. Clifford Lloyd's conduct at Alexandria and Cairo. This Egyptian gentleman said that Mr. Clifford Lloyd's ap- pointment in Egypt had revived brigandage all over the country, and that never before were there so many murders and robberies, or so much brigandage in Egypt, as during the régime of Mr. Clifford Lloyd. If, then, when Mr. Clifford Lloyd changed his seat of action from the Shannon to the Nile, the same unhappy state of things followed, they were, at least, entitled to the inference that a great deal of it was owing to Mr. Clifford Lloyd. However much they might have been inclined to pay Mr. Clifford Lloyd's own bodyguard at Limerick, they might have been spared the bodyguard of the lady members of his household. ["Oh!"] The right hon. Gentleman might "Oh" as much as he liked; but he (Mr. Healy) thought the citizens of Limerick were not entitled to pay for the guardianship of such women as Mr. Clifford Lloyd surrounded himself with. Looking at the facts, be was entitled to say that Mr. Clifford Lloyd, and not the citizens, was the main and sole cause of the unfortunate state of things which had arisen in the City of Limerick.


said, this was the second time the name of Limerick had been a thorn in the side of an English Government, and a disgrace to an English Ministry. The first occasion was a case in which the English Government broke its promise, and it was only reasonable for Irishmen to expect that an English Government would break its promise. The present case, however, was a case of one of the worst forms of human despotism—namely, parochial despotism. Irish Members had listened with some interest to the speech of the Chief Secretary, which, for fear of being un-Parliamentary if he used a stronger expression, he would call an indifferent speech. The Chief Secretary was directly responsible for the present condition of things in Limerick. It was during his administration, and shortly after he had succeeded to Office, that Mr. Clifford Lloyd was appointed to Limerick. Mr. Clifford Lloyd was one of the greatest curses inflicted upon Ireland since the unfortunate Act of Union. There was, as far as he knew, only one curse greater, and that was the administration of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), who had succeeded Lord Castlereagh in the affections of the Irish people. Mr. Clifford Lloyd, however, had succeeded Major Sirr in the affections of the Irish people; and, having been appointed by the present Chief Secretary, it was to the right hon. Gentleman they looked for some explanation of his extraordinary career. His hon. Friend the Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy) had made some singularly happy citations from the work of the present Chief Secretary. No one in that House could admire more than he (Mr. J. H. M'Carthy) did the literary genius of the Chief Secretary. He thought the right hon. Gentleman was one of the most remarkable literary men of the time. His Life of Charles James Fox was worthy of that uncle he admired so much, and whose biography he had so eloquently written. His Cawnpore was one of the most valuable and the most beautiful contributions that had been made to modern historical literature. But he (Mr. J. H. M'Carthy) was not thereby bound to admire the position the right hon. Gentleman occupied as a politician. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had mistaken his vocation. The Chief Secretary was purely a man of letters. As a man of letters he was eminent and charming; but in political affairs he was hopelessly out of place. If not so unsuccessful in his administration generally as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), in the appointment of Mr. Clifford Lloyd he was as unfortunate as ever his Predecessor was. He (Mr. J. H. M'Carthy) hoped the Corporation of Limerick, much as they might admire the Chief Secretary as a literary man, would regard him as a politician with the same indifference that he did, and that they would toll him to "call again" when he came with this insufferable demand for this unjustifiable and unwarranted tax. He should like, as far as he could, to encourage the Corporation of Limerick to fight this matter out, and invite the Chief Secretary to "call again" as often as he liked. He thanked the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) for the brilliant and eloquent help he had given to the Irish Party; and he would appeal to the noble Lord, as one of the few Members of that House belonging to either of the two great Parties who really had a future before him, when the time came for him to administer Irish affairs, to bear in mind the aid he had lent that night to the exposure of an Irish grievance, and the defence he had made of Irish liberty.


asked why it was that the recommendation of the Mayor and Corporation of Limerick was to have more weight with him and the Lord Lieutenant at the present time than during the last three or four years they had been agitating this question? The position taken up was simply this—that the right hon. Gentleman, and the Lord Lieutenant, and a gentleman of infamous memory in Ireland—Mr. Clifford Lloyd—were the only men who could truly judge the requirements of the City of Limerick for the preservation of the peace of the City. A number of petty cases had been quoted by the right hon. Gentleman to prove that from the advent of Mr. Clifford Lloyd in Limerick various slight disturbances took place in the City; but the right hon. Gentleman forgot to state that the disturbances commenced with collisions between the townspeople and a number of artillerymen who were brought into the City who insulted the citizens. The policemen took part with the soldiers; and the fact that they fired upon an unarmed and defenceless people accounted for the ill-feeling which had been created and the disturbances which followed. The disturbances, however, were only of a trivial character. The County Court Judges and the Judges of Assize invariably, during the period of which the Chief Secretary had spoken, had complimented the citizens of Limerick upon the peaceful character of their proceedings. The Judges of Assize—and they all knew how anxious the Judges were to furnish the Chief Secretary with an opportunity for stigmatizing the people of Ireland whenever he wanted an opportunity—had invariably complimented the citizens upon the order and peace that were preserved in the City. The petty cases the right hon. Gentleman had quoted as a justification for the imposition of this iniquitous tax on the people might well suggest to the minds of hon. Members on both sides of the House why there had been the introduction of a large force into a City that was perfectly peaceable and orderly, and in which the people were steadily endeavouring to improve their own position. The object was to create disturbance and agitation, and the question was whether this was not the very thing which produced the disturbances and the state of things to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred. They all knew that the force was gathered together for the protection of Mr. Clifford Lloyd, and that his presence there was the origin of the agitation. He would therefore put it to the House whether it was not possible that some of the crimes and midnight outrages in Limerick might have been invented or directly incited by the police for the purpose of founding charges to support their agitation for increased pay and the improvement of their position? They all knew that the agitation thus got up was of so formidable a character that the Government had actually to cave in and consent to improve the position of the Constabulary. The right hon. Gentleman had wound up his speech in reply to the observation of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), as to what were the practical means he intended to take to collect the tax, by stating that that was a question for the Government themselves. He could assure the right hon. Gentleman that it was not a question reserved for him alone, and that it was not a question which the citizens of Limerick alone would have to face; but the Irish Members who represented the Irish people would also have to face it, and by every means left them among the few legitimate means which his régime of terror had left in Ireland, it was his duty to advise the people in the words of the right hon. Gentleman himself— To draw the sword, and that they would be cravens if they left it in the scabbard. In addition to many debts of gratitude the Irish people owed to his hon. Friend the Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy), they owed to him their thanks for furnishing the people of Limerick with that which would be their war cry during their contest with the right hon. Gentleman and the Government. It was not the last they would hear of the expression which his hon. Friend had discovered in studying the works of the right hon. Gentleman, and that in very numerous instances the tax collector would be told to "call again." The right hon. Gentleman would find that if he engaged in a conflict with the people he would be worsted. What ordinary means were there open to the right hon. Gentleman? How could he force the Corporation to sign warrants for the collection of the tax? And did he intend to send the Corporation to prison if they refused to sign them? The citizens of Limerick had given ample evidence in the past of their readiness to resist an unjust and iniquitous imposition. They had not been afraid of walking into the right hon. Gentleman's chains. What were the few instances the right hon. Gentleman had quoted in support of his assertion as to the disturbed state of the City? One was the case in which three policemen, endeavouring to rescue a man, were assaulted by a mob of roughs. Those were things which occurred every day in the English towns; and if they occurred daily and hourly in towns that were governed by the people themselves, how much more likely were they to occur when the police were in absolute authority over the people, and the people were the serfs instead of the masters? What was the state of the country during the time these disturbances in Limerick were taking place? Why, there were absolutely a dozen people in gaol awaiting trial under the Prevention of Crime Act. Every day the citizens of Limerick saw men dragged from their homes whom they knew to be as peaceful and as law-abiding as the right hon. Gentleman himself, and whose character stood much higher than his was ever likely to stand; and because, in a few cases, sympathy had been manifested with the citizens of Limerick against the oppression to which they had been subjected, they were to be burdened with this heavy tax. There was one portion of the argument of his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) to which the Chief Secretary did not attempt to make a reply. Some hon. Gentlemen had referred that night to the special genius of the right hon. Gentleman. If the right hon. Gentleman did claim any special genius it was a knack of overlooking the strength of his opponents' case. The argument to which the right hon. Gentleman had not replied was that the force which had been drafted into Limerick had been entrusted with the preservation of law and order, not in connection with the City of Limerick, but with the whole Province of Ulster. Mr. Clifford Lloyd was placed in charge of Londonderry and Ulster generally, and while he had distinct duties to perform in connection with those counties, especially in connection with the rural districts, he had directed his attention to the citizens of Limerick, because he chose to take up his abode in that town. He was attended by a most magnificent retinue of policemen; he surrounded himself with military and police wherever he went; and he brought about a simple reign of terror. So essential was the preservation of Mr. Clifford Lloyd considered to be, that a confidential Circular was issued by the County Inspector of Clare, stating that if any man appeared before the police under suspicious circumstances they were not to wait and challenge him, but to shoot him down. The citizens of Limerick were now called upon to pay an enormous tax for the state of things which this tyrant had brought about during his term of office—this bosom friend of the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary, and this evil adviser of the Government. It was not necessary to refer to the career of Mr. Clifford Lloyd in Egypt. As soon as he was brought sufficiently forward, and they were able to focus their attention upon his acts, evidence was soon forthcoming that, instead of being a blessing, he was a curse and a trouble. He would conclude by assuring the right hon. Gentleman that when he said it was his duty to extort this tax, and his business to levy it, he did not know the magnitude of the task he was undertaking. If he seriously supposed that he could reduce the citizens of Limerick to the position of cringing before him, or tamely knuckling to his behests, he was very much mistaken; and he would find, if he persisted in entering into a quarrel with them, that he would only come off second best, with ignominy and disgrace. This had now become a matter of principle with the Corporation and citizens of Limerick, who felt the honour of their town at stake, and neither fine or imprisonment would induce them to give way, although the matter at issue was only the collection of a miserable sum of £2,000 or £3,000. The citizens of Limerick were prepared to act in the same spirit as that which had animated their forefathers.


said, he rose to express a hope that the Corporation of Limerick would see their way to continue the struggle to the bitter end. He was sure they had law on their side, as well as justice; they had been well advised, and must succeed. But even if they had not technical law on their side, he should urge them to persevere, if only in the hope that they might see a new development of Liberal government in Ireland by the imprisonment of an entire Corporation. However great a man the Chief Secretary was, he would find it difficult to draw an indictment against a whole municipality. He should be very glad to see the Chief Secretary employing his ingenious mind in the task of framing an indictment for consigning to prison a whole Corporation. That would be so interesting and instructive as an illustration of Liberal government in Ireland that it would secure the attention of the whole civilized world, and would well become a Government who went about lecturing other Governments, like those of Russia and Austria, as to their way of keeping their people in subjection. When it was decided to imprison an entire Corporation, representing the whole of the inhabitants of a town, he wished the right hon. Gentleman no worse fate than to be the instrument for the development of the new departure. He would like his hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold) to study the statement of the Limerick Corporation, and lay it before the great and populous town he represented. He would be glad if every English Member would take the statement to heart, and ask himself what would be his feeling if an English community, originally peaceable and capable of well governing themselves, were to find their Representatives consigned to prison for the misdeeds of some person who had been called in to rule over them? He would remind the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary of an anecdote, with which he was, no doubt, familiar. There was a ruler in Ireland before his time—a man of culture also—Lord Carteret, afterwards Lord Granville. Lord Carteret was sent over to govern the country, and on his arrival he was met by Dean Swift, who asked him, with his usual good humoured roughness—"What do you want here? You are a man of intelligence and education. What, then, do you want here? Let them send you back again, and leave us our boobies and blockheads." That was what they wanted — they wanted a man who had never written books from which citations could be made against himself and his Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) had never, as far as he knew, written a book, or if he had, most certainly nobody had ever read it. The right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary had, however, written books, which people read, and were able to quote from against himself. They were able to find in his own writings the strongest condemnation of his own system of government. Therefore, speaking as a humble brother in the same profession of literature, he asked the right hon. Gentleman to forsake his present unsuitable occupation, and to give the Irish people their boobies and blockheads back again.


said, he thought that some notice might have been taken, by the Treasury Bench, of the remarks they had listened to for the last hour-and-a-half. The case of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) would surprise nobody in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary said the remission of the police tax in Limerick would set a bad example to the rest of Ireland. He thought the Corporation of Limerick, on the contrary, were to be congratulated on having set an admirable example to the rest of the Irish people by the manful resistance they had made to the tax, and he thought the conclusion to be drawn from the debate would be that they had only to carry their resistance just a little further. No English official ever dreamt of redressing a wrong in Ireland until the people were goaded to the very verge of revolution. The Corporation of Limerick might have been going on for years passing resolutions which would have only tilled Earl Spencer's waste-paper basket, without securing the slightest attention to their case. It was the old, old story. The wrong was there; it could not be denied; but they must wait until the people drew the sword and refused to replace it in the scabbard before the English Government would give redress. He advised the people of Limerick to follow the example which had been set in the Reform agitation, and which, was re- ferred to in the works of the Chief Secretary, and that they would tell the tax collector to "call again." If the Corporation of a great English city were placed in the position of Limerick, what would they do? They would at once take the action which the Corporation of Limerick had been driven to take, and they would brave the terrors with which they were threatened by the Treasury Bench, and prefer to go to gaol rather than pay so odious a tax. In such a case would any English Secretary stand up in that House, and say that surrender or compromise was impossible? Was what they were doing calculated to make the people of Limerick enamoured of English rule? They had a city to all intents and purposes as orderly as any village in the rural districts in ordinary times. It had been complimented by the Judges upon its peaceful and orderly character, and at a time when the country all around was seething with excitement. And this was the reward the people of Limerick got for their tranquillity. The right hon. Gentleman had laid before the House a budget of trumpery assaults upon the police, and stone-throwing matches that might have been disposed of in the course of half-an-hour by an ordinary police magistrate. The right hon. Gentleman gave those statistics—supplied very likely by Mr. Clifford Lloyd, or by somebody who had that gentleman's records in his possession—as an excuse for keeping up the present feeling of oppression and heart-burning among the people of Limerick. He was by no means satisfied that all the ill-feeling had not been created by the police themselves, who had been brought into Limerick not to put down the turbulence of the citizens, but to create disturbances. He would say more than that—namely, that the principal and most dangerous disturbance which had occurred in Limerick for years past was the police strike directly provoked by the action of the Government. There could not have been an instance of more poetic vengeance than that of Mr. Clifford Lloyd's Praetorian Guards falling out among themselves, and it was then that one of the greatest dangers to English rule occurred in Ireland. Beyond all doubt the ill-feeling which had been brought about and kept up in Limerick was simply that Mr. Clifford Lloyd had pitched his head-quarters there, and brought trouble and disturbance with him as he had done everywhere else. Could the right hon. Gentleman show any instance in which anything had been really accomplished by the police in the interests of the preservation of peace and order in that City? Instead of gaining respect for the law the police had succeeded in implanting in the minds of the people hatred and detestation of the law. They had even sot the minds of the magistrates against them, and had aroused a spirit of resistance which induced the Corporation to express their readiness to go to gaol rather than impose upon the people 1s. of this tax; and not only in Limerick, but throughout the whole of Ireland, things had been a great deal worse than they were before. From one point of view nothing could be better than the attitude the right hon. Gentleman had taken up that night. He had done just what the enemies of English rule would like to see — he had aroused a feeling that justice was not to be obtained nor redress to be had from Her Majesty's Government. All he (Mr. O'Brien) could say was, that he had perfect confidence, if the right hon. Gentleman carried on the struggle to the bitter end, he would find that eventually the people would triumph, because their cause was just. Whatever the action of the right hon. Gentleman might be in that House, the people of Limerick would, after they heard the right hon. Gentleman's statement, adopt the course which had been recommended to them, and tell the tax collector to "call again."


said, that some time ago, in consequence of a distinction which Mr. Justice Lawson had thought it desirable to confer upon him, the citizens of Limerick did him the honour of granting him the freedom of their City. At that time he was very proud of the distinction; but he must certainly say that he was still more proud of it now that the citizens had made this most courageous and proper resistance to as iniquitous an impost as was ever placed upon a free people. He believed the citizens of Limerick were determined to persevere to the last. He had no doubt they would be successful, and that their names would live long in the history of Ireland, as Hampden's did in English history for the resistance he made to ship money. He did not profess to be in a position to criticize the literary capacity of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, nor would he venture to pronounce an opinion upon his capacity as a statesman. But if there was any quality which struck him as remarkable in the right hon. Gentleman it was that he recognized, sometimes, at least, what was practicable and what was not practicable, and he could see what was possible and what was impossible in his position as Irish Secretary. Now, he wished to know whether the right hon. Gentleman realized that the position which the Corporation of Limerick had taken up was one from which they would withdraw? It was absolutely impossible for them to withdraw. He had not gathered from the right hon. Gentleman any information as to how he intended to proceed in his attempt to enforce the payment of the tax. He was aware that many underhand attempts had been made by the emissaries of the Government to coerce the Limerick Corporation and induce them to submit quietly to the tax. All kinds of rumours of what the Government would do if the Corporation dared to resist the order of the Executive had been circulated. Well, he believed that all that kind of thing was mere "bunkum," full of sound and fury, but signifying absolutely nothing. Whether the tax was an anomaly or not it was a most iniquitous and unjust impost; and the Representatives of the citizens of Limerick would be wanting in their plain and obvious duty if they did not offer a most determined resistance to it. Already serious injury had been done to Limerick by the action of the Government in this matter. From the wealthiest citizen down to the poorest factory girl there was not one who had not suffered by it owing to its effect upon the trade and commerce of the place. Were, then, the Government to punish the citizens further by levying a tax amounting to 1s. in the pound for their own default and blunders? If the right hon. Gentleman had really said the last word on this matter, they were entitled to ask how he intended to proceed? The Habeas Corpus Act was in force, and the right hon. Gentleman could not clap the Corporation into prison without assigning a reason, and without their having committed a specific crime. What was the crime? They simply refused to vote the money. Was that a crime? They might take a horse to the water, but they could not compel it to drink. If the Corporation refused to vote, was that a crime? The right hon. Gentleman might put the Corporation into gaol; but he defied him, by the exercise of any ingenuity, to make them say "aye," when they were determined to say "no." They took the attitude of peaceable, passive resistance. They had the support of the whole of Ireland in that resistance. They had the support of the whole of the Irish Members; and the right hon. Gentleman might as well remit the tax at once, because he had no power to enforce it. He could not send down his own officers to collect the tax. What, then, did he propose to do? What member of the Corporation was he going to punish, because he would not levy the tax? Suppose the members of the Corporation chose not to attend the meetings, would that be a crime, and would they be punished for not attending? Suppose some of them were sick, were they to be punished for that? Suppose they failed to form a quorum, and some of them took a holiday trip, were they to be sent to prison for that? The thing was absurd. He could tell the right hon. Gentleman that the Corporation were not going to be terrorized over in this matter, as the right hon. Gentleman seemed to imagine they might be, by big words. Indeed, the debate in the House that night had settled the matter once for all. He saw the Prime Minister in his place, and he would make an appeal to him. Would the Prime Minister himself look into the circumstances of this extraordinary case, and see whether it was either good policy or common justice to involve the country in the turmoil and disturbance which must ensue from an abortive attempt on the part of the Irish Executive to levy this tax? Every Member of the Government, even the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, must know that this tax was unjust. They might have judged Mr. Clifford Lloyd by the course he had followed in Limerick. They had sent him to Egypt, and he attempted the same policy; but the Fellaheen of Egypt were not to be tyrannized over and taxed simply because Mr. Clifford Lloyd had been placed over them. He had been. speedily removed from Cairo on account of his misdeeds, and because he had insulted every person with whom he came into contact, from the Khedive down to the humblest Egyptian citizen. They had taken him away from Ireland because they could no longer keep him there; but they now proposed to make the citizens of Limerick pay a tax of 1s. in the pound simply from a mistake of the Irish Office in sending Mr. Clifford Lloyd to tyrannize over them. Such a thing was not to be heard of. Was it not enough that Mr. Clifford Lloyd should insult every person in Limerick, without taxing the citizens in addition? The Corporation of Limerick, in this matter, had right and justice on their side. With right on their side they were bound to win, and the sooner the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister recognized that fact the better it would be for his Government in Ireland.


said, he was exceedingly reluctant, at that late hour, to take part in the discussion; but he was slow to believe that, after the case which had been represented on that side of the House in favour of a compromise, the Government had said the last word in the matter. It must be clear to any impartial mind that when the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary was making his defence of the Government he had an extremely weak case, and he must have felt how extremely weak that case was. It must be remembered that the matter was surrounded in a maze of legal doubt and uncertainty. The position taken by the Corporation of Limerick, from the point of view adopted by the Irish Members, was absolutely legal; and if the Government persisted in entering upon a struggle with the Corporation, it would be taken up by other Bodies in Ireland, and would become a grave matter indeed. He thought the Government ought to be anxious to wipe out and obliterate the odious recollections of the last two years of the tyrannical rule of Mr. Clifford Lloyd. What would happen if this struggle were fought out to the bitter end? The memory of all that had passed during the last few years would certainly be revived, and the feeling of exasperation and bitterness at the action of the Government would be intensified. There was another point which had been some-what overlooked during the debate—namely, that when this extra police force was supposed to be necessary in Limerick, and for which an extra tax was now sought to be raised, both the Court of Quarter Sessions and the Spring Assizes, and even the Court of Petty Sessions, reported that in that part of Ireland crime was at a very low ebb indeed. If there was any reliance to be placed on such statements, the declaration of the Judges and the Magistrates went clearly to show that the advent of Mr. Clifford Lloyd brought about disturbances, and placed the people of Limerick in an absolutely false position. He wished to support the appeal which had been made to the right hon. Gentleman in favour of a compromise. The Government might carry out this struggle with the Corporation of Limerick to the bitter end; but was the game worth the candle? He could understand it if there were a question of principle involved. The right hon. Gentleman might then stand to his guns; but no question of principle was involved, and the whole matter was loft in doubt and uncertainty. If ever there was a case in which a compromise might be adopted, it was this; and in the interests of peace and order he urged upon the right hon. Gentleman not to let the dispute go forward in order that it might be fought out. Legal questions had been raised in the course of the debate, and as the case seemed to be a very strong one, he thought the Solicitor General for Ireland ought to favour the House with his opinion upon it. Half-a-dozen Members on that side of the House had declared their doubts as to the legal position of the matter. Why, then, did not the hon. and learned Gentleman get up and explain the legal position of the Government, telling them what the Government were going to do, and how they proposed to get the money? He thought it would be unfair to the people of Limerick if the Law Advisers of the Government remained silent and allowed the question to remain in doubt.


said, the hon. Member had asked a question as to the legal position of the Government, and he thought it right to say that the legal position of the Government in the matter was perfectly clear. As to the general policy of the ultimate course to be pursued, it was for the Irish Executive to decide; but there was no doubt as to the legal aspect of the case. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) and other hon. Members had argued that a portion of this tax was in a different position from the rest—namely, that portion of it which had been refused by the Corporation before the month of May, 1882. The hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) had referred to the Act of William IV., which gave certain power to the magistrates. The legal position of the Government rested upon that Act, and upon a subsequent Act—the 11 & 12 Vict., c. 72, which empowered the Lord Lieutenant from time to time to draft into any town in the country any force he might consider necessary. It was under that power, and not under the terms of any Proclamation, that the payment of the earlier portion of the tax became due; because by that statute all the powers created under the earlier Act in respect of taxes for the maintenance of the police were continued. Therefore that portion of the tax which accrued up to the end of May, 1882, was legal under the Act of Victoria; and no lawyer would venture to contradict that assertion; no lawyer could entertain a doubt that, having regard to the legislation on this subject, it became the binding duty of the Corporation themselves to discharge the liability. A presentment was made, and the presentment itself had such binding force that it was presumed to be legal until it was quashed. More than that, the Government had proceeded by way of mandamus, in the Court of Queen's Bench; and not only did the Government succeed, but the Corporation, by their solicitor, said they did not intend to defend the case. Therefore, the case was absolutely undefended, and the legal right of the Government was completely established. That was the only question he would deal with; and he contended that the legal position of the Government was absolutely established, and that no legal answer to the claim existed.


asked if it was not the fact that as the Town Council had met as a Presentment Sessions, and had refused to pass the sums of money asked for, the Government was bound to give six months' notice to the Corpo- ration. He wished to know if they had ever served that notice?


said, that if the hon. Gentleman had information to that effect he was probably right. It was a point of practice with which he was not acquainted; but, assuming that it was as the hon. Gentleman had said, still, if this presentment was made once, it would be presumed by every Court of Law that everything necessary to give validity to the presentment had been done. It was said that there was an accumulated arrear. But it hardly lay in the mouth of those who, for six or seven half-years, had made legal default, to urge that as a reason against the claim. The noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) urged that the claim might be rightly resisted, because it was a debt, and the Government had passed an Arrears Act. But in that case the debt ceased to be a debt, having been dealt with by the law; and there was no analogy between the two cases. The position which the noble Lord assumed was a strange one, after a mandamus had been issued, and after the highest Court of the Realm had decided that there was no answer to the claim. He had been asked to point out how the debt was to be enforced.


Tell the tax collector to "call again."


said, he did not admit that it was the duty of a Member of the Government to state at full length all the remedies they might put in force. He had no doubt that the law could be made good, and that the legal position of the Government was perfectly tenable.


said, the hon. and learned Gentleman had promised that he would only deal with the legal aspects of the case. The hon. and learned Gentleman had not, however, fulfilled that promise, because he had not dealt with the legal aspects of the case at all. He accepted, as far as it went, the law laid down by the hon. and learned Solicitor General; but he wished to deal also with the justice of the case. Assuming that the hon. and learned Gentleman was right that the expense of the extra police force sent into Limerick before the City was proclaimed by the Lord Lieutenant could be legally recovered from the citizens, it was a very strong power, and one which ought to be used with great discretion and circumspection. It had not been found necessary to proclaim the City of Limerick until the 30th of May, 1882; but the Government had been quartering these extra police upon the City since the 1st of October, 1881. It was a very strange power to be given by law. He accepted the law of the hon. and learned Solicitor General; he did not dispute that the tax was perfectly legal, and that the citizens of Limerick were bound to obey it. Who were bound to obey it? Surely those who were bound to obey it were the citizens of Limerick who were existing at the time, and it ought to have been levied on the ratepayers who were on the rate-book in 1882. What was it, however, that the Government were now seeking to do? They were seeking to levy the rate on persons who were the present ratepayers of the City of Limerick, many of whom had probably gone to live in the City since the summer of 1882. The Solicitor General said it did not lie in the mouths of those who refused to pay it in 1882 to refuse to pay it now; but it did lie in the mouths of those who were not citizens in 1882, and who, by the action of the Government, had had an unjust tax imposed on them. He dared say it might be legal; he did not dispute that it was perfectly legal; he presumed the Courts would decide so; and it would not be respectful for the House of Commons to upset the decision of the Courts; but, although it might be legal to impose the tax, it was certainly not what was known as common justice to do it. Surely, in the case of Ireland, it was not necessary for the Government, at the present moment, to stand on their strict legal right, but they ought to act in accordance with the dictates of common justice and equity; and he appealed to them whether it was in accordance with common justice and equity to make the ratepayers of Limerick of the present day pay a tax which ought to have been paid by the ratepayers of 1882, but which were not paid because the Government did not take the necessary steps to enforce payment. Although the Solicitor General contended that the Government was the people, and although he (Mr. Gorst) did not dispute the technicalities of the law, was it right to insist upon levying these arrears in a manner that was opposed to all the principles of natural justice? So much for the legal argument. The Solicitor General had gone out of his way to misunderstand and misconstrue the argument of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) as to the Arrears Act. The argument was a very good one, and was addressed to the Government themselves. The Government, for the sake of public policy, and for reasons he, for one, had always appreciated, had thought fit to pass a law through Parliament which relieved tenants who legally owed certain sums of money to their landlords from the obligation or necessity of paying them. No doubt, those arrears were just as much the property of the landlords as the arrears in the case of the Limerick police tax were the property of the Government; and the only ground on which they had been remitted was that of high public policy. The noble Lord said that the Government had called on the landlords to forego their legal rights on the ground of high public policy, and argued that they ought themselves to follow the same rule. There were certain sums, according to the strict letter of the law, due to the Government. He had not touched upon the question of policy or the legal point; he had confined himself to the bare question of justice, considering the lapse of time since the arrears were incurred, and upon whom the obligations would rest.


said, the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) remarked, at the opening of his speech, that he would not go into the legal position of the question as discussed by the Chief Secretary; but the hon. and learned Member had discussed a point arising out of the legal argument which was of great importance—namely, whether the present ratepayers of the City of Limerick were liable for the debts, assuming them to be debts, of their predecessors? He questioned very much whether any old Statute of William IV. would make men responsible for debts due years before, and for which they were in no respect, directly or indirectly, liable. Now, the Chief Secretary had asked, why did not the Corporation of Limerick enter an appearance in the Court of Queen's Bench against this mandamus? What would have been the value of that appearance? Did any person believe that the fact of the Corporation of Limerick entering an appearance in a Court, presided over by Mr. Justice Lawson or Chief Justice May, would be anything more than a farce? The Court had not so much as read the affidavits of the Town Council, affidavits that set forth clearly the case of the Corporation of Limerick; and when Judges disregarded these and refused to inquire even into the manuscripts before them, but with a light heart granted a mandamus, what would be the special value of the Corporation going to the expense of counsel and appearing in a Court, the verdict of which would practically be known beforehand? He did not believe that the law as it existed could enforce the payment of these debts; and, furthermore, he was distinctly of opinion that it was the duty of the Corporation of Limerick, a duty they owed to their fellow-citizens and the people of Ireland, to resist the imposition of a most unjust and iniquitous tax. He was not in favour of the recommendation of his hon. Friend who sat near him as to the desirability of effecting a compromise—he believed there was no room for a compromise; it should be war to the knife right out, and he believed the members of the Corporation of Limerick would be great fools if they volunteered to pay 1d. of this alleged debt; in his opinion they owed nothing, and should resist the imposition, which was unjust. These demands, these charges, were made in the first instance for personal attendants, practically, upon Mr. Clifford Lloyd. Everyone knew that, wherever this gentleman went, whether in Limerick or in Cairo, he must have a body-guard around him and his friends, male and female. Mr. Clifford Lloyd was magistrate for Clare, while he made Limerick his head-quarters; he drafted a number of police into the place, and the police knew that, so long as they had Mr. Clifford Lloyd at their head, they could do as they liked; and they got drunk, they created disturbances, and startled quiet citizens. Wherever Mr. Clifford Lloyd went he brought his gang of policemen with him. When he went to Ennis he had 40 policemen with him, and there they created disturbances among the inhabitants. So also when he went to Tulla, and to a number of places in Clare and Limerick. Were these small towns to be placed in the same position as the City of Limerick for the special protection of Mr. Clifford Lloyd? He must say it would be a most disastrous thing, in his opinion, if the Corporation of Limerick did not hold out to the end. Limerick had successfully resisted a siege, and could again if necessary. It would be monstrous to think that the Corporation had any just or fair right to impose this unjust tax on the present ratepayers, knowing, as it was known, that the present ratepayers were in no respect responsible for the debts of their predecessors. He sincerely trusted, and hoped with some confidence, that the Corporation and citizens of Limerick would show a firm front, no matter what force was brought against them. No matter what force those who were anxious to recoup themselves for a rash expenditure would bring against them, let them show a strong resistance and the Government would find that in the endeavour to collect this tax they would be only throwing good money after bad.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Arthur O'Connor.)

Question put, and negatived.

Original Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 55; Noes 17: Majority 38.—(Div. List, No. 168.)