HC Deb 12 May 1884 vol 288 cc21-2

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether Mr. William Gray, who is one of the Sub-Commissioners for fixing rent in Ireland, is the same Mr. William Gray who is reported to have been in the habit of attending, and occasionally presiding, at political meetings where cheers for the suspects and the Land League, and cries of "no rent," and denunciations of landlordism were common topics, and who, in one speech, said— If Griffiths' valuation of a farm be twenty shillings per acre, and the taxes, say, three shillings, then eight shillings and sixpence would be a fair rent. But I am not certain that, when the forces represented by steam, and the contemplated arrangements in America are fully carried out and developed, even this will not be an exorbitant rent. In a speech on another occasion, is reported to have said— The farmers did not get, as they should get, the benefit of the Healy Clause.… They would not, however, give up agitation; and, before 1891, they would have another Act, which would be a greater improvement on the Act of 1881 than the Act of 1881 was on that of 1870… Lord Monck was a landlord, Judge O'Hagan, who betrayed the early traditions of his youth, Litton, who by false promises was elected for Tyrone, and who now betrayed the farmers, and Vernon, were all landlords. and, if, on inquiry, he finds that Mr. William Gray, who is reported to have made these observations, be a Sub-Commissioner, he is prepared to consider whether he possesses the qualifications which would comply with the rules laid down by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland as guiding him in making such appointments, as expressed in a Letter to a reverend gentleman, dated 11th January 1883?


There appears to have been some unavoidable delay in communicating with Mr. Gray with regard to this Question—I presume in consequence of his duties requiring him to move from place to place in a remote part of the country. I have only within the last hour received a telegram on the subject, from which it appears that, while admitting to some extent the accuracy of the statements in the Question, he says he has been misrepresented. I wish to have the opportunity of communicating with Lord Spencer and the Land Commissioners before finally answering the Question.