who rose, amid considerable interruption, to call attention to the circumstances attending the execution of Joseph Poole for the murder of a man named Kenny beneath the railway arch at Seville Place, Dublin, on the night of the 4th of July, 1882, said, he was not surprised, judging from the reception he had met with, that English Members did not like to be so often reminded of the scandals which existed in the Irish administration of justice. They had only to blame themselves and Earl Spencer for persistently setting their faces against inquiry in any shape or form. The English Members might have the power of voting down the Irish Members; but they would not have the 303 power of silencing them. He believed that nine-tenths of the Irish people were of opinion that there were guilty secrets connected with the administration, and that this was the reason that all inquiry was refused. He believed that if one-tenth of the charges were made against the English Department a thorough and searching investigation would have been made for the purpose of settling the question one way or other. It would appear, from the evidence which was advanced against Poole by the Crown, that the informer Lamie, who was the principal witness against Poole, had, in his original depositions, given information, not against Poole, but against three other men for conspiring to murder him. The case which had been made out by the Crown was that the murder was the result of a feud between rival sections of the Fenian organization—one called the Council Party and the other the Stephenite Party. The fact was, however, that both Poole and Kenny belonged to the Stephenite Party, and there never was the slightest evidence of enmity between them, but quite the contrary. The conduct of Poole throughout the entire proceedings was shown to be the very reverse of what an assassin would naturally be. It was shown that Poole was drinking in the most friendly manner with the deceased and his friends, and the suggestion that he should accompany Poole came from the deceased himself. Poole was also shown to have been quite unarmed, and there was not the slightest piece of evidence to show he had struck the deceased a blow. There was nothing whatever inconsistent with the theory that Poole ran away, because he was, or believed himself to be, the object of attack. What was more natural than that Kenny, when attacked in the dark, should cry out to the friend who had been with him? What more natural than that Poole, knowing that there was a plot on foot to kill himself, should take to his heels, having no firearms about him? The Crown had laid a good deal of stress on his not having given the alarm to the police, and his beating up Lamie in the middle of the night and proceeding to remove documents from his lodgings. But was that at all surprising? Poole was undoubtedly implicated in a secret society. He would probably prefer to take his chance of 304 being hanged rather than give his confederates fresh grounds for suspicion and vengeance against him by having recourse to the police. He knew he would be identified as the last man seen in Kenny's company, and that he would be sure to be arrested. That being so, was it not rather a fact in his favour that he stood his ground himself, knowing that he had nothing to fear from the murder, but that he got the illegal documents out of the way, believing that they would bring quite another charge upon him—a charge of treason—a charge that he knew could be substantiated? But Lamie made another deposition which not merely did not commit, but triumphantly acquitted, Poole. The chain of suspicious circumstances, at all events, was all that the Crown were able to bring against him, and upon that state of the evidence the jury disagreed, a jury of the most select character, composed of the cream of a panel of 200 of the most trusty special jurors in Ireland, after 47 even of these jurors had been told by the Crown to stand by. Lamie was exactly the type of creature whom the Dublin jury in Fitzgerald's case the other day branded as unworthy of belief. He was, on his own confession, a professional informer. He stated—I gave information before I was arrested. When I gave the information I did not know I would he arrested, and did not expect to be.Therefore, he was a mercenary witness of the worst type. He admitted also that he was at the head of a plot for blowing up, with dynamite, a houseful of Crown witnesses at Ballybough. No doubt, if the whole truth were out, they would find that he was one of Detective Inspector French's professional battalion of testimony, and that he was engaged in organizing these murders out of the Secret Service Fund, like M'Dermott, who organized the dynamite conspiracy in Cork; Noonan, who was to have arranged the murder of Judge Barry, and the Policeman Woods, who set up as blacksmith and a secret conspirator in Tubbercurry. It was all part of one system—the same inner circle organized by Mr. French and Mr. Jenkinson. The public had as yet only got a vague glimpse of the business, and the Government was doing its best, by refusing inquiry, to keep it dark. It was perfectly possible that if all were known it would turn out that the Phoenix Park 305 murders could be traced to the same agency; at any rate, that was the sort of a man on whose evidence Poole's life was taken. Lamie had made two depositions; one, as he had said, was made in the police office against the three men who were charged with conspiring to murder Poole, and that, of course, was made publicly. But on the previous day another statement had been taken secretly in Kilmainham Gaol by Mr. John Adye Curran, who was employed in carrying on these secret Star Chamber inquisitions. This statement, which was the foundation of Lamie's evidence the next day, was set out in full in the brief that was laid before the Crown Counsel. Taken in connection with the circumstances under which they found these two men together in Kenny's house that night, his statement seemed to him to demolish, to annihilate, the theory that Poole was either the murderer of Kenny or the decoy used by the murderers. Then they had the line distinctly drawn between Poole and the murderers. Neither Poole or Lamie could say who they were. All Lamie would say was that "it is likely he knew them afterwards." Was it credible that Poole could have arranged such a plot with men whom he did not even know? Was it credible that he would have gone on such an expedition without a revolver?It wag not Poole that murdered Kenny; he never struck a blow or fired a shot that night.That statement was made, not in reference to any charge against Poole, but in reference to a charge against others of compassing the murder of Poole himself. It was, therefore, all the more likely to be reliable, as it could not have been swearing to order, such as there might have been afterwards when Poole was in the dock, and when the object was to convict him. But now came in the most extraordinary sequel of the law. Before the second trial it became a matter of great concern to these officials to patch up the evidence, if possible, with something fresh. What they wanted of all things was some light upon what happened under the railway arch—something that would clinch the fact of Poole's participation in the murder. He would now have to give the House some evidence of their efforts in this direction, and again he would remind hon. Members that he did not offer 306 this evidence as conclusive; but, taken in connection with all the other accumulating proofs of the reckless and terrible methods in which the Crown officials organized convictions in Ireland, he said that nothing short of guilty apprehension of the result could account for the unwillingness of the Crown officials to submit these charges once for all to a searching and independent inquiry. In Poole's statement in the dock denying his guilt, reference was made to Lizzie Kearns, the sweetheart of Grundy, who was at the time in prison. Poole, of course, did not know what was happening in Clonmel Gaol, where Grundy was; but the moment Grundy's sentence expired, in September last, he made a statutory declaration corroborating in a remarkable way the attempt of the police to extract false evidence from this girl, and showed how Mr. Mallon, of the defective force, had visited him in gaol, and tried to force him to swear against Poole. To that extraordinary statement came a still more extraordinary reply from Mr. Mallon in the form of a communique to The Evening Mail, which he had never repudiated, and which bore all the marks of official inspiration, and in which the facts were practically admitted. It would be only weakening the effect of the facts he had laid before the House to comment upon them until they knew what explanation the Crown could offer of them, if they could offer any. He had told them of what a flimsy well of suspicion the Crown case was formed. The Crown knew and confessed that Poole was himself under sentence of death, and that several attempts were made to murder him. They accused him of murdering Kenny, because he was found in his company in Kenny's own house, visible to all the world, and because Kenny, of his own motion, volunteered to accompany him a bit of the way home. The Crown suppressed the critical and vital statements of their own informer—that Poole was unarmed that night; that he never fired a shot or struck a blow at Kenny; and that he did not even know who the men were who rushed at them under the railway arch. Even with these statements concealed from them a Prevention of Crime Act jury refused to convict upon the evidence. They had the Crown detectives and the Crown Solicitor tempting the convicted prisoner in Clonmel 307 Gaol to supply the missing link for their bringing him up to Dublin between the first and second trials, dangling his liberty and a fortune with his sweetheart before his eyes, and making the desperate effort to get a conviction by hook or crook. A conviction they got, after packing a second jury in a manner so shameless that when they contrasted their challenges in that case with their absence of challenges in the Cornwall case, he wondered the Law Officers of the Crown did not blush for shame when they assured that House that there was no such thing as jury-packing in Ireland. Poole was hanged. To the hour of his death he protested his absolute innocence of the murder. The chaplain of the prison and the good Sister of Charity, an English lady, who attended him every day after his sentence, were as convinced as they were of their own existence that he was hanged in the wrong—that he was judicially murdered; and unless these horrible suspicions, amounting almost to certainties, were tested by honest and open investigation, he believed that man's blood would be upon those who organized his murder, and upon those who might make themselves assenting parties to it. What took Mallon into a convict prison at all touting for evidence? Would the Solicitor General for Ireland honestly tell the House that night whether or not it was to be an understood maxim of Government in Ireland that convicted prisoners and convicted murderers were to be tempted to swear themselves out of penal servitude whenever the Crown were in want of evidence to hound down apolitical opponent? Let him answer that candidly, and let the House approve of it, if they liked, by an honest vote; but if that was not his position let him explain on what principle his detectives went around to the convict prisons to fish out Delaney, the murderer, and Tubridy, the moonlighter, or upon what principle Mallon had a secret interview in the gaol, and Mr. George Bolton a secret interview in the cell, with a convicted prisoner, with the view of making him a witness against Poole at the vital moment when the jury had just refused to convict on the evidence as it stood.
§ MR. DEASY,
continuing, said, it was a matter of great difficulty for him to understand how the jury in this case could have returned a verdict against Poole on the evidence which had been submitted to them. He hoped they would have some explanation of the way this trial had been managed from the present Chief Secretary, because he appeared to have taken Mr. Bolton specially under his protection. In the first trial 25 jurors had been challenged, and in the second 47, and they were all of the same religious persuasion—namely, Roman Catholics. He did not know what explanation would be given of that, or of the fact that in the trial of Cornwall not one juror was challenged. It was a striking and significant fact that when Mr. Mallon had failed the services of Mr. Bolton were called into requisition; and he saw that unfortunate man Grundy, who had been brought up specially from Clonmel, and was tempted with a bribe of £500 to give the necessary evidence, and that in addition to the money reward he would be in a position to marry his sweetheart. The Irish people would insist on bringing these matters before the House so long as justice was administered in Ireland in the way it was at present administered. It was useless for the hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland to say, as he supposed he would say in reply, that the granting an inquiry would tend to destroy public confidence in the administration of justice in Ireland. He therefore hoped that the present Chief Secretary would himself offer some explanation of the matter.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. WALKER)
said, the hon. Member for Mallow had dealt with two matters of an entirely different character. He had asked the House to review the trial of Joseph Poole; and, secondly, he had brought forward an alleged attempt to induce a person named Grundy to give evidence upon that trial; but, as that alleged attempt did not succeed, it could not be said to have affected the trial. In being asked to review the evidence upon which Poole was found guilty, the House was in a very different position from that of the 309 jury who heard the evidence, and came to the conclusion that he was the murderer of Kenny. The hon. Member had referred to the constitution of the jury, and said that on the first trial 47 persons were ordered to stand by; but the exact number was 32, including Protestants as well as Catholics. He should be sorry to think that either Catholics or Protestants would not be capable of giving a just verdict in the case of the murder of a dock labourer. He would now give an outline of the evidence for the Crown. That evidence showed that this man Kenny was murdered under a railway arch about half-past 12 o'clock at night. He received four pistol-shots, and eight stabs of a chisel. It was not necessary in point of law, nor was there any evidence, to show that Poole either shot or stabbed the man. But the evidence did show that close on 12 o'clock on the night in question Poole went with the murdered man to the house of the latter—that he lured him out; that he accompanied him; and that a short time afterwards the man was murdered. The suggestion on the part of the prisoner was that Poole was the man whom it was intended to murder; and would anyone suppose that four shots were fired and eight stabs of a chisel given to the wrong man after he had cried out "Joe, Joe?" They had the startling fact that at half-past 12 o'clock at night there were lying in wait several men, and that beyond doubt those men were waiting for someone. Was it not obvious that they were waiting for the man they murdered. Every argument which had been presented that night by the hon. Member was addressed to the jury by Poole's counsel, with, at all events, as much force as the hon. Member had employed. No one could for a moment doubt that Poole was the murderer of Kenny. Either Poole or Kenny was the person whom it was intended to murder; and the jury were not very wrong in coming to the conclusion that it was not the man who was appealed to to save the other. It was perfectly true that one of the witnesses, Mrs. Kelly, with whom Kenny lodged, stated that Kenny was ready to go with Poole. [Mr. O'BRIEN: And so did his wife.] That was one of the important points laid before the jury. The evidence showed that Poole was the last man seen in the murdered man's company. 310 The next witness was a man named Lamie, the brother-in-law of Poole, and it was suggested that he wilfully gave false evidence to hang his own brother-in-law. This man proved that they were members of the same Fenian circle, and, further, that before the murder Poole told him that Kenny had betrayed the secrets of the society and was to be shot. Anyone who knew anything of the unfortunate history of Ireland at the time must know that that was one of the reasons why many a man lost his life. Lamie also proved that on the night of the murder Poole came to him and told him that Kenny was dead, and described the manner in which the deed had been committed by shots and stabs. Then Poole told him that he wanted to go to his lodgings to remove some papers. Hon. Members said that the reason of that was because he was a member of a secret society. But was it the act of an innocent man? It was admitted by the hon. Member for Mallow that they both went to remove the papers. Upon evidence being given that Lamie and Poole went to the house of a man named Francis Grundy and breakfasted there, and that Lamie, Poole, and Grundy the same day visited the treasurer of the circle of which they were Members and received some money from him, the second jury came to the conclusion that Poole was not an innocent man; that he was not the man intended to be murdered; and that he was the person who lured Kenny to the place where, beyond all doubt, some men were waiting to commit the crime. He contended that the man intended to be murdered was the man who was murdered. With regard to the question as to whether the man Grundy was waited upon by any person when in prison, he might say that it could not have affected the evidence upon which the jury arrived at their verdict, because Grundy was not examined. Kenny, the murdered man, was buried on the 6th of July, 1882. On that day, after the funeral, three men, one of whom was Grundy, went to the house of the widow, who had given evidence at the inquest the day before, which went to implicate some of the men under arrest, and threatened that if she gave any information on the subject she would be laid beside her husband. For that cowardly attempt to intimidate the woman— 311 [Several Irish MEMBERS: Hear, hear!]—he was glad to hear hon. Members approve that definition—for that cowardly attempt to intimidate the widow Kenny, Grundy and the two other men were convicted on the 19th of August. After the conviction of these men Lamie gave evidence to the effect that he visited Grundy's house in company with Poole, between 5 and 6 o'clock on the morning in question. Having given that evidence, the Attorney General of the day, Mr. Johnson, came to the conclusion that Lamie was a tainted witness, and that his evidence should, in the interests of justice, be inquired into in the interval between the two trials. That direction having been given, Mr. Bolton was bound to obey it. Grundy was brought up to Kilmainham, and was there seen by Mr. Bolton for a few minutes, who asked him whether Lamie and Poole visited his house as Lamie had said. The prisoner replied that he refused to give any information, and the interview ended at once, and he was sent back to Clonmel Gaol. It had never been suggested that Grundy had taken any part in the murder, and it was impossible that he should be asked to give false evidence. What was wanted was that Mr. Bolton should test the evidence given by Lamie, and ascertain whether he was telling the truth. Grundy had stated that three persons, Mr. Mallon, Mr. Simmonds, and Mr. Bolton, asked him to give false evidence in order to prove that Poole committed the murder under the arch. It was impossible that Grundy could have been asked to give such evidence, which wholly unnecessary, and which was never a part of the evidence of the prosecution. Mr. Mallon had no connection whatever with the trial of Poole. He was then engaged in procuring evidence about the terrible Phœnix Park murders, and, thinking Grundy might throw some light upon them, Mr. Mallon saw him in gaol; but Mr. Mallon did not refer to Poole's case, and the only person who did refer to it was Grundy himself, who made a complaint that he, an innocent man, had been convicted wrongly for intimidating a witness, and that he had nothing to do with Kenny's murder. He told Mr. Mallon to ask Lizzie Kearns about it. Mr. Mallon did ask Lizzie Kearns, and went back to Grundy and told him he was satisfied he had no hand, act, or 312 part in the murder of Kenny. There was no doubt that Mr. Mallon, who was undoubtedly instrumental in bringing to justice some of the greatest malefactors in Ireland, was unpopular with some persons. He had been concerned in the Phoenix Park murder investigation. He denied that Mr. Mallon had published a statement in the newspapers—some person had taken the liberty of interviewing him, and had put a number of comments of his own upon the case. He thought it was very regrettable that such a course should be taken. Mr. Bolton also, the moment that this declaration was printed, had made a statement to the same effect. Did the House suppose that a man of the character of Grundy was to be believed against the statements of these gentlemen, and was the House now to sit in judgment on the verdict of a jury given a year ago? No one who valued evidence in the slightest degree could suppose that Grundy was a man whose statement, brought forward in the circumstances in which it had been, could have the slightest credit. All the arguments which had been advanced that night were put forward by the able counsel who defended the prisoner.
SIR E. ASSHETON CROSS
said, that he knew nothing of the facts of the case, but had listened with the greatest interest to what had fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland; and he was quite sure that the case on the other side had been most ably put before the House. But he had also listened to it with the greatest possible pain, because he thought that it was his duty to protest against criminal cases being argued in that House as if before a jury. The House of Commons was not a Court of Criminal Appeal, and nothing would have induced him to speak on this case had he not felt it his duty to make a protest in the strongest possible terms against its being made one. There were two ways in which persons who objected to the decision of a Judge and a jury might have the matter set right. In the first place, they might go to such Court of Appeal as the law provided; and, in the second place, if the law had not provided a sufficient appeal, they might appeal to the Crown, to the Lord Lieutenant in Ireland, or to the Secretary of State in England. But when a case had been 313 properly tried and heard before the appointed tribunal, there was only one Constitutional way in which to attac the Judge in that House, and that was by an Address to the Crown to remove him from the Bench if his conduct was complained of. That was a point of the Constitution of this country which could not be too strongly enforced; and he would recommend the observation to the notice of the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Callan). In the first place, it threw the responsibility on the Judge; and the House ought not to interfere with any Judge, unless upon the Motion of a person who was ready to come forward in that way. That was why he had said that he had listened with pain to the speech which he had heard; and he had also heard with great regret that the hon. Member for Louth, earlier in the evening, had given Notice that he would call attention to a recent judgment of Mr. Justice Manisty. If the hon. Gentleman had anything to say against that Judge let him bring forward a Motion to remove him from the Bench. Another way in which the House of Commons could legitimately interfere was when the Advisers of the Crown had failed in their duty. That was a direct attack upon the Lord Lieutenant, or the Secretary of State, as the case might be. If they had advised the Crown wrongly, let the Advisers of the Crown be attacked by Motion before the House; but to bring the matter forward upon a mere Motion for Adjournment was of no use at all. Those, he contended, were the only two functions in which the House could properly deal in criminal cases; and those who departed from this principle were invading the first principles of the Constitution, and were invading also the liberty of the subject. When religious or political questions came to the front, and feelings ran high upon such questions, the greatest possible safeguard they could have from the tyranny of a majority of the House was an absolute dependence upon a Judge and a jury. That was a liberty which every other country in the world had sought to gain, and which no other country had attained. He appealed to hon. Members not to attack a Judge except in the only Constitutional way—that was to say, unless they were prepared to attack him by Motion. If they were not, what was the use of all these arguments? 314 They were brought forward at a time when no vote could be taken upon them. The Question before the House was its adjournment, and no decision could be taken upon the question that had now been raised. The House of Commons could never, by any possibility, be made a Court of Appeal in criminal cases; if it was, farewell to the liberty of the subject. If any remedy for such cases was applied, let it be in the form of a Court of Criminal Appeal. That was not now the law; whether it would be was not for him now to discuss. But he would appeal to hon. Members below the Gangway, if they wished to stand up for the liberties of their country, to do so by striving their best for the maintenance of trial by jury, by seeing that proper Judges were appointed, that juries were properly struck, and let them help, if they thought fit, in legislating for a Court of Criminal Appeal. If not, it was in their power to get redress; but it was not for them to come forward and, by the un-Constitutional attempts they had made use of, ask the House of Commons to review a decision given in a Court of Law. If a Judge was to be attacked, he ought to be attacked directly in a proper Constitutional manner.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, that while there could be no exception taken as to the soundness of the general views he had put forward, he (Mr. Sexton) must confess that he was at a loss to understand the line of argument pursued by the previous speaker (Sir R. Assheton Cross). His (Mr. Sexton's) reply to it was that, as to their not being able to arrive at any decision upon the matter, they could—that was, all who thought Joseph Poole had been unjustly hanged—vote against the adjournment. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had, at the outset, confessed, with almost childlike simplicity and frankness, his ignorance of the case. This was a singular qualification for one who opposed the Motion. If he was always as ready to accept the speech of the Representatives of the Crown, he (Mr. Sexton) could assure him that the Crown officials would be very glad indeed to get his name upon the Crimes Act panel in Dublin. With regard to the right hon. Gentleman's statement that the House of Commons could not be made a Court of Criminal Appeal, he (Mr. Sexton) would join issue with him upon that 315 point. He would remind him of a recent case, that of Bryan Kilmartin, whose case he (Mr. Sexton) had brought under the attention of the House. Bryan Kilmartin was in Chatham Convict Prison, sentenced to confinement for life; and yet, after debate in that House, the Crown was compelled to institute a fresh inquiry into the case which, as it resulted in proving the poor man's innocence, they allowed him to walk out of prison a free man. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland, in his speech, had pleaded the lapse of time since the conviction of Poole. He (Mr. Sexton) would ask, were the claims of justice to be denied because of the lapse of time? If that was the case, what was to be said of the action of the Crown with reference to Edmund Galley, who was sent into penal servitude by an English Judge? Forty years had passed before the Government of England took a single step to do him justice. In the face of these facts, could the hon. and learned Gentleman urge the lapse of one year as a reason why silence should be maintained upon the subject, as to whether Joseph Poole was justly or unjustly hanged? The hon. and learned Gentleman had contended that there was no evidence in his favour. The very nature of the case prevented there being any such evidence. Poole and the murdered man Kenny were personal friends and members of the same circle in political conspiracy. The members of another secret circle in Dublin formed a plot to murder Joseph Poole, and he only escaped by a fortunate chance. Kenny was, however, pursued and killed by the same circle. Referring to the circumstances of the murder, he said that Poole and Kenny, having been drinking at various public-houses, passed under a dark archway at half-past 11, on their way to Kenny's house. Had it been Poole's object to murder Kenny, he could then have effected it without difficulty. On the contrary, he accompanied Kenny to his house, and went into the presence of his wife. He thus exposed himself to attention and suspicion as being the last man in the murdered man's company. Poole then left to go home, and Kenny insisted ongoing a part of his way with him. The evidence showed that there was not a single effort made by Poole to lure Kenny out. When again under the dark archway, a 316 rush was made upon them by a number of men armed with knives and revolvers; Kenny was struck down, and Poole ran away. One witness, Lamie, in his first deposition, made before suspicion was directed to anyone, swore that Poole had no arms upon him that night, and that he neither struck a blow, nor fired a shot. If Poole had left the archway with the consciousness that he had been guilty of this murder, he would have taken himself off altogether, instead of merely endeavouring to get rid of papers that implicated him in a political offence. In fact, all the arguments, inferences, and probabilities involved throughout the Poole case pointed to one irresistible conclusion, and that was the unquestionable innocence of Poole. At the time of his trial, however, a cry had arisen for blood in England, and many officials in Ireland were desirous of obtaining money and fame by their conduct of such cases. He strongly condemned the system by which agents of police, like Mr. Mallon, or such men as George Bolton, should crawl into the cells of convicted prisoners, who were helpless and at their mercy, and endeavour to induce them to swear away the liberties of persons outside. As days went by the Irish Administration appeared to be depriving themselves of any right to take a moral standard at all. The agent of the police had told the sweetheart of Grundy that if she could get the latter to swear that Poole had committed the murder, her sweetheart would be released, and they would receive money enough to get married upon. Was that the fair way of obtaining evidence against an accused person? The hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland would have them believe that the visit to Clonmel by the police to Grundy was in order, forsooth, to see if he could discredit the evidence of their own witnesses. But was it to be said that such a proceeding was to be tolerated as that a bribe of £500 was to be offered by an agent of the Crown for false evidence; that the greatest and most terrible inducements were held out to a man and to a woman to swear up to the mark, and that, when all this failed, Catholic jurors should be indiscriminately ordered to stand aside? Mr. George Bolton, who had made the effort to induce this unfortunate man Grundy to give evidence, was that same 317 George Bolton whose character was so well known in the House, whose doings were so notorious, who had received from Judge Barry the most scathing indictment that ever any public official had been subjected to—that same George Bolton who, for weeks, occupied himself trying to get Thomas Nolan to swear against his father, a man who, notwithstanding all even George Bolton could do, was ultimately admitted to be innocent. ["Oh, oh!"] Was he incapable of conduct such as this? The well-spring and fountain of the miserable Tubbercurry prosecution also was Crown corruption. He asked a few days ago, whether it was true if that man who masqueraded as a blacksmith in the forge at Tubbercurry was the policeman Woods; whether the Crown had supplied that man with money, enabled him to rent a forge, and used him as a means of seducing thoughtless young men in the district into illegal enterprizes? He was assured that the policeman masqueraded as a blacksmith, and swore in youths into illegal societies; and they all knew that a number of firearms were found by the police concealed in that forge, placed there, no doubt, by the policeman himself; but they could get no satisfactory answer from the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite on the point; but he would give due notice that a straightforward answer on the point would be insisted on. The new Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) had given an equivocal answer, the sort of answer which he was now learning how to make, and in which, if he continued in his Office, he would soon become a proficient. The right hon. Gentleman replied that, indeed, the Public Service prevented his giving any answer. Did the Public Service require that policemen and police agents should go down and induce young men to illegal acts, and then make them suffer? This man Woods, otherwise Bartley, was still in the police service as a detective. Of course, it was only reasonable that Mr. George Bolton and. his colleagues should deny these allegations; but they could not forget that the charges that had already been proved against that gentleman were too numerous to render doubt admissible. He (Mr. Sexton) was convinced that there were men in the Public Service in Ireland who, when they once 318 set their hearts on a conviction, whether for a capital or for a minor offence, would pause at nothing short of achievement. The case of Poole was but another instance of the horrible effects of the system whereby innocent men were done to death in Ireland; and the refusal of the Government to grant inquiry was but another proof of the craven fear of exposure, and ruin, and public execration which haunted the minds of certain Crown officials in Ireland.
§ MR. LEAMY
said, the question before the House was one of the very greatest importance; and he wished the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland would give the discussion his attention. He (Mr. Leamy) wished to know whether the evidence of Lamie, taken at the secret inquiry, and which appeared in the Crown brief, was furnished to the prisoner's counsel? That was a point which ought to be cleared up. The account of the interview between Mr. Mallon and the correspondent of The Evening Mail had never been contradicted—that Mr. Mallon stated that the guilty persons had long since gone away; that it had been elicited that Kenny was to be assassinated before he met Poole at all, and other statements. Significant and even startling as were the matters in that interview, Mallon had never contradicted the accuracy of the report which was written by the representative of a paper which was a firm and consistent supporter of the Executive so long as the latter attacked the people. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland had defended Mr. Bolton, and not only that, but an English gentleman was sent over to Ireland to act as Chief Secretary, and found that he had to support a man whom the whole of the country believed to be a blackguard. He (Mr. Leamy) was convinced no honest man in Ireland would believe a word from George Bolton. The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland himself, he was certain, did not believe him. The Lord Lieutenant knew he was a scoundrel.
§ MR. SPEAKER
It appears to me, from what I heard, that the hon. Member for Louth has made use of an expression which is not in Order.
§ MR. CALLAN
I said tantamount to this—that the Lord Lieutenant and 319 George Bolton were both Crown officials.
§ MR. CALLAN
I have nothing to withdraw. I merely, as regarded Mr. Bolton and the Lord Lieutenant, used the expression Arcades ambo, meaning that they were both Crown officials.
§ MR. LEAMY,
resuming, said, that if the law was to have a proper effect in any country, the people must believe that it was properly administered. In Ireland, however, the people could not have any faith in the administration of justice. They were not now seeking to review this particular trial, but to have an inquiry instituted into the mode in which the Criminal Law was administered in Ireland. By refusing such an inquiry the Government convinced the people of Ireland that from that House no justice would come.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that there was much to be said in favour of the course pursued by hon. Gentlemen from Ireland; for he (Mr. Newdegate) was one of those who did not think that Ireland was well governed. But while he was in favour of justice being done to Ireland, he was also in favour of justice being done to the House. He thought, therefore, that hon. Members should conform to the customs of the House, and should not bring forward matters which required confirmation by evidence without affording the House an opportunity of obtaining evidence to test the truth of the allegations that were made. The House had great reason to complain of these proceedings. While he was ready to admit that Ireland had not been well governed for over 50 years, he must warn hon. Members that if they continued to submit to them it would lose the respect of Protestants as well as of Catholics. If the House did not insist on fair opportunities of testing the conduct of Judicial Courts in Ireland it would afford ground for discontent to the people of that country. What were the means? That the House should refuse to entertain any allegations against the Courts without due Notice. Nobody could read the pages of Questions answered daily without seeing that they involved not only the Administration of Ireland, but also the conduct of the Courts of Law. In the United States 320 now nothing was more marked than the determination of Congress that it would deliver the Supreme Court and all the Courts from the interference of Congress. The speeches that had been made induced him to appeal to the Government to attend to the advice of the right hon. Gentleman the ex-Home Secretary, and to insist that in neither House of Parliament should the proceedings of the Courts of Law be reviewed, except with full Notice and in a regular and formal manner.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, that, in opposition to the hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. Newdegate), he maintained that it was one of the functions of the House of Commons to impeach, and, if necessary, to remove an obnoxious Judge from the Bench. The belief of the people in Ireland was that the Government refused inquiry in these cases because they were conscious that everything had not been straightforward in the conduct of them.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, that Queen's County, which he had the honour to represent, would not only compare with any county in Ireland in regard to the peaceable demeanour and orderly character of its inhabitants, but it also favourably contrasted with any single county in England in every respect—moral, social, and political. There existed there absolutely no trace of any disorder or crime which the Law Officers of the Crown could put their finger on as a matter of reasonable complaint. Yet, in the quietest possible portion of that county the Government had chosen to put on the people an extra police force, as if the population were exceptionally turbulent. They had saddled the people with that most invidious, harassing, and unjust of taxes —the Police Tax; and they had enforced it in the most unfeeling and insulting manner. In two different districts of the county a large number of persons had been called upon to pay that odious and unjustifiable tax, and the people, he was glad to say, had resisted it. Those magistrates, who really knew the circumstances of the county, having lived in it four years, were as indignant about that iniquitous impost as the people who were brought before them for non-payment of it, and had expressed the strongest condemnation of it; in some instances, devising every excuse in their 321 power to avoid passing sentences, which they knew to be unjust, against poor men, from whom sums of 1s. 6d., or, in some cases, 1½d., were sought to be recovered by legal process. The Government were unable to obtain from the Resident Justices of the Peace of those parts of the county anything to justify their stupid, infatuated, and brutal conduct, which was driving the people into antagonism to the Administration of Ireland, and making them feel more than ever they did that it was something alien to them. The Government, in fact, were obliged to fall back on the whisperings of a single Resident Magistrate and a single police officer. Before they got Home Rule, no doubt, they would have to fight; but if they really wanted something to stimulate the people in favour of that cause, its advocates could not wish for anything better than the wanton and tyrannical action of the Irish Executive in that matter. He wished to know whether the Government intended to continue this impost; and whether it was the intention of the Chief Secretary for Ireland to cause inquiry to be made as to the levying of this tax in the Queen's County?
§ MR. KENNY
said, he rose to call attention to the position of Mr. Clifford Lloyd as a Resident Magistrate of Ireland. In connection with the matter, he wished to point out that that gentleman obtained leave of absence for the purpose of serving the Egyptian Government, and that, while he was placed at the head of the Police Department in Cairo, he still retained his normal position as a Resident Magistrate of Ireland. Although the then Chief Secretary for Ireland had been pressed again and again to define Mr. Lloyd's position the point had been evaded. Mr. Clifford Lloyd returned to this Country some time ago from Egypt—returned, he might say, in absolute disgrace, because he could not get on with the officials in Egypt. In fact, he had left Egypt because the officials who served the Khedive refused to continue in office if he was maintained in his position. He had returned to London, and had been reinstated as a Resident Magistrate of Ireland, and placed in receipt of pay and allowances as such, although he had been absent from the country for 15 months. This was a subject, he thought, which re- 322 quired an explanation from the Chief Secretary for Ireland. As regarded the present position of the extra police tax, which in the County Clare had been raised—owing to the former action of Mr. Clifford Lloyd—to 1s. 7d. per head of the population, whereas in England the entire cost of the Police Force was only 2s. 6d. per head of the population, he thought they required some explanation from the Irish Law Officers, especially as to the manner in which it was adjusted; because it seemed to him that it was exacted in a manner most likely to give offence. Certain classes of persons were exempted from it on account of their social position, or on account of their influence with the Lord Lieutenant; and the whole pressure of it was brought to bear upon those who could least afford to bear it.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
Sir, I do not wish to occupy the House very long; but it will be expected of me that I should answer two or three questions which have been addressed to me. With regard to what has fallen from the hon. Gentleman who last spoke (Mr. Kenny), in reference to Mr. Clifford Lloyd, I have only to say that I have nothing to add to what I have already stated in answer to Questions. Mr. Clifford Lloyd was allowed to leave for Egypt, but without pay from the British Government. His Egyptian connection lasted until the 1st of September of this year, when he reverted to his former position of Resident Magistrate. Since then, down to the present time, he has been on leave with pay. If I at any time used the expression, which I do not think I did, for I am usually very careful in these matters, "with pay and allowances," I am not sure that I was justified in so doing. [Mr. KENNY: It appeared in the newspapers.] I cannot hold myself responsible for what appears in the newspapers. I am more acquainted with the regulations of ordinary magistrates than with those which affect Resident Magistrates; but my impression is, that Mr. Clifford. Lloyd does not receive anything like the full allowances of a Resident Magistrate, although he receives the pay. He was granted leave for three months, which will expire at the end of the present month. The hon. Member asks me to give an assurance that Mr. Clifford Lloyd, at the termination of his leave of absence, will 323 not be sent back to Ireland; but I can give no such assurance. I can give no answer "Aye" or "No" to the inquiry, as the Government have not yet decided what to do with him. As I have already said, his leave will naturally expire at the end of this month; but there is no reason why it should not be continued a little longer, if necessary, in order to give the Government time to decide as to his future position. With regard to extra police, the cost of which forms a burden on the shoulders of the inhabitants of Queen's County, and of which the hon. Member for that county (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) complained with, a warmth that I can perfectly appreciate and understand, seeing that he was speaking on behalf of his constituents, I wish to say this—and I am sorry he is not present to hear my answer to the question he so pointedly addressed to me—no one would be more pleased than myself, no one would be more pleased than the Irish Executive would be, if this police tax could be modified or taken off. The hon. Member said there was no need for these extra police in Queen's County, and that the Government knew it. That was a very strong thing to say; and the hon. Member, of course, can have no real ground for saying it, because he does not know the information we possess. The fact is, we should be most happy to remove the tax at the first moment possible; but even if it became more and more apparent that it was possible, it would be impossible to take any sudden or rapid step in the matter.
Is the right hon. Gentleman able to tell us the Statute under which these police are sent to the Queen's County?
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
Under the Prevention of Crimes Act. With regard to the particular place to which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) referred, in answer to the Question he put to me the other day, I said—not what he imagines I said, that there were no actual offences committed in the district, but that there was no actual outrage, by which I meant no open crime or disorder. There has, however, been a great deal of what may be technically called outrage—namely, intimidation. In many parts of the Queen's County there is, we have reason to believe, a very open and persistent 324 and stern system of intimidation going on; and if there were nothing worse than that in many parts of the county, it would be necessary to maintain the measures which have been adopted. I cannot follow the hon. Member into the question of particular districts; but, had he been here, I should have been glad to assure him that the fullest information is constantly sought by the Government in regard to the state of localities which are subjected to the presence of extra police, and that I will endeavour, and the Government will endeavour, to obtain fresh and even fuller reports with regard to them, in order that our action may be guided by the most accurate information we can get. The hon. Member mentioned the small sums certain small occupiers are called upon to pay —l½d., and so forth. No doubt, it does sound rather ridiculous to be bringing people up before the Courts to enforce the payment of such small sums; but then their holdings are small, and it must be remembered that the small charge only covers a small space of time, and that if the period for which the tax was due were larger, a larger sum would be demanded. The l½d. is only the proportion which it falls to the lot of these people to pay. But the grievance, if it exists, exists not in the smallness of the sum that is demanded, but in the fact of the tax having to be paid at all. These small taxes are irksome and unpleasant, no doubt; but a larger sum would be still more irksome and unpleasant. I should be glad if the people could be freed from it altogether. If the hon. Member had done me the honour of remaining in his place to hear me, I should have been glad to have assured him that I will, certainly, do all that I can—and I can say for Earl Spencer that he is unceasing in his endeavours to do the same thing—to obtain the very fullest information from the most reliable authorities as to the condition of the districts charged with this tax, and that, so soon as it is found that they can be relieved from the incubus, we shall be most happy to remove it. I think I have now alluded to all the subjects referred to by hon. Members, except the allegation that in one area certain places have been picked out for the imposition of the tax in preference to others. As I understand it, the exemption in the case in question 325 was merely the exemption of the particular township in which a certain man lived.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
That may be so. The object is to levy the tax as much as possible upon the particular localities that are supposed to be harbouring those concerned in the perpetration of crime, or to be connected with them. But, as to general cases of this kind which may take place through Ireland, I can assure the hon. Member that it has been by no desire of the Government that any exemption has been made in favour of well-to-do people; and where it has been found necessary to impose the tax upon poor districts it is an evil we not only deplore, but would do all in our power to prevent.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, in reference to the imposition of the extra police tax on a section of the Queen's County, was very instructive, though very unsatisfactory; because, as he (Mr. Parnell) thought he should be able to show the House, it denoted a retrograde movement on the part of the Irish Executive in the matter of police. Shortly before the end of last Session a debate took place in the House on the subject of extra police in Ireland; and they then heard from the then Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant exactly the same declarations as those they had heard upon the present occasion from the present Chief Secretary for Ireland with regard to his desire to remove the extra police tax from the Irish counties. During the course of the debate last Session it was also shown that by far the larger proportion of the extra payments for police in Ireland were, at that time, being levied under the Act of Will. IV., and that the levies under the Crimes Act had shrunk to an almost infinitesimal proportion. Well, then, the statement of the right hon. Gentleman to-day, showing, as it had shown, that a county like the Queen's County—which at all times in the recent history of Ireland had been an extremely quiet one, and one extremely free from crime—had been chosen for retrograde, action on the part of the Irish Executive—retrograde, inasmuch as levying for extra police under the 326 Crimes Act had been almost abandoned last Session by the late Chief Secretary for Ireland—was and ought to be disappointing to Irish Members and to the House. He (Mr. Parnell) submitted that the right hon. Gentleman, in respect of the charge which the hon. Member for Queen's County (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) had made, had shown that he had no shadow of defence. He had been asked to say where there was the least shadow of crime and outrage in Queen's County which had necessitated this levy, but had not been able to do so; and there were no details as to other Irish counties. Might hon. Members fairly assume, or not fairly assume, that the treatment Queen's County—which, at the end of last Session, was exempt from this levy under the Crimes Act—had received was a sample of the treatment which had been meted out during the Recess to other Irish counties? They could not proceed on any assumption of the kind; but they were without information from all parts of Ireland save Queen's County. What they had heard from the hon. Member for that county augured badly for the prospect of the fulfilment of the other promises that the late Chief Secretary for Ireland had made to the Irish Members in one of the last debates of last Session—the very last, he (Mr. Parnell) thought, before the right hon. Gentleman's virtual retirement. If they found that, so far from the counties being relieved from this crushing impost, it had been put upon one of the most quiet districts—a district in which the Chief Secretary for Ireland had not been able to find a single case of agrarian outrage—and it could not be to the credit of the right hon. Gentleman that this exceptional tax, which had been, practically, abandoned by the late Chief Secretary for Ireland, should be put upon this particular district—if they found that the impost had been inflicted in this way, it augured badly for the alleviation in respect of the tax under the operation of the Act of Will. IV., which had, practically, been promised by the late Chief Secretary for Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary for Ireland said there was a great deal of intimidation in parts of the Queen's County, which justified the tax; but he did not tell them what the intimidation was, or who it had been practised by. Had the right hon. Gentle- 327 man not turned over the pages of the Crimes Act; did he not know that the Legislature had armed that enactment with the most ample powers for the suppression of intimidation, or even alleged intimidation, by individuals? Could he justify to his own conscience—could he hope, or suppose for a moment, that the House of Commons would justify his contention that it was right—assuming, for the sake of argument, that there had been intimidation—instead of proceeding against the guilty persons under the abundant provisions of the Crimes Act, to levy a tax upon the whole district in punishment for the offence? Should 99 innocent persons suffer in their pockets for the offence of a single individual, in a case where the Executive, admittedly, had the power to proceed against that individual under the Intimidation Clause of the Crimes Act? Why, was it not that provision of the Crimes Act which abundantly enabled the Irish Executive to strike the guilty, and even the innocent if they desired, for intimidation, which enabled them to imprison the hon. Gentleman the Member for Westmeath (Mr. Harrington), and let him lie on a plank bed for four months, because he told the labourers that they had rights under the law as well as the tenant farmers? Why was not this provision used against the persons whom the right hon. Gentleman wished them to believe guilty of intimidation, and why were the poor peasantry in the Queen's County punished by this tax? He had no answer to the question, except that it was the superabundant stupidity and weak malignity which had distinguished the operations of the Irish Executive since May, 1882, when Lord Frederick Cavendish was cruelly and unhappily struck down in the prime of his life, which had pushed them into this in addition to all their other stupid and bungling acts. And now he (Mr. Parnell) had a word or two to say in regard to the case of Joe Poole; and he was glad that the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien), by his Motion, had afforded him an opportunity of testifying his belief in regard to the case. He felt proud to bear testimony to the memory of Poole—to the fact of the high heroism with which he had, after being condemned to death for a murder committed in furtherance of a plot for his own destruction, been magnanimous enough to refuse to pur- 328 chase safety from the cruel death of hanging by bearing false testimony against persons equally as innocent as himself. He (Mr. Parnell) believed he was not making any mis-statement—in fact, he was conscious that he was not making a mis-statement—when he said that after sentence was pronounced Poole might have purchased safety from the gallows by accepting the suggestions and offers of the Crown officials to bear testimony against persons who were as innocent as he was. Poole refused these offers, and went to his death. No higher heroism had ever been shown, either in the history of Ireland or in the history of any other country, than had been exhibited by Poole. And now as to his (Mr. Parnell's) reasons for considering that Poole was innocent of this crime. Poole's case had attracted his attention from the very first, the circumstances connected with it being so unusual and so extraordinary. In the first place, the unfortunate man was arrested under the Act of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) on suspicion of having been concerned in the murder, but was discharged. He was arrested a second time on suspicion under the ordinary law, and was discharged; and then a third time he was apprehended; and though between his first and his second arrests and his second and third arrests there were intervals of several months, he never made the slightest attempt to leave the country. This, in itself, would be a very sufficient reason for him (Mr. Parnell) to believe that there must be very strong doubt as to Poole's guilt in the matter. That a man accused of a crime of this kind—a terrible, and abominable, and cold-blooded crime—a man against whom there was such a primâ facie case as to enable him to be arrested twice, should on neither occasion attempt to fly the country, was sufficient to justify the strongest belief in his innocence. They were entitled to start with that strong presumption; but, apart from that presumption, which it was open for anyone who had had an opportunity of reading the newspapers to arrive at, they had further light thrown on the question of Poole's guilt by the evidence the Crown extracted in the course of the different judicial proceedings which took place afterwards under the Crimes Act in regard to other cases. It was sworn that 329 there existed in Dublin two secret Associations which were in rivalry with each other. They were said to be the Council Party and the Stephenite Party. Poole and Kenny—the man for whose murder Poole was hanged—were both sworn by witnesses for the Crown to have been members of the Stephenite Party. It was also sworn that in connection with the Stephenite Party there was no Vigilance Association—namely, as it appeared from the evidence, an Association for the purpose of punishing traitors or recreant members. It was the case for the Crown that Poole had decoyed Kenny to his murder as a consequence of a decree of the Vigilance Association of the Stephenite Party. It was sworn that there was a Vigilance Association connected with the Council Party, and that that Association had formed a plot to murder Poole, and to do away with Kenny also. These two men were to be murdered because they had left the Council Party and joined the other secret Association—the Stephenite Party. But, more than that, so impressed at one time were the Crown with the strength of the evidence in this direction, that they actually arrested more than one man and charged them with conspiracy to murder several persons whom it was alleged had belonged to the Council Party. This went on for some time. Poole was twice arrested, and twice released; but not the slightest attempt was made by him to leave the country. He simply returned to his occupation, which was that of a tailor—an humble occupation, but still an honourable and respectable one. After a time the Crown got other evidence—the evidence of a man named Lamie, who was induced—under whose influence they could not now tell—to go a little further in the direction of implicating Poole; and to such an extent did Lamie go that the Crown felt themselves in a position to indict Poole for the murder of Kenny. Well, what was the real case against Poole for the murder of Kenny? It was simply that he had accompanied Kenny to his home on the night of the murder, and that Kenny, as a sort of afterthought, had followed Poole out of the house; that Poole had wished Kenny good-night, and was going away alone, when Kenny followed, offering to see him a portion of the way home; that Poole said, "No, 330 you need not come out, I can get home very well by myself;" but that Kenny insisted on going with him, and was murdered within 100 yards or 200 yards of his own door. Well, he (Mr. Parnell) would ask anyone whether it was likely, if Poole had been the decoyer of Kenny, he would have taken steps to induce him to go out with him from his (Kenny's) own house, after the two had gone there together, so bringing the murdered man in a position to be murdered by the party who were lying in wait for him? And, before this, he would ask whether it was not likely that Poole, if he had been cognizant of the presence of this party lying in wait, would not have led Kenny into the ambush before going with him to his house? Would the murderer have taken his victim home, have wished him good-night, and then have attempted to dissuade him from accompanying him back into the street where, according to the theory of the Crown, he wished to bring him? It was obvious, it was manifest, that the action of Poole in this particular was not the action of an assassin, or of a man who was accessory to a murder. But there was a great deal more than this. From the evidence of Lamie it was evident that he was a sort of hanger-on of the two secret organizations; that probably both of them—and ultimately, no doubt, with good reason—suspected him, and that he only got into the outer secrets of either organization. From the evidence of this man given in the depositions, it was evident that there was a conspiracy on foot, of which Lamie had some inkling, to take away the life of Kenny as well as the life of Poole on the part of the Council Party. It was, therefore, absurd to suppose that this conspiracy could have been suddenly changed from a conspiracy by the Council Party into a conspiracy by the Stephenite Party for the destruction of Kenny's life. But, however that might be, the fact remained that of all the slender evidence upon which men had been convicted and sentenced to death, or sentenced to penal servitude, or sentenced to imprisonment, during the last four years of the infamous misgovernment of Ireland by England, the evidence upon which Poole was sentenced would stand out the most conspicuous example. He (Mr. Parnell) was convinced that if Joe Poole came to be tried now, after the debate on the 331 Maamtrasna murders, so far from being found guilty, even by the jury who did find that verdict, they would unanimously acquit him. What were the circumstances at the time of Poole's trial? Why, it was represented that there was a terrible conspiracy in Dublin to take away the lives of the Castle officials. It was supposed that Poole was in that conspiracy; but at that time a considerable volume of the evidence which had been taken privately on behalf of the Crown was not in the possession of those who defended the prisoner, and the House would be able to judge whether that evidence should not have been in the possession of the solicitor for the defence. So far as they could judge from the evidence which had come into their hands, and which now saw light for the first time, they (the Irish Members) felt convinced that, so far from Poole having had anything to do with the murder of Kenny, he was actually Kenny's friend on the night in question, and only saved his own life by flight from Kenny's side, when Kenny was attacked. As a matter of fact, Kenny fell a victim to a plot which was intended for the destruction of Poole. These were matters which, as the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had said, ought to be investigated. It could not be maintained that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien), in bringing this matter before the House to-night, had any intention—in fact, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland (Mr. Walker) would, no doubt, be one of the first to admit that he had no intention—of taking the Government by surprise. The hon. and learned Gentleman knew that this subject was going to be brought forward. He had had ample notice of it—notice of it from night to night for several weeks. It had appeared on the Notice Paper of the House, and the hon. and learned Gentleman had had ample time to make himself acquainted with all the facts of the case.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that, as it was stated that this matter appeared on the Notice Paper, he wished to remark that it did not appear on the Paper for that night. He had ascertained that fact. No doubt the hon. Member for the City of Cork would forgive him for the interruption.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, the hon. Gentleman's statement was perfectly correct. The Notice had been on the Paper for several nights; but it did not appear on the Paper that night. He (Mr. Parnell) was observing, when the hon. Member rose to correct him, that the hon. and learned Gentleman had had Notice that the question was to brought on; therefore the right hon. Gentleman, so far as he was concerned, and the Government, so far as they were concerned, were not taken by surprise. They could not plead that they had not had the necessary time for preparing themselves with information. No doubt, the subject should be brought forward after full and formal Notice to the House; and he trusted his hon. Friend the Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien) would give such Notice—Notice of his intention to bring forward a Motion either during the present Sitting, or during the adjourned Session, if it should be an adjourned Session, or in the future coming Session, if it should be a future coming Session. Such a Notice would give not only the Government, but his (Mr. Parnell's) hon. Friends and himself, an opportunity of going more fully into the case, and of making its merits more apparent to the House than they had been able to do on the present occasion. He believed it was a question which, without impugning the conduct of the Judge who tried the case—Mr. Justice Murphy—would show, when thoroughly gone into, that the law had been unduly strained against Poole. He believed it could be shown that Poole did not get a fair trial, inasmuch as 48 jurors of the special jury panel were made to stand aside by the Crown. [An hon. MEMBER: No; 32.] An hon. Gentleman told him 32—the difference was not very great. He was convinced that they would be able to show the House that there had been a great miscarriage of justice in this case, and that an innocent man had been sacrificed for a crime which he had never committed.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said, he did not rise for the purpose of unnecessarily detaining the House. No doubt, Poole's case had already been amply stated by the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien), and still more lucidly, if he might say so, by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell); but he (Mr. W. Redmond) 333 wished merely to raise his voice against the execution of this man. He knew a great many people in Dublin and other parts of Ireland who were intimately acquainted with Poole; and, from the advantage he had had of discussing the case with these people, he had not the slightest doubt that Poole had died a perfectly innocent man. Of course, it would be considered tiresome by English Members to have Members representing Irish constituencies bringing cases like this under the notice of Parliament time after time. It might be said that cases of this kind were hardly such as should be settled in the House, and that there were more important affairs awaiting discussion. But it must be remembered that the Irish Members had no opportunity, except that which was afforded to them in that House, of explaining what they considered to be a miscarriage of justice in Ireland. They had no opportunity, except in the House, of showing up cases such as that of Poole. He invited the attention of English Members to the fact that this case of Poole was not by any means a single case of its kind. It must be borne in mind during this discussion that it was not so very long since it was the duty of the Irish Members in the House to call in question the action of the Government in Ireland in connection with the Maamtrasna case, and that even prior to that they had called attention to the case of Kilmartin. Kilmartin had been released, and no doubt it was the discussion which had taken place in the House which had had the effect of bringing about that release. Unfortunately, the discussion on the Maamtrasna case had not had a similar result; but the fact that time after time the Irish Members were in a postion to bring cases of this kind under the notice of Parliament ought to be quite sufficient, if for nothing more, at least to attract the attention of English Members to the way in which affairs were carried on in Ireland. He was not present when the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland (Mr. Walker) replied to the hon. Member for Mallow; but he had not the slightest doubt as to the nature of the hon. and learned Gentleman's reply of which he had been told. It was not unnatural that Gentlemen connected with the Executive in Ireland should do their best to make it appear that the law was 334 equitably administered in that country—it was only natural that the Chief Secretary for Ireland, the Solicitor General for Ireland, and the Lord Lieutenant should use their best efforts in that direction. It was only too invariably the practice of the Government to defend the Irish Executive in the House. The Executive being only fallible must occasionally be wrong; and, that being so, it would tend far more to the inspiring in the minds of the people of confidence in the Executive if Her Majesty's Ministers occasionally admitted they were wrong. It was a notorious fact, however, that, no matter how strong a case was brought against them, Members of the Government—as they had done in the case of Kilmartin, whose release they were compelled, ultimately, to order—stood up and manfully did battle for their side of the question. The late Chief Secretary for Ireland had repudiated the idea of the innocence of Kilmartin, and had practically told the Irish Members that they were to blame for bringing the case before the House, and that they would not release the man. That illustrated the point he wished to impress upon English Members—namely, that no matter whether the case of the Irish Members were good or bad, or whether the case of the Irish Executive were good or bad, Government officials always took up the defensive in the House. Would it not have been a great deal better, in the case of Kilmartin, if the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary (Mr. Trevelyan) had stood up in his place and honestly declared that, from representations he had received from the Irish Members, he believed Kilmartin was innocent, that the Executive had erred, and that the man would be released? If the right hon. Gentleman adopted that course, he would have given great satisfaction to the House; and, still more, considerable satisfaction to the people of Ireland. Instead of doing that, however, the right hon. Gentleman assumed a defiant attitude, and took it for granted that every case brought before the House by the Irish Members—every complaint urged by them—must be either untrue or unfounded; and this position was invariably taken up, notwithstanding that the right hon. Gentleman had, occasionally, been obliged to eat the leek. He (Mr. William Redmond) did not wish to 335 go into the Poole case, as that had already been sufficiently dealt with; but he wished to have it on record that he had given it as the opinion of the people he represented, that Joe Poole was a perfectly innocent man. He wished to draw the attention of the House to the fact that, at the time when Poole was tried and executed, and at the time the people who were arrested for the Maamtrasna outrage were tried, the Executive and the country were in a state of excitement and agitation. The agrarian agitation was at its height. The Government, with a spirit which, he supposed, was commendable in every Government, were anxious to put down agrarian crime; but, in their great anxiety to put down agrarian crime, they hurriedly took it for granted that certain outrages were of an agrarian character, when such was not the case. The country had now settled down; there was not the same agitation, and the Government were not so much afraid of agrarian crime. Now that quieter times had come round, the country was freed from excitement, and Government officials acted with more calmness, and in a more level-headed way. In the case of the Tubbercurry prisoners recently there was a fair trial, and the men were acquitted, because there was no evidence to connect them with the outrage; but he had not the slightest doubt that if the men had been arrested at the time Poole was arrested, and at the time the prisoners were arrested in the Maamtrasna case, they would have been now lying in their graves, having been executed, or would have been suffering penal servitude. He had no doubt that Joe Poole, and some of the prisoners in the Maamtrasna case, were as innocent as was Kilmartin. It was useless endeavouring to show the English Members and the English people how the people of Ireland looked on these matters. If English Members would only go to Ireland, would only travel over the country, and hear the sentiments of the people with regard to the government of Dublin Castle, they would come back to the House believing that the Irish Members had much more right to occupy time with the discussion of cases of this kind than they had ever given them credit for. It was to be regretted that the Government could not be brought to book for this murder of 336 Poole. The man was perfectly innocent of the crime for which he was hanged; but the Irish Members could do nothing more than endeavour, by every means in their power, to bring the case before the public. That was their only remedy, and he trusted it was one they would always make use of.
§ MR. P. J. POWER
said, he merely rose to make a protest on behalf of his constituents in the County of Waterford against the tax which the Chief Secretary for Ireland had that evening informed him had been levied upon that county. He had no hesitation in saying that a tenth part of the ordinary police employed in Ireland would be sufficient for the preservation of law and order, if the force were not required for the purpose of propping up iniquitous laws. He could assure the right hon. Gentleman that in Waterford—and he knew a great deal of the county—there was no serious crime at that moment. If he had time he could give abundant proof of this. The greatest crime which appeared to him to exist in this matter on the part of his constituents was the fact that they too tamely submitted to the imposition. They might now take their cue from the answer he (Mr. Power) had received from the right hon. Gentleman that evening. Every day the opinion was gaining ground in Ireland that there was little to be got from the British Government unless the Irish people made their voices heard in no uncertain manner. He only wished to make a protest against the imposition of this tax upon his county.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 57; Noes 19: Majority 38.—(Div. List, No. 21.)
§ House adjourned at a quarter after Twelve o'clock till Monday next.