HC Deb 23 October 1884 vol 293 cc127-49

, in rising to move the following Amendment to the Address:— And humbly to assure Her Majesty that it is the opinion of a vast number of the Irish people that the present method of administering the Law in Ireland, more especially under the Crimes Act, has worked manifold injustice, and, in the case of the prisoners tried for the Maamtrasna murder, has led to the execution of an innocent man and to the conviction of four other persons equally innocent, and that this House humbly assures Her Majesty that it would ensure much greater confidence in the administration of the Law in Ireland if a full and public inquiry were granted into the execution of Myles Joyce and the continued incarceration of Patrick Joyce, Thomas Joyce, Martin Joyce, and John Casey, said, that in rising, at that late hour of the evening, to move the Amendment, and in proposing to draw the attention of the House for a moment from the many matters of foreign policy which they had been discussing, in order to bring their notice to another question of no less importance to the good government of the Empire, he had to ask the indulgence of the House, owing to his being taken somewhat by surprise. No doubt, the question of the extension of the franchise was one of very great importance; but it was in vain to extend the franchise to the people if no effort were made by Her Majesty's Government to inspire them with some confidence in the laws of the country. In the absence of any Representative of the Irish Government upon the Treasury Bench—in face of the flight, he might say, of the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. Trevelyan), and in the absence of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland—[The SOLICITOR GENERAL for IRELAND here entered the House and took his seat.]—he was glad to see that the hon. and learned Gentleman was now in his place. On the 15th of December, 1882, Myles Joyce, Patrick Joyce, of Shanvallycahill, and Patrick Casey were executed for the murders known as the Maamtrasna murders, and Martin Joyce, brother of Myles, Patrick Joyce, of Cappanachrea, another brother, Thomas Joyce, son of Patrick, and John Casey, of Cappanachrea, were sentenced to penal servitude. There had been cases previously brought under the attention of the House of Commons in which persons had been the victims of mistaken identity; but they were of small importance compared with the case to which he proposed to invite the consideration of the House. In this case, although, no doubt, there was false evidence, though perjured and malignant low-lived characters were employed by the Crown, and though such facts demanded the attention of the House, there was the further and most important charge which he now made — that the officials of the Crown in Ireland, those who were entrusted with the administration of the law, were themselves parties to the conspiracy against the lives of those wretched men. On the night of August 17, 1882, a party of men broke into a house in the village of Maamtrasna, in the County of Galway, occupied by a man named John Joyce, murdered him, his mother, wife, and a young daughter, and inflicted serious injuries upon his two sons, the only other occupants of the house, injuries so severe that one of them died on the following day, while the second lay for some time in a precarious condition. Acting on the information of two brothers, named Anthony and John Joyce, the police arrested, on the 20th, 10 men, all of whom resided at a considerable distance from the scene of the murder—some at a distance of seven miles. The story related by the two brothers, supported by the son of one of them, was of an extraordinary character; but, after the customary remands and inquiries, the 10 men were duly returned for trial at the Galway Assizes. "The Prevention of Crime Act" being in force at the time, the Crown took advantage of its provisions to have the venue changed to the City of Dublin, though there was no suggestion in the evidence of the witnesses, and nothing in the circumstances of the case, to warrant the belief that the murder was of an agrarian character. Some days previous to the trial, which commenced on the 13th of November, 1882, before a special jury of the City and County of Dublin, in Green Street Court House, it became known that Anthony Philbin, one of the accused, had become approver, and would be produced by the Crown to corroborate the three Joyces. The extraordinary story told by Anthony Joyce at the trial was that on the night of the 17th of August he was awakened by the barking of his dogs. He got up, went to his door, and saw six men whom he did not know at first, but whom he subsequently recognized as Anthony Philbin, Thomas Casey, Martin Joyce, Myles Joyce, Patrick Joyce, and Tom Joyce, of Cappanachrea. After a time, with nothing on but his shirt, trousers, and flannel vest, Anthony Joyce went to the house of his brother and saw the men go to the house of Michael Casey. When they came out the number had been increased to 10, by the addition of Patrick Joyce, of Shanvallycahill, Patrick Casey, John Casey, and Michael Casey. The witness and his brother John followed the men to the scene of the murder. It was clearly established that the night was dark, and that the men had blackened faces. Every bit, therefore, of Anthony Joyce's story was incon- sistent, as it would have been impossible for him on such a night to have discerned from his house even the figures of the men as they passed, and much more impossible to recognize their faces. A similar story was told by John Joyce; and this was the evidence upon which these 10 men were arrested. He (Mr. Harrington) charged the Government with suppressing certain depositions which were needful to the proper elucidation of the case, and he pointed out that he might indeed found the whole case he had to bring forward upon the single circumstance of the actual murderers having blackened faces. He challenged the Government to show the House that, from the beginning to the end of the trial, which lasted seven days, one word was said by the Crown counsel, or by the counsel for the defence, of this circumstance of the men having blackened faces. After the trial, depositions were made by two of the men who were executed—Patrick Joyce and Patrick Casey—in which, whilst proclaiming their own guilt, they pronounced the third man—Myles Joyce—to be innocent. These depositions had not been produced before the House, and if the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland would produce them, even now, he would at least have done something to ease the public mind. Depositions were also in existence, proving beyond doubt that those who took part in the murders had blackened faces. Yet that fact was deliberately withheld at the trial; for when the solicitor for the defence applied for copies of the depositions, the representatives of the Crown, in a wicked and murderous manner, kept from him the dying depositions of the two lads. But, fortunately, the Irish Government had not it in their power any longer to suppress this evidence, and he should be able to show that not only was it before the lawyers for the Crown—the Attorney General of the day (now Mr. Justice Johnson), Mr. Murphy (now Mr. Justice Murphy), and Mr. Peter O'Brien, Q.C.—but that their attention was specially directed to it. He had, in his hand, the brief used by one of these Crown counsel at the trial. He also had a copy of the brief used by the counsel for the prisoners, and he should be able to show that only such documents were given to the solicitor for the defence by the Crown Soli- citor, as would fit in with the theory of guilt which he wished to establish, so as to secure the hanging of these unfortunate men. The depositions which were suppressed would undoubtedly have convinced any jury that, however guilty or innocent the men might be, the evidence on which the Crown proceeded was from the beginning a fabrication. If the Government wished to clear the character of their officials from the stain of perjury and conspiracy to murder, they would be anxious for inquiry. Whether they conceded or refused an inquiry, public opinion in Ireland was already made up on the subject, and nothing would remove the public belief that the Crown officials had sacrificed the life of Myles Joyce. The name of the Crown counsel to whom the brief belonged was not written upon it, but the hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland would easily recognize the handwriting of the marginal notes. The counsel had employed his pencil during the swearing of the jury, and wrote down three columns, one for the sworn jurors, another marked with the letter "C," which was the initial letter of "Catholic," and the third headed "Sturdy." That was the manner in which the Government officials endeavoured to command respect for the law in Ireland, by marking every man who belonged to the religious faith of the majority as an outcast, whose oath was not to be trusted. From beginning to end of this extraordinary case, as it had been presented to the Court in Dublin, none of the witnesses were allowed to utter one word about the murderers having blackened faces, or wearing disguises; and, although the Crown lawyers brought the little boy, Patrick Joyce, upon the witness table, and declined to examine him, on the plea that he did not know what would happen to him if he told a lie, yet that proceeding was merely a trick to throw dust in the eyes of the Judge and jury, for three months earlier, on the day succeeding the murders, the boy had been sworn, and his dying deposition had been taken and made a legal instrument capable of being used as evidence on the trial, by Mr. Brady, one of the fortunate men who were thrust into the Magistracy under the Crimes Act. That boy's deposition detailed the circumstances of the murder, and would not have supported the perjury which brought about the conviction of Myles Joyce, for he said—"Two or three men came in. They had black on their faces." The deposition was signed "A. Newton Brady, R.M." It was A. Newton Brady, R.M., who took the deposition of this little boy, and of this little boy's brother, and who conducted the case from beginning to end. It was he who also took the depositions of the two unfortunate men who declared their own guilt and the innocence of the man who was executed with them. But he and Earl Spencer had evidently made a compact that these depositions should never see the light, and that the public, although they might have their suspicions, should never have a clear knowledge of their guilt in connection with these cases. The production of this little boy in the witness chair was, as he had said, an empty farce, for appended to the deposition of the boy in the Crown brief was a note from Mr. George Bolton, the Crown Solicitor, which was well worthy of the consideration of those who wished to investigate this matter fully. The note in question was as follows:—"Patrick Joyce has recovered, but his evidence is worthless." Deny it as they might, there was this damning evidence in the handwriting, he might say, of the Crown Solicitor, that the Crown prosecutors were not to examine this boy on the trial, but that the Executive Government had determined to sacrifice these men, in order to appease the cry for blood that had been raised by the English newspapers. The little boy—Patrick Joyce—might be found at present at Artane Industrial School, and the Crown could examine him if they liked, as he (Mr. Harrington) had done, and see if the statement which he now made corresponded with the statement which he made to the Resident Magistrate on the day after the murder. The case, as he had said, might be allowed to rest altogether on this one circumstance of whether the men who had committed the murder had or had not blackened faces. There was no theory whatever by which they could reconcile the evidence of the three independent witnesses with the fact of the men being disguised. The fact was, that Anthony and John Joyce lived in eternal enmity with the men against whom they gave evidence; and whether they had themselves concocted the story, or whether they were instructed by the police or any of the magistrates or officials, he contended that the case equally demanded the clearest and fullest inquiry. It was after the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War (the Marquess of Hartingtnn) in that House had promised an inquiry into the revelations made by the informers in connection with this case, and after Earl Spencer had refused an inquiry, that his suspicions were aroused that Earl Spencer, and Brady, Bolton, and others acquainted with the case, had a strong and vital interest in keeping the truth from the public. The fullest inquiry was demanded, if they wished to sift, to the bottom the infamous transactions connected with the trial, and to show that the Crown officials had not sanctioned a cruel conspiracy. He (Mr. Harrington) had himself spent some considerable time in hunting up evidence in regard to this case. He had gone down into the locality, and taken with him the official map that was used by the Crown at the trial. He invited the Members on the Treasury Bench to send any impartial man into the district, and he would be very glad to leave to such a person the whole question of the guilt or innocence of the unfortunate man who was executed. What he had to charge against the Crown officials was not alone that they proceeded upon the extraordinary story of these men, but at a time when they knew it to be perfectly false. He should be able to show from the handwriting of the officials themselves, that although one of the approvers offered to give the Crown the true version of the murder, as he preferred doing, and telling the truth, the Government would not accept his evidence until he finally consented to perjure himself. It was only by perjury that he was able, therefore, to save his wretched life. The evidence at the trial was confined to three witnesses who might be called independent. Their evidence, however, was corroborated by that of two informers—Thomas Casey and Anthony Philbin—one of whom, as a matter of fact, was not present at the murder, and knew nothing about it, although he was easily able to perjure himself. He had heard the evidence repeated in his presence no less than 12 times; and, therefore, it was not a difficult matter for him to corroborate it. Still, strange to say, in spite of this, the two informers did not agree in the evidence they offered at the trial. One of them alleged that there were 10 men present at the murder; whereas the other said there were 12, and gave the names of two additional men—Patrick Kelly and Michael New. Extraordinary to relate, instead of that discrepancy between the evidence being pointed to by the learned Judge who tried the case, as a ground of suspicion against the testimony of these men, it was the main point upon which Judge Barry relied as confirming the testimony of both. Judge Barry said, in so many words, that the very discrepancy between the evidence of the two men afforded confirmatory proof of the truth of their statements as to the murder. Now, these two men, who, in an endeavour to save their own lives, swore away the life of an innocent man—these two men had since come forward and said, openly and publicly, that the testimony they gave to the Crown was altogether false. The statement now was that there were only seven men engaged in the murder, and that six of those who had been charged by the Crown were wholly innocent, and knew nothing about it. It was further stated that, at the present moment, two of the actual murderers, including the man who really planned the murder, were living in a locality well known to the police, and that another of them was now in England. He thought he should be able to show, still further, that not only had the Crown full knowledge that the actual murderers were living in the locality, but that they were a ware that the man who planned the murder, who paid for it, and who assisted in committing it, was still living in the locality, and that at the time the Crown proceeded to try these 10 unfortunate peasants, five of whom were still in gaol, the Crown had full knowledge that they were innocent, and that other persons were guilty of the murder. He thought it necessary to press that extraordinary fact upon the attention of the House. The allegation now made by the informers was, that seven men were present at the murder, and that they never came into a line of march at all; that they saw no men passing by the house, and that if they had passed by no one could have seen them. The allegation now made by one of the informers was, that a man named John Casey, who had lived at enmity with the unfortunate man who was murdered, was the actual instigator of the murders. Strange to say, John Casey was arrested by the police on the morning after the murders. Knowing the relations which had existed between Casey and the unfortunate man who was killed, the police suspected from the first that he was the man who had concocted the murder, and had paid the perpetrators of it for carrying it out. That man was still living in the locality, having been discharged from the custody of the police, although they knew perfectly well that he was guilty of the murders. He was arrested on the morning after the murders, and the police knew then, and knew now, that he was at the bottom of them. He should be able to show, from the handwriting of the Crown counsel engaged in the prosecution of these unfortunate men, that, at the time he was pushing the law as closely as he could against the men in the dock, he, at least, suspected that the man, whom he (Mr. Harrington) now alleged to have planned the murder of the Joyce family, was at the bottom of the whole transaction. He found in the Crown brief, amongst the evidence prepared by the Crown Solicitor to rebut any alibi that could be produced by the prisoners, an information made by John Casey, of Derry. This was the man whom he (Mr. Harrington) alleged to have planned the murder, to have paid for the murder, and to have held the light while it was being committed. This was Casey's statement— I remember the night of the murder. I slept in a room in my own house. My three sons also slept in the house; their names are John, Stephen, and Malachi. I do not know any other Malachi Casey. I accused John Joyce, three years ago, of stealing sheep from me. Sheep have been stolen from me during the last three months, and sheep have been stolen from other people at the same time. I did not go to either the wake or the funeral. These words were underlined in the brief of the counsel for the Crown, who wrote on the brief underneath them—"Suspect had him murdered." That was a very significant fact, which had been very carefully concealed. It was impossible now to conceal the fact that, while the Executive Government were attempting to hang these 10 unfortunate prisoners, the Crown counsel had a full knowledge as to the man who had really committed the murder, and knew, further, that the evidence on which he was proceeding against the prisoners, whether they were guilty or innocent of the murder, was absolute perjury. The evidence upon which the Crown proceeded in the trial of the eight men, after the two informers, Anthony Philbin and Thomas Casey, had been taken away, was what Lord Spencer now called three independent witnesses — Anthony Joyce, John Joyce, of Derry, his brother, and Patrick Joyce, of Derry, John's son. No doubt, that evidence was supported by the testimony of the two approvers. What was the evidence they had now against the men in gaol? He did not think the House would ask that the evidence to support the innocence of these men should be stronger than the evidence upon which they were sentenced to death. And yet he should be able to show that the evidence on which they were prosecuted, and upon which three men were executed and five others were still suffering penal servitude, stood upon lower footing, and more questionable testimony, which no rational man would credit. They had, first, the revelations made by the two approvers on the trial completely contradicted by themselves. Their characters could have become no worse than they were before, seeing that, at the trial, they stood in the position, not only of approvers, but self-confessed murderers. But what was their most recent testimony supported by? From the passing of the sentence upon the men now in gaol, four out of the five now undergoing penal servitude had never ceased to protest their innocence of the charge. That was not a slight fact in the case, but an extremely strong fact; because it was only four out of the five who made these representations, and those the very four the approver stated to be innocent. He (Mr. Harrington) would read an extract from a letter of one of them to his wife. At the end of the letter the writer said—

"Dear Mary, it is very hard to be here for a crime that I know nothing about. Thanks be to God I know nothing whatever about it. But I fret more for you and the children then I do for myself, for you know God is good, and we will all be happy yet with the help of God. Let me know when you write have you any pigs, how the crops are, and did you pay the rint yet, and I hope you and I will be happy together yet, with the help of God. No more at present from your loving husband,


The letter was dated Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, 15th of Jane, 1883. In another letter, dated the 27th of June, 1884, the same prisoner said— I hope you and the priest will petition the Lord Lieutenant as quickly as possible. It is very hard for me to have been in prison and separated from my family, especially as I am innocent. Let me know are the crops promising this year. I hope Peter and father will mind the children in my absence. I hope that will not be very long. Keep good courage, and I will do the same. I hope everything will come to light hereafter. I don't expect to be always here. Martin Joyce, brother to Myles Joyce, who was executed, and of Patrick Joyce, who was also in gaol, wrote to his wife from Mountjoy Prison on the 5th of September last— I hope that God, in His just mercy, who saved me from death, will yet show to the world my innocence of any participation in the crime for which I am the innocent sufferer.—Your affectionate husband, MARTIN JOYCE. These were extraordinary circumstances, and fully corroborated the later evidence of the approver. No doubt, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland would draw attention to the fact that the men who made these protestations of innocence had not been found guilty by a jury, but had pleaded guilty. That could easily be explained; and when the House knew the facts, he thought hon. Members would attach very little weight indeed to the circumstance of these unfortunate men having pleaded guilty, instead of waiting to be tried and being found guilty by a jury. As he had already stated, eight men were charged. They were taken 200 miles away from their home to be tried by a special jury, who did not understand their language. Their own solicitor and counsel did not understand their language, nor did the Court understand it. They were as absolute strangers in Green Street Court House, in Dublin, as if they had been translated from another sphere. On the evidence adduced at the trial, the jury were only eight minutes deliberating upon a charge which involved the life of the first unfortunate wretch. In the next case, the jury, having the same evidence to go upon, were only 10 minutes deliberating as to the fate of the unfortunate peasant before them. The third jury was empannelled to try Myles Joyce. No alibi was attempted on his behalf, because there was no one to prove it, except his unfortunate wife. The evidence upon which Myles Joyce was tried was precisely the same as that upon which the other prisoners were tried. The verdict was a foregone conclusion, and the Dublin jury simply spent six minutes in deliberating upon the verdict. As he had no doubt the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland would refer to this part of the case, he thought he should be able to show the House that there was nothing whatever in the fact of the rest of the men having pleaded guilty which was worthy of the consideration, of the House. Their circumstances were such—a chain of evidence had been wound around them in such a manner—that there was no salvation whatever for them. Nevertheless, they steadily refused to plead guilty until they were waited upon by their priest, who told them that although they were innocent it would probably be better for them to plead guilty, and in the end their innocence would come to light. There was proof that they were led to expect, that if they did plead guilty, their lives would be spared. What were these wretched, unfortunate peasants, wholly ignorant as they were of the language in which they were being tried, and of the proceedings of the Court, to do? He would read the observations made by the Judge in sentencing the second prisoner — Patrick Casey — to death. Mr. Justice Barry, in passing sentence, said— Patrick Casey, after a most patient trial, you have been convicted by a jury of your fellow-countrymen of the crime of murder. The murder charged against you, in the indictment on which you have been convicted, is the murder of Bridget Joyce. But the evidence has established clearly and conclusively, and so as not to leave a doubt of your guilt upon the mind of any sane person who has heard or read that evidence, that you not only murdered Bridget Joyce, but four other persons on that one occasion. That was the language addressed by the learned Judge to the second person tried; and a few minutes after he had used that language, in the presence of the jurors who were waiting to try the next case, the jury was empannelled to try the third unfortunate prisoner—Myles Joyce. He (Mr. Harrington) asked the House to bear in mind that the remarks of the Judge were heard by the persons empannelled to try Myles Joyce. Therefore, when the priest pointed out to these unfortunate men that it would be better for them to plead guilty, and thus avoid capital punishment, they followed his advice and pleaded guilty, although they were really innocent of the crime of which they were charged. They could see nothing before them but the prospect of an ignominious death; and surely the circumstances were such as to induce ignorant peasants of this description to say they were guilty, in the hope that they would not only save their lives, but, at the same time, have an opportunity of vindicating their character hereafter. There was another circumstance, which he had not touched upon yet, that corroborated the revelations made by the two informers, and which had not been contradicted. He had informed the House that the approvers had completely contradicted the evidence they gave at the trial. They now asserted, in the most open manner, that they were forced to give that evidence, and that it was the only door open to them in order to save their own wretched lives. He thought he had shown how the last statements of the approvers were corroborated in the most striking way by the protestations of innocence on the part of four out of the five men now suffering penal servitude. There was, however, another extraordinary fact. There were five men suffering penal servitude. One of these five men was still alleged by the approvers to have been guilty and to have actively participated in the murders. From the first day of his conviction—from the first day the sentence of death originally passed upon him was commuted down to the present moment, that prisoner had never said one word by way of protesting his innocence; whereas the four men who were now alleged by the approvers to be innocent had expressly, in every letter they had written, protested their innocence. He would go farther. The man who was alleged to have been guilty had not been altogether silent upon the subject. His last letter home, he (Mr. Harrington) had been able to get some information about during his visit to the locality. It was an extraordinary document. The man requested his wife to go to "the master," meaning the land- lord, and get him to intercede with the Lord Lieutenant in order to enable him to make a statement, which, he said, although it might be of no good to himself, he, at least, ought to be allowed to make for the sake of the innocent men who were now in gaol with him. Here, then, they had this extraordinary evidence—stronger than anything which the Crown produced at the trial—that four men who were alleged by the approvers to be innocent, had protested their innocence from the commencement; whereas the man who was alleged by the approvers to be guilty had never made a protestation of innocence, but, on the contrary, had asked to be allowed to make a statement in order to get out of gaol four innocent men who were incarcerated there. He (Mr. Harrington) had the best grounds for saying that this man was not only willing now to make that statement, but that 12 months ago he did make it before certain magistrates in Galway Gaol. But the fact had been suppressed, and was only known to the officials of Dublin Castle. As they knew how much that statement would affect their character, and what a damning effect it would have against them, they had studiously kept it out of the public view. He challenged the hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland to produce that statement and submit it to the House. He believed it would be found that it fully corroborated the statement made by the approvers, and the statement made by these four prisoners who had been continually protesting their innocence. It came also from a man who acknowledged his own participation in the murder. It further corroborated the declaration made by the two men who suffered the extreme penalty of the law, the day before the execution, when they acknowledged their own guilt, but confirmed the innocence of Myles Joyce. It further corroborated the statement of the two sons of John Joyce on the morning succeeding the murder of their father, one of whom died from the injuries he had received. There was another fact which bore upon the testimony of these approvers. The approver Casey, in the revelations he had made, said that as they were proceeding to the scene of the murder, they called at the house of another man who resided about half-a-mile from the place, and endeavoured to enlist him in their murderous enter-prize. Casey had given to him (Mr. Harrington), in the course of a long interview with him, the name of the man at whose house they called His name was John Joyce, the same as that of the murdered man, and he was a nephew of the man who was alleged by Casey to have planned and paid for the murder, and to have been present himself, taking a guilty part in it. Joyce would not corroborate the testimony of the informer to him (Mr. Harrington); but, although he refused to corroborate it in words, he gave a corroboration which carried conviction much more strongly to his mind than if the man had expressly stated his agreement in so many words. In the visit he paid to Joyce he was accompanied by a rev. gentleman who was connected with the district. He asked Joyce if it was trite that four of the men pulled him out of bed in order that he might take part in the murder. With some adroitness Joyce endeavoured at first to dodge the question, and made several efforts to avoid giving a direct answer. At last, the rev. gentleman told him expressly to answer the question "yes" or "no"—whether, on the night of the murder, the approver Casey, and three other men, went to him and endeavoured to bring him to the murder. To which appeal, Joyce answered—"Don't press me, father." Now, to his (Mr. Harrington's) mind, there could be no clearer corroboration. The man was evidently unwilling to incriminate his uncle, nor would he tell a lie to the priest by denying what had taken place. Therefore, every circumstance stated by the approver in his recent examination was confirmed by an investigation of the locality, and an inquiry upon the spot. Unfortunately, these men had been found guilty by a jury who had never been in the district, or even seen it, and they were tried by a Judge who also knew nothing of the locality. They were tried as absolute strangers, just as though they had been taken into another sphere in order to be tried there. An application made to the Court to enable the jury to go down to the locality and inquire into the extraordinary story told by the independent witnesses, was refused. No effort was made by the Crown to satisfy the public that there was any real desire on their part to have the law impartially administered, lest such a course might have deprived the Crown prosecutors of the blood of the victims they were so anxious to sacrifice. The revelations made by the approver Casey were made, sometime ago, before His Grace the Archbishop of Tuam, in whose diocese the parish of Maamtrasna was situated. His Grace sent forward a representation on the subject to the Government, and, after pressure had been brought to bear, the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War promised distinctly that if the revelations made by the approver were brought before the Government, they would deem it their duty to inquire fully into them. His Grace the Archbishop had brought them to the notice of the Government, if Earl Spencer could be called a portion of the Government. A communication was duly addressed by the Archbishop to Earl Spencer, setting forth the revelations which had been made by the approver. What was the result? What kind of an inquiry took place? What did Earl Spencer do? He actually employed to draw up the reply the two most guilty criminals in the whole case—Mr. Brady, the Resident Magistrate, who took the depositions of the dying boys, who, from first to last, had known all the facts of the case, and who was the moat guilty of all in suppressing the truth; and George Bolton, who was almost equally guilty. These, of all persons in the world, were the men employed by Earl Spencer to reply to the Archbishop's letter, and they were the persons who were most concerned in procuring a verdict of acquittal, for themselves. They prepared, in reply to a letter of His Grace the Archbishop of Tuam, a long Memorandum, and Sir Robert Hamilton appended his name to it, as he was in duty bound, so that it did not go forth to the world as the statement of Messrs. Brady and Bolton. He (Mr. Harrington) thought he should be able, when he compared the real facts of the case with this attempt on the part of the Crown officials to whitewash themselves, to show to every rational man that the approver and murderer Casey, perjurer as he was, was telling the truth, while Brady and Bolton were telling an infamous falsehood. Here was one allegation made by Casey the approver, which was admitted by Sir Robert Hamilton, who simply personated Brady and Bolton in the matter, by appending his name to the Memorandum. Both the Memorandum and the deposition of Casey agreed, to a certain extent—that Casey made an offer to the Crown prosecutor to give evidence; Casey stated that the offer was made two days before the trial was to come on, and he said that he made the statement to Mr. Bolton in the gaol. He subsequently saw Mr. Bolton in the Governor's office, and he said— Mr. Bolton was sitting down with his shoos off, warming his feet to the fire. He said, 'Well, Casey, are you going to make a statement?' or something like that. I made an effort to save those who were in. I said, 'The men that did the murder are outside yet, and these men in here are innocent.' He said he had more than that from the Joyces and from my brother-in-law, Philbin; that Philbin swore I went to the house for him, and that he met me in the field. I am not sure whether it is then Mr. Bolton read Philben's statement for me, but I am quite certain that he read it for me. He would not accept my statement, as I would not make it agree with my brother-in law, and he called the warder and sent me away. He (Mr. Harrington) asked the House to bear that fact in mind. The assertion in the Memorandum prepared by Sir Robert Hamilton and published in his name, was this — that the statement which Casey made on that occasion was precisely the same which they accepted from him two days subsequently — namely, on the opening day of the trial, and that Mr. Bolton did agree to accept that information. He would read Casey's statement of this transaction, and read the statement of it which was put forward by Sir Robert Hamilton, asking the House to consider which of the two was more in agreement with common sense and reason. This was the statement made by Casey— The trial was to come off on Monday. I saw the Governor on Sunday evening, about 4 o'clock, and I was talking to him. I told him about my meeting with Mr. Bolton. Question—Had you made up your mind this time to corroborate Philbin?' Answer—'I was making up my mind for it; but I was putting it off for the last moment.' The Governor said to me, if I wished he would speak to Mr. Bolton. I did not then give a decided answer. The next day was the day of the trial. When we were going into the van I saw Philbin going away in a cab. The other men went into the van. The Government statement was that the Crown officials agreed to accept Casey as an informer the day before the trial; yet he was brought out in the van with the other men, while the other approver was conveyed away separately. Mr. Bolton's statement was that the agreement had been come to at the first interview, and, on the face of it, the statement of the informer was much more credible than that which had been made and published with the authority of Sir Robert Hamilton. Casey continued— When we were going into the van, I saw Philbin going away in a cab. The other men went into the van. I was the last to go in, and I then said to the Governor that he might speak to Bolton. I had not given him an answer the night before. We were then brought to the Court. The nine of us were in the room, back of the dock, and my name was called. He (Mr. Harrington) would now read the account given by Sir Robert Hamilton, who first published the note of Casey to the Crown Solicitor, asking for an interview. The Memorandum went on to say— This note was written by Casey, and handed by him to the Governor, with a request that he would have it sent to Mr. Bolton, and it was accordingly transmitted, and until the receipt of it, Mr. Bolton had never spoken to the man, nor had he ever seen him, except when brought up as a prisoner in Court. The Attorney General at the time was in London, and Mr. Bolton at once consulted the counsel for the prosecution, who directed him to see Casey, and be in a position to report to the Attorney General on his return what his evidence would be, but to make no statement and hold out no hope to Casey that he would be accepted as an approver without the Attorney General's authority. Mr. Bolton thereupon went to the prison, and saw the prisoner, not in his cell, but in the Governor's office. The Governor was present at this interview, no other persons being there, and it is untrue that Mr. Bolton used any threat to the prisoner, or made any suggestion to him as to what his evidence should be, or in any manner whatever pressed him. Mr. Bolton told him what he had been directed to tell him by the Crown counsel, and Casey then told Mr. Bolton what he had to prove in reference to the murder, which closely corresponded with his subsequently written statement. It is to be remembered that this happened on Saturday, the trials being fixed to commence on the following Monday, and that the case was considered by the Crown as being perfectly complete and conclusive against all the prisoners. The nature of Casey's evidence having been reported to the Attorney General, it was determined to accept him as an approver. On the following Monday all the prisoners were brought down to Green Street. Immediately on their arrival, Casey sent a message to Mr. Bolton by the Governor, saying he was anxious to see him. He (Mr. Harrington) asked the House whether that statement did not brand, as a falsehood, the first statement, that the Crown had agreed to accept the former information given by Casey? If, on Saturday, the Crown Solicitor agreed to accept Casey's evidence, would the motion for a second interview come from the Crown Solicitor or from the approver? Was it not more likely that the statement of the approver was true—namely, that in the first instance he would not swear what was false; but after he had been making up his mind as to the statement he was expected to make, and when he had screwed up his courage sufficiently to comply with the requirements of the Crown Prosecutor, he then asked for a second interview? He contended that the admission that the statement came from him, and not from the Crown Solicitor, was the clearest proof in the world that a change had come over his mind, and that he was willing to do what the Crown Solicitor was urging him to do. But there was another thing which showed more clearly still than that admission that the statement of Sir Robert Hamilton was an infamous falsehood. It was this—that Casey said Mr. Bolton went down into the passage below the Court, accompanied by Mr. Brady, and the Governor of the gaol. Bolton called him out and informed him that his evidence would be accepted, provided he told the entire truth. Did not that, in the mind of any intelligent man, prove conclusively that there had been a divergence between Mr. Bolton and the approver, and establish also that Casey had hesitated to do what the Crown Solicitor was urging him to do—namely, commit perjury, and swear away the lives of these men? Then there was another proof, which nothing could get over—not even the ingenuity of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland—and that was, that while the Crown had accepted the statement of Casey, the late Attorney General for Ireland (the present Mr. Justice Johnson), in his opening statement of the case, mentioned that only one approver was coming forward to corroborate the evidence of the witnesses; while he never said one word as to any evidence to be offered by the second approver, Casey. Was it not, then, clear that the statement published by Messrs. Brady and Bolton was an infamous falsehood on the very face of it, and an endeavour to deceive the Government and public in Ireland? If the Crown had agreed, on Saturday, to accept the evidence of Casey, did it not stand to reason and common sense; was it not in accordance with legal procedure and with the duty of the Attorney General, that, having the knowledge that two approvers would be examined for the prosecution, he should stand up in Court and make reference to the evidence of one approver only, stating that he would be examined, and no other? He (Mr. Harrington) thought that the evidence was as clear as noon day that, in their attempt to acquit themselves, these officials had deliberately lied. But there was a Providence watching their actions, forcing their hand, and compelling them to speak the truth, although they were endeavouring to commit falsehood. These were the independent inquisitors, on whom Earl Spencer relied to vindicate his conduct in Ireland—the two men most guilty in the transaction—who gave to the counsel for the defence, what purported to be copies of two depositions in the case, who suppressed the fact that the two boys had made dying depositions which they never gave into the hands of the counsel for the defence. But that was not the only portion of the evidence suppressed by the Crown. When the letter of the Archbishop of Tuam appeared, the whole scene changed, and it was then for the first time that the fact came to light that two informers had made depositions in gaol. Application was made for copies of the depositions on the first day of the trial by the counsel for the defence. Neither the counsel for the defence, nor the Attorney General for Ireland, had heard anything about the depositions in question. Again, application was made for the deposition of the approver Philbin, and although that deposition had been made six or seven days before the commencement of the trial in July, yet the copies were not supplied; and when application was made in Court for either a copy of the deposition, or a postponement of the trial, both applications were refused, and the wretched victims hurried to their fate. The public in Ireland had been, therefore, kept in a state of complete ignorance as to what depositions had been made, nor did they know that any interviews had taken place between the parties in question. He asked hon. Members to look carefully over the matter that had been suppressed by the Crown, and compare it with the testimony given afterwards in the approver's chair. He believed that no one in that House would deny that, if a copy of the depositions had been handed in to the counsel for the defence, it would have been sufficient to have brought out whether the approver's statements were true or false, because there was a considerable divergence in them. Therefore, he asked hon. Members to conclude that, by the suppression of these important documents, the Crown were keeping from the hands of the counsel for the defence weapons which might have possibly saved the lives of these unfortunate persons, and prevented the fearful crime which had been committed in Ireland, as well as the odium which must attach to their system of administration there, unless the Government at once instituted an inquiry into all the circumstances of the case. He had already drawn attention to the suppression of one of the depositions made by the boys on the morning after the murder, and he would now say that in the Crown brief which had fallen into his hands there was established a clear case of conspiracy to murder on the part of officials in Ireland which no amount of shifting should prevent the public from knowing. In that brief the deposition of the boys was set forth, the one corresponding as nearly as it could with the other. It was a strange fact that the important statement of the boys was noted on the margin of the brief of the counsel who had the case in hand, and yet he never, by word or suggestion to the counsel for the defence, intimated that such statement was contained in his brief. That being so, he (Mr. Harrington) asserted, with the fullest knowledge of the responsibility that attached to his words, that the Crown officials were committing a crime nothing short of murder by suppressing for their own purposes, to save their reputation with the Government, this important testimony. In concluding, he would say that it was not for the purpose of satisfying Irish Members on those Benches that the Government were now asked to take up this matter. As far as it was possible for men to make up their minds, they had done so on this question already; they knew the facts of the case before the very im- portant document he had referred to came into his hands, which it did after the concluding letter of the series in which he had published his case had appeared—it came in corroboration of that case, and enabled him to take the initiative in this question. He was able to say, with the knowledge he had previously possessed, that he had never entertained the slightest doubt of the innocence of that unfortunate man, who declared on the scaffold that he knew nothing of the murder for which he had been sentenced to death. There remained now no doubt as to those who were interested in having the murders committed, and yet the Government allowed them to walk about, associating with the people of the district; they knew that perjury had been committed; but rather than discredit the story put forward, and deprive their officials of the glory of having sacrified 10 or 12 unfortunate peasants, they refused to make any endeavour to convict the actual murderers. It was not to appease Irish Members on those Benches that it was necessary to institute the inquiry asked for. He said that if the Government did not immediately grant that inquiry, the public in Ireland would never be satisfied, and that from the lowest official engaged in this transaction up to Earl Spencer, who had the depositions before him, and who had ample time to telegraph to the gaol and clear up any doubt that existed, before consigning Myles Joyce to a murderer's grave, the verdict would be that there was a conspiracy to murder these unfortunate people. He begged to move the Amendment of which he had given Notice.

Amendment proposed, In the ninth paragraph, after the word "us," to insert the words "and numbly to assure Her Majesty that it is the opinion of a vast number of the Irish people that the present method of administering the Law in Ireland, more especially under the Crimes Act, has worked manifold injustice, and, in the case of the prisoners tried for the Maamtrasma murder, has led to the execution of an innocent man and to the conviction of four other persons equally innocent, and this House humbly assures Her Majesty that it would ensure much greater confidence in the administration of the Law in Ireland if a full and public inquiry were granted into the execution of Myles Joyce and the continued incarceration of Patrick Joyce, Thomas Joyce, Martin Joyce, and John Casey."—(Mr. Harrington.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

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

Debate adjourned till To-morrow.

House adjourned at a quarter before One o'clock.