HC Deb 20 February 1885 vol 294 cc918-9

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to a speech, reported in The Times of February 17, in which the following language is attributed to Mr. H. M. Hyndman:— If the people wanted the Government to do anything for them they must follow the course which the Irish had adopted—'A life for a life' must be their motto. (Loud cheers.) The people were murdered by the slow process of starvation, and if those who were responsible for this state of things knew that it was life for life they would act differently.…His advice to them would be to try once more by peaceful means to get their grievances redressed, and if that failed he should be the first to organise a secret society to secure what a peaceful agitation had failed to accomplish; and, what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken to secure the observance of the law by Mr. H. M. Hyndman?


Yes, Sir; I saw the abominable and disgraceful language which was attributed in the newspapers to Mr. Hyndman. I am glad to say that a deputation of distressed working men, which waited on me the day afterwards, took the first opportunity of expressing their horror and disgust at that language, and the persons using it. In this country speeches of this kind are happily so rare that we have not made provision in all cases for official reports of what takes place at them. I find that in the newspapers of the following day Mr. Hyndman, to a certain degree, disputed the accuracy of the reports, which, indeed, did not agree altogether amongst themselves. This places a difficulty in the way of taking any action in the case. I wish to state distinctly that in every case where sufficient proof can be obtained of language, either written or spoken, inciting to outrage and crime, the Government will use all the means at their disposal to prosecute and punish the offenders.


Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman take the precaution of appointing shorthand writers in future to attend these popular meetings, as has been done in Ireland?


Well, Sir, if it becomes necessary it certainly will be done.