§ MR. SEXTON,
in rising to call attention to the manner in which the Forces of the Crown have been recently employed in Derry in suppressing lawful Nationalist manifestations and encouraging Orange rioting; and to move—That, in the opinion of this House, the conduct of those responsible for the action of 944 the Police and Military in Derry was one-sided, tyrannical, and unconstitutional,said, he supposed ho should esteem himself extremely fortunate that this Motion had escaped the general slaughter which had just been carried out by the will of the Prime Minister. He was glad to see the Solicitor General for Ireland in his place, because that hon. and learned Gentleman was not only well acquainted with the law relating to these matters, but, being Member for the County of Derry, he had an intimate acquaintance with the local circumstances connected not only with the county, but with the city also. Before he called attention to the subject of his Motion he might say that Derry occupied a peculiar position from historical causes. Elsewhere in Ireland, as in other countries, men mainly were content to accept existing facts, and guided their conduct and governed their lives by the current condition of affairs; but in Derry, although the great majority of the people wore Catholic and National, and although of the Protestant minority there were only a small portion, he was glad to say, who lent themselves to the tactics of disorder, still, the burden of his complaint rested upon the basis that there was in Derry a small faction of persons who refused to accept accomplished facts, who refused to admit the circumstances of life in the 19th century, and who, because a certain siege was maintained 200 years ago, and because a certain Party and a certain privilege triumphed at that siege, adhered to the absurd and grotesque idea that no other Party but the Party that then triumphed should raise a voice in the City of Derry, and that no other but the principle maintained 200 years ago by William of Orange should be allowed to be sustained in that locality. This small faction of disturbers were known as the Apprentice Boys of Derry; and his complaint was that the authorities who controlled the military and the police used the Forces of the Crown habitually in such a way as to encourage these 300 or 400 youths or fanatics, and to intimidate and overawe the vast body of people who were on the popular side in politics. On the 29th of February his hon. Friend the Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien) and his hon. Friend the Member for Wexford (Mr. W. Redmond) arrived in Derry on the way to attend a public meeting at Carndonagh, in the county of Donegal 945 —and, in passing, he might say that there were no two public men in Ireland more popular with the masses of the people than his two hon. Friends; and, in his opinion, there were no two public men in Ireland better entitled to the affection and the confidence of the people. On their arrival the people assembled in multitudes to welcome them, and escorted them to and from their hotel with bands and banners and other manifestations of rejoicing. In the evening the hon. Member for Mallow delivered a lecture, and the night was passed as the day had been in perfect and unbroken peace. It was noticeable that on this occasion there was no offensive parade of the forces at the disposal of the authorities, and the people consequently suffered no irritation. On the next day, however, a fatal mistake was made. The people of Derry desired to receive publicly the two Members on their return to the city from a town in Donegal, where they were to address a meeting. Three leaders of the popular Party accordingly waited on the District Inspector of Police, and asked him on what conditions the agents of the Government would allow the demonstration to take place. The reply was that the processionists would not be permitted to re-enter the walls of Derry—by which presumably were meant the old walls—with bands playing or with lighted torches. The representatives of the popular Party undertook to keep to the two conditions laid down, and in the evening the hon. Members were met by the processionists, who were exhorted, by them to keep the peace. The hon. Member for Mallow having left the scene of the demonstration, the hon. Member for Wexford told the people that if they accompanied him to his hotel their bands must not play and that their torches must be extinguished. The processionists then proceeded to the walls of the city, near which they suddenly found themselves face to face, almost breast to breast, with a body of police and soldiers armed with deadly weapons. The night was dark, and the people were taken by surprise. It was easy to understand that the slightest outbreak of temper on their part, or on that of the police, might have provoked a massacre. If it were deemed necessary to mass an army in the dark in the outskirts of the city, why did not the police, between the time of the interview and the compact with the people 946 and the Inspectors, convey to the Members of Parliament concerned, or to the directors of the popular movement, a warning that it was intended to break the stipulation and to oppose the progress of the procession? Again, why was not time given for a parley before there was contact and conflict between the two bodies of persons? Instead of that, the order to fix bayonets was given; but happily his hon. Friend the Member for Wexford proved that he was able to stop the advance of the people at that moment. He (Mr. Sexton) utterly failed to see anything like good faith or public necessity in any part of the official conduct, or anything but infamous bad faith, and a worse than infamous design against the public peace. The action of the authorities was the indulgence of recklessness to a degree that bore upon it the moral guilt of murder. It was owing to the fact that the people had the discretion, the temper, and the sudden perception of the gravity of the situation, to obey the command of the hon. Member for Wexford, that the streets of Derry were not stained with human blood that night. The West Somersetshire Regiment and the extra police were used to impede, to intimidate, and to threaten the people in the exercise of their unquestionable legal right to do public honour to those representative men whom they admired and respected. But what was going on that evening within the walls of Derry? The Apprentice Boys marched at their will from one place to another, hooting persons in the street who differed from them in opinion, and using, alternately, as weapons of argument, the weapons with which nature had provided them and stones from the street; and when the hon. Member for Wexford was addressing a public meeting from the rooms of the hotel, after the dispersal of the procession, the meeting was assailed with stones by the faction of the Apprentice Boys; and when the hon. Member was returning to his hotel a mob of Orangemen lying in wait for him were allowed to hold the street in front of it. It was a significant fact that the Apprentice Boys came out when the police were there. He (Mr. Sexton) believed that the reason why these extraordinary offences were committed, against the interest of public order by the official custodians of the public peace in Derry arose from two 947 causes—the first was that the Government had hitherto obstinately refused to reform local bodies. About a year ago lie addressed the House upon the question of the Magisterial Bench in Ireland; and they were told by the Chief Secretary that if the names of proper persons were brought forward—persons in general sympathy with the Irish people and recommended to the Lord Chancellor— he would be glad to appoint them. He saw a right lion. Gentleman smile. Perhaps the smile was intended to cast a doubt upon the quotation; but he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that the words were too important to escape his memory. The Lord Chancellor had made Catholic appointments during the last year; but his action so far in reforming the Magisterial Bench was, to use a classic expression, "a delusion, a mockery, and a snare." The Lord Chancellor had in almost every instance refused to accept the advice of the public Boards who had nominated the; ersons, and had acted nearly always upon the advice of the Lord Lieutenants of the counties, who were the Constitutional sentinels of the ancient and evil system of class aggression and social ascendancy in Ireland. Where a Catholic had been selected it was because he belonged to the class expressively known as "shoneens," because, like Sir Pertinax M'Sycophant, he won his way by bowing, and knew not how to stand straight in the presence of a great man. The Magisterial Bench in Derry, as in every part of Ireland, was still a citadel of landlords, a place reserved for persons of the fashionable creed; and in the Province of Ulster especially it was an appanage not merely of the Protestant section of the landlord class, but of that ferocious and incorrigible faction known as the Orange Party. To show what was expected from a magistrate there, he might state that when a Catholic magistrate in Derry attempted to question the Inspector of Police in open Court about this grave and dangerous occurrence, ho was silenced by the Chairman, and snubbed by the majority of the Bench. It appeared to him (Mr. Sexton) that the responsibility of those recent incidents was to be divided between the magistrate and the Mayor— an eccentric person named M'Vicker— and a Resident Magistrate, a robustious hero, Mr. Adolphus Harvey. Mr. 948 M'Vicker had distinguished himself by turning a reporter of The Freeman's Journal out of a lunacy inquiry, because that paper had taken the unpardonable liberty of rather freely criticizing the actions of his worship. Mr. Harvey was a gentleman with not one of the instincts or principles in his mind which tend to make a judicious magistrate. He had been promoted from the Constabulary Force; and he (Mr. Sexton) thought English Members would agree with him that promotion from the Police Force to the Magisterial Bench was a dangerous principle. Mr. Harvey had distinguished himself by having the hon. Member for Roscommon bodily pushed out of the field on the occasion of the prohibition of a meeting in Fermanagh. It was true that on the 13th of February the police made a show of beating off the Apprentice Boys from a meeting in Derry which the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien) was addressing; but afterwards they turned upon the meeting in military form. His hon. Friend paused in his speech, for something inspired him to ask upon the spot why his meeting had been disturbed in that way. He asked the reason why the police drew their swords, trailed their rifles, and forced those who were listening to his speech away from their positions. The police had no reply to make, and perhaps for this reason they allowed the meeting to proceed. What followed then? The Orange magistrates of Derry, led by this eccentric Mayor and swaggering Stipendiary Magistrate, held a Star Chamber meeting. At that meeting a proclamation was issued in which it was stated that they had reason to believe that it was intended to have a procession through the streets of Derry, which, in their opinion, would lead to a breach of the peace. They then stated that they had issued this proclamation declaring that such procession would not be allowed to be held, but would be dispersed by force. They now came to a curious part of the case. Nobody had proposed such a procession. No man, woman, or child in Derry had any intention of taking such a step upon last Sunday, and last Sunday was the day to which he wished to draw the attention of the House. He believed it was essential to the preservation of the peace of this much troubled city that the Crown should be served by persons without 949 bias or passion. [Mr. LEWIS: Hear, hear!] He (Mr. Sexton) thought that the hon. Member who sat on the Bench near him (Mr. Lewis) was aware that the day was fast approaching when he would no longer be Member for the City of Deny. He supposed that the hon. Member recognized the fact that the Bill recently passed through that House was one which would bring about such a state of affairs as would prevent any gentleman from London of his politics or Party having the slightest chance of representing that city in Parliament. That was one of the reasons why he (Mr. Sexton) regarded the future of that city more than hitherto. The people of Derry were entitled to express their opinions, and they had been listening to a lecture by the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien). The Orange magistrates, however, had come to the conclusion that there was some reason for apprehension; and, acting upon information which was obviously the reverse of the fact, they telegraphed all over the North of Ireland for extra police. They swarmed the city with armed men, who occupied upon the day in question what were known as the "dangerous parts of Derry." In the course of the afternoon, however, it began to dawn upon them that they were in a very foolish position. After bringing in men from all points of Ulster to occupy the dangerous parts of Derry, and to prevent a procession, there was no procession to be prevented. They were there at a cost to the country of between £500 and £1,000, and if this sum was to be paid by the people of Derry it was a grievance to them. But if it was to be paid out of the Consolidated Fund it was a grievance in which every taxpayer in England, Ireland, and Scotland had a share. After having vainly waited for an enemy who would not come, as the afternoon advanced the police thought well to retire. Then, according to immemorial custom, the Apprentice Boys turned out—first, because they knew that the police had retired; and, secondly, because they knew from their experience of the past that the moment they got into trouble the police would come out of barracks and beat the peaceable people whom they were engaged in attacking. The Apprentice Boys went to a commanding position in the city, whence they began to shower down stones and bottles upon a quarter 950 of the city occupied by the Catholic population. While thus engaged their operations were watched only by a solitary policeman. The people whom they assaulted had to not only close their doors, but put up their shutters and remain indoors. When they had endured these attacks long enough they sallied forth and took the position occupied by the Apprentice Boys by a flank movement, and returned showers of stones and bottles. Eight constables then came out of the barracks and made a show of attempting to disperse the Orange faction, and then the remainder came out in force, and proceeded in reality to attack the people who had been so long submitting to the assaults of the Apprentice Boys. They proceeded to beat man, woman, and child in a manner that could only be compared with the cowardly onslaught which had been made some time ago upon a quiet assembly in the Phœnix Park, which was memorable still. It was perfectly idle to talk about preserving law and order when the Government only interfered with people who, in the exercise of their legal rights, ventured to give expression to their opinion, and, at the same time, allowed functionaries to resort to all sorts of acts of violence and disorder. One of the worst features in the proceedings of the day was a cowardly attack which was made by a lot of roughs upon two ladies who belonged to one of the most admirable and noble Orders which the Church had ever given birth to. These ladies, when returning after a mission of mercy, found the steps in front of the convent which they desired to enter occupied by a crowd of roughs, who assailed them with the vilest language, and refused to allow them to enter. They found it also impossible to gain an entry from the rear, because another gang who had been specially detailed for this work barred their passage there. Were it not for the interference of some young men, who proved by their action that humanity and chivalry were not dead, these unoffending ladies would have sustained serious injury. He desired to know whether a secret inquiry had been held in Derry since Sunday last, and whether the heads of the Prentice Boys had been questioned?
§ MR. SEXTON
wished, in that case, to know how many Prentice Boys had been arrested; and what was the proportion of arrests to the number taking part in the proceedings? A question of importance and significance far beyond that to which he had been referring would presently arise—namely, whether the people of Ireland, like every other people—like the people of this country—had or had not the right to control and manage their own affairs? When that great question came to be dealt with, as it very soon must be, it would be an evil thing for Ireland, and a gloomy and sinister fact for any English Government charged with the administration of the affairs of that country, if they did not allow it to be handled and decided by reason and by Constitutional action alone, and if they did not proclaim their determination that no designs of faction should be allowed to interfere with the free expression by Constitutional means of the will of the Irish people.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, the conduct of those responsible for the action of the Police and Military in Derry was one-sided, tyrannical, and unconstitutional,"—(Mr. Sexton,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN
said, that everyone must have listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, because of the dramatic effect with which he described certain events which had recently occurred in the City of Derry. But he (Mr. Campbell - Bannerman) must ask the House to subtract a little from the somewhat highly-coloured picture which the hon. Gentleman had drawn. According to his in-formation the facts were not altogether as had been stated. In the first place, the hon. Member presented a picture of the City of Derry which the hon. Gentleman who represented it (Mr. Lewis) could hardly recognize, and which the general world, with only a slight knowledge of the place, would altogether fail to recognize. He represented the great body of the people as being all of one way of thinking if only a small and in- 952 significant faction of Apprentice Boys and others inflamed with memories of certain past events would leave them alone. That representation hardly corresponded with what he described after-wards, because the hon. Gentleman spoke of Members of Parliament who took part in the proceedings being followed by a furious mob of Orangemen. If the Orange Party and Apprentice Boys were so few, where did the mob come from? The truth was they all knew, and, for his part, he deeply regretted it, how keen Party and political and religious feeling was in that part of the country. That fact made it peculiarly difficult, not only for those on the spot, but also for the Executive Government in Ireland, to deal with any question that might arise there. There were two Parties bitterly opposed to each other, and every opportunity was taken of presenting themselves as obtrusively and as obnoxiously as possible to each other. His belief was that the mischief was done by a comparatively small number of each Party. The hon. Gentleman said that on the 29th of last month the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien) arrived in the City of Derry and proceeded through the streets accompanied by some of his friends, and that there was a demonstration on the part of his friends without any disturbance of public order. Ho had heard nothing to lead him to suppose that that statement was incorrect; but, at the same time, there were fierce political speeches delivered. It was one thing for the hon. Member for Mallow, or anyone else, to appear in a town and deliver a speech and move with his friends through the streets; but it was another thing for him to return to that town on another day with the purpose announced beforehand of passing through the town with a procession and accompanied by bands and men bearing torches. There was sworn information laid before the magistrates that the intended procession would probably lead to a riot and breach of the peace, and accordingly authority was given to increase the force of police. The House would understand that in all these matters nothing was directly under the control of the central Executive Government in Dublin—everything done was done on the authority of the local magistrates, except the drafting of a certain number of additional police.
Might I ask whether the order was made by the whole of the magistrates, or only by the stipendiary?
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
said, he was not sure. It was evident to common sense that if two opposing parties, already excited, came together with bands and torches, there was a great probability of a breach of the peace occurring. It was, no doubt, a fact that the popular leaders interviewed the magistrates; and it was agreed that the procession should be allowed to go on to the five lamps in the centre of Waterloo Square. With this arrangement the processionists declared themselves satisfied; and the only complaint they subsequently made was that they were stopped about 50 yards from the spot agreed upon. In the first place, any agreement made with the police was necessarily subject to modification if the necessity arose; but the fact was that behind the police in Waterloo Square, and in the streets debouching upon it, there was a somewhat excited and angry mob, consisting mainly of the Orange Party. If the procession had been allowed to get into the square, it would have got beyond control. They were, therefore, stopped at the entrance to it. In these circumstances, he hoped the House would believe that the magistrates had exercised a judicious and a wise discretion in making a slight variation in the original agreement, which did not in the least interfere with the glory of the procession, or with anything connected with it, but merely deprived it of 50 yards of its progress, and, at the same time, guaranteed immunity from what might have been a dangerous and disorderly condition of things. No impediment was placed in the way of those who marched in the procession. The pavement was cleared for individuals and small parties if they chose. What was objected to was that the procession, as a procession, in its fully organized condition, should proceed beyond the point where it was stopped. It was quite true, as the hon. Member said, that a momentary fault of temper, or the failure on the part of someone in his duty, might have had very dangerous consequences. But the responsibility of that must rest with those who, 954 in an inflammatory atmosphere like that of Derry, marched through the streets with bands and torches on such occasions, and thereby provoked the hostility of those who opposed them. The Government desired to treat either party with exactly the same vigour or leniency; but in a condition of things such as that which prevailed at Derry it was absolutely impossible for those who were responsible for the maintenance of peace and order to allow processions of this aggressive and exuberant kind to go through the streets as they pleased. The hon. Member for Mallow arrived in Derry on the 13th, and his complaint was that while he was addressing the crowd from the window of his hotel, he was interrupted, and the crowd was made to pass on by a body of armed police. A great point was made of the police being ordered to trail their arms, as if that was a bellicose attitude. But he believed that there was no way in which men could carry their arms less aggressively than by trailing them.
§ MR. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN
said, he did not know what the rule was when an officer was commanding a body of men. He might possibly always carry his sword drawn in such circumstances. Hon. Gentlemen ought not to make so much of one officer having his sword drawn. But the reason why the mob were dispersed was that the city was in an excited state, and there was a number of the opposite faction anxious to show themselves and disturb the meeting. In such circumstances, it was a very reasonable thing to ask the hon. Member to forego part of his speech. All accounts agreed that the hon. Member for Mallow and the hon. Member for Wexford assisted in quieting the crowd, and did all they could to prevent a breach of the peace. He had no complaint to make of them. [Mr. O'BRIEN: No; but we have to make it of them.] The authorities in Derry were informed that on the following Sunday there was to be an indignation meeting held in the suburbs, and they had no intention to interfere with any reasonable meeting. But there was to be a procession, and the magistrates thought it their duty to prevent the procession. Where there was danger of the public peace being 955 disturbed, he thought that those concerned would have regarded it as a small sacrifice to refrain from some of their public demonstrations, when they had ample opportunity for an orderly expression of their opinions if they chose to adopt it. The hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) asked whether the Government was prepared to deprive some of their fellow-countrymen of their legal right to the orderly expression of their views? Her Majesty's Government had no such desire, and would not stop any expression of opinion unless there was thereby a danger to the public peace existing in such a form as to be evident to those who were responsible for the maintenance of the public peace. With regard to the alleged disturbances on Sunday, it appeared that there was some stone-throwing and some riotous proceedings; but, from the information he had gathered, it did not appear that they amounted to very much. The attack upon the two Sisters of Charity, although he did not think there was a personal attack, was a thing that could not be too warmly denounced. It do-served the severest punishment and reprobation; and there was, at least, this satisfaction—that the perpetrators would in all probability be brought to justice. In a telegram dated yesterday the Inspector of Police at Londonderry reported that eight young men were that day brought before the Petty Sessions charged with having been concerned in the outrage on the two Sisters of Charity. Their case had been remanded till Monday, no doubt for further evidence. He believed that 10 persons had also been convicted at the Petty Sessions of riotous behaviour on Sunday last, and sentenced to 14 days' imprisonment each. Of these, some were Nationalists and some were Orangemen. The result of the stone - throwing was that some damage was done to a convent, and some to a Presbyterian church. Ho thought, from what he had said, it was evident that care had been taken by the authorities to prevent any disturbance, which in a feverish and excitable atmosphere like that of Derry might be readily produced. The magistrates appeared to him to have done their duty; and though he was not there to defend the actions of any but the Resident Magistrate, he might say that he did not think the magistrates had done any- 956 thing to deserve the censure of the House. To the observations of the hon. Member upon the magistrates in general he would not then reply; but would content himself with asking the House to say that in this individual case the Derry magistrates had done nothing worthy of censure.
observed, that the speech to which they had just listened from the Chief Secretary for Ireland— who, he noticed, had already deserted his post—was a good illustration of the reasons why the Irish people had such an inveterate and unconquerable distrust of the Englishmen and Scotchmen sent over to govern them. The right hon. Gentleman approached the administration of Irish affairs a few months ago with a certain mild benovolence towards the people; but it was evident that he was already a perfectly helpless and submissive instrument in the hands of the ruling class, which was represented on the Tory Benches at present in the person of the hon. Member for Derry (Mr. Lewis). If there could be anything more annoying than the good humour and self-complacency with which the right hon. Gentleman had acquitted himself (Mr. O'Brien) and the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. W. Redmond) of the offence of saving the City of Derry from a sanguinary riot it would be the ingenious avoidance of every point in the speech of the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton). In that City of Derry, where they maintained that throe-fourths of the population were Nationalists, they were not permitted to march through their own streets on an admittedly peaceable and legal business without being attacked by the police and put in danger of their lives. While the Nationalists, who were the majority, wore insulted and held down by the police, that miserable gang of Apprentice Boys—a mere handful of the tag, rag, and bobtail of the Orange slums of Derry—were positively encouraged to riot as they pleased under police protection, and to attack defenceless ladies upon occasions when they found it more convenient to do so than to attack the other and the stronger sex. What were the admitted facts regarding this wretched little secret Society of the Apprentice Boys? The evidence of Mr. Thynne, R.M., before the Derry Commission last year, proved that they never mustered more than 300; 957 and they would never dream of going out into the streets to make a riot except when they were sure of police protection. The whole scandal complained of that night arose from the fact that the military and the police were habitually used in Derry by Orange partizans to prevent the people from exercising their legal rights, and to encourage the miserable gang of Orangemen who rioted under the protection of the Forces of the Crown. When he and the hon. Member for Wexford went to Derry they merely passed through it to attend meetings in other places; and the Chief Secretary for Ireland himself had admitted that when they went to Derry that night, and a large crowd went out to meet them with bands, and escorted them to their hotel, and listened to their speeches, there was not the smallest symptom of disturbance. And why was that? Simply because there was not a single policeman seen in the streets—that being a sovereign specific for preserving the peace in Derry. On the next day the people took it into their heads, without either his or his hon. Friend's knowledge, and not much to their liking, to welcome them back into Derry in the evening with a torchlight procession. Why was it necessary to treat the people that evening differently from what was done on the preceding night? Merely because the Mayor, a notorious Orangeman, and the Resident Magistrate, who was distinguished for his hostility to the people, had filled the town with extra policemen, and were determined to utilize them. They did not even publish their intention; and the Nationalist Leaders only heard in the most casual way that it was intended to employ the troops and the police to prevent the people from entering the city. The right hon. Gentleman told them that informations wore sworn be-fore certain magistrates of Derry; but did the Government mean to act on the principle that one magistrate was to be consulted because he was known to be an Orangeman, and another to be left in the dark because he was suspected of being a Nationalist? Was there to be an inner circle in the magistracy in the North of Ireland comprised of persons enjoying the confidence of the local Orange Lodges and the officials of Dublin Castle? He would not now discuss whether it was not a tyrannical and 958 insulting thing to issue a ukase forbid ding the people to enter their own city; but he pointed out that the Nationalists of Derry scrupulously obeyed that ukase, and were perfectly willing to abide by the conditions laid down for them; and, although they carried out their part of the compact, they were betrayed into an ambuscade that might have resulted in many deaths. The right hon. Gentleman had somewhat disingenuously represented that their only complaint was that the procession was stopped at a point some 50 yards further than that to which the police had agreed to let it come. But the complaint was not only that the original compact was broken, but also that the procession was stopped at a period when the people had not even time to quench their torches, and when there was the greatest danger of a collision. The original engagement was that if the torches were put out and the band ceased play, the procession would be allowed to accompany his hon. Friend and himself to their hotel as on the previous night. The right hon. Gentleman gave as an excuse for that double violation of the engagement that there was an excited Orange mob behind. Now, as to that, he could only say that ho himself rode through that very district when that excited Orange mob was supposed to be in possession of the place without protection of any sort, and except a few shouts from half-a-dozen Corner Boys there was not the smallest sign of danger to the public peace. It was now admitted that without consultation with the magistrates the compact made with the people had been violated. The people carried out their part of the agreement. On the advice of himself and his friends the members of the procession put out their torches; they ceased playing music, and marched on in the full impression that they were free to accompany the Members of Parliament present to their hotel. They had not the least conception that they were to be interfered with in the manner which was ultimately adopted; and he maintained that but for the action of the hon. Member for Wexford the consequences of such a stoppage would have been something too fearful to contemplate. His hon. Friend had succeeded in drawing the people off. It seemed to him that the police on this occasion appeared to have 959 acted on the rule to be as offensive as possible to the Nationalists, and to leave the Orange faction free to riot and to do just as they pleased. There seemed to be thorough vigilance as against the Nationalists, and perfect carelessness as to the Orangemen. Had the right hon. Gentleman in any way explained why, since it was impossible for the police to muster in such numbers against the Nationalists, it was not possible for them to protect the hon. Member for Wexford? The fact was that it was the invariable rule in Derry that when the police were in the streets about 200 Apprentice Boys would come out and be perfectly free to make what mischief they could; but, on the other hand, when the police were withdrawn from the streets, the Nationalists were very well able to keep the peace themselves. As to the occurrences on Sunday evening, the right hon. Gentleman had stated that a meeting was announced for Sunday evening in the newspapers. Ho (Mr. O'Brien) was a very close reader of the newspapers, and had soon no such announcement. He knew of the plans of the Nationalist Loaders of Derry, and could say with the most perfect confidence that no announcement whatever emanating from them had been made in any way intimating that there would be a procession in Derry upon Sunday. Still, because the Mayor took it into his head once more to encourage these Apprentice Boys to make a disturbance, ho drafted 300 men into the city at a cost of something like £500 to the ratepayers. He was perfectly at a loss to know on what principle the right hon. Gentleman defended the action of the police authorities. If there were 300 men in Derry, surely there were enough to have prevented a riot in the Orange quarter as well as a procession in the Nationalist quarter. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that eight young "gentlemen" had been summoned for the brutal assault committed upon two ladies. Suppose that the attack had been made upon a landlord or a bailiff in the South of Ireland, he would like to know whether the prisoners who were even suspected of being the attacking party would have been invited by summons to go to the police court, and then remanded for eight days, and probably be let out on bail? He thought the circumstances under which these persons were 960 summoned to the police court was one other proof of the partiality displayed in Derry, and the difference in the treatment of Nationalists and Orangemen. The right hon. Gentleman's speech had only given one more proof that whatever the people could do in Derry to defend themselves, they had to depend upon themselves alone. The only I explanation he could think of why the action of the Derry magistrates had been approved of by the right hon. Gentleman was that the Government meant to allow this apprentice gang liberty to riot as a sort of compensation for the Franchise Act. The Apprentice Boys knew thoroughly well that their ascendancy was coming to an end; and it would seem as if the Government wore anxious to soothe their declining days by enabling them to be insolent and troublesome to the public peace as often as possible. The Mayor and police were simply Apprentice Boys in uniform, and ho would not be a bit surprised if after this night they added the right hon. Gentleman to the category. The hon. Member for Wexford and himself advised the people to trust to their power in the franchise. The Government, by their action of tonight in refusing all redress or inquiry into the conduct of these magistrates, would teach them that whatever they could hope for now or at any future time they would have to depend upon themselves for, and not upon the English Government.
§ MR. LEWIS
said, that he believed many of the statements which had been made regarding persons of character and standing in Derry to be utterly without foundation. It was, however, on such statements ex parte that the House was asked to believe this extraordinary story. There was a way in which the matter could be tested, and it was this. The hon. Member who brought forward the Motion had assured the House of a fact the truth of "which he was in a position to contradict. One of the statements made by the hon. Member was that the proclamation issued against the holding of the meeting last Sunday had been issued by a Bench of Magistrates who were wholly Orange in their sympathies. As a matter of fact, he knew that not one of the magistrates was an Orangeman. So far from this proclamation having been issued by a body of Orange magistrates, it was issued by a 961 Bench whose political sympathies were various. Having represented the city for 13 years, he was able to identify them. The political leanings of the 13 gentlemen constituting the Bench were as follows:—Two were Conservatives, four were Protestant Liberals, four were Roman Catholics, and one was a Wesley an, with whose political sympathies he had not been made acquainted. Of these 18 magistrates, three were Roman Catholics, who had been recently appointed to redress the disparity in numbers between the Protestants and Roman Catholics on the Magisterial Bench. In these circumstances, he asked whether the House would believe that the Proclamation had been issued by Orange magistrates? During the incumbency of the present Government there had been five appointments of magistrates of the Roman Catholic religion to the City Bench in Derry. If the House had the means of investigating the statements that had been made to-night, it would be found that the facts were not only in favour of the magistrates, but against the individuals who had prompted hon. Members. The truth was, that the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) did not know anything more about Derry than he did about any city in Japan, or he would never have made the statement upon which he ventured as to the proportion of "Nationalists" in Londonderry. As a matter of fact, the population of Derry, which numbered 80,000, was about equally divided between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics, and many of the latter were altogether opposed to the Nationalist Party. The hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar), in a certain speech, had imputed the crime of murder to the Lord Lieutenant. The gist of the whole matter was that Mr. Adolphus Harvey, the Resident Magistrate, was obnoxious to those hon. Gentlemen who supported the Motion. One of them was some time ago thrown over a hedge, he believed, by Mr. Harvey or one of his minions, and ever since Mr. Harvey had been an object of intense hatred to that section of the House. Referring to the attack on the two ladies, he (Mr. Lewis) said the attack was one of words; and no magistrate would be justified in issuing ft warrant against, and no policeman justified in arresting, a person charged with the offence of calling a person 962 names. There was no doubt that the hon. Member and his Friends had been for some time past poking about in the district of Derry for the purpose of finding out anything they could against the Mayor. After all this the only charge which they could fix upon him was that of being the eccentric Mayor of Derry. He hoped that when some of the hon. Members were elected Mayors of towns in Ireland they would come out with the same credit when they were attacked in the same way. It seemed to him that this Motion was just fitted for the evening upon which it had come on—the House had nothing to do, and it had done nothing. They had been all the evening listening to a bit of rhodomon-tade and nonsense. Ho thought that if it were possible to dignify this matter by having it subjected to an inquiry these charges would be pulverized. He had abundant reason for believing that this was all "flab," and that there was not the slightest justification for these attacks upon servants of the Crown. Nobody who had not lived in Ireland, and had not been witness of the public events taking place, could form any idea of the difficulty which magistrates had in attempting to steer a middle course. In trying to do so, it was almost impossible to avoid being attacked by one side or the other, or perhaps by both. In this case, the magistrates of Derry had only taken the necessary precautions to prevent a breach of the peace; and he felt sure that the House of Commons would not condemn them upon ex parte statements which were, to a great extent, without foundation in fact. He was obliged for the extreme kindness and attention of the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton), who had prophesied that the Franchise Bill would put an end to him. If that were the result, he could assure him that it would not create any considerable amount of trouble in his breast, and he believed that he would be able to endure it. If the prophecy, however, was not based upon better materials than the case which he had attempted to make out, he believed that it would not be fulfilled. He believed that the hon. Member was just as much unacquainted with the political probabilities of the future of the City of Derry as he was with the facts of the case which he had just presented to the House.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, that the hon. Member who had just sat down had complained of the shortness of the Notice in bringing forward this Motion. This was perfectly true; but he would at the same time remind him that, if they had not taken this opportunity of bringing it forward, it was exceedingly doubtful when another opportunity would have been afforded them. All next week would be absorbed in one subject, and perhaps the week after. He would like to draw the attention of the hon. Member to the fact that the Catholic magistrates had protested against the course pursued by the shameless partizans on the other side. He believed that the parties who were mainly responsible for what had occurred were the Mayor and Mr. Adolphus Harvey. Ho believed Mr. M Wicker to be a reckless partizan. He did not know whether or not ho was a member of the Orange Society; but he did not object to Orangemen as members of that Society, for he had known no men, whether Orangemen or not, to be more bitter partizans than Irish Liberals. He knew the City of Derry well, and believed that two-thirds of the population were belonging to the National Party. He believed that time would tell whether the hon. Member would again represent Derry. But he believed that he was too astute a man to fight a forlorn hope if ho had a more certain chance of success elsewhere. Instead of summoning the scandalous law-breakers who assaulted the two nuns, it was the duty of the police to arrest them, in order that they might be arraigned in the criminal dock. That was the course that would have been adopted towards the Nationalists. By the speech which the Chief Secretary had delivered he had made himself, to a great extent, responsible for the misconduct of his officials.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
said, he did not think the Government was to be congratulated on the championship of their cause by the hon. Member for the City of Derry, for he had never listened to a more thoroughly dishonest speech than that with which he had favoured the House. In three points the hon. Gentleman was clearly disingenuous. With reference to the Proclamation he read the names of 13 magistrates, whoso sanction, he implied, had been unanimously given; whereas, if he were half 964 as well acquainted, with the facts as he professed to be, he must know that the four Catholic magistrates whom he included distinctly protested against the Proclamation. Then be denied that the nuns were "assaulted," although the Mayor distinctly used the word himself. Therefore, he charged the hon. Member with being dishonest. ["Oh!"] He used the phrase entirely in a Parliamentary sense. [Order!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
The charge against an hon. Member of being dishonest is one that ought not to be made in this House, and I hope the hon. Member will withdraw it.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
Certainly, Sir; I will always bow with respect to your ruling. What I intended to convey was that the hon. Member, being well acquainted, as he said, with what took place in Derry—
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
The hon. Gentleman distinctly and positively stated that these ladies were not assaulted. He had within his reach the same means of information as other hon. Members. He had The Freeman's Journal and other papers.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
said, the hon. Member did not take the trouble to read the papers of the county he professed to represent; and if he did not avail himself of the ordinary means of informing himself he had no right to come and speak positively of facts, and accuse his (Mr. John Redmond's) hon. Friend the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) of inaccuracy. The account given by the Chief Secretary of the arrangement come to as to the matter of the procession was by no means accurate. He (Mr. John Redmond) deliberately accused the Government of having broken that arrangement; and if there was any justification for breaking it, he accused them of an almost criminal carelessness in not sending someone forward with the information that the arrangement was changed. He could not but think that the Chief Secretary was taking a foolish course with reference to these matters. For his part, he hated 965 and detested the very thought of these encounters between Catholics and Orangemen in Ireland; but he was convinced that the Government, by their persistent protection of the minority, were preserving and perpetuating the bitterness which now existed. He believed that if a policy of even justice were administered to all parties in Derry and the rest of the North of Ireland, these unfortunate and frequently-recurring encounters would cease.
§ MR. MARUM
said, it had been held by Mr. Justice Fry and Mr. Justice Field that it was the duty of all existing Governments to protect all lawful assemblies, and that a Government, in fact, ceased to be a Government unless it protected the people in the exercise of their just rights. He complained that they had had no exposition of the law upon the subject of this Proclamation from the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland. He denied the jurisdiction of the magistrates to issue the Proclamation. That power, even under the Crimes Act, was limited to the Lord Lieutenant.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. WALKER)
said, that, in his opinion, the magistrates had acted entirely within their legal powers, and in accordance with the law.
§ MR. DEASY
said, that the Irish Members were placed at a great disadvantage in the House in discussing these matters, as the Law Officer of the Government never gave them any satisfactory information as to the law under which these meetings were suppressed. Attacks on nuns appeared to be the favourite amusement of Orangemen; and it was no wonder that the Catholic population was incensed when they found the Government not taking any active measures to punish the persons who made these attacks. He should like to know why the Government did not allow this matter to be cleared up by an impartial investigation into the facts of that case? He hoped that this world be one of the last occasions on which such a complaint would have to be made, because he trusted that the new Chief Secretary would soon find out that the statements of the Irish Resident Magistrates were not to be relied upon.
MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, he hoped the Government would see their way to adopting the suggestion of the 966 hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Doasy) by granting an inquiry into Irish affairs. If, however, they did not fee their way to doing so, he would suggest the removal of the Stipendiary Magistrate from Derry to a part of Ireland where his services would be better appreciated than was the case at present. It was quite clear that he had set himself against the Catholic population, and favoured the Orange faction, who had not yet learned that the times had out-crown them.
§ MR. KENNY
said, that, irrespective of the paltry interference of Mayor M'Vicker and Mr. Adolphus Harvey, it was absolutely impossible for them in any way, beyond the mere immediate and contemptible annoyance, to effect the purpose they seemed to be bent upon effecting—namely, to stir up bad feelings between persons of rival political Parties. The Government had abrogated their function of replying to charges made against them and their administration in Ireland, and had thrown the responsibility of replying upon the shoulders of an English solicitor who happened to be Member for the City of Derry. The magistrates in Ireland were appointed on account of the creed to which they belonged and the religious opinions which they held, the majority of the justices in Kerry being Protestants, and the nominees of Members of a previous Administration.
MR. JUSTIN HUNTLY M'CARTHY
said, the Irish Party were not surprised either at the action of the Derry magistrates or the action of the Government, who had good reason for supporting the action of the fantastic Mayor of Derry, and the somewhat blundering and bumptious Police Inspector who assisted him. The Government saw in such men the last rally, as it were, of a gradually failing and breaking cause. The Irish Party, however, were so near to success that they could afford to regard with indifference the efforts of the Government to add to Irish history a second "City of the Violated Treaty."
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 59; Noes 15: Majority 44.—(Div. List, No. 25.)
§ Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.