HC Deb 23 February 1885 vol 294 cc1031-2

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the speech made on the 12th January by the honourable Member for Cavan, at a meeting of Nationalists in the city of Derry, reported, as follows, in The Londonderry Journal of the 14th January last:— Mr. Biggar, in returning thanks, briefly alluded to the Labourers Act and the Municipal Franchise. Continuing, he remarked that the present Government was guilty of the most heinous crimes. They all knew that Earl Spencer was guilty of murder. (Groans.) That was perfectly well known, and the Irish party could prove it if the Government would supply them with evidence in their possession: A voice—Myles Joyce for one. Mr. Biggar—Yes, Myles Joyce is the case in point. Earl Spencer, and every one who supported his policy and that of the Government which he represented, is a murderer as far as it is in his power to be a murderer. Earl Spencer did not draw the rope, that was done by a man called Marwood, but he was as guilty as the man who pulled the rope, because he gave the power to the man who pulled the rope to execute the murder. Therefore, every lay and clerical supporter of the Government was guilty of that murder, and it was their duty to try and put down their English enemies who had been guilty of this crime; whether such speech was not delivered at a meeting1 at which Mr. W. Monaghan, recently added to the Commission of the Peace by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, was present; and, whether it is intended to take any notice of the conduct of Mr. Monaghan, in impliedly making himself a party to the charge of murder against the Lord Lieutenant?


It appears that the remarks cited in the Question were used by the hon. Member for Cavan at the close of a meeting held at Derry on the day referred to for the purpose of considering the question of the representation of the city, and that Mr. Monaghan, who is a Justice of the Peace for the city, was present at the meeting. The attention of the Lord Chancellor having been called to the matter, he addressed a communication on the subject to Mr. Monaghan, and a correspondence ensued, in the course of which Mr. Monaghan explained that the language in question was used after the business of the meeting was over, and that the incident passed so quickly that he had not time to consider whether he should leave the meeting or formally protest against the language; and he added these words— I then certainly disapproved of the language, as, I believe, did the good sense of the meeting; and I beg most emphatically to repeat my entire disapproval of it now. Having regard to this unequivocal repudiation of the language used, and to the possible surprise and embarrassment that might overtake Mr. Monaghan in the circumstances I have mentioned, the Lord Chancellor, after much consideration, felt himself enabled to accept his explanation.


asked whether it was not open to an Irish magistrate to hold the opinion held by many hon. Members of that House, that in the Maamtrasna case the conduct of Earl Spencer was a grave public scandal which ought to be exposed?

[No reply.]