§ MR. JOHN REDMOND,
who had the following Notice upon the Paper:—To move, That the interests of justice re quire that an independent inquiry should be made into the circumstances attending the dismissal of District Inspector Murphy from the Royal Irish Constabulary,said, that so unsatisfactory and evasive were the replies given to the representations made on former occasions to the officials of the late Government, that the Irish Party had felt it to be their duty, on the first possible opportunity, again to press the matter of the dismissal of District Inspector Murphy. He rejoiced exceedingly that this fresh appeal was 341 to be made to a new set of Irish officials rather than to those who, being responsible for the injustice done, would be unwilling to remedy it. He had been much gratified by the remarks made in "another place" by the new Viceroy, who said he went to Ireland with an open mind. He hoped that that would be the spirit in which the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir William Hart Dyke) and the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes) would consider this matter. The case was a painful one, for it raised again the question of those horrible Dublin scandals, which all would be glad to see buried in oblivion. But they could not be allowed so to rest until justice had been done. The Irish officials had endeavoured to ruin the accusers of their political associates; and when obliged by a jury to take proceedings, so contrived them that the chief criminals escaped, and it was with difficulty that one of them—French— was convicted. In fact, he was only convicted after he had threatened the Irish Government that he would publish further disclosures concerning them. District Inspector Murphy was the victim of the Irish officials, who had, so far as lay in their power, ruined him. He had been in the Force from December, 1856, until October 10, 1884, when he was dismissed, without pension or compensation; and his record for that period of 18 years was that he had rendered long and valuable service. Indeed, it was only by a breach of the rule that acts of indiscipline could not be revived against a man after the lapse of 12 months that the Government could find any pretext for his dismissal. He (Mr. J. Redmond) joined issue with the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) with reference to the question of Inspector Murphy's alleged drunkenness and indiscipline. Inspector Murphy had been many times, and in various parts of Ireland, recommended for favourable records. In June, 1882, considerably more than a year before United Ireland breathed a syllable against James Ellis French, the late Government had in their possession evidence showing that accusations of a grave nature were made against him by members of the Constabulary Force. At that date District Inspector Murphy, in connection with 342 others, had sent a round robin to Earl Spencer and Colonel Brackenbury on the subject of French's infamies; and yet the officials of the late Government in that House refused to institute an inquiry into his conduct, and even had the audacity to stand at the Table and defend him when he was attacked in debate. In July, 1883, Mr. Murphy made up his mind that he would communicate with some Members of that House, and have the matter probed to the bottom. In October, 1883, a letter was opened by one of Mr. Murphy's subordinates, which disclosed the fact that he was the person who was prompting hon. Gentlemen, and giving information to them. From that time this system of persecution commenced against Mr. Murphy. The persecution was continued persistently for some time. Mr. Murphy was removed from place to place, his life as a Constabulary officer being rendered almost intolerable. As, however, he had more endurance than was expected, the persecution culminated at last in a distinct charge made against him. That charge of alleged drunkenness was trumped up from the first; it was not substantiated; and eventually it was withdrawn by the Government. Moreover, the official inquiry was conducted in a most irregular manner. During the trial a letter, with the seal of Dublin Castle, was handed to the President of the Court, read by him and by other officers, one of whom made the significant remark, in a slight whisper—-"It's very pleasant to know what we have got to do. "Eleven witnesses were called, eight of whom were for the prosecution. Of these eight, four swore absolutely that Mr. Murphy was sober; two knew nothing; and two, one of whom was the accuser, County Inspector Sheehy, and the other, a broken-down hanger-on at the officers' kitchen, gave evidence which was uncertain. That charge having failed, another was framed, that of insubordination in his ! correspondence, and for this he was dismissed. Now, no written charge to that effect was made against Mr. Murphy. He was not tried for it, and it was contrary to the Rules of the Force that he should be dismissed without trial. Another regulation provided that no man should be called upon to answer any general charge of misconduct, but only specific and definite allegations. He challenged the Government to say that 343 there was any charge against Mr. Murphy but a general one of insubordination in his official correspondence. For 18 years Inspector Murphy had been a trusted officer in the Force, and he had only been dismissed upon vague charges of insubordination, in contradiction to the Code dealing with the Force, when it was found that he had been an agent in exposing the practices of Mr. French. In doing so he contended that Inspector Murphy had done a lasting service to the interests, not only of the Irish people, but of humanity itself. He (Mr. J. Redmond) now asked for an independent inquiry into the case. There wore precedents for that demand being granted. Lord Spencer, having failed to ruin the hon. Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien), found that he had one man on whom he could wreck his vengeance, and so Mr. Murphy was offered up as an atonement for the blasted reputation of his quondam adviser and friend, Mr. James Ellis French, and the infamous gang associated with him. The new Viceroy had promised that he would inquire for himself into the Irish question; and he would ask his Representative in the House that night that he would inquire himself into this case.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. HOLMES)
Rising, Sir, as I do, for the first time to address this House, I find myself placed in a position of considerable difficulty, and I feel that I must ask the indulgence of the House. I need hardly remind the House that the circumstances to which the hon. Member for New Ross (Mr. J. Redmond) has referred, occurred long before either my right hon. Friend (Sir William Hart Dyke) or I myself became connected with the Executive of Ireland. I may also say that the principal matters which have been mentioned have been brought before my notice and that of my right hon. Friend for the first time. The position in which we found this matter of Inspector Murphy was tin's. Mr. Murphy had been a District Inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary, and had been dismissed as long ago as September last by the Inspector General of the Force, with the sanction of the Lord Lieutenant; and I believe that at a later period the question of his dismissal was the subject of discussion in this House; but with these facts we became acquainted simply as members of the 344 general public. Under these circumstances, my right hon. Friend and myself naturally expected that the right hon. Gentleman who had formerly been Chief Secretary (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) would have been present, and would have risen at once to express his views upon this subject. As far as we ourselves are concerned, we are not acquainted, in the same degree, with the facts which have been brought before the House. At the same time we have been enabled within the last 24 hours to acquaint ourselves, to a certain extent, with the details of the matters now under discussion; and in venturing to express an opinion upon them, I am obliged to say that, as I now understand the facts, I cannot agree with the hon. Member, although I listened carefully to his speech, in the conclusion at which he desires the House to arrive. I will ask the House, in the first place, to consider the position of the Constabulary Force in Ireland, which hon. Members opposite will admit is a most important factor in that country. It is most necessary that its discipline should be preserved, and that anything tending' to a want of discipline or insubordination should be suppressed. [Mr. HEALY: By the landlords.] Now, the government of that Force is placed by statute under the direction of an Inspector General, and the Inspector General has conferred upon him very large powers. He has power, with the sanction of the Lord Lieutenant, to dismiss any person in the Force upon facts proved, or which come under his own notice; and if any Member of the Force is guilty of insubordination the Inspector General has the power of dismissing him. [An Irish MEMBER: "Without a court martial?] The person dismissed has, under these circumstances, no right of demanding an inquiry by court martial. I understand that if the circumstances come under the Inspector General's own notice, or that he feels no doubt about them, he has power, at his own discretion, to dismiss the officer offending, with the sanction of the Lord Lieutenant, and the officer has no right of appeal. If the Inspector General of the Force has got the ability and intelligence to exercise a correct judgment on a question of this kind, and he exercises his judgment in good faith and honesty, I think the House would not be disposed, under any cir- 345 cumstances, to retry the question, because in doing so they would be trying the Inspector General, who, as I have said, would have acted in good faith and honesty. It therefore appears to me that the question before the House resolves itself into this—whether the Inspector General (Colonel Bruce) of the Royal Irish Constabulary acted with good faith and honesty; and if the House comes to the conclusion that he has done so, I think it would be the duty of the present Government—apart altogether from what may have influenced their Predecessors—to approve the Inspector General's action, or, at least, at this distance of time, not to have a matter of this character re-agitated. A great portion of the speech of the hon. Member for New Ross (Mr. J. Redmond) was taken up with, an investigation hold in the month of September into a charge of drunkenness against District Inspector Murphy. Now, I confess that if I had been informed that Mr. Murphy was dismissed from the Force on account of that charge I should have great hesitation in accepting such a judgment as that; and if the Inspector General of Constabulary had acted solely on the finding of that Court of Inquiry, I should think that there would be strong ground of complaint on the part of Mr. Murphy. The reason I think it unnecessary to enter into that inquiry is that admittedly, as I understand, the Inspector General of Constabulary and the Lord Lieutenant, in confirming the decision which dismissed Mr. Murphy from the Force, did not rest upon the finding of the Court of Inquiry at all. They put the matter in this way. Previous to the time of holding that Court of Inquiry the conduct of District Inspector Murphy, as a member of the Force, and as regards the discipline of the Force, was under consideration. It appeared to them that, commencing as far back as 1875, under successive Inspectors General, District Inspector Murphy had been guilty of what was considered in the Constabulary to be insubordination. That course of conduct was said to have gone on down to September last; and, accordingly, when a full inquiry was made into the subject, the authorities came to the conclusion that District Inspector Murphy's insubordination was of such a character that he ought not to be allowed to retain his 346 position in the Force. On that ground, and on that ground alone, the sentence of dismissal—he having refused to tender his resignation—was passed upon him. The material point of the complaint of the hon. Member for New Ross (Mr. J. Redmond) was this; and the hon. Member said that he would not have addressed the House on this occasion, nor asked that the matter should be reopened by the Government, if he had not reason to believe that the Inspector General, in passing the sentence, had not acted in good faith. He said that it was not on account of acts of insubordination that Mr. District Inspector Murphy was dismissed, but for a very different cause—that it was really because the Inspector General ascertained that Mr. Murphy had been the means of bringing to justice County Inspector French, and on that account he had incurred the odium of the Constabulary Office, and, therefore, that proceeding was instituted against him. I think I have now stated clearly the issue which has been raised in this House, and everyone must admit that an issue of that description ought not to be found against a person in the position of Inspector General of Constabulary except upon very convincing-evidence. The Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary has been for some years in his present office; previous to that he held the position of Deputy Inspector General; and he has always borne, at all events before the public, an honourable character and a high reputation. [An Irish MEMBER: So did French.] Having had the privilege of becoming acquainted with him in his official character during the Earl of Beaconsfield's Administration, the Inspector General of Constabulary always struck me as being an active officer and a fair-minded man. What, then, is there in the case which should lead the House to believe that the motive in the mind of Colonel Bruce was a desire to injure District Inspector Murphy for the reason that has been suggested? Now, while knowing nothing myself of District Inspector Murphy, I am quite certain that, although he may feel aggrieved and annoyed at his dismissal, he would not state what he did not believe to be true; but I can well understand that, smarting under what he imagined to be an injustice, he might be led to believe that 347 which was not the fact. On the other hand, I claim that hon. Members coming to scrutinize the conduct of the Inspector General of Constabulary will give that officer credit, when he makes a statement, for believing it to be true. Mr. Murphy stated that in 1882, prior to the publication of any article in United Ireland, he addressed two letters, one to the Lord Lieutenant and the other to Colonel Brackenbury, then in the Department of Dublin Castle connected with crime, in which he referred to the charges then circulated that French was living a grossly immoral and criminal life. I believe him when he says that he sent these letters. I understand that Mr. Murphy did not retain a copy of them; and the Lord Lieutenant said that, according to his recollection, he never received the document at all. Colonel Brackenbury and his Secretary make a similar statement about the letter addressed to him. Whether or not the letters were overlooked in Colonel Brackenbury's or in the Chief Secretary's Office by some oversight, one thing is perfectly certain — namely, that those letters were never brought to the notice of the Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and Colonel Bruce has stated most distinctly and positively that he never saw them. Therefore, we have it that, although the letters may have been written by Mr. Murphy and sent to Dublin Castle, they never came in any way to Colonel Bruce, because we have it stated by the persons to whom they were addressed that they never sent them to Colonel Bruce.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND
I will come to that in a minute. Colonel Bruce says that, so far as District Inspector Murphy was concerned, he was never aware, either directly or indirectly, that Mr. Murphy had preferred any charge against Inspector French until the day after he was arrested. The day after French was arrested he did receive a communication from Murphy making charges against French, and immediately put himself in communication with Mr. Harrold of the Metropolitan Police, who prosecuted further inquiries. If I am correct in what I am stating, there could not have been any 348 feeling on the part of Colonel Bruce against Mr. Murphy on account of the charges he had made against Inspector French, because he could not have known, until after French was arrested in July, that Inspector Murphy had been working in the matter. After the charge against French was made, and after he had been arrested, the inquiry was pursued very vigorously, honestly, and efficiently— [cries of "No, no !"from the Irish Members] That, of course, is a matter for the late Administration to answer; but I can assure hon. Members that there were difficulties at the time connected with the prosecution which were very hard for anyone to cope with. [An hon. MEMBER: What were they?] It will be found that up to that time it was impossible for Colonel Bruce to have had any feeling against Murphy on account of French, nor can it be alleged that, because he happened to know that Murphy sent in some information after French was arrested, such a feeling of animosity was got up against Murphy as to make Colonel Bruce determined to ruin him. I certainly do feel that unless much stronger evidence is brought before the Government it would be wholly impossible for the Irish Administration to re-open this inquiry. I am not in a position to discuss the matter further. I had certainly expected that the right hon. Gentleman opposite the late Chief Secretary (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) would have contributed something towards this discussion, because there may be matters connected with it of which the present Executive know nothing; but, taking the general facts of the case, I am disposed to say that the Irish Executive at the present time would not be justified in recommending the inquiry asked for.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he gathered some hope from the closing declaration of the right hon. and learned Attorney General that this was a matter the Government would not feel disposed to run away from in one way or another. The last Government had some cause to run away; but the present Government were in a position to face it with courage, and arrive at a different conclusion. He was, therefore, disposed to hope that the language of the right hon. and learned Gentleman was intended to lead the House to infer that the matter was not finally closed, 349 and that when he and his Colleagues had had a longer time than 24 hours to devote to the consideration of it, it would be found that the demand made upon them by hishon. Friend (Mr. J. Redmond) was not only justice, but which the necessities of the case called on them to obey. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to difficulties which had arisen in a prosecution in which he had been lately concerned. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, as a lawyer, might have been expected to enlighten the laymen of the House upon some of those difficulties; but the right hon. and learned Gentleman had been silent, and had kept his legal lore to himself. He (Mr. Sexton), as a layman, would humbly admit that the prosecutions to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman had referred had some difficulties connected with them except to the prisoners in the dock. They had bad exceptional facilities, and the facility with which they were allowed to leave the dock, by reason of some black letter unexplained difficulties of law, contrasted painfully with the fate of those poor peasants in the "West of Ireland who had been prosecuted by the same Legal Advisers, and sent to the gallows by their political enemies. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that this case arose before he and his Friends took Office. No doubt it arose—was prosecuted and culminated—before the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his Friends assumed power. It was on that ground that the Irish Members presented the case to the new Government with great confidence; because they hoped, and reasonably expected, that the Gentlemen now in power would not so foolishly deny justice to an officer who happened to be an honest man, simply because in the back bonelessness of official life in Ireland one man's word was preferred to that of another. Ho was not surprised at the obstinate silence of the right hon. Gentleman. the late Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman), nor yet at the reserve of the late learned Attorney General (Mr. Walker). They were conscious of the complexity and true character of the proceedings. They were fully acquainted with the policy of Dublin Castle, and they had a memory more keen than pleasant of the appearance they had to make on this subject; 350 and, with a modesty which all prudent men would appreciate, they now refrained from making a further exhibition of themselves. He gave the right hon. and learned Gentleman credit for the frankness with which he had dealt with the charge of drunkenness. It redounded to his manliness, and afforded a creditable contrast to the manner in which the case had been dealt with by the late Chief Secretary. The late Chief Secretary, with all the cunning of a lawyer, but none of his skill, had endeavoured to get rid of the case of drunkenness by a course of special pleading; but after the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, what had become of the charge of drunkenness? When District Inspector Murphy was put on his trial there was a charge of drunkenness against him and nothing else. There was not the remotest hint or suggestion that any other cause existed for dismissing him from the Force. The Court of Inquiry reported to the Lord Lieutenant that the drunkenness was very slight, and in the letter of Earl Spencer, by his Secretary, from Dublin Castle drunkenness was no longer held to have been the cause of District Inspector Murphy's dismissal; but, as a matter of fact, it disappeared altogether. Inspector Murphy and the public were told that the dismissal was not at all on account of drunkenness. So that the sole charge upon which Mr. Murphy was impeached upon the Court of Inquiry was now declared to have had nothing whatever to do with his dismissal. Was there ever so complete and astonishing a transformation? The right hon. and learned Attorney General had gone a step further that night in reference to the charge of drunkenness, because he had conveyed an intimation that if drunkenness had been the cause of the dismissal of Inspector Murphy, and the case against him had rested on the charge of drunkenness, he would have felt bound to grant the inquiry asked for. He asked the right hon. and learned Gentleman to run over the evidence as to the charge of drunkenness. The Court of Inquiry said that the evidence of drunkenness was very small; the Lord Lieutenant said that it was not the cause of dismissal, and now the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself declared that if it had been the cause of dismissal he would feel bound to re-open the case. How, then, 351 did the right hon. and learned Gentleman dare, in addressing a rational Assembly, to say that the Inspector General of the Irish Constabulary had acted in this matter with honesty and good faith? It was notorious that District Inspector Murphy was sent down to Nenagh to be entrapped; to be put in the hands of Inspector Sheehy, who was playing into the hands of those in superior authority. He was sent down there to be ruined and dismissed, and the "trip" or the "stagger" which Inspector Murphy gave, according to one witness, in the street, might be taken as a figure of the "trip" which the authorities at Dublin Castle were waiting for in order to make out an order for Inspector Murphy's dismissal. Inspector Sheehy would never have presumed to contravene the Constabulary Code and violate its settled law by sending a confidential communication to the Inspector General if he had not been previously authorized to do so. What was the meaning of that private and confidential communication? It took Inspector Murphy entirely by surprise. The Code said that any charge against a member of the Constabulary Force must be written and communicated to him before it was sent in; that he must give a specific answer to it; but in this case the doctrine of Thuggee was applied to Inspector Murphy, and he was choked off on a Report drawn up by means of a collusion between the Inspector General and the County Inspector, the Inspector General taking upon himself the double capacity of prosecutor and judge. By this stealthy process Inspector Murphy was dismissed from the office, having been tried upon one charge and condemned upon another. What was the honesty of saying that he was not dismissed upon the charge for which, he was tried, and yet allowing the Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant to stand up at that Table and endeavour to maintain the charge of drunkenness which had been preferred? The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General had not gone so far as to say that the evidence of a County Inspector in such a case as this was to be regarded as something sacred, and certainly the sequence of dates in this case was most irresistible. Inspector Murphy sent in his round robin in 1882. He wondered that the right 352 hon. and learned Gentleman was not ashamed, even after a lengthened practice in the Four Courts of Ireland, to come there and suggest that the terms and phrases used in the round robin were a matter of no importance. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said it was a communication which, by its nature, would hardly compel anyone to fix his attention upon it, no matter what the language was in which it was couched. But the nature of the charge was so terrible and so unprecedented that it must have commanded the startled attention of all who saw it. If one letter was lost it must not be forgotten that two were sent, one to the Lord Lieutenant and one to Colonel Bracken-bury. They were asked to believe that those two letters, sent in different envelopes, to two different officials in Dublin Castle both miscarried. He (Mr. Sexton) did not believe it, and he was fortified in his unbelief by knowing that when the matter could no longer be kept from the action of the authorities— when his hon. Friend the Member for Mallow (Mr. O'Brien) had, in his newspaper, drawn public attention to it, the Government proved their own guilt by prosecuting his hon. Friend, by threatening his newspaper, by dogging him with detectives, and by delaying and refusing to indict the criminals until the public indignation made it no longer possible for the Castle officials to throw their shield over the culprits. It was then too late in the day for the Government to endeavour to defeat the application of the law, or to delude the public by keeping back the facts of the case. How was it that if the letters addressed to the Government had miscarried, having been sent in 1882. they allowed Inspector Murphy to retain his position until 1883? It was because it was not until 1883 that they discovered by chance that Inspector Murphy was the person who had sent these letters to the Castle. From that moment Inspector Murphy never had an easy day; from that moment the die of his fate was cast. Wherever he went he had enemies about him. Some cause or other must be found for his dismissal; if not drunkenness then insubordination. If the Court could not find him guilty of drunkenness the Chiefs of the Department would find him guilty of something else. He (Mr. Sexton) had always thought that civilians 353 were badly off in Ireland; but it would appear that members of the Royal Irish Constabulary wore far worse off. It now appeared that if a police constable dared to be honest it was not necessary for the Government to go through that ceremony of bringing him to trial at all. They gave him no venue and no jury; but if the Inspector General thought it convenient to ruin a Constabulary officer his own mere will was amply sufficient for the purpose. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had endeavoured to make the House believe that the Government at Dublin Castle did not derive their knowledge of the witnesses against French from the letters which were sent to them. Yet the day after they arrested Trench the Government sent for. Inspector Murphy and examined him. They also examined every Inspector who had been named in the round robin—five Inspectors in all, who were declared in that round robin to have a personal knowledge of the unnatural crimes of French. No other person except District Inspector French was in a position to make the statement, and the Government sent for these Inspectors before they arrested French. It was said that the round robin miscarried in its passage through the post, that the Lord Lieutenant never got it, and that the Head of the Department of Crime never got it. They would, therefore, know nothing of the persons who had been named in the round robin. How was it, then, that they summoned the very persons who were named in the round robin, and no others? There were 6,000,000 of people in Ireland; and only five persons named in the round robin. How was it that, out of the 5,000,000 of people in Ireland, the Government only summoned the five persons named in the round robin, and no one else? Would the right hon. and learned Attorney General, or anybody else on the Treasury Bench, get up and attempt to answer that question? It was quite evident that from the round robin, and from it alone, they derived the knowledge which led to the conviction of Inspector French; and on that he (Mr. Sexton) was entitled to maintain that Inspector Murphy met with dismissal because he was found to be an honest man, and for that simple reason he had been met with malignant persecution. Because Inspector Murphy dared to be 354 vulgar enough to think that the law, which was intended to punish crime, was ever intended to be applied to an official of Dublin Castle, he was dismissed in disgrace from the Royal Irish Constabulary.
§ MR. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN
said, the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes), at the commencement of his speech, had expressed some surprise that neither he himself (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) nor his right hon, and learned Friend near him (Mr. Walker) had risen to reply to the speech of the hon. Member for New Boss (Mr. J. Redmond); and the hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. Sexton), in the beginning of his remarks, had made an observation to the same effect. Now, it would have been extraordinary if they had risen, because, so far as he (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) was concerned, he had listened attentively to the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. J. Redmond); and, from the beginning to the end of it, the whole gist of it was that it was an appeal from the decision of the late Government to the more candid and impartial minds of hon. Gentlemen opposite. It would, therefore, have been most unbecoming on his part if ho had disappointed the hon. Gentleman by interfering with the progress of the debate for the purpose of expressing his tainted and discredited opinions, and attempting to corrupt the innocent minds of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. It was a question of an appeal from a decision of the late Government to the present Government; and, therefore, he had thought that the proper course was to hear, in the first place, the decision the present Government had arrived at on the subject. He had now to tell the House that he had nothing to add to the explanation of the conduct of the late Government which he gave to the House some weeks ago. On that occasion the matter was very fully discussed and debated. He had made a speech, and his right hon. and learned Friend beside him (Mr. Walker) also made some observations, and he had no more recent information in his possession than that which he had then. Therefore, he had nothing further to say in the matter. What he said then remained on record; but there were one or two things which appeared to have been dwelt upon, and which might call 355 for a few remarks. In the first place, it was said that District Inspector Murphy was accused of one thing and dismissed for another. It was said that the offence for which he was tried was drunkenness, and that he was afterwards dismissed on account of insubordination. It had further been alleged that, in the first place, the charge of drunkenness was the only charge; and, in the second place, it was afterwards stated to have been proved, but to have been of a very slight nature. Then, when pressed a little further, it was said that the Government admitted that drunkenness was not the cause of dismissal at all; and, finally, they were informed by the right hon. and learned Attorney General that if the dismissal had taken place on the ground of drunkenness, he thought there might be a case for re-opening the inquiry. Now, the facts of the case, as he had explained them before, were simply these. District Inspector Murphy had been for a long course of years guilty of acts of insubordination. He had again and again been reprimanded and warned, not only by Colonel Bruce, but by that gentleman's predecessors in command of the Royal Irish Constabulary. He had confessed his faults, and had promised amendment; and he was warned that if a difficulty of the kind occurred again he would render himself liable to dismissal. It was on the top of these proceedings, such being the character of Inspector Murphy in the eyes of his superior officer, that he was accused of the offence of drunkenness, and tried for that offence. It was said that the inquiry ought to have embraced the whole subject; but in this case, as had been pointed out by the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, where there was an accusation of writing insubordinate letters, and of displaying an ill-disciplined tone in his correspondence, which were the principal matters of which Mr. Murphy was guilty, they were not subjects which could be remitted to any Court of Inquiry. His superior officers had a whole body of evidence before them; but no verbal evidence could be taken. The offence was contained in the letters which Inspector Murphy had written, and his superior officers were the best and the natural judges of what constituted want of discipline. The ordinary clauses of 356 the Constabulary Code, which had been quoted, as to the necessity of having a Court of Inquiry, did not apply to this sort of offence at all, but to such an offence as that of drunkenness, which was capable of proof by evidence in Court. The reason why Inspector Murphy was dismissed from the Force was that he had been guilty of a series of acts of insubordination. The drunkenness was a very slight matter. It was not right to say that it was not proved. It was proved; but as it was slight, that alone would not have been sufficient, in itself, to have led to his dismissal from the Force. It had this effect, nevertheless—that, coming after a long course of misconduct, of which complaints had been made, although they were in reference to a different matter, his whole position in the Service, and his conduct while he had been a member of it, were looked into; and it was thought better, as he had been guilty of these intemperate and ill-disciplined acts, that, in the interests of the Force, he should cease to belong to it. That was all he (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) thought ho need say as to the cause of Inspector Murphy's dismissal. But there was an additional matter imported into the case—namely, the allegation on his part that a considerable time before his dismissal occurred he had communicated to Earl Spencer and Colonel Brackenbury certain facts which had come to his knowledge. The House had heard a good deal of a round robin. As far as he could make out, it was alleged to be an "anonymous round robin"—a kind of document which was seldom heard of on this side of the Channel. He was not certain whether District Inspector Murphy signed it; but he had never heard of anyone else who did, and a round robin was usually signed by a good many people. There was certainly no allegation that it was signed except by Inspector Murphy; and if Inspector Murphy did sign the letter, all that could be said was that it must have miscarried in the Post Office.
§ MR. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN
said, that made it still more extraordinary, and he thought they were entitled to have distinct evidence that the letters 357 were ever put into the post. They had nothing at present but Inspector Murphy's ex post facto statements to induce them to believe they were sent; and all he (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) could say, on the part of Earl Spencer and Colonel Brackenbury's Secretary— who still occupied an official position in Ireland—was that neither of them had any recollection of having received such a letter, and there was no trace of them, either officially or unofficially, in any way whatever. It was inconceivable that if letters of such importance were received, the fact should have passed completely from the minds of those to whom they were addressed. As the case stood, the House had before them a distinct statement by Earl Spencer and Colonel Brackenbury, and an ex post facto allegation, on the other hand, by District Inspector Murphy. The Irish Government said the first they heard from Inspector Murphy on the subject was the day that French was arrested, and then Mr. Murphy wrote, stating that he could give certain important evidence. He was sent for at once, and brought up to Dublin; but it turned out that the evidence he had to give was not worth a farthing. It was of no value whatever. It consisted merely of hearsay evidence that was perfectly incapable of substantiation in Court. He must say, in truth, that the round robin was obviously an afterthought to account for the unfortunate termination of Inspector Murphy's career. He was sorry to say that, because Inspector Murphy had undoubtedly on some occasions done good service. [Ironical cheers from the Irish Members.] If he made a concession of that kind, surely it was not a point to be jeered at. He was prepared to admit that on some occasions Inspector Murphy had done good service; but, on the other hand, from first to last, the letters and communications in possession of right hon. Gentlemen opposite would prove that he had, unfortunately, been endowed with considerable facility for letter writing and using improper and intemperate language towards his superior officers. He had created around himself an atmosphere indicative of want of discipline, which was quite incompatible with his being retained in a Force of this kind. That was the whole cause and reason of his dismissal. The question, as he 358 (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) had already stated, was discussed at great length some weeks ago. He had stated then the different occasions on which Inspector Murphy had been reprimanded and warned, and the way in which he had accepted the warning and promised amendment; and it was only after his dismissal that anything was ever heard of his having made accusations against Inspector French. It was said that after his dismissal he heard, for the first time, that he had been accused of insubordination; but that could not be the fact, because he had himself admitted it and promised amendment, so that it could not have been new to him. As to the round robin, he (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) was sure the House would not believe that Earl Spencer would for a moment conceal the fact, either from the public now or from those who acted with him at the time, that he had received so startling a letter as this would have been which was alleged to have been sent to him. And he would, further, point to the fact which he had just stated — that when Inspector Murphy came to make a clean breast of it, and came to give all the information of which he said he was in possession, it was found to be of no material value. On those grounds, he trusted the House would believe that the Irish authorities had been actuated, in dismissing Inspector Murphy, by no other motive than the desire to maintain the discipline of the Royal Irish Constabulary.
§ MR. HEALY
said, he thought the strength of the case against Colonel Bruce was increased rather than diminished by the course which the late Chief Secretary had taken in defending him. Instead of replying at once to the speech of the hon. Member for New Ross (Mr. J. Redmond), the right hon. Gentleman laid back upon the Bench in order that he might hear what the Members of the new Government had to say before committing himself to a reply. As soon as he found that the new Government had not been able to devote their minds to the consideration of the question, the right hon. Gentleman repeated the arguments he had addressed to the House some weeks ago; but from first to last, throughout the speeches they had heard both from the present and from the ex-Government, no explanation had been offered of one remarkable fact 359 — namely, that although, nobody received the letter which had been spoken of as a round robin, yet the moment the charges against certain officials connected with the Government were preferred in United Ireland, the five gentlemen who had been named in Inspector Murphy's letter were sent for and examined. [Alaugh.] The right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary (Mr. Camp-bell-Bannerman) laughed when he stated that those five gentlemen were sent for and examined directly the charges were made by United Ireland. Instead of indulging in idle laughter, it would have been much better if the right hon. Gentleman had explained various points in the matter which were very strongly open to doubt. Such laughter as the right hon. Gentleman indulged in might be intelligible, perhaps, in Scotland; but in the House of Commons it was not likely to be regarded as a complete answer to a serious charge. The right hon. Gentleman said that the evidence given by Inspector Murphy himself, when he was called before the Castle Authorities, was merely of a hearsay character. It must be remembered that he was speaking of hearsay evidence in the case of accusations against individuals for the perpetration of abominable crimes. Did the right hon. Gentleman expect to get the evidence of the principals themselves?
§ MR. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN
said, he had, perhaps, used a slipshod phrase when he had stated that Inspector Murphy only gave hearsay evidence. What he had meant was that they were merely statements in the nature of idle gossip, with no substantial facts that could be acted upon, and which only amounted to hearsay evidence.
§ MR. HEALY
said, there was a line in Othello which, when the actor came to it, he was in the habit of making a marked pause—Would you grossly gape on.—and then the actor stopped. The right hon. Gentleman had interrupted him with a commentary upon hearsay evidence, which he said, in this particular case, was idle gossip. When he was contending that the Detective Inspectors of Ireland should be, like Caesar's wife, above suspicion, the right hon. Gentleman interrupted him in order to correct his own slipshod phrase, as he termed 360 it, in regard to "hearsay evidence." He had invited the right hon. Gentleman, when he laughed, to give some explanation of his merriment. The right hon. Gentleman was asked how it was that the five witnesses mentioned by Inspector Murphy were immediately called and examined after United Ireland had referred to the charges against French and not before? The right hon. Gentleman, however, did not get up upon his legs then, and was by no means ready with an explanation. If the right hon. Gentleman desired to offer an explanation, he (Mr. Healy) was prepared to give way to him once more.
§ MR. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN
said, the reason why he had laughed was that in his belief the letter alleged to have been sent was never sent at all.
§ MR. HEALY
said, he did not know how it was that he (Mr. Healy) should be so stupid; but he certainly could not understand the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman. What he asked the right hon. Gentleman to do was to account for the fact how it was that the moment United Ireland gave the facts in regard to French, the five witnesses mentioned in the round robin were immediately sent for and examined by Colonel Brackenbury, if the letter had never been received? The names of the five witnesses who were sent for were mentioned in the round robin, and had been mentioned nowhere else. He would afford the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity, by giving way a third time, if the right hon. Gentleman desired to offer an explanation of this circumstance. He was satisfied, however, that the right hon. Gentleman had no explanation to give, and it was really remarkable how differently the case had been treated at different times. The right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland began his speech by stating that the discipline of the Force must be preserved; and on that the right hon. and learned Gentleman raised an argument that nothing could be done in this case without upsetting the discipline of the Force. But he appealed from the statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman to the Bible of the Constabulary—to their Code—to Sections 416 and 1632 of that Code, which declared that all charges must be in writing expressed in clear and express terms, and that a copy of them must be furnished 361 to the party accused a reasonable time before the inquiry came on for investigation. The name of the prosecutor was to be entered on the face of the charge; no member of the Force was to be called upon to admit or deny a general Report upon his conduct; but if a clear charge or charges were framed upon the Report of the officer by whom they were made, then they were to be forwarded to the accused for his admission or denial. When the Inspector General talked about observing the discipline and order of the Force, how did he expect to maintain it by going directly in the teeth of his own Code? Were the Force to understand, in future, that when the Inspector General entertained a grudge against a particular individual he could dismiss that individual without even the formula of a court martial? There was another point. They had a Code which could be invoked against a man when he misconducted himself. Was it not, then, to be quoted in his favour '? The right hon. and learned Attorney General had coolly stated that the discipline of the Force must be maintained; but if it was to be maintained it ought to be maintained in a legitimate manner by the usual methods of procedure adopted in a recognized form, and by the sanctions which were the spirit of all discipline. He appealed from the declaration of the Government that discipline must be maintained to the very rules which defined the discipline, and which declared that no man should be called upon even to answer a charge unless the charge had been expressed in writing in clear and distinct terms in the name of the officer who made it, and was replied to by the party accused. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket), who now filled an Office he was glad to see him promoted to—the Office of First Commissioner of Public Works—ought to have some knowledge of the precedents in this case. [Mr. PLUNKET dissented.] The right hon. and learned Gentleman shook his head; but he believed it was the right hon. and learned Gentleman who replied on behalf of the Government in the year 1876 to the case of a constable, which was on all fours with the one they were now discussing. That case was brought forward by a Tory Member, Mr. Bruen, 362 formerly Member for Carlow, and an inquiry was granted. Was he to be told now that because one of the supporters of the present Government, the hon. Member for Coleraine (Sir Hervey Bruce), was connected with the Inspector General of Constabulary in Ireland, the Government now refused to grant what they acceded to in 1876 through the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket)? This was what occurred in May, 1876, and it would be found recorded at page 1442 of the volume of Hansard for that year. The Solicitor General for Ireland said—"Sir John Wood"—who then occupied the position Colonel Bruce filled now—"is a distinguished servant"—hon. Members would find that those men were all distinguished servants—Since the Chief Secretary had spoken, several matters had been brought before the House of which his right hon. Friend was not aware when he arose to address it. He had now to announce to the House that if the present Motion were withdrawn the Government would institute such an inquiry as would, he thought, be satisfactory to all parties. He wished to mention that his right hon. Friend had, before coming down to the House, made inquiry at the Treasury, and had been informed that there was no such letter or Report as had been referred to.That was exactly the case now. The circumstances of the present case were exactly on all fours with those of the case which were brought under the notice of the House in 1876. He would appeal also to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer with regard to a case that came under his attention in 1876, when Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. A question was at that time asked by the hon. Member for Galway with reference to a constable named Maloney, who was dismissed and reinstated, and the right hon. Gentleman replied that Maloney had been restored after dismissal, not because there was proof of his innocence of the offence imputed to him, but because he had been dismissed without having been tried. Well, Inspector Murphy had been dismissed without having been tried; or, in other words, ho was tried for drunkenness and dismissed for insubordination. He would now quote the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stirling (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman), and late Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant 363 of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman had said that Inspector Murphy was dismissed for drunkenness; but Earl Spencer, the late Viceroy of Ireland, caused a letter to he sent to Inspector Murphy to the effect that His Excellency, after further consideration, thought it necessary to inform him that his removal from the Irish Constabulary was due to his insubordinate conduct after repeated warnings, and to no other cause whatsoever. Thus the House would see that the late Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland said that he found that the man was dismissed for drunkenness, and that the Lord Lieutenant himself stated that he had been dismissed for persistent insubordination. Parliamentary usages would not allow him to say that either of those two officials were liars; and therefore he found refuge in collating the two conflicting statements, and in expressing a hope that when the right hon. Gentleman met Earl Spencer he would try to reconcile the two statements, and have the matter arranged before the case was again brought before the House of Commons, because so long as it remained in its present state so long would the Irish Party keep ringing the case in the ears of Her Majesty's Government. He would ask the Government to contrast the way in which Murphy was dismissed with the way in which French was dismissed. The Government had acted very differently in the two cases. They knew of the charge against French, and they allowed him, in spite of his conduct, to continue in office; they knew that he had committed perjury—that he was allowed to commit perjury in connection with the Motion of the hon. Member for Marlow (Mr. O'Brien). French was then, according to the statement of the present Member for the Border Burghs (Mr. Trevelyan), allowed to make an affidavit that he had not been dismissed or suspended, and that his official position was not affected in one way or the other. But in that House the Irish Party charged that French had been dismissed, and that he had been suspended; but he was allowed to declare in his affidavit that that was not so. And yet the Government at the time paid no attention to the acts of French; they allowed him to get the benefit of that affidavit by having him still kept in the Police 364 Force, while the hon. Member for Mallow was being harassed by a prosecution for libel. Let hon. Members contrast the two cases. The letters of Murphy which he addressed to Members of the House were opened, and when the Government were informed that he was in communication with them a watch was set upon him, and Colonel Bruce began at once to follow him up; and then there was the statement of the late Chief Secretary that he was dismissed for drunkenness, and the statement of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland that he was dismissed for insubordination. Would it be maintained that it was for the benefit of the Public Service that when a public officer had done a service to the cause of morality he should be immediately afterwards dismissed for an offence which he did not commit? Was the humblest soldier in the ranks ever treated as Inspector Murphy had been treated? The late Chief Secretary had said that Murphy had served with distinction, and he called that making a concession to hon. Members for Ireland—in other words, it was making a concession to them to tell the truth. But the right hon. Gentleman would only make concessions when it suited him—in other words, he would do what was best for his own case. After his (Mr. Healy's) experience of Castle government in Ireland he had no hesitation in saying that the case of Inspector Murphy was the most infamous that had come under his notice. French had been convicted and sentenced to penal servitude, and the man through whose instrumentality he was detected had been dismissed from the Service without the opportunity of making a defence, and on a charge for which he had not been tried, and in spite of the rules which said that a man was not to be charged in general terms, or any statement made against him except in writing. They were all glad to find in the Attorney General an Irishman who gave promise of such an excellent career in that House; but they said it was not for him, after his slight experience, to set up for a defender of the Irish Government in this matter. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had formerly granted an inquiry into the case of Mr. Croker, and into that of Malony, on the ground that he had been dismissed with- 365 out inquiry; and he would appeal fearlessly to the right hon. Gentleman in this matter not only as Leader of the House, but as one who had had experience in Ireland, and one who had had the advice of Members of that House. He maintained that if the Code declared that no man should be found guilty until tried, and that he should not be tried until ho had seen the charge made against him—that it was in the interest of that Code that Murphy should not have been tried on one charge and dismissed on another. By such a course a feeling of mistrust would be created in the mind of those who were connected with the Army and Navy and with the Police Force of the Kingdom. A fatal blow would be struck at a Force like the Irish Constabulary, who it should be remembered were Irishmen, and men who knew that their officers were Englishmen. If those men came to know that amongst the officials in Ireland there were those who could, on the word of a single individual, set aside the finding of a court martial, and say to a man—"You are not charged with drunkenness; but you are found guilty of insubordination, which you never heard of until you had your letter of dismissal," ho said that the Police Force would read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the conduct of the Government. He appealed, therefore, to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as he valued the fidelity of the Irish police, to remember that they were Irishmen, that most of them were Catholics, that they knew that there were placed above them officers hostile to them in politics if not in religion, and that they were men who must sympathize, to a great extent, with the movements taking place in Ireland—he appealed to him not to allow those men to think that the Government wanted to throw a screen over the most terrible charge which could be brought against mankind, and which had called down fire from Heaven thousands of years ago. He said that if, under these circumstances, the Government refused an inquiry they would strike a great blow at their own Service in Ireland; and when, perhaps, it was most needed, they might find the Irish Constabulary a weapon that had broken in their grasp.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said, he thought the feeling uppermost on those 366 Benches was one of surprise that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not answered the appeal made to him by the hon. and learned Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy'). His hon. and learned Friend had pointed out with a great deal of force, which everyone in the House would recognize, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, who replied on this case, must of necessity be utterly ignorant of the whole matter. It had been pointed out by more than one speaker on those Benches that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was himself Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at a period when there occurred a ease very similar to that of Inspector Murphy; it had been pointed out that the right hon. Gentleman had personally dealt with the case of a police officer during his term of Office; and, under the circumstances, he thought it surprising that he had not thought it fit to respond to the appeal made to him. The silence of right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench might be due to the fact that it was not a very congenial task to them to take up the fag-ends of the business left them by the late Government. It was said that a new broom swept clean; but it was evident that the broom which swept away the late Government from Office had left certain disreputable things in Ireland, and it was impossible not to sympathize with the Government in having to associate themselves with the acts of their Predecessors. It had been put forward by Irish Members that Inspector Murphy was dismissed because he was giving information which led to the detection of French. If that was not so, why was Mr. Murphy dismissed? It was not denied that Mr. Murphy had been treated in an altogether unprecedented way, and as no other officer of the Constabulary had ever been treated, so far as hon. Members were aware. And, therefore, taking into consideration the fact that Mr. Murphy had been treated in a most unusual way, it was reasonable for the Irish Members and the people of Ireland to look round and inquire what possible reason could there be for treating Mr. District Inspector Murphy in a manner in which no other police officer had been treated in the whole course of the constitution of the Royal Irish Con- 367 stabulary. Why was the man treated unusually? Echo answered, why? In looking round for the reason the remarkable fact came to the surface that Murphy was the man who originally gave to an hon. Member of the House the information which led to the exposure of Mr. French and those other Government officials in Ireland who acted in such a disreputable and infamous way. It was the most natural thing in the world that the Irish Members and the people of Ireland generally should come to the conclusion, after due deliberation, that Murphy was dismissed the Force because he was the man who gave the information which brought about the conviction of Mr. French and the disbanding of the gentlemen whose acts had rendered the reign of Earl Spencer so infamous. Unless they got some better reason for Murphy's dismissal than had as yet been given, he and his hon. Friends, and the people whom they represented, would remain firmly under the impression that Murphy was made a victim because he led to the exposures which had covered with so much disgrace and infamy the name of Earl Spencer and his administration in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) had said Mr. Murphy was dismissed not because of the charge of drunkenness, but on account, of insubordination which he displayed from time to time during his 18 years' service in the Constabulary. The hon. Member (Mr. J. Redmond) who commenced this discussion spoke very frankly indeed of the cases of insubordination of which Mr. Murphy was convicted, pointing out that Murphy was convicted and punished for the insubordination of which at different periods he had been guilty. And after such a statement the House was told by the right hon. Gentleman that Murphy was dismissed for insubordination. Now, he (Mr. W. Redmond) wished to know if it was the fact that if a Constabulary officer was guilty of insubordination, and was punished for it, the offence could be raked up against him 10 or 15 years afterwards in order that he might be dismissed the Force? It was very necessary that question should be settled, because, as the matter now stood, they had heard nothing from the right hon. Gentleman to teach them anything else but that when the charge of drunken- 368 ness fell through Mr. Murphy was dismissed for the old acts of insubordination for which he had been punished years before. Now, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy) had already pointed out a fact which they had not got admitted as yet by any Member of the Treasury Bench. He (Mr. W. Redmond). with perfect earnestness and a full desire to gain information, would ask the new Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant (Sir William Hart Dyke), who, he believed, would be sufficiently courteous to give him a reply, whether it was not a fact that, according to the Constabulary Code of Regulations, a man who was charged with an offence must have a written notification of the offence given to him before the day on which the investigation of the charge against him was to take place? If that was one of the Constabulary Regulations, was it put into force in the case of Mr. Murphy? An answer ought to be given to that question. Either Murphy got a written notification of what he was to be charged with, or he did not; and if he did not, the Constabulary Regulations were not carried out, and the man was convicted in an irregular and, it appeared to him (Mr. W. Redmond), an infamous manner. It had not been alleged that night that Murphy was guilty of any insubordination save that for which he was punished, and for which, according to the theory of the authorities, he was ultimately dismissed. Upon that point a full and frank statement ought to be made by right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench, because, whether they made it or not, the truth would ultimately be proclaimed.
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. PLUNKET)
said, he did not wish to follow the course the debate had taken, but simply rose in answer to an appeal made to him by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy), whom he desired to thank for the flattering remarks he had made about him (Mr. Plunket). The hon. and learned Gentleman made an appeal to him as having taken part in a debate in the House in 1876 upon a case very like the one which was now presented to the House. He was ashamed to confess to the hon. and learned Member that when he called his attention to the circum- 369 stance it had passed away from his recollection. But he had since referred to the report of the debate in Hansard, and he found he could explain to the House exactly how the matter stood. There was certainly considerable similarity between the two cases. In both cases a Constabulary officer was dismissed for insubordination, and his case was afterwards brought before the House of Commons. There was this further degree of similarity—that the Chief Secretary of that day, and now Leader of the House of Commons (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), at first declined to grant an inquiry upon the ground that he placed confidence in the Inspector General of Constabulary in Ireland; and he was not prepared to re-open the question as between the Inspector General and his subordinate officer. So far, the cases were exactly on all fours. But the peculiarity of the case which arose in 1876 was that a document was produced, which purported to be a Report made by Mr. George Alexander Hamilton, who at one time had been a Secretary to the Treasury, giving the view of the case which was taken in official quarters. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had heard something about the alleged Report of Mr. Hamilton; but he treated it with indifference, as it had no signs of a genuine document about it. The document, however, had been circulated two days previously amongst Members of the House, and had produced a great impression, because, as ho had said, it purported to be a Report of an official of the Treasury, and was supported by a letter which appeared to give colour to its veracity.
§ MR. PARNELL
asked if the right hon. and learned Gentleman recollected whether the original Report itself was ever produced?
THE FIRST COMMISSIONER
said, he was about to explain to the House what really happened. The Report produced a great effect on the House; it was thought it would be better that an inquiry should be held, and under the circumstances an inquiry was granted. The inquiry resulted in the discovery that the document was a forgery, and, as far as he understood the case, that the view taken by his right hon. Friend Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was the correct one. He (Mr. Plunket) did not 370 wish to pursue the matter further, having shown the difference between this case and the one to which the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Healy) had called his attention.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he had listened with amazement to the line which the present Government had thought it their duty to take upon this question. He could not understand why they should hold that an investigation conducted by themselves into the case of Mr. Murphy, late Inspector in the Irish Constabulary, would in the slightest degree affect the good order and discipline of the Force. Indeed, it appeared to him that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) had himself given them a very good argument in favour of an inquiry, for he had called to their recollection the result of an inquiry which was held in the case of Captain Croker, an Inspector of the Irish Constabulary, a case which he (Mr. Parnell) remembered very well. It was discovered that Captain Croker had no case against the Government, and that he had put forward a forged document. Was not that a very happy result for the Government? Why should that case be quoted by the right hon. Gentleman as a case where the granting of an inquiry resulted in injury to the discipline of the Force, because the only ground that this or the last Government took up in refusing the Motion for inquiry into the case of Mr. Murphy was that it would injure the discipline of the Force? Of course, they knew very well that there were other grounds behind that ostensible one. They knew very well that the late Government could not give an inquiry into the case of Mr. Murphy, because Earl Spencer's administration in Ireland, and Earl Spencer's personal action, would have been placed in a very disagreeable light. But the present Government did not stand committed, so far as he could see from their action, to uphold Earl Spencer in every particular, or to swear that everything Earl Spencer did was absolutely right. However much it might be necessary for the late Chief Secretary (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) to oppose such a Motion as this, he (Mr. Parnell) could not see in what respect the present Government were committed against it. Ho submitted that an overwhelming 371 case for inquiry had been made out by his hon. Friends; and therefore they were entitled to a more definite answer than they had received from the present Government. It was manifestly absurd to plead that the discipline of the Force would be affected by giving an officer of the Force who, apparently, had been? wrongfully dismissed a fair trial, or by granting a fair inquiry into the reasons of his dismissal. It had been shown by his hon. Friends that night that Inspector Murphy was an officer of very old standing in the Force; that at the time of his dismissal he had been in the Royal Irish Constabulary for 18 years; and that during the whole of that time the only fault alleged against him was an insubordinate tone in certain correspondence which passed between him and the Inspector General of Constabulary of Ireland, between the years, according to the statement of the late Chief Secretary, 1875 and 1881. According to the statement of the late Lord Lieutenant, Earl Spencer, Inspector Murphy was dismissed, not for the charge of drunkenness, which was now admitted on all hands to be absolutely unfounded, but solely on account of the insubordinate tone he adopted in the correspondence during the years from 1875 to 1881; indeed, the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes), in his very able speech that night, admitted that if Inspector Murphy had been dismissed for nothing else than the insubordinate tone in the correspondence in question, ho would have considered it an unjust dismissal, not a very illogical conclusion on the part of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, because it appeared rather illogical to dismiss a man for the offence of which he was not found guilty, and to refuse to commit him for the offence which was brought against him; and the seriousness of the charge brought by the Irish Members was this — that it was not until 188– that action was taken in reference to these matters, and then only after an inquiry into a totally different charge—namely, the charge of drunkenness. If it was right that Inspector Murphy should have been dismissed for writing these letters during the years from 1875 to 1881, his dismissal should have immediately followed that offence. It was preposterous—nay, more, it was eminently unjust—on the 372 part of the Government only to recollect these acts of insubordination so many years after they had been committed, and when serious comments had been made, which showed that ho had had a hand in bringing James Ellis French to justice. Before Inspector Murphy had ceased writing the letters which were complained of, he obtained a favourable record from his superior officers, and was commended for his services, so that he (Mr. Parnell) was entitled to hold that these alleged offences had been looked over and forgotten. But what was the nature of these alleged offences? The House would be surprised when he told them that Inspector Murphy's sole offence against subordination was that he paid his addresses to a young lady, whose father objected to those addresses, as he had a right to do; that he—the father—addressed remonstrances to the superior officer of Inspector Murphy, and asked that officer to interfere and prevent Murphy from renewing or repeating these addresses— which were addresses with a view to marriage; that the superior officer of Constabulary in Ireland did intervene at the request of the father, and did remonstrate with Murphy, and directed him to discontinue his addresses; and that Murphy, as any man of spirit would have done under similar circumstances, refused, and repeatedly refused, in the letters which were alleged to be insubordinate, to cease these attentions. Now, that was the whole story of Inspector Murphy's insubordination from the year 1870. It could be substantiated by reference to names; but these, of course, he (Mr. Parnell) would not give. That was the whole history of Murphy's insubordination committed, according to the statement of the late Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, between the years 1875 and 1881, and for which, according to Earl Spencer's letter, Murphy was dismissed in 1884. It was obvious that the action the Government had taken in this matter, and their refusal to grant an investigation, so far from being an advantage to the discipline of the Force, must tend to injure it to an extreme extent. In 1882, after the necessity for it was practically over and Inspector Murphy's alleged insubordinate conduct had ceased, Murphy received favourable mention from his superior officers. In that year ho ad- 373 dressed a round robin to the Lord Lieutenant—subsequent to the commendation—in his own name and those of four other persons in the Constabulary. They alleged in the round robin to have evidence in their possession which would tend to incriminate Detective Inspector French of the offence for which he was recently tried and convicted. The round robin was, of course, anonymous, and it could not be traced to Inspector Murphy at the time. But, in the subsequent year, the Government were able to trace out that Inspector Murphy was the originator of this round robin; and then it was that the charge of drunkenness, of which he was admittedly innocent, was trumped up against him, owing to the necessity which French, the Detective Inspector of Constabulary, felt under of shielding himself. This charge was trumped up against him, and it was ordered that he should be brought before a Court of Inquiry. The Court of Inquiry held its sittings, and, as a result, Inspector Murphy was informed that he was dismissed the Service, not on account of the charge of drunkenness, but on account of the alleged acts of insubordination committed between the years 1875 and 1881. Now, he would not—he did not think it necessary— explain to the House the manner in which the Government obtained information that Inspector Murphy was moving, in order to obtain a vindication of justice in reference to the man French. But they undoubtedly did obtain that information, and as soon as they obtained it proceedings were commenced against French, and he was sent to a part of the country where it was impossible to entrap him. That course of action was successful, and Murphy was finally dismissed from the Force, after 18 years' service, without a pension, and with his character ruined. His [Mr. Darnell's) hon. Friends had pointed out, during the course of this debate, in reference to the denial which had been repeatedly given on the part of the Government, that the five persons who signed the round robin of Inspector Murphy—that the five names mentioned as being the witnesses, or as having evidence to give of French's guilt, were the five persons who were called on by the Inspector General of Constabulary immediately French was attacked in United Ireland. They were at once sent 374 for and asked for their evidence—asked what they knew with regard to French. They gave their evidence, and the result of it was that the Government were able to get up a case against French which resulted in his conviction. First of all he was suspended, then he was convicted, and he was now suffering the punishment of his crimes. He (Mr. Darnell) contended that that was a sufficient answer to he denial of the Government. It proved that the denial of the officials in the Constabulary as to the receipt of this round robin was not true. He maintained that the fact that the five men, and only the five men, who were mentioned in the round robin by Inspector Murphy as being important witnesses were called in by the Inspector General of Constabulary—who was one of the persons to whom the round robin was addressed—immediately the attack was made on French showed that the denial of the authorities was not true. How was it that the Constabulary authorities hit upon these five men, and only these five—that they did not call six, seven, or eight persons? Why did they not call three out of the five? Why was it that they called these five men, and none others, as witnesses against French on the preliminary inquiry and investigation they made as to the man's character in the Force? It was manifest that it must have been in consequence of the round robin which they had received, and which had not miscarried in the post—which had been sent by Inspector Murphy both to Earl Spencer and to the Inspector General of Constabulary. It was manifest that it was this round robin which enabled the authorities to put their hands on the five men whose testimony it was necessary for them to obtain in order to get at the clues and proofs of French's guilt. It was manifest that it was from this document of Murphy's that the Constabulary authorities had got their information, and that it was this document that first put it into their heads in Dublin Castle to prosecute this unfortunate man to his doom and to his ruin. It was evident that this matter could not be loft where it was. It was true the Government had only lately come into Office, and that it might not, perhaps, have been expected by them that this matter would have been reached that night, the Motion not having had the 375 first place in the Order Book, and that it might not have been possible for them to fully consider this very great and very important question. Undoubtedly it was a disagreeable thing for a Government which had lately come into power to reverse the acts of its Predecessors or to throw discredit upon them, especially in reference to so serious a matter as the administration of law and order in Ireland. But he thought that the Government ought to be strong enough even to do that. They had already reversed the policy and the acts of their Predecessors in a much more important matter than an inquiry into the question of the dismissal of such an humble individual as Inspector Murphy. The question of the renewal of the Prevention of Crime Act was of ten thousand fold more importance, regarding the whole government of Ireland, than the yielding of assent to the Motion of his hon. Friend would be; and ho did think that if they were strong enough — and he believed the result would prove that the Government were strong enough—to do without the Prevention of Crime Act in Ireland— that the result of their action in that respect would be its justification. If the Government had been strong enough to do that, he maintained that they were strong enough to grant an inquiry into the case of Inspector Murphy. They ought to be ten thousand times stronger than the necessity of such a case; and he submitted that until the Irish Members had received some better answer from the able Attorney General for Ireland—who undoubtedly had handled this case in a way in which it had never been handled before by any Irish Law Officer—they could not rest satisfied. He (Mr. Parnell) had listened to the defence which the late Attorney General for Ireland had sought to make and to the defence which the present Irish Attorney General had endeavoured to make; and ho was bound to say that the last-named right hon. and learned Gentleman had handled his case in as able and vigorous a manner as it was possible for any man to handle one consisting of such wretched materials. But he was bound to say that although the right hon. and learned Gentleman had done his best, he had not been able to put a face upon it; and until the Irish Members had something better to meet them than the defence 376 which had been attempted that night by the right hon. and learned Gentleman find the late Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, and the defence attempted some time ago by the late Attorney General, it was manifest that the Irish Members, in justice to the people of Ireland, who loved fair play, and who considered that Inspector Murphy had been shamefully ill-treated in this matter, and in justice to Inspector Murphy himself, would have again to recur to the question. Before ho sat down he would ask the Government this—whether the door was finally closed against justice to Inspector Murphy? Would they not further reconsider this matter? Important Cabinet Ministers had been present that night during a portion of the debate. During its later stages they had had the advantage of the presence of the Home Secretary (Sir R. Assheton Cross), the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) — who had had considerable experience of Irish administration—the Secretary of State for War (Mr. W. H. Smith), and the Secretary of State for India (Lord Randolph Churchill). He was bound to say he was always pleased when he saw such officials as the Home Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and those others whom he had named, taking any interest in an Irish question. Ho had had some experience of the candour and fair dealing of the Home Secretary in the last Parliament, in very similar cases to this; and he had always found the right hon. Gentleman's mind open to reason, and had always found him anxious to inquire into cases of alleged injustice, and to leave no room or opening or excuse for saying that justice had not been done. And what he would say before ho sat down was this—Would not the Government further consider this matter, and if they thought that the case which had been made by the late Government and by the present Attorney General for Ireland was not of such a nature as they ought to rely upon, and that the Irish Members had put forward not only a prima facie case, but a very strong case in proof of their contention that Inspector Murphy had been badly used, would they not, without, perhaps, formally agreeing to a Parliamentary Motion on going into Supply, give this matter further attention, and see whether it was not possible to hold, of their 377 own will and of their own sense of justice, this inquiry, which they had refused on the Motion of his hon. Friend?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Sir WILLIAM HART DYKE)
I should like to say a few words before the debate comes to a close. First of all, I desire to answer a question put to me, I think, by the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. W. Redmond) in reference to the Police Code now existing. I confess I have not had time to look at the Code. I have consulted the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes); and, so far as I understand the question, notice ought to be given in a case where an inquiry is necessary as to a matter of fact—that is to say, where a general charge is brought against a constable; but where a case of insubordination occurs which is patent to everybody, and which, on the face of it, requires no inquiry at all —such as writing an insubordinate letter —that notice is not necessary.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY
Of course, I had fully anticipated, when I went to the Irish Office, that all my sins, present and to come, would be visited on my unworthy head, but that that would be the full modicum of the visitation I should receive; and I must frankly state to the House that this debate has placed me in a position of some difficulty. In the first place, if I am asked to reopen a charge which is brought against the late Administration, I say at once that the position is one of extreme embarrassment, because a majority of this House has already supported the view which the late Government took. Hon. Members from Ireland must forgive me if I do not go minutely into the circumstances of this case. In the first place, I have not had time to ascertain them; and, in the next place, I do not possess the legal ability and acumen of my right hon. and learned Friend near me (Mr. Holmes), who, I am bound to say, has stated the case admirably from our point of view. But there is one point on which I wish to rest my judgment in the matter. I would simply ask whether Colonel Bruce, who is accused of having caused the discharge of District Inspector Murphy, acted from bond fide motives, or from some motive behind in what he 378 did? I am bound to come to the conclusion that neither in the debate that has just taken place, nor in the previous debate in December last, or in any paper that I have read, can I find any trace of suspicion against Colonel Bruce to induce me to think that he did not act in a perfectly bond fide manner in discharging Mr. Murphy. As to the letter which is asserted to have been posted by Mr. Murphy, and which is asserted never to have been received by anybody, it must be borne in mind that in dealing with it we are simply dealing with a matter of assertion on the one side and on the other; and however anxious one might be to go into the matter, and do justice to both sides, after all the case must rest on simple assertions. On the one hand, there does not seem to me to be any evidence to show that this round robin was ever posted, or, on the other hand, that it was ever received. Coming back to the action of Colonel Bruce on the discharge of Murphy, I find that, long previous to the horrible charges against French, and their horrible surroundings, and before Inspector Murphy moved in that matter at all, ho was being constantly reprimanded for something or other. He was reprimanded, I find, in 1875, again in 1877, in 1878, in 1879, and again in 1881. Therefore, I find that in each succeeding year Inspector Murphy was reprimanded; and what strikes me is this. Although it may be true that the charge of drunkenness was not fully sustained, yet it may have formed sufficient ground, in the mind of Colonel Bruce, for his discharge. What I wish to put to the Irish Members, and I know they will forgive me if I speak plainly to them, is this. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) spoke of the Government having just come into power, and proposing to relax the Prevention of Crime Act. It has been stated, both here and in the other House of Parliament, that we are doing this of our own will, and entirely upon our own responsibility. I say, then, to the Members from Ireland that they know as well as ourselves what our responsibilities will be; and all I can urge is that, if we are to make these concessions in regard to exceptional legislation, it becomes even more imperatively our bounden duty in all cases to support the Executive as it exists in Ireland at 379 this moment. The evidence afforded by the papers, and by the previous debate, does not give us the least excuse for declining to support the Executive in Ireland. I have said that we have only a cursory knowledge of the matter; but, as far as we have dealt with it, we do not think we should be justified in granting the inquiry asked for by the hon. Member for New Ross (Mr. J. Redmond). I will not detain the House longer upon the question. I will only add that, of course, if any fresh circumstances should arise, I do not think it would be fair, or right, or just, that we should debar ourselves from consenting to an inquiry. But, as at present advised, we do not see the necessity; and, on the part of the Government, I cannot accede to the demand of the hon. Member.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, the spirit of frankness manifested by the Front Bench afforded a marked contrast to the virulent feeling exhibited by the late Government on the 13th of March. Although he felt very strongly upon the case, he did not think his hon. Friend ought to go to a division after the speech of the Chief Secretary, who had plainly intimated that if any new fact should arise it would still be open to the Government to consent to an inquiry. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that, at the present moment, he only possessed a cursory knowledge of the facts of the case; and he accepted the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that if hereafter new evidence could be furnished a further inquiry would be made. The course pursued by the Chief Secretary, although the right hon. Gentleman strongly defended his Executive, was in strong contrast to that of his Scotch Predecessor. On the former occasion the late Chief Secretary (Mr. Campbell-Banner-man) displayed a most unconciliatory spirit, and had stated all the points that were calculated to toll against Inspector Murphy, without adding one which told in his favour. On that occasion he (Mr. Callan) had felt it his duty to read, from a document which had been handed to him by Mr. Murphy, testimonials to his character, which had been given, among others, by Lord Ardilaun, Sir R. J. Lynch, and Colonel Chichester. He was glad to say that the latter was not an Irishman, but an Englishman; but he had read the character given to Mr. Murphy by Colonel Chichester, in the 380 hope that the House would attach some value to it, seeing that a few weeks previously the same gentleman had given the highest character to Earl Spencer, and he had thought the House might take the two together—quantum valeat. If the character given to Earl Spencer was of any value, certainly equal value ought to attach to a character given to Mr. Murphy by the same gentleman. A day or two after the debate Colonel Chichester sent a letter to him by the registered post, impugning his statement, and asking him upon what authority he had made it, and some time afterwards a letter from Colonel Chichester appeared in the columns of The Freeman's Journal, stating that the statement was a gross falsehood. He had borne the brunt of that attack patiently; but he now held in his hand not only the letter sent by Colonel Chichester through the registered post, but also the original character which Colonel Chichester had given to Inspector Murphy. He had submitted both to an expert in handwriting, and he was quite prepared to prove that the statement made by Inspector Murphy and the statement made by himself in that House, that Colonel Chichester had given this high character to Inspector Murphy, were perfectly true. He had simply risen for the purpose of giving Colonel Chichester another opportunity of denying the fact that he had given this character to Inspector Murphy; and he would only add that the late Chief Secretary to Earl Spencer and Colonel Chichester were equally reliable and worthy of credit.
§ SIR HERVEY BRUCE
said, that as the hon. and learned Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy) had drawn special attention to the fact that he was present in the House, he wished to say a few words before the debate closed. From his knowledge of the personal character of his relative the Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary, it would be easy to convince the House of the absurdity of supposing that there could be any truth in the charge made against him of having wished to conceal the abominable crimes which had been committed in Dublin during the last few years. He particularly wished to draw the attention of the House to one of the statements which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir W. Hart Dyke) 381 that Mr. Murphy was reprimanded for insubordination in 1875 and subsequent years. It was long after that date that his brother became Inspector General of the Irish Constabulary, and therefore he could not have been the original promoter of the charges of insubordination.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, he did not propose to offer a single remark on the case which had been the subject of debate that evening; but he simply wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to inquire whether the insubordination had not been condoned by repeated favourable Reports, on various occasions, under different Inspecting Officers, and whether the charges on which Mr. Murphy was dismissed had not been trumped up in spite of such condonation after the charge of drunkenness had failed?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY
said, he did not see the least objection to making such an inquiry as that which the hon. Member suggested.
§ Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.