HC Deb 26 August 1886 vol 308 cc565-602

, Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow, rose in his place, and asked leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz., the Appointment of a Military Officer over an extensive district in Ireland, with undefined administrative and magisterial powers; but, the pleasure of the House not having been signified, Mr. Speaker called on those Members who supported the Motion to rise in their places, and, not less than 40 Members having risen accordingly:—


I can assure the House I am very reluctant to interfere with the course of Business. I should not have done so, if I could have reconciled it with my sense of duty to acquiesce in an appointment which seems to me to be contrary to Constitutional principles, adverse to the future interests and peace of Ireland, and likely to introduce bad precedents into our own Government. I should have been glad if the answer of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) to the question I have just put would have enabled me to abstain from making this Motion; but I must say that, having regard to the great position of Sir Redvers Buller—to his undoubted military position—to the fact that a military position is the only one in which he is known to the country, and also to the circumstance that it was not exactly in the tone and spirit of the right hon. Gentleman who has just answered my question that the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller, nor was it in that spirit that the appointment was spoken of in the House of Lords by the Chief of the Government—I feel bound to go on in the course I have determined to take in the matter. I feel also that it is very essential, considering what may be in store for us in the future, that Members should have an opportunity of formally protesting from the outset against a course which I am sure hereafter they will be very glad not to have gone into when it was proposed. I go on the simple principle that it is contrary to the genius and spirit of our institutions for military men to be called from their military duties to perform those of civil magistrates. I may have to contend, at the outset, with a feeling that the state of things in Kerry is so bad that it is scarcely becoming for anyone to interfere with any step that may be taken for mitigating the condition of that county. I yield to none in horror and detestation of what is going on in Kerry. It would argue a great lack of imagination, and also of heart, to hear of the circumstances in that county without such a feeling. The darkness, the sudden interruption in the night, the horrible association of violence and terrorism, the absolute confusion and cruelty of the whole business must strike us all with horror. But it is not the first time in the history of this country, or of other countries, that events and processes of this kind have been going on, and that it has yet been necessary to protest against the means by which the civil power endeavours to stop them. A very difficult and serious circumstance in this matter is that—as was stated the other night by a right hon. Gentleman who lately occupied a high Office in the Government of Ireland—there is every sign that the people of Kerry either sympathize with these proceedings, or are determined, as a matter of consulting their own interest, not to interfere with them. That produces embarrassments which we are bound to consider. But such things as these only exist in ill-governed countries. We cannot improve the government of a country by handing over its civil administration to military men. If the administration of the law in Kerry is not efficient, it is our duty, as far as we can, to make it so. Now, the noble Lord at the head of the Government in "another place" has admitted that the administration of the law and police in Kerry is unsatisfactory. The system, he said, had drifted into an unreasonable shape, and that was a matter which required careful overhauling and inquiry, and probably entire re-organization. These are facts notorious to both sides of the House; but I believe they will not be met in the same spirit on both sides. We may test the spirit of the Administration by the manner in which the Marquess of Salisbury addresses himself to this difficulty. If we found the Prime Minister thoroughly re-organizing the Civil Staff—if we found him bringing into play all the resources of the great Civil Service of this country, in order to produce a better state of things in Kerry—then he would deserve in any result our praise; and it is our principle, on the Liberal side of the House, that he would be adopting the course most likely to conduce in the end, along with those greater measures we advocate, to the results we all desire. Instead of that, the noble Marquess goes beyond civil life altogether, and chooses a soldier. What soldier does he choose? Why does he choose that soldier? He told us that he desired the attention of minds which had been engaged in the solution of similar problems in other parts of the globe. What are those problems that Sir Redvers Buller has solved in other parts of the globe? How did he solve them? The answer to these questions leads us very close to the conviction that the policy of the Government at the present moment, by the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller—which I take to be by far the most important announcement of policy which they have made—is to degrade Ireland at once to the level of a savage and a barbarous country. The Government, it is true, do not say that—they do not formulate it—but it is the spirit and the effect of their measure. They are acting upon it. I think it must have struck many people who have watched the Irish discussions of the last few months that there has been a remarkable contrast between that private conversation and much of the writing in the Press upon which in reality their policy is founded, and the spirit and the tone of speeches which are made in this House. Happily, the speeches made in this House, and the tone of our policy, is infinitely superior to what we hear at dinner tables and in clubs, and in mingling in general society. But this appointment of a military man to re-organize society in Ireland they announced to satisfy the unworthy feelings which prevail throughout a large part of the country against the Irish. And then, by the humane lips of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, they are enabled to say that the gallant General is taking up a purely civil position. I cannot bring my mind to believe that that is the case. I do not deny that the right hon. Gentleman professed—and I am sure with truth—that he would, under all circumstances, exercise any influence that he might have upon Sir Redvers Buller in a spirit of justice, humanity, and kindness. But that is not enough. The gallant General was chosen because he was a soldier, and he would not have been chosen—being a soldier—unless it had been thought there was work there fit for a soldier. I have no doubt the Government had fully persuaded themselves that Sir Redvers Buller had the qualities which exactly fitted him to undertake the task of restoring order in a thoroughly unruly and disturbed district. To do this was to adopt a principle contrary to our Constitution—flying in the face of all the principles of civil liberty in which we have been brought up. The statement of the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he introduced this matter to the House, was scarcely consistent with the idea of the subordinate position in which Sir Redvers Bullers is now attempted to be placed by the explanations of the Government. The importance of this officer, the rank he holds in the Army, forbids such a supposition. Of course, we all know perfectly well that it is a common thing for men who have developed in military command, or even service, qualities which the Army is well adapted to produce in men of good calibre and abilities—it is a common circumstance for them in the latter part of their life to undertake civil duties, and to perform those duties satisfactorily. But these men sacrifice their military positions—they sacrifice their military character—they become, to all intents and purposes, civilians. They are under civil control. They do not expect to go back into the Profession. They part altogether with both the prospects and the associations of military life. The consequence is that they are not liable to the dangers and temptations by which Sir Redvers Buller will be beset. If the Chief Secretary for Ireland would whittle this matter down so that Sir Redvers Buller would be accepting this office just as a half-pay officer takes the Governorship of a workhouse, or the Governorship of a goal, then he would meet our views. But we know that would not have met the views of the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Marquess of Salisbury, and would not have met the views of Sir Redvers Buller. I think there have been times when a soldier would have thought this an undesirable function. I do not, however, pronounce on that. I hold that a good policeman is quite as respectable as a good soldier. The only thing is that a good soldier does not always make a good policeman; and the Constitution of the country has always assumed that no one in the position of a soldier should have to perform the duties of a policeman. Another question for us to consider is, what security will there be against great infringements of liberty when this new rule of Sir Redvers Buller begins? It is a great innovation. A precedent is being set. But we have a very bad example—not exactly of the same kind—which leads us to expect evil results. What occurred when Mr. Clifford Lloyd was employed in Ireland? Mr. Clifford Lloyd was a civil officer, and he was under a Coercion Law, but not under the Crimes Act. It seems to be pretty notorious that he resorted to very extraordinary excess of licence, and took great liberties with the rights of the people. It was said that he gathered together, on various pretexts, young men in rooms in a village, and that he then examined them on matters which were likely to get them into trouble in connection with a revolt against the Government of Ireland. Mr. Clifford Lloyd had not the slightest warrant for that. It was neither the regular law nor the extraordinary law at the time; but he was praised by a lamented statesman, and encouraged to adopt courses of that kind. If such things as those were done in the green tree, what will be done in the dry? I, for one, in this matter, have learned the lesson of the Elections. I wish the institutions of England, Ireland, and Scotland in this matter to be similar; and if we are going to have Sir Redvers Buller and military magistrates, then I suppose we had better secure simultaneity. The noble Lord knows very well that if it were attempted in Lancashire, where I live, or in Lanarkshire, a great constituency in which I have the honour to represent, things would become so hot for the Government that the attempt would have immediately to be abandoned. The practice does not correspond with our institutions or our customs. It is contrary to the principles of liberty, to which we justly attach so much importance. A great soldier is a good servant; but he is a bad master, and we should be very careful not to put him in that position. I object very strongly to what I take to be an evasion of the Constitution in Belfast. I think no soldier should have a double commission. I think no soldier should be a Justice of the Peace, so that he should read the Riot Act over the people whom he is going to shoot. Why have we these old restrictions, if it is not for the preservation of liberty? Why are we to part with them at a month's notice when we have the admission of the Chief of the Government that the civil condition in Kerry is such that it ought immediately to be overhauled, and when Members, at any rate on this side, are deeply impressed with the fact that the whole business is the result of bad government and bad institutions? I have been asked what I think Sir Redvers Buller ought to do when he goes to Kerry. That has been asked me in a Dublin journal, which gives the following lively account of what Sir Redvers Buller will do. Sir Redvers Buller," it says, "will act against the 'Moonlighters' precisely as if they were rebels in arms against the Queen. [Ministerial cheers.] Exactly; you cheer that. That is just an instance of the mess you will get into if you appoint military magistrates to exercise civil authority. What does this amount to? It simply amounts to suddenly and roughly, on an emergency, in a single county, setting up the doctrine of constructive treason. They find these marauders pursuing their nefarious prac- tices, and then say they are to be treated as rebels against Her Majesty. I say nothing in their favour. They are persons against whom everyone on this side will gladly see the utmost penalties of the law enforced. But it is a bad beginning if hon. Gentlemen opposite are ready to cheer a wild statement of a wild newspaper correspondent, that Sir Redvers Buller, a General in Her Majesty's Army, is going to arrest "Moonlighters" and treat them as if they were rebels against Her Majesty. I was asked by the same authority whether I would have General Buller act in co-operation with the Land League? All I want to do to the Land League is to cashier it. I believe that good self-government in Ireland will cashier it. Our duty is to give Ireland self-government, which would put an end to all such outrages—to all such manners and customs—as the League is alleged to encourage. In the meantime, if we cannot do that at once, our duty is limited to making the civil system as perfect as we can make it with civil material. I venture to make an appeal to my right hon. Friends on the Front Opposition Benches. I know very well that, from their ex-official position, they must be in some embarrassment on such subjects; but the House heard, with great respect, the remarks made the other evening by my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley) upon this subject. Many cruel and injurious things were said about my right hon. Friend in that home of vulgar and un-Christian rancour—Belfast. But we who see him in the House know, and are deeply impressed with, the sensitiveness of mind with which he has addressed himself to all these problems. I am firmly pursuaded my right hon. Friend will never be deficient in the courage and sternness which are necessary for the enforcement of order in Ireland. But anyone who heard him the other night must have felt that there was a heaviness in his heart as he contemplated the dreadful conditions of life in the county of Kerry, and brought himself face to face with the issue—should he tolerate the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller in order that a better state of things might be introduced? I appreciate that, and honour my right hon. Friend for it; but I certainly think that, considering my right hon. Friend himself prophesied that the efforts of Sir Redvers Buller would not succeed, because they were not adapted to the case—I think that, although he may not be able to vote for this Motion, he may, at least, give some expression to his opinion that it is most adverse to the interest of Ireland, and dangerous to the Constitution of the country, that this new military practice should be introduced. It will not succeed. If it does succeed it will cost us some of our most justly prized traditions of civil freedom. Therefore, I think my right hon. Friend and others on the Front Benches are entitled, if they please, to indicate an opinion which will support the rank and file of their Party, and also support five-sixths of the Representatives of Ireland in the wish they have that the Constitution should still be preserved. [Derisive laughter from Ministerial Benches.] It may be a very laughable matter that the Representatives of five-sixths of a country should wish to preserve its Constitution; but I should prefer the meaning of those laughs to come articulately—that some hon. Gentleman should get up and put into terms, which will be reported tomorrow and which will be quoted at the next Election, any sentiment conflicting with that which I have expressed. This is a sensational proceeding. It will only gratify that baser sort of politicians who live upon the prejudices of the British nation against the Irish nation. What is worse, it will draw into the net of disaffection the whole of the county of Kerry and a very large portion of the rest of Ireland, without reference to the justice or propriety of Sir Redvers Buller's proceedings, simply on the ground that the enforcement of law in Ireland will be identified with the introduction of the military into a position in which they have no right to be. It is most essential, for the restoration of the moral sense of the people of Ireland, that the opinion of the House on this subject should betaken. An important part of the moral sense of any community is confidence in the law under which they lived; and the Government are going to degrade the law by placing its administration in the hands of a distinguished soldier. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Yes; I adhere to that, not because I take any adverse view of Sir Redvers Buller's character, but because it is the very essence of law that it is degraded the moment the military element is introduced. The late Chief Justice Cockburn, who took such an interest in the question of martial law that he expressly took upon himself, out of the regular course, to go down to the Old Bailey and charge the Grand Jury in the Jamaica case, said, on that important occasion, that there were dangers more grave and threatening than even the duration of an insurrection, and that the eternal and immutable principles of justice could never be violated without peril to the true interests and well-being of a civilized community. I do not mean to suggest that the Chief Secretary would wilfully invade those eternal and immutable principles of justice; but I do say that the Government are introducing an enormous innovation when they militarize the personnel of justice. When they tamper with the civil integrity of the magistracy they open a door to the influx of the greatest evils. If you suffer the redcoats to administer the law, they will undoubtedly caricature it; and law can neither be caricatured nor perverted without at once endangering the stability and the happiness of the people.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. E. R. Russell.)


The hon. Member who has just sat down (Mr. E. R. Russell) has made to the House a learned and, I must say, also an exhaustive speech. He holds strong opinions, and he has proposed to the House a certain course which it should adopt. In his opinion, the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller to Kerry is a startling innovation in our Constitution, a serious blow to civil and religious liberty, a wilful invasion of the immutable principles of justice, and other things of that serious kind. He holds these strong opinions, and he prophesies the most alarming results. He declares that the result will be that all Kerry will almost immediately take an active part in the proceedings of the "Moonlighters,"—[Mr. E. R. RUSSELL: I did not say that.]—and that all Ireland will very shortly be involved in a general conflagration. Now, Sir, I do not complain of the hon. Mem- ber holding these opinions; they are opinions he is perfectly entitled to hold and to express. What I want the House to do is to compare the opinions he holds with the course he suggests. What is the course which the hon. Member proposes? He proposes that the House of Commons should immediately adjourn. What will be the effect of that course upon Sir Redvers Buller or his appointment? Absolutely nothing. The House would adjourn if they agreed with the hon. Member, and, like the Emperor Titus, might exclaim that they had lost a day; but before the House met again Sir Redvers Buller would be well on his way to Kerry. That is the course which the hon. Gentleman proposes, in all seriousness, that we should adopt. May I point out to the hon. Member, with all respect, what I think would have been the proper course for him to pursue if he sincerely holds, as I am sure he does, these very strong and alarming opinions? Obviously he ought to have made a Motion in the form of an Amendment to the Address; because what would have been the results of this course if he had been successful? He would have put an end instantly, or, practically, instantaneously, to the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller; and, what is much more, I imagine that by his proposition he would have put an end to the Government responsible for that appointment. That is what. I imagine would have been a practical, rational, and sensible course to pursue. In replying to the hon. Member, I intend to make my remarks as brief and as few as possible; but I must diverge, for one moment, to notice one special observation which fell from him. The hon. Member stated that he had the strongest possible objection to the employment of military officers in civil positions, and that he had a special objection to this particular appointment of Sir Redvers Buller on account of his military experience, and, to some extent, civil experience, having been drawn from his treatment of savages, and his relations with savage tribes in various quarters of the world. That was the opinion of the hon. Member, and it is an opinion of which I do not complain for one moment; it is not an opinion which I should share myself altogether; but it is the opinion of a sensitive and highly - strung, nervous organization. What surprised me most was this—that this opinion of the hon. Member was received with great cheering and approval on the Front Opposition Bench. Would the House be surprised to learn that this principle which the hon. Member has laid down, and for which I might say there is much to be said in the abstract, was violated in the grossest manner, not six months ago, by a right hon. Gentleman who sits opposite (Mr. Childers)? The right hon. Gentleman and his Friends cheered the hon. Member in his denunciation of the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller, a military officer, to a civil post. Are they aware that the late Government appointed Sir Charles Warren, an officer on the active list, liable to be recalled at any moment to military service, not to look after "Moonlighters" in Kerry, but after what I hope are the civilized inhabitants of London, curiously enough for much the same reason?

MR. SEXTON (Sligo)

Have you made him a magistrate?


Yes; he has magisterial power. Mark the analogy. The present Government are of opinion that there has possibly been some failure, same want of energy in the police arrangements in Kerry, and they select Sir Redvers Buller to detect whether there is any defect, and, if there is, to apply a remedy. That was precisely the reason why a distinguished officer, whose military experience has been gained in dealing with savage tribes, was selected by the late Government to superintend the police of the Metropolis. Therefore, when the hon. Member who made this Motion appealed to his own Leaders to support him on this Motion, he can hardly have been aware that by their conduct six months ago they are absolutely precluded from giving him the smallest support. But what I have to remark upon is this. This matter has been before the House for some days. I announced to the House the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller last Thursday. Nobody has censured the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller until now. ["Oh, oh!"] Well, I have not gathered, from the hon. Member for Cork or any of his Friends that they considered the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller a matter for distinct censure or charge—["Oh, oh!"]—however, I learn it now for the first time. Certainly, nobody on the Front Oppo- sition Bench has made it a matter of distinct censure or charge. Comments have been made; but they have not been comments which would lead me to suppose that such strong opinions existed about the appointment as apparently do now. But now it seems the appointment must instantly be brought under the consideration of the House, although the Motion can lead to no practical result. Why is this Motion made? The hon. Member calls the appointment a sensational appointment. I venture to think this is rather a sensational Motion. There are rumours floating about the House—rumours which have reached me from various sources, rumours which I think, if they are baseless and unfounded, should be publicly and authentically contradicted—as to the reason why this Motion has been brought forward. I am told the Motion has been brought forward in order to interrupt the regular proceedings of the House of Commons, and with the special object of intervening between the House and the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain). It is certainly a most remarkable thing that all these strong feelings as to the nature of this appointment should have bubbled and boiled in the breast of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite for a whole week, and should only have exploded just on the day when the right hon. Gentleman is about to address the House. All I can say is that, if it is true, it is the greatest possible compliment to the right hon. Gentleman; it shows that his opponents fear so greatly the damaging character of the remarks which he is to make that there is no expedient which they will not resort to in order to annoy and embarrass and inconvenience the House which is anxious to hear him. The House is in possession of the fact of the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller. The policy of that appointment, we hold, cannot be debated in this way, because there is no definite issue before the House, and none whatever can be come to. I have to announce that Her Majesty's Government will take no part whatever in the discussion. We utterly decline to discuss the merits of the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller now. If hon. Gentlemen opposite wish to raise the question of the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller, let it be raised in a regular form. It can be raised in a regular manner—namely, by an Amendment to the Address; but in proceedings which I can only characterize as utterly irrational, in proceedings which I believe are only calculated to occupy in a most unprofitable manner the time of the House, and in proceedings which cannot possibly lead to any practical result and any public advantage, I, on behalf of the Government, decline to have the smallest part or concern.


The last announcement of the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I think, comes singularly from one who used to avail himself to an extent that we considered a great abuse of Motions for Adjournment, and who raised discussions upon every possible subject to the interruption of important Public Business. I have never myself taken part in these Motions for Adjournment. I objected when the Rule was originally made, and I objected in a recent Committee to that practice. I have never done what the whole of the Front Ministerial Bench has done more than once—risen to support a Motion for Adjournment upon the most trivial question. I remember perfectly well a Motion on some peculiar view entertained upon the Income Tax by an hon. Gentleman much respected in this House. It was stated to be a matter of urgent public importance that this question should be discussed to the interruption of the whole Business of the House of Commons; and every Gentleman who was then upon the Front Opposition Bench rose to support that Motion. Therefore, for the noble Lord to say he refuses on a Question of Adjournment to discuss the question brought forward is practically to fly in the face of the Rules of the House, and of the practice of hon. Gentlemen among whom he sits. There is another remark of the noble Lord to which I may advert. The noble Lord says that if this Motion for Adjournment were carried it would have no effect upon the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller. I venture to think it would have a very great effect, because I think it would probably adjourn the mission of Sir Redvers Buller. As to the substance of this matter, I think it is one upon which we ought to speak with very great caution and very great reserve. I only wish that that course had been adopted from the first by Her Majesty's Government. I think that if the language, the very moderate language, employed by the Chief Secretary to-night had been used in introducing this appointment to the House there would not have been that anxiety—I may say that reasonable anxiety—in the public mind which has been produced by this appointment. I have only a question or two to ask with reference to that explanation, in order to show that I should not be dissatisfied with it. The great mischief which has been done is due to the tone, the language, and the spirit in which this appointment was announced to both Houses of Parliament. It was because the noble Lord chose to make of it a flourish of military trumpets, because he endeavoured to produce upon the public mind an impression that there was going to be something like that, which I confess I heard with astonishment and regret cheered from the Conservative Benches, and that Sir Redvers Buller was going to deal with the people of Kerry as if they were rebels. [An hon. MEMBER: Moonlighters.] I do not care who. Of course, Her Majesty's Government repudiate any such doctrine as that with indignation if they are fit to be British Ministers. Why, if they were murderers, you cannot shoot them down without trial, of course, unless you have a law to that effect; but you have not yet proposed it. Well, what does it mean treating ignorant men like rebels in arms? It means shooting them down without trial. Of course, that is not what the Government mean. If they meant anything like it they would deserve to be dismissed from their places. They do not mean anything of the kind. They have said that they have sent Sir Redvers Buller, not as an officer of the Army to deal with rebels in arms. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) has said exactly the opposite. He said Sir Redvers Buller is to be sent as a Civil Magistrate acting strictly according to the existing law. So far, of course, that is satisfactory. But how was it spoken of by the noble Lord in introducing it to the House on the first night of the meeting of Parliament? If he had told us that Sir Redvers Buller, who was a distinguished officer, was going to become a police magistrate that would have been dif- ferent. I must refer, however, to the extraordinary, and—if I may say so without offence—the most shallow fallacy of the noble Lord in comparing this appointment with that of Sir Charles Warren, who has no military authority in London. He has no military capacity whatever; it is in abeyance. [Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: So it is here.] If he remains on the active list, which I do not know, he cannot give a single order to a single soldier, or if he did so he would not be fit for his office. Is that to be the position of Sir Redvers Buller? [Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: Yes.] Can he give no orders to the military in Kerry? [Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: Yes.] Ah, then your comparison fails. [Home Rule cheers.] It is, I repeat, a most wretched fallacy. I gather from the noble Lord's attitude that he agrees that Sir Redvers Buller is to have no military authority in Kerry.


said, he would be in the same position as any other magistrate.


If that be so, what was the meaning of the cheers from the Conservatives on the other side of the House? I am sure that if that had been understood it would, very probably, have disposed of this Motion. Let us see what the language of the noble Lord was on the first night of the Session. It was very different. The noble Lord said— Her Majesty's Government have decided to appoint a special military officer … to the command of the disturbed districts, with such powers as we believe will enable him to organize arrangements for the restoration of order. I do not think it unnatural for us to have supposed that those were to be extraordinary powers. And for the cessation of the reign of terror which there prevails. This general officer will be directly responsible to my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary; and the officer whom Her Majesty's Government have selected, and who has consented to undertake the duty, is Sir Redvers Buller. If instead of that the noble Lord had said that they were going to send Sir Redvers Buller as a magistrate to Kerry, I doubt whether it would have been received with so much enthusiasm, or created so much alarm on this side of the House. It is certainly of the spirit of our institutions in recent times that the distinction should be carefully preserved between the civil action of the Civil Magistrates and the action of the military officer when it was necessary that the military officer should be called in to support the civil power. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) the other night referred rather in a spirit of taunt to my action with reference to the disturbances in Skye. [Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH: No.] I am glad to hear that. What was done in that case? I took care that the military should be used as a secondary force, the police being put in the forefront. I warned the authorities in Scotland that the moment the police or magistrates were withdrawn, the military would be withdrawn also, so that there should be no possibility of the military acting as a separate authority. If you think a distinguished military officer will make you an excellent magistrate, I have not a word to say against that; but then I think it most desirable that while so acting you should dissever him from his military character. I want to know, in the first place, is Sir Redvers Buller, when he becomes a Civil Magistrate, to remain a Military Commandant in that district? Does he supersede all the other magistrates in the district? And, in the next place, what is to be his relation to the Inspector General of the Constabulary in Ireland, because on that depends very much what would be the effect of his appointment on the Irish Constabulary? I heard with satisfaction from the noble Lord the strong and sound language he spoke out in defence of the Irish Constabulary in Belfast. I think the attacks made upon them have been most mischievous and most dangerous. But in what we do we must be very careful not to shake the organization of the Irish Constabulary. Though military in character it is a civil force, and if you import into it a military command you will very seriously affect the character of the Irish Constabulary, and if you import a person into a district of Ireland independent of, and superior to, the Inspector General, you very seriously shake his authority. Therefore I think we ought to be told what will be the effect of the appointment, if it is to be independent of the Inspector General of the Constabulary. If the Constabulary in Kerry are to be subject to the authority of the Inspector General, exactly as any other constabulary in Ireland, then I think the objections taken are very much removed. I think it was a great pity in a matter of this kind this was not carefully explained, so as to remove misapprehension and alarm either in England or in Ireland. I do not want to use any inflammatory language—there has been too much on the other side—but it is very natural that an appointment of this kind, announced in this way, should cause commotion and comment. It is the natural consequence of the language used, especially by Lord Salisbury, with reference to the Irish people. ["Oh, oh!"] You cry "Oh, oh!" Do you think it has been forgotten that Lord Salisbury compared Irish people to Hottentots? I think in these matters it is desirable that an appointment of this kind should have been cautiously, carefully, and prudently introduced. All I can say is, that if I am correct in the interpretation which I have placed on the explanations given by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary—that Sir Redvers Buller stands in no other position and authority than that of an ordinary Divisional Magistrate in that district—I do not feel called upon to object, and I should not be justified in objecting, to the course the Government have taken. They incur a great responsibility. They are responsible for the preservation of peace in Ireland, and they ought to take the course which they think best for that purpose. But the noble Lord has entered into some speculations as to the reason why this Motion has been brought forward. I happened to be in the country last night, and did not hear that the Motion was to be brought on until I read something in the newspapers this morning to that effect. The noble Lord has made a most singular suggestion, not very dignified, coming as it did from the Leader of the House, as to the object of this Motion. I quite feel that my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) deserves all the compliments which the noble Lord has paid him. But really I think the noble Lord was laying on the flattery a little too thick when he resorted to such an explanation for a Motion of this character. The idea of a Motion of this kind being brought forward for any such purpose as that suggested seems to me so utterly preposterous as to be un- worthy of notice. I do not see how the Motion is going to prevent my right hon. Friend from addressing the House, and therefore it is hardly worthy of the noble Lord to have used such an argument as that to us. I hope this debate will not be long continued, though I think the attitude which the Government have taken in the matter is one which is rather provoking. If the noble Lord had been wise enough to have followed the example of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, and had given moderate explanations in this matter calculated to remove the anxiety felt, it would have been more in the interests of Public Business. I hope, however, in these circumstances, it will be considered that we will take rather the version of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary than the "flare up" of the noble Lord as to the real meaning of this action. That being so, I hope hon. Members will now give the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham an opportunity of addressing the House.

MR. J. E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)

said, that, in his opinion, the matter would well bear a little further examination. It seemed to him as if the noble Lord opposite (Lord Randolph Churchill) attached very little importance to the discussion that had been raised, for he had intimated that the decision of the House upon it would be treated as waste paper. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) did not think, by using such language as that, the noble Lord was likely to commend himself to the House as a worthy occupant of the position of its Leader. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) most indignantly repudiated the suggestion of the noble Lord as to the reason why this Motion had been brought forward. He and the hon. Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Mr. E. R. Russell) were primarily responsible for the subject being brought under the notice of the House; and neither he nor his hon. Friend was desirous of shirking the responsibility of raising a question which went to the root of our civil and religious liberty. The reason why the question had been raised at that juncture was because they learnt from the Press that Sir Redvers Buller was to proceed on his Irish mission to-morrow. The question was, therefore, an urgent one. He thought that the thanks of the House were due to the Mover of the Motion for raising a discussion on so important a subject, and also for having afforded the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition an opportunity of explaining the relations between military and civil law in regard to this matter. The noble Lord had suggested that the Motion was brought forward to delay the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain). But it had certainly no such object, though there were some who thought that right hon. Gentleman was not quite the important personage that the noble Lord seemed to consider him. The right hon. Gentleman had a very small handful of followers in that House, and his position in the country was ridiculously exaggerated. He could, however, assure the noble Lord and the Member for West Birmingham that there was no thought of the convenience of the right hon. Gentleman, or of the time at which he was likely to address the House, when it was arranged to bring forward this Motion. He wished most emphatically to express his objection to the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller. He wished, in the most emphatic terms, to express his detestation of the sort of crime and outrage which appeared still to prevail in the county of Kerry. And, further, he would repeat in that House what he had said on the platform, a regret that the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) and some of his Friends should have occasionally used language which was not of a soothing character, and he thought that what they had said in times gone by would have been better left unsaid. But he was ready to make allowance for the position in which they were placed, and he acknowledged the moderation that had characterized the speeches of hon. Members below the Gangway since the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian made his offer. The matter with which they were dealing went to the root of our Constitutional liberties, and there were special reasons at the present moment why they should look further into it. The Secretary of State for War (Mr. W. H. Smith) said, in answer to a Question from him (Mr. J. E. Ellis), that he was happy to inform him that there was no likelihood of any disturbance in the Midland or Northern counties. He represented a Midland and Northern county, and knew the state of feeling there. He deprecated the fact that a paragraph should be put in The Times and other papers of such a provocative nature as that to which he had referred. It had also been stated in the Press that there had been a meeting up stairs of military Members of the House. He was sometimes surprised at the frequency with which, in replying from the Front Bench—


Order, order! I must ask the hon. Member to keep strictly to the Question of the appointment of a military officer in Ireland.


said, he bowed to the Speaker's ruling, and hoped that the House would understand that the offence was due to inexperience. They really were not at all surprised at the appointment of General Buller, which was the outcome of the policy which had the authority of the Prime Minister, who, when he sat below the Gangway of this House as Lord Robert Cecil, speaking on the subject of Ireland, said— You must teach the Irish people to fear the law before you will get them to obey it. That was precisely where the point of divergence between hon. Members opposite and the Liberal Party came in. That was the law of fear, and the rule of fear. Speaking at the Mansion House, on the 11th of August, Lord Salisbury had said— It is our duty to restore in Ireland that social order, the loss of which is the only just cause of discontent which the people have. ["Hear, hear!"] That, again, was a point where they took issue. They said the loss of social order was not the only just cause of discontent. The Prime Minister meant what he said, and generally said what he meant.


I am sorry again to have to interrupt the hon. Gentleman; but he is not confining himself to the Question.


said, he humbly apologized. The points which required further elucidation were the precise relation which this military officer would have in the civil government; was he to be a military man, or a Divisional Magistrate? Was he to have power to call the military to his aid. There had been, for all time, the most extreme jealousy of the interference of the military with the civil power. One of the most vital parts of our Constitution was the absolute distinction it drew between the civil and military powers. The Army itself existed only by consent of the House of Commons given yearly, and only for a period of 12 months. Anyone who doubted, or did not fully appreciate, the extreme jealousy of military rule or operations known to our Constitution should read the great Charge of Chief Justice Cockburn in the case of the "Queen v. Nelson and Brand," arising out of the Jamaica riots of 1865. What they wanted to know was, whether General Buller was to be a general or a magistrate? They were sent to those Benches to perform a grave and Constitutional duty—to uphold the rights and privileges of their countrymen, as handed down by their forefathers. The noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his place, had told them that the Government would not condescend to argue the matter. They were not disappointed at that announcement; as, probably, the explanation was because the Government could not find reasons for the course they proposed to pursue. The public would judge between the two parties. They had heard something of a final and irrevocable verdict of the country. One verdict, at all events, had been finally and irrevocably given—that was, that Ireland should and must be treated in a different manner to that in which she had been treated during the last century; and he did not think that in the appointment of General Buller a step was being taken towards the satisfaction of the wishes and aspirations of the Irish people.

MR. WADDY (Lincolnshire, Brigg)

said, he desired to know whether the Government would undertake to lay on the Table the instructions and orders that had been given to General Buller? Would they let the House know definitely and distinctly what he was going to do and how he was going to do it? At present they had no distinct statement of what was equally important—namely, of what he was not going to do. Was he going to supersede County Court Judges? He must have civil power in that case. Was he to try common civil cases? Because he thought if they looked they would find that the statement now made was totally different from that previously made with reference to the appointment both in this House and "elsewhere." It was now a purely civil appointment; but when it was first announced it was almost entirely a military one. They had been told by an eminent authority that it was the "absolute determination of the Government to use to the utmost all the existing powers of the ordinary law and all the powers of the existing Military and Police Forces." It followed that General Buller was to have the entire control, not simply as a Civil Magistrate, of the Military as well as the Police Forces. They were told, on the one hand, that the opposite side were not going to have coercion; but, on the other, that they were going practically to introduce martial law. He wanted to know the distinction. He wanted to know was it to be coercion, or was it to be martial law? It was not worth while spending many words over if the Government would only have the kindness to give them the information; but it was worth while spending a good many words about if the Government would not instruct them.

MR. H. J. WILSON (York, W.R., Holmfirth)

said, he desired to ascertain the grounds upon which the Government had selected General Buller. He believed the gallant General was a distinguished officer in the Zulu War. There was no doubt he distinguished himself on that occasion. But how did he distinguish himself? He was chiefly distinguished as the leader of a body of Irregular Cavalry that operated in the war; and the operations of that body were, he believed, very irregular even in war itself. He wanted to give only two illustrations of the spirit and style in which General Buller carried out the instructions and conducted the operations intrusted to him by quoting very briefly from letters of Mr. Archibald Forbes, the war correspondent, who, it was understood, was a great admirer of General Buller. In one letter Mr. Forbes said— Here Buller joined us, but he was not very gay before he had taken his full toll of Zulu blood. In a subsequent letter occurred the following:— Colonel Buller three days ago took out a strong detachment of that strange but wonderfully efficient force of indiscriminate ruffians who serve under him, under the name of Irre- gular Cavalry, on a two days' expedition. … Reaching the bed of the White Umvolosi on the first evening, by daylight on the second morning he engaged in the annexation of cattle. The people in charge of these cattle made a feeble resistance and were not warriors, but policy demanded that a certain number of them should die for the sake of creating an impression, and about a dozen of them fell under the fire of Buller's men. Now, he believed the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was at that time Colonial Secretary, so that he must have been aware of the character of these proceedings; and he should like very much to know whether it was for such services as those that General Buller had been selected for appointment to the present post?


Sir, I should have taken no part in this discussion, because I had, as I think, already answered the questions which the right hon. Gentleman and other speakers have asked as to the terms of Sir Redvers Buller's appointment, but for the outrageous attack—for I can characterize it by no other epithet—which has been made upon that gallant and distinguished officer by the hon. Member who has just sat down (Mr. H. J. Wilson). It is perfectly true that I was Colonial Secretary at the time General Buller was engaged in active operations in the Zulu War; and it is also true, and there are many in this House who, knowing that gallant General well, will, in this, confirm me when I say that it is also true that General Buller is as humane as he is brave. And to bring forward such charges against General Buller in this House, on the word of a newspaper correspondent, without the faintest shadow of proof, is, I will venture to say, an outrage on the name and fame of that gallant officer. Sir, we have selected General Buller to go to Kerry because we believe from his experience that he will act constitutionally, justly, humanely, uprightly, and firmly in the task with which he is intrusted. I have stated what his appointment is in answer to the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. E. K. Russell), who, I think, would hardly have brought forward this Motion if he had previously considered the terms of my answer. I stated that General Buller had a civil appoint- ment in Kerry, and not a military command. [Mr. WABDY: What civil appointment?] I stated, in answer to a previous Question of the hon. Member for Glasgow, that General Buller's civil appointment would give him the powers that are possessed in Ireland by other Divisional Magistrates, and I believe that those powers will be sufficient to enable him to do that work of reorganization for the detection and prevention of crime with which he is charged. The difference between General Buller's appointment and theirs is this—that his is a temporary mission, while theirs are permanent appointments. General Buller, having regard to the circumstances—the special and difficult circumstances—of this case, and to the fact that he may have to act at very short notice, is expected largely to act for himself; and he is only to report to and communicate to me in order to insure rapidity of action in any direction in which he may think it desirable to move. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir William Harcourt) asked a question as to the relations of General Buller with the Royal Irish Constabulary. I stated the precise official relations between General Buller and the Inspector General of Constabulary the other night. The right hon. Gentleman my Predecessor in Office (Mr. John Morley) knows very well that Captain Plunket, at this moment Divisional Magistrate of Kerry, is not under the authority of the Inspector General—no more is General Buller. But I should like to read what the Inspector General, without any previous communication from me, has telegraphed with reference to General Buller's appointment. He says— General Buller will receive from myself and all the Royal Irish Constabulary officers the most hearty support, and it will be a great pleasure to me to co-operate with him to the fullest extent of my ability and power.

DR. COMMINS (Roscommon, S.)

said, no answer had been given to the question whether General Buller would have the whole civil and military command in the counties of Clare and Kerry? They had been told that General Buller's appointment was a civil one; but in regard to the military part of it the Treasury Bench would not say whether he still held it or not. He thought that the Government should tell the House whether General Buller had retired from his military command, and also whether, by his civil appointment, he would take precedence of the Lords Lieutenant of Kerry and Clare, who in that capacity made out the Commission of the Peace for their counties, and whether he would be above the Sheriffs of those counties? If he held both these appointments, as a magistrate he would be able to read the Riot Act, and there-upon as a soldier he would have the command of the troops, and could order them to fire on the people if he thought right to do so without any control from the civil authority. If he was so minded, he could act exactly as he acted in Zululand; and that was the position which the Treasury Bench were trying to cloak. They knew that soldiers might he imported into Clare and Kerry and quartered upon the farmers, innkeepers, and others, who would have to maintain them; and he would like to know whether, under these two appointments, General Buller would not have the right of free quartering upon the people? He thought that the only precedent for such an appointment as this was the appointment by Cromwell of his Courts of Major Generals as the first step towards the despotism which he soon afterwards established over this country. Those Courts had been extended by Cromwell to Ireland when he had perfected the system in this country, and they had become known as Cromwell's slaughterhouses. He only hoped that the proposed proceedings would not get a title of that kind. He thought that the House should express a strong opinion upon the danger of such an appointment as this, which would only aggravate the evils which existed in those counties. He did not believe that the noble Lord would treat the opinion of the Irish people, as expressed by their Representatives, in the cavalier way he had in his speech. The appointment he held was an unconstitutional one; and he thought, in view of the feeling expressed by Members of the House, that the Government should withdraw from it. He reminded hon. Members on the opposite Benches that the Irish Police were really as much a portion of the Forces of the Crown as the Royal Guards, being directly under the authority of the Crown, and officered by the Crown, and were even called the Royal Irish Constabulary. He deprecated as much as any- one the crime which existed, and he would like to see crime put down; but crime must be put down by the even-handed force of the law. The law was strong enough to put down crime by regular means; and crime could not be put down by irregular ways. Such irregular ways only gave excuse to people who committed crime; at all events, it got sympathy for them when otherwise they would have no sympathy whatever. He would also like to know the particular fitness of Sir Redvers Buller. Had he any skill as a policeman? Did he know the people of the district, or was he acquainted with the habits of the conspirators? He hoped the Mover of the Adjournment would take a division upon his Motion, and that the division would be such that the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Lord Randolph Churchill) would be forced to respect the opinion of the House.

MR. ILLINGWORTH (Bradford, W.)

said, whatever might have been thought of this question when it was first started, there could now be no doubt whatever that one of the gravest Constitutional questions had been raised at a very critical moment. The proceedings of the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-night had filled him with indignation. A question of urgency had been submitted to the Speaker, and a large body of hon. Members had risen to endorse the view that the question was urgent. Under these circumstances, what was the treatment to which the Leader of the House subjected a large body of its Members? After a speech, in which he delivered himself of his own view, he intimated that the Government would have nothing more to say upon the subject, whatever other information might be laid before the House, or whatever opinion might be expressed. He regarded that as a most unconstitutional and most offensive treatment of the House. He believed they might look through the history of the Leadership of the House, whether under Liberal or Tory Governments, and they would fail to find an instance in which the House had been treated with such contempt. The foolishness and short-sightedness of the course taken by the noble Lord had already been made patent, for after his distinct declaration that, however long this discussion might be continued, no Member of the Government would take part in it, the next most important Member of the Government, the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), rose and expressed his surprise that the character of General Buller should be attacked, and that quotations should be made from newspaper correspondents as to the gallant General's antecedents. In this country, with regard to the conduct of military and naval officers in foreign countries, or in distant parts of the Empire, we were obliged, in the first instance, to depend—and very often we had to depend exclusively—upon the reports of independent witnesses writing for the Press for an account of what was happening in distant countries where our troops were engaged. While it might suit the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland to try to maintain the character of Sir Redvers Buller, the people of this country would look with anxiety and alarm at the antecedents of this English General, because they had been unable to learn from any Member of the Government that this English General had any other qualifications for the post to which he had been appointed. They were still in the dark as to an important part of General Buller's functions. They were to be told that General Buller was to be clothed with civil authority, and made a Civil Magistrate; but he was to be responsible to no one except the Lord Lieutenant and the Chief Secretary for Ireland. What they wanted to know was, whether he had been stripped of his military power? Was he to be invested with two authorities? Did he go as a double-barrelled gun, having both civil authority and military power in his hands? They were told that his appointment as a magistrate was only temporary. But how temporary? How did they know that the course the Government were pursuing, instead of extinguishing lawlessness or mitigating it, might not increase it? He remembered the time when there were riots in the North of England. The people then had this great safeguard, that the military force could not be employed except upon the authority of the magistrates known in the locality. If the substitution of civil authority for military authority had been proposed in the North of England, the people would have risen in arms against it. The noble Lord had suggested—and it showed the spirit in which he was disposed to treat hon. Members of the House—that this discussion had been originated in order to offer embarrassment to the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain), and so prevent the House hearing him. Those who carried their noses low caught more disagreeable smells than other people. But the motive which the noble Lord attributed to many hon. Members of the House was one which had not entered into their thoughts for a moment. The Motion was brought forward because it was found out that Sir Redvers Buller was immediately going to Ireland. Whether the modern relationship between the noble Lord and the right hon. Member for West Birmingham had placed the noble Lord in possession of special information he did not know, but the noble Lord was in error. He could only augur the worst results as to the Leadership of the House from the way in which the noble Lord had conducted the Business of the House that evening.

COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, S.W., Ince)

said, he knew General Sir Redvers Buller well. He was a man of remarkable ability and of tried administrative capacity and humane man, and as attached to the Constitution as any hon. Gentleman in that House; and, in his opinion, the Government had intrusted the administration of the law in Kerry to most capable hands. He could assure the House that if Sir Redvers Buller found that any landlord in Kerry was really abusing his power and authority he was just the man who would not be slow to tell him so. Therefore he sincerely trusted and appealed to hon. Gentlemen, if they wished that the state of anarchy which prevailed in Kerry should be put down without bloodshed or harshness, not to interfere with the arrangements which the Government had made, and to refrain from doing anything to prevent General Buller from carrying out and discharging his difficult duty, a duty which would probably be as unpalatable to him as it would be to any military officer or any man to whom it might be entrusted.

MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

said, he had been strongly impressed with—and he agreed with the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Illingworth)—the impropriety of the tone the Leader of the House had adopted with reference to the subject before it. The noble Lord amused the House and they had a hearty laugh over it; but he could assure the House that this appointment was not a subject for laughter to the people of Ireland. It was possible, it was likely, that before Sir Redvers Buller left Kerry it would be found to be no subject for laughter for the people of England. They had in Ireland precedents for proceedings like this, although they might not have had them in English history for a long time past; but he challenged any hon. Member in the House to look back to the history of Ireland and to see what were the results which followed in any single instance in which a military officer was employed to take a similar charge, and what had been done over and over again might be attended with similar results. Disturbances were aggravated, the people were possessed with fury, and martial law was rigorously enforced. It was such proceedings and the action of the military officers and the memories which these had left behind in the minds of the Irish people which made Ireland such a trouble to this country to-day. It had been said that they were sending Sir Redvers Buller because he was known to be an able and intelligent man. Were there no men of that description among the civil servants of the Crown in Ireland, who knew, moreover, something of the country, and in the great establishment of magistrates of Ireland men who had much special training in the repression of crime in Ireland, that they could not be got, but that the Government must go to the military and select this hero from Zululand? How, he asked, would the people of Kerry take the appointment? That was an important question, involving an objection sufficient to condemn the appointment in the minds of the people of Ireland, and he contended that their opinion was entitled to some respect on this matter. Englishmen ought to ask themselves the question how the people of Kerry would regard the appointment. Would the people look upon the appointment as an honest effort on the part of the Government to put down crime and restore order? Nothing of the sort. They would look upon Sir Redvers Buller as a man who, to use the words of the Prime Minister (the Marquess of Salisbury), was sent to take command of the district in the interests of the landlords, and to put down by whatever force might be necessary every disorder which interfered with the exterminating policy being carried on there. Let them consider what possible reasons could be alleged in favour of the appointment of such a man as Sir Redvers Buller, or the appointment of any military man at all. What was the work that lay before him when he went down to Kerry? Would he find any force in arms against Her Majesty? Could any hon. Member of the House state a single instance of open resistance to the law in Kerry for the last 10 years? He defied anyone to do so. There had been no such resistance, and he defied the Government to bring forward a single case which General Buller would have to deal with which was not connected with a secret association, the offspring of a process of the worst oppression and tyranny which had ever been practised upon a civilized people. The people of Kerry had been tortured and oppressed by their landlords to such an extent that, although they dreaded and hated the "Moonlighters," they dreaded and hated the landlords more, and it was because of that that the people did not inform against "Moonlighters," and assist to bring them to justice, even when they could. The work to be done in Kerry was not to put down resistance to the law, because there was none, but to break up a secret association. Would any man in that House tell him that Sir Redvers Buller was by training and experience as a soldier the man to deal with a secret association? It was detective work that was required, and if General Buller was sent to Kerry because he was a good detective that only showed that he was not fit to be a soldier. The training of a soldier was rather calculated to incapacitate him for the work required. What was wanted in Kerry to put down this secret association was fair law and justice. Do justice to the people of Ireland and the "Moonlighters" would be heard of no more. He supposed General Buller would have power to call out the military, and to have military patrols in Kerry. Probably one of his first acts would be to have the roads patrolled at night by military. What security, then, was there that Sir Redvers Buller would not consider that every young man found outside his father's door at night in Kerry was a "Moonlighter," and that he should be treated as a rebel in arms? ["Oh!" and cheers.] With ominous cheers from the Ministerial Benches the statement had been received that he would deal with the "Moonlighter" as he would with a rebel found in arms. [Renewed cheers.] Again the statement was cheered, and by that cheer they mean to say that every young man in the county of Kerry who chose to go outside the door of his father's house after dark was to be shot down like a rebel. ["No, no!"] Everything was left to the discretion of General Buller. What power would General Buller have under the Act passed against his (Mr. Dillon's) repeated protest in that House? Under the Arms Act, he might billet soldiers in any house in Kerry. The power of billeting might be turned into a most cruel instrument of oppression. Under this Act, he would have power to break into any house in the county of Kerry under the pretence of searching for arms, and this power again might be used for purposes of oppression. One of the chief things that had embittered the Irish people against the administration of the English law was the unfair way in which the Arms Act had been enforced in different parts of the country. Thus, in the South of Ireland, people had been sentenced to three months' imprisonment under the provision of that Act for the illegal possession of arms, while no sentences whatever had been imposed upon the inhabitants of Belfast for similar offences, although many of them were proved to have not only illegally possessed arms, but to have used them for the purpose of firing upon the Queen's troops. This new appointment was no laughing or joking matter in Ireland. To the Irish people it was a most serious matter, and it was a matter well worthy the consideration of the House. The result of the appointment would be twofold in Kerry—it would increase and intensify the character of the disturbances, and consequently would increase and intensify the hatred that exists among the people to English law, while it would inspirit the Kenmares and the landlords of Kerry to carry on their campaign in Kerry. For 25 years before this exterminating campaign commenced in January, and 1,600 people had been sent to the hedges and ditches, there was no "Moonlighting" and no outrage.


said, he must remind the hon. Member that the state of Kerry was not the Question before the House, but the appointment of a military officer.


said, he bowed to the ruling of the Speaker, but thought his remarks were pertinent, as Kerry was the district to which General Buller was to be sent. He wished to know whether General Bullor would have the power of calling into the district extra military and extra police; whether the extra police would be charged on the people; whether he would have the power of quartering troops on the people of the district; whether he would have he power of ordering arrests; whether he would have power to examine prisoners in secrecy; and whether he would have any control over the magistrates in the infliction of sentences? These were questions the Government had not answered at all, and yet they were questions of the utmost importance to the people of the district. When Mr. Clifford Lloyd was in control of the district he surrounded whole villages with a large force of military and police, and arrested everyone whom he thought capable of doing any mishief. He held his Courts secretly in barns and other buildings, and excluded the Press, so that it was impossible to know what transpired except from the prisoners themselves. He refused bail in cases where the accused were entitled to it. He (Mr. Dillon) wished to know whether this sort of terrorism was to be carried out now, and whether General Buller was to order the magistrates of the country to refuse bail for certain classes of offences, where, in their own discretion, they would accept bail? He wished to know whether he was to have the power to direct the magistrates as to the infliction of sentences under the Arms Act? He could not but believe that the Government were only training General Buller for the Coercion Act which they were about to pass subsequently—that it was not Kerry they had in their minds, but the whole of Ireland. If General Buller had any reputation, he was most likely to leave it behind him among the "Moonlighters" of Kerry. General Buller had a tough task before him. He had won a reputation, and not a very enviable one, in Zululand; and he would have better consulted his name, his honour as a soldier, and the character of the uniform he wore, if he had declined to place himself in the position of head detective to break up a secret society.

MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)

said, he would like to point out that the Government were responsible for the administration of law and order; and the Constitution of the country conferred upon the Government certain powers, among others that of appointing officials. On this occasion the Government were not proposing to ask Parliament for any special or exceptional powers. If they were, he could have understood why such a discussion should have arisen. But as they did not ask exceptional powers, the Government were responsible, in carrying out their powers, to keep within the limits of the law and the Constitution. The Irish need have no fear of any illegal act on the part of General Buller or the Government, because the Government, although they were the Government, could not go beyond the limits of the Constitution, and could not confer any rights or powers which the law did not confer upon themselves. That being so, he thought hon. Members on his side of the House must see the very inconvenient position in which they were placing right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench. Some day—and he cared not how soon in certain circumstances—the Gentlemen forming the Front Opposition Bench now might be occupying again the Front Bench opposite; and if such a question arose, would they not be the first to say—Why should the House of Commons interfere in a matter which the law had delegated to the Executive Government of the country, and for which the Executive of the country was alone responsible? He, therefore, held that so long as the Executive simply acted on the law as at present existing, so long as they did not come to Parliament and ask for exceptional powers, the duty of the House of Commons was to leave the administration of the law in the hands of those who, by the Constitution, were responsible for it. He felt that they would be adopting a precedent which would be most inconvenient and likely to seriously embarrass the procedure of any future Liberal Government if they interfered in this matter.

MR. T. C. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)

said, he had been a long time associated with the county of Kerry. He knew something of the history of the people, and of the causes which had led to the necessity for the appointment of Sir Redvers Buller. He should not be discharging his duty as an Irish Member if he did not enter his protest against the policy which Her Majesty's Government were pursuing in taking the administration of the law in Kerry and Clare out of the hands of the men who had ordinarily administered it in those counties, who knew those counties and knew the circumstances of those counties, and who had been associated with the administration of the law there for years, and placing it in the hands of a man who had never yet set foot in Ireland. What explanation did Her Majesty's Government give of the manner in which they cashiered Captain Plunket, the Divisional Magistrate who had charge of Kerry and Clare? One of the reasons why they (the Irish Members) objected to this appointment, regarded it with the gravest suspicion, and thought it dangerous to the peace of Ireland and likely to exasperate the people was that, while Sir Redvers Buller would exercise civil powers, he would continue to hold his military appointment. It was believed that Sir Redvers Buller had not been sought by the Government to go to Ireland; but that in pursuance of his military instruction, and in obedience to the gossip which he heard in London, he had volunteered his services for a duty which must bring him into conflict with the people. So far as he (Mr. T. C. Harrington) and his Colleagues were concerned, if Sir Redvers Buller went to Ireland with the intention of only addressing himself to the extermination of "Moonlighting" in Kerry, to restore social order, and if he discharged that duty in an impartial manner, he would have their heartiest support; but his (Mr. T. C. Harrington's) knowledge of the administration of the law in that country forced him to the conviction that when men of that class went to the country they placed themselves in connection with the local magistrates, who were all landlords. No one had more reason than he and his Colleagues to sympathize with any genuine effort to extirpate crime. At risk and danger to themselves they had endeavoured to grapple with it. But the policy of the Government was not of that character. He warned the Chief Secretary that he had, to some extent, been made a dupe in this business, and that while he was to be responsible to him, Sir Redvers Buller was really sent to Ireland with wholly undefined powers—for the Government were not even agreed as to the powers he should possess—and for a purpose which the Chief Secretary did not know. The real men who had been at the root of all the evil, and who, during the last six years, had promoted outrage and crime by evicting more than 1,000 tenants, and who bred discontent in that part of the country, he would tell the Government were not the agitators, but the landlord class.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 146; Noes 241: Majority 95.

Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.) Esmonde, Sir T. H. G.
Esslemont, P.
Acland, A. H. D. Farquharson, Dr. R.
Allison, R. A. Fenwick, C.
Anderson, C. H. Finucane, J.
Atherley-Jones, L. Flower, C.
Balfour, Sir G. Flynn, J. C.
Biggar, J. G. Foley, P. J.
Blake, J. A. Gane, J. L.
Blane, A. Gilhooly, J.
Borlase, W. C. Gill, H. J.
Bradlaugh, C. Gladstone, H. J.
Bright, W. L. Gray, E. D.
Broadhurst, H. Harrington, E.
Brown, A. L. Harrington, T. C.
Burt, T. Hayden, L. P.
Buxton, S. C. Hayne, C. Seale-
Byrne, G. M. Healy, M.
Campbell, H. Holden, I.
Carew, J. L. Hooper, J.
Chance, P. A. Howell, G.
Channing, F. A. Hunter, W. A
Clancy, J. J. Illingworth, A.
Cobb, H. P. Jacoby, J. A.
Commins, A. James, C. H.
Condon, T. J. Jordan, J.
Connolly L. Kelly, B.
Conway, M. Kenny, C. S.
Conybeare, C. A. V. Kenny, M. J.
Corbet, W. J. Labouchere, H.
Cossham, H. Lalor, R.
Cox, J. R. Lawson, H. L. W.
Craig, J. Leahy, J.
Craven, J. Leamy, E.
Crawford, D. Lockwood, F.
Crawford, W. M'Arthur, W. A.
Cremer, W. R. M'Cartan, M.
Crilly, D. M'Donald, P.
Crossley, E. M'Donald, Dr. R.
Dillon, J. M'Ewan, W.
Dillwyn, L. L. M'Kenna, Sir J. N.
Ellis, T. E. M'Laren, W. G. B.
Mahony, P. Roe, T.
Mappin, F. T. Rowlands, J.
Marum, E. M. Rountree, J.
Mason, S. Schwann, C. E.
Mayne, T. Sexton, T.
Molloy, B. C. Shaw, T.
Nolan, Colonel J. P. Sheehan, J. D.
Nolan, J. Sheehy, D.
O'Brien, J. F. X. Sheil, E.
O'Brien, P. Shirley, W. S.
O'Brien, P. J. Simon, Sir J.
O'Connor, A. Stuart, J.
O'Connor, J. (Kerry) Sullivan, D.
O'Connor, J. (Tippry.) Sullivan, T. D.
O'Connor, T. P. Summers, W.
O'Dohertv, J. E. Sutherland, A.
O'Hanlon, T. Swinburne, Sir J.
O'Hea, P. Tanner, C. K.
O'Kelly, J. Tuite, J.
Pease, A. E. Waddy, S. D.
Pickard, B. Wallace, R.
Pickersgill, E. H. Warmington, C. M.
Picton, J. A. Watson, T.
Pinkerton, J. Watt, H.
Potter, T. B. Wayman, T.
Power, P. J. Will, J. S.
Power, R. Wilson, H. J.
Provand, A. D. Wright, C.
Pyne, J. D. Yeo, F. A.
Quinn, T.
Redmond, W. H. K. TELLERS.
Reynolds, W. J. Ellis, J. E.
Richard, H. Russell, E. R.
Roberts, J. B.
Addison, J. E. W. Burghley, Lord
Agg-Gardner, J. T. Caine, W. S.
Ambrose, W. Caldwell, J.
Anstruther, Colonel R. H. L. Campbell, J. A.
Chamberlain, R.
Anstruther, H. T. Charrington, S.
Ashmead-Bartlett, E. Churchill, rt. hn. Lord R. H. S.
Baden-Powell, G. S.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Clarke, Sir E. G.
Baillie-Cochrane, hon. C. W. A. N. Coddington, W.
Coghill, D. H.
Baird, J. G. A. Commerell, Adml. Sir J. E.
Balfour, rt. hon. A. J.
Balfour, G. W. Cooke, C. W. R.
Banes, Major G. E. Corbett, A. C.
Bartley, G. C. T. Corbett, J.
Barttelot, Sir W. B. Corry, Sir J. P.
Bates, Sir E. Cotton, Capt. E. T. D.
Baumann, A. A. Cranborne, Viscount
Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks- Cross, H. S.
Curzon, Viscount
Beadel, W. J. Dalrymple, C.
Bentinck, Lord H. C. Davenport, H. T.
Bentinck, W. G. C. Davenport, W. B.
Bethell, Commander G. R. De Lisle, E. J. L. M. P.
Blundell, Col. H. B. H. De Worms, Baron H.
Bond, G. H. Dimsdale, Baron R.
Bonsor, H. C. O. Dixon, G.
Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C. Donkin, R. S.
Duncan, Colonel F.
Bristowe, T. L. Duncombe, A.
Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F. Dyke, rt. hon. Sir W. H.
Brookfield, Col. A. M. Egerton, hn. A. J. F.
Bruce, Lord H. Elliot, hon. A. R. D.
Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Elliot, Sir G.
Ash.-B. Elliot, G. W.
Elton, C. I. Kenyon - Slaney, Col. W.
Evelyn, W. J.
Ewart, W. Ker, R. W. B.
Eyre, Colonel H. King-Harman, Colonel E. R.
Farquharson, H. R. Knightley, Sir R.
Fellowes, W. H. Knowles, L.
Fergusson, right hon. Sir J. Lafone, A.
Field, Admiral E. Lambert, I. C.
Finch, G. H. Lawrence, W. F.
Finlay, R. B. Lea, T.
Fisher, W. H. Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.
Fitzgerald, R. U. P. Lees, E.
Folkestone, right hon. Viscount Legh, T. W.
Forwood, A. B. Leighton, S.
Fry, L. Lethbridge, Sir R.
Fulton, J. F. Lewis, C. E.
Gedge, S. Lewisham, right hon. Viscount
Gent-Davis, R. Long, W. H.
Gibson, J. G. Low, M.
Giles, A. Lowther, J. W.
Gilliat, J. S. Macartney, W. G. E.
Godson, A. F. Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A.
Goldsmid, Sir J. MacInnes, M.
Goldsworthy, Major-General W. T. Maclean, J. M.
Gorst, Sir J. E. Maclure, J. W.
Gray, C. W. M'Calmont, Captain J.
Grimston, Viscount Mallock, R.
Grotrian, F. B. Marriott, rt. hn. W. T.
Grove, Sir T. F. Maskelyne, M. H. N. Story-
Halsey, T. F. Matthews, rt. hon. H.
Hambro, Col. C. J. T. Maxwell, Sir H. E.
Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F. Mills, hon. C. W.
Hamilton, Lord C. J. More, R. J.
Hamilton, Lord E. Morrison, W.
Hamilton, Col. C. E. Mount, W. G.
Hastings, G. W. Mowbray, R. G. C.
Heathcote, Capt. J. H. Edwards- Mulholland, H. L.
Herbert, hon. S. Muntz, P. A.
Hervey, Lord F. Noble, W.
Hill, right hon. Lord A. W. Norris, E. S.
Hill, A. S. Northcote, hon. H. S.
Hill, Colonel E. S. Norton, R.
Hingley, B. O'Neill, hon. R. T.
Hoare, S. Parker, hon. F.
Hobhouse, H. Pearce, W.
Hodge, R. T. H. Pelly, Sir L.
Holland, rt. hon. Sir H. T. Penton, Captain F. T.
Holmes, rt. hon. H. Percy, Lord A. M.
Hornby, W. H. Pitt-Lewis, G.
Howard, J. Plowden, Sir W. C.
Howard, J. M. Plunket, rt. hon. D. R.
Howorth, H. H. Powell, F. S.
Hozier, J. H. C. Puleston, J. H.
Hubbard, rt. hn. J. G. Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.
Hughes-Hallett, Col. F. C. Rankin, J.
Hunt, F. S. Rasch, Major F. C.
Hunter, Sir G. Reid, H. B.
Isaacs, L. H. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Isaacson, F. W. Ritchie, rt. hon. C. T.
Jackson, W. L. Robertson, J. P. B.
Jennings, L. J. Robinson, B.
Johnston, W. Rollitt, Sir A. K.
Kelly, J. R. Ross, A. H.
Kennaway, Sir J. H. Russell, Sir G.
Kenyon, hon. G. T. Russell, T. W.
Salt, T.
Sandys, Lieut-Col. T. M.
Saunderson, Col. E. J. Tottenham, A. L.
Selwyn, Capt. C. W. Townsend, G. F.
Seton-Karr, H. Tyler, Sir H. W.
Shaw-Stewart, M. H. Verdin, R.
Sidebotham, J. W. Vincent, C. E. H.
Sidebottom, T. H. Walsh, hon. A. H. J.
Sidebottom, W. Waring, Colonel T.
Sinclair, W. P. Watkin, Sir E. W.
Smith, rt. hon. W. H Watson, J.
Smith, A. Webster, Sir. R. E.
Smith, D. Webster, R. G.
Smith-Barry, A. H, Weymouth, Viscount
Spencer, J. E. White, J. B.
Stanhope, rt. hon. E. Whitley, E.
Stanley, E. J. Wilson, Sir S.
Sutherland, T. Wodehouse, E. R.
Swetenham, E. Wood, N.
Talbot, J. G. Wortley, C. B. Stuart-
Taplin, T. K. Yerburgh, R. A.
Temple, Sir R. Young, C. E. B.
Theobald, J.
Thorburn, W. TELLERS.
Tollemache, H. J. Douglas, A. Akers-
Tomlinson, W. E. M. Walrond, Col. W. K.