§ MR. P. MCDONALD (Sligo, N.)
said, he desired to touch as lightly as possible on the occurrences of which so much had been heard, and which were alluded to with the prejudice and want of information shown in the speech, in the previous day's debate, of the hon. Member for North Belfast (Mr. W. Ewart). The hon. Gentleman stated that the lamentable riots in Belfast were due to a desire on the part of the Protestants of that place to enter a protest against the principle of the repeal of the Union. The hon. Gentleman must be very oblivious to the events of the day, and a very careless reader of the newspapers, to have come to such a conclusion. Was the hon. Gentleman not aware that for the last 40 years the ques- 1097 tion of the repeal of the Union was not before the country? The hon. Gentleman further enlarged on the hostility of Catholics towards Protestants throughout the country, and to his statements on the subject he begged to give the most unqualified denial. He (Mr. McDonald) defied anyone to point out a single instance where the Catholics of Ireland had in any way interfered with the exercise by the Protestants of their religious duties. As one who knew almost every town in Ireland, he could not call to mind a single case of disagreement between these two religious sections of the people in any matter unconnected with politics. In proof of the truth of his statement, it was hardly necessary to go beyond the House of Commons itself, where on these Benches eight or ten Protestant Irish Members sat in company with their Catholic compatriots. They grasped one another by the hand of friendship and brotherly love, totally regardless of where they bowed the knee on the Sabbath. For Ireland's national objects the question of religious belief was of no consequence whatever. If this wretched sectarian strife of the North, fostered as it was by fanatical preachings for personal or political purposes, be allowed to continue, unquestionably it would long be a blot on the fair fame of Belfast. It was already a disgrace to the town and to the Government which permitted it. The hon. Member for North Belfast said that Catholics in Belfast were not prevented from getting employment in the factories there. It was a fact, however, that in the shipbuilding works of Messrs. Hartland and Wolff there were 6,000 persons employed, of whom there were never more than 200 Catholics. At the time of the outbreak of the riots there were only 28, and even they were compelled to leave out of regard to their personal safety. That was a state of things which no responsible Government should permit. Undue importance should not be attached to Orange processions—they consisted of little more than organized tomfoolery. The hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) had clearly shown that undoubtedly the real cause of the riots was the incitement of the people by two reverend firebrands—the Rev. Dr. Kane and the Rev. "Roaring" Hanna, whose efforts were supplemented by the speeches of the noble Lord the Chancellor of the 1098 Exchequer (Lord Randolph Churchill). The noble Lord told the Belfast Orangemen that they must do something that would "rivet the attention of the English democracy." If the Protestants of Ulster were left alone the processions would pass off quietly as mere social recreations; but the incitements of men having influence over them naturally led to deplorable riots such as those that had occurred. The whole of the riotous proceedings was a scandal to civilization, and it was the duty of the Government to have suppressed them at their very inception. The Chancellor of the Exchequer he did not consider the only fomenter. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) shared in the evil work of inciting to disorder. That Gentleman had written a letter virtually advising the Orangemen not to wait for the passing of a certain law, but to rise in arms. It was not to be wondered at that riots should follow such a course of conduct as this. The local magistracy of Belfast had erred grievously. They had stood by silent and inactive whilst the disorder and riot were raging around them. It had been stated with a great deal of truth that 500 men of the Dublin Metropolitan Police with their batons would soon have stopped the Belfast disturbance. But the police had not been allowed to use their batons, as they had been held back by their officers, possibly with the best intentions; and it was only after the riots had had full swing, the houses of Catholics been wrecked, and the police stoned and besieged in their barracks, that the men had been allowed to defend themselves. In the face of this, an hon. Gentleman had the hardihood of making a suggestion that Belfast should have local police such as they had had in 1864. In that force there had only been one Catholic. He thought that they were not likely to fall back upon the establishment of such a force. He recommended to the Government that they should give Belfast a force such as Dublin had—an impartial mixed force, headed by an independent and impartial officer. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had announced his intention of consulting the Mayor and local magistrates of Belfast. The Irish Party thoroughly ap- 1099 preciated and recognized the conciliatory manner of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, and they would reciprocate the good feeling. But, in the face of strong evidence to the contrary, they could not admit that the Mayor of Belfast—a public benefactor, no doubt—was utterly innocent of the charges brought against him. If the Government took their information from, and followed the advice of, the Mayor and Magistracy of Belfast, they would soon find themselves in a sea of trouble. He was desirous, like each Member of his Party, for the maintenance of social order, and would again suggest that the Dublin system—which worked well—should be enforced in Belfast. In Dublin two Resident Divisional Magistrates performed the functions of justice, the City Justices not exercising any control, in order to prevent the stain of partiality or any unfairness. With regard to the amount of loss of life and property in Belfast, he was desirous to know on whom the burden of compensation would fall? If it fell on the local rates, were the Catholics — who were the victims of Orange outrages—to pay for being victimized? He would suggest to Belfast the example of the town of Sligo. In Sligo it had happened that when the Catholics had discovered that miscreants of their own creed had injured Protestant property a Catholic fund was raised to make good the damage. This was a worthy example for Belfast to follow. In conclusion, he would ask the right hon, Gentleman the Chief Secretary not to wait for the Report of the Commission of Inquiry, but to at once act upon the suggestion which he had taken the liberty of throwing out with regard to the local magistracy—namely, for the immediate introduction of a magisterial system in Belfast similar to that in Dublin—and, by so doing, take the surest means to stamp out outrage and restore order in that part of Ireland.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
said, that this debate on the Address had now lasted a considerable time, and during its course many speeches of varied excellence had been delivered. He thought that when the debate was studied in the country, as no doubt a debate of such importance would be, the value that would be given to the speeches which, had been made would mainly depend upon how much light 1100 they threw or how much information they afforded to the British public as to the probability of success that might attend the efforts of Her Majesty's Government to restore law and order in Ireland, and finally to settle the Irish Question. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) said that the question of Ireland was the question of the day; but he might have said of the days—for all days were occupied with the Irish Question. But a smile flickered across the face of the late Prime Minister when he made the remark, and that smile, perhaps, indicated that the Government in undertaking to settle the Irish Question had undertaken a job they would find great difficulty in accomplishing. Ireland had been the question of the hour for many years, a kind of political pons asinorum which Government after Government had set themselves to solve, and instead of the Governments settling the Irish Question, as a rule the Irish Question had settled them. The Government had left nothing to be desired in the statements they had made as to the methods they proposed to adopt to settle this question. Their statements had been clear and distinct, and the majority of the House, of whatever Party, would wish them well in undertaking this difficult and almost insoluble task. The only speech from the Front Opposition Bench which dealt with the whole Irish policy of the Government was that of the right hon. Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt), of whom it was difficult to say what position he held in the House. In the absence of his Leader the right hon. Gentleman was leading the English Separatist Party, and the difficulty in criticizing his speech was to know whether to treat him as a serious politician. The right hon. Gentleman found fault with the method the Government proposed to adopt to restore law and order in Ireland; and the House was now considering the methods the Government proposed to adopt to restore law and order in Belfast. ["Question!"] Surely it was the question to discuss the objections of the right hon. Gentleman to the methods of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman had the rhetorical misfortune to get hold of a sentence that exactly fitted his mouth—he stuck to it like a man; he repeated it 21 times— and the sentence was that "social order 1101 is to be treated absolutely by itself;" the words "social order" being occasionally varied by the words "social disorder." The right hon. Gentleman made the discovery that treating social order by itself was a distinguishing characteristic of Tory Government, and he found fault with the Government for proposing to do so, and said that was the difference between Liberal and Tory policies. Personally, he had tried to discover the difference between the policy of the Tory Party and that of the Liberal Party, but had always failed; and, as far as he could make out—until he heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman—the difference was not in measures, but in the men who were to carry them into effect. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Tories had inscribed on their banners "Social order to be treated absolutely by itself." He supposed the right hon. Gentleman would support the proposal to withdraw the police from Belfast. The right hon. Gentleman said you ought to withdraw the cause before you attempted to deal with the effect. It was stated that bad feeling existed at Belfast as regarded the police, and that the result was that violent and unwarrantable attacks were made upon the members of that body; so that if you withdrew that body, according to the right hon. Gentleman, you would take away the cause of the irritation that had provoked the riots. For half-an-hour the right hon. Gentleman told the House that the Government's policy in Ireland could cot succeed because they proposed to treat social order by itself; and he concluded by faying that the only remedy for the state of Ireland was to grant her a separate Parliament. Since when had the right hon. Gentleman held that opinion? How came it about that in the course of a few months he performed such an astounding political caper? In the month of December he said that the worst possible wish he could offer for his opponents—the Nationalists—was that they might stew in "Parnellite juice."
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. and gallant Gentleman is not speaking to the Amendment before the House The question of social order throughout Ireland is not the subject under discussion. The Amendment refers to the special measures to be taken for the 1102 maintenance of social order in Belfast.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, he should proceed to deal with the Amendment. It was moved by the hon. Member (Mr. Sexton), who was not the Member for West Belfast, who was not the Member for South Sligo, but who was a Member of the House of Commons. There was not much in the Amendment. It was merely a peg on which to hang a speech attacking the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Lord Randolph Churchill), himself (Colonel Saunderson), and others. The speech might be divided into two parts. The last part was much the smaller part, and it was devoted to Belfast. The first part was a much larger part. Three-quarters of it was devoted to the outrageous, scandalous, and criminal conduct of the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Irishmen who held similar views to his (Colonel Saunderson's). According to the hon. Member (Mr. Sexton), they had acted in a manner that was absolutely detestable and criminal. With the permission of the House, he would, first of all, deal with the question of Belfast, and then answer the charges made against himself. His noble Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer could answer for himself, and was well able to fight his own battle. In doing so he (Colonel Saunderson) would ask the indulgence of the House. It might be possible that, in defending himself against the charges that had been made by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sexton) and those who thought with him, he might wander slightly, and travel outside the framework of the Amendment. He was sure, however, that even his opponents would admit that when a Minister of the House had been violently attacked, and his conduct impugned, he had a fair right, at any rate, to try to explain. The hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Sexton) said that the Ministers of the present Government were the cause of the bloodshed, the crime, and the confusion that existed in Belfast. He (Colonel Saunderson) must say that he thought it a wonderful thing that the hon. Member (Mr. Sexton) did not speak longer on the previous day. He only spoke for two hours. When they came to think that the greater portion, of his speech had been simmering and bubbling inside him since last spring— 1103 and no doubt he had devoted some time to adding to and improving it—the only wonder was that he did not speak for a much longer period. He devoted part of his speech to the question of Belfast, and he would deal with that part of it now. The House would see at once that to deal with the question at the present moment was a very difficult one. He had no objection to go into details, and meet objections; but assertions made on one side of the House to be met by counter-assertions on the other side of the House would not enlighten the public mind much. A Public Commission was about to sit which would receive sworn evidence, and he thought it would not be wise for anyone to prejudice the matter. In point of fact, there were trials to take place, and any statement that might be made might have the effect of prejudicing the cases before the Court. The police of Belfast had come in for a considerable share of abuse. He did not wish at all to say anything to the House that would prejudge the question; but, having been in Belfast imimmediately after the riots, and having carefully examined the question as far as he could examine it, he had come to the conclusion that when the Commission of Inquiry sat and took evidence on oath, they would find it clearly shown that a great deal of reckless firing took place at Belfast on the part both of the police and the unfortunate population. The House, however, would take into consideration the state of mind of the people of Belfast, both Roman Catholics and Protestants, at the time the riots took place. They had been excited on the one side to high prospect of attaining Home Rule, and, on the other side, had the prospect of being handed over to the tender mercies of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. The population of Belfast was notoriously an excitable population. He was sorry to say that for many years the Roman Catholic population and the Protestant population of Belfast had, been on anything but good terms. At the same time, the riots that broke out were not altogether attributable to that. No one regretted more deeply than he did these riots, and what had occurred. [Laughter and cries of "Order, order!"] He could quite understand the derision from the other side. But who was answerable 1104 for the condition of feeling of the population of Belfast, and their being driven to a condition of political madness? The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sexton) had said that it was the fault of Members on the Ministerial side; but to his (Colonel Saunderson's) mind the riots in Belfast were the bloodstained legacy that had been inherited from the late Government. To his mind, blood had tracked the course of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) from Khartoum to Belfast. But he must say that he considered that the population of Belfast had met with immense provocation. He did not excuse the violence and outrage committed; but, at the same time, he asked the English people to suspend their judgment until they had heard the evidence which would be given on oath, and until the Commission had reported the result of their inquiry. Then, and then only, could the House be able to come to a just and accurate decision. The hon. Member for Sligo mentioned one of the cases of outrage—the case of an old man who was tarred—as a joke, whereas it was about one of the most barbarous and disgraceful outrages. A newspaper of Belfast followed the very bad example, and also called it a practical joke, But the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) spoke of the dynamite explosion at Salford, where life was lost, as a practical joke. The hon. Member (Mr. Sexton) had also referred in terms of disapprobation to Orangemen. He mixed them up with the riots at Belfast. Now, he (Colonel Saunderson) absolutely denied that the Orangemen of Belfast had anything to do with the riots at Belfast. He did not deny that Protestants had something to do with the matter; but the people that were the chief rioters in the Belfast disturbances were what they called "Corner Boys." They were absolutely beyond all control. They were the roughs, such as undoubtedly existed in Belfast and in all other large towns. The Orangemen did all in their power to arrest the riots. The Grand Master of Belfast (Dr. Kane) was a personal friend of his own. He was proud to acknowledge that Dr. Kane was one of his friends, and a very respected one. He issued a manifesto to the Orangemen of Belfast, begging them to do all in their power to promote peace, and, as far as they could, to in- 1105 fluence the minds of those outside the Order to arrest the violence and disorder. So much for that accusation. Another point with the hon. Member (Mr. Sexton) appeared to be that Orangemen were in the habit of taking a terrific oath, which oath bound them to exterminate the Roman Catholics. [Mr. HARRIS (Galway, E.): Hear, hear!] The hon. Member, no doubt, believed it, but he had been grossly misinformed. No such oath over existed, or anything in the slightest degree resembling it, and no such oath now had any existence. The very opposite was the case, for every Orange Lodge meeting was opened with prayer. ["Oh, oh!" and laughter.] Hon. Members might laugh if they liked, because they were ignorant, but those who had had the privileges as he had had of a knowledge of Orangeism would know that every Orange Lodge was opened with prayer. [Laughter and cheers.] Well, he thought prayer was not a subject to laugh at. One of the prayers used in Orange Lodges was to the effect that Roman Catholics might be rescued from the errors of their ways. He now turned to the speeches of other hon. Members who had followed on the same side, but less eloquently than the hon. Member (Mr. Sexton). They accused the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer, himself (Colonel Saunderson), and others holding the same opinions, of inciting the people of Ireland to civil war if the Parliament of England did not make the laws to please them.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
Well, that was very much the same. A challenge had been thrown down by hon. Members opposite that they should repeat in that House the language they had employed in Ulster. He would at once take up the challenge of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon). He would repeat any words that he had ever used in Ireland, and if similar circumstances arose he would use them again. He should now explain the course he and his Friends felt it their duty to take. No one, he hoped, would ever be able to accuse him of saying one thing in Ulster and another in the House of Commons. He and his Friends denied—and he had said it already in that House—they denied that the House of Commons had a right 1106 —they did not say that it had not the power, for it could pass any law it pleased—to separate Ireland from England, and hand her over to a foreign Government. Perhaps he would be allowed to show that a foreign Government was in reality what an Irish Parliament sitting in Dublin would be. A very distinguished Irishman—Mr. Davitt—in Chicago recently made use of the following observations about the Home Rule Bill of the late Government. He said—Mr. Gladstone, the English Minister who, in 1881, sent to gaol without trial no fewer than 1,000 members of the Land League, now fathered a Bill which, if successful, would have made those very men—the same ex-suspects—the practical rulers of their country.Well, the Loyalists of Ireland objected to be governed by an Administration of gaol-birds. Some people might be persuaded by the clamour of its advocates to grant Home Rule; but the Loyalists absolutely refused to recognize such a Government, or to consent to an Administration being created in Dublin from hon. Gentlemen opposite below the Gangway. At any rate, while they had strength enough in their right hands they would do what they could to prevent such a Government ruling over them. From the Opposition side of the House he and other Members had been arraigned for having directly incited to bloodshed and civil war in Belfast, and he was going to show the House that they as Loyalists were perfectly justified in what they had said, and he would ask the country to judge fairly between them and their accusers. What was going on at the present moment? What was the policy of the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway? It was not a British policy, but a foreign policy for the dismemberment of the British Empire, a policy paid for and subsidized by foreign money. When he made that statement before he excited a frightful explosion below the Gangway. Hon. Gentlemen seemed to think they had been insulted. Nothing of the kind. He did not object to their being paid if their paymasters thought they were worth it. He was, therefore, perfectly justified in looking on them as foreign delegates paid by foreign money. On the authority of one of the hon. Members below the Gangway, he would show that the Nationalists professed a foreign policy, and that it was promoted by 1107 foreign money. He was not in the habit of making random statements, and he would back up what he said by an extract from a speech made by the hon. Member for South Tipperary (Mr. John O'Connor) at a meeting of the Cork National League, just before the Election in 1885. The hon. Member made the following statement:—There was a general impression that the new Members of the Party serving in Parliament were to be paid for their service. They ought to be very cautious, and not rest their hopes too strongly upon this, lest they might not be fulfilled. He (Mr. O'Connor) knew Mr. Parnell's mind on the subject, and he would say that he wanted to return 90 Members of three classes. The first class would be independent Members, who would be able to maintain themselves in London; then the second class would be men who could afford to come to London and vote on special and particular occasions; while the third class would be composed of men of transcendental ability, who would have their expenses paid in London. Mr. Parnell paid these men out of the National League funds raised abroad.He (Colonel Saunderson) quoted this in order to substantiate the position he had taken up when he said that he and his Friends would not have these men to reign over them. He submitted that those hon. Gentleman, consisting of the first, second, and third classes, were carrying out a foreign policy. He did not know who were the men of transcendental ability who were paid; but two of them who had lost their seats, especially Mr. William O'Brien and Mr. Healy, were to have places found for them. ["Hear, hear!"] That was a very weak "Hear, hear!" indeed; and perhaps there was a natural jealousy on the Benches opposite of their superior ability. Probably it came from hon. Members who were trembling in their shoes lest they should have to immolate themselves in order to make room for Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Healy. Some hon. Members were able to live in Colorado or Paris out of the funds; but the large proportion of the hon. Gentlemen who formed the Nationalist Party were not considered worth their keep in London. Therefore he consinered that he had made out his case; and when he asserted that the Party opposite was a foreign Party, and that they were paid by foreign money, he thought he did not make a rash assertion.
§ MR SPEAKER
Order, order! must inform the hon. and gallant Mem- 1108 ber that he is not speaking at all to the question before the House. The hon. and gallant Gentleman must remember that the question before the House has reference to the Belfast riots, and not to the general terms of the Address.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
I bow to your ruling at once, Sir. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Sexton) had charged him with having incited to civil war.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, that he repeated and distinctly stated in Ireland that if the House of Commons passed a law and handed him, and those who thought with him, over to the tender mercies of hon. Gentlemen opposite, on the whole they would be justified in the last resort of appealing to force. He repeated that statement again now in the House of Commons. He most distinctly stated that in his opinion the House of Commons had no right to snap asunder the bonds of union which connected one part of the Empire with the other against the will of a considerable portion of the people of Ireland.
§ MR. SEXTON
Mr. Speaker, I rise to Order. I beg to ask you, Sir, whether an hon. Member of this House is in Order in declaring that, in the event of a certain law being passed by this House, he and his followers would be entitled to resort to arms against it?
§ MR. SPEAKER
What has fallen from the hon. and gallant Gentleman does not call for my intervention.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Derby)
I think, Sir, that we ought to know whether an hon. Member is entitled to say that if this House and the Parliament pass a certain law which is disliked by a considerable portion of the people of a country, that those people would be justified in resorting to force? This is a most important question, and it would be as well if both sides of the House were to understand whether such language was permissible.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL) (Paddington, S.)
said: I rise, Sir, to a 1109 point of Order. I would ask, Sir, whether it is not the practice of this House —a custom dating from time immemorial—when any question is raised on words used by any hon. Member, and to which objection has been taken, whether it is not the proper course that a Motion be made that the words be taken down?
§ MR SPEAKER
I desire to point out that the question raised does scarcely refer to Parliamentary Order. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) asks me to say if the words used by the hon. and gallant Gentleman were in Order. The words used by the hon. and gallant Gentleman were that in the event of a certain measure passing he would think it necessary to have recourse to a particular line of action. That is clearly not a point on which I can interfere, because it has nothing whatever to do with the debates in this House.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
resuming, said, that he absolutely denied that he made use of the words attributed to him by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir William Harcourt). He had stated distinctly that it was only on one point, he believed, that he should feel justified in employing force in a certain contingency, and he believed that hon. Gentlemen opposite would in similar circumstances do the same. [Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT: No.] Perhaps not on the present occasion; but then the right hon. Gentleman changed his mind so quickly. The reason he (Colonel Saunderson) employed the language in the House of Commons which he had used in Ireland was because he felt bound, as an honest man, to repeat in the House that which, he had used on the other side of the Channel, and which hon. Gentlemen opposite stated that they saw the disastrous results of in the Belfast riots. He denied this. He was prepared, if need be, to defend his words in that House. He was afraid that he had already detained the House of Commons too long; but be would repeat that he did use those expressions in Ulster and now repeated them here; but he absolutely denied that any words of his, or any of his Friends, had had any effect whatever in influencing the actions of the Belfast mobs. The Belfast mob was not under their control; it acted upon laws of its own. He most earnestly hoped that one result 1110 of the action of Her Majesty's Government would be to teach the Belfast mob, whether Protestant or Catholic, that the law must be obeyed in Belfast as in other parts of Ireland. He thanked the House—and especially hon. Gentlemen opposite from Ireland—for the hearing it had accorded him. It was always willing to listen to anyone who could contribute anything to the subject under discussion, and he was tolerably well informed on the unfortunate question under debate; and he could assure the House that although there might be many in Ireland who held views diametically opposed to theirs and in favour of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman the late Prime Minister (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), yet there was a great section of the population in Ireland who were just as loyal and determined to maintain the authority of the Crown and of the law in Ireland as were to be found in any other part of Her Majesty's Empire.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY (Newcastle-on-Tyne)
I am sure, Sir, that we all regret very much the unkindly circumstances, whatever they were, which brought the speech of the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Saunderson) to what looked something rather like an untimely and premature end. We could all very well understand that the line of argument which the hon. and gallant Member was pursuing could not be very pleasing in the ears of his Leaders, who have persistently since the beginning of the Session—I am sorry to say not always before—urged the discussion of Irish subjects in a tone of moderation and of legality. We cannot quite part company with the hon. and gallant Member without taking note of one very astonishing announcement which he ventured to make on the floor of the British House of Commons. That announcement was nothing less than this—and I, for one, entirely recognize and cordially respect the hon. and gallant Member's courage in making it here, as in Ulster— that if Parliament passed, and the Sovereign assented to, an Act in reference to the government of Ireland which did not commend itself to that portion of the population—[Cries of "No!" and "Yes!"] [Mr. SEXTON: What else?] Well, Sir, I will gladly give the hon. and gallant Member the opportunity of repeating what he did say.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
I was speaking of government by a foreign Power. I said, "to hand us over to a foreign Power."
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
That is a mere quibble, I do not care what the object of the Act of Parliament concerned is. What the hon. and gallant Member said was this—that if Parliament passed, and the Sovereign assented to, an Act, whatever its object might be, to which a portion of the population, through its spokesmen, did not approve—[Colonel SAUNDERSON dissented]—I should be honestly anxious not to misrepresent what the hon. and gallant Member said; he has said no more in effect than, what was recommended by the noble Lord. [Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: Hear, hear!] The hon. and gallant Gentleman is popular in the House, and I, for one, should be sorry to see any misfortune befall him. I warn him, however, that the language he has used is the language not of civil war, as he supposes, but the language of a rebel. I do not mean to say that the hon. and gallant Member nourishes thoughts of rebellion in the depths of his heart, but I do say that the course of conduct he has pledged himself to undertake is flat rebellion; and if he ever ventures to make his words good, I am very much afraid that he will meet with the fate and come within the description which he applied to hon. Members below the Gangway—he will become a gaol-bird. Now, I pass from that rather painful episode to a lover of legality like myself to the remarks which the hon. and gallant Member made upon the topic more immediately before the consideration of the House. He began by deprecating statements and counter-statements on the details and circumstances of the recent riots at Belfast. He did not very fairly observe his own canon; but he immediately proceeded to charge the police with reckless firing. I submit to him that that is making a statement which, if representatives of the police were here, they would contradict. That is a matter not only before the Royal Commission, but is one which the Courts of Law will have to determine, and on which the liberties of many of Her Majesty's subjects—and even the liberties of some of these police—may depend. The hon. and gallant Member made two other very extraordinary remarks, 1112 the more extraordinary because they were mutually destructive. He said that the real cause of the riots in Belfast was the production of the Home Rule Bill. Then he went on to say that the riots were really the work of the "Corner Boys" of Belfast. Well, then, it comes to this—that the only politicians in Belfast who were so affected by our proposed legislation that they resorted to rioting by way of protest were the "Corner Boys." I leave it to the hon. and gallant Gentleman to reconcile these two statements as best he can. But does the hon. and gallant Member perceive the proposition that really underlies his contention? Why, it comes to this, that we ought not to have brought in our Home Rule Bill because it led to riots in Belfast. The meaning of the hon. and gallant Member is, that although Parliament in its wisdom might think that a measure of self-government for Ireland was expedient on broad, national, and Imperial grounds, yet that they ought not to pass such a measure because it might lead to rioting by the "Corner Boys" of Belfast. In that case what is to become of the supremacy of Parliament? Are mobs in Ireland to be the arbiters of the wisdom of Parliament? That is what the hon. and gallant Member's argument comes to? Supposing that the Nationalist mob in Dublin or Cork were to take the law into their own hands by murderous onslaughts upon the forces of the Crown, would that be a reason why we should bring in a Home Rule Bill? The hon. and gallant Gentleman—quoting a speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt)—said he had been puzzled to know what was the difference between the Liberal and the Tory Party. The hon. and gallant Gentleman has an advantage over some of us, because he has belonged to both Parties; and while I do not doubt that his conversion is sincere, yet he ought not to have forgotten the fact when he commented on the changes of view of some of his hon. Friends. There is one point, at all events, upon which there is no difference between the Liberal Party and the Tory Party in this House, and that is in their resolution to maintain order and to enforce the law. A great deal has been said, not, indeed, in this House, but out of it, in the North of Ireland, as to the want of nerve and 1113 energy of the late Government, and as to their vacillation and various other shortcomings. Even more criminal motives than mere weakness have been attributed to them by hon. Members of the House, who are not now present to repeat the statements which they were not ashamed to make in Ulster and elsewhere. Where is the hon. Member for East Belfast (Mr. Johnston)? The hon. Member, on an early night in the Session, in a very short speech—which I expected to hear repeated on a more serious occasion—told us that there was a deliberate conspiracy on the part of the police and others to discredit the fair fame of Belfast and to massacre the Protestants? I think an hon. Gentleman who makes a statement of that kind should be prepared to stand by it, and should not disappear, as the hon. Member has done, without bringing forward any sort of evidence in support of his charge. It is idle sophistry to suggest that the late Government were disqualified from keeping order in Belfast by reason of their views in regard to the present system of government in Ireland. Whatever our views may have been as to the best form of government for Ireland, there never was any doubt in the mind of any Member of the late Executive as to the propriety of keeping order in Belfast or anywhere else. Our policy with respect to the riots was a simple one—it was the same as that which is now being pursued by the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), and it was the same that would have to be pursued by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) if he were a Chief Minister in his own country. Every Government must do its best to keep the peace and to put down disturbance, and in those respects I do not think that the late Government has done worse than could be expected, taking into consideration all the difficulties with which they had to contend. The hon. and gallant Gentleman has attributed the riots to the Home Rule Bill; but he seems to have forgotten that there were riots in Belfast before the Home Rule Bill was thought of. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, to whose fair and straightforward recognition of what we did I wish to do the fullest justice, did make one little criticism yesterday which I should like to answer. The right hon. 1114 Baronet said he was afraid we had not consulted as constantly as was desirable the Local Authorities in Belfast. Now, I would remind the House that Local Authorities in Belfast are not exactly the same as Local Authorities in an English borough of corresponding magnitude and importance. The Corporation is returned by a very restricted franchise, amounting to only some 4,000 electors in a population of 220,000, whereas in England the number of electors would have been from 25,000 to 30,000. There is also an enormous difference between the position of a local magistrate in a town like Belfast, where party feeling and passion has run by tradition to the most violent heights, and the position of magistrates in an English borough, where things are quieter, and the Justices are never so sharply suspected of partizanship and faction. This difference would naturally induce the Executive to hesitate before placing extraordinary power in the hands of the Belfast authorities. I have not a word to say against the honour and uprightness of Sir Edward Harland and his brother magistrates associated with him; but hon. Members opposite will recognize the fact that they belong to the class mainly identified with one set of political interests in the borough. It will be seen, therefore, that it is difficult to give that weight and authority to magistrates who belong to one class and are mainly identified with one sect in the borough, which we should give to our English magistrates rightly. Nobody has proposed to pay much deference to the Local Authorities in Dublin or Cork. We paid as much deference to the Local Authorities of Belfast as you do to those of Dublin. My own confidence in the judgment of the local magistrates was much shaken when, on the first night of my arrival in Dublin, on the occasion of the June riots, a telegram was received at the Castle from the local magistrates of Belfast urging the necessity of withdrawing the extra force of Constabulary. That was in itself a very curious recommendation, and it was made against the advice and counsel of our own responsible, experienced, and efficient officers. There were cases afterwards in which the advice of the magistrates was taken, and the Constabulary were on various occasions, in compliance with their recom- 1115 mendations, withdrawn; but I believe in almost every case where that counsel was followed the result to the public order was most disastrous. There was one point of our action for which we were specially reproached and attacked in the Town Councils of Belfast, and that was because we extended the proclamation under the Arms Act against the possession as well as carrying of arms, without previously asking the advice of the local magistrates. But, Sir, that proclamation was issued on the 19th of July, and on the 14th of that month, or five days earlier, there had been a meeting of the local magistrates, who had discussed the proposal for so extending the proclamation. The magistrates, after consultation, deliberately rejected a proposition to recommend the taking of such a step, and therefore we knew perfectly well, without going through what would have been the empty formality of consulting them, what advice they would give. We had to choose between accepting their advice and acting upon the advice of our own responsible officials, the Resident Magistrates stationed at Belfast, the Inspectors of Constabulary, and the Town Inspectors. I think I have now disposed, as well as I am able, of the charge that we neglected the Local Authorities. I should like to assure the House that our officers in Belfast were particularly instructed, by a minute sent to the two Resident Magistrates, that it was the Lord Lieutenant's strong desire that those gentlemen and the Divisional Magistrates should act "in conjunction with the Mayor and Magistrates and with the co-operation of the Military Authorities." I believe that the further this inquiry goes the more absolutely clear will our hands be found to be of any dereliction of duty in this particular respect. I do not suppose that the right hon. Baronet really intended to make any serious charge against us in respect to this point. But there is one other charge more personal to myself upon which I should wish to say a word or two. Yesterday afternoon the right hon. Baronet frankly repudiated, and advised hon. Members to banish from their minds, the thought that I or the Lord Lieutenant had anything to do with drafting Catholic police from certain special districts into Belfast with malevolent designs. Although the right hon 1116 Baronet has repudiated it, I am sure that this ludicrous, this grotesque calumny will continue to be repeated, as is clear from the report made by a Mr. Patton, the agent, I think, of the Irish Loyal and Patriotic Union, reproduced in The Times, which, no doubt, will command very wide credence. He states that a permanent official told him that the Protestants were much more enraged with the police than the Catholics; and when he asked him the reason, the official said that it was to a great extent owing to the opinion of the Orangemen—not the "Corner Boys" only—"that Mr. Morley had picked out Catholic police; to go to Belfast to exterminate them." That, he believed, might be described as "the universal belief of the Protestant democracy." I have always heard a great deal of the intelligence of the Belfast community; but, from my own experience of them, I shall have to think that there is with their intelligence a large dose of stupid and malignant credulity. And that credulity is by no means confined to rough and ignorant men. Mr. Reed, the Inspector General of Constabulary, was desired by the right hon. Baronet to go to Belfast. He went, and had an interview with the Mayor and Magistrates. I saw in the papers that he had to assure the magistrates that he had received no orders from the Government as to the selection of the counties from which police were to be drafted into Belfast. I understand that Mr. Reed actually found considerable difficulty in persuading even responsible men like the magistrates of Belfast that I had not ordered Catholic policemen to be drafted into the town to make a sort of Bartholomew massacre in the streets of Belfast. I thought it due to myself that I should say this much in positive denial of any charges so absurd. I hope now we have heard the last of that truly ridiculous statement. We are told more seriously that we ought not to have had any importation of police from the outside, and that the importation of outside police was justly resented. Where were we to get the police from if not from the outside? On the occasion of the July anniversaries, and particularly with the General Election in prospect, there were many districts, especially in the North, where special precautions were needed. In Londonderry, in Armagh, in Omagh, 1117 and Portadown, I think, nearly 600 extra police were employed, and we did not think it prudent to weaken the Constabulary force in the North. Where were we to get the extra police from, except from counties outside Ulster? I know it is said that we ought to have resorted exclusively to troops. But is it seriously to be said that, because a portion of the inhabitants of a city do not like the police doing the work of the police, it is the business of the Executive to send troops in their place? I am speaking in the presence of many officers of Her Majesty's Army, and I do not believe there is one who will not bear me out that all experience shows that soldiers are not always the best fitted for police work, and that police work is not well fitted for soldiers. Emergency upon emergency arose in Belfast, and we were bound to resort to troops; but it is ridiculous to contend that the moment the police force of a town is inadequate, you ought at once to employ troops and not constabulary. Where are you going to stop? Supposing the Nationalists in Cork objected to the red coats just as the Protestants in Belfast object to the green coats, what are you going to do? Are you going to give soldiers or police as may be desired, to suit the fastidious preferences of rival mobs? I think all this is a spurious kind of argument, and I apologize for bringing it before the House. The matter has not been referred to in the House; but it has been made use of so much out of the House that I have thought it necessary, however spurious the argument may be, to say something on the matter. Anyone who has read the papers must have seen that the town police were on many occasions treated quite as badly by the mobs in Belfast as the country police. Some of the worst cases of merciless stoning were those in which the victims were the town police. At that fatal affair of the 8th of June, when so many people were killed by the firearms of the police from the Shankill Barracks, there were in the barracks and among the men incriminated a considerable number of the town police. As throwing some light upon the particular frame of mind, not only of the rough classes, but of the more educated in Belfast, I should like to read an extract from a newspaper hostile to the policy of the late Government and to myself, This paper, The 1118 Northern Whig, referred to the ridiculous charge that we had imported police to exterminate the Protestants, and said that if this point, that the police were honestly drafted into the town, could only be impressed upon the minds of the Protestant population, it could not but have some effect in calming their irritation. It said that at present they were acting from an erroneous notion, and it might be observed that the outcry was raised, not against the country police only, but against any police force whatever. It went on to say that—It was ridiculous to assume that there would be no more riots in the town if there were no more policemen, and it was extraordinary that men of respectable position and education should encourage such delusions.These are difficulties which any Government, whether Conservative or Liberal, will have to deal with in keeping order in Belfast. Then, again, the allegation is made that the police acted hostilely to the mob, and I wish to make an observation with reference to the speech of the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell). The hon. Member went through the story now under examination, and gave the House a great deal of unverified evidence and unsifted allegations with reference to the conduct of the police. Among other things, he made some sort of excuse for the view that the police had acted in a violent manner. The hon. Member endeavoured to show that the chief cause of these riots was the Chief Secretary himself—the unworthy individual who is now addressing the House. The hon. Member is not the only person who has endeavoured to fasten upon me some responsibility for the conduct of the police in consequence of my political views. A friend of the hon. Member, Dr. Kane, in a contribution of some kind he has made somewhere or other, said—The police and the Resident Magistrates easily catch the spirit of the Chief Secretary, especially if there be a touch of Satan in it.This is the representative of the meek spirit of the Gospel! He has threatened me once, I believe, with physical and corporeal annihilation if I ever should venture to cross the Boyne. But when a Gentleman in the position of the hon. Member for South Tyrone—
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
As the right hon. Gentleman has referred 1119 to me, I feel bound to say that the only occasion yesterday on which I used the name of the right hon. Gentleman was when I said it was strongly felt that the police believed there would very soon be a change of masters, and that some of them, under the influence of that belief, had resorted to measures which they would not otherwise have adopted. I made no charge, and should be ashamed to make any reflection, upon the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
I am quite sure that the hon. Gentleman did not wish to say anything painful to me personally; but the House will observe that what he said just now comes exactly to the very same thing. What the hon. Member said was, that the fact of the Office of Chief Secretary being filled by me, was in itself a source of demoralization to the police and magistrates. ["Hear, hear!" from the Ministerial Benches.] Then the hon. Member does assert that my political opinions were calculated to demoralize the police? [Ministerial cheers.] You cheer that assertion; but I venture to say that there is no responsible official now connected with the Government of Ireland, from the right hon. Baronet (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) downwards, who would say that there is one atom more of demoralization among the police and magistrates today, than there was on the first day I took Office. I felt it to be my business constantly to keep my finger, as it were, on the pulse of the Irish Constabulary, and I lost no opportunity of knowing where there was the slightest sign of demoralization. I always heard that neither in the Royal Irish nor in the Metropolitan Constabulary were to be found any of those results which the hon. Gentleman imputes to my unfortunate presence at Dublin Castle. I must remind the hon. Gentleman that his contention was that the Loyalists of Belfast were justified in attacking the police, because they suspected the police of being the agents of a Government that was in favour of Home Rule. That is a novel doctrine which I hope will not go far. It is shameful to look leniently upon such lawless, wanton, and brutal attacks on the agents of the Queen and the guardians of the peace, as those—whether perpetrated by Protestants or Catholics—simply because they choose to look with disfavour upon 1120 the political views of the Chief Secretary of the day. The hon. Gentleman used some language of compliment to the bravery of the Belfast "Corner Boys." I myself should prefer to reserve any compliments for bravery for the police. I should say there is much more bravery in a handful of men putting their backs to a wall and defending themselves, as the police did, than in. thousands of "Corner Boys" or men pouring down upon them with deadly missiles. The bravery was not on the side of the mob, but on the side of the police who resisted them; and I think hon. Gentlemen opposite, in spite of Party differences, will agree with me that it is a mistake to give credit to mobs for breaking the law and for defying the police, and to deny the credit of bravery to men who were doing their duty, under the direction of their superior officers. I have only one more remark to make in vindication of myself. I perceive that another excuse for these riots is found in some language which I am alleged to have used. I see in the report to which reference has been made, that the fierce and bad feelings which began the riots arose from some speech of mine in this House of a hostile and contemptuous character towards the Protestants of Ulster. Now, Sir, that is a pure fabrication. I have now for six years and a-half been writing and speaking, almost without cessation, upon Irish affairs, and I dare say—though I should like to examine a little before I admit it—that things may have been said and written by me which might better have been unsaid and unwritten. But I do affirm without fear of contradiction—that from the day on which I became Chief Secretary down to this hour, neither in the House of Commons, nor anywhere else, have I used a single expression, or allowed a sentiment to escape from me which, in the judgment of any right and fair-minded man, the Protestants of Ulster have the slightest reason to find fault with as offensive or disrespectful to them. How should I use language of that kind? Why should I say one single word that would mark religious difference in Ulster or anywhere else? The whole basis of our policy is, and has been, the hope and the belief that the only chance for Ireland—the only chance of putting an end to these deadly and hateful animosities—is that Irishmen of all creeds, of all 1121 ranks, and of all stations, should join in a strong union and a generous co-operation in the noble and beneficent task of raising their own land, and the people who live in it, from the distraction and desolation into which the government of Ireland by this Parliament has so unfortunately allowed her to fall.
§ COLONEL WARING (Down, N.)
said, he would bear in mind the advice of his right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), to abstain from any words that might tend to add to the excitement in Belfast. It was to be regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary (Mr. John Morley) had not been more careful in that respect in his allusion to his (Colonel Waring's) hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Saunderson), for he had been scarcely so moderate as he might have been in attributing to his hon. and gallant Friend that the language he had used was the language of rebellion. The hon. and gallant Gentleman never did say, nor had he (Colonel Waring) himself ever said, that if the measure of the late Government passed the Protestants of the North of Ireland would be justified in resisting it by force of arms. ["Oh, oh!"] What he did say was that he would not consider himself bound by a Parliament sitting in Dublin; and that if, as the result of its passing, the Party to whom the Government of Ireland was to be handed over should adopt measures which the Protestants of the North considered interfered with the rights and liberties which their forefathers had won for them, the descendants of those forefathers would be justified in resisting them. That was what they had said, still said, and that was what they intended to abide by. The right hon. Gentleman had said that it was curious that any rational persons should suppose that any Parliament would legislate in fear of threats held out by riotous mobs; but, if he (Colonel Waring) recollected rightly, a very strong argument of the right hon. Gentleman, in supporting the Bill lately laid before Parliament, was drawn from the consequences that might be expected from riotous proceedings that had their rise on the other side of the Atlantic. If that was not a proposal to yield to intimidation he was at a loss to know what it meant. As to the riots in Bel- 1122 fast, he was glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that he did not believe the Orangemen had caused these riots—
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY (Newcastle-on-Tyne)
I passed no opinion at all upon that point, and I said that I was particularly anxious to pass no opinion upon it.
§ COLONEL WARING
, continuing, said, he could not see how it could be said, as had frequently been said, that these riots were of constant recurrence in Belfast when there had been no disturbance in the town from 1872 until the present year. As to the accusation against the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary, that he purposely drafted Roman Catholic police into Belfast for the purpose of menacing the Protestants of that town, he (Colonel Waring) did not believe that there was any foundation for such an allegation; but unfortunate results did arise from the feeling displayed by the policemen who were sent there; and, unless he was much misinformed, circumstances would come out at the judicial inquiry which would probably induce the right hon. Gentleman to change the view he had expressed on that point. In referring to the speech of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Sexton), he (Colonel Waring) would, at the same time, be able to reply to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. P. McDonald) who opened the debate that evening. That hon. Gentleman had apparently been reading a little book entitled What to do with Cold Mutton, for his own speech was simply a rehash of that of the hon. Member for South Sligo or elsewhere. That hon. Gentleman had taken the unusual course of bringing the question forward in the form of an Amendment to the Address, on the ground that it was so urgent that it could not wait a moment; but the hon. Member, in the speech with which he introduced his Amendment, expressed the opinion that no further riots were to be feared in Belfast, because they were only excited by the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the purpose of getting a Conservative Government into power. They had heard a great deal suggested, or rather demanded, in the Amendment about the suppression of the local magistrates in Belfast; but that was precisely what was done by the Resi- 1123 dent Magistrate and his advisers. ["No, no!"] Every proceeding that took place in Belfast was at the instigation of the senior Resident Magistrate and his advisers, and Sir Edward Harland and the local magistrates were kept out in the cold until the advent to Office of the present Chief Secretary. The chain of responsibility passed from the Chief Secretary to police officers, and, not as in England, through the magistrate sworn to do justice between man and man; and although such a course of procedure might meet the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite, he unhesitatingly denounced the course that had been taken as un-Constitutional. Passing now to the question of the provocation given for the riots at Belfast, the hon. Gentleman, who introduced the Amendment had alluded to the often-repeated story of an attack upon a Roman Catholic religious house in the neighbourhood of Belfast, on the occasion of Lord Iddesleigh's visit two or three years ago. That statement had been repeatedly contradicted; but he found that when such allegations were made, time after time, in that House, they were likely to make some impression upon English credulity, and that it was necessary, therefore, to contradict them as often as they were made. It was well known, and had been proved over and over again, that the processionists on that occasion offered no violence to anybody or anything, but that a few "Corner Boys" following the procession did throw some stones, which broke a few small windows in the establishment mentioned; but, so far from what occurred having accelerated the death of the Lady Superior, who was lying on her death bed at the time, they had the evidence of the sister who was attending her, given the next day before the Resident Magistrate, to the effect that she did not even hear any noise on the occasion. Attention had been called to very lamentable affairs that took place in Armagh previous to the Rebellion of 1798; and an oath had been read which was supposed to be the oath of the Orange Society, that had been already repeatedly and emphatically denied. Attempts were continually being made to identify the Orange Institution in its earlier days with the illegal Association that went by the name of "Peep-o'-Day Boys," with which it had no connection whatever. That was, 1124 undoubtedly, an illegal Association; but, as it was got up against landlordism, he should have thought that it would have had the sympathy of those Irish Members who sat below the Gangway on the Opposition side. Orangemen had nothing whatever to do with the recent riots, and he did not think that the Representatives of Ulster had ever taken credit for the gallantry displayed by the Belfast mob. His friend, Dr. Kane, did his best to prevent the disturbances, and interfered almost at the risk of his life, by facing the muskets of the police, to put an end to them; and the very fact that he was not successful went to prove that Orangemen took no active part in them. As to the tunes played at Ulster demonstrations, and which had been objected to as provocative, he was not much of a musician; but he did know that some of the tunes they played most were those which were accepted and recognized as loyal and patriotic throughout all the rest of the Empire. It had been said that the Loyalists of Ulster ought not to have made demonstrations on days which they were accustomed to treat as anniversaries. Surely a time when they were told that they would soon be treated as aliens and strangers in their own country was not exactly that when they should be asked to forget that on former occasions they had been compelled to use force to protect themselves from violence. The objection of the Loyalists to the meetings held by the other Party was easily understood. These meetings were generally held in localities which the members of Protestant congregations had to traverse on their way to and from their places of worship. The Protestants were compelled to shoulder their way through jeering crowds, and very naturally objected to what they considered a desecration of the Sabbath. With reference to the question of the police, he wished to endorse what had been said of their conduct in the past by the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary. No doubt it was an admirable Force, and had done its duty on many occasions with courage and vigour; but he feared that for some time past it had been living in a malarious atmosphere; that they had been affected lately by their exposure to the bad climate of the South; and anyone who had been similarly exposed must have experienced 1125 the same result. He feared that for the last six years the Force had not been improving, and that the proposals in the House of Commons lately had not been without their effect on it. It could not be said to be wonderful, when hearing that their stewardship might soon be taken from them, that they should try to make friends with the Mammon of unrighteousness. It was now, however, placed under more favourable conditions, and he hoped that it would again do its duty without fear, favour, or affection. He thought, however, that those who were not so well informed as the Members of the House might well look with suspicion, on the recent conduct of the police of Belfast; but he would not say one word to increase the agitation and suspicion in the minds of the people while the inquiry was proceeding. He felt sure that the decision of the Commission which was going to sit in Belfast would be accepted by all parties in the North of Ireland with respect, for they had been assured by the Government that it would do its work well. No special or local knowledge was required in a person to hold the inquiry into the Belfast riots. At present it was composed of four Members, which was an undesirable number, as they might be equally divided in their Report. It would be a great advantage if an Englishman was added. He would, therefore, suggest that it would be better that the Commission should consist of five rather than four Members; and he must express his gratification that the inquiry was to be a searching one, and that the guilty would be punished, for it was well that it should be known that when crime was brought home to any man, neither the colour of his coat nor the position he held would protect him from the consequences.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
said, the hon. and gallant Gentleman's (Colonel Waring's) explanation of the treasonable boast that had been made was very novel; for in Ulster the statement made over and over again by Orangemen was, that if the Home Rule Bill were to be passed they would rise up and resist it by force of arms. He felt bound to refer to the conduct of the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) in accusing the police in Belfast of having been drunk while on duty, for he thought it was a slander 1126 which was effectually refuted when it was made. The hon. Gentleman had been brought by the Resident Magistrate to the barracks where the men were, and forced to admit that he had made a charge utterly and entirely without foundation. Moreover, one would have imagined that, if true, such a grave charge would have been made on the floor of the House of Commons. The hon. Member had, however, taken care not to do that. He (Mr. Clancy) held, with the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton), that the Orange Body had nothing whatever to do with the riots, and he certainly believed that a great many Orangemen regretted them; but he could not agree that the residuum of which they had heard consisted entirely of "Corner Boys" and roughs. He could not admit that the brave fellows who made war on the police and soldiers, and fired on them, were entirely the "Corner Boys" of Belfast. As a proof of that, he would refer hon. Members to the case of Mr. Scott, an ex-Water Commissioner, and to the case of the son of the editor of the leading Orange newspaper, who got six months' imprisonment. That they consisted mainly of "Corner Boys" might be true; but they had their officers in well-clad blackguards, who were respectably connected; and he believed that those latter, and not the persons whom they led, were mainly responsible for the dirty work that was done, and for the havoc that had been produced. The hon. Member for South Tyrone had attempted to defend the Orangemen, who were, he said, attacked when they were marching with a band of music; and he added, that it was not a crime or illegal to play music in the streets. It certainly was not illegal to play music in the streets of Belfast, as it was not illegal to play it anywhere else; but, at the same time, neither was it illegal to light a match in a powder magazine, but it was dangerous; and experience had shown that it was dangerous to play Party tunes in the streets at a time of public excitement. He (Mr. Clancy) said that band playing sometimes led to crime and violence; and whether it was in the Nationalist South, or in the Protestant North, he had no hesitation in saying that it ought to be stopped on both sides. Now, the question in this matter was, what was the Government 1127 going to do? He had found no satisfactory answer to this important question in the speech delivered by the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach). The right hon. Gentleman, deprecated lengthened debate on the question, because, he said, it would make the task of restoring order in Ireland more difficult than it was now. That, doubtless, was all very right and proper under ordinary circumstances; but, in the present case, what would really have the effect of making order more difficult to restore in Ireland would be reticence on the part of the Members of the Government, from which it could be deduced that there were certain persons in Belfast privileged to shoot down and trample upon their fellow-citizens; and that because such persons were well-dressed and respectably connected, and, perhaps, had occupied high positions in the State, they ought to be permitted to utter inflammable language likely to lead to riot and disorder. Plain speaking was wanted on this subject. They had not got it yet; and if they did not get it before the debate closed, he had no hesitation in saying that the responsibility of any further rioting which might take place would rest on the heads of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland said—"Wait for the result of the Commission of Inquiry;" but the Commission had not yet began to take evidence. When it had begun, it would not soon end its labours, and it would take a considerable time to consider its Report; and beyond that, even when it had sent in this Report to the Government, a good deal of time would be taken in considering what should be done with it. All this time the houses and lives and property of the people of Belfast would be in daily peril and danger from the outrages of the "Corner Boys," represented in that House by the hon. and gallant Member on the Ministerial Benches. The Irish Members also might have to propose legislation on the subject, and they knew that this legislation might be opposed by some hon. Members. To defend the Catholics of Belfast, the Government ought to take certain steps immediately, and he contended that one of the first of these should be to deprive the Mayor of Belfast and the other borough magistrates of their magisterial 1128 functions. Half the blackguardism and all the courage of those "Corner Boys" arose from the confidence they had in the leniency and partizanship of the Mayor and these magistrates, and until these magistrates were removed these disturbances would not cease. He had spoken some words about the Mayor of Belfast on the first night of the Session, for which he was taken to task; but, from all he knew on the subject, he felt bound to say that the Mayor of Belfast was not a person at any time to be retained in the Commission of the Peace, and most certainly not at such times as the present. He wished to ask the Government several questions with regard to Sir Edward Harland and the local magistrates. He regretted that the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland and the Attorney General for Ireland had left the House; but, doubtless, some other Member of the Government would inform them of the questions. Was it or was it not true that the Inspector General (Mr. Read) asked the Mayor of Belfast to join in a Memorial to the Lord Lieutenant for a general warrant to search for arms in the Shankhill Road; and was it true, or was it not true, that the Mayor absolutely refused to join in any such Memorial? He wanted to know, also, whether it was true or not that although the Inspector General (Mr. Read) declared that the marching to and fro, to their work, of hundreds of the Mayor's employés in a body was itself illegal, and advised its discontinuance, that the Mayor absolutely refused to exercise his influence towards stopping these marches? Lastly, he wanted to know whether it was true or not that this Mayor of Belfast had been habitually cheered by the Orange mobs when he appeared amongst them; and that he had not only not resented demonstrations of that kind, as any man in his official position ought to have done, but had actually welcomed it, and shaken hands with the leaders, and hundreds of the rioters? He (Mr. Clancy) maintained that that had been the case, and that the Government was bound to ask the Mayor of Belfast whether that was the case or not. If it was so, he maintained that to keep the Mayor in office any longer was to put a premium on crime, disorder, and outrage in the town. There were other serious questions to which the Government should 1129 lend some attention. For example, he wished to know whether it was true or not that when the police had arrested a rioter on the Shankhill Road a borough magistrate named Little came on the scene and insisted on the prisoner being released, with the result that when the constable returned to his duty he was seized and beaten so savagely by the mob that he was still unfit for duty? He also wanted to know whether a magistrate named Ewart, a son of the hon. Member for Belfast, and another magistrate, did not get the police withdrawn from a certain district of Belfast, with the result that the public-house of a widow named O'Haire was immediately sacked? These were the questions to which the Irish Members had a right to demand immediate answers. This question of the magistracy was, to his mind, the chief question to be considered; for the Orange rioters in Belfast had hitherto proceeded in their bloody and murderous work with the knowledge that even if they were caught red-handed in the work they would have the sympathy of the borough Bench. He would like to ask whether the Government intended to make the Proclamation issued by the late Lord Lieutenant a reality, or to keep it a sham? He believed that, up to the present time, only one house in Belfast had been searched for arms, and that the house of a Catholic. After the events of the past month he thought the Government could not but see that it was time to abandon their policy of shilly-shallying and sham, and to show that they really meant it when they said they would establish social order in Belfast.
§ SIR JAMES CORRY (Armagh, Mid)
said, he had no intention of trespassing very long upon the attention of the House; but the attack which had been made upon the Mayor of Belfast was of such a nature as to call for a defence at his hands. He knew the Mayor of Belfast, perhaps, a great deal better than anyone in the House, and he could say with truth that a more honourable, or straightforward, or upright man did not exist; and that if hon. Gentlemen who sat below the Gangway opposite had done as much for Ireland as Sir Edward Harland had done the country would be in a very different position to that in which it was at the present day. He was perfectly satisfied that when the investigation was held—and he was glad 1130 it was now to be held very shortly—it would be found that the Mayor of Belfast had, in regard to the disturbances, most certainly done his duty faithfully to every section of the inhabitants of the town. He was well aware that prejudice had been excited against Sir Edward Harland, and the firm with which he was connected, because a large number of their workmen were of the Protestant religion; but he wished most emphatically to say that the members of the firm did not inquire into the religious persuasion of any men who entered their employment. [An hon. MEMBER: But their foremen do.] If the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton), who introduced this Amendment yesterday, had lived in Belfast as long as he (Sir James Corry) had done, and had mixed as much with the workmen in the town, he would have been very slow, indeed, to have brought forward such an Amendment at the present time, because he would have known that the people were of a most excitable nature; that their passions were easily inflamed; and that, under circumstances like the present, it was most difficult to preserve order. Yesterday he interrupted the hon. Gentleman when he said the employers of Belfast, especially of the firm of Harland and Wolff, had discharged all the Roman Catholic workmen since these occurrences took place.
§ MR. BIGGAR (Cavan, W.)
begged leave to say that the hon. Baronet had completely mistaken what the hon. Member for West Belfast had said. What the hon. Gentleman did say was that the Roman Catholic workmen had to leave.
§ SIR. JAMES CORRY
That they were dismissed from the place. ["No, no!"] Well, the hon. Gentleman would not deny the statement made, that the Corporation of Belfast dismissed all the Roman Catholics that they had in their employment. He (Sir James Corry) had a telegram from the Town Clerk of Belfast, which he desired to read to the House, because it entirely refuted the statement of the hon. Gentleman. The telegram was to this effect—Report of Mr. Sexton's speech last night states that 28 scavengers and carters were dis 1131 missed by this Corporation, I am directed to inform you that there is not a word of truth in the statement. Not one Roman Catholic employé was dismissed.And he knew, as a matter of fact, that a considerable number of Roman Catholics were employed by Messrs. Harland and Wolff, and that not one Roman Catholic left work at the Island during the riots. In proof of this he would refer hon. Members opposite to Mr. James Ross, one of the Belfast borough magistrates, who went over to the works on the Island for the sole purpose of inquiring into the allegation, and the books of the firm were produced to him, and Mr. Ross was perfectly satisfied that the members of the firm, had done nothing to cause any Roman Catholic in their employ to leave their work. He (Sir James Corry) believed that a few days ago it was stated in The Belfast Morning News that some Roman Catholic had been annoyed at the Island and was obliged to leave his work. Indeed, it was this statement which prompted Mr. Ross to visit the Island. What was stated in The Belfast Morning News really occurred in 1884. The matter was brought under the notice of the members of the firm, who made an investigation, with the result that the men who had committed the outrage upon their fellow-workmen were dismissed, and they were out of work for six months, and before they were allowed to return to work on the Island they were required to pay a fine of £5 each. Such was the way in which the Island works were conducted by the firm which had been so much maligned. So far as he (Sir James Corry) was personally concerned, he never in any intercourse with his workmen asked them what their religion was; and it was only a matter of accident if he knew whether a workman of his was a Roman Catholic or a Protestant. He was perfectly satisfied that the employers generally in Belfast acted on the very same principle that he did. He did not wish to go into the general question of the cause of the riots, because he thought that, now that the matter was to be investigated, it would soon be known who was right and who was wrong; how the riots commenced, who was responsible for their continuance, and whether the police 1132 were to blame in what they had done. But he desired to say that when the late Government announced that they were about to issue this Commission, he took the first opportunity that presented itself to him to speak to the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary. He told that right hon. Gentleman that he was very pleased that the Commission was going to be issued; but he expressed the belief that unless the Commission could take evidence on oath the result would not be satisfactory to any Parliament. He was glad that the present Government had adopted his views, and that the Bill which was now before the House to enable the Commissioners to take evidence on oath would be prosecuted, although it had been blocked by hon. Gentlemen opposite, for what reason he was at a loss to understand. No one deplored these riots and outrages more than he did. He took a very active part in 1872 in endeavouring to suppress the riots then occurring, and he knew that his brother magistrates were equally active; and he thought that when the Commission came to inquire into the matter, if the borough magistrates had adopted the same precautions and displayed the same activity in the recent riots—and he was sure they had done so—as had been shown by their predecessors in 1872, no fault would be found with the action of the magistrates on this occasion. He was also perfectly satisfied that the fault would be found not to be all on one side. With regard to the statement that the only houses broken into were those of Catholics, he would say that he was satisfied mistakes had been committed on both sides; but he did not mean to go into that question now. His only hope was that the investigation would have the effect of putting matters right. Anyhow, it was a serious matter for the people of Belfast to have to pay the cost of the extra police force and the cost of the great damage which had been done to property, not to mention the injury done to business and the trade of the town. He had no sympathy with disorder, and therefore sincerely hoped that they had seen the end of these riots; and he was glad to think that the administration of the law would be carried out firmly by the present Government as well in Belfast as 1133 in other parts of Ireland. It was his wish to see the law enforced with equal-handed justice all over Ireland.
§ MR. H. CAMPBELL (Fermanagh, S.)
said, with reference to the fact that several Catholic workmen had been dismissed from the works of the Mayor of Belfast, that, in addition to one man who was brutally assaulted and compelled to leave his work, five men, whose names he could give, had been compelled to quit their employment. It was, therefore, a matter beyond dispute that these people had been disemployed. It was strange, indeed, to hear from an Opposition Bench praise of the "Corner Boys," who, when they were routed by the Constabulary, took shelter in their houses and fired through portholes. He declared that the Orangemen were mainly responsible for the state of things which had led up to the riots, for prominent men in that body had been inciting the lower order of their followers to deeds of violence for two or three years past. The Proclamation against the possession of firearms, too, had not been obeyed, because the magistrates were Orangemen. Unless the magistracy were reconstituted, they could only anticipate a repetition of the riots. No Catholic could live, or dare live, in the Shankhill Road district, where the rioting was hottest. Beyond that, it had not been contradicted that the bolts and pieces of iron used as missiles were abstracted by the Orange workmen from the workshops of the Chief Magistrate. As long as magistrates were permitted to make fiery speeches inciting to violence the riots would continue. It was, in fact, difficult to believe there was any real desire on the part of the Government to get at the truth by their inquiry. He did not blame the rank and file of the Party; but he blamed the landlords for inciting the Orangemen of the North of Ireland to do deeds of violence. He had known some good Orangemen, but they were of the educated class. The lower class Orangemen were always ready to endorse the incitements of the landlords of the North, and to start forth to slay and murder.
§ MR. PINKERTON (Galway)
said, that, as a Member from the North of Ireland, he thought it necessary to raise his voice to protest against statements that had been made with reference to his Catholic fellow-countrymen in the 1134 North of Ireland. An effort had been made by some speakers to give the question a sectarian view. Hon. Members on that side of the House had scrupulously avoided doing that. The hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton), in his precise and exact statement with reference to the origin of the riots, made every effort to avoid confounding the Orangemen of Belfast with those who originated the riots. The hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) had not followed that example; for he attributed the feeling in Belfast to the want of loyalty in the South, and he said that the policemen in Belfast committed outrages, because they had the freedom of the public-houses. As a Scotchman, the hon. Member was not a fit judge of the aspirations of the Irish people; and it was very remarkable that he, a stranger, should dictate to Irishmen what was necessary for the good of their country. As an Ulsterman, he (Mr. Pinkerton) was ready to bear witness to the good feeling which prevailed, and to the religious tolerance exercised by the Catholics in other parts of Ireland towards their Protestant fellow-countrymen. They had heard a great deal about religious tolerance in Ireland; but it was a well-known fact that in the South and West the strongest passport to the affections of the people was for a man to be a Protestant, and in sympathy with the national aspirations of the people. He witnessed, a short time ago, the demonstration in Dublin in honour of Lord Aberdeen, Her Majesty's Representative; and the next day he saw loyalty, in its most revolting form, in the streets of Belfast. He considered the report of Mr. Patton, published in The Times, perfectly preposterous, and he could not credit the statement that policemen openly boasted of the number of people they had shot. He had seen Protestant policemen firmly suppress disturbances on the 12th of July, and Roman Catholic policemen observe rigid impartiality when the Roman Catholics disturbed the public peace. It would require a person to have lived some time in the North of Ireland to enable them to appreciate the forbearance, the long suffering, and the patient endurance of the Catholics there when the Orange anniversaries came round each year. Every village was covered with flaunting offensive emblems, which were such an out- 1135 rage upon good feeling and good taste that they would turn Oscar Wilde green with disgust. In fact, he was himself disgusted at the outrages on good feeling and on good faith which were constantly to be witnessed in the North of Ireland, and he admired the patient endurance with which the Catholics of the North of Ireland submitted to having Orange flags flaunted in their faces. He had heard the "Corner Boys" of Belfast, whom he supposed a kindred feeling had induced the hon. Member for South Tyrone to admire so much, use the vilest and most insulting language to Catholic priests. He challenged any hon. Member to point out where any such conduct had been indulged in by boys in the West or South of Ireland to Protestant ministers. The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) stated that he objected to being ruled by hon. Members from Ireland who sat below the Gangway, and had described them as gaol birds. But if the hon. and gallant Gentleman carried out the intention he had stated that evening, it was quite certain that he would soon realize what a plank bed was like. Anyhow, it could not be said to be a very enviable position for the hon. and gallant Gentleman to occupy to be the licensed buffoon of the Party to which he belonged. When he ceased to be a landlord, and had disappeared from the House, there was one place still open to him, and that was the ring of a circus. He would admit that Protestant employers did not discharge their Catholic workmen for their religion; but they did nothing to prevent them being insulted by their Protestant fellow-workmen. He looked forward, however, with the hon. Member for one of the divisions of Dublin, to the time when those sectarian differences would cease; and when the Orangemen were freed from the baneful influences under which they lived at present he hoped to see the National banner of green intermingled with the Orange waving over a united Ireland.
§ MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
said, he denied the right of the hon. Gentleman who had last addressed the House to speak for the Protestants of Ireland. The Protestants of Ireland did not wish to be represented in that House by the hon. Member, or any other renegades to their religion. ["Oh, oh!" "Order!" and loud cries of "Withdraw!"]
§ DR. COMMINS (Roscommon, E.)
I rise to Order, Sir. I wish to know whether the hon. and learned Gentleman is in Order in speaking of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Pinkerton), or any other Member of the House, as a renegade to his religion or anything else?
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, he bowed to the ruling of the Chair, and would withdraw the expression as being un-Parliamentary. He desired to say, however, that the hon. Gentleman opposite, who belonged nominally to the Protestant Party, did not in any way represent those attributes which Irish Protestants held to be closely associated with that particular profession of faith. The hon. Member boasted that he had experienced the generosity of Catholic constituencies in other parts of Ireland. He did not deny that the hon. Member had been elected by a Catholic constituency; but he had failed to secure the support of Protestant constituencies in the North of Ireland, having justly forfeited any claim he might have had to their support. Irish Members sitting on the Ministerial side of the House had been challenged by hon. Gentlemen opposite to deny the subsidizing of Orange Lodges by Irish Protestant Members. As representing a constituency which contained more Orange Lodges than any other in Ireland, he was sure that was not so. He would answer for himself that, previous to the last two Elections, he had not given a single subscription to an Orange Lodge. He thought the debate had lengthened itself out without benefit to the subject-matter, or giving the House any information as to the origin of the riots. In fact, the time of the House had been wasted merely to reproduce in a considerably watered form the speeches of the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) and East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), and that delivered by the hon. Member for North Fermanagh (Mr. H. Campbell) was certainly as dull as ditch water. The hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) had been attacked for defending the bravery of the "Corner Boys" of Belfast. He simply contrasted their bravery with that of the "Moonlighters." That hon. Member 1137 had made a personal investigation, and was prepared to stand by the statements that he made; and it was for the benefit of the House that he took part in the debate. His hon. Friend was further accused of having crawled into the House over the heads of Orangemen. On the other hand, he had crawled in over the body of a late Member of the House, and both Parties in the county approved of him. The fact of the hon. Member for West Belfast setting up as the champion of law and order put him in mind of Satan rebuking sin. Dr. Hanna had come under the rebuke of the hon. Gentleman opposite; but the fact was that he had, in company with another Presbyterian clergyman, and at the risk of his life, done what he could to restore law and order. These rev. gentlemen declared that they did not recognize among the rioters any of their congregation; nor, indeed, anyone who was known to them as a Presbyterian. The working men had held meetings in Belfast in support of the Mayor's Proclamation. The riots at Belfast had been greatly deprecated by the Protestant working classes in the town, and especially by the ships' carpenters, who would compare favourably with any class of workmen in any part of the United Kingdom. He did not now, nor at any other time, join in accusing the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. John Morley), whose speech had been straightforward enough, of having had an invidious motive in selecting the police force sent to Belfast from other districts of Ireland. Unfortunately, the right hon. Gentleman was not popular in the North of Ireland, and especially in Belfast, where he was regarded with strong dislike, in consequence of his Irish policy and of his tone. The right hon. Gentleman's whole conduct and policy during the discussion of this question, and his manner in the House during the late Parliament to the Representatives of the Union Party from Ulster, were calculated to arouse strong feelings of suspicion and very acute jealousy with regard to any action that he might have taken in Belfast. Unfortunately, the right hon. Gentleman had differed from the local magistrates in Belfast as to the course which ought to have been taken to put a stop to the riots; and, unfortunately for that town and for the 1138 right hon. Gentleman himself, the result, where he had so differed from the Local Authority, had not been conducive to the maintenance of law and order, or to the preservation of the peace. There had also, most unfortunately, been a conflict of opinion between the Local Authority and the Stipendiary Magistrates who were sent to Belfast. ["Hear, hear!"] He was glad to receive that cheer from hon. Gentlemen opposite, led by the hon. Member (Mr. Biggar), whose lead in these matters was generally taken. He had strongly protested against what the right hon. Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne had stated, when he said that he was misrepresented through the malignant credulity of the Belfast community. He certainly thought the late Government were taking a great responsibility upon themselves when they deprived the Local Authority of the means of restoring law and order. That was not the place, nor the time, to discuss the action of the Constabulary, which would be reported upon by the Commission; but he was prepared to assert that not only previous to, but since, the late Chief Secretary held Office, that force had been considerably weakened in its moral tone in consequence of the policy which the right hon. Gentleman opposite had proposed should be carried into effect. In conclusion, he desired to express his firm conviction that it would be most disastrous for Ireland if every magistrate who was an Orangeman were to be removed from the Commission of the Peace.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Wexford, N.)
My Ulster constituency—equally divided almost between Catholics and Protestants—are highly interested in this question of the Belfast riots. There is one real cause for the riots which have taken place in Belfast. The last speaker—the hon. Member for Antrim (Mr. Macartney)—has referred to Protestant Home Rulers as renegades from their religion. I shall not condescend to follow the hon. Tory Member for Antrim through the low and scurrilous depths of language into which he has fallen.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member has made use of an improper and un-parliamentary expression, and I hope he will at once withdraw it.
§ MR. SPEAKER
It appears to me that the expression almost demands an apology to the House, and I caution the hon. Member against repeating such language.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
I have already withdrawn it; but I assure you, Sir, that there was nothing further from my intention than to transgress your ruling, or to say anything which would place me under the censure of the House. I will not again use the words which I have withdrawn with reference to the hon. Member opposite.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is not dealing at all with the Amendment before the House. He has not spoken at all relevant to the subject, and I warn him to be more relevant.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
I will do as you wish with the greatest readiness; and again I assure you, Sir, that I have no real intention of doing so. [Laughter.] As soon as I am allowed to proceed free from the interruptions of hon. Members who laugh so heartily I will resume my remarks. I will now proceed with the arguments that I wish to lay before the House. I merely wish to point out that language which accused a co-religionist, without adequate reason shown, of being a renegade to his religion was wanton and improper. I am sure a respectable Protestant or Catholic would not do such a thing. But the hon. utterer of the criticism must be excused, because he is not regarded in any light of importance as a weighty Representative of anything in Ireland or anywhere else. The hon. Member (Mr. Macartney), in his rambling speech, wandered all over the political arena, and it occurred to him to make a defence of the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell); but he did so in a manner that could not have been gratifying to that hon. Gentleman. I am not in political accord with the hon. Member for South Tyrone, for the hon. Member holds no views, politically or religiously, I believe, in unison with myself. I will not even say that the hon. Member's (Mr. Macartney's) speech was "ditch water," although he said that about the speech of one of my hon. Friends. In fact, I will not follow such an ungentlemanly line of argument.
§ MR. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member repeats this language I shall have to 1140 take the very severe course of naming him. This is the second time I have called him to Order for using expressions which are highly improper and un-Parliamentary. I will now ask him to express regret to the House for having used the last expression which has fallen from him.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
The expression "ungentlemanly" I unreservedly withdraw, and I would not have used it if I had thought it was un-Parliamentary.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
Then, Sir, I will apologize to the House. I had no intention to infringe the Rules at all. The cause of the riots, in my opinion, was not the differences of religion, but the fact that the Orange Society was allowed to insult the Catholic people. There is no parallel between the Orange Society and the National League. The bands of the National League never played a single bar of music which could wound the religious susceptibilities of the Protestants of Ireland. The riots in Ulster were caused by the Orange processions and bands. Tunes were played and songs were sung which were insulting to the religious belief of the Catholic people. One of the tunes was entitled "We'll kick the Pope before us," and the following was one of the verses of a song which was frequently sung outside Catholic churches and in the presence of Catholic priests and laymen:—Slither, slather,Holy Water,Sprinkle the Papishes every one.We will cut them asunder,And make them lie under;The Protestant Boys shall carry the drum.It was provocation such as this that had led the Catholic people in Ulster many times to retaliate. I believe, however, that the great bulk of the Protestants in Ulster do not approve these insulting displays. Indeed, I am certain that the respectable Protestants take no part in this persecuting and insulting conduct. The resentment of a portion of the Catholics is against the Orange Society, which is not political in its object, but which spends its time, and uses its money, and plays its tunes in order to insult the Catholics of Ulster. The 1141 Royal Commission may get to the bottom of these particular riots; but it will do no good in regard to the permanent pacification of the Province. A stop cannot be put to the disturbances until the Government take some action which will render it illegal for any society to act in a directly offensive and insulting way against people who do not agree with them in religion. Again, I think that the system of unpaid magistrates in Ireland ought to be abolished. The people believe, at present, that the magistrates sympathize with the Orangemen; the administration of the law is in the hands of men who are looked upon as partizans, and, as a consequence, it is regarded lightly. If an impartial official like General Buller had been sent to Belfast, better justice would have been meted out, in the opinion of the people, than by the local officials.
§ MR. W. A. MACDONALD (Queen's Co., Ossory)
said, the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) had described the Orange rioters as "Corner Boys;" but that description did not apply to the Islandmen, who appeared to have taken a very active part in the riots. The hon. Member assumed an impartial air; but he had shown that he had no sympathy with national sentiment, and he was afraid the language he had used would considerably injure his influence in Ireland. He spoke of the tolerance of Catholics in Ireland, and said they never heard of a disturbance like that in Belfast, on religious grounds, taking place in Cork. That was to be accounted for—and he spoke as a Protestant—by the fact that the Catholics of Ireland had learned the lesson of toleration. He quoted several instances of this toleration which had come under his notice, and some acts of which he had experience. It was said in the opening of this debate—and he wished to enforce the statement—that there had not been a single house in the Catholic quarter of Belfast belonging to a Protestant injured, and not a single Protestant had been compelled to leave that quarter. Now, that spoke volumes to those who had minds open to understanding. The hon. Member then described the character of the Orangemen, and pointed to the dangerous effect of the so-called religious teaching which Orangemen heard Sunday after Sunday 1142 from their religious instructors. He blamed the borough magistrates of Belfast for their conduct in connection with the riots. They took the batons from the police at one time, and deprived them of their arms at another. And if that was the notion the borough magistrates had of maintaining the peace when the town was in a state of rebellion and disturbance, all he could say was that they seemed to have a very strange idea of their duty. With reference to the speech delivered by the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer at Belfast, he thought the main point was to consider the effect upon the minds of the people whom he was addressing, and he was bound to consider what the result would be of stimulating their passions. The noble Lord was not ignorant of Ireland, and had not the excuse of bigotry; for he remembered that when the Duke of Marlborough was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland the noble Lord denounced, in very strong language, the Irish Church Missions to Roman Catholics. What was to be done? They had heard of a Royal Commission to investigate this matter. Well, he thought he knew what this Royal Commission would do. There would be a great many witnesses examined, and when in England all was forgotten about the subject there would be a very elaborate Report, and it would be gravely mentioned that the Commissioners had examined a great deal into the evidence brought before them, and had come to the conclusion that it was quite impossible to say whether Protestants or Catholics were most to blame; and if the Commissioners suggested anything, it would be something that the Government would never carry out. He supported the suggestion that the borough magistrates should be superseded in their power by magistrates directly responsible to the Executive. The suggestion was supported by what had happened in Dublin, where a disturbance was put down in a few hours. In Dublin, however, the magistrates were directly responsible to the Executive, and the police were directly under the authority of Her Majesty's Government; and if the same thing existed in Belfast they would not hear of such disturbances. It was suggested by the Amendment of the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) that the police 1143 force should be increased. That was very reasonable in a town which, at any moment, was liable to burst forth into a conflagration. But these were only means of dealing with outward symptoms of that religious bigotry which at present existed in Belfast. One remedy he suggested, as a way to stop these riots and to convert the bigots into good citizens, was to make the country a real self-governing one. The decline of public spirit on the part of the Protestants of Ireland was due to the removal of the centre of political life in that country. Give a centre of political life to Ireland, and men would have something better to do than to squabble about their miserable differences which had kept them so long asunder, and they would take a pride in their country. When he came to this country nothing impressed him so much as this—that, apart from all difference of creed and opinion, there was one thing all agreed in, and that was in the proud consciousness of being Englishmen. Give to Ireland a Government to be proud of; give her a Constitution she would care to maintain; give her something to bind her sons closer together in warm affection, and the result would be that Protestants and Catholics would unite—as they had never united hitherto—to promote the honour and dignity of the nation.
§ MR. BIGGAR (Cavan, W.)
I only propose to occupy the time of the House for a few moments, and I should not have risen to take part in the discussion at all if it were not for the fact that I am a native of Belfast, and have probably had a longer residence in the county in which it is situated than any hon. Member, with the exception of the hon. Member for North Belfast (Mr. Ewart). Therefore, in what I am about to say I speak from a long experience, gathered from more than 50 years' acquaintance with the locality; and I am prepared to say, without hesitation, that the real cause of the riots which take place periodically in Belfast is that justice is not honestly administered in that town, and never in my memory has it been. Perhaps I may be allowed to give a few illustrations of the way in which justice is administered by the persons who at present have the management of affairs in Belfast in their hands. Take, first, the Mayor of Belfast—Sir Edward Harland. That gentleman is one of the 1144 most extensive jobbers in the town of Belfast. He is Chairman of the Harbour Board, and in that capacity he has made an exceedingly large contract with he Corporation over which he himself presides. Not only that, but he has promoted the passage of a Bill through his House which will involve the Corporation in an expenditure of something like £200,000, and which expenditure will be entirely unproductive as far as the ratepayers of Belfast are concerned. In his capacity of Mayor of Belfast Sir Edward Harland has acted as a gross partizan in connection with these riots. In an early stage of the riots he went into the Protestant district, and after parleying with the rioters entered into confidential relations with them, and upon their representations withdrew the police and threw every obstacle in his power in the way of the proper administration of justice. What was the result? Of course, the rioters wrecked the houses of the Catholics who were unfortunate enough to live in that particular neighbourhood. And what has been the case with regard to the borough magistrates generally? It is notorious that the punishment they have inflicted upon the rioters has been of the most trivial nature. One of the punishments which were enforced years ago in the case of riots was that any person convicted of the offence of using Party language in the public streets should be fined 40s and costs. Has that penalty been imposed in the present instance? The week after the riots began the borough magistrates let off persons who had been caught rioting, and even committing assaults, with no further punishment than a fine of 10s., although everybody knows that for the offence of assault a much more severe punishment should be inflicted than for the utterance of mere Party cries. My hon. Friend the Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy) referred to the case of Mr. Brown, a magistrate who interfered with a policeman who with great difficulty had apprehended a prisoner in the act of rioting. Mr. Brown insisted that the prisoner should be set free. The policeman let him go, and was subsequently brutally beaten by the mob of rioters into whose hands Mr. Brown was playing. Another magistrate, named Horner, and a son of the hon. Member for North Belfast (Mr. Ewart), withdrew the police from a par- 1145 ticular locality in which rioting was going on, with the result that one man's life was lost, a Roman Catholic publican's house was wrecked, and a considerable amount of property was destroyed. Another borough magistrate—a Mr. Bell—ordered the police away from another district, with the result that the house of Mr. McChusky, a Roman Catholic publican, was destroyed. On another occasion, when the police had fired upon a mob who were attacking them, Mr. Lover, a borough magistrate, asked them who ordered the firing? The sergeant in charge said he gave the order; whereupon the magistrate said—"If I had been here when you gave the order I would have put a revolver to your head and would have blown your brains out." That is the sort of assistance the police get from the local magistrates, and it will show the House how the law is administered in Belfast. I may add, with regard to Sir Edward Harland, that it was from his works the iron bolts and nuts were obtained with which the Constabulary were assaulted by the rioters. It is notorious that for weeks after the riots commenced Sir Edward Harland took no steps to interfere with the appropriation of these bolts, although on ordinary occasions there are stringent rules enforced to prevent pilfering. In this instance, however, the men appeared to have been encouraged to commit these offences, and to make use of the property of the Mayor for the purpose of attacking the police. There is only one other instance I will refer to in my desire to show how justice is administered in Belfast, and it is the case of the borough Coroner. This gentleman has proved himself, on more than one occasion, to be a gross partizan so far as the performance of his duty is concerned, and during the recent riots he seems to have gone altogether out of his way, and to have taken the most unprecedented course—namely, that of issuing a warrant for the imprisonment of the policemen who were charged with rioting. It is well known that it is the duty of a Coroner to inquire into the cause of death only, and when prisoners have been arrested the custom is to bring them before the magistrates, who adjudicate upon the case, and not the borough Coroner. This gentleman, however, who is a stupid, prejudiced old man, sent the policemen to prison, and Her Majesty's 1146 Government, I am sorry to say, have acted in a different manner from other Governments in Ireland; because instead of attempting to protect the police, as has invariably been the case when public officers have been supposed to commit crimes in the performance of their duty, they have not taken the slightest steps for obtaining the release of the police from the position in which they have been planed. One word more as to the administration of the law with regard to the possession of arms in proclaimed districts. I am very much disposed myself to blame the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for permitting the Proclamation to be a dead letter. As is very well known, the late Government issued a Proclamation against the possession of arms in proclaimed districts; but although Belfast is a proclaimed district no steps were taken to have the law enforced. Up to the present moment Her Majesty's Government have not attempted, in the slightest degree, to enforce the Proclamation. I maintain that both the late and the present Government were to blame for that miscarriage of justice; and if Her Majesty's Advisers want to prove the sincerity of the anxiety they have professed to put down rioting, one of the first things they ought to do is to enforce the Proclamation, and to prevent the use of firearms.
§ SIR. WILLIAM HARCOURT (Derby)
Sir, I do not propose to enter into the dispute upon the details of the unfortunate occurrences in Belfast. I think that the demand of the Government that that should be left for the inquiry which has been instituted is a fair and reasonable demand, and I should not think of trenching upon it at all. But, Sir, there is a very important question with reference to what has occurred in Belfast, and what may occur elsewhere; and that is to inquire what is the attitude and what are the principles upon which the Executive Government of the Crown regard these matters and are prepared to act with respect to them. With reference to the language employed by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, I will say again, as I have said before, that that language seems to me to be fair, and conciliatory, and just. But then, Sir, I am sorry to say that the Chief Secretary for Ireland is not the sole, nor has he 1147 been even the principal, exponent of the, policy of the Government with respect to Ireland. It was inevitable that the language which the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer employed at Belfast and subsequently should come into this discussion. In my opinion, it lies at the root of a great deal that is in the past, and of still more that is in the future. Well, Sir, we have heard the doctrine of an hon. and gallant Gentleman, who seems, in this House, to act the part of Deputy Chief Secretary for Ireland—the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson). He represents, and well represents, the old Party of Orange ascendancy, which has always been the favourite instrument of Tory Governments in Ireland. When my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley) said that the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh had said no more than the Chancellor of the Exchequer I observed that the noble Lord intimated his acquiescence in that proposition. Now, Sir, what did the noble Lord go to Belfast for, and what did he do? I want to speak on this matter with as little of heat as possible. [An hon. MEMBER: Hear, hear!] I do not know whether the hon. Member desires that I should speak with heat; but if he does I cannot oblige him in that respect. The noble Lord went to Belfast and announced himself—as he was quite entitled to announce himself—as the descendant of the great Duke of Marlborough, and as a blood relation of Castlereagh. [Cries of "Question!"] I do not know anything more to the question than the identification of the policy of the Government with that of Lord Castlereagh. I wish, however, that the language of the noble Lord had been a little more identical with that of Lord Castlereagh—I mean the great Lord Castlereagh. In spite of all the defects of his policy Lord Castlereagh was a man totally incapable of going to Belfast to stir up religious animosity and feuds of race. Lord Castlereagh was a man who, in order to carry the Union, gave pledges to the Catholics, for he knew the necessity of conciliating the Catholics of Ireland—pledges which were most disgracefully and flagitiously broken, and which, if they had been kept, the Union might possibly have had different results from those which ensued. [An 1148 hon. MEMBER: No.] That is what lawyers call a negative pregnant. What does that "no" mean? Does the hon. Member mean that the promises were not broken; or if they had been kept, does he mean to deny that the results would have been better for the people? I do not know which of these two propositions it is the hon. Member desires to deny. Well, Sir, having so announced himself, the noble Lord proceeded to make statements which have been quoted, and which I shall not repeat. The importance of it is that, having been brought forward in this debate, there has been no attempt to extenuate that language, and no attempt even to explain it away. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary has endeavoured, with more or less success, to explain away a good many things that the noble Lord has said and done; but somehow or other he does not seem to be capable of explaining away the Belfast speech and the Castlereagh incident. He stands by every word of it, and he says that it was entirely justifiable. I do not know whether the adoption of that speech and the principles laid down in it will make the task of governing Ireland—difficult as it is—easier for the Chief Secretary. I admit the difficulty of his position; but that he was obliged to take that speech upon his shoulders was, I must say, to the right hon. Gentleman a great misfortune. What was the object of the noble Lord in going to Belfast? It was to stir up Belfast. Well, there are some places where it is said that it is neither necessary nor desirable to poke up the fire. However, the noble Lord went to Belfast to inquire whether the people were really in earnest, and how far they would go, and he advised them how far they should go. He used one sentence which has not been quoted, but which, in my opinion, contains the pith of what he said. He went, of course, to stir up the people of Belfast against the Home Rule Bill of the late Government. That he was perfectly entitled to do, and I do not desire to be a severe critic of any language which he chose to employ against any measure which he thought mischievous and dangerous and desired to overthrow. That was a perfectly legitimate object. The noble Lord predicted—and in that respect he was a true prophet—that the measure would 1149 be defeated. But he went a great deal further than that. It was not at that time certain that it would be defeated, and he contemplated the possibility of its being accepted by the House, and being passed into law by the Commons, by the Lords, and by the Queen.It is right and useful,said the noble Lord,that I should add that if the struggle should continue, and if my conclusions should turn out to be wrong,—meaning with regard to the defeat of the Bill—then I am of opinion that the struggle is not likely to remain within the lines of what we are accustomed to look upon as Constitutional action.That is the doctrine of the noble Lord, and it is a doctrine which I think requires to be challenged when propounded and acquiesced in by the responsible Government of the Crown. A measure may be passed, it may receive the assent of all the Estates of the Realm, and it may pass into law, and then the struggle is to continue and is not—To remain within the lines of what we are accustomed to look upon as Constitutional action.That was not an occasional or accidental phrase. It was uttered in the month of February. The noble Lord returned to the charge, and developed his doctrine further in a letter addressed to his constituents, which appeared in The Times of the 8th of May. He contemplated the same possibility of the Home Rule Bill passing into law, and in it he said—"Ulster will not be a consenting party."
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL) (Paddington, S.)
It was not a letter to The Times. The letter was addressed to Mr. Young of Glasgow.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
It was addressed to some gentleman, but it appeared in The Times. If the noble Lord wishes to repudiate it, I will give him every opportunity. The words are somewhat remarkable. The noble Lord, in that letter, said—Ulster will not be a consenting party—that is, to an Act of Parliament—Ulster at the proper moment will resort to the supreme arbitrament of force. Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right.1150 Well, Ulster has fought, and I suppose Ulster is right. I do not see any of the patrons and protectors of the Government, the Liberal Unionists, present. I should like to hear their view of this Constitutional doctrine. I should like to know how it commends itself to the historical Whig Party—the doctrine of the people at the proper moment resorting to the arbitrament of force. But I can guess what their view would be. Upon this very letter, in this House, one of the leading and most weighty Members of that Party—my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bury (Sir Henry James)—made some comments. My right hon. and learned Friend said—I venture to speak very freely, whether I please men or not, and I say that we ought, every one of us, to condemn those foolish, those wicked rumours and statements which are made about Ulster—that the minority in Ireland will finally resort to arms, and that they will be right in so doing. Unreservedly I declare that any man who by word or act encourages such an idea is half a traitor. We have seen action taken against unconstitutional Monarchs, and when such action has been successful we have applauded it; but the proposition now, as I understand it, which these misguided men are using in Ulster, is, that if this House should agree to a legislative measure, and if the House of Lords should assent to it, and the Queen should will it, that measure should be resisted by force of arms."—(3 Hansard,  925–6.)That is the doctrine propounded in this House tonight by the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson), which was stated by the noble Lord in Ulster, which was repeated in his letter of May 8, and which is repeated again, acquiesced in, and endorsed by the responsible Government of the Queen. [An hon. MEMBER: No.] If the hon. Member was the responsible Government of the Queen I would accept his disclaimer. That is the doctrine—that is the language employed. Now, Sir, this is the comment of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bury (Sir Henry James) upon this language and doctrine—It is said that such physical force would be used by loyal men, and in one sense so it might be. But is it not apparent to everyone that to use arms against a Constitutional Sovereign, acting in accordance with the will of Parliament, and to whom you say you are loyal, is to make treason doubly dyed?"—[Ibid.)That, Sir, is the comment at least of one of the Unionist Liberals upon the doctrine of the noble Lord and the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh 1151 (Colonel Saunderson). But the noble Lord was not content with the language which, he addressed to the loyal minority in Ireland; he had also language, not of compliment but of taunts, for the Catholic majority of Ireland and for the Nationalist Party. [An hon. MEMBER: Hear, hear!] Yes; the hon. Member shall hear directly, for I am going to read what the noble Lord said. He pointed the moral of this doctrine of force; he gave the obverse of the medal; he condemned the conduct and the policy of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). For what was it that he condemned it? He said at Belfast—Mr. Parnell is pledged to obtain freedom for his Party. On what title do they base their claim? Do they base it upon acts? Do they seek it in action in the field? It was thus that the Italians won their liberty. It was thus the Greeks won theirs. It was thus that the poor mountaineers of Montenegro won their independence. Mr. Parnell's claim is based on Parliamentary action. They are not like the Italians; they are not like the Greeks; they are not like the hardy mountaineers of Montenegro. They have done no acts of heroism. Their action in the field has not been Parliamentary action.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL) (Paddington, S.)
May I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman? I assume that the report he is quoting is taken from The Times. [Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT: Yes.] Then I wish to inform him that it is altogether a misreport.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I am glad, at least, to have obtained one disavowal from Her Majesty's Government, even though it is a disavowal of the report. But I would beg to remind the noble Lord that he is rather an important person, and when he is said to have used language charging men with want of courage, and commenting upon their want of heroism and want of action in the field, and when he is said to have charged them with basing their claims on Parliamentary action—if that is an incorrect report, why did he not correct it? Sir, considering the manner in which this speech has been canvassed, the length of time during which it has been under the observation of Parties, inflamed as they have been by agitation on both sides in Ireland—if language of that kind was incorrect, why did he not correct it before?
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
If the noble Lord tells me he did not say it, I feel bound to accept the statement of the noble Lord. All I say is that it is a misfortune that if it was an incorrect report it was not corrected before. Now, Sir, as to this doctrine of the noble Lord and the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson)—are they so unwise as not to see that it cuts both ways? Do you think that it is safe for one Party to say that if a law be passed which they consider injurious to their interests, a law which, to use the language of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh, gives them over to a foreign Power—that therefore they will resist it, and resist it by force? But, supposing that there were another Party in Ireland who believed that the law of England was giving over their country to a foreign Power. What is the foreign Power to which, upon the hypothesis of the noble Lord and the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson), the Orangemen of Ulster would be given over? It would be at least a power elected by Irishmen. I do not wish to encourage that language, and still less do I desire to deduce the consequences from it which the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh desires to deduce. But everybody knows that at the time of the passing of the Act of Union the principal men of Ireland denounced it, and denied the right of the Irish Parliament to extinguish the existence of that Parliament. That was the language of Grattan, and of Saaurin, the Attorney General, and of Plunket, the ancestor of the right hon. and distinguished Gentleman who sits on the Benches opposite. They were betrayed into the same error of saying that Parliament had no right to pass the Act of Union, and having no right they must resist it by force. It is quite plain that a doctrine of that kind is one-sided. If you are to allow the persons affected to judge whether Parliament has or has not the right to pass any particular Act, and to judge whether the consequences of that Act are so serious in their effect upon them that they are entitled to take up arms and resist it by force, why that argu- 1153 ment will inevitably be employed by other people who have similar objects. And how can you possibly resist? Supposing that a Party in Ireland, not a minority, but the majority, were to say—"We disapprove of your laws; we think you have passed laws which you have no right to pass, which seriously affect our lives, our liberty, and our property, and we deny your right to pass such laws, and will resist them by force." I say that if such language is to be used by any other Party in Ireland than the spokesman of the Orange Party such language is nothing less than the language of treason and the language of rebellion. But I say that it is a very serious thing that this language of treason and rebellion should receive the countenance of the Executive Government—the Government of the Queen. Well, Sir, but what is this Party which takes upon itself to refuse to obey, or would refuse to obey, the behests of Parliament if Parliament should pass a Bill which, as they say, gives them over to a foreign Government. What is this Orange Party to whose prejudices the noble Lord appealed, and whose passions he went to Belfast to inflame? ["No!"] Sir, I say of that Orange Party that it is, and has long been, the curse of Ireland. [Cries of "Question!"] The hon. Member who calls out "Question" does not seem to understand what the question is. The Orange Party I repeat is, and has been, the curse of Ireland. It has done more than any other Body in Ireland to keep alive hatred of race and of religion. It is the representative of the old Protestant ascendancy. [An hon. MEMBER: Hear, hear!] Yes in regard to which the adjective was of very little account. The main force was in the substantive. They cared very little about the Protestantism, but a great deal about the ascendancy. In my opinion, the Orange Society has done more harm in Ireland than all the other secret societies put together. ["Oh!"] Well, I will read what a Protestant Archbishop of Dublin has said of the Orange Society. [Cries of "Question!" and "Order!"] This is the question. Archbishop Whately said—The very name of Orangeman is a sign which is chosen on purpose to keep up the memory of a civil war which every friend of humanity would wish to bury in oblivion. It 1154 is doing what among the heathens was reckoned an accursed thing—keeping a trophy in repair.It is known that among the Greeks no trophy was allowed to be made of metal; but only of wood, in order that the memory of past feuds might be obliterated. But the Orange Society lives for the express purpose of preventing the memory of past deeds from being buried. It is this government by ascendancy, by Protestant ascendancy, by class ascendancy, by race ascendancy—that has for so many years been the curse of Ireland. It is that which has prevented the great mass of the Irish people from feeling that the English Government was acting in the interests and for the welfare of the people; that they were acting in the spirit of the Orange Societies; and that they were acting by and through, and for a particular section, and that section a minority of the Irish people. Sir, the noble Lord at Belfast appealed to the Orangemen by name to know whether they would, when the occasion arose, be prepared to act like their forefathers in 1798? A more mischievous, a more dangerous, and a more culpable phrase was never employed on such an occasion among such a people and to such an audience. What would be thought of a French statesman who at this day, in a moment of public excitement, was to appeal to the people of Paris, and to ask them whether they were worthy of their forefathers, and whether they were prepared to act like the men of 1793? What were the men of 1798—what were the Orangemen of 1798—whom the noble Lord brings forward as an example, and asks the people of Belfast to imitate? I will read a description of these men of 1798. They are the words of Grattan, and I take them from Froude's History of Ireland. They were men who belonged chiefly to the county represented by the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Colonel Saunderson). Grattan said—It was a persecution, conceived in the bitterness of bigotry, carried on with ferocious barbarity by a banditti which, being of the religion of the State, had committed with the greatest audacity and confidence the most horrid murders, and had proceeded from robbery and massacre to extermination.He said—These insurgents, who call themselves Orange Boys, or Protestant Boys, are a banditti 1155 of murderers, committing murders in the name of God.
§ LORD ALGERNON PERCY (St. George's, Hanover Square)
I rise to Order. I wish to know whether the conduct of the Orangemen of 1798 is at all relevant to the Amendment before the House?
§ MR. SPEAKER
The Amendment refers to certain precedent circumstances which led up to the riots in Belfast, and it goes on to point out the measures which are necessary for the maintenance of social order. I am bound to say that I do not think a general discussion upon the antecedents of the Orange Party has much connection with the Amendment before the House.
SIR WILLIAM HABCOURT
Of course, Sir, I shall strictly obey your ruling; but this I will ask you. My charge is that the people of Belfast were invited by the noble Lord to imitate their forefathers, the Orangemen of 1798. I therefore ask you, Sir, whether I am not at liberty to point out to the House what was the meaning of that invitation, how it was understood, and what effect it had upon the riots in Belfast? [Mr. SPEAKER made no reply.] Well, Sir, as I understand, you agree that I am justified in pursuing this line of argument. If I am wrong you will tell me so.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman is justified in that line of argument. [A voice from the Home Rule Benches: "Shame!"] That is a most unjustifiable expression, and if I knew who used it I would take action. [Cries of "Name!"] In the exercise of my duty, I said, when an appeal was made to me, that a discussion of the antecedents of the Orange Society was not pertinent to the Amendment before the House. I say that the Amendment specifically alludes to certain circumstances accountable for the recent riots, and then points out that those circumstances dictate the necessity of special measures being adopted in Belfast; and I do not see that the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman did point to any measures necessary for the rehabilitation of social order in Belfast, or had any special reference to those riots.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Of course, I shall bow absolutely to your ruling. I only wish, Sir, that I had not 1156 been called upon to observe upon the language made use of by the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson), which had a general reference to the Orange Society. If you, Sir, rule that the noble Lord's speech at Belfast—["Order!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
The right hon. Gentleman is now arguing with the Chair. I have already given my opinion, and it was given in accordance with the demand made to the Chair. I expect the right hon. Gentleman to accept it.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I shall absolutely obey your ruling, Sir. My difficulty, however, is to know exactly how I am to discuss this question. The Government appeal to us not to discuss the Amendment particularly in reference to what has taken place in Belfast, and I acquiesced in their view of the matter, because I do not think it is expedient to enter into these matters until the Commission had concluded its inquiry. I certainly did desire—I do not know that I shall be in any way contravening the Speaker's ruling—but I certainly did desire to point out the extreme mischief which has arisen in Belfast from the assumption, as it were, by a small section throughout Ireland, though a large section in Belfast, that they are the special objects of the protection of the English Government, and that they have a right to act upon that view. That, I think, is an extremely dangerous thing; it has led to the disturbances at Belfast, and is likely to lead to disturbances elsewhere. I hope, Sir, although I am not sure, that in following this line of argument I am not going beyond your ruling. The danger of such an assumption and of such a policy was long ago pointed out by Mr. Burke, who said he was afflicted deeply at seeing a small Party in Ireland arrogate to themselves the whole of that Kingdom; that he was more afflicted at seeing that a small faction was able to persuade persons here that in them lay the sole power; and that this strange error, if persevered in, as he was afraid it would be, must obviously ruin both countries. I think there is great wisdom in that sentiment, and I should now really like to elicit from the Government what is to be their course in reference to this matter. Something has been said on 1157 the subject of arms. I am afraid that, according to your ruling, Sir, I must not refer to the speech of the noble Lord in Belfast on the subject of arms. But Belfast had been proclaimed, and that Belfast is to a great extent armed cannot be denied. Arms have been used with pernicious and fatal effect; and I should like to know from the Government what measures they are taking, and what measures they intend to take, to disarm Belfast?
§ MR. SPEAKER
The right hon. Gentleman says my ruling was to the effect that he is not entitled to refer to the speech of the noble Lord at Belfast. What I did say was that it was not pertinent to the Amendment before the House to go into the history of the Orange Society.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Then, Sir, I think the position a very difficult one. ["Order!"] I confine myself to the remarks made by the noble Lord in Belfast upon the subject of the Orange Society. What he had said was that he desired the Orangemen of today to do as the Orangemen did in 1798. ["Order!"] I understand that I am entitled to say that—namely, that he desired the Orangemen of today to do what the Orangemen of 1798 had done. ["Order!"] I understood the Speaker to rule that I was entitled to refer to that, which was what the noble Lord, had said in his speech; but you further ruled, Sir—and that ruling I shall obey—that having said that I must not go on—and I shall not go on—to show what the noble Lord meant by that expression—how, in point of fact, the Orangemen of 1798 had acted. ["Order!"] And now I will go to other matters upon which I ask for an expression of the views of the Government. It is quite plain that a great part of the mischief has arisen from the extensive possession of arms by the people of Belfast. It is plain that under the powers of the Proclamation the disarmament of the people can take place. I know all the difficulty there would be in carrying out the process of disarmament; but I think it is of the last importance that we should have some information as to what progress is being made, and what progress is likely to be made, in the disarmament of the unruly people of Belfast. [A laugh.] The hon. Member seems to think that there are 1158 no unruly people in Belfast, and he does not seem to be aware that the unruly people in Belfast are armed. My information leads me to both conclusions. That being so, it would be satisfactory to know from the Government what progress has been made in disarmament—how far the aims have been taken away, and how far persons have been punished for being in possession of arms contrary to the law? Well, Sir, no doubt there is an impression that because a certain class of persons choose to call themselves the loyal minority they therefore ought to be allowed to possess arms. I think that the sooner they are disabused of that impression the better. There are persons who say —"We are the loyal minority, and, therefore, we ought to be allowed to carry arms." It would be a very evil precedent, and would have very pernicious consequences, if it were believed throughout Ireland that the loyal minority were allowed to keep arms contrary to the Proclamation, and if endeavours were made to take the arms of people who do not belong to that particular class in other parts of Ireland. It is quite plain that the restoration of order and the maintenance of peace in Ireland will mainly depend on the belief in the impartiality of the Government, and in the way in which the law is administered. Well, Sir, if I am allowed at all to refer to the noble Lord's speech, I should say that it did not convey an impression to the Irish people of strict impartiality as between the different classes of the community of Belfast. I think that is a very moderate way of stating the proposition. I do not think that if the coble Lord had expressed himself on that occasion in a spirit of strict impartiality he would have given satisfaction to his entertainer, the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson). I doubt whether my hon. and gallant Friend, if he will allow me to call him so, with all his excellent qualities, will claim for himself the virtue of impartiality as a distinctive feature of his character. He did not take the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer to Belfast for the purpose of being impartial. He intended him to express a preference—may I be permitted to say a decided preference— for one particular class—I will not name them—for one particular party, for one 1159 particular creed, and for one particular section of the community. And the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland says that he entirely accepts that position, and desires to endorse it. I am afraid, however, that that will not convey the impression which I am sure the right hon. Gentleman desires to convey, and upon which I believe he will thoroughly act, of impartiality between all the classes of the community in Ireland. I hope that I have expressed myself in a manner which has neither put me out of Order, or against which any hon. Member can have the slightest reason to object. The virtue of impartiality is a great virtue, hut one very difficult to practise, especially in Belfast. What we should like to know, after the doctrines which have been preached in Belfast, and after the acceptance of those doctrines, is whether they are going to be set up, or whether a totally different doctrine and a totally different spirit is going to animate the Government than was shown in Belfast at the time of the visit of the noble Lord? I think we want a little more assurance on that point from the Government. I do not think it was at all satisfactory, much as there was to approve of in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, to hear one part of it. I must say I heard with regret from the Chief Secretary that he adopted the speech of the noble Lord, and that, as far as I could understand, he was prepared to act upon it. If that is the case, I am quite sure it will not conduce to the peace of Ireland. Therefore, I will hope, after all, that it was only a phrase on the part of the Chief Secretary; that he naturally felt indisposed to disavow the language of his Colleague; and that his conduct will be as little conformable to it as possible.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 127;Noes 225:Majority 98.1162
|Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.)||Borlase, W. C.|
|Allison, R. A.||Bright, W. L.|
|Anderson, C. H.||Broadhurst, H.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Brown, A. L.|
|Barry, J.||Burt, T.|
|Biggar, J. G.||Byrne, G. M.|
|Blake, J. A.||Campbell, H.|
|Blake, T.||Carew, J. L.|
|Blane, A.||Channing, F. A.|
|Clancy, J. J.||Molloy, B. C.|
|Clark, Dr. G. B.||Montagu, S.|
|Commins, A.||Murphy, W. M.|
|Condon, T. J.||Nolan, Colonel J. P.|
|Connolly, L.||Nolan, J.|
|Conway, M.||O'Brien, J. F. X.|
|Conybeare, C. A. V.||O'Brien, P.|
|Corbet, W. J.||O'Brien, P. J.|
|Cossham, H.||O'Connor, A.|
|Cox, J. R.||O'Connor, J. (Kerry)|
|Craig, J.||O'Connor, J. (Tippry.)|
|Crilly, D.||O'Connor, T. P.|
|Dillon, J.||O'Hanlon, T.|
|Dillwyn, L. L.||O'Hea, P.|
|Ellis, J. E.||O'Kelly, J.|
|Ellis, T. E.||Parnell, C. S.|
|Esmonde, Sir T. G.||Pickard, B.|
|Esslemont, P.||Pickersgill, E. H.|
|Fenwick, C.||Picton, J. A.|
|Finucane, J.||Pinkerton, J.|
|Foley, P. J.||Power, P. J.|
|Fox, Dr. J. F.||Power, R.|
|Gilhooly, J.||Provand, A. D.|
|Gill, H. J.||Pyne, J. D.|
|Gill, T. P.||Quinn, T.|
|Gladstone, H.,T.||Redmond, W. H. K.|
|Gray, E. D.||Reed, Sir E.J.|
|Harrington, E.||Reid, R. T.|
|Harris, M.||Roe, T.|
|Hayden, L. P.||Rountree, J.|
|Hayne, C. Seale-||Rowlands, J.|
|Healy, M.||Schwann, C. E.|
|Holden, I.||Shaw, T.|
|Hooper, J.||Sheehan, J. D.|
|Hunter, W. A.||Sheehy, D.|
|Jacoby, J. A.||Sheil, E.|
|Jordan, J.||Stack, J.|
|Kelly, B.||Stanhope, hon. P.J.|
|Kenny, M. J.||Stepney-Cowell, Sir A. K.|
|Lalor, R.||Stuart, J.|
|Lane, W. J.||Sullivan, D.|
|Leamy, E.||Sullivan, T. D.|
|Lefevre, rt. hn. G. J. S.||Summers, W.|
|Lewis, T. P.||Sutherland, A.|
|M'Arthur, A.||Swinburne, Sir J|
|M'Arthur, W. A.||Tanner, C. K.|
|M'Cartan, M.||Tuite, J.|
|M'Donald, P.||Wallace, R.|
|M'Donald, W. A.||Watson, T.|
|M'Ewan, W.||Williams, A. J.|
|M'Kenna, Sir J. N.||Williamson, J.|
|M'Laren, W. S. B.||Wright, C.|
|Mason, S.||Russell, E. R.|
|Mayne, T.||Sexton, T.|
|Addison, J. E. W.||Bates, Sir E.|
|Agg-Gardner, J. T.||Baumann, A. A.|
|Ainslie, W. G.||Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks-|
|Amherst, W. A. T.||Beach, W. W. B.|
|Anstruther, Colonel R. H. L.||Beadel, W. J.|
|Beckett, E. W.|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Bective, Earl of|
|Baden-Powell, G. S.||Bentinck, Lord H. C.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Beresford, Lord C. W. De la Poer|
|Balfour, rt. Hon. A. J.|
|Balfour, G. W.||Bethell, Commander G. R.|
|Bartley, G. C. T.|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Blundell, Col. H. B. H.|
|Bass, H.||Bond, G. H.|
|Bonsor, H. C. O.||Giles, A.|
|Bristowe, T. L.||Gilliat, J. S.|
|Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.||Godson, A. F.|
|Goldsmid, Sir J.|
|Brookfield, Col. A. M.||Goldsworthy, Major-General W. T.|
|Bruce, Lord H.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Ash-B.||Gorst, Sir J. E.|
|Gray, C. W.|
|Burghley, Lord||Greenall, Sir G.|
|Caine, W. S.||Greene, E.|
|Caldwell, J.||Grimston, Viscount|
|Campbell, J. A.||Hamilton, Lord C. J.|
|Charrington, S.||Hamley, Gen. Sir E.B.|
|Churchill, rt. hn. Lord R. H. S.||Hanbury, R. W.|
|Hankey, F. A.|
|Clarke, Sir E G.||Hardcastle, E.|
|Cochrane-Baillie, hon. C. W. A. N.||Havelock-Allan, Sir H. M.|
|Coddington, W.||Heathcote, Capt. J. H. Edwards-|
|Coghill, D. H.|
|Colomb, Capt. J. C. R.||Heaton, J. H.|
|Commerell, Adml. Sir J. E.||Herbert, hon S.|
|Hill, right hon. Lord A. W.|
|Cooke, C. W. R.||Hill, Colonel E. S.|
|Corbett, A. C.||Hoare, S.|
|Corry, Sir J. P.||Holland, rt. hon. Sir H. T.|
|Cotton, Capt. E. T. D.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Holloway, G.|
|Crossman, Gen. Sir W.||Holmes, rt. hon. H.|
|Curzon, Viscount||Hornby, W. H.|
|Curzon, hon. G. N.||Houldsworth, W. H.|
|Dalrymple, C.||Howard, J.|
|Davenport, H. T.||Howard, J. M.|
|Davenport, W. B.||Howorth, H. H.|
|Dawnay, Colonel hon. L. P.||Hozier, J. H. C.|
|De Lisle, E. J. L. M. P.||Hughes, Colonel E.|
|Hughes-Hallett, Col. F. C.|
|De Worms, Baron H.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Hunt, F.S.|
|Dimsdale, Baron R.||Isaacs, L. H.|
|Dorington, Sir J. E.||Isaacson, F. W.|
|Dugdale, J. S.||Jackson, W. L.|
|Duncombe, A.||James, rt. hon. Sir H.|
|Edwards-Moss, T. C.||Jarvis, A. W.|
|Egerton, hn. A. J. F.||Jennings, L. J.|
|Egerton, hon. A. de T.||Kelly, J. R.|
|Elliot, Sir G.||Kennaway, Sir J. H.|
|Ellis, Sir J. W.||Kenyon, hon. G. T.|
|Elton, C. I.||Kerans, F. H.|
|Evelyn, W. J.||Kimber, H.|
|Ewart, W.||King-Harman, Colonel E. R.|
|Eyre, Colonel H.|
|Feilden, Lt.-Gen. R. J.||Knightley, Sir R.|
|Fergusson, right hon. Sir J.||Knowles, L.|
|Field, Admiral E.||Lambert, I. C.|
|Fielden, T.||Lawrance, J. C.|
|Finch, G. H.||Lawrence, W. F.|
|Fisher, W. H.||Lees, E.|
|Fitzgerald, R. U. P.||Legh, T. W.|
|Fitz-Wygram, General Sir F. W.||Lethbridge, Sir R.|
|Lewisham, right hon. Viscount|
|Fletcher, Sir H.|
|Folkestone, right hon. Viscount||Llewellyn, E. H.|
|Long, W. H.|
|Forwood, A. B.||Low, M.|
|Fraser, General C. C.||Lowther, J. W.|
|Fulton, J. F.||Lubbock, Sir J.|
|Gedge, S.||Macartney, W. G. E.|
|Gent-Davis, R.||Macdonald, rt. hon. J. H. A.|
|Gibson, J. G.|
|Maclean, F. W.||Sellar, A. C.|
|Maclure, J. W.||Selwyn, Captain C. W.|
|Macnaghten, E.||Seton-Karr, H.|
|Mallock, R.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H.|
|Manners, rt. hon. Lord J. J. R.||Sidebotham, J. W.|
|Sinclair, W. P.|
|Matthews, rt. hon. H.||Smith, rt. hon. W. H.|
|Maxwell, Sir H. E.||Smith-Barry, A. H.|
|Mayne, Admiral R. C.||Spencer, J. E.|
|More, R. J.||Stanhope, rt. hon. E.|
|Morrison, W.||Stanley, E. J.|
|Mount, W. G.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R,||Tapling, T.K.|
|Mowbray, R. G. C.||Temple, Sir R.|
|Muntz, P. A.||Theobald, J.|
|Murdoch, C. T.||Tollemache, H. J.|
|Noble, W.||Tomlinson, W. E. M.|
|Northcote, hon. H. S.||Townsend, F.|
|Parker, hon. F.||Tyler, Sir H. W.|
|Pearce, W.||Walsh, hon. A. H. J.|
|Penton, Captain F. T.||Waring, Colonel T.|
|Percy, Lord A. M.||Watson, J.|
|Plunkett, hon. J. W.||Webster, Sir R. E.|
|Powell, F. S.||Webster, R. G.|
|Raikes. rt. hon. H. C.||West, Colonel W. C.|
|Rasch, Major F. C.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Reed, H. B.||White, J. B.|
|Ritchie, rt. hon. C. T.||Whitmore, C. A.|
|Robertson, J. P. B.||Wilson, Sir S.|
|Robinson, B.||Winn, hon. R.|
|Rollit, Sir A. K.||Wood, N.|
|Ross, A. H.||Wright, H. S.|
|Round, J.||Wroughton, P.|
|Royden, T. B.||Young, C. E. B.|
|Russell, T. W.|
|Sandys, Lt.-Col. T. M.||TELLERS.|
|Saunderson, Col. E. J.||Douglas, A. Akers-|
|Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G.||Walrond, Col. W. H.|
Main Question put, and agreed to.
Committee appointed, to draw up an Address to be presented to Her Majesty upon the said Resolution:—Colonel KING-HARMAN, Mr. JAMES MACLEAN, Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL, Mr. MATTHEWS, Mr. EDWARD STANHOPE, Lord JOHN MANNERS, Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH, Mr. ARTHUR BALFOUR, Sir HENRY HOLLAND, Viscount LEWISHAM, and Mr. AKERS-DOUGLAS; Five to be the quorum;—To withdraw immediately:—Queen's Speech referred.