§ ADJOURNED DEBATE. [FIFTH NIGHT.]
Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [28th March],
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make better provision for the prevention and punishment of Crime in Ireland; and for other purposes relating thereto."—(Mr. Arthur Balfour.)
§ Question again proposed.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. PARNELL (Cork),
in rising to move the Amendment of which he had given Notice, said: I am glad, Sir, we are now in a position for the first time to debate the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) with some sort of an approach to completeness of information. It was not until last night that this House and the country were put in possession of the general and complete policy of the Government in its nakedness and its dishonesty. The proceedings last night, Sir, in "another place," revealed to us the extent of the plot and the gravity of the conspiracy by which it is intended by the Tory Party and the Liberal Unionists on the one side to coerce, if possible, the tenants of Ireland into the payment of impossible rents, and on the other side to compel the purchase of the landlords' interest at exorbitant prices, at prices which, if this House puts it into the power of the Government to 246 coerce the Irish people under this Bill, will most certainly lead to a repudiation on a wholesale scale and to great loss to the British taxpayer. Sir, up to the present we have only had the coercion side, the direct coercion side, of the Government; but last night we were treated in "another place" to what I may call the indirect coercion side of the Government, a species of coercion which, under the pretext of conferring benefits on the Irish people, stabs them in the back, a species of coercion which, under the guise of friendship, inflicts a most deadly injury. Now, Sir, when last Session I asked the Government and this House to intervene in the crisis which I saw very well was approaching in Irish affairs, when I begged and implored of them, this newly-elected Parliament, full of fresh Members, who could not complain of the fatigue of a recent Session as a reason for a speedy holiday—when I entreated this House to postpone its holiday for a while in order to bring about some modus vivendi to enable the Irish tenants to pass through the coming winter, I was met with the statement that the Government had appointed a Select Commission to inquire into the Land Question, and that when they received its Report they would act on it. I predicted, Sir, that if you waited for the winter you would find things very much entangled, and so far gone before you met again that you would be called upon by the Ministry not to carry out the recommendations of the Royal Commission in the direction of land reform, but to pass a Coercion Bill of unexampled stringency and most drastic provisions, and, unhappily, I have not proved to be a false prophet. I wish it had been otherwise, and the Government in this House are pressing on their coercion with almost indecent haste. On the other hand, they have refused to carry out the recommendations of the Royal Commission. It is impossible for us to consider this question of the state of Ireland without inquiry into the sufficiency of the projects of the Government with regard to remedial legislation. I say that these projects, as announced to us last night, stand condemned by the Report of their own Commission for their insufficiency to meet the justice of the situation and the gravity of the tenants' case. What did 247 the Land Commission recommend? They made three main or principal recommendations. The first of all was that the judicial term should be shortened from 15 to five years; they recommended, in the second place, that leaseholders should be admitted to the benefits of the Land Act, and the third recommendation was that the holders of town parks should be constituted present tenants, and should on application be admitted to have a fair rent fixed. With the exception of the admission of the leaseholders to the benefits of the Land Act, the Government have absolutely thrown overboard the other two recommendations of the Commission—that is to say, that out of the three main or principal recommendations the Government have only adopted one. They have declined to shorten the judicial term of tenancy from 15 years to five; they have declined to admit the occupiers of the town parks to the benefit of the Land Act of 1881, and have contented themselves with a mere modification of the definition which will go a very small distance in the required direction. But the two recommendations of the Royal Commission are quite as important for their negative side as for their positive side. We have heard a great deal of the land proposals of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain); how he has bent his great talent and knowledge of Ireland to the construction of a Land Purchase Bill. I am not at all sure that within the last 12 months the right hon. Gentleman has not constructed several Land Purchase Bills, each successive one different to the previous one. Sir, we are told now that he has constructed a Land Purchase Bill, and he has sold this Land Purchase Bill to the Government, the conditions being that the Government have purchased this Land Purchase Bill from him in exchange for his vote. In other words, it is not a case of two fools meeting. Her Majesty's Government have been the wiser of the two, because they have given no value whatever—the two important considerations made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham being that the Government should accept his Land Purchase Bill, and he is to vote in favour of the Coercion Bill. The right hon. Gentleman is wedded to his idea of 248 the substitution of small Local Authorities for the Central Authority contemplated by the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), and we may assume—although we have not been favoured with any details as to the Purchase Bill of the Government—we may assume that the Land Purchase Bill of the Government will be in the direction of that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham—at all events, they will be very ungrateful to him if it be not so. But what does the Royal Commission say with regard to this point? They say in paragraph 26 of their Report—We have found an all but unanimous opinion against the expectation that any satisfactory result would follow from the introduction of Local Authorities as guarantors in ordinary or congested districts, and the evidence shows that these authorities would decline such responsibility.Further on they say in another paragraph—We think that much caution should be exercised with dealing with small tenants as purchasers of their holdings.So that the Royal Commission expressly warned the Government against fathering the Bill of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham. They point out that it would be dangerous, so far as it was operative, and that in all probability it would only be operative to a very small extent. Well, then, Sir, dual ownership is to be abolished in the permanent Bill of the Government—the second Bill of the Government—and it is to be abolished, I suppose, by the guarantee of these Local Authorities in Ireland which has been condemned by the Royal Commission, so that we find not only do the Government refuse to carry out the positive recommendations of the Royal Commission, but they also absolutely disregarded its warnings in these two matters which they advise them not to do. But, Sir, I would turn for a moment to the proposal for dealing with the present exigencies of the case—the situation in Ireland. I have pointed out that it is not the intention of the Government to adopt the principal recommendation of the Royal Commission, based upon the evidence which they received, that the judicial term of the tenancy should be shortened in length from 15 years to five; and here we find 249 that again the trail of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham appears to stain the ground. The ill-omened word "bankruptcy" is introduced, and the example which is supposed to have been set by the successful workings of the Bankruptcy Bill of the right hon. Gentleman is to be invoked in reference to the case of the distressed Irish tenants—in other words, Bankruptcy Courts are to be set up wholesale right, left, and centre, all over Ireland in order that the Irish tenants may be turned into bankrupts. These Bankruptcy Courts are to be composed of County Court Judges. To them is to be given the duty of deciding the great number of intricate and difficult matters which from the nature of the case it will be entirely impossible for these gentlemen either to have knowledge of, or time to consider or adjudicate upon. These County Court Judges are limited in number, and I admit they have not a great deal of work to do. Thanks to the freedom from litigation of the mercantile and of the prominent classes in Ireland, there is not much for these County Court Judges to do. But what do you propose to do now as part of your remedial legislation? You propose to give to these 25 County Court Judges the duty of deciding whether 450,000 Irish tenants are, in the first instance, persons of good character; whether, in the second place, their inability to pay rent is due to the fact that they have taken too much whiskey, or that the land is too poor to produce the rent; and, in the third place, what the fair rent is to be that they ought to pay in future. A more monstrous proposal never entered into the brain of man.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
I rise, Sir, to ask a question. The hon. Gentleman is going into the details of a Bill before another House, and the Question I have to ask is, if he is to discuss that Bill, shall I be allowed to reply to him in equal detail?
§ MR. SPEAKER
There is manifestly great inconvenience in discussing the general question of land on an Amendment to a Motion for the introduction of a Bill for the Amendment of the Criminal Law. The Amendment, in my opinion, must bear some relation to the Bill to which it refers. Although, of course, 250 allusion to the Land Question is perfectly in Order; yet any detailed reference to a debate in another House would be improper and un-Parliamentary.
§ MR. PARNELL
I shall keep strictly within the limits of your ruling, Sir; but I would remind the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant that in a discussion upon a Motion before a Select Committee of the Whole House for inquiry into the state of Ireland, it is quite impossible to limit the nature of the discussion solely and entirely to the merits of the Bill which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to ask the leave of the House to introduce. We are under the necessity of inquiring into other branches of the Irish Constitution in order to see whether the proposals of the Government as a whole are such as to free them from the necessity of agreeing to my Amendment. That is what I seek. Without referring to any Bill which may be before the other House, and without referring to the details or passages in debate which may have taken place in the other House, I may say, generally, a more monstrous proposal—whether it be the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, or whether it be the proposal of Her Majesty's Government—than that which has been described to us—namely, that of these 25 Judges, who have already some business to do, although not a great deal, to confide to them the duty not only of investigating the moral character of all the Irish tenants who are not leaseholders, but also the capacity of their farms to pay a higher or lower rent than that which they pay now, was never heard of. It is a proposal that is bound to break down from the very commencement, and I can only suppose it was put forward because the Government thought it was necessary for them to propose something in an ameliorative direction, because they had proposed this coercive measure. It is the old story—it shows that in proportion to the severity of your Coercion Code the efficiency of your remedial measures will be diminished. In proportion as you strike down Irish liberties, so will be the ratio of the lessened efficiency of the ameliorating Courts, such as the Courts of the Land Commissioners and others you may establish in Ireland for 251 the redress of Irish grievances. As one of those who carefully watched the working of the Land Act of 1881, and who took some part in the agitation of the Land League in those days, I desire to give it as my solemn conviction that, had it not been for the passage of the Coercion Act of 1881, the Land Act of that year would have been received in a very different and far better spirit by the Irish people, and the operations of the Courts would not have been hampered by the criticism of the House of Lords and the opprobrium of the landlord faction in Ireland, which intimidated these Courts, and prevented them from doing that justice to the Irish tenants which they were established to do. Nay, more, Sir; I will go further than that, and I will say I am convinced that the landlord party in the House of Commons had not previously got the Coercion Act of 1881 passed, they would have allowed a far better and more generous Land Act to have passed through both this House and the House of Lords, and that Act would not have been foredoomed to failure by reason of its own inefficiency from the very moment of its birth. If you handicap the Irish tenants in their struggle against unjust rents, if you throw the power into the landlords' hands in Ireland, depend upon it your imperfect attempts to do justice to the tenants will be foredoomed to failure, and that it will be impossible for them to contend against the obstacles which will be placed in their way. Sir, I do not propose to deal fully with the question of the Land Bill which was introduced last night in "another place;" but I will just say this—the last General Election turned to a large extent upon the question of the land proposals of the late Government, proposals to purchase out the tenant at the expense and at the risk of the State in the interests of the landlords, and did more than any thing else to defeat and wreck the late Ministry. If there was one thing the electorate of Great Britain was against it was the loan of the credit of the State for the purpose of assisting the Irish landlords; and I am perfectly convinced from the development I have seen on the one hand of coercion, and on the other hand the land legislation in "another place," that the very danger that the English and British electorate sought to avoid by rushing away from the right hon. 252 Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, and his plans, they have leapt into by placing the present Government into Office; and if they allow this Coercion Act to pass, the last defence against the wholesale robbery of the British taxpayer will be removed—there will be then nothing to prevent the exercise of landlord intimidation against the tenants in Ireland. They will be compelled in self-defence—and we have seen many instances of it already—to buy their farms upon any terms that the landlords may force upon them. The result of that—the inevitable result—must be loss to the British taxpayer, because agriculture is at such a low ebb in Ireland now, as in England, that the possibility of obtaining the rent out of the land has almost ceased to exist, except in the very best classes of land. If you attempt to float the landlords by means of State credit, the result must surely be a wholesale repudiation of their obligations, when this coercion shall have been removed, by the tenants whom the landlords will have compelled to purchase at extravagant terms. I have myself always desired to act honestly in respect of this question of land purchase. I have always been identified with it ever since I took a prominent part in Irish politics. I think that the solution of the Irish Land Question depends upon the purchase of their holdings by the tenants. I was denounced as a robber in 1879 by the then Prime Minister, who ridiculed the idea of any large scheme for enabling the Irish tenants to purchase their holdings. The late Sir Stafford Northcote pointed out the danger there would be to the British taxpayer taking the place of these impoverished landlords. In 1880 we (the Irish Party) were held up to public odium because we asked, not that there might be a forced sale of all Irish lands to the Irish tenants, but that a Royal Commission might have power to buy such estates in Ireland as they considered necessary, where strained relations might exist between landlords and tenants. But from first to last I have never wavered or faltered for a single moment in the belief that in the direction of land purchase lies your hope of settling the Irish Land Question. I did not go, I could not go, with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, in hoping or believing that his 253 Land Act would prove a final solution or settlement of the difficulty, although if it had been allowed to work by the House of Lords and the landlord faction in Ireland it would have gone very much nearer a solution than it hither to has done. That has been our position—to make the Irish tenant the owner of his holding, and we believe he will turn the sands into gold. We believe that if this be done on a fair basis and a fair price, in the absence of coercion—not with coercion—that the Irish tenant will fulfil his obligations to the last penny; for he would feel as one who drags a lessening instead of a lengthening chain behind him; and the result will be satisfactory to the English nation and without any risk to the Imperial Exchequer. But in the present proposals of the Government there is wanting every element of future security and satisfaction, so that what you give on the one hand you take away with the other; and these unfortunate tenants and those who speak for them will subject themselves to the most terrible penalties if they venture to say a word against the Ministerial view, or the view of the landlords of Ireland. We shall be told during the debate that the Government do not intend to do this, and that they will not use the Coercion Act in such a manner; that they do not intend to use it in this fashion or in that fashion; but we know how these professions vanish when the Government get the sharp sword into their hands. I recollect it being said that Mr. Forster's Coercion Act of 1881 was not to be used except against those who directly incited to outrage and intimidation; that it would be used only against village ruffians, and not used against people who gave advice to tenants. Well, Sir, I can give hundreds of instances of persons arrested under that Act who did nothing whatever but go to the landlord and ask for a reduction of rent. I remember the case of a most respectable farmer from the County of Wexford who was brought into Kilmainham one day. He was a Mr. Crosby, I think, a tenant on an estate in that county, and he had a large establishment in addition to the farm. He was a leaseholder, one of the class you are now going to relieve after seven years' waiting; and he headed a deputation of his brother tenants to the landlord or to the agent—I cannot say now which—to ask for a reduction for rent. 254 The landlord or agent said to him—"I will go up to Dublin Castle to-night, and I will see Mr. Forster." He did not speak so courteously of Mr. Forster. He used another name, which, in respect for the memory of the man, I shall not myself use. "I shall see Mr. Forster," he said. "I will have you in gaol in Kilmainham before 24 hours have gone by." Well, Sir, he did go up to Dublin Castle, and saw Mr. Forster, and Mr. Crosby was in gaol in Kilmainham before 24 hours. It will be the same way now. Even the printer's devils employed in the office of United Ireland, were arrested under the Act of 1881 for intimidation because they inked the types of that journal, and the very newsboys of the streets were arrested by the police for intimidation for crying the paper about the streets. So it will be now. You will coerce the Irish tenants, and compel them to use your so-called remedial legislation—legislation which can only be carried out at a vast cost to the English taxpayer. All guarantees of fair dealing will be gone; and how can you expect that the Irish tenants will not repudiate such a bargain when they get the chance. I will now Sir, leave this question of remedial legislation, and I will go to the Coercion Bill of the Government, and the case which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant made upon its introduction. And, Sir, I have to complain that in the course which the Government have taken they have entirely deprived the House of any real means of checking' the information they have supplied. They supplied the House with information solely on their own authority. They have not given us the names, or, except in a very few cases, any details that would enable us to check the bonâ fide character of this information. Now, it is a very serious thing, when you are attempting to steal away the liberties of a nation by such a case as that put forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, to depart from the precedent that has been sot by the previous Government under similar circumstances, At all other times we have had figures in abundance; we have had statistics of crime that the Government in question had based their eases upon those figures and upon those statistics; but in this case the Government have not based their case on any figures or on any 255 statistics given to the House. The right hon. Gentleman treated us to a series of anecdotes, but he gave us nothing definite. I remember in my young days the great pleasure I experienced when reading Robinson Crusoe. I asked whether it was true or not. I was informed that it was not absolutely true, but I was comforted by the assurance that it was founded upon fact. But we are unable to comfort ourselves even with this assurance in the case of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. The child's guide to knowledge is nothing to the encyclopedia the right hon. Gentleman has unfolded for the edification of us Irish. He has told us that he has based his case upon a series of anecdotes. For example, he gave us the number of persons under police protection in Ireland. That is an important piece of collateral evidence. I submit, it is not one of the figures which should have been given as one of the leading grounds for the Government case, because it is a statement which is impossible for us to test or compare with those of previous years. Such figures as those are not given in the annual Government Returns. The number of persons under police protection in the year 1885, for instance, when the Conservative Government came into Office, abandoning coercion, it would be extremely interesting for us to know, in order that we might compare them with the figures given for the year 1886. We have not got this information, nor can we get information of any kind, relied on by the right hon. Gentleman in the Parliamentary Papers. We are, therefore, without the usual means of testing either the truth or the value of the truth of those statements of the right hon. Gentleman, which he has used as one of his leading crutches. The right hon. Gentleman gave us the charges of some of the Irish Judges. I say some, for he only gave us four of the charges of the Irish Judges. The charges of Irish Judges are not put into Parliamentary Blue Books, and, consequently, we are here, again, not in a position to compare the charges of those four Irish Judges with the charges delivered in 1885; and, probably, if we were in a position to make the comparison we would have found that Mr. Justice Law-son, Mr. Justice Johnson, Mr. Justice Murphy, and Mr. Justice O'Brien have 256 been delivering exactly the same kind of charges they had used during the last eight of the nine years since 1879. The right hon. Gentleman said these were not political Judges—two of them certainly are—Judge O'Brien and Judge Johnson are political Judges—I mean they are Judges who owe their elevation to the Bench in a great measure to the fact that one was successful in obtaining a seat in the House of Commons, and that the other was not successful; for I had the pleasure of defeating Mr. Justice O'Brien myself at a contested election in Ennis in 1878. So, consequently, both these Judges are political Judges. They are notorious for the violence of their utterances, and for the way in which they transgress all traditions of the Judicial Bench in going out of their way in denouncing what they called the inherent vice and iniquity of the Irish people. Nobody but right hon. Gentlemen like the Chief Secretary could have attached the slighest importance to their utterances, and nobody else would have thought of bringing them forward as a fair example of their class. But although we cannot go back and compare the utterances of these Judges with their utterances in past years, and especially in 1885, when, as I have already said, the Conservative Government abandoned coercion, I am entitled to ask, why did not the Government give us some of the charges of the other Irish Judges? There are 21 Irish Judges, and out of these the Government selected the four I have mentioned. Why did not they give us the charges of some of the other 17 Judges? I have been at some pains to collect some of those charges during the recent Assizes, but I really do not like to detain the House in reading them. For the four that the right hon. Gentleman has trotted out, I shall be able to trot out 10 or 12 in a distinctly reverse sense to that of those four Judges. But I do not like to detain the House by going over these charges. I will say this—that I think the Government have placed us in a most unfair position by going out of the beaten track in reference to this matter by basing their case on a few Judges' charges on the failures of juries to convict picked up here and there all over the country, the foul refuse of scavengering, which the right hon. Gentleman should have been ashamed to produce. I have 257 here the Judges' charges for Mayo, Meath, Galway, Tipperary, the City of Limerick, the County of Sligo, North Tipperary, Waterford County, King's County, Tipperary County, Roscommon County, and Westmeath County. I will read you one example which will show that the Judges have spoken in the highest terms of the peace of the country, of the absence of any serious crime, and also of the considerable diminution in crime that has taken place since the last Assizes. Let us take the North Biding of Tipperary as a fair example. Baron Dowse said—The cases reported to me by the county inspector number only eight, and with the exception of those I have mentioned they do not show the prevalence of crime in this part of the county. The contrast between these eight and the 41 tried before the Judge of this Assize last year is, on the whole, very satisfactory. So far as it goes it shows the crimes are very few. Tipperary was never in a better state.Baron Dowse then goes on to administer a little lecture to the Grand Jury, He says—You may possibly like, before you are discharged, to pass, like other Grand Juries, a resolution about the desperate state of the country. I have nothing to do with that, and you may think that what I have said is all wrong. What I have to deal with is cases of crime. These are what the county inspector has to deal with; and, so far as the cases of crime are concerned, the state of the country is satisfactory. I state there has been a decrease of crime in all classes.I can read similar extracts from the other Judges. For instance, Lord Justice Fitzgibbon, in Meath, said—The county showed its usual absence of anything like serious crime, and that was the subject which Judges of Assize had directly to deal with.Baron Dowse, in Waterford County, said—He was glad to inform the Grand Jury that on that occasion, as on many previous occasions, he could congratulate them on the peaceful state of the county.In Waterford City, Judge Andrews said—There are only two cases to go before you, and these are of the ordinary character.In the Queen's County, Judge Johnson said the County Inspector's Report showed that the county was in a satisfactory condition. In Sligo, Judge Johnson, and in Roscommon, Judge Murphy, congratulated the Grand Juries on the peaceableness of those two counties. In 258 Westmeath, Sir Michael Morris, the Chief Justine, said—I am happy to inform you there is only one bill to go before you.The Grand Jury then retired, and found "no bill." I do not think it is necessary to go any further, though I have five or sis other cases. I have selected charges from different parts of the country, and other charges of the Judges tell the same tale; and I ask, Sir, was it fair for the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to treat us exclusively to the charges of four Judges, and ignore the charges of Judges who charged in totally different directions, and in so very different a tone. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary also relied upon the number of offences committed in five large counties in Ireland—comprising, as he said, one - third of Ireland—which is only true as to area, the population being about one-sixth or one-seventh. He had selected them as being the worst in Ireland, and he said there had been 755 offences of all kinds committed last year. Recollect, not agrarian offences, against which this Bill is directed, but offences of all kinds. Is that an extravagant calendar of crime for the large counties of Ireland, comprising one-third of the area and one-seventh of the population of the country, for the whole year? Just look at the calendar of crime in any of your own English counties during the period of one year. Well, he says that out of these 755 cases there was no clue discovered of the perpetrators in 546; but who is responsible for that? The explanation is that in Ireland we have no detective police force, or police worthy of the name. The police force is kept up as a military force for the purpose of overawing opposition at evictions of Irish tenants, and it is notorious that no attempt worthy of the name is made to detect crime unless it is agrarian. I will venture to say, also, that if you compare the statistics of crime in England, where no clue is obtained and no person is made amenable, you will find a large proportion of such cases also; and yet you have an efficient police force, and the sympathy of the people with them, not alienated to a great extent, as in Ireland, by the fact that so-called law and justice has been used for centuries for the oppression of the people. I believe it would be no 259 exaggeration to say that of the offences committed in English, towns there are fewer than half in which the offender is caught, or any person made amenable to the Jaw. We all know the numbers of murdered people who are yearly picked up in the Thames, of whose deaths no trace can be found. I say it is monstrous to take away the character of the people of Ireland on such grounds as those. Then the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary says there are 322 instances in which persons injured declined to swear any information. I should like to have compared with this the number of people who refused to swear informations in regard to cases in England in 1885. It is undoubtedly the case that a great many of these injuries occur in party faction. In these faction fights it seems to be a point of honour with the person concerned not to give information to the police. It consequently happens that persons who have got a blow on the head with a stick in a faction fight, or who has received some ether injury in some drinking row coming home from a fair, do frequently not volunteer to give information. I regret that this should be so. I regret that there should be any faction fights. I regard them as a disgrace and a weakness to Ireland; but they are not nearly so numerous as they were, and this Bill is not directed against faction fights. The number of cases in which juries have confused to convict has been also made much of. The right hon. Gentleman has given us three or four instances in regard to this matter; but it is a curious fact that he did not give one in any of the five counties which he held up to us as examples of all that is terrible in the state of Ireland. Three or four cases in which juries refused to agree were given, and two of them were in the County of Tipperary—a model county, according to the testimony of Baron Dowse. The Government are so happy as to possess a careful informant in Tipperary in the person of the notorious Mr. George Bolton, who is the Crown Solicitor there; and I have no doubt he is the person who has given the right hon. Gentleman the information which he conveyed to the House as to these cases the other night. What were these two cases? One of them was that of a man named Clarke, whom the right hon. Gentleman wished the House to believe was acquitted of 260 some charge, because he was either a National Leaguer or a local leader of the people, whatever that may be. According to the best of my information, Clarke was not a member of the National League at all; but whether he was one does not alter the details of my case, which shows that, so far from there being any demoralization of the jury, expressly proves that Clarke, who was a Protestant, managed to get upon the jury a friend of his named Hayes, a publican and a Catholic. This man Hayes was the only member of the jury, consisting of 12, who refused to agree on a verdict of guilty against Clarke. Now, that is one example of the cases on which the right hon. Gentleman seeks to blacken the character of juries not only of Tipperary, but of all Ireland. Eleven Catholics were for a conviction, and one Catholic, a personal friend of Clarke's, was for an acquittal. It is very hard that we should be driven and obliged to investigate these cases in remote holes and corners of Ireland, and occupy the time of the House of Commons afterwards in contradicting such ridiculous statements by producing such information as we can get.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
How does the hon. Gentleman get these names of the proportion of the jurors?
§ MR. PARNELL
The hon. and gallant Gentleman and his Friends are always very unwilling to give us any information; but if the hon. and gallant Gentleman appeals to his friend Mr. George Bolton, he would be able to tell him that my information is absolutely correct. At any rate, I am in a position to guarantee the authenticity and certainty of my information, and I will substantiate it before a Select Committee of the House of Commons if the House will grant one. Now I come to the case of a man named Hogan, who is acquitted on a charge of rape. The right hon. Gentleman says he was charged with a horrible outrage on a respectable girl, and was found not guilty because he was a well-known Leaguer in the district. Now, I have here a letter—this letter I am going to read is from a barrister who was present in the Court watching the trial—The fact was the prisoner was charged with, rape, and the prosecutrix was an able-bodied, healthy young woman, aged about 21 or 22. 261 She swore that he raped her six separate times in one hour—a very remarkable story. The jury ought not, and would not, have convicted on the Crown case alone. But the prisoner was examined under Mr. Stead's Act. It was proved, and not uncontradicted, that he spent five hours about the fields and ditches with this girl that evening, and he repeatedly had connection with her, but with her entire consent. The jury thereupon acquitted him.This is one of the cases of the right hon. Gentleman. On such information given by his friend Mr. George Bolton, the right hon. Gentleman regales the House of Commons, while the Government is engaged in destroying the liberties of the people. This man Hogan was not a member of the National League. Now I turn to the third case; and this was a case of a rich farmer who was charged, according to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, with obtaining money by means of false documents. The case, said the right hon. Gentleman, of the prosecutor, a maltster, was proved in the clearest possible manner. The Judge charged strongly for a conviction; but the jury, which consisted of farmers, disagreed. Now, the barrister whose letter I have previously quoted says of this ease—This was a case which was proved, in which perhaps a very intelligent jury, familiar with accounts, would have convicted. But, as a matter of fact, it was a most complicated and difficult case. The transactions, nearly all of them, took place in 1885; the witnesses examined were by no means clear; but, on the contrary, were indistinct, mainly owing to failure of memory, but partly to the complex nature of the case. The documentary evidence included a great number of cheques, and the accuracy of various complicated book entries. The wonder was not that the jury disagreed, but that, as the fact was, 10 were for a conviction, at which the counsel for the prosecution was very much surprised.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
Is that the same case of which the hon. Gentleman spoke just now?
§ MR. PARNELL
That is the same case. The right hon. Gentleman observes that there is nothing contradictory in the two accounts, but a great deal which is confirmatory. I will now leave the right hon. Gentleman and his selected cases, which he gave to the House in regard to jury-packing. He gave three or four cases altogether in which he gave the names. I have traced three of them, with the results I have stated. Now, Sir, he relied also on the Boycotting 262 cases. He told us of a large number of cases of Boycotting in Ireland, amounting to 836. Here, again, no information is given in the Parliamentary Return, and the same complaint that I made in regard to other branches of the right hon. Gentleman's case applies to these statistics also. We have no opportunity of comparing the number of such cases with the number in previous years, especially in 1885. The House will see that it would have been of the utmost importance to us to have been enabled to compare the number of Boycotting cases in 1886—when the Government comes forward with this, the most drastic Coercion Act that has ever been heard of since 1833, and that Act was not used—and the number of Boycotting cases in 1885, when, by the mouth of their Chief Secretary and of Lord Carnarvon, the Government announced they were going to abandon the old evil methods of coercion. I do not believe, if we had the information which we ought to have, and which it was the duty of the right hon. Gentleman, to produce, we should find there was very much difference in the number of persons Boycotted in 1885 and the number Boycotted in 1886. But the right hon. Gentleman gives us some cases of Boycotting, and I must assume, as in the case of jury-packing, the right hon. Gentleman has selected the most favourable examples from his point of view he could find. He gave us the case of a butcher who was prosecuted and punished for intimidation, the person intimidated being subsequently Boycotted and his wife refused the services of a midwife. It is very terrible that this poor woman should have been refused help in the hour of her need, and I do not believe that any number of persons in Ireland, even in that district, would have done such a thing, or have taken any part in doing it. But what does it prove? The person who was charged with the Boycotting offence was convicted. Therefore, that is not a failure of the law. This is an example given in support of a Bill brought forward to prevent failures in the law with regard to cases of Boycotting. But the right hon. Gentleman places in the very forefront of his examples the case of a person who was convicted, with the result of showing that the accused person was convicted in spite of the fact that he had the sympathy of the people of the locality en- 263 listed on his side. Then the Thurles case in August, 1885, was another of the right hon. Gentleman's examples, just at the very time when Lord Carnarvon was going up and down Ireland preaching peace and conciliation to the Irish people; and when Lord Salisbury was making his celebrated Newport speech about the uselessness of the intimidation clauses of the Crimes Act. Then he gives us a third example, a resolution adopted at a meeting of a National League branch in Sligo—That Mr. J. Harvey be adopted as the Poor Law candidate for this parish, and that Mr. Brett he asked to send in his resignation so as to save expenses.What are the unseen applications of the new Bill which are to prevent people in localities in Ireland from passing a resolution asking candidates to withdraw from competition for the post of Poor Law Guardian? Could any Constitutional right be more harmless than that of passing such resolutions without a single intimidating or inflammatory speech or word? Then there was another case of intimidation which the right hon. Gentleman has culled. This was a resolution passed by a local branch of the National League on the 25th March last year, in which members were informed that they were expected to pay their subscriptions then due to the branch. Then the right hon. Gentleman gave us along list of cases of Boycotting, and these cases I would ask the House to notice he divided into classes. He gave us no less than eight or nine distinct classes of Boycotting, and amongst them was the case of a man who—as the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland would have them believe—was Boycotted because he refused to join the National League. He was challenged on the spot to give a single case of pressure being brought to bear on anybody to join the National League throughout the whole of Ireland, but he could not do so. If any such thing as this occurred in connection with the National League, that branch guilty of conduct like that would be dissolved on the spot, for the simple reason that no pressure of any kind is brought to bear on anyone to induce them to join the National League. The right hon. Gentleman quoted that case and others in support of his argument; but he did not give us a single instance actually of that 264 class of offence. He then made the further accusation against the National League, that it had destroyed the value of the tenant-right in Irish land. I always thought that the value of the tenant-right in Irish land after the tenant had paid his rent and provided for the wants of himself and his family had been entirely destroyed by the fall in prices produced by American competition. If the Irish farmer has a margin on the wrong side of his balance he can have no tenant-right; it ceases to exist, and it does not require the all-potent and mischievous body the National League, or anything else, to step in and destroy it. I now come, Mr. Speaker, to the provisions of the Bill itself. I will not go into the figures which were given with so much power and force, and which I cannot pretend to imitate, even at a modest distance, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), and which proved that the state of Ireland in regard to crime, as compared with its state in previous years, is one of enormous improvement, and that whereas, in the case of preceding Coercion Acts, a case was made out, showing that crime was on the ascendant, in the present instance the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian shows that crime was going down; nor shall I refer to the contention of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for England (Sir Richard Webster) last night. We wore taunted by the hon. and learned Gentleman with the fact that when a Coercion Bill was brought into this House in 1869 there was not as much agrarian crime in Ireland as at the present time. If the hon. and learned Gentleman had the knowledge on the subject which we cannot expect he should have of the Irish Question, he would have known that the Coercion Bill of 1869–70, as compared with the present Bill of Her Majesty's Government, was as new milk. It consisted only of two or throe very insignificant provisions, one of which is now embodied in the law of the land—namely, the provision in regard to searching for arms and punishing the possession of arms. Now, let me say a few words with regard to the provisions of the Bill which is to be laid before us by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland. We have, first of all, clauses 265 taken, as the right hon. Gentleman told us, from the Scotch Act relating to secret inquiry and examination. Now, Sir, these clauses are harmless enough if society is in a normal condition; then they are not liable to be abused. The working of these clauses in the Act of 1882 and subsequent years showed that they were liable to abuse, and that they were not effective, except in a few cases—such as murder. The only instances in which these clauses in their practical working were effective was in the case of the "Invincibles." I do not believe the "Invincible" conspiracy would have been broken by you were it not for the denunciation which Mr. Michael Davitt, my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo (Mr. J. Dillon), and myself issued on the morning that we heard of the terrible crime in the Phœnix Park. I believe it was that denunciation that shook that conspiracy and made it possible for the officers of the law in Ireland to make their secret inquiries to stamp out the conspiracy, and to convict the prisoners connected with it; and, finally, to break it up. But what was our experience of these secret inquiry clauses in the Act of 1882? Why, that they were used to ascertain the case of the prisoner before he came to trial, so that the Crown lawyers might be informed of all the particulars as well as the prisoner knew them himself. The witnesses for the defence in the case of the "Invincible" trials were actually summoned after the proceedings had commenced; and after it was known that these people were to be witnesses, they were summoned before the secret tribunal in Dublin Castle and examined as to their knowledge of the matter and as to the evidence they were going to give in the trials before the Court. I say, Mr. Speaker, that is striking below the belt; and are methods which should not be adopted even in dealing with murderers before trial. I now go a step farther. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland says trial by jury is to be abolished altogether, and that instead of Judges we are to have two Stipendiary Magistrates, or an English Judge. There is power given to change the venue, and the right hon. Gentleman appears to have given both his English jury and his change of venue, because he said he could not depend on the jury system at 266 all; and, secondly, because it was necessary to remove the trial of certain cases to the Old Bailey. We are, as I have said, to have two Stipendiary Magistrates. What are their powers to be? They are to be entitled to try cases of criminal conspiracy, Boycotting, Whiteboy offences, assaulting the officers of the law, taking forcible possession of premises, and inciting to the above offences. The calendar of offences in the Act of 1882 is enormously increased. Whiteboy offences are not known to your Statute Law; they are offences which are punishable by barbarous punishments which are most drastic in their character, and these offences are to be tried by these men. Then you make a provision for the trial of cases of criminal conspiracy. My hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo would have been tried under that clause, and would have been sent to a plank bed in an Irish prison for six months with hard labour. He would have been given 16 ounces of bread and water a-day, and, perhaps, a little porridge once a-week by way of a change. This is the way you are going to treat your political prisoners, and to bring peace and contentment to Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland says—"We do not propose to interfere with the liberty of the Press." Oh, no, no; not directly. Everything is to be done indirectly in this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman said—We entertain the hope that by giving magistrates summary jurisdiction, entitling them to punish persons inciting to those offences, we may be able to prevent the Press from being sharers in these crimes.As I stated a while ago anent the printer's devil, the newsboys, the men who attend to the engine, would not be safe; nay, more, they would be certain to be attacked under this law. Inciting to intimidation was one of these offences provided for in Mr. Forster's Act, and under the special provision the whole staff of United Ireland were arrested. It was not merely the journalist who sits in his parlour and writes the article who was attacked, but the unfortunate printer of the paper and the men who are trying to earn their bread by the work of their hands. I leave the question of the change of venue and the change of jury with the remark that, in all the provisions of the Act of 1882 267 there was none that excited so much distrust in the minds of public men of the impartiality of English justice in Ireland, or lent more power to the belief that, in consequence of the operation of these clauses, prisoners had been sent to the gallows and penal servitude who were really innocent men; and several innocent persons are still suffering long sentences of penal servitude on account of those provisions. The right hon. Gentleman told us he could not trust any jury, not even the Belfast jury that refused to convict an Orangeman who was put upon his trial for murdering a soldier. With regard to the jury system, the powers which the right hon. Gentleman seeks to obtain from this House are powers to enable him to put into the jury box any man that Mr. George Bolton desires—knowing as he will know, or as his underlings will know—because he will not do the dirty work himself—men whose political complexion will be well known beforehand, and who can be trusted. They are the powers to enable the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends to know beforehand what the jury will do; and, Mr. Speaker, if I were in a position to choose—and I hope I may not be called upon to make a selection—I should prefer to such a tribunal the tender mercies of an Old Bailey jury. The Lord Lieutenant has also power to make it an offence against the Act to have anything to do with an association formed for the commission of crime, carrying on operation for, or by the operation of crime, for inciting to commit crime, for promoting and inciting to acts of violence and intimidation, for interfering with the administration of the law, or disturbing the maintenance of law and order. He was certainly a very ingenious lawyer who drew that. It is thoroughly comprehensive, and I defy anyone, politician, or anyone else, to lift a finger or to say a word of which the Government disapprove, if they choose to put him on trial, without standing a pretty good chance of conviction, no matter how innocent the man may be. Sir, I am sorry to believe that in this Bill the reign of judicial murder in Ireland will be commenced. The hopes of a better time which, for a few short weeks, dawned on the minds of the Irish people have disappeared. The suborning of witnesses will begin, and so will the wholesale perjury of your Crown 268 officials in Ireland. What is it you are going to do? You will try the tenants and their advocates by packed juries of their landlords and their creatures. The tenants and their advocates, for the offence of showing that a reduction of rent is necessary, will be hurried before a landlord jury, who will decide in their own cause. These partizan juries will not even exhibit the ordinary tendency of an English jury. They will hasten to convict. Their minds will be irritated by the recollection of their own losses, arising, on the one hand, out of remedial legislation sanctioned by this House, and on the other by the action of General Buller and my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo. They will be burning in the loss to their pockets and the loss to their prestige. It is hopeless to expect a fair trial from such men and by such a system. It is inevitable that you will send to the scaffold and the convict cell many innocent persons known to be innocent by their neighbours—in some cases, known to be innocent by the authorities. The formation of secret societies will be encouraged and fomented beyond a doubt; because the people will recognize that, for their own safety, it is impossible to remain outside either the walls of Dublin Castle, on the one hand, or the ranks of a secret and criminal organization on the other. This measure sends the popular leaders who advise the tenant to ask for a reduction of his rent, as well as the tenant who asks for that reduction, to the tender mercies of one of these Stipendiary Magistrates—magistrates who are not magistrates according to the ordinary acceptation of the term, as you know. They are magistrates who are inexperienced in law, without legal education, many of them retired officers of the Army, who have failed in other walks of life, and who, as a little bit of patronage, get dropped into a snug berth of this kind. There men will not consider whether the law allows them to do this, although this Bill allows them to do anything. They will only consider what their masters—the Government of the day—would like them to do; and they will deem opposition to the Government policy an offence against this Act. The journalist who criticizes the action of the Government, or protests against landlord tyranny and oppression, will meet with the same fate. In fact, 269 there is no loophole of escape for any political movement in Ireland. If this Bill passes, it would be preposterous folly for any politician to attempt to cope with the powers which it gives to the Government. They will have to leave the field to others. I hope—I sincerely hope—that there may not be others to take that field. I would have done much, if I had been able to do so, last autumn, to have alleviated the stringency of the position in Ireland, to have counselled moderation amongst the Irish tenants, to have advised them to boar any suffering, to have submitted to any rack-renting, any eviction, any extermination, rather than give the Government the miserable rags and shreds of excuse which they have for this Bill. I was confident from the moment that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian directed his gigantic talent to the redress of Irish grievances, in the only way in which they ever can be redressed, and that is by allowing the Irish people to redress them for themselves—that it was only a question of time, and of a very short time, when the main principles of this Bill would be carried into effect, and would bring about a lasting reconciliation and peace between the two nations. I believe so still. I would still counsel patience. I would still urge the Irish people to submit to any oppression, to any injustice, rather than to retaliate. I would ask them to remember the weighty words of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian the other evening, when he told them that he and the Liberal Party had been enabled to come thus far with us, to fight by our side against this coercion, because the Irish people had remained, as a whole, within the limits of legality. I would ask them to remember that they ought not to do anything to drive the right hon. Gentleman away from our side, or to increase his difficulties, or place him in any false position with his own countrymen. Our battle is won in Ireland. There may be some suffering to endure. There may be some tyranny, perhaps much tyranny, yet inflicted upon us—petty tyrants are always the most merciless—but it will be as nothing compared with what our people have gone through in the past. A little patience, a few years of waiting, and these clouds will be cleared away. The eternity that 270 is written on this Bill will disappear before the brighter time, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian will be able once more to appeal to the common sense and the sense of justice of the people of England, the people of Britain; and when he will receive those full powers which will enable him to do justice to our country. Yes, I would urge these considerations upon our people, and from my place in this House I urge them. Ireland will have no place for speaking in after this Bill passes. The Party who have got to gain by violence by going beyond the law in Ireland are the present Government. This is why they have brought forward this Bill to strengthen their own miserable position and remain in Office for a few months longer. Let our people not fall into these toils that have been set for them. I greatly fear for the result; but, Sir, I will not cease to tell the people of Ireland that the situation is entirely different for them from what it was five or six years ago, and that victory for them is certain and secure. I believe that our people, as a whole, will bear in patience those sufferings and tribulations which are undoubtedly before them for the present, and that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian will find that his hand has not been sullied in the great and glorious work which he has undertaken. I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will immediately resolve itself into a Committee to consider the state of Ireland."—(Mr. Parnell.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
I should not again have ventured to intrude on the House in the course of this debate had it not been for the earlier part of the speech of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down—the least eloquent but not the least important part of that important statement. It is not my business to comment on what I venture to think is the extreme inconvenience of the course which has been taken in deferring to the fifth night of this debate and the ninth night of our 271 debates on the introduction of this Bill the Amendment which has been moved. It is my duty to comment, however, on the extreme inconvenience to which the House is put by the course which the hon. Gentleman has adopted in discussing, in the course of his speech, three Bills, not one of which is before the House, and with regard to one of which nothing but the vaguest and most general statement has been made to Members of the House, or to Members of the other House. The hon. Gentleman began by discussing the land proposals of the Government in general terms outside of which I shall not travel. And what was the attitude he took up? It was most significant. Nobody could have listened to the words that he spoke on that subject without seeing that he meant to give the most determined and strenuous opposition to the land proposals of the Government, whatever these proposals may be, and that he intends to devote the unequalled power he possesses in Ireland to defeat the operation of any salutary measure which the Government may have the good fortune to pass. What title has he to take such a course? Are the measures that we are proposing of so narrow and jejune a character as not to deserve a respectful consideration from hon. Members below the Gangway? The hon. Member for Cork alluded to the efforts that he made in this House last autumn in order to prevent unjust evictions. If the proposals of the hon. Member himself had been carried, it is matter of common knowledge and notoriety that some of the most distressing scenes at evictions during the winter would not have been prevented. He reproached us for not carrying out the recommendations of the Cowper Commission. I state boldly in this House that neither the proposal which the hon. Member for Cork made last autumn, nor the proposal of the Cowper Commission that we rejected, and to which the hon. Member for Cork and the right hon. Gentleman opposite pin their faith, would offer relief in the matter of evictions of tenants in Ireland as extensive as the proposals which we have introduced in "another place." Therefore, if the hon. Member had so much at heart the welfare of the Irish tenantry, of which he poses in the House as the chief protector, he would not be the man to proclaim our Land 272 policy a failure even before it is introduced into this House. He told us that he objected altogether to our land proposals, although he had not the least conception of what they were; but he also told us that he always was a conscientious convert to the principle of settling the Irish Land Question by some great measure of purchase.
I did not say I altogether objected to the plan of the Government. As a matter of fact, I approved of it as regarded the leaseholders.
§ MR. PARNELL
If we are to judge by the words used by Lord Cadogan as to leaseholders, the Government propose to take the words from my Bill of last Session.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman must be aware that in the remarks I was making I was not alluding to that point at all, but to those other provisions of the Bill, by which it will, we hope, be made impossible henceforth that for non-payment of an unjust rent which a tenant is prevented from paying from no fault of his own that tenant shall suffer the extreme penalty of eviction. That the hon. Member describes as a measure for stabbing the Irish tenant in the back. He has confessed himself a convert of long standing to the solution of the Irish Question by a system of land purchase, and yet, with that conviction in his mind, and not knowing what our proposals are, he has given the Government, and given the House and the country fair warning that he means, as far as in him lies, to make our land scheme a total failure. In the words of the hon. Member for Cork, I think there is a warning to be found, which the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian would do well to lay to heart. The hon. Member for Cork has clearly given us to understand that it depends on him and on his Friends whether a scheme of land purchase, which involves some repayment of instalments by the tenant, shall succeed or not.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman implied it. ["No!"] The hon. Gentleman who interrupts me cannot have listened to the hon. Member. The hon. Member for Cork implied that he 273 would use his influence to prevent the tenants from paying the instalments—["No!"]—under our land purchase scheme, because the price would be unfair. That line of argument contains, in my judgment, a warning which the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian should well consider; because what does it imply? It implies that whatever settlement you choose to make with Ireland—be it called Home Rule, be it not called Home Rule—a part of which is that the tenantry shall repay by instalments loans given, no matter how, it will be in the power, and it may be in the will, of the hon. Member for Cork and his Friends to come and make that plan a failure, and by that means put such a pressure on the Government of the day that any fresh terms can be exacted from the people of this country. It is quite true, it may be said, that the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian is going to make a settlement so entirely satisfactory to the people of Ireland that there will never be any temptation to use the means that I have adverted to. But although the scheme may be accepted gratefully by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, and although they may loyally adhere to it, I ask what security can you have that they or their successors may not some day find it inconvenient to carry out their part of the bargain, and put on the Government the pressure of which he has given us to-night so candid and, I may add, so formidable a description. In the rest of his speech the hon. Member for Cork almost entirely confined himself to criticizing my remarks in opening this debate, and I cannot be altogether silent as to some of the criticisms that he passed upon me. He began by criticizing, in very severe terms, the way in which Mr. Forster's Act of 1881 was used. It is not my business to defend the administration of Mr. Forster's Act. The Gentlemen who passed that Act sit opposite. Let them defend the manner in which it was administered. Then he went on to comment on the poverty of the statistics which I had given the House. That is a topic which has been largely worked by hon. Gentlemen opposite; but I would remind those who may be ignorant of it, that if we have not followed the precedent of Mr. Forster in 1881 we have followed the precedent of the right hon. Member for Mid 274 Lothian in 1870. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, in 1870, gave no special statistics to the House. He contented himself, as we are contenting ourselves, with the very full and copious Parliamentary Papers that lie on the Table of this House and that are in the hands of hon. Gentlemen; but, as we are upon the Act of 1870, may I venture respectfully to express my astonishment at the description of that Act given by the hon. Member for Cork. I have pointed out that crime in Ireland at this moment is far greater than it was when the right hon. Gentleman passed the Act of 1870. ["No."] That is so. But, says the hon. Member, the Act of 1870 was as mild as milk compared with the Bill that is now being brought in. I do not know what the hon. Gentleman's view of mildness may be. He told us that the Act of 1870 consisted of two clauses. [Mr. PARNELL: I said a few clauses.] I would remind the House that it consisted of 40 clauses; and among the clauses of that Act, which was as mild as milk, we find, as is also found in our Bill, a provision to examine witnesses where no person is charged. Then there is the provision—which is not in our Bill—for the search of houses without warrant for documents; also a provision—which is not in our Bill—for arresting persons who are out at night; also a power to change the venue; then a power—not to be found in our Bill—of apprehending witnesses; and also a power of summary jurisdiction in regard to certain offences, given, not to two Stipendiary Magistrates, but to two ordinary magistrates at Petty Sessions, to pass sentences of imprisonment with hard labour. And who are those magistrates in Petty Sessions who were to have summary jurisdiction over those offences under the Act of 1870? The hon. Member has commented in very severe terms on the Irish Stipendiary Magistrates. He tells us that they are the mere creatures of the Executive Government. Whether they are so or not, they are the tribunal which the late Government adopted in 1882. But, as compared with these Irish Stipendiary Magistrates, who are the ordinary magistrates? Why, they are the landlords, who the hon. Member is never tired of telling us are the curse of Ireland—who are the people against whom all the agitation of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway is 275 directed; and it is within their hands that right hon. Gentlemen opposite left the power of summary conviction, and the ability to inflict six months' imprisonment with hard labour. The hon. Gentleman made an eloquent attack on those provisions of our Bill which may be used against the Press when it incites to illegal acts. Why, under the Act of 1870, it was in the power of the Government to confiscate the whole newspaper and plant. [An hon. MEMBER: After warning.] Will the hon. Member say that if we had inserted that qualification in our Press clause, he would not have treated it with derision? So much for the provisions of that Act which the hon. Member for Cork described as mild as milk. He went on to comment, in very severe language, on the manner in which I selected certain charges of the Judges and omitted the charges of other Judges. Whether an argument is legitimate or not depends upon whether it makes for the conclusion which it is used to establish. What was the conclusion? That crime prevailed all over Ireland? Not so. I said that the charges in Galway, Limerick, Mayo, Cork, and Kerry, showed that those counties, a third of the area of Ireland, are in a very disturbed state; and I say that no attack on these learned Judges will suffice to disturb the fact that when they made those charges, they had before them adequate evidence for what they said. They discharged properly the duty imposed upon them by their high functions. I may observe that hon. Gentlemen, when a Judge says anything which they do not approve, describe him as partial and a political partizan; but, when he says any thing about the absence of crime, they are happy to quote him. It is another illustration of the remarkable fact of which we have had evidence, that every witness who gives evidence against hon. Gentlemen is a liar, and everyone who gives evidence in their favour is an example of impartiality and fairness. The hon. Member for Cork appears to think that, because crime is limited, we ought not to bring in a Crimes Bill for Ireland. Let me remind him that if crime is limited, our Crimes Bill is limited also. We take powers in our Bill to limit the area of its operation, according as it is found that crime prevails. Therefore, the argument that, because one part of the 276 country is quiet our Bill should be rejected, is not applicable to our proposals. The hon. Member criticized one or two cases to which I have referred. [Cries of "Three cases!"] Well, he so contrived to put the case so as to read two descriptions of one case, and if I had not risen in my place and called attention to the fact, every Member I venture to say would have thought he was dealing with a second case. [Cries of "Three cases!"]
§ MR. PARNELL
It was two cases. I read, I think, three letters, and they had reference to two cases.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Member is quite right. They were Hogan's case and Clarke's case. What he said was, that there was a friend on the jury. I thought that was a very interesting fact in support of my contention, that wherever there is a particular case you are sure to have a partizan jury, and that in the end justice will be defeated.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
Was a charge of fraud against a maltster a partizan case?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Well, I shall modify my statement. I gave a particular case, and I stated there was a failure of justice. The hon. Gentleman quoted a lawyer who said that there was no failure of justice. My authority was the Judge. Then as to the County Tipperary, I referred to cases of failure of justice in Tipperary. Why? Because it was specially mentioned as a quiet county. There is no difficulty in getting cases of failure of justice in Kerry, Galway, Limerick, and Cork; but I thought it would be interesting to show that in a county said to be quiet and in a satisfactory condition, even there failures of justice were constantly arising. In Galway, Cork, and Limerick, the Judges had postponed the cases because there was no jury to be found capable of giving a proper verdict.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)
asked, whether the Assizes had not been postponed because the time for the Assizes had expired?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I have stated the facts; but I may call attention to the singular mode this is of carrying on a debate. Hon. Members opposite are not content with occupying a legitimate share of the time of the House, they must needs disturb me in the midst of 277 my argument. I will not detain the House muck longer; but I ask does anyone doubt, in face of the Papers before the House, that crime is increasing? Does anyone doubt that juries cannot be trusted in Party cases? Does anyone doubt that intimidation and Boycotting exist on a large scale and ought to be put down? Does anyone doubt that? ["Yes!" from the Irish Members, and renewed Ministerial cheers.] Then I presume those who doubt it did not listen to the speech of the hon. Member for North Fermanagh (Mr. W. Redmond), who boasted that the system of Boycotting was so deeply ingrained in the Irish people, and had reached such an admirable pitch, that now it was not necessary for the leaders to raise a finger. The system, he said, would go on of itself.
§ MR. W. REDMOND (Fermanagh, N.)
said, the Government had stated that they were basing their Bill on the fact of Boycotting in Ireland. What he said was that previous Coercion Bills did not put down Boycotting, and that this Bill would also fail to reach it.
§ Mr. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Member refers to another part of his speech; but his interruption, does not touch my allegation. The hon. Member for Cork described this Bill in language which would not be exaggerated if it applied to Poland and the Czar. Does anyone suppose that, under this Bill, any innocent man will be shut up? [Cries of "Yes!"] Does the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. John Morley) think that?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Does the right hon. Gentleman next him (Sir William Harcourt) think it probable? If so, what made him pass a Bill in comparison with which our Bill is, in many respects, very mild. Our Bill will not punish a single innocent individual. What it will do, I trust, among other things, is to free from undeserved punishment the various victims now suffering under the tyranny of the National League. There are 830 gentlemen now suffering Boycotting. I leave out of account their families; I leave out of account all persons who, without 278 being Boycotted, are afraid to do anything to bring punishment upon them; I leave out of account all those, to use the peculiar words of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, who suffer from intimidation proper; and I ask whether we ought not to set ourselves resolutely to the task of saving these innocent persons from the penalties and the bondage under which they labour in spite of the law as it exists?
§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
said that, in his opinion, the Bill would deprive a large portion of Her Majesty's subjects of rights which were highly valued in England, It appeared probable, owing to the political combination which now existed in the House, that this most mischievous Bill would pass. Those amongst English Members who were opposed to it felt that if it was all they could do, the least they could do was to make a protest, ineffectual and unavailing though it might be, against the wrong that was about to be done in permanently depriving the Irish people of liberties enjoyed and highly valued by their fellow-citizens in England. They were told the other day by the Chief Secretary for Ireland that the Bill was "extreme," but now it appeared to be quite a mild measure.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, that he had referred to his speech, and had found that he had used the word "extreme," attributed to him by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, with regard to only one clause.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
said, that hon. Members might be excused if they weighted the Bill with the extreme character put upon it by the right hon. Gentleman himself. He understood the Chief Secretary to urge that in political cases, Irish juries could not be relied upon to give verdicts according to the evidence, and yet it was those very cases that the right hon. Gentleman intended to leave to be tried in Ireland.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, that his statement was, that wherever Party feeling ran high, Irish juries could not be trusted to give verdicts according to the evidence; and, therefore, it was proposed in certain cases to change the venue to this country, where the same Party feeling did not exist, and juries were not subject to the same intimidation.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
asked, what could be meant in Ireland by Party questions if they were not political? [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: Agrarian.] If trials for treason, sedition, and seditious libel were to be left to juries in Ireland, why were trials for other offences to be brought to England? Surely, the offences named were essentially of a Party character. The Chief Secretary, when challenged for his authority with reference to some statistics of crime which he thought justified the Bill, said he made the statement upon his official responsibility, having reasonably satisfied himself of the value of the evidence upon which he based the statement. But it was not his responsibility that was in question—it was the responsibility of that House, which was asked to vote the powers to him. When the right hon. Gentleman asked them to change the law permanently, he ought to adduce better evidence than statements made upon his official responsibility. It was for the House, and not merely for the right hon. Gentleman, to be satisfied as to the necessity for the measure. It was worse than useless to charge upon the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian and his Government that, in previous times, they introduced Coercion Bills, when the whole reason for the present Ministry being in power was, that the right hon. Gentleman had proposed a remedy, knowing that coercion had failed. Practically, they had been told that crime and outrage were less, because the National League was stronger; and the Chief Secretary had attributed this partly to what he called the unequalled power of the hon. Member for Cork. But why did not the Government deal with the hon. Member for Cork frankly? If it be true that it were he and his Colleagues alone who were responsible, why did not the Government do what Tory Governments in the past had had the courage to do against rebellious persons—namely, introduce a Bill of Attainder against him and them, and not punish all the rest of the nation by perpetual deprivation of their rights? Boycotting had not increased of late. There was as much wheat the Government came into Office as there was now. There never was a more wretched case presented for a Coercion Bill, and certainly for a Coercion Bill that was in tended to be permanent. The Government ought to have tried remedies before 280 attempting to apply punishment. In the very face of their own witnesses, and the recommendation that existing evils should be dealt with by remedial legislation, it was a blunder to attempt to take away rights which we in this country had valued for centuries, not because men had been incited to the use of arms, but because men had exerted themselves to the uttermost within the limits of the law to prevent crimes of violence while they defended their own rights. He had heard the Leader of the House say, in words which might have been a menace if they had come from other lips, that the second reading of the Bill was to be carried before the ordinary Easter Holidays. What would be the effect of this Bill? The Government might suppress public meetings and arrest Members; but they would only secure an outward appearance of order. Force was no remedy. To hold the contrary was to believe in the old system of brute provocation, which never failed to excite vengeance. The Government wanted to hurry this Bill through the House. Was this to prevent the country from speaking out upon it? He believed they were to be asked to read the measure a second time before Easter in order that the country might be prevented from speaking out upon it. There were many men who voted against the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) last year because they feared the burden of his Land Purchase scheme; but their protest would assuredly be heard against a Bill which compensated landlords who, causing the wrong, had increased the burdens of the overweighted British taxpayer. He felt he should be untrue to the constituency which elected him, and to the wider constituency for which he had a right to speak, and from which he undertook to bring messages to that House before long, unless he at least said that he regarded this Bill as one of the most shameful and indefensible violations of liberty that had ever been attempted by any Government within the last century.
§ MR. EVELYN (Deptford):
Sir, having the honour to represent a constituency containing a considerable Irish element, I trust that the House will allow me, in a very few words, to state the reasons why I feel bound to vote against the Amendment proposed by the hon. Mem- 281 ber for Cork (Mr. Parnell). Notwithstanding such vehement invectives and imputations as we have just heard from the Junior Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh), public opinion in the country will, I think, acknowledge that, in bringing forward the present measure, Her Majesty's Government were actuated by high and conscientious motives. To me, individually, it is a matter of regret that, without any pressing or proved necessity, a measure should have been introduced which, in some of its clauses, at least, is acknowledged to be an extreme measure of exceptional legislation for Ireland. Yet it must be evident to candid and impartial minds that, since the action taken by the Government is not the easiest or most convenient from a Party point of view, and since it was sure to lead to a strenuous opposition in this House, and to a stormy agitation in the country, that action must have been prompted simply by a sense of what its authors deemed to be their duty. The attacks on the Government during the present debate have proceeded from two of the four minorities into which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) has declared that the House is divided—that is, from the Irish Party on the one hand, and, on the other, from the regular Opposition. Now, with regard to the Irish Party, it must be admitted that, in opposing coercion, they have been straightforward and consistent. In attacking the Government they are acting within their right; and though their language may be somewhat strong, some allowance should be made for the Oriental fervour of the Irish temperament; and I, for one, would not be disposed to connect the Irish Party with crime, or be too hard on them for speeches delivered in this House during the excitement of debate, or at agitated public meetings in the country. Admitting, as I do, their honesty of purpose, I am willing to believe in their disclaimer of all sympathy with crime. But the language of the regular Opposition is scarcely entitled to the same indulgent consideration. And when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian rises in his place on the Front Opposition Bench, and, in solemn tones, lectures down on the present occupants of the Treasury Bench, as if in this matter of Irish coer- 282 cion they were sinners above all the Galileans. I cannot quite agree with the hon. Member for Northampton that there is anything unfair in reminding the Member for Mid Lothian that his culpability is greater than that of any Gentleman in this House, not excepting the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby. the hon. Member for Cork, in the eloquent and impressive speech delivered by him this evening, favoured us with a laboured analysis of this Irish Coercion Bill of the Government, which is not yet printed. He also contended that the Gladstonian Coercion Act of 1870 was less stringent in its provisions than the Bill now under discussion. But on that particular point he was completely refuted by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour); and I cannot but feel surprised that the hon. Member for Cork, who is usually more careful, should have committed himself to a statement so inaccurate, that it seems to have been made at haphazard. Then the hon. Member for Cork adverted, at considerable length, to some jury cases, and to a Land Bill of the Government which is now before the other House; but it is somewhat remarkable that, throughout the whole of his speech, he scarcely made a passing allusion to the Amendment which he brought forward. Now, in bringing forward that Amendment, I have no doubt that the hon. Member for Cork acted in accordance with Constitutional precedent; but though the Amendment taken by itself may be perfectly regular, yet it seems open to the imputation of being perfectly unpractical. We have already, in the Reports of Commissions and in the Returns laid laid on the Table of the House, ample information as to the state of Ireland. To go into Committee of the Whole House on that subject would be a mere waste of time. The Amendment then viewed by itself is simply obstructive; it is a part of a policy of delay, a policy scarcely worthy, if I may say so, of the hon. Member for Cork. But, Sir, when I consider the Amendment not by itself, but connection with the violent and intemperate attacks on the Government which have characterized this discussion, then the whole matter clearly resolves itself into a challenge of confidence in the present Government. We, 283 on this side of the House, have to meet an attempt to overthrow the present Administration, and to replace it by a Ministry presided over by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian. Such an attempt, if successful, would not, in my humble judgment, tend to the public advantage. It is true that, as an Unionist, and in the interest of the Union itself, I deplore the revival of coercion in a permanent form, and the departure from the policy of Lord Carnarvon in 1885. During my Election contests in 1885 and 188G, i encountered the arguments of my able and eloquent Oriental antagonist, Mr. Lalmohun Ghose, by maintaining that coercion was a thing of the past, and that the Imperial Parliament would do for Ireland all, and more than all, that she could expect from a Native Parliament at College Green. A similar line was adopted by other Conservative candidates; but, henceforth, I fear, that we must look abroad for other arguments in support of the Union. The adoption of the Amendment could but lead to delay, and the hon. Member for Northampton has truly said that the Bill is "sure to pass." Then, why should all English and. Scotch legislation, why should all legislation affecting the working classes of the United Kingdom, be indefinitely postponed, in order to prolong an useless discussion, which can only end in one way, as hon. Members have already made up their minds? And be it remembered, also, that though this particular Bill is now, yet the subject itself has been discussed since the beginning of the century; and the present Bill is said to be the 87th Coercion Bill since the Union, and is based on the same principles as former measures of the same character. Let that which must be done, whether right or wrong, be done quickly. Surely, the prolongation of this discussion would not be advantageous either to Ireland, or to the Irish Party in this House. Surely, it would be better to get rid of this painful subject, and to proceed without delay to the consideration of the remedial measures which are to follow. To those measures I look forward with confidence, hoping and believing that they may not only complete and perfect the Land Acts of 1881 and 1885, but also succeed in restoring to distracted Ireland the blessings of 284 tranquillity, prosperity, and contentment.
§ MR. THOMAS (Glamorgan, E.)
said, he felt bound to enter his protest against this Bill. After waiting for eight months to see what the Government were going to do for the Irish people to combat the proposals of the ex-Prime Minister, they had nothing before the country but a Coercion Bill. The Irish had looked to the Government for bread; but they had given them a stone. He looked upon the Bill introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) as being nothing more nor less than a humiliating confession that the Conservative Party were unable to govern Ireland by the use of Constitutional means. It seemed to him disastrous that in this Jubilee year a Conservative Government should be engaged in passing a Coercion Bill for some of Her Majesty's subjects. What a sight this must be for the inhabitants of the Colonies! the British Empire was a grand one—one of the grandest the world had ever seen—and, on the whole, it was governed better than any other. But there was one very black spot on it, and the black spot was in the United Kingdom. Many had been the experiments tried with regard to the government of Ireland, and these had all been disastrous failures. What did history teach us? Why, that the only time Ireland was tranquil and prosperous was when the people of that country had the opportunity of managing their own affairs. In the short time of the Grattan Parliament the people of Ireland were more prosperous and more contented than at any other period. And now the Government had introduced a Bill which was a barrier, a dam, to keep back the great tide of emancipation. But it would only last for a short time, and then it would be swept away like chaff before the wind. The Irish people had never despaired, even in their darkest hours, that they would gain back their liberties which had been taken from them. They heard very much about self-government, and they heard that this was the period of self-government, and yet what was the fact with regard to Ireland? There were five-sixths of the Representatives of Ireland who came to that House with a demand for Home Rule; but there were 285 also other Members from Ireland, from England, from Scotland, and, he was sorry to say, a few even from liberty-loving Wales, who stood up and said to the Irish people—"You shall not have your desires." Why should that be so? The majority of the Irish Representatives had no more to do with the government of Ireland than they had to do with the government of Japan. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, in introducing his Bill, referred to the National League. He (Mr. Thomas) could not condemn the National League as the Chief Secretary had done. But if the National League was to be complained of in this respect, it was easy to do away with it. It would not need any prosecutions to bring about that re-suit. All that was needed was the establishment of a National Assembly in Ireland, and then the National League would cease to exist.
§ MR. ATHERLEY-JONES (Durham, N. W.)
said, he was of opinion that the Government had not exercised the powers with which they wore already invested for the government of Ireland, and therefore he objected to their coming to Parliament for exceptional legislation. There was one conclusion which all persons who had noticed the facts must come to, and that was that the Government up to the present moment had displayed the most lamentable vacillation and want of determination in conducting the affairs of Ireland. It was not during the Government of the late Prime Minister, it was not during the Chief Secretary ship of his right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. J. Morley), that they had the lamentable spectacle of a high judicial official declaring that the Government were tampering with the law. It was not during the Chief Secretary ship of his right hon. Friend that they had the occasion of the removal of a prisoner to gaol transformed into a triumphant progress in Ireland. It was a very common thing for hon. Members on the Government side of the House to say that the Liberal Party were indifferent to the cause of law and order. He held that the cause of law and order was of as high moment to Gentlemen who sat on the Liberal Benches of the House as it was to hon. Members opposite; but the Liberal Party had different opinions as to what law and order meant. They did not 286 think law and order were best illustrated by the laconic telegram of a Government official, who, with flippant brutality, directed the police to "shoot them if they resist." They did not think the cause of law and order was best served by confiding the Administrative Government to the hands of gentlemen, a typical representative of whom met with the severest rebuke from a great English Judge for having incited to disorder and violence in Belfast. He should like to contrast the position which the Government had now taken up on the Irish Question with that taken up by the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) in a speech which he delivered a short time ago, and in which he was supposed to disclose the policy of the Government on the Irish Question. The noble Lord declared his belief that rents throughout Ireland were not too high, but notwithstanding that belief the Government proposed to make an inquiry, and if they found as a result of the inquiry that rents were too high they should take measures to meet the evil. But now that the Government Commission had made a Report and declared that not only were the ordinary rents throughout the country too high, but that the judicial rents also were too high, and when it was admitted by the right hon. Member opposite that the cause of the agitation in Ireland was the inability of tenants to pay the existing rents, the Government met the case with a demand for coercion. [Cries of"Oh, oh!"] He contended that the Liberal policy was the more statesmanlike, more straightforward, plainer, and more common-sense, because the Liberal policy would at once remove the cause of the disorder, and would thereby render recourse to the odious system of coercion unnecessary. It would be interesting for the House to compare the position taken up by the distinguished statesman whoso loss they all regretted so much—Mr. Forster—with that now taken up by the Chief Secretary. When Mr. Forster brought forward the Coercion Bill of 1881, under very similar circumstances to the present, the Land League being then said to be paramount as the National League was said to be now, he gave the House statistics of crime, which showed that in the last three months of 1880 there were no 287 fewer than 1,696 agrarian crimes committed; and again, when the Coercion Bill of 1882 was brought in, he showed that in the last three months of 1881 the number of agrarian offences amounted to 1,417. But what did the statistics of to-day show? Why, that the number of agrarian offences for the last three months of 1886 had fallen as low as 162; and that was the state of things which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) wished to persuade the House demanded a stringent measure of coercion. They were now, however, told that the Government did not rest the necessity for their Bill upon agrarian crime. All he could say was that, in 1881, Mr. Forster told the House that he rested his demand for the Coercion Bill of that day entirely upon the abnormal existence of agrarian crime; and at the same time he told the House that after mature consideration he had come to the conclusion that it was not a wise expedient or practicable to legislate against Boycotting. He (Mr. Atherley-Jones) admitted that Boycotting was an offence the existence of which should be deplored, but at the same time he could not fail to recognize the fact that tenants were driven to have recourse to Boycotting in self-defence; and that far more blame was to be attached to those who, by cruel and tyrannical conduct, drove the poor people into the commission of offences than there was to the poor people who had recourse to somewhat primeval remedies for the evils under which they were groaning. By the powers which the Government were conferring upon resident Magistrates to punish acts or omissions they were creating crimes which were not to be found in the Statute Book; and the Magistrates to whom that extraordinary power was conferred were entirely dependent upon the Executive Government, and were selected from a class who were hostile to the people and aliens in blood, in religions, and in social instincts. Those were most objectionable and dangerous powers to confer upon such a class of men. But that was not all. There was also conferred upon those same men a most arbitrary power over the Press. Any one of them would be able to send a newspaper editor to prison for six months upon the very indefinite charge of inciting to commit an offence. He 288 admitted to the full that juries in Ireland were influenced by bias; but they were proposing to take the trials of offenders from juries influenced in favour of the tenant to juries influenced in favour of the landlord. Therefore such a proposal was neither just nor reasonable. They also proposed to send men for trial in England. That proposition had not been received with considerable enthusiasm on the other side; it meant that a man was to be brought over to England charged with a crime, labelled as it were by the Government with the declaration that he ought to be convicted, but would not be in his own country. He went for trial with a rope round his neck. He understood that the Lord Lieutenant sitting in Council was to have the power of declaring any association an illegal association, and any person connected with such an association as committing an offence under the Act. They were committing to a political executive officer the judicial function of deciding whether certain acts were offences under the Act, which was contrary to all the history of jurisprudence, and an enormity which could not be contemplated without condemning the whole of the proposals. It was very difficult at this stage of the debate to say anything new, but he would appeal to hon. Members opposite to pause before they committed themselves to that coercion. He appealed to them to consider whether it was by such methods that they were likely to maintain the union between the two countries. He would quote the words of one whom he would still call one of their great Leaders—the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Birmingham (Mr. John Bright)—which seemed singularly appropriate to the present occasion. The right hon. Gentleman said—You would not have a word of it changed nor touched, and yet, strange to say, everybody but your own party believes that your policy makes union absolutely impossible, that you conduct the affairs of Ireland on such principles that you create a sense of wrong which overrides all written words and all parchment covenants.He would also recall to the memory of the House the eloquent words of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), when he appealed to them to stand by him in that great Constitutional conflict. So far as the decorum of debate and the 289 dignity of the House permitted, they would stand by him; but they had little hope, while there was the force of Liberal Unionists or Liberal Coercionists against them, of being able to obtain much in the House. But they know that before long they would be able to meet hon. Members opposite when the great inquest of the nation was made. At Liverpool the Liberal Unionists had seen the handwriting on the wall, and they believed that, notwithstanding that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham had constituted himself gratuitous election agent to the Conservative Party, they would, when they came before the country, be successful in reversing the verdict which was the result of accident on the last occasion, and in placing the union between the two countries on the permanent and suitable foundations of mutual goodwill and respect.
§ MR. WADDY (Lincolnshire, Brigg)
said, that the Government asked for special privileges, but did not tell why they asked for them. They appealed to the House to give them extraordinary powers for extraordinary purposes; and when Members objected, the Government said—"You do not know what the powers are. Pass the Bill." That implied a faith in right hon. Gentlemen opposite which he, for one, did not feel. Liberal Members were blamed because they did not repudiate Boycotting, maiming, and so on. But that was pretended indignation, because hon. Gentlemen opposite knew perfectly well that, whether English, Irish, Scotch, or Welsh, they all equally repudiated those crimes. But since the beginning of the world there never had been a popular uprising against oppression in which the hands of some of those who were seeking for liberty had not been stained at some time or other with righteous blood. What was the difficulty? Between two parts of this great nation an animosity existed which was shocking and painful. It was getting worse and worse, because Gentlemen opposite strove to keep up a Paper Union. It had developed into opposition to the law, and the Queen's writ had almost ceased to run in Ireland. A friend made it a matter of complaint to him the other day that if a Land Bill were granted to the Irish people they would still demand Home Rule. Of course they would. A Land Bill 290 was only part of the demand they made. They must go to the root of the matter if they wished to deal effectually with it, and the root of the matter was to give the people of Ireland the power of self-government. The description given of the state of Ireland by the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not a whit overdrawn. He said that in every part of Ireland the triumph of lawlessness was complete. That was a pitiable fact for them to recognize; but the Government, because they were infatuated with coercion, were trying to secure the continuance of the mischiefs that had produced the present deplorable state of things. The remedy of the Government was force, and force alone. The way in which their Bills were introduced showed what the Government meant. First came the Closure, then the Coercion Bill, and then the Land Bill. They ought to have begun the other way, and produced the remedial measure first, when, perhaps, the others might have become unnecessary. It seemed as if the real object of the Bill before the House was not so much to amend the Criminal Law in Ireland, as to enable the landlords to get their May rents. There was, no doubt, great disaffection in Ireland; but not so much as there was, and crime and outrage had also decreased. The true reason of this diminution was that for some time past the Irish people had understood that there was a large and an increasing number of people in England who were determined to give them a fair chance of governing themselves, if they would do so in harmony with the Union and with this great Empire. They believed the Irish people meant to do so, and they were, therefore, ready to trust them. They were ready to adopt this remedy because they believed that the great evil that the Government had adduced as a reason for their Bill had been produced, fostered, and nourished by the very coercion which they now sought to make permanent. For generations the wealth, the rank, the power, and the intelligence of Ireland had been all on one side; yet the masses of the people, who were poor, ignorant, downtrodden, were beating them after all. Obedience to the law had been spoken of as a very valuable thing to obtain in Ireland; but there were some things still more valuable—namely, to insure the loyalty of the Irish people—but 291 that would never be done by coercion. It had been urged that the disaffection existing in Ireland was due to the influence of secret societies, but he denied the allegation; his contention was that that disaffection was due to long and persistent misgovernment. He believed that the Government would find some of the provisions of their Bill to be too strong for their Liberal Unionist allies, and that they would consent to tone the measure down rather than go out of Office. Nobody imagined that they would maintain to the end the whole of their most extraordinary and obnoxious proposals; but the country would remember that, although they could not force them through the House, they had proposed them, and had, as far as they could, outraged the feelings of Ireland. The majority on which the Government relied was dwindling down. They talked about the disintegration of the Empire. He advised them to look after their own disintegration. Twenty-five per cent of their boasted majority had left them already. He well remembered being present at a meeting at which the right hon. Member for West Birmingham, speaking with reference to Ireland, asked his hearers whether they were content, after some 80 years of failure, to renew once more the dreary experience of repressive legislation; declared that it was only by un-Constitutional means that we maintained peace and order in Ireland; and compared our rule in that country with that of Russia in Poland. I should wish for nothing more amuseing in the irony of history than to hear the right hon. Member for West Birmingham of to-day criticized by the Joseph Chamberlain who made that speech. To continue the attempt to rule Ireland by force and coercion was not really governing that country. As a great man had well said, a nation was not governed which had perpetually to be conquered. He believed that the mischievous policy now being pursued by the Government would, if carried out, destroy every hope of peace and reconciliation between the people of Ireland and of Great Britain, and would tend to impair the dignity, the strength, and the safety of this great country. He must give his vote against that abominable Bill.
§ DR. COMMINS (Roscommon, S.)
said, that the introduction of that mea- 292 sure—the 87th Coercion Bill which this country had seen—was a practical admission of the utter incapacity of the Ministry to govern Ireland. If he were asked to describe this Bill, he should say it was a Bill for the promotion of crime, for crime would follow every step taken to enforce it. Its object was to aid the landlord in collecting his March rents, but he doubted very much whether it would succeed. The Bill made a very serious inroad on the liberties of the Irish people; but the Irish people would close their ranks, and they would destroy the Bill and those who had produced it, as they had destroyed other Coercion Bills and other Governments. As to the charges of the Irish Judges, they were very flagrant examples of what went on in Ireland in the name of law and order. He had never heard of English Judges, in all his long experience of the Bar, delivering harangues from the Bench on economic and social questions. No English Judge would lower himself by doing such a thing. An English Judge, in his charge to the Grand Jury, never went beyond the facts disclosed by the depositions submitted to him. It was only the Irish Judges who delivered harangues on the state of the country based upon private reports, which might be open to criticism. When policemen organized secret societies for assassination and outrage, and then betrayed those whom they had entrapped, it was not surprising that juries refused to [...] the evidence of those who [...] retured the crimes they denounced. The House ought to have more trustworthy evidence before it consented to take away liberty in the way proposed by this Bill, which was the most unjustifiable Coercion Bill ever submitted to the House. It was his firm conviction that the Bill would drive all complaint and disaffection under the surface, and then they would have to meet those who relied upon the dagger and assassination. He did not desire that result—he should deplore it—but all history told them that that would be the consequence. He contended that there was no ease whatever for the Bill, and all that the Amendment asked was that the House should have real facts, instead of the anonymous tittle-tattle, to rely upon.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)
I rise, Sir, at this late stage 293 of the debate to address some observations to the House, which I feel will of necessity be somewhat more lengthened than hon. Members—at least on the opposite side of the House—would wish them to be. My excuse, will, I think, be a valid one when I remind the House that during the progress of this debate the speeches which have been made on the other side have one and all been an attack upon an organization for which during the last four or five years I have been almost wholly responsible. The organization I refer to is the Irish National League, that which grew up in Ireland under the Crimes Act administered by Earl Spencer. That organization, which to-day is established in almost every parish in Ireland, has been violently and bitterly attacked by hon. Members opposite, and they have unfairly endeavoured to attribute every disorder in Ireland to it. Now, at the outset of my observations I desire to say that I am willing to accept full responsibility for anything that can be brought against the organization, and while I am ready to defend any act that can be alleged against it, I have no intention whatever of disavowing the responsibility which attaches to me. On the contrary, I am proud of the position which the National League has assumed, and I challenge any hon. Member to make a case against it. Now, Sir, whatever may be said by apologists for the Chief Secretary, I maintain that the universal verdict of those who co[...] read the events of history [...] taking place at the present time, [...] be that there never was so weak a case made in favour of coercion of any form, and that there never has been a more drastic proposal for coercion made by a Government upon exceptionally insufficient grounds. What did the case of the Chief Secretary consist of? It rested chiefly on a number of anecdotes—silly anonymous anecdotes, which I cannot help thinking must have been told to the right hon. Gentleman in the course of an afternoon tea party, during his visit to Ireland. These ridiculous stories are wholly unauthenticated, and even as they stand it is quite evident that the plea put forward as an excuse for want of authentication is not justified. The Chief Secretary preferred for his own purposes—and it was a course which subsequently proved to be a wise one— 294 to ask the House to take these anecdotes upon his personal responsibility; he did not add from his lengthened experience of Ireland, and his intimate knowledge of her people. If he had done so, perhaps the House might have felt disposed to accept the right hon. Gentleman's assurances. But it is quite certain that the stories he has brought forward are of such a nature that he can have had no opportunity of inquiring into the particulars of them. The right hon. Gentleman simply asks the House to take for gospel truth what is the mere idle gossip of Dublin Castle and the officials there, and upon this tittle-tattle to fritter away the liberties of a people. Such a course is calculated, I am afraid, to inflict upon our unfortunate country a still greater injustice than any which this Parliament has already inflicted. Let me suppose even that all these stories told by the right hon. Gentlemen were true. Then, surely, the most that can be said of them is that they afford a very slender excuse for depriving a nation and a people of the Constitution under which they live—for abolishing trial by jury and gagging the Press, and suppressing the right of public meeting and free speech. [A laugh.] Hon. Members laugh; but they do not seem to have studied the provisions of this Bill, although they are going blindly to vote for it. More than that, the measure proposes to establish a number of petty despotisms all over the country, each being with the other in goading the people into exasperation. I have said that there was a good deal of wisdom in the course which has been taken by the Chief Secretary, in carefully concealing from the House the particulars of the cases he has brought forward, so that we should have very little opportunity of bringing to a test the accuracy of the stories he has related. But the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for England was not so discreet in the speech which he delivered last night. That hon. and learned Gentleman saw at once the weakness of the ease which had been made out by the Chief Secretary, and he endeavoured to supplement it by giving the particulars in regard to some of these statements. I am not going to make any accusation against the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for England. I am 295 not going to say that he would for one moment state to this House particulars which he did not believe to be true, or use arguments he knew could not be sustained by facts. It is, however, very instructive to consider the manner in which he dealt with the case which he undertook to quote to the House. I should like to know whether he would have been prepared to deal with it in a similar manner if it had been a report affecting an English trial? The hon. and learned Gentleman, in supporting the contention of the Government that there had been a failure of justice in recent trials in Ireland, quoted from The Freeman's Journal, and made a great deal of the fact that his report was taken from that newspaper. Now, the case in question was one which was tried at the Kerry Assizes; it was that of a man named Pat Hickey, who was charged with Moonlighting; and the report went on to say that the jury, without hearing any evidence for the defence, acquitted the prisoner. Now, if the case had occurred in England and not in Ireland, what would have been the comment of the learned Attorney General or of any other impartial reader? Would it not have been that the case for the prosecution was so weak and so little backed up by evidence that, as a matter of fact, the jury acquitted the prisoner because there was no evidence before them which would justify them in convicting him? Nevertheless, because the case had reference to Ireland, the argument of the learned Attorney General was this—that because the jury acquitted the prisoner without requiring to hear any evidence for the defence, forsooth, the prisoner was guilty; that the 12 jurymen were forsworn, that they sympathized with Moonlighting, and that, therefore, they acquitted him. Now I happen to know the particulars of the case which the hon. and learned Gentleman has been, so unfortunate as to cite. I happened, as his counsel, to defend the prisoner; and I invite the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland to confer with the counsel who prosecuted for the Crown, if he wishes to ascertain whether the statement I am about to make is not strictly accurate. The counsel for the prosecution is not a Nationalist, on the contrary, he is a Conservative; but anybody who knows Mr. John Atkinson, Q.C., knows that he is 296 a man of honour and of principle; and, therefore, I am prepared to abide by his confirmation of my statement as to whether the Judge who tried the case did not charge for the acquittal of the prisoner. That Judge was no other than Mr. Justice O'Brien, who delivered the violent political harangue of which so much capital has been made by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House. The case made a deep impression on my mind. I listened to the charge of the Judge to the Grand Jury, and. I listened to the figures given by him of the state of crime in Ireland. I knew that crime was still rampant, to a great extent, over some portions of the County of Kerry; but, at the same time, I knew that there were men who were anxious to prefer false charges against others in order to gratify private malice or curry favour with some Irish official. They had a ready means of doing that from the existence of crime in that county. Having listened to the extraordinary speech of the Judge on that occasion, I may say that this was the first case of Moonlighting that came before him. As I have said, I received a brief in the case; but I was most careful to inquire, before accepting it, whether there was a shadow of evidence against the prisoner; not because I wished to shirk the duty of defending a prisoner, but because I did not desire my public position as secretary to the National League to be identified to any degree in the eyes of any misguided people in Kerry with a defence of Moonlighting. I cross-examined the principal witness for the prosecution, and after my cross-examination the Judge asked a few questions which clearly convinced me he did not believe a word of the witness's story. I proceeded no further with the case, but left it in the hands of the Judge, whereupon, he charged for an acquittal, and the jury acquitted the man accordingly. The Chief Secretary was more wise. He gave us no names or any means of ascertaining the particulars of the cases to which he referred, and yet, notwithstanding the slender materials we had to work upon, in order to bring these stories to a test, I think it will be admitted that my hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell), in the able and eloquent speech with which he opened the debate this evening, very 297 clearly exposed the character of some of the cases which were quoted by the right hon. Gentleman. I propose to take some others which have been selected by Dublin Castle and supplied to the Chief Secretary as a proof of the necessity for a sweeping change in the administration of the law. Some of the cases, I admit, have been so carefully concealed that it has been impossible to bring them to a test. But I maintain that through their own inherent absurdity they have altogether broken down. Let me take the first of these cases, which was given by the right. hon. Gentleman as an illustration of the way in which Irishmen regard the jury system. The right hon. Gentleman said—I heard the other day of a man over 70 years of age who applied to be excluded from the panel, and he was told that he should be so relieved. Next day he returned and said he would rather be on the panel, for it might give him an opportunity of serving a friend.Now, if the right hon. Gentleman had consulted the Attorney General for Ireland, it would have been the duty of the right hon. and learned Gentleman to tell him that a story like that, and, indeed, many of the stories we have heard of jurymen—has been simply invented for the purpose of imposing on the credulity of Englishmen who go over to Ireland. This particular instance is one which never could have occurred, because there was no official before whom the man could go to have his name put on or taken off the jury list except the Judge, whose duty it was to revise it; and yet we are asked to believe that in this particular case the learned Judge consented to take a man off the jury panel one day and to put him on again the next. But the fables which the right hon. Gentleman appears to have collected in his short tour in Ireland are so absurd that I fail to see how they could have imposed upon any rational man. Here is another of the amusing fables with which the right hon. Gentleman interested the House while framing the case with which to do away with the liberties of our unfortunate country. The right hon. Gentleman said—"I heard the other day"— most of these stories begin with, "I heard the other day"—but before I read the passage, let me make one other remark. An hon. Friend of mine, when 298 he feels tempted to express a doubt as to the authenticity of a story, usually interrupts the speaker by saying—"Is this a true story?" Probably he would not have been allowed to interrupt the Chief Secretary in that way; but in regard to the story I am about to quote, I have no hesitation in saying that it is not only not a true story, but that it would tell against the right hon. Gentleman himself if there were any truth in it. The right hon. Gentleman said—I heard the other day of jurors in a respectable position who had begged of an officer whoso duty it was to order some jurors to 'stand by' that he would include them in the jurors to be asked to 'stand by.' The officer refused, but said that if they did not come up to be balloted for he would not fine them.If that story is true, what does it prove? It proves this—the man who has the privilege of ordering a juror to "stand by" is the prosecuting Crown Solicitor. I believe hon. Members have heard it said, on the authority of the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland, that he is responsible for ordering jurors to "stand by" at a trial; therefore, if the story of the Chief Secretary is true, it proves that, in order to ascertain how the jury is affected, and to test what sort of verdict is likely to be given, the Crown Solicitor must have an audience with the jurors before putting thorn into the box. A story of this kind certainly gives the House a glimpse of the practices resorted to by the Crown in Ireland, and which, as I maintain, have caused the failure of your jury system, and the disrespect with which your administration of law is regarded in Ireland. Now, Sir, we have also had from the right hon. Gentleman some very garbled extracts from the addresses of some of the Judges of Ireland. That fact, however, has been so much commented upon by other speakers that I will not dwell on it in detail further than to observe, upon the extraordinary statement of the Chief Secretary, that these Judges are not political partizans; that they are not influenced in their utterances by the politics of the day. That, Sir, is notoriously the case in Ireland. I believe the House is perfectly familiar with the fact that most of the Irish Judges—certainly three of them—whose charges were quoted by the Chief Secretary in his speech, have had seats in this House, and occupied official posi- 299 tions in this House under various Governments. Now, let me suppose the case of the right hon. Gentleman the present Attorney General for Ireland. With regard to that right hon. and learned Gentleman, I will say that we should have quite as much confidence in his decisions as we have now in the decisions of the other Irish Judges. But it is absurd of the Chief Secretary to ask us to believe that the present Attorney General for Ireland has no political opinions of his own. "We refuse to believe that the Attorney General for Ireland, as well as others who have preceded him, and who have occupied official positions in the House of Commons, take up politics as a profession when they come into this House, and that they cease to hold any political sentiments the moment they leave this House. The speech of the Chief Secretary pointed to three difficulties in Ireland. The first difficulty he complains of is general intimidation, or Boycotting; the second, the difficulty of procuring evidence; and the third, the failure of juries to convict. Now, let us consider for a moment these difficulties in relation to the remedies for them proposed by the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman. The difficulty of general intimidation, or Boycotting, he proposes to cure by giving extended powers to Resident Magistrates. Now, everyone knows that during the course of the past few years the Resident Magistrates have dealt under the existing law of Ireland with cases of general intimidation, and cases of Boycotting, and it must be well known that whenever a charge of Boycotting or intimidation is brought against a man there is nothing to prevent the Resident Magistrates from applying the existing law to such cases. But it is intended, under the proposed Bill, to give these gentlemen very extended powers, and, therefore, I should like the House to understand what the class of gentlemen is to whom it is proposed to give these extraordinary powers. What are the qualifications necessary for a Resident Magistrate in Ireland? First of all, he must have friends sufficiently influential to be able to beg the position for him from the Executive. In the next case, he must be over head and ears in debt and difficulties before he is able to make out a strong case; and, thirdly, he must have had a military training somewhere or other, or if it has happened by acci- 300 dent that he has received a legal training of any kind, then he must never have been able to make a penny at the Bar. Now, I have a great passion for collecting autographs, and quite lately I had an opportunity of looking up the autographs of some very remarkable personages, most of whom have passed away. Among these political autographs, I find that there are many letters to the Lord Lieutenant of the day, applying for the position of Resident Magistrate. I propose to read from the evidence put forward by their own friends—landlords and land agents in Ireland—what their idea is of the qualification of an Irish Resident Magistrate. The first letter I will read is from a gentleman who was certainly well known in the political world, and who made himself particularly remarkable for the bitter hostility he offered to the land legislation of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone). I refer to the Knight of Kerry, a staunch champion of the landlords of Ireland. Here is his idea of the particular qualities that fit a man to occupy the position of Resident Magistrate, and to administer the extra powers which the Chief Secretary proposes to in trust them with. This is a letter addressed to Lord Carlisle when he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—My dear Lord,The kindness which your Excellency has shown me since I have had the honour of being known to you encourages me to apply to you on a subject deeply interesting to me, although I fear it will need all your kindness to excuse the presumption of the application"—what modesty!—My brother (Steven Fitzgerald) having but a small provision, my father applied to Lord Clarendon, when Lord Lieutenant, for a situation for him, and received an encouraging reply with a conditional promise; but, nothing having resulted there from, he continued to live an idle life at home, and fell into habits injurious to himself and distressing to his family, who could not but lament to see considerable talents, united with an excellent natural disposition, completely going to waste. He has latterly, I rejoice to say, been leading a different life, and recently formed an attachment for a most interesting young Scotch lady, one who, especially in point of deep religious feeling, is all that could be wished for, and their union, so very desirable, is only delayed in reference to his financial position. Under these circumstances, I venture to ask your Excellency's kind aid in procuring a situation for him. That of Stipendiary Magistrate is one for which I think he would be extremely well qualified, as he has regularly and very efficiently—301 notwithstanding his idle habits—discharged his duties as a J.P. in this parish and the neighbouring district; but if that post be unattainable, some one of less value would just now be very acceptable. I really dislike, more than I can well say, thus troubling your Excellency in such a personal matter—notwithstanding, I have in my possession a letter troubling his Excellency for another friend later on—but I feel at least that you will make great excuse for my so doing in a case where more than the temporal interests of an only brother are involved.I have the honour to be,My dear Lord,Your Excellency's very obedientand obliged servant,P. FITZGERALD,Knight of Kerry.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
I hope the hon. Gentleman will give the House some proof of the authenticity of this letter.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
I am prepared to show the letter to the hon. and gallant Gentleman. If he is acquainted with the handwriting of the Knight of Kerry he will see that it is perfectly genuine. I would, however, ask the House to accept my word, being personally acquainted with the handwriting of the Knight of Kerry, when I say that I pledge myself to satisfy the House, if necessary, of the authenticity of this letter.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
I am prepared to take the hon. and gallant Member's own word if he says he knows anything of the handwriting of the Knight of Kerry. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman were as well qualified as I am to judge of the handwriting he would at once admit the authenticity of the letter.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
The letter was addressed to Lord Carlisle during the time he occupied the Office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and it is dated July the 5th, 1859. [Cries of "Oh!"] Well, I said before I read 302 the letter that it was addressed to Lord Carlisle. I did not attempt to deceive the House in any way, and now, Sir, here is another letter, and it is from a nobleman who is still alive, and who will be able to repudiate it if it be a forgery. I hope that statement will satisfy Her Majesty's Government and the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite. The date of this letter is 1855.—Treasury, May 1st, 1855.My Lord,—I sit down to perform what is to me a very disagreeable task—namely, to ask you for a favour in the obtaining of which I am personally interested. My brother-in-law—Mr. Edward Croker—late a Captain in the 17th Lancers, is very anxious to obtain some employment which would increase his income. He is, unfortunately, not on good terms with his father, and, as he has nine children and very small means, at present his circumstances are very embarrassing. I understand there are now two vacancies in the office of Stipendiary Magistrate, and I think he would be very well qualified for such a position, as he has discharged the duties of a Justice of the Peace for many years past. If you can appoint him to one of the vacancies I think he would make a good public servant, and it would be a great obligation to me. Believe me to be your Excellency's very faithful servant,MONCK.Hon. Gentlemen are mistaken, if they imagine for a moment that I am quoting these letters to the House under the impression that they all come from Tories. I do nothing of the kind, but the inference I ask the House to draw is this. That if these were applications made to a Liberal Lord Lieutenant with whom the great body of Irish landlords and land agents are not in political sympathy, what must have been the applications that were made on the other side?
§ COMMANDER BETHELL (Yorkshire, E. R., Holderness)
May I ask if the hon. Gentleman has read that letter with the consent of the writer?
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
No, Sir; nor do the Resident Magistrates, when imprisoning us in Ireland, ever trouble themselves about getting our consent. The next letter I propose to read is another letter from the Knight of Kerry, addressed, not to the Lord Lieutenant, but to the Chief Secretary—"My Dear Sir, —
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
It is dated the 19th of January, 1860.My Dear Sir,—His Excellency was kind enough to promise to bear in mind my brother's application for the situation of Stipendiary Magistrate."—303 I see that this refers to the previous case; therefore, it is not necessary that I should read it. [Cries of"Read!" from the Ministerial Benches.] Certainly, if hon. Members opposite desire that I should do so; but they need not suppose that I abstained from doing so because this letter is likely to tell against me. Without further preface I will read the whole of the letter:—Valentia, 19th January, 1860.My Dear Sir,—His Excellency was kind enough to promise to bear in mind my brother's application for the situation of Stipendiary Magistrate, which Lord Castlerosse"—Lord Castlerosse is the present Earl of Kenmare—"and Colonel Herbert both promised to further. I have been informed that there are likely shortly to be three vacancies. I know how beset His Excellency must be, but still will venture to ask you, at a proper moment, to remind him of my brother's application.Believe me, my dear Sir,Yours very truly,P. FITZGERALD,Knight of Kerry.May I add that this reminder of the application proved successful, and that the Knight of Kerry's brother obtained the appointment. And now, Sir, I come to a most extraordinary application. It is the case of a gentleman who seems to have been recommended by no less a personage than the King of the Belgians. It is dated "Castle Connell, County Limerick, 16th of April, 1863," and it says—May it please your Excellency to pardon the liberty I take in addressing you on the following subject. In January last I was informed by Viscount Conway that His Majesty the King of the Belgians had applied to Sir Robert Peel to give me the appointment of Resident Magistrate, in lieu of the appointment I now hold in the Constabulary. Knowing that there are now three vacancies, and that there will be two more immediately—Probably some friend was going to resign to make a vacancy for him; for I have other letters which show that an arrangement had been made between the outgoing and incoming men. A pure cut-and-dried arrangement; The letter goes on to say—Knowing that there are now three vacancies, and that there will be two more immediately, I wrote to Sir Robert Peel, and this day received his reply—namely, 'That the appointment of Resident Magistrate rests with the Lord Lieutenant, to whom you should accordingly apply.' His Majesty, who got the Constabulary cadetship 304 for me eleven years ago, considered that the Chief Secretary was the person to apply to again now. Under the circumstances of His Majesty's present delicate state of health, may I beg of your Excellency to consider his application on my behalf. Being so low down on the list I should be over age before I could expect Sir H. J. Brownrigg to consider me. An increase of salary would be to me a great boon, having a young family to educate.I have the honour to be,Your Excellency'sMost obedient humble servant,R. K. FULTON.S.I. Constabulary.
§ MR. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
Will the hon. Gentleman inform the House how and where he got these letters?
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
I can only attribute the question of the hon. Member to the well-known character he bears in this House for innocence and simplicity. However, I would go far to satisfy the curiosity of the hon. Gentleman. I bought the letters at an auction; letters of that class are so common in Ireland that they may be had at auctions all over Dublin. There is, however, one thing I can promise hon. Gentlemen opposite, and it is that they will not find many documents of the kind after any Members of the present Irish Party. The next letter I desire to read is dated January 23rd, 1861. It is a letter recommending the appointment as stipendiary magistrate of a Gentleman—Colonel Forbes—who still, I believe, occupies that position. The letter is as follows:—62, Great King Street, Edinburgh,January 23.My Dear Sir,—May I venture to introduce to you my cousin, Major Forbes, late of the 3rd Light Dragoons, a very distinguished officer at Sobraon? His military testimonials will speak for themselves. He is a candidate for one of two Stipendiary Magistracies in Ireland, where his brother, Colonel Forbes, has recently purchased property in County Galway—The purchase of property, therefore, appears to be another qualification. The letter goes on to say—Their father commanded the 56th Foot. They are all Roman Catholics, but mostly gentlemanly and popular men. Major Forbes has been for some time resident in Edinburgh.Yours faithfully,J. I. HODSON, D.D.,Merton College, Oxon.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
Colonel Forbes was never in the 3rd Dragoons, and never had a brother who purchased property in Ireland.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
I can only attribute the impatience of the hon. and gallant Member to the fact that he is afraid some letters of his own may come out.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
However, I am quite willing to set the hon. and gallant Gentleman's mind at rest, for I have no letter of his at present. The next letter I propose to read is one dated October 10, 1861, written from Wexford by a gentleman who was formerly a Member of this House to the Under Secretary of State of the day—My Dear Sir,I have been asked by Dr. Crean of this town to solicit your good offices in behalf of Mr. Thomas Wyse, Sub-Inspector of Constabulary, who is a candidate for the situation of Stipendiary Magistrate. He is cousin of our Ambassador at Athens, who has already solicited the situation from his Excellency. I am ashamed to be boring you this way;which certainly shows frequent applications—but I really cannot refuse without making enemies, and all I ask is that you will drop me a line saying a kind word about the matter, as Crean is an influential man here; and it is well to conciliate him.I am, my Dear Sir,Yours very faithfully,JOHN GREENE.John Hatchell, Esq., &c, &c, &c.I did not intend to read this correspondence at such length, and I should not have done so if I had not been invited by hon. Members opposite to do so. I shall not read many more. The next letter is a letter from the Marquess of Donegall—Harefield Park, Uxbridge,March 13, 1855.My Dear Lord,First let me offer you my sincere and heartfelt congratulation on your appointment of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and then let me beg of you, if you should have it in your power, to appoint a cousin of mine—Captain William Verner, of Windsor, near Belfast"—I daresay the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Johnston) will know him.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
The letter goes on—to some place or other that may happen to fall into your gift—such as Stipendiary Magistrate. 306 He is well qualified for anything—was a long time on the bench in New South Wales, and is a Magistrate for the County of Antrim. Added to all this he has a very large family; and is very poor;that is another of the same kind of qualification, you see—and, therefore, if you can do anything for him, you will most truly oblige,Yours very truly sincerely,DONEGALL.The Earl of Carlisle, K.G., &c., &c.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
March, 1855. [Cries of" Divide!"] I can well understand the impatience of hon. Members opposite. I can well understand that this subject is exceedingly distasteful to them. But in connection with the subject under discussion it is not a waste of the time of the House. I have no desire to waste that time; but having regard to the fact that you are placing the liberties of Ireland at the mercy of men of this description, I think I have a perfect right to read to the House some evidence of the character of these men. I maintain further that if any hon. Member is justified in doing so it is I, seeing that I have suffered imprisonment and have been condemned to the plank bed, and was clad in prison uniform by two officials of this very class, specially selected for the duty, and for the utterance of words so inoffensive that the Chief Secretary was ashamed to read them to the House. The words which I used were these—that as Secretary to the National League, I appealed to the farmers in the constituency, which afterwards returned me to this House, to give a just and fair consideration to the claims of the labourers; and that, if they did not, they would find that the agitation used in that behalf might be turned against themselves for the benefit of the labouring classes. Those are the very words I used. They were marked in a report sent up by the Resident Magistrates to Dublin Castle to know if they were sufficiently strong to justify a prosecution against me. They were returned by the Chief Secretary with the words I have quoted bracketted and marked with a blue pencil. These magistrates, having received this intimation, and knowing that their promotion depended on the will of Dublin Castle, were hardly likely to refuse to do what they did—namely, to send me to gaol. Now, Sir, I have re- 307 ferred to the character of the general intimidation which was complained of by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary in his speech; and I want to show how very misleading are the few figures in the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman has given us the number of persons who have been Boycotted, and I wish to explain to the House how these statistics have been got up. In a district in Ireland where evictions have been carried on, if an emergency man wishes to procure goods, he is not taken to the house of a Conservative or Protestant shopkeeper in order to obtain them, because it is very well known that he would get them without difficulty, and in every town in the South of Ireland there are Protestant and Conservative shop- keepers, who are generally the most successful and wealthy merchants in the town—such, is the toleration of Catholics, who do not practise anything in the nature of exclusive dealing upon religious or political grounds as others do. But instead of bringing persons who may have incurred popular disfavour in such localities into the shops where it is well known that they would be supplied, they are marched into the shop of the local president or secretary of the National League, and if the shopkeeper refuses to supply them, because they are emergency men or caretakers of evicted farms, the case is at once set down as a case of Boycotting. There is no difficulty whatever in procuring an ample supply of food from those with whom they are in political sympathy. [Colonel KING-HARMAN expressed dissent.] I will challenge the hon. and gallant Gentleman to name a single village in Ireland where this cannot be done. Day after day we see cases recorded in the local newspapers where the police have marched men into houses where they knew they would not got the supplies for which they asked, and where they were perfectly aware they would be Boycotted. Now, Sir, the second difficulty complained of by the Chief Secretary in his speech was the difficulty of procuring evidence. But, I would ask, what provision is there in the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman to facilitate the procuring of evidence? Is there any provision in the Bill, as stated by the right hon. Gentleman to the House, which, will make it more easy 308 for the Crown in Ireland to get evidence in criminal cases or to procure the assistance of the people in carrying out the law? Does he think, if he transfers the venue, say from Kerry to Belfast, that the Crown witnesses who go down to Belfast to prosecute would be more popular in that locality than by giving evidence at a trial in their own locality? Does he think a Crown witness will be more likely to be popular in Ireland, and that the people will be more likely to fraternize with him because he comes over here at the instance of the Chief Secretary to hang or send to penal servitude a fellow-countryman? Or is it meant that juries and magistrates shall act without any evidence at all? The statement of the right hon. Gentleman may or may not be true; but, at all events, it is patent that the Bill makes no provision whatever which will enable him to get over the difficulty of procuring evidence, and nothing this House can devise will render the position of a Crown witness, or the office of Crown prosecutor, more popular in Ireland, until they are employed in carrying out laws which the people sanction and respect. The third difficulty of the right hon. Gentleman was the failure of juries to convict. Now, I am not going to deny that there have been cases in Ireland where, in the teeth of evidence tolerably clear, the jury have either disagreed or refused to convict. But is there no instance the other way? Have there been no eases, and have none been brought under the attention of the House in recent years in Ireland, where juries, instead of refusing to convict, have convicted on evidence absolutely false or insufficient; have there been no cases in which juries have, in the jury-box, given way to their political feeling, and have consigned to penal servitude, and in some cases to the gallows, men who are now admitted to have been innocent?
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
Who are they? I will appeal to hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, who gave eloquent support to a Motion which I made in one of these cases a few years ago. I appeal to the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill), and to the present Solicitor General for England (Sir Edward Clarke), who made admirable speeches 309 in support of my Motion on that occasion. Before this House proceeds to legislate in the direction of doing away with trial by jury, let rue ask hon. Members to consider first whether trial by jury has not had a fair chance in Ireland; and if it has not, is the blame of the failure attributable wholly to the people and none of it attributable to the Crown? Last night we had upon this subject an able and eloquent and very remarkable speech from the right hon. Gentleman who was a former Chief Secretary and the late Secretary for War (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman). He described the system of trial by jury in Ireland as a system by which the people look upon the Crown as doing everything, fair or unfair, to carry out their object, and the people naturally did everything they could to defeat the Crown. Have we not had our attention drawn, night after night, to the infamous manner in which jury-packing is carried on in Ireland? We have been told times out of number that Catholics are persistently challenged on every trial by jury in Ireland. It may be desirable to obtain convictions; but one conviction, or two convictions, or 100 convictions, are not so important as the impartial administration of the law in a manner calculated to command the sympathy and respect of the people; and I warn the House that no Government will succeed in winning the respect of the people of that country for the administration of the law unless you convince them that it is their duty and their right to take part in its administration. The Chief Secretary stated in his speech that it was well known, by any person acquainted with the country, that before a juryman entered the box in agrarian trials in Ireland, how he would cast his verdict. Now, I would like to ask the House how that matter has become so well known? It is a practice condemned on the part of the people, and I admit that it is a practice which ought to be condemned. But surely it is equally blamable when practised for the Crown. What takes place in ordinary cases tried at Criminal Assizes in Ireland? I will take a case that was tried recently in Cork. There were several agrarian cases tried there; and this singular fact occurred, that while the first jury who tried a case of that kind disagreed, the juries who tried the cases at the end of the Assizes, in almost every instance, whether rightly or 310 wrongly, and whether the accused was guilty or not, found a verdict of guilty. What was the reason? It was this—that the prosecuting Crown Solicitor who had charge of the trial, the moment the first jury were discharged, on account of want of agreement, went out among the jurors to find out what was the state of the mind of the jury. He canvassed the jurymen themselves, ascertained how many were for an acquittal, and how many for a conviction, and when these prisoners, or others, were put again on their trial, in an infamous and shameful manner he selected only those jurors who had been in favour of a conviction, and carefully excluded those who had been in favour of an acquittal in the earlier trial. Now, I challenge the Law Officers of the Crown to stand up and deny that that has been the persistent practice of the Crown Prosecutors in Ireland. Almost invariably the Crown Solicitor goes out to a jury who have disagreed, and ascertains in this way the state of their mind. How can you expect the people of Ireland to respect any law so shamefully and infamously administered as that? If you want the people of Ireland to respect your laws you must set them a good example. Surely it is better for the Crown and better for the country that a few criminals should escape, oven if guilty, than that you should set every man in Ireland root and branch against your system of administering justice. There recently appeared in an Irish newspaper a remarkable letter from a Roman Catholic Bishop—the Bishop of Achonry upon this subject of jury-packing. I will read one paragraph in the letter which refers to certain cases recently tried at Sligo. The jurors selected were "nailers," the prisoners were convicted; but the opinion of all but furious partizans of the so-called Party of Order was thus expressed by the Catholic Bishop of Achoury—A Woodford Catholic prisoner in Sligo dock sees all his co-religionist jurors set aside by the Crown, and twelve non-Catholics called to try him—I say 'try,' when the word 'convict' is the one; but let that pass—The prisoner's counsel very properly resents the action of the Crown, remarking that the conduct of the Crown was equivalent to branding every rejected Papist as a perjurer. Now, how could that poor Papist prisoner have any confidence in the administration of the forms of the law, when he sees these things occur in the name of the Crown?That is a weighty declaration; but anyone who possesses the slightest know- 311 ledge of Ireland knows that it is true, and that it lies at the root of the whole system of the failure of trial by jury. It was the Crown which had set the example of not respecting the administration of the law; and when the Crown did that, how was it possible for them to expect the respect and sympathy of the Irish people to the law? I have to complain that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary in his speech, and others who have risen on that side of the House, have resorted to the unfair and very unjustifiable course of attributing every difficulty, every crime, and every disorder in Ireland, to the influence of the National League. Let me ask this question. Was there never a crime committed in Ireland, and was no exceptional legislation for that country ever asked for, before the National League was established? Is it not patent to everybody that year after year the Government have had to come to this House for special powers to enable them to deal with exceptional agrarian crime in Ireland? Is it not shameful and unfair that because there is a public organization in the country endeavouring to shield the people from the oppression of an iniquitous class—is it not unfair and dishonest that everything in the nature of crime and disorder which may occur in that country is attributed to that organization? Has the Chief Secretary brought forward one instance where an officer of the National League has been brought to justice or punished, or oven charged with any one of these crimes? If this great organization in Ireland is exercising its influence in the way the right hon. Gentleman has attributed to it, then what have the Executive been doing in Ireland, with all their police, during the period the National League has been in existence, seeing that they have not been able to charge against one single officer of the National League any one of these offences? I maintain that this species of argument is most unfair and dishonest, and I do so because I believe that behind this appeal of the right hon. Gentleman for the suppression of the National League, there exists some other motive and influence besides that of a desire to deal with disorder and crime. The Government know that, in addition to looking after the interests of the tenant farmers in Ireland, the National League has devoted a large amount of time and has expended a 312 large sum of money in looking after the Parliamentary Registration in Ireland. That is the real secret. That fact, whatever may be said of the agrarian difficulty in Ireland, explains the desire of some hon. Members from the North of Ireland, whose constituencies are exceedingly doubtful and shaky, to bring out the suppression of the League, because they know that the National League will suppress them out of this House very shortly. [Cries of" Oh!" and "Question!"] Considering the manner in which all sorts of crimes have been attributed to the National League, I think I am entitled to say a few words in its defence. First of all, I invite the attention of the House to the fact that the National League was established in October, 1882, when the Crimes Act, administered by Earl Spencer, was in full swing in Ireland. The National League grew up under that Act; the laws were as strong as any Government could ask for, and when they were passed in this House the two political Parties in this country insisted upon making them as severe and stringent as was possible. Notwithstanding that fact, the National League grew up under the administration of Lord Spencer. For a period of five years I have been in charge of the organization of the National League, and I assert it is false to say that any effort has ever been made to force the National League on the people of the country. For the manner in which the National League was established and organized, my hon. Colleagues will tell you that I am altogether responsible. They gave me a very free hand in regard to its direction and management. Every letter that left the office has been signed with my name, and all communications coming there read by me; and so far from the National League having been forced upon the country, there has not been a single organizer sent out to establish a branch. I declined to do so, and insisted that only such branches should be received as were got up by the localities themselves and applied for affiliation with us. Of course, when an application was made to us for copies of our rules and cards of membership we were willing to supply them; but we never went so far as the organizers of most political movements in sending organizers throughout the country to establish branches. Here is the address which was put forward to the people of Ireland at the time 313 the National League was established, and it is signed by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell), the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar), the hon. Member for North Longford (Mr. T. M. Healy), myself, and about 30 other gentlemen, some of whom occupy a prominent and leading position in mercantile life in Dublin. The address says—Fellow Countrymen,—As the Organizing Committee entrusted to the National Conference with the preliminary arrangements for the organization of the Irish National League, we have the honour of submitting to you the accompanying rules for the formation and guidance of branches. It is desirable that no time shall be wasted in putting the resolutions of the Conference in force. The necessity of close organization, for the purpose of concentrating and giving a definite direction to the national energies, is universally felt. It has been forced upon public attention by the encroachments upon popular rights, which have been going on in all directions since the power of union among the people was relaxed. The landlord combination for the purpose of breaking the spirit of the Irish tenant, the dismay which the present scale of judicial rents has created among applicants to the Land Courts, and the confiscation of tenants' property that is being effected wherever disorganization has crept in, render it more necessary now than over that the Irish tenantry should be re-united in vigilant and lawful association, for the purpose of protecting themselves from injustice, and for seeking that full measure of land law reform which alone can secure them against the perils of halting legislation. From the farming classes the desire for organized effort has extended to the labourers, whose miserable condition has been so long disregarded, and to the artizans, who see in the spirit evoked by a great national combination, a power which can nourish our decaying industries with millions of money, now annually drained away into foreign markets. With all these incentives to organization, the Irish National League unites a programme of social and political reform, which will gradually transfer all local power and patronage from privileged strangers into the hands of the people, and so fortify them for the work of National Self-government, which is the aspiration of all our struggles.Those words have not been written since the introduction of the Home Rule Bill of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian; they were written years before the mass of the Liberal Party gave their sanction to Home Rule, and I invite the attention of hon. Members to the fact that the Irish National League placed this object in the forefront of their programme—And so fortify them for the work of National Self-government which is the inspiration of all our struggles. The National Conference has with the most hearty unanimity embodied these principles in the programme of the Irish National League. It remains for you now, in your various districts, to give immediate and 314 practical effect to these resolutions, so that from the formation of local branches, the League may be able to proceed to the election for the Central Council, and may he able to offer to every section of the Irish people, the power and protection which organization and discipline alone can ensure.The people of Ireland did take up that appeal, and let me assure the House that the organization of the National League is not confined to the so-called disaffected districts. In the Province of Ulster there are the following branches:—Antrim, 18; Armagh, 20; Cavan, 46; Donegal, 51; Down, 38; Fermanagh, 30; Derry, 23; Monaghan, 27; and Tyrone, 56; making 309 for the entire Province of Ulster. In Munster there are 473—namely, Clare, 64; Cork, 119; Kerry, 61; Limerick, 92; Tipperary, 97; and Waterford, 40. In the Province of Leinster there are 420—namely, Carlow, 16; Dublin, 52; King's County, 30; Kilkenny, 45; Kildare, 28; Louth, 37; Longford, 26; Meath, 44; Queen's County, 31; Westmeath, 40; Wicklow, 22; and Wexford, 49. In Connaught there are 311 branches, composed as follows:—Galway, 105; Leitrim, 33; Mayo, 71; Roscommon, 57; and Sligo, 45; making a total of 1,513 branches for the whole of Ireland. If that organization of the National League is so criminal now, it must have been criminal a year or two ago.
§ MR. SINCLAIR, (Falkirk, &c)
Will the hon. Gentleman say what the total income of these branches is?
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
The total annual income from all the branches to our Central Executive is about £11,000.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
I have been speaking of the total income of the League from its own resources. Since its establishment the National League has not used £4,000 of American money. That, I think, shows the value of the information which hon. Gentlemen opposite have in regard to the National League. Twenty-five per cent of the funds of the League are retained by the branches for political purposes and working expenses in their own various localities. Without pressure from us, or any endeavour on our part to force their hands, we have received from them 75 per cent of their funds. That 75 per cent is applied, first of all to pressing requirements where most 315 needed on behalf of tenants who have been unjustly evicted. Hon. Members on the other side of the House, as well as upon this, know perfectly well that before we take up the cases of these tenants and consider them we make the most minute and careful inquiry, and that the tenant who has allowed himself, by his own recklessness and want of thrift, to fall into arrears with his landlord, never receives assistance from us. [A laugh.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite laugh. I do not wish to appeal to hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House. I know that the present debate is exceedingly inconvenient and unsatisfactory to them; but this I will say, that there are hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House who are going to vote for the Bill of the Chief Secretary who have themselves found their way more than once to the offices of the National League.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
I will not be tempted to "Name!" Their; interviews with me were not strictly a matter of confidence; but I think I am bound to respect them. But this I will pledge myself to—that some of those who are now going to vote for this Bill did, at the time the Conservative Party were coquetting with Home Rule, had interviews with me, and they gave me some very valuable suggestions as to the best manner of putting the Home Rule question before the people of England. There is another fact in regard to the policy of the National League to which I wish to draw the attention of the House. We have deemed it necessary to make a vigorous endeavour on our part to stamp out crime in different parts of the country. The National League has repeatedly refused to give grants to an unfortunate evicted tenant whose case in every other respect deserved consideration, solely because he lived in a district where disturbance was rife, and because we believed that the giving of assistance in such a locality where a tenant had been evicted might appear, in the eyes of a misguided people, to have some semblance of encouragement to crime and outrage. Besides that, I am reminded, by my hon. Friends behind me, that the executive of the National League have persistently and deliberately refused, on many occasions, to take money, or allow branches to be formed, and to take them into 316 affiliation, because the demand came from localities where crime and outrage were prevalent. I will go further, and I will appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite who know anything of Ireland to point out a single instance where one of the branches has taken what might be considered a wrong step in regard to Boycotting, or an outrage of any kind, or anything that might have a tendency to it, where we have not used our exertions and have got that branch suppressed. We have on all occasions, where our attention has been called to action of that kind, suppressed the branch of which there could be the least shadow of a suspicion. I fear that I have troubled the House too long, and I will, therefore, conclude by asking the House seriously to reflect on the character of the step they are taking in passing this Bill. I also ask them to consider the view which the Irish people will take of it. During the discussion of the Home Rule Question we had very encouraging speeches from hon. Gentlemen opposite who then sat on these (the Opposition) Benches. Indeed, we had a chorus of lamentation from hon. Gentlemen at the state of Ireland. They told us that coercion had been carried far enough, and nothing was more common than to hear from them the expression that Ireland had been ruined and brought to demand Home Rule because the country had been made the shibboleth of political Parties in this House. I ask hon. Gentlemen what are they by their vote going to make of Ireland now? What is the motive of the policy which the Government are now introducing in regard to the people of Ireland? What they are doing with our unfortunate country is nothing else than making it the shibboleth of faction and party. Have they established any reason or justification for the policy they are attempting to carry out? If they have done so now I would ask if the case was not infinitely stronger before, when they refused to enter upon the policy they are now deliberately pursuing. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian has spoken of the responsibility which is incurred by hon. and right hon. Members opposite. The unfortunate people of Ireland are close observers of the proceedings and events which take place in this House, and they cannot forget the speeches of Conser- 317 vative Members when they were in opposition deploring the manner in which our country has been made the shuttlecock of Parties, nor will they forget that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), who refused to go with his own Party one step in the direction of passing a Home Rule Bill, born of confidence in the people of Ireland, because he disagreed with some of its provisions; and who is going now in precisely similar circumstances wholly and heartily in for a Bill which is intended to have, and must have, the effect of scourging and irritating the people of Ireland.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I think that even the most prejudiced listener in this House will think that the speech we have just listened to has been marked with incidents of no ordinary occurrence, and by the announcement of transactions which cannot reflect great credit on the parties whose letters have been read and upon the system to which those letters bear reference; and I think further, that the evidence which has been given by my hon. Friend the Member for Dublin (Mr. T. C. Harrington) of the character and origin of the method and working of the institution known as the National League ought to carry some weight, at any rate, to unprejudiced minds, and show the absolute falsity of the calumnies which have been urged against it. Some of those who are going to vote against the liberties of Ireland ought to see that their conclusions are founded upon totally wrong premisses, and that they should pause before they take a step which they can never retrace. But there was one further piece of evidence in the speech of the hon. Member for Dublin to which I wish to refer. My hon. Friend spoke of the fact that there are hon. Members sitting on the opposite side of the House, who, when their Party was coquetting with Home Rule in 1885, did not disdain to fall back on the National League in order to get information from its office in Dublin, and virtually thus to make themselves accomplices of the League. My hon. Friend, as he told us, respected their confidence; but we have a right to challenge those hon. Members to declare themselves. I speak, Sir, to-night, as a member of the National League, and not only that, but as a member of the Demo- 318 cratic party in this country, and as the freely chosen Representative of a constituency which has recorded its unfaltering determination to oppose tooth and nail—both inside and outside this House, by every legitimate means that may offer—any retrograde step in the direction of coercion such as the Government is now trying to force upon the country. I desire to refer to some of the statements made by the Chief Secretary for Ireland in the course of this debate; and I should like to remark upon the lugubrious predictions which he and his Party are in the habit of making in reference to the action of the Irish people. I should like to know by what title the Party opposite claim to speak for all eternity on behalf of Members of this House and those who come after us. We are told by hon. Gentlemen opposite that, whatever the character of their Bill may be, it is no worse, at any rate, than the measures which have been put forward in times past by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House. There are two answers to that statement—first of all that the condition of Ireland is very different from what it was in the past; so different that they do not venture to rely on statistics in support of their flimsy allegations in justification of their measure. If hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House have learnt by experience the folly of their past ways, it is, at any rate, to their credit that they should have done so. They have learned something by the mistakes of former years. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen who sit opposite are, by some mental infirmity, I must assume, incapable of learning wisdom either from their own faults or from the mistakes of others. [Interruption.] I believe half-past 12 o'clock is generally admitted to be the time at which it will be most convenient to adjourn our debates, and there are still a few minutes during which I may be permitted to continue. Almost the only reason which has been advanced on behalf of this Bill is that the Jury system in Ireland is unworkable and, therefore, without inquiring into the reasons why it is unworkable, the Government unblushingly say that we must abolish it root and branch. I think that in answer to their plea that they cannot work the jury system, and that we must abolish it, we have a right to go somewhat narrowly and critically into the causes 319 of its unworkability, admitting for the sake of argument that it is unworkable. And, I think it is right to point out that it is owing mainly to their own action that it is as they say in an unworkable condition in Ireland. And why? Is it not a fact which cannot be denied, because your own officials have admitted it, that you have prostituted the sacred name of justice by packing juries in order to secure men devoted to your own interest and purpose? This is the principal cause of the breakdown of the jury system in Ireland. Again, the meaning of Jury Trial is that you draw a sample as it were from the bulk of the people, and when you find that it does not suit your purpose it is clear that there is something radically wrong in your system. It was the same in the early part of the century when English juries revolted against the unfairness of English law, and over and over again refused to convict men charged with stealing and other offences, because they knew that the prisoners under the Draconian laws of the time would be hanged; they preferred to allow criminals to go free rather than themselves commit the greater crime of hanging them. I ask hon. Gentlemen to consider what was the remedy then applied in our country. It was the humane, salutary and statesman-like policy of Romilly and other great reformers which brought about that changed condition in the minds of the people, that reverence on the part of the people for the law which has established the system of trial by jury in this country upon a foundation which cannot be shaken. This is what we ask shall be done in Ireland. If you will only pursue a policy of humanity and conciliation, and as I would say of common sense, and not go back from the pledges which you yourselves have in many cases given for your constituents, the same result would follow in Ireland; but do not think to return to those hated paths of coercion to which you know that the hearts of the people of this country are now firmly opposed, and which the leaders of the people of the country will not allow to continue. You know that your case is so weak that you dare not face your constituents. Just as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) knows that he cannot with success address a free public meeting in the 320 country, and that throughout the length and breadth of England, wherever he may go he will be hooted at every meeting that is not a hole-and-corner meeting; so the Leaders of the Conservative Party know perfectly well that a fortnight's Recess now would mean a fortnight's agitation such as has not been witnessed in the country for some years, and so they dare not trust their supporters out of their sight lest they should find out the true feeling of the country with regard to the policy of coercion to which they are going to commit themselves. I can tell the Government that the agitation is commencing, and that they are likely to raise a flame which all their coercion will not be able to put out.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned." —(Mr. T.P. O'Connor.)
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)
Sir, I would not for a moment press any claim of my own to occupy the time of the House, except by the free permission of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury; but as he has accorded me that free permission, I wish to say very briefly why I think Her Majesty's Government should be inclined to accept the Motion which has been made by the hon. Member who has just sat down. [Loud cries of "No, no!"] I take note of those negatives, but I wish to state what I believe to be strong reasons in support of it. We have had two questions brought before us to-night—one with respect to the interval between the first and second reading, the other with respect to the termination of the present debate. With regard to the interval between the introduction of the Bill and its second reading, I do not wish to enter into any detail. But if I do not refer to what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman to-night, I must beg him not to consider my silence as an indication of my acceptance of the proposal he has made. I do not think it would be well to enter upon arguments on that point at this moment. But it would, in my judgment, be better that the question of the termination of the debate should be determined upon its own merits. How does the case stand? I request the House to go back with me to what happened at the commencement of the evening. The hon. Member for 321 Cork (Mr. Parnell) moved an Amendment of the greatest importance. It was truly observed by the right hon. Gentleman, last night that the introduction of such an Amendment at so late a stage was unusual and inconvenient. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman, and I understand that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork agrees with him, that it was both the one and the other. But the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork pointed out with, I think, absolutely conclusive force, that he had not been able to move his Amendment—[Cries of "Oh, oh!"]—at any earlier stage, because the materials necessary to his argument were not in his possession. ["Oh, oh!"] That is strictly and absolutely true. I say it without hesitation and without offence. The Chief Secretary for Ireland referred to the Land Bill of the Government; but in his speech in this debate he conveyed no clear and substantial idea of what the Land Bill is which constitutes the most important and difficult part of the case. I listened to the right hon. Gentleman. He assents to what I say, and I am glad of that, because I own that, as to the most important part of the case, except with regard to his objection to breaking the 15 years' contract, it was impossible to gather any idea from the few words used by the right hon. Gentleman. It appears to me that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork, under the circumstances, having to propose an Amendment which invited the House to consider the whole state of Ireland, was bound to move that Amendment, having in his possession a view of the entire policy of the Government, so far as it is now proposed. Therefore, he appears to me not open to the smallest blame for the unusual and inconvenient course he was bound to pursue, for if there was anything unusual and inconvenient, it was entirely due to the circumstances in which he was placed by Her Majesty's Government. Many Gentlemen opposite listened to the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork. I do not wish to use any disrespectful expression; but having known the introduction of many Bills for the restraint of Constitutional liberty in Ireland, and having listened over and over again to the 322 opposition to those Bills, I must say I have never known an instance in which the case for the Government was so completely torn to rags as was to-night the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary by the analysis of the hon. Member for Cork. You complain of the length of this debate; but how is it possible for the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork to make adequate examination of the anonymous anecdotes of the Judges' charges, jury cases, and Boycotting allegations, without time to communicate with Ireland, in respect of which I must say I am rather surprised that he has been able to do so much in so short a time? [Cries of "Oh, oh!" from the Ministerial Benches.] I presume that hon. Gentlemen opposite could do a great deal more without any inquiry at all. But I speak of men who have to examine closely and argue seriously. I contend that the case which the hon. Member for Cork has brought forward at the earliest moment is most serious and grave, and now the demand is made on behalf of Ireland by a well known Member for the devotion of another night to the discussion of this Amendment and the consideration of the case against the Government, and particularly against the speech of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. I must own that, in my view, this is a reasonable demand, and I believe, moreover, that in stating that it is a reasonable demand I am stating the opinion which largely and generally prevails upon this side of the House. It certainly appears in conformity with precedent. The Government are starting on a new course in applying extreme pressure to the House in attempting to hurry proceedings of this kind. ["Oh!"] I am not aware that it has been the practice to hurry these proceedings against the judgment either of the Irish Members or of large portions of the House on former occasions. I am not aware that it is necessary for me to go into all the precedents now. They will probably have to be discussed hereafter. We will not go over the precedent of 1881 further than to say that again the gentleman—whoever he may be—who supplies the right hon. Member with information, supplies him with most inadequate information, leaving out all the most material facts. Sir Robert 323 Peel, in 1846, brought in a Bill which, if I remember aright, contained, even in the title of the Bill, far graver allegations than any now made in justification of the present measure. It was a Bill, I think, for the repression of murder or assassination. It was brought forward under some such title as that. At the same time that Sir Robert Peel brought forward that measure, he had in his hands a Bill to which he attached inestimable and supreme and superlative importance—namely, a Bill for the Repeal of the Corn Laws—a Bill on which, even at that period, the peace of the country depended; and I remember well how earnestly he strove to keep aside from the deliberations of Parliament that year everything that could interfere with the progress of the Corn Law Bill. But, notwithstanding that, what was the view taken by him of the nature of the Coercion Bill for Ireland, and what the moral difficulty of interposing by the pressure of a majority to stop its full and free discussion? In 1846 the first reading of that Bill was moved on the 30th of March, and it was not obtained until the 1st of May. That, Sir, was in a Parliament in which the Tory Party had a very large majority, and in which, as I have said, between four and five weeks interposed between the proposal of the first reading and the carrying of it. I suppose that this Motion for Adjournment, though it is made by an English Member in the strict sense of the word, is made on the part of Irish friends and coadjutors, and that it conveys the demands which they think it their duty respectfully to lay before the House. I must say that I shall not be a party to refusing that demand. I warn the right hon. Gentleman—[Signs of dissent]—well, I will not use that expression; I respectfully request him to observe that, so far as I am aware, this description of pressure has not been used on former occasions. I could show that, I think, by going into previous cases in detail. It is a dangerous pressure to use, and although I do not wish to employ any phrase or language which could in any degree introduce heat into the discussion, having stated strongly and firmly the opinion which prevails on this side of the House, I desire, on broader grounds, to refer to principles hitherto held applicable to 324 measures of this class, and respectfully ask the right hon. Gentleman to give a favourable consideration to the Motion now before the House.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
Mr. Speaker, I have listened with the respect which is due to the authority of the right hon. Gentleman to the appeal which he has made to me, and I have also listened to the arguments which he has addressed to the House in support of that appeal. I cannot say that I was greatly influenced by the last precedent on which he relied—that of Sir Robert Peel, in 1846. It appears to me, Sir, that if Sir Robert Peel was of opinion that the condition of Ireland was so grave and so serious as to make it necessary to ask Parliament for extraordinary powers, it was Certainly his duty to have pressed earlier for those powers than he did. I am perfectly aware of the result of that appeal and of the consequences that followed next year. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) has moved the adjournment of the debate. If he had risen at any time during the five days of this debate I am sure the House would have listened to him. I am not aware that he has done so. But the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition laid stress on the fact that the hon. Member for Cork had had no opportunity of raising the debate which he has initiated until to-night, in consequence of the absence of information on which he desired to rest his case. Well, Sir, I listened to the very able speech of the hon. Member, and with the exception of the first few passages it appeared to me that the speech was devoted to criticism of the speech of my right hon. Friend on my left (the Chief Secretary for Ireland) and to the Motion for leave to bring in this Bill, rather than to the general question of the condition of Ireland. I have listened also to the speeches that have been made this evening on the other side of the House, and they also have been directed to the Motion rather than to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork. I am sure it will be felt by the House and by the country that this preliminary debate has lasted long enough, and if the right hon. Gentleman had been in 325 his place when my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary answered the speech of the hon. Member—
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
Then, if that was so I can only say that my impression of the speech of my right hon. Friend was that it gave a most complete answer to that of the hon. Member for Cork. The views of the hon. Member, to which the right hon. Gentleman attaches so much importance, will have their weight with the House and the country, and, therefore, he will have the full advantage of the effect produced by the speech in the Division, which I hope may now take place. Sir, we have a duty to discharge to the country, which expects Parliament to make progress with the Business of the country. I will not, in the slightest degree, underrate the gravity and importance of the demand the right hon. Gentleman makes on Parliament. We feel our responsibility as greatly as the right hon. Gentleman opposite can do—more, probably, than the right hon. Gentleman does. ["Oh, oh!"] Yes; probably more than he does, for we are responsible for the government of the country, and he is not. We are responsible for the safety of the lives, the liberty, and the property of the people of Ireland. We have placed before Parliament the measures we deem necessary to secure that safety and liberty, and, under these circumstances, I greatly regret that I cannot accede to the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. PARNELL (Cork)
I am afraid, Sir, that the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has not paid me a very great compliment in saying that only a few passages in the first part of my speech this evening were devoted to the subject on which we received information for the first time last night. I certainly intended that the whole of my speech should hang upon and be connected with that information. And it was my desire, in the preparation of my speech, to carry out that intention, and I think I did so. However, be that as it may, I think the right hon. Gentleman will admit that he takes upon himself very considerable responsibility in adopting the unreasonable course which he now proposes to adopt of refusing to concede another night for the discussion of an Amendment of the character of that 326 which is before the House. I may remind the right hon. Gentleman of the appeal which has been made by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, with his great experience of the traditions of this House. Many of my hon. Friends who are inclined to speak in this preliminary debate have so far waived their right of speaking in favour of the numerous English and Scotch Members who have desired to speak on one side of the House or the other. It is right that the voice of Great Britain should be heard, and heard effectually; and, oven if none of us should be permitted to speak by the exigencies of the limits which the right hon. Gentleman appears to have felt it his duty to place upon the debate, we should not have grudged that surrender of our rights, since it enabled the noble demonstration to be given which has been afforded by so many Members for Great Britain during the last few days. But, Sir, the fact remains that such Members as the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton)—one of the Nationalist Ulster Members—and my hon. Friend who has moved the adjournment of the debate (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), have not been permitted to speak even upon the Motion for taking all the time of the House for this Bill, much less upon the Motion for the introduction of the Bill, or the Amendment we are now discussing. The right hon. Gentleman cannot reconcile that state of affairs coming upon a Coercion Bill—a Bill in which our liberties are so deeply involved—as being consistent with the declarations repeatedly made in the discussion of the Closure Rule. The right hon. Gentleman cannot say it is fair or in accordance with fair play, that so few Irish Members should be heard as have been heard oven upon this preliminary Motion. He cannot say that any time has been wasted by any of the Irish Members or by any of the English Members. He must know full well by this time that the introduction of this Coercion Bill has stirred this House to its depths, and will stir this country to its depths. He must know that if he smothers debate to-night it will burst out some other night on some other stage. If he chokes off the discussion of this stage of the Bill by an unfair application of the Rule of Procedure, which he has obtained under distinct and oft-repeated pledges that it 327 should be used only to stop irrelevant and undue discussion, and the flame is smothered to-night, it will break out again shortly. It is impossible in these days and with the advantages we live under, to ultimately choke down a case and stop discussion in this House. I think the right hon. Gentleman will see that the demand we make is not an unreasonable one. He cannot say, speaking in reference to the Irish Members, that they have occupied an undue portion of the time of the House. The Irish Members have not sustained their due share of this discussion. The time within which such Members as the hon. Member for West Belfast can speak, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, is very limited, being confined to periods of two or three hours at the beginning and at the close of the evening. It is not fair to expect such Members to speak during the dinner hour. ["Oh, oh!"] I think even young Tory Members will admit that it would not be reasonable to expect the hon. Member for West Belfast to speak on a Coercion Bill directed against Ireland during the dinner hour. The request we make is not an unreasonable one. It is an eminently reasonable one. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will show his ideas of fair play, and his willingness to keep his word to us, by acceding to the Motion which my hon. Friend has made.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON (Lancashire, Rossendale)
The hon. Member for Cork has just called attention to the extremely limited period of time within which it is possible for Members of importance to address the House. I think we might have expected, in these circumstances, that the hon. Member for Cork would have given some explanation of the action of himself and his Friends this afternoon, when by unanimously rising to support a Motion for the Adjournment of the House, they did everything that it was in their power to do to restrict that limited time before 8 o'clock within which important Members can speak. But before the House comes to a decision on the question of the adjournment, I think it would be desirable that we should call to mind the time which, during the present Session, has been devoted to what has practically been one discussion. The general discussion on the Address in answer to the Speech from the Throne lasted four days. 328 I will not say that the whole of those four days was devoted to the discussion of Irish questions, but a very considerable portion of those four days was so occupied. The hon. Member for Cork then moved an Amendment which practically raised the same issue as we have been debating during the last fortnight; it was to the effect that the remedy for the evils existing in Ireland was not to be found in increased stringency of the Criminal Law, but in legislation which would meet the wants and desires of the Irish people. That Amendment was practically an Amendment in favour of giving precedence to remedial over repressive legislation, and the whole of the debate of those five days really turned upon the same issue we are now debating. Well, now, five days were thus occupied. The question of Ireland was, I think, again discussed before the conclusion of the debate on the Address, and it frequently cropped up during the protracted debate upon the Closure Rule. Not taking into account the five days' general discussion upon the Address, we have now had five days' discussion on the Amendment to the Address proposed by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork, four days' discussion on the Motion for urgency, and five days' discussion upon the Motion for leave to introduce this Bill. We have thus already had, during the present Session, 14 days' debate upon what is really only a preliminary stage of the Bill—the introduction of the Bill. I think it is impossible, having regard to any precedent which my right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) can produce from any period of Parliamentary history, to contend that such an amount of time has ever been given for the discussion of a merely preliminary question as has been given to the discussion of this. I object to the further indefinite prolongation of this debate. I object for reasons of what I think I may call a general Parliamentary character. It is not a practice to be encouraged that second reading speeches or Committee speeches should be made on the introduction of a Bill. Nearly all the speeches which have been made during the course of this debate have been of the character either of second reading speeches or of Committee speeches; and I think there can be very little doubt that if the debate is further protracted the speeches 329 made hereafter will be of the same character. We are now asked to continue this discussion—continue it I do not know how much longer—for the purpose of discussing, concurrently with the proposal to increase the stringency of the Criminal Law in Ireland, the land legislation which has been proposed by the Government. Now, it appears to me that that would be a most inconvenient course to take. We cannot discuss the two subjects together. We should not be allowed by the Chair to make detailed references either to speeches made in "another place" or to a measure which is before the other House. We can only discuss the proposal of the Government relating to land in Ireland in a most partial and imperfect manner, and if we cannot discuss such a question as that in connection with the repressive legislation proposed by the Government it seems we should only lose time and create confusion by attempting to do so. There is no object in doing it. The Government have not professed that the land legislation which they bring forward will in their opinion create such a favourable impression upon the minds of the discontented and dissatisfied portion of the people of Ireland as to render the legislation we are now discussing unnecessary. [Home Rule cheers.] As I understand the matter, they have not proposed it with any sanguine hope it will give complete satisfaction, and, judging from the cheers of hon. Members below the Gangway, in that they are perfectly right. If we had heard from them to-night that the land legislation of the Government is so favourably received by them as to probably accomplish all that is required for the maintenance of law and order in Ireland, then there would have been good ground for asking that repressive legislation should be deferred until further progress had been made with the land legislation. But we have heard the land proposals of the Government described by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) as a stab in the back for the tenants of Ireland. Under these circumstances, there can be no object in prolonging this debate. The land proposals of the Government are absolutely and entirely distinct from those we are now considering; and, therefore, I cannot vote for the Motion for Adjournment.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Derby)
My noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington) has, as he always does, made the case which he desires to put before the House perfectly clear. There can now be no doubt whatever as to the character of the vote that is to be given on this Bill. We had understood from some Gentlemen who belong to the Party of which my noble Friend is the distinguished Leader, that their vote for coercion depended, to a certain degree, upon the remedial measures of the Government, that if the remedial measures were satisfactory then they would be justified in voting for this Bill; but if the remedial measures were not satisfactory nothing would induce them to be parties to coercion. Well, on the part of the Liberal Unionists that situation is not only abandoned, but repudiated by the noble Lord. He says, what have we to do in voting for this Bill with the discussion of the land remedies of the Government? They are beside the question altogether. Now, the demand made is that the important statement made last night by the Government in "another place," is, in point of fact, a statement of the remedial measures of the Government, and should be discussed upon the Motion of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell). The answer to that which my noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington) makes is, that that has nothing to do with the question, that the question of coercion is a question pure and simple, to be voted upon by itself without regard in any manner to the remedial proposals of the Government. That, I suppose, is the position taken up. We know it is the position taken up by my noble Friend the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington), and I understand it to be the position accepted by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain). In these circumstances, I think it will be perfectly clear to the House and to the country that it is a question of coercion pure and simple, and that we enter upon it with the question of remedial measures absolutely repudiated. ["Oh, oh!"] I do not mean to say that the Liberal Unionists repudiate remedial measures; but that they repudiate remedial measures as being a condition of the passing of a Coercion Bill. I thought my noble Friend a little 331 unkind in regard to the Motion for Adjournment made earlier in the evening. I did not approve of the Motion. I have never got up to support a Motion for Adjournment in my life, and never shall do so; but I thought my noble Friend was a little unkind in his criticisms, because that Motion gave an opportunity to my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham to make a speech upon the question of the crofters, which was raised by the Motion. Now, I think it is right it should be understood exactly what is asked, and what is refused. What is asked is one night more—that was mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian, and also by the hon. Member for Cork—one night more to discuss the character of the remedial measures. ["No, no!"] What is the use of saying "No, no," when everybody knows that is what is asked? The Gentlemen who cry "No, no" cannot have heard the statements of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork. What is asked is one night more to discuss the remedial measures of the Government in their bearing upon this measure of coercion. The remedial measures were only introduced into the other House of Parliament last night. They can only be examined, of course, by Members with the Bill before them. If the present demand is refused, it can only be because the persons who support this Motion are determined to vote for coercion at any risk, and whatever the character of the remedial measures may be.
§ MR. PICTON (Leicester)
Sir, I must protest against the reproach addressed by the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale to the Irish Members on account of the part they took at the beginning of this evening in supporting the Motion for the Adjournment of the House. Those hon. Gentleman rose in defence of a kindred people. The Highlanders of Scotland speak practically the same language as themselves, they are of the same origin, and they are suffering under almost precisely the same wrongs. I, therefore, cannot think it was fair of the noble Marquess to reproach them. I consider that they showed great self-sacrifice in devoting a part of the time of this evening to the subject raised by the hon. Member for 332 Caithness (Dr. Clark). Besides, the Motion for Adjournment was supported by the Colleague and ally of the noble Marquess, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain). But, Sir, as to the necessity of adjourning this debate, I contend that new matter has been brought before the House that demands delay for consideration. Why, Sir, the cases that were raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) have been contradicted, have been disproved, have been utterly scattered by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) this evening. Of the alleged failures of conviction, for instance, out of the four cases mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. A. J. Balfour), three were disproved by the hon. Member for Cork. I can only say, that the case raised by the hon. Member for Cork and the new information given to the House does demand a better answer than has been given and more time for consideration.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)
I am very glad indeed that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leicester (Mr. Picton) has made a very proper reply to the most unfair taunt of the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington). It is very easy in cases of this kind for a person of £40,000 a-year to attack the Representatives of the poor, humble crofters. I maintain that we would have been false to our position as Irish Members if we had not shown sympathy with the people who are practically the same as ourselves in blood, and who suffer from exactly the same oppression as we do. I shall leave that point simply by saying that—after the experience we have had of a small group of Members vainly endeavouring to bring political grievances before the House, and of being treated with contumely until the matter assumed such proportions that statesmen themselves could not any longer ignore it—we should have been false to the peasants who sent us here if we had refused to support the demand of the hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark). I very much regret the course taken by the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) in refusing to give any further opportunity of debate. I think that, to a great ex- 333 tent, we may attribute that to the line lately taken by Members of the Government in supplying their own agents in the Press with statements as to how long the debate should last, and as to what views were taken by the Government Bench, and as to what views they falsely attributed to those in authority in the House. We are discussing on the present occasion a great International question between the two countries, and the interference of newspapers—[Cries of "Question!"] It is the question, I maintain that if newspapers were to write with regard to decisions which are given, or which are to be given, by Courts of Law, in the same way as they write respecting matters which are to be brought before the House of Commons—Renewed cries of "Question!"] I am dealing with the Question—they would be at once cast for contempt of Court. I deprecate also the course some hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite, of some six or eight months' experience in this House, take in calling out "Question" and in rising to points of Order—
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. and learned Gentleman is not now confining himself to the Question before the House.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I regret, Mr. Speaker, I was drawn astray by way of rebuke to hon. Gentlemen opposite. I maintain that the endeavour to provoke speedy conclusions of debates by the system of manipulating the Press which has been introduced by gentlemen connected with the Government since the Clôture Rule was passed, must lead to the greatest mischief. Upon what ground do we ask for an adjournment of the present debate. The First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) said that if my hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), or my hon. Friend the Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton), or any other Gentleman on these Benches, had intervened in this debate, he would have been heard with great patience. No doubt he would. But he would have taken up time which had been occupied by the Member for some English constituency, whose voice naturally commended itself in a greater degree to the attention of Englishmen than the voice of an Irish Member would. And now, for 334 the first time, we are anxious for the free play of English opinion upon Irish questions; and we are told, forsooth, that we should have risen as Irish Members, and not have allowed English Members to be heard. I entirely repudiate that, view. We are anxious to hear English Members, and more than that, our constituents in Ireland would a thousand times prefer that we should sit silent if it were necessary in order to enable English Members to be heard. That is one of the reasons why in this debate, which has already proceeded for four or five nights, my hon. Friends, although they could bring an enormous amount of knowledge to bear upon the discussion, have not ventured to endeavour to shut out English Members from addressing the House. Under these circumstances, I would ask the House if it is fair, when we have a Bill which is to last, not three years, or 30 years, or 300, or 3,000, but for ever—is it fair on an occasion when, for the first time since the Union was carried, those who approve of that Union should demand that the Irish Members should be clôtured after a single week's debate on the first reading? And why? The reason for the demand for the closure of the debate is in order that the Bill may be rushed through the House; and next week, when the Chief Secretary comes forward to move the second reading, he will probably content himself by formally taking off his hat. This is part of a preliminary arrangement for clôturing the debate on the second reading. Therefore, if the Irish Members consented now without a protest to the closure of debate, we may be making out a case for the Government some day next week to close the debate on the second reading, after a few nights' discussion. They will be prepared to say—"You have already had five nights' debate on the first reading, and surely you may put up with a considerable less amount of time for the discussion of the second reading." Now, that is not the way to treat questions of this kind, when the Irish Members are anxious to discuss the grievances of the people they represent. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) says that my hon. Friend the Member for Cork did not take up much time in discussing the remedial proposals of the Government; but I would remind the House that my 335 hon. Friend had no sooner ventured to enter upon that line of discussion than the Chief Secretary, in the most churlish manner, rose to Order. Let me tell the tight hon. Gentleman that if he is Anxious to maintain his relations with the Irish people, the way to gain their respect and confidence is not, on a Motion of this kind, when a debate of the greatest importance is proceeding, to endeavour to stop the leader of 5,000,000 of people by rising to Order.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
I did not rise to Order for the purpose of stopping the hon. Member for Cork, but I rose to put a question to the Speaker—whether, if the hon. Member went into details upon the Land Question, I should be allowed the power of replying to him.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I interpreted the remark of the right hon. Gentleman in that way. I looked upon it as a "friendly lead," as it is called—a sort of suggestion that my hon. Friend was straying from the Question.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I must remind the hon. and learned Gentleman that by the Standing Order, the debate on a Motion for Adjournment must be strictly confined to that Question.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I think I was quite in Order in explaining why it was that my hon. Friend the Member for Cork did not endeavour to deal with that Question. Of course, after the intimation you have given, I will at once pass from that subject. We have now in the course of debate in this country two great questions on which the passions of Irishmen are aroused—namely, the question of land and the question of coercion. If the hon. Gentlemen opposite desire the amity and friendship of the Irish people, I cannot understand why the noble Marquess and his Friends, or rather his Colleagues opposite, should resist the demand of five-sixths of the Irish people, and declare that on an occasion of this kind the debate ought at once to be stopped. Time is not the essence of the question. The Government allowed day after day to lapse, and made no attempt to bring in their Bill. They occupied nearly a month in discussing questions wholly irrelevant to the present subject. They occupied a month on the first rule of procedure, whereas if they had been as anxious as 336 they profess they would have brought in this Bill much more speedily, and would not grudge us at the present moment the single additional day claimed by my hon. Friend for the prolongation of this debate. If, instead of 85 Irish Members claiming an adjournment of a Question so important to the people they represent, we had the English or Scotch Members claiming an adjournment, I do not believe there would be any attempt to close the debate. We hear a great deal, on occasions like the present, of the anxiety which possesses the English breast to heal up the wounds of Ireland; and yet when we seek to lay our views before the House, we are met with the most strenuous attempts to close our mouths, and that, too, on an occasion when the Government are proposing to introduce a measure affecting the lives and interests of the Irish people for future generations. It is proposed that the first reading of such a Bill and the policy of the Government are to be inaugurated by closing the mouths of the Representatives of the people who will be most seriously affected.
§ Question put.
§ The Housedivided:—Ayes 254; Noes 361: Majority 107—(Div. List, No.84.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. DILLWYN (Swansea, Town)
At this time of the morning I do not think we ought to continue the discussion upon so important a question as that which has been brought before the House by the hon. Member for Cork. An Amendment has been moved relating to the whole condition of Ireland, and upon it only a few speeches have been made. As I think the magnitude of the Question entitles it to further consideration than can be given to it at this hour (1.50), I beg to move the adjournment of the House.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."— (Sir. Dillwyn.)
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
I venture to hope that the discussion may be allowed to continue, after the very marked and conclusive manner in which the House has just expressed its opinion on Division. I 337 appeal to the right hon. Gentleman opposite to use his influence to save the House from the necessity of dividing again on the question of adjournment, against which the opinion of the House has been so conclusively given, and by which no good end can be attained.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY (Northumberland, Berwick)
I am aware that by the vote I shall give, if the present Motion is pressed to a Division, I shall lay myself open to the charge of obstruction. It has never been my habit to delay measures which, in my opinion, are useful or necessary; but I feel we have a distinct case for asking for another night's discussion on this question. We are told that the proposals of the Government with regard to land in Ireland have nothing to do with the present question, and ought not to affect it; but I reply that from the other side the House has had repeatedly put before it the proposition that this measure is simply one of expediency. It is said that the question of Ireland is already—
§ MR. SPEAKER
I must point out to the hon. Gentleman that he is not confining his remarks to the Question before the House.
§ SIR EDWARD GREY
I regret that I have transgressed the Rule of Debate in my endeavour to give my reasons for supporting the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn). My reason is that a distinctly new element has been introduced into the debate. I quite agree that it is not usual to move the adjournment of the House on the first reading of a Bill; but that is when a primâ facie ease has been made out. I was perfectly willing to admit, up to a certain time to-night, that a primâ facie case had been made out; but the speech of the hon. Member for Cork has altered that opinion. That speech has appealed to us so forcibly as to make us feel that one more night, at least, even if it be on Saturday, should be devoted to the question of the first reading of this Bill. It is no ordinary Bill which, is before the House. No doubt, it is an extreme measure to oppose a first reading; but when the first reading of this Bill has been passed, I believe that circumstances will press forward the Government faster than they anticipate. The whole aspect of the Irish Question will be altered, and 338 we know that then the Government, in their own defence, will be obliged to press forward the remaining stages of this Bill. It is for that reason I think we are entitled to continue the debate on the question of the first reading another day.
§ MR. ANDERSON (Elgin and Nairn)
, rose to address the House. His remarks, supposed to be in support of the Motion for Adjournment, were rendered inaudible by cries from the Ministerial Benches.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)
I rise, Mr. Speaker, to say a word in the belief that courtesy requires it, although it is not an agreeable choice that is put forward when the alternative lies between silence or a verbal answer on a question on which I am not able to agree with the right hon. Gentleman. I find, on thinking over the appeal that the right hon. Gentleman has made, that he has furnished me with one argument, and it is this—if I thought that the speech of the hon. Member for Cork contained no argument that had not been answered by Her Majesty's Government, then I think we should have no reason to complain of the course they propose to take. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to me fundamentally to mistake the character of debates in this House. He appears to think that it is the privilege, and propriety as it were, of each side of the House to consider in what degree their interest is affected, or otherwise, by sufficiency or insufficiency of speeches. I take a totally different view of the matter. My view is this. Her Majesty's Government have made a most important proposal to the House. There having been a most powerful impeachment of that proposal—an impeachment, as I think, to the total destruction of the original proposal—by the leading Representative of the Irish people, it is due, not merely from the Government to themselves, but from the Government to the entire House and to the country, that an answer should be made. With regard to other matters, I must frankly tell the right hon. Gentleman that the system of extreme and unprecedented pressure which has been applied, and which, it appears, is to be continued to be applied to very large bodies of Members in this House, and to the Irish Members who are not so 339 large a body, will have special and peculiar interest. If I saw on the part of the Government a disposition to allow a reasonable interval for consideration conformable with Parliamentary precedent, I should gladly respond to the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman by acting in the sense he desires; but by this system of pressure he renders me certainly totally powerless for the purpose.
§ DR. KENNY (Cork, S.)
I would point out to Her Majesty's Government that I am one of those Members from Ireland who take a deep interest in this matter, which is one of the greatest importance to the Irish people. I am one of those Members who have a right to speak upon it, but who will be refused the opportunity of doing so if the debate is closed to-night. I think the Government are by no means carrying out the contract they entered into in passing the Closure Rule by using the Rule to close a debate of such vast importance to Ireland without allowing a greater number of Representatives from that country to express their views. My hon. Friend the Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin (Mr. T. Harrington) offered a most interesting and able defence this evening of the National League, of which he is a member and the law adviser. But I also occupy a position in regard to the Body now threatened with extinction by the Government which gives me the right to express an opinion upon the subject. This is the only opportunity I have had, owing to the action of the Government, to say a single word on the question. It seems to me beyond all precedent, and beyond all the limits of everything like fair play, that the Government should close a debate, or attempt, as they are now doing, to force the closing of a debate of such great importance to the Members of this House, and involving principles so dear, I will not say alone to Irishmen, but to Englishmen also, without giving us full and ample opportunity for discussing the question in all its bearings. I do hope that the words which have fallen with reference to the Motion now before the House from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian may have some effect upon Her Majesty's Government in inducing them to allow the Motion to pass, and that they will not press by means of a 340 brute majority, and by force alone, and not by force of argument—that they will not press upon us the closure of this debate. Sir, I am well aware that no appeal of mine, or any Member who occupies as humble a position as I do, can have any effect on Her Majesty's Government; but I feel I should not be doing my duty to those who sent me hero and to my country, if I did not protest in the most solemn manner against the pressure of this Motion on the present occasion.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 253; Noes 361: Majority 108.—(Div. List, No. 85.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ Question put accordingly, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 361; Noes 253: Majority 108.345
|Addison, J. E. W.||Blundell, Colonel H. B. H.|
|Agg-Gardner, J. T.|
|Ainslie, W. G.||Bond, G. H.|
|Ambrose, W.||Bonsor, H. C. O.|
|Amherst, W. A. T.||Boord, T. W.|
|Anstruther, Colonel R. H. L.||Borthwick, Sir A.|
|Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C.|
|Anstruther, H. T.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Bright, right hon. J.|
|Atkinson, H. J.||Bristowe, T. L.|
|Baden-Powell, G. S.||Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.|
|Bailey, Sir J. E.||Brookfield, Col. A. M.|
|Baird, J. G. A.||Brown, A. H.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. A. J.||Bruce, Lord H.|
|Balfour, G. W.||Buchanan, T. B.|
|Banes, Major G. E.||Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Ash.-B.|
|Barnes, A.||Burghley, Lord|
|Barry, A. H. Smith-||Caine, W. S.|
|Bartley, G. C. T.||Caldwell, J.|
|Bass, H.||Campbell, Sir A.|
|Bates, Sir E.||Campbell, R. P. F.|
|Baumann, A. A.||Chamberlain, rt. hn. J.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Chamberlain, E.|
|Beadel, W. J.||Chaplin, right hon. H.|
|Beaumont, H. F.||Charrington, S.|
|Beckett, E. W.||Churchill, rt. hn. Lord R. H. S.|
|Bective, Earl of||Clarke, Sir E. G.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. C.||Cochrane-Baillie, hon.|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.||C. W. A. N.|
|Bentinck, W. G. C.||Coddington, W.|
|Beresford, Lord C. W. de la Poer||Coghill, D. H.|
|Bethell, Commander G. R.||Colomb, Capt. J. C. E.|
|Commerell, Adml. Sir J. E.|
|Biddulph, M.||Cooke, C. W. E.|
|Bigwood, J.||Corbett, A. C.|
|Birkbeck, Sir E.||Corbett, J.|
|Corry, Sir J. P.||Gibson, J. G.|
|Cotton, Capt. E. T. D.||Giles, A.|
|Courtney, L. H.||Gilliat, J. S.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Godson, A. F.|
|Cross, H. S.||Goldsmid, Sir J.|
|Crossley, Sir S. B.||Goldsworthy, Major-|
|Crossman, Gen. Sir W.||General W. T.|
|Cubitt, right hon. G.||Gorst, Sir J. E.|
|Currie, Sir D.||Goschen, rt. hn. G. J.|
|Carzon, Viscount||Gray, C. W.|
|Curzon, hon. G. N.||Green, Sir E.|
|Dalrymple, C.||Greenall, Sir G.|
|Davenport, H. T.||Greene, E.|
|Davenport, W. B.||Grimston, Viscount|
|Dawnay, Colonel hon. L. P.||Grove, Sir T. F.|
|Gurdon, R. T.|
|De Cobain, E. S. W.||Hall, A. W.|
|De Lisle, E. J. L. M. P.||Hall, C.|
|Halsey, T. F.|
|De Worms, Baron R.||Hambro, Col. C. J. T.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.|
|Dimsdale, Baron R.|
|Dixon, G.||Hamilton, Lord E.|
|Dixon-Hartland, F. D.||Hamilton, Col. C. E.|
|Dorington, Sir J. E.||Hamley, General Sir E. B.|
|Dugdale, J. S.|
|Duncan, Colonel F.||Hankey, F. A.|
|Duncombe, A.||Hardcastle, E.|
|Dyke, right hon. Sir W. H.||Hardcastle, F.|
|Hartington, Marq. of|
|Eaton, H. W.||Hastings, G. W.|
|Ebrington, Viscount||Havelock - Allan, Sir H. M.|
|Edwards-Moss, T. C.|
|Egerton, hon. A. de T.||Heath, A R.|
|Elcho, Lord||Heathcote, Capt. J. H. Edwards-|
|Elliot, hon. A. R. D.|
|Elliot, hon. H. F. H.||Heaton, J. H.|
|Elliot, Sir G.||Heneage, right hon. E.|
|Elliot, G. W.||Hermon-Hodge, R. T.|
|Ellis, Sir J. W.||Hervey, Lord F.|
|Elton, C. I.||Hill, right hon. Lord A. W.|
|Evelyn, W. J.|
|Ewart, W.||Hill, Colonel E. S.|
|Ewing, Sir A. O.||Hill, A. S.|
|Eyre, Colonel H.||Hingley, B.|
|Feilden, Lt.-Gen. R. J.||Hoare, S.|
|Followes, W. H.||Hobhouse, H.|
|Fergusson, right hon. Sir J.||Holland, right hon. Sir H. T.|
|Field, Admiral E.||Holloway, G.|
|Fielden, T.||Holmes, rt. hon. H.|
|Finch, G. H.||Hornby, W. H.|
|Finch-Hatton, hon. M. E. G.||Houldsworth, W. H.|
|Finlay, R. B.||Howard, J. M.|
|Fisher, W. H.||Howorth, H. H.|
|Fitzgerald, R. U. P.||Hozier, J. H. C.|
|Fitz-Wygram, Gen. Sir F. W.||Hubbard, rt. hn. J. G.|
|Fletcher, Sir H.||Hughes, Colonel E.|
|Folkestone, right hon. Viscount||Hughes - Hallett, Col. F. C.|
|Forwood, A. B.||Hulse, E. H.|
|Fowler, Sir R. N.||Hunt, F. S.|
|Fraser, General C. C.||Hunter, Sir W. G.|
|Fry, L.||Isaacs, L. H.|
|Fulton, J. F.||Isaacson, F. W.|
|Gardner, R. Richardson-||Jackson, W. L.|
|James, rt. hon. Sir H.|
|Gathorne-Hardy, hon. A. E.||Jardine, Sir R.|
|Jarvis, A. W.|
|Gedge, S.||Jennings, L. J.|
|Gent-Davis. R.||Johnston, W.|
|Kelly, J. R.||Northcote, hon. H. S.|
|Kennaway, Sir J. H.||Norton, R.|
|Kenrick, W.||O'Neill, hon. R. T.|
|Kenyon, hon. G. T.||Paget, Sir R. H.|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.||Parker, hon. F.|
|Ker, R, W. B.||Pelly, Sir L.|
|Kerans, F. H.||Penton, Captain F. T.|
|Kimber, H.||Pitt-Lewis, G.|
|King, H. S.||Plunket, right hon. D. R.|
|King-Harman, Colonel E. R.|
|Plunkett, hon. J. W.|
|Knatchbull-Hugessen, H. T.||Pomfret, W. P.|
|Powell, F. S.|
|Knowles, L.||Price, Captain G. E.|
|Kynoch, G.||Puleston, J. H.|
|Lafone, A.||Quilter, W. C.|
|Laurie, Colonel R. P.||Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.|
|Lawrance, J. C.||Rankin, J.|
|Lawrence, Sir J. J. T.||Rasch, Major F. C.|
|Lawrence, W. F.||Reed, H. B.|
|Lea, T.||Richardson, T.|
|Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.||Ridley, Sir M. W.|
|Ritchie, rt. hn. C. T.|
|Lees, E.||Robertson, J. P. B.|
|Legh, T. W.||Robertson, W. T.|
|Leighton, S.||Robinson, B.|
|Lethbridge, Sir R.||Rollit, Sir A. K.|
|Lewis, Sir O. C. E.||Ross, A. H.|
|Lewisham, right hon. Viscount||Rothschild, Baron F. J. de|
|Llewellyn, E. H.||Round, J.|
|Long, W. H.||Royden, T. B.|
|Low, M.||Russell, Sir G.|
|Lowther, J. W.||Russell, T. W.|
|Lowther, hon. W.||St. Aubyn, Sir J.|
|Lubbock, Sir J.||Salt, T.|
|Lymington, Viscount||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. M.|
|Macartney, W. G. E.|
|Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A.||Saunderson, Col. E. J.|
|Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G.|
|Maclean, F. W.|
|Maclean, J. M.||Sellar, A. C.|
|Maclure, J. W.||Selwin - Ibbetson, rt. hon. Sir H. J.|
|M'Calmont, Captain J.|
|M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.||Selwyn, Captain C. W.|
|Makins, Colonel W. T.||Seton-Karr, H.|
|Malcolm, Col. J. W.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H|
|Mallock, R.||Sidebotham, J. W.|
|Manners, rt. hon. Lord J. J. R.||Sidebottom, T. H.|
|March, Earl of||Sinclair, W. P.|
|Marriott, rt. hn. W. T.||Smith, rt. hn. W. H|
|Maskelyne, M. H. N. Story-||Smith, A.|
|Spencer, J. E.|
|Matthews, rt. hn. H.||Stanhope, rt. hon. E.|
|Maxwell, Sir H. E.||Stanley, E. J.|
|Mayne, Admiral R. C.||Stewart, M.|
|Mildmay, F. B.||Sutherland, T.|
|Milvain, T.||Swetenham, E.|
|More, R. J.||Sykes, C.|
|Morrison, W.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Mount, W. G.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R.||Tapling, T. K.|
|Mowbray, R. G. C.||Temple, Sir R.|
|Mulholland, H. L.||Theobald, J.|
|Muncaster, Lord||Thorburn, W.|
|Muntz, P. A.||Tollemache, H. J.|
|Murdoch, C. T.||Tomlinson, W. E. M|
|Newark, Viscount||Tottenham, A. L.|
|Noble, W.||Townsend, F.|
|Norris, E. S.||Trotter, H. J.|
|Tyler, Sir H. W.||Wiggin, H.|
|Verdin, E.||Williams, J. Powell-|
|Vernon, hon. G. R.||Wilson, Sir S.|
|Vincent, C. E. H.||Winn, hon. R.|
|Walsh, hon. A. H. J.||Wodehouse, E. E.|
|Waring, Colonel T.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Watkin, Sir E. W.||Wood, N.|
|Watson, J.||Wortley, O. B. Stuart-|
|Webster, Sir R. E.||Wright, H. S.|
|Webster, R. G.||Wroughton, P.|
|West, Colonel W. C.||Yerburgh, R. A.|
|Weymouth, Viscount||Young, C. E. B.|
|Wharton, J. L.|
|White, J. B.||TELLERS.|
|Whitley, E.||Douglas, A. Akers-|
|Whitmore, C. A.||Walrond, Col. W. H.|
|Abraham, W. (Glam.)||Craven, J.|
|Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.)||Crawford, D.|
|Acland, A. H. D.||Cremer, W. R.|
|Acland, C. T. D.||Crossley, E.|
|Allison, R. A.||Deasy, J.|
|Anderson, C. H.||Dillon, J.|
|Asher, A.||Dillwyn, L. L.|
|Asquith, H. H.||Dodds, J.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Duff, R. W.|
|Austin, J.||Ellis, J.|
|Balfour, Sir G.||Ellis, J. E.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. J. B.||Ellis, T. E.|
|Barbour, W. B.||Esslemont, P.|
|Barran, J.||Evershed, S.|
|Beaumont, W. B.||Farquharson, Dr. R.|
|Biggar, J. G.||Penwick, C.|
|Blake, J. A.||Ferguson, R. C. Munro-|
|Blake, T.||Finucane, J.|
|Blane, A.||Flower, C.|
|Bolton, J. O.||Flynn, J. C.|
|Bolton, T. D.||Foley, P. J.|
|Bradlaugh, C.||Foljambe, C. G. S.|
|Bright, Jacob||Forster, Sir C.|
|Bright, W. L.||Forster, Sir W. B.|
|Broadhurst, H.||Fowler, rt. hon. H. H.|
|Brown, A. L.||Fox, Dr. J. F.|
|Bruce, hon. R. P.||Fry, T.|
|Bryce, J.||Fuller, G. P.|
|Buxton, S. C.||Gane, J. L.|
|Byrne, G. M.||Gardner, H.|
|Cameron, C.||Gaskell, C. G. Milnes-|
|Campbell, Sir G.||Gilhooly, J.|
|Campbell, H.||Gill, H. J.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, right hon. H.||Gill, T. P.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.|
|Carew, J. L.||Gladstone, H. J.|
|Chance, P. A.||Gourley, E. T.|
|Channing, F. A.||Graham, R. C.|
|Childers, right hon. H. C. E.||Gray, E. D.|
|Grey, Sir E.|
|Clancy, J. J.||Gully, W. C.|
|Clark, Dr. G. B.||Haldane, R. B.|
|Cobb, H. P.||Harcourt, rt. hn. Sir W. G. V. V.|
|Coleridge, hon. B.||Harrington, E.|
|Colman, J. J.||Harrington, T. C.|
|Commins, A.||Hayden, L. P.|
|Conway, M.||Hayne, C. Seale-|
|Conybeare, C. A. V.||Healy, M.|
|Corbet, W. J.||Healy, T. M.|
|Cossham, H.||Holden, I.|
|Cox, J. R.||Hooper, J.|
|Cozens-Hardy, H. H.||Howell, G.|
|Craig, J.||Hoyle, I.|
|Hunter, W. A.||Pease, A. E.|
|Illingworth, A.||Pease, H. F.|
|Jacoby, J. A.||Pickard, B.|
|James, hon. W. H.||Pickersgill, E. H.|
|James, C. H.||Picton, J. A.|
|Joicey, J.||Pinkerton, J.|
|Jordan, J.||Playfair, rt. hon. Sir L.|
|Kay-Shuttleworth, rt. hon. Sir U. J.|
|Plowden, Sir W. C.|
|Kennedy, E. J.||Portman, hon. E. B.|
|Kenny, C. S.||Potter, T. B.|
|Kenny, J. E.||Power, P. J.|
|Kenny, M. J.||Power, R.|
|Kilcoursie, right hon. Viscount||Price, T. P.|
|Labouchere, H.||Provand, A. D.|
|Lacaita, C. C.||Pugh, D.|
|Lalor, R.||Pyne, J. D.|
|Lane, W. J.||Quinn, T.|
|Lawson, H. L. W.||Rathbone, W.|
|Leahy, J.||Redmond, J. E.|
|Leake, R.||Redmond, W. H. K.|
|Lefevre, right hon. G. J. S.||Reed, Sir E. J.|
|Reid, E. T.|
|Lewis, T. P.||Rendel, S.|
|Lockwood, F.||Richard, H.|
|Lyell, L.||Roberts, J.|
|Macdonald, W. A.||Robertson, E.|
|MacInnes, M.||Robinson, T.|
|Mac Neill, J. G. S.||Roe, T.|
|M'Arthur, A.||Roscoe, Sir H. E.|
|M'Cartan, M.||Rowlands, J.|
|M'Carthy, J.||Rowlands, W. B.|
|M'Carthy, J. H.||Rowntree, J.|
|M'Donald, P.||Russell, Sir C.|
|M'Donald, Dr. R.||Russell, E. R.|
|M'Ewan, W.||Samuelson, Sir B.|
|M'Kenna, Sir J. N.||Schwann, C. E.|
|M'Lagan, P.||Sexton, T.|
|M'Laren, W. S. B.||Shaw, T.|
|Mahony, P.||Sheehan, J. D.|
|Maitland, W. F.||Sheil, E.|
|Mappin, Sir F. T.||Shirley, W. S.|
|Marum, E. M.||Smith, S.|
|Mason, S.||Spencer, hon. C. E.|
|Mayne, T.||Stack, J.|
|Menzies, R. S.||Stanhope, hon. P. J.|
|Molloy, B. C.||Stansfeld, right hon. J.|
|Morgan, rt. hon. G. O.||Stepney-Cowell, Sir A. K.|
|Morgan, O. V.|
|Morley, rt. hon. J.||Stevenson, F. S.|
|Mundella, right hon. A. J.||Stevenson, J. C.|
|Murphy, W. M.||Stuart, J.|
|Neville, R.||Sullivan, D.|
|Newnes, G.||Summers, W.|
|Nolan, Colonel J. P.||Sutherland, A.|
|Nolan, J.||Swinburne, Sir J.|
|O'Brien, J. F. X.||Tanner, C. K.|
|O'Brien, P.||Thomas, A.|
|O'Brien, P. J.||Tuite, J.|
|O'Connor, A.||Vivian, Sir H. H.|
|O'Connor, J. (Kerry)||Waddy, S. D.|
|O'Connor, J. (Tippry.)||Wallace, R.|
|O'Connor, T. P.||Wardle, H.|
|O'Hanlon, T.||Warmington, C. M.|
|O'Hea, P.||Watt, H.|
|O'Kelly, J.||Wayman, T.|
|Palmer, Sir C. M.||Whitbread, S.|
|Parnell, C. S.||Will, J. S.|
|Paulton, J. M.||Williams, A. J.|
|Pease, Sir J. W.||Williamson, J.|
|Williamson, S.||Wright, C.|
|Wilson, H. J.||Yeo, F. A.|
|Winterbotham, A. B.||TELLERS.|
|Woodall, W.||Marjoribanks, rt. hon. E.|
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question put.
§ Ordered, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make better provision for the prevention and punishment of Crime in Ireland; and for other purposes relating thereto, and that Mr. Arthur Balfour, Mr. Secretary Matthews, Mr. Attorney General, and Mr. Attorney General for Ireland do prepare and bring it in.
§ Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 217.]