§ MOTION FOR AN ADDRESS.
§ [ADJOURNED DEBATE.]
Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [25th August],
That an humble Address he presented to Her Majesty, humbly to represent to Her Majesty that there has been laid before this House a Special Proclamation of the Viceroy of Ireland, declaring the Association known as the Irish National League to be a dangerous Association, under ' The Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1887.'
That no information has been furnished to Parliament to justify the issue of the said Special Proclamation, by virtue of which Her Majesty's subjects are liable to be punished as criminals without judicial inquiry into the nature of their acts.
And, that this House, in the absence of such information, prays that the said Proclamation shall not continue in force as to the Association named and described therein."— (Mr. Gladstone.)
§ Question again proposed.
§ Debate resumed.
§ SIR GEORGE TREVELYAN (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Sir, I consider myself very fortunate in having returned to the House at a time when I can utilize the experience I gained in the most important position I over held and probably ever shall hold. While I was Secretary to Lord Spencer the principles upon which law and order can be restored and maintained in Ireland were burnt deeply into my mind by observing the consequences of errors which had been committed in the past, by our own mistakes, and by the success of the policy which, even while those mistakes were being committed, we were steadily trying to pursue. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour)—and I hope that in speaking of him I shall never forget the tone in which a former Chief Secretary ought to speak of a present one, or to make allowances for those difficulties which I know so well to exist from my own experience—the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary began the more serious part of his speech by reading what he said was an extract 34 from a speech of mine. Well, I did not remember it. I could not remember it especially, among a hundred just like it. But the right hon. Gentleman had not read three lines before I clearly recognized the style and line of thought. He read these words—Every quiet citizen and every member of that minority, which would not be a minority if both Parties would join in a determination that law and order should be no longer trifled with in Ireland, any more than it is trifled with in Yorkshire or in Somersetshire.Law and order were trifled with less and less every month that Lord Spencer was in Ireland until they almost ceased to be trifled with at all; and that was because, according to his lights, he applied to Ireland the policy which in like circumstances he would have applied to Somersetshire or Yorkshire—a policy which, as I shall presently prove incontrovertibly, is diametrically opposite to that embodied and foreshadowed in the Proclamation of the Government. I am not now speaking of the present Crimes Bill. Now the difference of policy began very early, in the different manner in which we used to present our measures to Parliament. No one can forget who took a part in the discussions on the Crimea Bill of 1882 the very serious method in which we presented it to the House, and the very serious grounds upon which we presented it. We did not ask the House to accept that measure on hearsay; we argued the case from published and public documents; we argued the question of special juries, a most important part of the measure, from the Blue Boob of a Committee of the House of Lords which, I suppose, had been six months before the House. We based our statements of the necessity of a Grimes Bill on Parliamentary Returns of outrages, and very grave Returns they were. Those were not the days when you had white gloves at Assizes and Judges congratulating your juries on their having no work to do. The Papers were placed before Parliament which showed 7,788 outrages in the previous year and 26 agrarian and political murders in the first half of the year with which we were dealing, and when we came to the nature of those outrages it was not a question of reading them from notes of speeches to the House which it heard for the first time. Here is the Return for 35 1881, containing particulars of, I suppose, 500 cases of homicide, firing at the person, and firing into dwellings. You can almost road them across the floor of the House, they are so largely printed; and that Return was in the hands of hon. Members for months before we introduced the Crimes Bill. Now, if any hon. Member had doubted the information contained in this Return he had plenty of time to write over to Ireland, or even to go over to get up a counter-case. But what was the case last night? The right hon. Gentleman read a series of statements drawn, he said, from three sources—" Advertisements in the newspapers, confidential documents, and notes which he had made in certain cases "—and lean assure him, although I never heard a clearer or better spoken speech, that it required close and minute attention to discover from which source those different statements were taken. Now, recollect what we are engaged upon to-night. If we sanction this Proclamation every Irishman who belongs to the National League, and who will not leave it at the command of the Government, will be liable, at the discretion of the Government, to be severely punished as a common criminal. That liability after to-night, if the Proclamation, is sanctioned, will not depend upon any judicial proceeding whatever that is worth the name. Perhaps hon. Members think in saying this that I am casting a slur upon the Resident Magistrates as implying that they are in some sense the tools of the Government. That was the impression of the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill), who charged me in a sort of easy and sketchy manner in The Times with having spoken very highly of the Resident Magistrates when I was Chief Secretary, and I ought, he said, to trust them now. To this I replied—I have spoken and I speak highly of the Resident Magistrates as a class, and I am extremely grateful to them for the hearty and loyal manner in Which they seconded and served Lord Spencer. Thinking highly of them, I trust them; and I am quite certain that when Lord Londonderry has proclaimed the National League, and when any Irish Parliamentary Representative, or editor, or priest, or farmer is brought before the Bench on the charge of belonging to that League, and when that charge is proved, the Resident Magistrate will commit him to gaol with hard labour, as 36 by his judicial obligation he will be absolutely bound to do.That letter appeared in The Times, and a few days afterwards I received a letter from one of the ablest and best of the class of Resident Magistrates, in which he thanked me for exactly stating their case, and the terrible, unavoidable, invidious task which was thrown upon them, exactly as, he said, he wished to have it stated. Once let the League be proclaimed, and the thing is over, and every Irishman who is sent before a Resident Magistrate will go to prison, as certainly as if he were sent to the Bastille by a lettre de cachet. He will have no trial after this. This is the only trial he will get—here, and now, on the floor of this House; and the statements of the right hon. Gentleman and the statements of the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) are the only evidence which will ever be brought against him. Their statements are of a nature which peculiarly require to be examined by a judicial process. The stories are long; they spread over a great many months and years; and the links which bind the different parts of the story together are, perhaps, the most important things of all about them. The right hon. Gentleman laid great stress on his contention that Boycotting depends upon the probability of outrage. [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR dissented.] I beg pardon; they were not his own words; he quoted from the Cowper Commission to that effect. Now, to prove that contention, which, if the right hon. Gentleman does not lay stress on it, I still think is a most important possible contention, it requires the most minute examination of many cases; and I could not gather, and—reading his speech over—I cannot ascertain that he proved that there was a great and growing connection between the operations of the National League and outrage in Ireland. Now, in order to prove that with the fulness and certainty which would justify us in allowing the Government to make the fact of membership of the National League a crime all over Ireland, we should have tabulated accounts of the number of branches of the League and their activity, and the number of outrages in every county in Ireland. It is quite preposterous to send people to prison for belonging to the League in 37 Wexford, or in Meath, or in Roscommon —where there are practically no outrages at all—because you have given us one case in Kerry, one case in Clare, one case in West Galway, and one case in Longford—where, by-the-bye, the outrage lately consisted of one action— one threatening letter—in the course of three months in which crime has appeared to follow upon the denunciation of the League. But not only are these statements not complete or carefully tabulated, but they should have been before the House for weeks, and it appears that they might have been before the House for months. The right hon. Gentleman says—I have been of opinion ever since I went to the Irish Office that the League came under the definition of a dangerous association; but I thought it inexpedient to proclaim it until the Land Act was passed.Now, I want to go to business throughout my speech, and I shall not make any reference to those words; I did not quite gather their meaning, and it is not essential to my purpose. This is the 26th of August, and the right hon. Gentleman became Irish Secretary while the Session was quite young. Thinking, as he then thought, that the National League came under the head of a dangerous association, he should at once have set the authorities in Dublin and in the country districts to prepare the necessary statements in order that they might have been early and maturely laid before the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Instead of that, every one of those hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway heard for the first time from his mouth the statement on the judicial examination of which by this House so much that is so important to them all depends. They have for the first time, after post time on Thursday, heard this statement. The verdict of the House—for it is a verdict—is to be given this evening or to-morrow— Saturday morning. They have no time obviously to send over to Ireland. The House has before it the notes of the cases prepared by the right hon. Gentleman—that is to say, they have his story with the striking circumstances put forward which have conscientiously convinced him of the truth of the case, which he looks at from an exceedingly different point of view from hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. Hon. Gen 38 tlemen below the Gangway did their best under the circumstances. The hon. Member for West Kerry (Mr. Edward Harrington) extemporized an arrangement of counter-evidence at dinner time, when a considerable number of those who heard the evidence for the prosecution were necessarily absent. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) argued with great power and with a remarkable array of authentic facts on the connection and want of connection between the operations of the National League and crime in Ireland; and a great number of hon. Gentlemen listened carefully and with loud applause to the very pleasant and courteous speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Scotland (Mr. J. P. B. Robertson), in which he read out of a pamphlet—which, I guess, was provided by some Society like the Loyal Patriotic—such statements as that a branch of the National League had passed a resolution that those who were not with them were against them; and that another branch passed a resolution that the members should employ an auctioneer who belonged to the League. They heard the hon. and learned Solicitor General for Scotland say that notoriety was the main reason for attacking the League, but that, on the other hand, on the spur of the moment, and at an evening's notice, the members of the League ought to be prepared, after that notoriety, with a complete set of resolutions condemning Boycotting and outrage. And after they heard this speech, which was, as I say, a capital and attractive speech, hon. Gentlemen went away while the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor)—in the presence, indeed, of a capital audience on this side of the House, but in the absence of those who are to be his and his fellows' judges tonight—pleaded, and pleaded with a great deal of force, of eloquence, and I think, of reason, for the liberties of himself and those who sit with him. Now, I do not blame hon. Members, if they will allow me to say so without impertinence, for going away. I do not want to comment upon their conduct. You cannot expect people to sit as judges or in any other capacity after midnight in any great number. But I do protest against the Government not having laid upon the 39 Table one shred or one tittle of the evidence which might have been before us for months, and of which even the latest and the freshest portion might have been on the Table for fully a week, in which case we should have been enabled to refer to Ireland for comment and counter-information. With regard to this mass of stories and statements as it stands before us I will say three things which will have to be considered before, in consequence of these statements, the House sanctions the Proclamation. In the first place, the general result of the operations of the League, even as here described, has not been to increase crime, or to lead to a general non-payment of rent. The League is universal in Ireland, and almost everywhere in Ireland agrarian crime is infinitesimal in amount and of the whitest dye. Agrarian crime is collected in a very few counties, and where the Irish landlords have made the same reductions as landlords have in England and in Scotland, taking Ireland as a whole, they have got in their rents as easily as they have in this country. We see in the newspapers that individuals have been brought before National League Courts for paying their rent. Of course, I am not here to defend that—on the contrary, I willingly reprobate it in the strongest terms. But in the same newspapers we also constantly read of large masses of tenants—the whole tenantry on an estate—settling with the agent of any landlord who is willing to grant the remissions which every landlord has granted in this country. In the next place, it must be remembered that these stories—which the right hon. Gentleman has-told us he rests his case upon —are all of the same character. Either there are no outrages—there are, perhaps, few of these—and no intimidation—there are, perhaps, none of these—or else people who are guilty of the intimidation and have committed the outrages can be, and should be, proceeded against under other sections of the Act. Thus the right hon. Gentleman referred to the case of a man named Patrick Morrissy, whose house was fired into because, as alleged, he had paid his rent. But this outrage could be dealt with under the 4th clause of this Act. It was to punish outrages of this sort that the 4th section of this Act—the same clause as consti 40 tuted the backbone of an Act of 1882 —was placed upon the Paper. Again, on the 12th of June, five men carrying arms entered the house of Alexander I Morgan, put the tenant on his knees, and fired shots over his head. The motive was that he had not paid his subscription to the National League. Whatever the motive was, the people who did that could certainly have been punished under the 2nd clause, and I believe they would have been punished under the 4th clause. When, again, a farmer is set upon by four men, and beaten within an inch of his life, can anyone doubt that those who committed that act could be punished under the 4th clause before a special jury? Then there was the case of Patrick Kennedy, who took a farm from which the widow Dempsey was evicted. The secretary to the National League branch wrote Kennedy a letter, in which it was stated that if he did not give up the farm, and that if he did not send some satisfactory account, they would be under the disagreeable necessity of declaring him still a land-grabber. The former tenant —Mrs. Dempsey—put some sheep and goats to graze on the farm, and her son cut the meadow, and Kennedy was afraid to interfere; and he stated that he was waiting for the passing of the Crimes Act before asserting his rights. Such were the facts stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. But the Crimes Act is now passed, and why do not the Government proceed in this case under the ordinary sections of the Act? Let the right hon. Gentleman indict all these people under the Crimes Act. There is no doubt that under the Crimes Act he could get at that secretary of the National League in case he has committed intimidation. If the National League were proclaimed this would be the result—that probably a great number of gentlemen and farmers of different descriptions, who are not connected with crime, would be ashamed to leave the National League, but the scoundrels and rascals who commit outrages are just the sort of fellows who would leave the League; and then, instead of Kennedy getting a missive from the secretary of the National League, he would get an anonymous letter; and my experience is that under the Crimes Act or any other Act you never would get at the writer of that letter. Under the 41 ordinary sections of the Crimes Act you may get at the real criminals; but by proclaiming the League all you do is, in addition to, or in substitution for, the real criminals, you propose to punish a lot of people who have not committed criminal acts at all. The third thing to remember is that information of this class in quite as great, and even greater, abundance was before Lord Spencer when he proposed to deal with disorder in Ireland by punishing actual crime and not by proclaiming the Land League; and again it was also before Lord Salisbury, when he refused to take any powers at all of special criminal legislation for Ireland, and gave as one of his principal reasons for not asking for exceptional powers that Boycotting could not be put down by penal means. Now, I think it is a pity that the right hon. Gentleman did not remember this more clearly, and this it was that constituted the really weak part of his speech. He gave endless cases to show us that Boycotting exists in Ireland. He says— "What do you think of this? Did you ever hear of anything like that? Is there a man in the House who would defend it?" It is not a question of defending these cases; it is a question of dealing with them. And what we wanted was a sustained and close argument to prove that Lord Spencer was wrong when he refused to proclaim the National League, and said he would be content to punish actual crime—to prove that Lord Salisbury was wrong when he did not ask for any special powers to deal with it. We should have had, besides this—and we have not had it—a very clear statement indeed of the use to which the right hon. Gentleman and the Government intend to put the powers they ask for— the process by which they propose to arrive at the objects at which they are aiming, and the limitations which they propose to put upon the exercise of those powers, though, I must say, I care less for a statement on this latter point, however, for I feel sure that before long Her Majesty's Government will find that, in spite of themselves, they will be able to put no limitation on the exercise of these powers at all. The right hon. Gentleman's omissions in this respect have not been supplemented by any subsequent speaker. The hon. Member for South Tyrone elicited cheers by asking where was "the bullet of the assassin and the marauding of the midnight 42 marauder? "One can always get cheers in this House by asking this sort of question. But the hon. Member did not say one single word—I see the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer taking a note, and I want him to take a note of this—he did not say one single word to prove that these midnight assassins and marauders could not be punished thoroughly well under the Crimes Act; and he did not say one word to show that you mend matters by punishing people who are not midnight assassins, and who are not midnight marauders. So far from that, the hon. Member clearly appeared to confess that he did not think that the Proclamation of the League would do any good. He said—He wished that Parliament had not been called upon to give its sanction to this Proclamation. He wished the Government had seen their way to rely upon the summary jurisdiction and the other clauses of the Act to repress disorder. He wished they had given the Land Act, such as it was, a reasonable chance, instead of asking the House to take a seat on this switchback railway to be driven Heaven knows where.And then the hon. Gentleman goes on to say that he is going to vote for the Proclamation. I am new to this House of Commons, and this is the first time that I have personally witnessed what appears to readers of newspapers to be the crudity and excessive frankness with which certain hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House announce from time to time that they are going to vote for some great issue on what the hon. and learned Solicitor General for Scotland calls with great delicacy "collateral reasons." The performance of the hon. Member for South Tyrone surpassed my most sanguine expectations; and I earnestly hope it is the last which we shall have in the course of this debate. There has been a trumpery attempt to belittle the tremendous nature of this Proclamation by pointing out that it is general and not particular, and that it is only by another Proclamation of the Lord Lieutenant that any branch of the League will be made amenable to the law, and that if the branches of the League behave themselves they will be left alone. There are two things to say to this argument. In the first place, is it such a recommendation to the British Parliament that a nobleman—whether, like Lord Spencer, he is one who judges for himself, or like some Viceroys who have 43 been in Ireland is ready to sign everything that is laid before him—should have to write his signature a few hundred times before the liberties of the whole country are at the disposal of the Executive? But, in the second place, it is said that the fate of the branches of the League depends on their good behaviour. We must learn before we can estimate the meaning of this phrase what the standard of good behaviour is among those in whose hands their fate lies. I suppose there is no single influence behind the Government in regard to public opinion that is more important than The Times newspaper. The Times has most clearly put this part of the subject, and it lays down in a leading article the sort of cases in which a branch of the League will be proclaimed. I will take one out of the three. The Times gives this instance—In the West Wicklow Election last year a Catholic who had signed the nomination paper of a Government candidate was forced to insert in the Nationalist paper a grovelling apology.That is to say, if a branch of the League did what in my time has been done by political Clubs in Pall Mall—namely, exact an apology for nominating a candidate of different opinions from that of the majority of the Club—it is proposed that every member who attends a meeting of that branch, or collects subscriptions for if, or pays subscriptions to it, shall be liable to be imprisoned with hard labour. Seriously speaking, is there any hon. Gentleman here who, while prepared to vote for these extravagant penalties against people who have had to do with other people who are not convicted, but suspected, under this Act, is quite certain that others— the small tradesmen and agricultural labourers in the districts which he represents—would be quite willing, or would dare to sign, the nomination paper of the candidate for whom he might wish to vote? But I would rather go to the Ministry itself to see what the standard of good behaviour in their mind is. We know that the honest opinion of Members of the Government—an opinion held all the stronger the nearer they get to the Irish Office—is that the National League should be prevented from holding any political meeting whatever in any part of Ireland. They held this opinion lately so strongly that when Lord Spencer refused to put down these meetings by 44 law they gave every countenance to those Orangemen who endeavoured— but not successfully in our time—to put them down in another way—by threats and violence. I will, first, take a very important Minister whom I see opposite, the noble Lord the First Lord of the Admiralty (Lord George Hamilton). He went to the Dromore meeting, and I take his own account of the proceeding. I am quite certain he went with the bonâ fide desire to make his protest against a policy of which he did not approve. In discussing the question afterwards in the House of Commons, he used very different language from that which was used by other important people, and his words were the words of a responsible man, and therefore I give them greater weight. He said they had come in thousands because the Government of this country shirked its duty. "That duty was to prevent the National League from holding public meetings." Well, if the noble Lord's sense of duty was so strong—[Lord GEORGE HAMILTON: Go on with the reading.] I have not the passage here; but I can easily send for Hansard. I think the noble Lord said it would lead to a breach of the peace if counter-meetings were held. The noble Lord was of opinion that the Government ought to have suppressed the meetings of the National League. If that was the noble Lord's sense of duty, then—duty is a very strong word—well, I suppose it is still; and now the Government with which he acts have the power. Now, what is the case with the Irish Government itself? There are some Irish newspapers which are perpetually criticizing the opinions of the Privy Council in Ireland. I will not examine the opinions of the Privy Council in Ireland, though it was they who recommended the step we are now discussing. I would rather go to the Members of the Irish Government; but I frankly own I can find no clue to the Viceroy's opinions, and that makes me give more weight to those of his Advisers, and, above all, to the opinions of Lord Ashbourne, who is almost continuously on the spot, who is the head of the law, and who is more of a politician than the head of the law in Ireland, I suppose, ever has been in our time. In a debate in this House on February 8, 1884, Lord Ashbourne spoke out most clearly. He argued at 45 great length, not only in favour of suppressing meetings by law, but in defence and palliation of those who had endeavoured to suppress them at the risk of violence. The late Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes) had used language which, I think, should have disqualified him from sitting on the Bench of Justice and impartiality in such a country as Ireland—language which Lord Ashbourne did his best to defend. I do not blame him at the time for defending the language; but I want to read the arguments with which he defended it. The point was this. I had charged Mr. Holmes with having used this violent language, and I said how could he blame Lord Spencer for not suppressing meetings of the National League when at the time the Land League was first coming into strength he was Solicitor General of a Government which had not done anything to suppress their meetings? Lord Ashbourne defended him on two grounds—first, that the Land League was only at its commencement, at its inception and beginning, and that the House must recollect that we must allow such associations to run a certain length before applying drastic powers. In the second place, he said that the machinery required was not at the disposal of the Government with which Mr. Holmes was connected, Well, the National League is not at its beginning now; it is now matured; it has come to the time when drastic powers ought to be applied to it; and the machinery which Lord Ashbourne required is now at his disposal, and I have no doubt of the use which, if not to-day, then to-morrow, he will ultimately come to make of it. Then there is the right hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Thanet (Colonel King-Harman). It is quite idle to talk of the right hon. and gallant Member as being unimportant, and still more idle to talk of his appointment as Under Secretary for Ireland, made in the very threes of the Crimes Bill, as unimportant. He is no novice. He is an Irishman who knows Ireland, and that was the reason he was appointed. Knowing Ireland he used those terms, on which I will not comment because they were very proper terms for the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in which to put forward his opinion, as an Irishman, of what was best for his country. He said when he 46 took an oath on becoming a magistrate he took it to serve Her Majesty and to do his duty, and wherever he was placed he thought that his duty as a magistrate and lieutenant of a county was, instead of allowing Land League meetings to be held, to put them down by every means in his power as illegal and seditious. His duty wherever he was placed ! Well, now the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was placed high, and he would do his duty. These were the opinions not of one or another, but of a very important section of the Irish Government. They have got a giant strength—will they use it as a giant? I think they will—I mean in the sense in which Shakespeare used the word. Even if they do not intend now to use their powers for the purpose of suppressing public opinion in Ireland they will inevitably be driven with rapid strides towards arbitrary government with all its sinister accompaniments. A Government which takes power to treat its political opponents as criminals will be obliged—if history teaches us anything —sooner or later, and probably sooner, to use that power. It was not so with the Crimes Act of 1882. That Act was very unpopular in Ireland, and I think that means were taken to make it still more unpopular of which I strongly disapprove. But, though the Act was very unpopular, most people were not so much shocked at the process by which Moonlighters and murderers were brought to justice as they had not themselves become Moonlighters and murderers. But it is a very different thing when you put down your opponents for political reasons. It is a challenge. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Yes; it is a challenge. I can assure hon. Gentlemen that if they took power, whether they use it or not, to punish members of the Liberal Federation as criminals, I should consider it a challenge, and that would be equally the case if we took such measures against a Conservative Association. [An hon. MEMBER: It is impossible.] Yes, of course; that is quite impossible. That is why you view with such equanimity the using of such powers against the Irish Members. Now, I can prove that that is the case, not by the precedents of a Conservative Government, but by the precedents of a Liberal Government. Why, almost the only argument, as opposed to the instances which the 47 right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary cited, was the argument that the right hon. Member for Midlothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) was responsible for the Protection of Person and Property Act of 1881, which, he said, was more arbitrary than the Act of this year. Well, it is difficult to conceive an Act very much more arbitrary than this, whether it is a suspension of the Habeas Corpus or not; but anything which this Act lacks in arbitrariness is made up in severity, because under the Protection of Property Act it was a case of semi-honourable and somewhat comfortable detention, in which—if I am rightly informed—a man lost nothing but liberty, and a most terrible and irremediable loss that is; whereas in this Act the punishment is severe, penal, cruel, and, as far as its authors can make it, shameful and degrading in the highest sense. But I will allow as freely as you like that the Government to which many of us on this Bench belonged passed an Act even more arbitrary than this. Now, I want to tell you what lesson I think should be drawn from that precedent. In the first place, we learn from it, by the experience of a Liberal Government—you are not happy enough yet to have learned it from your own—how arbitrary powers act. The Bill of 1881 was introduced, not by the men who think it their duty to put down the expression of free opinion in Ireland, but by a right hon. Gentleman who stated solemnly in the House that he wanted it for the purpose of checking village ruffians; but, unfortunately, in taking powers to check village ruffians, he took powers which enabled him to punish speakers at political organizations, political organizers, and editors, and he very soon had on his hands hundreds and hundreds of such gentlemen, until it came to this—that very nearly all the oratorical and literary talent of the Nationalist Party was locked up in different gaols in Ireland. No man less wished that sort of thing to begin with than did Mr. Forster; but he was driven to it by the inevitable result of having taken power to lock up his political opponents. In the next place, while the action of this measure as time went on became extremely harsh against political opponents, as a measure against crime it was deplorably ineffective. It did not stop crime. Nay, crime increased under it. There were 48 5,600 crimes in 1880; next year there were 7,788, and the crimes not only became more frequent but assumed a blacker hue, and that for a very natural reason. The common people, seeing criminals and politicians swept off under one common punishment, began to lose that horror and that clear and discriminating knowledge of the nature of crime which is the strongest preservative from it. This is not a new story in my mouth. When I was Irish Secretary I never mentioned the Protection of Person and Property Act except to state that the Irish Government acknowledged it to be a mistake. Are we to learn nothing by experience? Are we not only to repeat, but to exaggerate, the errors of the past? Because six years ago we entrusted to Mr. Forster powers to inflict the comparatively mild punishment for which he asked in order that he might use that power against actual criminals, are wenow to entrust the power to inflict a most cruel punishment to a Government which contains some of the most important Members who conscientiously believed—not more than four years ago—that such power ought to be used for the purpose of stopping public meetings in Ireland? In May, 1882, Lord Spencer came into Office, and with him there came in a different policy. That policy I stated in Belfast—I am glad it was in Belfast—almost as soon as I set foot in Ireland. I said—The fixed policy of the present Irish Government is to draw a deep line between what is criminal and what is political. With political writings and resolutions and with public meetings we do not care to concern ourselves; but against crime and outrage we have proclaimed and will continue to wage an undying and unrelenting war.That, I am sure, is the intention of hon. Members opposite. It was with that object that we framed our clause relating to dangerous associations. The clause was framed specially for the purpose of including societies like the Invincibles, and excluding societies like the Land League and the National League. Now that policy was maintained—as far as frail human beings with such an enormous burden upon them can maintain any policy—without making serious mistakes. In some few cases out of the thousand decisions that had to be taken we did prosecute for what was said at public meetings and written in newspapers, and I think that 49 some of those prosecutions were among the most questionable of our acts. But I wish the House most specially to note this, for it is the most important point. It was in the earlier days of Lord Spencer's Administration that the majority of these prosecutions occurred, and as time went on such prosecutions became infrequent, and, I think, then ceased altogether. Now, that was an exactly opposite experience from the case of the Bill of 1881, which resembled this Proclamation in its most serious particulars. The general scope of our policy was to deal with actual crime, and to leave political organizations alone. But it was not to the mind of some people in the House of Commons and a great many in the Press. Over and over again we were urged and pressed to put down the National League, and were told that if we could not do that with the powers we had we should take powers; and, whether we were right or wrong, we persistently and publicly refused to do so. In February, 1883, I said in the House of Commons—" Some people say that we ought to proclaim the National League; but that is not our opinion." Again, a year later, I said—The Government were remonstrated with, because they did not prohibit all the meetings of the National League in Ireland. These remonstrances were made in good faith; but the Government could not listen to them favour ably. They went to Ireland on two conditions. In the first place, they were commissioned to keep down crime and outrage to the best of their ability…‥but they also went to Ireland to administer the country as one which was to be governed by and under Parliamentary institutions."—(3 Hansard,  379.)Well, that was our wish; it was our policy at which we tried to aim. And it was for such speeches as these, made continually and constantly and consistently, that the Conservative Press used to speak of me—The Times especially—as the Minister in whose time the National League was started, and grew and waxed strong. They used to say that I should go down to posterity with that on my shoulders, and there was only a short period during which they suspended their attacks, and that was during the few months of 1885 when the National League, in the character— which is now its main character—of a political and electioneering body, was doing its best to return Conservative candidates to Parliament. But, whatever 50 may be said of the theory of the policy of punishing crime and leaving the National League alone, about the results of it there can be no doubt whatever. We found Ireland with 500 or 600 agrarian outrages a month; we left it in such a condition that when hon. Members opposite succeeded us they declared that they did not require the Crimes Bill at all. It was a successful policy; it was a rational policy; and it was a policy against which in this country, at public meetings and in Council, not one single word was said by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, who then were in the Government, or who are now supporting the present Government. There are right hon. and hon. Gentlemen in this House who, if they think they are doing right at a time when, in the words of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain)—"Ireland is conspicuously free from serious crime"—who, if they think it right to take measures against the National League, will have to show why they did not remonstrate with me when, over and over again—at a time when Ireland reeked with serious crime—I stated that we would have nothing to do with interfering with the National League as a political body—as a body. But it would be a poor thing indeed to treat this matter exclusively as one with reference to which we have been consistent. [A laugh from Mr. GOSCHEN.] The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer may laugh; but there is no doubt that I have proved up to the hilt that I was always and publicly opposed to a policy of interference with the National League. But, whatever objections I had in old days to interfere with the course which the Government had adopted, these objections have now reached the point of passionate earnestness in consequence of recent events. In the earlier days of the League, when we were nearer in point of time to the terrible revolution which shook Irish society in 1880, 1881, and 1882, I thought, and I said, that Irish politicians were aiming at their objects by un-Constitutional methods very frequently, and that their attitude towards the Government, when the Government was trying to suppress crime, from time to time, was deeply to be regretted and deplored. But then a great —and, I believe, permanent—change came over their words and their actions 51 —I am speaking of them as politicians— and, I believe, their convictions also. It is quite clear that the Conservative Government must have seen that change coming in 1885, or they would have renewed the Crimes Act. But the change has been hastened of late, in consequence of the fact that Ireland has now come within the circle of our national politics; that Irishmen look to political means for reforms and the redress of grievances, and that their object is no longer—as it was sometimes in the past—to defy, but to persuade and conciliate the great mass of their countrymen on this side of the Channel. If that be the case— and I am satisfied that it is—I will do nothing, and I will be a party to nothing, which can once again sow doubt and hatred and suspicion between the peoples of the two Islands. To have accepted the invitation that was pressed upon me to suppress the National League, when I was Chief Secretary for Ireland, would have been a blunder; to help you in proclaiming it now would be, in me—I do not say in anyone else—little short of a crime, and I earnestly trust that this debate will open people's eyes to what we are doing to-day. For this, the most momentous decision that Parliament has been asked to take in my time, is being taken with the least possible preparation of the public mind. The debates upon the Crimes Bill—upon which I will not now dwell—have done little to prepare the public mind upon the subject. [Cries of "No, no ! "] I think the most important debate—that upon urgency—was held upon the question whether the Crimes Bill was wanted at all; and in Committee—for reasons which it would be most impertinent in me, not being in the House at the time, to try to define —the practical provisions relating to illegal associations, by far the most serious part of the Bill, were passed en bloc, with very little criticism, or without criticism at all; and upon the third reading, indeed, the House began to be aware of the tremendous issue to which it was committed; but by that time everybody had made up his mind to be an opponent of the Bill, or a partizan of the Bill, as a whole; and I hope we shall now decide, with open minds, and without any reference to any vote which we gave either upon the second or third reading of the Crimes Act, whether we will allow Ministers to employ a weapon 52 which, had the forging of the latter part been conducted as minutely and as carefully as was the case with the earlier sections of this Act, I am satisfied would never have been placed by Parliament in its present shape in their hands.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER) (Isle of Wight)
I may say honestly that, although I feel compelled in the discharge of my duty to intervene in this debate, I wish, for many reasons, that such was not my duty. We have just listened to about the most extraordinary speech that has been addressed to the House of Commons for the last two Sessions. It is quite impossible to believe that the right hon. Baronet who delivered that speech was the same right hon. Gentleman who was the Chief Secretary for Ireland at the time to which he referred; that he was a party to proposing the Crimes Act of 1882, and was the speaker of certain speeches delivered not 18 months ago, to which I must call the attention of the House. In the fulfilment of my duty as a public man, I must criticize the conduct of the right hon. Baronet somewhat severely; yet I hope he will believe me when I say that it is with regret that I do so, valuing, as I do, the acquaintance of one whom I am not entitled to call my friend. I shall notice the main line of argument which the right hon. Baronet has addressed to the House, by which he indicated the supposed—for it is only supposed— difference of treatment of the National League by the Government of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) and by the present Government. It must be by careful selection, and not by want of recollection, that the right hon. Baronet has been able to build up the argument which he has addressed to the House; and I should submit to the House that it is only by selection, only by picking out certain incidents in the career of the right hon. Baronet, that his argument can for one single moment be presented to the House. I must, at the outset, be allowed to notice a fallacy which, in my opinion, lies at the root of the right hon. Baronet's speech, and also of that of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian. I venture to think that this fallacy has made the speech of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian last night and that of the right hon. Baronet of to-night 53 possible. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian told the House, with perfect gravity and with great emphasis, that this Proclamation depended upon the concurrence of Parliament, and that it was a concurrent act of the Legislature and of the Executive Government. I hope I may not be considered impertinent; but I should have thought, before such an argument was used, it might have been asked of anyone in a less high position than the right hon. Gentleman—" Did you read the clauses of the Crimes Act before you made that objection?" I assert that the responsibility for this Proclamation rests upon the Executive Government alone; it is the Executive Government which have to make up their mind on the facts before them, and it rests upon their own conscience and responsibility whether such a Proclamation shall or shall not issue. The action of Parliament comes in, not for the purpose of concurring with such action, but of endeavouring to revoke it. [" Oh, oh !"] I am strictly accurate in what I say. The Proclamation remains an effective Proclamation unless, within a certain time, an Address is presented to Her Majesty. It does not require a lawyer to satisfy the House that that means that the action must be taken by the House at large, or by a section of the House, for the purpose of revoking the decision of the Executive Government if they can. If I might say so, with deference to the right hon. Gentleman and the right hon. Baronet, this is most important as showing they have entirely mistaken what was their duty in this matter, for they have not taken one single step to satisfy their own minds and consciences as to what are the real facts on which the Proclamation is based. The complaint of the right hon. Gentleman and of the right hon. Baronet, and it seems to have been suggested to them, is that it is enough to come down to the House and say—" You have not put, in the shape of statistics or Returns, the facts which are perfectly well known to everybody who will take the trouble to look into them; and therefore, because you have not done that, we will allege that we are justified in asking Parliament to revoke the Proclamation." The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian dropped a very unfortunate expression: In the course of his earliest opening observa- 54 tions, he said that the concurrence of Parliament was reduced to a mere form. His words were—"I am afraid I must say a mere imposture." I, myself, should not have ventured to use the word "imposture" bad I not had the example set before me by the right hon. Gentleman. But, I ask, on which side of the House is the imposture? On which side of the House are the men who are trying to impose upon the House of Commons? In my judgment, they are upon that side of the House, where sit those who know perfectly well that they have only to walk six yards, nay, not six yards, to get the most accurate and perfect information of what the conduct of the National League has been and still is, and what are the intentions of those who support the National League. As far as we can tell from their speeches—as far as we can tell from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman last night—he and those who act with him have never moved hand or foot, and have never asked a single question, in order to ascertain whether the charges against the National League are well or ill founded, or whether they are justified. Hon. Members opposite have satisfied themselves and their consciences by saying—" We have not got the information in a tabulated shape; we have not got it in the shape of statistics, and therefore we may assume that it does not exist." The right hon. Baronet has appealed to us again as to the incident of the presents of white kid gloves, to the apparent freedom from crime, and has pointed to the absence of convictions at Assizes. But does not the right hon. Baronet remember the speeches of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian and of the right hon. Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt), in which they pointed out that it was owing to the terrorism and tyranny which prevailed that persons could not be prevailed upon to give evidence? It is idle for right hon. Gentlemen opposite, who have relied upon those arguments, to turn round upon the Government and say—" You have not been able to get convictions at the Assizes," when they know perfectly well, as well as the Government themselves—aye, and better than they do in many ways—that the reason convictions are not obtained is because of the impossibility of getting evidence owing to the terrorism of the National League. Has the right hon. Baronet examined 55 into the number of crimes and what has happened with regard to them during the last 15 months?
§ SIRGEORGE TREVELYAN
I have stated publicly, in writing and in speech, that had I been in the House I should have supported that part of the measure which I have always advocated as a method of detecting crime—namely, the Special Jury Clause.
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
That is wholly beside my present argument; but I may now as well say what I had intended to say at a later period of my speech—namely, that the greater part of the right hon. Baronet's speech was in support of the Crimes Bill. I find in it half-a-dozen excellent and cogent reasons in favour of that Bill, and yet the right hon. Baronet is sitting side by side with those who, in the present Session of Parliament, have opposed that measure. The right hon. Baronet's complaint against Her Majesty's Government is, not that they have passed the Crimes Bill, but that they have not availed themselves of a particular clause of that Bill for the purpose of dealing with the particular evils which we are now discussing. It is to that part of the argument of the right hon. Baronet that I am endeavouring to apply my mind. I venture to submit to the right hon. Baronet that the reason which led the Government of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian to establish different modes of trial when they desired to deal with a particular class of offence was identically the same reason which made it absolutely essential for Her Majesty's Government to proceed under Clauses 6 and 7 of this Act; because it is perfectly well known, and is scarcely denied by hon. Members below the Gangway, that we cannot get the evidence of persons who will not come forward in consequence of the terrorism inspired by the National League. In the nine months ending the 31st of March, 1887, there were 1,310 agrarian crimes. In 1,103 of those cases no one was brought to justice. In the same period there were 132 incendiary fires, and in 126 of those cases no one was brought to justice. There were 11 murders, in five of which no one was tried, and in one only was a conviction obtained. I want to know whether right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite would, if they were in this place, be satisfied with that state of things? And 56 if the body of our case is such as I can satisfy the House it is, with regard to the impossibility of proceeding with Clauses 2 and 3 and 4 of the Bill, does it not show that it is the imperative duty of the Executive Government to take steps to put an end to this abominable state of things? The present condition of the National League is the real question which we are discussing. That is the issue of fact to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian devoted about eight minutes last night. That is the question of fact upon which I humbly submit it is the duty of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to satisfy their own minds, and not to rely upon information obtained by other people. That question of fact lies at the root of what we are discussing to-night. A most extraordinary statement has been made by the right hon. Baronet. He has said that the late Government so framed their policy as advisedly to exclude the National League from its operation. Has the right hon. Baronet forgotten the circumstance that they proclaimed a large number of National League meetings in the South of Ireland? What was the ground for that discussion which took place at the meeting to which the right hon. Baronet referred, and of which my noble Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty spoke? My noble Friend said in effect— "You have proclaimed National League meetings in the South of Ireland; why have you not proclaimed this National League meeting in the North of Ireland?" What was the reason given more than once by Colleagues of the right hon. Baronet? It was that these National League meetings—which, according to the right hon. Baronet's present contention, were outside the policy of Her Majesty's Government at that time — would promote outrage. That was the reason given. If in 1882 and 1883 it was the duty of the Government to proclaim meetings because they would produce outrage, why is it not the duty of the Government to proclaim them in 1887? Was it not the fact that the hon. and learned Member for North Longford (Mr. T. M. Healy) at that time got six months for calling the Government "banditti?" Is it not true that the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin (Mr. T. C. Harrington) was indicted for a speech which he made at Mullingar? Is it not 57 true that Davitt—[A Home Rule MEMBER: Mr. Davitt]—that Mr. Davitt was imprisoned for saying that the cottiers of the West might swoop down on the rich lands of Meath? How does the right hon. Baronet reconcile his conduct with these facts? How does he reconcile these facts with the assertion which he made in this House but a few minutes ago that the policy which he was advocating excluded from its purview the National League? I come now to what in my judgment is a more important point. What is the character of the National League? What has been the character of the National League in the past; what is the conduct of the National League to-day; what is going to be the conduct of the National League in the future? I call the right hon. Baronet himself to witness upon this matter, and I think the House of Commons and the country were rather expecting that the right hon. Baronet, if he is now prepared to allow the National League to go scot-free in regard to what it has done in the past, would have offered to the House some explanations of the statements he made respecting the National League in 1884, 1885, and 1886. I have said at this Table more than once during my short career that I do not attempt to blame any hon. Members for changing their minds. But if they do change their minds on an important question like this, it is their duty to explain to the House their reasons for the change. We are now considering what is the real action of the National League. I venture, at the outset, to make two assertions which, if challenged, I can prove. I assert that there is a practical continuity between the Land League and the National League; and if it were necessary I could refer to the speeches of the present members of the National League, who have admitted it over and over again. Further, I assert that there has been no practical change in the conduct of the National League in the years 1883.4.5–6–7. It has been doing the same thing; it is doing the same thing to-day; and it will continue to do the same thing. When the right hon. Baronet made the speech which I am going to refer to, what were his sources of information? He was a responsible Minister of the Crown at the time, and enjoyed the greatest reputation in this country. He had, first, the result of his official experience in Ireland; secondly, 58 a belief, which he expressed in honest and candid terms, that the official communications made by his subordinates in Ireland were trustworthy, and entitled to credit; and, thirdly, the newspapers from which we are bound to draw our information, and to which every Member of the House wishing to form an honest opinion ought to have gone, in order to see whether our story be true or not. Last of all, but by no means the least important, he had the knowledge of the conduct and speeches of hon. Members opposite below the Gangway, of the support they give to the National League, and of the way in which it is perfectly clear that those newspapers are inspired, and, I suspect, subsidized, by the National League, or, at any rate, they are under its wing. Speaking at Hawick, on February 9, 1883, with a sense of responsibility for what he was stating at the time, the right hon. Baronet said—Last autumn an agitation began which promised at first to be legitimate, but a change in the nature of which the Government has watched with profound disappointment. Whatever the National League was intended by Mr. Parnell to be—whatever he himself, both at Dublin and Cork, has tried to make it—the Government are bound to inform itself as to what its character really is. As to that character there is no doubt whatever. Most of the earlier meetings of the National League were held for the purpose of conducting a fierce and undisguised agitation for three objects—the destruction of landlordism, the breaking up of grazing farms by terrorizing the larger tenants, and the separation of Great Britain and Ireland.That was the National League of 1883. I call upon the right hon. Baronet as a witness. If the right hon. Baronet has changed his opinion let him say so. If the National League of 1883 was rightly described in those terms I assert that that is the National League of to-day. Now, let me read to the House another passage from the same speech, bearing upon the evils which we are determined to put down if we can. The right hon. Baronet said—If the movement had been unchecked, in three months we should have had our worst difficulties all over again; the outrages would have been as numerous as ever; and the country would have been uninhabitable to any orderly or peaceable person.And again—There are many districts where the small local agitators live on money which is got under the name of political subscriptions, and which the farmers, as we are certainly and 59 authoritatively informed, will now only continue to pay under terror.I crave the House to notice the last words "under terror." Now, Sir, I pass to a passage in a speech delivered at Hawick by tie right hon. Baronet on February 10, 1883. He said—If you want to get at the truth you must never forget that there are two Irelands—the Ireland of men of all parties and creeds and ranks and callings, who, whatever else they differ upon, unite in wishing to preserve law and order and the right of every citizen to go about his business in peace and safety; and there is the other Ireland—the smaller Ireland, as I firmly believe—of the men who foment and condone and sympathize with crime. It is the gravest mistake to underrate the numbers and the claim to respect of the Party of Order in Ireland. It is not a political Party. It includes the great Liberal Party of the North, which, in all its essential features, resembles the Liberal Party in Scotland.I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian remembered that passage when he said last night that an attack on the National League was an attack on the whole people of Ireland. The right hon. Baronet proceeds—The Party of Order includes every farmer who does not want to rob the landlord of his due, and who does not want to be forced to pay blackmail to agitation—every poor fellow who desires to be at liberty to earn a day's wages by whoever they are offered him, without being shunned, insulted, beaten, and too probably murdered.What can be our opinion of the right hon. Baronet? What can be our opinion of his advocacy and his vote if we are able to show to the House that there is no ground for believing that the National League of to-day is different from the League of which he speaks?
§ SIR GEORGE TREVELYAN
That speech was made in the same month as in the House of Commons I publicly announced I would have nothing to do with proclaiming the National League.
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
Because I wish the right hon. Gentleman to enjoy the full right of interruption he must also allow me the right of reply. We are discussing the character of the League. What we say is that he ought then to have proclaimed the League; and we appeal to his own description of the National League. I do not intend to discuss whether the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues were right or wrong in not proclaiming the League; 60 all I am here to do is to support the policy of the Government in proclaiming the League, though under another name, of which the right hon. Baronet spoke. I now come down to a speech no less than three years later, also respecting the action of the National League, delivered in the same place—Hawick. Speaking on the 5th of May, 1886, the right hon. Baronet said—The poor, the helpless, the uninfluential, the farmers and labourers throughout the South and West of Ireland, who, at a terrible risk to life and limb, insisted on fulfilling their legal obligations; the smaller and humbler officers of the law, who did their duty through the bad times, will now be left to the mercy of those who have not concealed their intention of paying them out whenever they can get a chance.Under other circumstances I might discuss whether past acts of the same Government were right or wrong; but they are not worth the time of discussing them now. The only question now is whether the description the right hon. Baronet gives of the National League is correct. Has any right hon. or hon. Gentleman pretended to say that it is not? Why, the admission was wrung from the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) by the force of facts as to the resolutions to which we could have referred by hundreds had we chosen to read them. One more quotation, and I will gladly leave what has been to me by no means a pleasant task—that of proving out of the mouth of the right hon. Baronet that we have taken a just estimate of the conduct of the National League. The right hon. Gentleman spoke at Hawick on the 8th of July, 1886, and I am sorry to say that he has since performed the operation which in the course of his speech he thought impossible. This is what the right hon. Gentleman said—But he would not be beaten, for he believed they desired to be represented by one who, whatever his defect might be in ability or eloquence, at any rate was listened to in the House of Commons, because he was known to have an opinion of his own, to state that opinion openly, and to abide by it, whatever might be the consequences to himself. He had been asked to eat his own words which he had deliberately spoken as the result of his official experience in Ireland, and to place the lives and property of shopkeepers, land agents, and the humbler officers of the law, of the loyal and law-abiding people of Ireland into the hands of those who had never mentioned loyal or law-abiding people without a sneer.Now, that has a bearing on the discus- 61 sion whether the power of the League ought to have been proclaimed by the Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was a Member. It may be that in the earlier days of the League it was not so powerful, or in a position to do such mischief as it has since done. Can we adopt a fairer standard than that of the right hon. Gentleman's expressed opinion, formed as the result of his official experience in Ireland? That conviction was expressed by the right hon. Baronet at a time when it was his interest, if he could, to patch up his differences with the National League, and his conscience would not allow him to do it. Let us now see what the real position of this matter is; but I will first make one frank admission to hon. Gentlemen opposite. I have never been to Ireland, and I am not well able, therefore, to pronounce their beautiful Irish names; but it does not require a visit to Ireland to appreciate what is going on there.
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
I suppose the hon. and learned Gentleman's observation has some reference to Moonlighting, for I do not see what other subject it can relate to. Hon. Members below the Gangway and hon. Members opposite seem entirely to have lost the point of our argument; they seem to forget that one of our main complaints is that the publication in these newspapers of the names of individuals under certain circumstances is an actual and ingenious mode of intimidation, and that the publication of the names is one of the means by which the intimidation makes itself felt. If it were necessary I could call attention to some newspapers, and notably United Ireland, illustrating this, and if hon. Members desire I will read them. I have selected 24 papers which, so far as I can judge by reading the contents, are either Nationalist organs, or under Nationalist auspices, and my belief is that it is clear that a number of them could not exist without a subsidy and support from the League. ["No, no !" and "Not true ! "] The list of papers is as follows:— United Ireland, Kerry Sentinel, Leinster Leader, Munster Express, Kilkenny Journal, Tipperary Nationalist, New Ross Standard, Wexford People, Sligo Cham- 62 pion, Tuam News, Western People, The People, Roscommon Herald, The Nationalist, Dundalk Democrat, Tipperary Advocate, Enniscorthy Guardian, Midland Tribune, Clare Examiner, Minister News, Skibbereen Eagle, Anglo Celt, Carlow Nationalist, People's Champion, Kerry Evening Post.
§ An IRISH MEMBER: They are not all Nationalist papers.
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
I leave the two Representatives of Ireland to settle the matter between themselves. MR. T. M. HEALY: This Gentleman (Mr. T. W. Russell) is a Scotchman.
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
My argument from these newspapers is this —that not only in 20 or 30, but latterly in hundreds, and I might say thousand of instances identically the same methods of tyranny, oppression, and of terrorism, Boycotting, interference with lawful acts, and the compelling to commit unlawful acts, have been pursued for a period of 12 or 18 months throughout Ireland. I want to know on what ground hon. Gentlemen opposite say that we as a Government, when these facts are brought to our notice, supported as they are by confidential communications, should put them aside and regard them as nothing? Does the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian suppose that if in half-a-dozen English counties it was well known and recognized that a similar thing existed, anyone would rise in this House and say the whole thing was to be regarded as a fancy, and not to be believed? There is, first, espionage, and then we know what follows espionage. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian said last night that we could not possibly produce the evidence upon which we act, because it would not bear the light of day. Does the right hon. Gentleman not know, with the evidence of these hundreds and thousands of League resolutions before him, what would be the result of publishing the details of these cases? Does he say that the resolutions passed with the knowledge of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, and for which they are morally if not legally responsible, do not mean what they say, and are all bunkum, and are not enforced by those who pass them? We are astonished at 63 the change which has come over the opinions and conduct of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. What is the reason that has led to this? I was very much struck the other day by a speech made by one of the most distinguished men in this House, which I will venture to quote. He said—Has it come to this in England, that the presence of 83 Parnellites in the House of Commons is not only to paralyze Public Business, not only to make and unmake Ministers at pleasure, but to compel English statesmen to swallow their most sacred pledges, to be untrue to their deepest convictions, and to yield to Irish bluster and their own craven fears?I say with very great respect to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian that the only reason why he can bring himself to wink at, palliate, and almost to excuse the things he rebuked last year is this—that it is absolutely essential, in support of his Home Rule schemes, that he should do so in order to obtain the assistance of the Irish Members if he desires to have anything of a following behind him. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) challenged the Government, and said— "You have given a great many cases; but you do not show that in any of those cases injury to property resulted from those resolutions," The hon. Member could hardly have listened very attentively to the speeches of the Chief Secretary or the Solicitor General for Scotland, or he would have noticed that in those speeches several such cases were mentioned. The same charge has been repeated by the right hon. Baronet (Sir George Trevelyan), and probably he will give me his attention while I repeat three or four instances out of many others which I have at my command. Let me mention just a few cases in which it is clear there has been both cause and effect. There was one in County Galway, where a tenant of Sir Henry Burke, on the 5th of July, paid his rent in order to avoid eviction; on the 10th of July he was denounced by name at a National League meeting; on the 19th of July his stack of turf was burnt down. I think the right hon. Baronet is right that if we tried those men we would not have sufficient evidence upon which to get a conviction; but that does not excuse the Executive for not putting a stop to those things if they believe the National 64 League responsible for them. John Power and another man worked for Sir Henry Burke; on July 23 they were summoned to a meeting of a branch of the National League, and called upon to explain their conduct by Martin Egan; Power was expelled, and Lawrence Egan, one of the committee, said— "Every good man would know how to deal with him." Two days afterwards three of his ricks were burnt down. Has the House the slightest doubt as to the cause of that? It is perfectly plain that if in five, 10, or 20, or a larger number of cases you see one thing follow on the other, any honest man would say the one must be the cause and the other the effect. We cannot bring it home to the National League direct — there is the difficulty—but can any sane man doubt the connection? These things must be put a stop to, and the Government intend making the experiment. At any rate, we will see if stopping the National League meetings does not stop the burnings? The last case of injury to property following condemnation by the League which I will quote comes from Listowel, where, on the 30th of April last, a local branch of the League had passed a resolution strongly condemning the conduct of several persons for reverting to "the old and disastrous evil of land-grabbing." Immediately following that all the fences of one of the tenants named are pulled down, and on May 10 a notice is put on his door, "Down with the grabber; "and in the notice it is stated he will dangle from the rope—[laughter]—and a picture of a gallows was drawn. All these threats which are made by the League and its members may be all very fine fun for hon. Members below the Gangway—the Home Rulers — and some right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench, but the poor man who is the object of the threat does not regard them in that light. He knows that murder has been committed as the result of these threats; he knows that cattle have been tortured and slain, and he believes, with justice, that such things might happen again. Can we help wondering in the face of such facts that the right hon. Baronet (Sir George Trevelyan) should describe the League as he has done? If we have this kind of cumulative evidence before us, it shows that the right hon. Baronet was right. 65 There are, I believe, some 70 or 80 Members of the National League in this House. If those responsible Members of the League had risen in their places after my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary had related the acts for which we consider the League should be suppressed, and said—" We condemn all this; it is despicable and horrible; we will not allow such things to be done again; you now tell us what they have done, but we did not know of it; we will punish those branches of the League which have been guilty of such conduct "— if the members of the League in this House had got up and made a statement of that kind the House might have believed they were not aware of what had been going on. But in the absence of any such statement it can only be assumed that the proceedings of the whole of the branches were known to hon. Members of that House who belong to the League. I refer the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, to those 70 or 80 witnesses below the Gangway as to the accuracy of the inferences I have drawn. I feel now obliged to refer to the language of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) at the Rotunda on Tuesday last. He said that if the operation of the League in the past be correctly described as intimidation, he intended to practise and preach the same doctrines over and over again. And if anyone was base enough to turn his back upon the fight, he pledged himself he would denounce him from the public platform by name, and let that man be who he might, his life would not be a happy one in Ireland or across the seas. Now I want to know what could the hon. Member for East Mayo have referred to except the same class of things which we have been proving to exist, and if he referred to those things he is condemned by the language of the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) last night; by the description given of the League by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow; and he is condemned — I admit with very faint condemnation—by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian. That a man's life would not be a happy one under the circumstances referred to by the hon. Member for East Mayo, either in Ireland or across the seas, must 66 be obvious to anyone who has listened to this debate, and we think our duty to be that this should be put an end to.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman had read the passage preceding he would have seen [Cries of "Order !"]
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
the hon. Member (Mr. Dillon) can read any other passages of his speech, and I shall leave the hon. Member to judge whether they are an amelioration or qualify what I have read. It is a distinct reference to the conduct of the League in the past, and a determination to practise the same conduct in the future. The Government, as I have said, take it to be their duty to put and end to that, and I have on a former occasion stated that no crime or threats of crime will deter us from that duty. I will quote the opinion of a right hon. Gentleman on this point—The first duty of a civilized Government in dealing with an organization which has been nursed in robbery and murder, and which subsists at the present on the moral torpor of the law-abiding citizens of Ireland, is not to dally with it, to bargain with it, and to ask for its support, but at all hazards at once to put it down.
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
That is a quotation from the senior Member for Central Birmingham (Mr. John Bright). The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian misunderstands me. The senior Member for Birmingham refers to this being an association which has been nursed in robbery and murder, and I would remind the House of a single passage which was read last night by the right hon. Gentleman from the speech of the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell), in which in even stronger language the same thought was expressed by the right hon. Gentleman himself.
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
That is really a distinction without a difference. Boycotting is what the right hon. Gentleman is referring to. I assert that we have proved our case that the National League Boycotts up hill and down dale. 67 And if this Boycotting be the engine, the instruments are the people. Mr. Speaker, the Government are told that this is to be a death struggle. In that death struggle Her Majesty's Government or the National League will go down. We welcome the battle. We have no fear in the matter. We are supported by the consciousness that we have done our duty in this emergency. At any rate, whether we go down or not, a very important step will have been taken towards establishing the Government of Her Majesty the Queen, and retaining law and order in that part of the United Kingdom, which ever will remain, I trust, a part of the United Kingdom. Liberty has been appealed to. If this horrible engine of the National League, not as a political association, but in its really worst form, is suppressed, there will then be a dawning of that liberty which every subject of the Queen is entitled to enjoy, and which, as long as Her Majesty's Government are in power, they are determined to the best of their ability to support and maintain.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)
said, as one who since the inception of the National League had had the chief responsibility of working the organization in Ireland, it was his duty to say something in the debate. So far as his feelings were concerned, and if he could consult his own wishes, he should much prefer xo fight the issue with the Tory Coercionist Government in Ireland rather than in the House of Commons, and he hoped that no Party in the House of Commons would consider that any of his statements in defence of the branches of the League or of the organization in general should be taken in any way as an endeavour to prevent the fight which Her Majesty's Government was so anxious to enter upon; but he felt it was a duty due to the Representatives of the people of England, Scotland and Wales who had taken up the cause of Ireland in that House that the Irish Members should reply to the arguments—if they could be dignified by the name of arguments —which had been advanced by the other side of the House, and to offer some reply—faint as the opportunity given for it—to the calumnies which had been hurled at the Irish Members and also at the whole Irish Nation by a Coercion Government who now for the 68 first time saw the iniquity of the National League, though it could not have been loss iniquitous when they were in sympathy with it and used it for their own political purposes. The speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General (Sir Richard Webster) was a condemnation of the speech they had heard last night from the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour); and a condemnation also of the Proclamation of the Land League. The hon. and learned Attorney General's speech was from beginning to end an endeavour to prove that in the National League of Ireland there was a sympathy with crime—an encouragement of crime. If that was the case, and if the Government had proof of the fact, why had they not the courage of their convictions, why did they not declare in their Proclamation that the League was in sympathy with, and aided in crime? The Government had done nothing of the kind. Instead of that the Privy Council passed over all the clauses of the Act relating to the aiding and abetting of crime and proclaimed the League on the ground that it interfered with the action of the law and had incited and encouraged intimidation. The whole organization of the League—which was larger than any which had before existed in Ireland, more extensively spread, he believed, among the people, more representative of the people's character and feelings than any political organization in Europe at the present time—that whole organization was to be condemned upon more anonymous stories brought forward in that House in the course of debate, and which they had no opportunity of testing. If there was any duty more incumbent than another on a Chief Secretary for Ireland it was that sifting, and carefully sifting, the information on which he relied in a matter of that kind. What opportunity had the right hon. Gentleman of sifting that information? Did anybody who had seen the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman ran away from every question affecting the Government or the administration of the law in Ireland, who knew that he was the only Chief Secretary who never condescended to attend to Irish Business, believe that he was able to form a correct opinion of the character of the men who gave him in- 69 formation or to apply any test of its value? If there was anything that was more calculated to exasperate the people of Ireland and excite in their minds feelings of hatred against the English system of Government it was the fact that right hon. Gentlemen like the Chief Secretary and the hon. and learned Attorney General — who had never been in Ireland and who knew nothing of the condition of the people, could stand up and allege base crimes against the people and traduce their leaders. It was even more offensive to their feelings to have insulting and calumnious charges made against them by the hon. and learned Solicitor General for Scotland (Mr. J. P. B. Robertson), who was, if possible, still more ignorant of Irish affairs than the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. he wished to put before the House what a matter of difficulty it was for him, or for any of his Colleagues, to follow the statements of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, because the right hon. Gentleman only last night for the first time gave them those facts. These statements could have been given to the House a week, a month, or three months ago if the right hon. Gentleman had not been afraid that in the interval they would be disproved. The hon. and learned Attorney General said these facts were broad and plain and well-known. If so, they must have been known to the Attorney General for Ireland and to the Irish officials, and if the Government did not want to snatch a vote dishonestly why did they not give those facts to the House and the country before? Out of the 1,800 branches of the National League the right hon. Gentleman had been only able to quote 25 cases in which branches appear to countenance intimidation. Those 25 branches had not met simultaneously on the same day; the cases quoted were spread over a period of three months; and so hard up was the right hon. Gentleman for an argument to establish his case that he actually quoted one branch of the League three times by way of extending the number. He mentioned the Kilmacow branch of the League three times in different parts of his speech, as if there were three distinct offences. But if there was a refractory branch of the National League at Kilmacow with which they could not deal, would it be more easy for the right 70 hon. Gentleman to deal with it when there were no more reports published of its proceedings, when the public evidence which those men furnished of their unreasonableness and their inconsiderate action was abolished, and the right hon. Gentleman had only to deal with what they did in secret, and which he and his police would never be able to get at? The right hon. Gentleman had quoted from newspaper reports and also from official information, but he forgot to tell them whether what he quoted from official information was one and the same in any instances with what he quoted from newspapers. Thus they had no means of testing whether he did not multiply his cases by giving them over and over again from his different sources of information. Some humour at the expense of the Irish people and the National League's organization had been caused by a reference last night to an allegation that the Kilkenny branch of the League had expelled a man who took his own farm. Now he himself had received a telegram from a member of that branch of the League. The people of the several districts to which the right hon. Gentleman alluded would only hear of his words long after the vote of that House had been taken, and the persons whom he had calumniated— several of them worthy clergymen and other members of the National League, who only desired to live in peace, but were not allowed to do so—would only read his calumnies after the verdict of that House had been cast and the scourge had been applied to them; therefore, the Irish Members laboured under considerable difficulty in meeting the charges. He had received that day the following telegram from the Mayor of Kilkenny:—Mr. Balfour said that Thomas Ryan's name was struck off from membership of the Kilkenny branch of the National League. As a member of the branch and as Mayor of Kilkenny I vouch that no such incident ever occurred.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Mancheschester, E.)
I quoted from The Munster Express.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
said, The Munster Express was published in a county as far away removed from Kilkenny as it could possibly be. But the right hon. Gentleman did not quote 71 from The Munster Express—he quoted from official information. The telegram goes on to say—Nor was the name of any member struck from our list, and no such case as that stated by Balfour ever came before our organization.Take another instance mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman from official sources. In his endeavour to accuse the National League of having a sympathy with crime and moonlighting, and to prove that intimidation was practised in order to force men to become members of the organization, the right hon. Gentleman stated by way of proof that on the 17th of January a party of Moonlighters visited 15 houses in Kerry, and compelled the inhabitants to become members of the National League or threatened to take their lives. The right hon. Gentleman at first omitted to state that the incident occurred in Kerry. It was only after interruptions from the Irish Members that the right hon. Gentleman stated where the incident occurred. Later in his speech the right hon. Gentleman stated that 16 other houses had been visited on the 7th of February— presumably they were in Kerry—and with the same object of compelling men to become members of the National League. He had taken the trouble to look up the charge of Judge O'Brien at the Spring Assize in Kerry. If those two offences had taken place they would have, beyond all doubt, been seized upon by a learned Judge who had ever been as anxious as the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) to calumniate the Irish people. The Constabulary, too, would have been bound to report to the Judge, and the charge would have been on the official paper before him; and with a statement of that nature before him a Judge who had tried to blacken the character of the Irish people, who had tried to force the hands of the Government to bring in such legislation as that they were now considering, would have been eager to seize the opportunity to publish the fact before the world as a charge against the Irish people. But no such reference had been made in the speech of the Judge. He was able to prove that the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary was an absolute falsehood. He cared not from what source the right hon. Gentleman got his 72 information or who the official was with whom the right hon. Gentleman came in contact. He branded the statement as a lie, and the official who supplied it as a paid hireling whose duty it should have been to supply the truth. He had examined the Returns of agrarian crime for the period mentioned—for the entire quarter ending March 31. In Kerry, where those 31 cases of visiting were said to have occurred by the right hon. Gentleman's private informer, the Official Report presented to Parliament showed that in all there were only 26 agrarian offences, 10 of them being cases of intimidation. Only two cases of attack upon dwellings were mentioned for the whole quarter; and yet in the lapse of a fortnight the right hon. Gentleman stated that 31 houses were visited in order to compel the inmates to become members of the National League. That was the kind of official information which had been supplied to the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary was quite pathetic over the Boycotting of a certain gentleman named Mr. Justin M'Carthy. If hon. Gentlemen would refer to the evidence in the Blue Book of the Royal Commission they would find that the evidence of this Mr. Justin M'Carthy was included; but, in order to produce a good effect, and make a case out against the National League, the Commissioners were so anxious to save Mr. Justin M'Carthy from identity and trouble that his evidence was given anonymously, and his evidence was headed with a dash instead of his name. He (Mr. T. C. Harrington) challenged the right hon. Gentleman the first time he was speaking, and he challenged him now, to go back to the source from which he got the information referred to about Mr. Justin M'Carthy, and he would promise him— and he was stating this with as firm belief as he had of his own existence— that the person who concocted that story, or from whomsoever the right hon. Gentleman got it—the person who originally invented the story was none other than the famous Mr. Samuel Murray Hussey. The right hon. Gentleman had not uttered one sentence of that very graphic picture which he drew of the case of Mr. Justin M'Carthy when he (Mr. T. C. Harrington) recognized the style of Mr. Samuel Murray Hussey. He might have not got it from Mr. Hussey, but he 73 would not dare to deny that the person who gave him the information got it from Mr. Hussey. He knew there could be no doubt of it, because he heard Mr. Hussey tell the tale himself. He heard him at the late Assizes at Tralee jesting about the particulars of that very case. It had been alleged against the National League, and it was insisted upon with very great force by the hon. and learned Solicitor General for Scotland last evening, that intimidation was had recourse to by members of the National League for the purpose of compelling men to become members of that organization. He wished to draw the attention of the House to the early observations of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary in reference to that matter. Some time ago he made the very same statement in that House, and he (Mr. T. C. Harrington) stood up in his place and said if any branch of the National League passed resolutions declaring that they would publish the names of their subscribers or non-subscribers, that branch would be suppressed by the central authority, or by him who was in charge of it. The right hon. Gentleman stated that he was deceived. No; on the contrary, he (Mr. T. C. Harrington) asserted that it was the right hon. Gentleman himself who was deceived. The right hon. Gentleman quoted the cases of three or four resolutions passed by the branches stating that they would publish the names of their subscribers; but the right hon. Gentleman did not quote a single case, and he could not quote a single case where a branch did publish the names. He (Mr. T. C. Harrington) maintained that this fact completely established his case. The moment his attention was drawn to it he interfered with the branch. He could not prevent the passing of a resolution; but the moment it appeared in the public newspapers that moment his censure, and that of those who co-operated with him, was conveyed to the local branch. He defied the right hon. Gentleman, or anyone who followed him in that debate, to shatter one word of the statement he made some time ago in that House, or to show a single case where a branch did persevere in the publishing of those names. He was not going to say, or attempt to say, that in a great organization, a branch of which he supposed was esta- 74 blished in almost every parish in Ireland, from the difficulties thrown in their way by the interference of the police and the authorities, and their not having as free a hand in its government as they would have in any other Constitutional country, that there might not have been a case of irregularity; nay. there had been cases of irregularity. But this he did say—and he assorted it without the slightest fear of contradiction—that there never was a case of unjust Boycotting of that kind, or of unjust interference with the liberty of men brought under his notice or the notice of those who co-operated with him, that they did not dissolve the branch or dismiss the secretary or officers who were responsible for it. Take a case in point. A resolution was adopted on the 21st of February by the Macroom branch of the National League, stating that they would publish the names of their subscribers, and ask the traders to place their cards of membership in their windows. Everybody who was acquainted with local affairs knew that men, for trade purposes, might be able to succeed in getting a resolution of that kind adopted. What was the action taken by them? A statement was forwarded to them by the secretary, who stated in his letter that there was a difference of opinion in the local branch on the subject. A letter which he (Mr. T. C. Harrington) wrote on that occasion had been telegraphed to him that afternoon. Here was a copy of this letter on the subject to the secretary in reply—It is a practice wholly opposed to the spirit and policy of the National League, and upon no account can we give it countenance.The Secretary endeavoured to defend the resolution, and in reply he (Mr. T. C. Harrington) wrote again condemning it, and saying—Your letter simply amounts to this—that where this policy has been adopted, the membership of the branch of the League has been increased. On behalf of the Organizing Committee of the National League, I have to tell you we do not value the assistance and services of men who may be thus brought into membership of the branch, and we know perfectly well that they are men who cannot be counted upon in troublesome times, and if the practice of placing the National League cards in the window or publishing the names be not discontinued, I should of course have to bring the matter under the notice of the Organizing Committee, and have your branch formally dissolved. It is a most objectionable practice, and I do not think it could be too highly con- 75 demned as a practice quite at variance with the (spirit of our organization, and at best it can only be looked upon by me as a trick of trade.He thought that that language was quite as strong—in fact, he ventured to say much stronger than any of the hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench would address to the Secretary of a political organization with which they were connected. He challenged them to say if they had ever condemned the practices of the Primrose League in language nearly as strong as that. Now, as to the scandalous imputations that the National League bribed certain newspapers, he begged, on behalf of the Press of Ireland to repel that insinuation with scorn and indignation. He branded the statement as a false calumny upon Irish journalists. He thought nothing could show more clearly the great imprudence of one in the position of the right hon. Gentleman than the hazardous statement which he made with reference to the reputation of a number of hon. Members of that House, and some 24 or 25 Nationalist journalists in Ireland—namely, that the National League had subsidized Nationalist newspapers. That was a policy which the Tory Party had adopted in the past. Every newspaper mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman was established in Ireland before the League was established. He stated positively that not one penny of the funds of the National League had ever been given for the support of any newspaper whatever. Even the bare duty of paying the ordinary subscriptions for newspapers sent to the office was not discharged. They were sent out of sympathy with the organization. When an hon. Gentleman occupying a seat on the Government side of the House went over to Ireland in the early days of 1885, when the Tory Government was in power, he availed himself readily of the assistance of the National League. He could give the right hon. Gentleman proof of what he said, and their organization then, as now, used its best efforts to put down crime, and to expel from the branches of the National League anything like unreasonable conduct. An English Member who sat for an English constituency on the Government side of the House was so impressed with the truth of what he said that when in the course of a visit to Ireland he learned, probably 76 from Lord Carnarvon, how the influence of the National League had been cast, and what it was doing in Ireland to extirpate crime, he asked him (Mr. T. C. Harrington) would he have any objection to meet Lord Carnarvon, and have a conference with him. He believed that some other confidential messages of that kind were sent to one or two other hon. Members. He would not have said anything about the subject were it not that efforts had been made by hon. Gentlemen on the Government Benches to blacken their character. He would also call the attention of hon. Members to an article that had appeared in The Irish Times, a paper which was a staunch supporter of the Tory Government, expressing its strong approval of the course taken by him with reference to the Waterford branch of the National League in the case of Alderman Smith.He would keep out of their ranks," it said, "every man who did not feel called upon to expose himself to the risk of being misrepresented, attacked, and injured in his business.If anything had been established more clearly than another, it was that where there had been interference by the National League with the liberty of any person, it had been with regard to those who were members of its own organization. Every case that had been mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman was a case in which the National League had been dealing with men who were members of the organization. The hon. and learned Attorney General for England had quoted cases of ricks of turf being destroyed. Well, this was a course which had been frequently resorted to by the owners of the turf, because they knew that the landlords who sat on the Grand Jury, and out of whose pockets the county cess did not come, would give the applicant three times the value of his turf because he falsely stated in his evidence that he was Boycotted. They know how the system worked in Ireland. They were not going to say that malicious injuries of that kind might not be committed; but he ventured to assert that fully 50 per cent of cases of that kind which came before the Grand Jury were cases in which the men had deliberately destroyed their own property, and when they set up a false case to the landlord Grand Jury, who did not contribute a single penny of the money they gave for compensation—[An hon. MEM- 77 BER: Mrs. Lucas.] His hon. Friend reminded him of the case of Mrs. Lucas, the wife of a magistrate in County Cork. He was not sure whether her husband sat on the Grand Jury—at all events, he might have done so, being a magistrate —when the claim for compensation for the burning of Mr. Lucas's house came on. The Lucases made three applications for compensation, until a policeman who was protecting the house proved that Mrs. Lucas herself was the person who burned it. The Lucases, however, had got compensation for injuries done to the place three times before that, and probably the lady was so encouraged by her success that she determined to make a fortune out of it. He should not like to be understood by any section of the House as denying that branches of the National League had expelled persons from membership, and that they—the Irish Members—had not interfered with them for expelling men from membership who had taken farms from which others had been unjustly evicted. He would not wish anyone to understand that he was giving any denial to the statement that branches had so acted in that respect. That was a policy they had not condemned, and which they would not condemn. Knowing how ready the Irish landlords were to minister to the hunger of the people for land, knowing how the landlords in their rapacity had profited out of that unfortunate hunger on the part of the people for land by setting one man to outbid another, he would rather see Home Rule, with all its blessings, deferred than that they should be taken for one moment as consenting to the policy of land-grabbing. They did not deny that branches had expelled from their organization men who took farms from which others had been unjustly evicted; but this they did deny, that where a man, through his own want of industry, or because he was a spendthrift, was not able to keep his farm, was evicted—they denied that any branch of the National League, with their sanction, endeavoured to entertain a case of that kind. If any branch did such a thing it was certainly in direct opposition to their instructions. But where an unfortunate tenant, after doing all in his power, was unable to pay the rent which their own Commissioners had proved that they could not in reason or justice be expected to pay, they had 78 done all in their power, after a tenant had been unjustly evicted, to prevent others from rushing in and endeavouring to pay enormous rents for these evicted farms. What they had done in the past, with the full strength of their organization and with their people well organized and disciplined, depend upon it they should still continue to do in spite of the Proclamation of the Government. The Government could go on with their wretched policy of imprisonment and prosecution; the Irish people were all accustomed to it, and for himself he was more proud of having been in gaol four times in defence of the liberties of his fellow countrymen than he was of being a Member of that House, and he should, if in the discharge of his duty and without giving way to violence of language or giving any just reason for imprisonment, be more proud of being another time in prison than he was of occupying a seat on that Bench. They despised that sort of policy, and they had no respect for the motives which, prompted it. They believed the Government were forced to this action. The hon. and learned Attorney General for England might say that the Government entered upon the policy with light hearts. No, they did not; but, on the other hand, the members of the National League entered upon the fight with light hearts because they had always been at it, and this was only another tiff in the struggle. For them and for their people the struggle had no terrors, and if it was to be a life and death struggle, as had been prognosticated, between the Tory Government and the National League, he could promise the Government that before the League was suppressed the former would go down in ignominy. The National League meant the people of Ireland. The Government might quote a few instances of absurd, extravagant, or extreme resolutions which they—the Irish Members—had condemned in the past, because it was easy for them to condemn them, and they had been able to check and control the action; but the Government by the course they were taking would render this impossible in the future. The course the Government were taking that night would give a freer rein to those who proposed rash counsels. A resolution of the character quoted might be carried by a very small 79 majority; but to the Government it was all the same, and they attacked the whole branch. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had only been able to quote 22 instances— unauthentioated—out of a total of 1,800 branches spread over the whole country, and yet they attacked the character of the whole organization all the same. Did they think they were going to succeed in exterminating the organization? They might as well try to put down the National League and the principles which animated the National League as to enter upon the task of taking one by one out of Ireland every Nationalist in it. They had already proofs that the attack of the Government on their organization had brought to it strength it had not before. It had brought into their ranks many men who hitherto did not wish to take part in the struggle, but who could not stand aside when they saw it was a struggle between a miserable Government—driven on by a wretched clique of rapidly diminishing landlords in Ireland—and the people. When they saw it was a struggle of that description, between the Irish people and the Government, the men who had hitherto stood aloof were rapidly entering the National League. The hon. and learned Attorney General had hinted that the Government would render it impossible to compel men to subscribe to the National League. He would give a challenge to hon. Members on those Benches opposite. He would invite them to watch the receipts at the fortnightly meetings of the National League while the present policy was to continue. He would invite them to watch those receipts now and when the Crimes Act and their Proclamation were in force, and to see if, however long they might allow the League to continue, the subscriptions had not doubled instead of decreased. He had already to propose for membership at the next meeting of the central branch more members than he had had in any two months previous to the enforcement of the Crimes Act, The Government might, if they wished, prevent public meetings of these branches in the future—though he very much doubted whether they could—but if they did it would only be at the risk of wrecking any character which they— the Government—had endeavoured to maintain, and in the end they would be 80 exceedingly sorry they had entered upon a struggle in which defeat would stare them in the face. The Irish people would hold on steadily to the organization which had been their salvation in the past. There might be irregularities in some of the branches, and he admitted there were, because he had sometimes felt the difficulty of controlling them; but the years of experience he had had in the government of the National League had convinced him of the capacity of his fellow-countrymen for Home Rule. Nothing in the world had convinced him of that fact more, because the instances might be counted on the fingers of one hand where on his appeal to any of the branches they had refused to obey him. Did the Government think they were going to obey them? Depend upon it the Irish people would trample upon their Proclamation. The Irish people would despise the Proclamation and despise the motives which prompted it. He could tell the Government that the Irish people were prepared for the fight, and if, as the hon. and learned Attorney General had said, it was to be a life and death struggle, he (Mr. T. C. Harrington) could promise them it would be one in which neither the Irish National League nor the Irish people would be worsted.
§ MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
said, that the hon. Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin (Mr. T.C. Harrington), who last addressed the House, had made a protest against the policy of the Government towards the organization of which he was one of the principal and controlling members, and he attempted to invalidate the instances of intimidation and Boycotting which had been brought forward by the Government to support their policy. Whether he had done so was of small moment, because he (Mr. Macartney) thought that admissions such as the hon. Member had made were sufficient to justify the Government in the course they had adopted and to justify him (Mr. Macartney) in supporting their action. The hon. Member had made one statement which had surprised him (Mr. Macartney) very much. He understood the hon. Member to say that in controlling the principal branches of the National League in regard to the use of their powers of expulsion and with regard to exercising government with re- 81 gard to the people in a given locality, those powers were exercised only with regard to members of the branch or branches. He would quote, for the information of the House, from The Sligo Champion of the 23rd July, 1887, the report of a local League meeting, at which the chairman brought forward a scheme for more energetic action with a view to increasing the members of the branch. He reported to the meeting that seven members of the branch had failed to attend the periodical meetings, and that one member had not put in an appearance since he had been elected, and he suggested that the members should go round the district and induce men to join. Then he found it stated that those who still refused to join the branches should have their names submitted at the next meeting, and published if considered desirable. Only one member at the meeting objected to this proposal; but eventually it was decided that people should be called upon to join the League. So recently as the 17th day of August last a meeting of the Rathmure branch of the League was held, when it was stated a tax of 1d. in the pound must be levied on the district, and it was decided to publish the names of subscribers and non-subscribers to the local branch. Now, these were facts which the hon. Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin could not get over. At the same meeting it was decided that members of the branch should bring their influence to bear on men to join the organization—a proof that influence or intimidation was exercised not only upon members but upon non-members. Turning now to the speech of the right hon. Baronet (Sir George Trevelyan, he (Mr. Macartney) was immensely suprised at the position which he had attempted to establish with regard to the action of the Government. The right hon. Baronet based his objection to the policy of the Government upon the action and policy which he, as Chief Secretary, and Lord Spencer had endeavoured to carry out in 1882, after the establishment of the National League. But the allegations which the right hon. Baronet made were quite different from the course which he adopted in conjunction with Lord Spencer. Then they put down political meetings in the South of Ireland in districts where lawlessness and crime were rampant. But they allowed 82 them to take place in the North of Ireland, where there was no crime. It was in consequence of this policy on the part of Lord Spencer and the right hon. Baronet that the Loyalists of the North assembled in 1883 in Ulster to protest against the National League being dangerous to society. The right hon. Gentleman, when Chief Secretary, spoke at Belfast on the 24th August, 1883, and he then said that the Government would not interfere with legitimate agitation, and on the 4th of September The Times reported a meeting that had been held at Cork in consequence of the declaration which had been made by the then Chief Secretary in Belfast. That meeting established for the City and County of Cork a fresh agitation. The Northern Whig— the leading journal in Ireland—then belonging to the right hon. Gentleman (Sir George Trevelyan's) Party, traced the agitation in Cork to the speech of the Chief Secretary at Belfast. That was the time when the right hon. Gentleman set up the policy of the "even keel," which he had subsequently given up. Speaking at that time, the hon. Member for Fermanagh (Mr. W. Redmond), who was not then a Member of that House, had referred to the question of Boycotting—
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, it was a speech which the hon. Member delivered in favour of Boycotting, and it was referred to in Hansard.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, he could not inform the hon. Member just at present; but he would refer the hon. Member to Hansard, where he found it. The hon. Member in that speech said that any man who, being a member of the National League, proved untrue to it should be Boycotted, and he advised those present to use, moderately and wisely, the expedient weapon of Boycotting against those who were false to the National Cause. He hoped they would work in order to become untrammelled by any shadow of British law, and this could only be brought about by the sword and the mighty arms of the Irish people, not only in rebel Cork, but in other parts of Ireland. He advised them to prepare for the revolution. The 83 attention of the then Chief Secretary (Mr. Trevelyan) being called to this and other speeches of a similar character, he made a statement in which he said—Questions relating to the treatment of speeches made on public platforms are absolutely the most difficult, and those which require the most consideration, both on grounds of policy and on grounds of law, of any questions which can be laid before the Government. I will, therefore, take this opportunity of saying that the Government have directed their earnest attention to the speeches of Mr. Davitt, of the hon. Member for Wexford, and of Mr. William Redmond ‥‥ Their conclusion is that if such speeches continue to be made there is no hope for peace and order in Ireland. It is impossible to keep crime in chock by any system of punishment as long as speeches like these are made, which, from whatever their intention— and I say nothing about that—experience tells lead to crime and outrage. If the speeches made at public meetings of the National League are continued in the same strain as those made during the last week, I shall feel it my duty to recommend the Lord Lieutenant to exercise his power under the Prevention of Crimes (Ireland) Act, and prohibit these meetings."—(3 Hansard,  372–3.)Such was the statement made by the then Chief Secretary, on November 30, 1882, and now the same right hon. Gentleman, having submitted that as the policy of his Government, came down to the House and refused to give his assent to the action of the present Government in proclaiming the National League as a dangerous association. He was supported by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), who had adopted to the full the policy that underlay the action of the National League; but in a very characteristic manner he had refused to recognize hard facts, and had endeavoured by a series of fine phrases to palliate the deeds that had been done. He had endeavoured to dress up the policy of public plunder with attributes and arguments founded on the claims of public liberty. His late Colleague had to complain in June, 1886, of his tendency to disregard facts and rely on fine phrases, and the House would agree that the capacity of the right hon. Gentleman for coining euphemistic expressions for disagreeable facts was exercised to its highest extent on Thursday evening. He justified or excused what he called the practice of exclusive dealing; but to compare Boycotting to exclusive dealing was perfectly illusory. It did not represent Boycotting in the slightest degree, or convey an idea of the hard- 84 ships or discomforts under which the victims of the system suffered. The right hon. Gentleman forgot the graphic description of it he himself once gave to the House, and had allowed to lapse from his recollection that description of Boycotting that proceeded from the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) when first he preached its principle. He appeared to be utterly oblivious of how, from National League platforms, Boycotting was impressed upon the people of Ireland, asking them to make it a living death to those who would not accept the dictates of the League. The descriptions of the hon. Member for Cork and the hon. Member for College Green went far, far beyond the limits of exclusive dealing, and reduced the life of a man subjected to the system admirably described by a rev. platform orator of the League as a "living death;" but now the right hon. Gentleman declared that the Proclamation of the National League went perilously near what was described by Sir James Graham as an "act of war on the Irish people," and in the same breath he asserted that the League had 500,000 members. That might be so; but, on the other hand, it was a matter of common notoriety to those acquainted with Ireland that the majority of the remaining 4,000,000 of people were heartily sick of the policy of the League, and would be only too ready on the first opportunity to discard its principles. This opportunity they had never had up to this moment. The evidence given before the Cowper Commission showed there was only too much reason for the people to suppose the law gave them no protection against the dictation of the League. It was an undoubted fact that the law required to be strengthened, not only to cope with the policy of rapine and disorder, but to protect it against the assaults of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian. If the law happened to be ineffectual in the future, it would be because the right hon. Gentleman had devoted himself to debauching the sanctity and authority of law in the eyes of the Irish people. The right hon. Gentleman went on to accuse the local administrators of the law as not being in sympathy with the Irish people. This was an ambiguous phrase. If it meant they had no sympathy with Moonlighting and marauding, undoubtedly it 85 was true. Then he renewed his familiar reliance on the credence of Sir Redvers Buller, who said that the National League was the salvation of the people against brutal Irish landlords, and fortified himself with a quotation from the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell), that there had been "little or no reduction" of judicial rents in Ulster. A letter from Archbishop Walsh, published on July 18, had some reference to that point. He pointed out that, taking the whole period of the years from 1882 and 1885, the percentage of reductions in Ulster was a little over 20 per cent, in Connaught 20 per cent, in Munster 18 per cent, and in Leinster 17 per cent; whereas the percentage of reduction in the official years 1885–6 wore—in Connaught a little over 27 per cent, in Leinster 24 per cent, in Munster 23 per cent, and in Ulster the same as in the former period. So in the early days of the operations of the Land Commissioners the reductions in Ulster were as large as in the other Provinces. Then, again, the evidence of the Sub-Commissioners, Messrs. Rice, Horton, and Bomford, went to show that Ulster landlords had made substantial remissions, and had taken into account the depression of the times. The Proclamation of the League was necessary, because its primary object was one that certainly could not be obtained in a Constitutional manner; because if its platforms were to be conducted in the future as in the past, there was no hope of peace and order being restored to Ireland, and because submission to the League, threatened by the organs of the dynamite party in America, would be disastrous to every class and interest in Ireland. The Government had taken the only possible action in at once putting in operation the powers given them by Parliament.
MR. W.REDMOND (Fermanagh, N.)
said, that as an Ulster Member, he had listened to the speech of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Macartney), also an Ulster Member, with regret, for he failed to hear from him any justification for the outrageous insult that was about to be perpetrated on the people of Ireland. In such a case as this it behoved every Irishman to join in a protest. The hon. Member, however, appeared to be satisfied with the knowledge that the Orange Society, of which he was a member, 86 would not be proclaimed under the powers of this Act. Yet owing to the action of that organization the streets of Belfast had been stained with innocent blood. It was said that the National League was to be put down because it promoted intimidation; but the Orange organization was guilty of immense intimidation in Ulster, and was nevertheless to be let alone. So enraged were the Orangemen at his last election for the County Fermanagh that Viscount Cole proceeded to preach a crusade against the Catholic people of that county, telling his fellow-Orangemen that the time had come when the Catholics should be driven from the county, and counselling them not to give work or let land to any Catholic. There was a distinct incitement to Boycotting and intimidation; but since it emanated from a Tory Orange Lord the Government had nothing to say against it. While the Government was suppressing the League with one hand they were patting the Orange Society on the back with the other. One of the meanest features of the action of the Government was that it was plain that they intended to cripple the work of Nationalist Registration Societies which were worked by the National League. What would they find at the next Election in places like Fermanagh, where Parties were pretty equally divided? They would find the organization which supported them proclaimed and its meetings dispersed at the point of the bayonet; while the Orange organization, with its powerful influence and unscrupulous tactics, would be in full swing in the same county at the same time. The whole case against the National League was founded on Boycotting. No one could say that there was any ordinary crime in Ireland to justify the Proclamation of the League. On the other hand, nobody would deny that Boycotting in certain cases was not only justifiable, but absolutely necessary for the existence of the people. The landlords did not like Boycotting because they found it to be directed principally, and almost solely, against land-grabbing. Right hon. Gentlemen had referred to instances of the turf of men being burned because they would not join the National League.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Colonel KING-HARMAN) (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
87 I beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon. I never said anything- of the kind.
§ MR. W. REDMOND
said, he did not refer to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. He referred to the Chief Secretary. He did not think the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was worth referring to. It was impossible to know whereto find the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. He was once a Home Ruler, and the secretary of the Home Rule League in Dublin with his (Mr. W. Redmond's) father, and now he sat on the Tory Benches. No one with common sense would quote the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. The Chief Secretary had cited instances to show that men had been Boycotted for not joining the National League. But no one knew better than the hon. Member for North Armagh that Boycotting had been used almost exclusively against land-grabbers, not against men who would not join the National League. The National League would not be bettered by having men enrolled against their will, because they would be a weakness to it rather than a source of strength. He did not think any Member would deny that Boycotting, properly carried on, was the only remedy for the curse of land-grabbing. Boycotting had been introduced with a view to prevent the eviction of men who were unjustly rented and who could not pay, and for that purpose it was not only justifiable, but absolutely necessary. The allegation that the people were compelled to join the League by intimidation was pure humbug. Would any organization suffer itself to be hampered by unwilling recruits? And how did those who believed in this doctrine of intimidation account for the adhesion to the League of Irishmen in England, America, and Australia? Even The Times had not attempted so monstrous an impossibility as the production of a single person who could affirm that he had been compelled to join the League. The Irish people had never been afraid of anyone; but if they were being intimidated by the hon. Members for Cork and East Mayo, would not their feelings towards those Leaders be as rebellious as their feelings towards the Chief Secretary? The real reason for the Proclamation of the League was the hope of the Tory Party that it might induce the Irish people in a state 88 of desperation to commit acts which would place them in the wrong in the eyes of the civilized world. The organization, which had been founded in the interests of the people, was at present impregnable because it was peaceful. That was the consideration that induced the landlords and the bigots of the Orange Society to strive to impel the Irish people to the commission of crime. If the meetings of the people were dispersed crime and outrage would inevitably follow. At the present time the leaders of the people would not tolerate for a moment any crime nor any form of Boycotting which was not absolutely necessary for the prevention of land-grabbing; but if the League was suppressed it would not be in the power of any man to prevent the spread of what might be termed guerilla warfare in certain parts of Ireland. There would certainly be retaliation upon the police. At the hour of the Proclamation of the League there was peace in Ireland. He trusted that the bloody?régime that would follow the suppression of the League under the Law of a Tory Government would be contrasted with the present peaceful régime of the League itself. The Irish people were being insulted and treated in a cowardly manner, for they had not the same means of vindicating the rights of their country which were possessed by their fathers, who did not spare their blood in the defence of their native land against the power of England. If they had the power they would rather fight for their rights. But they could not do that, simply because they had not the power, and the efforts of the Irish Members were devoted to getting the people of Ireland to work with the Constitutional weapons within their grasp, and with which they believed they would win if they were not now wrested from them by the Government. He did not envy the position of this country to-morrow morning, for the news would then be sent to the uttermost ends of the earth that England, with her vast power, wealth, influence, and traditions, was about to engage in the brave pursuit of hunting down and casting into gaol a poor, suffering, and unarmed people.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON (Lancashire, Rossendale)
The hon. Member who has just sat down has used language which will not, I think, 89 greatly tend to convince the House of the Constitutional character of the National League. The hon. Member has just informed the House, as I think he has done on former occasions, that it is nothing but the hopelessness of the insurrection that prevents him and his friends from having recourse to other methods for freeing his country from the English domination, and I do not know that that confession will greatly predispose the House in favour of the Constitutional, legal, and legitimate character of the association, which is, according to the view of the hon. Member, the only substitute in the power of the Irish people for armed rebellion. But, as I have not had the advantage of listening to the whole of the speech of the hon. Member which led him to this conclusion, I will not venture to detain the House by referring further to the subject.
§ MR. W. REDMOND
May I explain that what I said was that the past grievances and sufferings of the Irish people had been in the past so great, that their pain and anxiety have been so intensified by the insult and tyranny of this Bill, that I believe so great is their suffering that if they had the means in their power they would take any means to free themselves from the intolerable burden the Government are now putting upon them; and I further said that it was the object of the exponents of the National League in this House to teach the Irish people that their rights are to be won by Constitutional methods, while it is the object of the Tories, with their Coercion Acts, to drive them to other courses.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
I have already acknowledged that I did not hear the whole of the argument by which the hon. Member led to his conclusion; and, therefore, having referred to it, I will not further comment upon it. The speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan) has been so fully commented upon by the Attorney General that it is not necessary to say much more upon it. But I think that the House will have heard with some surprise the expressions of favour which fell from the right hon. Gentleman in regard to several portions of the Crimes Act. For 90 instance, the right hon. Gentleman spoke on several occasions in terms of considerable approval of the 2nd and f 4th sections of that Act, which he seemed to think might have a most salutary effect, and I gathered from his remarks that there was nothing in that Act to which he could take great exception, unless to the 6th and 7th clauses, with reference to which discussion is now going on. I do not know whether these opinions of my right hon. Friend upon the subject of the Amendment of the Criminal Law in Ireland were fully and accurately known to the electors of the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow, and, if they had been, I must confess that I have some doubt whether the right hon. Gentleman would have secured all the support he did from the Irish electors of that Division, or would have secured the active support of the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) if his sentiments on the subject of the Crimes Act had been fully and accurately known. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to devote the whole of his argument to what he considered to be the want of proof of connection between the operations of the National League and the commission of crime and outrage. The right hon. Gentleman examined at considerable length some of the cases which were brought forward last night by the Government, but he examined them all by the light of this supposed want of proof. There have been times, as my right hon. Friend has been reminded, when he has not scrupled to draw pretty close and sharp inferences as to this connection between the National League and actual crime and outrage in Ireland. But that is not the point now. My right hon. Friend has said nothing, or nearly nothing, on the subject of intimidation; and almost all the cases and the quotations which were brought forward on the part of the Government last night were cases, not of actual crime and outrage, but of the intimidation which is alleged to prevail in many parts of Ireland, and of the tyranny under which a large portion of the Irish people are suffering, and of the abject terror which that tyranny has produced among them, and of the ruin and loss which that tyranny has carried with it. My right hon. Friend has not attempted to deny the allegations which are made on the 91 subject of that intimidation. He appears to think that there are no acts in support of this system which could not be made the subject of investigation before a legal tribunal. My right hon. Friend's Irish experience must have made him perfectly aware that the difficulty of proceeding before any legal tribunal in Ireland, even if composed of two Resident Magistrates only, is the difficulty of procuring evidence. He must be aware also that the more complete and the more fully established is the system of intimidation and tyranny, the more difficult is it to procure evidence of any kind before any tribunal for the purpose of establishing the complicity of the accused with any overt act. The right hon. Gentleman said that what the House required was a complete and sustained argument why the policy pursued by Lord Spencer and Lord Salisbury in 1885 should be discarded. My right hon. Friend said that Lord Spencer had always declined to proceed directly against the National League, that in 1885 Lord Salisbury had declined to ask Parliament for any exceptional powers, and he asked why that policy should have been discarded? It does not appear to me to require a sustained or lengthened argument in reply. I do not think that it is necessary for us at this time to enter into the question whether Lord Spencer and Lord Salisbury were at the time justified in the policy they then adopted. The question is whether that policy was a successful policy, and whether so successful that it ought to be implicitly followed by the present Government. My right hon. Friend has claimed credit for the policy of the Government of Lord (Spencer, and has urged that that policy was successful in reducing crime. I believe his contention on that point is perfectly true; but it is equally true that the Government of Lord Spencer did not succeed in putting a stop to intimidation practiced even then by the various branches of the National League. It is equally true that with the lapse of the provisions of the Crimes Act, and at the present moment that intimidation and tyranny are more rampant, more frequent, and more organized than at any previous period. It seems, therefore, to me that it requires something more than the authority of Lord Spencer and Lord Salisbury to convince the House that the policy which they adopted at a 92 former period, and under different circumstances is to be implicitly followed now. My right hon. Friend appears to think that any association ought to secure immunity if it has a political aim. I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend that in so far as the objects and action of any association are political, and only political, that action ought no to be interfered with. But if the action of any association, whether political on otherwise, becomes destructive of the liberty and freedom of the people of any country, if it becomes subversive of the principles of order and of good Government, then it seems to me that it does not matter whether the professed objects or even the real objects of that association are political or private, or are of whatever character you choose, so that the operations or actions of that association are hostile to the peace and good order of the country. In the few observations that I shall make to-night, I shall take it for granted as at all events decided by the present Parliament in the present Session that a good many points more or less have been discussed during these debates. If the debates of Parliament are to lead to any result whatever, if Parliamentary Government is to be continued in any shape, we must at some time or other arrive at a stage when, so far as Parliament, at all events, is concerned, some subjects must be taken to have been decided in debate— if debates are not to be interminable and there are not to be interminable Divisions —I shall take it for granted that the House has by its authority decided that in Ireland intimidation to a very great extent does prevail, that persons are prevented from fulfilling their legal obligations and from pursuing their lawful avocations, and that the chief agent in that system of intimidation has been, and is, the National League, and that it has been proved that the ordinary powers of the law are insufficient to repress that intimidation, and that it is necessary that the Government shall be armed with additional powers in order to deal with that intimidation, and to repress it. I shall also assume, that it has been decided that among these additional powers must be included the power to deal, not only with overt acts and actual offences, but also with the organization and mechanism of the association, which is assumed to be the 93 bottom and foundation of this intimidation. If we take this point to be decided by previous discussion in debate, the question which we have now to deal with, although a very important one, is not a very wide or complicated one. It seems to me to be simply this—whether this House will interpose its veto upon an Executive Act of the Government? It is not a question any longer of the Crimes Act, or of its necessity. That policy has already been decided by Parliament, and powers have been confided by Parliament to the Government which enable it to proclaim, and, if it thinks fit, to suppress, the National League, or any of its branches; and the question now is whether Parliament will, on the invitation of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), intervene with its veto to prevent the exercise by the Government of the powers which have been deliberately entrusted to it by Parliament. I must take exception to the argument of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian last night, when he asserted, at the very outset of his speech, that the provisions of the Act made Parliament a party, either active or passive, to the action of the Government in this matter. That, Sir, would in my opinion, have been the effect of the Amendment proposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. Henry H. Fowler), which required that the actual proclamation by the Government of the National League should be confirmed by Parliament. But that is not what the Act has provided. That is a proposition which was made in this House, and which was negatived; and it appears to me impossible to contend, as my right hon. Friend contends, that the effect of the provisions of the Act, as it stands, are identical in effect with that which would have been their effect if the Amendment which was rejected by the House had been accepted. I hold, therefore, that this is not a case in which Parliament is necessarily committed by the action of the Government to approval of their action. It was necessary for my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian to make this contention, and to urge his contention, because it was the only foundation upon which he could support the charge which he subsequently proceeded to make against the Government of with- 94 holding information which they ought to have placed upon the Table of the House; but I hold that it was not the duty of the Government to place on the Table of the House such information as my right hon. Friend desires. The Crimes Act, much as my right hon. Friend may dislike it, is now a part of the ordinary law of the land. I believe that statement cannot be controverted; and any action which is taken by the Government under that Act is an Executive act of the Government, taken on its own responsibility, and taken under the same circumstances, and under the same conditions, as any other Executive act which the Government may perform. Sir, it is not necessary, it is not customary, for the Government to produce evidence in support of every Executive action which they take on their own responsibility. It is for those who challenge the action of the Government in regard to the issue of the Proclamation to show cause why that action ought not to be taken; and it is for those who challenge the issue of this Proclamation to show why the terms of that Proclamation are in any respect incorrect, and to prove that the National League is not a dangerous association which interferes with the due administration of the law. If the Government had come to this House, and asked the sanction of the House to its proceedings, then I do not say that it would not have been their duty to lay on the Table of the House such information as has been asked for; but it does seem to me that if they had taken that course in the present instance, they would have been asking the House to give its sanction to this action, and that they would have been evading the responsibility which rests upon them, and can rest upon them only, and would have been asking the House to share with them the responsibility which, under the Act of Parliament, this House does not possess. Therefore, Sir, if any responsibility is going to be taken by this House in this matter, it seems to me it will be by the action of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian, and not by the action of the Government, that the House will have been invited to take a share in the responsibility. I do not know that I should have troubled the House with any observations upon this question had it not been for some ex- 95 tremely inaccurate and misleading statements which have been put forward with an air of some authority as to my own position and the position of some of my hon. Friends in this matter. It has been said that neither my hon. Friends nor myself have ever been consulted by the Government on this subject; that we have been taken by surprise; that when we learned the decision of the Government we addressed to them a strong remonstrance; and that I have subsequently expressed my opinion that the action of the Government is ill-advised, dangerous, and unnecessary. Now, Sir, it is perfectly true that upon other questions of policy —especially on questions of legislation and questions of the Business of this House—I have been, and my hon. Friends have been, from time to time consulted by Members of Her Majesty's Government, as, I believe, it is the practice of every Government to consult every section of the House by which they are supported. And it is also true that upon this question we have not, to my knowledge, been directly consulted by Her Majesty's Government. I was, however, perfectly aware that the question was under the consideration of the Government; and I have from time to time taken the opportunity of pointing out to Members of the Government what appeared to be some political and Parliamentary difficulties in the way of this procedure, and of indicating a preference which I believe my hon. Friends as well as myself would both entertain for procedure under other sections of the Act if, in the judgment of the Government, such procedure would be adequate and sufficient. It is absolutely untrue, however, that since the period of the Proclamation I have expressed to any person, or in any place, any opinion whatever as to its expediency. I believe that in this matter the Government have felt—and I have perfectly understood their position—that this is a question which differs very much in character from other questions of policy or of legislation upon which it was perfectly reasonable and perfectly natural that they should take into council any portion of the House on whose votes they rely for their continuance in Office. I understand the Government to have felt that this was not a question of policy alone, but that it was a question of the Executive duty of the Government, under that 96 Act of Parliament which has conferred upon them certain powers to be used upon their responsibility, and upon their responsibility alone. They felt that this was a matter upon which they were bound to act on their own judgment, and that that judgment could not and ought not to be influenced by the opinion on the wishes of any of their friends sitting in any part of the House. But, Sir, the agreement which I have expressed with the Government in that view of the case constitutes no reason, in my opinion, why my hon. Friends on this side of the House are bound to vote for the Resolution of my right hon. Friend. I hold that no vote of this House is required to enable the Government to act. I hold that no vote of this House can acquit the Government in advance for the responsibility and the consequences of their action if their action is wrong; and as I hold these opinions, I also hold that it would be in the highest degree inexpedient and unwise on the part of the House by a vote to discredit and damage in advance the authority of the Government, and to deprive them of that Executive discretion which it has been the intention of an Act of Parliament deliberately passed to give them. I think it would be unwise on the part of the House to prejudge this question. I believe that the Executive acts of the Government can only be judged after a sufficient lapse of their results, and I believe that the Government, for their action in this matter, as in alls other matters, must await the ordeal which, sooner or later, they must undergo for their action before the constituencies. I think it would be in the highest degree unwise on the part of this House, unless it entertained the strongest opinion—the strongest conviction—of the impolicy of the course on which we are entering, to interfere with the discretion of the Government before time has been given to the House to judge of its results and consequences. My right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian entertains, undoubtedly, a strong conviction of the impolicy of the course on which the Government are entering, and no one can therefore complain that he should challenge the opinion of the House. But, Sir, as I differ entirely from my right hon. Friend in regard to the policy itself, and as I entirely sympathize and agree 97 with the objects at which the Government are aiming, I can be no party to giving a Vote which shall dissent from the mode of operations which they have adopted, simply because I think it is possible that an alternative and another mode of operation might have been adopted. Sir, if I have any doubts upon the subject of this policy they are doubts which are inspired by very different considerations from those which appear to have influenced the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian. My right hon. Friend now thinks that the objects of the National League in Ireland are wholly to be approved; my right hon. Friend has said that the objects of the National League are not only of a laudable, but almost of a sacred character, while at the same time he has observed a larger discretion as to some of the methods employed by the National League. Now, Sir, I have the misfortune to differ from my right hon. Friend as to the objects pursued by the National League; I believe those objects to be, to a very great extent, aimed at spoliation and injustice, and as to the methods which are employed by the National League, I believe them to be mainly intimidation, defiance of the law, and the oppression of every one in Ireland who disagrees with them. As regards my opinion as to the methods of the National League, I am happy to think I am not very much in disagreement with my right hon. Friend himself. My right hon. Friend quoted two witnesses in favour of the National League. One was Sir Redvers Buller, whose evidence has been so often referred to that I will not trouble the House with it again. The other witness was my hon. Friend the Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell). What was the passage in the speech of the hon. Member for South Tyrone that my right hon. Friend thought fit to quote? It was—In Leinster, Munster, and Connaught outrage and intimidation had done their work, and there had been reductions for rent.Upon that my right hon. Friend said that the hon. Member had indicated three of the provinces of Ireland in which there had been reductions of rent, and it was only in those three provinces there had been "effective action by the League." Therefore, in the opinion of my right hon. Friend, the effective action of 98 the National League has been outrage and intimidation. [Cries of "No ! "] Well, Sir, if my right hon. Friend does not wish to indicate outrage and intimidation as the methods pursued by the National League, it appears to me that he has been somewhat unfortunate as to the witness he calls to speak to the merits of the National League. If I have any doubts as to the policy, I say they are not doubts inspired by the considerations which appear to have actuated my right hon. Friend; if I have any doubts they are simply as to the procedure which has been adopted by the Government. I do not know, I do not feel convinced that the time has jet come when it is necessary, or when it can be proved to the satisfaction of the majority of the people of this country to be necessary, for the Government to resort to the extreme power which has been conferred upon them. I do not know, I do not feel convinced that they will be supported by the people of this country in this as firmly and as certainly as they would have been had the failure of all other means of procedure already been proved. I should have preferred, if it had been possible, that the Government should have resorted to the provisions of the 2nd and 4th clauses, and that at any rate experience should have been gained as to the impossibility of acting under those clauses before the last resort had been been had recourse to. But, Sir, my doubts are doubts as to the procedure adopted by the Government, and the procedure only. With the aim, with the object which they have in view I heartily and entirely sympathize. As to the justice and legality of their procedure I do not entertain a doubt—I have never entertained a doubt—that they are perfectly justified by the facts which they have before them, and which in part they have produced in the course of this debate, to proclaim, and, if necessary, to proceed to the suppression of the National League or any branch of it. I am not going on this occasion to refer again to what has been so often discussed, to the proceedings or to the character of the National League, to its connections or to its alleged connection with crime, and to the nature of the oppression which it is said to exercise, or to the justification for its proceedings if justification can be offered. [...] 99 my case entirely upon facts which I believe cannot be disputed, and which I do not think are ever denied. They are facts which are not only not denied, but which are positively boasted of by Irish Members of Parliament. Whether for good or for evil, for the purpose of promoting justice or for defeating justice, whether by lawful or by criminal means, it cannot be denied that the League has acquired an ascendency in Ireland, incompatible with the existence and with the efficiency of the Government as established by law. I hold that there is neither in Ireland, nor in any other country any room for two Governments. I believe that the National League does act as a government, and that it has assumed many of the functions of government which are, in relation to the daily life of the vast majority of the people, the most important functions that can be assumed by any Government. It is oven boasted, not un-frequently, that the National League is in Ireland the more powerful of the two Governments. The other day the Lord Mayor of Dublin, at a meeting in that City, hurled defiance on the part of the National League government at the Government established by law. On the same occasion, the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) said that if any man should at that time back down and retire from the fight, he would denounce him from the public platform, and that the life of such a man would not be a pleasant one in Ireland. In other words, the hon. Member for East Mayo announced that he would make Ireland too hot a place for his political opponents.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I beg to say that I never said anything of the sort. What I said was this— if the noble Marquess will allow me to state it. I was referring to estates on which the Plan of Campaign was enforced, and I said that if any man played the coward on these estates in face of the Coercion Act, I would denounce him. I spoke of a traitor, and a coward turning his back on the course of the people after committing himself to it; but I never spoke about making Ireland too hot for him.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
The hon. Member said that if certain persons—I do not care who they were— if certain person backed down and retired from the fight he would denounce them, and that their lives in Ireland would 100 not be happy. My point is, that if the ascendency and the authority which the National League at present possesses are retained, it is in the power of the hon. Member for East Mayo to make good that threat, and I say that that is a power that no individual, that no league, that no association ought to possess. I say that it does amount to a declaration that he will make Ireland too hot for certain persons whether he classes them as his political opponents or not—that he will make Ireland an intolerable abode for those who come under his displeasure— I say that it is the business of the law and of the Queen's Government to make Ireland too hot for criminals, and for criminals alone, and that it ought not to be in the power of any individual, whatever his position may be in any country, to threaten with too much probability that he will be able to perform his threats, that he will make Ireland intolerable to any portion of Her Majesty's subjects. In my opinion, I say there is not room in Ireland for these two Governments. If we think the government of the National League is a better, a more just, and a more expedient government for Ireland than the Government by law established, let us put this government in power, and confer upon it the responsibility that ought to go with power. But that we or, at all events, the majority of this House have not arrived at that conclusion hon. Members will not dispute. Let us not permit any body or association, however organized, however designated, whatever its objects may be, to usurp any of the functions which ought to belong only to the Government that is established by law. For these reasons I shall vote against the Resolution which has been proposed by my right hon. Friend. I do so, because I believe that my right hon. Friend is asking the House to interfere unnecessarily and prematurely with the Executive action of the Government, and with the powers which Parliament has deliberately conferred upon, and which Parliament must have intended them to use on their responsibility. I believe that if we agree to the Resolution moved by my right hon. Friend we shall be depriving them of that authority, and of those powers which Parliament intended them to use, and which, if they are deprived of them, they can no longer be 101 held responsible for the peace, good order, and good government of Ireland.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Derby)
We have listened to a speech, I think, the most important, and I may also be allowed to say the most extraordinary, and which is likely to bear the most pregnant fruits in the future history of this country and of Ireland. There can be no doubt—and we all recognize it— that my noble Friend occupies a position of (he greatest responsibility in this House, and, by the great and deserving influence that he exercises, a position of the highest responsibility in the country. It is known over England that the step we are taking to-night, for good or for evil, is full of fate for the history of Ireland and of this country. And what is the advice which my noble Friend gives to the United Kingdom upon the decision that is before us to-night? Sir, he endeavours to show that he is not responsible. He was not consulted; but he has indicated, so far as he communicated his opinion, that he thought it was an unwise proceeding. That is his judgment—his calm and deliberate judgment; and there is no man whose deliberate judgment is more respected by this House and by the country than is that of my noble Friend. He says that this House is not responsible. That must be a great comfort to the House; it is a comforting doctrine, considering the views he entertains of this matter and of the course the Government have pursued. It would be a great consolation to me if I thought this House was not responsible. Sir, my noble Friend has only said in more diplomatic phrase what was said by another of the "responsible" politicians last Saturday on this subject. He said—You are probably aware—it is an open secret—that the Liberal Unionist Leaders made strong representations to the Government in this sense.In what sense? In the sense of the opinion that my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) had expressed—namely,I am afraid that the course the Government has pursued is one which will land them in the greatest difficulty, and oven danger.That is the opinion which was conveyed to the Government by the Leaders of the Liberal Unionist Party, and they have disregarded that advice. Well, I do not blame the Government for disregarding 102 that advice, because when they get advisers who will always vote with them, whether they take their advice or not, they are quite right to treat that advice with the respect it deserves. The Liberal Unionists are a small Party; but they are an illustration of a law of nature which shows the infinite desirability of matter, and to-night I believe they will be resolved into their original atoms; some of the atoms will vote with the Government, the other atoms will vote for the Resolution of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian. Such is the Unionist Party. Well, my noble Friend says he is not going, by his vote to-night, to approve of the course of the Government. He says he would not prejudge. That is not what you call very warm sympathy; that is not very cordial support to people who are entering upon such a struggle as the Government are now about to enter upon. The noble Lord will not interfere with their discretion—he has told us he does not think they are discreet—but he will not interfere with their discretion. Well, I wish I could embrace his opinion that the House is not responsible; I should be very glad to think that the Government had the whole responsibility, and if we could take the view that we could judge them after the event. But I do not think that my noble Friend has studied with his usual care the Statute upon which this proceeding arises. He says, and says truly, that the acts of the Executive Government are not necessarily or naturally brought before Parliament; that they do not lead to the tribunal of Parliament, although they are subject to be challenged by it. That is a perfectly sound doctrine, which I absolutely accept; but is that the situation in which the Statute has placed us? The 4th sub-section says this—"Suppose Parliament were not sitting; in the case of any ordinary act of the Executive Government, that act would take effect and would operate, whether Parliament were sitting or not." In this case, with this Proclamation, what does the Act say?Whenever any special proclamation is issued under this Act, if Parliament be then separated by such adjournment or prorogation as will not expire within twenty days, such special proclamation shall be deemed to have expired at the end of a week from the date thereof, unless Parliament be summoned within twenty days from the date of the summons.This act of the Executive Government 103 actually perishes unless Parliament is summoned. What for? To say aye or no to it. Well, that disposes of the whole argument of my noble Friend, and it disposes of the argument insisted upon by the Attorney General. The Statute says if Parliament is not sitting your Proclamation shall expire unless Parliament is called together to pronounce judgment upon it. This is the true position. I need say no more therefore upon that play upon the word "concurrent," upon which the Attorney General spoke at such considerable length. It is quite sufficient for me to say that the Statute makes Parliament a necessary party to the Act of the Government. If it were not so, what a false pretence would have been all your allegations that the supervision of Parliament is a safeguard. What safeguard is it, unless you introduce Parliament in a different way from an ordinary Executive Act? I mentioned the speech of the Attorney General. I may dispose, in a single sentence, of another very long and emphatic part of it—his allusions and quotations from the speeches of my right hon. Friend the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan). Well, those quotations seem to me uncommonly irrelevant, and I will ask the Attorney General why—because, except the first, not one of them had the smallest reference to the National League.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Well, I differ from the Attorney General, and I may say not one of them. Those speeches that were made at Hawick last year were speeches—I say it, speaking in the presence of my right hon. Friend —directed to a totally different thing— that is, to those objections which he entertained to the proposals in the plan of Home Rule to transfer the administration of justice to an Irish Parliament. That is an absolutely and totally different thing, and the whole of that which the Attorney General—with his professional skill, for which he is so well known—tried to establish entirely fails. Then the Attorney General was bringing forward these charges as proofs against my right hon. Friend. I said to an hon. Member sitting near me— "The man has got no evidence, and that is why he produces all those quotations, 104 which apply to a totally and entirely different set of considerations." I want to join issue with my noble Friend, and I differ from him altogether that we are responsible in this matter, and have given a verdict upon it. I want to ask the House what are the charges brought by the Government against the National League for which they have proclaimed it? Now, before I come to what the charge is, it is very important to observe what the charges are not. There are several counts in the indictment of the 6th clause upon which the Government have entered a verdict of "Not Guilty" against the League. Let it be known to the House, and let it be known to the country, that you have not dared to say, you have not dared to allege, you have not dared to proclaim the League as an association formed for the commission of crime; you have not dared to affirm that it carries on operations for or by the commission of crime. You have not dared to affirm that it encourages or aids persons in the commission of crime; and if, after that, you ever, here or "elsewhere," dare to bring forward allegations of that kind, you will be confronted by the statement that the responsible Government of the Queen, when proclaiming the League, did not dare to make such a charge. Those are the charges upon which a verdict of "Not Guilty" is entered on behalf of the League in the presence of the country. Well, then, what is the count upon which you demand, at the hands of this House, a conviction against the League? It is that it promotes or incites to acts of violence and intimidation, and an interference with the ordinary course of the law.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Then you have also acquitted the League of any charge of disturbing the maintenance of law and order. If you could have charged them, and if you could have proved it, you are doubly responsible; but under the circumstances you have not dared to do it. That being the charge, I will ask leave of the House to examine first the character of the charge, and then the nature of the evidence by which it is supported. Let me say, in the first place, that in order to understand the charge, that the real charge is intimidation, because, what- 105 ever may have been put in the Proclamation, there has been little or no attempt to prove that at present, at least, any acts of violence are done. The proof on that point is really insignificant. Of course, the gist of your charge is that the League is an instrument of and incites to intimidation. Now, in order to understand the character of the charge, let me first ask what the League may lawfully do. It may enter into a combination to prevent the exaction of unfair and exorbitant rents; so long as that is a voluntary combination, so long as no threats of intimidation are employed to compel people to enter into it, every tenant in Ireland is entitled to enter into a combination for the purpose of resisting unfair and exorbitant rent. I state that in the presence of lawyers on the Bench opposite, and I defy them to contradict it. It is said sometimes by people ignorant of the law that it is an offence to combine to break a contract. I say it is no offence —I say that a man who does it is subject only to the civil consequences of his conduct, and that no criminal consequences can or ought to arise from it. Then you may have a combination for that purpose, even although it involves the breaking of a contract; and you may refuse to enter into any contract, or to have any dealing in respect of land or anything else; you may have a combination that shall include every tenant in Ireland, the object of which shall be to refuse to occupy any land whatever, except upon terms which they deem to be fair. That is also a proposition which cannot be contradicted. They may enter into a combination in order that there shall be no occupation of any evicted farm where the man has been evicted, in their opinion, under unfair circumstances. Well, if a combination of that kind is sufficiently extensive, it must prevail. It was said the other night by the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) that combinations are unlawful if they constrain a man to do what he does not wish, or. to abstain from doing what he does wish to do. Now, I gave the Attorney General an instance where that proposition cannot be maintained. What is a strike? It is a combination to compel an employer to do what he does not like at all—that is, to pay higher wages. [A laugh.] I see the hon. and learned 106 Attorney General laughs; but it was the doctrine of the Judges that it ought to be put down, because it did so compel a man, and they formed their judgment upon that very ground. Therefore, it is not true to say that to enter into a combination to make a man do, under these circumstances, that which he does not like—to lower rent, for instance, or to let land under fair conditions—is not a perfectly legitimate combination for such purposes. So far, then, as the League is an agrarian combination, and so long as it will pursue those objects, it is not only a legitimate organization, but it is, in my opinion, an organization which deserves and commands the sympathy of the English people. You have had it proved that the rents in Ireland are unjust and unfair. [Cries of "No !"] You have refused by law to give an adequate redress for that wrong and injustice. If you doubt that, ask the hon. Member for South Tyrone. What with the Amendments of my noble Friend, which he withdrew and voted against, what with the Amendments which the Government introduced in the House of Lords in order to destroy the favours they pretended to have given, the Land Bill has become, I believe, absolutely worthless. I do not go quite so far as the hon. Member for South Tyrone and say that it is mischievous, and would increase rather than lower rents. But in the state of circumstances there is no hope, no redress for the Irish tenants, except in that legitimate combination by which they will obtain for themselves that which the law has refused to give them. Well, Sir, I hope that that combination will be lawfully conducted. I hope it will be extensive; I wish it might be universal, because then there would be no doubt whatever as to its peaceful success; and all I can say is this—after the sentiments that we have heard I should think the proper person to be president of the Tenants' Union in Ireland would be the hon. Member for South Tyrone. But then you say that if these objects are legitimate, as unquestionably they are, they have been pursued by the League by unlawful methods; and that, I take it, is the point principally at issue tonight. It has been said that the League has extensively used intimidation. If so, I am not here to defend, extenuate, 107 or apologize for it in any way. I stated on the second reading of the Crimes Bill —and I would call my noble Friend's attention to it—that if the Bill had been a Bill with. Intimidation Clauses, I would have supported it. That is no new declaration. That was the course which we took when our Government came to an end in 1885. My right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian has, on previous occasions, stated that we had proposed to have clauses with reference to special juries, and a clause against intimidation. [" No ! "] Who says "No?" The Gentleman who says "No" cannot know. Even my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham reluctantly assented to that proposal. We were turned out of Office; Lord Salisbury came into Office; and then the Attorney General, turning with ferocity upon my right hon. Friend the Member for the Bridgeton Division, says—" You ought to have proclaimed the League." Well, you turned my right hon. Friend out of Office; you came into Office yourselves. Did you proclaim the League? It is a little too much that you should put up the Attorney General to make a charge against my right hon. Friend for knowing all these abominable things and not having proclaimed the League. You yourselves, knowing it all and holding personal communications with the leaders of the League, Lord Carnarvon, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, was closeted with the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell). You determined not to proclaim the League. Why did you determine not to proclaim it? Was there no Boycotting then? Everyone knows that Boycotting in Ireland was as bad, if not worse, in 1885 than it is now. Lord Spencer's opinion is that Boycotting was worse in 1885, and you come deliberately to the opinion that you would not proclaim the League. You would not even have a clause against intimidation. You say that was not necessary at all; and, having tried the experiment for several months, all the Members of your Cabinet went up and down the country at the General Election saying that the experiment had been splendidly successful, and that it was quite right not to proclaim the League and not to have a clause against intimidation. That disposes of all the rhetoric of the Attorney General. To quoque is the most barren and irra- 108 tional of arguments. We never hear any other agument used. It is the great staple of your rhetoric. The whole speech of the Attorney General, what was it but a tu quoque to my right hon. Friend and the Government of 1885? If we care to use tu quoque arguments, when you ask us, "Why did we not do it in 1882?" we might ask you with equal pertinence, "Why did you not do it in 1885?" But I pass that by. You have got an Intimidation Clause in this Bill. Why have you not used it? You were advised by your Friends the Liberal Unionist Leaders that you had better use that clause and not proclaim the League. Why have you not done it? The reason why you have not taken that which the Liberal Unionist Leaders told you was the wise and prudent course is the test of your real object and intention in this proceeding. If you had decided to take that course it would have been necessary for you to have proved intimidation to exist. You would have had to satisfy somebody else besides Lord Londonderry. You would have had to satisfy two Resident Magistrates. Well, that is not much. But you would have done a much more important thing- by the evidence which you would have produced; you would have satisfied the English nation. You would have been bound to bring forward some evidence that intimidation existed, and as you distrusted your resources, you determined to take a course which would not make it necessary for you to prove intimidation; and that is the reason why you disregarded the advice of your Friends. You wished to strike not only against the men guilty of intimidation—you know that handful of comparatively insignificant men—the men you wanted to strike at, and the men you can strike at under this clause, are not the intimidators, but the men who restrain intimidation. [A laugh.] The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary laughs, but he knows so little about Ireland. He did not even think it necessary to listen—he seldom does when Irish Business is going on—but having brought these charges against the National League he lounged out of the House during a great part of the answer given to them by the secretary of the League.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not say he was here during the whole of the speech. I know that during the most important part of the speech, in which the hon. Member proved to demonstration that one of the most important allegations which the right hon. Gentleman made was entirely unfounded in fact or in truth, I looked for the right hon. Gentleman, and I could not find him.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I cannot give the name; I will come to it presently. I say that what you desire to strike at are not the intimidators; you want to strike at the League, because it is a combination which is inconvenient to you, which is adverse to your political opinions, and which is adverse to the pecuniary interests of the class to which you are allied. That is why you are not satisfied to use the Intimidation Clauses, that is why you want to strike at your political enemies and to lay them at the feet of the landlords of Ireland. But then a plea has boon set up in mitigation in various quarters; but by the Government it is said—" We do not mean to proclaim the whole League, but only parts of it which misconduct themselves." I have not heard the Government say that; but if it is their intention, can there be anything more monstrous than to declare, in the name of the Queen, that an entire association is dangerous, and yet to leave the greater part of that dangerous association to do its work, and only interfere with a part of it? It is a proposition so absurd that it is hardly worth referring to. You have taken a course which dispenses you from giving evidence of intimidation, which enables you to act, not only against the men who are guilty of intimidation, if there be such, but against everyone who is connected with the League—not merely against people who are members, but people who in any way attend the meetings of the League can be sent to prison, and even against the newspaper which publishes a notice connected with the League. Ah ! Sir, it is the newspapers, too, that the Government want to get at. It is a little characteristic of this policy that the first man you have struck at is an Irish Member, and the editor of an 110 Irish newspaper. That is the character of the policy of the Government, and an illustration of the manner in which they intend to pursue it Now, then, what do you mean by intimidation? Let us come to closer quarters with that word than has been attempted, very prudently, by the Attorney General, or in that admirable and interesting speech of the Solicitor General for Scotland, whom we all welcome as an ornament to this House. It is not to intimidate to employ any means whatever to induce people to join a combination, unless it is accompanied by violence or threats of violence. That would not be disputed. Therefore, to use all sorts of means—it may be by persuasion or by other means —I see the Lord Advocate is waiting for the definition—by all other means which do not involve violence or threats of violence, is not intimidation. [" No, no!"] Then I should be glad to hear the Lord Advocate's own definition. You may, if you like, publish the names of the people who join you, and you may, if you like—though I am glad to hear the League has prohibited it— publish the names of the people who do not join it. I think that disposes of that newspaper rubbish which has been so much insisted upon by the Attorney General. [A laugh.] Yes; but you were not present to hear the answer given by the secretary of the League to the charge. The hon. Member challenges the Chief Secretary to show a single case where the throat to publish the names had been carried out, and he stated—and you cannot dispute that statement—-that wherever those notices that the branches intended to do it were published, the League stopped its being done. Answer that, if you can? But it really was an extra precaution on the part of the League, for I know nothing whatever that should prevent any association from publishing the names of its members, and from declaring, if it pleases, the names of the people who do not join it. It is not intimidation to shun people; it is not intimidation to refuse to deal with people; it is not intimidation not to have communication with people. Those are means which may not commend themselves to our good taste; but they are not illegal. But the hon. Member for South Tyrone referred to a sentence in which the hon. Member for 111 Cork (Mr. Parnell) spoke of moral leprosy. He said that the League endeavoured to attach to people a moral leprosy. I suppose by that moral taint it is wished to be inferred that they ought to be shunned. You think that a wrong thing to attach, this taint of moral leprosy. Why, who has been labouring week after week, and month after month, to attach this taint of moral leprosy to the Representatives of almost the whole of Ireland? It has been The Times newspaper, the great denouncer of Boycotting. It has held up a whole clas3 of Members in this House—the Representatives of the Irish nation—as men so execrable in their character that every man out to shun them, and that it would be a disgrace for anyone, publicly or privately, to associate with them in any way. And who has been the aiders and abetters in that work? The persons on that Bench. The ringleader in that transaction has been the Leader of this House. And then you talk of moral leprosy; why a greater collection of right hon. Boycotters was never presented before. The Solicitor General for Scotland, in a pleasant and humorous way, spoke of the Sunday service of the League and of its commination. But those Boycotters on that Bench do not confine themselves to the Sabbath. They are at it every day of the week. It is their matins and their evensong. It is their creed and their decalogue; and they wish to hunt out of political life— out of all associations in politics—the people who represents nine-tenths of the Irish nation. The only difference between their attempt at Boycotting and the attempt which you charge upon the League is, that the League, according to you, has succeeded, and you, as everybody knows, have shamefully failed. But if the League has succeeded, it is, I suppose, because they have the sanction of the public opinion of their own country, and you have no sanction. The people of this country have been revolted and disgusted by your attempt to Boycott the Irish Members. Oh, yes; among the English constituencies the Irish Members have well avenged themselves. Having said this much upon the nature of intimidation, I shall say something about the evidence you have endeavoured to produce. Well, Sir, I should have thought that the Attorney General would have known that the 112 meanest of criminals is entitled to see the depositions before he is convicted. I am quite sure that, acting in his professional capacity, he would have been ashamed to have taken the course which he has taken to-night against the National League. I think the country will appreciate the unfairness of your conduct and its object. The only specific evils, as far as I remember them, that have been alleged by you—even in the short time that there has been to examine into this matter—have been specifically disproved. I do not blame the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland. I am sure he is quite incapable of producing that which he did not believe to be true; but, as I have said before, he is really so innocent of Ireland that anybody can impose upon him. He has been placed in the ridiculous position of bringing a grave indictment against the National League, and the whole or the greater part of his charge has turned out to be of the nature of a cock and bull story. I never heard, after 24 hours' notice, a case for the prosecution so blown out of the water as this was by the hon. Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin (Mr. T. C. Harrington). I listened not only with pleasure, but instruction, to the speech of the Solicitor General for Scotland. I have no practical acquaintance with the Criminal Law of Scotland, and I was glad to receive from him a lesson in it. I have come to the conclusion that the main instruments for the conviction of a man in Scotland are, first of all, notoriety. That was the principal element of the evidence adduced by the Solicitor General for Scotland. On being called upon—I believe the proper word is "condescend"—he stood at the Table and read out the evidence, upon which he claimed a public conviction by the High Court of Parliament, from a Party pamphlet produced in the mint of the prosecution. I recognized its outside. I do not think he was in the House at the time the right hon. Gentleman opposite once fell into the same error of reading from a publication. I think it is called the Loyal and Patriotic Union, or something of that kind, conducted, I believe, by the Under Secretary for Ireland.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. J. P. B. ROBERTSON) (Bute)
If the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to say it, I would mention. 113 that I gave, as I stated at the time, the source from which I made each quotation—namely, newspapers in Ireland, and I mentioned the date of the publication and also the date of the meeting, and also the name of the branch of the League to which the publication referred.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
He mentioned it late on Thursday evening. He has not denied the Loyal and Patriotic Union Pamphlet. He has not denied the Under Secretary for Ireland or Colonel O'Callaghan. But then he says —" Oh, I mentioned the newspapers," and he says I am bound to know all in these newspapers. He reads them, and then he affects me with notice of the contents of The Skibbereen Eagle. He says that if I do not constantly read The Skibbereen Eagle and make myself aware of its contents I have not performed my duty; and that I ought to have known it. And then, with a want of caution which I should not have expected from the learned Gentleman, he takes it upon himself to state that all these newspapers are subsidized by the League, and he has been contradicted as to every one of them by the secretary to the League. A more unfortunate case, skilfully conducted, no doubt, as every case is conducted by the Attorney General, a more miserable and rotten case, I do not think I ever heard submitted to Parliament. Well, now, about this newspaper evidence. I do not read a great many newspapers, but when I do I see a great many things in them which I think very foolish, and some things which I think very mischievous; but that is not peculiar to The Skibbereen Eagle. Talking on the subject of intimidation and inciting to violence and crime, I read a passage the day before yesterday in a newspaper published in London. It referred to a very serious matter indeed, the unfortunate struggle that has just occurred between the British and Belgian fishermen at Ostend, and the article concludes thus —Fishermen, to whatever country they belong, are roughened by their perpetual strife against the elements, and they are not a class to bear a long series of wrongs with undisturbed philosophy. If higher powers do not intervene the risk will become considerable that the men may sooner or later take the settlement of the dispute into their own hands.[Admiral FIELD: Hear, hear !] The gallant Admiral ought to hoist The 114 Skibbereen Eagle, which might lead to hostilities on the fishing grounds. Now mark this sentence —If this were to occur it is more than likely that the Belgians would be taught a severe though a useful lesson.That is the doctrine, not of The Skibbereen Eagle, but of The Times newspaper. In a contest not between the Belgian and English fishermen, but between the Irish landlords and their tenants, if such language as that were used, why the editor of The Times would be to-night on a plank bed, and he might receive what might be called in his own words, "a severe though a useful lesson." I think that is quite enough to say about this thrashy penny-a-lining evidence, which is one of the main columns of the Government case. But then they have what they call their official evidence, and here a practice has been introduced, absolutely new to me, of Ministers of the Crown reading from documents which they refuse to produce upon the ground that such documents are confidential. Now, the practice with which I have been familar is that if documents are confidential and cannot be produced they cannot be read from. I will give one example, because I am familiar with it. It has been ruled over and over again that the opinions of the Law Officers of the Crown cannot be cited in this House, because they are confidential, and because they are confidential they cannot be quoted from. You have changed all that, and you cite official documents and you read just as much or just as little of them as you please. I will give you an illustration of the danger of a practice of that kind. Supposing the evidence of Sir Redvers Buller, instead of being published in the evidence of the Royal Commission, had been an official Report to the Government; supposing they had read extracts from it, and supposing by the merest accident they had left out the phrase about the League being regarded as the salvation of the Irish people—the House will see the danger there is in the practice which has been pursued with reference to these documents. I say with regard to such evidence as you have produced, you have acted most unfairly, not to the League only, but to the House of Commons, in reserving your evidence, in producing it in a 115 manner, and at a time when it was impossible to test either its authenticity or its weight; but as far as it can be tested it appears to be worthless. It has broken down in its most important particulars, and yet such evidence as this, evidence which would not be taken to condemn the meanest offender, you employ, and I say it is scandalous to employ it, to blast the reputation and suspend the liberties practically of a whole people. You think you are going to get rid of this by saying—"Oh, you suspended the Habeas Corpus Act in 1881." Well, it is true we suspended the Habeas Corpus Act in 1881—my right hon. Friend the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow has referred to that circumstance—but what was the result of that suspension, and what was the experience of it? It was a most disastrous and calamitous failure, and I believe that Mr. Forster himself recognized that that was the fact. The reason why it was abandoned—why there was a Motion against it from your own Benches, by Sir John Dalrymple Hay—was that it was condemned by universal consent, and it is that very example which you know disastrously failed, which you know increased crime in Ireland, which you have taken as the model of your present legislation. Because what my right hon. Friend has said is perfectly true—that this practically amounts to a suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. The office of the magistrate in this matter is simply to ascertain whether this man belonged to the League or not, and then it is his duty to send the man to prison. Why was that Act abandoned in 1882? Because English opinion would not tolerate men being shut up without trial. Will they tolerate your proceeding now? Do not ask it of me. Why, your supporter the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) has said that the doubt he expressed was whether the English people would support this policy of yours. And as you had to abandon the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act in 1882, so you will have to abandon the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, or what is equivalent to it now. The whole difference between the Crimes Act of 1882 and the Act of 1881 was this, that under the Act of 1882 there was judicial inquiry into the alleged intimidation, and the people of this country were pre- 116 pared to support sentences which were founded upon judicial inquiry, and they would not support imprisonment which was founded only on the discretion of the Executive. You are entering upon this task. The boastful and braggadocio tone in which the Attorney General concluded his speech is not a good omen; it did not display the spirit which assures victory. You have got your Bill and you will have your Proclamation, and then you will have to act upon it. You have been invited—that is rather too weak a word—you have been hounded on by the noble Lord the Member for the Tavistock Division (Viscount Ebrington) to do your worst, and, if possible, worse still. I am sorry that that speech did not come from the other side of the House. I could wish that language of that kind, as addressed to the people of Ireland, should rather come from the other side of the House, to which sentiments of that kind more properly belong. The noble Lord need not distress himself; I do not think that he need fear that the Chief Secretary for Ireland will be half-hearted. I think everything we have heard and seen of him tends to the belief that he will strike and spare not. That shows the spirit by which the Tory Party is animated. The landlord party think they have got their heel upon the tenants of Ireland, and they insist upon the Government using it. If he should happen for a moment to slumber there is always the Under Secretary for Ireland to keep him up to the mark. Therefore, I do not think the noble Lord the Member for Tavistock need fear at all. The Irish Government have got their mandate; they are the agents under that mandate for the Orange landlords of Ireland; and you may see in the exultant countenance of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) that at last his game is going to be played. But I do not believe you have measured the nature or the extent of the task you have undertaken. In my opinion, in spite of the Attorney General, the National League represents the people of Ireland socially to the same extent that the Nationalist Members represent the people of Ireland—that is to say, the National League represents the social wishes and wants of the great majority of the people of Ireland. You are going, if you can, to strangle the League. I doubt whether 117 yon will succeed. But whether you succeed or not, do you think you will destroy the society, its sympathies, or its wants from which that League has arisen? The hon. Member for South Tyrone, who is also going to divide with you to-night, has described your policy. He has called it "A switchback railway, which is driving Heaven knows whore." The hon. Member is always graphic in his descriptions, and from his description this Proclamation may be known as the "Switchback Railway," a railway going Heaven knows where— with the noble Lord the Member for Tavistock as stoker, and the hon. Member for Tyrone sitting on the safety-valve. No wonder, in these circumstances, that the hon. Member for Tyrone sees nothing but clouds and darkness before him. He said the Chief Secretary might want these powers, and more. Oh, yes; before long he will want more. It is the nature of this policy, as it is that of strong drink, that the more you take the more you want. You are only at the beginning of this work. This is the inauguration of the 20 years of resolute Government; yet I doubt whether you will see 20 months of this resolute Government with your irresolute allies. You are entering upon this struggle with the great majority of the Irish nation against you; that has been known before. But you are entering upon this struggle under conditions which have not been known before; you are entering upon it with the determined opposition of a great English Party, largely supported by the English nation. This is a condition under which no Coercion Bill has ever been worked, and under which every Coercion Bill must necessarily fail. In Ireland you have the Castle, I think the worst system of administration that exists in any country in Europe; and I think, under the present Administration, it is the worst form it has ever assumed. It will be our business in this struggle, whether it be protracted or short and decisive, to focus upon your action the attention of the English people. We will let them see and understand everything you do, and everything you attempt to do in the administration of this Proclamation. We will treat it as you have seen under a microscope sometimes some foul drop of water magnified. [Cheers from the Ministerial Benches.] 118 Yes; it is a very good thing to magnify and make visible these slimy creatures with which you have to deal, and to deter men from swallowing unawares the contaminated draught. And that, Sir, will be our task. We hope to teach the English and the Irish people to partake of purer fountains. We shall offer them the waters of conciliation instead of your sewage of coercion. This will be a memorable Division in its results. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham. Your policy is full of the gravest difficulties and dangers. It will be, in my opinion, the death-blow—the final death-blow of a policy of coercion; and out of the ashes of that coercion we shall see a brighter and a better birth when the public opinion of a free country will sweep away your Administration and your policy too.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
Mr. Speaker, the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down opportunely reminds us that he once held a great position at the Bar. He has filled two high positions in the course of his remarkable career. He has held the Office of Home Secretary to the Queen in Her Majesty's Government. He has not only held that Office, but he has also held a distinguished position at the Bar. He had to choose this evening of which part he would be reminded — whether he would, in the position of an ex-Home Secretary remember the great responsibility which rests on the man who once held that Office, or whether he would hold a brief for the National League. We have seen the choice which he has made at a moment which he himself describes as momentous in the history of the country. He has told us of the gravity of our task. We are not unaware, we are not unconcious of the great responsibility that is placed upon us, and we know how the responsibility is increased, and how the difficulties of our task are increased by the fact that those who themselves have held high office in the State, notwithstanding the manner in which they, in similar circumstances, were supported by the Opposition, intend to conduct themselves in the present crisis, as announced by the right hon. Gentleman this evening. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that our actions 119 are to be submitted to a magnifying glass.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Yes; and our actions are to be submitted to a magnifying glass in the hands of this superb champion of exaggeration. I have no doubt that he will succeed in his exaggeration, and I call the attention of the public to the fact that he has already announced that he intends to magnify the action of the Executive Government. The right hon. Gentleman has taken the same course as that taken by my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian in pretending to complain that there was no information before the House to justify the Proclamation which has been issued, and I think it was my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian who said that the House was asked to vote for the Proclamation completely blindfold. But if they are blindfold it is because they have placed a bandage over their own eyes. To anyone who can read, the history of the National League has been clear enough, and there have been sufficient sources of information to enlighten my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian and his Friends. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby speaks of our having rested our case upon the evidence of penny-a-liners. Why, these penny-a-liners are the writers in the National Press which is so largely represented in this House. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby is speaking of members of a most respected profession who are enlightening their own countrymen, and, I hope, the English public, with regard to the doings of the National League. Penny-a-liners ! One would have thought the right hon. Gentleman was speaking of leading articles and vivid descriptions. But what is placed before the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends? They call them advertisements; but of what are they advertisements? They are the official statements of the doings of the branches of League. Do you reject that evidence? Do right hon. Gentlemen opposite think that these advertisements, as they call 120 them, but which are not put in as advertisements—
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
That was the statement of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. The Chief Secretary never allowed us to see them.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Never allowed him to see what? Irish newspapers? The right hon. Gentleman told us the other evening, in a most naive remark, that he was extremely ignorant when he passed the legislation of 1881. I thought he had learnt wisdom since then—that he had applied himself to the study of the Irish Question. It is all very fine for the right hon. Gentleman to mock at The Skibbereen Eagle and the enthusiastic cheers of hon. Members below the Gangway, but he says now that he has had no access to the Irish National Press that has published the doings of the League. Does he wish to remain ignorant? There is no other place to study the doings of the League like that Press which is conducted under the auspices and talents of hon. Members below the Gangway. They write in a portion of these newspapers, and I think that the right hon. Gentleman was ill-advised when he discarded that Press as if it was unworthy of his sublime notice. They are the chronicles of the doings of the National League and the authorized exponents of its policy. These newspapers contain evidence that ought to be circulated in every constituency in England, and then the constituencies will be able to judge better of the doings of the National League on behalf of which the ex-Home Secretary holds a brief to-night. Now, I wonder to what extent the ignorance of right hon. Gentlemen opposite is pushed with regard to what is written and said in Ireland? I would wish to establish this proposition, and I call the particular attention of the House to the point. I think it was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby himself who said that the National League is an apostolic successor of the Land League. Remember the connection; it is extremely important, because if that is so, I think the language addressed by right hon. Gentlemen opposite to the 121 Land League will now, according to their own contention, be applicable to the National League. The Secretary of the National League spoke to-night of the calumnies used against the League, but the worst things that have been said in the course of this debate with regard to the National League have been quotations from right hon. Gentlemen opposite with regard to that League of which the present is the apostolic successor. So that if hard things have been said with regard to the League— and they have been said, and in the judgment of many ought to be said— these calumnies, if they are calumnies, do not lie at the door of the present Administration, nor at the door of hon. Members on this side of the House, but they express the full conviction of right hon. Gentlemen opposite when they were sitting on those Benches—the full conviction which they held a very few years ago, and some of them a very few months ago. Now, is there any person in this House who will deny the connection between the Land League and the National League? You will see that I insist upon this point in regard to the character of both Leagues. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby probably does not read The Kerry Sentinel.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I do not know whether it is written by penny-a-liners; but I believe it is the property of an hon. Member of this House. Here is a passage, to which I will call special attention—The usual meeting of the Tralee branch of the National League was held on Sunday, the 17th of July, Mr. T. Harrington, M. P., presiding. On taking the chair Mr. Harrington, who was greeted with cheers, tendered his best thanks to those present for the favour conferred upon him. He took the chair with very great pleasure, because it was not often that he had an opportunity of attending a meeting in Kerry and of taking part in the struggle with the men who took part with him in the struggle in the Land League agitation in its earliest stages.[Mr. T. C. HARRINGTON: Hear, hear!] I am glad that hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite acknowledge that they are glad to meet their old associates of the Land League. Their cheers are natural; and I shall ask presently my right hon. Friend whether his cheers are quite justifiable under the circum- 122 stances? Mr. Harrington, continuing, said—He was very glad to have this opportunity of again seeing old faces, he might say, round that table carrying on the same struggle"—you accept that—which they initiated there some five or six years ago in conjunction with the Land League organization.Well, the hon. Member was glad to see old faces. Some faces were probably missing at that gathering. Sheridan was not there.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
I am perfectly sure the right hon. Gentleman must know that he is making a misstatement. Sheridan had nothing to do with Kerry, and did not belong to Kerry. As a matter of fact, I never met Sheridan in the whole course of my life, and I never exchanged a word with him. If I had come across him, I might have exchanged a word with him in the same way as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Under Secretary for Ireland has done.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
The hon. Gentleman was glad to see old faces of the Land League, and it is rather hard upon Sheridan that he should not be included. What does that interruption mean? We wish to know whether, if the old faces, the Sheridans, the Egans, the Brennans, had been present—[Cries of "And the King-Harmans!"] I call the attention of the House to that interruption. That is the only answer they can give to the point I am making against them. They have not now among them those notorious gentlemen who have transferred themselves to other climates under the terrorism of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian at the time when that germ of Home Rule of which he has given us the history had not yet developed into a large tree. Now, I wish to connect the Land League with the National League; and the House will see that it is accepted not only with acquiescence, but with enthusiasm, by hon. Members below the Gangway. If there was any doubt upon the point, there is the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), who, in his speech at the Rotunda the other evening, said they would pursue the same intimidation— the same class of intimidation—as had been pursued by the Land League in old days.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I never said anything of the sort; and I will not allow any right hon. Member to put in my mouth language I did not use. What I said was this—If what I call organized public opinion be described as intimidation, we shall pursue that class of intimidation to the end.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
According to The Freeman's Journal, these were the words of the hon. Gentleman—I want to say boldly that so far as I go I intend to practice the same form of intimidation in spite of any Proclamations or prosecutions which may take place.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Certainly. The hon. Member said—If the operations of the League in the past can be correctly described as being intimidation, then I say I intend to practice them and to preach them.What I want to know is, if hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway will accept the description of their counsels of to-day of that form of intimidation which they intend to practice? A remarkable silence has come over the Benches below the Gangway opposite. Will they accept the words that have fallen from the right hon. Gentleman who tonight has held a brief on their behalf? We have the admission from him that the one League is the apostolic successor of the other. The right hon. Gentleman used extremely strong words. He said that they had heard the doctrine of the Land League expounded by the man with full authority to expound it, and that that doctrine, as expounded, was the doctrine of "treason and assassination." Does the right hon. Gentleman retract his words? They are words of the counsel for the League to-night. "That doctrine," he added, "will tomorrow be in the hearing of the civilized world, which will pronounce its judgment upon what I may term this vile conspiracy." When did the right hon. Gentleman change his views as to this "vile conspiracy?" The Land League which he denounced as a vile conspiracy has been succeeded by the National League, the members of which now admit their responsibility for the doings of the Land League; and though the right hon. Gentleman denounced the Land League as a "vile conspiracy," 124 he yet holds a brief for the National League to-night. We also say that the National League is a conspiracy, and a conspiracy which we must endeavour, by all the forces of the Government, to reduce to its proper level. I see my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian in his place, and we have heard from him that the judgment of the civilized world is on his side. But a few years ago the civilized world, it appears, was on the other side. It was on the side of those who pronounced the Land League as a vile conspiracy. I can understand that the bulk of the Liberal Party, under the auspices of the right hon. Gentleman, have a right about face movement, but that the civilized world as well has completely changed its views is too much to ask us to believe. I think I heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby make some observation — I did not quite catch it.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I am at any rate glad of the admission that the civilized world was at one time on the side of those who declared that the Land League was a vile conspiracy. [Interruption.] Shame, then, to those who called it a vile conspiracy.
AN hon. MEMBER: No one called out "Shame!"
§ MR. GOSCHEN
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby has to-night spoken of us as right hon. Boycotters. But who called the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway "conspirators," a term which was never used by us? Hon. Members below the Gangway cheer the right hon. Gentleman when he says that we try to Boycott them, but we were only following the example of their counsel this evening, who, some years ago, used words in regard to them in this House which we have not forgotten, though it appears that they have been indulgently and kindly forgotten by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. The right hon. Gentleman has said a great deal in the course of his speech with a view to represent that the struggle which we are waging is simply a struggle on the part of the landlords. He holds a brief to-night for the National League. Did 125 he ever hold a brief for the landlords? He was Home Secretary when the Proclamation was issued putting down the Land League, and that Proclamation set forth, among the grounds for proclaiming the League, that it was an association which affected to control the relations of landlord and tenant in Ireland. Was he thinking of the landlords at the time that he was a Member of the Government that issued that Proclamation? Was that Proclamation issued in the interests of the tenants or of the landlords? How, then, does it lie in the mouth of the right hon. Gentleman to charge us with legislating only in the interests of the landlords? And then it proceeds—And whereas the business of the said association has been sought to be effected by an organized system of intimidation.To-night my right hon. Friend asked the Solicitor General for Scotland to interpret what intimidation means, but he knew well enough when the word was used in this Proclamation. "An organized system of intimidation." Do you acknowledge it to-night? Do you approve of it now, and if you approve it, why did you proclaim the Land League at that time? The Proclamation proceeds—And whereas the said association has now avowed its purpose to be to prevent the payment of rent and to subvert the law as administered in the Queen's name in Ireland, we hereby warn all persons that the said association styling itself the Irish National Land League, or by whatsoever name it may be called, is an unlawful and criminal association, and that all meetings to carry out such designs are alike unlawful and criminal, and will be prevented and if necessary dispersed by force.The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow said to-night that our action was political. Not a bit of it. It is precisely on the same grounds as those upon which we are now acting that the Land League was proclaimed by the right hon. Gentleman in the days when he was prepared to be "a right hon. Boycotter" of hon. Members below the Gangway. At the same time another Proclamation was issued which showed that through all parts of Ireland an organized system of intimidation was being practised. It set out that—Whereas various persons, subjects of Her Majesty, are coerced to give up their lawful employments, to abandon their lawful occupations, 126 to abstain from the payment of rents lawfully due, or from the fulfillment of their lawful engagements, to do what they have a lawful right to abstain from doing, or to abstain from doing what they have a lawful right to do, now we hereby warn all persons that all such practices are unlawful and illegal, and that any person engaging in such practices is liable to be arrested and imprisoned.What difference, I should like to know, is there between this description of the Land League of those days and the National League at the present moment? People are now coerced to give up their lawful employments, to abandon their lawful occupations, to abstain from the payment of their lawful rents, and to become members of and subscribers to unlawful associations, just as they were then. What we contend is that in every one of these instances the present League is acting precisely on the same lines as the Land League acted upon in the time of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir William Harcourt). I do not wish to push this argument in what the right hon. Gentleman calls a "tu quoque direction." I do not wish to hold him responsible in the slightest degree for his acts in those days; but it is necessary to remind the public of these facts, in order to show that we are dealing now with an association which is the direct successor of that Land League, and which is practising, and almost boasting of, precisely similar practices and a precisely similar organization. Mr. Speaker, if the House will accord me its kindly indulgence a little further, I should like to say a few words in order to meet one or two of the facts which have been raised in the course of this debate. What I would wish to show is this, that the system of organization with which we now have to deal was acknowledged in the earliest days of the League as probably superseding the necessity for outrage. Hon. Gentlemen opposite will not, I am sure, contradict that statement. In those days, when outrages occurred—terrible outrages—they said that they would be unnecessary if only the tenants organized themselves properly. The tenants have organized themselves. They have got as complete an organization—more complete, as an hon. Member boasted—than has ever existed in Ireland, or, I believe, in any other country before. And so now that organization supersedes the necessity for these overt acts of crime and outrage, the absence of which is 127 pointed to as a proof that no legislation is necessary. But no remarks that have been made in this House have broken down the case that there exists a universal system of Boycotting in Ireland —a system of Boycotting with which hon. Members opposite will scarcely deny that they have connected themselves. I shall certainly not, at this period of the evening, trouble the House with many quotations; but we are asked for the facts, and we would wish to overwhelm them with the facts.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
The hon. Member the Secretary to the National League (Mr. T. C. Harrington) taunted my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) with the fact that though there are 1,800 branches of the National League, he had only quoted 25 resolutions. "Only quoted 25 resolutions!" As if they were the only 25 that could be quoted! My right hon. Friend, and I myself, and the Members of the Government, have had hundreds of these resolutions before us; but we knew to what extent we should weary the House if we were compelled to quote them all.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
We thought, and I will answer the hon. and learned Member at once, that hon. Members dealing with the Irish Question were more or less familiar with what we consider to be the notorious facts. We did not think it was so necessary as they seem to think it is that we should go into all these details; but I would point out to the House that while my right hon. Friend has mainly called the attention of the House to the grosser forms of outrage and intimidation, there exists in the evidence which the Nationalist Press affords but too abundant proof in the minutest details, showing to what extent Boycotting really interferes with the minutest details of daily life. And therefore everything that has been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) about the similarity between the National League and English trades unions or English political associations is absolutely beside the purpose. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby undertook to renew 128 this point, and to ask what would be the opinion of this country if a political association took a certain course. Well, has there been any political association in this country which has followed up, in England or in Ireland, the minutest action of every man by a system of espionage? Do hon. Members opposite deny the espionage? No; they cannot do so. They know that it extends oven to a man's sports—that if he joins in athletic sports where there are obnoxious persons, a resolution will be passed by the branch that he be expelled for having associated in athletic sports with obnoxious persons. I quote a trivial case to show to what extent the League is prepared to go. Would you believe that they will actually count the amount of refreshment served out to men in a public-house? A resolution has been passed at a branch of the National League censuring a publican for having given certain men more than the actual legal allowance which he was bound to serve.
An hon. MEMBER: Why should it not be passed?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Why should it not be passed? They follow a man up from morning to night in every detail of his life. Hon. Members opposite are the champions of liberty, and this is their notion of what liberty is. But how do they know these things? Why, they have such a system of spies and informers. See what a body of spies and informers must be at the disposal of hon. Gentlemen opposite for such trivial details to be brought to their knowledge as the amount which a man drinks in a public-house. Then they pass resolutions condemning a man because he has shaken hands with another man, because he has drank with another man, because he has been seen speaking to another man. I would challenge the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir William Harcourt) to say is there anything in the history of this country, past or present, is there anything in the history of France even, or in the history of any other modern nation equivalent in the slightest degree to this fearful system of espionage carried on under the auspices of the League, and which they do not attempt to deny?
§ MR. DILLON
I do deny it. There is not a word of truth in it. I utterly 129 deny that a system of espionage is carried on.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Then, if there is none, I should like to know very much how it is that all this happens to be brought to the knowledge of the local branches?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Of course, these things are most insupportable; but they are only a part of the programme sketched out at the Rotunda the other day. They are part of the system of "making a man's life unhappy." The hon. Member is very indignant at my remark; but what did he mean by saying that "a man's life should be made unhappy?" We know well enough what it is. It is to make him—
§ MR. GOSCHEN
The hon. Member has said that we know perfectly well what he meant. Well, we think we do know what he meant. We think it is another development of the "moral leprosy" spoken of by his Chief. I can understand the indignation of the hon. Gentleman in this House; but when he speaks to an Irish audience and tells them that the lives of men are to be made unhappy, those are serious words, the responsibility for which must rest upon him. Now, if he thinks that I am speaking lightly, here is a resolution which has been passed, and which we have upon undoubted authority. It was to the effect that a man was observed to shake hands with another man; that a third person was observed to drink with another; and that a fourth was seen to be quite familiar with an objectionable person. [Laughter from the Irish Members.] Yes; you may laugh; but do you think your victims laugh?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Hon. Members must see that this is the apparatus at which we are attempting to strike, which deals with the minutest particulars, but which rises up and inflicts material ruin in many cases, and moral death upon many occasions. Here is another unanimous resolution with regard to certain tenants who refused to join in the Plan 130 of Campaign, to the effect that they should not be allowed to enter the parish church. Has that branch been rebuked by the Secretary of the National League (Mr. T. C. Harrington), or is this only one of the forms of "making men's lives unhappy?"
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
The right hon. Gentleman has asked me a question, as it is his habit to ask many questions, which always assume the argument to be in his own favour. I beg to assure him that I never saw any reference to this case, and that I believe the meeting to which he refers must be exceedingly recent. If I had seen it, not only should I have condemned the branch, but I should have dissolved it immediately, and dissolved it very warmly, too.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
The 25th of June, and the resolution was published in The Sligo Champion. The hon. Member will see that he is a little late on this occasion in rebuking the branch. I can quite understand that in the multitude of the branches with which he has to deal many of these resolutions may have escaped his notice. But I venture to think that, looking at the stigma which must rest upon any association whose branches will pass resolutions of this kind, it would have been a prudent course if the hon. Gentleman had employed one of his subordinates to report to him the exuberant actions of some of the branches of the League.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
I think the House must credit me with some desire to meet this case, and I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that one man is engaged in my office who has no other duty than that of supervising these things.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I gather from the hon. Member that a subordinate was engaged with scissors and paste upon The Sligo Champion, and that, under his instructions, this extract must be in the officer of the National League. If so, all I can say is that it is unfortunate that it was not submitted to the severe judgment of the hon. Member. We 131 know now that, not in consequence of any action taken by this House, not in consequence of the passing of the Crimes Act, and not in consequence of the shadow of this Proclamation, but in consequence of the real indignation of those who wish to make men's lives unhappy if they disobey their commands, but who still do stick at something, a resolution of this kind would have been condemned by the hon. Member. Well, the hon. Member is the authorized Secretary of the National League, and he spoke this evening, and attempted to cast discredit upon the story of my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary (Mr. A. J. Balfour) with regard to the case of Justin M'Carthy and his son, who had been Boycotted, and the impression of everybody who heard the hon. Member's speech would have been that the whole story was the invention of some fertile brain.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Yes; but it is possible that it may have come from Mr. Hussey, and may, nevertheless, be true in all its details. To use the splendid words of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt), who said the hon. Member had "entirely disposed of all the charges of the Chief Secretary for Ireland," he "disproved" this by saying that the story came from Mr. Hussey, which it did not, and in the eyes of the counsel for the defence that certainly appeared to be conclusive evidence. But I wish the House, which naturally looks for some authentic accounts from the hon. Member who represents the National League—I wish the House to know how he argued in this same case. He spoke of the number of persons who lived in. the village, and, by a rough process of multiplication, he argued that there could not have been as many people concerned in the case as had been alleged, and that, therefore, the story was impossible. But the League does not only strike in one village. It is much more ubiquitous. It places its hand on the neighbouring villages, and so the whole story may be true without the least discredit being caused by the fact of the number of people in a particular village. But let me put forward another of these cases of accumulated Boycotting in the same style as that 132 which was narrated by my right hon. Friend, but which comes from an authority which will not, I think, be disputed by hon. Members below the Gangway, as it is an extract from The Leinster Leader. I entreat the House to listen to this case, which is from The Leinster Leader of January 1, 1887—Borris-in-Ossory.—There was a large attendance of the Committee in their rooms on Sunday. Members present—Messrs. James Murphy, President, A. Markey, Vice President, Andrew Lambe, Treasurer, Martin Delany, P.L.G-., honorary secretary, John Butler, John Maher, Andrew Bergin, Daniel Cassidy, Patrick Butler, and Joseph Sweeney. It was unanimously agreed that all persons condemned by this branch should be republished in the local newspapers for the information of the public, to prevent them from holding any communication with the following evil-disposed persona, namely;—Thomas Tynan and family, for land-grabbing and care-taking Lyster's evicted farms; William Hoe and Son, for lending Tynan and Sons farm implements and tolerating their herd. Patrick Fitzpatrick, to be one of Tynan's bails to hold and keep a pound for the purpose of impounding cattle, &c, off the evicted lands now in their care; Thomas Watson, for bailing Tynan for the same meritorious purpose; Patrick Bryan and family and John White and family for taking con-acre land from Boycotted Tynan in 1885, for which all of them have not yet been condoned; William Shortt, stonemason, has been lately condemned for publicly and defiantly violating the rules, and his name has been struck off the list of enrolled members; Martin Delany alias Rut, for enjoying himself at an Emergency spree, held under the auspices of the Boycotted Tynans, in their house on Christmas night; and Jeremiah Shelly, victualler and farmer, who has profited by the agitation by getting his rent reduced in the Land Court, for partaking of refreshments in the well-known Boycotted saloon at Ballybrophy, in the company of Peter Roe, who has been frequently condemned by this branch. The committee were disposed to take a lenient view of his case; but when he would give no satisfaction for this offence they had no other alternative but to erase his name off the registry.I do not know whether that branch has been rebuked. We were told the other day—I think by a Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench—that the National League were now employed upon "registration." Some English people thought it was a registration for electoral purposes that they were engaged upon; but they are really at work in preparing a black list—in preparing registries such as the one I have read out. Note the refined cruelty of the business, if that is not too strong a phrase to use. See how they follow their victims up—how they know what 133 they do. Even a Christmas Eve party was not free from the espionage of the League, and they Boycott a man for being present at a Christmas Eve party, or what they call an "Emergency spree." This is how men are held up to the obloquy and hatred of the public. Are not these very successful methods of "making men's lives unhappy?" These are small matters, but they are matters which bring homo to a man the evil he will undergo if he dares break with the League. What did we hear from the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan)? Not one word did we hear from him, nor from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt), in condemnation of these practices. You have seen that the names are published, but that is not the only thing. Here is an actual placard which was stuck upon the walls:—Report of the Vigilance Committee.List of people in Mitchelstown who were base enough to betray the people's cause despite all warnings: —Mrs. Jane Cahill supplied Emergency men Percival and comrades.Miss Eliza Kelly supplied Couche, Benson, &c.Roger O'Donnell supplied Coughlan on April 27.William Coughlan supplied John Coughlan on April 28.Mrs. Mary Noonan supplied bread, &c.Patrick Clifford, of Gurteenalariff, drinking with John Coughlan.Paky Conran, Fitzgibbon's friend.Patrick Molan, of Glenacurrane, an associate of Jim Neill and Davis.Mat Brien, painter, painted Couche's house.O'Callaghan's, dressmakers, had dealings with Couche.Redmond Condon, an old offender.''The meat suppliers of the Castle are known, and will, if they persevere, appear in next report.Beware of those people.By order.
§ An hon. MEMBER: Then, why quote it?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I will tell you. Because, if it were not done by the branch, it is the result of the action of the branch. Certainly, it bears a very 134 suspicious appearance. They could not challenge a precisely similar case; but greater caution may be observed in some cases, and anonymous placards may be of more use.
§ An hon. MEMBER: They are printed at the Castle.
Now, I will just point out one thing which is of great importance. Hon. Gentlemen have said that we have not been able to establish a connection between the action of the branches—between their threats and the actual occurrence of outrage. We have read many cases where abject apologies have been made—where, according to the testimony of the League themselves, there has been shown the terrorism exercised over the unfortunate victim s. Men do not go and grovel before a branch of the National League, and have their names denounced and published in the papers with their apology, unless they are frightened of some evil happening to them. It would be surprising indeed if we were able to trace the exact connection between the League and the outrages. But when outrages are committed, not by single men, but by bands numbering from five to 15, it is evident that you have the result of some organization. I do not say they are organized by the branches of the League, but I do say they are organized by the branches of some society. Fifteen men do not go together and act in this way unless there is some power behind them, and it is that power that we must endeavour to find, wherever it is. If it is not in the branches, we must endeavour to find it elsewhere. These outrages are continually occurring. Numerous cases of outrage have been reported during the last two months in Kerry and Clare, and we have been unable to find out the perpetrators. In nearly every case reported by the police the ominous two words occur in the report, "No clue" after the statement of the outrage. I ask, is it likely that in any district where there is this large number of men committing these midnight outrages there would be no clue unless there is some organization behind them? Would it be possible for hon. Members below the Gangway to throw light upon these points? It would be to their interest to help us if the branches of the League were thoroughly clean. The branches know by their universal system what 135 everybody does—who works with whom, who shakes hands warmly with whom, who plays with whom, who drinks with whom—but they do not know, or they will not tell us, who gathers together those bands of men in the midnight in order to commit outrage. They, who are so well informed on everything else, are not informed on this most vital point; not one particle of evidence is ever placed by them before the Executive with regard to this to clear themselves from the suspicion of guilt. Not one atom of evidence has ever been supplied by the branches of the League as to the perpetrators of these outrages.
§ An hon. MEMBER: Where is your Secret Service money?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
They scoff at the idea that a body of citizens, by a universal system, should help the Executive in obtaining evidence, not merely against those who commit outrages on landlords, but also against those who attack labourers in their dwellings, and tenants who have taken land from other tenants. In no case that I know of has the slightest assistance ever been rendered in order to show that they are free from complicity with those who go about in bands committing these midnight outrages. We are asked why we have not acted under those sections of the Act which would avoid the Proclamation of the League. Several explanations have been given of that; and, above all, this difficulty with regard to getting evidence which foils the action of the Executive Government. But I can suggest another difficulty, which is one of the gravest in the matter; it is that the punishment of the League seem to me to be heavier than the punishments inflicted by the law of the land. To make men's whole lives unhappy is the punishment of the National League, and side by side with that what are the few months' imprisonment which may be imposed by the law of the land? Hon. Members from England are saying that they are going over to Ireland in order to court the martyrdom of a short imprisonment; but I put it to them whether, instead of a few months' imprisonment, they were going there to have their lives rendered miserable in the way in which the National League makes its victims miserable—what would they think? If they were in the future 136 to be shunned by every friend that they had—if their sons were to be shunned by all their companions, if they were to be excluded from their several clubs, if they were to be kept out of their parish church. [Cheers from the Irish Members.] Hon. Members do not, for a moment, impose on us by that cheer. Note how they cheered one out of the 12 incidents I referred to. They could not interrupt me in regard to any other circumstances than the keeping of persons out of their parish churches. I say that if those hon. Members had to look forward to all the terrors which this relentless system imposes on its victims—if this was to be the penalty of their going to Ireland, would they not shun it infinitely more than the short imprisonment which they seem to look forward to with such satisfaction? It is because the punishment of the League is worse than the punishment of the law of the land. The law of the land is helpless, and you must strike at the Courts instead of striking merely at the tools and the instruments which execute the decrees of the Courts; and it is for that reason that we must take power to deal, not with the solitary agent who carries out the behests of the Court—that cruel Court which sits in judgment on every action of a man's life—but you must strike at the organization itself which spreads this system over all the land. The Secretary of the National League spoke of "our government of Ireland." The phrase fell quite naturally from his lips; he acknowledged and apologized for any laches which the Government of the land, in the hands of the National League, might have committed. I point to that as showing the House the extent to which they think they are governing Ireland; but what I say is that you must strike at the Courts as well as at the instrument. Now, we have been taunted, I think, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) for inventing new crimes; it is one of his favourite charges; and I say that the Land League has invented new crimes, and the National League has extended a register of crimes such as no country ever saw, and under this new Code friendliness is a crime, mercy is a crime, forgiveness is a crime, because every Christian virtue of helpfulness is a crime. Well, Sir, we have been told, and told 137 with, truth, that the responsibility of this matter must rest upon the Executive Government. For our part, we agree with those who hold that upon us must rest this heavy responsibility. We agree with those who hold that we do not share this responsibility with the House; we cannot place it upon the shoulders of the House. We shall never be able to point to the acquiescence of the House, and say—"It was your doing as well as ours." No; in taking this grave step we are deeply conscious that upon us must rest the responsibility. We trust our friends and our supporters will stand by us. We acknowledge that no portion of the duty of the Executive Government can be shared with the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) or the Liberal Unionists —it is upon us, and upon us alone, that the responsibility rests, and the House and every Member of the House and every opponent whom, we have may be certain that we feel it from the very bottom of our hearts. We know what we have to encounter, and the spirit in which we are likely to be met. On one occasion when the Executive Government took a similar grave step—not graver than this, but as grave—these words were used by the head of the Government—We are the Executive Government, and we are entitled and are bound to claim a hearty and cordial support in a great national crisis for the vindication of the law of the land.Does my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian remember the occasion on which he uttered those words? Does he remember that he felt that he was entitled to ask, and that he was bound to claim, a hearty and cordial support in the great national crisis for the vindication of the law of the land? We wish "to vindicate the law of the land." We think we are hound to claim a hearty and cordial support in a great national crisis. We are assured in advance that we shall not receive that cordial and hearty support. We regret it, but none the less we cannot flinch from the task which is imposed upon us. I do not know who will tell on the side of my right hon. Friend and those who vote in favour of this Resolution. I presume it will be my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham (Mr. Arnold Morley) and the hon. Member for the 138 Harbour Division of Dublin (Mr. T. C. Harrington) as representing the National League. I presume that they, together, will go up to the Table of this House representing now the Party in Opposition—one the Representative of revolution and the other the Representative of surrender, and hon. Members will know on what side they are voting. Those who are voting with the right hon. Gentleman will be voting in favour of the revolutionary tribunals that are spread like a net-work all over Ireland; those who vote on this side will be upholding the tribunals of the land. Those who are voting with that side will be voting for the tribunals of an irresponsible Government, and those who vote on this side will be voting on behalf of those whoso duty it is, in the words of my right hon. Friend, "to vindicate law and order."
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has given us a lesson in the Christian virtues —a subject he is, perhaps, fully entitled to deal with—and he then proceeded to separate the sheep from the goats. On the one side are virtue and daring, and on the other side surrender and guilt; on the Opposition side is revolution, vice, crime, and everything that is terrible, and on the other all the virtues under the sun. Now there is one thing, at any rate, which the right hon. Gentleman has familiarized the House with, and that is whenever the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) makes a slashing speech in the House we never realize the real eloquence and the vigour and power of his speech until the right hon. Gentleman feels it incumbent upon him to get up and make a feeble reply. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that that is the special function for which he was appointed to his present position by the Tory Party as a reward for his betrayal of the Party to which he belonged; and when he taunted the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby with holding a brief for the National League I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman for how many Parties and Institutions he has held a brief? I think that at the Election of 1885 he was glad of the assistance of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I think that at the Election of 1886 he was glad of the assistance of the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington). I think at the Election of 1887 he was glad of the assistance of Lord Salisbury. And now the right hon. Gentleman, who has pirouetted through every form of inconsistency, asks us to do what he himself two years ago donounced—namely, he asks us in a matter of the first importance to give a blank cheque to Lord Salisbury. Well, we decline to give a blank cheque to Lord Salisbury; and when the right hon. Gentleman reads the Proclamation of the Land League of 1881, and says that we are only doing what was done in 1881, and are only acting on the precedent of that time, allow me to remind him that not only the time and the actions, but the men, are wholly different. He asks us why the Government may not be trusted now as it was formerly; he asks us why may the Government not suppress the National League as they suppressed the Land League in 1881? Well, I will tell him why. In 1881 Ireland was passing, and had passed, through such a crisis that the Land Act of 1881 was passed by the Government. It was because the "No Rent" Manifesto was issued from Kilmainham Prison that the Land League was suppressed. What is the case now? If there is "no rent "in Ireland now, it is because of the act of God and not of any human association—it is because there are no crops in the country—and if Parliament was willing to trust the Government of 1881, is that any reason why we should trust a Government of landlords and the Chief Secretary and Parliamentary Under Secretary for Ireland? At this hour of the night I will not trouble the House with many words. I will only say that for the future, whatever happens in Ireland, apparently we shall not be responsible. For the future the Government have announced their policy to he the policy which must succeed. They have declared that the one panacea for Ireland is the suppression of the National League. If they do not succeed, what then? If outrages break out who will be responsible? Well, not us. You suppress our organization. You, who have not been able to put down Moonlighters or criminals of any kind, think that when 140 you put down the National League you put down crime. It is true, you may put down the National League in a vague sense; but you will not put down Moonlighters. You can stop meetings of the branches; but you cannot stop people shooting into houses; you cannot stop people firing over the heads of isolated tenants. Why do not you direct attention to these open and overt forms of crime? The criminals are there and ripe for your sickle. Why are they allowed to continue in existence? We have been listening in this House continuously to the same kind of prophecies from coercive Ministers during my short time in Parliament. I turn from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman to the speech which poor Mr. Forster—God be merciful to him! —made in January, 1881, and I would advise the Chief Secretary for Ireland to get that speech off by heart. If he cannot get it off by heart, I would advise him to frame it in large letters in his office, and study it from time to time, because of all sad and melancholy reading the speech of that unfortunate gentleman is the most sad and melancholy. The right hon. Gentleman thought he knew everything, and was going to do everything. He was getting the whole thing fixed. Poor Mr. Forster was a wise gentleman. He had spent a great deal of time and money in Ireland, and in 1818 he was in sympathy with the people of that country, and spent a great deal of his means in trying to alleviate their condition; while the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary has not spent a penny stamp upon them, and no more of his time than is occupied in going by one steamboat and returning by another. Poor Mr. Forster said, in that speech to which I refer, that the law of the League was supreme through those districts of Ireland—there was a reign of terror in the country; no man dared to take a farm, and so on. He would pass his Act, and then Mr. Parnell's policemen would be put down. The men who perpetrated the outrages were the men without whose help the speeches of Mr. Parnell and Mr. Dillon and Mr. Biggar would be harmless. It was those men who struck terror into the minds of the people, and they must strike terror into them. And yet, Sir, after you suppressed the League, and after you had had the Act in force for six months. 141 after you had struck down every form of organization in the country, outrage increased by 2,000 in the course of a few months. Well, you had the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) and the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) in Kilmainham; and while Mr. Forster declared he had every murderer under lock and key you had the Invincibles supreme in Dublin, and Mr. Forster's own life was in hourly danger. I have not the smallest doubt that right hon. Gentlemen are just as conscientious, though not as experienced, as Mr. Forster. They say they have a painful duty to perform. Poor Mr. Forster had a painful duty to perform. Mr. Forster and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland had the most painful duty of saying which of their fellow - subjects should be arrested on reasonable suspicion; but Mr. Forster made one admission which was due to the candour of his nature. He fought us like John Bull; he never flinched; and he never ran away at Question time. He did not put a dummy figure-head in his place. He spoke to the people in the market places. He went down to Galway and spoke to the people in the fairs, because he believed he had got hold of the right end of the stick. He thought the people were intimidated. That belief of his is clear from the speech he delivered on the 24th of January, 1881, for in that speech he said outrages were decreasing. He said—I believe there are two reasons for it; one is that the gentlemen at the head of the Land League are using every power they possess to put a stop to outrages.What was the other reason? We have heard so often and loudly from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham that the shadow of the Crimes Act is over Ireland. Mr. Forster went on to say—I do not mean to say that in their speeches they have always intended to incite; but I think they have scarcely ever, if ever, had a proper sense of their responsibility in the words they have uttered. They are, however, much more powerful to incite to outrages than to control them. But I believe there is another influence at work. As in the case of the Westmeath Act in 1871 so it is now, that the men who plan and execute desist for fear of being arrested. They are aware that the police know who they are. My belief is that it you pass this Act you will cause an immense diminution of crime.Be that as it may, whether crime 142 increased or decreased, you have played your last card. Either you are going to succeed now or you will never succeed. You declare that the way to pacify Ireland is to proclaim the National League; but you do not take the advice of the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), and say— We will proceed by law, which is now to be the ordinary law, and put down intimidation by giving six months' imprisonment. We believe that the way to stop these outrages is to suppress the National League." That being so, the members of the National League have no further responsibility in the matter. And Members of this House who are members of the National League can no longer be charged in any sense or form with any responsibility for what may be done; but I wish to add my humble voice to that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) and of my hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) with respect to the duty of my fellow-citizens and countrymen in Ireland in this coming crisis. It will, perhaps, be news to the House to know that I did not always agree with my hon. Friend the Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin (Mr. T. C. Harrington),the Secretary of the National League, in what I thought his stringent methods against the branches of the League. I was appointed, in 1882, as the co-Secretary with my hon. Friend, but I never acted. But I now see my hon. Friend was right and I was wrong. I now see that the course he took was the right and proper one; but I see that instead of getting any thanks for it he is taunted by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I see that the most malignant sneers that can be hurled at those who desire to appease the minds of the people of the country, are indulged in by Members on the Treasury Bench; but though it is against nature to say so, because I have rather a fighting disposition, I must say that my experience in meeting English Members of this House, and especially of meetings in England, has solidified the opinion which was some time ago only in the germ, that the course to be taken in Ireland with our fellow-countrymen is the course of recommending them 143 in the strictest possible way that we can, no matter what outrages they may be subjected to, to have faith in the good intentions and in the good feelings of the English people. Mr. Speaker, I never thought that the time would come when I would feel most conscientiously able to say these words. I thought my tongue would cleave before ever I would recommend Irishmen in Ireland to have faith in the justice of the English nation. I did not believe it. I would not have believed if anyone had prophesied it of me; but I must say that, having gone through several districts of Englaud— aye. of Scotland too—and having been privileged with the association of many English Members in this House, I am convinced that the Irish people will be doing the right thing, not merely politically, but morally, and to the best interests of their country in the future, if they take the solemn advice that has been tendered them by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian on behalf of the English people, in whose name I think he may well claim to speak. I certainly envy the position of my hon. Friend the Member for North East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien) in the fact that he has been the first man to be singled out for prosecution by Her Majesty's Government for defending his constituents. All you can do to him and to us is to put us in goal. We care nothing for that, and I do not believe that you think we are such cowards as to care for it. You are merely using, as I believe, a political pretence to please your own landlord faction without any belief in its efficacy. If I could see any method for the resistance of this law which would bring me within the clutches of your Prison Authorities, I would, if it was consistent with my duty, cheerfully take the place of my hon. Friend. I hope in the future to take my proper place in the country wherever danger may be; but I hardly believe, in view of the Elections which have taken place recently, these methods of opening the eyes of the English people to the iniquities you are practising in Ireland are necessary. Of course, my experiences are short, but they are, at any rate, novel. My experience is that the English people only want to be friends with us, and I can say to the English people we only want to be friends with them, and that you are the men who propose to sow strife 144 between us and the people. We have endeavoured—my hon. Friend (Mr. T. C. Harrington) I thought at the time too stringently—to keep the people of Ireland within the limits of the law. We have endeavoured to keep the branches of the League within the limit of legality. That privilege we are to be deprived of. You say that two Governments cannot exist in Ireland; you bow us out, and therefore with what face will you ask us later on to use our influence with the Irish people? My hon. Friend the Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin (Mr. T. C. Harrington) will no longer be able to write letters to the Waterford branch of the League censuring them for any step on their part. The Waterford branch of the League will be non-existent; but there will be, as in every community—I presume there will be some in some of the constituencies of Tory Members—persons of a more advanced temperament. Are you going to put down the issuing of anonymous placards, such as the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) endeavoured to palm off on the National League? Will they be proclaimed? Will the Lord Lieutenant attempt to proclaim the Kerry Moonlighters? Will he proclaim the writers of threatening letters? Where, then, will be the elective restraint and bridle that has been put upon those men so long as they were able to remain members of the branches of the League? It will be gone, and you will be face to face with men who have been taught by your legislation, in. the powerful words of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan), in the scorching indictment he delivered against you, that lawlessness is only of one kind, and that the lawlessness which condemns my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien) to six months' imprisonment for trying to stave off the eviction of his constituents is of the same quality as the lawlessness of those who commit Boycotting outrages, and of those who fire into dwellings. Possibly, at the beginning of next month, my hon. Friend (Mr. W. O'Brien) will be doing his six months, with brown bread for his breakfast and his three ounces of oatmeal for dinner. What more will the Government do to Moonlighters and to 145 the writers of threatening- letters? It is you who make no distinction—it is you who fuse all those so-called crimes into one mould. I must say it is astonishing, in view of the landlord outrages committed in Ireland, that with 1,800 branches of the League operating for six or seven years, we have only had the miserable statistics of outrages which have been quoted to-night by right hon. Gentlemen opposite. Why, Sir, I read only yesterday, in The Pall Mall Gazette, of an unfortunate tenant of the Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant (Colonel King - Harman) begging for charity from the English people. That man had a bit of bog, and the Irish Under Secretary prosecuted him before two of his own magistrates for trespass, and he was fined. The man's solicitor took the case up to the Queen's Bench, and they quashed the order of the magistrates, but they refused to give the man his costs. The poor fellow had been put to £30 expenses to vindicate his right to the fuel that was to keep the warmth in his cabin during the winter months, and he appealed to the English people to supply him with the £30, the amount of the expenses he had been put to to prevent an assault on his property by the Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. If that Gentleman, in his position and with the light of public opinion focussed upon him, will dare to do these acts and thus oppress the people, what may be expected of obscure landlords down the country, and what wonder the branches of the National League brim over with indignation? I never yet knew a land-grabber who was not a mean hound. He is a thief. He is a man who covets his neighbour's goods, a man who avails himself of your law to confiscate by the payment of half-a-year's rent the improvements made upon the farm by the toil of the tenant, which are as much the tenant's property as anything he can possess. The man who comes in takes the tenant's property. Do you expect that such a man is to be feted by the National League? Do you think the National League pass resolutions that John So-and-so is to be shunned, that makes him be shunned? No, Sir; what makes him shunned is the instinct implanted in the heart and mind of every independent man who hates a mean, sneaking ruffian who steals his neigh- 146 bour's property. And, furthermore, it is the instinct of self-preservation which compels these men, who would be powerless by themselves, to weld themselves into a compact organization. Some of these 1,800 branches have in five years committed mistakes. They have said— "You are not to hobnob with Jeremy or with Pat." I should like to know where you will find the records for seven years of an organization of 500,000 men as pure? Where do you get these records? There is a publication in Ireland which is supposed to be, and is to a large extent, the official organ of the League—namely, United Ireland. I have not heard its name mentioned in the course of this debate, strange to say. There are columns of branch reports week after week in United Ireland Why have they not been quoted in this debate? Hon. Gentlemen seem to think that these branch reports are published so as to propagate the principles of the League. When I was connected with the editorial department of United Ireland these branch reports were a nuisance, and had to be omitted wholesale, owing to the want of space. These reports are used in the accusation against the National League. If you do not allow the branches to publish these resolutions and blow off steam in this way, what will you do? Public indignation in the different districts is not manufactured by the National League. I remember an old priest in County Donegal telling me that 40 years ago, before many of us were born, a man who grabbed a farm from another tenant who had been unjustly evicted would not get absolution if he went to Confession in the diocese of Raphoe unless he surrendered the farm. If that was the spirit 40 years ago, when the Irish people were uneducated, when they had no newspapers, no organizations, what is to be expected to-day, when they have all these advantages, and when they are represented in this House by a body of men who are able to take their own part? You might as well attempt to suppress the Atlantic Ocean as to attempt to suppress the National League. You may put a stop, it is true, to the printing of these resolutions; but can you prevent the people going to Mass? Can you prevent them meeting in the chapel yard? Can you help them meeting in the sacristy after 147 Mass? Can you prevent them going to a fair, or a football meeting, or a hurling? What will prevent Pat telling Tom, and Tom from telling Jerry—"It was a bad thing for So-and-so to take the land from which So-and-so had been evicted after a life of toil." I assert! that I do believe that the Irish people, no matter what injustice they are subjected to, will be safe in trusting to the good sense and the good feeling of their English brethren; but, so far as we are concerned, we all have a duty to perform. This power which the Government are now seeking they will, no doubt, obtain; but we, who have been appointed as the Representatives of the Irish people, have a solemn duty before us. It is our duty to see that these poor people are not needlessly put upon by the present landlord Government, and that if any man shall be called upon to go to goal it shall be us. It will be our duty, if possible, to step in between the peasantry of Ireland and the Representatives of the landlord Party in this House. For my own part, I have never been proud of my part in what has been called public life. Personally, I regard if as a very irksome task; but to the end of my days the proudest recollection of my life will be that I was a member of the Land League, and a member of the National League afterwards—that I was a member of that League before and after it was proclaimed. I remember, Sir, when one of the Phoenix Park prisoners was being sentenced to penal servitude for life by the late Justice Keogh, the Judge said to him—"Ah, So-and-so, you are a bad boy. You are a member of this organization, and this has not been your first offence; you were also a '48 man and an O'Connellite." "Yes," said the man; "I was an Irishman since I was born." I also, Sir, was an Irishman since I was born, and I am not the less so for desiring my countrymen to put faith and trust in the English people. I desire them to have regard to the magnificent manifestations of sympathy, those high demonstrations of the working class and democratic opinions which are taking place in this country; and, above all, I urge them to have regard to the fact that the best intellects of Europe are upon our side. I believe that the Irish people have regard to these facts; I believe that the 148 politics of despair have been abandoned in Ireland; I believe that the politics of hope have been commenced. Sir, we should use a very different language, we should take up a very different attitude if this Government were supported in its crimes—if I may call them so—in its policy towards us by the English people. I say now we no longer regard the Government as the exponents of British feeling. We regard them as the exponents of landlord feeling; and if temporary inconvenience results to us from their action, we shall cheerfully bear with them, knowing well that in this we are doing not merely with the approval of Ireland, but we are doing with the blessing of God—that God who looks on the poor, who has seen their oppression and their misery, and who, after long years of bitter suffering and of trial, has raised up to Ireland friends the like of whom she never had before.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 195; Noes 272: Majority 77.152
|Abraham, W. (Glam.)||Conybeare, C. A. V.|
|Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.)||Corbet, W. J.|
|Acland, A. H. D.||Cox, J. R.|
|Allison, R. A.||Crawford, D.|
|Anderson, C. H.||Cremer, W. R.|
|Balfour, Sir G.||Crilly, D.|
|Ballantine, W. H. W.||Deasy, J.|
|Barry, J.||Dillon, J.|
|Biggar, J. G.||Dillwyn, L. L.|
|Blane, A.||Dodds, J.|
|Bolton, J. C.||Duff, R. W.|
|Bradlaugh, C.||Ellis, T. E.|
|Bright, Jacob||Esmonde,.Sir T. H. G.|
|Broadhurst, H.||Fenwick, C.|
|Brown, A. L.||Ferguson R. C Munro-|
|Brunner, J. T.||Finucane, J.|
|Bryce, J.||Flower, C.|
|Buchanan, T. R.||Flynn, J. C.|
|Burt, T.||Foley, P. J.|
|Byrne, G. M.||Forster, Sir C.|
|Campbell, Sir G.||Fowler, it. hon. H. H.|
|Campbell, H.||Fox, Dr. J. F.|
|Carew, J. L.||Fuller, G. P.|
|Chamberlain, rt. hn. J.||Gardner, H.|
|Chance, P. A.||Gill, H. J.|
|Channing, F. A.||Gill, T. P.|
|Childers, rt. hon. H. C. E.||Gladstone, right hon. W. E.|
|Clancy, J. J.||Gladstone. H. J.|
|Clark, Dr. G. B.||Gourley, E. T.|
|Cobb, H. P.||Gray, E. D.|
|Coleridge, hon. B.||Gully, W. C.|
|Collings, J.||Haldane, R. B.|
|Commins, A.||Hanbury-Tracy, hon. F. S. A.|
|Condon, T. J.|
|Connolly, L.||Harcourt, rt. hn. Sir W. G. V. V.|
|Harrington, E.||Parnell, C. S.|
|Harrington, T. C.||Pease, A. E.|
|Harris, M.||Pickard, B.|
|Hayden, L. P.||Pickersgill, E. H.|
|Hayne, C. Seale-||Pinkerton, J.|
|Healy, T. M.||Portman, hon. E. B.|
|Hingley, B.||Power, P. J.|
|Hooper, J.||Power, R.|
|Howell, G.||Priestley, B.|
|Hunter, W. A.||Provand, A. D.|
|James, C. H.||Pugh, D.|
|Joicey, J.||Pyne, J. D.|
|Jordan, J.||Quinn, T.|
|Kennedy, E. J.||Rathbone, W.|
|Kenny, J. E.||Redmond, J. E.|
|Kenny, M. J.||Redmond, W. H. K.|
|Kenrick, W.||Reed, Sir E. J.|
|Labouchere, H.||Reynolds, W. J.|
|Lacaita, C. C.||Roberts, J. B.|
|Lalor, R.||Robertson, E.|
|Lane, W. J.||Robinson, T.|
|Lawaon, Sir W.||Roe, T.|
|Lawson, H. L. W.||Rowlands, J.|
|Leahy, J.||Rowlands, W. B.|
|Lefevre, right hon. G. J. S.||Rowntree, J.|
|Schwann, C. E.|
|Lockwood, F.||Sexton, T.|
|Macdonald, W. A.||Sheehan, J. D.|
|Mac Neill, J. G. S.||Sheehy, D.|
|M'Arthur, A.||Sheil, E.|
|M'Arthur, W. A.||Shirley, W. S.|
|M'Cartan, M.||Smith, S.|
|M'Carthy, J.||Stack, J.|
|M'Carthy, J. H.||Stanhope, hon. P. J.|
|M'Donald, P.||Stansfeld, right hon. J.|
|M'Donald, Dr. R.|
|M'Ewan, W.||Stepney-Cowell, Sir A. K.|
|M'Kenna, Sir J. N.|
|M'Lagan, P.||Stewart, H.|
|M'Laren, W. S. B.||Storey, S.|
|Mahony, P.||Stuart, J.|
|Maitland, W. F.||Sullivan, D.|
|Mappin, Sir F. T.||Sullivan, T. D.|
|Mason, S.||Summers, W.|
|Mayne, T.||Sutherland, A.|
|Molloy, B. C.||Swinburne, Sir J.|
|Murphy, W. M.||Tanner, C. K.|
|Neville, R.||Trevelyan, right hon. Sir G. O.|
|Nolan, Colonel J. P.||Tuite, J.|
|Nolan, J.||Vivian, Sir H. H.|
|O'Brien, J. F. X.||Wallace, R.|
|O'Brien, P.||Watt, H.|
|O'Brien, P. J.||Will, J. S.|
|O'Brien, W.||Williams, A. J.|
|O'Connor, A.||Williams, J. Powell-|
|O'Connor, J. (Kerry)||Williamson, J.|
|O'Connor, J. (Tipperary)||Wilson, H. J.|
|Winterbotham, A. B.|
|O'Connor, T. P.||Woodall, W.|
|O'Doherty, J. E.||Woodhead, J.|
|O'Gorman Mahon, The|
|O'Hea, P.||Marjoribanks, rt. hon. E.|
|Parker, C. S.||Morley, A.|
|Addison, J. E. W.||Ambrose, W.|
|Agg-Gardner, J. T.||Amherst, W. A. T.|
|Ainslie, W. G.||Anatruther, H. T.|
|Aird, J.||Ashmead-Bartlett, E.|
|Allsopp, hon. P.||Baden-Powell, G. S.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Dimsdale, Baron R.|
|Baird, J. G. A.||Dixon-Hartland, F. D,|
|Balfour, rt. hon. A. J.||Dorington, Sir J. E.|
|Balfour, G. W.||Duncan, Colonel F.|
|Banes, Major G. E.||Dyke, right hon. Sir W. H.|
|Baring, T. C.|
|Baring, Viscount||Ebrington, Viscount|
|Barnes, A.||Egerton, hon. A. de T.|
|Barry, A. H. Smith-||Elcho, Lord|
|Bartley, G. C. T.||Elliot, hon. A. R. D.|
|Bass, H.||Elliot, hon. H. F. H.|
|Bates, Sir E.||Elton, C. I.|
|Baumann, A. A.||Evelyn, W. J.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Ewart, W.|
|Beadel, W. J.||Ewing, Sir A. O|
|Beaumont, H. F.||Eyre, Colonel H.|
|Beckett, W.||Fergusson, right hon. Sir J.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. C.|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.||Field, Admiral E.|
|Bentinck, W. G. C.||Finch, G. H.|
|Beresford, Lord C. W.||Finlay, R. B.|
|De la Poer||Fisher, W. H.|
|Bethell, Commander G. R.||Fitzgerald, R. U. P.|
|Fitzwilliam, hon. W. J. W.|
|Biddulph, M.||Fitz - Wygram, Gen. Sir F. W.|
|Birkbeck, Sir E.||Fletcher, Sir H.|
|Blundoll, Colonel H. B. H.||Folkestone, right hon. Viscount|
|Bolitho, T. B.||Forwood, A. B.|
|Bond, G. H.||Fowler, Sir R. N.|
|Bonsor, H. C. O.||Fraser, General C. C.|
|Boord, T.W.||Fry, L.|
|Borthwick, Sir A.||Fulton, J. F.|
|Bright, right hon. J.||Gedge, S.|
|Bristowe, T. L.||Gent-Davis. R.|
|Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.||Gibson, J. G.|
|Brookfield, A. M.||Gilliat, J. S.|
|Bruce, Lord H.||Godson, A. F.|
|Burghley, Lord||Goldsworthy, Major-|
|Campbell, Sir A.||General W. T.|
|Campbell, J. A.||Gorst, Sir J. E.|
|Campbell, R. F. F.||Goschen, rt. hn. G. J.|
|Carmarthen, Marq. Of||Gray, C. W.|
|Cavendish, Lord E.||Greenall, Sir G.|
|Chaplin, right hon. H.||Grimston, Viscount|
|Charrington, S.||Grove, Sir T. F.|
|Churchill, rt. hn. Lord R. H. S.||Hall, C.|
|Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.|
|Clarke, Sir E. G.|
|Coghill, D. H.||Hamilton, Lord C. J.|
|Colomb, Capt. J. C. R.||Hamilton, Col. C. E.|
|Commerell, Adml. Sir J. E.||Hamley, Gen. Sir E. B.|
|Hanbury, R. W.|
|Compton, F.||Hankey, F. A.|
|Cooke, C. W. R.||Hartington, Marq. Of|
|Corbett, J.||Hastings, G. W.|
|Corry, Sir J. P.||Havelock - Allan, Sir H. M.|
|Cotton, Capt. E. T. D.|
|Crossley, Sir S. B.||Heathcote, Capt. J. H. Edwards-|
|Crossman, Gen. Sir W.|
|Cubitt, right hon. G.||Herbert, hon. S.|
|Currie, Sir D.||Hermon-Hodge, R. T.|
|Curzon, Viscount||Hervey, Lord F.|
|Dalrymple, Sir C.||Hill, right hon. Lord A. W.|
|Davenport, H. T.|
|Davenport, W. B.||Hill, Colonel E. S.|
|De Cobain, E. S. W.||Hoare, S.|
|De Lisle, E. J. L.M. P.||Hobhouse, H.|
|De Worms, Baron H.||Holland, rt. hon. Sir H. T.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.|
|Holloway, G.||Mulholland, H. L.|
|Hornby, W. H.||Muncaster, Lord|
|Houldsworth, Sir W. H.||Muntz, P. A.|
|Murdoch, C. T.|
|Howard, J.||Newark, Viscount|
|Howard, J. M.||Northcote, hon. H. S.|
|Hughes, Colonel E.||Paget, Sir R. H.|
|Hunt, F. S.||Parker, hon. F.|
|Hunter, Sir W. G.||Pearce, Sir W.|
|Isaacs, L. H.||Polly. Sir L.|
|Isaacson, F. W.||Plunket, right hon. D. R.|
|Jackson, W. L.|
|Jarvis, A. W.||Plunkett, hon. J. W.|
|Jeffreys, A F.||Powell, F. S.|
|Jennings, L. J.||Puleston, Sir J. H.|
|Johnston, W.||Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.|
|Kelly, J. R.||Rankin, J.|
|Kennaway, Sir J. H.||Rasch, Major F. C.|
|Kenyon, hon. G. T.||Reed, H. B.|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.||Richardson, T.|
|Ritchie, rt. hon. C. T.|
|Kerans, F. H.||Robertson, J. P. B.|
|Kimber, H.||Robinson, B.|
|King-Harman, right hon. Colonel E. R.||Ross, A. H.|
|Rothschild, Baron F. J. de|
|Kynoch, G.||Round, J.|
|Lafone, A.||Royden, T. B.|
|Lambert, C.||Russell, T. W.|
|Laurie, Colonel R. P.||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. M.|
|Lawrance, J. C.|
|Lawrence, W. F.||Saunderson, Col. E. J.|
|Lea, T.||Sellar, A. C.|
|Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.||Selwin-Ibbetson, right hon. Sir H. J.|
|Legh, T. W.||Selwyn, Captain C. W.|
|Leighton, S.||Sidebotham, J. W.|
|Lewisham, right hon. Viscount||Smith, right hon. W. H.|
|Llewellyn, E. H.||Smith, A.|
|Long, W. H.||Spencer, J. E.|
|Lowther, hon. W.||Stanhope, rt. hon. E.|
|Lowther, J. W.||Stanley, E. J.|
|Lubbock, Sir J.||Stephens, H. C.|
|Macartney, W. G. E.||Stewart, M. J.|
|Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A.||Sutherland, T.|
|Maclean, F. W.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Maclean, J. M.||Tapling, T. K.|
|Maclure, J. W.||Taylor, F.|
|Madden, D. H.||Temple, Sir R.|
|Makins, Colonel W. T.||Theobald, J.|
|Malcolm, Col. J. W.||Tollemache, H. J.|
|Mallock, R.||Tomlinson, W. E. M.|
|Manners, right hon. Lord J. J. R.||Tyler, Sir H. W.|
|Vernon, hon. G. R.|
|Marriott, right hon. W.T.||Vincent, C. E. H.|
|Walsh, hon. A. H. J.|
|Maskelyne, M. H. N.||Waring, Colonel T.|
|Story-||Watkin, Sir E. W.|
|Matthews, rt. hon. H.||Watson, J.|
|Maxwell, Sir H. E.||Webster, Sir R. E.|
|Mayne, Adml. R. C.||Webster, R. G.|
|Mildmay, F. B.||West, Colonel W. C.|
|Mills, hon. C. W.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Milvain, T.||Whitley, E.|
|More, R. J.||Whitmore, C. A.|
|Morrison, W.||Wiggin, H.|
|Mount, W. G.||Wilson, Sir S.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R.||Wodehouse, E. R.|
|Mowbrav, R. G. C.||Wortley, C. B. Stuart-|
|Yerburgh, R. A.||Douglas, A. Akers-|
|Young, C. E. B.||Walrond, Col. W. H.|