HC Deb 11 February 1887 vol 310 cc1242-353
MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

In intervening in this debate, Sir, as an Irish Nationalist, I am encouraged by the belief that I shall he followed in the discussion and, possibly, sustained by a Member of Her Majesty's Government—the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Matthews)—who within my memory and within my native county evoked the ringing cheers of an assembly of my countrymen by declaring that he not only represented the spirit, but he embodied the passion, of Irish nationality. I do not think, Sir, I need detain the House with any detailed references to the speech with which the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) concluded last night's discussion. The hon. and gallant Gentleman is nothing if not jocose; but jocosity, at its most, is but a poor substitute for argument. The comparison he drew between Samson and the Irish Party here suggested to me to say that if the weapon employed by Samson on a certain memorable occasion would not be called now-a-days a weapon of procedure, yet he did good execution with it, and finally Samson made his mark upon a certain House, the inhabitants of which had exercised too "much pressure within the law" upon him. Under the influence of the gentle discipline which the hon. and gallant Member says should be applied to us—which was nothing less than the Coer- cion gag—all would go right with his cause; but the cause must be bad indeed when a Gentleman of the intelligence of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh is obliged to endeavour to prop it up by pulling practically anonymous letters out of his pocket. I confess I feel little respect for the political understanding of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, who declares in one speech that the only true solution of the Irish Question must come from the Irish people, and in the very next speech affirms that the true way to deal with the Irish Question is to apply the gag to the Representatives whom the Irish people have sent to solve the question here. I scarcely recognized the hon. and gallant Gentleman last night in his new capacity of upholder of the law. We heard from him in this House last year, and those who have the benefit of frequently listening to him in Ireland have heard him many times, say that if his personal will should happen upon the question of the government of Ireland to come into conflict with the will of the three Estates of this Realm—who, I believe, are generally understood to be the makers of the law—he would advise his followers to resist the law and violate it. The hon. and gallant Member, therefore, has not an iota of moral justification to appear here as an upholder of the law: and when the hon. and gallant Gentleman lectures us on courage, I would remind him that it is but poor courage when it is reserved for a public leader—even though it is in courtesy only he is called a military gentleman—to urge his followers to charge in the direction of danger and strife, while he turns round himself and charges in an opposite direction. Unlike a certain famous Prince who never said a foolish thing and never did a wise one, the hon. and gallant Gentleman can be trusted not to do a foolish thing; but, with a common sense and wisdom of which I shall not deny him the credit, he reserves the entire stock of his political folly for his speeches. Sir, if the Royal Speech informs us that the relations between this country and Foreign Powers are friendly at the present moment, the Amendment of my hon. Friend sitting beside me, the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell), brings home to the minds of all the deep conviction that this Realm has trouble at home. The outlook abroad is black, and it is hard to say how short a time may elapse before this country is plunged into a whirlpool of bloody strife. Five years ago, when you last proposed and carried a Coercion Act, you were obliged to sustain the Government in Ireland, as the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) in his later days deplored, by 30,000 bayonets. The number of bayonets you had in Ireland in 1882 was nearer to 50,000 than 30,000; and now that you are about to propose, and perhaps to carry, another Coercion Act, have you considered it will be necessary to place again 50,000 bayonets in Ireland? I have felt at times most astounded that a race of such capacity as yours, of such experience and such general success in the art of government, does not make a resolute effort to put an end to a state of affairs which is a disgrace to your country, and which obliges you to maintain in a small island of 5,000,000 of a population as large a standing Army as is necessary to secure you political rule in India, with its population of 300,000,000. If I were an Englishman, having the interest of England nearest to my heart, I should consider it my duty to use every effort of my own to energetically support every effort of my countrymen towards placing the government of Ireland upon the solid basis of the will of the Irish people, and put an end to a state of affairs which every thoughtful and patriotic Englishman must regard with profound regret. I venture to submit that every hon. Member of the House who desires that the House should have time for Business—and amongst those hon. Members I do not count the Members of Her Majesty's Government—should be thankful to the hon. Member for Cork for having fastened the attention of the House upon what is the only part of the Royal Speech that calls for immediate and practical attention. My hon. Friend (Mr. Parnell) has brought the House out of a general discussion without limit and without end into a debate which is concerned with matters of vital, practical, and urgent import—matters concerning the mutual relations between Great Britain and Ireland, and upon which the future happiness and peace of this Realm so much depends. I have said, Sir, that the only practical paragraph in the Royal Speech was the paragraph which threatened Ireland with coercion. The Speech contains many paragraphs, in which are made many promises; but if the Government intend to introduce this Session any measure of reform, I think it must be confessed that they made excellent arrangements for not carrying that intention into effect. When we turn our minds to the course of Business that lies before this House, I do not consider it a matter of great importance that no legislation is promised upon the Report of Lord Cowper's Commission, because if such a promise was made it could not be accomplished, nor am I at all concerned that the interests of Ireland has the last place in the question of Local Self-Government, because it matters little whether it has got the first, second, or third place when even the first itself will be no where. I must express my regret that we are obliged to continue this debate, and bring it to an end, without the Report of Lord Cowper's Commission, or, at least, without the evidence that was taken before it. The whole policy of the Government at the present moment, whether you call it a policy of reform, a policy of prosecution, or a policy of coercion, hinges and revolves upon the relations between landlord and tenant in Ireland. This, Sir, at the present time, whatever may have been the case informer years, is the Constitutional occasion for reviewing the policy of the Government in the recent past and in the immediate future; and as the vital question at issue is the relations between landlord and tenant, I must express my regret that the body of evidence collected by Her Majesty's Commission upon that subject has not been laid before us. Some months ago the Government despatched a special agent of great eminence to Kerry. Sir Redvers Buller was examined before the Royal Commission, and soon after his examination there appeared in the Irish papers a document which purported to be a letter from a Member of the Commission, addressed to a friend in London. The letter bore many marks of authenticity. It spoke in very vigorous phrases of Sir Redvers Buller as one of those emotional Englishmen who helped to send Ireland to the devil. It purported to give a résumé of the evidence of Sir Redvers Buller. And what was his evidence? That he found the tenants in Ireland over-rented; that he himself was obliged to intervene to save them from hardship at the hands of the landlords; that the National League was the saviour of the Irish people, and until the League arose the Irish people had no friend; that the law in Ireland was all upon the side of the landlords; and, in the interest of good government in Ireland, it was indispensably necessary to devise a plan to stop evictions. Sir Redvers Buller, being examined in the police court, declined to answer questions concerning his evidence before the Royal Commission; but he made the remarkable statement that, though several months had elapsed since the day of the examination, a print of the evidence had not as yet been supplied to him; and he added, further still, that a fortnight before he applied for the print, and that the print had not yet been supplied. Why was the print kept back? I maintain that in view of the radical change in the policy of the Government, which at the time that Sir Redvers Buller was examined before the Commission was a policy of inducing landlords to grant abatements, and not a policy of prosecuting their most successful rivals—in view of that change in policy, and the importance attached to the special mission of Sir Redvers Buller to Ireland, I say it is to be regretted, and even to be deplored, that, whatever may be the cause, the House is not supplied, in its discussion of the important question now before it, with the evidence of that material witness. Sir, although the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) appears to think that the phrase in the Queen's Speech only refers to the possibility or the probability of coercion, I wish to point out that coercion in Ireland is promised in the most expressed and positive terms. It says— Our early attention will be called to proposals for reform in legal procedure. Within my experience, and within my reading—which is upon Irish affairs not very limited—I am not aware of any case in the past where coercion for Ireland has been applied for except for one of two great causes. It was alleged by the Government applying for coercion, either the prevalence of grave crime in Ireland, or else the difficulty of inducing witnesses to give evidence or inducing jurors to convict. Coercion has been founded upon one or other of these great causes, and oftentimes upon both. We know in recent years how the Minister desirous of a coercive measure for Ireland came down to the Table, his stock-in-trade being a Blue Book filled with real or bogus outrages; but the Queen's Speech states that grave crimes are happily rare in Ireland—rarer than a year ago—when this Government did not propose to reform the criminal procedure in Ireland, or interfere with personal liberty, but only to attempt to suppress a public organization. Sir, the Munster Assizes are not long over. No observation was made by any Judge, no remark was made by prosecuting counsel, that there was any crime in Ireland requiring special legislation. I am entitled to say that if grave crime cannot be alleged in justification of coercion, then whatever is to be alleged in justification of it is mere political convenience. Did the Government plead a difficulty of procuring evidence, or a difficulty in getting juries to convict? Not a syllable to that effect had passed the lips of any Crown Prosecutor in Ireland. But we know by the records of the Winter Assizes that in Munster and Leinster, and Ulster and Connaught, whenever the Crown put into the box a Catholic, a Nationalist, or a friend of the tenant, they found nothing more easy, by the right of a stand aside, than to cram into the jury box 12 of those who differed from him in creed, in interest, and in politics, and who hated him so much that they thought it a gain to the country to put him in prison for any cause or no cause whatever. Such was the case in the Provinces of the South and West; and in the Northern Province, when a partizan of the Government came to stand his trial—the Crown Prosecutor said it was an Orangeman accused of riot or murder—yet the Crown Prosecutor found it perfectly easy to pack the box with 12 brothers and confederates of his order. If the object was to set him free, that object was attained; and therefore, Sir, I feel entitled to say that as the Crown where they desired a conviction found it easy to obtain it, and where they desired an acquittal or a disagreement found it facile of attainment, it passes my understanding at this moment to imagine for what reason they have cause to complain. Sir, no cause has been shown for the proposal for coercion, either upon the ground of the existence of crime or upon the ground of any difficulty, hindrance, or impediment in the way of the administration of justice, unless, indeed, the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes) regards it as a hindrance to the administration of justice that a packed jury of 12 Connaught Protestants refused at the late Assizes to turn a Nationalist editor into a White-boy at his bidding. Well, Sir, what, then, is the cause for coercion? We are told that the relations between owners and occupiers of land have been seriously disturbed; and my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork, in drawing up his Amendment, has, for greater convenience, followed the phrase in the Queen's Speech. I would ask the House to note—and it is fundamental to the proper understanding of the question of Irish land—that the phrase "owners or occupiers" does not fully or accurately express the legal position or the mutual relations to each other of the two classes of persons who share between them the proprietorship of the land of Ireland. Englishmen are very apt to be misled on this subject by insufficient knowledge. An English landlord is a landlord in fact as well as in name. An English tenant is a tenant merely. But. Sir, an Irish landlord is not a lord of the soil—an Irish landlord is now by law nothing more than a rent-charger—he is no more of an owner—often very much less of an owner—than an encumbrancer or a mortgagee. An Irish tenant, on the other hand, is an occupying owner. He is not only a tenant, but he has a legal right to his interest in his holding; he has a legal right to the proprietorship of his own improvements; and, therefore, it is perfectly misleading to draw any parallel between English landlords and English tenants on the one hand, and Irish landlords and Irish occupying owners on the other. This is admitted by all of you when you speak of a dual ownership; and, furthermore, when you say that the best settlement of the Irish Land Question is to extinguish dual ownership and substitute for it single ownership, what do you mean? You mean that the interest of the Irish landlord in the Irish land is a terminable interest, destined soon to disappear, and therefore the ownership of the Irish tenant in the Irish land should become absolute and sole. And, Sir, I wish to draw the attention of the House to another vital circumstance, in regard to the fixing of a rent, that twice within the last 12 months the Irish tenants, by their Representatives here, offered to place the fixing of a fair rent in the hands of the constituted Courts of the country. They offered upon the Land Purchase Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, in connection with the proposal for national settlement—they offered to place it in the hands of the Courts of the land to decide what should be a fair rent to serve as a basis for purchase; and later still, when my hon. Friend the Member for Cork introduced his Tenants' Relief Bill, the Irish tenants—by their Representatives in this House—expressed their willingness, in any effort necessary to meet the crisis which has occurred, that it should be confined to the constituted Courts of the country. The Irish tenants had exhausted themselves in proposals to the Government to meet the necessities of the case by reference to the constituted Courts, and I am entitled to say, Sir, that these efforts having been scorned and spurned by the legislative body of landlords in this Assembly; that the Irish tenants stand in an impregnable moral position when they are obliged to set their backs to the wall. There is no comparison, Sir, between the case of the Irish tenants and the case of the misleading analogy raised by the hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland. The hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of the relations between the debtors of a bank and the shareholders, and he compared the endeavours of the Irish tenants to make their rents proportionate with the value of their holdings, and he likened it to the efforts on the part of the debtors of a bank to get rid of their debts to the establishment. Why, the true analogy is this—the effort on the part of the shareholders in a bank to apportion the losses which the bank has sustained between the different classes of the shareholders. The Queen's Speech declares that the cause for coercion is that— Organized attempts have been made to incite the occupying class to combine against the fulfilment of their legal obligations. Sir, lawyers in their Courts and lawyers in this House are mostly unwilling to think or talk of anything but law. But we are not all lawyers here, and our function here is wider—and let me say higher—than the function of upholding the law. We are not here merely as the upholders of the law; we are here also as law-makers. If this Parliament were to limit its vision to the question of the upholding existing law, why, Sir, there would be no need of a Parliament at all, because the Courts of the country and the Executive power could very well uphold the law between them. Our first and most sacred function is to discover in what respect the law is defective or oppressive, and having discovered where the law operates in mischief, or creates oppression, I say that our first duty is not to uphold existing law, but to abate or to remove, or altogether to repeal, the law that produces oppression. The language of the Queen's Speech is conceived in the dry and narrow spirit of the lawyers, the spirit which is the enemy of all reform and of all necessary progress; and I submit that my hon. Friend the Member for Cork in submitting to this House that a serious disturbance in the relations between classes in Ireland has not occurred where the necessary abatements have been granted—I submit that my hon. Friend in raising that proposition and submitting the proof of it, has approached a grave question before this House in the spirit and temper of a statesman. I desire to draw the attention of the House to a singular and curious fact. What is it that is condemned in Her Majesty's Speech from the Throne? Is it the combination of the Irish farmers to pro cure abatements in their rents? No, Sir; the combination itself is not condemned; it is the action of those who are said to have incited to combination. It appears to be illegal to advise a man to do a thing, but legal for a man to do it. The noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale suggested that the tenants are not prosecuted because the tenants are ignorant, and that the inciters are prosecuted because—I suppose—tho inciters are educated; but, Sir, if there is anything upon which an Irish tenant is ignorant it is not upon the subject of the amount of rent he is able to pay. The poorest tenant in Connaught is perfectly competent to instruct the House of Commons upon that subject. I can- not, therefore, accept the theory of the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale. He can get a better reason. Sir, last winter the hon. and learned Attorney-General for Ireland delivered himself of a famous opinion. A body of tenants in the County of Cork, having asked an abatement from their landlord, and the abatement having been refused, proceeded to deposit certain moneys in the hands of a private agent. The Cork Defence Union applied to a well-known divisional magistrate—Captain Plunkett. Captain Plunkett proceeded to set the Irish Government in motion. The Irish Government applied for light and leading to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman delivered an opinion in which he declared that there was a mode by which the landlords might recover the money; but that was a matter for the landlords, not a matter for the Government, and that he did not see how the Executive Government could take any action in the matter. The question upon which the opinion was founded was this—whether, and if so, how the Government could lay hold of the money which the tenants of Mr. Ponsonby, without paying their rents, had deposited in the hands of a private agent. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland declared that the Government had no means of getting hold of it. When examined in the police court—and, let me say, that up to the time of the examination in the police court, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland maintained an obstinate reserve on the matter, and it was a matter of curious speculation in Ireland why he should— Let concealment, like a worm i' the bud, "Feed on his damask cheek. In the police court he declined to say whether he had given an opinion; but, being pressed upon the matter, he went far beyond the bounds of the opinion, because he admitted, in reply to questions of counsel, not only that the Government have no legal power to take back money deposited by tenants in the hands of private agents; but that even if they could find the money, and had the power to recover it, that they had no legal power to hand it back to any landlord. That, Sir, I conclude, is the reason why the combination itself was not denounced in the Queen's Speech. It would be practically useless to denounce the combination, because the combination is beyond the reach of the law. The reason why the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland refused to acknowledge his opinion was, "If I gave this opinion," says he, "I gave it as Attorney General;" and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach)—following the example of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland—when he was asked if he had read that opinion, replied, "I read that opinion—I read it confidentially." But since he came into this House, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland has declared that whatever privilege he may have in the police court he has no privilege in the House of Commons. He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) is responsible to this House, and bound to answer to it—although we are in the happy position of being independent of his answer. Because we know that the opinion was given, and know that it has since been fortified, I think we may claim from him to give up the tactics of stealth which distinguished the Government in Ireland during the winter; and to give us, if he is capable, a complete, a full, and a frank avowal with respect to the opinion of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland upon the question of combination. I maintain that the combination in Ireland—so far as it exists—is a necessary combination, and that being a necessary combination it cannot be immoral. We have heard a good deal of tenants who could pay and of tenants who could not. Sir, I ask the House what is intended, what is meant, by a tenant who can pay? Do you mean by a tenant who can pay, a man who, upon the surplus value of his farm can pay the current rent in Ireland; if you mean that, I confidently reply that there are no such agricultural tenants in the country; but if, by a tenant who can pay you mean a man—a stray tenant here and there, who may have a few pounds of capital and expends it—if you mean a stray tenant here and there who may have credit, and who has not quite exhausted it—if you mean a stray tenant here and there who may have a little stock on his farm or some furniture in his house; and if you mean that by expending his capital, by exhausting his credit, by stripping his dwelling bare, or depriving his holding of his little stock, if he is obliged to do that in order to pay rent that his holding did not earn, I say I take issue with you, and I say, whatever may be your legal contention, that the tenant is not morally bound to do it. He is perfectly entitled to keep the furniture of his house and his stock upon his farm, and unite with the man whose house is burned for the purpose of procuring for both the merest and commonest justice; that is the justice which allows to the labourer a security in the fruits of his labour. The House has heard a great deal about bank deposits in Ireland. Suppose the inference desired to be drawn is that—that the farmers in Ireland have money in the bank, and are able to draw out that money this winter to pay the landlords the rents which their holdings did not earn—the total deposits in the joint stock banks of Ireland amount to £29,000,000; but there is one bank in London—London and County Bank—which has in deposits as much as all the joint stock banks in Ireland. A half of the £29,000,000 is held in the province in Ulster, and this £29,000,000 includes not only deposits, but current accounts. These current accounts include the credit balance of every merchant and every trader in every city and town in Ireland; and we all know that in Ireland there is scarcely a town, however small, where there is not a trader who has not £5,000 or £10,000 to his credit. I know a case in a midland town where a trader has a balance of over £20,000 at the bank—and we know that the money of the country is chiefly held by these traders, who often pursue two or three kinds of industry, who deal in stock and follow the avocations of a money-lender—we know that this £29,000,000 includes all the funds at the disposal of religious and charitable institutions of every denomination throughout the country. And although an occasional Irish farmer may have a deposit in the bank—I would ask the House to believe me—a current account and cheque book are not among the incidents of an Irish farmer. A remarkable fact came to my knowledge lately. The liquidators of the Munster Bank, which had £2,000,000 on deposit, agreed to pay off all the deposits of £20 and under. Now, £20 is a fortune to the small Irish farmers, and, if small Irish farmers had deposits in the bank, they would have been deposits of £20 and under. And a conclusive proof that the relation between the Irish farmer and banks in Ireland is not the relation of creditor, or the relation of debtor, is to be found in the fact that out of the £2,000,000 owed by the Munster Bank on deposit, the total of the whole amount in £20 and under was only £15,000. I am fairly convinced that, if all the deposits held by small farmers in banks in Ireland were drawn out to-morrow, and put into a common fund, they would not suffice to pay three months' rent. Sir, my hon. Friend the Member for Cork, in his Amendment, based his position for abatement in rent upon the fall of prices—the fall in prices is not now denied. The utmost you attempt is to minimize the extent of it. Why, Sir, the fall in prices is proved by many and overlapping proofs. The noble Marquess the Prime Minister (the Marquess of Salisbury) has given heavy abatements to his own tenants—the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith) has given a reduction of 40 per cent to his tenants in the extreme East of England—the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach)—who sits next to him—has given 40 per cent to his tenants in the extreme West, and he has thousands and thousands of acres of land upon which he cannot find tenants upon any terms. [Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH dissented.] There is a conflict between the right hon. Gentleman and the Blue Books. The meaning of the right hon. Gentleman is doubtful to most of us in his reference to the Irish Question. The noble Marquess the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (the Marquess of Londonderry) has given an abatement of 15 per cent upon his estate in the North of Ireland, which the noble Marquess himself declares to be rented at so low a figure that he has obtained no income out of it for years. Why, Sir, there is not a landowning Member of Her Majesty's Government who does not feel by his bank account, at the present moment, the reality and pressure of the crisis caused by the prolonged and progressive fall in prices. May I refer a moment to the prices themselves? It is sometimes pretended that the Sub-Commissioners, in fixing the rents in Ireland, left a margin for the possible recurrence of low prices afterwards. Now, these men were not prophets, they were only Commissioners. They had not the faculty of an ancient Patriarch, to whom reference has been made in this debate, of predicting the occurrence of lean years and fat ones; and they fixed all rents on an average of prices. I have here an average of the prices for the six years ending 1884, and the prices for 1885; and the fall in the prices I find for staple articles of Irish produce—butter, beef, mutton, and pork—were, butter, 27 per cent; beef, 15; mutton, 18; and pork, 20. The average fall of prices was not less than 20 per cent, and, as the prices of the previous averages before 1884 were higher than those prices I have quoted, and those of 1886 were still lower in 1885, I am entitled to say—and the proof is undeniable—that the fall in prices in Ireland since the bulk of the judicial rents were fixed has been much greater than 20 per cent of rent all round. But, Sir, will the House consider for a moment what is the meaning of the fall of 20 per cent of the total of the whole produce? We are told that the cost of production consumes two-thirds of the total value of the produce; and if we all consider that the remaining two-fifths is divided equally between the tenant and the landlord—one-fifth to the landlord and one fifth to the tenant—and if this is a fall of 20 per cent on the total produce of the farm, it follows that, even if the landlord granted an abatement of 50 per cent, it would still be a loss to be equally divided between the tenant and the landlord. Now, I pass to the final consideration of the reductions given by the Courts—the reductions given by the Courts which are manned by a majority of landlords and land agents who are not friends to the tenants. What does the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale mean when he says there is no greater agrarian crisis prevailing this moment in Ireland than at any time within three or four years from the passing of the Land Act? Up to the end of 1885 the reductions given by the Land Courts in Ireland were less upon the average, and upon the whole than 20 per cent of the rental; the reductions given in the first four months of 1886 were 28 per cent of the rental—the reductions in the next six months were 31 per cent of the rentals; and the reductions the last month for which we have a return—the month of October 1886—were 50 per cent of the rentals; and, Sir, when I remind the House that the estates most heavily rack-rented went into Court in the earlier years, and that there are higher cases now being heard, it is obvious that the difference between the reductions given two or three years ago and the reductions given now is far greater than the apparent reduction here, far greater than 20 per cent, and that if the unfortunate tenants who went into Court in 1882, 1883, and 1884 were able to go into Court at the present moment, that the abatement of 20 per cent is no measure and no test of the abatement they would receive. I should say that the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale is doubtful of the utility of making landlords good by Act of Parliament. To that I shall only reply that for years and generations Acts of Parliament have enabled landlords to be cruel; and that the machinery which enabled them to be cruel might now be used to compel them to be just. Sir, upon the now famous Plan of Campaign I have to say it is nothing new. Ever since the depression of 1879 the Irish tenants have been in the habit of combining for reductions of rent, combining by estates. When abatements have been refused to them they have declined to pay rents. They have pledged themselves to stand by one another, and they have made the reinstatement of unjustly-evicted tenants a condition precedent to the settlement. The only point in which the Plan of Campaign contains any element that can be termed new, is in reference to the lodgment of monies by tenants in the hands of private agents; but that is the very point upon which the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland has declared the Plan is not liable to be legally attacked. And, Sir, when I cast about to endeavour to account to myself for the prosecutionundertaken by the present Government, I can only account for them in this way—that no previous Government ever attempted to compete with the public men of Ireland in procuring abatements from the landlords, and that the State prosecutions undertaken by the present Government are only to be accounted for by their ungovernable jealousy of their more successful rivals. My hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) and others are accused of exciting the tenants, and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House—who speaks out of the fulness of his knowledge of Ireland, acquired during a 12 hours' visit to that country, declares that the tenants on these estates have been incited to combine by people who had no concern with the place. Why, Sir, we might as well say the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House has no concern with Westminster. My hon. Friend the hon. Member for East Mayo beside me can say that his grandfather and great grandfather were tenants upon the estate of Lord Dillon. He (Mr. Dillon) is now representing a Division upon which the estate of Lord Dillon is situate, and will anyone submit that the tenants on that estate, who are the people who have reclaimed and made the value of the holdings upon which they live, the labour of whose hands has put up their humble homes—will anyone tell me that when a deputation of these men came to him in his home in Dublin and requested him—implored him—besought him to come to their assistance; will anyone tell me that he committed a crime or an offence in yielding to their appeal? If he had refused he would have been false to his public duty. Sir, the influence of my hon. Friend and his fellow-traversers, as I well know, has been the influence of moderation. They have refused in some cases to give their sanction to the adoption to the Plan of Campaign; they have in all cases counselled moderate demands, they have in every instance recommended the tenants to meet half way any offer of a fair and reasonable settlement; and, Sir, instead of rushing blindly—like Captain Plunkett and other agents of the Government—into cases as to the merits of which they had not the slightest idea, my hon. Friend and his Colleagues did not interfere in any case under the Plan of Campaign until they satisfied themselves by personal examination and acute inquiry that its adoption was necessary and absolutely essential for the welfare and safety of the people. We are told that the Plan of Campaign has failed. Sir, if it had failed, we would hear very little now about it. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland spoke at Bristol three weeks after the promulgation of the Plan. Why did he not say a word about it then? Because, Sir, as he said in the Dublin Police Court, he thought it had fallen flat. Yes, Sir, and if it had fallen Hat at the present time, he would be content to be silent about it now. The Plan of Campaign has been a remarkable success. It has achieved great results. If the evictions in the last quarter have been counted by hundreds instead of being counted by thousands, and if you are able to say at the present moment that grave crimes are happily rare in Ireland, I tell you it is not because of the working of your private plan—for the evicting landlords in Ireland are not the men to yield to official pressure within the law. It was due to the adoption of the public Plan, maintained by the Irish Members, and when I am able to say that landlords like Captain Massey and Lord Dunsandle, and owners like Mrs. Burnaby, have yielded and come to amicable and friendly relations with the tenants—when I can point, as an instance, to the case of Lord Dillon, where thousands of people have been saved in the occupation of their holdings and possession of their homes by the application of the Plan, I am entitled to point to it as an unqualified success—and if Lord Dillon was not a Peer of the Realm, and had a seat in this House, I should not be at all surprised if he were to tell the House that the Plan of Campaign had saved him from enormous law costs, from prolonged anxiety, from extreme trouble, from probable eventual loss, and that in his case, at any rate, it had proved to be a humane, benevolent, and kindly intervention between landlord and tenant. The noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale says if the Plan of Campaign is resorted to, the only remedy will be indiscriminate and total eviction. I am entitled to reply to the speculation of the noble Marquess by a reference to facts, and to point out to him that, although before the adoption of the Plan last winter, evictions—and harsh and cruel evictions—were impending upon some of these estates to the present moment, not one on which our Plan is in force has a single eviction been carried out. If the first duty of the Government is to protect the people. their duty is abrogated by the Government of Ireland; and the whole aim of their policy at the present moment is to substitute the performance of that duty by punishing those who raised their hands to save the people as if they had been guilty of a crime. I have said that the Plan of Campaign is necessary, and that, therefore, it is moral. We are asked if it is legal? I think the question is premature. We are told that Lord Fitzgerald some years ago delivered a judgment which enabled the Government to declare the Plan illegal. Lord Fitzgerald's judgment was practically set aside by the passing of the Land Act of 1881—for the Land Act of 1881 accomplished the object of the movement which was condemned by Lord Fitzgerald. The Land Act of 1881 gave reductions in the rents which, but for the disastrous fall in prices which has since occurred, would have been of material benefit, for, no doubt, the Land Act of 1881 accomplished most of the purposes of the agrarian movement by taking out of the hands of the landlord, the power of fixing the rent. Moreover, Sir, that charge of Lord Fitzgerald's was never ratified, and was never put into operation by the jury. What do you do in England when a jury refuses to put into operation the charge delivered by the Judge? In England public conscience, as embodied in the jury, is regarded as the potential custodian and interpreter of the law. If the jurors in England refuse to give verdicts in reference to a law that is undoubted or asserted, what happens? In the case of a law that is undoubted you repeal it, or you have it up in the case of a law that is only asserted. You hear no more about it. And, Sir, I apprehend, and I venture to prophesy, that, in regard to the elaborate declarations of law on the Plan of Campaign, what usually happens in England when juries will not convict is what will presently happen in Ireland. Why, we have heard that two Judges in Ireland have declared the Plan illegal. But the Judges in Ireland are not independent of the Executive. The Judges in Ireland are promoted after they have reached the Bench. The Judges in Ireland are members of the Privy Council. The Privy Council is composed of 50 members, one half of which are Peers of the Realm and are ex officio, and who never attend the meetings; and the other half is composed of 20 Judges and half-a-dozen political outcasts, whom we have defeated at the polls, and whom the Irish have to feed and uphold. The policy of all these State prosecutions before it was resolved upon was debated in the Privy Council. What does the Privy Council do? The proclamations in Ireland are issued by and with the advice of the Privy Council. The Privy Council is the Cabinet of the Lord Lieutenant. The Lord Lieutenant, as a Constitutional Viceroy, must act on the advice of his Cabinet. Therefore, the policy of proceeding against the hon. Member for East Mayo and his Friends is practically adopted by the Judges themselves, since the Lord Lieutenant acts upon the advice of his Cabinet; and I say, Sir, that the declarations of the law which depend upon the words of Judges come to us in Ireland with defective authority, and claim from us scant respect when we know that a Judge is first in a position to advise the proceedings at the Privy Council, and is then in a position—mounting the Queen's Bench—to ratify by his judgment the advice he has already given. But, Sir, the gravamen of the charges against the promoters of the Plan of Campaign is the intention with which they act. It is said that they combined in order to injure owners of land, and to incite certain tenants not to pay the full amount of their legal rents. Suppose the Judge be, as you say, the sole exponent of the law, and suppose the jury are only judges of the application of the law to the facts before them, and suppose the jury hold that the promoters of the Plan of Campaign did not incite the tenants not to pay their full rents, but advised them to pay as much as they were able, what then becomes of all your law? Suppose the jury hold that the promoters of the Plan did not intend to injure owners of land, but intended only to protect and save the tenants, what then becomes of all your elaborate declarations of the law? Why, Sir, I have a return very carefully prepared of what were the operations of the Plan of Campaign. There are 9,000 landlords in Ireland—I should say there are 9,000 landlords of Ireland, because there are many of them who do not live in the country, and many of them who have never seen it. Upon how many estates, Sir, have any steps been taken with a view of putting the Plan of Campaign into operation? The total number is 40. If my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo and others intended—as the charge against them monstrously and fabulously declares—to injure owners of land, would they have limited their operations to 40 estates out of a total of 9,000? The Plan of Campaign has been put into complete operation upon only 20 estates. Only in four out of the whole 40 did the landlords agree to give any abatement upon the judicial rent. Only in eight other cases did they agree to give any abatement of any rent whatever, judicial, or un judicial, and in 30 of the cases out of the 40 there was no abatement offered. Now, what has been the amount of the demands? I have shown by reference to prices, and to the reductions of the rents themselves, that an abatement of 50 per cent of the rent this year was still equally divided between the tenant and the landlord. What are the abatements that have been asked? The abatements on judicial rents have ranged from a minimum of 15 per cent to a maximum of 30 per cent. The abatements on unjudicial rents, except in the case of two or three singularly exceptional cases, ranged from a minimum of 25 per cent to a maximum of 40 per cent; and, Sir, I complete the case, and the justification of the Plan of Campaign, when I say that in every case in which the Plan has been put into operation abatements usually as large, and very often larger, have been given by the landlords upon the surrounding properties. May I prove this by reference to the case of Lord Dillon? Lord Dillon was asked an abatement of 25 per cent. In the immediate district The Macdermott gave 30 per cent; and 30 per cent was given by Mr. Walsh. I could show, by reference to other cases in this return, that the abatements of rent asked for by the tenants under the Plan have been in numerous cases exceeded by the landlords of the properties surrounding. I am willing to submit this return not merely to right hon. but to hon. Gentlemen. I am willing to submit it to everyone except a member of the Loyal and Patriotic Union; and I only except that distinguished body of fabulists because, in respect to the duty of testifying truth, they have suspended the standing orders of Christianity. I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary (Mr. Matthews), as a lawyer, if he agrees with the reason given by the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) why the Plan of Campaign should be declared illegal? I beg the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, who is learned also—although his modesty very often disclaims it—to the reasoning of the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale. Irrespective, said the noble Marquess, of the legality or the morality of the Plan of Campaign, why is that Plan to be condemned by the House? Because—said the noble Marquess—whatever it may have done up to the present time, it may cause inconvenience to the landlords hereafter. I can compare that to nothing but the decision say of a judge who having a man before him found guilty of no crime, decided that as the man might commit some crime or other by-and-bye it would be better to hang him off at once. It will be time enough to declare the illegality of the Plan of Campaign when its action is found and proved to be illegal; and in this great matter, concerning the lives and the fortunes of multitudes of the people of Ireland, I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary to decline to countenance any declaration of the law by anticipation. The noble Marquess is very doubtful about the dispensing power. What proof, says he, has been given in this debate of the existence of a dispensing power? What proof has not been brought forward? I consider there has been a wonderful amount of proof considering that we have had to work in the dark, and that the proof which we have brought before the House has been obtained by us against the will and in spite of the utmost contrivances of the Government, who had in every way tried to hush the matter up. The doings of Judge Curran had been detailed in the House. Judge Curran, said the noble Marquess, exercised his equitable power. Judge Curran has no equitable power. Judge Curran has no power at all except to give a decree of the payment of a legal debt or of a stay of execution, and that only of a short period, and of cases that are defended. I do not speak with the book—I happen to be in the position of having an intimate knowledge of Judge Curran. When I was in charge of the Land League he was my standing counsel, and I must say in justice to Judge Curran that as Mr. Curran I found him a most docile as well as a most vigorous gentleman. I found that no suggestion, however remote, was ever thrown away upon him. When I remember, Sir, that Judge Curran is a well known agent of special measures of State policy in Ireland, that he conducted the famous private inquiry of 1881 into the Phœnix Park murders—that he was sent to the Westmeath district when there was trouble there, I am at no loss to conclude that when Mr. O'Connor Morris was taken from Kerry and Judge Curran was sent there, he knew perfectly well that he was sent to Kerry for a special and particular purpose. Why, Sir, umbrage has been felt at the comparison of Judge Curran to an Oriental Cadi who dispenses justice under the shadow of a palm tree. I think it is uncomplimentary to the judicial habits of a Cadi, who makes and concludes his Court. I never heard of a Cadi who after he rose from the shadow of the palm tree, and after the parties had left, took upon himself to set about revising his own decrees. But Judge Curran, not satisfied with letter-writing all over the country to persons of various classes and grades on the subject of rents—not satisfied with arranging and suggesting and pressing a settlement between landlords and tenants, takes home a batch of decrees in his pocket to alter them comfortably after dinner. The noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale said nothing about the message to Mr. Gale. What does he think of that? Is that an example of the dispensing power? Mr. Gale, the sub-Sheriff, wrote asking the Government for four police, and he got a reply that he could not have them. He was told that "in future" he should give 10 days' notice. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland tells us that that was the old rule. If that was the old rule why was Mr. Gale told that he should give 10 days' notice "in future?" Because he had not been doing it in the past. For what purpose was the 10 days' notice to be given? To make police inquiries about what? Was it whether they had men enough to protect the Sheriff? The idea is absurd, for they had 12,000 police. The police inquiries were to discover whether the process of law was one in which the Government should intervene, and that is made abundantly clear by the further statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to Mr. Gale, that he would have to state the names of the persons for whom protection was required and the nature of the process to be enforced. That document alone is ample proof of the dispensing power. Sir Redvers Buller, of course, denied in the police court that he had intervened at all between landlord and tenant in Kerry, but before he left the box it was perfectly clear that during the three months he had spent in the County of Kerry he was doing nothing else. He was sent to Kerry—the noble Marquess the Marquess of Salisbury told us—because he had a fresh eye. He proved to have too fresh an eye for the convenience of the Government. They translated him to Dublin Castle, and when he gets rid of that fresh eye and cultivates the proper degree of official purblindness they will transport him as they transported Sir Robert Hamilton. Sir Redvers Buller made it clear before he left the box that he said he interfered between landlord and tenant. The noble Marquess stands up in this House and tells us that after carefully reading the correspondence between Sir Redvers Buller and Messrs. Darley and Roe, Sir Redvers Bullers acted in the interest of humanity. I ask the noble Marquess if he has read carefully or at all the letters of Sir Redvers Buller dated the 22nd November? Did the noble Marquess read these words— I asked you in my former letter for Mr. Head's (that was the mortgagee and the real owner) address, because I wanted to obtain a proposition for him of the very class in the event of evictions which I find you have recommended, viz.—to level those houses which can he legally levelled in the event of the tenants being evicted. Is that a sentence conceived in the spirit of humanity? Sir Redvers Buller was evidently afraid that the tenants would be forgotten, because he sent a further letter on the 17th December saying that perhaps the levelling of the houses might have a good effect on the others. I say that Sir Redvers Buller was responsible for the levelling of these houses, and, remembering that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland told this House last Session that Sir Redvers Buller was directly responsible to himself, and remembering his oath at the police court, that he was kept fully and constantly informed of the proceedings of Sir Redvers Buller, I say it was impossible that a month should have elapsed—from the 22nd November to the 17th December—without his being aware of the inducement applied by Sir Redvers Buller to the agents for the levelling and burning of these houses; and I hold that the right hon. Gentleman is morally and directly as fully responsible for the atrocity as if he had wielded the crowbar and applied the writs himself. I refer for a moment to the case of Captain Plunkett, that the noble Marquess said there was only one story, and it was not substantiated. What was the story about Captain Plunkett in Limerick in writing to a firm of agents—Messrs. Guinness and Mahon—asking them to accept one year's rent in lieu of three and a-half, and accompanying this request with a broad hint that if evictions were carried out the peace of the district would be disturbed? After the letter he sought an interview, and does anyone think that in the comparative freedom of an interview he contented himself with the language of the letter? The agents complained in a letter to the London Times that Captain Plunkett not only asked them to accept one year's rent in lieu of three and a-half, but asked them to cancel £50 of law costs and to give a clear receipt, and threatened in the event of eviction being carried out that he would not supply police or give police protection to the caretaker who was to be put in charge. Captain Plunkett denied it, but what had not Captain Plunkett denied? He denied that he interfered between landlord and tenant at all; and he denied this after he had sworn to the hilt that he had interfered continually and constantly in these cases. He denied at first in The Times that he had threatened to withdraw police protection, but he denied nothing else. He did not deny that he had asked them to take one year's rent in lieu of three and a-half, to cancel the law costs, and to give a clear receipt. But in the police court his denials became so numerous and so complicated that the examining counsel was at last obliged to tell him that he only remembered what he had not said, and remem- bered nothing of what he had said. It was impossible to hear or to read the evidence of Captain Plunkett in the police court without coming to the conclusion that in the mental mechanism of the gallant Captain there is a screw loose, if there is not even a mainspring broken. The noble Marquess wants another story. I will give it to him. I have a letter here from a priest—not an anonymous priest, like that of the hon. Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson)—the Rev. Father Lacy, of Clonakilty. Does the right hon. Gentleman remember the name of Tim Hurley? I am astonished the right hon. Gentleman makes no sign of assent. [Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH assented.] I thought so. Well, Captain Plunkett visited Clonakilty twice, and this is the statement of Father Lacy— To make inquiries regarding Mr. Bennett, the landlord, and Tim Hurley, the tenant. He also visited Tim's castle and farm. Tim lives in a castle. Captain Plunkett gave instructions in my presence and that of the County Inspector to write to the landlord, and ask him to meet Captain Plunkett. Mr. Carr did so, and the meeting came off. Captain Plunkett told Mr. Bennett that his rent was a rack-rent, and that he would have to give an abatement, or the police protection which Mr. Bennett had for some time enjoyed would he withdrawn, and no police would be given for the purpose of carrying out the eviction. What does the noble Marquess say to that as an example of the dispensing power?


Will the hon. Member allow me to say that Captain Plunkett denies that? The events which since occurred prove that he is right. The landlord did not make an abatement; police protection has been given him; and Tim Hurley was evicted.


The right hon. Gentleman would have done better to have awaited the conclusion of the letter— Mr. Bennett took a week to consider, and at the expiration of the week he wrote declining to give the abatement, and the police escort was immediately withdrawn, and no police were given to aid in evicting Tim Hurley until six weeks afterwards, and only when Mr. Bennett threatened to bring an action against Mr. Smith-Barry, M.P., the High Sheriff of the County, who, it appears, is legally responsible for carrying out the law. Father Lacy's letter is at the disposal of the right hon. Gentleman. The noble Marquess was not only satisfied that there had been no dispensing power, but I think was also satisfied there had been no un-Constitutional action. I shall respectfully take leave to put to him two or three questions. Has he heard the case of M'Nally, a Roscommon farmer, who was in his house one night with six or seven of his fellow tenants? Some police constables came spying about, put their ear to the keyhole of the back door, and heard Mr. M'Nally say, "We'll cripple the landlords yet, please God." The police burst into the house, seized M'Nally, emptied his pockets, presented a revolver at his head, and took them all before the landlord—Lord De Freyne—and whilst Lord De Freyne, his brother, the High Sheriff, and his other brother magistrates were endeavouring, in the darkness of the night, to fabricate a charge against M'Nally, these unfortunate farmers were kept waiting in the snow outside the landlord's door. Has the noble Marquess heard of what happened in the City of Cork, where a public meeting was held to protest in the case of Hurley; and whilst the public meeting was being peaceably addressed by a Member of this House, the police raided upon the people, and brutally batoned them? The Sub-Inspector of Police was committed for trial by the Local Bench; but the Crown refused to send up a Bill against him to the Grand Jury at the Winter Assizes. Has the noble Marquess heard of the Sligo meeting? Does he know that upon the night previous to the day of the proclaimed meeting the hon. Member for the Division, the Mayor of the town, a Magistrate of the County, and a number of the citizens were brutally beaten by the police, and the skull of an aged gentleman was fractured whilst they were waiting on the steps of the Town Hall to procure admission to their own municipal building, in order to hold a consultation? The police of Sligo took the same short cut which the noble Marquess took about the Phoenix Park tragedy. What right had the Government to proclaim the Sligo meeting? Reliance had been placed on a telegram from one gentleman. It would be a strange condition of Constitutional right if any gentleman, by choosing to write a telegram, could cancel the right of public meeting. The notice of the meeting I convened stated that the Land Question would be discussed, and also the conduct of the Sheriff of Sligo for forming an illegal panel. Am I to be told, in presence of the fact that at the trial it was found that the panel was prepared with great irregularities, that the Judge had the panel quashed, and said that, if the law had been obeyed, not one of the names would have appeared on that panel which actually appeared upon it—am I to be told that the citizens of Sligo have not a right to assemble in public meeting, and to discuss these matters? We are told that a Liberal Government, some years ago, proclaimed a similar meeting. Many things have happened since then; and I, for my part, deny the justice of debiting Liberal Statesmen in their wise maturity with the errors of their early days. Is the noble Marquess aware of what happened at Glenbeigh—that the Sheriff—the functionary of the law—was not allowed to confine himself to the execution of the law, but after he had completed his duties and called upon the police to accompany him to the scene of the next eviction, the police—the paid servants of the Imperial taxpayer—had to stand to arms and remain upon the spot, and to postpone the execution of the Imperial law until the execution of private vengeance and ferocity was completed. My hon. Friend the Member for Cork did not make himself clear to the noble Marquess, because he said that the exercise by the Government of the dispensing power was demoralizing, and at the same time the best that could have been done. Both are true. Nothing can be more demoralizing from the point of view of law than to find the agents and Executive of the law endeavouring to do by private, unconfessed, and stealthy means, which they are ashamed or afraid to avow, what they had no opportunity of doing by the open and justifiable force of law. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary began in the wrong way. If there was a necessity for saving the tenants of Ireland, the proper way to do it was by accepting the Bill of the hon. Member for Cork. He began too late. He should have begun before the brood of evicting landlords had commenced to pile up law costs against the tenants. He ended too soon. He ended just at the time when pressure became essential upon that class of land- lords whom he himself denounced at Bristol. I say if the right hon. Gentleman, were dealing with Englishmen instead of Irishmen, if, having carried out a policy informally himself, he attacked the liberties of other public men, from having attempted to carry out that policy in public, he would run an excellent chance of impeachment. If he would save himself from the gravest imputations, he ought to be frank with this House. It will not do to say that he exercised only argument and persuasion; that is beside the question. We want to know what arguments he employed—what persuasions he used—and by the time the right hon. Gentleman has informed the House what arrangements he used, what agents he employed, and against what landlords his pressure was directed—then, and only then, will the House be in a position to judge the proper comparison to be made, whether from a legal or a moral point of view, between the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo. We are told that the remedies for the ills of Ireland are the employment of the people and emigration. It will be time enough to talk about the special employment of the people when you condescend to make such laws as will allow the people of Ireland security for the fruits of their labour in their natural employment on the land. As for emigration, in the course of a generation your policy has depleted the population of Ireland in a manner unparalleled in modern times. You have decimated the people in a manner for which there is no parallel in the records of famine, of pestilence, or of war. The Irish people will not hear of emigration until the resources of Ireland have been fully developed, are intelligently applied, and fully taken advantage of. The noble Marquess may talk of your Colonial and Imperial relations; but I tell him that any attempt, upon any pretext, to emigrate the people of Ireland from their native homes will be met, on their part, with a most passionate and most fierce opposition. We are asked what is our remedy? Does anyone doubt our remedy? We have asked you to pass a Bill to save the tenants in their homes, by enabling the constituted Courts to stay evictions on payment of half the rent, and you refused. Since the Bill of the hon. Member for Cork was rejected, the rents of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Winchester (Colonel Tottenham) have been reduced by 58 per cent. I am reminded that although a landlord cannot be made good by Act of Parliament, the Duke of Devonshire has lately assented to a very large reduction in the rents of his estate, so that although the operation of the Land Act in producing virtue in that case was slow, it was sure. Well, Sir, since the rejection of the hon. Member's Bill, the rents of many tenants in Ireland have been reduced by 75 per cent; and what will hon. Gentlemen think who were misled by condemnations of my hon. Friend for only requiring an initial deposit of 50 per cent of the rent, when I tell them that if the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Colonel King-Harman)—[Cries of "Order!"]—I am quite in Order. I am speaking of an Irish landlord—[Cries of "Order!" and an hon. MEMBER: "Try it!"] What will they think when I tell them that if that hon. and gallant Gentleman had received 50 per cent of his rent under that Bill, he would have obtained 4 per cent over the total amount of his present legal rents? The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Winchester (Colonel Tottenham) would have received 8 per cent more than the total amount many of his present legal rents, and tenants whom I could name would, if the Bill had been passed into law, have deposited as an initial sum to secure themselves from eviction exactly double the amount of their existing legal rents. Pass the Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Cork, give the tenants security in their homes, allow them to go into the Land Courts and have their rents fixed upon the basis of the actual value of the produce. When that is done, proceed as soon as you like to extinguish the dual ownership. When you have placed the question of the basis of a fair and practical rent, then, as soon as you like, extinguish the interest of the landlord; but do not attempt to do it on the basis of a purchase price which will be oppressive to the Irish occupier and perilous to the Treasury of Great Britain. In this great transaction of the settlement of the Irish land it is true to say that, however perfect may be the scheme devised, you cannot take up the position of making the British Treasury the individual creditor and rent collector of 500,000 tenants—you never can make the settlement at all unless you avail yourselves of the co-operation and the credit and authority, which cannot be afforded to you by anything but a native Legislature in Ireland. For the settlement of the Land Question, as for the settlement of every other Question in connection with Ireland, a native Legislature is indispensable. We are asked why we do not debate the Home Rule Question. Because, Sir, Time—the great teacher—is debating effectively for us. Every day that passes, every incident that occurs, proves more and more the impossibility of any fitting and successful government of Ireland except by the Irish people; and this Ministry, though we may desire its death—I fear its death will be rather premature—gives us reason to rejoice in its existence, for every day of that existence proves it leading characteristic to be gross ignorance of Ireland, amazing incompetence, and the most absurd and grotesque presumption. We are told by the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale, who occupies substantially a position of Leader of the House—who, I must say, looks and talks a great deal more like a Leader than anybody opposite, and who occupies towards the Prime Minister a position somewhat analagous to that which, in the decline of a certain French monarchy, was occupied by the Mayor of the Palace—we are told by him with one breath that we have not properly debated Home Rule; and in the next that it is useless to apply to this House, because the majority was elected for the purpose of resisting Home Rule. I do not cherish the hope that the majority of this Assembly will concede the Irish demands; but, Sir, Houses pass away and the people still remain, and from the majority here I turn with hope and confidence to the enfranchised masses of the British people. They did not create the misgovernment of Ireland; they did not continue it; they did not understand it; they did not profit by it. I believe from my soul that they will not suffer it to continue. Guided by him whom you all acknowledge to be the greatest of your statesmen, the people of this country cannot fail to come to a just and wise conclusion. They have been long misled by selfish classes and by interested factions; but, despite the multitudinous falsehoods of the time, they are at last happily coming to understand, and, what is better, to feel the wrongs and rights of the case of Ireland. They were not responsible in the least for the guilt and shame of the misgovernment of my hapless country—they will not now incur that guilt or shame. They never had power before. They have it now. They have learned that the misery of the Irish people does not advance the well-being of Britain, however it may advance the interests of faction or increase the fortunes of a class. They have learned that the subjection of Ireland does not increase the freedom of Britain. They have learned that the political convulsions of Ireland do not promote their own tranquillity. And, Sir, out of the depth of this deep conviction I believe that the common sense of the British people, recognizing the justice of the Irish cause, and acting upon their sense of justice, will add one other free system of domestic rule to the many which adorn and strengthen their great Empire, and will thereby bind together in union for the first time—in a true union, the only real union, that of common interest and of mutual regard—two peoples meant by nature to be a help and not a hindrance to each other—two peoples nobly qualified by their gifts of intellect, and by the qualities of their nature, to sustain and to aid each other in maintaining, for all future time, a foremost place among the free and prosperous nations of the world.


Mr. Speaker, I could wish that the whole of the hon. Member's speech had been like its conclusion. I should be the last man in the House to quarrel with the tone and spirit of the latter part of the hon. Member's speech. I may almost express a wish that the whole of his speech had been couched in an equally generous and elevated vein. When the hon. Gentleman expresses a wish for a union of heart and feeling—when he says that the people who inhabit both these countries are made to walk together in amity and friendship along the path of progress, hon. Members on this side of the House will, I am sure, heartily agree with him. But when he comes to apply these very generous sentiments in practice, how very different the tone of the hon. Gentleman; for he has announced that every effort made by the Government, however well meant, for the benefit of his country, will be met by his countrymen with passionate and fierce resistance. [Home Rule cries of "No, no!" and "Withdraw!"]

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

I said that any scheme of emigration would be so met.


The hon. Gentleman said that whether we proposed any scheme for removing by emigration the overcrowded multitudes who cannot find the means of sustaining life in Ireland, or whether we endeavoured to provide employment by the expenditure of British money for those who are now toiling in vain, both would be alike rejected. ["No, no!"] Moreover, throughout his speech—which was not one minute too long, and to which the House listened with that interest which is always accorded to the hon. Gentleman—there was not one step taken by any Government which preceded the present Government, or by the present Government itself, which had not been subjected by the hon. Member to criticism of the most embittered kind. There was not a calumny uttered upon any public man, although refuted or denied both in public and private, by word of mouth and by oath, which the hon. Gentleman did not so reiterate. I do not propose to follow the hon. Gentleman into the voluminous mass of details through which he has travelled, nor in his criticisms of Judge Curran or Captain Plunkett. Those names sound to me somewhat racy of the soil to which the hon. Member is attached; but to say that either Judge Curran or Captain Plunkett were inefficient officers does not seem to me to be a very great compliment to pay to his countrymen. I do not think that details of the private conduct of well-meaning officials are very pertinent to the subject before the House. We are here debating the Amendment of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, which has now been discussed for many evenings. That Amendment is based on two propositions—one, as was pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley), censuring the Government for not having proposed to the House a measure in the direction of Home Rule; and the other, blaming and censuring the Government for its administration of Ireland during the last few months. I will, with the permission of the House, deal with these various matters as briefly as I can. Now, I trust that I shall be excused for not addressing myself on this occasion to the question of Home Rule. This Government and this House stand here pledged and commissioned to resist Home Rule. It is a matter that has been discussed on 100 platforms, and debated over and over again during the existence of this present Parliament; and, therefore, it seems to me a mere waste of time on my part if we were to enter into a discussion of the Home Rule theory and proposals in this House. The hon. Member for the City of Cork is, of course, from his point of view, strictly entitled to formulate his propositions for Home Rule; but we stand upon a totally different footing, and we are altogether outside of that question, inasmuch as Home Rule was absolutely rejected by the country at the last General Election, and therefore we cannot entertain for a moment any proposal that tends in that direction. Setting aside, therefore, the question of Home Rule, I wish to apply myself to dealing with the criticism which hon. Members opposite have passed upon the conduct of Her Majesty's Government in their administration of Ireland during the last few months, marked, as it has been, by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), by "novel, doubtful, and un-Constitutional measures." We are by this time, unfortunately, only too painfully aware of what is the nature of the charges which hon. Members opposite have brought against us—the House has heard them so often. Hon. Members opposite below the Gangway allege that the Government have done wrong in almost every step they have taken—they have done wrong in having the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) bound over to be of good behaviour—and in bringing him to trial in the County of Dublin for conspiracy. They have done wrong in sending General Buller and Judge Curran to County Kerry; they have done wrong in supporting the officers of the law who directed the evictions at Glenbeigh; they have done wrong in attacking the Plan of Campaign; and they have done wrong in regard to the Sligo meetings. Many of these charges have been exhaustively dealt with by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland, and I do not propose to go again over the ground which be has so satisfactorily covered. I will, however, with the permission of the House, deal with a few of the charges which have been made against us by the hon. Member for the City of Cork. One of the most important and material of those charges, which was endorsed by the right hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler) was that which relates to the pending trial of certain persons, including some hon. Members of this House. I do not pretend to have the experience of the right hon. Member in this House. I am not as good a judge as he is of the character of the attack or of the censure which it is becoming to direct in this House against public constituted bodies; but I must say that I heard with grief and pain a right hon. Gentleman in his position make an attack by anticipation upon a jury which is not yet empanelled or summoned: and asserting beforehand that the trial about to be heard was not, and could not be, a fair or a proper one. I should have thought that in political controversy the right hon. Gentleman would have shrunk from' what is termed in military warfare poisoning the wells, and that he would, at all events, have waited until the jury were empanelled before he attacked them, and would have refrained from denouncing the trial as unfair until it had been brought to a conclusion. Instead of that, the right hon. Gentleman has thought fit to quote certain expressions made use of in the Lobby, and remarks made in conversation outside of this House; and upon those expressions and remarks he has based his allegation that this trial is likely to be an unfair one. The hon. Member for the City of Cork is perfectly right, from his particular point of view, in challenging the probable action of the jury and of the constituted authorities—he has always done so, and we naturally expect that he will do it again. But we had no right to anticipate them, and we ought not to be exposed to them from a man like the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who is learned in the law, who has had experi- ence of government, and who knows what the practice of a Government is in matters of this sort. If the right hon. Gentleman, occupying the position he does, stands forward, and, upon the foundation of Lobby gossip, and of conversation outside, announces to this House and the country that this trial—which is not without its importance, although I think that its importance has been somewhat exaggerated—will not, in the impression of his friends, and, I gather, of himself, be a fair one, I ask him in reply why his friends did not make good that charge upon oath in the Court of Queen's Bench in Ireland, when they had the opportunity of doing so? When the traversers applied to have the trial removed from the Court of Queen's Bench to a trial at bar, why did they not present affidavits alleging that they believed that they would not have a fair trial?

MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

They refused to let us see the books.


They could have made an allegation, and they made no allegation of the sort; and it is doubtless very convenient for hon. and right hon. Gentleman to get up in this House and, sheltered by their Parliamentary privilege, to quote the gossip of the Lobby; but they shrink from making similar statements upon oath in a Court of Justice, when their truth can be tried and tested. I protest it is hardly dealing fairly with the constituted authorities of the country when the traversers themselves, who had abundant opportunity of making objection, abstained from doing so—that we should have that charge uttered in the House without a slight foundation. ["Oh, oh!"] The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) says the Government had recourse to a device in indicting these people in Dublin instead of Galway. Nobody knows better than the right hon. Gentleman that the place where the conspiracy is hatched is the proper place for the trial to take place. It is only the exception that a trial for conspiracy is held in a place other than that in which it is hatched and formed.


But you chose the County of Dublin instead of the City.


The right hon. Gentleman is in too great a hurry. I must take the counts of the indictment one by one. It was the duty of the Government to prefer the indictment in Dublin, and not in Galway. "But oh," says the right hon. Gentleman (Sir William Harcourt), "you have preferred the indictment in the county, and not in the city." In England, it is a matter of common law and practice with prisoners to be tried in places that are both counties and cities to change the venue to the county in order to get a wider range of juries and a larger panel. [Ironical cheers.] I hope that hon. Gentlemen who cheer in that way do not mean to say by that, that the more Irishmen we have to try cases the greater is the danger of a miscarriage of justice. Do they mean to tell the Government, who have been described as ignorant, incompetent, and presumptuous people, that the County of Dublin did not contain material for a fair panel? ["Order!"] I, of course, expected to hear attacks made upon Irish juries by the hon. Member for the City of Cork, because it is his practice to make such attacks in all cases where his friends are concerned. The hon. Member had described the jurors of his country as a wretched set of people, who are not to be trusted. He speaks in the most disparaging terms of jurors of the City of Dublin. Not very long since, in the course of the Maamtrasna debate, the hon. Member said that the prisoners were tried in Dublin by a packed jury, and that the jurors of the City of Dublin were a set of shopkeepers, who were mostly dependent upon patronage of the Castle for their living. These were the terms in which the hon. Member spoke of a mixed jury.


It was a special jury.


Quite true; but the point is that it was a jury of the City of Dublin, and the hon. Member had attacked that jury according to his wont as he has attacked every other. But I hope the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) will take to heart the words of his Colleague (Sir William Harcourt), who, on the occasion I have referred to, warmly defended Irish juries. The right hon. Gentleman finds fault with the numbers on the jury panel. Does he know how many are on the panel at the Old Bailey?

MR. HENRY H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

said, he heard the Solicitor General state that the usual custom in Dublin was to put 80 upon the panel, but that 250 were put on for this special trial.


The Solicitor General said from 80 to 100 was the number usually put upon the panel for an Irish county.


For the County of Dublin.


The Attorney General reminds me that 100 is the usual number when a couple of pickpockets are to be tried. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] In a case of some importance, and one in which, from the circumstances of Ireland, absentee jurymen are likely to be numerous, a greater panel is required. Hon. Members are aware that the Press of Ireland contains articles which make it necessary that men should have no common nerve and firmness to discharge the duties of jurymen, and the Sheriff—for it is he, and not the Crown, who has done this—may think it prudent and desirable to put a good number of extra names upon the panel. Then complaint is made that the Government have not prosecuted any of the tenants who have entered into the Plan of Campaign. It was the bounden duty of the Government to prosecute, at any rate, in the first place the chief authors, and the most prominent promoters of the Plan of Campaign, for this reason—that in their judgment the Plan of Campaign was illegal; that it was mischievous as well as illegal; and I think it is unnecessary for me to add—because I am not at all sure that that ought to enter into the consideration of the Government of the day—that it was immoral. Of course I do not expect hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite to agree with us in that proposition; but I should have thought that right hon. Gentlemen on the opposite Front Bench might have found the decision of the Court of Queen's Bench for Ireland a sufficiently authoritative exposition of the law for the Government to be bound to act upon it. [An hon. MEMBER: It was no decision.] There has been no decision upon the point, says an hon. Gentleman below the Gangway; but the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) was brought before the Court on the ground that he had excited people to join an illegal conspiracy, and for that he was ordered to be hound over to be of good behaviour. The ground upon which the hon. Member was condemned was that it was an illegal conspiracy. What other authority could the Government proceed upon than that of the Court of Queen's Bench? I do not quarrel with the hon. Member for the City of Cork, who says that I should disregard this judgment altogether. That is perfectly intelligible and justifiable on his part. The hon. Member says—"I do not care what the verdict will be, for it is a verdict obtained by a mean trick." He will not accept the judgment of the Queen's Bench, because he says it is nothing; and he tells us beforehand that the verdict will have no weight with him. I would ask hon. Members if, according to the view of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, it is possible for the law to be satisfactorily administered? But do right hon. Gentlemen opposite maintain that the judgment of the highest Criminal Court in Ireland is not a sufficient exposition of what is illegal to enable the Government to act? I shall he surprised to hear that from any responsible politician on the other side. Then the right hon. Gentleman said that this Parliament was not bound by law; that it was the function of Parliament to redress all bad laws. That is entirely the function of Parliament, and therefore it is not going too far to say that this Plan of Campaign is mischievous and immoral. The hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton), somewhat unguardedly speaking about Irish landlords, said that their interest in the land was soon to disappear. But while it exists, before it disappears, even the hon. Gentleman himself admits that the landlord is a rent-charger; and, therefore, I suppose the hon. Gentleman will admit, is entitled to his rent. On what ground was the Land Act passed? On the ground that the tenant was not able to protect himself; that he was not a free agent; and that, owing to the pressure of competition, he was obliged to submit to any terms that the landlord chose to put upon him. Parliament interfered, and said that the rent should be fixed, and should be paid by the tenant, or otherwise he should go out. Is that a bargain or a contract, or is it not? Can anybody, in spite of the subtleties we have heard in this debate, chiefly from Edinburgh and Shoreditch, according to the common sense of man, legitimately hold that one of two parties to a contract can keep all he benefits and gains under it, and, claiming to be the judge in his own cause, to alter, at his pleasure and discretion, the burden of the contract, can retain all or a part of what is due under the contract to the other party? No sophistry will ever satisfy the people of this country that that is a moral action. It is a theory that would destroy the whole fabric of social life to hold that, because one party to a contract finds the price he has to pay is exorbitant, unreasonable, or excessive, he is to reap all the benefits of the contract, and, at the same time, to repudiate his own share of the bargain. If I bought goods at a price which turned out to be excessive, should I not be told it was dishonest to keep the goods—as the Irish tenant claims to keep his farm—and tender the vendor what I choose for the price, and if he did not accept it to turn round upon him and cover him with every sort of abuse, and call him a "Cromwellian scoundrel?" The real merit of the Plan of Campaign is that it can be used to coerce the landlord, so that he will get no rent at all if he evicts a single tenant. But it also coerces the tenants by getting hold of their money as a pledge. That is made perfectly plain by the utterances of hon. Gentlemen themselves. What did the hon. Member for East Mayo say at Woodford? He said— But, if you mean to fight really, you must put the money aside for two reasons—first of all because you want means to support the men who are hit first; and, secondly, because you want to prohibit traitors going behind your back. There is no way to deal with a traitor except to get his money under lock and key; and if you find that he pays his rent and betrays the organization, what will you do with him? I will tell you what to do with him? Close upon his money, and use it for the organization. I have always opposed outrages. This is a legal plan, and it is ten times more effective. You make the man lodge his rent with the trustees; and if he betrays you, you can pin him to the extent of the money he has lodged, and use it to help the men who are evicted. United Ireland, an authority which hon. Members will hardly dispute, in an article, says— The tenantry upon a rack-rented estate give the best of all hostages of their sincerity to each other and to the landlord by lodging their refused rents in an estate fund which garnishee orders cannot capture, and which will he available for the support of those whom the landlord may pick out to make examples of. Then it says— The landlord will have the consolation of knowing that the more examples he makes, the deeper he will be eating into the fund which represents his own rents. Not a pound of the money will he, under the terms of the trust, available for law costs, which are in any shape simply a war indemnity to the landlords. The fund will be wholly an insurance fund against eviction. The hon. Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin (Mr. T. C. Harrington) used expressions even more fervid than those I have just been quoting. He said a plan was before the country by which the tenants could fight the landlords with the landlords' money. Those extracts show, as plainly as it is possible anything could show, that those Members who suppose that this trust fund over going to be paid to the landlords are under a delusion. It is a fund which is as it has been called, an insurance fund against evictions by which the landlords are to be fought; and it is said in some of the speeches addressed to the tenants that they will be better off if evicted than they would be upon their farms, and the salt of this is that they would be living out of the landlords' money. Then there is the other aspect of this—the traitors who pay their rents behind the backs of their fellow-conspirators. There is that ingrained sense of honesty in the Irish tenants that makes it necessary to coerce them against following their honest instincts and paying their debts. Hon. Members were not content with the device of "closing upon the moneys," as the hon. Member for East Mayo said. Language of a more cautiously persuasive kind was used by the hon. Member for West Kerry (Mr. E. Harrington). He said— When they found what was a reasonable offer for them to make they should do that and stand shoulder to shoulder, and they should not spare, so far as execration and avoiding, him went, the man who broke the ring; he was a traitor to his kind, but they need not hurt his life or limb. He himself"— That is, the hon. Member for West Kerry— would not soil his hands with the man's blood; but he did not believe they would have such among them when once they stood together. When once they gave proof that they were determined, they would have very few scoundrels among them.


I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman must be wandering in a maze of I.L.P.U. literature. I never used those words.

MR. J. E. REDMOND (Wexford, N.)

Read the shorthand notes.


I have not got the shorthand notes of the words.


Your Government has.


Order! order!


Might I by possibility have made a confusion between the hon. Member for West Kerry and his brother, the hon. Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin?


Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to say that I am not my brother's keeper! and I again deny that I used those words, or any which could by possibility be mistaken for them. ["Withdraw, withdraw!"]


I accept at once the statement of the hon. Member for West Kerry that he did not use the language I have attributed to him. I am sorry I cannot give the authority on which the quotation is founded. I think it is a convenient publication which has been put into my hands.

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

(who had just entered the House): I understand the right hon. and learned Gentleman has quoted words which I am alleged to have spoken. Perhaps he will do me the justice to repeat the words?


I will, with pleasure. [The right hon. Gentleman having again read the quotation,]


I beg to say that not one word of that have I ever uttered. There is not the shadow of a foundation for the allegation that I made any speech which can possibly bear any resemblance as to that quoted, nor did I speak on the subject referred to in it.


I am extremely glad that both hon. Members have been able to deny having used the words. I must confess it would not have added to their reputations if they had used them. I am perfectly ready to accept the disclaimers; but the other quotations which I have read, the correctness of which is not disputed, show distinctly that it is part and parcel of this Plan of Cam- paign, that by getting hold of the money of the tenant the so-called trustee may exercise such an amount of pressure upon the tenant as will prevent him paying his rent. That seems to me to be an immoral ingredient of this Plan of Campaign. The hon. Member for the City of Cork is chiefly responsible for having introduced into the public life of Ireland those singular comments in which the plainest obligations of every-day life are treated as no longer binding, because they are hard to fulfil. Sir, I was charged by the hon. Member for Belfast with having uttered words of a poetic kind, of which I am now, and always was—even in my younger days—quite incapable. I have always thought—and I think now—that the Irish rebel who levies war on Her Majesty the Queen is a perfectly intelligible person historically. I think there are reasons in the history of Ireland which may well account for such a character; he is an anachronism in my judgment; but he is a respectable anachronism. But, Sir, for those petty pilferers of the Plan of Campaign who run away with money which admittedly belongs to the landlords, even by the partial and biassed decision of the tenant himself; and which, according to the statement of the authors of the Plan, is the last farthing the tenant can afford to pay—to run away with that money, and leave the tenant still liable for his debts—for conduct such as that I have the most determined opposition, with no respect and no pity at all. I protest against the authors of this Plan of Campaign being called our political enemies, and I assert that about those prosecutions against them there is nothing political. Those persons are, if I may use popular language, engaged in a "ring" in which it was attempted to "bear" the land; they mean to reduce rents slice by slice, as we were told, in the noted quotation which has not been denied, and this is simply to call it by its proper name—a conspiracy to defraud. Do not let us be told about political opponents. Politics have nothing to do with it; this is simply a question of honesty in common life. Sir, it is not only those points to which I have drawn the attention of the House upon which I base this proposition; it struck me that through every speech from every hon. Member below the Gangway there ran this assumption—namely, that in Ireland rights of property in land and the ordinary rights of property are criminal; that is the assumption which runs through every speech of theirs. When the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), for instance, addressed the House, he told us that it was a disgrace for an English soldier to assist in evictions. What is the assumption that lies at the bottom of all such statements? The hon. Member for the City of Cork himself said that all Irish title to land was based on conspiracy and illegality; but will right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench endorse any such a declaration and doctrine as that? Are they prepared to say that land in Ireland is held by a title so vicious that anybody is entitled to resist that title and dispossess the landlord? Will they go on to say that inveterate and hopeless pauperism—total inability to pay rent or to satisfy their legal obligations—gives a title to the tenants, and that you are not to disturb them because they cannot pay? It was most melancholy, to my mind, when the hon. Member for East Mayo told us how very poor was the population, and how deserted were the districts he described. But did the hon. Member ever take the trouble to consider to what extent those districts had become rich because they were depopulated; and how far the others remained poor because the unhappy peasants, with whom we sympathize as much as you, found the land could not support them? Do you suppose that we Englishmen have not got hearts as completely open as yours are to the sufferings of the Irish tenants? Do you think we do not sympathize with the victims of those cruel economical and physical laws which have passed over so many unhappy villages in Ireland just as a harrow passes over a field, crushing it as it goes? Do you not think that the tears you shed so copiously are somewhat venomous tears? You indulge your hatreds under the cover of humanity. We do not follow your example in that. I claim on behalf of the Government, and on behalf of hon. Members on this side of the House, that it is not want of sympathy with the impoverished tenant in Ireland, who is reduced to a condition in which he cannot pay his rent nor fulfil his obligations—it is not want of sympathy that makes us say that it is impossible to give him, in these circumstances, a greater right as against the landlords than lie now possesses; and that it is impossible for him to hold property when he can fulfil none of the obligations belonging to it. The attitude of the hon. Member for the City of Cork and his friends is intelligible, but the attitude of right hon. Gentlemen opposite is much more interesting. We have had from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) not much guidance in the course of this debate. He would express no opinion about the Plan of Campaign, except that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had caused it. The noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington), in the massive and masculine speech which he delivered last night, gave the true ring, and a sound about which there is no mistake. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley) took refuge in the statement that he would not defend the Plan of Campaign. I commend this to the notice of hon. Members below the Gangway opposite. Do they not know that right hon. Gentlemen opposite, while using this soft and mild language—[An hon. MEMBER: "Soft soap!"]—in their hearts detested the principles and abhorred the practices of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. They will not say, so, for reasons explained by the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale last night; but let hon. Members below the Gangway draw the inevitable conclusion from these lame apologies—if apologies they can be called—for the Plan of Campaign. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley) has recourse to a tu quoque. It is not, however, the tu quoque of the hon. Member for Cork, who went back to the confiscations of Cromwell and William III. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle fell foul of the hon. Member for East Belfast (Mr. De Cobain), who had written an incitement to some crime; and, consequently, that absolved the right hon. Gentleman from the necessity of condemning the Plan of Campaign. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) has still to enlighten us. I know that from him we shall have an emphatic condemnation of the scheme—not a halt- ing apology, but an emphatic condemnation of a scheme and system in Ireland which runs counter to every opinion which he has ever proclaimed in this House. I do not suppose the right hon. Gentleman will say that the Plan of Campaign is the Apostolic successor of any preceding attempt in Ireland, for you cannot connect the Apostles with anything so discreditable. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) also has not told us—in this House at least—his view of the Plan of Campaign. Both his admirers and his opponents have felt a little uneasy about that right hon. Gentleman of late. But he appears to us to resemble that lady who, while saying she would ne'er consent, consented;" and we do not know whether, under the blandishments of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, his consent will not be given. I myself believe that he will, upon all this Irish Question, be perfectly sound and true to the principles he has always maintained. I do not think we make allowance enough for the fact that he has got his contingent below the Gangway to deal with also. Upon this subject of the Plan of Campaign he also has given the true ring, and has condemned it most emphatically. If this be so, on what grounds are hon. Members opposite going to vote for the Amendment? If they vote for it they will be adopting the doctrines of the Plan of Campaign. They will be adopting the doctrine that landlordism is a crime; they will be adopting the doctrine that pauperism gives a title to property; they will be adopting the doctrine that it is fair to combine in order to induce men to neglect and evade their legal obligations; and they will also be adopting the doctrine that legal rights are not to be enforced by the Government except on their discretion, and that the Government can pick and choose the cases and the occasions when it is estimable and praiseworthy to enforce legal rights. I shall be very much surprised to hear from the responsible Members of the Opposition such doctrines as those. I maintain that it would be the gravest dereliction of duty on the part of the Government if, because it detests the conduct of a particular man as being cruel and unjust, it should take upon itself to say—"We will not enforce the law in your case. To do a great right we will do a little wrong. Although, the law has awarded you a right, yet because we think your conduct has been harsh and cruel, we will not assist you in getting that which the law entitles you to." If the Government were capable of such conduct as that, we should deserve impeachment. Therefore, I implore the House not to censure us for doing that which we were bound in duty to do—not to censure us for enforcing rights which we were bound to enforce, and which we could not help enforcing. At any rate, our course is clear. We have striven, and we shall continue to strive, to prevent the spread and success of this organized combination to defeat the law. I think we have not been wholly unsuccessful already. I believe that the present conduct of the Government, in meeting this Plan of Campaign at once by all the resources which the law affords us, has been successful in checking its growth. And I believe that if we persevere in that course the House will support us, and we shall succeed still more completely. That the House will support us I feel very little doubt, for the House of Commons will know that law and order, and the enforcement of established rights, are the only foundations of civilized society, and that it will not be deterred from taking that course because the harsh name of "coercion" is used. It never is coercion to punish and redress crime; still less will the House be deterred by the Amendment of the hon. Member for the City of Cork from entering on the stern path of duty, in order to maintain law and order in every part of this country.


The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary (Mr. Matthews) spoke with his usual eloquence on the subject of the Amendment; but I think that he hardly sufficiently dwelt on the extremely mild character of my hon. Friend's (Mr. Parnell) proposition, the chief object of which is to point out that in those districts of Ireland where reasonable reductions have been made in rents by the landlords, there is less trouble than usual to contend against, and that nothing whatever has been done there which calls for repressive measures on the part of the Government such as those they are contemplating at the present moment. I may instance my own constituency as one example of this. The constituency forms a very large portion of the County of Galway, which is now, and has been lately, so much before the public. We have no serious crime there, and a good many of the landlords have made some reductions, although I cannot say that they are very large ones. The district at the present moment may fairly, I think, congratulate itself on being at least sufficiently peaceable not to call for any of those extreme measures which the Government are now contemplating, and which the Home Secretary has defended. I must congratulate one Member of the Government—I do not know whether it is the First Lord of the Treasury, or the Secretary to the Treasury, but there is always supposed to be one Member of the Government who arranges the Ministerial speakers—I must congratulate that Gentleman upon having conceived the capital notion of putting up the Home Secretary. As a great deal turned upon the question of challenging practically the whole of the Catholic jurors at Sligo, it was a capital idea to put up a Catholic. The Government, therefore, put up the Catholic Home Secretary, who was prepared to "go the whole hog." The right hon. and learned Gentleman only omitted one point. He should have justified the language of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson), who last night compared the Catholic Primate of Ireland to Friar Tuck. I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman would have shown how completely he goes with the Government in these matters, if he had defended that comparison on the part of the hon. and gallant Member. However, even the right hon. and learned Gentleman's eloquence will hardly induce the House, after the magnificent speech we had last night from the right hon. Gentleman the late Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Henry H. Fowler), to think that it is a perfectly right thing in a Catholic county to exercise the practically unlimited power of challenge which the Crown possesses in such a way as to strike off in most of the cases tried all the Catholic jurors. The reason why we object to the proceedings of the Crown in reference to the trial which is to take place in Dublin next week is, that we are almost afraid that, with some slight exceptions, the course followed in Sligo will be pursued in Dublin. I say some slight exceptions, because there will be a few Catholics so identified in interest with the Government that they will be safe men; and the reason why we complain of the trial having been transferred to Dublin County is that the prosecuting counsel will go through the panel in the same way as was done at Sligo; but will leave upon the jury a few Catholics who are closely identified by property with the governing class. I speak on this subject with some experience. When I was first returned for my county, I was criminally prosecuted on a charge of having intimidated the voters at the election. The allegation was, of course, that I had obtained votes by intimidation. Several clergymen and others were prosecuted at the same time. Well, our whole fear was that the prosecuting counsel would strike all the Catholics off the panel. We knew we were perfectly innocent; and we said that as long as they left some of the Catholics on the jury, as long as we had a fair trial, we did not care. We knew that with a fair jury we had a good case, and we were prepared to go on the merits. On the other hand, we felt that if the Crown went through the panel and struck out all the men except those who were known to be hostile to everything popular, we were, to a certain extent, in a doubtful position. I refer to this matter merely to show the House why we are so anxious to have a fair jury struck in Dublin next week. We do not ask that there should be no challenges whatever; but that there should only be challenges where the men on the jury list are identified in any particular way with one side or the other. Well, Sir, I do not intend to deal with the whole of the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman; but I regard this question of the course of procedure in Dublin next week as of great importance; the more so, because I was once in a position in which the principles now involved applied to myself. There is one point on which I should like to set the right hon. and learned Gentleman right. I am sure he knows a great deal about affairs in Dublin, and a great deal about the law; but he knows very little about the soil of Ireland. The right hon. and learned Gentleman asked the House whether it was not the case that the soil of Ireland was poor on account of the congested population in some districts, and because the people were crowded upon the land. That is, however, absolutely the reverse of the fact. The lands which have been depopulated are not rich because they have been so dealt with. It is notorious that Meath and other counties which are practically depopulated at the present moment, have always possessed the richest soils in Ireland; whereas in Kerry and other counties which are over-populated, the land has always been poor, and it owes any richness, such as it is, which it possesses to the exertions of the population residing upon it. As I have said, Sir, it is not my intention to go at any length into the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I rose chiefly on account of some observations which were made about my conduct respecting some evictions many years ago by the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (Captain McCalmont). I think, Sir, it would be better in these cases if the ordinary courtesies of the House were observed, and that some notice should be given when a statement respecting the personal conduct of a Member, and which that Member cannot possibly expect, is to be made. I could not have expected that the observations I refer to would have been made, because the whole of the events to which they related were so well known, and were freely discussed years ago. It would have been as well, under the circumstances, that the hon. and gallant Gentleman should have given me some intimation that he intended to make an attack upon me. I have given the hon. and gallant Gentleman notice that I intended to refer to the subject this evening. I may say that it is very easy to distort charges, and to make false ones appear like true, in the absence of the person attacked, and it is easy to make it very difficult for his friends to be able, on the spur of the moment, to give a categorical denial to a statement in which there is some truth, but which is made in such a way as to convey a totally false impression to the House. The hon. and gallant Member charged me with having made certain evictions on a town land. I do not think he gave the name of the townland, but I am speaking in his hearing and I will give it. The name is thoroughly well-known throughout the whole of Ireland. It is Portcarn. From the way in which the hon. and gallant Gentleman put the case, the occurrence might have taken place only a few years ago. As a matter of fact, however, the whole of the circumstances were practically closed 15 years ago. I cannot go into the whole of the facts of the case, but I will put the matter in this way to the House. The case was written about more than anything else for six months in Ireland. Hundreds of leading articles were published in the newspapers on both sides, and the placards issued against me were sworn, to number over 100,000. Of course, there was a contested election going on at the time, and the case was thoroughly threshed out. The result was that I had four-fifths of the landlords of the county against me; and at the poll I had, at the very least, four-fifths of the tenants—probably five-sixths—with me. The hon. and gallant Gentleman made a serious of statements every one of which was calculated to convey a false impression. I do not deny that there were evictions on the townland, but every one of the tenants evicted was put back again—not on the same land, but on other land not far away. I may say that every fact which the hon. and gallant Gentleman stated was not absolutely false, but was as false as any statement I have ever heard made in the House of Commons. I was, in the first instance, at a loss to account for the attack which the hon. and gallant Gentleman made upon me, and thought that he was simply attacking me as a Member of a particular Party. I did not know the hon. and gallant Member, and I had no idea how it was he knew anything about me, for Antrim is a long way from Galway. But by chance I took up The Parliamentary Companion, and what did I find? I discovered that the owner of an estate situated quite close to this townland was Mr. James Martin, of Ross, the hon. and gallant Gentleman's grandfather, and a most bitter opponent of mine during the election to which I have alluded. I will do Mr. James Martin the justice to say that he opposed me at the election because he thought I was doing too much for the tenants and putting false notions into their heads. I may say that I do not, as a rule, attack men about the management of their property. I have done a good deal towards bringing about changes in the law and giving justice to the tenants, but the means I have adopted have not involved attacks upon neighbouring landlords. But when the grandson of a neighbouring owner comes forward in this House and makes statements which contain just enough colour to deceive hon. Members as to the real facts, I think I am entitled to reply. I say, then, that, without exception, Mr. James Martin was looked upon as the hardest landlord in the county, and as over-renting his tenants very largely. Since the time I have been speaking of, he has had the most unhappy contests with his tenants, and the property has been a most miserable one. His grandson now comes forward and attacks me. I shall not say anything more on the subject. I would never pose in this House as a good landlord, and do not pretend to be better than my class. I do not profess to be a bit better than an ordinary landlord. I have always said to my constituents, "Do not return me, because I may be a good landlord; return me for my political opinions." Well, Sir, the Government are prosecuting my Friends, because it is said they have held up landlords to execration. That is just what the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Captain McCalmont) has done to me; but he will not be tried, because he can claim the privilege of the House of Commons. The hon. and gallant Member says that all the landlords in Antrim are agreed about Nationalism except one, and he attacks that one as an extremely bad landlord. The hon. and gallant Member talks of rents having been raised 40 per cent. Why, Sir, in some parts of Ireland they would laugh at that. I do not suppose that the hon. and gallant Gentleman's grandfather contented himself with a rise of 40 per cent; perhaps 200 per cent would be nearer the mark. Well, I have given my answer to the attack made upon me. I hope that people in Ireland will remember that I have never attempted to pose as a good landlord, although I do not think I am worse than ordinary landlords. The hon. and gallant Gentleman says I am much worse. Well, the people have elected me five times in my present constituency, and that is a tolerably good answer to such a statement, for there are not so many good landlords to elect. I hope it will be remembered that if I have brought the name of a property-owner before the House of Commons, I have only done so because I have been attacked by that Gentleman's near relative. I have only replied to what has been said about me, and I would warn the hon. and gallant Member that he had better look at home and try to defend his immediate relatives than make attacks upon others.

MR. YERBURGH (Chester)

If all the speeches which proceed from hon. Members sitting below the Gangway opposite were as moderate as the one to which we have just listened, I think, Sir, that a much deeper effect would be made by them upon the House. We have, however, this evening heard language of a very different character—language constituting a violent attack upon the Government, from the lips of the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton). I will attempt to deal with one or two of the arguments which that hon. Member used to the House in support of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell). The hon. Member for West Belfast said that the law was defective and oppressive, and that it was the duty of Members of the House of Commons to obtain its repeal. I thoroughly agree on that point with the hon. Member. It is the duty of everyone who thinks a law is oppressive to do his best to obtain its repeal. But I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite, do they think that the proper course to pursue, in order to obtain the repeal of a law, is to break the law? Ought they not to try and carry out their intentions by lawful methods? I think that Gentlemen who follow the lead of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone) are hardly sufficiently indoctrinated with the principles of the National League to approve of any other principle. The hon. Member for West Belfast went on to say that the Plan of Campaign was necessary, and therefore it was not immoral. That was a very extraordinary argument to advance, and we have only to apply it to one or two cases which occur in daily life, to see how absurd it is. I have the privilege of belonging to a very honourable profession, but it is not very well paid, and its members find it difficult, in early life, to obtain briefs. It is part of our practice, and very necessary for success, to take Chambers in the Temple, and these are rather expensive. If we follow the reasoning of the hon. Member for West Belfast, as chambers are necessary to us, and are cannot at the beginning of our professional life earn enough money to pay the rents of them; we shall be justified in refusing to pay those rents, and we shall have the support of the hon. Member for West Belfast if we act upon his arguments and pursue that illegal course. Referring to the Dillon estate, the hon. Member (Mr. Sexton) said that thousands of people had been saved by the action of the Plan of Campaign. I think that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) referred to the same matter in introducing this Amendment, and I believe that reference has been made to the same alleged action of the Plan of Campaign by other speakers. This would lead the House to believe that if the Plan of Campaign had not been carried out on the Dillon estate, terrible suffering would have ensued there and unexampled horrors would have been perpetrated. I have it, however, on an authority upon which I can implicitly rely—the authority of the agent of the estate—that before the arrival of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) and Mr. O'Brien upon the property, several hundreds of the very poorest of the tenants had paid all their rents without any pressure and without any abatement. Will hon. Gentlemen opposite rise in their places now to support the action of the Plan of Campaign. [A cry of "Yes" from the Home Rule Benches.] And will they support the language used by the hon. Member for East Mayo, when he said he had not interfered in any case whatever, unless he had satisfied himself of the justice of that case? [An hon. MEMBER: "I do not believe one word."] Well, there are some Gentlemen with, whom, I regret to say, it is impossible to argue. The hon. Member for West Belfast went on to speak of the question of the Joint Stock Banks in Ireland, and he referred to the extreme poverty of Ireland, as contrasted with the riches we possess in England. I know perfectly well that to our misdirected policy in the past much of the misery of Ireland is to be traced; but I will put some figures before the House which will show that during the years between 1881 and 1885 there has been some increase in the material prosperity of the country. While there was a decrease of £60,320 in the deposits in Trustee Savings Banks in Ireland during those years, the deposits in the Post Office Savings Banks increased by £669,000, and the deposits in the Bank of Ireland and Joint Stock Banks showed an increase of £951,780. Thus there was a total increase of the deposits in Irish banks, between 1881 and 1885, amounting to £1,560,460. I now turn to some other figures, and I find that the Irish tenants in the same period received something like £1,100,000 in the sweeping away of arrears, and that reductions of rent were granted amounting to £511,000. It is a curious fact that if hon. Gentlemen will put these figures together, they will find that the sum received by the tenants during the period I have mentioned in reductions of rent and the sweeping away of arrears amounted to within a very few thousand pounds of the sum they deposited in the banks of Ireland. Let me state one other fact, to show how the material prosperity of the country has increased in recent years. There is, I believe, nothing that shows us more plainly the increase or decrease in the material prosperity of a nation than the state of the houses in the country. In 1841 the Census Commissioners took a Census of the inhabited houses in Ireland. They divided them into four classes; the 1st, consisting of the better-class houses in the towns; the 2nd, of good farmhouses; the 3rd, of mud cabins with three or four rooms and windows; and the 4th, of mud cabins with no windows and only one room. Well, I find that whilst between 1871 and 1881 there was a total decrease of over 47,000 in the number of the inhabited houses in Ireland, the whole of that decrease was in the 4th, or lowest class of all. The figures were these. In the 4th class there was a decrease of 115,110, but in the 3rd class there was an increase of 27,349; in the 2nd class there was an increase of 34,581, and the 1st class an increase of 5,808. I think that any hon. Gentlemen who are acquainted with the economical aspect of the country will agree with me that such an increase as that in the number of better-class houses shows a considerable improvement in the material prosperity of the people. I do not think that there is any other point in connection with the speech of the hon. Member for West Belfast that I need deal with except one, and that is in reference to the alleged great fall in prices. We all of us agree, and we all deplore, that there has been a great and unexampled fall in prices. As long ago as the General Election of 1885, in the address I issued to my constituents, I remarked upon the dreadful depression which had fallen upon the agricultural interests of England and Ireland. We all recognize the existence of that depression. But hon. Gentlemen bring these cases before us, and they do Dot put them in a fair light. The hon. Member for West Belfast based his case upon four articles of consumption only—namely, butter, pork, beef and mutton, which have all fallen in price. He said nothing, however, about oats, or about barley, or about flax, or about potatoes. Were we to form our judgment as to the condition of agriculture in England solely upon the fall in the price of wheat, we should be guilty of no greater absurdity than the hon. Member stands convicted of in basing it in Ireland merely upon the prices of butter, beef, pork, and mutton. But there is another point to be considered. In regard to the question of butter, how is it that at the present moment Irish butter fetches a lower price than Dutch, Danish, or Normandy, or any other butter in the market? I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite what is the reason for it. They know perfectly well that it is because the Irish farmer will not take the trouble to make good butter, and because he sends over what he does make very badly packed to this country. It is, as a rule, packed so badly, that when it arrives in England it is in a very poor condition, and cannot fetch a high price. Let the Irish farmer take a lesson from the foreigners, and learn their methods of butter-making and butter-packing, and I think we shall soon see that important branch of Irish industry exhibiting great improvement. The same thing applies to the state of agriculture generally in Ireland. Take the case of cattle. In Ireland, stock has deteriorated in quality to an almost unprecedented extent. Why is that? Is it not the fact that the Irish landlord, who has been in the habit of providing good sires for improving the stock of the country, does not now, whatever the reason, provide that means of improving the stock? In regard to farming generally, is it not well known that the system in use in Ireland is of the most primitive character? Has a farmer in Ireland any knowledge of the rotation of crops, or of the best methods of improving the soil? Not one atom of attention does the Irish farmer bestow on either. Then, Sir, have those who come hero and ask us to hand over to them the government of Ireland, held out any encouragement or any inducement to the Irish tenants to practise industry and thrift and to improve their system of farming? No; not one. I have searched their speeches, and not one instance of such advice do I find. If I am not wearying the House, I should like to refer for one moment to the speech delivered in this debate by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley). The right hon. Gentleman told us that we on this side of the House had been guilty of sermonizing and of lecturing the Irish Members, and that he considered this was a course which, in the future, we should not pursue. Then he went on to say that there was something in the temper and the frame of mind of Irish tenants which prevented them buying their holdings. It is perfectly evident to me that the right hon. Gentlemen cannot have bestowed that amount of attention on the utterances made by hon. Members below the Gangway opposite, as a Gentleman holding his distinguished position, and one who is regarded as an authority upon the Irish Question, ought to have done. Had he done so, the right hon. Gentleman would have found in those speeches a very good reason why hon. Members on this side of the House should censure the followers of the hon. Member for Cork, and why the tenants in Ireland will not buy their holdings. Let me just read one passage. In order to save hon. Gentlemen opposite from any anxiety, I will give the name of the paper from which I took it, and the date. The speech was quoted in The Freeman's Journal of the 15th of November. This is what the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) told the tenantry of Ireland— The National League intended to lay down a law, wherever it had power, that no estate shall be bought on which tenants have been evicted, until every tenant evicted since 1879 had been put hack in his holding. On the estates where the rents were rack-rents, they should allow no man to sell his interest; for the man who sold his interest in a rack-rented estate, and allowed a man of means, a man of trade, to come in, was one of the tenants' greatest enemies. Well, Sir, I should have thought that to have a man of means on an estate would have been an advantage to it; but hon. Gentlemen opposite have such extraordinary ideas of political economy that it is always impossible to know what views they will next express. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle was delivered in such funereal tones, and couched in such a melancholy strain, that it reminded me of a poem of Edgar Poe, and I thought of the lines— Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—truly, I implore! Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore. The right hon. Gentleman asked if it was not possible for politicians to rise above the exigencies of Party. The right hon. Gentleman had only to turn to his left to find out whether this was possible, for there sat within a few feet of him a distinguished statesman (the Marquess of Hartington) who has shown to all the world that it is possible for a man to prefer his Country to his Party. I think the House will agree with me when I describe him in the words of Horace as— Justum et tonacem propositi virum Non civium ardor pravu jubentium Non vultus instantis tyranni Mente quatit solida." The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. John Morley) on his arrival the other day in Newcastle, where he felt himself, I suppose, like the familiar barn-door fowl, on his own particular spot, indulged in a lusty crow. He asked—"Where is the Unionist Party? Their alliance is crumbling away." I think the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale has shown us that their alliance is stronger than ever, and is being more firmly cemented day by day. The hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) said, in those eloquent terms which we all of us admire, that time was on the side of those who are with him. Yes, time, perhaps, is on your side, but we have education upon ours. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen laugh at that which is the most educated city in the whole of the world? Is it not London? What is the most educated spot in the whole of London? St. George's. [Renewed laughter.] I would advise hon. Gentlemen who laugh to improve their historical knowledge, and to study Macaulay. Yes, education is on our side, and as time goes on, time gives way to education. Education gains upon time, and the more the masses are educated to understand the question of Home Rule, the more firmly will they be rivetted in their opposition to that fatal step. Sir, I have trespassed on the House at far too great length. I will only say, in conclusion, that we will allow hon. Gentlemen who follow the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone) no monopoly in wishing good things for Ireland. We echo the words used by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell). We desire the removal of grievances in Ireland; we desire the amelioration of the condition of the people, and in due course, if hon. Gentlemen from Ireland will only enter on a Constitutional plan of action, we will extend to them that which we believe to be the proper form of government—namely, Local Government. The point on which hon. Gentlemen opposite and we on this side of the House differ is as to the form that government shall take. They say Home Rule; we say Local Government. With regard to the condition of Ireland we are both at one. We are both, heartily working for the same cause. I appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite—will they not abandon the fatal path they are now pursuing, and adopt the path of Constitutional agitation in its place? If they will do that, instead of rivetting the grievances of Ireland round her neck, they will be removing them. I will only say this one word more. Through good report and evil report we will maintain the cause we were sent here to advocate; but we hope that, by pursuing a course of justice to Ireland—justice in its highest and purest sense—we shall before long bring about such a state of things in Ireland that before the sunshine of returning prosperity will for ever disappear the "winter of her discontent."

MR. C. S. PARKER (Perth)

Sir, it is refreshing to hear a young Member enlivening the debate by quoting Horace, and I have listened with inter- est to his statistics of improvement in Ireland. But I have only risen for the purpose of saying what view I take of the Amendment now before the House. It appears to me that the Amendment raises two chief issues—one, a question of fact; and the other, a question of policy, but involving also a censure upon the Government. On the question of fact, the issue is not a very broad one, and to a certain extent, the language of the Amendment and that of the Address agree. We are told in Her Majesty's Speech that the relations between landlord and tenant in Ireland are seriously disturbed, but only in certain districts. The Amendment acknowledges that there are these disturbed relations, and that they are confined to certain districts. But we are further invited to say that they are limited to the estates of certain landlords—namely, those landlords who have refused what the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) calls "suitable concessions," and what the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) terms "necessary abatements of rent." Now, has that been established to the satisfaction of the House, or not? What are suitable or necessary abatements of rent? In other words, what, under the present circumstances, is a fair rent? On the one hand, there is the extreme view of some landowners, who maintain that the fair rent judicially ascertained and fixed by the Act of 1881, is a fair rent still, because that Act gives the tenants 15 years' tenure, and, had prices risen instead of falling, no one would have proposed to increase the rent. Now, that I call one extreme view. There is another extreme view, which the advocates of the tenants take—namely, that a fair rent would be the rent under present circumstances, or under any circumstances, on which a tenant can live and thrive. And inasmuch as it is held by high authorities, that throughout a large number of the small holdings in Ireland economic rent has ceased, therefore in all these cases if the principle of live and thrive be accepted, fair rent in present circumstances would be no rent. But neither of these extreme views is in question. It is agreed, between Her Majesty's Government on the one hand, and the hon. Member for Cork on the other, that the fall of prices has been so serious and the distress of the tenants so great, as to demand very considerable abatements of rent. The first question we have to decide on matters of fact is this—are we in a position to say what should be the percentage of that abatement? And. then, there is a further question—namely, as to the legitimacy of certain means of pressure which have been brought to bear upon the landlords. I think it is a very difficult matter for the House to pronounce a decided opinion to what should be the abatement. I can imagine a landowner approaching the question in this way. He might say "The Court has fixed an absolutely fair judicial rent, and therefore I shall not consent to remit more than 10 per cent." But he then meets Captain Plunkett or Sir Redvers Buller, or is in some way brought under the influence of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and under those influences he is induced to go a step further, and to make an abatement of 15, 20, or even 25 per cent. The tenants, an organized body, say—"Go 5 percent further or you will get no rent at all." [Cries of "Oh!"] Some hon. Member appears to intimate dissent. I do not know whether he means that the tenants themselves are not allowed to take that course, but that it is the result of the interposition of those who are conducting the Plan of Campaign—that they fix an abatement such as they think fair to the tenants. However this may be, I can quite conceive, from the figures put before us, that 30 or even 40 per cent might be a proper abatement in some eases; but I do not see how I can subscribe to the proposition that in all cases where there have been serious disturbances, the landlord, and not the tenant, has been to blame. As to the organized attempt to dictate terms of reduction, the conclusion I have come to is this—We are asked two questions about it: Is it legal, and is it moral? For a Legislative Assembly to undertake to settle the question whether it is legal or not, when next week that question is coming before the highest Law Court in Ireland, is impossible; and I understand that the hon. Member for Cork has no desire that we should settle that question here. As to the moral question, I think the language of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary, in denouncing the leaders of the movement, went some- what beyond what was reasonable. I was sorry to hear him say of an hon. Member so much respected as the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), that he regarded him, when he would have to stand next week before a legal tribunal, with no pity whatever. I am satisfied that hon. Members generally do not share that feeling. Everyone who knows the hon. Member for East Mayo knows him to be a sincere man, a man acting under strong convictions, and those who think him mistaken might have some feeling of sympathy for him now that he is about to be placed upon his trial. I think we shall be in a bettor position to judge both as to the legal and moral aspect of the question after that trial has taken place. There remains the question of policy. There are placed before us two policies, one of which is strongly condemned—and the other strongly recommended. The policy of the Government is condemned in the Amendment, and in the speech of the hon. Member for Cork he attacked their policy, both past and future. When I first read the Amendment, I supposed that by "novel, doubtful, and unconstitutional" means the hon. Member meant the pressure which has been brought to bear by the Government upon some of the landlords to abate their claim for rent. I am glad to find that that is not so, and that the hon. Member does not disapprove of the action of the Government in that respect. But there were many other things which the hon. Member for Cork censured, and especially the prosecution which is to commence on Monday next. Of that we shall be better able to judge when we know what it is, and how it has been conducted. As to the Sligo meeting, if it had been what the hon. Member has described it to be, I should have been disposed to go with him in denouncing the proclamation of it, because I attach the highest importance to the freedom of public meetings. The difficulty I feel in this case is that one of the principal placards calling the meeting clearly showed that it was held for the express purpose of influencing a jury. I cannot cast censure upon the Government for proclaiming a meeting that was intended to interfere directly with the free action of a jury. I do not propose to detain the House with any remarks upon jury-packing further than this—that in Ireland the selection of a jury is an extremely delicate matter, and one upon which it is impossible to be too careful. If men are chosen almost entirely of one political creed and of one religion, such action will be certain to create a feeling of distrust, and no confidence will be felt in a verdict so obtained. I have said that we have two policies before us, and the chief contrast between the two policies is a contrast for the future. What has been said of the Government policy is this: The hon. Member for Cork says— We are face to face with a Front Bench which has no plan of reform for Ireland, no plan of amelioration for the tenants, no plan for easing the relations between landlord and tenant, except this novel plan of bringing pressure to bear upon the landlords. I agree very much with that criticism of the hon. Member upon the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and I fail to see, in the Royal Speech, any promise of satisfactory legislation or change of the law in Ireland which will meet the wants and wishes of the Irish people. Indeed, I think we are justified in employing again the expression which was used last year—that the policy of the Government is a policy of nothing but Royal Commissions. I do not condemn such inquiry into questions affecting Ireland, because I think it may possibly lead to good results. But I would willingly vote for the last part of the Amendment, if it stood alone. I would willingly vote for "such a reform of the law and system of government as will satisfy the needs and secure the confidence of the Irish people." Those are somewhat general words, but they may well be accepted by the Liberal Party generally, and even by that section who call themselves Unionists. The noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) who is the Leader of the Unionist Party, remarked that they pointed only to the confidence of the Irish people, and said nothing about the confidence of the British people. That may be a fair verbal criticism, but it would not deter me from voting. It I is for other other reasons that I cannot support the Amendment-first, because it invites me to pronounce a verdict upon matters of fact, and to say that, in all cases where there have been disturbances, the landlords, and not the tenants, are to blame; and, secondly, because it invites me to pass censure on the Government for almost all its recent policy, for the efforts it is making to secure law and order, and especially for acts on which I can only form a judgment when the trial of the traversers comes on next week. But I shall be prepared, as the Session goes on, to give the hon. Member for Cork and his Party substantial help in obtaining such reforms of the law and the system of government in Ireland, so long as they are not in themselves unjust or objectionable, as will satisfy the needs and secure the confidence of the Irish people.

MR. COWLEY LAMBERT (Islington, E.)

Sir, I ask for that indulgence which is usually extended to a Member who rises to address the House for the first time. Although I am a Metropolitan Member, and have no particular connection with Ireland, still I have frequently visited that country, and have made myself familiar with the people. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) desires to represent to Her Majesty that— The remedy for the existing crisis in Irish agrarian affairs is not to be found in increased stringency of criminal procedure, or in the pursuit of such novel, doubtful, and un-Constitutional measures as have recently been taken by Her Majesty's Government in Ireland, but in such a reform of the law and the system of government as will satisfy the needs and secure the confidence of the Irish people. Now, Sir, what are the needs of the Irish people? The hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork, the other night, inveighed against any attempt on the part of the Government to make the administration of justice in Ireland more certain; but he offered us no policy in place of that which he is so anxious to dispense with—his speech being simply a tirade against the enforcement of law, and a cataract of bombastic cautions—he objected to them being called threats—as to what was likely to happen to the English people, their public buildings, and their Ministers if they dared to carry out what they conceived to be their duty. He says he is anxious to satisfy the wants of the Irish people. But what, I say again, are the wants of the Irish people? I think we are sometimes inclined to forget that the term, "Irish people," is not synonymous with the term, "Na- tional League;" and that, while hon. Members below the Gangway opposite represent that portion of the Irish people which is comparatively under the thumb of the National League, there is a very large part of the Irish nation which is law-abiding, who, unfortunately, except in the northern part of the country, have no direct representation in this House. Now, Sir, there was no argument used at the last Election that carried more weight than the argument used against handing over the loyal population of Ireland to the agitators. Speaking as the Representative of a working-class constituency in the north of London, I can say that there was no point the working men of this country were more anxious to listen to, and upon which they made up their minds so firmly, as that I refer to, of handing over the loyal minority to the agitators. It showed to me the truth of the remark of my hon. and learned Friend who spoke last from this side of the House (Mr. Yerburgh), as to where the great intelligence of the country rests; and I must say, Sir, that next to St. George's, Hanover Square, the electors of East Islington show as much intelligence as any other constituency in the Metropolis. I do not wish to make a personal matter of this; but on referring to the statistics of the General Election, I find that in the constituency I have the honour to represent—East Islington—out of a vote of 6,558, I am sorry to say there were as many as 29 illiterates. When, however, we compare that with the condition of the Irish electorate, we find a remarkable difference. In Mid Cork, for instance, we see that out of 5,241 votes polled, there were 2,083 illiterates. I am not an Irish landlord, thank goodness; therefore, I can venture, I think, to take a perfectly independent view of the subject before the House. But we have heard so much from the other side about the misery and wretchedness of the starving tenants, and the cruelties and horrors practised on them by the landlords, that I think it would not be altogether out of place if, instead of taking part in an academic discussion, an English Member made a practical appeal on behalf of the loyal landlords and tenants in Ireland. I rise to call the attention of the House to certain facts regarding a very well-known estate in the South of Ireland. The landlord was born and bred on the estate, and had lived on it all his life, as his father and grandfather had done before him. This gentleman, like his predecessors, has always endeared himself to his tenants and neighbours by acts of kindness and charity, and up to a short time ago his rents were paid punctually and willingly. Though I will not go so far as the hon. Member for the Camborne Division of Cornwall (Mr. Conybeare), and say that the police had to be called in to keep order amongst the tenants, owing to their frantic desire to pay their rents—and, as the hon. Member spoke, I could not help thinking, from that and other remarks that fell from him, that some of the Irish people must have heard of the advent of their simple-minded Cornish champion, and in their love of practical joking must have prepared a few travellers' tales for his special edification. However, though no police were required to keep order, the tenants on the estate to which I refer always paid their rents cheerfully and willingly. The landlord investigated many cases of distress, and gave fair reductions of rent wherever they were needed. But, not long ago, a branch of the National League was established, not amongst the tenantry, but in a little town close by, amongst the "village tyrants and dissolute ruffians." It soon got to work, and endeavoured to ruin the man who had spent his whole life amongst the tenantry as a friend and neighbour. They boycotted and threatened him; sent him rough drawings of an oblong box, supposed to represent the useful but undesirable coffin; and made themselves so disagreeable to himself and his family that, consulting the safety of those who were dear to him, he shut up his house and left his old home for a more civilized country, where outrage and moonlighting is not known, and where people who wish to live in peace and quiet are protected by the strong arm of the law. To my own knowledge, the poor people who live round about there have never ceased to lament the good times that have gone. They always looked upon this landlord as their best friend, because they always found in him a sympathizer both in their sorrows and in their joys; and remembering the cause of their trouble, now I myself have heard them day and night cursing the National League as the cause of all their misfor- tunes. Well, Sir, the Plan of Campaign, of which we have heard so much, has not yet been introduced into this particular district, but nobody knows how soon it may not be brought there. I remember the hon. Gentleman the Member for Galway (Mr. Pinkerton) saying the other night that the order of the Plan of Campaign was not a harum-scarum, slap-dash kind of order. The hon. Member was perfectly right. It is a more quiet, hole-in-the-corner, back-door sort of proceeding. I read in the paper, not very long ago, of the Plan of Campaign being put into operation in a certain district. The leaders who had to do the rent-collecting took up their positions in good time, but they were followed by the police, whose object was to prevent them from carrying out their design. We can imagine what occurred—we can imagine the police drawn up in front of the inn to catch the rent collectors, while the hon. Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner), with his pleasant face and jaunty air, was making off through the back window undercover of night in order to carry the development of the conspiracy in which he was engaged to some other scene, like a conspirator in some transpontine drama. Though the Plan of Campaign is not yet put in force on the estate to which I have alluded, yet from all I have heard the people are not very happy in their minds. It seems that quite lately they had a new High Sheriff appointed—a well-known Nationalist Member of this House, whose first act, I believe, was—and I mention it subject to correction—to dismiss the sub-Sheriff, who has acted in that capacity for some years, as his father did before him, and put in his place a Nationalist solicitor from Tipperary. I have no sympathy whatever with hard and unjust landlords, but I do think we ought to have some sympathy for those men who have always treated their tenants fairly and have spent their whole lives among them. It seems to me very odd to notice that during this debate which has occupied the past few days, nothing appears to annoy the patriots more than the suggestion that the agents of the Government have used what power they had to bring about a settlement between the landlords and tenants. It was not until the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley) gave his approval of this act of mercy be- tween the two parties, that any hon. Members below the Gangway opposite followed suit. I appeal, however, to hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway to support the Government in its endeavours to carry out the law of the land against the law of the League. I do not believe, from what I have seen, that it is much use appealing to hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, for they have shown themselves, by their speeches, the representatives of the National League, and not of the Irish nation. I might as soon appeal to a Bengal tiger to have mercy on its victim, as ask a Nationalist to have mercy upon a landlord. I appeal to the fairer-minded Members on behalf of those in Ireland who for so long have been manfully fighting against the National League, and who, like the garrison of Lucknow, cry out continually, "When will help come?" I was very glad yesterday to hear in the admirable speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bath (Mr. Wodehouse) that we have the support of the Liberal Unionists on the other side of the House. I know what they have done for the country. No one knows it better than I; for it certainly is not entirely owing to my own exertions that in the district I represent a minority was converted into a majority of 1,400. No doubt, that change was effected partly by Liberal Unionists' votes; and I am glad to think that they will go on as they began at the last Election. Well, Sir, I wish, before this debate closes, to appeal to hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House on behalf of those—whether and lords or tenants—who are only anxious to carry out the law, and to live, as their fathers did before them, in peace and good-will with their neighbours. I appeal, Sir, on behalf of those who measure their patriotism by their love of law and their country, rather than of those who, like hon. Gentlemen opposite, measure their patriotism by their love for the immortal dollar.


Sir, My noble Friend the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) made some observations at the commencement of his speech upon the course of this debate, and upon the practice of lengthened discussion upon the Address. Now, I very much agree with him; and I prefer the older practice, where the discussions on the Address were much more limited than they are at present; but I must disclaim for hon. Gentlemen who sit on this side of the House the responsibility for the introduction of the modern practice. Lengthened and protracted debates upon the Address, extending to 11 days, were the invention of the Opposition of 1880, and, therefore, it is they who must bear the responsibility of a bad practice. It is much easier to inaugurate a bad practice than to put an end to it, either in the House of Commons or elsewhere; but there is another feature in the conduct of this debate to which I wish to call attention. I never recollect a case in which, upon a specific Amendment, where the administration and the policy of the Government were challenged, five days were allowed to elapse before any responsible Minister had the courage to rise up and reply. To whom has the defence of the Administration been left? Why, to one lawyer after another. We have had the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes), the Solicitor General for Ireland (Mr. Gibson), the Solicitor General for England (Sir Edward Clarke), and to-night we have had—well, the Home Secretary (Mr. Matthews); but he is not so familiar with the duties of his new Office as to have forgotten his ancient profession; and I must say I thought that the defence of the Government which we have heard from him to-night was much more professional than political. There are few men more distinguished in his own walk than the right hon. and learned Gentleman. There is no man who has a more sincere respect for his great abilities than I have; but to-night he held a very bad brief, extremely ill-drawn up. If I might venture to give the right hon. and learned Gentleman advice, it would be that the next time he has a case to defend, he should not be instructed by the Loyal and Patriotic Union; because it may happen to him again, as it has happened to-night, to make charges which are entirely baseless, and to state facts altogether unfounded. There was one sentence of the right hon. and learned Gentleman with which I am able entirely to concur—namely, the sentence in which praises are lavished upon the massive speech of my noble Friend the Member for Rossendale. Yes, if the Government want massive defences, they must come to this side of the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer—the Liberal Member of a Tory Administration—told us, a few weeks ago, that Lord Salisbury was in Office, but Lord Hartington was in power. He told us, at the same time—a sentiment from which he seems rather to have departed— That it is a vulgar notion to suppose that, if any cause is victorious, that cause must he celebrated by its Leader being put into Ministerial uniform. He told us at the same time as he told us at Liverpool, that he is the "champion of his country," and the representative and the exponent of the great historical and traditional Liberal Party; but this has not prevented him from putting on the Conservative Ministerial uniform. Not long ago, as I said before, he told us that Lord Salisbury was in Office, but that Lord Hartington was in power. He has left the Party who are in power to join the Party who are in Office—he who is the true exponent of the traditional Liberal Party. Well, Sir, in common, I am sure, with the rest of the House, I am very glad to see a man of his eminent character and ability again among us. [Cries of "Question!"] I do not desire to depart from the Question, or to say anything disagreeable to the right hon. Gentleman. We are all glad to see him here, and we are glad to see him in his right place. But I only referred to the right hon. Gentleman in connection with the remarkable speech of the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale. It was, no doubt, quite right that the noble Marquess, who has "the power," should make the official defence of the Government who carry out the policy which he prescribes. That is the situation, and that is, I suppose, the explanation why we have departed from the ordinary practice that, on occasions of this kind, the Minister responsible for the government of Ireland should naturally rise, at the earliest moment, to defend the Government, and to state, not only what has been the policy in the past, but what policy towards Ireland it intends to pursue. Well, in spite of all that has been said about thrusting aside the question of Ireland, and going to other business, the question of Ireland still forces itself upon the attention of Parliament, and upon the attention of the country. A great deal has been said in this debate about the Plan of Campaign. My noble Friend the Member for Rossendale was quite right when he said that the Amendment does not specifically raise the question of the Plan of Campaign at all. But the course taken by the Government and their friends in regard to the Plan of Campaign is very curious. First of all, they put up the Irish Law Officers to deliver what have very properly been called speeches in support of the indictment which is to be tried next week. When the Law Officers, however, are asked inconvenient questions, they say, "Oh, we must not say anything at all, for the case is 'sub judice'; "and having appealed, Sir, to you to support their refusal to answer because the case is still sub judice, hon. Gentlemen opposite, nevertheless, demand that we shall express decisively our opinion as to the legality of the Plan of Campaign. That is altogether inconsistent; but I shall not shrink from expressing my opinion on the Plan of Campaign. I have been appealed to to do so both in the course of the present debate, and by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bury (Sir Henry James) in his speech at Manchester; but I shall ask leave, before I come to that, to make some remarks of a more general character. It is a habit of unskilful medical practitioners, when dealing with some deep-seated disease of long standing, to fix on some particular symptom, and to look only at that, and not at the general constitutional condition of the patient from which that symptom arises. But if you are to treat a disease with any scientific knowledge, you must make a broader diagnosis. Let us ask about this Plan of Campaign—whence does it proceed? I must complain, although they have appeared before us in full force, that the legal Advisers of the Government had not a previous consultation before they addressed the House. The consequence is that they do not agree amongst themselves or tell the same story. The hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland said that this Plan of Campaign was a political movement. That was flatly contradicted an hour or two ago by the Home Secretary. I prefer to take the authority of the Solicitor General for Ireland. I think he has got up the Irish brief better than the Home Secretary, whose knowledge of Ireland is a little out of date. I shall speak of the Plan of Campaign as a political movement, and not merely as one of an agrarian character. I am not going to weary the House by travelling again over the ground of the fall of prices and the ratio of rents, and so forth. I am willing to take the assertion of the Solicitor General for Ireland—that this is not a mere agrarian device, but that it is part of that great problem which you have to deal with, springing from the fact that the people of Ireland are unconquerably averse to the system of Government under which they live. It is upon that footing that I propose to deal with the Plan of Campaign. This is not a new problem. We have had to deal with it ourselves before in other times; we have had to deal with it in the history of our Constitution; and we may have recourse to the teaching of past times, and to the great political masters of former days. I remember reading a great speech of Mr. Burke in reference to America, in which he repudiated Old Bailey methods of discussion, and recommended to the British Government the old maxim of the Roman Catholic Church—sursum corda—that they should lift up their hearts and enlarge their minds in dealing with questions of this nature. At all events, that is our duty on this side of the House. In judging of a system of government, we know no test by which to distinguish good government from bad, except this—that good government is government which is conducted and founded upon the assent and consent of the governed. If a Government is alien to the sympathies, the wishes, and the wants of a people, that Government breeds discontent, and of that discontent there is inevitably horn illegal conduct and illegitimate proceedings. These are truths which are taught to us by experience, and are to be found on every page of history. Well, Sir, tried by this test, I am going to say a strong thing, but I say a thing of which I am deeply convinced—that, at this moment, the government of Ireland by England is the worst government in the world. There have been times when there were governments as bad in Europe. My right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) some time ago compared the government of Ireland to the government of Austria in Italy, and of Russia in Poland. But the go- vernment of Austria in Italy has ceased, and the government of Austria, disliked and rejected by Hungary, has been replaced by self-government in Hungary, and therefore the record of Austria in Europe is now clear. Whether the government of Russia in Poland is more or less disliked than the government of Ireland I cannot say. I am not sufficiently; acquainted with the facts; but it remains true, as was said the other day by my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley), that your government of Ireland is a government of pure force. You have in Ireland a corps d'armée of about 30,000 men—nearly the same number which fought at the Alma, and equal to the British Infantry at Waterloo. You must keep them there, and you must keep them there, because without them your whole system of government and your social system would disappear. That is a fact that cannot be denied. I remember, a few years ago, when there was some difficulty about finding troops to go abroad that, being at the Home Office, I received a communication from my noble Friend the Member for Rossendale, who was then at the head of the War Department, and I said to him—"If you want troops, you may take every regiment from England or from Scotland. I want no troops to preserve the peace of England or of Scotland." Could you say that of Ireland at this moment or at any moment? We have heard a great deal about economy of late; indeed, there is a domestic controversy on the other side of the House on that point between the Government and their former Leader in this House. We are spending £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 a-year on military and police—which might be saved in Ireland—because you have there a thoroughly discontented and disaffected people. Well, Sir, is this denied? How are you to judge of it? Are the people of Ireland contented or discontented? Are they well affected or disaffected towards the Government under which they live? Will you, upon this point, accept the voice of their Constitutional Representatives? [Cries of "No!"] No; then do not be surprised if you get some other—[Cries of "Oh!"] You, the Conservative Party, shout "Oh" in derision, when I ask whether you will take the voice of the Constitutional Representatives of the Irish people. My hon. and gallant Friend—he always allows me to call him so—the Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) spoke with great contempt of our respect for great battalions. But without the help of the great battalions which sit on that side of the House he and his Colleagues would have no power at all. Is it not by the great battalions of England that his Orange Lodges exist? [Colonel SAUNDERSON: No.] Is it by the power of his own big battalions that he undertakes to answer for the peace of Belfast? Will you refuse to regard the opinion of the Constitutional Representatives of Ireland? If they express discontent you vote them down, as you will vote them down to-night. You complain of the expression of their discontent here, and you are preparing to suppress the expression of their discontent elsewhere. You treat them, not only as a body of opinion to be neglected, but as a fact to be put down. Well, it is a very difficult thing in this world to put down facts, and I doubt whether you can put down the fact of the disaffection of the Irish people to the Government under which they live. The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh scoffs at the idea of anyone paying regard to the fact that about 85 per cent of the Irish Representatives are here to express the dissatisfaction of the people with the existing form of government under which they live. We, however, on this side of the House cannot—we do not—neglect the voice of the Constitutional Representatives of Ireland. We cannot afford to treat it as an insignificant and unimportant fact. On the contrary, we regard it as a most important fact. [Cries of "Oh!" and laughter.] You may jeer at that statement. But, in my opinion, we are bound, by the principles of the Party to which we belong, to have some respect for it. [Laughter.] I know that you have no respect for it. It belongs to the principles of hon. Members opposite to disregard it. I do not wonder at Tories holding that opinion; but I do wonder that anyone calling himself a Liberal should hold such a view. A curious specimen of that was given the other night by the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Wodehouse). The hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) made a speech which was very remarkable as coming from the Benches opposite, and which greatly shocked our Unionist Friends on this side of the House. He spoke with sympathy for the Irish people, and he recommended very liberal measures for Ireland. But the hon. Member for Bath could not understand a man who sits on the Benches opposite expressing any sympathy with the Irish cause, and he said—"Oh! it is because he has Irish constituents," as if he really thinks that the fact of a man having Irish constituents disables his judgment, and ought to condemn his sentiment on the Irish Question. Now, that is the true secret and root of Liberal Unionism. They have adopted, as their fundamental principle, that Irish opinions, Irish wishes, and Irish demands shall not only be neglected, but denied. The hon. Member for Bath thought it a sufficient answer to the speech of the hon. Member for Preston to say—"He has Irish constituents, and therefore pay no attention to what he says." It is not in that way, at least, that we have learnt the Liberal creed. I will not trouble the House with extracts; but I should like to read what is our view of the subject, in language far better than any I can command, and I should like to ask the attention of the Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer to it. It is the teaching of the greatest master of the Liberal Party upon this very question, under circumstances which I conceive were very similar to the present. It was written at a moment in the great controversy we had with our American Colonies at a moment when America was in flagrant rebellion, when she was in arms against the Crown, and when she had already concluded her alliance with Prance. This is what Mr. Burke said— These were the considerations which led me early to think that in the comprehensive dominion which the Divine Providence had put into our hands, instead of troubling our understandings with speculations concerning the unity of empire, and the identity or distinction of legislative powers"— I ask my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bury to mark this— and inflaming our passions with the heat and pride of controversy, it was our duty in all soberness to conform our Government to the character and circumstances of the several people who compose this mighty and strangely-diversified mass"— Remember he was speaking to a people who were in arms against the Crown— I never was wild enough to conceive that one method would serve for the whole; that the natives of Hindustan and those of Virginia could be ordered in the same manner, or that the Cutchery Court and the Grand Jury of Salem could be regulated on a similar plan. I was persuaded that government was a practical thing, made for the happiness of mankind, and not to furnish out a spectacle of uniformity to gratify the schemes of visionary politicians. … If there be one fact in the world perfectly clear it is this—that the disposition of the people of America is wholly averse to any other than a free Government, and this is indication enough to any honest statesman how he ought to adapt whatever power he finds in his hands to their case. Let me commend this to the attention of hon. Gentlemen who, I trust, whatever else they are, are honest men— If anyone asked me what a free Government is, I answer that for any practical purpose it is what the people think so; and that they, and not I, are the natural, lawful, and competent judges of this matter."—Letter to Sheriffs of Bristol, 1777. Now, I ask whether the views of the Liberal Party, or of hon. Gentlemen who call themselves Liberal Unionists, most nearly conform to the great teaching of the Liberal Leader which I have ventured to read? We think the voice of the Constitutional Representatives of Ireland is a main and a leading element in this question. We understand their demand to be that they should have a Legislature regulated by Parliament for the conduct of their own affairs, and an Executive dependent upon that Legislature. We consider that to be a fair and a just demand, and whether we are in a majority or a minority we shall always support it. That was the principle set forth by my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone)—that was the principle set forth by the Conference at Leeds in these words— An Irish Legislative Body for the management of what Parliament should decide to be distinctly Irish affairs. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary, with that discretion he always exercises, has made an attack to-night upon my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham. I do not wonder at it, because my right hon. Friend said at Hawick that with the principle I have stated he is entirely agreed. And these sentiments of my right hon. Friend seem to have filled with distrust the soul of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary to-night. I am sorry that the Members for Birmingham, whom I believed to be a united family, should distrust one another. I regret this discord in the Unionist Party. The Government and the Party opposite reject our demand. They have rejected it, and they say that they have been elected and placed in their present position in order to maintain that rejection. One of the consequences of that rejection is that you find discontent in Ireland, and out of discontent in any country in the world have always arisen illegitimate combination and unlawful action. That is deplorable; but it is not new. It happened in former times, and it happens now: and I venture to think it will always happen. We pride ourselves upon being a law-abiding people. [A laugh.] The hon. Member opposite laughs; but, if I have read history aright, when the English people did not have a form of government that suited them, they did a great many very irregular things. From the time of Charles I. down to the present day I think it may be found that they have done many things, under these circumstances, which lawyers would find it extremely difficult to defend. I shall like to hear the legal argument by which my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bury would defend certain proceedings in Westminster Hall and at the Banqueting Chamber at Whitehall. I should like to know the principles upon which he justifies the landing at Torbay. Well, now I come to the Plan of Campaign. Let us consider what the nature of this Agrarian Question is. It contains a double question, which has been discussed, but not settled, in this House. Some people say—I have heard it said by Members from Ireland on the other side—that the landlords are hated in Ireland on account of British rule; and I have also heard it said that British rule is hated on account of the landlords. I do not wish to decide between those two propositions, because I think both are true. Until lately, British rule existed in Ireland mainly for two objects—first, to secure the predominance of the religion of a minority; and, secondly, to preserve the privileges of a limited class. Of late years something has been done by a Liberal policy to mitigate the character of that British rule; but still it is perfectly true that the landlords could not remain without the British Forces there.


They could. [Laughter.]


Hon. Gentlemen laugh. Then, why are they so anxious to have the landlords bought out? Will the hon. and gallant Member for North Down tell me that the landlords could remain there without the British Forces? Will the hon. and gallant Member consent that the British Forces should be withdrawn, and also British rule?




The hon. and gallant Gentleman is a convert from Nazareth. I do not find the same ready assent from the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh, who sits by him. I have not heard him yet propose, in the interests of the landlords, to withdraw the British Forces or British rule. Well, British Forces and British rule have had a very evil effect, for which Irish landlords are not altogether responsible, on the Land Question. Feeling that they could rely, and did rely, upon the British Forces, and, not like the landlords in England, upon the opinion of their countrymen, they have done in past times what, in England, landlords would never have dreamt of doing—they have been demoralized by the system of protection under which they lived. Now, the Plan of Campaign, as I look at it, is partly a political and partly an agrarian question. It represents not only a suffering people, but a disaffected nation. You have examples of lawless acts arising out of discontent with the Government. You always have had. Go back to the origin of the Liberal Party. I should like to see what has been the conduct of the Liberal Party upon questions of this character in past times. At the very origin of the Liberal Party in England there was a most illegal Plan of Campaign, and a most lawless and illegitimate act committed by a man named John Hampden, when he refused to pay ship money. Did not the Courts of Law determine that ship money was a perfectly legal tax? Of course they did. Will Liberal lawyers, like my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bury, go down to Manchester and denounce John Hampden for not paying ship money? Then, how can you deny that discontent has led to lawlessness? I give you that as an example how, out of discontent, lawless acts have arisen. I will give another example how the Liberal Party, later on, conducted themselves under similar circumstances. There was another transaction—a most irregular and most lawless transaction, I have no hesitation in saying—and my right hon. and learned Friend will agree with me. It took place in this wise. One fine day a number of people—I am sorry to say they were mostly respectable Nonconformists—disguised themselves as Indians, boarded a number of vessels in the Bay of Boston, and took out of the ships cases of tea and threw them into the sea. That was a perfectly unlawful transaction; it was a lawless dealing with private rights. It deprived the consigners and consignees of their property—it was a defiance of the Crown, a refusal to pay just taxes. There was no element of lawlessness wanting in that transaction; it was sternly to be condemned, and I condemn it, although, I am sorry to say, I possess some of the tea cups made in celebration of the centenary of that same Boston tea party. But how was that dealt with by the English Government? Oh, there was a Unionist Party in England in those days, and there was a great Leader of the Unionist Party. George III. was a man who acted as Lord Salisbury talks. He was a "massive Leader," and he had very obedient Ministers. I sometimes wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith), who has the same amiable qualities and the same courteous manner, is not destined, at the close of this century, to be the Lord North of the Tory Party. A man who had the best intentions in the world was the cause of an almost infinity of mischief. Well, how did they meet those acts of violence? First of all, they blocked the port of Boston, then they took away the Charter of Massachusetts, then they employed foreign troops to cut the throats of the Colonists. That was a real resolute Government. At last they employed savages to tomahawk the Colonists, and to burn down villages. They were the "Emergency men" of those days. But what was the conduct of the Liberal Party under those circumstances? They kept up a continual protest against the action of this Government in spite of great and overwhelming majorities in this House and in the country—far greater majorities even than those you now command. They represented to the Government that the course they were taking, with the object of putting down these unlawful proceedings on the part of the Colonists, was the worst course they could take, and would lead to disaster, and they were not deterred from taking their stand in the matter by the charges brought against them that they were encouraging rebellion. They said—"No; we see that you are taking a wrong course, and we think that you ought to take exactly the opposite course, and should give the American Colonists what they demand." And had their advice been listened to, America would have been saved to the English Crown. I turn now to another and happier example in later times, when something similar occurred in regard to Canada. There was a Unionist Party in those days who denounced the idea of betraying what they called the Canadian loyalists, and I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham will appreciate my reference to the Canadian precedent. But this country had been taught wisdom by the previous examples, and the Liberal Government of that day determined to give self-government to Canada. They were, of course, opposed by the Tory Party and the Liberal Unionists. I have recently read a speech of the great Liberal Unionist of the day—the late Lord Derby, then Lord Stanley—in which he declared that if we gave the Canadians self-government we should have, in a few months or years, a Canadian Republic. We did give the Canadians self-government, but we have not got a Canadian Republic, because the policy of the Liberal Party prevailed, and that of the Tory Party was rejected. You reject our policy now; but what is your method of dealing with Ireland? I will say nothing on the head of the conduct of the Executive in Ireland; that is not the point which I desire to argue. Indeed, I very much agree with the satisfaction which has been expressed at the moderate, the wise, and, I think, the humane conduct of the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach). I think that his practice has been a great deal better than the theories which he and his Party have put forward. There is one thing which I have heard in the course of this debate with great regret, and that was the language which was used by the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland on the subject of the constitution of juries in Ireland. I feel the responsibility of saying anything on the subject at this moment. But this I will say—that if the jury system is fairly dealt with in Ireland, nothing could have been more unfortunate than the language employed by the Attorney General for Ireland. What was the charge which was made? I am not speaking of the trial now pending, because I am averse to refer to that; but I am speaking of a transaction which has passed—the Sligo case. The charge which had been brought against Her Majesty's Government was that the Crown in the trial of Catholic prisoners had, in some cases at least, deliberately excluded Catholics from the juries. I think every Englishman expected that that charge would have been met by an indignant denial; but, instead of denying it, the Attorney General for Ireland used this most significant phrase—that it was the duty of the Crown to see that "men of independent thought" were placed upon the juries. The necessity of placing men of independent thought upon the juries means, apparently, in the view of the Attorney General for Ireland, the exclusion of Catholics from taking part in the trials. That is the right hon. and learned Gentleman's answer to the charge, he has not denied the fact that Catholics were excluded, and the reason he gives for it amounts to an administrative repeal of the Catholic Emancipation Act. I will go further. Has any man formed a belief as to what trial by jury means? If he has, let him reconcile to himself the notion of the Crown picking out "men of independent thought." How are the Crown authorities to arrive at a conclusion that a particular man is a man of independent thought? Placing men of independent thought upon juries means that the Crown selected the individuals who were to try the cases, and satisfied themselves previously of the state of their minds. Well, Sir, I say that a more dangerous and a more mischievous statement by a Gentleman occupying the responsible position of Attorney General for Ireland I have never heard. Such a statement shakes the foundation of all confidence in the administration of justice; and, in my opinion, the action of the Government in this matter has done more to undermine the respect for law in Ireland than 20 years of resolute government will ever repair. I, however, venture to express a hope that this was a mere accidental indiscretion on the part of the Attorney General for Ireland in expressing himself in the heat of debate; but an Attorney General, especially an Irish Attorney General, should be a little more careful in his expressions. With regard to the approaching trials, I think every man ought to abstain from saying what will in any way prejudice them, either one way or the other; yet they have been discussed on the opposite Benches night after night, and hon. Members have been occupied in demonstrating the guilt of the untried prisoners. Oh, if you want men of independent thought upon the juries in these trials, you will find plenty of them upon the Benches opposite, and you would have no difficulty in forming your panel, who have made up their minds long before they have heard the evidence. I do not think it would be necessary for the Government to challenge any one of them. I think, however, that in the approaching trials the Government ought to be very careful that there shall be no exceptional treatment. It ought to follow the ordinary and regular course which would take place in any other criminal trial. But what were we told to-night by the Home Secretary, who has got up his brief so imperfectly that when he was told it was an unusual panel he at first denied it; but when he was corrected said—"Oh, yes; the panel may be only he or 100, if it be for the trial of pickpockets; but this is not the trial of pickpockets, and the panel has been made 250." What does that mean? If it means anything at all, it means that the usual course has been departed from—a most unwise and most dangerous thing. Then the Home Secretary, alter wisely declineing earlier in the evening to answer a question of law, adventured himself upon a legal statement, upon which I will have the hardihood to differ from him. In answer to the challenge of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. Henry H. Fowler), he said that everyone knows that in an indictment for conspiracy the venue must be laid where the conspiracy took place. That is not the law. I am astonished that the Home Secretary, after so short an absence from the Profession, should have made such a statement, for it is common learning that on an indictment for a conspiracy the venue may be laid either where the conspiracy was formed, or where the overt act took place. The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that the Government could not act until some overt act took place. The natural conclusion from that would be that the trial would take place where the overt act was committed. [Mr. MATTHEWS: No.] What is the excuse of the Government for not laying the venue where the overt act took place? I should not blame them for changing the venue to Dublin. I am only challenging the statement of the Home Secretary that the venue was necessarily laid in Dublin. I say that is not the case. With respect to trying the case in the County of Dublin I express no opinion; but this I do say—that if it has been usual to try criminal cases in the City of Dublin, it is most unfortunate that the usual practice should be departed from. What you should endeavour to do in this case, and what I hope you will do, is to give everybody the impression that you are administering the ordinary law in the usual manner, and that you are not departing from the established practice in order to secure a conviction. You are taking credit to yourselves for administering the ordinary law, and you should take care to administer the law in the ordinary way. Then you would give confidence to everyone that the law was being administered justly, and that all the proceedings were conducted in a fair manner. Now, Sir, with regard to the Plan of Campaign, subject to what I have said with regard to the discontent of the people with the Government under which they live, I have no hesitation in saying that if any body of men have incited any other body of men to abstain from fulfilling their legal obligations, I think that is an unlawful act, and ought to be condemned. I have no hesitation in stating that I condemn it, as I would condemn resistance to a lawful tax like ship money, as I would object to throwing other people's tea into the sea—a most irregular and improper act. I will say no more on the subject of the Executive Government in Ireland, and I will not go into the question of Glenbeigh. But, whatever be the rights or the wrongs of the people at Glenbeigh—this I will say, that none of you can deny that the scenes recently enacted there have left a very painful impression, not only in Ireland, but in England. I will use better words than my own to express my sentiments on this unhappy subject. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) said a few days ago— For these tenants themselves, whatever errors they have committed, I say our pity, and, more than that, redress and immediate remedy, are needed. I hope he is prepared to propound some scheme of "redress and of immediate remedy." And he added words which I think are well deserving of attention, namely— I say that any law which permits any man to turn out the aged and the sick shelterless and foodless on the bleak hill-side in this inclement weather is a had law, and ought to be abrogated. I hope my right hon. Friend will introduce a measure for abrogating that law. Well, but have you on that side of the House no curative and no remedial measures? I should be unjust to you if I said you had not. What is your first plan? You have the assent of the Master of the Cabinet to buy out the Irish landlords. Now, that is a most singular view, especially coming from the other side of the House. They say the first thing that must be done to bring peace to Ireland, and to reconcile the Irish people to British rule, is to get rid of the Irish landlords—of course, on handsome terms, very handsome terms. In their view, the root of the Irish evil is the existence in Ireland of the present race of landlords—they are an insuperable obstacle to the restoration of good-will between England and Ireland. That is not a very nattering or complimentary view of the character of the Irish land- lords. I myself have never been very much enamoured of these Land Purchase schemes; but if it is necessary to make great sacrifices in order to get the landlords out of Ireland, and so to secure peace in that country, I should not be unwilling to consent to them. I entirely agree, however, with my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham that it ought not to be at the expense, or at the risk, of the English Exchequer. My right hon. Friend laid down that principle most distinctly, and I was glad to see it, at Hawick. He said, and the phrase is a valuable one—"The risk must remain where it is now." I was also very glad to see the strong condemnation which he passed upon Lord Ashbourne's Act, and upon any proposal to extend it. Well, that is your first plan for Ireland. The second plan, which is favoured by the Government, and by my noble Friend the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington), is emigration. True to your fixed principle, that what you are to do for Ireland is not what Ireland and the Irish wish, but exactly what they do not wish, you propose to refuse them self-government, but offer them emigration. What, then, is your double remedy for the evils of Ireland? You propose, first of all, to expropriate her aristocracy, and then to deport her people. That is your cure for the woes of Ireland. Oh, what profound statesmanship! What would you think of a bee master, who, having killed off the drones, then smoked out the working bees. What would become of the hive; what sort of a crop of honey would you gather? If you cannot do better than that for Ireland, do not you think you had better let Ireland try what she can do for herself? Just cast your eyes over the Empire of the Queen at this time, when we are going to celebrate the Jubilee of the 50th anniversary of her auspicious reign. What will you see? You will see in every quarter of the globe populations that have increased in prosperity and in strength, small provinces which have grown into nations, all thriving and teeming with loyal and contented people, who rejoice with us when we rejoice, and who mourn when we mourn. That is the story of the reign of Victoria. I said "everywhere;" but that is not true. There is one black spot—our disaster and our shame. I need not name it, for it lies at our door. Where is the only place in the Empire of the Queen where you have a disaffected population, where you have a dwindling people, where you have diminished resources, where you have distress and misery on every hand? Why is it that part of the United Kingdom which is under our own immediate, our domestic legislation, and which is denied that self-government which we have given to those other populations? Since the accession of the Queen, Ireland has been depleted of fully one-third of her population. [Cries of "Half!"] I believe it is nearly one-half; and what is your remedy? Ireland has a fever which she has always had; the fever continues, the weakness increases, she has reached the stage of delirium; but you wretched apothecaries on your San-grade system have no remedy but to let more blood. Are these your remedies for the discontent and lawlessness in Ireland? Can you not— Minister unto a mind diseas'd; Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow; Raze out the written troubles of the brain; And with some sweet oblivious antidote Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of the perilous stuff Which weighs upon the heart? If you cannot do that, then I think we will cast your physic to the dogs. The Irish people will have none of it. What is it you say to them on this emigration policy? I remember the terrible sentence in Malthus—"There is no cover laid for you at the table of Nature." The policy by which you hope to cure the evils of Ireland is the expatriation of a still greater proportion of her people. Well, but before you apply these curative remedies you are going to use the knife. You have told us already that we are to have—I care not what you call it, but I will follow the example of the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Wodehouse) and use the popular term—we are going to have a policy of coercion. You are a resolute Government. No; I beg your pardon; you are some clay going to be a resolute Government—for yours is a sort of paulo post futurum resolution. You never are, but always mean to be, resolute. It is true that my noble Friend the Member for Rossendale, in his massive speech, invited you to be a little more resolute. He appears to play the part of Lady Macbeth— But screw your courage to the sticking place And we'll not fail. I am sorry that as my noble Friend urges this policy he does not take the responsibility of it. I do not blame you, mind you, for your irresolution. I rejoice at it. I think that when you once begin to be resolute you will get into a greater mess than ever. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland—I have a profound compassion for him—seems to me to be in the situation of a man who is going to take a bath in water which is very cold; he puts one foot in and then takes it out, then he puts the other foot in and takes that one out also, and can never screw himself up for a plunge. Well, we have told you our plan. You say it is a now one. So it is, and, in my opinion, when we consider what has been the result of the old plan for Ireland, it is high time there should be a new one. You say—and you think it is a sufficient argument to apply to us—that we once did the same thing that you are going to do. It is perfectly true we did; and it is because we hare tried that system to the uttermost and we have found it fail that we are determined not to try it again. We got great powers of coercion, and we used them. I believe that under the government of Lord Spencer that system was tried with firmness and to the uttermost, and as well as it ever can be executed. ["No!"] I hear several voices—there are not many of them now; but there were a great many such voices 18 months ago, when the Party on those Benches denounced Lord Spencer and disavowed his policy. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Homo Secretary had the courage tonight to refer to the Maamtrasna debate. He said he was not in the House at the time; if he had been I think his words would have stuck in his throat. But, Sir, there are men sitting on that Bench who are responsible for that transaction. Yes, Sir, when the Tory Government denounced Lord Spencer and disavowed his policy the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary for Ireland was the Leader of the House. The hon. Member for Bath has said—"Why cannot we go back to the situation we were in then?" Why, it is the nature of history that you cannot go back upon transactions of that kind; and when the Tory Government denounced the policy of coercion as a condition of taking Office, I, for one, made up my mind that never again would I be a party to a policy of coercion, and I never will. My noble Friend the Member for Rossendale knows it well, because, when it was my happiness to be acting with him, I told him so over and over again. That this was our view is proved by the fact that when we next came into Office, after the Maamtrasna debate, we proposed a measure of Home Rule. Well, you are going to tread the old paths. We know them well. You have got the majority. You have the power to take that road. It is a road, like the caravan track of the desert, which is strewn with the carcases of many defeated Administrations and baffled policies. My belief is that your bones will, before long, whiten the same sands. But for us our course is clear. To a policy of coercion, whether we are in a majority or a minority, we will oppose a policy of conciliation and self-government; and when you have failed, as fail you will, and fail you must, it will be the privilege of the Liberal Party, in accordance with its great traditions, to give to distracted Ireland the blessings of contentment and peace.


The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) has said many dangerous things in the speech which he has just addressed to the House; but he said nothing so dangerous as when he informed the House that never again would he revert to a policy he had abandoned. The right hon. Gentleman told us that the Government of Ireland by England is at this moment, in his opinion, the worst Government in the world. He found that out just a year ago. He has taken so complete a bath in Parnellite juice this evening, that he has not only changed his principles, but he has absolutely forgotten those which he formerly professed. I should like to know, Sir, since when it has not belonged to the Liberal creed to disregard the claim of the great majority of the Irish Representatives to Home Rule? I should like to know how long has that been contrary to Liberal principles? How long has it been an accepted maxim of the creed of the Liberal Party, that if hon. Members below the Gangway make what they consider, I suppose, a just demand, the Liberal Party shall always support it, and how long and how far are the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues going in that direction. Sir, in our minds, and in the minds of the majority of this House, and of the country, there is something to be considered in these great questions besides the opinion of the majority of the Irish Representatives. We would like to see something done to enable such matters as can safely be entrusted to Local Government to be administered in Ireland; but, Sir, when we come to deal with the functions of Government properly so called, when we come to deal with matters of legislation, and with the preservation of law and order in Ireland, then we say that the people of the United Kingdom have a right to be considered, as well as the people of Ireland, and that in these things the will of the majority must prevail, even though it be contrary to the wishes of the majority of the people of Ireland. Sir, I can quite understand the Vote of Censure, for, of course, it is nothing else, which the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) has proposed against Her Majesty's Government in moving this Amendment to the Address. In his view, and in the opinion of those who follow him, nothing that we can do is right. They have not been content with criticizing our actions, and with bringing charges against us once in this House; but when those actions have been explained, and when those charges have been refuted and denied, they have brought them over and over again. They will not accept or believe in our explanations. I shall not take the trouble, under the circumstances, to repeat what I have said on previous occasions; but I have just this one comforting reflection—that many of those charges contradict each other. What is the position of the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken and those who sit around him? Why is it that they support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork? They do not find fault—they have gone out of their way to tell us so—with the actions of Her Majesty's Government in Ireland. They do not quite accept the Plan of Campaign. The right hon. Gentleman told us that he was going to say a good deal about the Plan of Campaign, and we listened to him with attention and expectation; but he did not keep his word. He told us certainly that, if such and such things were so, he should condemn them; but how should he condemn them? He should condemn them like the action of Hampden, or like the action of the North American Colonists who threw the tea into Boston Harbour. He apologized for the Plan of Campaign. Now, I appeal—I do not use the words offensively—from Philip drunk to Philip sober. Shall I tell the right hon. Gentleman what is his mature opinion of the Plan of Campaign? What did the right hon. Gentleman say, when he had to express an opinion as a responsible Member of the Government upon a very similar scheme? Speaking in 1881, as a responsible Member of Her Majesty's Government, the right hon. Gentleman used these words— Mr. Parnell wishes to get rid of the landlords in order that he may get rid of the English Government, and for this object every kind of intimidation has been employed to deter honest men from doing their duty and fulfilling their obligations. The Liberal Party"—at that time—"will have nothing to do with attacks upon the property any more than upon the persons of our fellow-citizens. A landowner has just as good a right to fair rent as you or I. Whenever the Liberal Party has allied itself with anti-social ideas—whenever it has followed some of those misty philosophies which have destroyed the safety of society, it has come to grief. Now that, I have no doubt, if it had not been for the inconvenient circumstances of the present moment, would have been the opinion which the right hon. Gentleman would have expressed to-night about the Plan of Campaign. Therefore, I think I am justified in saying that it is not on account of any approval of the Plan of Campaign that the right hon. Gentleman is about to give his support to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork. Well, Sir, does he want to turn us out of Office? [Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT: Not yet.] On that point he reiterates the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Henry H. Fowler). He does not want to turn us out of Office. [Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT: Not yet.] Then, why does he support this Amendment to the Address? The right hon. Gentleman gives it, I know, a very half-hearted approval; and it has been said, but I do not know with what truth, that no regular summons has been addressed to Members of the Separatist Liberal Party to attend here tonight. One thing is certain, that a greater man than the right hon. Gentleman—the Leader of his Party—has not thought it worth his while to come and take part in this debate. No, Sir; the action of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir William Harcourt) and his Colleagues is not prompted by any wish to turn the present Government out of Office; it is simply prompted by the spirit which animated his whole speech—a wish to embarrass Her Majesty's Government; a wish to render impossible as difficult a task as ever fell to the lot of any Government. The Plan of Campaign has been presented to this House in the course of this debate in a very charming aspect. We have been told that it is a sort of charitable scheme for enabling tenants who cannot pay the full rents of exacting landlords to tide over the winter; and the right hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley), who is pretty acute in matters of this kind, was so deceived by the way in which the Plan was presented to the House, that he actually asserted that, as far as he knew, no substantial injustice had been done by the Plan of Campaign. But I wish, if I may detain the House for a short rime, to present to the House another aspect of this question. I should like to place before the House my theory as to the origin and intention of the Plan of Campaign. The House will remember that we assumed Office in August last under circumstances which will be admitted by all to have been of very considerable difficulty in Ireland. The country had been very much disquieted by the proposals for the government of Ireland made by our Predecessors. There were riots, due to those proposals, of a most serious nature in Belfast. The County of Kerry was as disturbed as any Irish county has been at the worst periods of Irish history within our memory. Those were matters in themselves of no slight difficulty. But, beyond that, agricultural prices were undoubtedly low, and we were pressed to accept, on that account, a Bill proposed by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell), with a view to make a very grave alteration in the law of land tenure in Ireland. We felt it to be our duty to advise this House to reject that measure. We thought that it went beyond the necessities or justice of the case, and the result has shown that we were right; for whereas the Bill would have enabled any tenant in Ireland, holding under a judicial rent, to get off for a time, if not permanently, by paying half the rent due, it is a matter of fact that, during the last few months, landlords and tenants throughout Ireland have largely settled with each other on terms very much more favourable to the landlord than those which were proposed in the Bill of the, hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell). That Bill was rejected, and our action in rejecting it was misrepresented at the time by right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but especially by hon. Members from Ireland. I have here a document which the hon. Member for Cork sent over to America, expressing his opinion on September 28. He said— The rejection of the Tenants' Relief Bill, the scarcely veiled threats of the Irish Secretary, and the alarming increase in the number of evictions, clearly indicate the commencement of a combined movement of extermination against the tenant farmers of Ireland by the English Government and the Irish landlords. I lose no time in advising you of the imminence of a crisis and peril which have seldom been equalled even in the history of Ireland. I know it will be the highest duty of my countrymen in America to do whatever in them lies to frustrate the attempt of those who would assassinate our nation, and to alleviate the numerous victims of the social war which has been preached by the powerful Government of England against our people. We preached no social war. What did that appeal produce? If it produced anything, I should very much like to know whether the hon. Member for Cork felt it to be his duty to return it to the subscribers; because it certainly was obtained, if it was obtained at all, under false pretences. Why, one of the stock arguments of the hon. Members below the Gangway against Her Majesty's Government has been that we changed that policy of social war directly Parliament rose. Our policy when we rejected the Bill of the hon. Member was precisely the same as that which we carried out subsequently in Ireland. Speaking in this House in August or September last, I earnestly deprecated more than once, on behalf of my Colleagues and myself, any harsh action on the part of Irish landlords in pressing their rights to the utmost; and I pointed out that there was every reason to anticipate that any difficulty which might arise from the inability of tenants to pay rent would be met generously by landlords in the coming autumn and winter. Well, what followed? Why, this followed. In the first place, landlords voluntarily made very large and generous reductions of rent. I can remember a meeting held by the landlords of the County of Cork, called, I think, by the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. Penrose Fitzgerald), in which they enforced the views expressed in this House by the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) and myself as to the duty of Irish landlords to have regard to the fall in prices of farm produce in Ireland. That advice was taken largely and generously throughout Ireland by the landlords. The result was that considerable reductions of rent were made, rents were freely paid, evictions decreased, crime decreased, and a better feeling prevailed throughout the country in October between landlords and tenants than had prevailed for many years past. But that did not suit hon. Members below the Gangway. Ireland must be shown to be ungovernable. That is, I think, part of the policy even of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. The growing confidence had to be destroyed. The desire of Irish tenants to purchase their farms had, in some way, to be stopped. Why was this? I will quote a few words from a speech made by the hon. Member for North Wexford (Mr. J. E. Redmond) on the 11th of December, which satisfactorily explains it. He said— If the Tories had been able to rule Ireland with the ordinary law, the result would have been, in England and Scotland, to throw back our cause, perhaps for a generation, and to give the lie direct to the prophecy of Mr. Gladstone—that the people of England had to choose between Coercion on the one hand and Home Rule on the other. And, therefore, the Plan of Campaign was started; and by all the powers at the command of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), and some of his most active Colleagues, the reluctant tenants of Ireland were stirred up to its adoption. Meetings were held and speeches were made increasing in violence, and throughout November and December exaggerated accounts were spread abroad as to the number of estates en which the Plan of Campaign, had to be adopted. Inventions were I circulated as to the hesitation or refusal of Her Majesty's Government to enforce the law, and as to the opinion of the Law Advisers of the Crown on the legality of the Plan of Campaign. The hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) asked me a Question this evening about an opinion which appeared in United Ireland, and which has been attributed to my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes). Well, Sir, my right hon. and learned Friend informs me that the interpretation to be placed upon that is simply this—the opinion was given to the Government—that although there may be a mode by which a landlord himself might recover the money that had been paid by the tenants to third persons, the Government has no power by which they can recover it for the landlord. And that is all that the opinion amounts to. Why, Sir, as a matter of fact, before that opinion was written, the Law Officers had given the Government a distinct opinion that the persons engaged in carrying out the Plan of Campaign were guilty of a criminal conspiracy; and evidence was actually being collected on which prosecutions might be founded. More than that, the Plan of Campaign was pressed forward by threats used by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) at a meeting at Castlerea, to the bailiffs, the police, and the officers of the law of the loss they would incur if they did not take the popular side. All these things were done to further the Plan of Campaign—I believe with the object which I have stated to the House. Although the Plan of Campaign may only have been adopted on 30 or 40 estates, the result, no doubt, has been a widespread change in that good feeling which prevailed in October, a considerable cessation in the payment of rent, and a great increase of lawlessness in the districts to which this stumping process has extended. I do not wish to enter further into the legality or otherwise of the Plan of Campaign; but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby has said something to the House this evening upon the question of the appointment of the jury by whom the traversers are to be tried in Dublin. I heard what fell from him with much astonishment, as coming from one who, I remember, denounced me on the occasion to which he himself alluded for throwing over Judges and juries in Ireland, because I did not go out of my way to uphold the finding of a jury in a case about which I knew nothing at all. The right hon. Gentleman asked us to secure a fair trial.


I do not wish to be misunderstood on this point. What I intended to say and what I did say with regard to the present trials was this—that I hoped the ordinary course would be pursued. I thought it most important that should be observed, as a contrary course would produce a bad impression.


Yes, Sir; the ordinary course will be pursued. The course will be pursued which was followed when the right hon. Gentleman himself was a Member of the Government, and which has been pursued, so far as I know, for many years in Ireland. We say, without hesitation, that the officials whose duty it is to undertake the work will, without scruple, direct those jurors to stand aside who they have reason to believe cannot give a verdict without fear or favour. That is the way, and the only way, in which a fair jury can be obtained. [Cries of "Packing!"] Hon. Members talk of packing juries, What is the use of putting men on juries who are afraid to give a verdict according to the evidence? Is it fair to such men themselves to ask them to incur personal danger to which they are subjected? Why, Sir, it has been already stated in this House what followed certain trials at the Winter Assizes in Cork. Two of the jurors who found some of the Kerry Moonlighters guilty were butter merchants in Cork, and only the other day a notice was published publicly in Tralee, requiring the Kerry farmers not to deal with those butter merchants, because they had the courage to act upon the evidence placed before them. There were two men—two Catholics, one was a trier of the jury panel, and the other was a juror at the Sligo Assizes; both of these men decided according to their oaths. They have been Boycotted. And what did the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) read to the House to-night. He read to the House a quotation from a speech of the hon. Member for North Wexford (Mr. J. Redmond), which I confess I had hoped the hon. Gentleman would have contradicted. What was it the hon. Gentleman said? It was this—that, in his opinion, it was far better for a man to be condemned to penal servitude for the term of his natural life than to form one of the jury who would so outrage the sense of justice of the whole Irish people as to find the traversers guilty. I am bound to say that if the officials of the Crown do not take care to direct those persons to stand aside who would be influenced by fear or favour in arriving at a verdict they would not do their duty to the Government of the country. Now, Sir, I should not have said that much about the trials, but for the observation which fell from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby; but I must say this—that it is a very remarkable thing—that in spite of the defence of the Plan of Campaign which has been so freely made by hon. Members below the Gangway, and less freely by some hon. Members who do not belong to the Irish Party, there is nothing in this Amendment which is favourable to the Plan of Campaign. I have no doubt that that considerably eases their consciences. All that this Amendment suggests is that the remedy for the existing crisis in Irish agrarian affairs is to be found in Home Rule. Well, but what is the real meaning of that suggestion? How does the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby suppose that Home Rule is to remedy the Irish agrarian crisis? What are the principles upon which an Irish Home Rule Parliament would be likely to act in dealing with the agrarian crisis? Are they not the principles of the Plan of Campaign? Well, but what are the principles of the Plan of Campaign? We know very well what they are said to be in Ireland—the slicing down of rents by degrees until the tenant can remain in the holding, if not free from rent at all, at least paying only the prairie value.

MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

Will the right hon. Gentleman quote any speech in which that is stated?


I could quote half-a-dozen speeches in proof of it. The hon. Gentleman himself said the other day, in this House, that his motto in this matter was that the tenant should neither pay nor go.


I am sure the right hon. Gentleman does not wish to misrepresent me. What I said—and it is very well known in Ireland what I have said—what I have said all along in the matter is, that when the tenant is required to pay a rack-rent, and a reasonable reduction is refused, he should neither pay nor go.


I should like to press this a little further. What is it that hon. Members consider a fair rent? The hon. Member for West Belfast gave us a definition of that to-night. He said that, in his opinion, rent was not to be paid except from the surplus produce of the farm; and that the tenant was entitled to keep his furniture, his stock, and his holding, and to decline to go out of his farm unless there was a surplus profit out of which to pay rent. But the law says that if a tenant does not pay his rent he shall go out. Parliament may modify the law; but, while the law exists, it ought to be obeyed. Can the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby contradict that assertion? The hon. Member for Belfast—[Mr. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.): The hon. Member for West Belfast.] I accept my hon. Friend's correction. I do not think the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sexton) will represent West Belfast again. The hon. Gentleman the Member for West Belfast compared the relative position of the owners and occupiers of land in Ireland to that of the different classes of shareholders in a bank. But supposing that the shareholders in a bank declined to pay the debenture holders, or the preference shareholders, the interest due to them, unless they agreed to accept a certain reduction of that interest; and supposing that, in addition to taking that course, they combined to fight it out; if the hon. Member who takes that view were a shareholder in the bank, whether in England or in Ireland, he would soon find that the law of the land would compel him to keep his obligation; and I wish the right hon. Gentleman opposite, in the few remarks which he vouchsafed on the Plan of Campaign, had shown us why a debt due to a landlord, guarded, as it is, by the authority of the Land Act for which he himself is responsible, is to be less sacred than a debt due to a debenture holder or preference shareholder of a bank. I have carefully considered a good many speeches made in Ireland on the subject, and I believe that this is a fair representation of what the Plan of Campaign is said to be in Ireland. Well, Sir, I should characterize—and I should think the great majority of this House, including not a few honest and independent Radicals, would characterize—that Plan of Campaign as nothing less than a doctrine of public plunder. Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to accept a settlement by a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland of the agrarian difficulty based upon a doctrine of public plunder? He was not prepared to accept it last summer; but he may have changed his mind since then. At that time the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues carefully retained the settlement of the Irish Land Question in their own hands—in the hands of the Imperial Parliament—and nobody was stronger in that matter than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley). Why did they retain it? Because they would not trust a Home Rule Parliament. But what is there in the doctrines that have been preached in Ireland in this matter, or in the acts that have been done in Ireland since that time, which has convinced the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby that he can now safely entrust to a Home Rule Parliament that which he refused to entrust to it last summer? Can they deal with a great agrarian crisis in any other way? Why, Sir, what is the cause of this agrarian crisis, if there be one? Is it not low prices? And to what are those prices due but to foreign importations; and can an Irish Homo Rule Parliament deal with the question of foreign importation? Oh, no! that was carefully kept out of their province by the right hon. Gentleman; and, therefore, I very much wish that instead of some of those remarkable assertions of novel principles which the right hon. Gentleman believed had been his principles for the last 40 years, he had shown us some grounds for thinking either that an Irish Parliament would not act in accordance with the Plan of Campaign, or that it would meet the agrarian crisis in some other way. I venture to say that the right hon. Gentleman, in voting for this Amendment, is voting for what is a most absurd non sequitur. The hon. Member for Cork and, to some extent, the right hon. Gentleman have twitted us about our Irish policy. Well, Sir, we have an Irish policy, and it is not that which is presented to the House by the right hon. Gentleman. We expressed our Irish policy to Parliament last September very fully, and we have expressed it, so far as it is possible, in Her Majesty's Gracious Speech from the Throne. In the first place, having regard to the agrarian agitation and its effects in Ireland, we felt bound to say that we think it necessary that some provision should be made for the more efficient administration of the Criminal Law; that the people of Ireland should be made to feel that the law will deal promptly and quickly with those who break it, and that remedial measures, when proposed and carried in Parliament, shall be free to work in that country. But our Irish policy is not confined to an alteration of criminal procedure—we expect every day the Report of Lord Cowper's Commission on the law of land tenure and laud purchase in Ireland. As soon as we receive that Report we shall not lose a day in considering it, and in submitting to the House any recommendations which the Commissioners may make, or any other proposals which we may think it right that this House should adopt. We know, and we have always said, that there is much in the Irish Land Law which requires amendment. We do not believe in a system of dual ownership. We do believe in a considerable extension of land purchase in Ireland; but we believe, also, that there are other matters in the Irish Land Law which require amendment; and these, no doubt, will be dealt with in the Report of the Commission and in the Bill which we shall introduce. Not only that, but we have in contemplation, as the House is aware, measures for developing the industrial resources of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman has, probably, forgotten that fact. Well, he thinks so quickly that I can excuse him; but those measures are really in our contemplation. We do not believe in emigration as the first cure for the congested districts in Ireland. We would far sooner see the development of agriculture or fisheries, or other works which may give employment to the population; that employment of which political agitation has so largely deprived them, and which, in view of the exceptional circumstances in Ireland, might seem to justify, to some extent, Government assistance; but we would look mainly to a re-establishment of that confidence in Ireland which would invite the investment of private capital, without which no country can flourish. Hon. Members opposite do not say that some of those proposals may not be worthy of consideration. They tell us that whatever we propose, whether it be a change in the Land Laws, whether it be a development of industrial resources, whether it be a supplementary scheme of emigration—all that must be done, not by this House, but by an Irish Parliament, and therefore they will have nothing to say to it. I saw, the other day, that an hon. Member, in referring to a possible Local Government Bill for Ireland, said that they would accept it as far as it went; but that it would be used only as a lever for the establishment of an Irish Parliament. That, Sir, is the non possumus which the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway oppose to our policy; but surely we have a right to some better consideration than that. We represent a majority in this House; we represent the majority of the Electors of the United Kingdom. They have declined to accept your proposal for an Irish Parliament; and we have a right to press upon the House that we shall be able to lay before it, at the proper time, and as soon as possible, those proposals which we are anxious to make for the benefit and better government of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle says—"Oh, no! We are in a leaden atmosphere; and we have no hope or expectation of any satisfactory work in Parliament this year." Well, that atmosphere is of his own creating. If he, and those who sit on his side of the House, would but think of the days that have been wasted already in debating the Address, and of the duty which the right hon. Member for East Wolverhampton frankly admits lies upon them, of giving us a fair opportunity of placing our proposals before the House, I think that the leaden atmosphere might dissolve, and that we might be free from further unnecessary talk upon the Speech of Her Majesty. I ventured to say, a few days ago, speaking on the Address, that it was useless to maintain the Union unless, with the Union, we maintained the reign of law in Ireland; and I will go further, and say that it is useless for the constituencies of the country to give a mandate to this House to retain the control of Parliament over Ireland unless this House takes care to place itself in a position, and that soon, so to exercise control over its own Business, that it may fulfil the duty which the constituencies have imposed upon it.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken complained of the length of time occupied by these debates; and no doubt, from his point of view, his complaint is well-founded. But the right hon. Gentleman must, at least, admit that these debates may be of some service to the Party in the House of which he complained—namely, the Irish Party; for they have received many lessons in morality from those hon. Gentlemen who are attached to the landlord interest. When he attacks the Irish Party with regard to the Plan of Campaign, I should like to ask him one or two questions. The right hon. Gentleman has stated that the Irish tenants wish to deprive the Irish landlords of their rights; but has he ever considered how much per annum the Irish Land Act and Irish agitation has taken off the rents of the landlords in Ireland? It is something like £2,000,000 per annum; or, in other words, the Irish landlords have been robbing the Irish tenants for generations of £2,000,000 a-year. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will bring in any Bill or Amendment of the law, under which this annual sum of £2,000,000 shall be dealt with as a set-off for the benefit of the tenants; because, if not, I am unable to see on what the complaint of dishonesty is founded. The Plan of Campaign is merely, at its worst, a set-off for the robbery of the Irish tenantry in the past. But there is another aspect of the case. We hear that law and order must be maintained in Ireland; and, no doubt, the terms law and order in the minds of Englishmen represent something that ought to be maintained; but whose law and whose order? We do not recognize your laws; we do not recognize the laws of Gentlemen of the intelligence of the late Member for Bridport (Mr. Warton), or of Gentlemen sitting opposite who know nothing whatever about our country. When you talk of law and order, so far as you are concerned, we believe that every one of your laws is vitiated by the fact that you have no power to impose them upon us. We; merely adopt them so far as they are a convenience to us, and no further. With regard to what has been stated as to the right of the landlords, it seems to me that hon. Gentlemen forget that we have never recognized those rights. We have always maintained that the right of the tenant in the soil was a permanent right, and that the right of the landlord in the soil was merely accidental, acquired by confiscation,; plunder, and robbery, and maintained by I foreign bayonets. I should like to know I how, if we were to press this to a degree, it would suit some hon. Members opposite? But we are not inclined so to press it; we are willing that the landlords should have a fair rent from the land, and that if he is to be paid out he should have a fair sum for his interest in the soil. It is our policy to get rid of the landlords as cheaply as we can; but, so far as the landlord's rights are concerned, we have entirely declined to recognize them. The Irish tenant has never recognized the landlord's right as an abstract right, and I do not believe he ever will do so. But I can quite believe in the right hon. Gentleman's anxiety to bring forward a scheme of purchase, and I can also understand his present anxiety about the Plan of Campaign. I hear that it is proposed further to extend the purchase scheme of Lord Ashbourne's Act. That, in my opinion, is the real ground of the anxiety of the Government with regard to the Plan of Campaign, for the Plan of Campaign has taught the Irish people how easy it is to combine against the landlords. It will teach them how easy it will be afterwards to combine against a foreign Government, if that foreign Government make themselves landlords in place of the existing ones. That is really the secret of the opposition to the Plan of Campaign. You, who put out the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone) on the plea that you would not accept his purchase scheme, are now going to adopt the purchase system, and you are going at the same time, by this system of criminal procedure, as you call it, by your jury-packing and your conspiracy inquisitions, to deprive the Irish tenantry of any weapons they have in the force of public opinion with which to resist your inquisitions. This is a very serious matter for the Liberal Unionist Party, and for right hon. Gentlemen like the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain). If it be proposed to force on the Irish people a scheme of purchase, by a Government such as the landlord Government that is now in power, a Government which will not recognize a tenant's right to his own improvements, you will have repudiation by-and-bye. I warn Liberal Unionists, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham and the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington), that if you attempt to cram down the throats of the Irish people any Tory or landlord scheme of purchase, much as you fear this Wan of Campaign, the Plan of Campaign against the alien and foreign Government which has forced such purchase upon the people will be a ten times greater and more serious one. In the first instance, Sir, no scheme of purchase will be tolerated by the Irish people, or by their Representatives, which does not fully recognize in the tenant the right to his improvements. No scheme of a number of years purchase on the existing rent will be considered, unless the number of years purchase be very small, a fair or equitable one, now that the Irish tenants have seen the efficacy of the Plan of Campaign, and have shown how they can reduce landlords like Lord Dillon to reason and subjection. First convict the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) by a packed jury, convict Mr. William O'Brien by a packed jury, suppress United Ireland, crush out public opinion, suppress public meeting—and then, when you have reduced the country to subjection, when you have reduced it to silence, when there is no body of men who dare, for fear of your packed juries, protest against the terms of your purchase scheme; when Ireland has been reduced to what you call quiet, a quiet that perhaps will only be broken by the machinations of Ribbon lads; when you think you have got all the conspirators in gaol, and numbed public opinion, you may carry your purchase scheme and the country may be quiet. But I do not think the Tory Government is going to remain in Office always. When you have got your reward at the hands of the constituencies another Government will come in, and upon that Government, which will probably and doubtless be a Liberal Government, will be cast the task of trying to restore law and order and contentment and peace in the country again. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) told us to-night, in the very frankest way, what are the instructions he has given to the Crown Solicitor in Ireland with regard to jury-packing. "The Crown Solicitor," he said, "will pursue the usual course and select the jurors." Now, allow me to tell hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway what is the usual course in political trials in Ireland, or even in our political trials. Under the Crimes Act, where you had a special jury, not a common jury as at present, you challenged in some cases 75 jurors, and in other cases 65. In the case of Joe Poole, who was hanged, you challenged 60; and let me tell the right hon. Gentleman, when he talks about the independence of jurors, that there is not a man in Ireland at the present moment who believes that Poole was guilty. He was defended by a Tory lawyer, and I am told that that lawyer went after the trial to one of the jury and said—"How could you find him guilty of the murder? Although it was admitted he was a Fenian, he apparently did not belong to the party who committed the crime." The juror said—"Do you know, if Poole had been proved to be in Australia at the time, we would have had to convict him?" And these are the men of independent thought! Why would they have had to convict him? Because, Sir, intimidation prevails in their set, just as you charge us with its prevalence in ours. They in their clubs, they at their dinner parties, they amongst their landlord friends, would be Boycotted. But it would be a genteel boycotting—it would not be published in The Daily Express. No, Sir; the forms of Boycotting amongst the aristocracy are the forms known to the Dames of the Primrose League. Respectable shop- keepers are no longer dealt with just as if they were published by resolution, such as is alleged was done in the case of the Kerry butter buyers. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary (Mr. Matthews) made a still more remarkable confession. It is true he said that the Sheriff had empanelled on this occasion a jury of 250. So a jury of 80 or 100 are commonly selected in the case of a common pickpocket, but only a moment before he had called my hon. Friend (Mr. Dillon) a petty pilferer. My hon. Friend is to be honoured with a panel of 250; it is necessary, in the opinion of the Crown officials, that when the distinguished traversers come to be tried that a very large panel should be selected. But, Sir, how did they get that idea into the Sheriff's head? Did they communicate their view to the Sheriff? I should like to ask how it is that Her Majesty's Government are able to know the views of the Sheriff so accurately, and how is it the Home Secretary is able to defend the action of the Sheriff for having, for the first time for centuries, empanelled a jury of 250, when, under the Crimes Act, even 200 was the highest number ever summoned? Of course, the Government are in league with the Sheriff. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that in the Motion which was made in the Queen's Bench we did not question the character of the juries. No, Sir, because the Sheriff refused to let us see his books. But we have got them now, under the order of the Judge; and we intend to challenge his jury. I am sorry to say that, although the solicitor for the traversers declared on oath that the Grand Jury at the outset was illegally and corruptly arrayed, and that of 50 men on the Grand Jury scarcely one was entitled to be in it, the affidavit was not allowed to be presented to the Court; and when I put a Question to-day to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, it was answered, for the purpose of making a point against me, by the hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland (Mr. Gibson), who, after saying he did not intend to propose any change in the law, said it was very indecent for the defending counsel to put such a question to the prosecuting counsel. I did not put the question to the prosecuting counsel, but to the Chief Secretary. I asked whether he thought it a decent state of the law that when it was sworn on oath that the Grand Jury was irregularly and illegally empanelled, that proceeding could not be questioned by way of a challenge to the array, a challenge to the poll, or an appeal to the judicial discretion of the Judge. The only answer I got was that a pending matter could not be gone into. The House should remember, in the face of the Chief Secretary's declaration, what is exactly the course pursued by the Government to secure convictions in these matters. No one knows more about jury-packing, or how juries are worked, than the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, because it was he who altered Lord O'Hagan's Act. Under the Liberal Government of 1871, Lord O'Hagan passed an Act by which jurors were to be chosen alphabetically, and to possess certain specified qualifications. The moment the Tories got into Office, they saw this would not suit their book in Ireland; and, although there was no agrarian agitation at the time, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary obtained an alteration of the law, enormously increasing the qualification of jurors. What did he do in the County Dublin? It is very difficult for laymen to understand the tricks which are resorted to: it is only when one sees them at work that one can understand how they tell against traversers like my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo. Had the traversers been tried in the city where they were originally indicted, they would have been tried by men of a £20 qualification. What is the qualification for County Dublin? As arranged by the right hon. Gentleman, there is a rated qualification for land of a £40 character, and for houses of a £10 character. Most of the farms in Ireland are rated at £20 and under. For instance, the Arrears Act only applied to farms under £30, and that included five-sixths of the Irish farms. Therefore, you will scarcely get any Irish farmer in the County Dublin on the popular side who is rated at £40. County Dublin is a villa county; it is the county in which the villa residents dwell. The merchants of the city, as a rule, reside beyond the limits of the municipal boundaries; but the house qualification secured by the right hon. Gentleman takes in all the half-pay officers of Rathmines and Kingstown, all the civil servants, and all the men in the Government employ. By the change of venue from the city to the county, the Government hit the two qualifications; they hit the high qualification, and they hit the low qualification; and, indeed, are able to got just the kind of jury they want. The Home Secretary said— Surely Irishmen do not complain of being relegated from the city to the county, as, in that case, they get a much larger population. Well, Sir, I am surprised that the right hon. and learned Gentleman who was for so long a period an Irish Member himself, although only for Dungarvan, does not know that there is twice the population in the City of Dublin that there is in the county seats. For instance, under the Redistribution of Seats Act, which goes by population, there are four Members for the city and only two for the county. Therefore, I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman was a little out when he said there is a larger population in the county than in the city. But I will assume that you get your conviction. I will assume that the best wishes of the Chief Secretary are gratified; and I will assume that he succeeds in getting my hon. Friend and his companions, Mr. William O'Brien and others, sent to gaol for two years. Well, after all, the Tory Party are a Constitutional Party: they are very fond of ancient history; but I would ask them—"Do you think Mr. Forster felt very particularly comfortable on the day the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) and his companions were sent to Kilmainham?" Why, Mr. Forster's troubles were only beginning; and whereas now you have the Plan of Campaign adopted on 40 estates only out of 9,000 perhaps, when my hon. Friend is convicted, and when the March rents come to be paid, the Plan of Campaign may spread from 40 to 4,000 estates, and the Irish landlords, who were so glad to see the hon. Member for Cork released, will be petitioning the right hon. Baronet to proclaim an amnesty, because, of all the animals in the world, the Irish landlord is the most selfish. The Irish landlord cares nothing for State policy; he only wants to get his rents. Furthermore, I would ask hon. Gentlemen whether they think that, in this Jubilee year of Her Majesty the Queen, the way to promote the acceptance by the Irish people of those splendid measures which have been promised us by the Government, is by putting five or six Members of this House and Representatives of the Irish people, into gaol? As we told Mr. Forster, we tell you, that if you put these men in gaol by a packed jury, such as you evidently intend to do, your difficulties will be increased four-fold, and you will in fact render the country completely ungovernable. I do not propose, at this period of the night (one o'clock) to occupy the time of the House longer. I only desire, in the plainest terms, to say that when you find out by-and-bye exactly what has occurred, you cannot say that you were not warned. The fate of Mr. Forster, the fate of his Government, has had some effect—has had an enormous effect—upon the Liberal Party in this country. Although some Members of it, such as the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington), have not yet come round, the noble Marquess will not join the Government himself, but he sends his Chancellor of the Exchequer to them. His reluctance to join the Government reminds me very much of Punch's butler, who said, after attending on a certain dinner party of Cockneys, "I don't mind waiting on 'em, but I should not like to have to dine with 'em." The noble Marquess's mind has yet to be penetrated by those truths and those lessons which have sunk into the mind of other Members of the Liberal Party. I believe, Sir, that even time itself will tell upon the mind of the noble Marquess. I believe the experiments in coercion which the Tory Government are now making, and their consequent failure, will tell upon his mind. I regard the advent to Office of the Tory Party as a boon. I believe that their experiments in coercion will simply lead them to disaster; and that being so, I feel fully assured that, warned by the beacon light of their failure, but a short time will elapse before a united Liberal Party, under the leadership of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), will once more come into Office and restore peace and order in Ireland.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 246; Noes 352: Majority 106.

Abraham, W. (Glam.) Acland, C. T. D.
Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.) Allison, E. A.
Anderson, C. H.
Acland, A. H, D. Asher, A.
Asquith, H. H. Fowler, rt. hon. H. H.
Atherley-Jones, L. Fox, Dr. J. F.
Austin, J. Fry, T.
Balfour, rt. hon. J. B. Fuller, G. P.
Balfour, Sir G. Gane, J. L.
Barran, J. Gardner, H.
Barry, J. Gaskell, C. G. Milnes-
Biggar, J. G. Gilhooly, J.
Blake, J. A. Gill, H. J.
Blake, T. Gill, T. P.
Blane, A. Gourley, E. T.
Bolton, J. C. Graham, R. C.
Bolton, T. D. Gray, E. D.
Borlase, W. C. Grey, Sir E.
Bradlaugh, C. Gully, W. C.
Bright, Jacob Haldane, R. B.
Bright, W. L. Hanbury-Tracy, hon. F. S. A.
Broadhurst, H.
Brown, A. L. Harcourt,rt.hn. Sir W. G. V. V.
Bruce, hon. R. P.
Bryce, J. Harrington, E.
Burt, T. Harrington, T. C.
Buxton, S. C. Hayden, L. P.
Byrne, G. M. Hayne, C. Seale-
Cameron, C. Healy. M.
Campbell, H. Healy, T. M.
Campbell-Bannerman, right hon. H. Holden, I.
Hooper, J.
Carew, J. L. Howell, G.
Chance, P. A. Hoyle, I..
Channing, F. A. Hunter, W. A
Childers, rt. hon. H. C. E. Illingworth, A.
Jacoby, J. A.
Clancy, J. J. James, hon. W. H.
Cobb, H. P. James, C. H.
Cohen, A. Joicey, J.
Coleridge, hon. B. Jordan, J.
Colman, J. J. Kay-Shuttleworth, rt. hon. Sir U. J.
Commins, A.
Condon, T. J. Kennedy, E. J.
Connolly, L. Kenny, C. S.
Conway, M. Kenny, J. E.
Conybeare, C. A. V. Kenny, M. J.
Corbet, W. J. Kilcoursie, right hon. Viscount
Cossham, H.
Cox, J. R. Labouchere, H.
Cozens-Hardy, H. H. Lacaita, C. C.
Craig, J. Lalor, R.
Craven, J. Lane, W. J.
Crawford, D. Lawson, Sir W.
Crawford, W. Lawson, H. L. W.
Cremer, W. R. Leahy, J.
Crilly, D. Leake, R.
Crossley, E. Lefevre, rt. hn.G. J. S.
Davies, W. Lewis, T. P.
Deasy, J. Lyell, L.
Dillon, J. Macdonald, Dr. R.
Dillwyn, L. L. Macdonald, W. A.
Dodds, J. MacInnes, M.
Duff, R. W. MacNeill, J. G. S.
Ellis, J. M'Arthur, A.
Ellis, J. E. M'Cartan, M..
Ellis, T. E. M'Carthy, J. H.
Esmende, Sir T. H. G. M'Donald, P
Esslemont, P. M'Ewan, W.
Evershed, S. M'Kenna, Sir J. N.
Fenwick, C. M'Laren, W. S. B.
Finucane, J. Mahony, P.
Flower, C. Maitland, W. F.
Flynn, J. C. Mappin, Sir F. T..
Foley, P. J. Marjoribanks, rt. hon. E.
Foljambe, C. G. S.
Forster, Sir C. Marum, E. M
Mason, S. Roberts, J. B.
Mayne, T. Robinson, T.
Molloy, B. C. Roe, T.
Montagu, S. Rowlands, J.
Morgan, rt. hon. G. O. Rowlands, W. B.
Morgan, O. V. Rowntree, J.
Morley, rt. hon. J. Russell, Sir C.
Morley, A. Russell, E. R.
Mundella,rt.hon.A. J. Samuelson, Sir B.
Murphy, W. M. Schwann, C. E.
Neville, R. Sexton, T.
Newnes, G. Shaw, T.
Nolan, Colonel J. P. Sheehan, J. D.
Nolan, J. Sheehy, D.
O'Brien, J. F. X. Shirley, W. S.
O'Brien, P. Smith, S.
O'Brien, P. J. Spencer, hon. C. R.
O'Connor, A. Stack, J.
O'Connor, J. (Kerry) Stanhope, hon. P. J.
O'Connor, J. (Tippry.) Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.
O'Connor, T. P. Stevenson, F. S.
O'Doherty, J. E. Stevenson, J. C.
O'Hanlon, T. Storey, S.
O'Hea, P. Stuart, J.
O'Kelly, J. Sullivan, D.
Parnell, C. S. Sullivan, T. D.
Paulton, J. M. Summers, W.
Peacock, R. Sutherland, A.
Pease, A. E. Swinburne, Sir J.
Pease, H. F. Tanner, C. K.
Penton, Captain F. T. Thomas, A.
Pickard, B. Tuite, J.
Pickersgill, E. H. Waddy, S. D.
Picton, J. A. Wallace, R.
Pinkerton, J. Wardle, H.
Playfair, rt. hon. Sir L. Warmington, C. M.
Watt, H.
Plowden, Sir W. C. Wayman, T.
Portman, hon. E. B. Whitbread, S.
Potter, T. B. Will, J. S.
Power, P. J. Williams, A.
Price, T. P. Williamson, J.
Priestley, B. Williamson, S.
Provand, A. D. Wilson, H. J.
Pyne, J. D. Woodall, W.
Quinn, T. Woodhead, J.
Redmond, W. H. K. Wright, C.
Reed. Sir E. J. Yeo, F. A.
Reid, R. T.
Rendel, S. TELLERS.
Reynolds, W. J. Redmond, J. E.
Richard, H. Sheil, E.
Roberts, J.
Addison, J. E. W. Barry, A. H. Smith-
Agg-Gardner, J. T. Bartley, G. C. T.
Ainslie, W. G. Bass, H.
Allsopp, hon. G. Bates, Sir E.
Ambrose, W. Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks-
Amherst, W. A. T.
Anstruther, Colonel R. H. L. Beach, W. W. B.
Beaumont, H. F.
Anstruther, H. T. Beckett, E. W.
Ashmead-Bartlett, E. Beckett, W.
Baggallay, E. Bective, Earl of
Bailey, Sir J. R. Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.
Baird, J. G. A. Bentinck, Lord H. C.
Balfour, rt. hon. A. J. Bentinck, W. G. C.
Balfour, G. W. Beresford, Lord C. W. De la Poer
Banes, Major G. E.
Baring, Viscount Bethell, Commander G. R.
Barnes, A.
Bickford-Smith, W. Edwards-Moss, T. C.
Biddulph, M. Elcho, Lord
Bigwood, J. Elliot, hon. A. R. D.
Birkbeck, Sir E. Elliot, hon. H. F. H.
Blundell, Col. H. B. H. Elliot, G. W.
Bond, G. H. Ellis, Sir, J. W.
Bonsor, H. C. O. Elton, C. I.
Boord, T. W. Evelyn, W. J.
Borthwick, Sir A. Ewart, W.
Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C. Ewing, Sir A. O.
Eyre, Colonel H.
Bright, right hon. J. Fellowes, W. H.
Bristowe, T. L. Fergusson, right hon. Sir J.
Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.
Field, Admiral E.
Brooks, Sir W. C. Fielden, T.
Brown, A. H. Finch, G. H.
Bruce, Lord H. Finch-Hatton, hon. M. E. G.
Buchanan, T. R.
Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Ash.-B. Finlay, R. B.
Fisher, W. H.
Burghley, Lord Fitzgerald, R. U. P.
Caine, W. S. Fitzwilliam, hon. W. J. W.
Caldwell, J.
Campbell, Sir A. Fitz-Wygram, General Sir F. W.
Campbell, B. F. F.
Chamberlain, rt. hn. J. Fletcher, Sir H.
Chamberlain, R. Folkestone, right hon. Viscount
Chaplin, right hon. H.
Charrington, S. Forwood, A. B.
Clarke, Sir E. G. Fowler, Sir R. N.
Cochrane-Baillie, hon. C. W. A. N. Fraser, General C. C.
Fry, L.
Coddington, W. Fulton, J. F.
Coghill, D. H. Gardner, R. Richardson-
Cohen, L. L.
Collings, J. Gathorne-Hardy, hon. A. E.
Colomb, Capt. J. C. R.
Compton, F. Gedge, S.
Cooke, C. W. R. Gent-Davis, E.
Corbett, A. C. Giles, A.
Corry, Sir J. P. Gilliat, J. S.
Cotton, Capt. E. T. D. Godson, A. F.
Courtney, L. H. Goldsworthy, Major-General W. T.
Cranborne, Viscount
Cross, H. S. Gorst, Sir J. E.
Crossley, Sir S. B. Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.
Crossman, Gen. Sir W. Gray, C. W.
Cubitt, right hon. G. Green, Sir E.
Currie, Sir D. Greenall, Sir G.
Curzon, Viscount Greene, E.
Curzon, hon. G. N. Grimston, Viscount
Dalrymple, C. Grotrian, F. B.
Davenport, H. T. Grove, Sir T. F.
Davenport, W. B. Gunter, Colonel R.
Dawnay, Colonel hon. L. P. Gurdon, R. T.
Hall, A. W.
De Cobain, E. S. W. Hall, C.
De Lisle, E. J. L. M. P. Halsey, T. F.
Hambro, Col. C. J. T.
De Worms, Baron H. Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.
Dickson, Major A. G.
Dimsdale, Baron R. Hamilton, Lord C. J.
Dixon, G. Hamilton, Lord E.
Dixon-Hartland, F. D. Hamilton, Col. C. E.
Dorington, Sir J. E. Hamley, Gen. Sir E. B.
Dugdale, J. S. Hanbury, R. W.
Duncan, Colonel F. Hankey, F. A.
Duncombe, A. Hardcastle, E.
Dyke, rt. hn. Sir W. H. Hardcastle, F.
Hartington, Marq. of
Eaton, H. W. Havelock-Allan, Sir H. M.
Ebrington, Viscount
Heath, A. R. Lowther, J. W.
Heathcote, Capt. J. H. Edwards- Lubbock, Sir J.
Lymington, Viscount
Heaton, J. H. Macartney, W. G. E.
Heneage, right hon. E. Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A.
Herbert, hon. S.
Hermon-Hodge, R. T. Maclean, F. W.
Hill, right hon. Lord A. W. Maclean, J. M.
Maclure, J. W.
Hill, Colonel E. S. M'Calmont, Captain J.
Hill, A. S. M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.
Hingley, B. Makins, Colonel W. T.
Hoare, S. Malcolm, Col. J. W.
Hobhouse, H. Mallock, R.
Holland, rt. hon. Sir H. T. Manners, rt. hon. Lord J. J. R.
Holloway, G. March, Earl of
Holmes, rt. hon. H. Marriott, rt. hn. W. T.
Hornby, W. H. Maskelyne, M. H. N. Story-
Houldsworth, W. H.
Howard, J. Matthews, rt. hon. H.
Howard, J. M. Maxwell, Sir H. E.
Howorth, H. H. Mayne, Admiral R. C.
Hozier, J. H. C. Mildmay, F. B.
Hubbard, rt. hn. J. G. Mills, hon. C. W.
Hubbard, E. Milvain, T.
Hughes, Colonel E. More, R. J.
Hughes-Hallett, Col. F. C. Morgan, hon. F.
Morrison, W.
Hulse, E. H. Mount, W. G.
Hunt, F. S. Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R.
Hunter, Sir G.
Isaacs, L. H. Mowbray, R. G. C.
Isaacson, F. W. Mulholland, H. L.
Jackson, W. L. Muncaster, Lord
James, rt. hon. Sir H. Muntz, P. A.
Jardine, Sir R. Murdoch, C. T.
Jarvis, A. W. Newark, Viscount
Jennings, L. J. Noble, W.
Johnston, W. Norris, E. S.
Kelly, J. R. Northcote, hon. H. S.
Kennaway, Sir J. H. Norton, R.
Kenrick, W. O'Neill, hon. R. T.
Kenyon, hon. G. T. Paget, Sir R. H.
Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. Parker, hon. F.
Pearce, W.
Kerans, F. H. Pelly, Sir L.
Kimber, H. Pitt-Lewis, G.
King, H. S. Plunket, right hon. D. R.
King-Harman, Colonel E. R.
Plunkett, hon. J. W.
Knatchbull-Hugessen, hon. H. T. Pomfret, W. P.
Powell, F. S.
Knightley, Sir R. Price, Captain G. E.
Knowles, L. Puleston, J. H.
Kynoch, G. Quilter, W. C.
Lafone, A. Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.
Lambert, I. C. Rankin, J.
Laurie, Colonel R. P. Rasch, Major F. C.
Lawrance, J. C. Reed, H. B.
Lawrence, Sir T. Richardson, T.
Lawrence, W. F. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Lea, T. Ritchie, rt. hon. C. T.
Lechmere, Sir E. A. H. Robertson, J. P. B.
Lees, E. Robertson, W. T.
Legh, T. W. Robinson, B.
Leighton, S. Rollit, Sir A. K.
Lewisham, right hon. Viscount Ross, A. H.
Rothschild, Baron F. J. de
Llewellyn, E. H.
Long, W. H. Round, J.
Low, M. Russell, Sir G.
Lowther, hon. W. Russell, T. W,
St. Aubyn, Sir J. Tottenham, A. L.
Salt, T. Townsend, G. F.
Sandys, Lieut-Col. T. M. Tyler, Sir H. W.
Verdin, R.
Saunderson, Col. E. J. Vernon, hon. G. R.
Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G. Vincent, C. E. H.
Walsh, hon. A. H. J.
Sellar, A. C. Waring, Colonel T.
Selwin-Ibbetson, rt. hon. Sir H. J. Watson, J.
Webster, Sir. R. E.
Selwyn, Capt. C. W. Webster, R. G.
Seton-Karr, H. West, Colonel W. C.
Sidebotham, J. W. Wharton, J. L.
Sidebottom, T. H. White, J. B.
Sidebottom, W. Whitley, E.
Sinclair, W. P. Whitmore, C. A.
Smith, rt. hon. W. H. Wiggin, H.
Smith, A. Williams, J. Powell-
Spencer, J. E. Wilson, Sir S.
Stanhope, rt. hon. E. Winn, hon. R.
Stanley, E. J. Winterbotham, A. B.
Stewart, M. Wodehouse, E. R.
Sutherland, T. Wolmer, Viscount
Swetenham, E. Wood, N.
Talbot, C. R. M. Wortley, C. B. Stuart-
Talbot, J. G. Wright, H. S.
Tapling, T. K. Wroughton, P.
Taylor, F. Yerburgh, R. A.
Temple, Sir R. Young, C. E. B.
Theobald, J.
Thorburn, W. TELLERS.
Tollemache, H. J. Douglas, A. Akers-
Tomlinson, W. E. M. Walrond, Col. W. K.

Main Question again proposed.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Esslemont.)


I shall not, of course, offer any opposition to the Motion of the hon. Gentleman; but I wish to point out that the House has now been sitting for a fortnight, and that only two of the Amendments to the Address have been discussed. I trust, therefore, that it will be the pleasure of the House to proceed with the other Amendments on the Paper as rapidly as possible, in order that we may go forward with the substantial Business of the Session.

Question put, and agreed to.

Debate adjourned till Monday next.

House adjourned at Twenty-five Minutes after One o'clock, till Monday next.