§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he will lay upon the Table of the House any particulars of information which support the statement made by him that the serious offences reported in Ireland for the year 1886 were 767 in number?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
The statement that 767 serious offences occurred in 1886 is erroneous. I am not perfectly sure I made this statement; 777 but as it is reported in The Times [Mr. GLADSTONE: And other papers], and as I find that in the Memorandum from which I quoted the figures occur in another connection in close contiguity to the true figure, it is most probable that while hastily quoting in the course of my speech. I inadvertently read to the House the wrong number. The true number is 632, and this was the number which I had present to my mind in replying to the right hon. Gentleman, and was the number upon which I based my argument. The right hon. Gentleman will be able to satisfy himself of this if he refers to my speech, in which I summed up the argument thus:—The contention of the right hon. Gentleman amounts to this—that in 1870 an amount of crime not much more than half what it is now was not to he tolerated; but that now, when this House has been occupied in passing measure after measure for the amelioration of Ireland, we are quietly to acquiesce in a state of things incomparably worse than the right hon. Gentleman supposed that he was justified in legislating for in 1870.The right hon. Gentleman will notice that if I based this argument upon the figures 767 which I inadvertently used I should have been able to say—and it would have been for the interest of my argument to say—that the amount of crime before 1870 was less than half what it is now, instead of saying that it was not much more than half.