HC Deb 13 March 1887 vol 313 cc812-69


Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [5th April], "That the Bill be now read a second time."

And which Amendment was, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House, being of opinion that the Bill, if it should become Law, will tend to increase disorder in Ireland, and to endanger the Union between that Country and the other parts of the Empire, declines to proceed further with the said Bill,"—(Sir Bernhard Samuelson,) —instead thereof.

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

Debate resumed.

LORD HENRY BRUCE (Wilts, Chippenham)

said, he would not have ventured to take up the time of the House if the Conservative Members had not been accused of a conspiracy of silence; but in fact there had been no conspiracy regarding this measure. The reason why more Members on the Ministerial side of the House had not taken part in the debate was because they felt that the subject had been completely threshed out not only in the House, but in the country as well. For the introduction of the Bill the Government were not at all to blame. It was their bounden duty to maintain law and order in Ireland, and it could not be allowed that certain self-constituted rulers in Ireland should have the control of that country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) wished the House to believe that the agitation in Ireland was a Constitutional movement. He (Lord Henry Bruce), on the contrary, maintained that the policy which those men had marked out for themselves was due to the course adopted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, whose policy for many years had been one of extremes. At one moment he said he was glad that he had an opponent like the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) to honour, and in a few hours he cast the hon. Member into gaol. Now, as regarded the Amendment before the House of the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxfordshire (Sir Bern-hard Samuelson), it was well spread to catch the unwary It showed that there was much anxiety to maintain the Union, but no Party than that to which the hon. Baronet belonged had done more to smash it up. The blame for the present condition of Ireland which made this Bill necessary rested with those who had created such a state of things there, and he accused the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian of being primarily responsible for it. That right hon. Gentleman had not only deceived his Party, but also his country. No one would venture to attack the right hon. Gentleman if he did not feel it to be his duty to do so. They well knew and admired his oratorical genius. Few men had ever stood within the four walls of that House who had displayed such an amount of rhetorical power; and besides it could not be forgotten that he had a great advantage over other hon. Members in that he was "an old Parliamentary hand." But they could not refrain from condemning his lack of statesmanship, and assuredly there was a missing link between the word Orator and the word Statesman. He maintained that every one of the right hon. Gentleman's measures for Ireland had failed; and not only so, but they had increased the disorder in Ireland. He had been the most cruel executioner Ireland ever had. In his opinion, what was wanted in Ireland was the putting down of the foot on absentee landlords and rack-renting landlords. He did not think the right hon. Gentleman would succeed in destroying the Union and in endangering the Empire. If he did succeed he (Lord Henry Bruce) would not envy the shattered reputation which the right hon. Gentleman would leave behind him. The Cowper Commission's Report showed that the people were far more afraid of Boycotting, which depended for its success on the probability of outrage, than they were of the judgments of the Courts of Justice, and that the unwritten law of the National League and its self-constituted tribunals were in some districts supreme. Those self-constituted tribunals were, in fact, nothing more nor less than Star Chambers, having at their head the local Scroggs and the local Jeffreys. The House was bound to pass a stringent measure to meet the existing state of things in Ireland. In 1866 there were close upon 900 cases of serious crime in which the offenders were neither convicted nor made amen- able. The hon. and learned Member for Hackney (Sir Charles Russell) had said that the vast majority of the Irish Roman Catholic priesthood were on the side of the National League. But they were originally against it, and they had only joined it because they were obliged to do so. What liberty could there be in Ireland while a peasant's cottage was either his garrison or his tomb? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian had formerly shown how crime had with fatal precision dogged the footsteps of the Land League; and what the right hon. Gentleman had said then was perfectly true now. The issue now before the House was a very grave one, which should be met with inflexible firmness and resolution. The Unionist Party, he believed, had made up their minds to one thing—namely, that they would put Ireland in a state of law and order; and when they had done that they would have the satisfaction of knowing that they bad stamped out one of the most detestable conspiracies which had ever stained the annals of any country.

SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derby, Ilkeston)

said, that while congratulating the noble Lord opposite (Lord Henry Bruce) upon the admirable canon of modesty with which he began his speech, he was sorry the noble Lord had not taken to heart that lesson of modesty which should have restrained a new Member from making a violent attack upon the policy of the most respected and one of the oldest Members of the House. He (Sir Walter Foster) could not claim the indulgence of the House as a new Member; but he ventured to do so as one who bad very recently passed through the ordeal of a contested election—a contest significant in its results, as it turned upon this question of coercion for Ireland, or as for the benefit of the electors, it was cohered up in the sugar-candied euphemism—the maintenance of law and order. The electors of the Ilkeston Division were stirred as they had never been stirred before, and there was the heaviest gross poll ever known, with the result that the majority by which his Predecessor in the representation of the Division (Mr. Thomas Watson)—a Member of the House universally respected and lamented—was elected was increased by 500 votes. This result was a clear expression of the opinion of the industrial classes on the question of coercion, and it entirely agreed with his (Sir Walter Foster's) experience of other parts of the country. The mass of the industrial population were everywhere opposed to the repressive legislation which her Majesty's Government propose, and were anxious that a milder and better method of treatment should be tried with the Irish people. In his own constituency every every effort was made, not only by the legitimate followers of Her Majesty's Government, but by those Liberals who, sitting on one side of the House, voted with the other side. Gentlemen of this last nondescript class did their best to inoculate the constituency with that dry rot that had affected their Leaders; but they failed, and he did not believe the minority contained 200 Liberal Unionist votes. The dry rot which was said to have affected the Liberal Party had not extended to the rank and file. A friend of his who had visited a church in the Eastern Counties had remarked to the verger, who showed him over the place, on the dry rot which was beginning to appear in the oak carvings of some of the pews. "Yes," said the verger, there is dry rot in the pews, but it is nothing to the dry rot in the pulpit." He (Sir Walter Foster) believed that the dry rot in the Liberal Party was similarly distributed, there being a good deal in the House of Commons, and very little among the industrial classes, who had made up their minds against a policy of coercion. With respect to the Bill, he had attentively listened to the speech of the Chief Secretary for Ireland with growing wonder that his artistic sense had not revolted at the disproportion between the stringent measure he had proposed and the flimsy basis on which it rested. He had discarded statistics, and had resorted to anonymous anecdotes as a substitute. His wonder grew when the stringency of the provisions of the Bill was displayed, so altogether out of proportion were they to the case for coercion. An attempt was made on Tuesday by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department to shore up the ease with statistics of crime. That right hon. and learned Gentleman gave the House some figures in reference to the quarter just closed, and drew the somewhat disingenuous inference that outrages had increased in the last quarter by 83 per cent. That was a comparison of the figures for the March quarter with the figures of the December quarter. But he (Sir Walter Foster) invited the House to look at the figures for the previous year. The right hon. and learned Gentleman must have forgotten that in the previous quarter they had gone down more. In the March quarter last year, the number of outrages was 256; for the June quarter, 297; for the September quarter, 306; and for the December quarter, when the Plan of Campaign had been in operation, 166. The number of outrages in the March quarter of the present year was 241, or less than in any of the first three quarters of last year, when, by the admission of the Government, there was no case and no necessity for the application of coercive measures. The right hon. Gentleman's (Mr. A. J. Balfour) figures did not oven now make out a case on the ground of criminal statistics for the introduction of this measure. He had, however, brought forward the difficulty of obtaining convictions, in consequence of the unwillingness of the people to give evidence in these cases; and that was a condition of things explicable, to a certain extent, by the character of the police being rather that of a military than of a civil force, and also by the fact that there was no efficient detective service in the Irish Constabulary. Secondly, a large number of cases in which evidence was not forthcoming arose from time to time in Ireland out of faction fights, a form of diversion not appreciated in this country, but which he, as a schoolboy in Ireland, remembered as the ordinary amusement for a half-holiday. In regard to these faction fights, it was part of the code of honour of every Irishman, that if he received a blow on the head or a wound of any kind, he refused to give information to the police. There was, however, a deeper and graver reason for this failure of evidence—namely, the hatred that existed in the breasts of the Irish people to an alien law and an alien Government. Let them condemn and deplore this as they might, it existed—a hatred of a law administered by alien officials, under an irresponsible system like that of Dublin Castle. The fact that, in spite of Coercion Bills, this hatred had deepened and widened during 86 years, should teach them the lesson that it was time to turn to some other method less dangerous to the welfare of the two islands, and less destructive to the administration of justice. Then, the Chief Secretary for Ireland relied much upon Boycotting as showing a necessity for the Bill, a practice with regard to which he sincerely wished that it were possible to put it down by law. But they had the views of Lord Salisbury, in his famous Newport speech, that the law could not touch Boycotting, and his (Sir Walter Foster's) experience of Ireland confirmed that view; but he regretted to say that there was Boycotting in England to as great an extent as in Ireland. Now, he (Sir Walter Foster) had had personal experience of Boycotting in this country; although he held particular opinions as to Home Rule long before the Bill for the better government of Ireland was brought in. In the case of the Ilkeston election, there was one of the worst cases of Boycotting he had come across. During that contest, he had the good fortune to have the assistance of a young Irish doctor, whoso influence and pen were very valuable, and who wrote letters to the local newspapers in his behalf. On the morning after the declaration of the poll his principal, who was a knight, forsooth, of the Primrose League, called him into the surgery and gave him notice to leave his service, saying that he did not approve of his political action and of his letters. ["Oh, oh!"] Why, surely that was as gross and disgraceful a case of Boycotting and intimidation as any he had heard of in Ireland. The case of the Chief Secretary for Ireland as to intimidation rested upon a total of 836 cases over the whole of Ireland. In the previous year, when the Government did not think it necessary to propose any repressive measures, there had been 879 cases of intimidation. He had received a letter from a friend, in whom he had every confidence, who stated that he knew and could give the names and full details of cases in 80 parishes in a single Division of a midland county (not Derbyshire) in which the labourers were intimidated by the farmers, acting under the influence of the parsons and the squires. The labourers in one district were forbidden to deal with a certain local shopkeeper, who was a Radical. In another village, his informant delivered a lecture on politics; but when he proposed to go back, the labourers in an adjoining village were informed that if they came to hear him, they must take the consequences. A Radical bricklayer, who lived in one village, was obliged to get employment in another, because no builder dared to employ him. That the man was personally respected by his neighbours was shown by the fact that he had been elected a member of the local School Board. There were cases in which intimidation was carried so far that prosecutions might be founded; but there was difficulty in obtaining evidence, because the victims of intimidation were terror-stricken. His informant further wrote— What is going to take place is the formation of secret societies. If a London Socialist would only come down to-morrow, he would catch all the labourers here. He had also a letter from a Nonconformist minister, in reply to a request that representatives might be sent to a political conference, in which he said— I think this village will have to be unrepresented in the Liberal Association. All the employers here are rabid Tories, and the labourers inclined to Liberalism dare not avow themselves as Liberals. We are compelled to be quiet. I am sorry, but it is true. In that one Division, allowing some 10 cases of Boycotting in every village, there were as many cases as in all Ireland. He contended, in view of these statements, that if the Boycotting Clauses of the Bill were good for Ireland, they were equally needed for England. There was one right hon. Gentleman who might be congratulated on the Bill (Mr. W. H. Smith), for it was the carrying out of the policy he arrived at after a few days' occupation of the post of Chief Secretary for Ireland—namely, the suppression of the National League. In the debate upon the first announcement of that policy, the Government were compared to an empty sack which could not be made to stand up. The Government sack was empty still, for it contained only the same policy, but it did stand up; and why? At one corner stood the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) holding it up; and at the opposite corner stood the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) holding it up; while the hon. Member for Barrow (Mr. Caine) and the hon. Member for the Bordesley Division of Birmingham (Mr. Jesse Collings) pulled out the sides in order that the sack might look full. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen), who said he did not regard the Bill as a remedy. No; it was not a remedy. It was a poison; and by the law of nature that like begets like, he would predict that the result of an Act like this would be cruelty, oppression, secret conspiracies, and disaffection, replacing the National League by a state of terrorism such as existed when the Ribbon Lodges held their secret meetings. It was said that Ireland was now living under a system of terrorism. Well, as a young man brought up in Ireland, he had a vivid recollection of the reign of the Ribbon Societies; and he could tell the House that the present terrorism of which they heard so much was healthy as compared with the terrorism, which prevailed when, under severe coercion laws, the Ribbon Societies were in force. He implored the House not to pass a Bill which would engender new hatred of England and of English law in the breasts of the new generation of Irishmen, and would envenom the hatred which was felt for our country in the greater Ireland on the other side of the ocean. It was bad statesmanship and bad policy to engender hatred amongst these people, who were already sufficiently irritated against us. The right hon. Gentleman who had introduced the Bill had framed it in a way which would have that effect, and for that and other reasons, he (Sir Walter Foster) could not help saying that there was an unhappy ingenuity about the Bill. That unhappy ingenuity was shown in the fact that it touched the Irish people in their tenderest point— their national sentiment—while it recalled the bitter memories connected with the Whiteboy Acts. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had denied that, in the opinion of the Government, force was the only remedy; but he said that, in their view, it was necessary to the success of any remedial legislation that the administration of justice should once more be made effectual. Well, he (Sir Walter Foster) agreed that the administration of justice was an im- portant element in the government of the country; but, for all that, he did not the less maintain that the policy adopted by Her Majesty's Government was not likely to be successful. The remedy, according to their plan, was to be given after the poison. The opium was to be given to deaden the patient, and then, but not till then, the remedy was to be administered. Well, but it might happen in politics as it did in physiology, that the effects of the opiate would counteract the remedy when it was subsequently given. He (Sir Walter Foster) must confess that he had never expected that the measures of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), admirable as they were, would have the effect of crushing out the discontent which prevailed in Ireland. He expected that they would no doubt do a certain and even a considerable amount of good; but, at the same time, he could not help feeling that they did not touch the root of the evil in that country. Now, although it must be admitted that remedial legislation for Ireland was in itself a good and praiseworthy thing, and was calculated to operate beneficially so far as it went, yet it was none the less true that, until it touched the secret cause of all this trouble, it would not and could not have any potent effect on the Irish people. In other words, it would not have any potent effect unless it appealed to and touched their national feeling. They, in England, had, he (Sir Walter Foster) ventured to say, no idea—or at all events no adequate idea —of the intensity of national feeling amongst the Irish. He, himself, professed to know a little about it, because he grew up as a boy amongst Irish boys, and thus learned to know the feelings and the aspirations of the rising generation; and with that knowledge, he had no hesitation in saying that the national feeling of an Irishman was a strong passion deeply planted in his heart. Now, that passion was profoundly insulted by this Bill; and the result of that would be, that any remedial measure by which the Bill might be accompanied would have no effect in reducing the discontent of the country, even although it should reduce the sufferings of the poorer classes. It was for the same reason, because they did not touch the national sentiment of the people, that the reme- dial measures of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian had failed to give content and happiness to Ireland; and, if that were so, then it was certainly too late now to try remedial and coercive measures together, for a new generation had grown up more than ever inspired with the idea of self-government. Well, Englishmen were wise enough to believe in self-government for themselves. Why, then, should they not believe in the same principle when applied to the Irish race? He saw no reason. But, by the Bill, they were rejecting the opportunity of meeting the demand on the part of Ireland, and were, at the same time, inflaming that sentiment of patriotism which lived in the breast of every Irishman, at a time when it might have been satisfied by the concession of self-government. For these reasons, he wished that he had many votes in that House. If he had, he should give them all unhesitatingly against this Bill. As, however, he had but one vote, he should give that vote against it, not only on the grounds he had already stated, but because it involved a repudiation of the great principle of Parliamentary representative government. There was a large number of Members sent to the House to represent the people of Ireland. Were they going to pass that Bill against the votes of five out of six of those Irish Members? That was certainly not compatible with the principle of Parliamentary government. If they did so, the Chief Secretary for Ireland should go to the full extent of his position, and carry out his principles to their full logical consequences, and should prepare to take away the representation of Ireland, which was useless if the Irish were always to be out-voted by English Members. He protested against the Bill before them, because it was proposed, and was sought to be passed, in opposition to the views, and in spite of the votes, of the great majority of Irish Members; and because it would tend to introduce a system of government false in principle, iniquitous in action, and fraught with shame and dishonour to this country of England, of which he had the honour to be a Representative. He asked the House to pause in a course which was neither sound nor scientific, because it did not remove an evil, but left it to work underground, with the certainty that it would, at some future time, burst out with disastrous effect.


I intervene in this debate somewhat reluctantly, as I feel that nothing new can be said; that no fresh light can be thrown upon the subject, and that every Member has by this time practically made up his mind how to give his vote. One reason for my intervention is, that it is well that the views of Her Majesty's Government should be from day to day stated during the debate—partly because there may be hon. Members in the House who have not heard the earlier stages of the debate; partly that the country might know whether any change had been made in the views of Her Majesty's Government, and, if so, in what direction. I can state on behalf of Her Majesty's Government that there is no change, no shade of difference in the opinions now held by them to those stat be at the beginning of the debate, upon which this Bill is founded. Indeed, the observation I would make upon this point is one which I have heard frequently made of late, that strong as was the case for the Government put forward in the powerful and able speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, it has been strengthened as the debate has gone on by further facts and figures since looked up, and adduced to meet special points raised by the opponents to the Bill. The position of Her Majesty's Government is very clear, and has been very clearly stated more than once, whether it is right or wrong. It is a position which was ably defended in 1881 by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) and his then Colleagues. We hold—as was then held— that the primary duty of a Government is to maintain the law and see that it is carried out—to secure obedience to it, and to check open or secret defiance of it; to protect those who are willing to abide by it, and to punish those who not only set themselves against it, but incite others to act in the same direction. And we hold that the secondary, but hardly less important duty of a Government is to remedy any defects in the law, and to remove, as far as possible, any just causes of complaint and any grievances. I cannot agree with the novel principle lately evolved out of the somewhat elastic inner consciousness of the right hon. Member for Derby, which he propounded some nights ago, that remedial measures must precede the enforcement of the law. He did not contend for this when he was Secretary of State for the Home Department, and in a responsible position. I appeal, then, from Philip drunk to Philip sober; from Philip out of Office to Philip in Office; or I may appeal from him to his Leader who held an exactly opposite doctrine in 1881— There are some who say that the Government has made a great mistake in giving the first place in the deliberations of Parliament—at least the first place in the proposals laid before Parliament—to a subject of this kind, and that they ought to have commenced by an attempt to deal with the intricate portion of a Land Bill. Well, it is impossible for us to accept any proposal of that kind."—(3 Hansard.) I agree that remedial measures should, as far as possible, be concurrently introduced with the more stringent measure to check defiance of the law. This course Her Majesty's Government have adopted. One consideration has had great weight with us. The right hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley), on March 22, said that— The Government are going to work in an inverted order; they are beginning with a policy which will aggravate the existing evil, and will weaken and spoil the operation of whatever future remedies they may be able to propose. We have arrived at exactly the opposite conclusion. We are satisfied that remedial measures, however well framed and devised, would if they did not fail altogether, yet be seriously crippled and hampered unless free liberty of legitimate action is, concurrently or precedently, secured, to individuals of all classes and conditions. Unless they are relieved from the fear and terrorism which now prevail, and prevent them from performing contracts which they would otherwise be ready to perform; from buying or selling except as ordered by the National League; from working where they please and for whom they please, remedial measures would be of little avail to them. It was in a great degree owing to this kind of coercion that the effect of the Land Act of 1881 was lost—coercion, I may observe, in the true sense of the word; for to put down crime, and to uphold the supremacy of the law of the land over the unwritten law of the League is not coercion—to provide for due administration of justice is not coercion; but to prevent persons from doing what they have a legal right to do, and what they desire to do, is coercion in the true sense of the word. I have spoken of the opponents to this measure I should like, with the leave of the House, to consider for a few minutes who are the opponents, and the character of the opposition, first, it is said that the country is opposed to this Bill. I deny that allegation, or that it has in any way been proved; certainly not by the case of the one election to which the hon. Member referred. I may remind him that although he got a larger majority in that election than was secured in 1886, it was much less than the majority in 1885. We have been told that much importance must be attached to the meetings such as that held on Easter Monday. But those who are in the habit of attending such meetings are not so ready to rate their importance so highly. A large part of the meeting is made up of persons who come to see, and not to hear. Another part of persons come to help in any disturbance, should there be any, and possibly in any looting; Socialists in action, though probably not Socialists from conviction. And of those who come to hear and protest, very few really hear anything. The whole thing is a foregone conclusion, and resolutions are passed "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." This is not the way to test the opinion of the country, and of the working classes. That opinion was fairly tested at the last Election, when the question was put squarely before them; and the Government will not fear, should it be necessary, again to test the opinion of the country. The only alternative remedy which has been put forward for governing Ireland—namely, the granting Home Rule, was put before them and negatived conclusively. It is true that this actual Bill was not before them for the same reason that in the play the Spanish Armada could not be seen because it was not yet in sight; but Her Majesty's Government had announced in January, 1886, that they felt it their duty to suppress the National League, and that they would have recourse, if necessary, to stringent repressive measures, so that that line of action, or the only alternative remedy, Home Rule, was distinctly before the country in the autumn of 1886, and the country decided against Home Rule. So much, then, for the supposed opposition by the country to the policy of Her Majesty's Government. I need hardly ask why the National League oppose the Bill. They know that it will, if it become law, strike a deadly blow to their power, if not to their very existence; for they know how readily the Land League was disposed of under former legislation. They know also that the Act of 1882 was not a failure, as it is too often the habit to allege, but most beneficial in preserving order. The figures quoted by the Home Secretary yesterday wore conclusive on this point, and I shall be surprised if they can be challenged or refuted by Irish Members. But why do the Members, right hon. and hon. on the Opposition Benches—or part of them, I should say —oppose. They who have brought forward or supported two stringent Coercion Acts, far move stringent than the proposed measure, since 1880; they who, in 1885, were still supporting the Act of 1882, and who, early in 885, were proposing to renew some of its provisions for another term of year3. Why do they oppose who taunted the Conservatives, in 1885, for not having renewed the Act of 1882. In passing, lot me say that the action of the Conservative Party on that occasion has been much misrepresented or misunderstood. It was referred to by the right hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers) last night; and I am, therefore, justified in stating my view on this point, and I believe and am sure that in so doing I express the views of many who sit behind me. Many of us believed that the Act of 1882 had worked so well that it might be possible to let it drop, and rely for keeping peace and order and freedom of action by the exertion of the Common Law without any extraordinary powers. We certainly hoped that this might be so, and we were desirous to test our belief. But while advocating the non-renewal of the Crimes Act, I, for one, did not hesitate to say that, should the experiment fail, we should be obliged to have recourse again to some measure for the prevention of crime. This is what I believe most of the Conservative candidates said. They added, and so did I, that we should be ready to extend the law to Great Britain; and so far as my personal, individual opinion is concerned, I should be quite ready to do so now, as regards the majority of the clauses of this Bill. Our trial failed, our beliefs and hopes have also failed, though we are not ashamed of having made the trial, and we are, therefore, consistently with what we then said, now found supporting a Crimes Prevention Bill. But if our action is held to be inconsistent with Election Addresses, which I deny, the reproach does not come well from the Liberal Separatists. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian went to the country in 1885, praying that he might be returned with a large majority, so as to enable him to resist the demand of the hon. Member for Cork and his Party. He was then, as he stated, anxious that the Irish Party should not hold the balance of power and be in a position to offer bribes which might tempt Liberals, and certainly would tempt Tories, to betray the Empire. Yet now he has surrendered to the hon. Member for Cork, and has marched into his camp with flying colours, followed by many though, happily, no'; with the whole of his formerly devoted followers. And who hold now the balance of power and prevent the betrayal of the Empire? Those courageous and loyal men who, in spite of every inducement to the contrary, declined to betray the Empire, and to surrender as he has done. To come back to the question, why do right hon. Gentlemen oppose a measure less stringent than that upheld by them in 1885? Because the shibboleth of Home Rule has been since proclaimed by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian; and because he, the author of that scheme, and the speedy converts who had never dreamt of this plan till he had announced it, know that the passing of this Bill will put an end to that anarchical state of things in Ireland—to that unpunished opposition and defiance of the law upon which the argument for Home Rule is based. They contend that Ireland cannot be governed under the present system, and they point to existing disorganization and give their panacea, their patent medicine, Home Rule. But if Ireland quiets down under this milder law, as it did under the more stringent law of 1882, the ground will be cut from under their feet; if the disease is cured there will be no call for their patent medicine. The object of the Home Rulers is to convince the people of this country that Ireland is ungovernable, except with a separate Parliament and separate Executive; and one main use of this Bill is to convince them to the contrary. How has the case been made out for the Bill? It is hopeless to expect to influence those who consider that unless murders and gross outrages are shown to be rife, no repressive measures should be adopted or can be justified, and that no attempt should be made to enforce the law. But for men not of extreme but of moderate views, surely enough has been shown to justify such a measure as the present. It is not necessary for such justification to rely upon cases of gross outrage and murder; though I may observe, in passing, that in certain parts of the country there are plenty—too many—of these moonlight outrages, and acts of brutal cruelty to men and unoffending animals, which fill us with horror. We prefer to rely on the general state of things in certain districts which loudly calls for a remedy. This state of things has been pointed out by the Judges in carefully considered charges. I can understand that the Members from Ireland below the Gangway should sneer and mock at these charges. Of all men the Judges are the most obnoxious to them. They can intimidate juries, and Boycott them; but they have as yet failed to do this with the Judges; they have failed to deter the Judges from the performance of their duties, and they view them, therefore, with bitter hatred and fear. Indeed, with regard to the change of venue to England, I believe that in their inmost hearts they prefer the trial by a British jury in London to the sole alternative, as was pointed out by the Home Secretary last night, of a Special Commission of Judges, as provided by the Act of 1882. Indeed, I have discovered a want of enthusiasm and want of accord on their part with any Member who is denouncing this special clause. The hon. Member for Brigg Division of Lincolnshire (Mr. Waddy) preached at some length upon this; but, as is the case with other sermons, the Irish Members of Parliament slumbered and slept. But though I was not surprised at the attacks made by the Members from Ire-on the Judges, I confess I was surprised to hear the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian throw discredit on these charges. He must, indeed, have been hard pushed to minimize the effect which he felt they must produce on the House and the country, when he treated them as extra judicial utterances, and as of no weight because not given in relation to a particular case or state of facts. Even on this ground he was in a false position, as the charges were based, and were so stated to have been based, upon official Returns upon the state of each county, which it was the duty of the Judges officially to bring under the notice of the Grand Jury. They were, therefore, well-considered utterances grounded on official information; and you cannot get rid of the gravity of these charges except by impugning the character of the Judges, or their common sense. The charges of the Judges are very strong. I will not weary the House by reading through them again. I will only remind it that in County Clare, Mr. Justice O'Brien said that— Law to a great extent has ceased to exist, and is replaced by an influence fatal to industry, fatal to prosperity, fatal to the welfare of the community. That in County Mayo, Mr. Justice Law-son stated that— The present state of things, according to the reports made to him, approached as near to rebellion against authority as anything short of civil war could be, That in County Cork, Mr. Justice Johnson pointed out that out of 26 cases of midnight visits by armed parties, in only two have the parties been made amenable. And that in County Galway, Mr. Justice Murphy said the reports showed "a complete paralysis of the law." Take another mode of terrorism—Boycotting. Upon this point the evidence before the Cowper Commission, and the conclusion arrived at by the Commission and stated in their Report, must suffice to satisfy any reasonable man. No wonder the right hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley), in his speech against Urgency of March 22nd, did not road out this part of the Report. An hon. Member, when the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant was speaking the other evening, interrupted him and denied the existence of any case when a person had been Boycotted for not joining the League. I am not sure whether any ease of Boycotting on that ground has been mentioned in the debate, but it would be difficult to believe, looking to the power and past action of the League, that they did not give effect to their threats to Boycott those who did not join. I will refer to only two cases which seem to support that view. They are selected from many, all taken from local newspapers. I am quoting from a pamphlet headed "Ireland in 1887;" but the extracts are all taken from local papers. The Munster Express of January, 1887, contains the statement made at a meeting of a branch of the League that every man who stood aloof and did not assist the National League was an enemy of the association, and these words were added—"Go, mark him well." In another paper it was said by the chairman at another branch meeting that the man who stood aloof was an enemy, and the people would know how to deal with him when the ranks wore closed. I believe the country and the House will be satisfied that the Government have established a strong case for legislation of this kind, however painful and disagreeable it may be to have to introduce it; and I may observe that the late Attorney General (Sir Charles Russell), in his powerful and well-reasoned speech, fully and frankly admitted the large number of undetected crimes; the terrorism exerted over juries; the wide prevalence of Boycotting; and the illegality, though not the immorality, of the Plan of Campaign, though he strenuously opposed our proposed remedy. The right hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers) raised three objections to the Bill. First, that it was against the wishes of five-sixths of the Irish Representatives. This is to be regretted, but it should not deter us from doing what we believe to be our duty, and we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that a very largo proportion of the five-sixths—if not the whole of them—belong to that very League to whose work we attribute so much of the existing disorganization. Secondly, he said that the state of crime in Ireland did not justify the Bill. He did not enlarge upon this, and I believe that what I have said, but much more what has been said by former speakers, is an answer to this objection. And, thirdly, he objected that it was made permanent. To this the short answer is that it is impossible to say how long it will be before the object of securing peace and order and freedom of action to all persons is attained; but it is quite certain the law ought to last till it has attained its object, and equally certain that it will be repealed when it has. And now a word or two upon the Bill itself. First, it has been said by the right hon. Member for Newcastle, and it has bean repeated by others, that this Bill is simply a Bill for the landlords, in other words, a Bill to put the tenants in the hands of the landlords. To that charge we make an explicit and absolute denial. The Bill itself refutes the charge, for there is not one line or clause in it that can be shown to have that aim. No answer has been received to the challenge thrown down upon this point by the Attorney General for England in his able speech. In one sense only is it a measure that will help landlords—if the prevailing system of terrorism and intimidation is removed, if men are loft free to act, it is true that many tenants who can pay their rent, and are ready to pay it, will be able to do so without being shot in the legs, or having their cattle maimed, or being deprived of the means of living. But in this sense of securing again freedom of action, the Bill is in the interests of tradesmen, enabling them to buy and sell from whom and to whom they please; it is in the interest of tenants, enabling them to fulfil their contracts honestly, and take or graze upon farms and lands which are unlet or Boycotted. It is in the interest of labourers, enabling them to work for whom they please, and thus earn that livelihood which is now made difficult for them owing to the pressure of the League. A Bill to secure duo administration of law and justice in Ireland may benefit landlords, but it will benefit far more the whole people of Ireland of whatever class, business, or occupation, except those who trade on disaffection and disloyalty; and it will tend to restore confidence, without which no capital will flow into the country and no prosperity can be hoped for. As regards the provisions of the Bill, it is not now the proper time to discuss the clauses, which can be better dealt with in Committee; but let me refer to one or two general points, which have been touched upon in debate. I would first point out that the Summary Jurisdiction Clauses are, with two exceptions, substantially the same as those in the Act of 1882, with, however, the important limitation, not to be found in the earlier Act, that the exercise is limited to proclaimed districts, and does not extend to all Ireland. This clause was attacked by the right hon. Member for the Brightside Division of Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) in most vehement language at Shipley; but he forgot to state to his hearers this fact, or to refer to the Bill of 1882 which he supported by his vote. One exception to which the right hon. Member for South Edinburgh referred to is that it includes "conspiracy; "and he pointed out the difficulty of defining conspiracy, and indignantly asked if such a question ought to be left to two magistrates who might know no law. But one magistrate must be a lawyer—Sub-section 6 of Section 11—that is, one must have a know-ledge of law; and, further, there is an appeal from the Summary Court to a trained lawyer—Sub-section 7 of Section 11, which Sub-section, I may observe in passing, is especially framed so as to provide against the Chairman—a trained lawyer—being over-ruled by his colleagues at Quarter Sessions. The other exception is the Whiteboy Acts. But I desire to point out again that no new offence is created by this Bill. There is no revival of the Acts which have never ceased to be in operation, but only a more speedy procedure provided, should, unfortunately, offences be committed under them. And lot me add, as will be seen by the Paper laid on the Table, that the offences are such as are now punishable in England. This was clearly stated by the Attorney General for Ireland in reply to questions put during his speech by the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Stuart). In regard to the preliminary inquiry before Resident Magistrates, I may remark that this clause also follows the section of the Act of 1882; that it adopts the law of Scotland and other foreign countries; and that a similar provision was introduced into the proposed Code of Criminal Law for England. It has proved effective elsewhere, and also in Ireland when it was put in force; but this very effectiveness probably makes it distasteful to some of the opponents of the Bill. Complaint has been made that the Resident Magistrates are not lawyers; but I would point out that they have no judicial de- cisions to arrive at under this clause. Men of common sense can take evidence of witnesses, and judge whether they should be bound over to give evidence, and it is to be observed further, that the statements made by a witness are not to be used against him on any subsequent trial. Every question which the Resident Magistrate asks, and every answer, is taken down in writing, so that if the Magistrate puts improper questions, or has acted wrongly, he can at once be made responsible for it. We come then to change of venue. First, as to change of venue in Ireland. The right hon. Member for South Edinburgh laid great stress on the words, "more fair and impartial trial." Let us see what were the words in the Act of 1882. That Act allowed change of venue if the Attorney General believed it to be "more expedient in the interests of justice." I submit to the House that that expression is far more vague than the one used in this Bill; and certainly the object of Her Majesty's Government in making the change was to bind the Attorney General to something more definite. But let me remark, further, that whereas in 1882 the Attorney General's certificate was final, and could not be reviewed, an appeal lies from it by Clause 4 of this Bill. The Bill is, therefore, more carefully guarded than the Act to which the right hon. Member was a party. As to the change of venue to England, the right hon. Gentleman sought for precedents which he thought we must have looked up in self-defence. I am afraid I must make a full and frank admission that we did not think of Lord North, or Mr. Grenville, or Cromwell, or even James H. The ground for the clause which we rely on is stated in the Bill—namely, the necessity of relieving jurors from danger to their lives, property, and business. In other words, trial by jury has broken down from intimidation of jurors, and in the Act of 1882 intimidation is defined, and includes "words spoken or acts done to put any person in fear of any injury to or loss of his property, business, or means of living." And in reply to the right hon. Member's ridicule of the loss of business, I will refer him to one case taken from The Kerry Evening Post of January 29, referred to at page 75 of the pamphlet to which I have before referred, in which two Kerry buttermen were Boycotted. I would ask the House also to note how carefully the clause is limited to cases of a grave nature; that the certificate is to be signed by Attorney Generals of Ireland and England, and that the person charged shall have full powers of appeal against the change of venue. As was pointed out by the Home Secretary, there is no alternative for trial of such crimes as these but a Special Commission before Irish Judges. And I am much mistaken if Irish Representatives do not prefer an English jury to the Special Commission. I will make only one observation as to Section 15 and powers of the Lord Lieutenant to make rules upon which the right hon. Gentleman commented. The clause is quite rightly drawn, and gives the Lord Lieutenant only the necessary power to secure transmission of documents, prisoners, officers, and witnesses. It gives him no power to make rules as to the mode of trial in England. As to the proclamation of dangerous associations, surely an association is dangerous and should be put down if it is formed for purposes mentioned in Section 6 of the Bill, and the speedy decision of Parliament is secured as an effectual check upon the action of a Lord Lieutenant. I have to apologize to the House for the length of my speech. But I hope I have stated clearly the view of Her Majesty's Government and the position of affairs as it appears to them, which imperatively calls for legislation. We were anxious to rely on the Common Law and avoid special legislation, but we were defeated in our hopes by the work of the National League. The present disorganization of parts of the country, and the subversion of the law of the land by the unwritten decrees of the League, render it necessary to legislate in this direction if the Government is to fulfil the primary obligation of a Government. They could not accept, and the country would not accept, the sole alternative offered—namely, Home Rule. With a Criminal Procedure Bill, moderate compared to Liberal Acts of a like kind, Her Majesty's Government have introduced remedial measures to meet cases of eviction; and in an honest endeavour to settle the Land Question, which admittedly lies at the root of all the troubles, they propose to introduce a third Bill providing for purchase. By these Bills they mean to stand or fall. They believe the country to be with thorn, but should the verdict go against them, they will cheerfully accept that verdict.

MR. GULLY (Carlisle)

said, that the view of his Party was that the measure was not only ill-timed and unnecessary, but in its details offensive and mischievous. He denied that the argument that the clauses of the Bill were similar to the provisions of previous Coercion Acts had any value. The Bill undoubtedly contained clauses for which no past Act supplied a precedent; but if every clause in it were an exact replica of a clause that had at one time or another been enacted the Bill would not be a whit more acceptable to those who sat on his side of the House. The issue involved in the present debate was one that must be decided ultimately by the country. It was whether the government of Ireland should for the future be based upon some measure of Home Rule, or whether it was to be carried on, as hitherto, by a recourse at frequent intervals to repressive legislation. That issue had not yet been placed before the country, as it must be before it could be finally decided. In arriving at a decision, the country would not pay much heed to the tu quoque arguments which had been so uselessly bandied to-and-fro in that House, and would not be swayed by the charges of inconsistency which each side of the House had levelled against the other, with the only result that much time had been wasted. To that ultimate appeal to the country he looked forward with the greatest confidence. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Bal-four) in introducing the Bill had disregarded figures and statistics and based the Bill on other considerations. But the Home Secretary last night had rested his case on the number of crimes committed, and produced certain figures, not yet communicated to the House, which showed an increase—not a considerable increase—for the quarter ending March 31 last. If those figures were relied on, hon. Members from Ireland in particular, as well as other hon. Members of the House, ought to have an opportunity of dissecting them and ascertaining how many of them consisted of threatening letters, and how many of those graver crimes which the House had been told were on the decrease, and how many of Boycotting, intimidation, and those other offences with which Lord Salisbury had said that no measure of this kind could possibly cope. But those figures could not be the basis of a Bill which was prepared before they were known. The statistics on which the measure was framed must have been those for the quarter ending December 31, which showed a decrease of grave offences. What did the Government say in the Queen's Speech? Why they admitted that grave crimes had been rarer, but that the relations between owners and occupiers of land had been seriously disturbed by organized attempts to incite the latter class to combine against the payment of rents, and that the measures of the Government would be directed against this evil only. That speech contradicted in many important particulars some of the statements which had since been made. One of the most serious clauses of the Bill was that which gave power to bring prisoners to England to be tried. That clause was evidently directed to offences of the worst class only, which admittedly were diminishing in number. Then it was urged that there had been organized attempts to prevent the payment of rents to landlords. Was that not an admission of the right hon. Member for New-castle-upon-Tyne's (Mr. John Morley) contention that the Bill was intended to prevent combinations against unjust rents? It was conceded that the Plan of Campaign was not directed against the payment of any rent, but only of what its authors considered extortionate rents. The Commission itself admitted that excessive and impossible rents were prevalent in different parts of Ireland. These facts considered in connection with the passage in the Queen's Speech to which he had referred, justified the statement of the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne that the Bill was intended to be nothing more nor less than a measure framed in the interest of the landlords to prevent tenants combining against unjust rents admitted to be impossible rents. As to the section giving power to hold a preliminary inquiry before magistrates, there were good reasons why the introduction of that particular piece of Scotch law into English and Irish law was a very objectionable proceeding. One reason was that the conferring of such a power would cast upon magistrates duties which, to a certain extent, were the duties of policemen in England and in Ireland, thus depriving them of that confidence which attached to them in their judicial functions. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Roxburghshire (Mr. A. R. D. Elliot) seemed to think that it was a complete answer to objections urged against some of the clauses of the Bill, that they were already part of the law of Scotland. Scotch law, like Scotch oatmeal, was an excellent thing for Scotchmen and those who could thrive on it; but time and training would be necessary before English or Irish digestions could learn to assimilate it. The Scotch law, like that of the Continent, assigned to Judges and magistrates functions with which English and Irish Judges were wholly unfamiliar, and the life of any Government which attempted to add such provisions to the law of England would not be worth a week's purchase. In Scotland and on the Continent magistrates and Judges exercised inquisitorial functions, and it was especially dangerous to intrust such powers to the Irish Bench, in whom, unhappily, the people had but little confidence. As for the section relating to summary jurisdiction, he was surprised to hear the remark of the Attorney General for Ireland that it was a provision which might just as well be applied to England or to Scotland as to Ireland. Then the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary (Mr. Matthews) had urged with respect to the Summary Jurisdiction Clauses that we were continually enlarging in this country the area of summary jurisdiction. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman ought to have remembered that this extension did not apply to any considerable extent to purely criminal matters—least of all to offences which had a political savour —but applied mainly to what were not so much mala in se as breaches of positive enactments, such as Local Government and School Board bye-laws. The greater number of the offences to be dealt with summarily under the Bill had a purely or partially political character, such as conspiracy, rioting, unlawful assemblies, and offences under the Whiteboy Acts. These, of all offences, ought to be taken out of the category of magistrates' duties and be tried by a jury. If there was one thing that the English Legislature had been careful about, it was in not intrusting to magistrates the power of deciding any of those criminal matters which bore on political offences. He was certainly much surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary allege that no new offence would be created by the Bill. It was no offence in English law to solicit a person to combine with others to induce men not to fulfil their legal obligations. Though the English Jaw reached those who combined to induce others to commit a felony, it did not touch those who attempted to persuade to a misdemeanour. This Bill also gave a power of imprisoning with hard labour for a common law conspiracy, when the English law only allowed imprisonment without hard labour; and even in these cases a jury was required in England but would not be required in Ireland. He (Mr. Gully) had been looking at the Whiteboy Acts, with offences under which magistrates would have the power to deal, and he had found that many of the offences specified in them were purely political. In other cases the punishment inflicted was immensely severer than that accorded to like offences in England. For example, in an Act passed in 1831—which was a mitigating Act—the punishment imposed on maliciously breaking fences was transportation for life, instead of death as previously, or throe years' imprisonment with three public whippings, whereas in England the offender was only fined £5, and for repeated offences imprisonment for 12 months. In cases of incitement to unlawful combinations the Whiteboy Acts imposed seven years' transportation or three years' imprisonment, and under this Bill magistrates might inflict six months' imprisonment. Under the conjoint operation of those Acts and this Bill it would hardly be safe for a man to write a letter on a political subject unless he desired to run the risk of six months' imprisonment. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary had said that this part of the Bill dealt with matters which had to be lightly treated. Would the right hon. Gentleman think himself lightly treated if he went over to Belfast and made a speech like that which the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) bad made some time ago, and found that he was sent to gaol for six months with hard labour for exciting to violence? The right hon. Gentleman argued that the Bill was never intended to apply to such eases. That was the vice of the Bill. The provision was so wide that it might be applied to cases to which it was never intended to apply. That, again, showed that the Bill gave a discretion which ought never to be intrusted to individuals. This was not a mere question of detail. The whole section was wholly and utterly bad, and there was scarcely a section in the Bill which was not open to the same objection. With regard to the change of venue, neither the Scotch law nor the English law was adopted; but the Attorney General for Ireland seemed to think that the just thing to do was to split the difference. But, inasmuch as we were told that the English law and the Irish law were intended to be the same, why was not the same rule adopted in Ireland as in England; why was all the weight thrown against the Irish prisoners, and why was he obliged to show, not that as fair, but that a fairer trial could be had in some other place than whore the Attorney General proposed? There was another section in which the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland created by his ipse dixit an offence not before known to the law. The Lord Lieutenant had only to say he was satisfied that an association was disturbing law and order, and to issue a Proclamation proclaiming any district, and then not only might every such association be suppressed, but any person who attended one of its meetings after the Proclamation was liable to prosecution and heavy punishment. It was a wholly unheard-of thing that a Lord Lieutenant should be entitled to make that an offence, which was before not an offence known to the law. It was said that Parliament might refuse to endorse the action of the Lord Lieutenant. But here was an Executive officer who created a crime, probably after consultation with the Cabinet, and it became a sort of Cabinet question that the Proclamation should be upheld. The so-called safeguard—the endorsement by Parliament of the Lord Lieutenant's Proclamation—was no safeguard at all, because the upholding of the Proclamation would always be made a Cabinet question, and a Party majority would thus, for the first time in history, create ex post facto offences which did not exist in the law. There was no excess of criminality in Ireland; but there was a want of confidence in and respect for the law; and it was the fundamental error of the Government Bill that it dealt with Ireland as if the remedy for such a state of things was to pass still more severe laws to be administered by the same persons and under more stringent methods. This was a very stringent measure; but if it were far less stringent he would record his vote against it, because it was a fresh entry upon a well-trodden path which had always led those who walked in it to disunion and destruction, and because it was a path which all thought had been abandoned twelve months ago by both sides of the House and by all Parties in the State.

MR. THEOBALD (Essex, Romford)

said, he was opposed to coercion, and he was not the only one on that (the Ministerial) side of the House who held the same opinion. The House had been told by the right hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley) and the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone)—who ought to be authorities on those matters—that there was a paucity of crime in Ireland, and that such crime as existed was confined to a few portions of the country. The Representatives of Ireland said the same thing, and they surely ought to be a great authority on this matter. If there were any diminution in crime at the present time in Ireland, the diminution was not due to the flourishing state of that country, for we all, with sorrow, admit that it is in a distressful state. But hon. Members below the Gangway would say that it was due to the fact that the laws were bettor obeyed than formerly; but the laws so obeyed were not those of the constituted authority of the Realm; they were the atrocious and vile laws of the National League, which had struck terror into the Irish people, that made them yield a paralyzed obedience to its unwritten law instead of obedience to the law of the land. It was to this coercion that he was opposed— the coercion that drove the people to obey the unwritten law of the National League, an atrocious law against which there was no appeal, and which closed the lips of those who would appeal in the silence of the grave. The League deprived the Irish people of the liberty which was enjoyed in England under the laws of the Empire. [Laughter.] Irish Members opposite might laugh, but he appealed to them to say by whose authority it was that notice was served on those who offended against the laws of the League, Who commissioned Captain Moonlight? and by whose authority were the dread crimes committed in Ireland? Assuredly not those who were opposed to the League. These things must be done by the League, or by people in connection with the League. Therefore members of the League were in some way responsible for them. If they were not, it would be easy for them to prove that they had nothing to do with them. With the organization of which they had control, surely they could bring to justice some of the men who committed the vile deeds which blackened the character of the Irish people, and deprived them of their liberty. If five-sixths of the Irish Members were opposed to the Bill, it was because they were either members or nominees of the League, and therefore they resisted a measure the object of which was to restore obedience to the law of the land. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian had not always displayed such a respect for Irish opinion as represented by hon. Members from Ireland. Not long ago the right hon. Gentleman appealed to the country for a majority large enough to enable him to deal with the Irish Question independent of the Irish Members. Surely when he made that appeal he must have intended to deal with the Irish Question in a way which would not be approved by the majority of the Irish Members, and not in accordance with their dictates. Because the voice of the country went against him, and he came back with an attenuated following, he had made an alliance with those he had desired to regard as opponents, and of whom he had spoken in the most sarcastic and violent terms. And the position now assumed by the Opposition was analogous to that of a counsel who asked that the law should be altered to suit the convenience of the criminal he was defending. As allusion had been made by the hon. Gentleman the senior Member for Northampton to the exercise of magisterial authority by Pontius Pilate and Caiaphas, he would call the attention of the hon. Member for Derby, who poses as an authority on historical matters, to the crucifixion of the two thieves, one of whom admitted the justice of his punishment, and received pardon; but what about the other one? He did not admit his guilt; and he was of the opinion of the right hon. Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) that the question of law and order could not be dealt with by itself. He died impenitent. Is the right hon. Member for Derby also impenitent? He would also refer him to Cain, who committed a breach of social order, but he did not admit his guilt; and it was to be feared that Cain's mantle had descended on the ample shoulders of the right hon. Member for Derby, who was the 19th century apostle of the principle acted upon by Cain. He was surprised at the arguments put forward by right hon. and learned Gentlemen opposite, that social order can not be dealt with by itself. That statement would be strange for a layman, but for a learned Member it was staggering. Just let them think of what the right hon. Member for Derby would do if, upon going home from the House some evening, he found that some object that he cherished was missing, say, his favourite armchair, which he had so amply filled—that armchair in which he had indulged in reveries of the kaleidoscope character of his political— he would not say convictions, for no one knew what they were, and he doubted if he had any—but of his political expressions, and had indulged in many ambitious hopes of the future, and built many castles in the air; and which armchair had been a safe and comfortable retreat in which to gather up courage in order to undergo, before retiring to rest, the dread ordeal of looking under the bed to see if there lurked there any would-be assassin—would he not do all in his power to bring to justice that purloiner of his armchair, and get him convicted, instead of questioning his own right to that armchair? The right hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley) said you could not deal with social order until you had dealt with the Land Question, and that you could not deal with the Land Question without you had a Central Body, with strength and efficiency between each individual tenant and the State, and you could not have that Central Authority until you had Home Rule. But suppose that argument to be applied to the case of the mob who not long ago pillaged shops in the West End of London. Suppose it was said that you could not deal with the social order until you had dealt with the question of property —for property, and not land, was at stake in this case, and you could not deal with the question of property without you have a Central Body with strength and efficiency between each purloiner of goods and the State; and you cannot have that Central Body without you give the authority into the hands of the lawbreakers., and thus advocate the giving over the government of London by day to thieves, and by night to burglars—a state of bliss that he would be peculiar in wishing for, Right hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to have drunk deeply of the cup of treason which the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) had denounced his allies as being steeped to the lips in—they appeared to have stewed well in a certain kind of juice which the right hon. Gentleman (Sir William Harcourt) had called "Parnellite juice," which, he said, stank in the nostrils. Has it, from familiarity become, instead of noxious, of sweet savour and delicious perfume, a healing Balm of Gilead, to save them from the dullness of the cold shade of the Opposition; or do they support this combination which is floated on the dollar stream from America, and now want to divert into that channel the stream of rent that should flow from the pockets of the tenants into the pockets of the landlords? Has the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian embarked on that stream and cut his cables, in the hope that on the high tide of that stream he may float across the Table of the House, and find himself in the haven where he would be—namely, on the Treasury Bench? Many precedents had been alluded to by hon. Members opposite, but they had only been of such a character as to throw dust in the eyes of the House, and to draw its attention from the great principle that underlay the government of this country and of all countries in the world—namely, that the law of the country should be maintained. They were not there in Parliament only to make laws for the land; they had a higher and an ever-existing duty to perform—namely, to see the law maintained and to enforce obedience to that law. What was the good of the House having a mind to think, and a tongue to talk, and a power to enact laws, if it had no arm to strike, and to give effect to its thoughts, its expressions, and its actions? If that arm, as was the case at present, was not sufficiently strong to enforce obedience to the law, it was the duty of all right-minded men to strengthen that arm and give the Government the power they asked to enable them to enforce obedience to the law, now set at nought by a body which was not a combination against rent, but a combination to make the government of Ireland impossible to those who were intrusted with the reins of government in that country. It was because the law of the land did not reign in Ireland, and was set at nought by a secret society whose laws wore obeyed, that it was the duty of the House to support Her Majesty's Government in the Bill which they had laid before the House on the present occasion, and which, he thought, would be supported by all those who had at heart the welfare of the country.

MR. W. H. JAMES (Gateshead)

said, he had listened to many of the speeches made on the other side of the House in the course of the debate in amazement and with pain, and especially so with regard to the speech this afternoon of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Colonies (Sir Henry Holland), who announced that the Government would make no concession whatever, but would hold unswervingly in their adherence to the principles forming the basis of the Bill. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes) last night spoke of the Bill in terms of easy and pleasant satisfaction, as if no course could be more acceptable to him than to introduce a Bill of this character. For his (Mr. W. H. James) own part, he would have expected to hear that right hon. and learned Gentleman speak with a feeling of pain and humiliation of the fact that he was to take part in a Government endeavouring to pass a measure of that kind against his own countrymen. There was an old adage he was reminded of, that—" When you want to roast an Irishman, you must get another Irishman to turn the spit." It appeared to him that the Government had entered upon a most dangerous and perilous course. They had taken up the whole time of the House for the measure; and, instead of listening to the opinions of hon. Gentlemen representing all quarters, had trusted rather to dangerous and insidious advisers outside the House, who were now trying to induce them to enter upon a course of intense peril to this country—a course which would involve us in troubles which one could scarcely conceive. Some time ago the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) said that the true object of representative government was to reflect the views of those represented. It appeared to him that if the right hon. Gentleman still held to those views, it was his duty to oppose the second reading; but if his views were entirely changed—if he had entirely departed from those opinions which formed the basis of all true Liberalism—it was the right hon. Gentleman's duty no longer to sit upon the Bench, but to look his opponents in the face, and to walk over to the other side of the House. It was germane to ask, now they had entered on that course, how the Bill was likely to get on? Was this measure likely to pass? They had been engaged in passing a Procedure Resolution of about six lines, and they had occupied several weeks in doing so; but this was a measure of about 20 clauses, and he thought before they got it passed there might be a prospect of coercion outside, and the Bill might be passed by some degrading and revolting exhibition of physical force. Did the Government forget the examples of 1881 and 1882? They all knew what difficulty there was in passing such measures when there were 40 Irish Nationalists in the House, and now they had to face 100. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Colonies spoke as if the Government were in earnest, and that there were some parts of the Bill the Government were determined to go forward with. He (Mr. W. H. James) was under the impression that if strongly objected to the provision for bringing prisoners to England for trial would be dropped. The provisions the Government seemed most in earnest about were those dealing with Boycotting and Resident Magistrates. He had not a word to say against the personnel of those gentlemen; but the proposal was to intrust to them a discretionary power which was inordinate. If the course were persisted in, there would be no doubt that the Question Paper would be full of Questions which must naturally arise directly such power was given to the magistrates. Lord Camden said— The discretion of a Judge is the law of tyrants. It is always unknown. It is different in different men. It is casual, and depends on constitution, temper, and passion—in the best it is often caprice: in the worst it is every vice, folly, and passion to which human nature is liable. He would fain hope that there was much in that Bill which the Government did not really intend to go forward with, and that it might turn out to be a policy of brag. It might be said that they were anxious to bluster against the weak, and were equally ready to truckle to the strong. They were told the Bill was only to apply against the criminal; but there was always danger whilst they had such powers. When the Bill was passed there would be those at the side of the Government who might compel them to make use of its powers to strike down their own political opponents. Much light was obtained in contrasting the present time with those when the Irish Question, 20 years ago, was comparatively simple by reading Mr. Butt's pamphlet on Irish Federalism. Such measures might be carried 20 years ago; but since the democracy had been enfranchised, and the Irish people also, it was impossible to carry on the government of Ireland under these exploded Coercion Acts. Mr. Butt said, speaking of that time— But anyone who knows the way in which the purely Irish Business is transacted will gravely regret that so much of it is left undone at the close of every Session. In the small hours of the morning a number of small Irish Bills are introduced. No statement is made of their objects or their purposes, and they generally pass through their stages when the grey dawn of the morning is struggling with the subdued light through the stained glass windows of the Commons Hall. The appearance of these Bills is invariably preceded by a flight of a great number of the officials of those Boards which prey upon every Irish interest. These officials hover like birds of evil omen round the Lobbies, or perch under the Galleries, waiting anxiously for the small hours of the morning, when each of them watches over his little crotchet or his little job. These Bills are introduced under various titles and pretexts. Occasionally it will be a Bill to give further powers to Grand Juries in Ireland. Upon examination it is found to be a Bill to saddle the counties with the cost of some of the numerous blunders of the Board of Works. At other times it is a Bill to explain and amend an Act explaining and amending the Fishery Laws, and the gist and substance of it is found to he in a clause destroying the private property of some Irish gentleman which even the despotic powers of the Fishery Commissioners could not reach. Again, it may be 'a Bill to continue certain expiring Statutes,' beginning with a few Turnpike Acts, and ending in the corner of one of its schedules with one of those coercive measures with regard to which Ministers had yielded the previous Session a provision that it should he enacted only for one year. In those days it was perhaps easy to suspend the Habeas Corpus and pass exceptional measures; but they now had the 85 Irish Members, with the attention of their countrymen all over the world behind them, and it was that, which, if they persisted in their evil methods of government, would permanently obstruct the way. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) was very indignant a few days ago because it had been alleged that the various acts of the Government were in the direction of fomenting popular discontent and provoking the people into something like insurrection; but, while he would not bring such a charge against the right hon. Gentleman himself, he contended that there had been something done by the Government calculated to arouse suspicion in certain minds. He could imagine nothing more conducive to popular discontent, or more exasperating, for example, than the fact that the Government had already thrown two priests into prison. What would be the feeling of English country gentlemen if they saw ministers of religion—men identified with the thoughts and habits of those they lived among—cast into gaol? Would they be likely to look upon such proceedings altogether unmoved? In that connection there was one small matter on which he should like to touch. Some years ago he was at Rome, staying as a personal friend with Sir George Errington, formerly a Member of that House, and with whose antecedents in the Roman capital all were familiar. Having had many opportunities of being in daily communication with prelates and others high in office in the Roman Catholic Church, he had no hesitation in saying —he was a strong Protestant himself—that he saw enough to feel amply satisfied that, notwithstanding powerful adverse efforts, the general feeling of the Roman Catholic authorities in Rome was strongly identified with the Irish National cause. Surely they did not think that by the mere fear of punishment, such as was meted out in this Bill, they would put down outrages so long as the real causes which were the real secret springs of those outrages remained in force. All kinds of legal severity directed to this end, compatible with our form of government, had ignominiously and disastrously failed, and would fail again. Do not let them try in their own self-sufficiency to think they could force their own Saxon ideas upon the Irish people. If they did so, there would be nothing before them but the most barren victory. He wished indeed that the Government would change their tactics, and that what should be done for Ireland in the way of reform should be done speedily. He warned the Government against being too late. The methods employed in carrying the Act of Union with Ireland were often referred to, and he believed there could be no doubt that had Mr. Pitt and Lord Castlereagh foreseen that the Act of Union would have been carried without Catholic Emancipation, they would have had nothing to do with it. There were two courses open to us—either to adopt the policy of conciliation, or to carry out a policy of brute force. Surely this country was great and powerful enough to be just. He believed there was only one alternative, and that was to give the Irish nation their local Parliament. That might not afterwards prove an insuperable instrument in the forecast of events, and he believed the Conservative Party would eventually arrive at the time when they would be prepared to give it. The reason why they hesitated was owing to entanglements connected with the Land Question, and to their relation to the Landlord Party in the House of Lords, who for many generations had guided Irish destinies in connection with this subject. But if there was to be any settlement of the agrarian question, he said they ought to settle the question of local government first. Until that work was accomplished they would make no progress, and their repressive measures would be useless, fruitless, and hopeless in their results.


said, he thought he should make a fair observation on the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. W. H. James), when he said that almost the only topic relating to Ireland which he did not directly touch upon was the Bill before the House. He engaged in a strain of historical allusion and also of prediction, tinged by a somewhat melancholy hue. Many of the speeches, however, which had been delivered the previous night, and that day, from the Opposition Benches had been businesslike and detailed examinations of the measure; but he had listened with especial interest to each successive speech in the hope of discovering some evidence in support of those gigantic accusations which had been made against the Bill both in the House and out of it. They had heard the Bill described as a Bill for the repression of the liberties of the people of Ireland; and, certainly, the number of rhetorical crimes committed in the sacred name of Liberty during the Easter holidays presented an array of statistics which he thought would satisfy the most exacting appetite, opposite. He should not reproduce the anthology of vituperation which had been showered upon this measure; but he proposed to discuss the gist and gravamen of the accusation against the Bill—that it was an infringement of liberty. The first observation which might be made upon the general scope of the Bill was, that the liberty of being at large was not one which was infringed by it. It stood distinct from the Coercion Bill of 1881 in this essential and vital principle. Under this Bill no authority in Ireland had the right to commit a man to prison, except for trial; and, in the view of the Constitutional lawyer, in the view of the British citizen, there was all the difference in the world between an alteration in the tribunal by which a man was tried and the methods by which an offence was investigated; and the conferring on Government a right to incarcerate a man, not with a view to trial, but with a view to the safety of the State. Therefore, that element not being present in the Bill, he thought he had a right to press those great advocates of liberty in general, and the liberties of Ireland in particular, with this question—" "Which liberty is it that is taken away from the Irish people by the Bill? Liberty to do what? "The word" liberty "was entirely a relative term, and the question was relevant and essential in each case. When they said liberty was infringed, he would ask where was the infringement on the area of the rights of the private citizen that was done by the Bill? A challenge had been made already, and he repeated it; and he directed the challenge especially to those who were more especially conversant with law. He said there was no now offence whatever created by the Bill. He said that after the closest and most careful examination of all the sections which constituted or created now offences. If the Bill was passed, every Irishman would be entitled to do everything which was at present lawful for an Englishman or a Scotsman to do. He would take the 2nd clause, which had been especially singled out for criticism, and the observation he made was this—Had any hon. and learned Gentleman on the opposite side of the House pointed to any single one of the sub-sections, which described acts as unlawful, which it was at present lawful for an Irishman to do? The hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Gully), who spoke that afternoon, made a very guarded and careful examination of that subject, and he left that clause with the observation that, while there was a great deal to be said, or, at least, something to be said, in the way of authority for each and everyone of these acts being legal, yet nobody could put his finger on the statute which declared it. The hon. and learned Member for South Hackney (Sir Charles Russell), bringing to this subject an unrivalled experience, and speaking with due consideration, treated this subject with even more caution. He (Mr. Robertson), did not hear in the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman a single assertion that any act that was at present lawful was made unlawful by the Bill. He applied this remark not merely to the 2nd clause, which was the most explicit in declaring offences; but he applied it also to that section which related to the action of the Lord Lieutenant. There might be much to be said upon the novelty and importance of constituting the Lord Lieutenant the tribunal which was to specify what was or was not an unlawful association; but he did not hear the hon. and learned Member for South Hackney say one word to the effect that an association which might be described by any of the letters from A to E in Section 6 was not at present an unlawful association. But he asserted that, according to the law of Scotland, no man could safely be a member of an association which did any of those things, or which had any of those characteristics, without being amenable to the Criminal Law. They had had brought forward as a spectre and a "bogey" to frighten timid Members the shadow of the Whiteboy Acts. He (Mr. Robertson) had done for the White-boy Acts, what he believed almost no one on the other side had done—that was to say, he had read them. They were said to be blood-stained Acts, and they were declared to be associated with all the traditionary horrors of Ireland's misfortunes. That, however, was not the point in reference to the question whether prosecutions being facilitated under the Whiteboy Acts was or was not an invasion of Irish liberty. As regarded the Whiteboy Acts, having examined them, and that entirely with the eye of a lawyer, he would make these assertions about them—first, that they inflicted tremendous penalties for certain crimes, some of which were of an atrocious character—attacks on the person, attacks on property, and invasions of liberty. They also referred to offences which were not of an atrocious character, but which were not the less distinct offences, some of them being in the nature of riot, and such as would be prohibited by the Riot Act; but there was another, and, perhaps, still larger class, which attracted the picturesque fancy of the hon. Member for Shore-ditch (Mr. Stuart)—cases of persons wearing peculiar dresses. But the way in which hon. Members dealt with these clauses was to miss out the words which qualified the criminality of the offences; and he (Mr. Robertson) said of those offences, over which ridicule instead of horror was cast, that they were the most plain-sailing breaches of the peace that had ever come before a Police Court. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Halifax (Mr. Stansfeld) had varied the phraseology of the general accusation, and he said last night that this was a tyrannous and monstrous Bill. That was a large accusation; but he (Mr. Robertson) thought if the right hon. Gentleman had postponed his ad- jectives until he made his nouns, possibly the adjectives might never have come. The right hon. Gentleman descended from these generalities to two particulars, and he had great alarm as to the Constitutional effects of the clauses which related to intimidation. He was especially alarmed at the definition of intimidation which occurred in the latter part of the Bill; and he said, if they passed that along with the language of the operative section, there would be a terrible danger. He (Mr. Robertson) had one historical observation to make upon that, and it was this:—If that was an objection appropriate for the second reading of the Bill, then it was a fact that the right hon. Gentleman voted in 1882 for the second reading of a Bill which contained almost identically the same provision. The right hon. Gentleman's other point was this—and he (Mr. Robertson) joined issue with him. on the question of fact—he said if the Bill was passed, that being a member of the National League would constitute a crime, and that almost every peasant in Ireland, being a member of the National League, would accordingly be subject to the penalty. But that was not the fact. No one, under the Bill, would be subject to a penalty unless he did some overt act in connection with an illegal association. Accordingly, the effect of the Bill was merely to warn all concerned that to commit any overt act in connection with this illegal association was an offence against the law. Much of the rhetoric used out-of-doors and of argument urged inside the House against the Bill was involved in the incessant repetition of the statement that the offences that would be prosecuted under the Bill would be political offences. What was meant by a political offence? If by a political offence was meant an offence against the State, and especially of the character of a conspiracy, then he said that, fortunately, the most of the crime which was to be dealt with under the Bill was not of that character; but if it was meant that certain politics in Ireland had been so corrupted as to become a stimulus and an incitement to crime, then he said they were political offences in that sense, and not the less ought they to be put down by the strong arm of the law. What the Bill did was merely this. If and in so far as a political association meddled with and was identified with crime, and thrived and prospered by crime, it was made illegal; but if and in so far as it could exist without the instigation or operation of crime, it would remain lawful; and so far as politics were concerned, the effect of the Bill was merely that it would purge Irish politics of crime. Therefore, he affirmed, regarding the Bill, that there were no new limitations of freedom in this sense—that there were no new offences created, and, consequently, they might sleep soundly so far as regarded Irish liberty. Their opponents had not seriously controverted that contention. He had made a direct challenge to hon. Members opposite, and he should like to dwell upon it for one special reason. He was the more convinced that he was right in what he had said, that there was no new offence created, no invasion of freedom, because he found that that was an aspect of the case which was so distasteful to hon. Members opposite that they went the length of not saying anything about it. He would take the fairest as well as the most eminent of their opponents, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. John Morley); and he referred in particular to a speech delivered in South London last Wednesday, in which the right hon. Gentleman touched upon the subject. He had, however, made no examination of the argument the Government had advanced, that there was no limitation of freedom, that no liberty was repressed by the creation of any new offence. The right hon. Gentleman had nothing to say about that, except this—that the excuse offered by the Government for the measure was such as had been the pretence and excuse of tyrants from the beginning of time. With all his historical knowledge, the most complete parallel which the right hon. Gentleman could find for the wrong doing of the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) was to compare him to King Henry VIII. That parallel was to some extent illustrated by another rhetorical flight to which the right hon. Gentleman next proceeded. So angry was the right hon. Gentleman with this argument against the outcry in favour of freedom, that he preceeded to give a bit of his mind to his own allies below the Gangway, and, taking a liberty which no one on that side of the House would do, he assimi- lated their country to a lunatic, and said that the difference between the two Parties might be illustrated in this way—the chains and the prison were applied by the one political Party, and a milder and gentler treatment by the other. He (Mr. Robertson) was afraid that these rhetorical flights could only be explained by the circumstance that the right hon. Gentleman was addressing a transpontine audience. King Henry VIII. and a lunatic and clanking chains formed a strong theatrical situation. He was sure that the applause which the newspapers said greeted the close of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was an expression of profound gratification that that portion of South London had found that the dramatic instincts which it had long cherished were shared by philosophers and statesmen. Turning from that, however, he asserted, without the least fear of contradiction, that the Bill was rightly entitled a Bill to make better provision for the prevention and punishment of crime in Ireland. It was a Bill which effected extensive and, in some respects, important changes upon procedure. There was one portion of the evidence before them upon which their case was founded by the Government, but which had not been mentioned by any previous speaker, upon which he would like to say a word. He did not refer to the evidence contained in the Blue Book produced by the Royal Commission, nor to the Report of the majority of the Commissioners, but to the Report of Mr. Knipe. That Report contained this remarkable feature. Mr. Knipe dissented from the recommendations of the majority of the Commissioners upon two points, and his differences were clearly set forth in the Report. The first of these was that he thought the majority of the Commissioners did not attach sufficient importance to the source of the disorganization which prevailed in Ireland, and that more importance had been attached to what he considered to be the excessive rents. Mr. Knipe's other point of difference was, that he deprecated what he described as measures of coercion. But the fact that he pointed out what he differed with the Commissioners upon, showed very clearly what he agreed with them upon. The Commission, in a page of their Report, had presented a picture of society in Ireland expressed in terms measured and at the same time graphic, and be did not find that Mr. Knipe expressed the smallest dissent from the accuracy of that picture. Hon. Members below the Gangway said the evidence taken by the Commissioners was incomplete; but Mr. Knipe was there as a representative of the interests, as associated with hon. Members. ["No!"] At all events, he represented the tenant farmers of Ireland, and his recommendations had been quoted by hon. Members. Mr. Knipe did not suggest that the measures taken by the Commission to bring together evidence were otherwise than fair and complete. ["Oh, oh!"] He challenged hon. Members opposite to bring before the consideration of the House any portion of Mr. Knipe's Report which threw the slightest doubt upon the statement of the Commissioners that the view they gave of the condition of Ireland was accurate. For his part, he (Mr. Robertson) went with greater confidence to the conclusion that, upon the Report of the Commissioners, and the evidence taken by them, it was manifest that the state of Ireland was intolerable and required a cure. Much had been said, in the course of the debate, as to the details of the Bill; but a great deal in the Bill was simply a reproduction of the system which had immemorially existed in Scotland. Hon. Gentlemen opposite called upon the people of this country to rise in their thousands to protest against a yoke being put upon the people of Ireland which they were unable to bear. If liberty was lost in that way, Scotland had been undone for centuries. All the clauses relating to preliminary investigation embody with almost complete accuracy and absolute similarity the existing machinery in Scotland. Hon. Gentlemen had, however, pointed to one difference, and that was with regard to preliminary investigations where no person was charged. It was said—and it was made much of—that the class of officials who conducted the preliminary inquiries in Scotland were always trained lawyers; whereas the Bill did not restrict the power to magistrates who were lawyers, and that that differentiated the one system from the other. But hon. Gentlemen must distinguish that, in ordinary cases, such inquiries were not conducted in Scotland by the Sheriff or Sheriff Substitute, but by the Procurator Fiscal, who was his agent. The Procurator Fiscal was a lawyer, but not a Judge; and the Procurator Fiscal had intrusted to him the probing and investigating into criminal occurrences which excited the alarms of hon. Gentleman opposite. He agreed entirely with what was said by his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir Henry Holland), that those operations were not of a judicial character, and did not require the higher judicial qualities at all on the part of those who conducted them. They were not judicial, but inquisitorial duties. And he (Mr. Robertson) suspected that the difference between having an investigation conducted by a man who was a lawyer and one who was not, was that the former would be a sharper instrument than the latter, and that the inquiry conducted by a person who was not a lawyer, would not be so thorough and searching. Accordingly, that was a paper objection, and not an objection in substance. The hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) was pleased to join in the chorus of general condemnation with which that part of the Bill had been hailed on the other side. The hon. Member said the Scottish procedure was all very well; but it was adapted to a normal state of society. Well, if that meant that in Scotland, fortunately, they had a normal state of society, one agreed with that. But if he meant that the measures now under consideration were chosen or selected for operation with a normal state of society, that was not the case, and the hon. Gentleman was mistaken, for the system most distinctly contemplated the refusal of witnesses to give evidence, and the means to be taken to compel them to give such evidence. He would read what was delivered by the chief authority upon crime in Scotland, Baron Hume. Hume said, speaking of the administration of the oath— It is within the competence of the Sheriff to administer the oath during this investigation. Nay, more, though it is not the ordinary course of proceedings, yet, still, in these cases where, owing to popular favour towards a prisoner or towards an offence, the truth cannot otherwise be obtained, it is lawful, and has often been the practice, to put the witnesses on oath. In another sentence, in the same pas-sago, Hume said— If they obstinately refuse to answer, they may, in like manner, be coerced with imprisonment till they comply. The next point, to which great objection had also been taken, was as to the mode and place of trial. Hero, again, the parallel between the proposed system and that in existence in Scotland was more than complete; because, under the Scotch system, larger powers were placed in the hands of the Executive than any which this Bill proposed to place in the hands of the Irish Executive. Hon. Gentlemen were much distressed about the power to send persons for summary trial before Resident Magistrates. Why, at present in Scotland, it was the function of the Lord Advocate to consider the mode and place of trial. The graver offences were, as a rule, tried before a jury; but there was a very large class of cases in which it was within the discretion of the Lord Advocate to say whether there should be a jury, and, if there was to be a jury, whether the trial should take place in the district, or in Edinburgh. That power was exercised with the most direct relation, both to the quality of the offence and the circumstances of the society in which it was committed, and if it was thought favour existed in the district, either on one side or on the other, it would be the duty of the Lord Advocate so to determine the trial that justice would be done. Was not that the whole case hero? Were they making an incursion into a partially civilized country in order to bring up to the surface some archaic and oppressive system by which there should be less freedom than existed in Ireland, or merely adopting a system ascertained to secure the objects of justice? It was sufficient to say that the system was found to work well, and to conduce to the fulfilment of justice in Scotland. The special juror system had also brought forth the animadversion of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. He passed from that with this comment, that there was no criminal in Scotland who had not five special jurors upon his panel. The question of jury trial was one of profound interest for those who had the concern of Constitutional Law at heart; but he could concede to hon. Gentlemen opposite no special guardianship of that right. But there was no Constitutional law that jury trial was a right in a community, otherwise than as a moans for the attainment of justice. Some hon. Gentlemen, indeed, had laid it down that to be tried by a jury was a Constitutional right. But such was not the case. Trial by jury was not a fetish, before which must be offered up the very objects for which it existed. There was no tradition in favour of jury trial in this country, except in so far as jury trial was identified with freedom and justice. References had been made to the old honoured memories of jury trial both in England and Scotland. The history of jury trials constituted a romance of the highest interest; but if they eliminated from the victories and triumphs of jury trial the fact that innocence was vindicated by the jury, the plot of the story was gone. It was a system set up to secure the due and fair trial of those charged with certain offences, and the reason that nations were proud of trial by jury was, because its successful working was a demonstration that the community was responsive to the obligations of justice. But from the descriptions given of the condition of Ireland, it did not seem suited for jury trial. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) described the condition of Ireland as in a state of social disorganization. That was quite enough for his (Mr. Robertson's) purpose. If the state of society was disorganized, he said, jury trial ought to be at all events set aside in the meantime. It ought not to be relied upon as calculated to fulfil duties which could only be performed by those who acted with a single eye towards the discharge of justice. Some hon. Gentlemen had spoken as if the right to be tried by jury existed in every body and as regarded all offences. But that was not the case. The most ordinary acquaintance with existing facts showed that, under the ordinary law of Britain, there were a great number of cases, where the intelligence and common-sense instincts of a jury would be of use, which were sent to a police magistrate. Take the case of first accusations of theft. It was often the turning point of a lad's or girl's career. It was a most delicate point, and yet it went to a magistrate without a jury. There was, however, one general observation he might make upon the criticism of hon. Gentlemen opposite. If they were at the beginning of things, and were determining whether there should be a jury or a magistrate to try particular cases, he could quite understand there was a great deal to be said for the objections that had been stated; but was it fair to conduct this discussion without first making up their minds whether jury trial was practicable, and if it was ascertained to be impracticable, then ought there not to be a little more moderation in the censure that was passed on the inevitable substitutes that were set up for it? In listening to the arguments of hon. Gentlemen opposite, so far as they were directed to a criticism upon the Bill, he had been struck with their air of unreality. There was, underlying the whole of the attacks on this measure, one foregone conclusion, which seemed to him to invalidate their authority and vitiate their argument. The fatal pledges of last summer had committed them to the view that no salvation for Ireland was possible which came from the British Parliament. When he heard speech after speech, feebly and with half-heart, discussing the provisions of this Bill, winding up with more or less eloquent perorations in favour of Home Rule, he saw in every case a complete disclosure of the motive and view of the speaker. From that circumstance, the debate had been suffused with an ardour and with an anger which did not arise from the provisions of the measure itself. Gentlemen opposite had at last resorted to measures to promote the discussion of the Bill in Parliament which did not increase his confidence, and which could not increase the confidence of the country in the view which they took of the interests of Ireland. Those Constitutional purists began that week by changing the venue to Hyde Park; and when they got there, they proceeded to pack the jury with Socialists. But the somewhat pedestrian moderation of the speeches they had heard from late Cabinet Ministers since Monday seemed to point to that enterprise in the Park, and in the country, sharing the fate of other not very promising speculations, and being turned into a limited liability concern. There was, however, one vestige of the lofty talk which characterized not merely the spoken, but the written, utterances of those authorities upon which he should like to say a word. It was said that the Bill ought not to be adopted, because five-sixths of the Representatives of Ireland were against it. He should like to put this test. Suppose five-sixths of the Representatives of Ireland insisted, not as now for Home Rule, but for national separation from this country, would not the same argument have precisely the same effect? Was not the origin of the refusal of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway to entertain the idea of the improvement of the Criminal Law of Ireland merely this— that they had a vested interest in the disturbance of Ireland; that they would not permit that to be removed, except on payment of the price which they had demanded? There was another test, which he put with great respect to right hon. Gentlemen opposite. They had, last night, two speeches and two perorations, each of which contained more or less shadowy assertions that there was an alternative policy which meant conciliation. He asked, was that alternative policy of conciliation to come from the Imperial Parliament or not? Up to the present date, they had not heard a single politician of any authority mention or adumbrate in the darkest and vaguest manner any measures which could be passed by the Imperial Parliament which should come in place of this policy of Home Rule. He put another test. He put it interrogatively; but he relied upon the candour of the House for an answer. Suppose the agrarian proposals of the Government were to more than realize the most ardent expectations and desires of the most ardent land reformer opposite—but that these measures should come the British Parliament, would the National League, in that event, relax its grasp upon Ireland? Suppose the British Parliament were to give each tenant in Ireland his holding for nothing but the fee simple, would they not sit down and meddle with the proprietor by the same sort of organization as that which now subjugated the tenant? They had not concealed, in those debates, that one need for this Bill was that conciliation must be, and ought to be, tried in Ireland—conciliation in the sense of an improvement of the condition of the agriculturists in Ireland— and measures were being prepared for that purpose; but, in order to the attainment of that object, it was necessary to pass this Bill, the motto of which might be one which could not fall un- gratefully upon the ears of hon. Gentlemen opposite—"Hands off!" In order that the measures proposed might receive fair consideration, or any consideration at all, it was necessary that there should be an effective guard put round them to prevent their being strangled in their cradle. They had abundant warrant in previous experience for the belief that an attempt of that kind would be made, as it had been made in the past, unless precautions were taken, and they had abundant justification for the Legislature and the Executive taking it into their own hands to provide the necessary protection, and ensure that it should not rest with the patriotism or the discrimination of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite how that protection was afforded. The point of the reply of the hon. and learned Member for South Hackney to his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was, that it was a mistake to suppose that the Nationalist Party, by which he meant the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) and his Friends, had not given fairplay to the Bill of 1881. The statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman sounded at the time as a somewhat remarkable account of a very recent political event, and consequently he (Mr. Robertson) had the curiosity to refer to what was said on the subject by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian. Speaking at Leeds on the 7th of October, 1881, the right hon. Gentleman said— How has Mr. Parnell met us during the last Session? With every effort he could use to disparage, to discredit, and, if he could, to destroy the Land Bill. But he did not dare to go beyond a certain point. He did not dare to vote against the Bill like a man; because he knew that, if he did, his own Land Leaguers in Ireland would rise in a body against him. That completely gainsaid the version of that historical incident which was put forward by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir Charles Russell), and he could only account for the discrepancy by the change in the relations between the two sides of the Gangway which had occurred since that event took place. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian was not content to succumb in 1881 before the action of his present allies in the attempt to strangle his beneficent land measures, for in that same speech he said— We are determined that no force and no fear of ruin through force shall, so far as we are concerned, and as it is in our power to decide the question, prevent the Irish people from having full and free benefit of the Land Act. And acting up to the bold declaration which was then made, he shut up the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork in prison. Not the same measures, but measures for the same legitimate object, ought to be adopted by any Parliament which intended that legislation which it passed should not be futile and a mockery; and, accordingly, not by placing any embargo upon any legitimate political action, but by clipping the wings of political agitation—so far as they tampered with crime—it was proposed that Parliament should couple the legislation regarding land that was now proposed with effectual safeguards in the interests of society. It had been said this Parliament had no mandate in favour of coercion. The only mandate which, so far as he knew, the Unionist Party obtained from the country was a mandate to maintain the authority of the Imperial Parliament over Ireland. That, and nothing else, was their mandate. But it seemed to him the mandate applied most directly to cases where it was attempted to filch away from under their eyes the authority and control of the law in Ireland. It would be a fraud on their constituents to pretend that the enemy they were authorized to fight were only Parliamentary enemies proposing a change of that authority by statute. Their duty was to maintain the authority of Parliament now, and at present, and against all who by force or fraud attempted to defeat it. They had, at present, a problem to deal with, the main features of which were actually admitted. The Imperial Parliament had to encounter in Ireland an anonymous power which stopped its path, usurped its authority, and gainsaid its laws. It was desired by that (the Ministerial) side of the House, by the whole Unionist Party, and he believed by the vast majority of the people of the country, that the Imperial Parliament should no longer tamper with that enemy. In a case of that kind the plain frank words which should be spoken were these— "One of us two must rule and the other must obey, and we (the Government) mean to rule." Hon. and right hon. Gentleman opposite might be presumed to know best the business of their own Party; but, if so, he hoped it might not be presumptuous for them (the Unionists) to think that they might possibly know theirs. The Party opposite had been making surrenders to his side of essential principles of politics and of social life of the highest value to civilization and freedom. Last year, they gave up to them (the Unionists) the sole and undisputed keeping of that great inheritance of Empire, which had proved to be the pride, as it was the privilege, of the humblest elector under the recent Acts. He believed, so far as the constituencies were concerned, that the only doubt in their minds at present was, whether they (the Imperial Parliament) were not standing chopping logic too long over this Bill. He believed the people saw the Government grasping the banners of Imperial unity, and now of civil and religious liberty, and would appropriate these as the peculiar heritage of the Unionist Party to defend in Ireland. They would not be deterred by the rhetoric which had been used during this campaign. They would be more apt to remember the rough words that were said by a shrewd observer of British politics last century, that "He heard the loudest yelps for liberty from the drivers of negroes." He believed that the emancipation of Ireland from the thrall which had dethroned civil liberty and placed it in abeyance, was an enterprise which should enlist the brain and sinew of the great majority of the British electors, and that and nothing else was the enterprise to which the Government was committed.


said, he did not think the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Scotland had met the arguments of legal Gentlemen on the Opposition side, especially the arguments of the hon. and learned Member for Carlisle (Mr. Gully), who had proved that now offences were created by the Bill. He had been sorry to hear the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir Henry Holland) indulge in a sneer at the meeting in Hyde Park on Monday. The testimony of the hon. Member for Shore-ditch (Mr. Stuart), and of the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Broadhurst), who had been present at every great Hyde Park demonstration for the last 20 years, was that the meeting was the largest, the most orderly, the most purely political in its character of any that had ever been seen there; and not only was the holiday-making element conspicuous by its absence, but as to the rowdy element there was no such element in the meeting at all. In regard to this Bill, he wished to express his strong feeling that we could ill afford to add one more to the long tale of mistakes which we had made in our dealings with Ireland. The effects of this Bill would be twofold— renewed disaster and disgrace to Great Britain, and renewed trouble and misery for the Irish people. Therefore, it was his intention to vote against it and for the Amendment. It was astonishing to note how watchful the English people had been in the past of the liberties of foreign nations—how ready they had been to interfere for the protection of the liberties of peoples abroad, and yet how blind they had been, at the same time, to their own treatment of Ireland. Was it not a little ridiculous to lecture Austria, Russia, and Turkey about the misgovernment of their Provinces, to endeavour to cast motes out of the eyes of the Czar and the Sultan, while we had that in our own eye of which we had good reason to be ashamed, and which blinded us to the duty of applying to Ireland principles perfectly clear to us, as lookers-on, in the case of foreign States? He thought, however, that this Bill was doing much to clear the vision of some Liberal Members, and of many Liberals in the country. The attention lately concentrated on Ireland had awakened the people to the facts about Irish land, and as to the cruel and merciless system of evictions that had long prevailed in that unfortunate country. People asked, could anything palliate the criminality of a system attended by such barbarous evictions as those recently witnessed at Glenbeigh? There was another point on which those Liberals who called themselves Unionists had, it seemed to him, been somewhat blind. Had they realized the full meaning and the consequences of granting popular representation to Ireland? Did they realize the meaning and serious importance of the fact that, after so largely extending the suffrage, and granting the ballot to Ireland, 85 out of 103 Representatives of that country were firmly hostile to coercion, and were united in demanding in a Constitutional manner the right of self-government? He could understand the position of Lord Salisbury, who left Lord Derby's Government in 1867 rather than support the granting of household suffrage, and the position of the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen), who carried his opposition much further; but Liberals must realize that this country could not go on treating the Irish people and the Irish Members as a set of naughty boys; and that we must either give up the old policy of coercion, and listen to the demands of the Irish people, or abrogate the representation, and deal with Ireland on the principles we had condemned in the case of Russia and Turkey. What was the moment chosen for the introduction of that Bill? Hope had been dawning for the Irish people; coercion had been deliberately dropped by the Conservative Government in 1885, in spite of the state of facts dwelt upon last night by the Home Secretary. Lord Carnarvon, and other Members of that Government, encouraged the hopes of the Irish people, and negotiated with their Leaders on the eve of the Election. Then came the proposals and the Bills of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian. These were stages in the dawn of hope for the Irish people, and this was the moment chosen for bringing in this most inauspicious and insulting Bill. He called it most insulting—first, because, for the first time, such a Bill was to be a permanent measure, and that in the teeth of the opposition of the great bulk both of the Irish Members and of the Liberal Party; and, secondly, because of the offensive proposal to replace the trial of Irishmen by their peers by trial in England. The very institution and name of trial by jury would be brought into contempt by such a travesty as that contained in the Bill. The Home Secretary had said he was not enthusiastic about that clause; but from his subsequent declarations, and from the speech of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, it was clear that the Government meant to stand by it. As to the mode of working that system of change of venue to England, the Home Secretary said he had great confidence in the chivalrous fairness of English jurors. The hon. Member for Chelsea (Mr. Whitmore) said he thought it would not result in the conviction of one innocent man. Very likely not, nor probably of one guilty man either, because he believed there would be a very general feeling among jurors that the system would be an unfair and un-Constitutional one. His objection to the proposal was, not that it would result in the conviction of innocent men, but that it was repugnant to English feeling, contrary to all true ideas of Constitutional rights, and, above all, that it was probably about the most insulting to Ireland that it was possible to imagine. As to the proposal to have curtain trials without juries in Ireland, they ought to consider who were to try those cases and what cases were to be so tried. As to the first point, that had been sufficiently dwelt upon already. But with regard to the offences which the Resident Magistrates were to try, they included indictments for conspiracy, and for the offences vaguely described in the Whiteboy Acts, and accusations of inciting to commit any of the offences which came within the Act. That provision was full of danger to the just rights of the people—to liberty of speech and the liberty of the Press. Let anyone conceive what a trial for conspiracy of any hon. Member of that House would be before a Resident Magistrate appointed because of his connections, his politics, or his large family, and dependent for future employment and salary on the approval of that "Castle" which, two years ago, the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) denounced and wished to sweep away. He would like to know what could be the meaning of the Lord Lieutenant being left to judge of the legal qualifications of the Resident Magistrates who were to try certain cases under this Bill? Was it intended to add the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland to the attractive prizes dangled in such profusion before the Irish Bar? In that event, they might live to see Lord Ashbourne occupying that position, in order that he might judge of the legal qualifications of Resident Magistrates. The Secretary of State for the Colonies had said that the strong case of the Chief Secretary for Ireland had been strengthened in the course of the debate; but he (Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth) believed that the weak case of the Chief Secretary had been weakened. Much had been said of agrarian crime in Ireland, and very little of the general state of crime in that country, which had decreased in the most remarkable manner since 1885, when on January 1 there were 3,427 convicts in custody, against 1,155 in 1877 and 786 in 1886. The committals for indictable offences had also fallen from 4,183 in 1879 to 2,850 in 1886. Not only had the general crime of the country decreased, but in particular juvenile offences were now so few that reformatories were being closed, and the reformatories which had been closed were those of the Catholics. The Home Secretary had yesterday relied upon the good results of the Act of 1882. But the circumstances of that year were totally different from those of the present time. In 1882 there was a large amount of crime, and the horrible murders in the Phœnix Park were committed; but in January of the present year the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) declared that Ireland was practically free from crime, and it was idle to quote the success of the Act of 1882 as any ground for the present Bill. In 1882 there were secret societies; now there were open associations holding meetings in the noonday. If this Bill were passed, and discontent and agitation were driven below the surface, the secret societies would revive, and there would be crime instead of open agitation. As regards crime, there was admittedly no case for this Bill. It was brought in because of agrarian discontent, caused by the land system, by absentee proprietors, high rents, and evictions—because of consequent combination and intimidation, and of political agitation. He condemned and deplored intimidation, but this measure was not the true cure for that evil. The wise course was to find out the cause of this discontent and this agitation, and remove it. If any special form of crime prevailed—such as rattening in Sheffield, or garrotting in London—an exceptional Criminal Law might be useful; but against politicians in a great political movement, against reformers in an agrarian movement, and against a whole people in a national movement, it would be worse than powerless. It would be full of danger. The Solicitor General for Scotland had said that the Bill would not interfere with the liberty of being at large; but what would be the effect of the extensive suspension of trial by jury? Was it not the intention of the Government to accomplish by this Bill what they had failed to do by the jury system, and to lock up the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) and his Friends in prison? As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley) said in an article which appeared in The Fortnightly Review in December, 1880, just before Mr. Forster introduced his Coercion Bill— The objections to coercion are not theoretical or fanciful. Experience shows that the action which it is now suggested to take is not adequate to the emergency….. Exceptional measures, suspension of the Habeas Corpus, and the rest of it, do not tend to remove or diminish, but to complicate and exasperate the difficulty. You may summarily deprive as many persons as you will of their liberty, but the business of governing Ireland still remains. When the Government had imprisoned the hon. Member for East Mayo and others, the business of governing Ireland would still remain. The late Mr. Forster told Parliament that if he only had power to shut up "a few village ruffians" all would be well. The House of Commons believed this, and the village ruffians were put in gaol; but the remedy entirely failed. This was in 1881; and the House was disappointed then. Yet they were at it again in 1887; and the Home Secretary talked of "busybodies and petty tyrants," and said that it was their duty to interfere and stop these things. But he only asked Parliament to resort again to means which were applied with absolute want of success in 1881. The right hon. Member for Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) had triumphantly quoted his right hon. Friend's (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) declaration last year that "social order was sapped." But that was their case; that was the argument of the Opposition; that was a paramount reason why they should remove the causes, political and social, of the state of Ireland. They said—"Your measures are not adequate to the emergency." Try responsibility; try self-government. Was it of no use to appeal to right hon. Gentlemen opposite, who approached very near this view in 1885, and had facilities for dealing with the question which the late Government did not possess? They knew that the Opposition were in earnest, and would help them; so that the question might be settled by the co-operation of both the great Parties and all the great statesmen. The Government and their supporters cast in their teeth the result of the last General Election; but though the Party opposite referred to the question submitted to the electors by the late Government, they did not refer to their own counter-case, to the bills still on the walls—"Vote for Colomb and No Coercion," and similar bills at Stock-port, Deptford, and many other constituencies. After the events of this Session, hon. Gentlemen opposite could no longer quote the result of the last Election. Their Election pledges had been scattered to the March winds—pledges for '' the largest measure of local self-government consistent with the unity of the Empire;" "Equal laws for the Three Kingdoms;" "No Coercion;" and "No Land Purchase;" and they were now resorting to the policy of coercion which the Liberal Party all along declared was the only alternative to the policy of self-government for Ireland. The Tories themselves condemned coercion at the General Election; the country condemned it now; and the Liberal Party appealed to the British people against a policy dangerous to England, destructive of the Union, and exasperating and insulting to the Irish people.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Mr. Baggallay,)—put, and agreed to.

Debate further adjourned till To-morrow.