§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
Mr. Speaker, I desire to ask permission of the House to move the Adjournment of the House, in order to call attention to a definite matter of urgent public importance—namely, the arrest of Father Keller, parish priest of Youghal, under a warrant issued by Judge Boyd, and the disturbances and loss of life which resulted from the issue of the warrant.
§ The pleasure of the House not having been signified—
§ MR. SPEAKER
called on those Members who supported the Motion to rise in their places, and not less than 40 Members having accordingly risen in their places.
§ MR. DILLON
I have no desire, Sir, to occupy the attention of the House at any great length, or that the debate should occupy the attention of the House at any great length, but I have just received a telegram from Limerick—a telegram from the City of Cork—announcing that Father Keller has just been arrested, and is now on his way to Dublin as a prisoner. Father Keller, the parish priest who has been arrested, is notoriously—as will be admitted by all, even by the gentry of the county of Cork—one of the most respected and most eminent of the Roman Catholic clergy of the district. I venture to say that there is not even a landlord of the county of Cork who will not admit that Father Keller is entitled to respect from all classes of the community. Now, what are the facts which I wish to lay before the House in order to justify myself for taking this unusual proceeding of moving the adjournment of the 735 House? I do not contend that anything illegal has been done. I do not propose to argue anything of the kind. I am well aware, and I am informed by those who know better than myself, that Judge Boyd has not in any way out-stepped his legal powers in order to arrest this priest. But I could not by any possibility exaggerate the feeling felt by our constituents, who believe, not that an illegal thing has been done, but that a legal power of an undefined character given for certain uses has been grossly and flagrantly abused with respect to a gentleman whose arrest will create throughout the South of Ireland a feeling of the most profound disturbance and intense disgust, and will convince every individual living in the South of Ireland that the Judge who used his power in such a way as that which led to the arrest of Father Keller has placed himself and the powers of his Court under the orders of the Emergency Association and the Property Defence Association. What is practically the power under which Father Keller has been arrested? He has been arrested for contempt of Court. We, in Ireland, are unfortunately familiar for a number of years past with what has been admitted to be a growing and increasing abuse of this dangerous privilege of committal for contempt of Court. A Judge can commit any individual citizen to prison for contempt of Court without cause given, and there is no appeal—practically he can suspend the Habeas Corpus Act. In England the simple reason why that power has been left in the hands of the Judges is because it is almost never exorcised, and is only exorcised under circumstances of such flagrant contempt that the general public naturally rally to the side of the Judges. What are the facts in Ireland? During the last few years there has been a growing disposition on the part of certain Judges—whose language used inside the Courts has plainly indicated them as most violent partizans—there has, I say, been a growing disposition on the part of these Judges to avail themselves of this undefined, unchecked, unlimited power of committing for contempt of Court as a political weapon to put down political opponents of the Government, and to give assistance to the Executive of Ireland. This power has been exercised lately by two 736 or three men—notorious political parti-zans—and to such an extent was it abused, that three years ago the then Prime Minister, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), proposed to introduce into this House a Bill to limit that power, but owing to some disagreement which arose that Bill was dropped. Judge Boyd has exercised that power so oppressively that at the present moment he has men lying in prison whom I know to have been lying in prison for upwards of six months without any power of appeal to any Court of Law, and in a recent instance he issued warrants from his Court to arrest the wife and live children, the last being but six months of age, of a poor man who had already been nine months in prison. In issuing those warrants, Judge Boyd uses language which would be justified in no Judge, and which would not be tolerated for a moment in England. Judge Boyd has no right to inquire into the politics of men brought before him, and if it be permitted for a Judge—
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is now impugning the conduct of a Judge of a Superior Court on making a Motion for the adjournment of the House, to which no Amendment can be moved. It is perfectly competent for the hon. Member to call the attention of the House to the arrest of Father Keller; but I cannot allow the conduct of a Judge of a Superior Court to be impugned in this way except upon a direct Motion, when an opportunity would be afforded for giving an answer.
§ MR. DILLON
May I not refer to the circumstances attending the issue of the warrant which are of vital importance to the point I wish to bring forward?
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member cannot do so except upon a definite Motion impugning the Judge of a Superior Court whose conduct he desires to call in question.
§ MR. DILLON
Then I will only add that a great deal of the strength of my case rests on the fact, that upon the issue of this warrant, Judge Boyd took occasion to deliver a political oration from the Bench.
§ MR. DILLON
Then I will bow to your ruling, Sir. What happened was 737 that Father Keller was the priest of a parish on which the tenant of one estate adopted the movement known as the Plan of Campaign. Father Keller has in no way been engaged in the movement with me; he is not a Trustee of the Estate Fund, nor has he money in his hands which would render him in any way directly connected with the case of bankruptcy, which has arisen in connection with one of the tenants of the estate. He has been summoned as one of the witnesses before the Court of Bankruptcy on the supposition which, I believe, is generally entertained in regard to the people of the South of Ireland, that the parish priest of a district is likely to know the secrets of his parishioners. This is the feeling—the very intense feeling—created through the southern districts of Ireland, that this attempt is not a boní fide effort to get, as in ordinary circumstances, and looking at the thing from a purely judicial, and not a political, point of view, a substantial and important witness; but this is an attempt to drag up a parish priest who, from the nature of his office, would know the secrets of his parishioners, and be trusted by his parishioners, and to compel him to turn as an informer against his now people. Now, Sir, the reason why Father Keller did not attend on that warrant was because he felt that an outrage had been put upon his cloth and upon his office. If he had been in any business way mixed up with this transaction he would, of course, have gone to Dublin; but because he is convinced that this is part and parcel of a policy to compel him and other priests in Ireland to turn informers—a course which, I need hardly say, no self-respecting priest in Ireland would for a moment indulge in—he thought it would be just as well to take his stand against this policy at the beginning, instead of going up to Dublin to be committed to prison for contempt of Court for refusing to reveal the confidences of his parishioners. I dare say the Judge has not exceeded his legal rights, but it is a great abuse of a power which unquestionably will very soon have to be legislated upon and circumscribed by this House. I would like to say a word or two of the results that have followed in Youghal on the issue of this warrant. I have endeavoured to point out why is it 738 not unnatural that great public excitement should have followed from such proceedings. Great public excitement did follow; but we have it on the sworn statement of the only magistrate who was resident in Youghal, and who on the day previous to the occurrence of which I wish to speak remained in the streets up to one or two in the morning to see if there was any danger of disturbance, or any necessity for extra police—we have it on his sworn statement that the people were peaceful and the crowd thoroughly good-humoured, though excited, and that not only no injury was offered to the police, but no insulting word was addressed to them. There were 10 policemen in the town, and amongst the thousands of people nobody offered them the slightest violence. When leaving to go to bed this magistrate called on the Head Constable, who was responsible in the absence of the District Inspector for the peace of the town, and said—"Will you need any more men to keep the peace of the town?" The Head Constable replied—"Certainly not. I have more than enough, and am perfectly able to cope with disturbance." "Has injury been done to property?" asked the magistrate. "None, sir, except a few panes of glass," said the Head Constable. The people were expecting men down with a warrant to arrest their priest. The Head Constable after this conversation, without consulting the magistrate, telegraphed off to a neighbouring town to bring in extra police, after telling the magistrate that he had more than enough force, there being no excuse for bringing them. The people thought that these police were bringing down a man to arrest their priest, and there was some disturbance. We have heard statements about the extensive injuries done to these men. Now, I sat in the Court and listened to the sworn evidence of the doctor. Out of the whole force only one man was struck over the forehead, and that was all the injury. This individual was the only injured man in Youghal that night on the police side. He was hurt over the forehead, and their was an immense apparatus of bandages and plasters over his forehead, and nobody was allowed to see the wound except the police doctor. It might have been a scratch for all we knew. The police were ordered to charge 739 with bayonets. I sat by and heard the doctor who hold the post-mortem examination on O'Hanlon give his evidence. Now, I have heard of military charges in cases of disturbance, and it is the universal practice of a soldier to give nothing but flesh wounds when the crowd turns and flies. But what happens in the case of Hanlon? Poor Pat Hanlon was flying from the police with his back turned to them, and the policeman, instead of giving him a mere flesh wound, drew back and gave a lunge which broke off a piece of bone, knocked it into splinters, and went six inches into the man's bowels, cutting the main artery of his body. A more murderous stroke was never given. We have it on the evidence of the doctor that it would have pierced the man clean through had not the bone been struck. Firing is nothing to this. When you fire you do not know where the bullet may go, but here is a man in full flight, and yet we have it on evidence that the policeman did not prod him, as is the custom, but gave a full lunge. The police went behind the back of the only magistrate who was there; they deceived him, and the first news he heard of the introduction of the extra police was when he was called on to attend the dying man, for he is a doctor as well as a magistrate. I have not the slightest doubt that if the police had discharged their duty, and told the magistrate, that this gentleman, who has lived for 20 years in the town, and is trusted by the people, would have gone to the station, there would have been no disturbance. I say there is not a man in Youghal who does not believe that the object was to have a row that night in Youghal, and to draw blood; and that the magistrate, who is known and loved there, was left in his house lest he should prevent that row. Such is the conviction of the magistrate himself, and so outraged was he by the conduct of the police that he went instantly to the police barracks and protested against the conduct of the sub-Inspector. What I want to know is, is this system to be carried on—is occasion to be sought out for goading the people, who have exhibited extraordinary patience under great sufferings, into sufficient outrage to justify the passing of a Coercion Act? I believe the issue of this warrant was part and parcel of a deliberate policy. We know 740 how difficult it is to control the people of the southern counties in Ireland when they see an old respected parish priest dragged away from his cure as a prisoner in the hands of the police—we know how desperately difficult it is, and we say that to carry it out in any way you choose to do it must be a thing of danger and offensively irritating to the people, but you do it in such a way as to increase that danger and irritation to the utmost, and to bring about the shedding of blood. I must confess I view the whole circumstances attending that arrest and the issue of the warrant—which I have not been able to enter into now, as I hope to do on another occasion—I view them with the utmost possible anxiety as to what may be the result of such conduct if persisted in in future. I know perfectly well that that policy will probably be successful for the Government up to a certain point. Human nature is human nature, and human patience has its limits. You may be successful up to a certain point if you are determined on goading the Irish people into such desperation that you may have what you consider a sufficient justification for sticking a few more of them into prison. It is an odious policy. As long as we Irish Nationalists are permitted to remain in this House, and as far as we can, under the Rules of the House, we should be shamefully and basely false to our duty if we did not endeavour to expose that policy before the people of England. The people of Ireland have on this occasion, as on other occasions, been patient. I have not had any details of to-day's arrest, but I trust the Government sent a large force, because the larger the force the less is the danger of outrage. Before I sit down I want to direct attention finally to one circumstance of a most extraordinary character. When this excitement arose in Youghal last week with reference to the anticipated arrest of Father Keller, the solicitors acting for the plaintiff wrote a letter to The Daily Express newspaper, and the letter appeared also in other newspapers, and in that letter the solicitors stated that there was no intention to arrest Father Keller at all, and that all this bogus excitement was got up by the leaders of the people for their own political purposes. Now, these solicitors did not appear in Court when the warrant was issued. Their 741 letter is on record stating that they had no intention of arresting Father Keller. If the solicitor for the plaintiff did not want him arrested, at whose instigation then was the warrant issued? Was it the Cork Landlords' Defence Association? I maintain that this is a question to which we ought to have an answer, and it is a question important to the case which I have endeavoured to lay before the House, because if it turned out that this most unjustifiable and dangerous action is the result of incitements either from the Government or from the Cork Landlords' Defence Association, my case will have been made out very much clearer.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR.) (Manchester, E.)
Before I come to the circumstances which have been detailed to the House by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), let me relieve his mind on one point—the arrest of Father Keller, as I have heard by telegram this evening, has been carried out without any disturbance or difficulty whatever. As to the hon. Gentleman's speech, let me say this—that in the whole history of this House—full as that history is of violent language and violent partisanship—I do not believe that an accusation so violent has ever been levelled by an individual in this House against the Executive of his country as that to which we have just listened. What the hon. Gentleman has accused us of—not by insinuation, but by direct language, of which the hon. Gentleman is so great a master—is goading the population of Youghal into resistance to the law in order that some of the people might be killed, and that the Government might thereby be able to show their justification for introducing their Coercion Bill. A more monstrous and unfounded accusation was never levelled by a public man against those responsible for the government of the country. Now, Sir, I presume that the apparent incoherence of the argument of the hon. Gentleman is due to the fact that he was not allowed, owing to a breach of the Rules of the House, as decided by you, to lay the whole of the argument which he had prepared before the House; but he did make before you, Sir, called him to Order—and I regret very much that he was allowed to do so—an attack upon Judge Boyd. 742 The hon. Member, Sir, used words about that learned Judge which, I think, should never be used in this House against Judges of the Courts of Law who are not present and who are not able—that is, who have not the opportunity—to defend themselves. But what is it, let me ask, that has been done? Why, this: that the Bankruptcy Court summoned a man to appear before the Court as a witness; and I presume, Sir, it is not to be concluded that, because that man appeal's to be a priest, even though he be, as the hon. Member says—and as I do not for a moment doubt—that Father Keller is a most respectable and eminent gentleman, he should not be summoned. Well, Sir, if the Bankruptcy Court is allowed to summon be-fore them any man as a witness, and if the man refuses to appear in answer to the summons, what course, may I ask, is before the Judge but to put the man into prison? The hon. Member for East Mayo suggested no alternative; but he talked about the abuse of the Rule under which a Judge may commit a man for contempt of Court. Well, Sir, this action on the part of Judge Boyd does not come under the condemnation which has been levelled against the use by Judges of the power of commitment for contempt of Court—the contempt of Court in respect to which, as a preventive against the use to which Judges were said to put their power, a Bill was introduced into the other House, which may or may not have been occasionally used by Judges who thought they had not been treated with sufficient respect in Court; but imprisonment is the only weapon which can be used by a Judge to make it certain that the jurisdiction of his Court shall be respected; and to take away the power of inflicting such imprisonment would be to destroy the whole system of the Bankruptcy Court in Ireland root and branch. The only other matter which I think requires remark relates to the police, and here I must say that I think the hon. Gentleman appeared to me to have allowed himself a licence of criticism with regard to a case which is, I believe, still pending most unusual and improper in debates in this House. I shall not follow the hon. Gentleman in this matter except as to one matter, and I am doubtful if I ought to go even so far in a pending case; but there is one 743 statement—I should say misstatement—which I must correct. The hon. Gentleman says the only injury which the police of Youghal had undergone was a scratch received by one man on the forehead.
§ MR. DILLON
I did not say so; I said a cut, the nature of which we were not allowed, or anybody except the police, to investigate. [An hon. MEMBER: A scratch.] I beg pardon, I said it might have been a scratch for all we knew.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Well, I will give the hon. Gentleman the advantage of the "cut;" but the facts are not as the hon. Member stated them. So far from its being the fact that only one policeman was injured more or less slightly on the forehead, the facts are as I read them from a telegram in the House which I said yesterday I had received from an authentic source of information. Twenty-one out of 22 policemen were struck, 15 were hurt, and three were seriously hurt. Well, I will say nothing about the hon. Gentleman's attack upon the humanity of the Police Force, save that I am unwilling to think that anybody in Ireland should suppose that I allowed an accusation of the kind to pass for a moment in this House without giving it the most absolute contradiction. The hon. Gentleman has attacked the police for inhumanity. [Mr. DILLON: One man.] My belief is that the charge of the police was not ordered by the commanding officer till he was fully convinced that the very lives of the police were in immediate danger—and if that position of affairs does not justify the action of the commanding officer I am at a loss to know what, in the opinion of the hon. Gentleman, would justify the police in resorting to extreme measures in self-defence.
§ MR. DILLON
The right hon. Gentleman is really misrepresenting what I said. I made no charge whatever against the police I made a charge against the man who drove the bayonet into the back of Tat O'Hanlon.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Well, Sir, I might have misunderstood the hon. Gentleman. What I thought the hon. Member said was that the police were the instruments in goading on the population of the district to resistance; and that they deliberately misled the Magistrate for the purpose of producing 744 a butchery which would assist the Government in passing the Coercion Bill. I need not say much more. I think I have dealt with the hon. Gentleman's speech so far as he has been able to lay the case before the House. The hon. Gentleman accuses us of being responsible for the lamentable occurrences which have taken place at Youghal; but has it never occurred to him that those who are really responsible are those who continue to goad on the people of the country to carry out this illegal plan of spoliation? This illegal plan of spoliation, called the Plan of Campaign. On their heads rests and must rest the responsibility of goading on the people to resist the law. The law must be obeyed; the orders of the Courts of Law must be carried out. They will be carried out, and carried out peaceably, I believe, in every district in Ireland if only those agitators will cease from their baneful work—those agitators who are primarily responsible for all those unfortunate occurrences. I think, Sir, if the hon. Gentleman will, in his calmer moments, consider upon whose heads the responsibility rests for what has occurred, he will not find that the Government of this country or the police of Ireland are responsible, but that it rests upon the heads of those with whoso policy and motives he is probably more intimately acquainted than I am.
§ MR. LANE (Cork Co., E.)
said, the House could easily understand that it is a matter of congratulation to him to be relieved by this debate from the necessity of putting any further questions to the Chief Secretary, so as to bring the facts of this unhappy case under the notice of hon. Members for England. Be-fore he referred directly to the origin of the cause of the disturbance of Youghal, he wished to reply to a few of the statements made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour). The right hon. Gentleman prefaced his remarks by stating that, instead of the arrest of Father Keller leading to bloodshed and riot in Youghal, the arrest had been carried out very quietly. There was no credit duo to the Executive or to the Police Authorities in Ireland for the quiet manner in which the arrest of Father Keller had been effected. The credit was wholly due to the rev. gentleman himself, and to the other clergymen 745 of the town, and to the good sense of the people of his parish, who obeyed his mandate. The rev. gentleman was not going to allow his people to fall into the traps set for them by the police. The fortunate discovery of the telegram sent by Captain Plunkett to the Police Superintendent showed that it was the deliberate intention of the police to excite an occasion for bloodshed and death in their midst. The right hon. Gentleman accused the hon. Member for East Mayo of having used violent language. He (Mr. Lane) put a question to the right hon. Gentleman last Tuesday in reference to the authenticity of Captain Plankett's telegram; and after the endorsement he gave to that bloodthirsty telegram, the hon. Member for East Mayo was fully justified in the strong language he had used, and in expressing his opinion that the policy had been deliberately adopted at a meeting of magistrates in Dublin Castle, acting in concert with the right hon. Gentleman for the purpose of creating an excuse for the introduction of a Coercion Act for Ireland, which, according to the declaration of all the Judges, was exceptionally free from crime at the present moment. The Irish Members did not say, as the right hon. Gentleman contended, that because Father Keller was a priest he should not be liable for arrest under a warrant from the Bankruptcy Court, or any other Court. What they objected to was this—that Father Keller was arrested because, from his position as parish priest, he was expected by those who moved for his arrest to know the secret affairs of his flock, to act as a spy upon the doings of his parishioners, and to give evidence in favour of the landlord. This was a most serious matter, and might become more so if the policy of the Government were to be carried on on the same lines as at present. With regard to the charge of the right hon. Gentleman against the Irish Parliamentary Party of goading on the people to spoliation and excitement, if there was any Member of the Irish Party who could be said to be guilty of goading the people into excitement, he took upon himself all the responsibility of being that individual. Youghal was in his Division, and he was connected with all the operations on the Ponsonby property, from the beginning until the time he had to leave to take his place 746 in Parliament. But he distinctly repudiated now—as he had done on the first night the House assembled—that he, or any of his hon. Colleagues had goaded—to use the word of the right hon. Gentleman—the people of that district, or any other, to put the Plan of Campaign into operation. He did not visit the estate until the tenants themselves had decided the matter. He went clown on their pressing invitation, and instead of the people being goaded into adopting the Plan of Campaign, the fact of the matter was that his hon. Colleagues and himself had to use their influence to moderate the demands of the tenants on that particular estate for a reduction of their rents. He would now give the House a short history of how that excitement had arisen in Youghal, and would show how little the people and the parish priest were to blame for the existing state of things there. It had all arisen in connection with the Ponsonby estate. Mr. Ponsonby was the only landlord in the County of Cork who had refused to give his tenants a fair and reasonable reduction in their rents. This was not the first time that a similar struggle took place on the same property.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Gentleman is now deviating from the matter before the House, which is a definite matter of urgent public importance; it is the adjournment of the House for the purpose of calling attention to the arrest of the Rev. Father Keller. The history of the Ponsonby estate has nothing to do with that subject.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman is going into a history of the eviction on the estate, and the means that were used to bring about a reconciliation. This is quite different from the specific matter before the House.
§ MR. LANE
This warrant, Sir, upon which Father Keller has been arrested has been applied for by the solicitors who are employed for the Ponsonby estate, and the arrest has taken place in connection with that estate. Father Keller is summoned to Dublin to give evidence in reference to the Plan of Campaign being carried out by two tenants upon the Ponsonby property; 747 and I would respectfully ask, Sir, for your ruling as to whether I am not in Order in referring to what has happened in connection with that property out of which the whole case arises.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I am clearly of opinion that it would be out of Order to allude to the circumstances of the Ponsonby estate. That has nothing whatever to do with the subject which has been brought before the House, and which is the arrest of Father Keller.
§ MR. LANE
said, that, under those circumstances, he found it very hard to proceed on the lines he had intended to do; but, bowing very respectfully to the ruling of the Chair, as he was bound to do—and notwithstanding the sneers of the Chief Secretary for Ireland—he should try and make out his case all the same. The people of the district were perfectly aware that the landlord was not a party to the proceedings taken against Father Keller, as he had told them that the property had passed out of his hands into those of the Landlords' Association, and that he would not stop the issue of the warrant. They knew the reverend gentleman was compelled to go to Dublin, and they believed that was done simply because the solicitors engaged by the landlord believed that because he was the parish priest, if they put him in the witness box there on oath they could ask him any questions, and get information from him which he possessed as parish priest, respecting certain of his parishioners, and so would enable the landlord to get his rents without any reduction. Father Keller and his brother priests had been going about amongst the people for several days, quieting them, and endeavouring to prevent the excitement getting the better of their discretion, and leading them to do things which would justify the authorities in interfering with their lives and liberties. They had the positive assurance of Dr. Ronayne, the only resident magistrate in the town of Youghal, sworn by him at the inquest, that there was a sufficient 748 force of police in the town for the purpose of arresting Father Keller, and he was a magistrate, who for years had been able to keep order there. But the authorities thought well to send a force of strange police into the town. That evening the town was perfectly quiet until the extra force of police were brought in; but the moment they were brought in the people became excited. The people were thinking of the vindictive action being taken against their priest. The townfolk sat up all night near the residence of the priest the night before. They went out to the station to meet the police, and were only following the police into the town, when the officer in charge of the police commanded his men to fix bayonets. Up to that time not a single thing was done by the people to aggravate the police. Hon. Members would easily understand the effect which the fixing of bayonets by the police would be likely to produce upon the people under the circumstances. The crowd followed the policemen down to the barracks; and they had it on the sworn testimony of the Head Constable of the local police that the police had been allowed to march all the way from the station to the barracks—a distance of about two miles—before a stone was thrown and struck him. Then the strange policemen immediately turned round, charged the people, and killed this unfortunate man, whoso death was now forming the subject of an inquest at Youghal. He had no desire to discuss the culpability of the police engaged in the charge. He thought the statement which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had made was one which ought to receive a favourable reception from the Irish Benches, that as the investigation was sub judice at present, it would be better not to refer to any detail with regard to the conduct of the police who were engaged in the fearful charge. he would not do so at this particular point. He was now brought to the telegram from Captain Plunkett, which had given rise to so much comment in the Press and the House during the last week, and in which the expression occurred, "Shoot them down." On the following morning after this riot took place in Youghal—
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, 749 but he is now clearly out of Order. He is not confining himself to the definite subject which has been brought before the House, and not only that, but he is anticipating a Motion which has been put down upon the Paper with reference to this very telegram from Captain Plunkett.
§ MR. LANE
said, that he had not seen it, and, as he was not aware of it, he was very much afraid that he must cut his observations short; for that telegram had a great deal to do with the question of the arrest of Father Keller that day, and if he was precluded from referring to that telegram, of course he should not do so. He did not see the Notice of Motion to which Mr. Speaker referred; but he was inclined to think that that Notice of Motion must have been put down on the Paper for the very same motive which led to other Notices being put upon the Paper a few weeks ago—to prevent debates on similarly inconvenient subjects for the Government from being brought on. His belief and the belief of his Colleagues—and they wore entitled to say so from the expression of opinion which had appeared in the Irish Press during the past week—and it was the opinion of the whole of the people of Ireland that the policy indicated by the arrest of Father Keller was deliberately planned by the Government for the purpose of goading the people of Ireland into excitement, and possibly from excitement to the committal of outrage; because if there was one point upon which the people of Ireland were more susceptible than another, and upon which the Government could better calculate upon working them up to a point of excitement, it was any undue interference whatsoever with the priesthood of Ireland, particulary in connection with their relations as priests towards their flocks. They were very much afraid that the arrest of Father Keller was only a prelude to a series of similar arrests that would follow of the priests all over Ireland. Ten, twenty, and hundreds of other priests would be ready to-morrow to take Father Keller's place. The right hon. Gentleman would not be able to draw the line at parish priests, because the respected Roman Catholic Bishop of Cloyne—the Most Rev. Dr. M'Carthy—felt it to be his duty in such a trying crisis, to write a 750 letter to the Rev. Father Keller, which had received widespread publicity all over Ireland, and was read by every Bishop and priest in Ireland, endorsing Father Keller's action in this matter, and telling him that he would be untrue to the best and noblest traditions of the Irish priesthood if he did not act as he had acted in refusing to obey the summons he had received to proceed to Dublin to disclose the confidential secrets of his parishioners. Every Bishop and Archbishop in Ireland was prepared to adopt the same course. He (Mr. Lane) believed that if the right hon. Gentleman followed up his policy—as he was bound to follow it up if he was going to be consistent in it—he would force every other Bishop in Ireland to assume the attitude which the Most Rev. Dr. M'Carthy, Bishop of Cloyne, felt it his duty to take up, and that he would be brought face to face in a short time, not alone with the phalanx of the Irish Parliamentary Party, but would find himself and his Government opposed by the solid phalanx of the Bishops and priests and the whole united people of Ireland in direct, violent, and active opposition to the policy of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. LOCKWOOD (York)
, said, that in common with a great many other English Members, he had listened with considerable pain to the way in which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour), in that practically his first appearance upon the stage in the capacity which he was now called upon to perform, had spoken, and felt considerable disappointment at the way in which he chose to deal with this question. He (Mr. Lockwood) took it that no one could listen to the statement that was made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) without feeling very considerable interest in the observations which he had made. He might say that any person who was familiar, as he supposed the right hon. Gentleman (the Chief Secretary) was familiar, with the law of this country, knew perfectly well that the powers of a Court which enabled Judges to deal with persons in contempt were regarded in this country as being powers of an extraordinary nature, and that they were used only under circumstances of an extraordinary character. He (Mr. Lockwood) was sure that very few men who sat above him on that side of the 751 House, at the time when the light hon. Gentleman was speaking, were prepared for the manner in which he made the statement which he had made. He expected that the right hon. Gentleman would have been able calmly, as befitted his high position, to have given them the facts connected with the arrest of the rev. gentleman, and that he would have shown a fitting tone of respect towards all the Members of that House whom he might address. ["Oh, oh!"] Surely they were entitled to an explanation of the facts without a show of temper, without the employment of unnecessary emphasis, but with that calm dignity which usually characterised statements to this House from the Treasury Bench, no matter which Party occupied it. He thought it was the duty of the right hon. Gentleman to put before those Members of the House, who like himself (Mr. Lockwood) could not claim to be intimately acquainted with the details of this case, such information as would justify the Government in the action which they had taken, or rather the action which the learned Judge had taken, in regard to Mr. Keller. The right hon. Gentleman they had a right to expect would put the facts before the House—he meant the facts within his knowledge—that he would have shown that the learned Judge was acting in accordance with the powers that he had, and also in accordance with the Jaw which he had to administer. But, instead of doing that, what did the right hon. Gentleman do? Why, in the first place, he simply indulged in a tu quoque. Addressing himself to hon. Members sitting on that side of the House, he, first of all, endeavoured to rid himself of a charge which apparently stung him to the quick—of a charge that went right home to the right hon. Gentleman—and might, perhaps, to some extent account for the want of respect which he (Mr. Lockwood) thought they were entitled to, and with which he addressed the hon. Member who introduced this Motion. The charge from these benches the Chief Secretary felt very keenly. He knew where the shoe pinched, and he cried out—but having indulged in that display of temper, the right hon. Gentleman went on to excuse himself from the charge by saying—"How can you lay this to my door, when you are just as bad yourself?" Was that the mode and spirit 752 in which the right hon. Gentleman should approach the discharge of the important duties which he had accepted? [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: I never said that.] If the right hon. Gentleman wished to interrupt him, he (Mr. Lockwood) assumed that he would, as was proper, rise from his place and do so. He thought it would be within the recollection of the House that, as he had said, the explanation offered by the Chief Secretary was simply a tu quoque, and nothing else. Was that the spirit in which to approach the question raised in that important debate? They had a right to expect the right hon. Gentleman to approach the question in a very different spirit. It was not, of course, his (Mr. Lockwood's) duty, as a young Member of this House, to instruct the right hon. Gentleman as to what his attitude should be in the matter. ["Hear. hear!"] Let him, however, remind hon. Gentlemen opposite who cheered that statement, that he was perfectly aware of his in experience, and the great disadvantage under which he laboured in consequence of that inexperience; but he would, nevertheless, venture upon this remark—that the Chief Secretary was making a very great mistake if he approached the discharge of his duties in such a dictatorial spirit as he had shown that night. They had heard a story from the hon. Member who introduced the Motion which certainly led them to sympathize with him and those who sat around him in the account which he gave of this matter; and, as he had already said, they had been supplied with no details in the case—they had had no confirmation from official quarters to explain away the story told by the hon. Member for East Mayo, who introduced this subject, and those who sat around him; and, therefore, in the absence of any explanation from the Ministerial Bench to account for the use of these extraordinary powers on this occasion, if the hon. Member pressed this matter to a Division, he hoped that many on that side of the House would take the earliest opportunity they had of expressing their strong disapprobation of the line of argument which was indicated by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. Very probably the arrest of Mr. Keller was carried out in the same spirit that had characterized that speech.
§ MR. PICTON (Leicester)
said, the right hon. Gentleman seemed to treat the arrest of this parish priest in Ireland as comparatively a trivial affair—one certainly not of sufficient importance to justify any hon. Member in moving the adjournment of the House. But in times gone by, they knew it was a very much more frequent practice than now to move adjournments, in order to bring before the attention of the House cases of an arbitrary exercise of authority, or cases of the stretching of the law. They had not needed lately—at least, as regarded this country—to exercise the right; but, if all they heard was true, it was probable that, within a very-few months, it might be absolutely necessary to resort to the practice as often as they were allowed, in the interest of the much-oppressed Sister Island. That arrest of a parish priest seemed to him (Mr. Picton) very much like the first shot of a battle. The first shot might be regarded as a trivial affair; it might not do much damage, but it was the opening of a dread carnival, and he prayed Heaven the analogy might not be followed out in this case. In cases of the kind the responsibility often rested on two sides. He thought the right hon. Gentleman ought to realize, more than he scorned to do from his speech that evening, the very grave and heavy responsibility that rested upon him in justifying a course of action like that to which attention had been called. Let them realize what the relation was between this priest and his neighbours and friends. It was one of the closest, most intimate, and tenderest relationships that could arise in life. When a gentleman in this extremely confidential position was called upon to give evidence in a case like that which had arisen, suspicion, uneasiness, anxiety, and alarm must be aroused in the breasts of his flock; and he could not but call it a most imprudent enterprise to demand the evidence of a priest under circumstances like those. Irish Members were far from being alone in the alarm and deep indignation they felt on this subject, and the time that might be spent in discussing this subject would not be altogether wasted. The people of Youghal would feel that there was sympathy for them; they would feel that they were not left to "the wild justice of revenge;" and, probably, the expression of sym- 754 pathy with them might load them to persevere, as he hoped they would persevere, in carrying on a peaceful and Constitutional agitation, and in refraining from any measure that would be likely again to disturb the public peace.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
said, it appeared to him that the aspect of the question which was most fitted to arrest the attention of the House and of the country was this—that it was a signal illustration of the gross misuse which was made by the Administration of the powers of the Executive in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had assumed an air of indignant remonstrance which was not at all justified by the circumstances. The language of which he complained was not nearly so strong as had been used in both Houses of Parliament 90 years ago. For instance, the right hon. Gentleman need only refer to the debates of 1798, and the charges that were made against Pitt and Castlereagh. The fact was that a very strong feeling of suspicion had been aroused in the minds of a large portion of the people of Ireland with regard to that which they thought was not altogether foreign to the policy of Her Majesty's Government. The action of the Executive in Ireland showed their inconsistency; for while the Government adopted one line of conduct with respect to a certain person, they adopted a totally different line of conduct with respect to another person under perfectly similar circumstances. The Court of Bankruptcy was within its right in directing a warrant for the arrest of a priest, or anybody else, who did not obey its orders; but what was true of the Court of Bankruptcy was also true of other Courts—it was also true of the Coroner's Court; whereas, when the Court of Bankruptcy issued the warrant to arrest the priest, a man of the highest character, the Executive on-forced it with all the powers that might be necessary. But when the Coroner's Court issued a similar warrant of arrest, the Executive, instead of carrying it out and enforcing it, and bringing into custody the man against whom it was issued, so far from doing that, they shielded, and were shielding at that moment, the man against whom the Coroner's warrant was issued on the grounds of contempt, and he was a 755 man who was regarded from one end of Ireland to the other as a murderer. That illustrated, in a very signal way, the two-handed style of administration; which existed in Ireland. But what- over might be the result of that first shot in the battle-field, he trusted that, Father Keller and those with whom he was acting would stand firm—that not only the Representatives of the people of Ireland in that House, but the people at home would stand firm, and that whatever disasters might be enclosed in the struggle which now appeared to be so close upon them, at any rate they should be able to weather that, and go through it as they had gone through others of the same nature before, and he had little doubt as to what the issue of the conflict would be.
§ MR. HOOPER (Cork, S. E.)
said, that as one acquainted personally with the rev. gentleman whose arrest formed the subject of that debate, he wished to trouble the House with a few words regarding his character, and his character was an important factor in judging of the wisdom—not to attribute any other motive—of the action of the Executive in Ireland. Father Keller was known throughout the whole of the Irish Catholic Church as a man not alone of what might be called great mental stature, but of great wisdom, prudence, and calmness; and if he (Mr. Hooper) was disposed to enter into details, which he was not, he might show that, within a very recent period, he displayed the greatest courage in the face of circumstances that might have exposed him to public odium, in correcting what he honestly thought were the political extravagances of a brother clergyman. Father Keller's action in that respect showed the strong conviction which must have guided him when he took his stand and refused to act on this summons of the Court. He (Mr. Hooper) took it that this was an attempt not only to intimidate him from further action in reference to this estate, but an attempt to intimidate and degrade the character of the Irish priests generally. If the only object of summoning Father Keller to Dublin was to obtain information, it could have been obtained much more easily from tenants on the estate. For Father Keller was not a tenant on the estate, and had paid no money under the Plan of Campaign. There were, how- 756 ever, 100 tenants who had paid money under it, each of whom could have been brought up at Dublin, to say whom he had paid it to, and whither it had gone. Why did not the Executive summon from among these some weak, illiterate, men, who might be terrorized by legal forms, rather than the parish priest of Youghal? He used the word "Executive," because they knew that the solicitors of the estate were anxious to withdraw from any proceedings against Father Keller; then he should like to know on whose responsibility another warrant against this clergyman was issued? He regarded the exhibition of temper that evening by the Chief Secretary for Ireland as fortunate; and, if only on that account, they might congratulate themselves on the raising of that debate. English Members would now see the temper which governed Irish officials. What was the meaning of the arrest of an Irish priest? It meant that every Irish pastor would place himself in exactly the same position as Father Keller; and he ventured to say that if the Chief Secretary thought he was going to terrorize congregations by attempting to deprive them of the advice and courage of their pastors, by arresting these, he would be completely mistaken. The Chief Secretary for Ireland must fool in his heart that he had made a fatal mistake; and he (Mr. Hooper) invited the House to watch if, when he had occasion to make another statement, he would not, in the meantime, have accustomed himself to better Parliamentary manners. What he complained of was that the Chief Secretary had not only shielded the police, but had encouraged them to further irregularities of a most dangerous kind. He had met the Questions put on the Paper with reference to the conduct of the police at Youghal by the most deliberate evasion and delay. The police had been allowed to flout the authority of the Coroner's Court, which was one of the most ancient Courts in Ireland, and one in which the people had confidence. What would be the construction placed on the right hon. Gentleman's action by the Irish Constabulary? Would it not be that, as the Chief Secretary for Ireland had shielded their irregularities, they might do anything, as they were sure to be shielded afterwards? He desired to know if the right hon. Gentleman had 757 ordered the Inspector to call in the cooperation of the local magistrates in future. Let him remember that this was not Belfast, Where he (Mr. Hooper) could have understood such an order as that telegraphed by Captain Plunkett to the County Inspector at Youghal being issued in view of possible outbreaks of a bloody character breaking out at any moment. But Youghal was a most law-abiding place—[Laughter]—and there the local magistrates should not be ignored. He challenged hon. Gentlemen to contradict him. Youghal was one of the most peaceable places in Ireland. He believed the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Matthews) had some knowledge of the fact, for it was near a place which that right hon. and learned Gentle-mad once represented as a Home Ruler. He (Mr. Hooper) believed that if the local magistrates had been present this unfortunate man would not have lost his life. Under all the circumstances, they were entitled to say that this unhappy determination to bring the people and the police into conflict synchronized with the right hon. Gentleman's entry into Office, and they would not retract that charge until the right hon. Gentleman convinced them that they were wrong.
§ MR. HANDEL COSSHAM (Bristol, E.)
said, he looked upon the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour), which he had listened to with an amount of pain and regret he could not express, as the beginning of a new policy which they had hoard of under the name of firm government, but which bade ill both to that country and to Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman's remarks made them feel what a loss the House and the Government had sustained through the retirement of his right hon. Colleague the Member for West Bristol (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), who, even in carrying out a policy of which many of them did not approve, had always, by his behaviour and temper, secured the respect of all those who differed from him, as well as of those who agreed with him. When life had been lost, and human souls sent into eternity, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had spoken in a flippant and unfeeling manner, which, if persisted in, must ultimately tend to bring the Executive in 758 Ireland into great contempt. He hoped that, in future, the right hon. Gentleman would endeavour to apply his mind to the problem placed before him, with a desire rather to grapple with the arguments and facts that were addressed to him, than attempt to excite the feelings of the House in the manner he had done that night. He was afraid that that was the beginning of a new policy which would work ill for them all. While it was necessary that the law should be administered, it was far more necessary that it should be just. He therefore invited the Government to see that the law was not only firmly but justly administered, and administered with due respect to the age in which we lived, and the spirit of humanity with which we ought to be governed.
§ MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
said, he intended to support the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) if he went to a Division, simply from what had passed before his own observation that night as to the style and attitude of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland. He must say he had been extremely disappointed in observing the style of the right hon. Gentleman that night. As a Scottish Member he felt considerable pride and satisfaction in noticing the fact that the right hon. Gentleman had been promoted by his noble Relative at the head of the Government to what he (Mr. Wallace) might call the box of the Irish chariot, and to hold the reins on that very difficult pinnacle; but from what he had seen seen that night, it was probably one of the most hazardous experiments in charioteering which had been made since Father Phœbus entrusted Phaethon with the temporary driving of the solar tandem.
§ MR. WALLACE
said, he ventured to tell the right hon. Gentleman that, unless he altered his style, it was very probable that he might come to considerable sorrow. The whole style of the right hon. Gentleman's reply was not in any way argumentative, but seemed to him to be simply declamatory denial. It re-minded him very much of the position of the advocate who was recommended by his client to act on the principle of "no case, abuse the plaintiff's attorney." He (Mr. Wallace) had had sufficient ex- 759 perience of various sides of human life to know that, when that style was indulged in, there was very little real defence to he offered. He did not think that the right hon. Gentleman had a case upon which he could rely, simply from the right hon. Gentleman's demeanour; not from what he had said, but from what he had not said. It was evident that the case was altogether in- defensible. For his own part, therefore, he had no hesitation whatever in giving his humble support to the case made out and the Motion put forward by the hon. Member for East Mayo.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
said, that certainly the tone of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) was most deplorable. Certain specific charges had been made by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon). He meant his hon. Friend; he was only anticipating what was to come. Those statements of his hon. Friend went to show that the police had acted most inhumanly and most improperly. His hon. Friend had brought before the House a specific charge that when there was a magistrate in the town those police were employed against the desire and the wish of that magistrate; to that charge the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland did not condescend to offer any reply. His hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo had pointed out that when the mob were broken, and were running away, a particular police man ran his bayonet through the back of an unfortunate man with such force that had it not broken one of the bones inside would have come out on the other side. What did the right hon. Gentleman answer to that? The right hon. Gentleman rode off on a general protest against the hon. Member for East Mayo, daring him to say that the entire body of policemen in Ireland were inhuman. What answer had they to that specific charge of inhumanity? If these things which had happened at Youghal had happened in France, if they had occurred in Poland, if these events had been stated in English newspapers, they would at once have been dealt with as instances of gross and needless acts of inhumanity on the part of an armed force against a defenceless mob. His hon. Friend had complained to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for 760 Ireland that the Government were seeking to goad the people into resistance in order to justify a new Coercion Act. To that the right hon. Gentleman replied that so monstrous a charge was never before made against a Government. Surely, the right hon. Gentleman was the last person to object to hon. Members below the Opposition Gangway having specific views and "philosophical doubts" upon that point. The Leader of what was called the Fourth Party, of which the right hon. Gentleman himself was a Member at the time, had made as strong charges against the Government of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) as were now directed by the hon. Member for East Mayo against the present Government. For his own part, he shared the belief of his hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo that the Government wore goading the Irish people. They were as weak men trying to be strong men, who were endeavouring to bring their courage up to the point of introducing a strong Coercion Bill. The Government wanted a justification and an excuse for it. The Government has certainly acted in Ireland in a way that was enough to make any people in the world resist. He (Mr. Labouchere), for one, held that the people had a perfect right to resist. He honoured them for having resisted, and he trusted that whenever the right hon. Gentleman let loose his myrmidon police, without even consulting the magistrate, the people would resist again. The hon. Member for East Mayo would not have done his duty if he had not brought this Motion before Parliament. So much for the particular case of this priest; but what about the death which had occurred in what the right hon. Gentleman called maintaining law and order in Ireland? Whenever a death occurred on account of the action of the military in Ireland or in any other part of the Kingdom, he trusted that some hon. Member representing the portion of the country in which the death took place would bring the matter before Parliament. If such a fatal occurrence had happened in any English town from the action of the police, depend upon it the Representative of that town would at once have brought the subject under the notice of the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary and the 761 Government must clearly understand that if they had adopted this course in Ireland, the Home Rule Members—as long as they had breath and as long as they had the right—would protest against the conduct of the Government in season and out of season in that House.
§ MR. T. P. GILL (Louth, S.)
said, he felt bound to ridicule the pretence put forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour)—namely, that the police were put in danger of their lives. The right hon. Gentleman had said that 20 out of 23 policemen wore injured. What were the facts? An inquest was proceeding before the Coroner upon the body of the unfortunate man who had been killed, and at that inquest several constables were examined. For a couple of days those constables gave their evidence freely; since then a change had taken place—their mouths had been shut. But while they were free to speak, what evidence did they give as to the nature of the resistance which the Crown offered? One constable named Dowries declared that the crowd that met the party of 23 extra policemen at the railway station, numbered only 30 unarmed persons. There were 23 constables armed with rifles encountering 30 persons unarmed and making up the crowd, some being women and some children that offered resistance to those armed police. Could anything be more monstrous? When the police marched up the town—said one of the constables—there was no resistance offered to the police at all; a band was simply playing, and the police followed the band. Another of the constables examined at the inquest, Head Constable Higgins, swore that during their passage through half the town the policemen remained unmolested; they wore simply marching at the rear of the band, and he saw the force of police marching with fixed bayonets; the band was playing, and there was no disturbance at the time, except cheering and shouting. That was the crowd upon which the police made this murderous outrage. It was while the crowd was flying and while they had their backs turned that the police directed against those who were in it fixed bayonets, and the man who perished was killed by a policeman rushing and lunging upon him with one 762 of these deadly weapons. At the inquest wore two persons who saw this murder committed, and according to their evidence the policeman, having killed that man, chased another who had run into a doorway, and there endeavoured to stab him too with the bayonet. That policeman seemed eager to hang another scalp to his girdle in order to win the approbation of the Irish Office. What had all this bloody work been about? It had simply been about the execution of a warrant. The whole forces of the Crown had forsooth been put into operation to drive the people into a disturbance, and as it proved, even to slay, just in order to execute a warrant for contempt of Court. The evidence of the policemen given at the inquest was a little too damning for the case of the Government, and they were ordered to shut their mouths and refuse to give any more evidence. After that though, one policeman after another was called and asked the question "Did he see anybody stab anybody on that night?" yet in each case there was a refusal to answer. Such was the conduct of officers who were the boasted guardians of the law, whose profession was the discovery of crime They declined to answer the question because, as distinctly admitted in one instance, they feared to criminate themselves. Here was contempt of Court surely similar to that on the part of Father Keller. Father Keller refused to give evidence in one Court against his flock—that was contempt of Court. In the Coroner's Court there was a policeman who refused to give evidence, and the Coroner issued his warrant for the committal of the constable. The warrant was handed to a police officer, who on seeing that it was against a fellow-constable instead of executing it put it into his pocket. Here were the two pictures—let hon. Members look upon one and then upon the other. In the one case an armed force was employed against an unarmed, inoffensive crowd, scarcely larger than itself; in the other, the policeman puts the warrant quietly into his pocket. That was a state of things without a parallel in the history of the world, and in calling attention to it his hon. Friend was fully justified. It was the duty of every Englishman who had any respect for the law of England, or any desire to see it respected by others—in Ireland or anywhere else—to 763 support his hon. Friend to the utmost in making this protest against the infamous and disgraceful proceedings on the part of the Government.
§ MR. JACOB BRIGHT (Manchester, S. W.)
said, my object in rising is to ask whether we are likely to get any reply from the Treasury Bench to the statements which we have heard made by the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. T. P. Gill.) we have had one speech from the Treasury Bench already. But we have two Law Officers of the Crown on the Treasury Bench who know something about Ireland, and should be able to tell us whether what we have heard is true. If the speech of the hon. Member for Louth, who spoke last, has any truth in it, if one half the things he has uttered are true, it does strike me as something extraordinary that Her Majesty's Government should maintain a dumb silence and make no reply whatever to what has been uttered. I should like to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith). I should like to state to him that unless some notice is taken of the charges that have been made against the conduct of the Irish Government, it will be the first time in this House that in such extraordinary circumstances the Government of the Queen have maintained silence. Is it true, or is it not true, that the police were as numerous as the people they were dispersing? Is it true that a policeman killed an Irishman who was running away from him; that he stabbed him in the back? Is it true that when he had done so he sought to do the same to another man? Are these things true or not? I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury that some Irishman on that Bench, some man who knows Ireland, may give an answer to these extraordinary charges.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
I cannot but express surprise at the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down. I have already stated in this House that the charges made are now the subject of judicial investigation. Inquiry is being made into the truth of the allegations. There is a Coroner's Inquiry going forward at this moment for the purpose of ascertaining whether these things are true or not.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
I appeal to the House whether these interruptions should take place. It is alleged by the hon. Gentleman that the police will not give evidence; but I would ask the House, and even hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, whether it would be right for the Government to make any statement on facts which are in dispute as to circumstances that were unknown to them, and which might inculpate or tend to exculpate persons who are before a judicial tribunal, and whose conduct, if they have done wrong, will have to be answered for to a jury. Re-marks have been made as to the conduct of my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour). I protest against the tenour of those remarks. The utmost my right hon. Friend has stated is this, that it is the duty of the Government to see that the law is carried out. There can be no doubt whatever as to that, whatever the law may be. So long as the law re-mains the law of the land it is the duty of the Government to support and to give assistance to those charged with carrying it out, and in the way declared by the Judges of the land to be legal. The question as to what the law shall be is a question for Parliament, but there is no question to my mind, and I think there is none in that of the House of Commons, that the Executive Government is bound to sustain the judgments, orders, and directions of the Courts of Law. That is the sole and entire responsibility of the Government at the present moment, and we decline to enter further into a question which we are not justified in judging, and on which we have only partial information.
§ MR. CHANCE (Kilkenny, S.)
said, there were circumstances connected with this case into which it behaved Her Majesty's Government to inquire before they took the steps they had taken. No case whatever had been made out to show that Father Keller was a necessary or material witness to attend at the Bankruptcy Court. On the other hand, there was no less than 400 tenants on the Ponson by estate, each of whom had been cognizant of the circumstances which led to the adoption of the Plan of 765 Campaign, and each of whom could have given evidence; and, under such circumstances, it seemed to him to be an extraordinary thing that Father Keller could know anything except as pastor of his people. He was a man of great prudence and moderation, and exorcised great influence with the people, always in favour of order, peace, and tranquillity. It was desired to weaken and undermine his influence; it was desired that these people should be handed over without assistance to the forces of the Crown, and their leaders taken from them. If the summons served on Father Keller had been obeyed, his influence would have been seriously weakened, and the bailiffs and spies of the landlords, and the Landlords' Association would have gone round the estate, telling the tenants that Father Keller had abandoned and betrayed them. The warrant, in connection with which a man had been killed, was so irregular that it had since been withdrawn and abandoned. The Government sent a force of 25 police to enforce this warrant. This force met an unarmed crowd of 30 people, among whom we re many we men and children, and, without any consultation with the magistrates, without any attempt to read the Riot Act, and before a single stone was thrown, charged the people and did one man to death. The Government had admitted that the circumstances which led to this was an unjust rent. Their Commission, by their report, had admitted that, and they were desirous of maintaining law and order. They should maintain it in all cases, and not in one. The Government had taken no steps to bring the murderer to justice, and the only conclusion they could draw from that was, that there was one law for the people and another for the landlords. The Government allowed their officers to deliberately impede the Coroner's Inquiry, and make it fruitless. They all knew that was done for the purpose of making a case for a Coercion Act, and no excuse was needed for bringing the matter before the House. It was their duty to warn the country of the battle in which the Government now deliberately engaged, and the guilt and shame of which would rest altogether on the Government.
§ MR. J. E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)
said, it was not his intention 766 to engage the attention of the House long, but he felt bound, in reference to this grave matter, speaking, as he knew he did, on behalf of his constituents, to join his protest to that which had been made by the hon. Member for York (Mr. Lockwood) and other hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House, against the tone which was displayed by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour). He did not think the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith) had mended the matter by what he said, for he made no attempt to reply to the argument advanced by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon). The Coroner who was conducting the inquiry now proceeding, had made a very grave charge against Her Majesty's Government. That gentleman had declared that he had received no assistance from Her Majesty's Government in the inquiry which he was conducting. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) gathered from the language of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House that the right hon. Gentleman was entirely ignorant that such a charge had been made. It was not to be expected that the right hon. Gentle-man the Leader of the House should be acquainted with all that was taking place at Youghal; but it was part of their case that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had manifested the utmost ignorance of what is taking place in that town at the present moment. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) and others wanted to know why the orders with regard to Father Keller were being enforced with such alacrity, when no assistance whatever was rendered to the Coroner in the inquiry he was holding. It was undeniable that the significance of the events of the last few days, in relation to the state of Ireland, could hardly be exaggerated, and therefore he ventured to say that unless the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland treated these events with a little less levity, and answered hon. Members from Ireland with a little more respect, something serious would before long occur in that country. He thought that what had taken place amply justified the hon. Member for East Mayo in bringing those matters before the House. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) agreed with the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labou- 767 chere), that whenever anything of this kind occurred in Ireland, or in any part of the United Kingdom, it was to be hoped that some one connected with the constituency would fool it to be his duty to bring it before the House, as the hon. Monitor for East Mayo had done. To do so would be to follow the best traditions of the House of Commons. He himself intervened in the discussion on behalf of his constituents, and with their full sanction, and they were determined that every case of grievance in administering; the law should be probed to the utmost. Whenever Irish Members thought fit to bring before the House, in their Representative capacity, anything of which they thought the House should take cognizance, they would have his most earnest sympathy.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
said, he also felt bound to complain of the levity of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) in dealing with this matter, and the general want of respect shown by the Government and their Representatives, to the House in these proceedings. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith)—who had said that nothing could be done to-night because there was a judicial investigation going on—whether he would, first of all, direct his menials and agents in Ireland to cease putting obstruction in the way of the Coroner in the course of his inquiry? It was practically impossible, owing to the conduct of the Government officials, for the Coroner to get any evidence as to why the poor fellow, Hanlon, was brutally murdered, as they contended he was. He would also ask whether the right hon. Gentleman would give an assurance that the House would have an opportunity of discussion on some future occasion when the inquiry was over? The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had told them that he had authentic information, which contradicted the evidence given before the Coroner. They had a right to ask where he got his information; and, unless he gave his authority, they had a right to consider the evidence before the Coroner as more trustworthy than that on which the right hon. Gentleman relied. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary had used such language as that something worse than batons would be used. Whether 768 the right hon. Gentleman intended it or not, he believed that here they had the direct consequences of such reckless language. If the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary did not mend his ways, and treat the House with more respect, and if he did not show a little less levity in his method of dealing with these matters, he would be as responsible as the late Chief Secretary must be held to be for the consequences of such utterances. The proceedings of the Government in Ireland were most arbitrary and despotic, and before they talked of Irish Representatives leading the people of Ireland into illegal courses, they should set an example of legal and law-abiding behaviour in the administration of the law.
§ MR. O'DOHERTY (Donegal, N.)
said, he was desirous of calling the attention of the House and of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) to the fact that there seemed to be no necessity for the collection of a Police Force at Youghal, that the telegraphing for extra men was a mistake, and the death of Hanlon following from that mistake was directly attributable to whoever committed that error. Where had they been drafted from, and what was the character of these men who were to give the people of Youghal something more than batons? There were hundreds of cases of contempt of Court in Ireland in which witnesses refused to attend Courts where no warrants were issued. Why, then, this frenzied energy in the case of a priest, and why this particular demonstration on the part of the authorities? Was it attributable to the discontent of some of the Representatives of the Protestants of Ulster, who had been very restless of late, and who had been clamouring for energetic action, and who thought that the arrest of a priest or two, with, perhaps, a Bishop thrown in, would most likely exasperate the people? He failed to see why the forces of the Crown should be devoted exclusively to executing landlord decrees, whilst the decrees of merchants and others were rotting in the Sheriffs' offices and could not be executed. He would give the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland precedent for the arrest of policemen for acts done in the execution of their duty. In the case of the Belfast riots 13 policemen were arrested in Belfast, because some people engaged in 769 wrecking houses were killed during an attempt to disperse thorn, and the Attorney General himself refused at an Assize Court in the North of Ireland to allow these men out on bail, and said an application should be made to the Court of Queen's Bench. In the ease of one of the Londonderry riots, two officers were put on their trial and produced in Court their rifles with the indentions made on them by the revolver bullets of the mob. The contrast between the course taken in these cases and the frenzied energy displayed at Youghal scorned to illustrate once more how in Ireland all law and all authority were disturbed in the interests of the landlords. If a policeman killed an Orangeman in the North he must go to gaol, but if he runs a bayonet through a Papist in the South he goes free.
MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)
said, he did not consider that the fact that a judicial investigation was pending afforded any ground in the present instance for not discussing the matter, for the only investigation that was pending was a Coroner's inquest, which did not arraign the conduct of anyone, but merely inquired into the facts. Unless some further information was given by the Government the House would be led to the conclusion that the law was not evenly administered in Ireland. How was it that the warrant for the arrest of Father Keller was so promptly executed at all hazards, while the warrant for the arrest of the constable who was committed by the Coroner for refusing to give evidence was wilfully loft unexecuted? There was one other point to which he wished to call attention. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had been led unwittingly to make a statement which had turned out to be unfounded, to the effect that 21 out of 22 policemen had been injured in the riot. Now the judicial inquiry showed that only three had been injured; and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland himself that evening did not assert that more than three had been injured. He thought that they ought to know on what information the right hon. Gentleman had acted.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, he thought that the hon. Member misunderstood the facts of the case. He had answered a Question put to him without Notice, and 770 stated that 21 out of 22 had been seriously hurt. He had qualified that statement by saying that he could not guarantee its accuracy, and yesterday he had stated the facts as they had occurred—namely, that 21 had been hit, 15 hurt, and three badly hurt.
MR. BRYN ROBERTS
said, he thought that that hardly affected the question. The right hon. Gentleman must have got the first information from somebody, as he would not have uttered that statement from his own consciousness. He thought that the House was entitled to have a full explanation of the authority upon which the right hon. Gentleman had given his first answer.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
said, that as one of the Protestant Representatives from Ireland, he regretted extremely the manner in which the question had been dealt with by the authorities responsible for law and order in Ireland. He maintained that if a Protestant clergyman had been arrested in similar circumstances in England or Wales and carried off to prison, as the Irish Executive had carried off Father Keller, a storm of intense indignation would have been roused by English Members in the House of Commons, and extremely strong language would be used with reference to the matter. If it was the intention of the Government to do anything for the benefit of the people of Ireland, they had certainly in this case gone to work in the wrong way; and they had acted in Ireland in a way in which they dared not act in England. The way in which the arrest of Father Keller had been carried out was evidently intended as an insult to the people. In Wales, whore there had been a great deal of trouble, would the Government dare to arrest one of the Nonconformist clergymen there who were struggling against the tithes? In consequence, however, of the action of the Government, Father Keller had been ennobled in the eyes of his parishioners and his fellow-countrymen in Ireland, who now looked upon him with feelings of veneration and respect. The Government could not produce their Coercion Bill without stirring up the muddy waters and trying to bring about bloodshed. He had been at meetings which were attempted to be suppressed, and which he had held in spite of the attempts to suppress them; and on such 771 occasions it was customary for the Government to scud 200 police. How many were sent to Youghal? He argued that if the Government had meant to preserve law and order in Youghal, they would have sent a strong force to execute the warrant, instead of sending 30 policemen only, some of whom he was certain were Orangemen. The whole policy of the Government was to provoke the people, and to make them take up the rifle—a thing which they might do if it were necessary. He behaved that the dangerous policy which the Government were pursuing was not originated by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary or his Colleagues, but was pressed upon them and backed by the landlord faction in that House, and they were afraid to take up a line of policy which would differ in any degree from the policy inaugurated by the Landlords' Defence Union; and he felt convinced that its evil results would sooner or later recoil on their own heads. If their object in playing upon the chords of passion and trying to exasperate the Irish people was, as he feared, to obtain a miserable pretext for introducing coercive legislation, they must themselves bear the responsibility for all the bloodshed and disaster which might ensue.
§ MR. J. F. X. O'BRIEN (Mayo, S.)
said, he regarded the statement which had be on made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) as fraught with danger to the Public Service. The right hon. Gentleman ought not lightly to make such statements, and when he had found himself misled into such a statement he should have apologized to the House, and explained how and on what authority he was induced to make it. He denied that any justification had been shown for the arrest of Father Keller, and maintained that it was ridiculous to expect that by summoning him as a witness any evidence could be obtained from him in the case before the Bankruptcy Court, in as much as it was impossible for him to betray the confidence reposed in him as a priest. Moreover, in face of the letter of his Bishop, Dr. M'Carthy, warning him of his duty towards his people, he dare not do other than refuse to give any information in this matter. Further, it was a wanton exercise of power on the part of Judge 772 Boyd to compel Father Keller to come before his Court when there were hundreds of the tenants joined in the Plan of Campaign on this estate who had not been summoned as witnesses yet. The Government only carried out the laws that suited themselves and favoured the rich; and if they were so anxious to enforce law and order and to execute the decrees of the Courts, why was the order of the Coroner's Court at Youghal not carried out? If law and order were to be maintained in Ireland the decree of one Court ought to be executed with as much certainty as the decree of another Court. The policy adopted by the Government was not calculated to increase respect for law and order in Ireland. If the Government despised the orders of the Coroner's Court in Youghal, how could they expect the people to respect and obey the orders of other Courts? There had not been shown the slightest necessity for the arrest of Father Keller, and the object of the Government was to exasperate the people and provoke disturbances, in order to find some excuse for passing the measure of coercion for Ireland they intended to bring in.
§ MR. EDWARD HARRINGTON (Kerry, W.)
said, if the Members of the Government were pleased with their attitude in that matter, hon. Members from Ireland could well afford to make them a present of that pleasure. When an Irish subject was brought before the House the Members of the Government seemed to be seized with lock-jaw; and all they could do—as was the case at that moment—was to indulge their artistic tendencies by sketching the Irish Members in the House. He must confess he could not help feeling surprised that not one word of regret had fallen from the lips of any Member of the Government at the death of the man Hanlon, at Youghal, who was proved to have been stabbed through the back whilst running away from the forces of the Crown. The expression, "I'm sorry I did not fire on them," used by District Inspector Somerville to Dr. Ronayne, J.P., of Youghal, was an embodiment of the spirit that animated Her Majesty's Government in Ireland, and was a free paraphrase of the last words of the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), "You will get something harder than batons," as he bid adieu to the House. He (Mr. 773 E. Harrington) could not congratulate the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) on his baptism of blood at Youghal. He (Mr. E. Harrington) was an humble man, but not for a thousand times the salary of the best paid Minister of the Crown would he occupy the position, standing there, and being the Representative of the murderers of the Irish people. [Cries of"Order, order!"] Well, he supposed that was not in Order; but if the statement were untrue why had not some Minister the courage to stand up and refute it? The fact was, the Government knew that they were losing their power over Ireland, and were becoming reckless. The Nationalist Members were agitators, and they would be base and recreant if they did not agitate until the wrongs of their country were redressed. If justice was not done to Ireland they would lay the print of the agitation on every spot of England until, if there were hearts in the men of the country, they would rise up and demand that justice should be done to Ireland, and that there should be an end to the present cruel, cowardly, and murderous policy of the Government in Ireland.
§ DR. FOX (King's Co., Tullamore)
said, there was a conspiracy of silence on the part of the Government in this matter, and the conspiracy had even ex-tended to the Coroner's Court. It was entirely duo to their mismanagement that the arrest, which was altogether unjustifiable, was made of Father Keller, in order to incite the Irish people to a breach of the peace. The unfortunate man who was killed had been present on the occasion merely out of curiosity. Father Keller was much respected in the district. With reference to the occurrences in Belfast—
§ MR. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
rose to Order, and wished to know whether the hon. Member was in Order in referring to what had taken place in Belfast?
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, that there was a definite Motion before the House—the arrest of Father Keller and the disturbance at Youghal; and, in his opinion, the hon. Member was not confining his remarks to the subject of that Motion.
§ DR. FOX
said, he wished to know what the right hon. Gentleman the 774 present Chief Secretary for Ireland—with his 48 hours' experience of that country—could know about the Irish Constabulary? The right hon. Gentleman appeared to have set himself up as the Irish Ruddigore of modern politics. He talked of governing Ireland with a strong hand. He wished him joy of the job; but before many months were past the right hon. Gentleman would find that the labour of crushing down the Irish people was too much for him. He had uncoiled himself, and showed an amount of backbone that he hoped would stand by him for some time.
§ DR. FOX
said, that he would not pursue that line of argument further. Hon. Members opposite appeared to be anxious to enjoy the luxury of arresting an Irish Archbishop. If the right hon. Gentleman did make such an arrest he would find that he had made a very grave mistake. Many a braver man than the Chief Secretary had failed to rule Ireland, and the people of that country would continue to strain every nerve to show that they were worthy of self-government. With the Salisbury family in Office, and the Chamberlain family out of Office, he would soon come to the conclusion—
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! I again, for the third time, warn the hon. Gentleman that he is not confining himself to the Motion before the House.
§ The hon. MEMBER thereupon resumed his seat.
§ MR. P. MCDONALD (Sligo, N.)
said, the occurrences at Youghal had filled the Irish people with horror, and those of this country with indignation. The Irish priests did not dread a prison. Priest after priest and Bishop after Bishop were ready to sacrifice their liberty for the good of their people. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) had made a very false step when he permitted or approved the arrest of Father Keller. The Government thought that because Father Keller was the keeper of the consciences of his people he would communicate the secrets of the Confessional in the witness-box. But anything communicated to a priest in the Confessional was as secret as the grave. The brutality of the police was 775 intended to provoke the people to resistance in order to give this wretched Government an excuse for coercion.
§ MR. P. MCDONALD
said, he was about to illustrate the object for which Father Keller had been arrested. The arrest was made in sustainment of a certain interest in Ireland; but it would not bring about the result desired by the Government, which was to enforce the payment of impossible rents. What Ireland wanted was not government by the baton, but just laws and equal rights.
§ MR. DEASY (Mayo, W.)
said, he would ask whether it was too much to expect that the House should listen for a few hours to so important a discussion? He would suggest that the Government should allow some right hon. Gentleman to answer the speeches made from that (the Opposition) side of the House. The only speech made from the Government Bench was that of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary (Mr. A. J. Balfour), who spoke only for a few minutes, and during those few minutes gave very little satisfaction to the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) who introduced the subject. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman had been commented upon very severely, and during his experience he had not heard any speech so much calculated to stir up ill-feeling. If the Government desired to carry out the law fairly in Ireland, why did they not arrest the policeman who refused to give evidence in the Coroner's Court? That was a much stronger case than that of Father Keller; but the policeman was not interfered with. The fact was that there seemed to be one administration of the law for the priests and the people, and another for the police; and he believed that the arrest of Father Keller was ordered and made because it was the step best calculated to enrage the people and to bring them into conflict with the law. If the Government wished to maintain order in Ireland, and to instil respect for the law into the minds of the Irish people, let them set the example of fairly and equitably applying it to all classes. The course they were at present pursuing, and the tone of the speech delivered that evening by the 776 right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, could have no other effect than to stir up the most bitter feeling against the law and the Executive; while, at the same time, it would tend to strengthen the bond which existed between the priest and his people all over the country.
§ MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
said, they had often listened to debates on the administration of justice in Ireland without heeding them, but now the feeling was different; and he believed that the result of this debate would be different from that of former debates in its effect upon English opinion as to the administration of justice in Ireland—[Cries of"Divide!" and interruptions]—
SIR HENRY HAYELOCK-ALLAN (Durham, S. E.),
in rising to Order, appealed to Members on the Ministerial Benches to give the hon. Member a fair hearing, as that would be the best means of bringing the debate to an early conclusion.
§ MR. JAMES STUART
said, the country would be more than ever convinced, by what had happened in the House and out of it, that the administration of justice in Ireland should not, when Home Rule was established, be retained in the hands of this country. Some of the darkest blots on our administration of Ireland had arisen from the fact that the administration of justice had been in the hands of others than the Irish people.
§ MR. PARNELL (Cork)
Mr. Speaker, I must protest, Sir, on the absence of any serious attempt on the part of the Government to meet the very strong and very serious case which, has been made out against them. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland may be, like the pirate Lambro—The mildest mannered man,That ever scuttled ship or cut a throat;but his mildness of manner will not enable him to escape the retribution which the judgment of history will assign to him as one who has entered on his task of bloodshed in Ireland lightly, and as one who, in a short tenure of Office, has been guilty of more errors, and displayed more callousness and more indifference, than any of his Predecessors. The Leader of the House has attempted to throw a cloud of dust in our eyes by endeavouring to shift the 777 responsibility from the shoulders of the Government to those of a policeman, Now, Sir, this Motion attacks directly the conduct of the police. It has been said that the subject of the Motion is the subject of judicial proceedings; but it is only the conduct of the policeman which is the subject of judicial procedure. The Government are not shielded by the fact that a Coroner's inquest is proceeding upon the body of the unfortunate man Hanlon; but the charge is that the Government, armed as they are with the forces of civil authority, have deliberately set out on a course of exasperation, and have done all they could to bring about a collision between the people and the police. It seems to me that this unfortunate state of affairs has been brought about by the hurried change of Office from one right hon. Gentleman of considerable experience to another right hon. Gentleman who has had no experience at all. Unfortunately, the Government do not apprehend what sort of a country they have to rule; and what we accuse them of is that they have endeavoured to bring about the cruelties which have been perpetrated by the police upon the people. We also charge them and their Representatives with deliberately shielding the offenders from justice. At the Coroner's inquest which is now proceeding on the death of Hanlon, it has been sworn that a policeman named Ward chased this man Hanlon for 50 yards through the streets, and then deliberately ran a bayonet through his back. That statement, in fact, has not been denied; but yet this police-constable so charged is continued in his duty, and is marching through the streets of Youghal at the present moment, in company with his comrades, and in possession of the weapon he used on Hanlon. It is also sworn that the policeman, not contented with taking one life, pursued another man, who only saved his life by escaping through the open door of an hotel. The acts of this policeman appear to be regarded by the Government as brave deeds, and he is continued still in his duty; and the other day the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant had a lie put into his mouth—[Cries of "Order!"]
§ SIR HENRY HAVELOCK-ALLAN (Durham, S.E.)
I rise to Order. I understood the hon. Member to say that the Chief Secretary for Ireland has had 778 a lie put into his mouth. Obviously—[half turning towards the hon. Member]—the hon. Gentleman does not mean what his words imply?
§ SIR HENRY HAVELOCK-ALLAN
Quito so, Sir; that is what I intended to do. I understood the hon. Member to say that the Chief Secretary has had a lie put into his mouth by some Member of this House; and I want to know from you, Sir, if the use of such an expression is regular?
§ MR. SPEAKER
I noticed the expression; but I did not understand the hon. Member to imply that the right hon. Gentleman had stated that which was not true, but that a statement had been supplied to the right hon. Gentleman which was not correct. He did not impute anything at all to the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. PARNELL
I had no intention of imputing anything at all to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland.
§ SIR HENRY HAVELOCK-ALLAN
I now rise to Order for the purpose of making a personal explanation in this connection.
§ MR. PARNELL
The expression which I made use of may have been somewhat too strong; but what I meant to say was that the right hon. Gentle-man was asked for information in reference to the proceedings of the police at Youghal. The right hon. Gentleman stated that a large number of the con- stables employed on the occasion were seriously injured. That information turned out to be without any foundation whatever, and the right hon. Gentleman was himself obliged to admit that the proceedings had not been of so grave a character, and that the lives of the 779 police were not in any danger at all. I would ask the House to contrast what took place at Youghal with that which occurred in the North of Ireland at Belfast, where the civilians of that town absolutely rose in arms not only against the Constabulary, but against the Queen's troops, and inflicted serious injury both upon the police and the military. Contrast the conduct of the Government in the one case and the other. The police constables in Belfast, after having been fired into, did take the life of one man, and for taking that life were arrested and sent to prison; but Police Constable Ward is still allowed to remain at Youghal, as a still further provocation to the people. I maintain that such conduct is intolerable, and it shows that the Government have not considered the weight of the task they have undertaken when they proceed in this reckless fashion. The Inspector of the police, who was in Court at the time of the inquest on Hanlon, was directed by the Coroner to execute a warrant for the arrest of Constable Ward; but he treated it as waste paper, and the constable is still at liberty. If we are to respect the authority of Judge Boyd's Court, why not respect that of the Coroner also? One of the reasons why your law is not respected is that it is only administered in a one-sided way. The Government talk of maintaining law and order. Why do they not begin in the Coroner's Court? The Coroner gave directions for the issue of a warrant, and you refuse to put it in force, and you allow a Constabulary officer, with a charge of murder hanging over his head, to remain at large. But if Judge Boyd gives an order in favour of the privileged classes, then all the forces of the law are called into action for the purpose of giving effect to it. This is one of the reasons why the people of Ireland do not respect the law, and they never will respect it as long as it is administered in that one-sided way. I think we are entitled to ask Her Majesty's Government to abstain from reckless provocation—to abstain from those open incitements which have been directed to the superior officers of the Constabulary of Ireland to shoot down the people. The arrest of an Irish priest is a serious matter. The arrest of Father Keller, an Irish priest, who is publicly supported by his Bishop and by the Archbishop of Cashel, is a very serious undertaking for 780 the Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant could not have commenced his duties with a more memorable undertaking than the prosecution of an Irish priest. It is a remarkable thing that the right hon. Gentleman had been scarcely a week in Office when it was signalized by two such events as the murder of this unfortunate man and the arrest of this priest. [Cries of "Withdraw!"] I shall not withdraw.
§ COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, S. W., Ince)
I wish to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether the hon. Member is not bound to withdraw that expression?
§ COLONEL BLUNDELL
The hon. Member said the right hon. Gentleman signalized his first week of Office by a murder. In saying that the hon. Member has attributed murder to the Chief Secretary for Ireland.
§ MR. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member has imputed anything of the kind he is entirely out of Order, and it would be my duty to call upon him to withdraw it. But I did not gather that he said that. What he said was that the right hon. Gentleman's advent to Office had been signalized by the murder of this man and by the arrest of a priest—that those acts had taken place in Ireland since the right hon. Gentleman accepted Office.
§ MR. PARNELL
I made no imputation whatever against the right hon. Gentleman. What I said was that it was an ominous thing that the first week in Office of the right hon. Gentleman should have been signalized by a murder and the arrest of a priest. I call on the Government while there is yet time, before they go from bad to worse, to pause at the commencement of the struggle they are undertaking for no better or worthier reason than to try to keep themselves in Office a few months longer than they otherwise would. I can understand a Government believing that the foundations of society are unloosed, or persistently and steadfastly applying coercion; but it is not right, nor is it legitimate, but it is a miserable thing, to coerce Ireland merely for the exigencies of Party purposes. This strong and stern government is due to the exigencies of their Party, and not to the exigency of the state of affairs in Ire- 781 land. A year age the Government intimated their intention to apply 20 years of stern and resolute government to Ireland; and it may suit their purpose now to imprison priests, and to uphold what you call the law with sternness and resoluteness. Neither of those feelings can I reciprocate; upon neither of them can I look with anything but the feeling they deserve; and I believe that the result of this last attempt at resolute government will be to bring the authors of it to the confusion they deserve.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 88; Noes 226: Majority 138.783
|Anderson, C. H.||M'Donald, P.|
|Asquith, H. H.||M'Donald, Dr. R.|
|Blake, J. A.||M'Ewan, W.|
|Blane, A.||M'Kenna, Sir J. N.|
|Bright, Jacob||M'Laren, W. S. B.|
|Broadhurst, H.||Mason, S.|
|Buxton, S. C.||Molloy, B. C.|
|Byrne, G. M.||Morgan, O. V.|
|Campbell, H.||Nolan, Colonel J. P.|
|Chance, P. A.||Nolan, J.|
|Channing, F. A.||O'Brien, J. F. X.|
|Clark, Dr. G. B.||O'Brien, P.|
|Cobb, H. P.||O'Brien, P. J.|
|Connolly, L.||O'Connor, A.|
|Conway, M.||O'Doherty, J. E.|
|Conybeare, C. A. V.||O'Kelly, J.|
|Craig, J.||Parnell, C. S.|
|Craven, J.||Paulton, J. M.|
|Deasy, J.||Pease, A. E.|
|Dillon, J.||Pickersgill, E. H.|
|Dodds, J.||Powell, W. R. H.|
|Ellis, J. E.||Quinn, T.|
|Ellis, T. E.||Redmond, J. E.|
|Esslemont, P.||Roberts, J. B.|
|Evershed, S.||Rowlands, W. B.|
|Fenwick, C.||Rowntree, J.|
|Foley, P. J.||Russell, E. R.|
|Fox, Dr. J. F.||Samuelson, Sir B.|
|Gill, T. P.||Stack, J.|
|Harrington, E.||Stanhope, hon. P. J.|
|Hooper, J.||Stevenson, F. S.|
|Hoyle, I.||Sullivan, D.|
|Hunter, W. A.||Summers, W.|
|Illingworth, A.||Swinburne, Sir J.|
|Joicey, J.||Tanner, C. K.|
|Kenny, C. S.||Thomas, A.|
|Kenny, M. J.||Tuite, J.|
|Labouchere, H.||Wallace, R.|
|Lane, W. J.||Warmington, C. M.|
|Leahy, J.||Wayman, T.|
|Leake, R.||Williams, A. J.|
|Lewis, T. P.||Wright, C.|
|MacNeill, J. G. S.||TELLERS.|
|M'Cartan, M.||Sheil, E.|
|M'Carthy, J.||Stuart, J.|
|Addison, J. E. W.||Anstruther, Colonel R. H. L.|
|Agg-Gardner, J. T.|
|Ambrose, W.||Ashmead-Bartlett, E.|
|Amherst, W. A. T.||Baggally, E.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Fisher, W. H.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. A. J.||Folkestone, right hon. Viscount|
|Balfour, G. W.|
|Barry, A. H. Smith-||Forwood, A. B.|
|Bartley, G. C. T.||Fowler, Sir R. N.|
|Bates, Sir E.||Eraser, General C. C.|
|Baumann, A. A.||Fry, L.|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.||Fulton, J. F.|
|Bentinck, W. G. C.||Gaskell, C. G. Milnes-|
|Beresford, Lord C. W. de la Poer||Gathorne-Hardy, hon. A. E.|
|Bethell, Commander G. R.||Gedge, S.|
|Biddulph, M.||Gibson, J. G.|
|Bigwood, J.||Giles, A.|
|Brkbeck, Sir E.||Gilliat, J. S.|
|Blundell, Col. H.B. H.||Godson, A. F.|
|Bond, G. H.||Goldsworthy, Major General W. T.|
|Bonsor, H. C. R.|
|Boord, T. W.||Gorst, Sir J. E.|
|Borthwick, Sir A.||Goschen, rt. hn. G. J.|
|Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C.||Gray, C. W.|
|Bristowe, T. L.||Grotrian, F. B.|
|Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.||Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Ash.-B.||Hamley, General Sir E. B.|
|Burghley, Lord||Hardcastle, F.|
|Caine, W. S.||Havelock - Allan, Sir H. M.|
|Campbell, Sir A.||Heathcote, Capt. J. H. Edwards-|
|Campbell, R. F. F.|
|Chaplin, right hon. H.||Heaton, J. H.|
|Clarke, Sir E. G.||Herbert, hon. S.|
|Cochrane-Baillie, hon. C. W. A. N.||Hermon-Hodge, R. T.|
|Hill, right hon. Lord A. W.|
|Coghill, D. H.|
|Colomb, Capt. J. C. R.||Hill, Colonel E. S.|
|Commerell, Adml. Sir J. E.||Hobhouse, H.|
|Holland, right hon. Sir H. T.|
|Corry, Sir J. P.||Holloway, G.|
|Cotton, Capt. E. T. D.||Houldsworth, W. H.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Howorth, H. H.|
|Cross, H. S.||Hozier, J. H. C.|
|Grossman, Gen. Sir W.||Hubbard, E.|
|Davenport, H. T.||Hughes - Hallett, Col. F. C.|
|Davenport, W. B.|
|Dawnay, Colonel hon. L. P.||Hunt, F. S.|
|Hunter, Sir W. G.|
|De Cobain, E. S. W.||Isaacs, L. H.|
|De Worms, Baron H.||Isaacson, F. W.|
|Dimsdale, Baron R.||Jackson, W. L.|
|Dixon, G.||Jarvis, A. W.|
|Dixon-Hartland, F. D.||Jennings, L. J.|
|Dugdale, J. S.||Johnston, W.|
|Dyke, right hon. Sir W. H.||Kelly, J. R.|
|Kennaway, Sir J. H.|
|Ebrington, Viscount||Kenrick, W.|
|Egerton, hon. A. de T.||Kenyon, hon. G. T.|
|Elcho, Lord||Kerans, F. H.|
|Elliot, hon. A. R. D.||Kimber, H.|
|Elliot, hon. H. F. H.||King, H. S.|
|Elton, C. I.||King-Harman, Colonel E. R.|
|Ewing, Sir A. O.||Knatchbull-Hugessen, H. T.|
|Eyre, Colonel H.|
|Fergusson, rt. hn. Sir J.||Lafone, A.|
|Field, Admiral E.||Laurie, Colonel R. P.|
|Finch, G. H.||Lawrance, J. C.|
|Finch-Hatton, hon. M. E. G.||Lawrence, Sir J. J. T.|
|Lawrence, W. F.|
|Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.||Rasch, Major F. C.|
|Reed, H. B.|
|Lees, E.||Ritchie, rt. hn. C. T.|
|Lewisham, right hon. Viscount||Robertson, J. P. B.|
|Llewellyn, E. H.||Russell, T. W.|
|Long, W. H.||Salt, T.|
|Low, M.||Saunderson, Col. E. J.|
|Lowther, J. W.||Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G.|
|Lymington, Viscount||Shaw-Stewart, M. H.|
|Macartney, W. G. E.||Sidebotham, T. W.|
|Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A.||Sidebottom, T. H.|
|MacInnes, M.||Smith, rt. hn. W. H.|
|Maclean, F. W.||Smith, A.|
|Maclean, J. M.||Spencer, J. E.|
|Maclure, J. W.||Stanhope, rt, hon. E.|
|M'Calmont, Captain J.||Stewart, M.|
|Malcolm, Col. J. W.||Sykes, C.|
|Mallock, R.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Marriott, rt. hn. W. T.||Taylor, F.|
|Maskelyne, M. H. N. Story-||Temple, Sir R.|
|Matthews, rt. hn. H.||Thorburn, W.|
|Maxwell, Sir H. E.||Tollemache, H. J.|
|Mildmay, F. B.||Tomlinson, W. E. M.|
|Mills, hon. C. W.||Tottenham, A. L.|
|Morgan, hon. F.||Townsend, F.|
|Mount, W. G.||Trotter, H. J.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R.||Verdin, R.|
|Vernon, hon. G. R.|
|Mowbray, R. G. C.||Vincent, C. E. H.|
|Mulholland, H. L.||Waring, Colonel T.|
|Muncaster, Lord||Watson, J.|
|Muntz, P. A.||Webster, Sir R. E.|
|Murdoch, C. T.||Webster, R. G.|
|Noble, W.||West, Colonel W. C.|
|Norris, E. S.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Northcote, hon. H. S.||Whitre, J. B.|
|Norton, R.||Whitley, E.|
|O'Neill, hon. R. T.||Winn, hon. R.|
|Parker, hon. F.||Winterbotham, A. B.|
|Polly, Sir L.||Wodehouse, E. R,|
|Pitt-Lewis, G.||Wood, N.|
|Plunket, right hon. D. R.||Wortley, C. B. Stuart-|
|Wright, H. S.|
|Plunkett, hon. J. W.||Wroughton, P.|
|Pomfret, W. P.||Young, C. E. B.|
|Powell, F. S.|
|Puleston, J. H.||TELLERS.|
|Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.||Douglas, A. Akers-|
|Rankin, J.||Walrond, Col. W. H.|