Resolutions [18th December] reported.
(1.) "That a sum, not exceeding £32,665 (including a Supplementary sum of £10,000), be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1889, of Criminal Prosecutions and other Law Charges in Ireland, including certain Allowances under the Act 15 and 16 Vic. c. 83.
§ MR. CAREW (Kildare, N.)
said, he wished to call attention to what had happened within the past few weeks in Kildare. A short time ago it was one of the most peaceful counties in Ireland, according to the testimony of even the Judges at Assize, who had to admit that, but for the existence of the military camp at the Curragh, there would be no cases for them to deal with. Within a very short time, however, from being one of the most peaceful counties it was plunged into a most excited and disturbed condition by the action of the authorities in Ireland. As long as the tenants paid their exorbitant rents without protest they were left in peace and order, but the moment that a body of rack-rented tenantry in the middle of the county united to resist these exactions, and made claims for abatement which were acknowledged by two out of the three trustees of the property to be reasonable, summonses were issued broadcast over the district, and numerous prosecutions were commenced by the Crown. The powers of the Irish Government were put in force rather in the interests of the landlord than of law and order. The first person attacked was the solicitor to the tenants. On the 29th October 804 there was a seizure of a certain tenant's property for rent, and a sale of his goods took place. Mr. Hurley, the tenant's solicitor, attended the sale, and for protesting against it as illegal he was brought up before the Court under an almost obsolete Statute of Edward III., and sent to gaol for two months in default of giving bail. Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, at the trial, acted rather the part of the prosecutor than of the Judge. Mr. Hurley was charged with inciting the people to knock down and level every policeman they met, there being about 200 police at the sale, and though two policemen swore he used these words, the third policeman who was examined, as well as 16 other independent witnesses, proved that he had merely protested against the seizure and the sale as illegal. Mr. Hurley and a large number of other respectable men who took no part whatever in the proceedings beyond that of spectators, and who were proceeded against at the same time, were then convicted. At the trial Mr. Redmond, who defended Mr. Hurley, was obliged to withdraw from the case in consequence of the conduct of the magistrate, Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald. Amongst the others who were prosecuted was Mr. Conlan, a reporter on The Carlow Nationalist, a most quiet and inoffensive man, who was simply engaged at the sale in the discharge of his duty. He was charged with taking part in an unlawful assembly. He (Mr. Carew) himself was the proprietor of a newspaper in the district, and he attended the sale also; but though the Government did not proceed against him, four of his compositors, who were simply spectators of the sale, were prosecuted and imprisoned. Thus, instead of prosecuting the proprietor and publisher of the paper, the Government took a meaner method of avenging themselves on this Nationalist newspaper in the district. The result of the sudden prosecution and imprisonment of those compositors was that the issue of his (Mr. Carew's) newspaper was delayed from Friday till Saturday night, and a good deal of loss was inflicted on him. That was a very mean and cowardly way of acting. But the result of the recent prosecution was such that it had roused a spirit in Kildare which it would take more than all that the Castle officials could do to quell. The Government was engaged in a de- 805 liberate conspiracy to crush the tenants there in the interests of the landlord. That was the real object of these prosecutions. He should like to receive some answer to these charges.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. MADDEN) (Dublin University)
said, that it would be quite impossible for him to go into the details, at a moment's notice, of the prosecutions which the hon. Member had mentioned. Admitting, as he must admit, that there had been a change in the peaceful County of Kildare, the causes of that change must be looked for. If these prosecutions had arisen from the institution in the county of a system of illegal combination and conspiracy hitherto unknown, the change must be attributed to the authors of the illegal conspiracy. Some of the prosecutions were still pending, and if the persons proceeded against had a defence, they could plead it. At any rate it would not become him to discuss them at present. But he would say that Kildare was once a very peaceful county, and if there were any blame for the change it lay with such associations.
§ THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.)
said, he doubted the discretion of the hon. and learned Gentleman in refraining from discussing what he might call this disgraceful prosecution in the County of Kildare. The hon. and learned Gentleman had turned it off by referring to what he called illegal combinations and associations in that county. But the combinations which the hon. and learned Gentleman condemned would be allowed in any county in England. These combinations had been due to the sharp spur of necessity goading poor people defenceless under the present law. The methods adopted by the Executive were indirect and cowardly, showing that the Government were ashamed of the purposes they wished to accomplish. The exciting cause of all the prosecutions in Kildare was one single event. The cattle of a certain tenant were seized and exposed for sale. The first person attacked was the solicitor for the tenants, who was engaged in disputing the legality of the sale. He was proceeded against under two statutes, the one of last year, and another of 500 years ago, dealing with vagrants and vagabonds. That was an extremely 806 scandalous proceeding. One prosecution not being enough, however, they also charged him under the Coercion Act. Because he had refused to find bail he was imprisoned for two months. The next person was a representative of the Press, in regard to whom there was not even a suggestion that he was doing anything more than discharging his professional duty, yet he was convicted of unlawful assembly. There was something meaner still, however, in inflicting damage on a Nationalist newspaper by imprisoning four of its compositors. It appeared that the authorities were not able or disposed to proceed against the hon. Member for West Kildare (Mr. Carew), the owner of the paper, although he published every week in it reports of meetings of the suppressed branches of the League. Prosecutions for that offence seemed now "a thing of the past." The indirect method of inflicting injury on his hon. Friend was inexpressibly mean. Another person proceeded against was the Chairman of the Naas Town Commissioners, who had a double right to be present at the sale, being the principal creditor in the case as well as Chair man of the Commissioners. There was no disorder whatever on the occasion beyond what proceeded from the Emergency men and the police. The cases were brought before two removable Magistrates, one of them an ex-officer of police. He put it to the Chief Secretary was it proper that a case of conflict, or alleged conflict, between the people and police should be tried by an ex-policeman? The other Magistrate was Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, a gentleman of whose legal knowledge the Lord Lieutenant appeared to be satisfied; but he ventured to say that the Lord Lieutenant was the only person in Ireland who enjoyed that satisfaction. He had qualified himself for the Bench in Ireland by service as a political officer in India. Mr. Redmond, who was defending Mr. Hurley, became so provoked at the flagrant conduct of these two removable magistrates that he felt obliged to express himself in strong terms in reference to it, and then was called on to withdraw. The defendants had thus, through the action of the Magistrates, been deprived of the aid of counsel. The whole conduct of the case was eminently indecent; bail was 807 refused in the first place, although there was no pretence whatever that the defendants would not attend in Court for their trial. Then these unfortunate men were dragged back and forward between Naas and Dublin, handcuffed two and two. It was really difficult to speak in the language of patience or within Parliamentary Rules of such conduct on the part of the authorities in Ireland. The Chief Secretary had stated that handcuffs were used because an attempted rescue or escape was apprehended. The thing was too absurd, and the fallacy of the pretence was shown by the fact that those men were only handcuffed on the first occasion. Nothing would have been easier for the authorities than to have allowed that sale to proceed in peace. Now, by the institution of these wanton and malicious prosecutions the Government in Ireland had plunged this County of Kildare into a state of the greatest excitement and disorder.
§ MR. HANDEL COSSHAM (Bristol, E.)
declared that such proceedings as those exposed by the hon. Members from Ireland inflicted greater disgrace on England than on Ireland. The prestige of England was systematically lowered by such prosecutions. To dignify such action by the name of law was a misuse of terms. The policy of the Government in Ireland created disorder and produced dislike to the law. As a British taxpayer he protested against the improper use of public money. He had the misfortune to have seen some of these things in Ireland, and he denounced the conduct of the authorities as monstrous. The whole conduct of the Government was calculated to spread the feeling of disunion in Ireland. A bad law was being cruelly administered just as bad laws used to be administered in England, and with the same results. Now the laws were obeyed in England, and instead of the gaols being full, as they were in his youth, they were now nearly empty. It was with a sense of burning shame that he saw the power of this great country used to persecute hon. Friends below the Gangway. As he had said, he witnessed some of these disgraceful prosecutions. He had also visited Father M'Fadden in gaol, and he was bound to say that when the Irish Government imprisoned men like him 808 the natural effect was to bring the law into contempt.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
said, he was precluded from going into detail into the case which had been brought forward, because, as the Member for West Belfast was no doubt aware, it was still sub judice. He might refer, however, to two allegations which were made by the right hon. Gentleman. The first was that it was a monstrous and an improper course to take proceedings against an attorney at all; and the second was that the proceedings were taken under an antiquated Statute. He believed that this man was an actual fomenter of serious disturbance. If that opinion were well founded it was clear that the mere circumstance of his being a solicitor ought not to afford him any immunity. On the contrary, the position which he held ought to have prevented him from taking an active part in these proceedings. With regard to the Statute under which the proceedings were instituted, the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Mayor of Dublin sought to create the impression that the Government had unearthed an ancient and a rusty weapon and turned it against an unhappy victim. The truth was, however, that this Statute of Edward III. was in constant use both in England and Ireland. All that occurred was that this man was asked to find sureties to be of good behaviour. He could have found them, but did not choose to do so. With reference to another point which had been raised, it was his own opinion that some of the best magistrates in Ireland were ex-members of the police force. They were men who had had great experience and who, in the course of their duties, acquired a competent knowledge of the law; and he could not concur in the general proposition laid down by the right hon. Gentleman that it was improper to appoint those gentlemen to be magistrates in Ireland. He believed a survey of the Bench in Ireland would show that some of the best men whom the Government had been able to secure in order to carry out these responsible duties had been members of the police force. With regard to the handcuffs, he could only repeat the general proposition which he had before laid down in the 809 House—namely, that he for his own part discouraged the use of handcuffs as far as possible. In his judgment their employment was only justifiable when it was probable that a prisoner would try to escape or that a rescue was likely to be attempted. But he must add that the persons responsible for the safe custody of a prisoner were the best able to judge whether either of those contingencies was likely to occur. He would, however, communicate with those who were responsible, and the use of handcuffs should certainly be discouraged except in the two cases which he had described to the House.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
had heard with great satisfaction the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that he discouraged the use of handcuffs in police cases in Ireland. He denied that the Statute of Edward III. had been in constant use in Ireland in recent years. It was indeed used by Mr. Forster for the purpose of imprisoning ladies who were denounced as bad characters. That was one of the most disgraceful things in the whole history of the Forster régime. The Chief Secretary's statement that the Act had been often used before in England must have caused a good deal of surprise to English Members. He ventured to say that it had never been used in England except for the prosecution of known tramps and vagabonds, the purpose for which it was originally passed. It was only in Ireland that they ventured to perpetrate the outrage of proceeding against respectable men under such a Statute. His opinion of the prosecution under that Act was that the case was considered too preposterous even for the Crimes Act Judges.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member for Scarborough (Mr. Rowntree) is displaying a newspaper, which is not usual in the House.
§ MR. CLANCY
said, he desired now to call attention to the multiplication of charges under the Coercion Act. He asked the House to consider the case of the hon. Member for East Tipperary (Mr. Condon), against whom no less than four separate charges were instituted for one speech which he had delivered at a meeting in Mitchlestown. The hon. Member was first convicted for one charge and sent to gaol for a fortnight, and then he was convicted of another 810 charge arising out of the same speech and sent to gaol for a month. There was no limit to the charges which might be brought forward by the Crown Prosecutor, and they might be so multiplied that for the same speech an hon. Member might be sent to gaol under the Coercion Act for six years. That was an extraordinary statement, but it was none the less true. The Chief Secretary, through his private secretary, Mr. Wyndham, had written a letter in which he stated that nobody was prosecuted in Ireland for lighting bonfires. This might be considered a small matter, but it was a large matter to the people concerned. It was quite a common practice for the people of Ireland to light bonfires on the release of a prisoner whom they considered had been unjustly punished, or on the visit of a Member of Parliament to his constituency. The people were all on the one side, and no harm, therefore, could be done to anyone by the lighting of those bonfires. The Chief Secretary now stated in the papers, through his secretary, that no persons were prosecuted for such things. He did not charge the right hon. Gentleman with deliberately telling untruths, but what he did say was that Ministers were supplied with untruths and false statements by their agents in Ireland, and he (Mr. Clancy) had shown the previous night that Mr. Wyndham's statement was totally false. In refutation of that statement the House would remember that he (Mr. Clancy) read out the very summons served on people who were prosecuted on it and in which the only charge was that of lighting a bonfire upon the square at Mountmellick, and he read the decision of the presiding Magistrate, Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, who stated that he had actually taken into account that there was no disorder, no riot, or no annoyance caused to anybody, and nothing beyond the lighting of the bonfire. The Chief Secretary did not allude to this matter last night, but if he did not allude to it now—the statement of his secretary having been shown to be false—they would mention the subject on every platform in England and show the right hon. Gentleman's failure to reply to the statements made in that House. He might next remind the House with reference to the prosecution and conviction of the hon. Member for North Monaghan (Mr. P. 811 O'Brien) for a speech delivered in County Kilkenny, that one of the charges being that he incited the tenants of Lord Monck not to be in a hurry to purchase land at 17 years' purchase, and this was the price the Land Commissioners themselves refused to sanction. Further, he condemned the action of the Government in regard to the prosecution of Mr. Denis M'Namara, of Ennis, for selling United Ireland, and the proceedings of the Executive in its various stages. He also deprecated the way in which the Government opposed publicans' licences upon the ostensible ground that the houses were not well conducted, whilst the real ground was that the parties were politically opposed to the Government, and had perhaps committed some semi-political offence. The policy the Government pursued in such instances was one of the most outrageous things which could be conceived.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
said, that he understood the Chief Secretary to justify these applications against persons to give security to be of good behaviour upon the Statute of Edward III., which, he said, was still enforced in England. This Act could not be in operation as against rogues and vagabonds, because it had been expressly repealed in that regard by the 5th of George IV. c. 83, sec. 1. There was not a shadow of excuse for saying that in the applications to give security for good behaviour this Statute of Edward III. had been relied upon on any occasion in this country.
§ MR. P. O'BRIEN (Monaghan, N.)
said, as his case had been mentioned by the hon. Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy), he desired to say a few words. He would, in the first place, ask the Chief Secretary if he approved of that prosecution, his (Mr. P. O'Brien's) offence being simply that he advised the tenants of Lord Monck not to purchase at a price which would be dishonest to themselves and dishonest to the British taxpayers, whose money was about to be used. Since he came out of prison he repeated that advice, and he should continue to do so. As he understood the Chief Secretary was only waiting until the passing of the Estimates to arrest him again, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he approved of the prosecutions in the past, 812 and what course he was likely to pursue in the future. On the 8th of January last he (Mr. P. O'Brien) addressed a meeting in County Kilkenny. He was informed by the people that negotiations were then going on between themselves and Lord Monck which had been initiated by the latter, and the price at which he had agreed to sell was 17 years' purchase on the existing rents, which he (Mr. P. O'Brien) believed, and which the people believed, to be rack-rents. He advised the people not to purchase at that price. He advised them, in the first place, because the land market was falling, and on purely business lines it would be wise to wait until it touched bottom, and he told them if they wanted land the initiative should come from them and not from Lord Monck. He advised them on account of their children and grandchildren on whom the burden would fall, and who would not be able to pay the price—that they were acting unjustly to the unborn by placing such a burden round their necks. That was the sum and substance of his speech. He did not deny it in Court, but he declared in presence of the magistrate that every word was correct, and that he would repeat it again. He had done so, and he should continue to do so on every occasion, even if for such an offence he should be put on a plank bed for 12 months. He pointed out that he was quite unnecessarily arrested on a warrant. He had made no effort to shirk his responsibility, and had not the slightest intention of doing so, and he would tell the right hon. Gentleman if he wanted him again, as he understood was the case, he need not go to the trouble of serving him with a summons, but he would accept a postcard from him and appear in any Court in Ireland where he was wanted. He did not complain of his mode of arrest; but he wished to point out that there was not the slightest necessity for adopting such a course as was adopted. He was arrested on a warrant, taken to Roscommon, tried there, and sentenced to four months' hard labour. As he was stepping out of Court he was re-arrested and taken to Kilkenny on a charge of inducing the tenants of Lord Monck not to deal with his Lordship in the purchase of land. He wished to ask the Solicitor General for Ireland, did he approve of 813 this charge. Was it an offence to tell the people, if they were going to make a dishonest bargain, not to make such a bargain? The only regret he had was that his advice was not taken by the tenantry. Lord Monck had secured his bargain, and he could now dance whilst the British taxpayer would have to pay the piper. That was how the case stood, and the advice he gave the tenants was for their benefit and for the benefit of the British taxpayer.
§ MR. P. J. O'BRIEN (Tipperary, N.)
complained that there was a certain item in the Vote in respect of allowances to Mr. George Bolton—a person who, if the Government had any shame about them, they would not, on account of his past record, retain in office for a single moment. He severely condemned the conduct of the Government in allowing this man to come over to London to assist The Times in their case. He could only characterize such a state of affairs as a gross scandal.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
replying to the hon. Member for Northampton, said that magistrates had at Common Law an inherent power to hold persons to bail, but the exercise of this power was also largely based on the Statute of Edward III. It was true that the Act, so far as it dealt with rogues and vagabonds, and some other classes of persons, had been repealed, but the Act also gave magistrates power to hold to bail persons "that be not of good fame," and in this respect the Act had not been repealed. The meaning of these words had been the subject of much legal disquisition, and the highest authorities had pointed out how broad they were and how extensive was their application. Lord Coke enumerated no fewer than 24 classes of people who might be held to bail under that provision.
§ MR. MATTHEWS
replied in the negative, but said that the Court of Queen's Bench in Ireland, in the year 1882, upheld an order of the magistrates holding to bail a lady who had joined the National League.
§ MR. J. E. X. O'BRIEN (Mayo, S.)
said, the abuse of Executive power in County Kilkenny, which had already been referred to, showed the sort of 814 tyranny that would prevail in Ireland when the House rose. The Chief Secretary refused to say anything in reference to the case now being tried by two Re-movables in Naas on the ground that it was sub judice. He (Mr. J. F. X. O'Brien) refused to recognize that there was anything judicial in the proceedings before such magistrates, who sat, not to dispense justice, but to carry out the registered instructions and orders of the Chief Secretary. Reference was made yesterday to the enormous amount of money spent on Crown prosecutions in Ireland. The simple explanation was that the money was used for ths purpose of bribing and duping the loyal classes in Ireland. It was the price they had to pay for a tyrannical Government in Ireland. Tyranny could not be carried out on a cheaper price. He had to denounce the statement made by the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) yesterday, that the Irish Catholic Members had charged the Protestant jurors of Ireland with perjury. They had never said anything bearing the slightest resemblance to such a statement. What they protested against was the insult to the Catholics of Ireland implied in the action of the Crown in ordering Catholic jurors to stand aside. What did that mean but that Catholics were not worthy of credence on their oath? The Protestant jurors themselves ought also to feel the indignity that was cast upon them by the Crown, because the Crown, by selecting them to serve on juries, declared they could be trusted to find verdicts that Catholics would not find. He might tell the House that the hon. Member for South Tyrone was not a representative Irishman, as he was sometimes called, nor even an Irishman at all. The hon. Member's intolerance was well appreciated in Ireland; and even in the constituency he represented he would not be in a hurry again to put himself forward for representative honours.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)
said, that he should like it to be pointed out in what cases in England it had been held that magistrates had jurisdiction of the kind that had been mentioned. His strong belief was that it had been repealed by the Statute of George IV. Of course, as the Home Secretary had pointed out, the jurisdiction of the Resident Magistrates in Ireland under that Act had been up- 815 held by the Court of Queen's Bench; but without meaning to cast any reflections on the judgment of that Court, he should say he believed it was inclined rather to strain the law in this respect.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
wished to point out that the repealing Statute of George IV. was never brought under the notice of the Court of Queen's Bench in Ireland.
§ MR. HARRIS (Galway, E.)
said, that in his opinion an unjust slur had been cast upon Coroners' juries in Ireland—an institution resting strictly on constitutional principles. Passing from this, however, he wished to touch on the case of a man in Ballinasloe who was guilty of the despicable crime of going into the prison where a poor man named Nolan, accused of a very grave offence, was confined, and representing to him that he was his attorney, instead of being what he really was, the attorney of the Crown Solicitor in the case. It was, he thought, impossible to be guilty of a more despicable crime than that of Mr. George Bolton in the case he mentioned. Proof would, he trusted, be brought before the Special Commission as to what he stated in regard to Mr. George Bolton. In the case of a very cruel murder committed not very far from where he (Mr. Harris) lived, Mr. George Bolton and those who acted with him were so anxious to get a conviction that they went into Galway Prison and put before a man named Kennedy what they wanted him to swear. Kennedy at first refused to swear falsely, but, under a threat that he might be hanged, he was induced to give the evidence which Mr. George Bolton required him to give. His wife visited him in gaol, and, when she asked him why he had consented to swear falsely, he said that if he had not he should be hanged. She said she would sooner be hanged a dozen times than swear against an innocent man. The end of it was that the following night the prisoner hanged himself in Galway Gaol. Such things, instead of conducing to respect for the law, were calculated to inspire hatred of it. A Public Prosecutor ought to be appointed in Ireland, a permanent and independent officer, who would not have to go out with the Government, but who could prosecute such men as Bolton for their crimes. He was sorry to say there were many George Boltons in Ireland, but of late years they had been lying 816 dormant. He was not making any attack on the present Government; these things were done when the late Government was in power, but the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) had said that he washed his hands of them for ever. Besides the Coroner's jury, there was the jury of public opinion which pronounced its verdict upon the conduct of the Government. That jury also had been put down. When he went down to address his constituents he was flung from the platform by the police, and so was the rev. gentleman who was going to preside; but there was no man of independent position to take up their cause and bring it before the country.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
wanted to know how it was that there were so many Clerks of the Crown over in London at the present time. Was it at the bidding of the Government? Was the Clerk of the Crown for the City of Cork here on the business of the Crown? He denounced the petty persecutions that were now in full swing through the country. They showed that the Government would stoop to any meanness in order to try and intimidate the people from persisting in their legal and constitutional combinations. It was a shame that in the City of Cork Protestant tradesmen, who had remonstrated over and over again against the cruel injustice, should have been put into the jury-box so many times to carry out the behests of the Government. These men were put into the box at the instigation of the Attorney General for Ireland, whom he had seen himself revising the jury lists and striking out the names of the Catholics. These Protestant traders were compelled to act as jurors by the Government in order that the Government might compass their own ends, and if they did not find proper verdicts from the Government point of view they were subjected to Boycotting, which was one of the characteristics of the ascendency party in the South of Ireland.
Resolution agreed to.
(2.) "That a sum, not exceeding £56,742, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1889, for the Expenses of the General Prisons Board in Ireland, and of the Prisons under their control; and of the Registration of Habitual Criminals.
§ THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.)
said, he wished to draw attention to an extremely grave matter that might possibly involve a serious issue, and that was the prison treatment of Father Kennedy. It was plain that the Chief Secretary did not regard Father Kennedy as an ordinary criminal, for if Father Kennedy were an ordinary criminal he would be obliged to wear the prison garb. The people of Ireland had heard with great sorrow that during the past few days some oakum was placed in Father Kennedy's cell under the ordinary rule, and on account of his not having picked the oakum Father Kennedy was deprived of the ordinary exercise. For four days the rev. gentleman had been confined in his cell without any exercise. He (Mr. Sexton) wanted to know whether that course of treatment would be continued, for it was the same course of treatment that had led to the death of Mr. John Mandeville. He wished to know was Father Kennedy to be compelled to do menial tasks, and also if he were allowed to take exercise, would he be compelled to take exercise in Company with ordinary criminals. Father M'Fadden and the other priests were not compelled to clean out their cells, pick oakum, or to take exercise with ordinary criminals, and why was not the same treatment accorded to Father Kennedy? He (Mr. Sexton) would not have intervened at this stage unless he believed that the treatment of Father Kennedy had become a grave political question, and it was desirable before the House rose that there should be a clear understanding on the subject.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
said, it would be recollected that in the case of several priests who had been imprisoned in Ireland the sentences of the magistrates, or the County Court Judges, had placed them in the category of first-class misdemeanants, and they had therefore been treated as first-class misdemeanants. Father Kennedy was not a first-class misdemeanant, and was therefore, in all respects, treated as an ordinary prisoner, with the one exception that, like other priests imprisoned in Ireland, he was not required to wear the prison dress. There had been and there ought to be no other alteration in the sentence in the way 818 of increasing or mitigating it. He conceived that Father Kennedy would be required to do all that an ordinary prisoner was required to do, with the exception of wearing prison dress; and, as far as exercise was concerned, he also conceived that if Father Kennedy refused to obey the prison regulations he would receive the ordinary punishment which was meted out to prisoners; but the prison doctor, who was responsible for his health, would no doubt see that he did not suffer. There was consequently no ground for alarm, and, as a matter of fact, he believed Father Kennedy was in ordinary health. No further relaxation of rules need be expected in the case of this priest, or in the case of any other priest sent to prison except it was ordered by the Court which sentenced him.
§ MR. P. O'BRIEN (Monaghan, N.)
said, that as a native of Tullamore, the late Dr. Ridley was his personal friend. From many conversations he had with the deceased gentleman, while a prisoner in Tullamore gaol, he was convinced that he was driven to suicide by the persecutions of the Castle. He wished to know from the Chief Secretary why it was that Dr. George Ridley, the cousin of the deceased gentleman, was passed over and the vacant appointment of Medical Officer to Tullamore prison given to another person? Dr. George Ridley had frequently acted as locum tenens for his cousin, and nothing but political reasons could have induced the Chief Secretary to sanction the appointment to the vacant office of a gentleman who had no connection with the county. Dr. George Ridley had been appointed Medical Officer of the County Infirmary in spite of the efforts of Dr. Kennedy's friends to pack the Board in that gentleman's favour, but this appointment, in such a small place as Tullamore, was not sufficient to enable Dr. George Ridley to live, and the appointment of Dr. Kennedy to the gaol had practically driven the former from the place. He invited the Chief Secretary to say what special reason led him to make that appointment after he had hunted to death the late Dr. Ridley.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
said, he should press the Chief Secretary to answer the question. Was it because the Government had failed to whitewash the murder of John Mandeville that they had passed over Dr. George Ridley in 819 the appointment of Medical Officer to Tullamore prison?
§ Resolution agreed to.
Resolutions 3 and 4 agreed to.
(5.) "That a sum, not exceeding £35,750 (including a Supplementary sum of £3,000), be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1889, for the Salaries, Allowances, and Expenses of various County Court Officers and of Magistrates in Ireland, and of the Revising Barristers of the City of Dublin.
§ THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.)
said, that this Vote included the salary of Mr. Beauchamp, a County Court Registrar. In Mr. Beauchamp's office was a man named Walker, who had approached a certain agent of a London publishing firm, Molloy by name, first as wishing to transact business, but later as an agent of The Times. In a number of interviews Walker had suggested to Molloy a series of statements affecting Irishmen in public life and Members of Parliament. He had named three Members of the Irish Parliamentary party, and had stated that they were Members of a Fenian association. How this connected itself with Mr. Beauchamp was that Molloy, being doubtful of Walker's mandate, had been taken by Walker to Mr. Beauchamp's office, where he had been assured that all was quite right. At further interviews Walker had suggested to Molloy statements to be made in evidence, incriminating many Irishmen. Walker gave Molloy £11 for the purpose of discharging certain debts, and he wrote a letter guaranteeing that, in the event of Molloy giving the evidence, The Times would provide for Molloy and his father and mother. How was it that Mr. Beauchamp, a public official in Ireland, was allowed to concern himself in a transaction which seemed to be a deliberate attempt at the subornation of a witness to commit perjury in a solemn inquiry affecting the character of public men in Ireland? Referring to the Resident Magistrates, he said the Resident Magistrates of Ireland ought to be impartial. They ought to be competent, by legal training, and they ought to be of independent position. Were they impartial? Out of 70 of them 10 could not be named who were not of the landlord class or con- 820 nected with it by marriage, by social intercourse, or by personal interest. He said deliberately, and with due thought of the seriousness of the statement, that the Government might as well confine the trial of cases arising out of the relations between landlords and tenants in Ireland to any two of the landlords as to any two of the Resident Magistrates. Were the Resident Magistrates competent by legal training? Twelve of them, no doubt, had been called to the Bar, but he would hardly be controverted when he said that being called to the Bar was no test of a man's legal competence. None of the Resident Magistrates who had been called to the Bar ever had any practice. The real test of the legal competence of a barrister was the test of satisfying the attorneys. If a man was years at the Bar and never got a brief, that was a good proof that he had no legal competence, and that was the position occupied by the Resident Magistrates who had been called to the Bar. A score of them were old soldiers, and another score of them were ex-officers of the police force. How did these gentlemen satisfy the Lord Lieutenant of their legal qualifications? Whatever might be said of a police officer who, during the course of his official life, had some opportunies of listening to the law, if not of learning it, how could an old soldier be said to qualify for the position of Resident Magistrate? He (Mr. Sexton) had noticed the frequency with which two ex-military officers sat together to try cases under the Coercion Act. That fact gave to the proceedings the complexion of an administration of martial law. It was nothing more nor less than a drumhead Court Martial. Quite recently a Coercion Court, consisting of a colonel and a captain, was constituted to try the following important case:—A boy of 11 and a boy of 15 engaged in a game of marbles. The boy of 11 was a better shot at marbles than the boy of 15, therefore the latter intimidated the boy of 11. And to decide this terrible dispute these two military gentlemen were despatched to a Coercion Court, and the result of this tremendous case was that the boy of 15 was bound over to keep the peace to the boy of 11 and all other of Her Majesty's subjects. He ridiculed the idea that these Resident Magistrates were independent. They could be dismissed to-morrow if they did 821 not give satisfaction to the right hon. Gentleman. Apart from the question of pensions, to obtain which they would naturally be anxious to keep their posts, they should not lose sight of the fact that these gentlemen derived office from the right hon. Gentleman, that they were subject to dismissal at his pleasure, and that cases were brought before them by prosecutors on the right hon. Gentleman's behalf. These things were enough to condemn the whole system as one which could not be impartial. As to the unfitness of the Resident Magistrates, of whose legal knowledge the Lord Lieutenant was satisfied, he might quote from the report of a Judgment delivered in the Court of Exchequer, in the course of which Baron Dowse said they might almost as well ask one of these Resident Magistrates to write a Greek ode as to state a case. He urged that the Lord Lieutenant should publish a list of the persons of whose legal knowledge he was satisfied, so that the public might have some means of forming some judgment on the subject. He also urged the importance of these magistrates being compelled to state cases for hearing by the Superior Courts. He asked for an assurance that in cases where the complaint was one of injury to the police, two ex-police officers should not be allowed to constitute the Bench. As a proof of the unfitness of these Resident Magistrates, he might quote from the cross-examination of Captain Seagrave at the Mitchelstown inquest, at which the gentleman confessed to his want of legal knowledge, and stated that prior to his appointment to the post he then held he had served as a private in the Cape Mounted Infantry. He had tried to pass his examination for a Commission in the home Army but had failed. Yet this gentleman, of proved incapacity for his position, instead of being dismissed, as he ought to have been, was promoted from the second to the first rank of magistrates—those—namely, of whose legal knowledge the Lord Lieutenant was satisfied. Another magistrate actually stated that he represented the Crown, although counsel for the Crown was present, and that he had received instructions from the Castle which he dared not disobey. Further he (Mr. Sexton) deprecated the intrusion of these Courts into cases which could be better dealt with under 822 the ordinary law. There were often trumpery cases of trespass or assault for which a fine could be imposed under the ordinary law, but Dublin Castle took it upon itself to instruct the magistrates to take such cases out of the ordinary jurisdiction, and have it tried before magistrates who could not fine but inflict imprisonment with hard labour—who could take away the liberty of a man and put his life in danger. He should like to know how these magistrates were selected for the trial of cases. He must protest, also, against the common practice of magistrates in Ireland asking Inspectors and Chief Constables to take seats on the Bench. In one case the magistrate announced that he had received instructions to adjourn the proceedings until another day, and in an ordinary private dispute one magistrate actually had the case taken away from the ordinary jurisdiction and tried under the Coercion Act. Nothing could be more scandalous in the administration of justice than Mr. Latchford's case, which was tried by his well-known personal enemy, Mr. Cecil Roche, who sentenced Mr. Latchford to two months' imprisonment. The sentence was reversed on appeal, but not until Mr. Latchford had undergone the whole sentence except one week. One of these gentlemen went so far as, in Oriental fashion, to sit cross-legged on a wall to hear a case brought before him. Captain Stokes on one occasion even ordered a man to be charged, and when the crowd gave signs of disapprobation ordered the crowd to be charged. There ought surely to be some distinction between Executive and judicial functions. He would also point out the needless employment of handcuffs, which the Chief Secretary had discouraged, except in cases of actual violence, but which were resorted to when there was not the slightest necessity for them. It was intolerable that the people of Ireland should not only be subject to a bad law, but that such a law should be administered by persons who were neither impartial, competent, nor independent.
§ MR. ROWNTREE (Scarborough)
said, he wished to refer to the trial of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien) at Mitchelstown. At that trial Mr. Eaton, the Resident Magistrate, actually declared that he had come to a decision in the case before the hon. 823 Member had been beard in his own defence, and then argued with the hon. Member to get him to defer what he had to say until he was sentenced. He had himself heard the statement, and the report in The freeman's Journal the next day bore him out. He believed the account given in The Irish Times was also in substantial agreement with what he had said. When the hon. Member did speak Mr. Eaton interrupted him two or three times, and endeavoured to prevent him referring to the motive of his action, although he made no effort whatever to prevent the Crown counsel from imputing the basest and meanest motives to Mr. Mandeville.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
said, he gathered that the main counts of the indictment against the Government or the magistrates were now before them, and he would proceed to deal with them as fully and satisfactorily as he could. He did not entirely apprehend the purpose of the speech delivered by the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. The hon. Gentleman's contention appeared to be that Mr. Eaton refused the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. O'Brien) the opportunity of stating his own case; but, whatever might be thought of the law now in force, probably nobody would deny—not even the hon. Member for North-East Cork himself—that he was justly sentenced. An hon. Member brought forward a case in which some persons were brought before a magistrate and fined 10s. for lighting a bonfire, but that was not a case under the Crimes Act at all. Under the ordinary law, the Towns Improvements Act, there were a great many proceedings punishable by a trifling fine, not because the acts were in themselves blameworthy, but because they caused obstruction to the public, and lighting a bonfire was no doubt one of them. With regard to the important observations of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, and his strictures on the conduct of Mr. Beauchamp for having taken some proceedings on behalf of The Times, he had to point out that registrars were not precluded from taking private practice, and it would be ultra vires on the part of the Government to take any notice of action taken not in an official but a private capacity. The right hon. Gentleman the Lord Mayor of Dublin condemned Colonel Carew for having 824 stated to the Bench on a certain occasion that he acted for the Crown, but in the case in question Colonel Carew was not acting in a judicial capacity, nor had he any alternative but to take the course he did. It rested with the Attorney General to decide before what tribunal a particular case was to be tried, and Colonel Carew obeyed the mandate, as he was bound to do, by transferring the case to a Crimes Act Court. However unfortunate in form the remark of Colonel Carew might have been, it was not substantially a remark of which any member of the House could complain. In dealing with the Latchford case the Lord Mayor of Dublin did not argue on the merits, but confined his observations, with great judgment, as he thought, to criticizing the action under which that case was tried before a Crimes Act Court. The offence for which Mr. Latchford was tried was a case of riot. Such a case could not be tried summarily before Petty Sessions. If, therefore, a riot occurred, even though not connected with current agrarian or political controversies, which might arouse popular passions and might consequently not be a fit case to be tried before a jury, there was no alternative but to have it tried under the Crimes Act, and Colonel Turner acted quite properly in so deciding. As to the charge that Mr. Roche was actuated by any personal feeling in the matter, Mr. Roche had indignantly denied it; and with regard to the fact that the Court of Exchequer set aside the sentence passed by the Crimes Act Court, that was not done on the merits of the case, but on a point of form as to the manner in which the order had been drawn up by the magistrate. He had been asked who it was that determined the particular magistrates who were to try Crimes Act offences. That was determined according to the discretion of the Divisional Magistrate of the district. The right hon. Gentleman very truly observed thet there ought to be a separation between the executive and the judicial functions. Every magistrate, however, in England, exercised both, and exery magistrate in Ireland might exercise both; but he concurred with the right hon. Gentlenan in thinking that in a case in which a man had been employed in executive functions it was in the highest degree improper he should exercise any judicial functions. It was 825 in obedience to that principle that transfers of Resident Magistrates from one division of a district to another were effected. A case arising out of a riot ought not to be tried by the magistrate who was called upon to put down the riot, and therefore two magistrates had to be brought in by the Divisional Magistrate from another part of the division to try such a case. As to the legal qualifications of Magistrates, the Lord Lieutenant was guided by the best knowledge he could obtain, precisely as all Ministers were in the distribution of patronage. There were no examinations of magistrates, any more than of medical men or Inspectors under the Poor Law on their appointment, and in all these cases those who had the distribution of patronage did their best to discover whether those whom they proposed to appoint had the necessary qualifications to enable them to discharge the functions of the office.
§ MR. SEXTON
asked, if there would be any objection to stating in The Gazette the cases in which the Lord Lieutenant was satisfied as to the legal knowledge of the magistrates?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, if further information was desired as to particular magistrates, a Return could be moved for as a continuation of one that had already been presented. As to the general charge that three-fourths of the magistrates were connected with the landlord class or with the police force, if family connection, however remote, was to be a disqualification, it would be difficult to find magistrates. It was an admission that was new, coming from the Lord Mayor of Dublin, that all the cases to be tried were agrarian in their origin.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, he did not admit if a man had married the granddaughter of a landlord, that that ought to disqualify him from acting as a magistrate to decide whether the law had been broken in particular cases. On making an appointment you could not inquire as to a man's relations, nor as to any opinions he might have expressed. If you adopted such tests, you could not confine them to magistrates, but would have to apply them to the Judges of the higher Courts, and you would not 826 be able to find men to fulfil judicial offices. He did not believe that a magistrate would for a moment swerve from the impartial discharge of a judicial duty by the fact that he had been at one time connected with the police force. He maintained also that old soldiers and ex-officers of police made good magistrates. The Lord Mayor of Dublin was not content either with lawyers as Resident Magistrates.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, that the magistrates who had been members of the Bar had not been in large practice was only to be expected, for a barrister in good practice would not abandon it for a modest salary of between £400 and £700 a-year. The fact that those appointed did not possess the lighter arts by which juries were moved, did not show that they were not legally competent to discharge the duties of magistrates. An appalling picture had been conjured up of the cumulative sentences imposed by Resident Magistrates, but that it was wholly imaginary was shown by the fact that the main source of the criticism was the judgment in the Killeagh case. But the same Court of Exchequer furnished the clearest proof of the competency of the magistrates, for it had sustained their decisions in 14 successive cases, not selected by the Crown, but selected by the friends of the right hon. Member.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, the appeals under the Crimes Act were to the County Courts, and the cases heard by the Court of Exchequer were legal arguments on cases stated.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, that being so, the judgments sustained the decisions of the magistrates whose legal competence was impugned. The results of appeals to the County Court Judges equally bore testimony to the impartiality of the Magistrates. He repudiated with indignation the suggestion that in any case the Executive Government dared so to violate the fundamental rule which should regulate their conduct as to suggest to Resident Magistrates what course they should pursue in any particular case; and the notion of their abject servitude was dispelled by the fact that about one-third of the cases brought before them by the Crown had been dismissed.
§ MR. EDWARD HARRINGTON (Kerry W.)
said, in some cases there were Latches of defendants, and the proportion stated would be different if you took persons instead of cases.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
, continuing, said, he was not responsible for the statement; it was to be found in a book by the hon. Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy), entitled Six Month's Work of the Coercion Act. He had now dealt with the main points raised by the able and temperate speech of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, and he trusted that he had vindicated the character, ability, and proceedings of the magistrates, who had most important, difficult, and laborious functions intrusted to them.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
said, the right hon. Gentleman had not touched the complaints that were made as to the spirit in which prosecutions were conducted, and in which some decisions were given. He had not denied that in the case of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien) the magistrate wanted to give a decision before the hon. Member had been heard.
§ MR. CLANCY
said, it was not contradicted that he had already come to a decision in a case on which the hon. Member for North-East Cork had not been heard. Then as to the bonfires. The statement made at first was that there had been no bonfire prosecutions, and now the explanation was that the prosecutions were for riot and disturbance accompanying bonfires. It was no answer to say that a man who committed the crime of subornation of perjury was not acting in his capacity of Crown Solicitor at the time he committed it. Captain Seagrave, it was admitted, was not appointed as a legal magistrate, and yet he had been one of two magistrates trying cases under the Coercion Act. It was idle to say that Colonel Carew did not speak in a judicial capacity when he said that he represented the Government, for he was holding a Court at the time. One never heard of Judges, when they gave a direction about a case, saying that they did so "by order of Dublin Castle." It was something to have it admitted by the Chief Secretary that Divisional Magistrates acted as the 828 direct representatives of the Government in deciding what magistrates were to try cases, because the contrary had been implied in the statement that had been made over and over again that the magistrates received no instructions from the Crown. The conviction of Mr. Latchford had been upset, not on a point of form, but on the great question of law whether a man could conspire with himself. Such a thing as a magistrate acting in a judicial and executive capacity at the one time never occurred in England, except in cases of great emergency, when prompt action was necessary. The right hon. Gentleman said it was wrong for a magistrate to discharge executive and magisterial functions at the same time. Was the House, then, to understand that Mr. Cecil Roche was wrong when he acted in the same capacities at the Vandeleur evictions. Further, he wished to call attention to some choice judicial utterances by Resident Magistrates. Captain Massey, at Tarbut, on the 25th January last, in trying some persons charged with attending a meeting of a suppressed branch of the National League, said that the onus of proof that no meeting had been held was thrown on the defendants, or, as he styled them, "the other side." Major Rollestone, at Galbally, when he was told by the Solicitor for the defendant that one of the oldest principles of English law was that a man was considered innocent until he was proved guilty, replied—"Oh! it has now come not to be generally accepted as a principle of law." Mr. Gardiner, a Resident Magistrate, writing to an English correspondent, in a letter which was afterwards published in the newspapers, said, after speaking of the hospitality of the Irish peasants—But so sure as you have any business transactions with them they will try and cheat you. In fact, you may take my word for it, that the Irish tenant farmers, on all matters relating to money, are the greatest liars and thieves in the world, and you must not believe a word they say.That letter showed how utterly unfitted this man was to try any case in which an Irish peasant was a party. The absolute disregard of law shown by the Resident Magistrates was illustrated by Captain Stokes, who, in the case of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien), when the Judge declared that until the warrant 829 was made out the hon. Member was at liberty to leave the Court, jumped on the table, and said that he took the responsibility of detaining him, and sent an Inspector to take him into custody. In that instance he maintained that Captain Stokes defied the Court, and committed a violent breach of the law in the sight and hearing of the Judge. Again, in September last, while the hon. Member for South Kerry (Mr. Kilbride) was addressing his constituents, Mr. Macdermot, improving on the Chief Secretary's practice of applying the closure in that House, called out to his hon. Friend to stop speaking at once, and when his hon. Friend refused, he ordered up a body of police with their batons and dispersed the meeting. Further, he had no hesitation in charging the Resident Magistrates with a habitual display of partizanship in the discharge of their judicial functions. If proof of this were needed, let them contrast the severe sentences passed by them on members of the National League with their extreme leniency towards adherents of the landlord party for the same class of offences. Among other examples of this unfairness he might mention that, some time ago in Kerry, a man named Sullivan was sentenced to three months' imprisonment for having a bullet in his possession; while in Limerick an Emergency man, for having in his possession five bullets, without a licence either for his revolver or ammunition, got off with the infliction of a fine of half-a-crown. They had heard a good deal very often of the mutilation of cattle. He did not think any denunciation too severe for this disgraceful and barbarous practice, and he always rejoiced when he saw any ruffian condemned to severe punishment for mutilating a poor dumb animal. A man named John Donaldson was recently tried at Ballingarry Petty Sessions for stabbing a donkey until its entrails protruded from its side—in fact, he left the animal in such a state that it had to be shot. The magistrates who tried the case let him go free, because they thought he had no intention of committing the crime. The man, of course, was an Emergency man. Recently 17 applications for licences for a particular district were made to County Court Judge Ferguson, but he refused all except one, on the ground that there were too many public-houses in the district already. The 830 licence which he did grant was given to ex-Sergeant Brennan, one of the men who had been found guilty by a jury of murder at Mitchelstown, and who swore himself that he was one of the three constables who had killed a man. It was a scandalous and disgraceful transaction, and one which ought to be disavowed by any Government which was responsible for the administration of the law. It might be said that this appointment of County Court Judge Ferguson had been made by Lord Spencer. The Irish people were not responsible for Lord Spencer's appointments. It was Lord Spencer who appointed Mr. Cecil Roche and Mr. Hodder to administer the Land Act, and it was such men who strangled the Land Act of 1881 and were responsible for its failure.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
said, he was glad that the case of ex-Sergeant Brennan had been brought forward. This case had created a great scandal in the district, and he should not be surprised if it led to ultimate disturbance. He hoped some attention would be directed to this matter by the responsible authorities. Turning to the Resident Magistrates, he felt bound to mention, in passing, the action of Colonel Turner, relative to that gentleman's interference with the tenantry on the Ken-mare estate. He would ask the Chief Secretary if he inquired into the antecedents of any of these Resident Magistrates before they were appointed. He did not like to call a man a swindler or thief, but he would state a few facts in relation to one of these Removables, and then he would leave it to the House to judge whether he was a fit person to administer this Act. The Resident Magistrate to whom he referred was Captain O'Neil Seagrave, about whom the House had already heard something. This man was formerly in the Cape Mounted Infantry as a private; afterwards, when he became lieutenant, he had charge or control of the canteen. This was in the year 1882. Seagrave got married at King William's Town early in 1883, and proceeded in charge of 50 men to Macleer. Shortly after his arrival at this place his conduct as commanding officer gave rise to a deal of grumbling, and letters kept appearing week after week in The Cape Argus and The Cape Times, two leading papers in the Colony, complaining of the way in which the 831 canteen over which Seagrave had control was managed. Exorbitant prices were charged, and no account whatever was rendered of the profits, which of right belonged to the detachment. This would be better understood when it was stated that in this little African station there was no other place nearer than 100 miles at which anything could be purchased but the canteen. The officer in command of the corps, Colonel C. E. Cherry, wrote to Lieutenant Seagrave in November, 1883, demanding an explanation as to the letters which had appeared, but he got an insufficient answer. Subsequently he threatened to bring Seagrave in a prisoner, and again the latter returned an unsatisfactory reply. In fact, the reply was of such an unsatisfactory character that Colonel Cherry gave instructions to the Adjutant, Captain Lonsdale, to write a letter to the Commanding General requesting Lieutenant Seagrave's compulsory retirement. Before this could be effected, however, changes occurred in the colonial force under which Colonel Cherry retired and went to Egypt, and through the action of friends at the Cape Lieutenant Seagrave retained his position. In November Seagrave went with his detachment from Macleer to T'Solo, so that he had anew station, anew commanding officer, and a new start; but instead of getting better in circumstances he got worse, for in November, 1884, a man of his detachment coming to England, and not wishing to carry money along the road, as it was dangerous, entrusted Lieutenant Seagrave with £5, which the latter consented to forward. This money had never been received, although Seagrave had been repeatedly written to for it. The matter was reported to Colonel Bailey, who demanded an immediate explanation from Lieutenant Seagrave, which, however, was not given. Seagrave was then threatened with arrest, and he then stated that the £5 which had been entrusted to him had been forwarded to the man by a Postal Order, which he (Lieutenant Seagrave) got himself at the Gumbo Post Office. The postal authorities were communicated with, and, after diligent inquiries, it was discovered, that no Postal Order for £5 had been issued at all by this post office at the time stated, and, further, that Lieutenant Seagrave never at any time got a Postal Order for that amount. At 832 this time it came to the paymaster's knowledge that money entrusted to Mr. Seagrave to pay his men was short. The Standard Bank was wired to, and all its branches, not to honour Lieutenant Seagrave's cheque, and an officer was sent to relieve him. He was placed under arrest in August, 1885, and Captain Dalgety, Captain Cantwell, and Captain Hayman proceeded to T'Solo, and after a full investigation of the case they reported on the subject to Colonel Bailey, the senior officer commanding the Colonial Forces, who recommended his instant dismissal, and the Government sanctioned it, the announcement appearing in The Cape Town Gazette of September, 1885. He (Dr. Tanner) deemed it his duty to show the sort of article which the right hon. Gentleman rejoiced in as Resident Magistrate and dispenser of justice in Ireland. He hoped a proper inquiry would be made, and that, on these points being substantiated, the gentleman would be chased from the position to which he should never have been appointed.
§ MR. P. O'BRIEN (Monaghan, N.)
said, he considered that this person should be suspended from the position he now occupied until the truth or otherwise of the charge they had just heard had been ascertained. He rose, however, to call attention to the interference of Resident Magistrates with the right of public meeting, and he might illustrate his remarks by relating his personal experiences at Ballyduff. While negotiating with the police to allow the people to pass out of the village in order to attend a meeting to be held in a neighbouring field, he (Mr. P. O'Brien) was threatened by the officer in charge that, "if he gave him any of his talk, he would crack his skull." At the meeting subsequently held, which was a decoy meeting, he had only uttered one sentence—"We have been accused by a high Government official (Colonel Turner) of being receivers of stolen goods"—when Mr. Cecil Roche interposed and said—"Stolen goods! That will do; I give you one minute to break up this meeting." Even before the minute was up, he was taken and pitched clean off the platform. Such conduct, he contended, was illegal, inasmuch as the meeting had not been proclaimed.
§ MR. BLANE (Armagh, S.)
said, he deprecated the conduct of the Resident Magistrates in refusing to accept bail, without the slightest justification for such refusal, in the cases which came before them. He might instance his own case. He was taken out of his bed one winter's night, compelled to travel over 100 miles without breakfast, and then lodged in a police barrack cell in the County Donegal. When the case came before the magistrates they refused to accept bail. As an illustration of the practice of arresting persons under the Coercion Act under a warrant where there was not the slightest necessity for doing so, he might mention a case in County Donegal, where, for some offence of a minor character, a number of respectable men were taken from their beds in the middle of the night and dragged for over a mile to the police barracks in their shirts, and their wives and daughters had to follow them with their clothes. That he denounced as a barbarous outrage, and he offered to place at the disposal of the Chief Secretary the names of the men. He hoped to have some assurance that this matter would receive prompt attention.
§ MR. ILLINGWORTH (Bradford, W.)
said, he must make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman. They had heard matters alleged of grievous import, and for the sake of the character of the British people he hoped to hear that the charges were a mistake. If they were true he could not repress his indignation.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
thought he had almost exhausted his right of reply. He never heard before of the matters mentioned by the hon. Member, but he had no doubt if the facts were inquired into the arrests would be found to be perfectly justifiable.
§ Resolution agreed to.
Resolutions 6 and 7 agreed to.
(8.) "That a sum, not exceeding £6,528, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1889, in aid of the Expense of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
said, he wished to direct attention to the case of Professor Pye, of the Queen's College, Galway, whose income of £700 or £800 had been reduced by some £400 by the operation of the Act of 1879, which dissolved the Queen's University and es- 834 tablished the Royal University. There was a defect in the Act, which failed to provide compensation for persons who were partially injured. Dr. Pye brought a petition of right, but the Court, though admitting the grievance, was un-able to provide a remedy. It was a case exactly similar to that of Professor Redfern, of Belfast, whose claims had been favourably considered by the Government.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
pointed out that the Colleges of Cork and Belfast had a great many wants in regard to the enlargement of laboratories, museums, and libraries.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. MADDEN) (Dublin University)
said, this was an important subject, and should receive attention. As to the case of Professor Pye, he suggested that the hon. Member (Mr. Clancy) should send in a statement of that gentleman's claims. If that were done he would look over it and see what could be done to remedy the grievance under which he suffered.
Resolution agreed to.
(9) "That a sum, not exceeding £658, he granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1889, for the support of certain Hospitals and Infirmaries in Ireland.
§ DR. TANNER
asked, why had the grants which were regularly made to the medical officers of certain Irish hospitals, and devoted by them to the institutions which they served, discontinued on this occasion?
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ Subsequent Resolutions agreed to.