§ MR. PARNELL (Cork)
, in rising to move the following Amendment:—Humbly to represent to Her Majesty that the portion of the Irish legislation of last Session which was of an ameliorative character has tended to diminish agrarian crime, whereas the repressive legislation of the Session has done much to aleniate the sympathy and respect of Her Majesty's Irish subjects for the law; and that the administration of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, as well as much of the action of the Executive in Ireland, has been harsh, partial, and mischievous,said: Before dealing with this subject, I wish to make a slight reference to the question of Procedure. I do not know, Sir, whether I shall be in Order in prefacing what I have to say by a slight reference to the question of Procedure. I merely wish to say, however, that I think we Irishmen have a very special interest in these days in facilitating the Business of the House generally—I will not say in facilitating especially the Business of the Government, although, of course, that is included in the Business of the House. Since the great Reform Act passed in 1885 this House has undoubtedly become an engine of democratic progress, and although that engine may have been temporarily diverted from its purpose, still we Members from Ireland are obliged since 1885 to recognize for the first time that we have as much interest in the progress of Public Business as any other section of hon. Members in the House. I have not had an opportunity of looking over the new Rules of the Government, and I should not be in Order in referring to them now; but I will only say this—that I believe we are prepared to go further than the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government in this House and his Colleagues in improving the Rules of the House, so as to take as much as possible out of the House for the purpose of advancing the legislation and the business 334 of the country. Our course last Session was a difficult one, because we were then confronted with the most cruel Coercion Act, which we were obliged to oppose to the very last. It was our duty to do so. I regret the introduction of that Act, and the necessity for the bitter, stringent, and determined opposition we were obliged to advance against it; but the general public and the House will make a great mistake if they think the measure of our opposition to that Act will supply a means for estimating our general attitude as regards the Government Business or the Business of every section of the House this Session. I apprehend the Government have now done their worst in the direction of coercion so far as legislative enactment goes; but I apprehend we are only at the beginning of the exercise of coercion. But the Government having obtained their Coercion Act—which is probably the most stringent that ever entered into the minds of Ministers or men to conceive—we do not think the Government will ask for another. In any case, were it otherwise, and even had we the prospect of another Coercion Act before us—the Government can always obtain a Coercion Act independently of the ordinary Rules of the House—as was the case with the previous one—we should have no inducement whatever to oppose any real improvement that might be suggested by the Government, or from any quarter of the House, in the procedure of the House for the purpose of forwarding Public Business. On the contrary, looking forward as we do in the near future to the introduction of another Bill for the better government of Ireland, which will undoubtedly afford—not from these Benches on which I sit now, but certainly from the Benches opposite—unexampled opportunities for what is called Obstruction, it is more directly to our interests to assist the Front Bench opposite in diminishing those opportunities of Obstruction, and to assist to make it possible for the House of Commons hereafter to pass a Bill for the better government of Ireland. I wish also to refer to another matter, which is rather outside the scope of my Amendment. It is to some references made by Lord Salisbury to the action of the Conservative Party during the Session of 1885 with respect to the 335 Irish Members. Lord Salisbury was not in the House of Commons, otherwise I think he would have hardly ventured to commit himself to the statements he made in regard to what passed between the leading Members of the Conservative Party and the Irish Members in those days. He has endeavoured to make it appear that the alliance between the Members of the Conservative Party and the Irish Party was simply that of going into the same Lobby on one or two questions, and that the Tories would have certainly preferred if they could have gone into the Lobby by themselves; but, of course, they could not prevent the Irish Members going along with them. That is the innocent aspect which Lord Salisbury seeks to put on that Division by which his Party turned out the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian and the Liberal Government by the aid of the Irish vote. Lord Salisbury also finds fault with the Liberals of the day because they have joined with people who are resisting the law of the land. He says this divides the conduct of the Liberals and the conduct of the Tories by a very sharp line, and promises that if, instead of joining in companionship with men of disorder engaged in resisting the enforcement of the law, they were to return to a legitimate form of alliance, he would have nothing further to say. But the Tory Party of that day went a good deal further than simply going into the Division Lobby for the purpose of turning the Liberals out; and it will not be denied in this House—although Lord Salisbury may deny it, not having been witness to the facts—that the Tory Party did go much further. We have had the statement the other day of my hon. Friend the Member for Derry City (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) that the then Conservative Whip and Patronage Secretary to the Treasury did give him to understand that when the Tories came into power the Coercion Act of that day would not be renewed. We have that statement made publicly, and it has not been denied by the Gentleman concerned. It is true that the present Conservative Whip and Patronage Secretary to the Treasury has denied the statement; but he was never accused of having made such an intimation. The understanding was conveyed by the then Whip of the Tory Party, who is no longer a Member of the House of Commons. Then we have 336 the denial of Lord Carnarvon that he and I are at one on the question of Home Rule. I did not say, and I do say, that Lord Carnarvon and I are now at one on the question of Home Rule. I do not know what Lord Carnarvon's views are now, but I know what they were in 1885. The statement which I made in 1885, when Lord Carnarvon was in this country, which Lord Carnarvon did not contradict, I make now—that Lord Carnarvon's views, as conveyed to me, or rather as we exchanged them in our interview, were absolutely identical. He expressed to me the strongest belief that only by the concession of an Irish Parliament could the Irish Question be settled, and that it was to be a Parliament, and that it was to be called a Parliament—that it was to have most extensive powers, even going as far as the right of protecting Irish industries by the imposition of protective tariffs. Lord Carnarvon says that he did not agree with the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone). I never said that he did agree to it. That Bill was not in existence at the time of our interview, and we had not any opportunity of conversing upon it. But Lord Carnarvon was in favour of an Irish Parliament; and he undertook the Office of Lord Lieutenant, having those views. Having those views, with Lord Salisbury's knowledge, going a little further than merely walking into the same Division Lobby with Irish Members—he, with Lord Salisbury's knowledge, certainly after our interview, conveyed to me that he (the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland) was in favour of an Irish Parliament. Therefore, was I not right in supposing—as I undoubtedly did—that, holding these views, he would not have been made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland unless there had been a considerable feeling in the Cabinet that his views were right; much less would Lord Salisbury have agreed to his interview with me—I do not know that Lord Salisbury knew beforehand of his interview with me; but he certainly knew of it afterwards, because he has admitted that he did publicly. I was certainly under the impression that, dealing as I was with a man who was in the position of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, his statements and assurances were of no ordinary significance. Lord Carnarvon did a 337 little more than allow his Colleagues in the House of Commons to walk into the Division Lobby with the Irish Members. We are now told by Lord Salisbury that it is very naughty for English politicians to unite with people who are resisting the law of the land, or to have anything to do with men of disorder, who were resisting the application and enforcement of the law. But that is precisely what Lord Carnarvon did when he went over to Ireland. The Mayor and Corporation of Limerick, at the time of Lord Carnarvon's Viceroyalty, and for some year or two previously, during the Administration of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, had been resisting the law of the land most strongly; and, in fact, it had been canvassed by the supporters of the Conservative Party whether the whole of the Corporation of Limerick, including the Mayor, should not be arrested and held in durance on account of their action. They had refused to levy the rates decreed by the Courts in Ireland; they had refused to levy the police rate—a clear breach of the law—but Lord Carnarvon did not think it beneath him to associate with those men, because he invited them to the Viceregal Lodge at Dublin Castle to confer with him upon the subject, and to see if he could not persuade them, not to desist from their bad conduct, but to see whether they could not come to some compromise. I think that the proposition was that they should obey one-fourth part of the law, and not the remaining three-fourths. The Lord Lieutenant, unfortunately, happened to be ill at the time, and he actually invited these men of disorderly and unlawful character up into his bedroom, where he was in bed, and he gave them a very good lunch and a great deal of wise counsel. There is another matter I have to refer to about Lord Carnarvon, upon which I have never touched before. It will be in the recollection of hon. Members of this House that shortly after the Conservative Government of 1885 came into power we brought forward a Motion in reference to the conviction of three sets of prisoners for murder, conspiracy to murder, and treason-felony. They were the Maamtrasna prisoners, the Crossmaglen prisoners, and the Barbavilla prisoners. We asked that there should be inquiry into the conviction of 338 these prisoners, which had taken place during the Viceroyalty of Lord Spencer—an inquiry which Lord Spencer had refused, but which the Conservative Front Bench immediately they came into Office granted. This inquiry took place in respect of two out of the three sets of prisoners—namely, those of Crossmaglen and Barbavilla. Shortly before the General Election in 1885 an hon. Friend came to me in Dublin and told me that he had just been sent for by Lord Carnarvon, and that his Lordship evidently wished him to communicate what he had told him to me, and it was to this effect—that Lord Carnarvon had investigated the cases of the Crossmaglen and the Barbavilla prisoners, and had come to the conclusion that the latter were justly convicted, and that he could not interfere; but with regard to the case of the Crossmaglen prisoners he did not think that there was sufficient evidence for their conviction, and that he intended to liberate them forthwith. That was just before the General Election of 1885. I am under the impression that shortly afterwards Lord Carnarvon came to England, and I daily expected to see in the newspapers the anouncement that the Crossmaglen prisoners had been liberated. Those prisoners, however, were not liberated. I do not know the reason or the motive for that. It is possible that Lord Carnarvon waited until after the result of the General Election to liberate the prisoners convicted of the serious offences of treason-felony and conspiracy to murder. I should not have blamed him for so doing, because I can understand that it might have seriously injured the prospects of the Conservative Party at the polls if just before the General Election they had liberated the prisoners convicted of such grave offences. Whatever was the cause, these men were not liberated. As the result of the Election Lord Carnarvon came to England, and as it was useless for him to expect to convince the majority of the Cabinet then upon the subject of Home Rule he gave up his Office, in that way acting as a high-minded and most honourable man. These men—and I say this for the information of the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary for Ireland—were considered by Lord Carnarvon—according to the statement made to my hon. Friend, whose name could be given if Lord Carnarvon desires it—innocent of this offence, and he had 339 made up his mind to liberate them; but from that day to this they have not been liberated. I think it is a terrible comment on English rule in Ireland that prisoners who were held to be innocent of the crime of which they were convicted by one Viceroy belonging to the Conservative Government should be kept in penal servitude by the next Viceroy. I want to say one word with reference to the county government of Ireland. It would appear from all we have heard that England is, but Ireland is not, to be given county government, because it would be used as an engine to resist the Coercion Act. All I have to say is this—that marks the very great advance that has been made by the Conservative Party in the downward course of coercion. They came into Office stating their determination to carry local government for the Irish counties pari passu, or almost so, with local government for the English counties. We now find that in little more than a year of Conservative rule in Ireland the condition of the country has become so bad that it is impossible to intrust the Irish counties with the right of levying rates for building bridges and making and repairing roads. I now turn to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour). It appears to me that he considers it sufficient excuse, whenever he is accused of excessive tyranny or maladministration in Ireland, to point to the Bench opposite and say—"You did the same thing, or worse, when you were in Office." When the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) complained of the excessive powers which have been given to the Resident Magistrates under the Crimes Act of last Session, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary thought it quite sufficient answer to say that the majority of these magistrates were appointed by Lord Spencer. That may be, but Lord Spencer appointed these President Magistrates to administer the Coercion Act, but there was an appeal in every case to the County Court Judge. A similar appeal was promised in the Crimes Act by the Chief Secretary, but the right hon. Gentleman either forgot or broke his word—you may choose which you like. When we were in Committee on the Bill he said—"There will 340 be an appeal in every case to the County Court." He also promised the House that if there should be any legal technicalities in connection with appeals to the County Courts, the Government would not object to give a right of appeal to a still higher tribunal. Well, we know that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, by means of the special Rule of Urgency, contrived to pass a great part of the Crimes Act without discussion, and in that way he got out of his promise. There was no right of appeal given at all in the case, except that which already existed, and in all the 540 cases in which convictions had been obtained in the first six months only 112 appeals had been given, or about 1 in 6.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRE-LAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
The number is 373.
§ MR. PARNELL
We have not the advantage of the statistics of the right hon. Gentleman; but I am certainly under the impression that the number is 540, collected from the newspapers.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Up to the end of the year the number was 373. Possibly the hon. Gentleman may be right up to the present time.
§ MR. PARNELL
The figures I have given comprise six months, which would be up to the 1st of February, but I am inclined to think that 540 is considerably under than over the mark up to this date. There have been only 112 appeals, but most of these appeals took place under the earlier working of the Coercion Act. It is only in cases of sentences over one month that appeals can be taken; but, under the ordinary-law, appeals can be made from the magistrate in cases of summary jurisdiction. During the first month or so it was the custom of the magistrate—probably they thought they were carrying out the wishes of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary—to inflict sentences exceeding one month, which carried appeals; but the right hon. Gentleman was not satisfied with that. He was not satisfied with breaking his pledge, or with the action of the magistrates in endeavouring to hold him to his pledge. He went to Birmingham and made a speech, which was certainly the most extraordinary speech which was ever made by a Minister in his position. The right hon. Gentleman appears to have 341 imbibed a little of the genius of the country. There is much in that speech reminding me of the story of a certain don of Trinity College, Dublin, who was passing by the pump of the College one day when he found an unfortunate bailiff surrounded by a number of students, who were pumping water upon him. He said to them—"Boys, boys, whatever you do, don't nail his ears to the pump. Of course, it is no business of mine to interfere, but it would be a terrible thing if you nailed his ears to the pump." I need not say the hint was taken. The bailiff's ears were nailed to the pump. But the right hon. Gentleman did not go so far as this in a negative direction. He said—I have been asked whether it would not have been an expedient thing if certain individuals, who have been guilty of undoubted breaches of the law, were not sentenced to less than a month, in order to prevent this scandal of men going about the country between the time of their condemnation and their appeal. The Executives has nothing to do"—like the gentleman at Trinity College—and ought to have nothing to do with the sentences passed. It would be a gross abuse of me to interfere and to tell the Judges or magistrates that we, the Executive, were of opinion"—plainly intimating his opinion—that such and such a sentence was or was not desirable. That is entirely beyond our province. We should consider ourselves guilty of a grave dereliction of duty if we did so.So the right hon. Gentleman went his way, satisfied that he had given the hint to his removable magistrates to nail the ears of this unfortunate man to the pump. Accordingly, since the speech, short sentences have been the rule. Amongst those who received short sentences to avoid appeal were Mr. Lane, M.P., Mr. E. Harrington, M.P., Father Matthew Ryan, and the newsvendor in Killarney. Alderman Hooper, M.P., it is true, was sentenced to two months' imprisonment; but there was no right of appeal, as there were two separate and cumulative terms. Then there was the case of Mr. David Sheehy, who was sentenced to three months and appealed; but, as he was leaving the Court, he was arrested, tried, and sentenced on another charge to one month, which prevented him from having the opportunity of appealing. He asked the magistrates to state a case on a month's sentence to the Superior Courts, but 342 they would not do so. The right hon. Gentleman, not content with having broken his promise, with having given this hint to his President Magistrates, commenced to make excuses, and retorted that the magistrates could state a case. But the matter being left to the discretion of removable magistrates, acting upon the speech of the Chief Secretary, I can but think that the promise of the right hon. Gentleman has been kept only to the ear. Well, now, Sir, I have dealt with this question of appeals. The only appeal that can be taken in Ireland in cases of sentences of a month is an appeal on a very narrow point of law to the Court of Exchequer; a matter which has only just been discovered, and which the right hon. Gentleman, apparently, had no idea of; but it is stated that in the forthcoming Judicature Act the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary intends to take away this right of appeal. Now, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has told us that his Coercion Act has largely reduced Boycotting, and somewhat reduced crime. The right hon. Gentleman might have given some credit to some other causes as well as to the Coercion Act. Does the right hon. Gentleman not admit that there has always been an intimate relation between agrarian crime in Ireland and evictions? Does he not remember that the leaseholders, numbering 120,000 heads of families, were admitted to the benefits of the Land Act, representing considerably more than half the rent roll of Ireland, probably two-thirds? Of course he will not admit that anything is due to English sympathy—a sympathy which has done wonders, worked miracles, changed the nature of the people, I would say, did I not know that their nature was good, and that nothing except the abominable treatment which the agricultural tenants and labourers have received at the hands of the Government of this country—the horrible sufferings and semi-starvation in which some of them have lived—would have caused the strained terms which have existed between them and their landlords. I might be excused if I were to say that a miracle had been wrought by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, and that not all the exasperation produced by the contemptible Coercion Act of the present Government has been sufficient to 343 counteract the effects of what had been done by the Liberal Party. If no other result were ever to follow, I think that those Liberal Members who cheerfully, in the summer of 1886, faced the loss of their seats—many did lose their seats—in following the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian in his great work of pacification, might feel themselves abundantly rewarded by the history of what has since happened in Ireland. We have these three great things working in the direction of pacification, quietude, and patience in Ireland, in addition to the Coercion Act of the right hon. Gentleman. I should have hoped that there would have been a still greater diminution of crime. There has been but a small diminution. Of course, there was not much crime at the commencement. But the right hon. Gentleman seems to imagine that Boycotting is his strong card, and that if he could show that Boycotting in Ireland is a very disgraceful thing in itself he will justify his administration of the Coercion Act by showing a reduction in Boycotting. Well, now, as regards the figures of Boycotting, I do not know how far we can trust them. These figures are compiled I know not by whom. The right hon. Gentleman told us in a speech the other night that Boycotting was a term of art. There is a good deal of room in the compilation of statistics for art. We cannot tell how far we can rely upon the figures of the right hon. Gentleman; how far what may seem to be Boycotting to an energetic sergeant of police when he knows the right hon. Gentleman wants his report is really Boycotting. And until we know what these individual cases are, until we have the names of the people who are Boycotted, and can thus test the accuracy of the right hon. Gentleman's figures, we must take a great many grains of salt in the consumption of his statistics. The right hon. Gentleman was most unfortunate in the examples which he gave us for the purpose of inducing the House of Commons last Session to pass the Coercion Act. We find they are all fraudulent. They would not hold water; and the right hon. Gentleman has now been equally unfortunate in the one example which he has given us of Boycotting. After the expiration of six months he has only one case of Boycotting to sub- 344 mit to the consideration of the House of Commons, and he has been equally unfortunate also in the case of Mrs. Connell. The right hon. Gentleman said he would give an example of the kind of Boycotting which the Government were dealing with now. He stated that an old woman named Connell, 80 years of age, was the neighbour of a man who took an evicted farm, and that for this crime she was rigidly Boycotted; she was nearly starved; she lay on her bed for three days at Christmas time almost in a state of starvation, and was saved from death by a certain Mrs. Moroney. The right hon. Gentleman introduced this woman as "a certain" woman of Samaria, who was never heard of before, and who came to the assistance of Mrs. Connell. Hannah Connell swore that on the day she went to the police court she had to go into the barrack because she was afraid of the people, and that, before going into the barrack, she went into several shops in order to purchase bread, and was refused food in every case. She also swore that one of the defendants, who used to supply her with bread, said that after the Boycotting she could get no further provisions there. The right hon. Gentleman found a parallel to this case in the Dublin parson who dismissed his curate. Now, what is the true story of Mrs. Connell? In the first place, she is only a little over 50 years of age—really the right hon. Gentleman will have to keep a travelling doctor to go round and examine his patients. Mr. Redmond, who defended the persons charged with Boycotting this old—or rather middle-aged—lady, writes that Mrs. Connell is not a decrepit old woman of 80, but an active and strong dame of about 50, and that she lived upon the charity of the people whom she now prosecutes until Mrs. Moroney took her under her wing. In order to get up the prosecutions Mrs. Moroney one day sent this women Connell into the town, over a mile off, to buy bread, which she—Mrs. Connell—was in the habit of getting from Mrs. Moroney's shop. Mrs. Connell offered no money at any shop where she asked for provisions. She was refused, but the shopkeepers said that she had never bought bread in their shops in her life. She told Mr. Redmond that she was starving; but, in point of fact, she had a "pit" of potatoes in her house, and she had all 345 she wanted from Mrs. Moroney. She was a disreputable woman, and in one of the cases she came more than half drunk up to the table. Now, who was this "certain Mrs. Moroney" of the right hon. Gentleman? I will give her history. She is the chief landowner in that district. In 1881, after the passing of the Land Act of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, nearly all her tenants, being leaseholders, were excluded from the benefits of that Act. Consequently she fell foul of these tenants; and after that she evicted a large number of them and plunged the whole district into a state of confusion and uproar as long ago as 1881. She has continued in that attitude from that time to the present. She was Boycotted. None of the shopkeepers of the town would supply her; but she was a woman of means, and she set up a shop and hotel of her own to provide provisions for the emergency men whom she brought down for the purpose of occupying the evicted farms. At the time when she sent out Mrs. Connell to these shops to get up a case of conspiracy to Boycott against the shopkeepers, she also sent out two of her old servants, William M'Keown and Henry Kelly. They went to shops to which they had never been before, in order—as Kelly admitted on oath—to make up a prosecution under the Crimes Act. Kelly further admitted, on oath in Court, that they knew they would be refused—they had not money to pay for one of the things they asked for. They asked for them in obedience to Mrs. Moroney, and they could procure all they wanted at her publichouse and general shop. Now, I think I have said enough to show the nature of the solitary example which the right hon. Gentleman has brought forward in order to show the horrible character of Boycotting. I could speak very strongly on this point, but I do not like to trust myself to do so. I think that possibly the right hon. Gentleman may have been deceived by his underlings as regards the character of the information supplied to him. But I do think he ought to be more careful before he undertakes in this House to take away the character of a nation, or of individuals, on such evidence as this. Well, now, Sir, I pass from the solitary and unfortunate example of this middle-aged lady, and I 346 return to the question of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. First of all I wish to say that I regret that the Government seem to have no idea of the gravity of the situation in Ireland. Things there are in a state of extreme tension. The people have been kept quiet by the causes I have mentioned. They have indulged in the strongest hope in the results of Parliamentary and Constitutional action. I think I am entitled to congratulate myself upon this fact. It is now 12 years since I first entered political life. At that time very few people in Ireland—not one in 10—believed in the efficacy of Parliamentary action. The Fenian Rebellion was only recently over, and the idea widely prevailed that revolution was the only means of securing justice to Ireland. All that is changed now. I asked my constituents to trust to Parliamentary action, promising them that we would not accept Office or become the slaves of any English Government. And the people have given us a trial, and they have now been largely admitted to the franchise. Now, the proportions are reversed, and nine out of 10 persons in Ireland believe in Parliamentary and Constitutional action. That is great progress to have made. I believe that that progress will not be undone—that the hands of the clock will not be put back by the puny attempts of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. The Irish people will still continue to laugh at his coercion, and to suffer what he has in store for them in the future with a cheerful heart, and with the assured conviction that their country is on the eve of prosperity and progress. I say I could have wished that the Government were more fully sensitive of the gravity of the situation. The prices of agricultural produce revived last November, and it has helped the tenants in endeavouring to pay their rents. The Irish tenant will pay his rent as long as he can. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Is that denied? Who denies it? Hon. Gentlemen are dumb. But, "all the king's horses and all the king's men" will not get them to pay when. They have not the money. You say that the agrarian question is the whole Irish Question. Why, then, in the name of common sense, do you not settle it? Your own Supporters from the North, of Ireland warned you last year of the 347 fatal consequences of acceding to the Amendments of the House of Lords. You have now a breathing-time. Why do you not take advantage of it? What do you propose to do when the three years are up—the period for which the judicial rents were abated? We do not hear anything more now of the gigantic scheme of land purchase. How are you going to settle the agrarian question? Are you going to depend upon the Plan of Campaign? That plan has certainly proved most signally successful; for, with one exception, on the 50 estates, or so, where it has been adopted, the landlords either have conceded, or are on the point of conceding, the demands of the tenants—and that exception is Lord Clanricarde. I should like to know from the Government how they are going to settle this Land Question. It is time for them to be settling the point. I am myself going to introduce a Land Bill; but it will be a very small Bill compared with some that have gone before, but that is because the Government have taken my Bill bit by bit, and now there is not much of it left. I hope that they will take the last bit of it now, and thus settle the Irish agrarian question. They will then see if they have settled the whole Irish Question. If the Government believe in their own statements they will settle the Land Question, and so settle the Irish Question. I pass now to the hard usage the Government have dealt out to Mr. Blunt as compared with their treatment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Bradford (Mr. Shaw Lefevre). Both Mr. Blunt and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Bradford went to Loughrea—both went to the Clanricarde estate. Both of them went on the eve of evictions that had either taken place or were about to take place, each stating that his object was Constitutional; yet, in the ease of Mr. Blunt, the meeting was proclaimed, and he was dragged about and sentenced to two months' hard labour, while the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Bradford has held a meeting for precisely similar objects and has escaped scot-free. Will the Government tell us upon what principle they acted in these two cases? The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, at Manchester, denied that a woman over 80 years and a child under 12 years had been 348 sent to prison under the Coercion Act. But such is the fact, nevertheless. They were sent to gaol—this old woman of 80 and this little girl of 12—for resisting several able-bodied men. In another case, the mother of a family of six children was sent to gaol in one week, and in the next the father of the same family—while the mother was still in gaol—was also convicted and sent to gaol. The right hon. Gentleman has said that he never sent little boys to prison for selling newspapers. That may be true; but that was because he could not catch them. He, however, sent a boy to gaol in Cork for refusing to sell a copy of United Ireland. A policeman wanted to buy a copy for the purpose of getting up a case against this itinerant seller of newspapers. The little boy was too sharp, and was not inclined to sell the policeman a newspaper, and he was forthwith taken off to prison. English readers, perhaps, do not know the character of many of the persons who have been convicted by the right hon. Gentleman. When he talks of criminals, they imagine some desperate persons similar to the criminals one is accustomed to meet with in the ordinary practice of the country. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary has prosecuted 12 Members of Parliament—since this Return was made out the number, I believe, has been increased—and has convicted 10. He has prosecuted nine Poor Law Guardians, all of whom have been convicted; three Town Councillors, all of whom have been convicted; four clergymen, two of whom have been convicted; 14 boys, nine of whom have been convicted; 38 girls, one under 12 years of age and one under 14, of whom 23 were convicted; and two old women over 70 years of age, both of whom were convicted. The right hon. Gentleman asked, if Resident Magistrates were appointed in London, why they should not be appointed in Dublin? The answer is, that they administer a very different law in London to what they do in Ireland. That is the evident answer, and I wonder he did not have it in his mind before he asked the question. But there is one significant matter about these Resident Magistrates to which I should like to call attention. The Resident Magistrates who have been most notorious for their partizanship and disregard of the decencies of the judgment seat 349 have been selected to try the great majority of the case a under the Crimes Act. Take the case of Cecil Roche, who, I believe, was not appointed by Lord Spencer. He has tried twice as many cases as any other Resident Magistrate, and has probably imprisoned about 150 people. One of his favourite occupations when he has no work to do on the Bench is to take a big stick in his hand and swagger up and down in front of the Court House. If he sees people gathering together in little crowds he turns the police on them. He will order some to be taken into custody, and will then sentence them. He was a briefless barrister, and was also a paid lecturer of the Irish Loyal and Patriotic League. It has been frequently stated—and it has not been denied by Mr. Roche—that at one meeting in England he used the words of an American gentleman to the effect that—"The loyal minority would fight against Home Rule till Hell was frozen over, and that they would then fight it out on the ice outside." At a meeting held at Dingle, in Kerry, a short time ago, he said that if the people did not behave themselves he could be wired for, and he would come immediately and keep them in order. Mr. Dillon, another President Magistrate, had a judgment summons out against him for £2,000 the very day he sentenced Mr. Blunt. Captain Stokes, who tried the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien), and arrested him in the Appeal Court without a warrant, despite the order of the Recorder that he should not be arrested, has, I am informed, been promoted to the office of Divisional Magistrate. Captain Seagrave, another President Magistrate, said, in cross-examination, that he had been in that office about a year; that he had had no legal training; that he got his military training in South Africa; that he had never held a commission in the Home Army, and that he had tried and failed; and that he did not know in what Statute the Riot Act was unless he consulted a paper in his pocket. I have been a little more fortunate in my examples of Crimes Act magistrates than the right hon. Gentleman was in his examples of Boycotted old women. There is one other thing that I must draw attention to before I sit down, and that is the treatment of these political prisoners, because if they are not political prisoners they are 350 nothing. It is useless for the Government to say that these men are criminals. That plea has been urged by every tyrant in excuse for his tortures to his political opponents; and it will not avail the right hon. Gentleman now any more than it availed his Predecessors, or any of those infamous characters in ancient history who did not draw the line between political and other prisoners. The right hon. Gentleman has said that it is not for him to draw a distinction between gentlemen and men who are not gentlemen. Nobody asked him to draw such a distinction. But we have insisted, and we shall continue to insist, upon a distinction being drawn between political and other offences. The great majority of the cases tried in Ireland under the summary jurisdiction clauses of the Crimes Act have not been cases of crimes, but of open and advised speaking, of publishing newspapers, and of editing newspapers. Can anything be meaner than the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman in regard to the proceedings against the foreman printer of The Cork Examiner? He was tried under the Crimes Act for printing and publishing accounts of the meetings of suppressed branches of the National League. The right hon. Gentleman says that he will make no distinction between gentlemen and persons who are not gentlemen. Now, I charge the right hon. Gentleman that he distinctly shrank from prosecuting the editor or the acting editor of that paper, because he was a supporter of many of the right hon. Gentleman's friends in Cork, and he selected for prosecution the foreman printer, who had no more control over the policy of the paper than I have. Neither the editor, Mr. Crosbie, nor his son, the acting editor, was prosecuted, but the right hon. Gentleman put his hand upon the foreman printer, who had nothing to do with anything but the machinery of the paper, and sent him to gaol. Well, that is one example of the right hon. Gentleman's discrimination between gentlemen and men who are not. Now I take the case of the newsvendors. I think the attack of the right hon. Gentleman on the news-vendors is particularly atrocious. Of course, from the right hon. Gentleman's point of view, he is consistent in attacking men like my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cork—the editor of United Ireland—and others, but he flies 351 in the face of all his declarations when he takes up men who are earning their bread by selling National newspapers, and deprives them of their living. Here I think that some line should be drawn, and that if you think it necessary to go at the leaders of the National movement, at least you should have the decency to refrain from attacking men and women who cannot be responsible for the policy of the paper. Of course, the object of the right hon. Gentleman is to destroy the circulation of the newspapers; but he is afraid of attacking them at headquarters, because then he would be said to be interfering with the liberty and freedom of the Press. But he thinks that by attacking the vendors, the little boys who sell the papers, he will stop their circulation as effectually as if he stepped into the printing office. That is not an English proceeding. The late Mr. Forster was a strong and able man, and he dealt heavy blows against the National League. The right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary talks of suppressing the National League in certain districts. "Well, Sir, these suppressed branches are holding thousands of meetings, and a more contemptible exhibition of impotence than that of the right hon. Gentleman was never seen. The late Mr. Forster suppressed the Land League throughout the whole of Ireland at one stroke of his pen. He struck down the League in a night, and no branch of the Land League dared to hold a meeting from the time it was proclaimed. Well, there was a man. But the meetings of the suppressed branches of the National League are held just as if nothing had happened, as if the right hon. Gentleman was not in existence at all. There is as much difference between the administration of the right hon. Gentleman and that of Mr. Forster as between the scratch of a cat and a blow from the paw of the British hon. Now, I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will, for the future, be a little more straightforward and a little more English—though, as he happens to be a Scotchman, I will say a little more Scotch—in his conduct. If he wants to suppress newspapers, let him suppress them; but let him not proceed against little boys and girls trying to earn a few pence, or against foremen printers, while he shrinks from proceeding against gentlemen merely because 352 they happen to be friends of his own supporters. That is not a method of administration which will gain him respect even from his own supporters, from his political opponents, or from the people of this country. In conclusion, I have only to say that I look with confidence to the future. Much as I am troubled about the irritation—the frightful irritation—which exists against the right hon. Gentleman, and his administration, and his neglect in appreciating the wants of the Irish tenants, I believe that, some way or other, we shall be able to manage to pull things through in such a way as to save the tenants from eviction in large numbers, and to avoid staining our cause or disgracing our English friends by acts of crime and blood. I am sure our people will be patient in the confident hope that in the near future they will see the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian in his rightful place, and coming forward with another great measure of peace and tranquillity for Ireland. I beg to move an Amendment to the Address, in lieu of paragraphs 10 and 11.
To leave out paragraphs ten and eleven, in order to insert the words—"Humbly to represent to Her Majesty that the portion of the Irish legislation of last Session, which was of an ameliorative character, has tended to diminish agrarian crime, whereas the repressive legislation of the Session has done much to alienate the sympathy and respect of Her Majesty's Irish subjects for the law; and that the administration of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, as well as much of the action of the Executive in Ireland, has been harsh, partial, and mischievous."—(Mr. Parnell.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. MADDEN) (Dublin University)
Mr. Speaker, I listened with the closest attention to the speech of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell), in order that I might fully appreciate the grounds on which he presents his Amendment to the House, and I am sure I may ask with confidence the indulgence of the House while I lay my views before it with reference to the speech of the hon. Member. The first observation I have to make is that the greater portion of the speech of the hon. Member has had little or no reference to the 353 Amendment before the House; and my second observation is that, having regard to the serious nature of the charge which has been put upon the Paper against the administration of law and order in Ireland, the instances which he alleged against it are trivial in the extreme. I shall go through in detail the instances given by the hon. Member; but I should have expected, I am bound to say, that some more great and signal instances of the "harsh, partial, and mischievous" administration of the Criminal Law in Ireland would have been laid before the House. Before I proceed to the question of the administration of law and order, I must say one word about an important admission in the speech of the hon. Member. He admits that the legislation of last Session, which he also agreed was of an ameliorative character, has tended to diminish agrarian crime in Ireland. Now, Sir, that is an admission of improvement in the state of Ireland, and it is an admission that the improvement is due to the policy of the Government in some degree at least. The ameliorative legislation of last Session is the legislation of the present Government, and that, it is admitted, has tended to diminish agrarian crime. I think the country is to be congratulated on the admission of its improved condition, and the Government is also to be congratulated on the admission that some portion at least of the improvement is due to their policy, and that it has had the effect desired. I must also congratulate the hon. Member upon his conversion to those views; because there is a great difference between what he says now and what he said last year, when the Land Bill was about to become law. In that speech the hon. Member said—Two hundred thousand tenants have been looking with some hopes to the proceedings in connection with this Bill. They will be bitterly disappointed, and will learn to trust those persons who told them not to look to Parliament for redress, but to look to methods outside the law and outside the Constitution, which, in the long run, have been the only arguments that Parliament have ever listened to."—(3 Hansard,  1021.)Now, the hon. Gentleman admits that the Bill has had an ameliorating effect, and I cannot help remarking that that effect might have been greater if the hon. Member had used then the language he uses now. Now, Sir, the ad- 354 ministration of the law has been arraigned. It was arraigned in a speech on the Address to Her Majesty by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone). The Government does not shrink from a full and strict inquiry into its administration of the Crimes Act. It is the right of Parliament to examine the action of the Executive, and when the Executive applies for additional powers to Parliament it may be fairly called upon to give a full and particular account of its administration of those powers, and that account we are prepared to give. But in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian a charge was brought against the Government of so grave and sweeping a character that it is impossible to exaggerate its importance. That charge was no less I than this—that, having obtained an Act I for the repression of crime, they used I that Act not against crime, but against combinations perfectly lawful. A graver accusation could not have been brought against the administration of the law. How is it borne out? The right hon. Gentleman in his speech used these words—I am sorry to say the first suggestion is that our assertions of last year are verified that the Act was not an Act aimed at crime; it was an Act aimed at combination as apart from crime—combination which did not, to use the expression of the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (Colonel Duncan), fatally blossom into crime—which did not develop itself in crime, and even that allegation of ours which was so much contested and which was treated as almost ridiculous is verified; that not even combination was the sole object of the Act, but that exclusive dealing by Irish Nationalists was to be made a punishable offence. I am bound to say that it appears to me that, as far as I have read the accounts of some of these convictions, the simple act of exclusive dealing by an individual has been made a crime.A graver accusation could not be brought against the administration of the law; and how has it been borne out? I ask, Sir, this question, what are the two combinations against which this Act is practically directed? They are, in the first place, that combination known as Boycotting; and, secondly, the Plan of Campaign. I will not take up the time of the House by arguing that the conspiracy known as Boycotting is a criminal conspiracy; it has been held so by the Judges of the land, and the right hon. 355 Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, when he was responsible for the government of Ireland, in 1882, was of the same opinion. I will not quote his definition of Boycotting; but I will quote what I do not think has been so often quoted. The right hon. Gentleman said—I may have said, and I say now, that I have a perfect right to deal with one man rather than another, and even to tell people that I am doing so. But that has nothing to do with the combined intimidation exercised for the purpose of inflicting ruin and driving men to do what they do not want to do, and preventing them from doing what they have a right to do.There we have the distinction drawn between the exclusive dealing which is lawful, and that which he now calls exclusive dealing. It cannot be said that Boycotting is different now from what it then was. Sir, I will read a passage from a speech reported in The Cork Daily Herald of February 9, 1888, containing a definition of strict and most rigid Boycotting—We put the most rigid Boycott on Cremin in every other walk of life. We deal with no one who supplies him with goods. Whoever works for Cremin must work for him alone. Whoever associates with Cremin must have him for his sole companion, and this not for a spurt of a month or two, but until Cremin throws up the farm he has grabbed, and makes ample compensation to the boys against whom he has falsely sworn.Boycotting is now what it was before; it is a criminal conspiracy, as it was then, to be put down by the law; and why is it now to be called merely exclusive dealing, and compared to a mere quarrel between a rector and his curate, and to other cases of exclusive dealing, some of which may have been matters of bad taste, not one of which approached to crime? What is the other combination against which this Act has been directed? It is the conspiracy known as the Plan of Campaign. What is the Plan of Campaign? The Plan of Campaign is a combination among the tenants of an estate to this effect—"We will hold our farms, and, holding them, we will ourselves dictate the rent; we will pay a portion of the rent measured by ourselves to our own agents, not to yours, who will transfer it to you if you choose to accept it, and, if not, we will fight you to the last extremity with your own money—all the while, remember, hold- 356 ing our farms against you." Will any lawyer with a sense of responsibility stand up in this House and say that a combination for this purpose is not a criminal conspiracy? We have not had a definition of it from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, because it had not been invented when he was responsible for the government of Ireland, or, no doubt, we should have had one. But, in the absence of that definition, we have something to go upon. This conspiracy has come before the Judges of the land, and one of them on the Queen's Bench has declared that it is clearly, distinctly, and absolutely illegal, and that no doubt whatever can be entertained on the subject. This is the second combination against which this Act was directed. Does the right hon. Gentleman mean, by crime, outrage and murder? In 1882 he spoke of such crimes as being the sanction of Boycotting, and so now they may be described as the sanction of the Plan of Campaign. But, Sir, it is not a question of whether they lead to outrage or murder—the combinations are themselves crime. It does not matter whether they lead to the other crimes of outrage and murder; they themselves are criminal, and every man who engages in them is guilty of an offence against the ordinary Criminal Law of the country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley), who was recently Chief Secretary for Ireland, said that the two coercive conspiracies are, in his opinion, lawful combinations; but I confront him with the opinion of his Leader the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian as to the one, and the opinion of the Judges as to the other. I am not going to re-open the question as to the suppression of certain branches of the National League. I will only point out that it was suppressed in those districts only where it was shown to the satisfaction of the House of Commons that its operation was to encourage those two illegal conspiracies of Boycotting and the Plan of Campaign. Therefore, in so far as it has been interfered with by the Government, it has come into precisely the same category of inciting to unlawful acts and unlawful conspiracies. What, then, becomes of the statement that the administration of the Crimes Act has been directed against what is not crime, 357 but against political opponents? Is it suggested that it has been so administered as to convict innocent persons and acquit the guilty? [An hon. MEMBER: Yes.] I suppose that is the meaning of the attack on the tribunals by whom the Act is administered. When we refer to the tribunals created by the Act of 1882, our argument is described as the tu quoque argument, or the argumentum ad hominem. But it is really much more. When the Bill of 1882 was introduced, the then Chief Secretary, the right hon. Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan), adopted exactly the same tribunals for exactly the same duties, and declared that it was a remedy for the worst of all evils; and after that Bill was passed, credit was claimed for its efficient working. After that Act had been working for years, I should like to know when it was discovered by the right hon. Gentleman that his tribunals were not fit to try these cases? When did the Government of that day announce that discovery? On the contrary, they took credit for the work done by these tribunals. Now, as to the President Magistrates upon whom the present attack has been made. There are 73 in all, and, of the 73, 60 were appointed by Lord Spencer, or retained by him when he revised the list. Under the Act of 1882 one member of the Court must be certified as having legal knowledge. Thirty of these gentlemen are now certified; 20 were so certified by Lord Spencer, and of the other 10, three are practising barristers. It has been suggested in this debate that before these tribunals a trial and a conviction are very much the same thing; but, whereas up to the end of 1887 there were 659 trials, I find there were only 373 convictions. With reference to the question of appeals, the statement was made, no donbt inadvertently, by the hon. Member for Cork City, that under the Act of 1880 there was an appeal in every case, whereas, under the present Act, the appeal is only the same as in ordinary Petty Sessions cases. Well, the fact is that the provision in the Act of 1882 is identical with the provision in this Act. And therefore, if the right hon. Gentleman's references to what occurred in the House are not more accurate than his references to the Act of 1882, his case as to appeals is a very poor one. I find in 358 the speech of the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, as reported in The Times, this passage—One need not be a lawyer to understand that there is no class of cases so delicate, so important, requiring such nicety and precision of legal training, as cases turning on the effect of words in an Act of Parliament or the construction of those words.The right hon. Gentleman was thus contemplating the decision by the Resident Magistrates of legal questions. Then the hon. Member for Cork City has said that it was within the discretion of magistrates whether they should state a case. That is not so. The complaint of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne is that the decision of legal questions must rest with Resident Magistrates. The fact is that, no matter whether the sentence is one month or six months, the prisoner has the right to have a case stated for the Superior Court, unless the magistrates should consider his appeal to be frivolous. But even in that case, if it can be shown to the Superior Court that the application is not frivolous, a case must be stated. Now, a large number of appeals have been taken from the decisions of the President Magistrates, and I think it is overlooked in this discussion what has been the result of those appeals. Those appeals go to the County Court Judges, who have nothing to hope or to fear from the Government. Up to the end of last year—and I am aware of no case since—the result has been that only one single case has been reversed by the County Court Judges. In the case which was reversed, additional evidence was produced which was not before the Court below. Thus the decisions of the removable magistrates have been confirmed by irremovable magistrates in every case except the one I have quoted. Reference has been made in the course of the debate to a case in which it was said that the Court of Exchequer reversed the decision of some magistrates at Killarney. I will state the precise reason why the Court of Exchequer reversed that decision. There was a prosecution against, I think, five persons for Boycotting. Evidence was given by Mrs. Curtin, whose name is well known to the House, in one case only; but that evidence had not been formally given, as against each of those persons. It bad only been taken against one of 359 them, and the learned Chief Baron of the Exchequer admitted that if the evidence of Boycotting had been given in all the cases as it could have been given by Mrs. Curtin, the matter being personal to herself, the convictions would have been good. The decision was reversed because the evidence heard orally before the magistrates was not taken down in writing in each case, and therefore was not available for the prosecution in the case before the Court of Exchequer. I now pass to instances quoted by the hon. Member for Cork City (Mr. Parnell). He referred to one case of the Boycotting of a tenant farmer (Connell), which the Chief Secretary had mentioned. The hon. Member's statement of the case differed from that of the Chief Secretary, but the latter stated the view of the facts which was adopted by the magistrates who tried the case. The persons charged, having been sentenced to three months' imprisonment, of course have a right of appeal. We may, therefore, fairly suspend our judment on the conflicting statements of the case until the appeal has been decided. The next case to which the hon. Gentleman referred was that of Mr. Blunt. He asked why Mr. Blunt was treated so differently from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Shaw Lefevre). Well, has the House before it the circumstances in which the meeting of October was held at Woodford? That meeting was a continuation of a meeting held on a previous occasion. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Why, only to-day I saw in the papers a reference to the meeting of October 16 as a preliminary meeting. That torchlight meeting, at which the Proclamation in Her Majesty's name was burnt, was a preliminary to Mr. Blunt's meeting of October 23. It is evident that a meeting may, in certain circumstances, be permitted, when a similar meeting in other circumstances would be unlawful in the same place. Then the hon. Member made an attack upon Mr. Cecil Roche. I think it was ungenerous to describe Mr. Roche as a briefless barrister, and to refer to some old platform utterances of his. That gentleman was appointed by Earl Spencer to the very responsible post of Sub-Commissioner under the Land Act. [Laughter from the Irish Members.] Surely the position of Sub-Commissioner 360 is a position of responsibility; and I have no doubt Earl Spencer selected him for his merits, and I think he made an uncommonly good selection. It was somewhat ungenerous to refer to language which Mr. Roche used upon the hustings long ago; I dare say even hon. Members below the Gangway opposite have occasionally used strong language of this kind. I could understand the reference if the language had been used after his appointment to a judicial position; but to rake up circumstances in which strong language was said to have been used at a former time, in order to attack Mr. Roche's character, is certainly ungenerous. The hon. Member was also ungenerous to another gentleman to whom he referred. The only fact alleged against this person is that judgment was once entered against him. To suggest that a gentleman is necessarily unfit to act as a magistrate because a judgment has been entered against him is an argument which will commend itself to very few. As to Captain Seagrave, the hon. Member is under a misapprehension. He stated that Captain Seagrave was supposed to have been selected for his legal knowledge, but that was not the case. The only accusation brought by the hon. Member against Captain Stokes was based upon his detention of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien) at the close of his trial. The hon. Member's appeal having been dismissed, he reverted to his original position of prisoner under sentence; and it cannot be contended that a prisoner is to be allowed to walk out of Court pending the preparation of a warrant. Therefore, Captain Stokes was perfectly justified in arresting Mr. O'Brien directly his appeal had been refused.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
The Recorder said Mr. O'Brien was perfectly at liberty to leave the Court.
§ MR. MADDEN
My recollection is that he said—as far as he was concerned. He had nothing more to do with the matter. Another of the trivial cases which have been brought forward to sustain the heavy charge of the hon. Member for Cork City is that of the foreman printer of The Cork Examiner, who, it is alleged, was prosecuted instead of another person. I am informed that the man who was prosecuted was the only person whose name 361 appeared upon the register as proprietor of the newspaper, and the only person against whom proceedings could be taken. With reference to the observations made about newsvendors, I have to say that no newsvendor has been arrested or prosecuted until fully cautioned; that these prosecutions have only been instituted in the counties of Kerry and Clare, where the dissemination of the principles contained in certain newspapers was especially dangerous; and further, that no one has ever been punished for selling the newspapers without being given the option of undertaking not to repeat the offence. I submit that these prosecutions furnish no evidence of a harsh or partial administration of the law. I have some figures which supply a complete demolition of the suggestions that have been made; they are an analysis of a Return of the offences for which 373 persons were convicted under the Crimes Act in 1887. The numbers are—35 cases of intimidation, 100 riot and unlawful assembly, 19 criminal conspiracy, 18 taking forcible possession, 175 resisting and assaulting constables or bailiffs, 7 for inciting to such offences, and 19 for publishing illegal notices of suppressed branches of the National League. Will anyone say that these persons were convicted for acts unconnected with crime? Is there any foundation at all for the suggestion that has been made, that this Act has been put into force against persons who were merely partakers in lawful combinations as distinct from crime? I have gone through the cases referred to by the hon. Member, and I submit that the result of the investigation of the working of the Crimes Act has been to confirm the view that it has been wisely and temperately administered, and administered absolutely without distinction of persons.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Sir George Trevelyan,)—put, and agreed to.
§ Debate adjourned till To-morrow.