§ SIR GEORGE TREVELYAN (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
I rise, Sir, as early as possible in the debate to accept my share of the challenge which was thrown out by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland that we have an objection to criticize the Government in a place where we could be answered. It was certainly a taunt for which he had no ground up to that moment. It was to save the time of the House that we forebore from discussing the Irish Question at large on the Address. We thought we had the sense of the House with us—and I am bound to say I think we had the approbation of the Leader of the House—when we determined to defer our remarks about Ireland until there was an Amendment before the House which clearly raised the difference between the Government and their critics. We now have such an Amendment, and I hope that I, at any rate, shall be able to clear myself of having said anything outside the House which I am afraid to say within it. The right hon. Gentleman referred to our having spoken—I am not sure of his exact words—before excited audiences. Now, we are not responsible for our audiences; but we are responsible for the things we say to them; and not once or twice, but a dozen times, I, for my own part, have said that the Criminal Law Amendment Act and the manner in which it was worked was one-sided, misdirected, and out of sympathy with the great majority of the people of Ireland; that that Act has done little to suppress crime, but a great deal to alienate, and I think lately even to shock, public opinion; and especially that there was no sign that it was settling and pacifying the country, if to settle and pacify the country be to make the country acquiesce in the system of government that at present exists. I repeat those statements now. The Solicitor General for Ireland yesterday said that I, as Secretary for Ireland, spoke of the Crimes Bill of 1882 as a remedy for the worst of all evils, and that I claimed credit for its efficient working. If by "the worst of all evils" the hon. and learned Member meant crime actually committed, then I think that 386 in the state in which Ireland was, that Act was an efficient remedy. I thought so then, and I think so now, and it is by the standard of that Act and its results that I wish to judge whether or not the coercive policy of the Government has succeeded, as the Government claim, or not. With regard to the statistics of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, upon which he bases his claim, the right hon. Gentleman may remember that I had no opportunity of debating the Crimes Bill last Session in this House; but I wrote a letter to the newspapers which attracted a certain amount of attention, and I confined myself to the limited question of the difference between the main provisions of that Bill and the Act of 1882, and I predicted, and I think with some justice, that there would be a difference in the spirit in which the two Acts would be worked. Now, I will take the effect of these Acts exactly in the form in which the right hon. Gentleman proposed to the House to look at them. He takes the six months which include January, 1887, as a test of the state of things before his Act was passed, and he shows that 495 agrarian crimes were committed during that period. Then he takes as a test of the success of the Act the six months which include January, 1888, and shows that 364 agrarian crimes were committed during that period, and he says that there is a diminution of 26 per cent. Now, with regard to our own Act, I will take the six months which included January, 1882. During that time there were 2,903 agrarian crimes, or nearly six times the amount which the right hon. Gentleman found in Ireland. I will then take the six months which include January, 1883—that is to say, the first six months of the operation of our Bill—and I find that the outrages in these six months had fallen to 698; that is to say, less than twice as much as those to which the Act of the present Government has reduced them, so that our Act reduced outrages by more than 75 per cent in the period in which the Bill of the Government has reduced outrages by 26 per cent, and that in the period which the Government wishes to have taken as a test.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
It has been three times stated that I have put forward these statistics as the 387 test of the working of the Act. I have over and over again said that it was not the real test.
§ SIR GEORGE TREVELYAN
I quite agree that figures are not everything; but obviously this was one of his tests, and it was the test to which he specially referred. This result does not, I think, justify the satisfaction of the Government; but it justifies a comparison between the two Bills. The right hon. Gentleman says that our Government proceeded against three and a-half persons in the case of every agrarian crime, which was decidedly more than in the case of his Government. Now, I do not quite understand this calculation, because if we take the larger number of agrarian outrages we had to combat and apply that calculation, we should have had to proceed against about 10,000 people; while, if we take the smaller number, we should have had to proceed against about 2,400. I have a note taken at the Irish Office, by which it appears that we proceeded against 1,218 people; but I have no doubt that there is some discrepancy which the right hon. Gentleman can explain. I do not, however, care, because the question is not how many people we proceeded against, but whether we were proceeding against the right people. My main objection to the Bill of last year was that it contained a clause directed against unlawful associations, and that that clause was so drawn as to include the National League. The Act of 1882 had, also, a clause against unlawful associations specially framed to exclude such organizations as the National League, but to include such organizations as the Invincibles and the worst form of Ribbon Societies. Now, under this Bill, which has reduced real crime only by one-fourth, a very great number of persons have been punished for taking part in proceedings which were not unlawful before the Bill was passed. Under the Bill of 1882, which in six months reduced crime, not by one-fourth, but to one-fourth, of what it had been, how many people does the House think were punished for taking part in an unlawful association? According to the notes which I collected when I was Irish Secretary, during those six months only one person was punished. But the right hon. Gentleman will most rightly say 388 that we had the 10th clause, under which we could prohibit meetings, and that his only power of prohibiting meetings, besides the very dubious one of forbidding them by Proclamation, is to proceed under the clause as to unlawful association. I will take that clause likewise; and I find that under the 10th section we proceeded against 16 persons. So that in the process of reducing real crimes from 2,900 to 700 there were 17 persons proceeded against in Ireland for taking part in associations and for attending meetings; but in the process of reducing crime from 490 to 360 the Government have placed in prison an enormous multitude of people, as I will show, solely for taking part in the work of associations and for attending meetings. Why, 19 people have been punished for publishing proceedings of suppressed meetings of the National League; and for that single new crime more people were punished in six months than we punished under the Bill of 1882 for all political crimes whatever. Now, there is a statement which I and others made outside Parliament which has been very much challenged, and that is that the Bill created a new crime. Now, I am no lawyer; but I have been brought into contact with a very unpleasant side of the Criminal Law largely, and I know perfectly well that when you can, and do, punish people for something you could not punish them for before you must have created a new crime. I have in my hand a list, not of unknown persons, but of Members of Parliament, in prison, I find that Mr. T. D. Sullivan, ex-Lord Mayor of Dublin, was punished with imprisonment for two months for publishing in The Nation reports of meetings of Irish branches of the National League; that Mr. Alderman Hooper, one of the Members for Cork, had two months for publishing reports of suppressed branches; that the Secretary of the National League, Mr. T. Harrington, was sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment for publishing in The Kerry Sentinel reports of suppressed meetings; Mr. E. Harrington to one month for a similar offence; and Mr. Cox to four months for—I think I am correct in saying— inciting people to join an unlawful assembly which is called the National League; and the principal evidence, so far as I can make out, for that crime, which I am very much inclined to think 389 he did commit, was that he was stated to have said that he hoped soon to be a paying member of the League. He has paid pretty dearly; but, on the whole, I think, not too high a price, because these are cases which will do more than anything else to bring about the settlement of the Irish difficulty. The Government of my right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) reduced crime by 2,200 in six months, and only imprisoned one Member of Parliament during that time; but now we have 12 Members of Parliament who are either imprisoned, or as good as imprisoned, during six months in which real crime has been diminished by the infinitesimal number of 120 or 130. But it is not only the case of Members of Parliament. Men are punished for printing these reports and for hawking them about the streets. Men are taken to prison literally in droves under circumstances which throw the most remarkable light upon the list of crimes which figured large in the end of the hon. and learned Member's speech last night—a list of crimes which, when I come to examine them, appear very much less criminal than they did before. There were about 370 persons convicted, and of these 275 were convicted for unlawful assembly, rioting, and resisting the police. Here is a statement of one of those crimes. A National League meeting was held in the house of a priest. The evidence of the main crime is that men known to belong to the National League were seen going to the house. Two of the police went into an outhouse and heard people talking loudly. There were several men playing at football in a neighbouring field. They gathered round the police, hooted them, groaned at and pushed them away, possibly with violence. A number of them were tried and sentenced to 14 days' imprisonment, and they were taken off in pairs handcuffed. The magistrate said he—Considered the defendants were guilty of unlawfully assembling, but that they had no intention, in the first instance, of interfering with the police. The district had been very peaceable for a long time.Now, I am not going to blame the magistrate; it was his business, I should think, to convict them. They had to be punished; but they were punished because in a district which had been peaceable for a long time the National League 390 was forbidden to assemble. If ever there was a case of sin coming by the law this was a case. Six months ago, I earnestly warned the Government not to proclaim the National League. At Kanturk, nine men were charged with attending a meeting of the National League. There were no aggravating circumstances at all. It was a meeting with closed doors of an association which was legal before this Act passed. But the Resident Magistrate said—There was not a shadow of doubt that there was a meeting of a branch of the National League, and that the defendants attended,and five of them were sentenced to two months' imprisonment. Now, my belief is that when these statistics come to be examined it will be found that the enormous majority of cases are caused by the fact that the National League has been proclaimed, which it was not before this Act passed; and if that is not the creation of a new crime, if it is necessary that every sound lawyer should say that no crime had been created— well, there are some of us here who may console ourselves for not being lawyers. On this point I would rather put what I have to say in the form of legal phraseology, and I happily have the means of doing so. On Friday last, Chief Baron Palles and Mr. Justice Andrews sat on a question as to the validity of the conviction of the proprietor of The Wexford People, which was argued on a case stated by the Resident Magistrates. The Lord Chief Baron asked if counsel proposed to argue whether the 7th section created a now crime or not. Mr. Carson said he did not. The Chief Baron said—I think it is important there should be an argument in this matter. The publication of a meeting of the Irish Land League "—he means the National League—with the view of promoting its objects would be an offence at Common Law independently of the 7th section, provided the Irish Land League was at Common Law an illegal association. But it becomes a crime under the 7th section whether the Land League is or is not at Common Law an illegal association, so that in that sense, in my opinion, it creates a new crime. The section prevents a person from saying in Court that the association referred to is not an illegal association, and in that sense does it not make a new crime?Now, I do not for a moment mean to say that this will be the ultimate opinion of Chief Baron Palles—it would be hardly respectful to say so—but it puts happily into legal phraseology an opinion 391 which is largely held on this side of the House; and when we consider that the enormous number of persons who have been punished criminally in Ireland have been punished in consequence of the creation by the Act of a crime which was not a crime before, and which never, in our opinion, ought to have been made so, then I think that the Solicitor General for Ireland is not justified in saying that the objections of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) to the administration of the Act were "trivial in the extreme." We are told yon cannot properly punish poor men who commit crime, unless you punish those whose speeches encourage the opinions and feelings which make them commit crime. I see the Lord Advocate present, and he recently said—You ought not to make too much of treating Members of Parliament as ordinary prisoners, when the victims of their speeches are treated in the same manner.That is a common doctrine and a very plausible one, but it is one of the most dangerous doctrines that could be laid down. As to crime, there is no doubt about the nature of the Act, and there is generally no doubt as to the fact that a crime has been committed; but if you punish speeches on the ground that they lead to crime, you bring in a serious thing. You bring in private judgment as to whether the speech leads to crime; you bring in political prejudice, Party animosity, and a number of things that ought to be kept out of criminal jurisdiction. When a Government shows that it is punishing men for having made speeches leading to crime, then it is landed among some of the most melancholy deeds in history. What was it but this principle carried to an extreme which led to the execution of Gordon in Jamaica; and on our own soil what was it that led to the terrible and cruel persecutions in England and Scotland in 1793 and 1794, except that certain speeches were made at certain meetings? To this day those poor men are called martyrs. Those were the cases of which Mr. Fox said that it was difficult to think of such things calmly when you were alone, much less to discuss them calmly in public. I venture to say that those words were not at all too strong to express the sickening feeling which many have felt at the imprisonment beginning to be inflicted in such multi- 392 tude and in such magnitude upon the Representatives of Ireland. The late Lord Mayor of Dublin (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) and the Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin (Mr. T. C. Harrington) had been Parliamentary Colleagues of hon. Gentlemen opposite for many years, and they had been their Colleagues with the knowledge of everybody that they were members of the National League. They voted with them in the same Lobby; they were spoken to courteously by right hon. Gentlemen opposite, spoken to often even move than courteously. Now, all of a sudden, you tell them that all along they have been committing crime for which they have to be punished. It is a still more serious thing when right hon. Gentlemen take refuge in what I cannot but regard as a pretext that they have been encouraging crime. Now, we all of us view the outbreak of crime with regret—the Gentlemen of whom I spoke view the outbreak of crime with positive dismay. It is a shame to their country, a shame to their cause. It certainly would postpone the triumph of that cause, and perhaps ruin it altogether. I believe there is no man who, since the day the Coercion Bill was passed, has worked harder to discourage crime than the Secretary of the National League. No one who listened to the speech which he made last year on the proclamation of the National League will fail to remember how eloquent and how earnest he was in deprecating crime. What the hon. Member said he sincerely felt. No one who listened to the speech could doubt it, and even the Chief Secretary for Ireland acknowledged that, whatever their motives, the denunciations of Irish Members had done much to diminish crime. The right hon. Gentleman declared that the National League could make crime smaller in amount by exerting itself, and that it did so.
§ SIR GEORGE TREVELYAN
Yes; larger. The power of Mr. Harrington was admitted by the Chief Secretary, and I ask is it right that you should cut off these Leaders of the Irish people, thereby in the long run incurring the danger of driving many of the Irish people back to the guidance of desperate secret societies? I have been charged with saying that the inhabitants of no 393 other country in the world except Ireland can be arrested on English soil for a crime that is political and nothing else. I repeat that here. An English-man cannot be arrested on English soil for such a crime; it does not exist by English law. A European foreigner cannot be arrested, because the Royal Commission of 1878 on the Extradition of Criminals—a Commission which included Lord Selborne, Lord Blackburn, Lord Chief Justice Cockburn, and my right hon. Friend (Sir William Harcourt) —reported that a criminal is not to be surrendered unless, in pursuit of some political purpose, some foul crime such as assassination or incendiarism has been committed and has been committed by him personally. But an Irishman can be arrested in England for a crime for which an Englishman would not be arrested, and on account of which we should not dream for a single moment of giving up a Continental foreigner to the tender mercies of his Government. It is quite true that crime has diminished, and so far as it has diminished I believe it is mainly due to the legislation of last Session with regard to land. I admit whatever share in the merit of the passing of the legislation the Solicitor General for Ireland thought fit to claim. The legislation itself is passed; that is what we care about; anyone may take credit for it. That diminution was due to the fact that the Government brought forward a Bill revising Irish rents—a Bill brought in a year too late, and which the Liberal Party urged on a year before. However, it was better late than never. When by that legislation Parliament pronounced that these unjust rents were no longer to be paid something was done to diminish crime. We are fortified in this opinion by the opinion of the County Court Judge of Cork, who said that the effect of the Act would be that all rentals in the South of Ireland would be reduced 30 to 33 per cent—a reduction which would bear heavily on the landlords. No doubt it would, as it had already borne heavily on the English and Scotch landlords who had made the reductions spontaneously. But the crime would have been still more reduced if the Government had allowed the Commissioners to do what was being done now in the North of Scotland—namely, to deal with arrears of excessive rent. I repeat 394 here what I said elsewhere, that many men were being deprived of the homes they had built and the land they had reclaimed and improved because they cannot pay the arrears of unjust rents which Parliament had pronounced to be unjust. The right hon. Gentleman tried at a public meeting to convict me of an unfair statement, because he said in the three months I was Chief Secretary there were 835 evictions, whereas in the past three months there were only 132. Why, those three months were the three months that came close upon the Land Bill of last Session, which the right hon. Gentleman himself passed. Under the Bill, practically, notice of ejectment became possible, after which, on the lapse of six months, the tenant lost all part in his holding and his home, and I must say it is playing with words to draw any distinction between evictions and those notices of ejectment which have been falling so freely on many of the tenants in Ireland. But there is one way in which the right hon. Gentleman can falsify my words, and I hope he will take it. Let him bring in a Bill, even at this late hour, dealing with arrears of unjust rent. Now, Sir, I want to say a word as to the clause of the Amendment which speaks of the administration of the Act as being partial. In 1884 agrarian outrages had come down, under the Administration of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, to between 700 and 800. One main reason was that the Government had had an opportunity of showing their impartiality between different classes and parties in Ireland. That was the occasion when the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) spoke of the Government as having sailed on an even keel. At that time the popular Party were trying to hold meetings in the North of Ireland, and whenever they announced these meetings the Orange Party at once announced their intention of holding a counter-meeting, and urged the Government to suppress the Nationalist meetings. The course that the Government took was to refuse to be bullied by the Orangemen, and to send as many men as were necessary to see that the meeting of the Nationalist Party in Ulster was held without interruption, and the belief that the Government were trying to deal fairly between both Parties was much increased by the fact that they 395 were roundly abused for doing so; and there was no one who abused them more roundly than a certain eminent lawyer, who praised the Orangemen as patriots for their conduct, and charged the Government with bloodguiltiness, because one life was taken among a crowd of armed men. This gentleman, who is in private life a kindly and honourable man, but who, after such speeches as that, ought never even to have held a Government brief, at such a crisis as the second reading of the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, was actually made a Judge of the High Court. But something happened afterwards which proved that this was only part of a policy. The time came for the Government to show whether they were impartial or not. The Protestant Home Rulers announced that they were going to hold a meeting at Tyrone. The Orangemen adopted their old system of announcing a counter-meeting, and said there would be a riot; but the Government, instead of protecting both meetings, if necessary, proclaimed them both. They gave up that system which had been established in the North of Ireland by our Government with absolute success, and, we thought, for ever, that there was to be freedom of speech, unless the Government thought it would lead to actual crime. Some months later the Protestant Home Rulers announced a meeting at Dromore, and again the Orangemen announced a counter-meeting. Again they asked the Government to proclaim the Nationalist meeting, and again the Government proclaimed both. So that now this state of things has come about—that here is a county in the North of Ireland, where there is not any pretence that crime prevails, in which Parties are nearly balanced, but where all chances of political action is destroyed for both Parties, because the Government are afraid or unwilling to stand up to the Orangemen. I thought the other day, when the Government sent 700 men to arrest a parish priest in another corner of Ulster, that a very small fraction of that number might have enabled the Nationalists of Ulster to enjoy that right of public meeting which is exactly as much their property as the rents are the property of the landlord. Well, now, there has been a good deal said, both at public meetings and at City dinners, about the manner in which the Opposi- 396 tion have attacked the Ministers of the law, the police, and the Judges. So far as I am concerned, that charge cannot be made against me, if people will only quote the words and not take their own impressions. I do not believe that during the whole Recess I have said anything against the subordinates of the Government or its judicial officers. There is one exception—when I criticized the extraordinary latitude which Crown counsel, who are conducting these cases, have allowed themselves. I saw on Saturday that the Attorney General had to make an apology for what seems to me to have been a most heartless thing which he said against a man who, although he was nothing but a plaintiff in a civil action, was still a Government prisoner; and I must own that the cross-examination; as conducted yesterday, shows that the example of the leader was not lost upon his junior. But there is something worse than that, and that is the trial of the Secretary of the Irish National League. Now, I am not going to enter into that trial, but will only say this—that it was a trial which peculiarly required decency and care and moderation of treatment. Well, the Crown counsel actually taunted the gentleman who was conducting the defence because he had not committed acts which would place him inside a gaol. That I consider to be as utterance which is quite unparalleled in modern Courts. And I maintain that it is not offensive to the gentlemen of the Long Robe, but complimentary to them, to say that it is utterly contrary to the spirit of our Courts. It may be said that these are chance utterances; but it is these chance utterances which show the real inner mind. It is a very serious thing indeed to political prisoners when the inner mind, the real spirit, of the servants whom the Government employs, whom it honours, and whom some day it will place upon the Judicial Bench, is such as these utterances show. Now, Sir, to conclude, I come to the most important part of the Amendment, for it is a consideration which, in the long run, can alone settle this great controversy. Is this policy settling and pacifying and conciliating Ireland? Is it, or is it not, alienating the sympathy of Her Majesty's Irish subjects, as the Amendment contends, and decreasing their respect for the law as it now is? Out- 397 side two counties or parts of three counties which all lie together—that is, over nine-tenths of Ireland—the whole country is represented by gentlemen of one way of thinking. Such unanimity was never known in the world before, or in any part of it. Of these Representatives, in the course of six months, one out of seven is either in prison, or on his way to prison, or on his way out of prison. What has been the effect on the mass of the people? We have heard a good deal of the wonderful demonstration of the solid middle class, representing the thrift and diligence and backbone of the country, which took place when right hon. Gentlemen holding the views of the Government, though sitting on this side of the House, went over to Ireland. Now, Sir, it so happens, most unhappily for Ireland, that the municipal representation is purely middle class. The municipal franchise is fixed at such high figures that in large towns of 30,000 or 50,000 inhabitants there are only a few hundred voters. For every 1,000 Parliamentary voters there are only about 100 municipal voters. If, then, there is any test of middle class feeling, it is the feeling of the municipal voters, the Town Councillors, and the Mayors. I should much like to have a Return of the number of Mayors and Corporations and Commissioners of important towns which did not give a welcome to Lord Ripon and my right hon. Friend (Mr. John Morley). I think it would be a very cheap and short Return indeed. There is another test, one that seems to me a much more certain test, that this policy is not pacifying Ireland, which is borne out by reluctant witnesses. Two years ago those Gentlemen who sit on this side of the House, but who support the Government, not only were willing to give self-government to Ireland under certain conditions, but were quite unanimous that the panacea for Ireland was local government—extended local government. We were always hearing how we were to give a sense of responsibility to Irishmen by training them in habits of public and local business, and so guiding them to better things. That was two years ago. Two months ago the Prime Minister went down to Liverpool and stated that the Government were going to make great concessions in the way of extending local institutions in England, 398 Scotland, and Wales. But Ireland was to have none of them, because the country was in a state in which she was not fit to receive them, and Members who sit on this side of the House accepted this position. That is to say, that six months of the government of Ireland by Lord Carnarvon and the then Chief Secretary (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), who, for quite different reasons than his opinions on the Irish Question, I am glad to see has rejoined the Government, for I have always entertained a deep respect for him, and I am pleased to see him in his right place again—six months under Lord Carnarvon and that right hon. Gentleman, with a policy of no coercion and conciliation, produced such an effect that those who are now Liberal Unionists said that Ireland must have a great extension of local government. The Crimes Act has been administered by the present Government for six months, and it has brought Ireland into such a state that we are told that she cannot have equal laws with England, and that there must be no extension of local government in Ireland for an indefinite period. Now, I think that that is a very painful and rather humiliating confession. It is a confession which we, on this side of the House, for the most part, will never agree to make. We consider that Ireland cannot be governed by coercion, by unmixed coercion above all, but that she must be governed by a policy of concession. We consider that the hearts of Irishmen may be won by sympathy and confidence, and by an earnest desire to show that you understand what they want, what they wish, and what they need. They never can be won by such a policy as is now being administered by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. All I can say is, that if that announcement on my part is inconsistent with what the Liberal Unionists were saying two years ago when they called for local government for Ireland, and said that they should be able to govern the country with no coercion—if it is inconsistent with that, let it be inconsistent; but I am quite certain it is right.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
said, that he had looked forward with great interest and considerable curiosity to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Sir George Trevelyan). He had listened 399 with admiration to the lucid speeches which the right hon. Gentleman had frequently made in that House, and he had always regarded him as man endowed with a specially lucid and logical mind; and, therefore, he (Colonel Saunderson) had anxiously looked forward to the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman as to how it came about that he was on the present occasion supporting a Vote of Want of Confidence in Her Majesty's Government. Most of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, as far as he (Colonel Saunderson) could understand it, went to show that he had entirely changed his opinion as to the character of the National League. The National League, in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, was far from being a criminal organization, and was an organization which, at the present moment, employed its influence in the repression of crime. Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to say—and that showed the right hon. Gentleman's courage—that he was not afraid to make use, inside the walls of that House, of language that he had used outside. But that was not always the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman. In former times, the right hon. Gentleman hold exactly the opposite opinion; and he (Colonel Saunderson) wished to learn from him why he had changed his opinion, and on what ground. The right hon. Gentleman gave them on that point absolutely no information whatever. Ha especially objected to the action of the Government in Ireland, on the ground that it was, according to him, a dangerous thing to interfere with freedom of speech, which he said this Act interfered with. Was that; always the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman? He (Colonel Saunderson) should like, with the permission of the House, to refresh the right hon. Gentleman's memory. He would not quote anything with the intention of annoying the right hon. Gentleman. But it was perfectly fair, from his (Colonel Saunderson's) point of view, to try and learn how the wonderful change of opinion on the part of the right hon. Gentleman came about. The right hon. Gentleman made a speech on that very subject at Taunton, on the 17th of October, 1885. He then said—Land-grabbers are denounced to the vengeance of the mob in printed notices and in violent language. When Lord Spencer was in 400 Ireland this was a punishable offence. A meeting was held near an evicted farm for the purpose of intimidation. Three Members of Parliament denounced five men to the mob. Lord Salisbury took no steps to call these men to account, for they were part of the majority who put him in Office.The right hon. Gentleman now held an entirely different view. Did the right hon. Gentleman believe that at the present moment the Government were justified in taking the steps which he thought Lord Salisbury ought to have taken, and which he and Lord Spencer took when they were responsible for the government of Ireland? Did he believe the National League was exactly the same as the Land League which went before it, or did he believe that it had changed? Were its Leaders the same, or were they not? Were the means taken to carry out the decrees of the League the same, or were they not? The right hon. Gentleman, in his speech, pointed out that there appeared to be a wonderful unanimity in the Irish population manifested by the fact that there were some 85 Gentlemen returned to that House unanimously in favour of the opinion expressed by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. But was that always the right hon. Gentleman's opinion? He would again refresh the right hon. Gentleman's memory. The right hon. Gentleman said in that House, not very long ago, when he held the same views as those which he (Colonel Saunderson) and his hon. Friends on the Ministerial side of the House hold about the present situation—It is not only the landlords and the red-hot Orangemen who feel apprehension; but it is everyone who has offended the Land League — or the National League, as it was afterwards called—by not taking an active part in its support; everyone who has asserted his legal right to work for whom he likes, or to take farms from whom he likes; anyone who has taken any part in bringing to justice those whom the Organs of the now dominant Administration and Party regard as victims and martyrs; every quiet citizen and every member of that minority which would not be in a minority if both Parties would join in a determination that law and order should no longer be trifled with in Ireland any more than it is trifled with in Yorkshire or Somersetshire.That was what he (Colonel Saunderson) had always contended. He could not deny the fact that 85 Members were returned in Ireland, and that they sat below the Gangway opposite, for he had ocular demonstration of it; but he did 401 deny absolutely that they were returned by the free choice of the Irish people. He believed—and every man who really understood the Irish Question and who viewed it apart from Party issues held— that when law and order were established in Ireland and every organization, whatever its name might be, which now arrogated to itself the authority of laying down the law was got rid of, the Irish people would return a very different representation. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway had also changed their views in comparing the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken with the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour). An extraordinary thing was that hon. Gentlemen opposite had suddenly fallen in love with the memory of Mr. Forster. "He was a man," said the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell), and the hon. Member compared the course pursued by Mr. Forster with the course pursued by his (Colonel Saunderson's) right hon. Friend, and remarked that it was like the scratches of a cat compared with the paw of the British Lion. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite had, in past times, drawn comparisons which were not very complimentary to the right hon. Gentleman. He would quote the remarks of a very eloquent and experienced orator, who sat below the Gangway opposite, who was one of the leading lights of the country, and to whom they always listened with great attention. The hon. and learned Member for North Longford (Mr. T. M. Healy), in the year 1884, when the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down was Chief Secretary for Ireland—so that it was not very ancient history—said —In their time they had been told hard things of the Tory Government, and those hard things were, every one of them, well deserved. But they had not for some years a chance of seeing whether a Liberal Government was not as hard in its heart and as hypocritical in its professions. They understood being kept down by force by the iron rule of some man like Cromwell; but they did not understand being ruled by men of the mould of Earl Spencer and some of his Colleagues. Dean Swift had once said —'It was no shame to be conquered and held down by a lion; but no man should be controlled by a rat.'If that comparison was accurate, he (Colonel Saunderson) thought they on his side had the advantage; because 402 when the rat fought with the cat it generally got the worst of it. It was to him a lamentable thing that the right hon. Gentleman, after all that he had done in the past when he was Chief Secretary for Ireland, and when he had repeatedly stood up in that House to maintain the policy from which, after all, the great bulk of the Liberal Party had never swerved, should now, without explanation, have turned his back on all his former convictions and professions. The right hon. Gentleman speaking not so very long ago, in 1886, as to the Home Rule policy, declared that until every Constitutional method, both inside and outside of the House, had been exhausted, he, for one, would never consent to it. It appeared to him (Colonel Saunderson) that the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell), and other hon. Gentlemen opposite, laboured under an extreme difficulty on the present occasion. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork was a Vote of Want of Confidence in the Government. It asked them to condemn the policy of the Government. Why? Because Her Majesty's Government were carrying out and putting into effect an Act of Parliament which the House itself had passed. So that if the House were to accede to the Amendment, and pass a Vote of Want of Confidence, it would pass a deliberate Vote of Want of Confidence in itself; and he conceived that the House of Commons, as at present constituted, was not likely to do that. He had listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) with great attention; and he might, in passing, say that some hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed to have misunderstood some expressions from the Ministerial side. They were anxious to hear the hon. Member's remarks; and as he spoke in so very low a tone they thought there was no discourtesy in asking him to speak a little louder. For himself, when the hon. Member's speech concluded, he asked himself what had become of Home Rule? It was nowhere to be found. The hon. Member had no confidence in the Government, not because they refused to bring forward a Home Rule measure, but because they put in force the Coercion Act. Home Rule had fallen into the background. He (Colonel Saunderson) would like to 403 know whether it was dead? The hon. Gentleman devoted part of his speech to an historical episode of which they had had very varying accounts—namely, the celebrated interview with Lord Carnarvon; and the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) was of opinion that Lord Salisbury was at that time inclined to grant Home Rule. Lord Salisbury, on the other hand, distinctly stated that that was not the case, and that there never entered his mind any idea of giving Home Rule. They thus had the assertion of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) on the one side, and the contradiction of Lord Salisbury on the other; and he (Colonel Saunderson) thought, from Lord Salisbury's position and the estimation in which the country held him, that his statement would be taken as a sufficient answer to the hon. Member's allegations. Then the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) went on to inform the House that it was not his intention, or that of his followers, to obstruct the course of Business. He (Colonel Saunderson) was very glad to hear it. They would no longer have those interminable debates, and those weary miles of walking through the Division Lobby till long after the dawn of morning. Both sides of the House would rejoice in that fact. The hon. Member was anxious to get on with the Business of the country that interested the whole Empire. He (Colonel Saunderson) could not say that he felt very grateful to the hon. Gentleman, because they knew his motives. The hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) had had an interview, which was published in The Freeman's Journal, and he concluded that it was authentic. In that interview the hon. Gentleman informed the correspondent of that newspaper why it was that he and his Friends did not intend to pursue a policy of Obstruction; and it was probable that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) understood the nature of the hon. Member's policy. At any rate, the right hon. Gentleman, in his speech, appeared to sympathize with it. At the interview in question, the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell), speaking of the condition of the Unionist Party, said—These dissensions are more likely to arise out of questions connected with the proposed English legislation than upon the Irish Ques- 404 tion. We may, therefore, expect a Ministerial crisis at any time during the Session, arising, as I have said, out of some English rather than the Irish Question. With these considerations in view, it will be politic, I think, for the Irish Members and the English Radicals to do everything that they possibly can to facilitate the Government Business during the coming Session.So that it was not absolutely because the hon. Member and his followers were inclined to facilitate the progress of Public Business, but because he and his Friends above the Gangway opposite had the amiable hope that when they reached the County Government Bill the Unionist Party would be spread-eagled on the Serbonian bog of political difficulty. One could, therefore, understand the reasons which were to induce the Nationalist and the Radical Party to offer no obstruction to Public Business. The hon. Member had last night spoken evidently with great care and considerable preparation; but he (Colonel Saunderson) must say that in listening to the speech of the hon. Member he thought his attack on the Government was about the weakest that had ever been made in the House of Commons. They were asked to condemn the policy of Her Majesty's Government because it was harsh, unjust, and had been a failure. He did not think that the hon. Member had proved any one of those three propositions. The hon. Member thought the policy of the Government was harsh because an hon. Member had not been provided with food and drink on his way to Ireland. He (Colonel Saunderson) did not know where the hon. Member got his information; but he ventured to say it was incorrect. Nobody would keep food, much less drink, from the hon. Gentleman to whom the hon. Member alluded. Before the House came to a final decision as to whether they would approve or condemn the policy of the Government, it was absolutely necessary that the House should realize the position in which the Government found themselves in Ireland. The Government had to confront the deliberate action of the Leaders of the National League, and also the deliberate action of the allies of the National League— right hon. Gentlemen who sat opposite. Now, he could inform the House, in a very few words, the accuracy of which no hon. Member could deny, what the 405 action of the National League in Ireland was. The National League in Ireland and its Leaders had openly stated, over and over again, that their object was, in the first place, to turn out the landlords, and after that to overturn the authority of the Crown. [Cries of "No!"] He had the quotations which proved this with him, and could read them to the House, if it desired; but he took that for granted, because they had said it over and over again. "We shall go on," said the hon. Member for one of the Divisions of the county of Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien)—who, he (Colonel Saunderson) regretted, was not now in the House—We shall go on unconquered and unconquerable until landlordism is trampled into the last ditch, and then we will haul down the flag of British ascendancy in Ireland.How did they propose to do it? The landlords were to go first. They were an unpopular class—they were supposed to be the butts for the shafts of all men who had nothing, and who wanted to get something. He was happy to say that they did not intend to shoot them, but only to starve them. And the National League proceeded thus. The Plan of Campaign dictated to the tenants on what terms they should deal with their landlord; the tenants were to give so much and no more; and then, if the landlord proceeded to extremity and evicted the tenant who could pay, and who would pay if he were allowed, the National League stepped in and said that no one should take the farm. So long as the National League could prevent land-grabbing, so long would they be masters of the agrarian situation. There could be no doubt of that. Hon. Members below the Gangway knew that as well as he did as an Irish landlord. Therefore, every attempt was made by hon. Gentlemen opposite to intimidate the Irish people, and to prevent them from taking an evicted farm; and, in fact, to prevent land from becoming a marketable commodity. Now, it gave him the greatest satisfaction in reading the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite —and he always read them with great attention and with great profit—it gave him the greatest satisfaction to see how persistently they denounced land-grabbing. They would not denounce land-grabbing unless they very well knew that the Irish tenants were inclined to 406 come to terms. They would not hold up the land-grabber to public execration and denounce him as they did unless they knew, in fact, that the moment that the law was made supreme in Ireland the tenant would become just as amenable to it as any other subject of the Queen. He desired to point out what had been said on that subject by leaders of Irish opinion opposite. In August last year the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) went over to Dublin and made a speech which was reported in The Freeman's Journal. He (Colonel Saunderson) always quoted from The Freeman's Journal, or United Ireland. In that speech the hon. Member held up to public execration those Irishmen who had ventured at any time to run counter to the law of the National League. That was the key of the whole question. If they could at once break down and destroy that organization which now terrorized the Irish people, the Irish people would become amenable to the law, and would rejoice in the concessions which had been made. The hon. Member for East Mayo said—They say we have practised an insidious form of intimidation. I want to say plainly that I intend to practise the same form of intimidation in spite of all proclamations or persecutions they can enforce. If the operations of the League in the past can he correctly described by intimidation, then, I say, I intend to practise them and to preach them.Then the hon. Member went on to say —and he (Colonel Saunderson) asked the House to mark these words, because, in one moment, he would show conclusively how they had acted in Ireland—Now, let me say this—that if there be a man in Ireland — and I do not believe there is— base enough to back down and turn his back on the fight now that coercion has been passed, I pledge myself, in the face of this meeting, that I will denounce him from public platforms by name "—they all know what denouncing a man from a public platform meant in Ireland—and I pledge myself to the Government that, let that man be whom he may, his life will not be a happy one either in Ireland or across the sea.They intended to dog his steps to the uttermost parts of the earth. They all knew what that denunciation meant; they dogged the steps of Carey. 407I know perfectly well," continued the hon. Member for East Mayo, "what I mean, and you know what I mean;and he (Colonel Saunderson) wished to show the House of Commons what the hon. Member did mean, and what was the result of what he said. The hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell), in his speech of the previous day, made a candid admission to the House that the efforts of the Government to suppress the League were an absolute failure — that so far from suppressing those branches which the Government imagined had been suppressed, they were in full force, and carried on their accustomed work, and were duly reported in certain organs of the Press. That especially referred to two counties—the counties of Kerry and Clare—where the National League was suppressed. He thought it would be of interest to the House to learn what a branch of the National League in Kerry had done; how it carried on its work, and what had been its effect. The House would remember that land-grabbing at all cost, even at the cost of blood, was not to be permitted. He would like to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), whom he was happy to see in his place, to some prophetic words which he had used in bygone days. The right hon. Gentleman said—What is meant by Boycotting? In the first place, it is combined intimidation; in the second place, it is combined intimidation made use of for the purpose of destroying the private liberties of choice by fear of ruin and starvation; in the third place, that being what Boycotting is in itself, we must look to this—that the creed of Boycotting, like every other creed, requires a sanction, and that the sanction of Boycotting—that which stands in the rear of Boycotting, and by which alone Boycotting can be made thoroughly effective—is the murder which is not denounced,He would show the House that the words of the right hon. Gentleman, founded upon a knowledge which he had gained in the administration of Ireland, were absolutely justified by the facts which had since occurred. There was a man who had inherited, with his brother, a farm in Kerry. One of the brothers died and left his half of the farm to a son—Edmond Fitzmaurice— who was in Australia. A neighbour tried to get possession of the land; but one of the brothers—James Fitzmaurice —resisted the attempt, and spent a large 408 sum in law costs defending his brother's rights. The brother Edmond came back from Australia, and he proved to be insolvent; he could not or he would not pay. At any rate, the landlord of the estate evicted both tenants, and put back in possession of the farm the elder brother. The National League interfered; it would not allow the two brothers to come to terms; and so the elder brother remained in possession of the farm. And now he would show, in passing, how the National League worked. There was a bog on this estate as to which there was a great deal of contention. The National League interfered, and the Lixnaw branch passed resolutions condemning any man who would venture to take any of it. But at last there was a meeting of the Lixnaw branch of the League, and this was the result—Mr. Michael J. Quilter read the report of last meeting, as published in The Kerry Weekly Reporter, and wished it to be distinctly understood that the first resolution had reference only to a particular portion of the Aha beg bog —namely, the part adjoining Muckenagh and Clounlougher, and commonly known as the Lower Bog. Exclusive of this, there is an extensive area of bog in Ahabeg, and the League is not opposed to persons purchasing turbary there as usual. The public, therefore, will not suffer the slightest inconvenience from compliance with the resolution, in reference to the portion above specified.Therefore, in this country, which was supposed to be a civilized community, there was an organization which arrogated to itself the right of punishing or not punishing men who should freely deal in the matter of bog. They were not to be inconvenienced in any way— that was to say, they were not to be murdered. Three days after this the following notice appeared in order to emphasize the decision of the branch. The notice was posted up, and ran as follows: —Take notice that if any person takes bog at Ahabeg (S. M. Hussey's), near Fitzmaurice's evicted farm, he will be made to feel the weight of the invincible arm of Captain Moonlight.The National League then proceeded to deal with this unhappy Fitzmaurice. A meeting was held on the 23rd of January last year, the Rev. P. Nolan, P.P., supposed to be a Christian clergyman, in the chair, and it was resolved—That as James Fitzmaurice acted the part of special constable to S. M. Hussey at Ahabeg 409 on the 14th inst., we consider that his neigh-hours should hold no further intercourse with him.That was to say, he was Boycotted. But that was not enough. Another meeting of the same branch was held on June 12 last year, and the following resolution was unanimously adopted: —Resolved,—That as James Fitzmaurice, of Ahabeg, still persists in allowing his cattle to graze on the farm from which his brother Edmond was recently evicted, and refuses to give any explanation to the League in extenuation of his conduct, we hereby call on the public to mark him as a land-grabber of the most inhuman type.What did the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Sir George Trevelyan) say to that? Now, he (Colonel Saunderson) came almost to the final episode which illustrated the action of the National League in Kerry and elsewhere, and which the right hon. Gentleman said was as active now as over it was. An article appeared in The Kerry Sentinel of October 25, 1887, signed "E. Harrington." The hon. Member, whom he was glad to see opposite, signed his name to the article, and stated the reason why he adopted that unusual course—a very honourable proceeding on his part. The hon. Member said—A land-grabber and a rack-renter are deservedly as odious at one side of the barony bounds as at the other. Samuel Murray Hussey, for instance, is no lovelier in Annascaul than he is in Ahabeg.
§ MR. EDWARD HARRINGTON (Kerry, W.)
said, he desired to explain that the article he had signed referred to the action of Mr. Hussey in going upon the estate in question, accompanied by the Sheriff, with purchase agreements in one hand and notices to quit in the other; and the other article referred to the action of Mr. Hussey in purchasing the estate after the tenants had combined to offer £65,000 for it, and were prevented from offering £75,000 for it. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman would read the whole article from the beginning to the end he was prepared to stand by every word of it.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
remarked, that, of course, it was not for him to impute motives to any man. He was only reading what the hon. Member wrote.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, the hon. Member opposite might read the whole article if he wished to do so. What he himself wished to point out, what he had a right to point out, and what he would point out, was that this article appeared in The Kerry Sentinel three days after the resolution which condemned this unhappy man to death had appeared in that journal.
§ MR.EDWARD HARRINGTON
said, that with regard to that resolution, he might say that the article was written and was signed in London at a time when he could not have seen the issue of this paper in which the resolution appeared. [Cries of "Oh!"] He was as truthful as any man in that House; he had condemned the crime referred to as heartily as anyone; he had done everything to denounce it; and he now repudiated the accusation of the hon. and gallant Member.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, he was stating what had taken place. An innocent man had been murdered. The resolution was passed by a branch of the National League on the 23rd of October, and the article he had quoted was written on the 25th of that month. Of course, he accepted the statement of the hon. Member, that he had not seen the resolution when he wrote that article; but the fact of the article appearing so soon after the publication of the resolution was a very unhappy coincidence. He wished to call the attention of the House to the terms of the resolution, as it was an illustration of the nature and character of the organization which the Government was bound to crush, and destroy. The terms of the resolution were—We again call upon the public to mark, by every Constitutional means, their disapproval of the conduct of James Fitzmaurice, who has been so base and inhuman as to grab his brother's land."Every Constitutional means!" What were those means? The effect of that resolution, which professed to urge the adoption of Constitutional means, was to condemn the man referred to to death. What was the result? Not very long afterwards—only last month—the man 411 was done to death—was cruelly murdered —by the acolytes who carry out the law of this organization, and who understand too well the meaning of this resolution. While this unfortunate man was travelling along the road with his daughter he was murdered in the most cruel and shameful manner, And what was the crime which he had committed, for which he was so punished? He was a land-grabber. Was it to be supposed that that House and that this country would sanction the existence of an organization which took upon itself to decree a man to death for doing that which he had a perfectly legal right to do? He had just as much right to protection as the highest in the land. And it was because Her Majesty's Government were tackling this organization, and meant to destroy it, that they were attacked by those who were opposed to the true interests of their country, and to the integrity of the Empire. They deserved the support of every man who had at heart the safety of the Empire. He desired to say a word about the policy which had been pursued by the Colleagues of hon. Members below the Gangway. He was happy to say that the efforts of those whose policy it was to defeat the law in Ireland had not been successful; but a new morality had been propounded, principally by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt)—namely, that if the law was not liked, or pressed heavily, or was supposed to be unjust, a man had a right to break it. The right hon. Gentleman, in support of that proposition, had instanced the case of Hampden and the celebrated Boston tea case, which was the cause of the American War. The right hon. Gentleman, and those who thought with him, in propounding these views, were making an addendum to the Commandments, and giving a new version of the Decalogue by making it read—" Thou shalt not steal, except from a landlord." That was the policy of the new Party, which was now led by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone). It was a very serious thing that English Gentlemen, who had occupied high positions in the State, were desirous of deliberately handing over the Irish people to those who disobeyed the law of the land. The success of the Separatist Party depended upon 412 the fulfilment of two prophecies. They had two prophets. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) had prophesied that England could never be master of her own Parliament as long as Irish Members remained within its walls. Hon. Members below the Gangway ought to remember this—that if they acted throughout this Session with the courtesy and decorum which had distinguished their conduct at its beginning, they would ruin the reputation, as a prophet, of the right hon. Gentleman. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman still held that view; but he had to deal with a far grimmer prophet, who had prophesied that the law could not be maintained in Ireland because it was dressed in a foreign garb. If that prophecy could be fulfilled—if it could be shown that that House was incapable of maintaining law and order in Ireland, he admitted that there was no other way out of the difficulty than by surrendering all authority in Ireland to the National League, which was able successfully to oppose the administration of the law. No effort had been spared to render it hard and difficult, and even impossible, for Her Majesty's Government to maintain law and order in that country. Hon. Members below the Gangway belonged to a nationality that had never been law-abiding, and never would be. He recognized the qualities of the nationality to which those hon. Members belonged; and any statesman who wished to settle this question must remember that an Irishman was not a man who naturally sympathized with law of any kind. He recognized the virtues of his countrymen; but this was one of their defects, which constituted the chief difficulty of governing the race to which he belonged. Her Majesty's Government had, however, to confront not only Irishmen, but the phalanx of 191 Scotch, English, and Welsh Members, which was led by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), who was supporting a policy which, he (Colonel Saunderson) ventured to maintain, had never been adopted by any responsible statesman in the history of the country. The right hon. Gentleman had taught them what his policy meant in his celebrated speech at Nottingham. That speech was not altogether fortunate. It appeared 413 to him that the right hon. Gentleman had embarked in the trade of romancing. This was very easy. A man had only to visit a country he intended to romance about, and on his return he had the enormous advantage of being able to say—" Oh, I have been there; and you have not.' The right hon. Gentleman had himself been made one of the first victims of successful romance by the hon. Member for the Hoxton Division of Shoreditch (Mr. J. Stuart), who was not only a politician, but a Professor. He (Colonel Saunderson) did not know of what the hon. Member was a Professor; but he hoped it was not of any of the exact sciences. He rather hoped that the hon. Member was a Professor of some of those sciences which dealt with the imagination. The hon. Member came over fresh from Ireland and whispered into the ears of the right hon. Gentleman a story which had a foundation only in his fervid and vivid imagination, and which the right hon. Gentleman immediately seized the opportunity to repeat. He should not allude to the matter further, because the story had been withdrawn after the right hon. Gentleman received a lawyer's letter. The right hon. Gentleman, in the same speech, had also coined a motto and a watchword for his Party, and had inscribed upon the banner under which his Party were to march the words—"Remember Mitchelstown." The motto had not been very successful. "Re-member Mitchelstown" simply meant—"Down with the police." He would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that if "Remember Mitchelstown" appeared on one side of the banner, on the reverse should be inscribed the words—" Remember Dopping." The right hon. Gentleman went on to use language which he (Colonel Saunderson) hoped he had since regretted. In that speech at Nottingham the right hon. Gentleman, in trying to undermine the authority of the Government and the authority of the police, went on to take away their character, and to describe as a man worthy of universal execration a policeman who died bravely in the performance of his duty. The right hon. Gentleman, it was true, guarded himself in his denunciation. He said—A sergeant of the name of Whelehan was wickedly and deplorably murdered.And then he went on to say — 414Well, that was in consequence of a raid, as it was called, made on the house of an obnoxious person—a person who was obnoxious, I believe, without crime.He guarded himself even there—" I believe without crime." Proceeding, he said—That raid was a crime, a gross crime, and it ended, whether designedly or not, by bloodshed, which by law, I apprehend, would be justly termed murder.Of course, it would. The right hon. Gentleman continued—How was that raid brought about? It was brought about by consultation, and who were the parties that consulted, and, if I may say it, so got up the raid?And then the right hon. Gentleman went on to show that this very Whelehan was the man who had conspired to get up this raid. [Cries of "Quote!"]
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, he had every intention to quote, and he maintained that the words of the right hon. Gentleman absolutely bore out what he had said. The right hon. Gentleman said—Among them was a man paid and employed by the police, and known to be, from his own confession, of the worst character.With that he quite agreed. He went on to say—The parties charged have no opportunity of speaking for themselves; but what appears, according to the facts before us, is that this informer was for a long period known as a man of worthless and base character—that he was paid by the police two sums of money immediately before the meeting at which the raid was arranged, and that he went to the meeting.There, he thought, the right hon. Gentleman was misinformed. The meeting at the quarry, at which the raid was arranged, was not a meeting got up by a paid agent of the police, but it was a meeting at which this informer was, and like the ruffian he was, and like a scoundrel of the lowest type as he was, he sold his information. He (Colonel Saunderson) thought the right hon. Gentleman, when he was Prime Minister, must have had some experience in buying information with regard to his present Colleagues. Then the right hon. Gentleman described the death of Sergeant Whelehan, and, although he had condemned the act of killing 415 Whelehan, proceeded to give an instance in the last century of men who had been in a similar manner, as he said, induced to commit a capital offence. He stated that after they had received a very lenient punishment, the people took their punishment into their own hands, thereby instituting a comparison—an exact comparison—between this Sergeant Whelehan, who had died like a brave man in the execution of his duty, and these dastardly ruffians in the last century.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, he never meant to state that the right hon. Gentleman did mention Sergeant Whelehan—
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, the right hon. Gentleman evidently meant to convey that Sergeant Whelehan was a means of carrying into effect an outrage for which money had been paid. Whether Sergeant Whelehan had paid—
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, he never meant to insinuate that the right hon. Gentleman said that Whelehan was the man who paid the money; but what he said was that the right hon. Gentleman, in his Nottingham speech, held up Whelehan to public execration as the man who carried out a put-up job. What did the right hon. Gentleman mean at all, he (Colonel Saunderson) wondered? What did he mean by instituting this comparison? He went on to say—A body of men entered into a conspiracy to induce two other men to commit a capital crime. The two men were executed for the crime. It afterwards became known that they had been induced to commit it by these four men, who conspired together for the purpose. These four men were tried and sentenced to be put into the pillory for the conspiracy. That was the sentence of the Judge and the Court upon them; but the sentence of the people was a good deal stronger than the law as administered by the Judge and the Court. I am not going to justify what was done. I am only going to show what materials we are dealing with, and what sort of view the people of England are likely to take upon matters of that kind; for the act of those men was, to my mind, very closely analogous to the action of the police in this instance. The police substantially conspired—416 he (Colonel Saunderson) supposed that included Whelehan—after the manner of these four men, and in their case the public indignation burst out upon them. One was actually put to death by the people, and another was beaten and maltreated within an inch of his life.How about this indication of the method of dealing with the police in Ireland? According to the right hon. Gentleman, the police in Ireland, if treated in a similar manner, would be killed or beaten within an inch of their lives. Then the right hon. Gentleman continued—Do not suppose I justify this, but I am seeking to point out what might happen when such a case called forth such a manifestation, not among criminals, but, apparently, a fair average portion of the population in England.So that if the Irish people, naturally understanding the obvious meaning of these words—whatever the real meaning might have been; no one ever knew the real meaning of the right hon. Gentleman—if the Irish people, a quick-witted, hot-headed people, who habitually acted in these matters without very much thought, acted on the broad hint which was naturally conveyed in this language, and did wreak their vengeance on the police, they would be acting, according to the right hon. Gentleman, not as criminals, but as respectable members of the population. He had already detained the House far too long; but, before he sat down, he wished to draw attention to one more point. The policy of Her Majesty's Government was opposed because, it was said, free speech did not exist in Ireland. He wondered whether right hon. Gentlemen opposite ever read United Ireland. Did they ever read the speeches made by hon. Gentlemen who sat below the Gangway? He read United Ireland, and he must say that the way in which they bad ransacked the dictionary for words and phrases of vituperation to apply to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland did great credit to their ingenuity. They appeared to have got at last to the end of their tether, for they had now adopted two expressions which he had never before heard as applied to any statesman, or, indeed, to a Member of the House of Commons. They called the right hon. Gentleman "Ventriloquist Balfour" and "Sleuth Tiger." Why, freedom of speech, so 417 long as it was not employed to hound on the Irish people to break the law of the land, was absolute. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway knew perfectly well that they could devote all their eloquence and all their ingenuity of research, for which they were so celebrated, to abusing and holding up to execration the present Government and in maintaining their own political opinions. But now they devoted all their eloquence, not to the advocacy of the national aspirations of the people, but to abusing the Government, and especially the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland; and, therefore, so far as the charge of freedom of speech having been taken away was concerned, it fell to the ground. Then the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) had told them, or had implied, that there were signs of a union of hearts. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) went to Ireland recently, and had a very pleasant time. He wondered whether the right hon. Gentleman would really tell the House that he was of opinion that the Irish were now a loyal people. He was very much struck by an utterance of the Mayor of Waterford, who waited upon the right hon. Gentleman to present him with an address. In his speech that gentleman said—" we are born rebels, and we will always remain rebels." A union of hearts! Well, he (Colonel Saunderson) had seen it sometimes. He saw it the other day. A very remarkable circumstance occurred which indicated that there was a union of hearts—a union which in former times he should never have conceived possible. A Club was established in South Tipperary, and, if he remembered rightly, the members chose the names of two distinguished men as Patron Saints—they called the Club "the Tanner-Gladstone Athletic Club." The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan) appealed to the speeches made in the House, and said that they could judge by those speeches that a great change had taken place. They could not judge by speeches made in the House of Commons. To find the union of hearts let them go beyond the Atlantic. Did hon. Members who spoke in the House of Commons with great caution and care observe the same 418 language when they appealed to the passions of their countrymen? He would take one case. The hon. Member for East Donegal (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) was remarkable for the able speeches he made in the House on subjects which he thoroughly understood, and he was always listened to in the House with the respect which his abilities deserved. But the hon. Member was the last man they would imagine would be willing, if necessity arose, to wage open war with the British Empire; and yet when the hon. Gentleman went over to America the other day, just at the time when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) was saying at Nottingham that his Irish allies were conspicuous for their moderation, he made a very remarkable speech, and a quotation from it was the last quotation he (Colonel Saunderson) would make. He wished to quote from the speech of the hon. Gentleman in order to show that he did not believe that the union of hearts had as yet been completed. Speaking at New Jersey on the 16th of October, 1887, the hon. Member said—I thank the purely American portion of the audience; because for the rest, or those who, like myself, have the blood of the Irish race in their veins, it is a matter of course, almost, that they should be here: and it is almost a matter of course that my countrymen, whom I now see before me in varied uniforms below—bearing arms in a manner which I am not accustomed to see in Ireland—it is natural that they should be here. Their martial ardour is the same as it has been in all ages, and they are able to manifest the feeling that is deep in their souls, that if only they had the chance to rescue Ireland from the present position, every man of them would be ready to serve. I know that there are within the United States emissaries of the British Government anxious to earn, or prepared to earn, the pay which is drawn from the Secret Service Fund of the Government. If such a man is here, I invite him to report that here in public I state what I know to be a fact—that in whatever war Great Britain may be involved, that whatever Power she may have to struggle with, that Power can count upon 100,000 Irish arms to light under her flag against Great Britain.And the hon. Member went on to point out that there was a remarkable peculiarity about these men, and that was that they intended to fight without pay.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
May I ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman to be good enough to keep to the quotation.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) had not spoken in the debate as yet; and, therefore, he (Colonel Saunderson) would leave it to him to re-deliver the speech in the House of Commons if he thought fit. [Cries of "Oh! "] He thought his speech had been quite long enough; and, if he were to quote all the speeches of all hon. Gentlemen whom he might quote, his speech would occupy many more hours. What was the position of the Government now? And with this point he intended to conclude. They were confronted by a Party who had done for themselves the worst thing that any Party could do—they had covered themselves with ridicule. No Party could survive ridicule. The hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) went over to Ireland and told his followers that in former times the Irish people were not afraid when the shadow of the gallows fell across their path, and asked whether they would now be afraid of the plank bed. It appeared to him (Colonel Saunderson) that they were very much afraid of prison clothes. As a result of this agitation, people had learned how any man could become an Irish martyr. All a man had to do was to be put in gaol, and to refuse to wear the prison clothes; or he had to wear the prison clothes, and then refuse to take them off. No course had ever yet succeeded which had been founded on the contempt and the ridicule of mankind; and he believed for this reason that the cause of hon. Gentlemen opposite was doomed to failure. The hopes of the Government's opponents were entirely founded on the possibility of the disruption of the Unionist Party. Majorities equally great had faded away; but no majority of the present kind had ever yet been seen in the House of Commons. Former majorities were Party majorities. Party majorities were liable to disruption and to failure; but the majority in that House was not a Party majority—it was a patriotic majority. The Party opposite very nearly succeeded in carrying their policy; but they failed because they found themselves confronted by men who loved their country more than their Party, and who loved the allegiance they owed to the State more than the allegiance they owed to a Leader. The Party opposite was bound to fail in the 420 future for that reason; and in looking forward—as he now looked forward— to a resolute Government in Ireland, he saw the only foundation that could be made, and that foundation was respect for law and order; and upon that foundation he trusted and prayed he might live to see his country happy and contented.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
said, that the speech which they had just listened to was a very important one, because the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Saunderson) spoke, not only in his individual capacity as a Member of the House, but also as the head of an important Party. No doubt, most Members had seen that the previous day the hon. and gallant Gentleman was elected Sessional Chairman of what might be called a new Fourth Party on that (the Ministerial) side of the House. That Party was supposed to be composed of Gentlemen from Ulster; but they could not get two good enough men to act as Whips without getting an English Member—the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. Penrose Fitzgerald)—to act as one of their Whips. He did not know what were the intentions of this Party; but he heard with surprise the peroration of the hon. and gallant Gentleman when he said that the Unionist Party would never be divided, and that they were the really patriotic Party. If so, why had the hon. and gallant Gentleman moved his place to below the Gangway and put himself at the head of a separate Party or "Cave" on the Conservative side of the House? For his own part, he (Mr. Labouchere) could only see one reason, and that was that the hon. and gallant Gentleman represented the landlords of Ireland, who were afraid that the Conservative Party would not give sufficient care to their interests. The object in view in forming this Cave was to put pressure on the Government in order to induce them to bring in some sort of a Land Purchase Bill, or to rob in some way the British Empire for the sake of that pack of drones which existed in Ireland still. He wondered the hon. and gallant Gentleman did not consider it was an ill bird that fouled its own nest. Although the hon. and gallant Gentleman was an Irishman, yet he was never tired of describing the majority of his countrymen as murderers 421 and scoundrels. [Colonel SAUNDERSON: Never!] Surely the hon. and gallant Gentleman could find some Englishman to do his dirty work for him? What would he have thought of an Englishman who should go to Ireland and describe the majority of his own fellow-countrymen in that way? Why, English people would despise him, and he was not surprised that Irish Gentlemen utterly despised the hon. and gallant Member when he made such statements in this House.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
explained that he had never said anything of the kind. He said it was the minority, not the majority.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, that the hon. and gallant Gentleman would be unable to convince that side of the House on that point. Two and two made four, and three was more than two. He should have thought that even a Conservative intellect would admit that. The hon. and gallant Member had read a number of extracts from speeches showing that the Leaders of the Opposition had changed their minds in reference to their political opinions. He (Mr. Labouchere) honoured them for it. It was the business of a statesman, when he found he had pursued a course in governing his country which proved a failure, to change his mind. Well, let it be admitted, once for all, the fact was recognized, and so waste no more time upon the matter. But he was surprised at the charge from the hon. and gallant Gentleman. When he (Mr. Labouchere) first sat in that House as a Radical the hon. and gallant Member sat near him. He sat there as a Radical, and now he complained that it was utterly monstrous for politicians to change their minds. With regard to the charges brought by the hon. and gallant Gentleman against the Land League, he (Mr. Labouchere) would refer to the murder of Fitzmaurice in Kerry. The hon. and gallant Gentleman accused the Land League of being responsible for that murder. An anonymous proclamation was put out; but was the League to be held responsible for every anonymous proclamation that was put out in Ireland? Then a branch of the League passed a resolution to the effect that they desired that the disapprobation felt against Fitzmaurice for having taken an evicted farm should be shown by Constitutional means. 422 The hon. and gallant Gentleman asserted that this was an incitement; but it appeared to him (Mr. Labouchere) to be just the reverse. Was the hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware of what they all knew, that the National League was less powerful in Clare and Kerry than in any other counties in Ireland? These counties had been honeycombed by secret societies; but the League had done its best to prevent murder and outrage from taking place by those societies? It was, however, in these counties that the Government suppressed the League, which stood between the landlords and the authors of outrage. Was it thought that there were no murders in Clare and Kerry before the League existed? If there were, why on, earth should any that occurred since be put down to the League? No matter what crime had occurred in Ireland, the hon. and gallant Gentleman read a series of garbled extracts, and said the League was responsible for everything. Declaring that the aim of the Irish was to undermine the authority of the Crown, the hon. and gallant Gentleman was asked for quotations, and then he said he had them, but he would not read them, and would take them for granted. That was an old trick of his, and it was a characteristic one; he was always taking things for granted, which was what his opponents would not do. Judging from his speech, the hon. and gallant Gentleman might have been expected to support the Amendment rather than the Address, because he did not seem to think that coercion had succeeded. But, of course, no Ministry would ever come before Parliament and say that the policy which they had initiated had been unsatisfactory. The hon. and gallant Member wanted more coercion, however; but he was not likely to get it, for the Government were not absolute idiots— he would grant them that—and they must know that coercion as they practised it would not be allowed to last for ever. During the Recess there had been a conspiracy on the part of the Press to delude the English public with regard to Ireland. The papers said everything was going on smoothly; evictions would quickly cease, and the Government would have the people believe that if only the Tories remained in power a little longer the Irish would give up Home Rule, and would probably 423 raise a statue to the eminent uncle and nephew who had originated the now policy. But he (Mr. Labouchere) asserted, without fear of contradiction, that the position in Ireland was what Marshal Radetzky said the position of Austria was in Italy; he said the Austrian Empire ceased beyond his camp, and so in Ireland the power of the Government ceased beyond the powers exercised by the Courts of the Resident Magistrates and the localities occupied by the police. The Government were quite right to denounce the alliance between the English and the Irish, democracies, for it had only to continue for Home Rule to be certainly granted to Ireland. The Irish people would not give up Home Rule as long as the English Liberal Party were united with them; and it could be carried only by the continued alliance of the democracies of the two countries. The Amendment stated that the action of the Government had been harsh, partial, and mischievous. No one could have studied what had taken place during the Recess without seeing that the Act had not only been so applied, but that it had been perverted to uses that had not been intended. The Government seemed to have come to the conclusion that any attack upon the Executive or upon the Tory Party was an attack upon the very principles of government, and they had sought to put down all Constitutional opposition and all political agitation against the ruling powers in Ireland. The difficulty in bringing this home to the English people really arose from the overabundance of the material; while, whenever the action of the Government was called in question, the Chief Secretary confined himself, in reply, to vague generalities and clap-trap about law and order, the sort of thing that Caiaphas and Pilate would have said if they had been accused of their crimes; they would have said they were the instruments of law and order, and if there had been a Press in Jerusalem the organs of the Pharisees, and Sadducees, of the moneyed classes and the publicans, would have said that they represented the rich and the intellectual, with whom mere miserable artizans and the scum of the population were not to be compared. With regard to the Mitchelstown affray, the last Session came to an end without 424 the possibility of bringing home to the right hon. Gentleman what had really occurred. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian had said, "Remember Mitchelstown!" The Chief Secretary could do nothing, or was afraid to do anything, with the right hon. Gentleman; but when the words were repeated by a little boy in Ireland he clapped him into prison. The Chief Secretary had asked—" where is the enthusiastic telegraphist who said, 'Re-member Mitchelstown?'" There he sat (pointing to the right hon. Gentleman), and he would be able to defend that advice. [Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE: Hear, hear!] These Mitchelstown proceedings took place, not under the Coercion Act, but under the Common Law, and that showed what went on in Ireland; the Government commenced in violation of the law, culminated in murder, and instead of bringing the offenders to a fair trial, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary and his Friends had done everything they could to shield them from the consequences of their acts. Of the events at Mitchelstown the Chief Secretary gave a version in that House. It is so long, and he did not see exactly how much to give. He had therefore referred to it thus, and that account, received from the instrument of his policy, was absolutely and entirely incorrect.—(See 3 Hansard,  230–1–2.)
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR), (Manchester, E.)
interposing, said, in his recollection his impression was that his statement had consisted of quotations from The Freeman's Journal.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, he had yesterday referred to The Times' report, which did not contain any mention of The Freeman's Journal. What the Chief Secretary had stated in the House about the matter was absolutely incorrect. He had always thought that the right hon. Gentleman would be especially careful in matters of evidence, for, as a philosopher, he was his (Mr. Labouchere's) favourite philosopher. He had sat at the feet of that Gamaliel. He had read his Defence of Philosophic Doubt until he almost doubted of his own existence. Yet when the right hon. Gentleman became Irish Chief Secretary he forgot all his philosophy. The reason was that there were exigencies required 425 of an Irish Secretary which were not to be found in the calm fields of philosophy. It was a melancholy thing for a philosopher to be plunged by the exigencies of his position into matters like this—to have vile instruments to carry out his orders, and to believe them, or rather to pretend to believe them. The Government had placed Mitchelstown in the charge of Captain Seagrave, who had been appointed by a Tory Government a year previously a Resident Magistrate in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman had pledged himself in that House that no Resident Magistrate should adjudicate under the Crimes Act who had not satisfied the Lord Chancellor of his legal knowledge. It was well known that Captain Seagrave possessed no legal knowledge whatever, and yet he was every day adjudicating under the Crimes Act. The other gentleman in command at Mitchelstown was Mr. Brownrigg, a County Inspector. He had come across that gentleman, and he was bound to say that he was one of the most outrageous ruffians he had met with in his life, and that, whether with excitement or with wine, he had the manner of being intoxicated. Soon after the commencement of the meeting in the market place, a reporter was seen, wedged in with 16 policemen, to approach within a few yards of the wagonette in which were the speakers. He invited the Chief Secretary to inform the House under what law the Government claimed the right of forcing a reporter through a crowded meeting. He admitted that the police might claim to occupy positions in a crowd in order to maintain order; but there was no right to push the people aside in order to put a reporter in their place. He would admit for a moment that the Government had the right to force the reporter in; but he would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that in September, 1880, an Order was issued to the following effect—that in cases where Constabulary shorthand reporters attended meetings permission should be asked of the chairman. Why was that Order to distasteful to the right hon. Gentleman? It was because of his arbitrary instincts. The right hon. Gentleman wished to pose in Ireland as a firm man, and did not care sixpence whether people were killed or not. The right hon. Gentleman went in for maintaining the divine right of policemen in 426 Ireland. They had heard a great deal about the bravery of these police; but they were only brave when they had bayonets and batons in their hands. He (Mr. Labouchere) distinctly accused the Government of having violated the law by having created a disturbance in their endeavour to force a reporter through the crowd, and afterwards of making a gross and unprovoked attack upon the people in trying to do what District Inspector Irwin had said it was impossible they could do—namely, effect an entry into the meeting. Was it then surprising that the people should defend themselves? He contended that if a man was wrongfully attacked by a policeman he was justified in defending himself and in knocking the policeman down if he could. Eventually the police ran away, and of course a few stones were thrown after them. It was only natural that that should be so. An attempt was made by the police at the inquest to show that they fired in order to protect their comrades who were returning to the barracks. But it was proved that Sergeant Leahy, the only one of the police who was at first left outside, had returned to the barracks before the firing began. Then, one of the policemen who was said to be injured admitted that the mark disappeared from his face in a week. Only one of them, Sergeant Leahy, was at all seriously injured. The police fell out at the inquest, and contradicted themselves with that wonderful readiness which persons of the character that these men had been shown to possess could do when they wanted to shift responsibility of their actions on others. Their animus was shown by the answers of the men, who stated that they deliberately fired at individual persons, and tried to kill. He did not think that in any case that had over been investigated a soldier had stated he had aimed and hoped to kill. The hon. Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin (Mr. Timothy Harrington) had been accused of having used strong and abusive language to the witnesses. Well, there could be no doubt that he did use strong language; but it was equally true that the language addressed to him by the witnesses was outrageous. Sergeant Ryder said— "You know the side the murderers were on, you and your colleagues." 427 He (Mr. Labouchere) would like to know what would bethought in London if such language was addressed to his hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Hackney (Sir Charles Russell) when he was defending the persons accused in connection with the riot at Trafalgar Square? A District Inspector who had been 44 years in the force, after listening to the evidence given by the police and brought forward by the Government, was driven to say that they were nothing but a pack of perjurers. With reference to the action of County Inspector Brownrigg in inducing the unfortunate men under him to swear that he had not given them the order to fire, Irwin need not have dreaded responsibility if he had remembered the good friend he had in the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, who said—"Let them commit what they like, let them commit murder, let them perjure themselves, let them swear black is white, let them get up evidence in their own barracks, and let them produce those perjurers." the right hon. Gentleman would say— "They are right. I applaud them; if they only kill a sufficient number of men, I will give them some mark of my favour." He (Mr. Labouchere) would ask whether Irwin was still in the police force? For Irwin, who was second in command, had brought a distinct charge against County Inspector Brownrigg of endeavouring, by means of perjury, to alter the evidence to be given before the Court. Was Irwin still in the force? He thought it very possible that he was. If such things had taken place in England, the people would have insisted, as in the case of Endacott, that an investigation should be held to discover the guilty man; and either District Inspector Irwin or County Inspector Brownrigg would have been dismissed. He accused the police, when they went back to their barracks, of having deliberately fired with the intention of killing, for it should be remembered that the plea for the firing was that the barracks was attacked, and that the police fired only at those who were throwing stones. The facts, however, were that an old man and a boy were killed 129 feet from the barracks, and a carman, who it was admitted had nothing to do with the stone-throwing, was shot 297 feet, or 99 428 yards, from the barracks. If the right hon. Gentleman had ever played at cricket, he must know that it was impossible to throw even a cricket ball 100 yards. For his own part, he (Mr. Labouchere) would be satisfied to stand at a distance of 100 yards, and allow the right hon. Gentleman to throw stones at him all day long. District Inspector Irwin swore that he particularly ordered the police not to fire at a house opposite the barracks, as there were women and children at the windows; but the marks afterwards found on the walls showed that the police actually did fire at the house. With regard to the breaking of the windows of the barracks, how many panes had been broken by stones as a matter of fact? Three only. He asserted, further, that at the time this took place there was no attack being made on the barracks, and that it was childish and ridiculous to say that any reasonable person could have dreaded that they would have been taken by assault, or that the police were in any sort of danger of their lives. No doubt, some men had followed the police when they retired; but they had been called back, and perhaps a few boys had thrown some stones, but no assault had been made upon the barracks; and it was in a state of panic and desire for vengeance that the police had fired out of the windows. His hon. Friend (Mr. Dillon) said that the police batoned men who were cowering on the ground, and one of them was only prevented by an officer from thrusting his sword-bayonet through a man. Then came the inquest at Mitchelstown, and a verdict of murder was brought in against Brownrigg and five policemen. The Government had done their best to quash it by legal chicanery. One ground was that jurors had conversed with others during the trial. For his own part, he doubted whether in London a single Coroner's inquest took place without this happening, such inquests being held in the most loose and ramshackle fashion. Other grounds were that the Coroner and his clerk were with the jury when they retired, and that the Coroner had not conducted himself impartially. That was a matter of opinion, and for his own part, he thought that the Coroner had acted with impartiality. Then it was said that Mr. Harrington had abused 429 some of the witnesses, and that 12 of the jurors were Nationlists, so that because "Peter the Packer" was not allowed to come down to Mitchelstown and pack the jury, the whole proceedings were quashed. Another ground alleged for setting aside the verdict was that no sworn officer was in charge of the jury when they retired; but, as a matter of fact, the Coroner said that he had put the jury in charge of Head Constable Sullivan. Sullivan had seen the jury to their room, but had not remained there, having got certain directions from his officer. It was evident that this had been done, because the police, expecting a verdict against them, wanted an opportunity of quashing it. As a matter of fact, the Court had set aside these grounds, and although they had quashed the verdict, had done so on the ground that the jury had not been properly summoned. He (Mr. Labouchere) had himself been present and had seen what took place, with two other hon. Members of that House; and they in that House openly accused the police of deliberate murder in this case. He wanted to know what would have happened if this had taken place in Trafalgar Square? Things were done in Ireland which would not be permitted here. In that country a man if he was on the side of the Government was protected from the consequences of his own acts. The criminal classes there were the Executive and their myrmidons and instruments. He had stated the facts of the case; he had nothing extenuated, naught set down in malice. He had taken the police evidence, and had rather toned it down than exaggerated it. To sum up the charges he made, he accused the police distinctly of having violated the law by sending a reporter to this meeting, and of having created a disturbance by forcing the reporter through the crowd in front of the speakers, instead of sending him round at the back; he accused the police afterwards of making a gross and unprovoked attack on the people, in endeavouring to do what Mr. Irwin had said it was impossible for them to do; and he accused the police when they had gone back to their barracks of having killed an old man, a boy, and a car-driver, who was admitted to have had nothing to do with the affair, when there was no attack upon the barracks going on. It was childish, to assert either that the barracks 430 could have been taken by assault, or that the police were in any danger at that time. He also accused the police of having tried when they were in the barracks to concoct evidence and to induce Mr. Irwin to withdraw a statement which was true, and to swear to the contrary in a Court of Law. Finally, he accused the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. A. J. Balfour) of not only condoning this conduct, but of making himself a party to it by the subsequent action he had taken. What he claimed was that a certain investigation should be made into the whole case, and he and his Friends said—they had a right to say—that until this investigation had taken place the Government, while attacking men every day and dragging them before Resident Magistrates for selling newspapers and so forth, were condoning and encouraging murder.
§ SIR CHARLES RUSSELL (Hackney, S.)
I do not rise to take any part in the general discussion of the subject matter of the Debate on the Address on the particular Amendment before the House; but I ask the permission of the House- to make some observations upon a reference made by the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) respecting what is known as the "Dopping" incident. The hon. and gallant Member, in a manner which was almost, if not quite insulting, and which was certainly ungenerous, stated of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) that he had made an apology to Colonel Dopping, on which account he (Colonel Saunderson) would not dwell further on the incident, but that it was to be noted that such apology was made by my right hon. Friend after he had received a lawyer's letter, and not before. In other words the statement of the hon. and gallant Member was this—that my right hon. Friend, finding himself in a position in which he ought, as an honourable man, to make an explanation and apology, did so only under stress and threat of legal proceedings. As I am conversant from my own personal knowledge of the facts of the case, I think it right to state what those facts were. My right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian, before any question of legal proceedings, consulted me in reference to this matter, and he stated that his strong impression was that 431 he bad not used with reference to his account of the Dopping incident, the word "loaded" in connection with the gun which Colonel Dopping is supposed to have carried, and he was also able to point to the fact, which had been corroborated by statements made to myself, that other persons present at the Nottingham meeting were of the opinion that that word had not been used. But I pointed out to my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian that in my judgment the use or non-use of the word "loaded" made no material difference in the matter, and that unquestionably the inference that might very fairly be drawn, and would, in my judgment, be naturally drawn from the context was that, whether the word "loaded" was or was not used, my right hon. Friend had intended to convey, or at least that the words were susceptible of conveying, and so it would be understood, that the gun was in fact loaded. In those circumstance I suggested to my right hon. Friend that the proper and honourable course for him to pursue was this—to omit altogether from the republication of his speech the passage, some statements in which were in question and disputed, and to append as the reason for not republishing in full what he had said at Nottingham, a statement that he should regret being a party to the publication of any statement affecting any man which was in any material respect impugned in fact. Upon my making that communication to my right hon. Friend, he at once said that if the view which I had presented was the correct one, which he was quite willing to assent to, he ought not to stop at merely the omission of a particular passage or at any explanatory or apologetic note. He said he thought he owed more to Colonel Dopping, and that if the impression which I thought naturally conveyed by the speech was one generally entertained, he thought he owed it to Colonel Dopping to address a personal explanation and apology to Colonel Dopping himself; and he did so express his intention of so communicating in that sense with Colonel Dopping, as I know, before there was any question or threat of a letter from the solicitor or any suggestion of any legal proceedings whatever. I think it is due to my right hon. Friend that this statement should be made by someone who 432 knows the facts—and I know them myself—in answer to the ungenerous allusion of the hon. and gallant Member, and I thank the House for allowing me to make this explanation.
§ MR. COMMINS (Roscommon, S.)
said, the Amendment before the House traversed the statement in Her Majesty's Gracious Speech that agrarian crime had diminished in Ireland altogether with the power of conspiracy and coercion. The Amendment traversed that statement, and declared that if there were an amelioration in the condition of the country it was owing to the remedial legislation of last Session, and that the repressive legislation, so far from tending to diminish crime, had done much to alienate the sympathies of Her Majesty's subjects, and that the administration of that oppressive legislation had been harsh, brutal, oppressive, cruel, and mischievous. He did not think the proposition in the Amendment was one at all difficult to make out. It had been pretty well made out in the arguments of the speakers who had preceded him in this debate, and, what was more, in the answer of the Government to those arguments. Whether the Government would change ground and make a different answer or not as the debate went on, he did not know; but he took it that the general lines of their answer had been indicated by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) and the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland (Mr. Madden). Both these Gentlemen tried to make out their case by giving the House certain statistics; and he (Mr. Commins) had a few words to say with regard to those statistics. It was odd that these statistics should have been presented to the House and discredited, at the very moment they were presented, by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary who produced them. The right hon. Gentleman told them that he placed no reliance, or, at any rate, very little reliance, upon statistics. That was a feeling which was shared by both sides of the House, particularly with regard to statistics made up, as the Chief Secretary told them these were made up, by the tools of the Government in Ireland. The case that the right hon. Gentleman had made out from the statistics had been entirely discounted by the 433 right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith), who had told them that, so far from this repressive legislation bringing about a better state of things, little or no progress had been made in securing either obedience to the law or respect for it. If that were the fact, it was difficult to see what was the good of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary's statistics, and what value was to be placed upon his argument on the propositions stated in Her Majesty's Speech. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury admitted the whole case set up by the Amendment. But it was not enough that the case should be admitted by the First Lord of the Treasury. The country should be made aware of the fact, and should be told how it came to be a fact. He (Mr. Commins) must complain of these statistics which had been furnished. There were no statistics produced in the first instance; and it was only because of an observation of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) that any were furnished at all. The House would have been left in the dark, and the statistics which have been produced—mengre as they were—would not have been given had they not been called for—he would not say by the taunts of the right hon. Gentleman, because he was not given to taunting anybody, but by his justifiable statement that it was odd that the Government should come into the House without a scrap of evidence in support of the necessity for the continuance of the Coercion Act. Well, as he (Mr. Commins) had said, he complained of these statistics. They afforded them no information. The House had experience of other Coercion Acts, and of what had been done by another Chief Secretary for Ireland—namely, the late Mr. Fovster— who when he brought in his Coercion Act in 1881, and afterwards during its administration, always fairly and honestly produced statistics to the House to let them see what were the real facts and allegations by which he sustained his position. They were able to judge by the statistics furnished by Mr. Forster whether the things which were called "Agrarian offences" were agrarian offences or not. They were able to tell whether a certain crime ought to figure as one crime or as 400 crimes, but they 434 were not able to make that distinction in the case of the statistics produced by the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary. Mr. Forster had always given them the names and the places in each case, and also the date of the occurrences. He had given particulars of every case he included in the statistics which he brought forward in justification of his administration, and in that way the House was enabled to form an adequate idea of the sort of things relied upon as outrages. It had transpired in the course of a debate that one "outrage" in the Government statistics was a case in which a man was detected nailing up a threatening letter to himself on his own door. If the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary gave them names and dates, how many cases he relied on would turn out to be fictitious offences such as this? It would be interesting to know how many of the "outrages" consisted of setting fire to furze bushes on the roadside, pushing the coping-stones off a wall, and things which would be considered of such an exceedingly trivial nature that one would not whip a small boy for them. Things of this kind used to figure in Mr. Forster's returns as outrages, and it would be interesting to know how many of the 373 offences, upon which the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary, relied now for the justification of the present procedure would turn out to be duplicate, triplicate, and quadruplicate offences committed at one and the same time. It would be interesting to know how many of the offences consisted of making wry faces at policemen—and they knew that offences of that kind were complained of, and that people had been punished for them—and the House would also like to know how many of the "outrages" were slanders such as that which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) had fallen into inadvertently, and how many of the offences consisted of people shouting for joy because the hon. Member for North East Cork (Mr. William O'Brien) had come home from gaol, or because of their admiration of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian. All these things came under the category of "offences" in Ireland. How many of these offences were included in the statistics mentioned 435 by the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary? In those statistics it was at present difficult to say under what head the offences would come, whether they would be classed under "unlawful assemblages," "rioting," or "inciting to conspiracy." If the right hon. Gentleman would only give them the names it might enable them to show that the offences were perfectly ridiculous, and that it was absurd to have special legislation to deal with them. This being the case the House was not assisted in any way, nor was the right hon. Gentleman's argument assisted in any way, by the Returns he had given, and the House was thrown back on the consideration of the accounts they saw in the public Press for forming their judgment on the state of Ireland, although those reports were sometimes incorrect and wild, and not always perfectly reliable. But before passing from the statistics he should like to know whether, in the list of crimes, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary included cases where there had been no convictions—such as the case of the Mitchelstown murder, and the murder of Hanlon by the police at Youghal? These might be given; but if the House were furnished with the names and dates of the cases the state of things would be different. If murders of this kind were considered crimes by the Government they should be so treated; and yet how did the Government treat these cases? In the case of the Mitchelstown murder the House was aware that the inquest took a considerable amount of time, and they knew that a Coroner's inquest was practically the only procedure of a criminal nature in Ireland which did not entirely depend upon the initiative of the Government. The Coroner was one of the remnants they had in that country of the old institutions. The Coroner was the people's officer, and he was the only man who did not depend either on Government sanction, Government instigation, or Government support. If the Coroner were a Government official, they probably would not have inquests at all in Ireland; but as he was not under them, and derived his powers from the old Common Law, one of the old liberties of the people still remained. When public massacres took place like that at Mitchelstown, and that of Belmullet, 436 and that of Ballyragget—cases that they were too familiar with—the Coroner, of course, instituted an investigation into the cause of death of the victims. The Coroners in Ireland might not have much to do. They were not perfectly au fait with the technicalities of procedure as Coroners were in England, where they had a great deal to do in inquiring into death because of railway accidents, colliery accidents, the execution of criminals, and so on. Coroners get a great deal more practice in England, and were more clever in doing their work, and were more familiar with those technicalities than they were in Ireland; yet he (Mr. Commins) would venture to say that there was not one inquisition out of 20 which took place in England the verdict of which the Government would not be able to set aside if they urged such pleas as had been urged in the case of the Mitchelstown inquest, for the reason that Government officials were inculpated. Verdicts of Coroners' inquests had been set aside in numerous instances in Ireland, the latest of which was the Mitchelstown case. They had had from an eye-witness the particulars of what had occurred in the Coroner's Court on the 9th of September last at Mitchelstown, and this occurred within the six months to which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary's statistics referred. Anybody who read the story of the Mitchelstown massacre would see at once that there was, at any rate, a primâ facie case against the police, not only of murder, but of a most aggravated form of murder. It was a case which involved not only the destruction of human life, but an outrage upon public liberty, and the guilt of the police was brought home, not only by the evidence of partial witnesses, but evidence extracted from the unwilling lips of members of the force itself who were participators in the affair. The finding of the jury upon that evidence was not impeached, but the verdict had been upset on a question of tome formality such as occurred as the locking up of the jury—tho jury holding its inquiry in an hotel parlour where there was no jury box and no material appliances to separate the jury from the public, in consequence of which members of the jury spoke to somebody during the progress of the case. The Government 437 pleaded also such technicalities as this, that their own officer, who was in charge of the jury, walked out of the jury room during the course of the proceedings, and also some irregularity in the summoning of the jury. These were the sort of things on which the verdict of the Mitchelstown jury was impugned; and there were a lot more small irregularities which could be found out, not only in Ireland, but in England were it necessary for the Government to attempt to upset a verdict in order to procure immunity for their tools. The verdict of the jury to which he referred, however, was unimpeachable so far as the evidence was concerned —it was unimpeachable to the mind of every impartial man. Suppose such a thing as the quashing of a verdict had occurred in this country. Suppose the meeting had taken place in Trafalgar Square; they had no reason to doubt the integrity of the law in this country; and what would the law have done—what would the Court of Queen's Bench have done? Why they would have directed two or three commissioners to hold another inquest without further examination of the bodies of the deceased persons; the evidence which would incriminate or exculpate the police would have been heard, and a new verdict would have been returned. Did the Government intend to do anything of that sort in the Mitchelstown case? He had been told to-day across the Floor of the House that the Government intended to do nothing of the kind. Well, what was invariably done in this country when a Coroner's inquisition returned a verdict against anyone of murder, or manslaughter? The Coroner issued his warrant as he was bound to do, that warrant was put in the hands of the police, and the accused party wag taken before the magistrates. Depositions were also taken before the magistrates with a view of prosecuting so far as the Coroner's jury had found anyone guilty. Had anything of the kind been done in connection with the Mitchelstown case? Nothing of the kind. No magisterial inquiry had been held and no depositions had teen laid before the magistrates or taken by the magistrates, and the answer he had received, when he had put a Question to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Ireland (Colonel King-Harman) as to whether it was the intention 438 of the Government to take any such steps, was in the negative. It was open to the Government still to do something; but that was the way in which they treated occurrences which took place in Ireland — occurrences which were stigmatized solemnly as murder. The Government condoned these offences. They considered it a crime to commit what he might call a contraction between a boo and a cheer, and boys were sent to gaol for it; but the homicide of a man in the public streets was considered no offence whatever, and on technical grounds an inquisition of a jury was quashed and the tools of the Government were exculpated. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had himself told them that it was exceedingly difficult to distinguish what were agrarian offences and what were not. But an agrarian offence meant an offence that arose out of the condition of the country, and although the right hon. Gentleman had said that the case referred to was not an agrarian offence, he (Mr. Commins) would like to know on that supposition what was an agrarian offence. The statistics which the Government put forward could be sent upwards or downwards, just as it suited the purpose of the Government to show a large or small amount of agrarian offence in Ireland. When it suited their book, they could return three quarters or one quarter of the whole number of offences in Ireland as non-agrarian or otherwise, as the case might be, and when, as now, it was necessary to show that agrarian offences were decreasing, they could simply appropriate what offences they liked to the category of ordinary offences, reducing thereby agrarian offences to a minimum, and pointing to their figures as an evidence of the success of the Coercion Act. But he and his hon. Friends contended that the Government claim with regard to the good effect of the Coercion Act had not been made out, and, on the other hand, that they had by their own admissions shown that they had no case to bring forward. He was afraid that if they looked at the number of persons convicted, it would be found that the Act had very considerably inflamed the minds of the people. They were told by hon. Gentlemen opposite that all offences emanating from the National League were agrarian offences, and that the National League had no 439 basis except the discontent arising from the holding of land. The Government told the House that they had put down the National League in two counties of Ireland, and suppressed 200 branches of that organization; but why had they not furnished the statistics which would have given them the names of those branches? They had not thought fit to do that; and he (Mr. Commins) had thrown out a challenge to the Government a few days ago to tell the House the name of a single branch of the National League which had discontinued its operations. That challenge had not been taken up, and the Government had not been able to give the name of any one branch, while the fact remained that the branches of the National League continued to hold their meetings, and the newspapers to publish reports of the proceedings. When he heard the talk about the suppression of 200 branches of the National League, he could not help thinking of the story of a very ferocious man in Ireland who, being offended with another man to whom he did not venture to offer physical violence, said to him, "Sir, consider yourself horsewhipped," whereupon the other, taking him by the nose, raising him, and then laying him down, replied, "Sir, you may consider that your nose has been pulled." In the same way as this the Government were making fools of themselves, because they were holding out to the world what was not the fact at all, and they had themselves found out that in endeavouring to suppress a nation they had undertaken a task far beyond their strength. It was on the Government's own showing an offence for everyone of the 200 suppressed branches of the National League to meet; why then did they not give the House statistics with regard to that particular kind of agrarian offences? These branches continue to meet, and the Government are aware of the fact; they prosecute one or two here and there, but as to suppressing the League, they knew they might as well try to stop the course of the River Shannon. So much, then, for the diminution of crime in Ireland. His hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) confirmed the statement that crime in Ireland had diminished, and his contention that if there was amelioration it was not owing to the Coercion Act, was a matter 440 which needed not much argument. It was due to the changed feeling in England produced by the policy of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian. When conciliative measures came to Ireland from either Liberals or Tories they were perfectly ready to accept them with thanks. The decisions of the Land Court in revising rents had done more for the diminution of crime in Ireland than any Coercion Act that had ever been passed. The Plan of Campaign had also done much, and he would not weary the House by dwelling on what had done more than anything else to prevent breaches of law in Ireland—namely, the awakening of the consciences of the people of England to the wants and aspirations of the Irish people. That sympathy could only arise from the people of this country becoming acquainted by their own personal observation and the narratives of others with the misery which the people suffer and the slavery that exists in Ireland. It was that growing sympathy between the two peoples that the Government were doing all in their power to prevent, and that is the reason why they are prosecuting the newspaper proprietors for publishing accounts of the meetings of the National League; that was the reason why they pounced upon Englishmen like Mr. Blunt, who had shown sympathy with the Irish people. But that sympathy could no more be checked by the Government than they could prevent the return of Spring.
§ MR. MURPHY (Dublin, St.Patrick's)
said, The speech of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) reminded him of one of those successful pieces which had a long run at a London theatre. The speech they had heard to-night was, to his knowledge, running now for three seasons, and it did not fail to draw an audience of his Tory Friends, who laughed as heartily as ever at the old jokes and stories. The only portion of the speech of the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Saunderson) that he should refer to was that which related to the murder of the man named Fitzmaurice, in Kerry. In connection with this, the hon. and gallant Member had read resolutions of a branch of the National League in the months of June and January last. This man had been murdered within the last two or three weeks, 441 but the hon. and gallant Gentleman had never stated the fact that the branch had ceased to exist for more than four months. It had not ceased to exist because of the prosecutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour), but it had died from inanition owing to its moderate counsels and its denunciation of Moonlighting, which were distasteful to certain persons. The two men who had been arrested on suspicion, and had been identified by the daughter of the murdered man, had never been members of the National League. On the contrary, they had often gone into the neighbouring town of Tralee for the purpose of disturbing the meetings of the National League there; and, therefore, so far from any connection existing between the League and the murderers, the reverse was the case. It was in cases where the National League was not strong and did not comprise the bulk of the people of the district that murders of this kind took place. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had quoted from an article in The Kerry Sentinel, written by his hon. Friend the Member for West Kerry (Mr. E. Harrington). That article was written and signed by his hon. Friend at a time when he could not have seen the resolution which had been referred to. It was written in consequence of the suppression of the League in the barony of Kerry, and it stated that until all the branches were suppressed in the county he should continue to report the meetings of the branch; it also referred to the purchase of a certain estate over the heads of the tenantry, in the year 1879, by Mr. Samuel Hussey, with the particulars of which he (Mr. Murphy) was personally acquainted, as he himself had made an offer to purchase the estate at the time, and to give the tenants their holdings under the Bright Clauses of the Land Act of 1870. These were the allusions of the article, and the garbled extract which the hon. and gallant Gentleman had read would not bear out in any way the contention that the National League or his hon. Friend the Member for West Kerry (Mr. E. Harrington) were in the least degree responsible for the crime which had been perpetrated. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had stated that hon. Members who had spoken in the 442 country in reference to the conduct of the Government were afraid to repeat in that House, where they could be answered, what they had said outside, and he had especially referred to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian(Mr. W.E. Gladstone). Now, after the Motion of Amendment to the Address which had been moved by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell), he thought it was not likely that the right hon. Gentleman any longer retained the illusion that his policy in Ireland would not be discussed in that House. He would be likely to hear more on the subject from the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone). The Speech from the Throne described the result of the recent legislation in Ireland as of a satisfactory character. He fancied that the paragraph must have been penned by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, because he had no doubt whatever that the state of affairs in that country had been satisfactory to the right hon. Gentleman himself. He felt, no doubt, that kind of satisfaction which was scarcely a Christian virtue, but which was not uncommonly felt when they had their enemies in their grip, and could inflict punishment on them. In no other sense, and to no one else, was the condition of Ireland satisfactory So far from the state of Ireland being satisfactory, he (Mr. Murphy) maintained that the Crimes Act had increased the contempt for the magistracy in Ireland, and created greater disrespect than before existed. It was idle to tell them or the country that the Resident Magistrates were in any sense independent; that they did not take their cue from Dublin Castle, as surely as a band of musicians took their lead from the baton of the conductor. In 1885, when the Conservative Government were in power, and made that partial alliance described by the hon. Member for Cork, with Irish Members, the Resident Magistrates were as gentle as sucking doves, and quite different in their practice and manner from what they were at the present time. The statistics which had been produced to them as evidence of the success of the Coercion Act, were, to his mind, evidence of its failure, because, if it had succeeded as it was calculated to do in exasperating the people of Ireland, it would have tended to an increase of 443 crime; but the National League had been a powerful antidote to that tendency, and to that organization was chiefly due the diminution in the number of crimes. He said that the list of various prosecutions under the Coercion Act given by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland (Mr. Madden) last night did not convoy to ordinary minds the smallest idea of the nature of the offences for which prosecutions had taken place. It had been stated that when the Bill of last year was passing through the House that what was known as the Secret Inquiry Clause would be certainly useful in dealing with serious crimes; but he could only find that the clause had been put in force in two instances. He (Mr. Murphy) said that the Crimes Act had not been of use in this respect, and that when serious crimes had occurred, they had been dealt with under the ordinary law, and the juries had convicted. But they had been told by the hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland that the Government claimed that their policy was a success, and justified the Act of last year on the ground of putting down the Plan of Campaign and Boycotting in Ireland. He (Mr. Murphy) had looked at the list of cases given by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland (Mr. Madden), and out of 373 he could not find more than about 20 cases which could in any way be considered as relating to or affecting cases of Boycotting or the Plan of Campaign. The hon. and learned Solicitor General had also given them statistics of Boycotting cases, which statistics might be right or wrong; but such statistics were certainly tainted with suspicion, because formerly they were intended for one purpose, and now they were intended for another, and every sub-constable in Ireland who collected those statistics had his finger on the pulse of the Castle, and knew what was wanted from him at any particular time. On the other side of the account; while the Crimes Act had done nothing but; irritate the people—while it had produced nothing but unnecessary prosecutions—while it had not affected Boycotting in any shape or form, it had created a great amount of contempt of the law and distrust of the magistracy. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland attempted to justify his harsh 444 treatment of prisoners in Ireland by stating that they were not political prisoners but politicians who had committed crime. What was the crime which the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien) committed? That hon. Gentleman had simply told the people to resist by every legitimate means an eviction raid which was being organized to deprive them of the benefit of the Land Act which was to become law a few days later. He (Mr. Murphy) desired to know how the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary justified his statement that newspapers had not been prosecuted for political offences? There was a provision in the Prisons Act, making it obligatory that every person under sentence for seditious libel should be treated as a first-class misdemeanant. If a man were found guilty of the comparatively trivial offence of publishing the proceedings of a proclaimed branch of the National League, he was not only imprisoned, but imprisoned with all the degradation attaching to the meanest prisoner in the land. It was only lately that the Government had taken up the prosecution of Boycotting cases. They claimed that the Crimes Act was to put down Boycotting; but it was only within the last month or two they had taken proceedings in respect to Boycotting. The first conviction which was obtained was reversed on the ground that the evidence did not sustain it. In cases which could not be sustained by any sufficient evidence, it was now the practice of Resident Magistrates to require the accused to come up for judgment when called upon. He could not resume his seat without referring to the treatment which some of his personal friends had received in prison. The hon. Member for the College Green Division of Dublin—and late Lord Mayor of Dublin—(Mr. T. D. Sullivan) was sentenced to imprisonment as a first-class misdemeanant. He was committed to the Richmond Prison, which was situated in Dublin, where he was committed, and where under ordinary circumstances he would remain. There he could not receive visits from his friends and members of his family; but he had not been in the Richmond Gaol more than 24 hours when he was removed to Tullamore. What was that for except for the purpose of minimizing the privileges attaching to him as a 445 first-class misdemeanant? Mr. Mandeville was also imprisoned in Tullamore. He (Mr. Murphy) visited that gentleman frequently. The last occasion on which he saw him was about 24 hours before he was released. Mr. Mandeville was then in a cell which was almost totally dark. He had been there for 48 hours, and his diet had consisted of bread and water. In order to commit Mr. Mandeville to a punishment cell it was necessary to have a magistrate's order made after an inquiry in the prison; and in this case the Government passed over the Visiting Justices and the local Justices, and imported a removable magistrate to inflict this disgraceful punishment. As the object of all punishment was to deter persons from repeating the offence for which they were punished, this was not punishment, but persecution, seeing that Mr. Mandeville's term of imprisonment expired the next day. That was about the 10th time he had been punished by bread and water. Such treatment of political prisoners was resented by the people of Ireland, and revolted the people of this country; but they took hope in the fact that the day was not far distant when it would be a thing of the past, and be remembered ouly as an ugly dream.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said, he had followed the course of this debate with the closest attention, and he must confess with some disappointment so far as the Opposition side of the House was concerned. Scarcely a speaker had remembered Mitchelstown. They had heard little or nothing about the tortures of Tullamore, and he had only heard one passing remark made about the conduct of the Irish Land Commission in decreeing what the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) declared outside the House to be an entirely inadequate reduction of the judicial rents. Judging from newspaper articles, and from platform oratory, he had expected that the lath and plaster Cromwell, the niminy piminy Bismarck who was now strutting on the stage of Dublin Castle, would have been arraigned and all his misdeeds exposed to the House. The articles in question were printers' ink, and the oratory was mere declamation for the groundlings in the Provinces. Instead of that they had had a mild demand from the Front Bench for statistical information. They 446 had had from the Leader of the Party below the Gangway a rehash of the ancient history concerning Lord Carnarvon. They had had a furious attack upon Resident—or, as they were now called removable— Magistrates, and they had had a doleful complaint concerning appeals under the Crimes Act. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) had got his statistical information, and what use had been made of it? Why, no sooner was it given than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for New-castle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) declared in his place that so far from the improvement being due to the working of the Crimes Act, it was duo to what he called the "union of hearts." He (Mr. T. W. Russell) was not prepared to put the theory of the union of hearts aside. Great things had been accomplished in that direction. He was not very sure whether the hon. Baronet the Member for the Cockermouth Division of Cumberland (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) was in his place, but he wished to say that the hon. Baronet paid them a visit to Ulster not long ago in pursuance of the mission of uniting the hearts of the two peoples. His hon. Friend once had a very high opinion of the Province of Ulster, and of its people in those dark days when he was as a voice crying in the wilderness, and when a wicked House of Commons positively refused to listen to him. That Province of all the country gave a clear majority in favour of his project, and he had never ceased until recently to boast of it. Well, he went to Ulster the other day in pursuance of the policy of uniting the hearts of the two peoples. He deliberately cut all his old friends, and was received with open arms by the publicans of Ulster. There was a humorous cartoon extant in that Province which pictured the hon. Baronet in a drizzling snowy night, standing on a platform opposite the gaol of Enniskillen, the platform being composed of porter barrels, calling on Balfour and his minions to come on, and licensed victuallers holding tallow candles to illumine the darkness. Surely, the union of hearts had gone a long way when it had caused the hon. Baronet to be received with open arms by the Ulster publicans, and when it had caused the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne to be 447 publicly blessed by the Church. But what he (Mr. T. W. Russell) wanted to know was why did the general interest in the union of hearts policy allow the hon. Member for West Kerry (Mr. E. Harrington) to put his foot in it on Friday night, as the noble Earl the Member for South Somerset (the Earl of Cavan) did on Thursday night. He (Mr. T. W. Russell) had paid attention to this debate during the dinner hours, and during one of those hours the hon. Member for West Kerry, dealing with the statistics produced by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, told the House that no sane man in Ireland would pay the slightest regard to those statistics—that they were worthless. If that be so, what became of the success of the union of hearts? It, too, must be written down a failure. Whatever hon. Members might say, the figures given by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary held the field. The Government were in the position that they were able to say that they had not only diminished crime by the working of the Crimes Act, but that they had been able to get evidence of crime which they were totally unable to get before the passing of the Act. Now, during the Recess there had been three brutal murders in Ireland. All three had been committed in the counties of Clare and Kerry. He was told that the National League was an organization for the protection of tenants and for the prevention of crime. He was told that the leaders of that League were the men who really prevented crime being committed. Now, let them examine that statement. A few minutes ago he heard the hon. Member for one of the divisions of Dublin call in question the statement made by the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) regarding the Lixnaw branch of the National League. He thought the hon. Gentleman said that that branch of the League had had no existence for three or four months. The resolution quoted by his hon. and gallant Friend to-night was taken from The Kerry Weekly Reporter of the 29th of January, 1887, and the meeting of the branch at which the resolution was passed was held on Sunday, the 23rd of January.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
asked what were the facts? An orator went down into the neighbourhood, and he denounced land-grabbing and land-grabbers. He was an orator of great repute in Ireland. There was a land-grabber in the immediate vicinity — a land-grabber who had as much right to grab land, according to the testimony of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan), as any farmer in Ireland had to hold land. A week after that speech was made that land-grabber was shot dead on the road to the fair of Listowell. His hon. and gallant Friend went over that case, and he was not going to trouble the House with the particulars of it. But he would take another case.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said, that hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway knew very well who made the speech—[Cries of "Who?"] It was a public speech reported in the newspapers— [Renewed cries of "Who?"]—by a member of the National League—[Cries of "Name!"] —Mr. Davitt.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said, he would take another case—the case where Head Constable Whelehan lost his life. What happened there? Another orator—a Member of Parliament—the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon)—went into County Clare. He denounced land-grabbing. No meeting was ever held without land-grabbing being denounced, because it was the pivot upon which the whole agitation turned. The hon. Gentleman denounced land-grabbing. A man named Sexton, who had taken a farm in this way, was immediately visited. The police had received information, and they were there in waiting for the visitors. They were arrested; but instead of Sexton losing his life, Head Constable Whelehan lost his. He (Mr. T. W. Russell) was told that the police conspired to bring about this crime. He should answer his informants by a letter from Lord Spencer on that point. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway pinned their faith to Lord Spencer now. He remembered when they sneered at him as the "Red Earl," and when they had 449 the unutterable meanness to refer to his childless home. Lord Spencer—dealing with their assertion—used these words in a letter he (Mr. T. W. Russell) held in his hand—I was very badly reported at Aberystwith. I spoke very strongly about the murder of Head Constable Whelehan, and referred to the accusation against the Government of concocting a Moonlight affair. This was, I said, to my mind, impossible. I knew many of the officers at the head of the police in Clare. They were highly honourable men, incapable of tolerating anything so wicked, and I do not believe any Government of any politics would care to protect men guilty of such wickedness.Those were the words of an honourable man. [Cheers.] Gentlemen below the Gangway cheered the statement that the Government connived at this crime, and that the police paid men to go and commit it. He asserted it might lie in their mouths to say that, but that it did not lie in the mouth of anyone above the Gangway to say so. He would give his reason. Who was it who sent Head Constable Talbot in the early days of the Fenian conspiracy to Carrick-on-Suir, and sanctioned his becoming a Roman Catholic, although he was a Protestant—who allowed him to go and partake of the Sacraments of the Roman. Catholic Church, and allowed him to swear in Fenians, he, while he was doing this, being in communication with Dublin Castle? [Cheers.] Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway cheered that; but his hon. Friends around him were silent, because they knew that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian was in power at the time. Every Government had to deal with informers. It was impossible to do without them. No Government liked to do it; but he, at all events, respected the silence of his hon. Friends, who knew how deeply tarred their own Leaders were with this very brush. Crime-preventing agency, forsooth ! He asserted that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian never used truer words than when he said, in the year 1881, that crime dogged the steps of the Land League with fatal and painful precision. Those words had never been withdrawn. Hon. Gentlemen said that the Land League was not in existence now—that it was the National League. Hear what Mr. Davitt said on the 22nd of October, 1887, on that point. Mr. 450 Davitt, speaking at Queenstown on that day, said that what was known in Ireland to-day as the "National League" was, to all intents and purposes, precisely the same as the "Land League." Who was the President of the National Land League, the steps of which were dogged with crime? Who were its officers, who were its leading spirits, who had their hand on every spring of the machinery and could direct it as they chose? Why, the men who represented Irish constituencies and were sitting below the Gangway. Standing there as he did in the name of a great constituency, he told those Representatives of the organization that until they could purge it of the leprosy and crime which the right hon. Gentleman had attached to it in 1881, the Loyalists of Ireland would never consider their claim to govern them. Now, he thought the House must have been considerably relieved—all sections of it—when they heard the statistics showing the decrease of Boycotting. Those figures spoke more eloquently than words could do, and if hon. Members would go into what the figures represented they would think of the homes of thousands of Irish people who had been relieved from the terrorism to which they had been so long subjected. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian persisted in misunderstanding or in mis-stating the whole case regarding Boycotting in Ireland. Once more they had had paraded before them the case of the rector and the curate of Donnybrook. Now, he (Mr. T. W. Russell) happened to know both the rector and the late curate. The late curate was a personal friend of his own, and he could bear testimony that he was an upright and honourable gentleman in every respect. But what were the facts of the case? The facts were that the curate, instead of holding the same views as his rector, professed openly that he was in favour of Home Rule, in a district where Home Rule politics were abhorred; whereas his rector held an opposite view. It was absolutely necessary for the benefit of the parish that a rector and his curate should be at one in such a matter as that. He saw the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. P. Stanhope) laughing. Would he deny that the rector had serious duties regarding his parish to perform and—
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said, he accepted the hon. Gentleman's denial, but what man would agree with the hon. Member? The rector of the parish had serious responsibilities cast upon him. His first duty was to see to the spiritual welfare of his parishioners, and if he found his work marred or hindered by anything whatever—by the religious or political views of his curate, or by anything else—[An hon. MEMBER: Who is the Member for that district?]—he was bound by his duty to the people of the parish to get rid of that difficulty. Dr. Ryder parted with his curate, Mr. Sandys. They parted as friends, however, and Dr. Ryder did not enter into a conspiracy to prevent Mr. Sandys being employed anywhere else; and what he (Mr. T. W. Russell) wanted to point out to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian was this —exclusive dealing was one thing; but a conspiracy to starve people into subjection and destroy them was an entirely different thing. Now, the Resident Magistrates had been very seriously assailed, both above and below the Gangway, during this debate. He could understand the position of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, and could not expect them, to have very kindly feelings towards Resident or "removable" Magistrates; but he thought that hon. Members above the Gangway ought to be very chary in bringing charges against these gentlemen. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian had complained that the whole Irish agrarian question had been sent to be dealt with by the Resident Magistrates; but the right hon. Gentleman forgot that he himself had sent the whole question of the reduction of rents to a tribunal which was vastly inferior. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for New-castle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley), later on, had said that the question of seditious libel had absolutely been sent to this tribunal. There was no foundation for these charges. Why were these men assailed? Complaint was made of Mr. Cecil Roche; but did hon. Members complain of him when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian appointed him a Land Commissioner? He was quite fit to reduce 452 rents; but when he laid his hand upon Moonlighters it was an entirely different thing. [An hon. MEMBER: He never had a Moonlighter before him yet.] He (Mr. T. W. Russell) asked those hon. Members who sat around him to remember this—that these same Resident Magistrates were assailed in 1882 precisely as they were assailed now; and they were defended by the late lamented Mr. Forster, by the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan), and by Earl Spencer, as they were now defended by the present Government. When did they become the depraved characters hon. Members represented them to be now? He must not be taken as saying that they were the best instruments, or that the system was the best; but again he wished his hon. Friends round him to understand that it did not lie in their mouths to complain of the system. They had had the government of Ireland practically for 40 years, and they had stuffed the ship with incapables from stem to stern. They had appointed this man because he was a Catholic, that man because he was a Protestant, another because Bishop So-and-So recommended him, and another because Lord So-and-So recommended him, altogether oblivious to the man's qualifications. [Cheers.] It was all right for hon. Members from Ireland below the Gangway to cheer; but again he said he respected the silence of Members above the Gangway. But he was told —he supposed by the hon. Member for West Bradford (Mr. Illingworth), who had bean cheering — that his hon. Friends around him had opened a new book now—that all these things were past, and were to be forgotten, and that, like Naaman the Syrian, they had been cleansed of their leprosy. But the cleansing of Naaman was nothing to the operation which had been performed on the Liberal Party. It was not until Naaman had dipped seven times in Jordan that his flesh became as the flesh of a little child, and he got rid of his leprosy. But one solitary bath in that odorous fluid, which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) had declared was enough to make a politician stink in the nostrils of the English people, had been sufficient, not only to purge these Gentlemen, but 453 to make them absolutely believe that everybody else was tainted with political leprosy. These men who were so furiously assailed in this House—and still more violently assailed on public platforms, where the speeches could not be answered — were the officers of the law, They were human beings. They were subject to appeal. ["No, no!"] He heard an hon. Friend who represented a Scotch constituency say "No!" Well, what he had to say was this—that the Irish Court of Exchequer had constituted itself a Court of Appeal in such matters in cases where the sentence inflicted was less than one month's imprisonment, and the County Court Judges had also the power of hearing appeals; and what had been the result? Why, the decision of the Resident Magistrates had been reversed by the Court of Exchequer in one instance, and by the County Court Judge in another. [An hon. MEMBER: Up to the end of the year.] Now, he did not complain of hon. Members below the Gangway holdiug these opinions. They did not confine their opinions to Resident Magistrates. When it suited them they applied the same language to the County Court Judges. In United Ireland, the other day, the Queen's Bench Judges were called "tyrannical hirelings." The Mitchelstown Coroner and a jury of Moonlighters was their ideal of a Judge and jury from which there should be no appeal. Now, the House had heard a good deal about political prisoners, and the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) had drawn a comparison between the treatment accorded to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Bradford (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) and that meted out to Mr. Blunt. But what were the facts? The meeting attended by the right hon. Member was a perfectly Constitutional meeting to petition Parliament on behalf of the Clanricarde tenants. Without the slightest reserve, he (Mr. T. W. Russell) would state that it was a meeting which he would have attended himself had he been asked. So far from any difficulties being placed in the right hon. Gentleman's way, it was desirable to assist him, for the man who did anything to bring about a settlement in the county in question deserved not only very well of the House, but of the country. But what was Mr. Blunt's position? He went over to Ireland a 454 representative of the union of hearts' policy, and attended a proclaimed meeting held at midnight, at which the Proclamation of the Lord Lieutenant was burnt by the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien).
§ MR. T. P. GILL (Louth, S.)
I rise to Order. These matters are now being investigated before a Court of Law. Is the hon. Member allowed to refer to them in this way?
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said, that as these matters were all sworn to by Mr. Blunt himself, he had no scruple about referring to them. Mr. Blunt had acted in the way he had described, and therefore had no claim to be considered as a law-abiding and law-respecting citizen. On the whole question of the treatment of these prisoners, he (Mr. T. W. Russell) honoured the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for having made no difference between priest and peasant, between Members of Parliament and the ordinary citizen. It was said that the right of public meeting and a free Press had ceased to exist in Ireland. He found it difficult, within the bounds of Parliamentary Forms, to characterize such language. The freedom of the Press gone!—when United Ireland was published every week ! Had a single newspaper been suppressed? Were not the newspapers as free to write of the Government and their political opponents as they had ever been at any time in the history of Ireland, and did not they make as full use of their freedom as ever was made? What did this purified Liberal Party in its unregenerate days do with a free Press? He had lived in Ireland nearly all his life, and he remembered how a Liberal Government dealt with the Press. He remembered Lord Kimberley sending down three waggons from Dublin Castle and a number of detectives to the office of The Irish People, and seizing everything and arresting everybody; yet no one was summoned to any Court, nor were any legal proceedings taken. Then, again, under Lord Spencer, the publishing offices o United Ireland had to be removed from Dublin to Paris, and detectives were employed in hunting down the street news boys for attempting to sell The Irish World not a single copy of which was allowed to 455 cross Queenstown Bar for years. The hon. Member for North-East Cork did not spend three months in Tullamore Gaol for anything he wrote in the papers. His offence was entirely different. The House should remember that it was no use assailing the Government for things like these; the House had passed an Act of Parliament, and it was the duty of the Executive Government to enforce it. The hon. Member for North-East Cork went down to Mitchelstown—a neighbourhood now so studiously avoided in debate— [An hon. MEMBER: You will hear enough about it!]—and counselled the tenants there to resist the law and the officers of the law. Now, what had that resulted in elsewhere? That advice had been freely given elsewhere by hon. Members, and for taking that advice and acting upon it more than 100 men were now in gaol in Ireland. He should like any of his Radical Friends to say, or the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow, to tell him whether he thought that the man who went about the country giving advice to ignorant peasants— which peasants were sent to gaol—ought to be allowed to run away and escape the consequences? He maintained that if a Member of Parliament gave that advice, the greater was his responsibility, and he honoured the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for refusing to ask whether a man was a Member of Parliament or not. In saying this, he (Mr. T. W. Russell) was only speaking old Liberal and Radical doctrines. Before Liberalism became a mass of mawkish sentiment and diluted Socialism, no speaker would have ventured to get up and say that different treatment ought to be meted out to a Member of Parliament than to other men. [An hon. MEMBER: We do not say so.] No; they did not say it there, but they said it on platforms outside. It was the same thing with regard to newspapers. There was no question of seditious writing. The newspaper editors had deliberately defied the law, and had announced their intention to defy it, and unless the Executive Government was to mete out different treatment to men in their position from the peasant who took their advice the Government had no option but to proceed fairly. He could conceive of a case where it might be his clear duty to break and defy the 456 law. If the Irish tenants had been asked to face the dreadful times since 1879 without that protection which the House had given them, he did not know what, representing them there, he might not have found himself justified in doing so as a last resource. [Laughter.] Hon. Members should not laugh until they were out of the wood. But if he had. chosen the ròle of standing between the living and the dead, he would have studied to go through with it with something like dignity. He would have blamed Parliament for passing the Act, not the Executive Government for enforcing it. He would have faced the officers of the law, and not run away, and he certainly would not have swung himself, like Mahomet's coffin, between earth and Heaven. He would have borne with prison discipline as best he could, and the country would never have heard from him or his friends that he had a weak heart and delicate lungs; and, above all and beyond all, he certainly would never have claimed the Privilege of Parliament. These men wished to play at rebellion without the risks. They desired to pose as martyrs, without an atom of the martyr's spirit, and he was bound to say that he thought the hon. Member for North-West Lanark (Mr. Cunninghame Graham), in his lonely cell at Pentonville, was a hero compared to these men who prated of their wrongs on every platform. He was told that the Government, and especially the Liberal Unionists, had broken faith—the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division had accused them of breaking faith—on the matter of local government. He wished to make the matter perfectly clear. As a general principle, he desired that Ireland should be governed as Great Britain was governed. But what kind of bodies were they going to set up to govern in Ireland? They made a slight experiment a few months ago which he should like to bring to the notice of the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, when Chief Secretary, found six scheduled Unions in the West in a state of dire distress. He passed an Act, and took £20,000 from the Church surplus for the purpose of relieving the distress by means of outdoor relief. The normal number of persons receiving outdoor relief in 457 those Unions before the Act came into operation was between 500 and 600. But when the news got about that there was a gold mine in Connemara even more profitable than a Welsh mine, the number who obtained relief rose to 36,000, and who got the relief? He was quoting from the evidence of a sworn inquiry. The Guardians themselves received it; his old friends the publicans received it; police pensioners receiving £60 a-year from the Crown received it; and in one parish more people were marked for outdoor relief than there were people in the parish. These Guardians of the Poor—these officials of the Local Government Board in the West of Ireland—instead of confining themselves to £20,000, ran up the bill to £36,000, and only stopped because there was no more money to be got at the bank. Now, he wanted to know from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow—were these the people to whom the owners of property were to be handed over? Before they did any such thing they would have to think a good deal about it. He, for one, desired that Ireland should be governed like Great Britain; but he was content to wait until local government was established in England and Scotland before he took the step of extending it to Ireland. [Laughter.] Of course, hon. Members below the Gangway laughed. Most of them had nothing to lose. [Mr. FLYNN: More than you have.] Taking everything into consideration, he thought that they had made a start with a Session full of hope. They started with a public declaration from the Head of the Irish Party—a Party, perhaps, more skilled in Parliamentary warfare than any Party that had ever sat in the House—that, after 11 years of effort in the Obstruction line, the game of Obstruction was up. They were to have a Business Session. He rejoiced that the Government meant business in Great Britain as well as in Ireland. He thanked the Government for what they intended to do with regard to land purchase in Ireland, and to the development of the resources of the country. There was one point which he should like the Government to consider. Nearly all the troubles that had arisen in Ireland since the close of last Session—all the mischief he saw brewing in the im- 458 mediate future—arose out of the question of arrears. He knew all the difficulties which attended the question. He knew that it was unfair to the honest man, who struggled and paid his own rent, to find that his neighbour, who made no struggle to be honest, should have his paid for him. He knew all the difficulties; but just as was done in the Crofters' Act, so he thought the Government would have to look this question in the face. Necessity knew no law, and whilst he rejoiced in the promise of an extended purchase scheme, believing, as he did, that the Act had worked well in Ireland—worked as few Acts had ever worked—that repayments were being punctually made, and that the people were being rooted to the soil. That being the programme in the House, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary would keep his hand firmly at the springs in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman was denounced now, but let him be of good courage. He remembered the hon. Member for Cork hurling the words across the House at Mr. Forster—" Unstable as water, thou shalt not prevail." He did not think the hon. Member had found the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary unstable. As the hon. Member went on speaking last night, he thought they would have heard a good word for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan). When the right hon. Gentleman became hardened to his new situation, and when his Friends felt quite certain of him, then his reward would be sure. Let the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland go straight forward; let him have neither eyes nor ears outside the four corners of the law; lot him resolutely shut his ears to the pestilential fallacy that a Member of Parliament or a priest ought to be treated differently to a peasant; let him ponder the words of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), who in September last, speaking in Dublin, said—"Either the League must be beaten or the Government." There was no mistake about it. We had come to the time when the; one or the other must go down. Let the right hon. Gentleman remember what United Ireland said the other day— namely, that it is now or never with the Government and the League. The right 459 hon. Gentleman had done good work during the last six months, for which in the name of his constituents he thanked him; he had set free many oppressed men—he had planted hope where hope had expired. He "bid him fear not, and in due time he would reap the reward.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
said, the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken (Mr. T. W. Russell) commenced by remarking that they had not heard much of Mitchelstown or Tullamore; but let not the hon. Gentleman be too sure that they had heard the last of those two subjects. The Session was young, and he (Mr. Clancy) could promise that a good deal more would be heard about them. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the hon. Member for Cockermouth (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) as being received by the Ulster publicans with open arms. He thought that remark came very badly from the hon. Member, because, if he had read aright the report of his proceedings during the last six months, he had been standing on beer barrels in England, and had more than once declared that as much as he cared for the temperance cause he cared more for the Unionists in Ireland. The hon. Member's reference to the reception accorded to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) by the Catholic Prelates and Clergy of Ireland was an admirable instance of the religious toleration of the loyal minority. Three-fourths of the speech of the hon. Member had been composed of insults to the people of Ireland; he had referred in disparaging terms to the courage of his hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien), in whose little finger there was more courage than in 50 bodies like that which covered the noble soul of the hon. Member for South Tyrone. He had heard the hon. Gentleman say a good deal before on the subject of the infamous practices at Dublin Castle in the creation of informers, and yet he had now the impudence to blame the Irish Members for referring to a new instance of that infernal manufacture. The hon. Member said that had been the work of Lord Spencer or of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan); but that only showed that honest men could not go into Dublin Castle without being contaminated, and his (Mr. Clancy's) 460 opinion was that no honest men would go there in future; nor would any honest men be contented to stay there. In those remarks of the hon. Member he admitted the whole of the case of the Irish. Members. He had now done with the speech of the hon. Member for South Tyrone, and he would pass to the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) delivered earlier in the evening. The hon. and gallant Member had given them an old tune—the twentieth variation on the oldest of all possible tunes. The hon. and gallant Member pointed to the Front Opposition Bench, and said the occupants had done so-and-so in the past. But what answer was that to Irish Members? If the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) committed mistakes in the past, it was because he had been misled by the infamous agents in Dublin Castle. The Leaders of the Opposition had abandoned the old ways of Dublin Castle; they had admitted that they had been mistaken; and they had adopted a new policy. The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh had, for the second time, made a garbled quotation from a speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien), although he had been on a former occasion corrected. He did not quote the whole of the sentence; and on the last occasion the hon. Member for North-East Cork was in his place to answer him. What that hon. Member said was—"They would never rest until they had struck down landlordism and British misrule;" and that was quoted as if the hon. Member had spoken only of British rule. He would leave it to hon. Members to say what sort of tactics were being pursued by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite. But the hon. and gallant Member's speech of this evening contained a new element—there was in it an account of a murder. He (Mr. Clancy) thought that after the speeches of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh and the hon. Member for South Tyrone they could have no doubt in whose interest that crime had been perpetrated. When he recollected the manner in which he had elaborated every detail—how he had dwelt on the subject with fondness and delight—he (Mr. Clancy) began to think that it was for his interest, and not 461 for Irish Members, that crime should be committed. Irish Members said that they detested, deplored, and denounced the crime in question, and every other crime, just as much as the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh; and their complaint against the Government was that, instead of putting down the men who committed that crime, they had let every single man go, and had struck at their political opponents, who had committed no crime whatever. The hon. and gallant Member then sought to make the National League responsible for this crime, and that also had been the cue of the hon. Member for South Tyrone; but he (Mr. Clancy) submitted to the judgment of the public and impartial men whether it was not the height of injustice and absurdity to fasten the character of crime on an organization like that of the National League because of the commission of a crime in a county which had been notorious for crime and the causes of crime—namely, evictions—for not a solitary crime had been traced to any member of the National League? It was not for him to give characters to the members of the National League; but he would read evidence upon the subject. The evidence of Mr. Hamilton, Recorder of Cork, when sending a number of men to prison in the county of Cork, was to this effect—"I agree with the solicitor for the accused when he says that his clients are respectable men. Thousands of respectable men are members of the National League." He did not think after that any Member of the Government, including even the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Lord Advocate (Mr. J. H. A. Macdonald), would get up and denounce the members of the National League as a band of assassins, and he wished to point out that that was the testimony of the Recorder of Cork, who was a Tory, and one of the staunch reformers of the Constitutional Club, as well as a staunch Unionist and Loyalist at the present day. A very curious Return had been issued that morning, which seemed to him to be the ground for that most important paragraph in the Queen's Speech in which the Government asserted that crime in Ireland had diminished. For his own part, he had been prepared to accept that statement; he believed it was true; but the Return 462 of that morning showed the reverse to be the case. The Return of crimes just issued had been unfairly used by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour), who compared the first half of 1887 with the last half of 1886; whereas he should have compared the last quarter of 1886 with the last quarter of 1887. That was the proper mode of comparison; and he (Mr. Clancy) found that in the last quarter of 1886, when the Plan of Campaign was in operation, the number of crimes was 589, as compared with 611 in the last quarter of 1887. Again, with regard to particular crimes which he compared on the same principle. In 1886, for the December quarter, there was no murder; for that quarter in 1887 there was one murder. In 1886, aggravated assaults, 1; in 1887, 4; incendiary fires, 17 in 1886; in 1887, 21; robbery, in 1886, none; in 1887, 2. Threatening letters, in 1886, 82; in 1887, 60; intimidation, in 1886, 13; 1887, 17; and so on. In every category of more serious crime there was an increase in the quarter in which the Coercion Act had been in operation, as compared with the quarter in which the Plan of Campaign was in operation. He left it to the ingenuity of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland to reconcile those figures with the remarkable statement in the Queen's Speech. If any improvement had been made— and he was inclined to think, notwithstanding the figures he had given, that some improvement had been made, because, in his opinion, all Government statistics were a mass of fraud—he contended that that improvement was due to the land legislation of the last few years; and that contention was based, not on the opinion of Irish Members alone, but upon that of the Judges in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had quoted the opinion of Judge Curran, who had said that Glenbeigh was one of the most happy and prosperous districts in Ireland. Now, a person who would say that was a liar from top to bottom. Against the opinion of Judge Curran, he would quote the opinion of Judge Fergusson, who said that he had reason to believe that respect for law and a disposition to obey | the law, without which no social freedom, safety, or happiness could exist, was steadily increasing in the district, 463 and he believed that the forces then in operation were calculated to extend those features and render them permanent.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! I am quite aware that Judge Curran is not a Judge of a Superior Court; but I think that all those who are in the position of Judges ought to be spoken of with common decency and respect. If the hon. Gentleman has any charge to bring against this Judge, of course he can take the course prescribed by law, no matter what his position may be.
§ MR. CLANCY
said, if he had said anything against the Rules of Debate, he would withdraw his remark. They had it that some Resident Magistrates had been appointed by Lord Spencer and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone). But what answer was that to Irish Members? They contended that the appointment of these men to discharge the duties of Resident Magistrates was a gross abuse and infringement of the will of Parliament. The Government had abolished trial by jury in certain cases and established trial by Judge, which was the gravest change of procedure that any Government had over made in this country. He was told that Mr. Cecil Roche had been appointed by Lord Spencer to administer the Land Act. No wonder, then, the rent reductions were small. It was men like Mr. Cecil Roche who killed the Land Act, and rendered necessary the agitation of the last two years. Another of these magistrates, in sentencing Mr. Doughty, an Englishman, to a month's imprisonment, said—" We want no English agitators here." He hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would take these words to heart, seeing that he had been agitating in Ireland in company with the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) during the Recess. Then they had a gentleman named Carew in Ireland administering the Act. That gentleman was recently engaged in a case in which he declared from the Bench that he represented the Crown; that he had his directions from Dublin Castle; and that he would carry them out. They had also a gentleman administering the Act in Ireland of whom he would relate an anecdote. A case came before him in 464 which the solicitor for one side said— "Your Worship, there is a parole agreement in this case," to which Mr. Connolly replied—" A parole agreement —then let it be produced." Reference had been made to Mr. Dillon, Resident Magistrate, who had a judgment for £2,000 entered against him the very day he sentenced Mr. Blunt. The reason of the reference was that he was, in a sense, totally dependent upon the Castle. Take the case of Mr. Eaton. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland was probably not aware—although he ought to be—that some time ago Mr. Eaton was charged by the hon. Member for West Cork (Mr. Gilhooly) with having, in the case of the hon. Gentleman, agreed with two other Resident Magistrates upon a certain sentence on the last day of the trial, which lasted three days. The sentence thus agreed upon was eventually inflicted upon the hon. Member for West Cork. A man who was accused of such a disgraceful transaction as that, and who listened to the charge without contradiction, was fit for the dock instead of the Magisterial Bench. Last night the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland (Mr. Madden) contradicted him in regard to the statement he made concerning Captain Stokes. He remarked that Captain Stokes committed an illegal act in forcibly arresting Mr. O'Brien in the Court House after the Recorder had declared Mr. O'Brien to be a free man. The Solicitor General for Ireland stated that what the Recorder meant was that, as far as he was concerned, Mr. O'Brien was free. As a matter of fact, the Recorder said—I am anxious to treat Mr. O'Brien with consideration, and not have him suffer any indignity. I do not know that there is any arrant filed yet, and I think until that is done Mr. O'Brien may be permitted to go out.There was no qualification such as suggested by the Solicitor General for Ireland; and, notwithstanding the express declaration of the Judge, Captain Stokes jumped up and said—"I take the responsibility myself of detaining him." The act of Captain Stokes was nothing but a gross and violent act of illegality. Now, what had the Government been doing? They had not caught the Kerry Moonlighters. Not one perpetrator of a serious crime had 465 yet been brought under the operation of the Coercion Act. What had they been doing? They had been prosecuting their political opponents. The hon. Member for North Monaghan (Mr. P. O'Brien) was had up under the Corecion Act for making a speech in the county of Kilkenny. In the course of his speech he took up a glass of water, and said—" Here's to the downfall of Smithwick "—Smithwick being a local landlord. The Resident Magistrates said there was one expression in the speech of the defendant which convinced them that they ought to arrive at the conclusion at which they had arrived—that was the portion where he said—"Here's to the downfall of Smithwick." The Chairman remarked that if that expression were used in another county not so peaceable and well-conducted as Kilkenny he would be slow to limit the damage that would be done. The magistrates went on to say that they did not mean to insinuate or suggest that the hon. Member for North Monaghan intended anything wrong. But, although the speech was made in a peaceable county, and although it was made by a man whom the magistrates were convinced had no bad intentions, they sentenced him to three months' imprisonment with hard labour. Such a monstrous perversion of justice, he (Mr. Clancy) supposed, had never been heard of in criminal records. He believed his hon. Friend was prosecuted because he told the tenants that they should not pay 17 years' purchase for their property. In introducing their Land Bill the Government believed it was required partly in order that a Land Purchase Bill might be made to work smoothly. Here they had the key to the real nature of the prosecutions. During the Recess the noble Lord the First Lord of the Admiralty (Lord George Hamilton) congratulated the country on the working of the Crimes Act and its result. The noble Lord said that the rents were being better paid. The whole thing was got up for the landlords—it was devised for the landlords to get in their rents. The view which the landlords took of the matter was clearly shown by a letter which a land agent in Cork addressed to one of 11 tenants who had applied for a reduction of rent by 35 per cent. The writer said— 466As there is clearly a combination or conspiracy to defraud the landlords of their lawful debts, I have placed the letter in the hands of the authorities; and the result will be that you will all he prosecuted under the Grimes Act.The letter only showed that that Act was introduced to benefit the landlords. It had been carried out in order to enable the landlords to get in their rents; but he (Mr. Clancy) was afraid the result would not be beneficial in that direction. In the Returns of crime, when they noticed the dreadful words "conspiracy, assaults on the police, intimidation," and the like, they came to the conclusion that some awful crimes were being committed in Ireland. They could not get at the real nature of the offences without having a glossary to all those words. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland based his case entirely on Boycotting. What were the Boycotting cases which he had prosecuted? Take the case of Leader, a landlord in County Cork, who had disputes with his tenants. Leader alleged that he could not obtain goods; but in cross-examination he admitted that he did not require the goods that he had asked for in the town of Kanturk; that he could have got them without difficulty in two other establishments; that he had never before crossed the thresholds of the alleged Boycotters' establishments; that he hated the men, whom he looked upon as local Nationalists; and that he entered their establishments with a view to enmesh them in the toils of the Crimes Act. The defendants were convicted by removable magistrates, and their sentences were confirmed by the Recorder of Cork. Take another case. A clergyman named Greer in the county of Galway was said to have been Boycotted. It was alleged that people would not sell him goods, and on one occasion he told the dreadful story that he was so terribly Boycotted that he could not get a single person to nail down the coffin of a deceased person, and that he had to nail it down himself. In cross-examination, however, the rev. gentleman admitted that he had asked no one to nail the coffin down, and that he had been refused by no one. Some men, however, were now in gaol for tot selling him goods which he did not want, and which he could have procured in another shop. Un- 467 lawful assembly was a fearful term. Just see what it came to under the régime of the right hon. Gentleman. Three men were charged with unlawful assembly on the 22nd of September at Killarney. The District Inspector stated the case, and Sergeant Roe gave evidence that the police were followed and "booed" at, and some stones were thrown at them. In cross-examination he stated that the stones might have come from someone from the outskirts of the crowd. He saw no stones thrown except two, and heard no threats of violence used towards the police except "booing." He considered it illegal to "boo" for Mr. Balfour, but did not consider it illegal to "boo" for Mr. Harrington. That was an unlawful assembly, and the men who "booed" for Mr. Balfour and did not "boo" for Mr. Harrington got a month's imprisonment with hard labour. Then they heard of intimidation. Intimidation was the great groundwork of the Act. What did it mean sometimes in Ireland? Mary Anne Lawlor, a girl of 14 years of age, in company with another girl of 12, and two boys, each of 14 years of age, whistled and "booed" at a man aged 45. They were brought up on the charge of intimidation, and, to the shame of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Mary Anne Lawlor was sent to gaol for a fortnight. Intimidation, forsooth! The Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) charged harshness and cruelty against the Government, and he (Mr. Clancy) desired to refer to some of the proofs of that statement. The hon. Member for South Galway (Mr. Sheehy) was now undergoing four months' imprisonment. That hon. Gentleman was remanded without bail, although at the very time his wife was ill with scarlatina, to the knowledge of the right hon. Gentleman. When the fact was commented upon in the Press, the Government offered to release the hon. Gentleman on bail, provided he submitted to the degrading condition of not opening his lips in public on a single topic. The hon. Member, considering himself an innocent man, refused to comply with such a condition. He was tried, and sentenced to three months' imprisonment with hard labour. He appealed, and the authorities then went through the farce of accepting 468 bail for his appearance three months hence at the Quarter Sessions. When that formality had been gone through, he was re-arrested on leaving the Court, carried off to a distant part of the country, tried there on another charge, and sentenced to a month's imprisonment, which compelled him to go to gaol immediately, and which prevented him from seeing his wife, then in the crisis of a most dangerous illness. In gaol he was forcibly stripped of his clothes by five warders who held him down, tying his hands behind his back and spraining his thumb. He was kept on bread and water for seven days, including Christmas Day, for refusing to do menial offices in his cell. When brought up as a witness in another case, he was compelled to go in prison clothes, and when he refused to wear the prison head-dress he was driven 15 miles in wind and rain without anything on his head. That was a disgraceful record for any Government. Furthermore, the Amendment charged the Government with partiality. The Government had been grossly and flagrantly partial during the past 12 months. They professed their admiration for the law, and yet they refused to execute a warrant against policemen found guilty of murder at Youghal. Instead of the men being had up for murder they had been promoted. During the last 12 months the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had been very ready to dismiss Nationalist Magistrates. The hon. Member for East Waterford (Mr. P. J. Power) was deprived of the Commission of the Peace because he was supposed to have joined in working the Plan of Campaign. How had magistrates of another type been treated? Mr. Stoney was entrusted with the distribution of funds for the relief of destitute people by way of emigration. He diverted the money into his own pocket, and yet he was retained in the Commission of the Peace. The man was guilty of embezzlement, and last year the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland solemnly promised in the House that his case would be brought before the Lord Chancellor, and, if necessary, he would be dismissed. Mr. Wyse was found guilty by a jury—a special jury to boot; a jury of his own "pals"— of attempting to swindle tenants out of 469 £30 by falsifying the receipts. The Lord Chancellor took six months before he could bring- himself to dismiss the gentleman. Major Leadwell, of Tipperary, blew up a bridge leading to a tenant's house. The matter was brought before the House, and reported to the Lord Chancellor. Major Leadwell was still on the Bench, and, no doubt, the next thing they would hear would be that he had been placed on the list of removables to try cases under the Crimes Act. Mr. John Barrett, another magistrate, was convicted of manipulating the dates on legal documents. Barrett was still on the Bench. The administration of justice at the Cork Winter Assizes last year afforded a pretty demonstration of the working of law and order in Ireland. In one case an Emergency man named Robert Bell was tried on a charge of firing at a man with intent to disfigure him. If the prisoner had belonged to the other side, the Crown would have packed the jury by excluding every Catholic. As it was, they did not challenge a single man, and amongst the persons they allowed upon the jury was a cousin of the man's employer. Of course, Robert Bell, although the evidence was conclusive against him, was acquitted without a stain upon his character. Take the casa in Wicklow. At Wicklow the Clare Moonlighters were tried. They were, he believed, properly convicted. He believed that any jury of Catholics or Nationalists must have found a verdict against them. Nevertheless, the authorities could not trust the Catholic landlords and Justices of the Peace in Wicklow; for they challenged no less than 23 of them, and thus stigmatized thorn as sympathizers with crime. What did they do in the case of the Emergency man who was tried for shooting a poor peasant? Not a single man did they challenge. Their jury was made up of special jurors of the Orange persuasion, and on the jury there was not a single man who was not of the religion and. the politics of the man in the dock. Of course the prisoner was set free, although most overwhelming testimony was given of his guilt. Such a travesty of justice was never seen in any country. While these things recurred it was totally impossible to expect any sympathy with the law, or any respect for its administration. What did the Government expect to 470 gain by all this? They had not even put down the Plan of Campaign. If anybody challenged that statement, he was prepared to prove that within the last six months the tenants on 100 estates had joined the Plan of Campaign, and in every case except about 10 or 12 the landlords had fallen on their knees to the tenants. Every week there was evidence that the Plan was in full operation, and that it fully deserved the epithets of "immortal" and "invincible." What had the Government done in the way of gaining over the electors of Ireland to their policy? The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) said last year that as soon as the League was proclaimed they would find the electors joining the loyal minority wholesale. Two Parliamentary Elections, one each in Kerry and Carlow, had taken place since the Crimes Act was passed, and what had been the result? Strong Nationalists had been, returned in both cases. An election would take place next week in Limerick, and he invited the right, hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to sand down a loyal and patriotic candidate to see whether he would get a vote more than was recorded for the Jubilee Knight, Sir James Spaight. He remembered that last winter the noble Marquess the Member for the Brixton Division of Lambeth (the Marquess of Carmarthen) went down to Cork and commented largely upon the fact that five Nationalists had been rejected at the Queens-town municipal elections. On the following day a letter had appeared in The Cork Herald clearly pointing out that the question of politics had never for an instant been introduced into the controversy, which was settled on a question of water supply and reduction of rates.
THE MARQUESS OF CARMARTHEN (Lambeth, Brixton)
said, he had seen, in a paper with which he had been supplied, that it was on political grounds that the contest was fought.
§ MR. CLANCY
said, he did cot know what the noble Marquess referred to. He did not know what any paper had to do with the question, though, perhaps, if he were a Marquess, he might understand what was meant. As it was, the contradiction of the noble Lord did not affect his (Mr. Clancy's) statement. The noble Lord had pretended that his 471 Party had secured a victory which, in reality, they had not achieved. The Government had not degraded the men whom they had imprisoned. They had often tried to do it, as other Governments had tried in the past, but without success. The men they had prosecuted for political reasons were the heroes of the people, and the men whom they were now prosecuting would come out of prison stronger than they went in in their influence on the people; and he hoped they would, and believed they would, overthrow right hon. Gentlemen sitting opposite and their despicable Government. In conclusion, he would merely say that the efforts of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland to suppress the Nationalist Party would be a complete failure in every respect. He cordially re-echoed the opinion which had been expressed on those (the Home Rule) Benches that the feelings of the people of Ireland towards the English nation and the British people had greatly changed of late years —more so than any of them could have anticipated in so short a period. For the mass of the British people the Irish Members had nothing but feelings of the warmest friendship, and they had no other intentions than to consolidate with them a real union and alliance for the future. But as for the minority, the wilfully ignorant minority, the deliberately oppressive minority in England and Scotland—all he could say to them was that they flung at them their contempt and their defiance.
§ MR.HANDEL COSSHAM (Bristol, E.)
said, there appeared to him to be two or three points very clearly brought out in the important Amendment submitted to the House by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). The Government, in referring to the statements made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) in previous years, neglected to observe the fact that when the right hon. Gentleman had spoken crime was rife in Ireland, and that his observations had been directed not against political offences, but against crime. The right hon. Gentleman had clearly pointed out how the admitted wrongs of Ireland were to be righted; but no suggestion of the kind had come from the Government, who seemed altogether oblivious of the fact that states- 472 manship built on repressive legislation could never last. No Government that rested itself on force could last. Every Government of the past that had so rested itself had gone. The remedial legislation that they had passed had proved successful, and there could be no doubt that if there were more of that kind of legislation there would be an increasing improvement noticeable in the condition of Ireland. It was a great pity the Government did not take into account the wishes of the people they were called on to govern, for they might depend upon it that no permanent legislation would tend to the benefit of the country which had not the sympathy of its inhabitants. He would emphasize the remark which had fallen from the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) to-night, to the effect that a great part of the troubles Ireland was suffering from arose from the neglect of the Government to adequately settle the question of arrears of rent. He ventured to hope and believe that the Government in time would think over that, and would endeavour to bring their minds to bear upon the question, so as to remove one great cause of discontent. He had listened with a great deal of attention to the remarks of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and had been struck with two things in connection with them—in the first place, with the remarkable manner in which the right hon. Gentleman made statements of fact without giving any proof of their correctness. The right hon. Gentleman was wonderfully economical with his facts, much more so than he was with his statements. Then the right hon. Gentleman had attempted to show that a great part of the difficulty the Government had to contend with came from the Opposition. He did not succeed in this endeavour; for the Opposition, after all, though they opposed the coercive policy of the Government, had done more to cement the people of Ireland to this country than all that coercive policy had done. He (Mr. Cossham) had had the honour of going to Ireland as one of the English Representatives. [Laughter.] The Chief Secretary laughed at that; but he (Mr. Cossham) ventured to say that English Members sitting on the Opposition side had done quite as much to conciliate Ireland as the right hon. Gentleman had. The 473 more frequently meetings between English Members and the Irish people took place the more certain they were to have a real instead of a sham Union. A great deal of the unpleasantness of feeling which existed formerly between the two peoples had been removed, owing to the action of the English Liberal Members, and he was satisfied that the democracies of the two peoples were getting near to a reconciliation. The policy which the Liberal Members were carrying on would in the end be ratified by the people of the two countries, and he ventured to say that the first day that policy was submitted to the people of this country would be the last that the present policy of the Government would exist. The present policy of the Government had never been submitted to the people; in fact, the people were originally told by the Government that repression was not a part of their programme; therefore, it was correct to say that it had been undertaken in defiance of the constituencies. He maintained that in building their policy on coercive measures the Government were building on the sand, and that, as sure as the sun would rise, that policy would fall. The men who had suffered, and were suffering, under the Grimes Act were called criminal; but it must not be forgotten that some of the noblest men in history had been men whom the law had made criminals. He had, the other day, passed the town of Bedford, and he could not help seeing the gaol in which John Bunyan was confined two centuries ago. That man had been looked upon as a criminal; but was he not now a good deal more thought of than the men who had put him in gaol? The dreams of John Bunyan were worth more than the waking thoughts of his persecutors. [Laughter.] He knew it formed a subject for laughter to the Tory Party that men who occupied the highest positions in Ireland were cast into gaol; but, from his point of view, it was no laughing matter. If men sent to Parliament to represent a country were treated in the manner in which the Irish Members had been treated—were subjected to outrage, in fact—representative government must be weakened in that country. Whatever might be said about it, the Government could not break down the right of public meeting and the liberty of Parliamentary 474 Representatives without destroying the value of all the representative institutions of the country. What good were representative institutions if the Press did not retain power to publish their proceedings? And how could they have representative institutions without a free platform? Even if the Press were sometimes guilty of excesses, they had bettor bear those excesses than carry on such a policy as that the Government had initiated. Ministers could no more carry on in England the policy they were carrying on in Ireland than they could fly. Let them try it, and see how the people would agree to it. We had had government by the King, then government by the aristocracy, then by bribing the constituencies, and now it seemed we were to have government by the Executive, irrespective of the wishes of the people; and he warned the Government that there was no more dangerous course than that they were embarked upon, which was nothing more nor less than setting the Executive above the rights of the people, even above the rights and powers of the law. He ventured to hope that the Government would stop in this course before it was too late, for every step taken in that direction was dangerous both to peace and to the future of the country. He should support, with all his heart, the Amendment which had been proposed by the hon. Member for the City of Cork, He was sorry the Government did not accept that Amendment, for they could do it without the slightest derogation from duty, and without the slightest fear of censure. The Amendment was worded in the mildest manner. It said that remedial legislation had done more good than coercive legislation, and he should hope the Government would agree with that. It said that the carrying out of exceptional repressive legislation was rash and mischievous; and so it was. Take the case of the ex-Lord Mayor of Dublin (Mr. T. D. Sullivan)—than whom a more gentle-spirited man did not come within these walls. He was a man whose whole life had been spent in the endeavour to break down everything that was evil in his country, and he (Mr. Cossham) believed that by putting a man like that into gaol the Government were doing more to weaken the law and lessen its hold on the people than anything which could be imagined. Therefore it was 475 that he ventured to hope that Her Majesty's Government would stop in the course they were pursuing, and would depend more on remedial policy than on coercion. On these grounds, he had great pleasure in supporting the Amendment.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Mr. J. E. Ellis,)—put, and agreed to.
§ Debate further adjourned till To-morrow.