THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J.BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
Sir, the right hon. Gentleman who concluded the debate last night (Mr. John Morley) on behalf of the Opposition, taunted me with, not having risen imme- 719 diately after the speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien); but I confess, though I listened attentively to what the right hon. Gentleman said, I failed to gather the exact ground on which he founded the objection. The right hon. Gentleman must have been perfectly well aware, if he had consulted the ordinary sources of information, that it had been decided that it would be for the convenience of the House that I should speak upon the last day of the debate; that being the person chiefly implicated in the government of Ireland, it was therefore desirable that I should speak at a time when I could take something like general survey of the course of the debate; and, further, he must have known that had I risen after the hon. Member at half-past 7, I should have been obliged to confine my remarks to a reply to the speech of the hon. Gentleman, whereas that speech, eloquent and forcible as it was, is, in my opinion, only one of three or four delivered in this debate which requires from mo some notice and reply. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to think there was still another reason why I should have jumped upon my legs at once, and that was because a violent personal attack had been made upon myself, which I was bound to answer on the spot. I do not think the speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork was violent. Everything in these matters turns upon the standard you go by. I admit that, judged by ordinary Parliamentary standards, there was considerable vehemence in the attack of the hon. Member, but as compared with the weekly attacks which I receive from United Ireland, his criticisms wore pale and colourless. The necessity of conforming himself to Parliamentary usages took out of his speech all those flowers of rhetoric with which we are familiar in his newspaper, and the result was that his attack upon me and the Government bore to the attacks to which we are accustomed somewhat the same relation—to quote the poet—As moonlight unto sunlight,Or as water unto wine.I will give the House an example. Perhaps the severest observation made upon me in the speech of the hon. Gentleman yesterday was when he said that I was guilty of a spite against my political opponents, which he would describe as 720 feminine if he had not thought it a poor compliment to the amiable sex referred to. But that, after all, is but a feeble replica of other observations of a similar kind which I saw in the hon. Gentleman's newspaper. Such criticisms have lost their effect. My jaded palate is no longer tickled by anything so lacking in flavour. For what is the diet to which I have been accustomed? I have been told that I "lust for slaughter with a eunuchized imagination." I have been further told that I have a "strange pleasure in mere purposeless human suffering," and that to my "languid life it imparts a delicious excitement." The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne appeared to me to attach very great importance to the assault made upon the Government by the hon. Gentleman the Member for North-East Cork. In my opinion the value and importance of an attack depends not upon its violence, but upon the quarter from which it comes. Are we to consider that the attacks from the hon. Member for North-East Cork are of a kind which require the instant and respectful attention suggested by the right hon. Gentleman? The hon. Gentleman has often attacked me in his speeches, and he did so yesterday, as one who administered a brutal Act in a brutal manner. I do not quote his words; but that was their meaning. Well, I am consoled by finding that his newspaper said a few years ago of other statesmen—Mr. Trevelyan and Earl Spencer are the active administrators of a bloody and remorseless Crimes Act.The hon. Gentleman has, in various ways and on various occasions, expressed views by no means favourable to my personal appearance; but I am consoled by finding that on the 19th of April, 1884, he said, speaking of the right hon. Baronet (Sir George Trevelyan), that—If nature has denied to our Chief Secretary the resources of the skunk and the cuttle fish, art has enabled him to supply the failure.Again, I am consoled when I find that while his whole speech turned upon this argument, that I was using the Crimes Act to attack my political foes, the same hon. Gentleman said on the 19th of July, 1884, that—For the sake of vengeance on a political foe a superfine Liberal Executive, filled with a 721 fine frenzy against the crimes of desperate and starving peasants, threw the broad shield of England at the last moment over the foulest brood of monsters that even English rule in Ireland had ever produced.Whatever unsavoury parallel the hon. Member may find, I shall never feel that more than justice has been done mo when I see that he compared the right hon. Baronet to a hangman, and drew a comparison between the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian and Judas Iscariot, and that for weeks together his newspaper insinuated, and more than insinuated, that the right hon. Baronet opposite and Lord Spencer were engaged in a conspiracy to shield men guilty of horrible and unnameable offences.
§ MR. W. O'BRIEN (Cork Co., N.E.)
That, Sir, I most undoubtedly never did. I stated—and I stick to the statement to this hour—that, in my belief, the consequences of their action, as, I believe, misguided action, were to have shielded those persons; but I never insinuated that they did so with wilful intention. ["Oh, oh!" and Home Rule Cheers.]
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Member has wholly misled the House as to the effect of the articles I have referred to, and if any hon. Gentleman doubts that let him refer to one of the issues of United Ireland in July, 1885. [Loud cries of "Quote !" from the Home Rule Members.] Now, Mr. Speaker, I say that, at all events in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, blame from such a source as attacks of hon. Gentlemen opposite, should be the highest praise which an Irish Secretary can receive. Well, Sir, I shall have to return to the other parts of the hon. Gentleman's speech at the later stage of my remarks. I will now, however, proceed to say a few words upon the opening speech made upon this Amendment by the hon. Member who leads the Irish Party (Mr. Parnell). I do not propose to dwell upon the very singular observations made by the hon. Member with regard to the course which his Friends intend to take in future in the matter of Obstruction. He said that they were going to change their tactics, and the reason which he gave—if I understood him right—was that a democratic Reform Bill had been passed in 1885. Why a democratic Reform 722 Bill of 1885 should only begin to operate upon the Irish Members in 1888 does not clearly appear to my mind; but I am most unwilling to look a gift horse in the mouth, and if the hon. Member will be as good as his word—and, no doubt, he will be so—and will induce his Friends to follow his advice, I, at all events, will be the last person to insinuate, that the action of the hon. Member is duo to his sense of what is judicious as a matter of Party tactics rather than to any argument founded upon the so-called democratic Bill passed three years ago. But there is another matter to which the hon. Member referred to which it is absolutely necessary for some Member of the Government to allude. It is rather an old story now; it is that famous interview between Lord Carnarvon and the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) himself. There was, about two centuries ago, a very famous plot known as the Popish Plot. One peculiarity of that plot was that, whenever it suited political exigencies, there was always some new revelation at the service of those who were working it for their own political objects. There is a great resemblance, I think, between that episode and the history of this interview. New facts are always appearing, and it is most unfortunate that the time which the hon. Member chose to take us into his confidence should be the very time when the chief victim of his revelation was at the other side of the world. Nevertheless, Sir, we have sufficient material before us, even in the absence of Lord Carnarvon, to show the absolute futility of the contention advanced by the hon. Member for the City of Cork. I would refer the House to the speech made in 1886 by Lord Salisbury. Lord Salisbury said—Lord Carnarvon treated mo absolutely without reserve, and I know—he informed me— what passed at that interview with Mr. Parnell, and his statement which was made two or three days afterwards absolutely agreed with what he stated the other day in the House of Lords. He wished for information on a great variety of topics and statements of opinion. He received them. He asked questions about them; but the statement that he gave any ground for believing that the Conservative Government would favour an Irish Legislature is absolutely without foundation,Then I refer to the speech of Lord Carnarvon himself in the House of Lords. He said— 723Mr. Parnell is reported to have stated that a Minister of the Crown of the late Conservative Government had conveyed to him the intention of that Government to offer a Statutory Parliament with power to protect Irish industries.…I therefore beg to deny, as plainly and as broadly as I can, the statement to which I have just referred as having been made by Mr. Parnell.…Lord Carnarvon went on to say—First of all, that, as I say, I was' acting of myself, by myself; that all the responsibility was mine, and that all communications were from me alone—that is, from my lips alone. Secondly, that that conversation was with reference to information only, and that it must be understood that there was no agreement or understanding, however shadowy, between us. And, thirdly, that I was there as the Queen's servant, and I would neither hear nor say one word that was inconsistent with the Union of the two countries."—(3 Hansard,  1256–8.)I hope, Sir, that that will satisfy the House as to the true character of this so-called agreement between the hon. Member and Lord Carnarvon. There is a new point which the hon. Member has raised, I believe for the first time, at least I have never heard and I do not believe that anybody in this House has heard that Lord Carnarvon is said to have promised (Mr. Parnell) to release the Crossmaglen prisoners. We are told—
§ MR. PARNELL (Cork)
I said that he informed an hon. Friend of mine as to his intention of releasing them.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It was not Lord Carnarvon's habit—and I know this upon absolute authority—to settle business outside the proper official routine. The question of the Crossmaglen prisoners came before him, I believe, more than once. I have had the official file consulted, and on that file there is not the smallest trace or beginning of a trace that it was ever Lord Carnarvon's intention to release those prisoners. I am the more confirmed in that view when I consider that if it was possible for any Lord Lieutenant to carry out the wishes of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, those wishes would surely have been carried out by Lord Aberdeen, who succeeded Lord Carnarvon, but who took no steps in the matter and did not release them. Then the hon. Member went on to criticize the account I gave of a most painful and abominable case of Boycotting dealt with in the course of this month before two Resident Magistrates—the case of Mrs. 724 Connell—and he led the House to understand that all the information I had given was absolutely inaccurate. Now, on that occasion I did what I seldom do, for I quoted from newspapers and not from official sources. I thought I was justified in so doing because the report of the case showed that the Magistrates considered it a serious case of Boycotting. I have since inquired, and I find that the facts that I gave to the House were absolutely accurate. There was a poor, decrepit old person of 80.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I have only to say, in answer to the hon. Gentleman, that my statement is supported by information from official sources. The hon. Gentleman went on to say that this woman had lived on the charity of the shopkeepers whom she prosecuted; that I believe also to be wholly untrue. He went on to say also that she had never offered money for the provisions she wanted, and that were refused her. She did offer money. He went on to say that she never bought bread previously at the shopkeepers—
§ MR. J. E. REDMOND
May I ask the right hon Gentleman where he is quoting from? [Cries of "Order," the Chief Secretary declining to give way.] I was present(Renewed cries of"Order !" amid which the hon. Member resumed his seat]
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Hon. Members will not think me discourteous in not giving way, for they will themselves feel that it will be more convenient that I should give way only in favour of a Member who thinks I am misrepresenting him; to do otherwise would not conduce to the regular order of debate. The hon. Member for North-East Cork then went on to say that the woman had not bought bread previously at any of those places where she was refused; that statement is absolutely inaccurate. He also stated that she was a disreputable old woman, and was drunk in Court. She was neither disreputable nor was she drunk. She came there perfectly sober—[Home Rule cries of "Oh!"]—so that the hon. Gentleman, not content with encouraging a system of Boycotting and intimidation, actually makes use of a fictitious story to destroy the character of its victim. I will now turn to the speech of the right 725 hon. Baronet the Member for the Bridgeton Division—
§ MR. J. E. REDMOND
Mr. Speaker —[Ministerial cries of "Order!"]—the right hon. Gentleman has referred to a statement of mine. I wish to ask you whether I am entitled to interpose for a moment for this reason, that the statement made by my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork was made upon my authority, and—
§ MR. J. E. REDMOND
With reference to the contradiction of the right hon. Gentleman, I was present at the trial, and the woman was undoubtedly—
§ MR. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member rises to a point of Order, doubtless the right hon. Gentleman will give way.
§ MR. J. E. REDMOND
continued: I speak as a person who was present and took part in the proceedings. The woman did not offer money at any of the shops in question, and the statement made by the Chief Secretary is not taken from any evidence given at the trial. The woman undoubtedly was the worse for liquor when she came to give her evidence, because she had to be called down from the table by the Crown Prosecutor who called her. [Parnellite cheers.]
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It appears to me that the hon. Gentleman has taken advantage of my giving way to make a short speech upon this subject. Every word I have said to the House I have upon official authority. If there is any doubt as to the facts, the question can be raised at the new trial, for the decision of the magistrates has been appealed against. And now, Sir, after that rather unfortunate interruption, I turn to the speech of the right hon. Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow. I recollect that when we were debating the earlier stages of the Queen's Speech the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle expressed great impatience at my having gone back to the administration of the Crimes Act of 1882, which he said was an old story. I perfectly understand his dislike to any reference to the Act of 1882 on behalf of his Friends, if 726 not of himself; but his Friends do not seem to share that view, for his right hon. Colleague the Member for the Bridgeton Division filled his whole speech with references to the Act of 1882. His mind always reverts to the halcyon days when he and Lord Spencer were in Ireland. He cannot keep either his mind or his tongue from it, and I do not blame him in this case, because he said, what I think is very true, that the administration of the Act of 1882 is a very good standard by which to compare the administration of the Act of 1887. The Act of 1882 may have been a mistake; granted. The Act of 1887 may also have been a mistake; granted. But even if we assume this, you will hardly deny that the Act of 1882 was administered by high-minded statesmen, who had no other object in view than the advantage of Ireland, who were not animated by any desire to persecute their opponents, who had no desire to inflict any suffering which was not necessary; but who, in trying to put down crime, were doing what they believed to be the best thing for the country. But if you admit that, cannot I claim that this Government, in administering an Act, which differs from the Act of 1882 only in being milder—are animated by motives not less noble, and not less widely removed from the motives invariably attributed to us by members below and above the gangway? Now, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman alluded to the famous controversy as to the alleged creation of new crimes by the Act, Lord Granville, on the first day of the Session, disinterred that ancient argument and subjected it to a post-mortem examination, and the right hon. Gentleman has thought fit to follow his example. I will not now argue whether our Act created a new offence or not; it is sufficient for me, being no lawyer, that I have the authority of Lord Selborne for saying that it does not create new offences. But whether our Act creates new offences or not, one thing is quite certain —that the Act of 1882 did create new offences. And what I want to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to is this: that whereas a very small proportion of our prosecutions were for offences which were created, as is alleged, by our Act, an enormous number of prosecutions conducted by the 727 right hon. Gentleman himself were conducted for offences which undoubtedly were created by the Act under which he worked. I notice that there were 1,114 persons proceeded against by Lord Spencer in the half-year from 13th July to December of the year in which the Crimes Act of 1882 was passed. There were two offences at least created by that Act—one was for being found at night under suspicious circumstances, and the other was for a stranger found anywhere under suspicious circumstances. I do not desire too narrowly to criticize the actions of a Government engaged in a very severe struggle with crime and disorder; but I confess I do think that to prosecute men—after all, subjects of Her Majesty—for nothing else than being found at night under suspicious circumstances is really a strong order; and for the Liberal party, clamorous as they are in their profession of love for the liberty of the subject, I think it is a very strong order indeed. Now, what was the proportion of those new offences proceeded against by Lord Spencer in the time I have mentioned? Out of a total of 1,114 cases proceeded against, no less than 505 were under the two sections which created these new offences.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I think it will be well if, when the hon. Gentleman interrupt me, he will interrupt me with something relevant to the argument. I was comparing the action of the two Governments, not the action of two sets of tribunals. And these are the people, forsooth ! who come down to the House and lecture us because, in an incomparably smaller number of cases, we have proceeded against persons whose offence they allege was created by the Act of last year. The right hon. Member for the Bridgeton Division was very much exercised at the manner in which we had suppressed public meetings. It is an ancient subject of attack, and every term of abuse has been heaped upon me for interfering with the inalienable rights of Englishmen or Irishmen to hold public meetings. This question was brought before the House by the hon. Member for the City of Cork in the debate on February 8, 1884, and he protested against the action of the then Government, and the defence of the 728 action of the Government fell to the right hon. Gentleman (then Mr. Trevelyan), and this is what he said—Nor did the system extinguish 'the right of exercise of free speech,' because five meetings of the League, at the very least, had been held for every one which was prohibited,"—(3 Hansard,  380.)I observe that for every one prohibited by this Government, no less than 17 or 18 were held; so that we, at least, have been three times as careful to preserve the inalienable right of free speech to Irishmen as were the freedom-loving Government which preceded us. Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to give us a lecture upon the danger that attended the prosecution of Members of Parliament and others for their speeches, lest the Government should be betrayed into prosecuting as criminal that which was disagreeable to them politically. Yes, Sir, but that was not always his view. I have another quotation here—The conclusion to which the Government have arrived is that, if such speeches continue to be made, there is no hope for peace and order in Ireland, and that it is impossible to keep crime in check by any system of punishment as long as these speeches, which experience tells us lead to crime, are freely and generally uttered. The Government are advised that Mr. Redmond's language came under the 7th section of the Act, and a prosecution will forthwith be instituted.If the right hon. Gentleman thinks now, as then, that these speeches lead to crime, but that his virtue and that of Lord Spencer was sufficient to prevent them attacking men merely because they were political opponents, why does he refuse to credit us with an equal amount of virtue? Why does he say that ho, in attacking precisely the same evil in precisely the same manner, might be tempted to pursue them as criminals because they are political opponents? And that leads me direct to the very singular defence of himself given by the hon. Member for North-East Cork yesterday. He admitted that he broke the law; I may say he even gloried in the fact. He said—I was face to face with a great crisis. I saved certain tenants from eviction, and the way I saved them was by telling them to resist so that it frightened the Government, and they did not dare to go on with the eviction proceedings before the new Act came into operation.Now, I absolutely deny—I categorically 729 deny—that the action of the Government was influenced in the slightest degree by the fear which he attributes to them. There is not the slightest shadow of a ground for it, and I should be glad to know why, at that moment, the Government were supposed to be terrified. He tells us there was that by-election at Northwich. Why, we are constantly having by-elections. Yet am I not always being told that I am remorselessly bent on destroying Irish tenants, and turning out Irish families to perish on the roadside? If that be so, why should we be terrified on this particular occasion and on no other? But that is not all. The hon. Gentleman gave us to understand that his preaching resistance on this occasion was an isolated act, justified by the fact that the Land Act had passed but had not come into operation. But his preaching of resistance to eviction is not an isolated act. It is a policy the Irish Members have pursued for years, which they have never disavowed in Ireland or in this House. I was the witness of a remarkable scene in the House yesterday. The hon. and learned Member for Inverness (Mr. Finlay) accused hon. Members from Ireland of promoting violence at evictions. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) was so concerned at what he regarded as a misrepresentation of hon. Members' views that he made an interruption, in the hope, apparently, that hon. Members below the Gangway would get up and disavow the doctrine. The hon. and learned Member for Inverness waited; the right hon. Gentleman waited; the House waited; but the hon. Member for North-East Cork never got up; he never disavowed that policy; nor do I believe that any Member on those Benches will declare that he will on every occasion, except under the peculiar and isolated conjunction described, by the hon. Member himself, do all he can to stop any kind of resistance to legal process on the ground of eviction. If that is true, may I ask what becomes of the excuses made for the hon. Gentleman by himself? Take the Act for which we prosecuted him. It was no isolated act; it is in pursuance of a settled policy.
§ MR. W. O'BRIEN
I did, and do most distinctly say that my advice was given under the special circumstances of that particular case.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Well, the hon. Member has given the House an assurance in carefully framed words; but though I accept his declaration, I cannot accept it on behalf of his friends. He stated that he was the worst of the Parliamentary offenders under this Act. Now the hon. Member for West Waterford (Mr. Pyne), speaking at Wexford on the 15th of October, referring to a tenant of Lord Waterford, named Shanahan, points out that "some of these trees growing round about me with a few iron gates judiciously placed"—
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I rise to a point of Order. I beg to ask whether it is competent to quote language with respect to my hon. Friend Mr. Pyne, who has been sentenced to three months' imprisonment, and whose case is now pending on appeal. Is the right hon. Gentleman to be allowed to make his envenomed comments upon the case?
§ MR. SPEAKER
It is not a case in any sense for the Chair to intervene. It is entirely within the discretion of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. A. J. BALFOUR
I think there is something in the observation, and I have not the slightest wish to press it. But I think that what I have said will not prejudice the case. I believe it never was denied that Mr. Pyne made the speech for which he was prosecuted; that the tenant Shanaban, who obeyed the speech by resisting, is now in prison, and that he is now suffering in consequence.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Yes; he has. I understand that Mr. Shanahan is in prison for obeying the speech to which I refer. I think that disposes completely of the assertion of the hon. Gentleman that he is the worst offender under the Act, and that nobody has counselled illegal resistance to the powers of the law, except to bridge over the hiatus between the passing of the Land Bill and its being carried into effect. The right hon. Baronet (Sir George Trevelyan) said it was a sickening thing that Members of Parliament 731 should be put in prison. It is a still more sickening thing that Members of Parliament should do that which deserves prison. It is a still more sickening thing that those who, of all others, should promote to the best of their powers the observance of the law, should be the leaders of those who returned them to Parliament in breaking the laws passed by Parliament; and, in my opinion, if it is a sickening thing that Members of Parliament should be guilty of an offence for which they were put in prison, it would be most sickening if, while their victims are treated according to the ordinary prison rules, they themselves should be marked off, forsooth, by superior privileges from the common throng of those whom they seduced from the path of legality. That brings me to that part of the speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. William O'Brien), in which he dealt with his own treatment and a certain letter which I wrote while he was undergoing imprisonment. His whole speech was marked with considerable vehemence; but the point at which he was most vehement was when denouncing me for the monstrous and unqualified act of writing that letter. Now, what was going on at the time I wrote that letter? The hon. Gentleman was acting in prison in a manner which I thought then, and still think, was extremely undignified. I have always been of opinion—and I am still of the opinion —that the theatrical display about the prison clothes was extremely foolish, ["No, no !"] It is my personal view; I grant it is a matter of taste, on which we may differ. What was happening was this—certain friends of the hon. Gentleman were spreading every kind of falsehood as to his treatment. They were spreading statements as to which there was not one single word of truth; and they were doing it in order to stir the passions of the British democracy. I wrote the letter, in which I stated the pure facts of the case. ["Oh!"] The hon. Gentleman says that I accused him of sheltering himself under the plea of ill-health.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Insinuated, not accused. If he means by that that I insinuated or stated that he was not in a weak state of health when he was so, 732 he has only to get the letter, and he will find that I there asserted, on the authority of the doctor, that he was suffering from a weak heart, weak lungs, and an extremely excitable disposition.
§ MR. W. O'BRIEN
The point of my complaint is that the right hon. Gentleman, in his letter, most distinctly intimated, without actually stating, that I had sheltered myself under the plea of ill-health, and pleaded ill-health as an excuse for not being forced to wear the prison clothes.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
What I stated was—[An hon. MEMBER: Read the letter.] The hon. Member did not read the letter yesterday. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] I do not understand why I am to be dictated to. I allowed the hon. Member to make his speech without interruptions.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not complain of the interruptions of the hon. Member. I refer to the interruptions of others. What I stated was, that it was because the hon. Gentleman had this weak heart he was excused. If he had not had this weak heart he would have been compelled to wear the prison clothes like others. I am perfectly unable to understand why he has attached so much interest to the question of wearing the prison clothes, considering all the others not in delicate health have been obliged to indue these garments. On analysis, what is all this foolish talk about torture? The hon. Gentleman describes himself and his friends as having been tortured in prison because they were subjected to precisely the same prison rules as any other person suffering their sentences. Is that torture, or is it not? If it is torture, alter the prison rules. If it is not torture, do not grumble. I am utterly unable to understand the distinction which it is attempted to draw. Hon. Gentlemen talk as if everybody who was sent to prison had been guilty of a disgraceful offence. I am not going to argue what constitutes disgrace. Is the pointsman who falls asleep and, by momentary carelessness, uses the wrong signals, and by his mistake produces an accident, guilty of a more or less disgraceful offence than the man who incites the unfortunate tenantry of Ireland to pour boiling water upon the police? Is there any intelligent Gentle- 733 man listening to me who is prepared to say that he would compel the pointsman to put on prison clothes, to submit to the ordinary prison diet, to do without books, ink, and paper, and who would not treat in the same way a man who is guilty, in my opinion, of a ten thousand times darker offence? So much has been said about this prison discipline that I think I must weary the House by reading part of a Report of an English Prison Inspector whom I requested to go over to Ireland for the purpose of seeing that no hardship should be inflicted upon any prisoner under my care.
§ MR. W. O'BRIEN
Some question has arisen as to the terms of the right hon. Gentleman's letter. If he will allow me I will quote two sentences from it. One of them is this—The fact is that he is dealt with exactly as any other criminal would he dealt with who, like him, could succeed in sheltering himself under a medical opinion.The other sentence is this—The only principle involved would seem to be one upon which there need not he any difference of opinion between us. It is this—When a convicted prisoner who is able to plead a weak heart and delicate lungs refuses to attire himself in the prescribed dress, force will not be applied to him.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman has quoted perfectly accurately, and it fully bears out the statement I have just made. When the hon. Member interrupted me—I do not object to his interruption at all—I was about to read to the House part of a Report made by Captain Stopford, one of the Commissioners of English Prisons. This is an official document, and if any hon. Gentleman wishes to see it he has only to ask me. In that Report, he, Captain Stopford, said—That the Irish rules for local prisons were in effect almost the same as those in England; but where any difference does occur, such diversity is properly due to local causes and peculiarities which do not exist elsewhere. The clothing and bedding closely corresponded in quality and quantity to the English ones in use; while in regard to diet there was in Irish prisons a large addition of new milk, which formed an important part of all the classes and was not to be found in the English dietary. In the Tullamore prison the governor was labouring under considerable difficulty owing to the daily publication in newspapers by persons having access to the prisoners of sensational paragraphs relating to the endeavours of the officials to carry out the rules.734 [Cheers.] I do not know why hon. Gentlemen should congratulate themselves or the House that anything has been done to increase the difficulties of an Irish official. Well, Sir, to return to the treatment of the hon. Member, I have been freely abused for entertaining a desire to put an end to his existence. But I can assure the House that no one watched the health of the hon. Gentleman with greater interest or anxiety than I did. During the whole course of his imprisonment it was a subject of daily solicitude. I have the satisfaction of knowing that when he was restored to his admirers he was 2lb. heavier than he was at the time he went in.
§ MR. W. O'BRIEN
It is not a matter of much importance, but as a matter of fact I was weighed upon the morning I went in, and on the morning I went out I was 5lb. lighter than when I went in.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I shall be very glad to lay on the Table of the House a curve, a graphical representation of the rise and fall of the hon. Member's weight. If the House will allow me, I will now turn to the most important part of this discussion, which turns upon the results in Ireland of the working of the Crimes Act and the condition of Ireland at the present moment as compared with what it was before. In particular, I observe with regard to statistics that hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to go through three stages. The first stage is before they have seen the statistics. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) told us that it was on statistics that successive Irish Governments had based their views of the progress and condition of Irish crime. At this stage they believe and hope. The second stage comes when the figures are produced. They still believe, but tremble and entertain some doubt. Then comes the third stage —the stage in which they are at present —when, on the whole, they find it most convenient to disbelieve the figures altogether. Then they set their wits to work to discover some other method by which the result has been brought about than the Coercion Act. The Coercion Act can cause no good. If good there has been, it must be due to something else. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid 735 Lothian has expressed his great belief in statistics. I recommend him this particular statistical exercise. Let him take the statistics of crime and draw a curve rising when crime rises and falling when crime falls, and let him put above that the dates of the various Coercion Acts. Let him make another curve showing the number of evictions, rising and falling as the number of evictions rises or falls. He will find that the cause of the diminution of crime in Ireland has not been the diminution of evictions, but always the introduction of a Coercion Bill. So it has been since 1872; so I doubt not it was before 1872; so in those happy days when Coercion Bills were not passed by the British Government but by the Home Rule Parliament sitting at Dublin. The rival theory is that the diminution in crime in Ireland—where they are reluctantly forced to admit that it has occurred—is due not to the Crimes Act, but to the Land Act. I should like to know at what exact period of time these Gentlemen discovered that the Tory Government had produced a great remedial measure. I perfectly recollect the manner in which the Bill was received in the House. I remember that the stock theme of the right, hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) was that this Government only existed in order to collect impossible rents for the landlords. Unless my memory deceives me, by far the most interesting contribution to the Autumn campaign was the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian that the omission from the Land Act of one particular provision with which he was in love constituted a desperate provocation to the people of Ireland.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I read the speech to-day myself, and I think if the right hon. Gentleman will refer back to it, he will find—no doubt it is wrong— that the interpretation I put upon it was not only the natural one, but the one which everybody up to this moment has put upon it. Now, we discover that this Bill, which by its omissions was one 736 of a series of desperate provocations, is a great remedial measure which has reduced by a large and material amount agrarian crime in Ireland and is having almost miraculous effects upon Boycotting and intimidation. I think if hon. Gentlemen see all these virtues in the Bill they ought not to have been so reticent in the country when they were denouncing the wicked people who were administering the government of Ireland; they might have put in—as a kind of make-weight—some few complimentary epithets about the great remedial measure of which we were accidentally the authors. Then they adduced another reason for the diminution of crime. There is the union-of-hearts theory. But, Sir, would not the union of interests describe the union in question far better than the union of hearts? Hon. Gentlemen, I think, greatly underrate the intelligence of the Irish peasantry. They assume that the Irish peasantry have forgotten—as no doubt hon. Gentlemen have tried to forget—every event preceding the Home Rule Bill of 1886. But the Irish people recollect well enough the circumstances under which this union came about. They know that one of the Parties to that union had been courting another bride immediately before. It was only because that match had been broken off, and when hon. Gentlemen could not succeed in winning the favour of English constituencies they turned to the Irish as a pis aller. They know that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby was up till the last moment employing his ponderous rhetoric in forbidding the banns. The truth is that the Irish people are making good use of the English Radicals, who, in their turn, are making good use of the Irish; but so soon as that union of interest ceases we shall then have applied to hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway on that side of the House all the epithets which are now bestowed upon us, and a few years ago were bestowed upon them. Have hon. Gentlemen who attribute these pacific effects to the visits of Englishmen to Ireland considered carefully the kind of speeches that those Englishmen delivered when they got to Ireland? I will read a few short extracts. Here is from a speech quoted in The Freeman's Journal by Mr. Heald—who came over from England—an English Radical— 737Carry out the Plan of Campaign to the letter, Boycott the land-grabbers, starve them out of the land.[Cheers.] Yes; you cheer that. That may be very good doctrine; but it is not doctrine tending to put down crime. And my precise point is that the visit of these gentlemen did not tend to put down crime, and that the diminution of crime must be attributed to other causes. Then I find the hon. Member for Bethnal Green (Mr. Pickersgill) is quoted in The Freeman's Journal as saying—In these circumstances he would not he the one to condemn the men or women who kept a firm grip upon their homes.We all know what keeping a "firm grip" on their homes means. It is a technical expression for pouring boiling water on bailiff's and policemen. Then I find that the chairman of a deputation from the Kettering and Welling-borough Liberal Federation, a Mr. J. L. White, at a place in County Cork, on the 14th December, said, as quoted in The Nationalist—He wanted their English friends to take hack to Northamptonshire this reflection. There exists a large party of Irishmen, the majority of our own race, the world over, who not only desire separation from England, but long to stab England in the back at the first favourable opportunity (and a voice in the crowd called out, 'More power, White; that's the truth').
§ An hon. MEMBER: Who is Mr. White?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am not aware that he is generally known to fame; but he was the chairman at the reception of this deputation to which I have referred. Then the hon. Member for the Camborne Division of Cornwall (Mr. Conybeare), at Westport, County Mayo, is introduced as the man who represents the English democracy, and having been introduced in that character he explained to the meeting—That he always advocated the Plan of Campaign, and hoped again, if necessary, it would be adopted.He also said—He represented the miners of Cornwall, and he compared himself to Burleigh and Hampden, who did not hesitate to cut off the King's head. Let your battle cry be, 'Remember Michelstown.'The same hon. Member said at Castle-reagh—You are justified as Christians not to pay rent, whether it be fair rent or not.That is the Christianity of the hon. Gentleman who regards himself as representing the English democracy. Then I 738 find a gentleman from Glasgow—I must come to my own countrymen—of the name of Ferguson. [An hon. MEMBER: He's an Irishman.] Well, he hails from Glasgow. I am glad to find he is an Irishman. "We will settle this question of the rent," said this gentleman at a place in Armagh, "when we have a National Parliament." I commend that observation to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley), who thinks it should be settled before they have a National Parliament. This gentleman went on to say—No man can set bounds to the aspirations of a nation. If a National Parliament and a Federal Union could not accomplish the prosperity of Ireland, then it would be Ireland's duty to further that struggle for absolute separation.Then I find at Boyle, County Roscommon, the hon. Member for the Camborne Division, who spoke—not this time as the representative of the English democracy, but in the name of the people of England—after thanking the meeting for the magnificent reception given him, characterized the defence of their homos by the tenants, and resistance to the police, as acts which every just, brave, and honourable man would do.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Some are from the official reporters, one from The Freeman's Journal, and some from The Nationalist. I think it will be admitted that, whatever other effect the speeches I have read might produce on the Irish people—whether they did or did not conduce to the union of hearts of which we hear so much—at all events they did not conduce to putting down agrarian crime in that unhappy country. I believe that it is a principle of dynamical science that where two bodies are drawn together by mutual attraction, the smaller body moves the faster of the two. This, however, does not appear to be the rule in political science. The body which has moved the faster in the present case is the larger Party which sits above the Gangway opposite. The Party below the Gangway opposite have long held views in regard to Irish outrages which I hoped were confined to Gentlemen of that nationality. They have not, so far as I know, withdrawn or retracted any of them; but they have 739 converted their allies above the Gangway. They have not altered their morality; it is hon. and right hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway who have altered theirs. The speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork was throughout a triumphant pæan on successful lawlessness; but it was, nevertheless, loudly cheered above the Gangway. Every alleged triumph of the Plan of Campaign—which is little better than highway robbery—which is itself a crime and also the fruitful parent of many crimes, was cheered by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway to the echo. The hon. Member for North-East Cork advocated Boycotting—what he terms "legitimate" Boycotting; but he gave us no definition of what he means by legitimate Boycotting. I apprehend that he regards any Boycotting as legitimate which has as its result, the strengthening of the National League and forwarding the National cause. Are hon. and right hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway opposite prepared to advocate Boycotting? Are they prepared, not merely to sit silent when Boycotting is being defended, but to get up and desire—as the hon. Member for the Camborne Division of Cornwall desired—to see the system extended? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in his speech last week, asked me to give him, if possible, information with regard to the number of Boycotted or derelict farms, on the ground that such information afforded a valuable indication as to the state of the country; the right hon. Gentleman meaning that, if the number of derelict farms were reduced, we might infer that the state of the country was improving. Is it not sickening—to use the word of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan)—to find right hon. Gentlemen of his eminent position getting up and implying that a diminution in the number of derelict farms would show an improvement in the country, while their allies below the Gangway are sparing no effort to increase, as far as they can, the number of these derelict farms, and to make the life of any man who shall have the audacity to come into the open market and hire land absolutely intolerable—if, indeed, 740 they even allow him to exist at all. I confess it gives me great pain to see this gradual degradation, as I think it, of the morality of the Liberal Party. I am quite aware that people in the position of the right hon. Gentleman do not advocate crime—I believe they hate it; but I appeal to any man whether the condemnation of crime we hear from the responsible Members of the Party above the Gangway opposite ever rises above a whisper, and whether they do not reserve the loudest thunder of their eloquence for the denunciations of Judges, magistrates, or police? Now, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne asked me what answer I had to give to the observations made by the hon. Member for North-East Cork upon the subject of the Plan of Campaign; and by the tone in which he asked that question, and by the manner in which it was received by his Friends behind him, I really almost began to believe that he hoped that the Plan of Campaign was succeeding, as was represented by the hon. Member for North-East Cork, and that he would rejoice if this Plan, which has been condemned by the highest judicial authorities that have had to deal with it, as utterly and grossly illegal—that he would rejoice if that conspiracy had extended its fell sway successfully to every corner of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman need not entertain any hope of that, for I do not believe the Plan of Campaign is destined to be a very formidable factor in the future of Ireland. It is perfectly true that in one or two cases mentioned by the hon. Member for North-East Cork this scheme of spoliation has met with a success which it certainly did not deserve; but I greatly doubt whether the tenantry of Ireland have any reason whatever to congratulate themselves— putting morality altogether aside—upon the inspiration which suggested to its authors this method of robbing the landlords. At this moment I am sure that curses, not loud, but deep, are going up against hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway from evicted tenants in Ireland. The hon. Member for North-East Cork stated that the Plan had been successful on all except three estates—namely, the Clanricarde, the Massereene, and the Brooke; but I do not see any sign of success on the 741 O'Grady or Ponsonby estates. [An hon. MEMBER: Wait.] Quite so. We are now told to wait by those who last night boldly asserted that the Plan of Campaign had been already successful. On the Luggacurran and the Ponsonby estates the unhappy tenants are suffering acutely from having taken the advice which was given them by hon. Gentlemen opposite to adopt the Plan of Campaign, it is rather a singular characteristic of this Plan of Campaign that in the case of Luggacurran one effect of the working of the Plan had been to induce the tenantry of the neighbouring estates to pay their rents more promptly than ever they did before; they rushed in with a haste which is not usual with Irish tenants for fear lest the Plan of Campaign would be forced down their throats. Then, Sir, the hon. Gentleman went on to discuss the position of the National League, and he said—How hopeless is your position when you try to suppress this League, when really it consists of the whole population of Ireland.Well, I do not think it does consist of the whole population of Ireland. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to read a speech which appeared in The People newspaper on the 11th of February of this year, only a few days ago. It is a speech made by the Rev. Peter Doyle at a meeting of the Oulart (County Wexford) district Council of the League. He said—They would pardon him if he expressed himself a little disappointed at the state of the organization in a large portion of the district. In some localities the National League had collapsed completely, in others it was in a languishing condition, and the branches, if they could be said to exist, did not come up in numbers and efficiency to what should be expected.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
No. Hon. Members opposite are very singular. They expect me to deal with two branches of the subject together. That may be possible for an Irishman, but for an unfortunate Scotchman I regret to say it is not. Here is another very interesting notice which appeared in The Western News, a Nationalist newspaper published in the county of Galway, on January 28th, 1888, of a meeting held in Ballinasloe on the 22nd of January, 1888. The treasurer stated— 742That the amount to the credit of the branch was not sufficient to cover its liabilities.Then another gentleman got up and said—Their principal business was to devise the best means of getting funds. Some people objected to sending out deputations"—unhappy, misguided people—personally he was in favour of sending out deputations to the several districts. There were people in the town of Ballinasloe who had not joined the League, and who had not given it the support of either their presence or their money. These people should be waited upon by members of the committee. They should be asked to join the branch, and the names of those who would join and who would refuse could be hung up in the hall. They would show up those men who refused. They would show up those men who were an injury to the National cause. There was no alternative, and any punishment that would be inflicted on them they would deserve it.Now, Sir, the gentleman who made that speech was, I believe, one of the persons who presented an address to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Bradford (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) when he went to Loughrea.
§ An hon. MEMBER: He is not in prison now.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I rather think he has been convicted and sent to prison, but I am not positive. Now, Sir, the quotations I have given are very happy illustrations of that universal and increasing power attributed to the National League all over the country by the hon. Member for North-East Cork. Now, I come to the hon. Member's assertion that in suppressed districts the League is even more flourishing. The hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. The information I have received leaves absolutely no doubt upon the subject. Beyond question, the National League in Clare and Kerry is reduced to impotence. I am perfectly aware that the hon. Gentleman quoted the case of a meeting, which he said took place, from the columns of United Ireland of the 28th of January, 1888. But the hon. Gentleman is, I presume, not sufficiently conversant with the work of the Press in Ireland lately for him to 743 know that reports of bogus meetings of the National League are one of the commonest incidents. Let me give an illustration. The Cork Examiner of the 10th of January, 1888, published what purports to be a report of proceedings of the usual weekly meeting of the Mitchelstown (Davitt) branch of the League. It says:—"There was a large and representative attendance," and gives the names of a number of persons who were present. It also reports a speech made by the chairman and resolutions passed. The local police report that no such meeting could possibly have taken place, as they kept the persons mentioned in the newspaper report in view all day, and it was impossible they could have held any meeting. On the 28th of January, 1888, United Ireland published at length the proceedings at meetings of five branches of the League in County Kerry. The local police carefully watched the movements of the persons named in these reports as being the officers of these branches on the day on which it was stated that the meetings were held, and they positively assert in every case that no such meetings were held at all. In these circumstances, the House will be able to form its own estimate of the assertions made by the hon. Member for North-East Cork in his speech yesterday evening. I am perfectly aware that hon. Gentlemen will get up and say that the League is stronger than ever. Yes; but they have always done that. I do not know whether hon. Gentlemen recollect the speech made by the hon. Member who moved the Amendment the other day. In that speech the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) drew a parallel between myself and the late Mr. Forster—I need not say altogether to my disadvantage. I observe that all Chief Secretaries go through well-marked phases. When they are in Office history is ransacked to find parallels to their enormous infamy, and the English language is ransacked for epithets in which to describe it. But if they are dead they immediately become saints, and their names appear in the Calendar; if they are merely out of Office they are qualifying for canonization. I already see an aureole growing round the head of my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bristol (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach). I see him gradually becoming 744 the idol of the Irish Party. I see him looked back to as a man who really understood the Irish problem, and who, if, happily, he had only remained in Office a little longer, would have settled the Irish Question. In this parallel between Mr. Forster and myself, the particular point was—according to the hon. Member for Cork—that Mr. Forster had absolutely crushed the Land League, and I had totally failed even to injure the National League. That is the opinion of the hon. Gentleman, looking back calmly and impartially on the course of history, and with no other bias than that which affects every Irishman, when he is comparing the present holder of the Office of Chief Secretary with his Predecessor. But, although that is now the opinion of the hon. Member for Cork, it was not the opinion of his Party at the time. Allow me to quote from United Ireland the views of the Irish Party upon the crushing of the Land League by Mr. Forster. On the 7th of January, 1882—nearly three months after the date of the Proclamation— United Ireland, in a leading article, said—But Gladstone and Forster destroyed the last chance of the Land Act being a success. They struck a blow in their blind and furious jealousy against the Land League; but the Land League is admitted by Tories and Whigs to be more powerful than ever.… If the unbroken organization of the Land League were not in existence.…the outlook would be terrible for the nation.Well, is not that statement, which we now know on the authority of the hon. Member for Cork to be an untrue statement, exactly parallel to the position taken up with regard to the present Government and the National League? Hon. Gentlemen attempted to cast doubt on the figures by which I have proved beyond controversy that the condition of Ireland is improved, but they only attempted to cast doubt upon them when they found that the figures conclusively proved a conclusion to which they have political reasons for objecting. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow attempted to draw a distinction between the figures with regard to agrarian crime and the figures with regard to Boycotting, and said that the Boycotting figures could be cooked, and probably were cooked.
§ SIR GEORGE TREVELYAN (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
The right hon. Gen- 745 tleman is confusing my remarks with those of the hon. Member for Cork.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Well, the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. H. Gladstone) said so, among others. But if one set of figures can be cooked, the other set of figures upon which the hon. Gentleman relied can be cooked with equal facility. They are collected by the same person and put forward upon the same authority, and if you choose to accept the figures for agrarian crime, not less are you bound to accept the figures with regard to Boycotting put forward by the same person. [Cries of "No, no !"] But if you doubt the accuracy of the figures when you find the figures tell against you, there is an argument which, I think, on reflection, will commend itself to hon. Gentlemen. There is a large portion of the population in Ireland—a loyal minority— having no interest in Party controversies and Party politics. They have no interest in Party politics and Party controversies, except in so far as the result of those conflicts and controversies may be to put them into a position more or less of freedom and security. They have no interest in saying that the Tory Government is doing its duty if the oppression under which they groan is increasing, if they find life more intolerable day by day, and if illegal associations are day by day becoming more powerful from one end of the Island to the other. If, therefore, you find every man in Ireland who has anything to lose—every man who by training or by temperament is not either the ally or the resigned victim of force arrayed against the authority of the law—if you find that all these men concur in saying that an improvement has come over the state of the people, surely you may believe that the objects which we have had in view are in process of being accomplished. I appeal to every man who has any acquaintance with or knowledge of the class to which I refer if they differ from the testimony which I give. Whatever their politics, whatever their creed, from whatever part of the country they come, they are unanimous in saying that the authority of law is more respected; that freedom exists in larger measure; and that the forces antagonistic to law and antagonistic to freedom are in process of decay. Some hon. Friends of mine on this 746 side of the House have been good enough to attribute this state of things to the action of the heads of the Irish Executive. But there are other classes in Ireland to whom, in my opinion, more credit is due for this happy result —the Judges, the magistrates, and the police, who under the greatest difficulties, and subject to a storm of obloquy, have stood between society and ruin. They have been assailed in language of the virulence of which no Member of this House who does not hail from Ireland has the slightest idea. They have remained absolutely faithful to the trust imposed upon them by the law; they have fearlessly performed their duties in the face of difficulties of which few who live in the midst of law-loving communities can form a conception; and, Sir, they have their reward. They have their reward in the respect, in the admiration of every true friend of liberty and of law and order, from whatever part of the country he may hail.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON) (Middlesex, Ealing)
I have to call your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the circumstance that an hon. Member has made use of the words "Tory skunks." I wish to ask you, Sir, whether such language is regular?
§ MR. SPEAKER
Such language is highly improper and un-Parliamentary, and if I knew the name of the Member who used it I would bring it before the House.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)
Following the right hon. Gentleman in the debate, I shall only notice those portions of his speech which appear to me to go to the heart of the question: and those portions of his speech which do really go to the heart of the question constitute, in my opinion, a very small proportion of the speech. Criminatory and recriminatory matter, however amusing it may be to a portion of the House—and such matter is always amusing—really assists us very little in getting to the centre and the root of the great question that is before us. I do think that in this particular ease there is a great difficulty, owing to the enormous range, to the multitude and diversity and weight of the points involved, in confining this debate within—I will not say reasonably narrow limits—but within the narrow 747 limits to which we all desire to confine it. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Inverness (Mr. Finlay) last night, at a time when no Member of the Government appeared to be in a condition to follow the speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien), gallantly stepped into the breach, and performed that office on behalf of the Government which has been so often performed by those who, sometimes called Dissentient Liberals, have found means of defence for Her Majesty's Government, which they and their adherents behind thorn have not been able to discover. My hon. and learned Friend, complaining of the length of the debate, said it was high time it should draw to a conclusion. Now, I can perfectly understand the reasons why my hon. Friends should even desire that there might be no debate at all upon this question. But when he said that it had extended to an unreasonable length, I point to the speech of the Attorney General last night —to the length of which I am as far as possible from complaining—but which was evidently in sharp contradiction with the view of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Inverness. Why, Sir, it has not been possible to include in this debate a number of questions which deserve, and may yet have to receive, detailed criticism. For example, the law of public meeting has hardly been touched in this debate; and yet it is gravely involved in the proceedings of the Recess. The relations between landlord and tenant have hardly been touched, and to that notwithstanding a similar observation will apply. The treatment given to prisoners of a particular class has not been made a subject of discussion. I will make none of these matters a subject of discussion; but, at the same time, I think none can doubt that all of them, and many more besides, are fit for the attention and consideration of the House. I must proceed, therefore, Sir, by the method of selection; and I am bound to say that, so far as I am personally concerned, if it had not been for the pointed reference made to me, and for the perfectly fair and just challenges delivered against certain portions of my conduct or speeches in the Recess, I should gladly have remained outside the contest. I am of 748 opinion that such speeches as have been made by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) in moving the Amendment, and by the hon. Gentleman the Member for North-East Cork on the memorable occasion of the opening of last night's debate, are more important, and go more to the heart of the matter and more to the heart of the country, than anything that can be said or urged by those who, whatever else may be said of them, cannot deny that they stand in a position of Leaders of a Party, and are liable to an imputation of Party interests, which is taken by Gentlemen like the Irish Secretary to be their sole actuating motives; whereas, on the other hand, these Gentlemen are in a position to say that they have shown their independence of Party. They have dealt a death-blow to Liberal Administrations, and the Members of those Liberal Administrations never have complained, and would not have been justified in complaining. They are the advocates and organs of a nation. As the organs of a nation they are in a position to speak with an effect to which we cannot make any just pretension when they address themselves to the heart and understanding of another nation, to whose judgment they are appealing. But, Sir, there was a part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, which he introduced with an apology, into which I think it right briefly to follow him. He referred to the communications which had passed between Lord Salisbury and the hon. Member for the City of Cork.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
Quite so; Lord Carnarvon and the hon. Member for the City of Cork; and I am not going to question for a moment the denials he conveyed. But what were those denials? I attended as well as I could to his statement, and the denials appear to be three. In the first place, he denied that any engagement or agreement had been made. Sir, I am not aware of its having been asserted that any engagement or agreement had been made. He denied, secondly, that it ever had been stated to be the intention of the Conservative Government to grant a measure of Home Rule. I am not aware, Sir, that it ever was stated that a Conservative Government was about to grant a measure of 749 Home Rule. Thirdly, he denied, on the part of Lord Carnarvon—and I accept the denial with all my heart—that Lord Carnarvon had ever used any words inconsistent with the maintenance of the Union. But, Sir, I maintain that these three denials leave entirely untouched the material parts of the case. What are these material parts? If the right hon. Gentleman wishes to dispose of them I can only say that they are not disposed of by what he has said to-night, and that he must set about a new series of statements and a new set of denials in order to get rid of them. It was stated by the hon. Member for the City of Cork that he found himself in substantial—I may say in entire—agreement with Lord Carnarvon on the subject of Home Rule. That has not been denied. It was stated that Lord Carnarvon spoke for himself; that I do not question, in so far as a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland can speak for himself. He was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; and, being Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on the part of a Conservative Government which now holds that to preach Home Rule in any shape is to preach the separation of Ireland from the Empire, he was in association and agreement with the hon. Member for the City of Cork on the policy of Home Rule. Is that all, Sir V When the right hon. Gentleman has just had an opportunity of making his statement—and what I say is in perfect conformity with that statement —he did not deny in the speech he has just made—and certainly he had space enough in it for denial—that Lord Carnarvon and the hon. Member for the City of Cork were in substantial agreement on the policy of Home Rule.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
If the right hon. Gentleman challenges me, I must say that the extract I read from what Lord Carnarvon said in the House of Lords clearly implied that Lord Carnarvon did not express his opinion about a Home Rule policy to the hon. Member for the City of Cork.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
What I say is this—the hon. Member for the City of Cork declared that he had an interview with Lord Carnarvon, and that he found himself in agreement with Lord Carnarvon on the subject. The right hon. Gentleman has not denied that.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I infer from Lord Carnarvon's statement a distinct 750 denial. Of course, we cannot communicate with him.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I ask for the words of Lord Carnarvon's statement which contained that denial.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am very sorry; but they have been taken out of the House. I could not foresee this occurrence.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
It is a very dangerous practice to make statements of that kind and importance without the material on which they are founded. I affirm, and I am in the recollection of the House, that whatever inference or interpretation the right hon. Gentleman may place on the declaration of Lord Carnarvon, there was not a word in the passage he read which contained, or which approached to containing, a denial of the statement of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, that he and Lord Carnarvon were in substantial agreement on the policy of Home Rule. In addition to that, I ask the right hon. Gentleman what he thinks of another statement of Lord Carnarvon, made in the House of Lords, and within the memory of all of us, in which, speaking of the measures of extended government that ought to be granted to Ireland, he said that they ought to meet all the just demands of that country for local self-government, and that those measures ought to be adapted in some degree to give reasonable satisfaction to National aspirations. Does the right hon. Gentleman say that he is in favour of giving reasonable satisfaction to National aspirations? On the contrary, that is the very phrase and idea that on no consideration will they recognize or admit; and it is the phrase and idea which formed the basis of the views of Lord Carnarvon, and here the right hon. Gentleman cannot contradict me. Having got so far—and I intend to go further —the Lord Lieutenant, being Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and being a Member of the Cabinet—or whether he had been a Member of the Cabinet or not—was absolutely bound to make known his views to Lord Salisbury, if not to the Cabinet at large. He did make known his views to Lord Salisbury in the fulfilment of a primary duty, and Lord Salisbury continued to repose his confidence in the Lord Lieutenant; for months afterwards Lord Carnarvon con- 751 tinued to be Lord Lieutenant; and when he retired, principally on account of ill-health, he did so amid the express regrets of his Colleagues. Now, Sir, we are called Separatists. [Ministerial cheers.] We are denounced as such. [Renewed Ministerial cheers.] I am grateful for having my assertions supported by hon. Gentlemen opposite in that semi-articulate manner that they find so congenial; we are called Separatists because we wish to give effect to National aspirations in Ireland, within the limits of the Constitution, and with supreme regard to the unity of the Empire. Lord Salisbury, as Head of a Conservative Government, was content to stand before the country, having in Ireland a Lord Lieutenant who was prepared to give satisfaction, reasonable satisfaction—as we are—to National aspirations, and was content to go to the Guildhall at the same time and to say that everything in the way of local self-government ought to be conceded to Ireland which was consistent with the unity of the Empire. It appears, then, that a Tory Lord Lieutenant may dally as he pleases with the Sirens of Home Rule; and that when a General Election is pending, a Tory Prime Minister may regard the entertainment of a Home Rule policy as no objection whatever to placing unbounded confidence in a Tory Lord Lieutenant. But when the Election is over! When the Lord Lieutenant is gone, and when Liberals declare that they desire to meet the national aspirations of Ireland with a reasonable and safe satisfaction—then, forsooth they are to be denounced as Separatists. Well, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman said other things to which I must refer; but I have first to say a word upon the entertaining speech of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson), who was pleased to exhibit, to the great amusement of the House, even of those who were his victims, our delinquencies and inconsistencies to an admiring House. After all these assaults upon us, the hon. and gallant Gentleman gravely concluded with an enunciation in favour of law and order, and a declaration that his countrymen were not very much disposed to adopt those doctrines. I do not agree with him about his countrymen; but I confess that if I were engaged in an endeavour to show that Irishmen were not sufficiently given to 752 recognizing the principles of law and order, undoubtedly the prominent instance to which I should refer would be the hon. and gallant Member himself. The hon. and gallant Gentleman comes here, forsooth to instruct and educate us on the subject of law and order, while he reserves to himself the right of declaring, and more than once declaring —not, I think, in this House, so far as I remember—
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
Very good; so much the better; all right. Declaring that if Parliament passed a certain Act to which he objects— namely, an Act for granting to Ireland a carefully guarded—["Oh !"]—well, I will leave out the "carefully guarded" —portion of the independence she once possessed, he would be the man to resist it, and to recommend resistance to it, in others. [Colonel SAUNDERSON assented.] Yet when he is dealing with Gentlemen below the Gangway he has the consummate art—and I must say the consummate courage—to pose as an apostle of law and order. The hon. and gallant Gentleman alluded to a speech of mine in which I referred to the lamentable murder of Constable Whelehan in County Clare. The Chief Secretary for Ireland was not ashamed to say—not in this House, but where he could not be answered—that I had made adverse comments on the conduct of Constable Whelehan, a man who lost his life in the service of his country.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
Then I withdraw the observation. I have no intention of charging upon the right hon. Gentleman anything which is not true in fact, and I am very glad he has contradicted me. I did not recollect the statement, or I did not hear it; but it was totally and absolutely untrue. Either he had not read what I said, or if he has read it—and the same applies to the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh—they have absolutely misrepresented the purport of the speech, they professed to quote. For I have never named Whelehan except to deplore his death, and to express a hope 753 that his murderers would be punished. In my reference to that speech, there is not a word to show that Whelehan was the man who was the unhappy organ of the police in ministering pecuniary payment to the infamous informer; nor is there one word in all that reference of blame to Her Majesty's Government. On the contrary, there is an express declaration that I laid no blame upon Her Majesty's Government with reference to the case of Whelehan. Why, then, Sir, did I refer to it? I referred to it on this account. The hon. and gallant Gentleman, in the careless way in which he refers to these things, said that I must have been cognizant of the fact that a price was paid for obtaining information. I said at Nottingham that I made no reference at all to the rather difficult question of the payment of price for obtaining information. What I did refer to was the payment of price, not for obtaining information, but for concocting and concerting crime. After the gradual revelations that are made to us of the mode in which Ireland is administered according to the traditions of that country—it is perfectly possible that such things may have been done before, though I never heard of them—but when I did learn, in a particular instance, of that foul and loathsome practice of paying money for such a purpose to a man who was to attend, so far as we are yet informed, a meeting of the criminals for the purpose of putting the finishing hand to the arrangement and the execution of it, then I did think it was time to protest on the part of the Liberal Party, if not of the whole country, against a practice which, in my opinion, is in itself odious to the last degree, which would not for a moment be tolerated in England, and in reference to which I thought it wise and right to point out that it was dangerous as well as odious; for in a similar case, where the population of England had become cognizant of a similar practice, they had themselves resorted to the commission of crime for the purpose of marking the detestation with which they regarded it. I pass from the hon. and gallant Gentleman to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland; and I think he will agree that I am bound to refer to the speech which he made in the general debate on the Address with respect to 754 the practice of Members on this side of the House in making statements outside the House which they are not prepared to repeat in it, and especially to his adverse and rather angry comments on the pacific tone of the speech which I had just delivered. The right hon. Gentleman overflows with pugnacious matter. He is young and inexperienced in debate, bold as I confess him to be, and able as I confess him to be; but when he has been 56 years in the service of his country it is possible that his stock of contentious eagerness may be a little abated. Now, Sir, the reason—and I had many reasons—but if I must, deal with any reason why I was particularly anxious to avoid the needless introduction of contentious or polemical and accusatory matter in speaking in the opening debate on the Address, I believed, in the first place, that an Irish debate was impending; and, in the second place, the great object which I had in view was to assist in promoting the purposes of Her Majesty's Government, and I will also say to promote, as I think, the honour, the dignity, and the efficiency of the House by giving what I may in simple language call a good start to the Business of the Session, and to detach it, so far as I was able, from everything like controversy and Party conflict. But if the right hon. Gentleman laments the non-combative character of that discussion, I think he will derive probably ample satisfaction for the future. There is no fear, I believe, that Irish debates will be wanting in animation, possibly even in a little animosity, so long as he continues to hold the Office of Chief Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman, even on that occasion, found in my pacific speech matter deserving of his indignant rebuke. I had lamented—if I must repeat my lamentation—that the nicest and most difficult parts of law are removed under the operation of the Coercion Act of last year from Judge and from juries to men whom I termed of an inferior stamp. That was the observation I ventured to make, and the right hon. Gentleman was rather wrathful over it. I fully admit that he is a perfect master of tu quoque. He said—"Whoever they are, they are the men whom you and Lord Spencer appointed." Now, Sir, in the first place, it is quite inaccurate; and, in the second place, if it were ac- 755 curate, it would be totally irrelevant. It is perfectly inaccurate. The statement of the right hon. Gentleman was that the whole body, as I understood him—
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I said that 60 out of 73 were appointed mostly by Lord Spencer, or else were the appointments of previous Governments revived by him.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
Oh; revived by him ! And so the right hon. Gentleman thinks that what he calls reviving—that is to say, not dismissing —is the same thing. Now, if there were 60 out of 73, all I can say is this —that, in the first place, the gentlemen to whose conduct I have seen taken the greatest objection as Resident Magistrates are five—Mr. Eaton, Captain Seagrave, Mr. Cecil Roche, Mr. Meldon, and Mr. Carew. Undoubtedly these are the gentlemen whom I had specially in view when I spoke of men of inferior stamp. Not one of these men was appointed by Lord Spencer. But, supposing they had been appointed by Lord Spencer, the retort of the right hon. Gentleman was absolutely and even ludicrously irrelevant. What I was speaking of was this—not the discharge by Resident Magistrates of their ordinary judicial duties; but their discharge of extraordinary duties which the right hon. Gentleman and the Government had insisted in putting upon them. That is a totally different matter. Suppose, for example, I have a set of men in the Army who are very good corporals and sergeants, and I affirm that they are very good corporals and sergeants, and suppose I had appointed them all, but by some freak of the right hon. Gentleman those corporals and sergeants are appointed to do the duty of generals and colonels, and then I take the objection that those duties of generals and colonels are handed over to men of an inferior stamp. That was the point of the objection which the right hon. Gentleman did not see; and, in my opinion, it is a just, and true, and solid, and perfectly unanswerable objection. The right hon. Gentleman was especially indignant with me because at a given date in the Recess, or before the termination of the Session, I had telegraphed to some correspondent the words, "Remember Mitchelstown," and that I had in a speech at Nottingham developed my meaning in using that 756 phrase and gave whatever force I could to the meaning of my words. The right hon. Gentleman thought fit to point at me the reproach that I was not disposed to maintain here what I have said elsewhere. Now, Sir, I have referred—a task which has always been to me the most irksome I know—to my own statement at Nottingham with regard to Mitchelstown; and I have to say, here and now, that I not only adhere to it, but I strengthen it. And if I use words here about it, and as few as possible, undoubtedly they will, if anything, be not weaker but stronger than the words I formerly used. I never in my life uttered words—-or sent words by letter or telegram—which I more rejoiced to have used, and am better content to have used, than the words "Remember Mitchelstown." It was not done inconsiderately. It was done considerately, for the sake of Ireland and the country, and for the sake of lamenting the enormous mischief, the probable suffering and bloodshed, and the consequent resistance to the law that might arise in Ireland in consequence of what had occurred at Mitchelstown, and of its adoption and appropriation by the right hon. Gentleman. Now, Sir, what was it? It was this. A legal meeting of 4,000 people was assembled. The police, under the plea of following the usual practice of having an official reporter at the meeting, instead of prior communication with those who held it, instead of going to the platform at a point where it was open and accessible, the police formed a wedge of 20 men and endeavoured by force to drive the wedge into the middle of the meeting. I am here to say that a public meeting is an orderly assembly, and to observe order is part of the law of the land, and the driving of that wedge into the middle of that meeting was an illegality on the part of the police, and that the police who drove, or attempted to drive, that wedge into the crowd were themselves guilty of illegality, and ought to have been given into custody. On this deplorable occasion the agents of the law were the breakers of the law; and these breakers of the law, in the first instance, acting under subordinate authority, were adopted and sanctioned by the right hon. Gentleman and by the full authority of Her Majesty's Government. That was the first act of the police. What was the 757 second? The second was this. Their wedge was not strong enough. They were beaten back; pressed back out of the crowd—it seems to me with perfect legality and propriety—whereupon they brought up a large force of police and charged the crowd, because the crowd had not concurred and and co-operated in the former illegality. Well, Sir, this was a fresh illegality committed by the police—that charge upon the crowd. Then the violence began. Then began the use of batons; the use of sticks and cudgels; then began the sufferings of men in the crowd, the sufferings of individual members of the police, as to which the right hon. Gentleman is so eloquent, and which I regret as much as he does. But the police in this, their second illegality, were beaten back by the crowd and again defeated. The crowd did not pursue them. According to all informations before us the crowd was recalled, and again took their places in the square. The merest scattering and sprinkling, for the most part of boys, probably—we know not who, but we know to what extent—went into the street where the police barracks are to be found, and these boys or others succeeded in breaking three windows in the police barracks—[Cries of"Panes !"]—and those three windows were exalted and uplifted by the right hon. Gentleman into a general attack on the barracks, compelling the police in self-defence to fire upon the people. In one sense the police did not fire upon the people—that is to say, there was no mass of the people there to fire upon. I stated at Nottingham, and it is the result of all the inquiry I have made, that there did not appear to have been more than 20 people in the street where the police barracks are; and it was there, under these circumstances, that the police actually fired into the windows of the opposite houses—the houses of peaceable people—where there were women and children, and they fired deliberately; and as to the two old men and the boy whom they destroyed, I do not hesitate here to denounce it as cruel, wanton, and disgraceful bloodshed; because, in the language of Lord Sidmouth on another occasion, so far as I know, there is no example in wantonness and causelessness since the memorable occasion in Manchester, popularly known as the Massacre of Peterloo. I have now given the right hon. Gentleman my 758 views about Mitchelstown. It was time I should say "Remember Mitchelstown," particularly when, owing to a particular class of language, Mitchelstown might have become what is called a "prerogative instance." Mitchelstown was commended by the right hon. Gentleman, held up to the police of Ireland as a pattern they were to follow; that they had acted only in self-defence; and the extent of self-defence and the meaning of self-defence is exhibited at Mitchelstown. I believe it was reasonable to fear the meaning which the police would put on that self-defence, and that they would legally or illegally act up to it whenever they got an opportunity of coming into collision with the people. I tell the right hon. Gentleman frankly that I am of opinion that he has become by clear implication a breaker of the law; breaking the law by authoritative assent and approval; and, not only so, he did that under circumstances where that authoritative approval conveyed to the mind of the police would naturally, justly, excusably, almost necessarily, have pointed out to them that that was to be the model and the rule of their conduct in every example of the kind. It was in the interests of law and order that I denounced the conduct of the police. I think it will be a long time before he can discover an instance on this Bench, or from any of our Friends, in which law and order and the security of the lives of the people were treated with such recklessness as was then shown by the right hon. Gentleman and by his Colleagues. I may be wrong. I know that all Gentlemen on that side are infallible; but I have not that happy privilege. I have done my best to inform myself; and in conformity with, I believe, uncontradicted and consentient statements, I contend that the inferences I have drawn from these facts are just inferences, and that it was not only natural but necessary to adopt precautions on the part, I will say, of England, against the fatal imitations which Mitchelstown might have produced, and to take securities for law and order in Ireland—first of all, as I pointed out to the people of England, that these things ought to be watched; and, secondly, by making known to the Government, and to their agents, and their organs beyond the Channel, that if such occurrences did happen, they would not pass 759 uncensured. Therefore, Sir, I believe I never spoke more useful—I will go further, and say I believe I never spoke more fruitful words than when I telegraphed—"Remember Mitchelstown." Now, I come to the statistics of the right hon. Gentleman. I will make hardly any reference to Boycotting. At least, I will refer to it only in the briefest terms. The right hon. Gentleman has been stingy in his statistics; but he has given us statistics of Boycotting. I do not recollect that Boycotting was ever made a portion of Government statistics before. I cannot recollect it. I can remember police protection.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
Yes; but I am speaking of the ancient and traditional practice which this Conservative Government is always so indisposed to follow. I repeat I am not aware that Boycotting was ever before made the subject of a Return. He said if these statistics were falsified other statistics could be falsified. That is not the point at issue. The point is this. Statistics of crime deal with facts and with matter of record. Statistics of Boycotting, as far as I can understand, deal with matters of opinion. How, I should like to know, in the multitudinous Returns can they distinguish between totally and partially Boycotting? I should like to have an account of that process. What is the test? There must be, and will be, cases of harsh and unreasonable persecution under the name of Boycotting. It is never to be forgotten, though it is very common to forget it, that when you have a state of things such as prevails in Ireland—old and sore relations of friction between class and class, the sense of still remaining suffering or grievance, and consequent instability of social order— the criminal elements that will always subsist in every community (though I thank God to say that I believe they subsist in Ireland more narrowly than almost anywhere else) will find their way into social questions; and, undoubtedly, you will have bad, and very bad, cases exhibited in matters such as these. Therefore, the exhibition of particular instances is a very unsafe and insufficient test. They ought to be quoted with great accuracy. The right hon. 760 Gentleman has been defending to-night his chosen instruments of the present year. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes; but he was met immediately with point blank contradictions on matters of fact; and at present I shall enter no further into that question, which evidently must be made the subject of further examination. But the right hon. Gentleman, gave us last year a case of Boycotting which was touching to the last degree— the case of the Galway midwife. Does the right hon. Gentleman say that the instance he selected last year—the instance of the Galway midwife—is worthy of credence?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
All I can say is, that here, likewise, the right hon. Gentleman has been met with this point blank, this flat contradiction; but what, Sir, are we to say to Boycotting statistics as a basis for legislation, or for a criterion of the rising felicity of the country, when the right hon. Gentleman, out of the thousands of cases he has had before him, can only select for us two, upon which he is at once met by having his facts challenged and his conclusions falsified? My right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne well remarked on a former occasion that there is a chapter of statistics which, if the right hon. Gentleman had chosen to enter upon, it would have been far more to the purpose than those which he has laid before us—that is, the statistics of evicted or derelict lands. There could have been no difficulty whatever for the right hon. Gentleman to call for Returns of the acreage of the farms which in different counties all over Ireland, or in selected counties, had been derelict a year, or two years, or three years ago, in the time of Lord Spencer, and down to the present date, and to show how, under the recovered liberty of the Irish people of which he boasts, the acreage of these derelict farms had been greatly diminished. The right hon. Gentleman has not only avoided, but shirked that question, and I say he has shirked it, because he substituted for any attempt at a rational answer to my right hon. Friend a jeremiad upon the state of feeling which he thought might be produced in Ireland when he found my right hon. Friend using language which, in his opinion, was capable of being in- 761 terpreted into sympathy with the operation of the Land League, and with lawlessness. A more unjust charge never was made. But, just or unjust, it had nothing to do with the question. The right hon. Gentleman founds himself, and the Queen has been instructed to found herself in her Speech, and the organs of the Government have based themselves, in their articles, upon the assertion that liberty, as they phrase it, is returning to the people of Ireland. If that liberty were returning, it would be exhibited in a proportionate diminution of derelict farms. [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: Hear, hear!] Then, why have you not shown it? we can very seldom get even the smallest information from the Government unless we apply the moral torture, which the proceedings of this House allow, to draw it from them. Now, there is one part of the statistics we have read with increased satisfaction—that is, the diminution of crime—limited as that diminution is. I thought that the right hon. Gentleman, in constructing his artificial Return, gave his statistics in a very artificial manner for a special purpose. It is the first time I have known the month of January do such good service. And when I looked into the Return I found out the cause. The Return of offences reported to the Constabulary are reported under three major heads, if I may so call them. There are offences against the person, offences against property, and offences against the public peace. With regard to the offences against the person and against property, I find that if I take the five months only of last year, after the passing of the Coercion Act, and compare them with the corresponding five months of the year before, there is no diminution whatever. But in the month of January there was, in offences against the person, a sudden, a most well-timed and fortunate and rapid decline, for they fell from 10 to three. The right hon. Gentleman drew January into his service by means of that declension of seven, and he was able to draw a diminution of 6 per cent of offences against personal property. I am extremely glad of it, and wish there had been a great deal more. The offences which have sensibly and really diminished are those against the public I peace, and I rejoice that they have diminished. The right hon. Gentleman says 762 the cause of the diminution is the Coercion Act; but I think I have shown that, whereas the diminution of crime proper as directed against personal property is an exceedingly small diminution, the diminution of offences against the public peace is much larger. I make it out to be that they fell in these six mouths from 324 to 238, or a diminution of 25 per cent. These are exactly the offences that would diminish under the operation of a conciliatory Land Act. Yet the right hon. Gentleman has the boldness to say that we on this side of the House never gave any credit to the Land Act. Why, Sir, the Land Act, imperfect, and grossly imperfect as it was—culpably imperfect as it was in the matter of arrears, contained a great and important provision, which the hon. Member for the City of Cork in vain had proposed in September of the year before, but which, if it had then been granted, you probably never might have heard of the Plan of Campaign. It was denounced to the House of Commons by the Government of that day as being a provision totally incompatible with that morality, forsooth, on which right hon. Gentlemen opposite prided themselves. [Opposition Laughter.] I speak of that provision which, under a great responsibility, Her Majesty's Government, though far too late, introduced as a most valuable gift. It was quite evident that, so far as offences against the public peace were concerned, the reopening of the judicial rents and the concessions made to leaseholders could not but operate in the most powerful manner in favour of that diminution. I have here a declaration of a County Court Judge, Mr. Ferguson, who last month used these words—I am glad to say that on the present occasion I am sufficiently informed on the subject, and have good reason to believe that respect for the law and the disposition to obey the law, without which no social freedom, safety, or happiness can exist, is steadily increasing in this extensive riding. I believe circumstances are now in operation calculated to extend them and render them permanent. I refer to the settlement of the Land Laws of the country now so generally taking place, and for which valuers and others are extensively employed.I hope, now that the right hon. Gentleman is in a good humour for granting statistics, that he is preparing statistics of the working of the Act, showing us who have been evicted, that we may 763 have the means of exercising our judgment on the circumstances under which this diminution of crime has taken place. There are two other questions which go to the heart of the whole matter— namely, how the law has been administered, and how the administration of the law has succeeded. Has the administration of the law been of a character to reconcile, or has it been to estrange; has it been calculated to teach respect for the Government, or to bring the Government into hatred and contempt? Has it been of a character to render that law national, or has it been of a character to render it more anti-national? Now, I am not going into the details of the cases of prison treatment; but I shall examine the cases of two Members of Parliament in reference to matters other than prison treatment. I am not answering for these facts personally; but I have received them from quarters that ought to be thoroughly well informed. Mr. Sheehy, a Member of this House, was arrested and remanded without bail. It was a thing that might have been taken into consideration that his wife was ill at the time with scarlatina or scarlet fever. He was offered bail by the Government, represented by the Resident Magistrate, on the condition that he should promise not to open his lips in public. By Government, that, I presume, means the Executive Government; and I want to know what title the Resident Magistrate has to make such a condition as that? Most dangerous is this introduction of a new discretion for Resident Magistrates—a discretion to impose novel restrictions. If Mr. Sheehy had been allowed bail, and if he were to commit an offence while under that bail, he could be taken up for that offence. I want to hear from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or some other Member of the Government, a distinct account of the new doctrine that these conditions may be imposed, which are written, as I believe, in no law, nor in any custom, but which have been set in action in Ireland, but which in England we know are not heard of, and would not be heard of or tolerated for a moment. Mr. Sheehy, I must say very properly, entirely declined to accede to that condition, and he was tried and sentenced to three months' imprisonment. He appealed, as he was entitled to do, and bail was accepted for his ap- 764 pearance at Quarter Sessions, so that he would have been able to obey the almost sacred domestic form of tie which was at the time incumbent upon him. But as he was going out of the door of the Court he was arrested again on another charge, and brought away immediately to a distant part of the country, his wife being in the very crisis of her illness, and her life seriously threatened. On this second charge he was sentenced, not to three months, which would have enabled him to appeal, but to one month's imprisonment, depriving him of the power of appeal.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary is perfectly aware of that promise. He is perfectly aware that in the debate of last year he was charged by my right hon. Friend near me (Sir William Harcourt) with breach of faith in regard to that promise, and to that charge of breach of faith he has remained, I must say, very patiently silent. I have nothing to add on that subject now; but I wish to point out that at the moment when this gentleman, whose wife was in danger, was naturally anxious to repair to his home, a new charge was brought against him, a sentence of a month was passed, his right of appeal was taken away, and he was prevented, not only from preparing his defence in the first case, but also from repairing to his home, where not only difficulty and pain, but actual danger threatened him. Is that the sort of administration of the Act of last year which the Government are prepared to defend? Is it thus that Ireland is to be reconciled? Is it thus that the Irish nation is to be converted? Is it in this House of Commons—the most ancient and the noblest of all the temples of freedom—that such operations as these are to be either passed over in silence, or defended by those engaged in them—the responsible Executive? I cannot understand the extraordinary severity of treatment in certain particulars which, if I am rightly informed, has been meted out to this gentleman; but I wish to keep for the present to what relates most distinctly to the question of the administration of the law, as separate from the question of prison discipline, and in that point of view I will mention 765 the case of Alderman Hooper. He was proceeded against and sentenced for publishing reports of National League branches that had been suppressed; although, as I understand, there have been plenty of these reports published within the cognizance of the Government, with respect to which those who published them have not been sentenced and have not been proceeded against. Alderman Hooper was sentenced to the term of one month, which would not allow him a right of appeal; but he was, I believe, simultaneously charged with publishing another report. Another sentence of one month was pronounced against him, and these sentences, though cumulative as regarded him, were not cumulative in respect of the right of appeal. Therefore, while the right hon. Gentleman professes to give an appeal in the case of all sentences above a month, by this clever device it was contrived to inflict upon Mr. Hooper, a Member of this House, imprisonment for two months, and at the same time to deprive him of his right of appeal. And there again, Sir, I say I am sorry to utter strong words; and, as I may be tempted to do so out of this House, I will speak them in the House. I have no hesitation in describing this administration of the Act, not only as a clear evasion of the spirit of the law, but as an incredible meanness. In this method of administering this Crimes Act, that spirit is displayed which, if the Irish people had in them but a hundredth part of the courage and heart and pluck and perseverance that they have shown for seven centuries, could only tend to alienate and estrange them from those who attempt so to govern them. The words that I have thus used I am going to use again. I am, therefore, very desirous to invite the concurrence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the propriety of my application of it, or to know whether he thinks that nobleness would be a better description—[Mr. GOSCHEN: Hear, hear!]—of the circumstances which I am about to describe. Without knowing what I am going to say, the right hon. Gentleman accepts my challenge; and, therefore, I am justified in exhibiting a specimen of the nobleness with which this administration of Ireland is conceived and executed. I have before me a list of six people prosecuted, not for publishing the re- 766 ports of suppressed branches, but for selling them—two men named Macnamara in Ennis, a man named Moroney in Tralee, Brosnan and Breen in Killarney, and another. Four of the defendants were sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour, and two were discharged upon a promise not to offend again. Here we see once more this method of interfering with private freedom by arbitrary restriction governed by no law, justified by no usage, devised by the spirit of Irish administration, and with respect to which I want to know how far this importation into the law and jurisprudence of the country is to be carried under the auspices of Her Majesty's Government? Well now, Sir, I want to know from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he is to speak to-night, does he see nobleness in the prosecution of these men? Does he think it rational to prosecute these men? Does he think it right to require of the vendor of a newspaper that he should have read its contents; that he should have formed a judgment of its contents; that he should have made up his mind as to whether the proceedings described in the newspapers were legal or illegal? Is that a responsibility which he thinks ought to be imposed upon the vendor of a newspaper under pain of being condemned to one or two months' imprisonment? That is the administration of the Crimes Act to which I must advisedly apply, until I am better instructed, the term meanness. The remaining point relating to the administration of the law upon which I shall comment is of a different character. It has reference to exclusive dealing. It will be remembered that in our charges against the Bill last year we did not say that the measure justified proceedings for exclusive dealing. I do not believe we did say that it did, and I do not believe that the Act does justify proceedings of that kind. But this I am bound to say—that the Act with its interpretation appears to be deliberately applied in a variety of instances for the punishment of simple exclusive dealing. The right hon. Gentleman opposite ought to know—if he does not—that when I spoke of the dismissal of curates by rectors, of the men with wives and children being deprived of their daily bread. I was not, as the right hon. Gentleman charges me, comparing such 767 cases with cases of conspiracy, but was comparing them with cases of exclusive dealing, which, while they are practised freely both in Ireland by the opponents of Nationalism and by the Party of the right hon. Gentleman in England, unpunishable by law, are in Ireland punished by the magistrates who, I believe, have stretched and strained the deplorable Act of last Session to make it include such cases. I now come to eight cases of exclusive dealing, and I cite them simply to afford the Government the opportunity of verifying them. Now, Sir, I wish to mention eight cases—[here the right hon. Gentleman read the names]. I have now before me eight cases of exclusive dealing, two of which were dismissed, but in all the Government proceeded. In one of these cases, a man was punished with a month's hard labour for refusing to shoe a horse for a Boycotted person; another was punished for refusing to sell groceries to another Boycotted person; a third, for refusing to shoe a horse; and a fourth, for refusing to deal with Emergency men; and so on. Those are all cases of exclusive dealing; there is no case of conspiracy if the reports sent me are correct; if they are wrong I hope the Government will correct them by accurate accounts, which I shall be happy to receive. In all these cases there was only a futile and colourable attempt made to set up a charge of conspiracy; it has been a matter of the purest and most arbitrary inference. In fact, these men have been punished for doing in Ireland that which would be perfectly lawful in England, and that which I believe to be perfectly lawful even in Ireland under any fair interpretation of the Coercion Act of the right hon. Gentleman. So much for the interpretation of the Act; and now as to the design of the Act. The Government say that the Act has succeeded in a measure. Has it succeeded or has it failed? I do not think Gentlemen will object to the. proposition I enunciate that the real objects of the Act were to put down the National League, and to put down the Plan of Campaign. I assume that those were its objects; and now I come again to the speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork, which I will venture to say was a memorable speech. To him, as I have never had the privilege of private personal communication with 768 him, I will say it publicly in this House that, although, as he says, imprisonment under the conditions described is a hard and severe thing, which drives the iron into the soul of a man, and leaves him such that he hardly can be again what he was before, yet I trust that the hon. Gentleman has de rived some consolation and some en couragement to persevere, at least in lawful and patriotic efforts for setting right the wrongs of his country, from the enthusiastic reception that he en countered in this House and out of it; and I will add for the credit of hon. Gentlemen opposite, from the respectful silence, and to some extent, I think, the sympathetic silence, with which they also accorded him a kindly reception. The speech of the hon. Member was, in my opinion, of an importance that has not in the smallest degree been appreciated by the Chief Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman has argued the case in his old manner; and whereas the hon. Gentleman charged him with having said that he (the hon. Gentleman) pleaded ill-health against the prison dress, what appears is that the right hon. Gentleman says that the hon. Member had sheltered himself by ill-health against the demand to wear prison dress. But for that statement of the right hon. Gentleman, as amended and admitted, there is not a shadow of foundation. That you cannot contradict, though there are plenty of myrmidons, perhaps even some minions, that will contradict it, and show that by word or act the hon Member for North-East Cork entered this ignominious plea. Why, Sir, has the right hon. Gentleman overlooked and passed by in silence another personal statement of the hon. Member for North-East Cork, which I tell the right hon. Gentleman he has no right to pass by, with respect to which I will now put it to him and to the House that after he has had an opportunity of making Lord Salisbury's defence and has utterly failed to tender any defence at all—
§ MR. W.E. GLADSTONE
Interruption is used as a means of reply; but that is just the point I am going to argue, and we will see how the matter stands. The statement of the hon. Member for North-East Cork was to the effect 769 that in one of his speeches, Lord Salisbury, after some jocose references which exhibited the taste of the Prime Minister, a taste a great deal too common in speeches proceeding from that quarter, held up to British indignation the illegality of the conduct of the hon. Member for North-East Cork, and he stated that that conduct had led to disturbances and attacks upon persons, which, if I remember right, even placed life in danger, and which constituted gross outrages that were of a most serious character. In reply, the hon. Member for North-East Cork stated that his intervention at Mitchelstown produced no act of violence whatever; on the contrary, it averted violence. The right hon. Gentleman has not been able to contradict that statement, and, not being able to controvert it, he has passed it by. He has neither the courage to prosecute nor the generosity to withdraw. Lord Salisbury has made an allegation which his nephew in this House cannot say a word in support of, and which was of a gross and a grievous character; and his nephew now says that that allegation of Lord Salisbury, injurious as it is, remaining without a shadow of defence to prop it, needs no apology. I hold that until and unless Lord Salisbury can show that he was justified in the broad and most important statement that he made, a personal apology from him is due to the hon. Member for North-East Cork. These are personal matters; yes, but very important matters. It is no slight matter that charges of this kind should be made by the Prime Minister of the country against a man who is put in prison; and then, forsooth! we are to have a shifting and a shrinking from any attempt to deal with them. But with regard to putting him in prison, what was the apology of the right hon. Gentleman? When the hon. Member for North-East Cork—admitting the abstract plea of the naked illegality of the act he did—pointed to the attendant circumstances and consequences of that act, the right hon. Gentleman, instead of admitting the value and virtue of those pleas, generalized his charge, and said it was the habitual practice of Irish Members to do these things. Why, then, did they select for prosecution this instance, in which the hon. Member for North-East Cork is able to state, with- 770 out contradiction, that his intervention, whatever judgment may be given on the naked question of its illegality, not only saved the tenants from distress, but saved the public peace from disorder and outrage? I wish to call the attention of the House to what I think the most important part of the statement I have presumed to make. When I heard the Address read from the Chair, I said that the heart of it was a challenging paragraph; and when I heard the speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork, I said to myself—"Never did I hear so challenging a speech." The assertions of the hon. Member for North East-Cork opened up the whole question, and gave Her Majesty's Government the opportunity, by contradiction, of grappling with these assertions and establishing their case, and of showing that their designs against the National League and the Plan of Campaign were at least in process of accomplishment. Here I may say one word about the Plan of Campaign. The Plan of Campaign is an interference with the law; it is, no doubt, a substitute, without authority, for the law. Far be it from me to deny that, necessarily, such a Plan in the abstract is an evil. It is something more; it is a sign of deeper evils; it is a sign that the law itself is not doing its work, and that the condition of legality does not exist; it is a warning to set about restoring them. This is not the only case where extra-legal combination and anti-legal combination have been brought into existence for the purpose of mitigating social disorder. You will recollect the Swing riots—sheer offences against the law in England. But those offences had the most important and powerful effects in bringing about wide, sweeping, essential reforms of the law, which without them probably never would have been got. We know what lynch law is in America —completely extra-legal—completely in the abstract anti-legal, a sign of imperfect organization—not of inveterate mischief, but of imperfect and insufficient growth of the social organism. And a much worse and more remarkable case, though one little known, perhaps, to most of the hon. Members in this House, but well known to those who know the history of Italy, is the Italian Camorra—the underground government in Italy. I 771 do not think it passed through the country, but in the Southern part of Italy it passed through the whole of society. It existed side by side with the Government; it overrode the Government, and fulfilled that condition which the hon. and learned Attorney General (Sir Richard Webster) regards as so satisfactory, and even desirable—a completely secret society. These are all of them in their nature evils; but such is the condition of man and the imperfection of his institutions, that sometimes things which are evils in themselves are the cure or mitigation of greater evils. With respect to the Plan of Campaign, what is to be shown—I am not assuming any conclusion—about it is that without the Plan of Campaign Ireland would have been happier and more tranquil than it is at the present moment. Now, Sir, the hon. Member for North-East Cork—with a gallantry that did him honour, and a sincerity of conviction which quickened his whole speech, able and eloquent as it was, into an intense vitality—grappled with the whole of this question and delivered these six propositions, which, so far as the Plan of Campaign is concerned, gave to the Government the amplest opportunity of scrutiny and contradiction. First, he says that in every single instance at least its terms have been granted. He says that there are only three cases in which absolutely no settlement has been arrived at. He says that when the settlement has come it has come in some cases on the terms of the Plan of Campaign, and in some cases on still better terms for the tenant. He says, secondly, that every evicted tenant has been reinstated. He says, thirdly, that every shilling of costs has been borne by the landlords.
§ MR. W. O'BRIEN
To make it quite clear, let me explain that these three propositions refer only to cases which have been actually settled up to the present time.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
How many cases do you say have been settled?
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I can tell the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he wishes to know. About 40 cases have been settled.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
The hon. Member said, fourthly—and no arguments or facts were brought against this statement, that a single Campaign estate is sufficient to keep the peace of a whole county—an allegation that where the Plan of Campaign is worked the peace of the county is best preserved. The Government had it in their power to contradict that statement if the facts would enable them to do so, but they did not offer a word of contradiction. In the fifth place, the hon. Gentleman said that throughout the length and breadth of Ireland, not an outrage can be traced to the Plan of Campaign. The Government have not offered the smallest contradiction, except, indeed, that very small contradiction offered by the hon. and learned Attorney General, who said that in a particular instance, where he could not say what the cause of a certain crime was, he inferred that it was due to the Plan of Campaign. That is the sort of contradiction, and the only contradiction offered on the part of the Government. In the sixth place, the hon. Gentleman said—and this has not been contradicted at all—that whereas we now appear to know that there are 40 cases that have been settled under the Plan of Campaign, there is no case in which the demands made under that Plan have been censured as rapacious or unreasonable by a single Land Commission. I am not arguing at this moment upon the propriety of the Plan; I am arguing upon its success—I am arguing with the Government who introduced a Bill to put it down. I have shown that in respect to these allegations directly made there is hardly the smallest shred of contradiction or qualification made against any one of them, and that these allegations—taken as they stand, and without a contradiction—show at this moment that, notwithstanding the boasts of the Administration, the Plan of Campaign stands in Ireland at the hour we speak entire, successful, and triumphant. With regard to the National League, the right hon. Gentleman, I think, succeeded in showing with great effort, by elaborate quotations from a given newspaper, that there was one suppressed branch of the National League out of the whole 1,800 branches, and out of the 300 that had been suppressed, which, in respect of pecuniary matters— 773 and I venture to suggest that it is a very considerable test of the whole—was in a sickly condition. I am not discussing the character of the League. I said last year that it was the duty of the Government to watch it closely and jealously, but to watch it legally. I am not discussing its character; I am speaking of its success. But how does that matter stand? The hon. Member for Cork asserts that the branches have increased, that they are now over 1,800 in number, and that the suppressed branches are flourishing and are freely reported. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General said— "Oh, no; we are driving them into secrecy." If you were, you would be doing one of the greatest mischiefs. But the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General totally forgot another part of his speech, in which he said that in the week ending the 7th of January, 1888, there were in four newspapers alone 60 reports of meetings of suppressed branches. He brought up an article from one newspaper stimulating the people to subscribe, and another article stimulating the people to attend. He does not seem to be aware of what is the known and habitual mode of existence of religious and benevolent societies. They all of them subsist upon difficulties and debt, and by continual and moving representations of their deficits. By means of these deficits and representations they draw forth these constantly-increasing subscriptions which make these remarkable British institutions the hope of this country. No doubt the branches in many cases are preaching the necessity of increased subscriptions, and, in some cases, they feel that necessity; but my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) showed last night that for the first fortnight of February, 1885, the Irish subscriptions were £242, and that they had increased regularly from February. 1885, through the intervening years, until February, 1888, they had grown to the comparatively respectable amount of £520. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary referred to the weight of the hon. Member for North-East Cork. I think if he weighs the National League now, since it has been under his proscription for a certain time, it will appear, according to the facts before us, that it will 774 weigh considerably heavier than before. There is this one other important point —that the right hon. Gentleman made no attempt—in the course of his properly protracted speech—to connect the National League or the Plan of Campaign with the commission of crime and outrage. The hon. and learned Attorney General did make the attempt; and what was the narrow basis of his attempt? It was one on which a tightrope dancer might, perhaps, find the means of standing, but on which no man with only the ordinary powers of locomotion could hardly avoid a tumble and a fall. The hon. and learned Gentleman got hold of two cases of crime—one for the Plan of Campaign and the other for the National League. One was the refusal of a dispensary order ! The hon. and learned Gentleman, equipped with this magnificent and marvellous apparatus, gravely laid the foundation on which his charge against those institutions rests. He evolved it out of his own inner consciousness, and because he could not see the cause of an outrage, he said he had a right to put it down to those institutions; and that there might be no jealousy between them, he gave one to the National League and the other to the Plan of Campaign. Let me tell the right hon. and learned Gentleman what course was open to him and the Government if they intended deliberately and seriously to show a connection between crime and outrage on the one side, and those considerable powers which they are labouring to put forth on the other side. There are two courses which they might pursue. If they think there is ground for their assertion, the hon. and learned Gentlemen ought to have searched the evidence given in all the numerous prosecutions which the Government has instituted, and shown us upon the testimony of witnesses and the declarations of judicial authority that there is a connection between crime and the National League and the Plan of Campaign. Not the smallest attempt have they made to do anything of the kind; and I must suppose, until I am better informed, that the reason is they could find no such evidence in existence. I give no credit to the National League—I give no credit to the Plan of Campaign for the absence of such evidence; because to encourage crime on the part of either of those in- 775 stitutions, or even to tolerate crime so far as they are concerned, would be suicidal. That is the course which the Government might have pursued. I once pursued it myself in arguing the case of that unhappy Bill of 1881—unhappy as to the nature of its provisions, adopted for meeting what, nevertheless, at the time was a most threatening evil. I argued that the Land League was a league as it operated then importing danger to the country, and I showed, or, at any rate, elaborately tried to show, by following the formation of the branches of the League through various parts of Ireland, and comparing the formation of those branches with the figures of crime in the same neighbourhoods; and I endeavoured to show that wherever you traced the steps of the Land League there you traced the increase of crime. Why did not the hon. and learned Attorney General take that course? Why did he not say, I find here a county where the National League is especially strong, and I find there that crime abounds; I find another county where the National League is weak, and there I find that crime is small in amount; I find another county, and I apply a similar process in regard to the Plan of Campaign. The hon. and learned Gentleman, acting as he always does, with the greatest acuteness and ability on the part of the Government, carefully eschewed those methods of proceeding, because he knew very well that any attempt of the sort made by them would only result, in utter failure. I think that the evidence before us, as far as it goes, and it goes pretty far, shows that as regards those great objects which the Government have in view, the putting down of the National League and the putting down of the Plan of Campaign, their efforts have resulted in total failure. Whether it be through the Land Act—by its beneficial but imperfect provisions—or whether it be that the dawning rays of hope are the beginning of a knitting of the hearts of the one nation to the other, there is a diminution of crime, such as it is, still gradually taking place—and we wish it were greater, and we congratulate the Government and the country upon it, and we trust that, under the influence of beneficent and benevolent agencies, crime may continue to decrease. Such is 776 the retrospect. Well, if that is the retrospect, what is the prospect before us—what is to come? Will the Government ever continue to deal with signs and never look at the substance—will it for ever deal with external symptoms, and never search out the source and seat of the malady; to tear from a diseased and luxuriant vegetation here a twig and there a leaf, but never to ask themselves whether the proper course is not to bring it out by the roots? There are many things said by the Government in debate, but there is one thing that they and their supporters most rarely say—I think, indeed, as far as my own recollection and experience are concerned, I might go further and assert that they never say. We never, I think, hear them express a confidence that they will be able to establish a permanent resistance to the policy of Home Rule. I am glad not to be met with an adverse challenge, although, no doubt, the kindness of hon. Gentlemen opposite in listening to me while speaking at, I fear, intolerable length, dictates their silence. What I would say to them is this. If this be a question of time at all, then it is most important to consider what is the right time. I do not disguise from myself any more than the hon. Member for North-East Cork does the strength of the combination that is opposed to us. They are very strong indeed. They have nearly the whole of the wealth of the country; they have nearly the whole of the high stations of the country; they have most of the elements of social strength that abound among them; they have with these all the influence which belongs to wealth, rank, and station in this country, which is vast in its amount, and which I must say is systematically and boldly, but which is, in most instances, deservedly possessed in connection with them. They are very strong, and by their strength they may secure delay. But, Sir, delay on a subject of this kind—a controversy between nations—is no obvious or unmixed good. It has its dangers and its inconveniencies. You are happily free at this moment from the slightest shadow of foreign complications. You have at this moment the Constitutional assent of Ireland, pledged to you in the most solemn form, for the efficacy of the policy which I am considering. But the day may come when 777 your condition may not be so happy. I do not expect, any more than I desire, these foreign complications. Still, it is not wise wholly to shut them out of view. What we have to fear is rather this—that if resistance to the national voice of Ireland be pushed too far, those who now guide the mind of that Nation may gradually lose their power and he supplanted by ruder and more dangerous agencies and spirits, and that these very institutions—the National League and the Plan of Campaign—which would vanish into thin air in a rational settlement of the Irish Question, may drive such deep root into the soil, may acquire such a mastery, not only over the understanding but over the passions of the people—for passion in all these cases will always be let loose, and cupidity to urge unjust claims will always march in the rear of just and fair disposition to urge just claims—these institutions may grow to a dangerous power which have been themselves in (he first instance the offspring of bad government, that they may acquire a strength that will enable them hereafter to offer the most serious hindrances to government which is good. I hope that there will be deeper reflection upon these matters. In the present administration of Ireland it is quite plain that you are endeavouring to do— and the language of Lord Salisbury himself in his speeches shows too clearly the intention—you are endeavouring, in substance, to do what has long been attempted, but under circumstances wholly different. For 700 years, with Ireland practically unrepresented, with Ireland prostrate, with the forces of this great and powerful Island absolutely united—for these 700 years you have tried and failed to do that which you are now trying to do with Ireland fully represented in your Parliament— with Ireland herself as a people raised to a position which is erect and strong, and with the mind of England so divided that if you look to the elections of the last 12 months the majority of the people have voted in favour of the concession of her desire for Home Rule. How long is this to continue? I would venture to ask hon. Gentlemen opposite, under such circumstances as these, and with the experience which 30U have, is your persistence in this system of administration—I will not say just, because I know that you contest—but is it wise, is it 778 politic, is it hopeful, is it Conservative? Or will you now at length bethink yourselves to change, and consent to administer and finally to legislate for Ireland as you legislate for England and Scotland, in conformity with the Constitutionally expressed wishes and the profound and permanent convictions of the people, and will you thus at last consent to present to the world the blessed spectacle of a truly, and not a nominally, united Empire?
§ LORD HENRY BRUCE (Wilts, Chippenham)
said, that however much they might differ from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), still they could not help on that—the Conservative— side of the House, if not on the other, admiring his great oratorical powers. He (Lord Henry Bruce) rather thought, however, after seeing the mote in the eye of his brother, the right hon. Gentleman was regardless of the beam in his own. Nothing that the right hon. Gentleman could see could divert the attention of the British people from the fact that he and his Party had practically had control of Irish affairs for the last 20 years, and that they had completely failed to put them in order. He agreed with what the right hon. Gentleman had stated—that the question was a most dangerous and difficult one to handle. Even now the right hon. Gentleman had no scheme which he could submit to them, and which he could assure them would be certain to make the Irish people satisfied. If the right hon. Gentleman could produce such a scheme, the case might be entirely different; but, as he could not, it was too much for him to ask the people of Great Britain to follow his lead blindly. They had been overdosed, as regarded this question of Ireland, by the right hon. Gentleman; and not only by the right hon. Gentleman, who acted upon the principle, "The King wills it," but by his son, the little Crown Prince. They would remember the words of Mr. Froude—that the Irish difficulty had arisen, in a very great degree, from our good nature, and that a more peremptory and less scrupulous people would have ended it long ago. They should not lose sight of that view, although it was their wish, in every sense of the word, to rule Ireland in a Constitutional manner. While they did that, however, 779 it was necessary to protect those who were under the despotism of the National League—under what was called the unwritten law. They had heard a good deal lately about the policy of the union of hearts; and this was the sort of thing they heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, speaking at Dover, on Boxing Day. The right hon. Gentleman had said—Orangemen have been for three generations the greatest plague in Ireland, and the source of its greatest mischief.Was that the sort of language calculated to bring about the union of hearts? Not so; and he (Lord Henry Bruce) thought he might say, with Shakespeare—"The lady doth protest too much, methinks." No one would contend that the Orangemen had not faults; but it must be borne in mind that they were the thriving section of the community. The House should not forget that in Belfast the population had increased, during the past 50 years, from 70,000 to 240,000. They had been informed in this House that the movement going on at the present moment in Ireland was a Constitutional one; but what was the keystone of the policy of hon. Members from Ireland and the Gladstonian Party? Why, it was this. Speaking at the Chicago Convention, in 1886, these words were used by the hon. Member for North Wexford (Mr. J. E. Redmond)—I assert here to-day that the government of Ireland by England is an impossibility, and I believe it to be our duty to make it so.It was evident from this that national independence was what was held out; and it was asked that this and similar language should be satisfactorily "explained away" before the people of Great Britain assented to any proposal for the extension of local self-government in Ireland. He remembered that a great admirer of Garibaldi's, when the General came over to England, advised him to get married. The only objection to that course was that General Garibaldi was already married. "Oh, no matter about that," said the gentleman, "we will get Mr. Gladstone to explain it away." No doubt the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian would be able to explain away the words of the hon. Member for North Wexford which he had quoted. But these words 780 did not stand alone. They had the following account of the return home of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien) in the newspapers of the day: —Mr. William O'Brien left New York for Queenstown yesterday in the steamer Adriatic. He takes with him 25,000 dols. for the Parnell Fund.The Daily News correspondent says that at the close of the farewell banquet to Mr. O'Brien on Tuesday night Mr. O'Brien found the 69th Militia Regiment, known as the Irish Regiment, waiting outside the hotel, with a band of music, to escort him to the steamer. A large crowd of people had gathered in the square, and he stepped upon the balcony of the hotel and made a brief speech, saying—'Men of New York, I am setting out tonight to the old land, and I am more than glad before I go to have this opportunity of thanking the working men of New York for such a glorious demonstration. I know you have it in your hearts that it is for Ireland, I know of no higher honour than to be surrounded by the Irish hearts and the Irish bayonets of the gallant 69th Regiment. Only one greater pleasure could be given to me, and that would be to be with them on the Irish hillside with their bayonets flashing and the green flag floating over them, and their gallant Colonel to lead them.' This speech excited uproarious cheering. Mr. O'Brien was escorted to his carriage at the head of the regiment, and passed down Broadway to the White Star Pier, where he went on board amid renewed cheering,They had the evidence of the spirit of the Irish Leaders and their reverence for the Constitution and the law of the country in the proceedings of the Enniscorthy Guardians, because on December the 11th, 1886, the hon. Member for North Wexford had said—Home Rule was defeated at the last Election of Great Britain, and I say advisedly that if, in the face of that defeat, the Tories had been able to rule Ireland with the ordinary law, the result would have been in England and Scotland to throw back our cause for a generation. We have been able to force the Government to give up the ordinary law.This was a most barefaced admission. For hon. Gentlemen now turn round and upbraid the Government for what they, out of their own mouths, admit they compelled them to do. How had the Home Rule Members been able to defeat the ordinary law? Why, simply by the Plan of Campaign and the system of Boycotting. The shameful and horrible results of the system of 781 Boycotting practised in Ireland was shown by the proceedings of the Wood-ford branch of the National League and in the case of "Blunt v. Byrne." District Inspector Murphy had said— "There are 23 families, comprising 92 persons, Boycotted in my district." The Lord Chief Baron had asked—"What do you mean exactly by being Boycotted?" and the witness went on to recount several outrages. He said, for instance, that on the 7th of October, 1887, the hair was cut off the mane and tail of a mare, the property of a Boycotted man named Regan, and the following questions were asked in the course of the case: —Mr. Atkinson: Mr. Murphy, were you Boycotted yourself?—\es; very closely indeed.When did it cease?—In April, 1887.Were you severely Boycotted?— I could not be more severely Boycotted.To what extent were you Boycotted?—To the extent of near depriving mo of everything they could deprive me of.Were you able to obtain food for your family and your children?—Not always. I will give one instance. I saw my child crying one day for bread, and could not get it.For how long could you not get it?—For a couple of hours; it could not be obtained until night.Did you try to get it?—I did not, but my servant did, and she was refused.How did you get it at last?—When night came on the bread was got through a poor simpleton who would not be suspected. I could get very little meat, and had the greatest difficulty in procuring milk; one of my own men had to bring milk in to mo from his station several miles off in the despatch case. Sooner than see my child fasting, I had to put my horse myself into the trap numbers of times and drive several miles to Boycotted persons to get milk from them. I could have fought it out myself, but my wife and child could not.The revolting system demonstrated in that report was what hon. Gentlemen opposite described in the mild language of "exclusive dealing." All this was exactly what the Government meant to stamp out—it was the work of the National League. That League had been declared by the right hon. Gentlemen the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) to be the apostolic successor of the Land League, of which he had said that crime dogged its footsteps. In view of the crime which, there could be no reasonable doubt, would not have been perpetrated but for the League, he believed that the country would stand by the Government in putting down the League. This disturbed district had been the scene of the most horrible 782 murders. County Inspector O'Brien had said—He knew Woodford, Loughrea, and the surrounding district, in which, within 13 months, he had seen the bodies of eight murdered men.The vast majority of these murders was due to the League, and he would ask how long was this car of the National League Juggernaut to devastate the land? Boycotting, or "exclusive dealing," as hon. Members opposite were fond of calling it, was not only practised against ordinary citizens, but actually against the priests; for in the case of Canon Walsh, P.P., of Rothmore, Boycotting was practised until the rev. gentleman became a member of the National League, measures being taken to prevent him from getting his fees. Hon. Members opposite complained that public discussion had been stopped in Ireland, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian had said at Dover—You find, gentlemen, that the Press is prosecuted and restrained, and you find that public discussion is stopped.But it was evident that very little reliance was to be placed on those words, for any one who took the trouble to read United Ireland for the 31st of December, 1887—the paper edited by the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien)—would find these words—Mr. Balfour has finished tearing the cassock off Father Matthew Ryan and making him wear the prison garb. We knew he would, the lily-livered coward.It was plain that public discussion had not been stopped when United Ireland every week contained the most scurrilous abuse of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian asked at Dover, "Are you satisfied with what is going on in Ireland?" Well, he (Lord Henry Bruce) did not think hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway were very well satisfied when the right hon. Gentleman was once in power. In a manifesto signed by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T.P. O'Connor),during the Election of 1885, the following words were used—The Liberal Party practised a system of Coercion more brutal than any previous Administration, Liberal or Tory; l,250 were imprisoned without trial; ladies were convicted under an obsolete Act against the do-graded of their sex.He asked if this was true? Hon. Gentle- 783 men did not reply; they knew better than to open their mouths. There were such things as political memories, and if the words he had quoted were not true it was infamous for anyone to have written them. These words were not spoken in a speech, but they appeared in a manifesto signed by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool. In addition it was said—"The Tories for five years gave us some little freedom." What was that freedom? and how was it requited? The Plan of Campaign? Hon. Gentlemen sitting below the Gangway were greatly in the habit of saying they were the people of Ireland. He (Lord Henry Bruce) denied that they represented the people of Ireland. He denied that they were the people of Ireland in any shape or form, and upon that point he could give them a far better authority than himself. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian said at the close of 1881—"Our opponents are not the people of Ireland. We are endeavouring to relieve the people of Ireland from a tyrannical yoke." What the right hon. Gentleman and his Party tried to do in 1881 the present Government were trying to do in 1888. What did the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan) once say? He said— "If you want to get at the truth you must never forget that there are two Irelands." It could never be expected that a National League Parliament would be allowed to be propped up by British bayonets. There could be no question that in the end the Loyalists of Ireland must be triumphant. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) had asked how long would England tolerate the present state of things? It was not a question only of how long England would tolerate it, but how long Ireland would tolerate it. It was for hon. Gentlemen opposite to decide. The present state of affairs might continue as long as this Parliament lasted, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian and his friends might eventually get into power; but it must be remembered that before they could complete their Home Rule policy it would be absolutely necessary for them to subjugate the Loyalists of Ireland.
§ MR. BURT (Morpeth)
said, that seeing, as he did, so many Members anxious to take part in the debate, and bearing in mind the great speeches they had listened to last night and to-night, and especially having the marvellous speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) still ringing in our ears, it was not without hesitation that he intervened in the debate. But there were one or two points which, with the permission of the House, he desired to bring forward. He had listened with a good deal of attention to the speeches which had been delivered, and he regretted that some of those speeches, though marked with great ability—take that, for instance, of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) and that of the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell)— were characterized by offensive insinuations, by attacks and personalities which, though they might enliven their proceedings, did not tend to raise the tone of the debates, conduce to good feeling, or help the Government of Ireland. The noble Lord the Member for the Chippenham Division of Wiltshire (Lord Henry Bruce) had to some extent spoken in the same spirit, but he must compliment the noble Lord on having made a new accusation against the Irish Members, a feat which he had thought would be very difficult, if not impossible. The noble Lord accused these Members of being dumb. Now the Amendment before the House referred to the Act of last year, and that Act was, in his opinion, a very harsh and a very unjust one. It had been said by Members of the Government that the Act did not create any new crime, but to his mind that statement amounted almost to a quibble. It was true that actions that were quite legal last Session were now illegal, and it was true that the Government— the Party opposite—who prided themselves on equality, had made criminal in Ireland what was not criminal on this side of the Channel. The complaint, however, that he had to make against the Government was with respect to the administration of the law. The present system was a very bad one; it was admittedly bad. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, in an earlier part of the 785 Session, pointed out that some portions of the administration of the Criminal Law, and those the most delicate and difficult portions, which required the most careful handling, were taken out of the hands of Judges and juries and placed in the hands of men of an inferior stamp—in the hands of men who owed their appointments, who owed their retention in office and their promotion to the Executive Government. How did the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) meet that accusation? The right hon. Gentleman was a master of dialectics, and he said that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, or his Government, were responsible for the appointment of the great majority of the men in question. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian had to-night denied the accuracy of that statement, and had pointed out that if it was true it was irrelevant, because it was the system that was being criticized. There was no attack being made on the Government, but on the system which enabled the Executive to have complete control over those whose duty it was to administer the law. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General (Sir Richard Webster), speaking last night, said it was the duty of the Executive to enforce the law. He (Mr. Burt) entirely agreed with that proposition, but it might be other people's duty to defy the law if that law was unjust, and of course they must take the consequences of that defiance of the law. A great deal had been said about Boycotting. He did not mean to discuss the merits of the system. He himself had never advocated Boycotting, directly or indirectly. When he had had to deal with large bodies of men he had advised them to obey the law even when he knew the law to be unjust. But he was addressing men who could by reasonable agitation have bad laws amended. If he had been addressing constituents whose recognized and duly appointed Representatives were overridden and overwhelmed by superior numbers, he would not Bay that his advice would have been the same. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) had said that Boycotting corresponded with picketing as practised 786 by Trades Unions. He (Mr. Burt) would not then discuss the question of picketing, but he did think that the history of Trades Unions ought to have taught some lessons to Members of both political Parties. Trade Unions until 1825 were illegal. The laws were afterwards considerably modified. But even then they were still inequitable, for a breach of contract on the part of the workman was a criminal offence, while on the part of the employer it was only a civil offence. In 1875 that law was altered. [Cheers.] Yes, hon. Gentlemen cheered that. He had never denied the merits of the Conservative Government at that time in altering the law, but it must be remembered they had the help of the Liberal Party in making the modifications. If he mistook not, the Conservatives found in the pigeon holes of the Government, Bills dealing with Trades Unions ready prepared by their Predecessors. But he did not wish to deal with the question merely as a Party one. What he wanted to point out to the House was that the Trades Union laws were considerably modified, and that under the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act of 1875 picketing was allowed. The offences were strictly defined; the administration of the law was very much altered, and magistrates and others who administered justice could fine instead of imprisoning. The accused could demand trial by jury, and there was in every case the right of appeal—a right which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary promised last year to embody in the existing Criminal Law Amendment Act relating to Ireland; but which promise he had not fulfilled. What he wanted to emphasize was, that so long as Trades Unions were illegal, so long as there was any inequality between employer and labourer, there was lawlessness, there was illegality, and there was violence on the part of the working people. But precisely as Parliament legalized the trades' societies and put employer and workmen on equal terms, the workmen became in the same degree not only law-abiding, but, what was much better, law-respecting. Now, during the discussions relating to Trades Unions in 1875, some very important sentiments were uttered. The noble Lord—Lord Cross—who was now Secretary of State for India, but who 787 then was Secretary of State for the Home Department, carried the Bill through the House not only with great ability, but also with very great fairness. He well remembered one remark of the noble Lord, and it was to be found in Hansard, June 10, 1875. Lord Cross said—If no crime has been committed, do not send a man to prison. Keep up the broad distinction in the minds of the public that gaols are for criminals, and maintain also the belief that if a man becomes criminal he shall go to gaol, but that you will not fill your prisons with persons who have not committed a crime.If the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had been in his place, he (Mr. Burt) should have commended that declaration to his notice. He did not, however, complain of the sentiments uttered by the right hon. Gentleman, but he complained of his non-fulfilment of the promises he had made. He found that the right hon. Gentleman had said something very similar, though, perhaps, it was a little more artistically put. Last year the right hon. Gentleman said—I desire that the inhabitants of the two countries should be treated precisely and exactly alike. What we want is that every man who does not belong to the criminal classes shall have the same right in England and in Ireland of having his property protected and his liberty preserved, and we regard that equality as the necessary foundation of every other good this House may give to Ireland." April 18th, 1887.How had the right hon. Gentleman carried out that doctrine? They heard a great deal in these debates about privileges. He (Mr. Burt) did not believe in privileges. He did not believe in protection, nor in monopolies. He wanted fair play. He did not think that Members of Parliament, if they committed a criminal offence, should be less severely treated than other people; indeed, he thought they ought to be a little more severely treated; but he denied the criminality of a great number of the people who had been sent to gaol in Ireland. Now, how had the right hon. Gentleman carried out the doctrine of equality with regard, for instance, to newspapers? He (Mr. Burt) listened very attentively to the right hon. Gentleman's speech to-night. The right hon. Gentleman quoted the case of The Cork Examiner, and he (Mr. Burt) was rather anxious to hear why in that case he sent to gaol the foreman printer—a man who 788 admittedly had no control whatever over what appeared in the newspaper; while in. the case of The Nation and United Ireland he sent the editors to gaol? Why was this distinction made? Why, too, had a distinction been made between English and Irish Members of Parliament? The right hon. Gentleman had quoted statements which had been made by certain English Members while visiting Ireland during the Recess? Some of those statements appeared to him (Mr. Burt) very extravagant, if not illegal. Personally, he would not like to have been responsible for them; they were, however, uttered openly, and the question he asked was why had not the right hon. Gentleman up to the present time put an English Member in prison? He spoke very disinterestedly upon this point, because he was not himself a candidate for an Irish prison. Why did he send Mr. Blunt to gaol? and why did he not send to prison the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Bradford (Mr. Shaw Lefevre)? These were some of the points which showed that there had not been all the equality and fairness that had been promised, and on which the Government plumed themselves. Some of the cases of boys sent to prison for hooting and for cheering and so on seemed to him to be a discredit, if not to the Government, certainly to the administrators of the law in Ireland. He entirely disapproved of the personal attacks that had been made upon the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, and upon other Irish Secretaries. It seemed to him, if he was in a position to give an impartial opinion, that of late years at any rate, whatever might have been the case in the past, Governments had selected their best men for the Office of Chief Secretary; and if one thing more than another tended to convince him of the rottenness of the existing system, it was the fact that with the best of men the system had completely broken down. He could not help thinking that the Government were under certain delusions. They were, for instance, under the colossal delusion that they were dealing with a handful of conspirators, while as a matter of fact they were face to face with a brave and united nation. Another delusion was of a more personal kind—perhaps it was an amiable one. They thought themselves statesmen, 789 while in point of fact they were only tobogganists. He would hesitate to use that expression if he had not high authority for it. The Prime Minister himself said that they were on a toboggan. He (Mr. Butt) did not blame them for sliding; they must slide until they got to the bottom or were capsized. He condemned them for having deliberately and with their eyes open gone on to the slide. Now the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell), in the calm, clear, and statesmanlike speech with which he opened this debate, made one remark which he (Mr. Burt) was glad to hear, and it was that henceforth the majority of the Irish people were trusting to the English Parliament and to the English people for the redress of their grievances. In the eloquent, powerful, impressive, and he would add the magnanimous speech which was delivered to-night by the hon. Gentleman the Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien), the hon. Gentleman said he did not blame the masses of the English people for the policy which had been pursued in Ireland. No; they were not responsible for it; they were not responsible for the past, because they were without political power; but they would be responsible for the future. They would be responsible if the future was not made, as he believed it would be, very different to the past. The union of hearts had been sneered at by the noble Lord the Member for the Chippenham Division of Wiltshire, who had just spoken, but it was nevertheless a reality. The old feeling of antagonism and hostility was fast dying out, and was giving place to trust, to confidence, and to goodwill, and it was to this confidence, to this trust, to this good-will, and to the determination of the Liberal Party in this House and in the country to carry out logically and fearlessly the principles of representative Government to their complete issue; it was to these and not to fleets and to armies that they must look for the bringing about of a lasting and more perfect union between the two countries.
§ MR. J. E. REDMOND (Wexford, N.)
said, he never rose to address the House with a more deep sense of the difficulty before him than he did on the present occasion. After the speech which was delivered earlier in the evening by the right hon. Gentleman the 790 Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), it was a difficult task for any man to speak, and it was especially a difficult task for an Irishman to do so. They had little that they could offer to the right hon. Gentleman in return for all he had sacrificed and all he had risked and all he had done for them; but this much, at any rate, they had it in their power to do, and that was to be grateful to him for what he had done and for what he had said. He (Mr. Redmond) might be allowed to say— and he was sure he spoke the sentiments of the vast majority of the Irish people when he said it—that the right hon. Gentleman's speech to-night would enshrine him in the grateful memory of the Irish race so long as history remained. Another difficulty he felt in speaking to-night on that debate was this, that the case which the Irish Members had presented in condemnation of the Government's action had been so overwhelming and so unshaken that he really did not know in what direction he had better turn in an effort to strengthen that case. The object for which the Crimes Act, as it was called, was passed, was, he thought, perfectly well understood in this House. Its primary object avowedly was to suppress the National League. Did anyone doubt that statement? Would anyone contradict it after the speech they had had a few minutes ago from the noble Lord (Lord Henry Bruce) who, speaking as a Member of the Conservative Party, gave expression to such sentiments that he (Mr. Redmond) claimed that he ought to vote in favour of the Amendment—he ought to vote in favour of an Amendment which accused the Government of administering the new law in a partial and ineffective manner. The noble Lord had said in his speech that not until the administration of the Act was carried to its logical conclusion— namely, the total suppression of the National League—it should not be said to have fulfilled its purpose. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) last Session just summarized the objects of the Crimes Act. He said—It is a stand-up fight between the Parliament of England and the National League— either you must give up Ireland to the National League, or you must put the National League down. I desire to see the National 791 League suppressed, and I believe I shall see it suppressed.Had the hon. and gallant Gentleman seen, the National League suppressed? His hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien) asserted that the National League to-day was more powerful and more wide-spread than it was before the passing of the Crimes Act; and how had that statement been contradicted? The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant undertook that night to answer that assertion; and how did he do it? He first of all selected a speech made by a clergyman in the county of Wexford with reference to a district in which the League was not suppressed, but he made no reference whatever to a district in that county where the League was suppressed; and he (Mr. Redmond) ventured to say to the right hon. Gentleman, on behalf of the rev. gentleman whom he quoted, that in order to make the League more successful in the district where he boasted that it was not very powerful, all that was needed was that that district should be included in the suppressing order, because admittedly, in the only other portion of the county of Wexford where the National League had been suppressed by order of the Lord Lieutenant, the League was more wide-spread and wide-spreading than it was some months ago. As a matter of fact, the National League as an organization had not been touched. It was to-day the centre of political life in Ireland. Its central office in Dublin still directed the political life of the whole of the country, and no attempt had been made to interfere with the League as an organization, or with its central power. There were, at the date of the passage of the Act, 1,800 branches of the National League; and that number, since the Act came into operation, had been considerably increased. The House would have taken note of the figures which were quoted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) last night showing clearly that the revenue derived from the Irish branches of the National League had gone on steadily increasing fortnight by fortnight during the whole time that the Proclamation of the League had been in force. Now, another object of the passage of the Act was to sup- 792 press the Plan of Campaign; but he (Mr. Redmond) did not think he could usefully say one single word further on that subject. The fact was uncontroverted that in 40 odd cases the Plan of Campaign had succeeded, that in no case had it failed, and that in only three cases was the struggle going on at the present moment. The fact was not contended that during the operation of the Crimes Act—during the last six months —the Plan of Campaign had proceeded with its working, and the only thing the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary was able to say was this— that he believed on two or three estates the people were still engaged with the struggle with their landlords, and curses not light but deep were going up against the men who induced the tenantry to join the Plan. He (Mr. Redmond) could speak in a special manner with regard to one of these estates, as it was situated in his own constituency, and the tenants were constituents of his. He should refer to the estate to which he alluded before he sat down, and with the permission of the House he would endeavour to show that the tenants were to-day, owing to the intervention of the League, happy and comfortable—as happy and as comfortable as they were before they were convicted —and if there were any curses to be heard in the district, they were curses not directed against the Irish Members, but against the Administration, which in that particular district of Ireland was stained, as he would presently show, with the blood of an innocent man. But he took it that the principal object of the passage of the Coercion Act was to put down crime and outrage; and without now going into the question as to whether there was, at the date of the passage of the Act, sufficient crime and outrage to warrant its passage, he would like to direct the attention of the House to the figures of outrage which had been presented in the Returns laid upon the Table within the last few days. These Returns showed a considerable diminution in the total number of outrages in the year 1887 as compared with the year 1886. But comparing the year 1886 in detail with the year 1887, they found that very little difference indeed had taken place in the amount of any one single class of serious offences. Let him read the figures. Comparing 1886, 793 there were seven murders and three manslaughters; in 1887 there were six murders and two manslaughters. In 1886 there were 16 cases of firing at the person. In 1887, though the Act was in force during six months of it, there were 19 such cases. In 1886 there were 20 cases of aggravated assault; in 1887 there were 27. The number of assaults on bailiffs and process-servers was exactly the same in both years. In 1886 there were nine riots; in 1887 there were 10. In 1886 there were 103 incendiary fires; in 1887 there were 127. In 1886 there were two cases only of demand and robbery of arms; in 1887 there were nine such cases. In 1886 there were 92 cases of intimidation otherwise than by threatening letters; in 1887 there were 93 cases of intimidation. In 1886 there were 10 offences classified as resistance to legal process; in 1887 there were 14 such cases. How then did it come about that the total number of offences for 1887 was smaller by 900 than the total for 1886? The explanation was perfectly simple. It was that there had been a very large diminution in some of the less serious offences. For example, the number of threatening letters had diminished by about one-half; and that was about the extent to which agrarian crime had been diminished during 1887. Exactly the same result would be arrived at by a comparison of the last half of 1887, when the Coercion Act was in force, and the first half when it was not in force. In the first half there were nine cases of firing at the person; in the second half there were 10 cases. In the first half there were 53 incendiary fires; in the second half there were 67. In the first half there were 25 cases of killing and cutting, or maiming cattle; in the second half there were 29. In the first half there were 17 cases of firing into dwelling-houses; in the second half there were 19. And so on. Generally speaking, the total for the six months during which the Coercion Act was in force, all the most serious kinds of offences—that was to say, murder, attempted murder, firing at the person, manslaughter, firing into dwelling-houses, incendiary fires, cattle maiming, attacking houses, demand or robbery of arms, &c.—in the quarter when the Act was in force, reached the number of 130; whilst during the six months ending on 794 June last these offences were only 119. Those figures were taken from Returns laid on the Table of the House as part of the defence of the Government of their administration of this Act. Those were the only figures produced to the House with reference to crime on which the Government relied to show that their Act had been a success; and, before passing from figures, he wished to point out that in the county of Kerry, which, unfortunately, was the worst district probably in Ireland, from the point of view of these offences, during the quarter ending Christmas last, there were 26 offences and one murder, and in the quarter before there were only 23 offences and no murder at all. The diminution in the total, for which credit was claimed for the Coercion Act, was apparent only in the case of threatening letters and the nine trivial offences, and was not observable in the case of any single one of the really serious classes of crimes. Now, let him ask this serious question—Had the Act, as a matter of fact, been put into operation either for the dectection or the punishment of any serious crime or outrage whatever? What were the crimes and outrages classified in that Return? Murder, manslaughter, firing at the person, attempt to murder, cutting or maiming the person, cutting or maiming the cattle, incendiary fires, demand and robbery of arms, intimidation, firing into dwelling-houses, &c. What now are the offences for which men had been punished under the Act? Not a single man had been punished under this Act for any one of these serious offences. The list of convictions might be roughly classified as convictions for new offences created by the Act. First, convictions for Press offences, for exclusive dealing, and for assaults on bailiff's and policemen. Let him say two or three words with reference to these different classes of offences. He did not think that it was necessary for him to say a word to show that the statement made to-night by the Chief Secretary, and repeated so often by his supporters, that no now offences were created by the Act, was utterly untrue. Luckily they had the well considered words of one of the most eminent Judges who ever sat on the Irish Bench on this matter. Chief Baron Palles, the other day, used these remarkable words— 795Under this Act a man may commit a crime which he could not possibly know was a crime when it was committed. Any one of us may go home this evening and commit crimes which, under these circumstances, we could not possibly know were crimes until we were prosecuted for them.The Judge went on to say more on the subject, but he (Mr. Redmond) did not read the whole judgment. The judgment emphasized the fact that new crimes were created under the sections of the Act. He (Mr. Redmond) might point out how that came about. Some 600 odd persons had been prosecuted under the Act in Ireland. There had been some 400 convictions, and would it be believed that one-half of the total number of convictions obtained were convictions which came under the title of either "unlawful assembly" or "inciting to unlawful assembly?" Now, everyone knew that unlawful assembly was an offence at Common Law; but in Ireland an unlawful offence was by this Act defined to be a meeting of any association whatever, because there was no limit. Whatever the Lord Lieutenant chose by a scratch of his pen to declare to be dangerous was unlawful, and by another scratch of his pen he could suppress it. So that in the case of one-half of the total number of convictions men had been punished for absolutely new offences. He did not think he could give a better instance of what he meant than by citing, very shortly, what occurred in the case of Mr. Cox, one of the Representatives of County Clare. This Gentleman was charged with inciting people to take part in an unlawful assembly. The evidence against him rested only upon one subject, and the magistrate who convicted him felt constrained to say, in sentencing him to four months' imprisonment, that the offence for which he was sentencing him had no amount of moral guilt about it, that it would not have been an offence at all if committed anywhere else than in that prescribed district. Let him read to the House, very shortly, a passage from the speech for which Mr. Cox was sent to prison. This was what Mr. Cox was sent to prison for four months for saying—I would implore the young men of Clare— and I wish my voice could reach the ears and hearts of every young man in Clare to-night —and this Lisdoonvarne case may point a moral if it cannot adorn a sad tale for them. 796 Let them shun outrages, and avoid the tempter to evil deeds as they would shun Satan himself, and if for no holier and higher motive, at least for the selfish motive of their own safety. There were foolish people in the country who thought revenge should he wreaked for every petty act of local tyranny. I do not think the common sense of the country will accept their opinions and views against the opinions and views of our great Leader, Mr. Parnell, or the greatest statesman of modern times, Mr. Gladstone. Wherever and whenever you meet with such men avoid them and shun them, for, believe me, their's is no good purpose. The louder they boast of their patriotism, and what they are prepared to do and dare, the more reason have you to shun them, for, believe me, nine out of every 10 of such men are in the pay of our enemies. We have now the great Liberal Party of England at our back, with their great Leader, Mr. Gladstone; we have the English democracy with us, as will be told to you in a few minutes by Mr. Conybeare. With such allies nothing can stop or stay our march to liberty save and except the commission of outrage, which must inevitably drive our allies from our side, and bring joy, hope, and satisfaction to the hearts of the miserable gang of Coercionists—the Cullinane-Balfour now in Office. Hearken, then, to the advice of the great Leader, who never yet gave a wrong counsel or advice; follow the counsel of the veteran Leader of the great Liberal Party, be guilty of no crime or outrage. Follow the open and Constitutional agitation which has already brought us almost to the goal of our long lost rights; adhere to the teachings and doctrines of the National League—but, I forgot, my friends, Balfour says the League is proclaimed in Clare. I ask you is it? [Loud shouts of 'No!'] I wish Balfour were here to listen to that thundering shout; he would know the value you place on his Proclamations.That was the crime for which his (Mr. Redmond's) Colleague was now spending four months in gaol—for those words adhered to the "teachings and doctrines of the National League." For making that speech the magistrates came to the conclusion that Mr. Cox had been guilty of inciting men to take part at meetings of the National League, which meetings of the League in any particular district had been made unlawful assemblies by the action of the Lord Lieutenant. Notwithstanding that the whole of the hon. Member's speech, with the exception of that one passage, was a passionate appeal to the people to remain within the lines of law and the Constitution, Mr. Cox was sentenced to four months' imprisonment. Allusion had been made to the case of Mr. Sheehy, and the refusal of bail in that case. Well, what was done in the case of Mr. Cox? When he was convicted he was re-arrested on leaving the Court on an- 797 other charge; and an application was made to admit him to bail; and the magistrate said—and here he (Mr. Redmond) was repeating words which he had heard with his own ears—We have no doubt or question that Mr. Cox would, if he gave bail, appear to the charge; but because he evaded the summons of the Court we think and mark our sense of his conduct by refusing him bail.Consequently, bail was refused, and, being arrested on the second charge, Mr. Cox was sent to prison. He (Mr. Redmond) would not allude at all to the case of those Press prosecutions which had been referred to in the course of the debate; but he desired, with the permission of the House, to say two or three words on the Boycotting prosecutions. Now, there was a peculiar interest attaching to every statement of facts connected with Ireland made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. If he remembered rightly, the Chief Secretary had only instanced three particular cases during his term of Office as illustrating the tyranny of the National League—one was the case of Mrs. Dillon, alluded to to-night; another was the case of Mr. Barrett, which had not been alluded to; and the third was the case of Mrs. Connell, which had been referred to. As to Mrs. Dillon, what happened? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) said that the accusation of the Chief Secretary on that head had been contradicted. He (Mr. Redmond) understood the Chief Secretary to-night still to adhere to the truth of his statement. But what really happened? This woman brought an action for libel and slander against the right hon. Gentleman. The woman on her oath swore that the statement made by the Chief Secretary was false. But what was the defence in the Court of Law set up by the right hon. Gentleman? It was not that his statement was true or justifiable, or anything of that kind. No; his real defence was this—he pleaded Parliamentary Privilege for his speech; and the case could not be proceeded with in the Law Courts. So much for the contradiction of the Chief Secretary on that point. What was the second case that the right hon. Gentleman alluded to? Why, it was the case of Mr. Barrett. Barrett had occasion also to bring an action for libel against the 798 right hon. Gentleman; but the right hon. Gentleman, unfortunately for himself, was not in a position in reference to this statement to plead Parliamentary Privilege, because the speech was made out-of-doors. He had had to acknowledge that his statement was false, and he had paid a certain sum of money into Court by way of damage. And now with reference to the third case—that of Mrs. Connell. He (Mr. Redmond) might possibly have had the appearance of breaking the Rules of Order in interposing earlier in the evening on that matter; but he had only interposed because he was afraid he would not have an opportunity of referring to the case in the House. What he wished to say was that he was a party to all the transactions of the Court in this particular case. He heard the whole case, having been engaged in it. As a matter of fact, he had defended the men who were accused before the Court. What was the sting of the accusation against the defendants? It was this—that a certain decrepit old woman had been starving for three days for want of bread which was refused to her in the shops. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had denied the truth of the allegations in that case. He had said that she was not a decrepit old woman; he had said that she had not offered money for the bread, but had been in the habit of obtaining bread in charity from these people; he said the woman did not want the bread, but had been sent to get it by a Mrs. Maroney, a noted character, in order to get up the prosecution; and the hon. Gentleman had said finally that the woman was not starving, as it was proved that she had a pit of potatoes at her house. Now, the most important of these statements the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had not ventured to deny tonight. He did not deny, in the first place, that this woman did not want the bread, and that she was sent to get it by this other person in order to get up a prosecution against certain individuals. He did not deny, in the second place, that she was not starving, because she had a pit of potatoes at her own house. The right hon. Gentleman could not deny the statements, because each one of them was a matter of notoriety, and was admitted by the woman herself in 799 cross-examination at the witness table. He (Mr. Redmond) was there to say positively that, so far as the evidence of the case went, the woman offered no money whatever when she asked for the goods. Of course, the matter of her age was merely a matter of opinion, and he was only stating his own belief when he said that she was nothing like the age asserted, and that she certainly was not, as described, "a decrepit old woman." One point more. His hon. Friend had stated that this woman, when she came on the witness table to give her evidence, was drunk. That was denied; but he (Mr. Redmond) asserted in the most positive manner that it was perfectly true. There were two cases the woman appeared to give evidence in. In the first place, she gave evidence in a case in which a conviction was obtained. On the occasion of the hearing of the second case she was more than drunk, and contradicted herself in her evidence to such an extent as to the action of those she was swearing against, that the case was dismissed, notwithstanding that there was other strong evidence. So that, on these points, he repeated the statement; and he thought in the third instance, the case of the Chief Secretary against the National League, like the other two which preceded it, was torn to pieces. With regard to this matter of Boycotting, he wished to mention another case. There had been several trials of this kind in the town in question, and, unfortunately, small riots had taken place there in the streets, from the fact that the country people collected there, took drink in the public-houses, and that a collision with the police was the result. The parish priest, immediately before the trial in connection with Mrs. Connell, made an appeal, for the peace of the town, to the publicans to close their shops and to sell no liquor on the day of the trial. They did so, and every shop in the town had the shutters up—no one was allowed to get a drop of drink. Would the House believe that every one of those publicans were arrested for conspiracy to refuse drink to the police, and that every one of them was sentenced to one month's imprisonment without the right of appeal? The defence urged for these men was that, if there had been a conspiracy, it had been incited by the parish priest, and entered 800 into in order to preserve the peace of the town by preventing men getting excited with liquor. A Return had been laid before the House, showing a decrease in the number of persons Boycotted. The point he wished to make in reference to that Return was that, where Boycotting had decreased, it was not the result of the Act of Parliament, but owing to the success of the Plan of Campaign. Boycotting in the district of Tulla and Clare had been very rife, and it suddenly ceased immediately two men were convicted for exclusive dealing, and the Government might naturally claim that it was the result of the prosecution; but what was the fact? Boycotting had ceased because the Plan of Campaign at Bodyke had been successful, and the number of the persons Boycotted diminished in consequence. The Attorney General had said, with reference to the case of Thomas Brosnan, of Castleisland, who, in December last, had been shot at and wounded in the legs, that the poor man applied to Father Fitzgerald for a dispensary order, which he was entitled to, but that he did not get it, the only possible reason being that a relative of his had been a witness in a Government case in which two men had been hanged. His hon. Friend the Member for Kerry had taken pains to inquire into this matter by telegraph, and he (Mr. Redmond) held in his hand the reply of Father Fitzgerald, who said—It is absolutely false that I refused a dispensary order to Thomas Brosnan, because he gave evidence in the case. I am not a member of the Dispensary Committee, and I have no knowledge that I have the right to give a dispensary order at all.After this, the case of the Attorney General might be added to the others which had been adduced in that House, in order to vilify the National movement in Ireland, and which, on examination, had turned out to be as false as dicers' oaths. He had no wish to go into the question of the Coolgreany Estate, but this he must say. He had listened to the pictures drawn in that House of the murder which took place recently in the county of Kerry—a horrible murder which they abhorred, and of which a terrible representation had appeared in one of the illustrated papers; but he could not help thinking how little they had heard in that debate of the horrible 801 murder perpetrated on the Coolgreany Estate by a number of men over whom, he distinctly charged it, that the Government were throwing their protecting shield. The murdered man was a constituent of his, and he (Mr. Redmond) was present when he was evicted from his house; he was an old man of 70 years; he lived on the top of one of the highest mountains in Ireland, and his words were—My family have been living here since this mountain was called Crokan Kinsala, after them, and it's very hard that I should be turned out.That was one case. In another, the tenant's house was burnt before his eyes. He and some of his Colleagues went there and used their influence to get the people to restrain their passions. They took the advice, and he was proud to say that the National League had built a new house for every one of the evicted families, and that neither the parents nor the children had been allowed to suffer want. On that estate 11 tenants had gone into the Land Court in 1882, and got small reductions of rent, which, on the appeal of the landlord, were put back upon them. Their rents were 33 per cent over the valuation; the neighbouring landlords had given a reduction of 30 per cent; these tenants asked for that reduction, the landlord refused it, and they were evicted. A body of Emergency men were permanently encamped in their midst, of whom the Judge who tried the case said that they were going about armed as no civilians were on that side of Texas. These men had gone to make an illegal distress; a number of tenants had assembled, and there was a show of resistance; but there were no firearms and no stones. The Emergency men fired on the unarmed crowd, and shot an old man. When some of them were arrested and brought before the local Justice, who was Chairman of the Emergency Association, they were released without bail. Indictments were subsequently sent up to the Grand Jury in one case of murder, in another of manslaughter; but the Grand Jury, composed of the employers of these men, threw out the bill, and the men were never tried. The House had heard nothing of all this in the course of the debate; but it was a murder quite as foul as the murder of Fitzgerald, and it was 802 one which up to that day remained unavenged by the majesty of the law. The administration of the present Chief Secretary began in blood. His administration was to be credited with the death of Hanlon, with the death of the men at Mitchelstown; and in common justice to the Irish people, and the Government too, these things should be borne in mind. Having mentioned these facts, he would conclude by saying that to whatever provocation during the coming months the people might be subjected, every victim of oppression would feel the consoling words spoken that night by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian; and, if for no higher or nobler purpose, the Irish people would restrain their passions for the sake of making some return to the right hon. Gentleman and to those men who had risked so much and sacrificed so much for the cause of people who were poor and helpless, and had no power to repay them.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCIIEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
Mr. Speaker, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian complained of my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland that in his speech he had not gone to the heart of the controversy in which we are engaged. I think that that will not be the judgment of those who listened to the speech of my right hon. Friend. For a few minutes I wish the House to be good enough to lend me their attention. I wish, at any rate, to carry the question to its very heart. I do not wish simply to occupy myself with details, but I wish to see upon what great issues the House is to pronounce to-night, both as regards the conduct of Her Majesty's Government and, I hope I may add, as regards the conduct of Her Majesty's Opposition. We shall not be content to try this question simply by the action of the Executive Government. No; we shall examine what has been the effect of the speeches which have been made from the Front Opposition Bench. We shall examine, and the country will judge, to what extent this is a new departure, and the country will watch with interest the hand that was stretched out by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian to the editor of United Ireland. [Prolonged Opposition cheers.] Hon, Members will 803 observe with what enthusiasm the Front Opposition Bench cheer the statement of this compliment paid by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian to the editor of United Ireland. ["Hear, hear !"] I observe that the cheer has diminished in intensity in proportion as the memory of that speech recedes and the memory of those articles is more present. We have to deal with this new departure. This evening, perhaps for the first time, the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian has blessed the Plan of Campaign. [An hon. MEMBER: Oh, no; not at all.] He has not blessed it? Has he cursed it, or has he observed a discreet silence —stating the good it had done, but reserving himself carefully lest at any future time he should be charged with having spoken in its praise? I want the House and the country not only to note the declarations and the eloquent expressions of right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench; I want them also to notice the reticence and the evasions of those same right hon. Gentlemen with regard to the questions which have been put to them. There was my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley), who was asked whether he approved of disobedience to a law which has been enacted by this House, and who was careful to explain that that was not now the question before the House. No doubt it was not convenient for him to reply to a question of that kind, because right hon. Gentlemen opposite are in this position—they have at once to endeavour to retain the affections of the law-abiding people of this country, and to secure the esteem and the regard of the less law-abiding portion of the population on the other side of St. George's Channel. And, accordingly, the right hon. Gentleman said—"That is not the question before the House; the question before the House is the administration of this particular Act." Yes; but we are not content to leave the question there. [Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT: Hear, hoar !] We are perfectly prepared, I may say in reply to the defiant cheer of the right hon. Member for Derby, to maintain our case with regard to the action of Her Majesty's Government; but there is not a single person in this Realm who does not know that that action has been rendered ten times 804 more difficult than it would have been, that the great task in which we have been engaged has been heightened in its difficulty by the conduct of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. [Opposition cheers.] They accept the statement. the task of maintaining law and order in Ireland—[Interruption from, an Irish Member below the Gangway.] Hon. Members below the Gangway, I hope, will show fair play in this debate. We have listened to some speeches which have touched us on this side. The hon. Member for North-East Cork spoke of the Irish people as being quick to resent injustice, and he taunted hon. Members on this side and the Unionist Party with playing on the passions of the Irish people by the use of exasperating language. Those words, again let me remind the House, fell from the lips of the editor of United Ireland. It is he who presumed to rebuke the Unionist Party on the score of exasperating language. But I can assure hon. Members below the Gangway, and it will be known by every British Member of this House, that if the English people are not so quick to resent injustice, yet that they do resent injustice no less than Irishmen; and the foul injustice which in a hundred quarters has been poured upon the Chief Secretary for Ireland touches as deeply those who adhere to the Unionist cause as any reproaches which have been directed against the Irish Members may touch those who sit upon the opposite Benches. I do not think it can be made a charge against the Unionist Party that they have been the first to indulge in exasperating language. Mr. Speaker, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian said he would at once go to the heart of the question, and he somewhat rebuked the Chief Secretary for Ireland for not having gone sufficiently into the really important part of it. My right hon. Friend had to deal with an immense number of charges which had been brought against him; and I think the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian was somewhat ungenerous, if I may use the phrase, in taunting the Chief Secretary for not having replied to every single one of the charges which have been brought against him during the last three or four months, especially as, if hon. Members opposite had had their way, they would have forced even 805 an earlier speech from my right hon. Friend, and allowed him less opportunity than he has actually had of answering this multitude of charges. [An hon. MEMBER: No !] Yes; there was an immense cry for my right hon. Friend, in which the right hon. Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) joined, as I noticed, with special enthusiasm, for my right hon. Friend to rise on the spot after the speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork. I think the defence made by my right hon. Friend was perfectly adequate; and it did not lie in the mouths of the right hon. Gentlemen who were going to answer my right hon. Friend to maintain that, when the whole burden of this matter rests upon his shoulders, he should speak at such time as would give them the opportunity of addressing themselves to answer his arguments with the greatest possible convenience. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian brought a number of specific cases forward, and he challenged me to give an immediate reply to them all. While the right hon. Gentleman said we were to go to the heart of the question, nevertheless one of the first subjects with which he dealt, which seemed more important than the question of the relations of landlord and tenant, more important than the question of the treatment of political prisoners, was that well-worn argument about Lord Carnarvon which had been introduced by the hon. Member for Cork. It was impossible for the right hon. Gentleman to resist the temptations of this Party controversy, and thus for a considerable portion of his eloquent speech he diverted the House from the consideration of those most important issues to which, he said, he would at once refer. I cannot complain if he also defended himself against the charges which have been made during the Recess. Still, if this was natural on his part, it was natural on the part of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. It was part of the duty of the Chief Secretary to meet the charges brought against him. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, when he had settled down to his work, began to justify, and to endorse, and impress upon the memory of both sides what we shall certainly remember on this Bide, how the ex-Prime Minister of 806 England rallied to the forces of disorder, when he used the famous words, "Remember Mitchelstown !" [Cheers.] I notice that cheer is far more below the Gangway than among his former supporters, ["No !"] Ah, there was only one voice cried "No !" [Several hon. MEMBERS: No !] It is still conspicuous in its solitary condition. We have the advantage on these Benches of being able to see from what quarters the cheers proceed, and we have noticed with interest, but certainly not with surprise, that the newer development of the doctrine of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian is received with frantic applause below a certain geographical line in this House, but above that line it is received in comparative silence. ["No !"] Yes; but there are not many independent denials. If hon. Members are anxious on that point, let me indicate another symptom to the House. Let me call their attention to the quarter from which the speeches have been made on that side during this debate. There has not been a single speech, with the exception of those of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) and of the occupants of the Front Opposition Bench, delivered by any Member who belonged to the Party of the right hon. Gentleman before 1880. I have gone through the list, and it is those who are recent recruits and who belong to the new school from whom the attacks on the Government have coma. Those who used to be the bulk of the supporters of the right hon. Gentleman have sat silent, without speech and cheers, and why? Because they could not endorse his new policy, which is a policy of alliance with the forces of disorder and lawlessness. And so I say it is only his more recent Followers who endorse "Remember Mitchelstown." The right hon. Gentleman and others in this debate—[A laugh]. I do not know why there is that merriment at the mention of Mitchelstown. [An Irish MEMBER: Go on !] Let the House remember this, that one of the most prominent charges in this debate against the Government relates to an event which occurred before the House broke up last year. The right hon. Gentleman went over all the circumstances, from his point of view, which compelled the police to fire. [A laugh.] That causes a laugh. Why? Because it was only 807 a policeman who was half beaten to death. The policeman who was half beaten to death by "the boys" was not a matter for the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian to refer to. Where does he get his facts from? [An Irish MEMBER: From the inquest!] Yes; the proceedings of which were quashed. So far as it goes, I will deal with the evidence at the inquest. What is the gravamen of the charge of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian? He first dealt with the police going in a wedge through the crowd. As a matter of fact they did not go in a wedge. They went in single file. ["No!"] Oh, I am perfectly prepared for that. There is no assertion on this side of the House which is not flatly contradicted, and those who contradict proceed on the ground, to which I demur, that there is nothing but mendacity upon the part of all the officers of the Government, while there is absolute veracity on their part. When anything is stated on this side to the House an hon. Member is sure to get up on that side and say, "That is absolutely untrue"—[Mr. BIGGAR: Hear, hear !]— and then they cheer him as if that was conclusive. They make the gross insinuation that all the servants of the Executive Government in Ireland are capable of being suborned to perjury on every possible occasion. You make that insinuation continually, but you do not like the bald words in which I have put it. Let me protest at the same time against the words of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, which, I think, were unworthy of him as an old head of the Executive Government. He spoke of the minions and myrmidons of the Irish Secretary, I would ask him, Whom did he mean by the minions and myrmidons? Did he mean the police who used to protect the Chief Secretary who served under him? Perhaps the right hon. Member for Derby will kindly answer that question.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Derby)
The right hon. Gentleman carries on his speeches by question and answer. I should like to know, Sir, from you, as a matter of Order, whether we are bound in the middle of a speech to answer questions? [Cries of "Order!"] He wishes that we should answer him. [Renewed cries of "Order!"] I understand— [Cries of "Order!"]—I have been asked a question. [More cries of 808 "Order !"] I have only to say that I believe the persons alluded to are those sitting on the Ministerial Bench.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Mr. Speaker, the right hon. Member for Derby anticipates his position by possibly some 20 minutes or half-an-hour. I put to him in the ordinary Parliamentary form a question, which I submitted to him in the same manner in which the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian has submitted many questions to us. I asked him—and I hope when he speaks he will give us the solution of the problem—who the minions and myrmidons were to whom the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian alluded? The right hon. Gentleman is now probably informing the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian of the very poor joke which he just made, which was that the minions and myrmidons were those who are sitting on this Bench. No, Sir; it is no laughing matter at all; but one of serious import, and it is for that reason that I asked the question, whether the right hon. Gentleman meant the House to infer that the Chief Secretary for Ireland had minions and myrmidons at his command who would supply him with facts ad libitum. That was the point at which I had arrived when the right hon. Gentleman interrupted me. I am glad to proceed now in the presence of the right hon. Gentleman. He seemed to forget, when he stated the case of Mitchelstown in his own fashion, that there was a policeman named Fahy who is now suffering from an affection of the spine, from which he will never recover, and that that policeman was being beaten— beaten to death, as his Friends say—by those whom he has called "boys" in his speech to-night. Allusion has been made to the inquest; and it is the inquest from which it is said that the right hon. Gentleman has gathered his facts. He gathered the substance of the case from the evidence of Irwin, whose veracity was accepted entirely by the Nationalist Representatives, and who yet stated that it was absolutely necessary that shots should be fired in order to save the lives of the police. The last three shots were fired with that object, and yet the right hon. Gentleman has omitted that fact. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I speak with some warmth with regard to this matter. He has spoken with some warmth, 809 and it is from no personal disrespect to him that I speak with warmth. I say that it is unworthy of the right hon. Gentleman to represent the case to the country as he has done, omitting this most material fact. Although the Inspector, upon whose word even the enemies of the police rely, said it was necessary that these shots should be fired, the right hon. Gentleman nevertheless gets up in this House and puts before the country, amid the enthusiastic cheers of his Friends, that these shots were fired unnecessarily and wantonly, and lays the responsibility upon the heads of the Irish police. [Ironical Opposition cheers.] Do you or do you not reject the evidence of Irwin? [Cries of "Certainly!" "No!"] The House will judge. His evidence was paraded by the Nationalist Press as that of a policeman who had spoken the truth. But when the evidence which this man gives becomes unsuitable, then hon. Members throw over even the witness in whom they before professed to believe. We may gather now their justice and their fairness with regard to other matters. I say that the presentment of the case by the right hon. Gentleman was unfair to the police. I do not care that it was unfair to the Government. It was unfair to the police, and in the present state of things in Ireland, and looking to public opinion with regard to the officers of the law, I ask whether it was a justifiable act on the part of the right hon. Gentleman that he should suppress the most important elements in the case. Well, the right hon. Gentleman says that he used fruitful words with regard to "Remember Mitchelstown." I do not know in what respect he intended these words to be remembered. I think that those who hear me—[Interruption; a telegram being produced by Mr. A. MORLEY announcing the result of the Southwark Election in favour of the Liberal Candidate.] I presume we have to congratulate hon. Members opposite on the result of the contest to-day. Perhaps it may to some extent console them for the diminution of 1,000 votes, which their Party has suffered elsewhere. It is not usual, I think, in this House to witness a demonstration of this kind in the middle of a speech, but I admit that the whole traditions of the House have so entirely changed that one must 810 be prepared for this sort of thing. [Loud Opposition cheers.] It strikes me that this House, I say it in all good humour, has the appearance of a public meeting at election time. [Cries of "Go on!" and "Order!"] I was dealing with the attack which was made by the right hon. Gentleman in connection with the words "Remember Mitchelstown," and I was speaking of the fruitful character that he was attributing to his remarks. I want to know whether those words were fruitful as regards the suppression of crime and disorder, or as regards the encouragement of disorder. Upon that point the right hon. Gentleman left us in some doubt. The next case which the right hon. Gentleman asked me to deal with, was the case of Mr. Sheehy, the Member for Galway. He asked whether it was within the law, or within the ordinary practice, for a magistrate to exercise any discretion as regards accepting bail. [Mr. Gladstone dissented.] Then that was not the point; but the right hon. Gentleman attacked the Government and the administration of the law because Mr. Sheehy was not admitted to bail—[An hon. MEMBER: Because conditions were imposed]—because a condition was imposed, and because it was said, to use the right hon. Gentleman's phrase, that he must not open his lips. With regard to this, let me first make one remark. The right hon. Gentleman attacked the administration of the law, and he took two cases of persons who had been sent to gaol. Those cages were both the cases of Members of Parliament. Many other people have been sent to gaol; possibly many have been sent to prison under hard circumstances. Many have been sent to gaol who have wives and children dependent upon them, but the right hon. Gentleman's pity was reserved, and his illustrations were reserved, for Members of this House. [Opposition cries of "Oh !" and cheers.] Hon. Members opposite may protest as much as they please; but we will not admit on this side of the House that Members are to claim privileges as regards criminal process or arrest which are not shared by other subjects of Her Majesty. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle made some strange remarks upon this subject last night. He was speaking of the majesty 811 of this House, and he said it was against its majesty that Members of Parliament should be liable to criminal process. He argued that, having already a certain exemption from civil process, Members of this House should also have certain privileges in the case of criminal process. I presume that he meant that it was to be remitted to the Committee of Privileges to consider what scale of punishment should be established for the commission of crimes by Members of this House. [Cries of "Oh!"] That was the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman. He does not shake his head. He admits, therefore, that he suggested that exemptions as regards criminal process should be extended to Members of this House.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
I am sorry to be obliged to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. What I said was that I thought that if this kind of administration was to go on, the House would have to consider whether it would not be obliged to fix a scale of so-called criminal processes which should, during the Session of Parliament, exempt Members from arrest.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Let the House realize thoroughly the proposal—a scale to exempt law-breakers from the consequences of their actions if they become law-makers. The majesty of this House indeed ! The right hon. Gentleman thinks it is against the dignity of this House that detectives should be placed at its doors. To my mind it seems that it is more against the dignity of the House that it should be necessary to take that precaution because there are law-breakers inside it. The right hon. Gentleman is jealous of the honour of the House, yet he contemplates with equanimity the prospect that Members of Parliament should continue to set the example to the public of breaking the laws which they themselves have made, and then, sheltering themselves under Parliamentary privilege, should claim exemption for their actions. That is the suggestion of my right hon. Friend. In a precisely similar spirit the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian seems to feel especial sympathy for Members of Parliament who are arrested, and chose all his illustrations from the class for whom the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle claims exemption from arrest.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
With regard to the point which I am now discussing, the right hon. Gentleman only quoted the case of Members of Parliament. I admit he dealt afterwards, under a perfectly separate head, with those who were imprisoned for selling newspapers; but this particular indictment was founded upon the cases of Members of Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman spoke as if he was unaware of the discretion which is continually exercised by magistrates of refusing or not refusing bail. [An hon. MEMBER: That is not the point.] It is the point. The point is this, and the hon. Member will see I did not miss it—but we did not criticize the right hon. Gentleman in that way while he was speaking—the right hon. Gentleman said a condition was imposed, and the lips of the accused Member were to be closed. But why had he been arrested? He had committed the offence of using language inciting to crime; and the condition which was imposed by the magistrate was not simply that he was to close his lips, but that he was to promise that during the time he was on bail he would not repeat the offence. That is the whole gravamen of the charge. It is not as if his lips were to be padlocked, that was not the case at all; the point was he was not to repeat the particular offence. Lawyers on the other side will say whether it is not a common demand to make on the part of magistrates that men shall not repeat the offence with which they are charged during the time they are out on bail. Hon. Members know that some scandals have happened from the absence of such precautions. They know that men who have been admitted to bail when charged with a particular offence have gone on pursuing the same conduct for which it was intended to put them on their trial. The Executive Government cannot be expected to play in this matter. What we have to do is to administer an Act so as to secure the object of that Act, and it would be a futile proceeding if persons charged and admitted to bail were to be allowed to go on repeating during the period of their bail the offence with which they were charged. I am doing my best to follow the right hon. Gentleman through his various 813 charges and I am dealing with them seriatim. It is difficult at a moment's notice to have to deal with such an indictment. The next point was that which the right hon. Gentleman spoke as "incredible meanness." What did he mean by incredible meanness? It consisted, if I understood the right hon. Gentleman rightly, in passing short sentences which deprived the accused of the right of appeal, and in giving two separate months' imprisonment instead of a single sentence for two months, which would have carried that right. This was one of the most eloquent passages of his speech. He asked— "How, with such incredible meanness, can you expect ever to be forgiven by the Irish people?" There is a curious fact which Members below the Gangway have forgotten—an act of "incredible meanness" of that kind, if "incredible meanness" it be—namely that precisely the same thing happened under the administration of the right hon. Gentleman when one of his neighbours on that Bench was Chief Secretary. Here is the case. On the 1st of January, 1883, Mr. John M'Philpin, proprietor of The Tuam News, was prosecuted under the 7th section of the Crimes Act of 1882 before a Court of Summary Jurisdiction at Tuam, and the offence charged was the publication of intimidating notices in The Tuam News. This is a Press prosecution not dissimilar from that of Alderman Hooper. What happened in this case? Mr. M'Philpin was convicted and was sentenced on three distinct charges to imprisonment for one month, 14 days, and 14 days, two months in all. His solicitor applied to have the sentence increased be as to give a right of appeal, but the Court refused his application, and Mr. M'Philpin was removed in custody. Oh ! incredible meanness ! Can the Government which pursued such a course of "incredible meanness," or which sanctioned the conduct of the magistrate in performing such an act as this, be pardoned now by hon. Members who sit below the Gangway? Let me congratulate hon. Members who sit below the Gangway on the indulgence of their memories, because the right hon. Gentleman says that no actions of this kind ought ever to be forgiven, and the fact that we have performed such acts, ought, he considers, to rouse any public spirit 814 that may still remain in Ireland to what apparently would be further resistance to the laws. I trust the right hon. Gentleman feels that this charge of "incredible meanness" against Her Majesty's Government has had the effect which he intended. The right hon. Gentleman and others have complained of what they call our continual resort to tu quoque. But tu quoque means not only a desire to recriminate; we have a deeper and a more valuable meaning, one we are free to press home—namely, to show the hollowness of the accusations against the present Government. If we allude to these transactions in the past, it is not in order to pour opprobrium upon right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I can assure hon. Members opposite there is, at least on my part, no desire to give any pain by these reminiscences, though painful, I am afraid, they must sometimes be; but the object is to show that there is obvious hollow-ness and insincerity in the charges made, that they are made at the spur of political necessity and with a particular political object, and that they are not believed in oven by those who make them, because it is clear that the Government presided over by my right hon. Friend, and of which the right hon. Member for Derby was a Member, would never have been guilty of any act of "incredible meanness." I refer to this matter in order to show that the charges against the Government are hollow charges, and simply made in order to score a political point. As to the charge made against us by the right hon. Gentleman with reference to newspapers, he was perfectly inaccurate as regards the facts. He said in eloquent language—" How can these poor men know the contents of the paper which they are soiling?" They may know the contents of the paper. They had been distinctly warned by the police before, that if they sold the paper they would be sent to gaol. [Home Rule cries of "Oh!"] I might repeat the observation of an hon. Gentleman opposite and say that hon. Members do not see the point. The point is not what the Government did, but what the right hon. Gentleman said they did. The right hon. Gentleman charged the magistrates and the police with sending men to prison who were perfectly innocent of the offences of which they 815 were convicted. Is that a fair statement? The right hon. Gentleman asked how these men knew what was in the paper. I answer him that they knew they were breaking the law, and that they intended to break it under the pressure of the National League. [Cries of "Oh!"] It was part of the organization of the League. I may say distinctly that it is not the Government who have sent these persons to prison. They have been sent to prison in the ordinary course of the law, and I demur to the statement that the Executive Government in this House is to be held responsible for every act done in the ordinary process of the law in Ireland. At all events, I have answered the right hon. Gentleman on this point. The facts which the right hon. Gentleman presented to the House are totally inaccurate, and I repeat that these men were sent to prison because they had deliberately defied the law. Of course, this is an offence which has ceased to be an offence since the new doctrines preached by hon. Members below the Gangway were accepted by hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway. It is impossible for me at this time of night to follow the right hon. Gentleman through the whole of his speech, but I have done my best to answer some of his accusations on points of detail. I will now deal with the graver questions which he raised towards the end of his speech. He said that we had failed to establish our case. He contended that we had failed to put down crime and the Plan of Campaign, and, above all, that we had failed to establish a connection between the National League and crime. The right hon. Gentleman reminded the House, too, how differently he himself had dealt with the League. The House will remember his own phrase—"Crime dogged the footsteps of the League." We know now that this statement was no inference on his part. He has told us to-night how carefully he had examined the case. It was after that careful examination that he declared that crime dogged the footsteps of the League. He had gone through the case district by district, county by county; he had brought his great experience and information to bear upon the question, and as the result he introduced a Crimes Bill into this House, and stated on his own responsibility afterwards that crime dogged the footsteps of the League. 816 The National League, we know, is the direct heir of the Land League, and we are told by authorized spokesmen of the League that they have not changed their methods and that they have not abandoned their policy. I noticed that it was with some consternation that hon. Members below the Gangway listened to the right hon. Gentleman when he explained how carefully he had examined the manner in which crime dogged the footsteps of the League. I leave it to him to explain, or to any of his Friends to explain, when crime ceased to dog those footsteps. The right hon. Gentleman has complimented the men who organized the League and who were its chief members at that time. Has he forgotten or has he forgiven them since he found that crime dogged the footsteps of the League? I leave that question for him to answer. It is difficult enough, and the right hon. Gentleman knows it, as having been once responsible for the government of Ireland, to discover the distinct link and to trace those connections, many of which are underground. But evidence has been brought forward now which shows that there are cases which can be traced, I will not say to the direct action, but I will say to the system of the League. If it is not through the influence of the organization of the League that these crimes have taken place, to what results are they due? It is not from some sudden impulse that Moonlighters have visited the cottages of persons obnoxious to the promoters of the national movement, but it is in consequence of an organization, and I should have thought that with the immense means at the disposal of the League they might have been able, had they been willing, to assist the Government in discovering many of these crimes. What is the only possible inference when we see that resolutions passed by branches of the League have been followed in many instances by crimes committed against the people whom these resolutions denounced? We have been challenged as to whether there is an improvement or not in the state of Ireland. Evidence has been given of that; but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian has asked whether we can show that there is a diminution in the number of farms remaining unlet on account of that cruel system of Boycotting men 817 who have taken evicted farms. We can give the right hon. Gentleman the assurance and we can make to him the statement that there is an improvement and a decided improvement in that respect. There was a time when there was a constant increase in the number of farms thus lying desolate, ruining agriculture, and ruining the prosperity of Ireland, because branches of the National League would not let men who had wives and children whom they wished to support find the means of subsistence on a farm that was awaiting his labour. I say we see a distinct improvement in this respect. But the right hon. Gentleman will ask us to lay statistics on the Table. He himself was unable when at the head of the Government to assent to the production of such statistics, because it is dangerous and against the public interest to publish particulars of the farms which are derelict or have been derelict in a schedule. No, we cannot produce these statistics; but I trust that the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends will be glad to learn that under the effect of the legislation of Her Majesty's Government there is in this respect, as well as in respect of the diminution of crime and to the greater liberty of the loyalist minority in Ireland, a distinct and decided improvement. My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) spoke of the assurances which he is now getting continually from those who belong to the loyal minority in Ireland. [An hon. MEMBER: Give us proofs.] We have endeavoured to put evidence and proofs before you; but there are many points on which the facts are as clear and as plain as day, which yet cannot be scheduled in the columns of a Return presented to Parliament. If the loyal minority are feeling greater courage, if they are feeling greater confidence, if they are shaking off the intimidation that was practised upon them, if they are bringing daily to the Government evidence that they believe there is an improvement in Ireland, that of itself proves that we have made progress, and that something and even much has been gained. Hon. Members below the Gangway opposite, if they like, may triumph, at what they think the progress of their cause. [Home Rule cheers, and a cry of 818 "Southwark !"] Above all, they have cause to triumph in thinking that they have won over to the Plan of Campaign and to the milder forms of Boycotting and to that organized intimidation of which the hon. Member for North-East Cork boasts, the right hon. Gentleman who has been Prime Minister of England. Why do they not cheer? That certainly is a great gain for them, and one which heightens the difficulty of the Government, but which does not heighten it to a degree which makes us shrink from the tremendous task in which we are now engaged. In his eloquent peroration, the right hon. Gentleman pointed out to us the enormous difficulties which lie in our path. Although I do not say that he spoke in a menacing way of possible foreign complications, he yet spoke of the difficulties that might surround us, and he asked us to be wise in time. In no speech, however, that we have heard from the Benches opposite has there been any recognition of the duty which we owe to the loyal minority in Ireland. The hon. and learned Member for Inverness (Mr. Finlay), in his able speech, yesterday, emphasized that duty, and pointed out how it would be a disgrace and a dishonour if we were to hand over Ireland now to the forces of the National League. And what said the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle? He calls that a platitude. He says that the duty of this country to the loyal minority who have stood by us is a platitude. Well, I believe that the Unionist Party do not so read their political duty. We do not consider that even if expediency, even if our political interests pointed in that direction, we could for one moment swerve from the course that we are now pursuing. If we saw that our difficulties were greater than they are—and I admit to the full how those difficulties are heightened by the present action of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. W. E. Gladstone)—I believe that we should be false to the mandate which we received at the hands of our countrymen, if we were to allow any threats or menaces from whatever quarter they may come, whether from America or from Ireland, or from the lips of the right hon. Gentleman, to divert us from the duty which lies upon us. The right 819 hon. Gentleman spoke as if it was in coercion alone that we were engaged— ["Hear, hear!"]—while at the same time those who cheer forget that their Leader himself has acknowledged the beneficial effect of our legislation. In one sentence they denounce us for having no other policy than coercion, and in another they compliment us on the success of our Land Act. It is not only on coercion that we are engaged. We wish as sincerely and as earnestly as any Gentlemen opposite to be able to serve the interests of Ireland; but obstacles are thrown in our path. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle said that even if we attempt to develop the resources of Ireland, unless we took the National League as our advisers and assistants—["No !"] Not the National League? Why, the right hon. Gentleman himself will not disavow the sense of his remark.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
It is not a question of sense. I did not say the National League. What I said was that it was in vain for the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to dangle his bag of British sovereigns before the eyes of the Irish people in order to carry out public works for Ireland unless he took the Irish nation into co-operation.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I see very little difference. ["Oh, oh!" and derisive Home Rule cheers.] The right hon. Member for Derby had better strike out the note he is making because he has not heard what I was going to say.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Why hon. Members opposite cheered was because they thought I had made a slip. With their habitual impatience and intemperance they scarcely listen to the end of a sentence, and then they take advantage of a truncated bit of one's periods. I was about to say that from the lips of the right hon. Gentleman and those who claim that the National League represents the Irish nation, it is precisely what he wished to indicate, that unless we took the National Party into co-operation we should do no good whatever by advancing public works in Ireland. As we do not intend, in the sense which he wishes, to take the 820 National League or the National Party into co-operation, as we do not intend to grant Home Rule to Ireland, the right hon. Gentleman means this—and it is my charge against him—that he recommends that Ireland is to be left without that development of her resources which hon. Members for Ireland so urgently believe she needs, lest any grant for that purpose should be sullied by coming from the hands of an Imperial instead of a local Parliament. I have ventured to point to that in order to show the difficulties which surround the Government, not only in its task of maintaining law and authority, but also in its task of doing that justice to Ireland which we are as anxious to do as hon. Members opposite. They declare beforehand that even if we attempt to assist Ireland we shall be met by opposition which shall thwart us. All I can say is that the responsibility of such hostility will rest upon the so-called friends of Ireland; it will not rest upon the majority of the Imperial Parliament. We shall endeavour to go forward in the duty which has been imposed upon us, and in doing so we shall rely upon, and we shall receive, the support of the majority of the people of Great Britain.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Derby)
I think, Sir, that this will be a memorable debate, memorable not only for the speeches which have been made in the course of it, but for the incidents which have occurred in it. The Government have, in what has been called "a challenging speech," invited the judgment of the country upon their conduct in Ireland, which, I venture to say, after the course of this debate—and I say it with confidence—has been a history of humiliating failure. But there is another tribunal and another Court before which they have to be tried—a Court, not of Resident Magistrates, not a Court in communication with Dublin Castle, but a Court which consists of the free tribunal of the people of England. Yes, Sir; their history for the last six months has been before the people of this country. They have gone about assuring and re-assuring their followers that in no circumstances shall there be a Dissolution. Ah! they are right to fear a Dissolution. They are right to fear the terrible judgment which is 821 awaiting their acts. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has "orated" about the country; he has laid the case of the Government before the country. He complained in his speech that the House of Commons was like a public meeting; but I observe that in what he called his truncated periods at the commencement of his speech the right hon. Gentleman said—"I appeal to this House, and I appeal to the public;" and such observations occurred by the dozen. The right hon. Gentleman said—"The country will know;" but the country does know. You need not go very far away—not even outside of your pet preserve of the Metropolitan constituencies—to find out that the country does know. But after the news which saluted him in the course of his speech, I really felt a compassion for the right hon. Gentleman's feelings when the result of the poll at West Southwark was made known to him. [An hon. MEMBER: How about Dundee?] We heard no more about the country, and the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman was addressed altogether to the undissolved and the indissoluble Union majority in this House. At the commencement of his speech the right hon. Gentleman told us that he was coming to the heart of the Irish Question. I waited with great patience for one hour and 20 minutes, and I could not discover from that speech what the heart of the Irish Question was. I rather think that, from the point of view of the Ministry, the Irish Question is defective in the particular quality of heart. There may be a great deal of administrative detail; but there is evidently no heart in it. We have had some very singular statements made from the Government Benches in the course of this debate. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer have both made very long speeches, and there is not a very long time left at my disposal in which to reply to those speeches; but I must say that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has treated me very fairly, because, although he has made a very long speech and has given me very little time to answer it in, he has given me very little to answer. In the first place, the right hon. Gentleman falls back upon 822 that great refuge of the Treasury Bench, the tu quoque argument; but it strikes me that in the instances relied upon by the right hon. Gentleman there was plenty of the que, but that the quo was altogether missing. The instances upon which he relied had not the remotest resemblance to each other; and it is the essence of the tu quoque that there should be some resemblance between the two cases. The right hon. Gentleman compared a case in which a man had asked to have a higher sentence of two months passed upon him in order that he might appeal with that in which a man had received two consecutive sentences of one month each, neither of which would entitle him to an appeal. Under the Coercion Act, it does not even require us to be Resident Magistrates to see that there is a vast distinction between the two cases; and I must apologize to the House for having even noticed the matter. In answer to the complaint about the treatment of newsvendors, he said that they were told that if they sold certain publications they would be sent to prison; and he relied upon that answer to the complaint as conclusive, as though it were sufficient to tell these people that they must give up their perfectly innocent means of livelihood, or else they must go to prison. The right hon. Gentleman objected to my taking a note of his admission that the National League was the same thing as the Irish nation. I do not differ from that conclusion, nor even from the changed form of the expression, when the right hon. Gentleman substituted the words "Irish Party" for "Irish nation." [An hon. MEMBER: The Nationalist Party.] Well, I do not object to adopt even the expression "the Nationalist Party," because that Party represents 86 out of 103 Irish Members in this House, and, therefore, it comes round to the same thing, though, of course, we know that in their political arithmetic the Party opposite do not believe that the 86 Nationalist Irish Members are equal to even the smallest Member among them. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that he wanted to go into the heart of the Irish Question; but why did he not do so? The heart of the Irish Question, as I understand it in this debate, is whether your system of government in Ireland has been a success or a 823 failure. Has coercion produced the results which everyone would desire? I suppose the results of all government which everyone desires would be a contented people. Have you produced by your system of government of Ireland a contented people, or are you likely to produce it by the course you are pursuing?
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
The time varies. It was 20 years just now; and the hon. and gallant Gentleman now says five years. You have had 700 years, and you have not done it yet. [Colonel SANDYS: Cromwell did it.] There is a disciple of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and of the Crom-wellian policy of Hell or Connaught. The Attorney General the other night said to us—and it is quite true—"You change your policy and you change your opinions." And then he said—"Why not give a reason for it?" That is not correct; we have given a reason for it. It is because we have come to the conclusion that the policy of coercion is a failure, and ought to be reversed. Do not say that is not a reason; you may not agree with it; but, if true, that is the best reason that could possibly be given. The remarkable part of the matter is that you yourselves came to the same conclusion not very long ago. I am not using this as a tu quoque, and I hope the House will believe that I do not use it in a Party sense, when I say that it is a very remarkable circumstance. I will assume, in your favour, that you were not acting from any Party motives whatever, but that you were acting from sincere conviction and careful observation of the working of the Act of 1882, when you came to the conclusion, which all of you expressed in 1885, that the policy of coercion in 1882 had been a failure, and that it ought not to be resumed, and that you ought to govern Ireland not upon principles of coercion. Then how can you with any justice say, having yourselves arrived at that opinion, that we are wrong in arriving at that conclusion, too? It seems to me that that is an argument deserving your attention. You are going to put down the National League, Hardly the most sanguine among you claims that you have put down the Na- 824 tional League. No doubt it is a powerful organization; and, as I understand, it has two objects. One is a political object, and the other I may call in the true sense of the word, and not in any invidious sense, is an agrarian object, to deal with the relations between landlords and tenants in Ireland. You have determined to put that organization down by exceptional laws and by an exceptional administration. I would take leave to ask, is that a wise thing to attempt? Is it an attempt which is likely to succeed? We are not altogether without lessons of experience in this matter. Unfortunately, you have taught Ireland that she can never get the most ordinary justice except by the only resource which belongs to the weak, the resource of combination. Among all the great boons of justice given much too late to Ireland, every one has been extorted by the combination of the Irish people. You cannot expect that the Irish people should not remember that lesson which you yourselves have so repeatedly taught her. That was the case with Catholic Emancipation. I do not wish to weary the House; but I should like to call attention to the history of the Catholic Association. It has a resemblance to the National League—a very close resemblance, indeed. Let me read an account given of the Catholic Association by Mr. Dawson, a very well-known man, and a relation of Sir Robert Peel. He says—The state of Ireland is an anomaly in the history of civilized nations. It is true that we have a Government to which an outward obedience is shown, which is responsible to Parliament and answerable to God for the manner of administering its functions; but it is equally true that an immense majority of the people look up, not to the legitimate Government, but to an irresponsible and to a self-constituted Association for the administration of the affairs of the country. The peace of Ireland depends not upon the Government of the King, but upon the dictation of the Catholic Association. It has defied the Government and trampled upon the law of the land.… The condition of the landlords is not more consoling; already they have been robbed of their influence over the tenantry—already they have become but mere ciphers on their estates; nay, in many places they are worse than ciphers, they have been forced to become the tools of their domineering masters, the Catholic priesthood; and it depends upon a single breath, a single resolution of the Catholic Association, whether the landlords are to be robbed of their rents or not. So perfect a system of organization was never 825 yet achieved by anybody not possessing the legitimate powers of government. It is powerful, it is arrogant; it derides, and it has triumphed over the enactments of the Legislature; and it goes on filling its coffers from the voluntary contributions of the people.Could you more accurately describe what is now said of the National League? [An hon. MEMBER: The same thing.] It is exactly the same state of things. In 1825, that being the state of things, Parliament determined to put down the Catholic Association. I advise you to read the history of those debates. We, the Liberal Party, are told that we are acting in a manner unworthy of the Liberal Party, because we do not support you in endeavouring to put down the National League. What did the Liberal Party do in 1825? They resisted with all their might, and to the point of obstruction, the Act of Parliament to put down the Catholic Association. I think the introduction of the Bill was debated for five nights—a remarkable thing in those days. Every great man in the Liberal Party declared that until the Catholic claims were conceded they would be no parties to putting down the Catholic Association. And until the legitimate demands of the National League are granted we will be no parties in assisting you in putting down the National League. We will offer precisely the same opposition to your attempts to suppress the National League as was offered by our forefathers to the attempts to put down the Catholic Association. The Tory Party got their Act of Parliament to put down the Catholic Association. Did they put it down? They were not inferior men. There was the Duke of Wellington. He was the equal of the present First Lord of the Treasury. Then there was Sir Robert Peel. He might be matched even with the Chief Secretary for Ireland. They got all the powers of Parliament to put down the Catholic Association. They felt it was a question whether the Catholic Association should govern or whether they should govern. They went on just as you are going on. They said in those days that the Catholic Association was dependent upon coercion, and that if the people were free they would resist the Catholic priests. They declared that never, no never, would they yield. Well, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer could not be 826 more emphatic. They, too, had a Lord Lieutenant who was not quite sound, and they dismissed him, because they thought he favoured the Catholic claims. So Lord Anglesea was dismissed. Up to the very last moment they declared that they never would yield; and all of a sudden it was not they who suppressed the Catholic Association, but it was the Catholic Association which suppressed them. If you read the reasons which Sir Robert Peel gave for conceding the Catholic claims you will find that one of the main arguments he put forward in his speech was the result of the Clare election. That election was an open defiance of the then existing electoral law of the country. Sir Robert Peel foresaw that election after election would go with the Catholics, as the Clare election had gone; and you will find in that remarkable speech that one of the main reasons he gave for conceding the Catholic claims was that it was impossible for any English Government to carry on a policy of coercion against the views of the majority of the Representatives of the Irish people. You are going, you say, to put down the National League. Will you succeed? What politically does the National League represent? It represents the struggle of the Irish people against the policy of the Party of Ascendency. You are the Representatives of that Party of Ascendency. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) went to Belfast, it was to that Party of Ascendency that he appealed, and not to the Irish nation. He spoke o Ulster as a fortress placed at the back gate of Ireland. It was by the Party of Ascendency that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) were surrounded when they went to Dublin. What is all this talk we hear of the loyal minority? What do they understand by it? It means that garrison, that fortress that you have planted in a conquered country—it means the minority that by means of your bayonets have been assisted to trample on the majority of their countrymen. The Unionist policy is the policy of ascendency; and as far as I understand the political object of the National League—and it is 827 only in that sense that I approve it, and in that sense I approve it altogether— it is the old policy of the struggle against the Party of Ascendancy in Ireland, and it is a struggle in which, we have always been successful, and in which you have always been defeated. But the National League has another object—an agrarian object—namely, to deal with the relations between landlord and tenant in Ireland. The Chief Secretary has found fault with some things that I have said of the Irish landlords. I have nothing to retract. The more I see of the evidence of the conduct of the landlords of Ireland, the more I am convinced that there is no language too strong to condemn their conduct. The history of their injustice and their cruelty for generations is written in the evidence taken by Royal Commission after Royal Commission. Read the Reports of the Devon and Cowper Commissions. You talk of the highway robbery of the Plan of Campaign. But by the evidence taken before these Royal Commissions it appears that the landlords of Ireland have robbed their tenants of their property and driven them from their native land. In my opinion, there is no language too strong to characterize their conduct. You placed the landlords in Ireland originally as a garrison, and gave them a power so large as to be demoralizing to every class in the country. Do not suppose that Lord Clanricarde's case is an exceptional one. I could mention other similar cases; but I do not desire to detain the House. But what are you going to do? The thing is going to be tried out in the case of Lord Clanricarde between you and the National League, which in other cases has invariably succeeded in securing fair terms for the tenants. It is said that the Irish tenants enjoy exceptionally favourable terms under the land legislation of recent years. But what help did you give in passing that legislation? Why, quite recently the Marquess of Salisbury went down to Liverpool and denounced the Land Act of 1881. He spoke of it as subversive of society; and he condemned the men who were parties to the carrying of the Act of 1881—a condemnation in which the Earl of Selborne and the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale were necessarily included. 828 What conclusion should we draw from such language of the Prime Minister? Is it not to be naturally inferred that such animosity and denunciation means that you will strain every power of the Coercion Act to thwart its beneficent working? And that is what you are doing every day. If there be an act of administration which can encourage— which can support—the injustice of a landowner there you will find the Chief Secretary for Ireland at the back of it. If there is an act of administration which can be done to warp the beneficient action of the Land Act, there you will find everything done to trip up and thwart it. And that is the consequence of the attitude which the Government have taken up with reference to the Land Act. Now, the methods pursued by the National League are condemned. Well, Sir, if the National League has conduced, or is conducing, to crime, it deserves to be condemned. What proof have you attempted to adduce that it is now acting in that direction? You have shown none whatever. Even, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) showed most conclusively, the Attorney General has utterly failed to make out any case. The whole evidence I have is that the National League is doing, and has done of late, at all events, a great deal more than you have done to put down agrarian crime in Ireland. In that sense, I believe that the National League has been of immense value to the country in Ireland. But then you condemn Boycotting, and say that it is the wicked engine of the League. If the House will have patience with me for only a few minutes I should like to say a word or two about Boycotting. The hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien), in a speech which was one of the most remarkable and impressive speeches I have ever heard in the House of Commons—the Chancellor of the Exchequer taunts us for our admiration of that speech; but, depend upon it, it will be read and admired and will arouse sympathy in every part of the Dominions of the Queen; and if the Chief Secretary for Ireland thinks that he will countervail its effects by insults directed against the hon. Member for North-East Cork, I can assure him he is very much mistaken. The 829 Chief Secretary for Ireland personally is a most amiable man; but does he think it is a proof of strength to insult people whom he has in his hands? He has not had a long experience in the art of government; but I can tell him that is not the best way of governing. When you have locked a man up in prison, to write sneering letters is not generous, is not magnanimous; and if those are qualities to which the Chief Secretary for Ireland does not aspire, let me assure him that he will not be successful. I know, however, that he is only following a more august example. My right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian challenged the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-night to make an answer on behalf of the Marquess of Salisbury. The Marquess of Salisbury, knowing that a man had been cast into prison and could not answer for himself, made a charge against that man which has been proved in every particular to be absolutely untrue—[Mr. BALFOUR dissented]—in every particular to be absolutely false. Does he mean to make amends for that calumny? If he does not, he may depend upon it that the hon. Member for North-East Cork will hold a higher position in the estimation of his countrymen—I mean Englishmen as well as Irishmen—than is held by the Marquess of Salisbury himself. I only say that in alluding to the speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork; but I wanted to make a remark on what he said about Boycotting. I understood him to say—and I agree with him—that there are two kinds of Boycotting; one kind that deserves to be highly condemned, namely, that Boycotting which uses unjust force and pressure upon people in pursuit of their just rights. I have heard—and I have never heard it contradicted—that the hon. Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin (Mr. T. Harrington), the Secretary of the League, read out lists of branches of the League that had been suspended and dissolved on account of improper Boycotting; but the most ingenious, and I think, on the whole, the most satisfactory, defence—or shall I call it apology—for, or palliation of, Boycotting I have hoard, comes oddly enough from the Marquess of Salisbury. It is quite true that it came at an oppor- 830 tune moment. It was just before the General Election of 1885, and this is what the Marquess of Salisbury says about Boycotting—There is, therefore, no ground for saying, that in the present condition—I am not speaking of the past condition—of the Irish people the Crimes Act was a restraint on outrage, and it was certainly no restraint on Boycotting.Now mark these words. Let them be read in England and let them be read in Ireland; these are the words of the man who was then Prime Minister, and who is Prime Minister now—Boycotting does not operate through outrage. Boycotting is the act of a large majority of the community resolving to do a number of things not in themselves illegal, but which are only illegal from the manner in which they are done. In truth, it is much more similar to excommunication and interdict in the Middle Ages than any other action with which we are acquainted.If you speak of such Boycotting as we read of in the papers to-day in the case of the man Finlay, I say it is wicked, and cannot be too strongly condemned. But there is another sort of Boycotting, which is the reprobation of the community for a man who had done dishonest acts. I will give you an instance of this kind of Boycotting. I have heard it spoken of as a most improper phrase to use that a man should be treated as "a moral leper." What is Lord Clanricarde? Lord Clanricarde went out of the Court of the Queen, in my opinion, under the sentence of the Chief Baron of Ireland a leper as white as the snow. He brought down upon him the condemnation of every class of society. That is one of the remedies which society has for offences for which the law gives no remedy. I was astonished to hear the Attorney General say that he recognized no offences except those which are punishable by law. I was surprised at that; because the Attorney General is the advisor not only of Her Majesty's Government, but of a more important organization—the Jockey Club. There they are conversant with offences which are not amenable to the law at all; and he knows perfectly well that social ostracism—a most proper kind of Boycotting—is brought to bear for offences of that description. Therefore, when you confound two kinds of Boycotting—the Boycotting of men who have committed the grossest acts of in- 831 justice and robbery which the law cannot touch, with the other kind of Boycotting, which we all condemn—you are deceiving and misleading the public. That is what I have to say on the subject of Boycotting. You ought to draw a distinction between the two kinds. What is the issue before us? We are here to try whether you are pursuing a right policy, and whether you have succeeded in that policy? In my opinion, you are pursuing a wrong policy. You will apply tu quoques to us in vain; because, though we have pursued that policy, we are convinced that it is a wrong policy, and that it has failed. We have tried out of Office another policy, and we have been far more successful. My right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian has, in my opinion, done much more to suppress crime in Ireland than you have done. He has done much more to engender that friendly feeling between the two peoples which will maintain the unity of the Empire. What is it that you have done? Yours is a beggarly account of empty measures. You talk of the Plan of Campaign. I am not going to enter upon the Plan of Campaign; but I will ask, have you ventured to prove that you have in any one instance beaten the Plan of Campaign? In every instance the Plan of Campaign has beaten you. The Chief Secretary says that in some parish or other there was a begging letter Bent from some branch of the League. Of course, there are begging letters. In many parishes of England you have them from the Primrose League; and do you accept letters of that kind as a proof that the League has failed and is being dissolved? But what have you gained? You have put a few dozen men into prison? What do you gain by that? Have you weakened the influence of these men? Do you think that the late Lord Mayor of Dublin (Mr. T. D. Sullivan), or the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien), or Mr. Wilfrid Blunt, is less high in the affections of their countrymen than they were before you put them into prison? I will not allude to the unworthy sneer of the Chief Secretary for Ireland at the hon. Member for North-East Cork; I will not inquire what the weight of his body is; I know the weight of his speeches; and you have not diminished that by what you 832 have done; and I begin now to understand why the Attorney General at a public meeting expressed the wish, or the opinion, that, instead of three months, the hon. Member for North-East Cork had better be kept in prison for five years. After hearing that speech, and after having seen the humiliating spectacle of the impotence of the Government, I think the Attorney General gave a very sagacious hint to the Government. Well, do you not know— every man on this side of the House knows—that the most popular names that are ever named in a meeting of English people, are those of the men you have imprisoned. ["No!"] I know it very well; I know that the names which are received with the greatest acclamation in the great assemblies I have attended are the names of O'Brien and Sullivan and Wilfrid Blunt, and many in this House can bear testimony to it. You can go on imprisoning; you can go on with your cumulative sentences; and with what, repeating the words of my right hon. Friend, I will call your unutterable meanness. I have charged the right hon. Gentleman to his face, and I charge him again, with breach of faith, and he hag never dared to answer it. He made a solemn pledge to the Irish people that in every case there should be an appeal. He broke that pledge; and, having broken it, he has made use of that violation of faith for the purpose of carrying out those judicial tricks. When you had got a sentence of three months upon an accused person, and he was admitted to bail, then you used this breach of faith with reference to a sentence of one month to deprive him of the bail to which he was entitled. I say that conduct of that kind is dishonourable to any Government; I say that you are dishonoured before Irish and before English people. When I read of these transactions, and remember that pledge which was given personally across this Table, I say that, without exception, I know of no record in the public life of an Administration in England which is so dishonourable to their character. I have never known a Government make a pledge, and, having made it, break it in that way; and, having deliberately broken it, then use it in that tricky manner to defeat the liberties of their fellow-countrymen. What is the meaning of the rising disgust of the English 833 people? It is that they are reading the history of your Irish administration; it is the manner in which you are treating Irishmen; and I am happy to say that it is the Irishmen themselves who go and explain to the English constituencies the wrongs that you are inflicting upon them. There are no speakers—I know it myself —who are received with greater welcome than the men whom you are habitually slandering and calumniating. Talk of Boycotting ! You have attempted to Boycott the whole, or the great majority, of the Representatives of Ireland. You are attempting to Boycott them in this House. You are endeavouring to deprive them of that fair play to which every man is entitled. [Murmurs.] Yes; I have seen it night after night. You have insinuated what you dare not speak out. You have suggested, with the countenance—often with the co-operation— of the Front Bench, that those men— the Representatives of Ireland—were the partners and instigators of crime. [An hon. MEMBER: Question !] I have spoken on what is dishonourable to the Government; but I say that the treatment to which Irish Members have been exposed is dishonourable to the House of Commons. I hope we will have no more of it. ["Hear, hear !" and a laugh.] Yes; but these have been the great instruments of the defeat that is awaiting you, and of the triumph that is attending our cause. It is the disgust with which you have filled the minds of the English people by the unfairness with which you have treated the Irish nation in Ireland, and the unfairness with which you are treating Irish Members in England, which is working for the deliverance of Ireland. The Chancellor of the Exchequer tries to make us ashamed of acting with the Irish Members. He has tried to Boycott us out of co-operation with the Representatives of Ireland. But I assure him he will not succeed. The fact is, in our opinion, it is impossible to govern the Irish nation without co-operation with its Representatives. If representative government means anything at all, it means that the Representatives of the people should be treated with respect, and that the wishes of the nation they represent should be listened to. If there is any sense in the language which you hold, if there is any reason in the policy you pursue, why do you not disfranchise the Irish 834 people? This is a natural and inevitable result. I apologize to the House for having detained it so long. I come to this conclusion. We have heard the speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien). We have heard the speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). We have heard the great and immortal speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), which had a reception which will be historical—a speech which has found its echo in the constituency of Southwark to-night. We hail with satisfaction the triumph which awaits the cause that we sustain, and we look with satisfaction upon the overthrow and the humiliation you have so richly deserved.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
said, he had no personal desire to address himself to the House at that moment. He should have been very willing to have allowed the debate to terminate with the speech to which they had just listened with admiration; but if he did so, he should lay himself open to the charge of not replying to a challenge which had been twice made during the course of the debate. The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) had read to the House the other day what he gave as an extract from a speech which he (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) was alleged to have delivered in Jersey City. The words used were—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 may be involved, that Power may count upon 100,000 armed men to fight under her flag against Great Britain.The hon. and gallant Gentleman had not taken the trouble to inquire whether the report was correct. He did not know that he had any ground to expect anything different from him, and he did not complain; but on the following day the hon. and gallant Baronet the Member for North-West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot), who was a gentleman by birth, education, character and conduct, also challenged him as to the same words. The hon. and gallant 835 Baronet had the advantage of having seen the ipsissima verba quoted by the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh printed in The Times and other papers, and from that verbatim report he quoted—If any English spies are present I want them to know what I say. These men are ready to fight for Ireland if the chance should arise, and any nation which England tries to strike shall have 100,000 such men to fight against the British guns.He complained that no notice of this palpable discrepancy had been taken; the hon. and gallant Baronet had not taken the trouble to ascertain the accuracy of either the one report or the other. He thought he might have expected something better from the hon. and gallant Baronet. The object of the quotation in both cases was two-fold. First, it was intended to suggest that the alleged extract furnished a test of the kind of threats which Irish Members made before American audiences; and, secondly, to suggest, what the hon. and gallant Baronet had the frankness to state in terms, that he (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) said things in America which he did not dare to say in this country. With regard to the last point, he hoped the hon. and gallant Baronet would prepare his nerves for a great shock, take out his note-book, and invite his hon. Friends to assist him in taking an accurate note of what he now said. He believed that if the Government found itself at war with the United States to-morrow, there would be—he could not give the exact number—but tens and tens of thousands of Irishmen who would rush to the standard of the United States, not for the sake of the pay attending the service, but in the hope of gratifying the feelings of animosity and hatred which had been engendered in their breasts by evicting landlords, by laws which had enabled those landlords to evict and helped them in their iniquity, and of the Administration which enforced those laws. He had said no more than this in America, and he flung back in the teeth of the hon. and gallant Baronet the challenge that he was incapable of saying here what he had said elsewhere. The hon. and gallant Member for Armagh knew perfectly well that the only occasion on which any newspaper in America spoke in any terms of unfriendliness and dissatisfaction of Irish Members when at St. Louis, on the banks of the Missis- 836 sippi, he had sneered at the cheap valour which affected heroism 4,000 miles away from action in Ireland. What he said in America he was prepared to state in that House; he would not abate one jot or tittle in the whole of it. But with regard to the other object with which the quotation was made—namely, that of inducing people in this country to suppose that the addresses made by Irish Members to American audiences were couched in terms of hostility to this country, he would say that at the meeting at Jersey City, he had reason to believe that among some uninformed men before him, there were those who entertained a feeling of deep resentment at the eviction of themselves and their relatives; men who were impatient, and not perhaps unnaturally impatient, at the slow progress of Constitutional agitation. The majority of the people at the meeting were, he believed, Americans. But he had gone to America for the purpose of enlisting sympathy upon the side of peaceful and Constitutional agitation; he admitted that he knew of the existence of those feelings, and that they probably existed in the meeting before him; but he appealed to the experience of the last eight years to show that, not by violence, outrage or force of arms, but by legal and peaceful proceedings within the open channel of the Constitution, the work was to be done. He pointed out that, whatever might have been the experience of the past, they had then at least Scotland and Wales with them, as well as an ever increasing proportion of the people of England itself; he declared that there was no war between the two nations, that the democracy of Great Britain and Ireland were then at one. That was the drift and character and purpose of his address in Jersey City, the same as it had been throughout the whole of the United States, and he challenged anybody to show that the words used by him at all the meetings in America were not such as he had described.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 317; Noes 229: Majority 88.841
|Agg-Gardner, J. T.||Allsopp, hon. P.|
|Ainslie, W. G.||Ambrose, W.|
|Aird, J.||Amherst, W. A. T.|
|Allsopp, hon. G.||Anstruther, H. T.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Curzon, Viscount|
|Baden-Powell, Sir G. S.||Curzon, hon. G. N.|
|Dalrymple, Sir C.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Davenport, H. T.|
|Baird, J. G. A.||Davenport, W. B.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. A. J.||Dawnay, Colonel hon. L. P.|
|Banes, Major G. E.|
|Baring, T. C.||De Cobain, E. S. W.|
|Barnes, A.||De Lisle, E. J. L. M. P.|
|Bartley, G. G. T.|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Dickson, Major A. G.|
|Bass, H.||Dimsdale, Baron R.|
|Bates, Sir E.||Dixon, G.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Dixon-Hartland, F. D.|
|Beadel, W. J.||Donkin, R. S.|
|Beckett, W.||Dorington, Sir J. E.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. C.||Duncan, Colonel F.|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.||Duncombe, A.|
|Bentinck, W. G. C.||Dyke, right hon. Sir W. H.|
|Beresford, Lord C. W. De la Poer||Ebrington, Viscount|
|Bethell, Commander G.R.||Edwards-Moss, T. C.|
|Egerton, hon. A. de T.|
|Bickford-Smith, W.||Elcho, Lord|
|Biddulph, M.||Elliot, hon. H. F. H.|
|Bigwood, J.||Elliot, G. W.|
|Birkbeck, Sir E.||Ellis, Sir J. W.|
|Blundell, Colonel H. B.H||Elton, C. I.|
|Bolitho, T. B.||Ewing, Sir A. O.|
|Bond, G. H.||Eyre, Colonel H.|
|Bonsor, H. C. O.||Farquharson, H. R.|
|Boord, T. W.||Feilden, Lieut.-Gen. R.J.|
|Borthwick, Sir A.|
|Bridgeman, Col. hon. F.C.||Fellowes, A. E.|
|Fergusson, right hon. Sir J.|
|Bristowe, T. L.|
|Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.||Field, Admiral E.|
|Brookfield, A. M.||Finch, G. H.|
|Brooks, Sir W. C.||Finlay, R. B.|
|Brown, A. H.||Fisher, W. H.|
|Bruce, Lord H.||Fitzgerald, R. U. P.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Ash.-B.||Fitzwilliam, hon. W. J. W.|
|Burghley, Lord||Fitz-Wygram, General Sir F. W.|
|Carmarthen, Marq. of||Fletcher, Sir H.|
|Cavendish, Lord E.||Folkestone, right hon. Viscount|
|Chaplin, right hon. H.||Forwood, A. B.|
|Charrington, S.||Fowler, Sir R. N.|
|Churchill, rt. hn. Lord R. H. S.||Fraser, General C. C.|
|Clarke, Sir E. G.||Fulton, J. F.|
|Cochrane-Baillie, hon. C. W. A. N.||Gardner, E. Richardson-|
|Coddington, W.||Gedge, S.|
|Coghill, D. H.||Gent-Davis, R.|
|Collings, J.||Giles, A.|
|Colomb, Capt. J. C. R.||Gilliat, J. S.|
|Commerell, Adml. Sir J. E.||Goldsworthy, Major-General W. T.|
|Compton, F.||Gorst, Sir J. E.|
|Corbett, A. C.||Goschen, rt. hn. G. J.|
|Corbett, J.||Gray, C. W.|
|Corry, Sir J. P.||Green, Sir E.|
|Cotton, Capt. E. T. D.||Greene, E.|
|Courtney, L. H.||Grimston, Viscount|
|Cross, H. S.||Grotrian, F. B.|
|Crossley, Sir S. B.||Gunter, Colonel R.|
|Crossman, Gen. Sir W.||Gurdon, R. T.|
|Cubitt, right hon. G.||Hall, A. W.|
|Hall, C.||Low, M.|
|Halsey, T. F.||Lowther, hon. W.|
|Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.||Lowther, J. W.|
|Lubbock, Sir J.|
|Hamilton, Lord E.||Lymington, Viscount|
|Hamilton, Col. C. E.||Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A.|
|Hamley, Gen. Sir E. B.||Maclean, F. W.|
|Hanbury, R. W.||Maclean, J. M.|
|Hankey, F. A.||Maclure, J. W.|
|Hardcastle, F.||M'Calmont, Captain J.|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir H. M.||Madden, D. H.|
|Makins, Colonel W. T.|
|Heath, A. R.||Malcolm, Col. J. W.|
|Heathcote, Capt. J. H. Edwards-||Mallock, R.|
|Manners, right hon. Lord J. J. R.|
|Heaton, J. H.|
|Herbert, hon. S.||Maple, J. B.|
|Hermon-Hodge, R. T.||March, Earl of|
|Hervey, Lord F.||Marriott, right hon. W. T.|
|Hill, right hon. Lord A. W.|
|Matthews, rt. hon. H.|
|Hill, A. S.||Mattinson, M. W.|
|Hoare, S.||Maxwell, Sir H. E.|
|Hobhouse, H.||Mayne, Admiral R. C.|
|Holland, rt. hon. Sir H. T.||Mildmay, F. B.|
|Mills, hon. C. W.|
|Hornby, W. H.||More, R. J.|
|Houldsworth, Sir W. H.||Morgan, hon. F.|
|Howard, J.||Morrison, W.|
|Howorth, H. H.||Moss, E.|
|Hozier, J. H. C.||Mount, W. G.|
|Hubbard, E.||Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R.|
|Hughes, Colonel E.|
|Hughes-Hallett, Col. F. C.||Mowbray, R. G. C.|
|Mulholland, H. L.|
|Hunt, F. S.||Muncaster, Lord|
|Hunter, Sir W. G.||Muntz, P. A.|
|Isaacs, L. H.||Murdoch, C. T.|
|Isaacson, F. W.||Noble, W.|
|Jackson, W. L.||Norris, E. S.|
|James, rt. hon. Sir H.||Northcote, hon. Sir H. S.|
|Jarvis, A. W.||Norton, R.|
|Jeffreys, A. F.||O'Neill, hon. R. T.|
|Jennings, L. J.||Paget, Sir R. H.|
|Johnston, W.||Parker, hon. F.|
|Kelly, J. E.||Pearce, Sir W.|
|Kennaway, Sir J. H.||Pelly, Sir L.|
|Kenrick, W.||Penton, Captain F. T.|
|Kenyon, hon. G. T.||Plunket, right hon. D.R.|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.|
|Powell, F. S.|
|Kerans, F. H.||Price, Captain G. E.|
|Kimber, H.||Puleston, Sir J. H.|
|King, H. S.||Quilter, W. C.|
|King-Harman, right hon. Colonel E. R.||Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.|
|Knightley, Sir R.||Rasch, Major F. C.|
|Knowles, L,||Reed, H. B.|
|Kynoch, G.||Richardson, T.|
|Lafone, A.||Ridley, Sir M. W.|
|Lambert, C.||Ritchie, rt. hon. C. T.|
|Laurie, Colonel R. P.||Robertson, Sir W. T.|
|Lawrence, Sir J. J. T.||Robertson, J. P. B.|
|Lawrence, W. F.||Robinson, B.|
|Lees, E.||Rollit, Sir A. K.|
|Legh, T. W.||Rothschild, Baron F. J. de|
|Lethbridge, Sir R.||Round, J.|
|Lewisham, right hon. Viscount||Royden, T. B.|
|Russell, Sir G.|
|Llewellyn, E. H.||Russell, T. W.|
|Long, W. H.||Salt, T.|
|Sandys, Lieut-Col. T. M.||Tyler, Sir H. W.|
|Vernon, hon. G. R.|
|Saunderson, Col. E. J.||Vincent, C. E. H.|
|Sellar, A. C.||Walsh, hon. A. H. J.|
|Selwin-Ibbetson, right hon. Sir H. J.||Waring, Colonel T.|
|Selwyn, Captain C. W.||Webster, Sir R. E.|
|Seton-Karr, H.||Webster, R. G.|
|Shaw-Stewart, M. H.||West, Colonel W. C.|
|Sidebotham, J. W.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Sidebottom, T. H.||Wharton, J. L.|
|Sidebottom, W.||White, J. B.|
|Sinclair, W. P.||Whitley, E.|
|Smith, right hon. W. H.||Whitmore, C. A.|
|Smith, A.||Williams, J. Powell-|
|Spencer, J. E.||Wilson, Sir S.|
|Stanhope, rt. hon. E.||Winn, hon. R.|
|Stanley, E. J.||Wodehouse, E. R.|
|Stephens, H. C.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Stewart, M. J.||Wood, N.|
|Stokes, G. G.||Wortley, C. B. Stuart-|
|Sutherland, T.||Wright, H. S.|
|Talbot, J. G.||Wroughton, P.|
|Taylor, F.||Yerburgh, R. A.|
|Temple, Sir R.||Young, C. E. B.|
|Tollemache, H. J.||TELLERS.|
|Tomlinson, W. E. M.||Douglas, A. Akers-|
|Trotter, H. J.||Walrond, Col. W. H.|
|Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.)||Childers, rt. hon. H. C. E.|
|Acland, A. H. D.||Clancy, J. J.|
|Acland, C. T. D.||Cobb, H. P.|
|Allison, R. A.||Commins, A.|
|Anderson, C. H.||Conway, M.|
|Asher, A.||Corbet, W. J.|
|Asquith, H. H.||Cossham, H.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Cozens-Hardy, H. H.|
|Austin, J.||Craig, J.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. J. B.||Craven, J.|
|Balfour, Sir G.||Crawford, D.|
|Ballantine, W. H. W.||Cremer, W. R.|
|Barbour, W. B.||Crilly, D.|
|Barran, J.||Crossley, E.|
|Barry, J.||Davies, W.|
|Beaumont, W. B.||Dillon, J.|
|Biggar, J. G.||Dillwyn, L. L.|
|Blane, A.||Dodds, J.|
|Bolton, J. C.||Ellis, J.|
|Bolton, T. D.||Ellis, J. E.|
|Bradlaugh, C.||Ellis, T. E.|
|Bright, W. L.||Esslemont, P.|
|Broadhurst, H.||Evelyn, W. J.|
|Brown, A. L.||Evershed, S.|
|Bruce, hon. E. P.||Farquharson, Dr. R.|
|Brunner, J. T.||Fenwick, C.|
|Bryce, J.||Ferguson, R. C. Munro-|
|Burt, T.||Finucane, J.|
|Buxton, S. C.||Flynn, J. C.|
|Byrne, G. M.||Foley, P. J.|
|Cameron, C.||Forster, Sir C.|
|Cameron, J. M.||Foster, Sir W. B.|
|Campbell, Sir G.||Fowler, rt. hon. H. H.|
|Campbell, H.||Fox, Dr. J. F.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, right hon. H.||Fry, T.|
|Fuller, G. P.|
|Carew, J. L.||Gardner, H.|
|Cavan, Earl of||Gaskell, C. G. Milnes-|
|Chance, P. A.||Gilhooly, J.|
|Charming, F. A.||Gill, T. P.|
|Gladstone, right hon. W. E.||Nolan, J.|
|O'Brien, J. F. X.|
|Gladstone. H. J.||O'Brien, P.|
|Gourley, E. T.||O'Brien, P. J.|
|Gray, E. D.||O'Brien, W.|
|Grove, Sir T. F.||O'Connor, A.|
|Haldane, R. B.||O'Connor, J.|
|Hanbury-Tracy, hon. F. S. A.||O'Connor, T. P.|
|Harcourt, rt. hon. Sir W. G. V. V.||O'Hea, P.|
|Harrington, E.||Parker, C. S.|
|Harrington, T. C.||Parnell, C. S.|
|Harris, M.||Paulton, J. M.|
|Hayden, L. P.||Pease, Sir J. W.|
|Hayne, C. Seale-||Pease, A. E.|
|Healy, M.||Pickersgill, E. H.|
|Healy, T. M.||Picton, J. A.|
|Hingley, B.||Pinkerton, J.|
|Howell, G.||Playfair, rt. hon. Sir L.|
|Hunter, W. A.||Plowden, Sir W. C.|
|Illingworth, A.||Portman, hon. E. B.|
|Jacoby, J. A.||Power, P. J.|
|James, hon. W. H.||Price, T. P.|
|Jordan, J.||Priestley, B.|
|Kay-Shuttleworth, rt. hon. Sir U. J.||Provand, A. D.|
|Kennedy, E. J.||Rathbone, W.|
|Kenny, C. S.||Redmond, J. E.|
|Kenny, J. E.||Redmond, W. H. K.|
|Kenny, M. J.||Reed, Sir E. J.|
|Kilbride, D.||Reid, R. T.|
|Labouchere, H.||Rendel, S.|
|Lalor, R.||Reynolds, W. J.|
|Lawson, Sir W.||Richard, H.|
|Lawson, H. L. W.||Roberts, J.|
|Leahy, J.||Robertson, E.|
|Leake, R.||Roe, T.|
|Lefevre, right hon. J. G. S.||Roscoe, Sir H. E.|
|Lewis, T. P.||Rowntree, J.|
|Lyell, L.||Russell, Sir C.|
|Macdonald, W. A.||Samuelson, Sir B.|
|MacInnes, M.||Samuelson, G. B.|
|Mac Neill, J. G. S.||Schwann, C. E.|
|M'Arthur, A.||Sheehan, J. D.|
|M'Arthur, W. A.||Sheil, E.|
|M'Cartan, M.||Simon, Sir J.|
|M'Carthy, J.||Slagg, J.|
|M'Carthy, J. H.||Smith, S.|
|M'Donald, P.||Spencer, hon. C. R.|
|M'Donald, Dr. R.||Stack, J.|
|M'Ewan, W.||Stanhope, hon. P. J.|
|M'Kenna, Sir J. N.||Stansfeld, right hon. J.|
|M'Laren, W. S. B.||Stevenson, F. S.|
|Mahony, P.||Stevenson, J. C.|
|Maitland, W. F.||Stewart, H.|
|Mappin, Sir F. T.||Stuart, J.|
|Marum, E. M.||Sullivan, D.|
|Mason, S.||Sullivan, T. D.|
|Mayne, T.||Summers, W.|
|Monzies, R. S.||Sutherland, A.|
|Montagu, S.||Swinburne, Sir J.|
|Morgan, rt. hon. G. O.||Tanner, C. K.|
|Morgan, O. V.||Thomas, A.|
|Morley, rt. hon. J.||Trevelyan, right hon. Sir G. O.|
|Mundella, right hon. A. J.|
|Murphy, W. M.||Vivian, Sir H. H.|
|Newnes, G.||Wallace, R.|
|Nolan, Colonel J. P.||Wardle, H,|
|Warmington, C. M.||Winterbotham, A. B.|
|Watt, H.||Woodall, W.|
|Wayman, T.||Woodhead, J.|
|Whitbread, S.||Wright, C.|
|Will, J. S.|
|Williams, A. J.||TELLERS.|
|Williamson, S.||Flower, C.|
|Wilson, C. H.||Morley, A.|
|Wilson, H. J.|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Debate arising.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"— (Mr. Chaplin,)—put, and agreed to.
§ Debate further adjourned till Monday next.